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  • 7 months The Texanist: Isn’t It Time for a ‘Hamilton’-Style Musical About the Texas Revolution? Texasmonthly
    Q: I have lived in Texas all my life and I have a special affinity for Texas history, particularly the history of the Texas Revolution. The stories of those brave settlers who risked their lives for the cause of liberty against tyrannical oppression is the stuff of legends. A few years ago there was a musical on Broadway called Hamilton, which gave a dramatized account of the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton in an unforgettable (if historically questionable) way. In my opinion, the history of the Texas Revolution is at least equal in terms of spectacle and excitement. ... more
  • 7 months The Dallas Gym That Time Forgot Texasmonthly
    At Doug’s Gym you couldn’t watch TV while walking the treadmill because there were no TVs—or treadmills. There were no ellipticals, no heart-rate monitors, no hot yoga. There was no air-conditioning. There were, however, dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells—row after row of them—a few bench press set-ups and a leg press, a boxing ring, a heavy bag, and a handful of plug-in fans, most of which worked. Situated on Commerce Street in Dallas, above the office of a working-man’s lawyer (“Traffic Tickets $45”) and across the street from the downtown police station where Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald a year ... more
  • 8 months 20 Other Texas Sayings According to Mike Bloomberg Texasmonthly
    On Thursday in Houston, at a Harris County Democratic Party event, presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg said, “Now if I were from Texas, I might say Donald Trump is scared as a cat at the dog pound.” The Twitter-verse promptly ridiculed the former New York mayor for his attempt at faux folksiness, but we must confess that we believe Texas Monthly is to blame. Or, more precisely, whichever one of Bloomberg’s speechwriters googled “Texas sayings” and landed on this article from our archives. Honestly, polling our staff this afternoon, none of us could recall ever having heard this aphorism before. Yet ... more
  • 8 months Hollywood, Texas: Lucky Oscar Nominees Get to Meet Jerry From ‘Cheer’ Texasmonthly
    After several grueling months on the awards show circuit (not to mention the years spent on a film’s actual production), it all pays off at the Oscars, where Hollywood’s A-listers finally get to meet Cheer’s Jerry Harris. The Netflix breakout—wasting no time making the most of his newly minted stardom—served as a red carpet correspondent for Ellen DeGeneres at last Sunday’s ceremony. And judging by the video, he left a number of celebrities visibly awestruck. Lin-Manuel Miranda warned Jerry not to drop any spoilers. Frozen star Idina Menzel asked Jerry for one of his (surely soon-to-be-trademarked) “mat talks,” while Best ... more
  • 8 months Dayne’s Craft Barbecue’s “Bacon Brisket” and Sausages Are Worth the Wait Texasmonthly
    Dayne Weaver is a latecomer to the Texas barbecue community, but you can’t blame him. While his dad is from Fort Worth, Dayne grew up wherever his mom’s Air Force career took the family, including England, Italy, and Japan. His dad would smoke beef jerky to pack in his school lunch. “For my birthday, I always wanted my dad to make a rack of ribs,” Weaver said. He also vividly remembers a trip to Keller, just north of Fort Worth, when he was fifteen. “I was craving barbecue,” he said, so he walked a mile and a half to Shady ... more
  • 8 months The Recline of Western Civilization Texasmonthly
    This week’s video that the Internet lost its mind over was shot aboard an American Airlines flight. The clip shows a man repeatedly punching the back of the seat in front of him because his fellow passenger had committed the sin of reclining. His rage at the intrusion into his cramped space went viral and spawned seemingly equal numbers of people declaring him either a hero or a villain. A little concerned that @AmericanAir didn’t feel this was a problem. Not sure about the rest of you, but I would surely consider someone continually tapping on the back of my ... more
  • 8 months Everything Feels Rigged These Days, and the Astros Aren’t Helping Texasmonthly
    On August 4, 2017, the Astros held a 3-2 lead against the Toronto Blue Jays as they headed into the fourth inning of their home game. Then, as Blue Jays relief pitcher Mike Bolsinger took the mound, the Astros’ bats lit up. The McKinney North graduate—who played a year of college ball at Grayson County College before transferring to Arkansas—pitched one of the worst innings of his career that day: Bolsinger gave up a home run, a double, two singles, and three walks before ending the inning with the Blue Jays down 12-2. The entire starting lineup of the Astros ... more
  • 8 months On Texas Time: Lexi Brumback From Netflix’s ‘Cheer’ Texasmonthly
    Houstonian Lexi Brumback joined the Navarro College cheer squad to turn her life around. “If I wouldn’t have come here, I’d be sitting in a jail cell right now,” she says in the first episode of Netflix’s docuseries Cheer. A high school dropout with a history of getting into fights, the twenty-year-old found solace with the team’s strict regimen and coach Monica Aldama’s high expectations. Brumback’s formidable tumbling skills landed her a spot on the competitive team, but by the end of the show, we’re told that she was kicked off. Brumback took the blame for illegal substances allegedly found ... more
  • 8 months On Their Collaborative EP, ‘Texas Sun,’ Khruangbin and Leon Bridges Pay Tribute to the State That Raised Them Texasmonthly
    Texas is an expansive state, with much distance between its sprawling cities. The amount of time we spend in cars⁠—as well as the moods that experience evokes—is precisely what the instrumental Houston trio Khruangbin and Fort Worth R&B standout Leon Bridges aimed to recreate on their four-song EP, Texas Sun, released last week on Dead Oceans.  That’s especially evident on the EP’s title track—it uses three distinct styles of guitar playing (Spanish, country pedal steel, and psychedelic) to at once nod to the deep palette of genres found within Texas and capture the feeling of a cross-state road trip. And ... more
  • 8 months Bull Session: Dan Crenshaw and Briscoe Cain Make Election Season Weird Texasmonthly
    Every Thursday, we publish Bull Session, a roundup of the political odds and ends of the week, penning them all into one overstuffed corral.   As you may have heard over the churn of your own boiling blood, election season is in full, pit-and-the-pendulum swing. That long trudge to November has brought with it the first drift of campaign mailers to your doorstep, piling up like so much seasonal brush to be cleared. And at least a couple of Texas lawmakers have come up with clever strategies to waylay that journey to the trash bin, however briefly, by sending out eye-catching ... more
  • 8 months Where to Find Great Surf and Turf, Barbecue Style Texasmonthly
    The number of barbecue joints in Texas is staggering. Estimates exceed two thousand, which I think is still conservative, so when I began my Texas barbecue search more than a decade ago, I looked for ways to lighten the load. One initial strategy was to disqualify places that in my view didn’t adequately focus on smoking meats. If a restaurant advertised its salads or burgers, I ignored it. Today I realize how silly that was. Many barbecue joints, especially those in small towns, offer items beyond barbecue to keep the locals coming in several times a week. Among those offerings ... more
  • 8 months The Nuevo Progreso-Style Lonches at Nana’s Are Also Known as Bread Tacos Texasmonthly
    Until last month, I did not know there was a sandwich referred to as a taco de pan. My first encounter with the term for bread taco came during a conversation with Roxanna Treviño, who, along with her husband, Alfredo, owns Nana’s Taqueria, in Weslaco. I had visited the Rio Grande Valley restaurant to order a platter of three Nuevo Progreso-style lonches, sandwiches made with small, oblong, quick-fried bolillo rolls that are cut open from the top and stuffed with lightly seasoned ground beef, cabbage, tomato, avocado, a mound of crumbled cheese, and cilantro. Lonches cover a broad category of foods ... more
  • 8 months A Group of Texas News Veterans Aim to Revolutionize How Women Are Covered in Media Texasmonthly
    About a month ago, I sent an email to Emily Ramshaw, then editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, to check on her during her last day. We’ve been friends for years, bonding over journalism and motherhood, and I wanted to see how she was faring after ten years at the Tribune. In November, she had announced that she was starting her own nonprofit news venture: the 19th*, a national outlet named after the Nineteenth Amendment that focuses on “the intersection of gender, politics, and policy.” (The asterisk in the logo is meant to acknowledge the Nineteenth Amendment’s original limited application to ... more
  • 8 months Taco of the Week: Enchilada Potosina at Nixta Taqueria Texasmonthly
    As my colleague Patricia Sharpe can attest, Nixta Taqueria is one of the hottest taco spots in Austin. The small restaurant on the East Side was one of my most anticipated openings of 2019—after reading reports that it was to open over the summer, I would message owners Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi via their Instagram account ahead of each trip to Austin, only to be let down. So, when they finally opened in October, imagine my disappointment when it didn’t live up to my expectations. Though the beet tostada was thick and substantial enough to evoke meatiness, it was ... more
  • 8 months The Balance of Power in Texas Politics Runs Along I-35 Texasmonthly
    It’s not news that Texas suburbs are booming. Frisco, McKinney, Conroe, Pearland, New Braunfels, League City, Round Rock, and Denton were among the 25 fastest-growing cities in America since 2010 (as was Austin proper, as well as Midland and Odessa). But a statistic like that doesn’t tell the full story of growth in Texas—or how so many newly minted Texans are shaping the state’s future. To get a better sense of where things are likely headed, let’s take a look at something reported by the Houston Chronicle last week: that more of these new Texans have registered to vote along the ... more
  • 8 months ‘The Nowhere Inn’ Is a Meta Look at St. Vincent and Carrie Brownstein’s Friendship Texasmonthly
    The Nowhere Inn is a musical-thriller-comedy disguised as a documentary. It stars Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, playing a character based on Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent. The Dallas native cowrote the film with her best friend, Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia fame), and Brownstein also costars in the movie—playing a character based on Carrie Brownstein, who is making a documentary about her best friend, Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent. Except that Brownstein did not actually direct this fictional meta-movie about the making of her nonexistent rock doc. Got all that? The film, which premiered with a midnight screening ... more
  • 8 months Kate Murphy on the Lost Art of Listening Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify For her new book, You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters, Houston journalist Kate Murphy spent two years delving into the academic and scientific research related to listening, trying to understand the biochemical and emotional effects of feeling properly heard or, more often, feeling unheard. She also spoke to a cross section of professionals whose jobs revolve around listening—from psychotherapists and hostage negotiators to CIA interrogators and focus group moderators.   “They’re all very curious,” she says of the through line that connects high-quality listeners. “They all want to know what the ... more
  • 8 months At Po Campo BBQ, House-Made Buns Make Satisfying Sandwiches Texasmonthly
    Brent Morrow was essentially living a double life in 2017. He’d spend weeks at a time in the oil fields near Gonzales and Cuero, far from his home and family in Hico. When Morrow returned home for a couple weeks at a time, he ran a barbecue truck on some land he owned in his small town, which is about an hour and a half southwest of Fort Worth. “I spent so much time away in the oil field, I felt like I was wasting my life away,” he said, so he and his wife, Breanna, devised a plan to ... more
  • 8 months Behind Nancy Pelosi’s Power Brooch Is an 86-Year-Old Texan Jeweler Texasmonthly
    When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech last week, she set off an avalanche of vitriol (from Trumps fans) and celebration (from her liberal base). But little did she know that she also helped an 86-year-old Texas doyenne of the D.C. scene sell a big pile of jewelry. As Pelosi ripped up Trump’s speech, some keen observers noticed a small detail in the made-for-TV moment: a formidable-looking, stiletto-shaped gold pin on her left lapel. The brooch is a miniature of the speaker’s mace, the official symbol of the House of Representatives, a ... more
  • 8 months Boomtown, Episode 10: The Mitchell Paradox Texasmonthly
    George P. Mitchell was a Texas wildcatter—but not the swaggering kind. He was quiet and bookish, just as fascinated by deep space as he was knowledgeable about rock formations deep within the earth. Though he didn’t fit the popular stereotype, one could argue that no oilman since John D. Rockefeller has played a bigger role in shaping American society. Today, Mitchell is best known as “the father of fracking.” For seventeen years, Mitchell’s company doggedly worked to find an effective and economical way to use hydraulic fracturing to access natural gas trapped in tight shale formations. An engineer at Mitchell ... more
  • 8 months In Defense of Renée Zellweger’s Drawl Texasmonthly
    At the ninety-second Academy Awards last night, Renée Zellweger won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Judy Garland in the biopic Judy. The win wasn’t surprising (neither were the rest of the acting wins, really—and besides, nothing compared with the thrill of seeing Parasite’s four-Oscar sweep). Renée Zellweger did a fine job, and her portrait of Judy Garland felt real—though it wasn’t anywhere near as entertaining as Judy Garland herself. But no one has asked me to join the academy yet, so what do I know? Anyway, I’m here today to celebrate a different Renée Zellweger performance—her acceptance speech. ... more
  • 8 months What Would a Frontier-Era Explorer Take Home From Modern-Day Texas? Texasmonthly
    When nineteenth-century Americans in eastern cities like New York and Washington wanted to learn about Texas, they turned to a handful of adventurer-explorers who had traveled to the far-off region and made studies of its lands and people. The travelogues, collections, and paintings of these early visitors helped define the brand-new state to a national audience. For a twenty-first-century Yankee to make such a wide-eyed journey of discovery in today’s booming, high-tech Texas would be a bit ridiculous—but it’s a compelling, many-layered absurdity that Hudson Valley-based artist Mark Dion leans into in his new body of work, “The Perilous Texas ... more
  • 8 months This Family Survived an African Refugee Camp. Their New Challenge: Surviving Houston Without a Car.  Texasmonthly
    Until January, Merci Madilu and his older brother, Espoir, had spent most of their existence in a refugee camp in the landlocked Central African nation of Burundi, where they shared a one-room, mud-walled shelter with their mother and eight younger siblings.  Each day presented the young Congolese men, now 22 and 23, with the same challenge: finding enough food to keep their family from going hungry. They would count themselves lucky if they were able to scrape together beans and rice and a little chicken. Now, three weeks after arriving in Houston as refugees under the federal refugee resettlement program, ... more
  • 8 months The Texanist: What Is the Most Romantic Spot in Texas? Texasmonthly
    Q: For the first time in a number of years I find myself with a boyfriend and I’ve really been yearning to take a lovey-dovey getaway with him. But we need a little help: Where is the most romantic spot in Texas? Name Withheld, Midland A: Congratulations on finally landing another beau for yourself, Ms. or Mr. Withheld. The Texanist is glad the drought is finally over—assuming that the recent dry spell was not self-imposed, that is. But even if your recent mateless period was the result of a voluntary vow of chastity, the Texanist, a man opposed to lonesomeness—except ... more
  • 8 months Texas Monthly Recommends: ‘A Night With Janis Joplin’ Texasmonthly
    Her voice reeling from a guttural howl to a tremulous whisper, Mary Bridget Davies doesn’t so much portray Janis Joplin as she channels her. The mesmerizing Davies is the star of A Night With Janis Joplin, the touring musical running at Austin’s Zach Theatre through March 8. Although designed as a tribute to the Port Arthur–born blues and rock singer who became an international star in the late sixties, the show gives equal attention to her early musical influences. A supremely gifted supporting cast belts out seminal works from Odetta, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Etta James, and, of course, the ... more
  • 8 months Texas Monthly Receives Four National Magazine Award Nominations Texasmonthly
    The American Society of Magazine Editors announced Thursday that Texas Monthly received four nominations in this year’s National Magazine Awards. The Ellies, as the awards are known, are considered the Oscars of the magazine field. This ties the most nominations Texas Monthly has ever received in a single year. The magazine’s four nominations were also the most bestowed upon any publication headquartered west of the Potomac River. Christian Wallace was recognized in the Leisure Interests category for “Long Live Honky Tonks!,” our September 2019 cover story. As features director J.K. Nickell wrote in the nominating letter, the story is “a ... more
  • 8 months An Intimate Photo Exhibit at San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum Immortalizes Selena Texasmonthly
    In 1992, while working on assignment for the Spanish-language magazine Más, photographer John Dyer captured a star on the rise. Fresh off the success of her breakthrough album Entre a Mi Mundo, 21-year-old singer Selena Quintanilla was poised to take her regional success in Texas and Northern Mexico to the next level. Dressed in her signature bustier, gold hoops, and black high-waisted pants, the Texan took to the red curtain backdrop, basking in the glow of a spotlight with the same magnetism she radiated on stage. In that moment, it became immediately clear to Dyer why people were drawn to her. ... more
  • 8 months Hollywood, Texas: Owen Wilson Joins the Marvel Universe Texasmonthly
    We’ve heard that the upcoming “Phase Four” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will explore its more “cosmic” side, so it makes sense that it just drafted Owen Wilson, the Dallas-bred actor whose characters often seem to be spliced in from another astral plane. Variety says that Wilson will appear in Marvel’s new Disney Plus series Loki, which finds Tom Hiddleston reprising his turn as Thor’s ne’er-do-well, occasionally genocidal brother. Since the show reportedly finds Loki hopping through time, meddling in historic events like a malicious Quantum Leap, some have speculated that Wilson could play everyone from Marvel’s “time cop” Justice Peace ... more
  • 8 months Join Us at SXSW for Texas Music: The Untold Stories Texasmonthly
    We’re thrilled to announce that SXSW and Texas Monthly will present “Texas Music: The Untold Stories” this March 17, 2020, at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The evening will be a live storytelling event featuring a wide array of Texas musicians—from rappers to rock and rollers—telling stories interspersed with music, backed by Carrie Rodriguez and her amazing band.  “Texas Music: The Untold Stories” came about because we did a live storytelling show in 2019 called “Texas Monthly Live” in which I told the story of the Gloriathon, where, in 1999, a bunch of us slacker musicians played the song ... more
  • 8 months Moreno Barbecue’s Brisket Is Tender and Juicy Beyond Belief Texasmonthly
    Bo Moreno traded the security blanket of a good job with health benefits at H-E-B for the unpredictability of the barbecue business. The Austin native was assistant manager at one of the chain’s San Marcos stores, but toward the end of his tenure there he found it hard to focus at work. All he could think about was the next thing he was going to cook on his smoker. Moreno prepared plenty of barbecue for family events and a few paying customers, but he wanted barbecue to become more than a part-time gig. “What’s keeping me from doing it?” he ... more
  • 8 months Recipe: Mini King Ranch Casseroles From ‘The Defined Dish,’ by Alex Snodgrass Texasmonthly
    Alex Snodgrass is a bit of a phenomenon. The Dallas food writer specializes in nutritious and doable family-style cooking, loosely operating within the universe of the Whole30 Program elimination diet. Her recipes are not entirely Whole30-compliant, but many of them are, or else they can be adapted to work under the program’s strict parameters. People are drawn to her dishes because they pack in a ton of flavor; as she writes on her website, “I am from Texas and us Texans like big bold flavors—so I never skimp on flavors with my healthy dishes.” The formula of healthy-yet-tasty works. Snodgrass ... more
  • 8 months Bull Session: Donald Trump Remembers the Beautiful, Beautiful Alamo Texasmonthly
    Every Thursday, we publish Bull Session, a roundup of the political odds and ends of the week, penning them all into one overstuffed corral.   There was plenty of pageantry on display at Donald Trump’s State of the Union address this week, from Trump playing a monarchical Maury to his audience of surprised Army wives and Rush Limbaughs, to Nancy Pelosi’s theatrical paper shredding, to the junior-high-production-of-Inherit-the-Wind mock trial we must all now endure over “civility.” But if you happen to be Texan—or you’ve vaguely heard of Texas—the moment that likely stood out to you was when President Trump unexpectedly invoked ... more
  • 8 months BBQ News Roundup: Blue Moon Closes, Franklin’s Backyard Smokers, and a Barbecue Bandit Texasmonthly
    A Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ joint has closed. A massive highway construction project on Texas Highway OSR north of College Station that will last until 2022 has hindered access to Blue Moon BBQ, and they just couldn’t draw enough business to sustain the restaurant. Zavala’s Barbecue in Grand Prairie now sits on the corner of Main Street and Brisket Lane after a successful name change of the half-block-long street next to the restaurant. Unexpected finds in Katy, Texas: I'm not sure what they're smokin' in Katy, but some of the craft bbq pitmasters there have been serving up octopus, ... more
  • 8 months The Documentary ‘Boys State’ Delivers a Dose of Political Hope to Our Divisive Age Texasmonthly
    You can’t go to the Sundance Film Festival without seeing a political celebrity: Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) in 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Knock Down the House) in 2019, and Hillary Clinton (Hillary) this year. But while Clinton’s comments about Bernie Sanders made headlines before her Hulu series even screened in Utah, by the time the 2020 festival was over last weekend, the Sundance buzz belonged to four Texas teenagers who might end up as future members of the Texas Legislature—or perhaps become another Brad Parscale. Those four Texans are the stars of Boys State, the winner of the festival’s Grand Jury ... more
  • 8 months The Real Problem With ‘American Dirt’ Texasmonthly
    This whole American Dirt controversy has been awful. The harder people try to extricate themselves, the deeper they sink. Writers are finding themselves arguing with friends and heroes. We’re looking at our colleagues and marveling at their cluelessness, and we’re getting in lots of social media fights. Sure, some people have insisted that we look on the bright side: at least we’re talking about books, right? At least we’ve got people discussing the migrant experience, no? Well, Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels is a best-seller again, partly due to the many articles offering lists of books about the borderlands that are better ... more
  • 8 months The Iowa Caucuses Taught Us Once Again That No One Knows Anything  Texasmonthly
    Who won the Iowa caucuses? A simple question with no definitive answer, as of this writing. In a plot twist straight from an underperforming MFA student’s knockoff Thomas Pynchon Novel, an app developed by a company called Shadow, owned by a nebulous Silicon Valley organization that styles itself ACRONYM, swallowed some data on its way to the Iowa Democratic Party, producing two days (and counting) of confusion and anger and conspiracy theories on social media. Based on incomplete counts, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders appear to have “won,” by an arcane metric called “state delegate equivalents” and raw vote totals ... more
  • 8 months La Pantera Tacos y Mas Makes Tex-Mex Comfort Food From Panther City BBQ Texasmonthly
    When I first wrote about Panther City BBQ in 2018, owners Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales were still holding onto their old day jobs while trying to run a part-time barbecue truck. A few months later, they worked out a deal with their landlord, Brian Reising, who owns Republic Street Bar and the lot around it where the food truck was parked. He offered to construct a building for them if they’d sign a long-term lease. The pair agreed and made barbecue their full-time jobs. Magallanes and Morales suffered through the long, hot summer of 2019 inside the sweltering food ... more
  • 8 months Is Matthew McConaughey Good Again? Texasmonthly
    Matthew McConaughey is one of the most maddening actors of his generation. He’s got all the talent in the world, and he spent the first two decades of his career squandering it in mostly unwatchable dreck—tacky action-adventures and instantly forgettable rom-coms. Around 2011, though, he began starring in movies that were actually good. The McConaissance is well-documented: Between 2011 and 2014, McConaughey went on to star in a string of critically acclaimed roles with A-list directors like Steven Soderbergh and Martin Scorsese. He helped elevate films like Magic Mike into delightful blockbusters, brightened every moment he was on screen in The ... more
  • 8 months Taco of the Week: Birria de Res at JQ’s Tex Mex BBQ Texasmonthly
    The grated mozzarella bubbles into a jagged arch atop the hot propane griddle outside the garage doors of 4J Brewing Company in Houston. When the edges of the cheese show signs of crisping, the taquero needs to flip what’s become a costra disc destined to cradle birria de res. Joseph Quellar, pitmaster-taquero of JQ’s Tex Mex BBQ, hosts these regular Saturday pop-ups at the brewery, where I tried his brand of homegrown barbecue tacos. Birria de res, a Mexican stew popularized in Tijuana and spreading like crazy in Southern California, uses beef (res) in place of goat or lamb, the ... more
  • 8 months Michael Lind on Class Warfare and Why Populism Can’t Last Texasmonthly
    The theory driving much of journalist and professor Michael Lind’s The New Class War: Saving Democracy From the Managerial Elite is that the deep polarization of today’s politics—and the embrace of populism here and in Western Europe—boils down to a clash between what he calls the professional managerial overclass and the working class. Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify “We’re seeing a shift in politics in the U.S. and similar Western democracies from a left/right distinction or a top-to-bottom distinction to an insider/outsider distinction,” says Lind, a professor of practice at the UT–Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and author of ... more
  • 8 months Boomtown, Episode 9: A Dark Horizon Texasmonthly
    I’ve spent a lot of time driving around the Permian Basin over the last year. There were times I put more than a thousand miles on my truck in a single week. (Yeah, I know that’s not much to brag about in West Texas mileage.) No matter where I went in the region, there were signs of the boom. But over the last six months or so, things have taken a slight turn. While most of the patch remains busy, there are indications that the boom is cooling. The rig count has declined about 20 percent since this time last ... more
  • 8 months Is J.J. Watt Funny? A Texas Monthly Investigation Texasmonthly
    J.J. Watt is one of the most likable figures in sports. He’s generous and philanthropic, plays the game with his whole heart, and redefined the defensive end position in the NFL with humility and class. Though we mostly know him through his actions on the field, he’s shown us just enough of the man who exists off of the field for us to believe that he’s one of the good ones. There’s one question, though, that we’d never thought to ask about the Texans star until recently: Is he funny? This past weekend, Watt hosted Saturday Night Live the night before ... more
  • 8 months The Texanist: Are the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Uniforms Skimpier Than They Used to Be? Texasmonthly
    Q: During the recent season-ending game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins, I caught a glimpse of a few of the Cowboys cheerleaders on the sideline and found myself a little surprised by the skimpiness of their outfits. I’ve been following the Cowboys for about four decades and have been aware of the cheerleaders for just as long, so I don’t know why I would be all that surprised but I was. Am I crazy or are those uniforms getting smaller? Name Withheld, San Antonio A: The Texanist watched that game, too. He also kept an eye on ... more
  • 8 months Hollywood, Texas: Matthew McConaughey Is Coming Back to Conquer Television Texasmonthly
    As we’ve documented exhaustively within this very column, every week brings a little bit of Matthew McConaughey, if you know where to look. Still, it’s been a while since Austin’s cultural guru was a weekly presence on our TV screens—not since True Detective first brought the McConaissance to its fever-dream peak in 2014.  But time really is a flat circle, it seems: Deadline reports that McConaughey is teaming up again with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto for the new FX series Redeemer, based on Patrick Coleman’s modern noir, The Churchgoer. The show will find McConaughey in another dark night of ... more
  • 8 months UT-Austin and Dell Announce $100 Million Partnership to Help Low-Income Students Graduate on Time Texasmonthly
    It’s true nationally, and it’s true at the University of Texas at Austin. Even when students from low-income families make it to college, the financial, academic, and social challenges they face mean they are less likely than their peers to graduate on time. At the state’s largest public university, only 73 percent of students from low-income families graduate within six years, compared with 86 percent of their classmates overall. This fall, UT-Austin will debut a new $100 million, 10-year partnership with the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to help more of these students earn degrees, with a goal of raising ... more
  • 8 months How to Make Seven-Layer Dip—Also, What Time Is the Super Bowl? Texasmonthly
    Seven-layer dip is the most popular Super Bowl dish in Texas, according to a press release we received on Monday—just six days before the big game, which starts at 5:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, February 2, on Fox. The report included a map of every state’s favorite Super Bowl snack, which they compiled by analyzing Google Trends that looked at what people across the United States were searching for. This year, Texas got seven-layer dip. It’s certainly a Texas-y dish, even if these metrics are inherently subjective and unscientific. Last year, a similar map gave us spinach dip, which, sure. ... more
  • 8 months Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings Texasmonthly
    How do you like your chicken and dumplings? A quick poll revealed differing views among my friends. Some insisted on rolled dumplings. Some dropped dumplings. Some called for no vegetables whatsoever; others craved peas and carrots. There were those who wanted tons of herbs and those who preferred only thyme. Some were willing to experiment with adding fish sauce or Maggi or bourbon; for others it was Meemaw’s way or the highway. My collection of community cookbooks also were no help in determining a definitive Texas chicken and dumplings recipe. I expected the drop-versus-roll debate to cut along clear geographic ... more
  • 8 months Koko Ramen’s Reboot Kicks the Spice Up a Notch Texasmonthly
    Koko Ramen first opened its food truck in 2017. It was a big deal back then to offer barbecue and ramen together in Waco, a city not known for culinary diversity. That’s changed significantly in the last few years. New and exciting restaurants are opening, the barbecue scene has really blossomed, and there’s even a food hall in downtown. Union Hall opened last August and just held its official grand opening. The festivities included an expanded and refined version of chef Cade Mercer’s Koko Ramen, which began serving from its new digs a couple months ago. They’re still stuffing bao ... more
  • 8 months Who Would Have Guessed Patrick Mahomes Would Be the Best Texas Quarterback of the 21st Century? Texasmonthly
    It’s hard to win a football championship with a bad defense, but it’s impossible to win with a bad quarterback. And as the position has grown in importance, so too has Texas become one of the nation’s most crucial proving grounds for young passers. Some of that top-flight talent ended up playing their college ball outside of Texas—Super Bowl MVP (and Westlake grad) Nick Foles went to Arizona, while Stratford alum and perennial Pro Bowler (up until his surprise retirement) Andrew Luck opted for Stanford—but the list of great college quarterbacks from Texas over the past two decades is a ... more
  • 8 months Bull Session: Ted Cruz Rides Impeachment to the Top of the Podcast Charts Texasmonthly
    After several months of peddling his heroic tale about President Donald Trump, patriotic anti-corruption crusader, while also calling for the long-overdue impeachment of Hunter Biden, Texas senator Ted Cruz has finally parlayed his side hustle into a podcast, the natural habitat for conspiracy theories, self-indulgent theatrics, and bearded white guys. Verdict With Ted Cruz dropped this week on iTunes and Spotify, giving its listeners Cruz’s unfiltered, late-night thoughts on the day’s impeachment proceedings—ideal for anyone who wants a fair, impartial take on why the Democrats are vindictive liars, or who simply can’t get enough of Ted Cruz’s voice in their ... more
  • 8 months My Futile Search for Great Tex-Mex Ribs Texasmonthly
    It was getting dark when I headed south out of Austin. Houston was my destination for the night, but I’d gotten a tip about the ribs at Dos Rios, a Tex-Mex restaurant in New Braunfels. It was a heck of a detour, but I was getting desperate. I’d been searching the state, following leads from strangers, to find a great rack of Tex-Mex ribs. After seven restaurants, and just as many disappointments, I held on to hope as tightly as I gripped my steering wheel on Interstate 35 during rush hour. Driving through New Braunfels, I passed the massive Bavarian ... more
  • 8 months Bernie Sanders Has Closed the Gap With Joe Biden in Texas Texasmonthly
    Texas has been a weird state in the 2020 primary race. Until he suspended his campaign in early November, Beto O’Rourke held a virtual lock on between 12 and 20 percent of the state’s Democratic voters, even as his polling nationally hovered around a point or two. When he left the race, the early polling suggested that his supporters had gravitated to Joe Biden—who, in the last statewide poll of Texas in mid-December, held a twenty-point lead in the state. That was then, though. According to the latest poll from Texas Lyceum, the state of the race in Texas much ... more
  • 8 months How Much Does the Democrats’ Big Flop in Tuesday’s Special Election Matter? Texasmonthly
    Special elections play the same role in political discourse that the unexpected passing of a comet played in the ancient world—an opportunity for soothsayers of varying quality to impart their own interpretations onto an unsuspecting populace. Is it a sign that the world is ending, or that the spring festival will be especially lovely this year? Who can say? A comet transited the sky over Fort Bend County last night: the special runoff election in state House District 28, formerly represented by respected Republican moderate John Zerwas. After national Democratic groups injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race ... more
  • 8 months You Put What in My Tortilla? Chefs Are Adding New Colors and Flavors to Masa Texasmonthly
    Mixing ingredients into masa to create tortillas with unusual flavors or colors is a practice that goes back generations. Along the Texas-Mexico border, it’s not hard to find tacos rojos, which are made with intensely red tortillas that are traditionally colored by adding chili powder into the masa (though it’s common to use artificial coloring). Tortillas de nopales made with dehydrated and powdered cactus paddles are available throughout Mexico, as well as at tortillerias and Mexican markets in Texas. In the Mexican state of Sonora, there are garbanzo tortillas. Veracruz is known for tortillas made from a mix of corn ... more
  • 8 months Waymo’s Autonomous Trucks Are Rolling Into Texas—And Bringing a Debate About Jobs and Safety With Them Texasmonthly
    Over the last few years, Waymo—the self-driving technology company that’s part of Alphabet, the Google parent company—has launched fleets of autonomous big rigs and minivans in California, Arizona, and Georgia. Last week, the company revealed plans for a vast new territorial expansion into Texas and New Mexico. Eager to identify promising commercial routes, Waymo says it’s been lured to Texas because of the state’s high freight volume, according to a statement provided by the company.  Waymo says it plans to start by using its autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans equipped with a suite of sophisticated sensors to create detailed maps of ... more
  • 8 months FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on His Plans for Transforming the Agency Texasmonthly
    In mid-December, Dr. Stephen Hahn, an oncologist who most recently worked as chief medical executive at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, became the twenty-fourth commissioner of the federal Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with ensuring the safety and efficacy of medical products and food. Hahn emerged as a front-runner for the post in early September after reports that he’d met with President Trump at the White House. Norman Sharpless, who was acting commissioner after Scott Gottlieb resigned from the post last April, had also been a finalist to get the job permanently. But some administration officials, Politico ... more
  • 8 months Taco of the Week: Tacos Potosinos at the Plaza Mexican Restaurant Texasmonthly
    I was trepidatious about my return to Childress. A while back, I stopped there with a photographer friend of mine—a tall Korean American—on the way to an assignment across the state border in rural western Oklahoma. It was after 5 p.m. on a Sunday, and everything but fast-food joints was closed. As we walked around the empty downtown, we noticed some crumbling buildings—not an unusual sight for towns in this part of Texas—and paused to gaze at some classic cars displayed behind plate-glass windows. Everything was going great until, in one thirty-minute span, two different pickup trucks slowly trailed us. ... more
  • 8 months Boomtown, Episode 8: Wild West Texas Texasmonthly
    If you know where to look, there are pockets of West Texas where visions of the Old West still appear from time to time, like mirages in the heat. I caught a glimpse one Saturday morning last December. Perched atop a pipe fence at the Bullhead Ranch, some forty miles northwest of Odessa, I was scanning the horizon when a white-faced Hereford cow stepped through a thick tangle of mesquite. She was followed by her calf. Seconds later, a herd of rust-colored cattle burst through the brush and came streaming toward me. Guiding the cattle were a dozen cowboys. Most ... more
  • 8 months Texans Had a Big Night at the 2020 Grammys Texasmonthly
    The least cool major award show in the country, the Grammys, once again celebrated our coolest artists on Sunday night. That tension lies at the heart of the event, which pits incomparable talents against one another in an attempt to determine who’s objectively more deserving of an award like Song of the Year. This year, alternative pop artist Billie Eilish swept the four major awards categories, including Album of the Year, becoming only the second artist to do so—the first was San Antonio native Christopher Cross, who sailed to success at the same ceremony back in 1981. Musical taste is idiosyncratic ... more
  • 8 months Cherry Block’s Smoke-Kissed Gumbo Reflects the Restaurant’s Barbecue Pedigree Texasmonthly
    In Texas, you can find barbecue smoking in unlikely places. Circling a high-rise apartment building in downtown Houston, I spotted a sign for Cherry Block inside the six-month-old Bravery Chef Hall. The weekend prior at Foodways Texas’s Camp Brisket, the restaurant’s chef, Jess DeSham Timmons, had assured me the Cherry Block staff was smoking meats for several items on the menu. Walking into the food hall, I saw the restaurant’s tiny open kitchen just behind the counter and thought they must be smoking off site. But then the door of a compact steel smoker opened in the corner of the ... more
  • 8 months ‘The Real Housewives of Dallas’ Stars Stephanie Hollman and Brandi Redmond on the Show’s Latest ‘Heated and Hate-Filled’ Season Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify Across four seasons of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Dallas, Stephanie Hollman has been open about her history of depression, even revealing details about a suicide attempt. She says talking about her mental health issues, and not just pretending life is perfect, has been therapeutic. On the heels of a particularly contentious season of the show—even by Housewives standards—she believes what got her through it was an ability to separate her reality television role from actual reality. “For me, the show is a job, and then I have my life,” says Hollman, an original ... more
  • 8 months A Year After 7-Year-Old Jakelin Caal Died in U.S. Custody, Everything (And Nothing) Has Changed for Her Family Texasmonthly
    The Guatemalan town of San Antonio Secortez is seven hours by car from the capital, Guatemala City, and fourteen hours by bus on winding roads that climb high into the mountains. The last part of the trip follows a one-lane road that sends passengers thrashing back and forth before finally arriving at the remote town, marked by a few rough streets and several dozen drafty homes with thatched roofs. There’s no electricity or running water in San Antonio Secortez. Most homes don’t have doors. The surrounding countryside is beautiful—lush fields of maize and beans live amid the foggy, tree-choked peaks ... more
  • 8 months So Far From Heaven, So Close to Texas: Duncan Wood on Trump, Mexico, and Texas Texasmonthly
    On December 1, Andrés Manuel López Obrador celebrated his first anniversary as president of Mexico. Despite ongoing corruption, an increase in drug-cartel-related violence, and a moribund economy, AMLO, as he is known by his countrymen, remains a broadly popular president. Texas Monthly recently caught up with Duncan Wood, director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and one of the foremost American experts on Mexico and Mexican politics. We discussed AMLO’s impact on Texas as well as the NAFTA deal, migrant camps along the U.S.-Mexico border, and more. Texas Monthly: To what extent has Texas been affected by the AMLO administration ... more
  • 8 months Hollywood, Texas: Live From New York, It’s J.J. Watt Texasmonthly
    Like many an improv comedy hopeful, J.J. Watt has been quietly biding his time on home stages, awaiting his big break—doing some local commercials, picking up the occasional sitcom guest spot, playing defensive end for the Houston Texans, etc. But all of that work finally seems to be paying off. NBC announced this week that Watt will host Saturday Night Live on February 1, a gig that could potentially catapult Watt into a movie career to rival LeBron James’s. After all, Watt’s reels of New Girl cameos and Greek yogurt commercials have revealed that, in addition to his herculean physique and ... more
  • 8 months Texas Monthly Recommends: ‘I Want More’ by Kaleo Texasmonthly
    ‘I Want More’ by Kaleo Icelandic rockers Kaleo put down roots in Austin back in early 2015, after a string of breakout SXSW performances helped them ride the double-platinum single “Way Down We Go” to international success and a Grammy nomination. The years after the release of 2016’s A/B were quieter for the band, though—they haven’t released new music or hit the road in more than two years. They performed in their adopted hometown with a show at ACL Live in December, though, and released a pair of singles last week that tease an as-yet-unannounced follow-up album. One of these, ... more
  • 8 months Bob Schieffer Remembers Texas Journalist Jim Lehrer (1934-2020) Texasmonthly
    Jim Lehrer, the longtime PBS news anchor and Texan, died Thursday at his home in Washington, D.C., at the age of 85. Lehrer spent much of his childhood in Beaumont and San Antonio, and his journalism career began in Dallas, where he was a newspaper reporter and an editor throughout the sixties. In 1970, he made the jump to television at PBS station KERA in Dallas, where he created a much-lauded local nightly newscast, Newsroom. After moving to Washington, he first teamed up with Robert MacNeil to anchor PBS’s coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings. By 1983, their partnership had ... more
  • 8 months Bull Session: Greg Abbott’s Historic Summit With Wesley Snipes Texasmonthly
    Every Thursday, we publish Bull Session, a roundup of the political odds and ends of the week, penning them all into one overstuffed corral.   It’s been an especially busy time for Greg Abbott, who, as the governor of Texas, naturally spent most of his week bouncing between Israel and Switzerland. First, Abbott dropped into Tel Aviv to chat up business leaders about technology opportunities back home, then he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where the two discussed the “unwavering bond between Texas and Israel,” as well as their “enduring friendship” that’s seen them through at least two separate photo ... more
  • 8 months BBQ News Roundup: Vegan Barbecue in Houston, 2020 Predictions, and Buck’s Closes in Galveston Texasmonthly
    The newest barbecue joint in Houston is vegan. Houston Sauce Pit’s signature item is a baked potato loaded with smoked “sausage” from Beyond Meat. Steven Raichlen shared his predictions for barbecue in 2020, including the return of charcoal, and lots more vegetables on menus. I bet they’ll be checking pockets for ribs at the Super Bowl: Kansas City guy. — BBQ Sports (@RealBBQSports) January 19, 2020 The matchup has already played out, but Sports Illustrated gathered a few experts to discuss the differences between the barbecue enjoyed by Kansas City Chiefs fans and Houston Texans fans. Did you know ... more
  • 8 months The Galveston Monkey Saga Is the Weirdest Story of 2020 Thus Far Texasmonthly
    2020 will almost certainly be a strange year. The news of the world can be hard to wrap your head around, and headlines these days—especially in an election year—can seem outright unbelievable. Let’s try this one on, for example: “Galveston Police Are Uncertain if an Escaped Monkey Is Alive or Dead After Its Owners Stopped Cooperating With an Investigation.” As KHOU-TV reports, Lilly—a capuchin monkey who had been living as a pet with a family in Galveston’s East End—escaped after someone broke into the home. Initially, the Lilly’s family worked with police to find her, but, in an unlikely twist, ... more
  • 8 months Just How Texan Is Fox’s ‘9-1-1: Lone Star’? Texasmonthly
    In the opening scene of Fox’s new Austin-set drama 9-1-1: Lone Star, a security guard at a manure plant accidentally sparks a massive fire by microwaving a foil-wrapped burrito. Shortly after, first responders rush to aid a man choking on a Carolina Reaper pepper that’s been slipped into his taco. And the second episode finds firefighters caught in the middle of two neighbors squabbling over a backyard barbacoa pit. At this point, you may find yourself asking: How the hell did this show capture Texas life so authentically? Did it plant cameras outside my house, near my barbacoa pit? Probably ... more
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