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  • 4 weeks Yes, This Interchange in Houston Is the Same Size as an Entire City Center in Italy Texasmonthly
    Last week, a tweet went viral for pointing out in a novel way something that remains a source of fascination among Texans and non-Texans alike: Houston is really, really big, y’all. Still amazed by this… The city center of Siena, Italy (pop. 30k), is roughly the size of this highway interchange in Houston, Texas (pop. 0). pic.twitter.com/rlq2aMraa3 — Michael Hendrix (@michael_hendrix) August 19, 2020 In his Twitter post, Michael Hendrix of the Manhattan Institute, a free-market think tank, pointed out that the city center of Siena, Italy, packs roughly 30,000 residents into a space roughly the same size as one ... more
  • 1 month The State Fair of Texas Is Opening a Drive-thru Texasmonthly
    In years past, the news that you could buy a Fletcher’s Corny Dog without leaving your car would be just okay. Good, I guess, if you’re extremely into convenience and fried food. But in a normal year, the thought of driving to Fair Park to get a corny dog and some deep-fried Oreos without ever even getting out of the car would not make most of us unexpectedly emotional. This is not a normal year, though, and when the State Fair of Texas announced on Wednesday that it will be offering some of the deep-fried hits of the festival’s food ... more
  • 1 month Taco News Roundup: The World May Be Burning, but at Least Taco Cabana Has Six New Margarita Flavors Texasmonthly
    Taco Cabana is replacing six of its flavored margaritas, Dr Pepper and prickly pear among them. The San Antonio–based chain has subbed in sangria, green apple, strawberry-mango, pineapple chamoy, spicy guava, and tamarindo. In other T.C. news, the company rolled out its QuesoMania promotion on Wednesday. The limited-time special offers three loaded chile con queso options: queso with corn, cotija cheese, and hot sauce; queso with chorizo, beans, and jalapeños; and queso with ground beef and pico de gallo. The Kyle City Council scrapped plans to name a road Fajita Drive. The name was intended to honor local taquero and ... more
  • 1 month East Austin Pitmaster Jerome Faulkner Is Carrying on His Family’s Barbecue Legacy Texasmonthly
    Jerome Faulkner wants to be the best pitmaster in Texas. That’s the goal he’s worked toward since 2016, when he opened the J Leonardi’s Barbeque trailer in East Austin with his business partner Cedric Griffin, of UT football fame. (The J stands for Jerome, and Leonard is Griffin’s middle name.) After four years, Faulkner knows he still has work to do. “I’m not where I need to be,” he said, “but I’m trying to make steps to get there.” Faulkner is holding out for an audience with Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ to garner some tips when the celebrated barbecue ... more
  • 1 month The Mild-Mannered Texas Artist Behind Netflix’s ‘Warrior Nun’ Texasmonthly
    Ben Dunn was giddy with excitement as he arrived at the Royal Collegiate Church of Santa María La Mayor in Málaga, Spain. The majestic stone façade and gothic spires of the Renaissance cathedral loomed, demanding his attention the way they had demanded that of visitors for nearly 500 years. But Dunn was captivated by another sight on this morning in March 2019: a group of young actresses and actors, on set for the first week of filming Netflix’s Warrior Nun, the culmination of an idea that had started as some sketches in his notebook 25 years earlier. Dunn had created ... more
  • 1 month On Texas Time: Dana Tanamachi, the Artist Behind the New “Thank You” Stamp Texasmonthly
    Dana Tanamachi became enamored with the art of lettering while taking a typography course at the University of North Texas. “I was obsessed with it,” she says. “I didn’t know you could be good at something like this and make a living filling letters.” A few years later, the native Houstonian launched her career with a piece of chalk and started her own boutique design studio, racking up clients such as Starbucks, H-E-B, SXSW, and the Obama Foundation.  One of her most recent works is one you can easily purchase: a “Thank You” stamp made for the U.S. Postal Service ... more
  • 1 month Watch Los Coast on Texas Monthly’s Sound Check Texasmonthly
    A year ago, Austin’s Los Coast released their debut album, Samsara, on New West Records—the label that’s also home to Texans such as Steve Earle, Robert Ellis, and the Texas Gentlemen. While they earned that record deal on the back of buzz they generated from a string of sold-out shows at Austin’s C-Boys Heart & Soul and a high-profile booking at Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2016, the album’s release—and tour dates opening for Lukas Nelson, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Gary Clark Jr., and Black Pumas—represented their first real look at how touring, radio play, and press ... more
  • 1 month Wary of the Coronavirus Disrupting Education, Many Texas Parents Have Turned to Homeschooling Texasmonthly
    After school went online for her three daughters in the spring, Rebecca Rautio was disappointed with the lack of education her children received. Her oldest child, in sixth grade, would finish a week’s worth of work on Monday, and would have live contact with her teachers just on one weekly Zoom call that was more social than educational. Her other two children quickly lost interest and struggled to stay focused on the screen. But sending her kids back to elementary school and junior high in person this fall felt risky: Rautio was wary of embarking on months of stop-and-start school ... more
  • 1 month Zoos, Aquariums, and Theme Parks Have Reopened Across Texas. But Is Visiting Worth the Risk? Texasmonthly
    At the Houston Zoo on a Friday morning in August, a sleepy monkey had a bad case of the hiccups. A gorilla sunbathed. Sea lions flipped and arched in sloppy semicircles.  My heart leapt with them. Their guttural barks boomed with joie de vivre while they performed aquatic gymnastics, and I instinctively leaned over their tank for a better view. Suddenly, I jolted back to reality—where I was, when it was. And after relishing a few more of their carefree whirls, I walked away.  I had come to the zoo for fresh air and a dose of escapism. Unfortunately, the ... more
  • 1 month Seven Ways to Get Your Hatch Chile Fix Now Texasmonthly
    Texans aren’t as fortunate as New Mexicans (and maybe Coloradans) when it comes to locally grown green chiles. This is especially true of Hatch green chiles, perhaps the Land of Enchantment’s most treasured culinary export. But ’tis the season, and Hatch—as well as its cousin, the Anaheim chile—is everywhere. From supermarket specials and taquerias to Mexican food institutions and craft breweries, here are several delectable ways to get your fix for New Mexico’s best-known chile right now. Resident Taqueria’s Hatch Chile Relleno Taco I have a soft spot for chile relleno tacos. They’re my favorite style of taco, and one ... more
  • 1 month Lina Hidalgo and Sylvester Turner Present a Unified Front, But Behind the Scenes Their Differing Styles Have Led to Tension and Frustration Texasmonthly
    In mid-March, with the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic growing by the day, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo confronted a vexing problem: she announced that she was prepared to halt evictions, but it wasn’t clear she had the authority to do so. Unlike municipalities, Texas counties can’t enact ordinances, and in an emergency, county judges’ special powers are generally limited to measures delegated by the governor. Harris County’s justices of the peace had agreed to suspend evictions through the end of March, but prospects for relief after that were uncertain. Hidalgo pressed the county attorney’s office for solutions, and it ... more
  • 1 month The Dirty Reason Why a San Antonio Tortilla Company Has “Sanitary” in its Name Texasmonthly
    Mexican cuisine, though broadly popular in Texas today, has long been the target of denigrating epithets and imagery. Think “Montezuma’s revenge.” Or descriptions of, say, an enchilada platter as a heavy, greasy “gut bomb.” And let’s not forget Taco Bell’s talking chihuahua. A personal favorite is the wildly sensationalistic accusation in a 1910 El Paso Herald op-ed article that “Death Lurks In Tortillas.” For centuries, travelogues, newspaper dispatches, and government regulations associated Mexicans and their dishes with danger. Among the best documented victims were San Antonio’s chili queens. These women set up food stalls in the city’s plazas, including near ... more
  • 1 month How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts This November Texasmonthly
    When Texans vote this fall, it’s likely to be under unusual circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic will almost certainly be ongoing, turnout is likely to be sky-high, and recent changes to the U.S. Postal Service have cast doubt on whether ballots sent by mail will be received and counted by Election Day. What’s a good citizen to do? Whether you vote early or on November 3, whether you cast your ballot by mail or in person, here’s everything you need to know about how to make sure your vote gets received and counted. When does voting start? In most elections, Texas ... more
  • 1 month Why One Expert Predicts a Major Hurricane Hitting Houston Would Be “America’s Chernobyl” Texasmonthly
    The storm emerges over the eastern Atlantic in late August, first as a slow-moving tropical system that remains largely unnoticed in faraway Texas. It gains power as it drifts westward into warmer Caribbean waters, lashing island coastlines and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. By the time the storm enters the Gulf of Mexico and churns toward the southeast corner of Texas, it has transformed into a category 4 hurricane with 130-mile-per-hour winds that fan out for 200 miles in every direction. Unlike 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall just north of Corpus Christi, the swirling behemoth slams ... more
  • 1 month Texas Monthly Recommends: UT’s Summer Reading List Texasmonthly
    It’s that time of year when hundreds of thousands of college students would normally be packing their backpacks to return to school. While some students may be arming themselves with pens, notebooks, and face masks to attend in-person classes, many will enroll in online-only courses. During a moment that feels alien, I’ve found comfort in going back to the basics. For me, that’s following along with the University of Texas’ summer reading list. As per tradition, UT released its “Texas-sized reading list” this week with a wide range of selections in all genres. There are classics (Pride and Prejudice, The ... more
  • 1 month This Fort Worth Barbecue Trailer Stands Out for Its Superb Brisket, Creative Sides, and ‘Dank Sauce’ Texasmonthly
    Trevor Sales had lived in Texas for only a few months when he swapped a handgun and a wad of cash for a barbecue pit. He was trading up from the small pellet smoker his mother had purchased for him in early 2017, when he moved to Fort Worth from La Porte, a small northern Indiana town where he was born and raised. Sales moved for a job selling massive steel power poles to utility companies, a job he still has, and quickly fell in love with Texas barbecue. “When I moved down here and I saw the Texas barbecue ... more
  • 1 month Hollywood, Texas: Travis Scott Wants to Bring AstroWorld Back to Houston Texasmonthly
    There’s a lot to take in from Travis Scott’s new cover story in GQ—from the rapper’s passionate visions for flying-car-filled superhighways to the descriptions of Scott’s new $23.5 million home he had wrapped in a sheet of metal to “evoke the lines of a modern yacht” to all the dramatic, neon-saturated photos, in which Scott resembles a Prada model who just stepped out of Blade Runner 2049. But if, like Scott, you grew up in or around Houston, the most intriguing takeaway will undoubtedly be this: the musician, designer, and all-around cultural mogul says his biggest dream is to bring ... more
  • 1 month Watch David Ramirez on Texas Monthly’s Sound Check Texasmonthly
    David Ramirez’s new album, My Love Is a Hurricane, which was written and recorded pre-pandemic, was originally intended to be a collection of love songs celebrating his longtime girlfriend. But toward the end of the album-making process, they abruptly split up. Rather than chronicle his heartbreak, he challenged himself to continue to focus the album’s songs on hope and positivity. “Thankfully we’ve reconciled since and I think now that a lot of what I wrote about I might not have been ready to really listen to myself until the breakup,” says Ramirez, who was raised in Houston and now lives ... more
  • 1 month BBQ News Roundup: ‘Chef’s Table’ Features Tootsie Tomanetz Texasmonthly
    The Texas Monthly BBQ Fest won’t be held in Austin this year, but will instead decamp to Dallas, where it will be hosted virtually by yours truly in my backyard. Make plans to join us. A new season of Chef’s Table on Netflix is dedicated to barbecue, and pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington will be featured. The seventh season debuts on September 2. Beloved Texas pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz is starring in the next iteration of Netflix's ‘Chef’s Table,’ which focuses on barbecue around the world (Via @EaterAustin) https://t.co/XI0PQpiASM pic.twitter.com/aG82xfcREl — Eater (@Eater) August 17, 2020 The food ... more
  • 1 month Texas A&M Hopes a High-tech Kiosk Will Address a Health Care Crisis in Milam County Texasmonthly
    Joyce Dalley approached the shiny, imposing kiosk cautiously. Some uninformed passerby might have mistaken it for a supersized photo booth, but the 78-year-old resident of the small rural town of Rockdale, an hour northeast of Austin, had attended several community meetings ahead of its installation in neighboring Cameron last month. She worried that her relative lack of technological savvy would prove an impediment to making much use of this newfangled device that promised to change the way folks in Milam County accessed health care. But once she stepped inside and the glass door of the kiosk—11 feet long, 9 feet ... more
  • 1 month The Texans Are Coming (to Colorado) Texasmonthly
    In a normal year, one in which the world isn’t facing a plague of global proportions, Shivna Vasavada and her husband, Nimesh Patel, like to save up their vacation days for an epic international trip. In previous years, the Dallas couple has traveled to New Zealand, Japan, and Botswana. For 2020, they booked an August trip to Iceland to celebrate the end of Patel’s medical fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center and the beginning of his new job in the hospital’s cardiology division.  “We don’t really travel much in the continental United States,” says Vasavada, who works as a food ... more
  • 1 month From the Editor, September 2020: “Knives Out” Texasmonthly
    Lots of our readers love red meat. They love steaks and burgers. They love barbecued beef and pork, as well as tacos stuffed with those meats—which is why we employ a barbecue editor and a taco editor. At the same time, many of our readers say they’re increasingly, or exclusively, eating vegetarian dishes. Executive editor Kathy Blackwell, who oversees our food coverage, helps make sure those Texans’ preferences get plenty of attention in everything from our acclaimed critic Patricia Sharpe’s restaurant reviews to José R. Ralat’s taco stories. We’re also publishing more vegetarian recipes, including one for chili from frequent contributor ... more
  • 1 month The Statues Are Coming Down. Maybe That’s a Missed Opportunity. Texasmonthly
    Statues, the best of them, have a puzzling power. They cast a spell of stillness. The placid, unassertive way a bronze figure stands there, gazing out at some middle distance, creates an illusion that it has assumed control of the space around it. That’s why it’s odd to watch a statue come down, either in the heat of passion, with people prying it loose with ropes and chains and crowbars, or in the much more orderly way the long-standing Texas Ranger statue at Dallas’s Love Field was removed and carted away one morning this June. You can watch the process ... more
  • 1 month What’s Harvard’s Beef With Texas A&M? Texasmonthly
    John Sharp didn’t mince words when he fired off an angry letter to Harvard University’s president back in January. The chancellor of the Texas A&M University system wrote to decry the actions of Harvard nutrition scientists who had publicly maligned Texas A&M AgriLife—the university’s agricultural college and four state research agencies—as part of a “disinformation triangle” beholden to the beef industry. “I can assure you that Texas A&M’s research is driven by science. Period,” wrote Sharp, sharply. At issue was a controversial report, published last fall in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that argued to upend the dietary recommendations resulting ... more
  • 1 month The Better Beef Buying Guide Texasmonthly
    Beef terminology—phrases like all-natural, grass-fed, grass-finished, organic, and Wagyu—can be tricky to understand. Thankfully, upscale grocery chains such as Central Market and Whole Foods publish guides to their quality standards that can help you navigate the meat case. For a more personal touch, a growing list of independent specialty shops around the state offer tightly curated selections from local producers. Here’s a sampling of some of the best. 1. The Chopping Block, Webster: all-natural Wagyu steaks from Rosewood Ranches, in Ennis. 2. Dai Due, Austin: all-natural Wagyu from Peeler Farms, in Floresville.  3. Deep Cuts, Dallas: all-natural Akaushi from HeartBrand ... more
  • 1 month It Was Never Enough Texasmonthly
    When federal agent Jim Reed drove in to a small airport in the East Texas city of Athens mid-morning on September 15, 2014, he was expecting to find a straightforward case of arson—an easy case for the new guy. He introduced himself to the Athens Jet Center’s co-owners, two brothers in their seventies named Wayne and Gaylon Addkison, who led Reed to a small jet, a 1971 Cessna 500 Citation I, that looked like it had been barbecued on a rotisserie. “It was burned in half,” Wayne Addkison recalled. “The nose tipped on the ground and the back half was ... more
  • 1 month A Texas Program Has Achieved Remarkable Success in Protecting Rare Sea Turtles. So Why Does the National Park Service Want to Defund It? Texasmonthly
    The Kemp’s ridley sea turtles begin arriving at Padre Island National Seashore in April, waves breaking against their olive-colored shells, salt spraying from their nostrils as they haul themselves up the sandy beach to nest. Every year, volunteers and park staff led by Dr. Donna Shaver—head of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery—are waiting for them. Both parties fall into a well-established rhythm: dozens of female turtles, in mass nesting events known as “arribadas,” or arrivals, work together to dig deep pits in the beach with their flippers. Then they deposit their eggs—often more ... more
  • 1 month September 2020: Roar of the Crowd Texasmonthly
    Patch Together Thank you for the thought-provoking article in July’s issue on the role renewable energy may play in the Texas economy [“What Lies Ahead”]. I have worked in oil and gas in both field and corporate settings in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. (And I am fortunate enough at this writing to still be employed.) Christian Wallace is a gifted storyteller whose authentic voice eloquently captures stories from the oil patch. He paints a picture that rings true for those of us in an industry that is not only a commodity but a lifestyle. I share his nostalgia, but ... more
  • 1 month Airbnb for the Outdoor Set Texasmonthly
    Sure, you could drop a few hundred bucks to “camp” in a luxury tree house or air-conditioned yurt, but for many Texans camping still means roughing it outdoors. However, securing a site at a state or national park is no sure bet, particularly on weekends and when many are either closed or operating at reduced capacity to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. If you’re only now planning that autumn campout, you might have missed your weekend window at a popular spot like Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. If so, consider low-budget private campgrounds, which can be found on ... more
  • 1 month Vivian Stephens Helped Turn Romance Writing Into a Billion-Dollar Industry. Then She Got Pushed Out. Texasmonthly
    If it hadn’t been for the pandemic and the near impossibility of visiting Vivian Stephens in person, I’m not sure I would have been so attuned to her voice. It is gay and mellifluous; she always sounded delighted to hear from me, a reaction most reporters are not accustomed to. But there was something else: she answers questions about herself not in sentences or paragraphs but in pages, and sometimes even chapters, as if she’s been keeping the whole story of her life in her head, just waiting for someone to ask about it. That voice matches an official photograph ... more
  • 1 month Passing the Time With the Ghosts in the Dirt Texasmonthly
    The fences have been mended. The roads have been patched. Our front gate is finally fixed. There is plenty to do when sheltering in place on a remote cattle ranch, and during the week my husband and I have been busier than ever. But our lazy Sundays at our place in Hidalgo County still offer the same three options: lie on the couch and watch sports (that’s him), lie on the couch and watch someone watching sports (that’s me), or hop in our truck and cruise the land hunting for artifacts. Rural social distancing has heightened my curiosity about other ... more
  • 1 month On ‘A Home Unfamiliar,’ Texas Musicians Show Us What the Pandemic Sounds Like Texasmonthly
    In March, the entire music industry—like seemingly everything else—stopped. Every music venue closed. Every musician’s tour schedule was canceled. Some artists became proficient at singing into the camera on their MacBook every night, selling online tickets or sharing links where fans could donate. But for smaller-scale independent artists, many of whom are still building up fan bases, their entire careers went on pause. Anthony Watkins II, who records and performs under the name Mobley, is one of them. Mobley has been a fixture of the Austin music scene for a decade. He’s described his music as “post-genre pop,” which sounds ... more
  • 1 month Watch Sir Woman on Texas Monthly’s Sound Check Texasmonthly
    For the third installment of Texas Monthly’s summer 2020 Sound Check series, Kelsey Wilson, whom Texas music fans will recognize as the co-leader of the critically acclaimed Americana act Wild Child, performs a pair of songs she wrote for her solo project, Sir Woman. In March, the new effort—which melds indie pop with R&B and gospel—was awarded Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards. The group’s debut EP will be released in October. Wilson told Texas Monthly that Wild Child will return to the studio next year; the seven-piece pop mini-orchestra she leads with co-founder Alexander Beggins released their ... more
  • 1 month “That’s Just the Way Willie Rolls” Texasmonthly
    When Texas Monthly set out to create a special issue celebrating Willie Nelson, we knew it wouldn’t be enough just to assign new stories, comb our archives for favorite old profiles, or even rank and review all 143 of Willie’s albums. So we reached out to some two dozen of Willie’s longtime friends, fans, and collaborators and asked them to share one favorite Willie story. From “Whiskey River” writer Johnny Bush’s memory of a portentous moment on tour with Willie back in 1962 to current producer and songwriting partner Buddy Cannon’s description of what it’s like to work with Willie ... more
  • 1 month The ‘Country Queers’ Podcast Challenges Preconceptions About Rural Areas Texasmonthly
    Rae Garringer, 35, describes the rural sheep farm in southeastern West Virginia they grew up on as “one of the most beautiful places” they’ve ever seen. “As a small kid growing up there, it’s just magical to get to play in those woods, those creeks and fields and caves,” says Garringer, who uses nonbinary they/them/their pronouns. But by the time Garringer was in high school, riding the bus for four hours a day started to wear on them. Wanting to get as far away as possible from central Appalachia, Garringer wound up attending a small liberal arts college in western ... more
  • 1 month At UT and A&M, Visionary Takes on Yearbooks Celebrate the Beauty of Blackness Texasmonthly
    I have always loved my hands. In their deftness, flexibility, and deep brown color, they represent my strength and totality. My freshman year of college, though, my love for them wavered. One afternoon in 2007, as I chowed down in a dining hall at Texas State University, a white student sitting at my table, Lauren, glanced over at me. Her eyes scanned their way up and down my body, finally settling on my hands. “Monkey paws!” she yelled out, laughing hysterically. My mouth dropped open. Her words stung more than any insult that had been hurled at me over the ... more
  • 1 month In ‘Lovecraft Country,’ Black Characters Are Trapped in Racial Terror Texasmonthly
    Book-to-screen adaptations don’t always work out for the best. Inevitably, there are layers and details from the book that get dropped to fit into the narrative constraints of the screen version. But that isn’t the case with Lovecraft Country, the new HBO series that premiered August 16 and is based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff. Instead, the series benefits from its new format. Lovecraft Country stars Dallas native Jonathan Majors and is helmed by showrunner Misha Green, who is also executive producer alongside Jordan Peele, J.J. Abrams, and others. In the hands of Black showrunners, producers, and actors, ... more
  • 1 month A Southwestern University Frat Tried to End Confederate Traditions—and Was Suspended Texasmonthly
    In 2015, the year I enrolled at Southwestern University in Georgetown, the campus chapter of Kappa Alpha Order removed a portrait of Robert E. Lee that had hung over the fraternity house’s fireplace. The general had been, and remains, a central figure in the fraternity’s lore. The fifth chapter of the official KA handbook, which all pledges are required to read from cover to cover, calls the Confederate general the fraternity’s “spiritual founder” and positions him as a role model: “A true gentleman, the last true knight.” There were rumors that fraternity members in Southwestern’s chapter of KA had complicated ... more
  • 1 month The Texanist: Why Are People Putting Cilantro in Everything? Texasmonthly
    Q: I’m a native Texan now hanging my hat in California. Out here, they put cilantro in everything; the Mexican food is infected with it. It’s a nasty and repugnant weed that has no business in any type of food. Growing up in Texas, I never had to deal with cilantro in Tex-Mex food. Whenever I go back home, I’ve noticed that the cilantro invasion has started to take hold in Texas. Am I wrong to think that cilantro wasn’t polluting food in Texas in the seventies and eighties? Or am I just misremembering things? I think cilantro should be ... more
  • 1 month Jonathan Majors, the Star of HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country,’ Transforms His Rage Into Art Texasmonthly
    When he was growing up, actor Jonathan Majors found solace in the countryside at his grandmother’s farm, where he spent summers. That peace was harder to find in his hometown of Cedar Hill, and he sometimes got into trouble; he was kicked out of high school after being in a fight. Later on, after he’d reenrolled, a teacher introduced him to acting, which enraptured him. Majors went on to study acting in college, and in the final year of his MFA at Yale, he landed his first screen role, as gay rights activist Ken Jones in the ABC miniseries When ... more
  • 1 month Paul Begala Wrote the Book on Defeating Donald Trump Texasmonthly
    There are a surprising number of Texas references in You’re Fired: The Perfect Guide to Beating Donald Trump, veteran political strategist Paul Begala’s book focused on what it’ll take for Joe Biden to win in November.  For starters, 33 pages in, by way of explaining the concept of negative partisanship, Begala’s example hinges on “what matters most in life: Texas Longhorn football.” It’s not enough, he says, that his sons love the Longhorns. They must also despise the University of Oklahoma. And indeed, Begala definitely bleeds orange; he earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Texas, ... more
  • 1 month Hollywood, Texas: What Will a Lizzo TV Show Look Like? Texasmonthly
    A quick check of the headlines will tell you that Lizzo is as much a visual phenomenon as she is an aural one: rarely does a day go by that the Houston native doesn’t garner column inches for some new photo or video of her singing, speechifying, or twerking. Arguably, more people have watched Lizzo in the last month than hav eever watched Jean-Claude Van Johnson, so it stands to reason that Amazon would be interested in developing a show around her. Variety reports that Lizzo has signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios to create her own television projects, ... more
  • 1 month TM Happy Hour: A Martini That’s Ready When You Are Texasmonthly
    At San Antonio’s historic Esquire Tavern, said to have the longest wooden bar in the state, beverage director Houston Eaves balances his respect for classic cocktails with a reverence for the city’s cultural heritage. Like other bars, of course, the Esquire is closed because of COVID-19 restrictions. Over the past two months, Texas Monthly has been highlighting some of the state’s best bartenders through the summer edition of the TM Happy Hour series, which features a cocktail recipe and video to show you how to make it at home, as well as information about a charity or nonprofit effort of the ... more
  • 1 month Tex-Mexplainer: Nixtamalization Is the 3,500-Year-Old Secret to Great Tortillas Texasmonthly
    Fernando Garza is dressed in a blue-and-white striped button-down shirt, neatly tucked into his jeans. His hair is salt-and-pepper, and he’s holding a cup of calcium hydroxide. The 58-year-old sprinkles the white powder, also known as slaked lime or cal, down the middle of a five-foot-tall tank filled with water. Thousands of dried white corn kernels are settled at the bottom. Garza, a manager at Sanitary Tortilla Manufacturing Company in San Antonio, picks up a metal paddle and submerges the instrument into the trough. He stirs quietly and deliberately, but the water does occasionally splash out of the container and ... more
  • 1 month Texas’s Lebanese Community Comes Together After the Beirut Explosion Texasmonthly
    When Rayan Eter, a pharmacy graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, first watched the video of the explosion that leveled Beirut’s port on August 4, she stared at her phone in disbelief. “It looked like a scene out of a movie,” she said. Eter, who grew up in Tripoli, Lebanon, immediately began texting with Reem Salhab, Yara Hayek, and Jean Rahal—fellow members of UT’s Lebanese Cultural Organization—and an impassioned group chat ensued. Eventually, Eter and her friends would learn that the explosion, which was ruled an accident by investigators, killed at least 160 people, injured more than ... more
  • 1 month “I Have Nothing Left at the End of the Month” Texasmonthly
    As Kimberly Cole sat in the reception room at a doctor’s office in Longview on Wednesday afternoon, awaiting her son’s pain treatment, she wondered how she’d ever pay for his next visit to the doctor. She’d been able to afford the $122 co-pay this time, using money that had been budgeted for groceries, but she knew there would be more difficult choices in the coming weeks. The state unemployment benefits—$511 a week for Cole, which is roughly equivalent to what her base income had been when she was working full-time, but less than what she’d typically make after adding overtime ... more
  • 1 month Watch Charley Crockett on Texas Monthly’s Sound Check Texasmonthly
    For the second installment of Texas Monthly’s summer 2020 Sound Check series, Charley Crockett performed a pair of songs from his just-released album, Welcome to Hard Times. In a recent Texas Monthly piece, Jewly Hight described the album’s central theme as “wily survival in a socially, politically, and economically rigged system.” Crockett writes about hard times from experience: he grew up in a trailer, was homeless for a stretch, and cut his teeth as a street performer in New Orleans and New York City. He also lost his sister to addiction and just last year was rushed into emergency heart ... more
  • 1 month What ‘Boys State’ Says About the Future of Texas Politics Texasmonthly
    President George Washington’s famous warning about the dangers of partisan politics, delivered in his 1796 farewell address, appears on a title card at the outset of the new documentary Boys State. Yet it’s a cynical pronouncement by one of the young political masterminds featured in the film that has far greater resonance. Chosen, because of his leadership potential, to spend a week at a summer camp celebrating the American democratic process, this privileged teenager concludes, “A mission of unity, as good as it sounds, is not winning anyone elections. You have to use personal attacks, and you have to use ... more
  • 1 month La Grange’s Historic Prause Meat Market Is Closed for Good Texasmonthly
    Every year or so I get a note that Prause Meat Market in La Grange is for sale. The messages are usually sad, noting that the historic barbecue joint and butcher shop’s demise is likely imminent. Today, it is no longer for sale. The four Prause family members—Brian, Gary, Kathy, and Mark—who have run the market for decades have agreed to sell the property, and they’ll turn over the keys to the new owner on Monday. Gary Prause hung a sign on the market’s front door on March 31 announcing what was planned as a temporary closure because of COVID-19. ... more
  • 1 month Taco News Roundup: Birria Bao, Carnitas Pizza, and the “One-Chip Challenge” Texasmonthly
    Grand Prairie native and former Disney star Selena Gomez has a new cooking show. Selena + Chef, in which the singer and actress will learn recipes alongside a rotating cast of celebrity chefs, premieres on HBO Max this Thursday. The birria trend is unstoppable. Mestizo Tapas & Drinks, a new Asian-Mexican restaurant in Carrollton, is serving bao buns filled with birria. Birria ramen is on the menu as well. Pati Jinich, former Dallas resident and James Beard Award–winning cookbook author, penned a love letter to Sonoran carne asada. Machete don’t text, but he does video. Southlake-based Frezko Taco Spot got ... more
  • 1 month The Twenty Most Iconic Local TV and Billboard Legends in Texas, Ranked Texasmonthly
    They exist in every city: the local icons whose TV commercials ran late at night, or whose billboards adorned off-ramps, reminding residents who to call if they needed a personal injury lawyer, a used car, or new furniture. Just mentioning someone’s name will often spur locals—who grew up with some guy (it’s usually, but not always, a guy)—to sing a jingle, recite a slogan, or cite the beginning of a phone number. Of course, everybody in every city thinks that their local legend is the best one. But it is our job to assess the candidates and give them to ... more
  • 2 months What Sheryl Sculley Learned While Battling San Antonio’s Police and Fire Unions Texasmonthly
    Sheryl Sculley served for fourteen years as city manager of San Antonio, the third-fastest-growing municipality in the country. She was regarded nationally as one of the most accomplished professionals in her field. By the time she retired in 2019, she had thoroughly reorganized the city’s operations and finances, earning it a AAA bond rating that has saved taxpayers millions of dollars in borrowing costs. Famously, she had battled the city’s powerful police and fire unions and reined in extravagant health insurance that—along with other benefits and wages granted decades earlier—would have, if left unchecked, eaten up all the city’s revenues ... more
  • 2 months As if 2020 Weren’t Bad Enough, We Are Now Running Out of Dr Pepper Texasmonthly
    One of the ways that the emotional roller coaster of 2020 has manifested itself has been in product shortages. Need toilet paper? Sorry, it took months for supply to get back to normal. Want to work out? Through the spring, kettlebells and weight benches were available only on the black market. Basics like flour and yeast took their turns being the hot, sold-out product of the moment, and during the Animal Crossing furor of the months of the pandemic, Nintendo Switches were being stockpiled like cigarettes in prison. Bikes and aboveground pools are still scarce, as summer begins its (extremely) ... more
  • 2 months Watch Sarah Jarosz on Texas Monthly’s Sound Check Texasmonthly
    Three-time Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz joins us today for the first in our summer 2020 Sound Check series. Jarosz released her new album, World on the Ground, a collection of stories inspired by her hometown of Wimberley, in June, and has been waiting out the quarantine in Nashville, Tennessee. She joins us from her backyard for an interview and to perform two songs from the album: “Hometown” and “Johnny,” the latter of which was named one of the Best Songs of 2020 So Far by Time magazine. Join us again on Thursday for Charley Crockett’s Sound Check performance, and stay tuned ... more
  • 2 months A Houston Photo Exhibit Captures the Sense of Solidarity From the Pandemic’s Early Days Texasmonthly
    In March, multidisciplinary artist Abieyuwa Eigbobo moved in with her grandparents in Arlington to help care for them during the pandemic. Her mother also moved in, putting three generations of the Nigerian American family under the same roof for the past five months. “We’ve been spending a lot of time together,” Eigbobo says. “They tell me old stories, and we’ve been listening to music from when they were younger.”   Eigbobo has been using her camera to document her family’s quarantine experience, and one of her images was selected for the Houston Center for Photography’s extraordinary new virtual exhibition “Togethering.” The ... more
  • 2 months Sit, Stay, Wait: What Training a Puppy Taught Me About Pandemic Life Texasmonthly
    Sit, I tell Penny. I place the piece of pepperoni on the floor and hold my finger. Wait. Her nose quivers and her eyes darken with reproach. Give me that goddamn treat. She looks away, a hunger artist in agony. Wait, I say, and stand up. She leaps at the pepperoni and I snatch it before her nose gets there. We regard each other with disappointment. Sit, I say, placing the greasy meat down again. Wait. An hour later, with Penny napping in her crate, I turn on KUT for the latest COVID statistics. It’s July 2020 in Austin, and ... more
  • 2 months Many Students Couldn’t Connect to Online Classes in the Spring. Will This Fall Be Different? Texasmonthly
    In March, two days into spring break, Victoria Independent School District sent a note to parents telling them in-person classes were canceled indefinitely and all instruction would be moved online because of the rapid spread of COVID-19. Along with the notice, the South Texas district sent a survey to parents to gauge how many had reliable internet and computers at home that their kids could use for remote instruction. Shana Garcia, 38, reported that her 14-year-old daughter, Kayleigh Lee, had neither.  Garcia and Lee use the data plans on their phones to access the internet, but they don’t have broadband ... more
  • 2 months Faulty Cell Locks Are a Problem in Texas Prisons—Especially During COVID-19 Texasmonthly
    A lot of things fueled the July 18 riot at the Dolph Briscoe Unit in Dilley in South Texas. Prisoners were increasingly upset about the coronavirus pandemic. They couldn’t have visitors or make phone calls. The prison was understaffed. The medium-security unit wasn’t supposed to hold high-risk prisoners, but it did. The local temperature hit 102 degrees. But one thing helped make the chaos possible: lame locks. At Briscoe and many other prisons across Texas, prisoners can let themselves out of their cells whenever they want, sometimes using tools as simple as a shoelace and a bar of soap. More ... more
  • 2 months This Restaurant Reimagines El Paso’s Favorite Taco Texasmonthly
    Rolled tacos, or flautas, are everywhere along the Texas-Mexico border. At Brownsville’s Easy to Go Tacos, they’re served with cueritos (pickled pig skin); at Sonora’s Taco Grill, you get six in one order, and they come topped with cabbage. But the most famous rolled taco joint in Texas is arguably Chico’s Tacos in El Paso. Chico’s is such an institution that the Texas Legislature honored the local chain in July 2003, to mark the company’s fiftieth anniversary. However, Chico’s Tacos’s signature dish—small flautas, topped with a flurry of orange cheese bits, immersed in watery tomato salsa in a paper serving ... more
  • 2 months Struggling Texas Farmers Thought Hemp Might Save Them. The Crop Hasn’t Yet Delivered. Texasmonthly
    Before the first seed was tucked into Texas soil, farmers and investors eager for a different kind of green revolution flocked to Dallas in January for the Texas Hemp Convention. It was the state’s largest such gathering yet, the culmination of a year’s worth of buzz following the Texas Legislature’s 2019 legalization of industrial hemp. Part of the cannabis family, the plant, unlike its relative marijuana, contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound. But it is rich in CBD, a chemical component used as an ingredient in FDA-approved medication and in home remedies to treat anxiety, pain, insomnia, ... more
  • 2 months The Texanist: Can an Alabamian Be the Voice of Big Tex? Texasmonthly
    Q: The State Fair of Texas recently announced that it’s looking for a new voice for Big Tex, the friendly cowboy giant who has been greeting visitors to the State Fair for, I would imagine, about a century by now. A call has gone out for all Big Tex want-to-bes to provide basic personal information along with a “Howdy, folks” voice sample. I have a running buddy who is expressing interest in throwing his hat into the ring. My problem is this: my friend is from Alabama. With most matters, I would be happy to allow for any participants with ... more
  • 2 months Texas Monthly Recommends: The New Go-Go’s Documentary Texasmonthly
    MTV first moon-landed onto televisions across the country 39 years ago this week, changing the recording industry forever. In a neon minute, a band’s image became almost as important as the music. In many ways, the timing couldn’t have been better for the Go-Go’s, a group of five young women based in Southern California who had released their debut album just a few weeks earlier, to become stars. At the time, MTV was such a new concept that the band didn’t take their first video too seriously: As the members recall in the compelling new Showtime documentary The Go-Go’s, they cruised ... more
  • 2 months TM Happy Hour: A Southern Sipper With a Kick Texasmonthly
    Houston may be a huge city, but for Alba Huerta, it’s a close-knit community, particularly when it comes to the restaurant and bar industry. Now one of the state’s best bartenders, she cut her teeth at James Beard–nominated Anvil Bar & Refuge before collaborating with owners Bobby Heugel and Kevin Floyd to open a mezcal-centric bar, the Pastry War, in downtown. In 2014, she opened Julep. Huerta is the latest bartender in Texas Monthly‘s TM Happy Hour series, which offers a new cocktail recipe and video from a favorite Texas bartender each Friday this summer. With the state’s bars closed ... more
  • 2 months How to Pair Wine and Tacos: Advice From a Master Sommelier Texasmonthly
    There are few limits to the taco. So why should beverage pairings with tacos be confined to beer and Mexican spirits? There should be no shame in pairing a double-decker taco with a rosé. “I think wine pairing for anyone is going to become much more sensible,” says Celia Pellegrini, general manager and wine director of Suerte in Austin. “It’s so easy to pick up a bottle of wine and not have to lug around a case of beer or create cocktails … . Wine is becoming a really good way to kind of create a complete meal and celebrate ... more
  • 2 months BBQ News Roundup: Brisket Tips and Barbecue Fraud Texasmonthly
    A Texas barbecue joint received $1 million in funding after securing a PPP loan. The restaurant is Joshua Argires’ Texas Barbecue, but the problem is that there’s no restaurant and no barbecue—and Argires might be going to jail. Eater Austin talked with Miguel and Modesty Vidal of Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ to see how they’ve been faring in South Austin. The husband-and-wife team said that although sales are down by about a quarter, strong to-go sales have kept them afloat. Pitmaster Derrick Walker, of Fort Worth’s Smoke-A-Holics BBQ, spoke with The Manual about his signature “Tex-Soul” style and the challenges of ... more
  • 2 months How Robots Are Helping One Texas Company Thrive During the Pandemic Texasmonthly
    The pandemic has dealt a crushing blow to the world of commerce, reducing a bustling economy to levels of collapse not seen since the Depression. The aftershocks have rippled across the food industry, in particular, disrupting industrial production and shuttering restaurants, bars, and businesses that feed off them. But amid the economic carnage, a number of businesses ended up benefiting from sudden, drastic changes in public behavior. Some of these outliers—such as Purell, the hand sanitizer company, or Zoom, the conferencing platform—were established brands even before the pandemic. Others, like Nuro, a Silicon Valley robotics company that has deployed a ... more
  • 2 months The Best Thing in Texas: Curbside Larry Is the Hero We Need in These Times Texasmonthly
    WHO: Curbside Larry, the instantly iconic pitchman of the Harris County Public Library. WHAT: A parody of a late-night local used car ad that sells you books for the low price of free, free, free. WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Like the rest of us, librarians are anxious, stressed, bored, and trying their very best to do a good job in this uncertain time. They have a little more time on their hands than they used to, and are looking for creative ways to accomplish things that used to be much easier. (In their case, getting books to the people who want to ... more
  • 2 months How Beyoncé’s ‘Black Is King’ Reimagines Family Histories Texasmonthly
    Beyoncé’s new visual album, Black Is King, centers on the Lion King–esque journey of a young Black boy finding his way back home—and through that, back to himself. The film, which premiered Friday on Disney+, describes itself as “a story for the ages that informs and rebuilds the present” through “a reunion of cultures and shared generational beliefs.” In doing so, the film reimagines a decades-old family favorite through a celebratory and specific lens of Blackness. Black Is King is gorgeously shot; as the leading creative on the film, Beyoncé has implemented lush colors and costumes in addition to phenomenal ... more
  • 2 months UT’s Plan for Reopening Is to Hope College Students Stop Acting Like College Students Texasmonthly
    The University of Texas at Austin is hitting students with a request that, at any other time, would have seemed ridiculous: before classes start, would they please spend fourteen days in self-quarantine before participating in their first on-campus activity? The details accompanying that guidance were downright laid-back—students could perform the self-quarantine at their parents’ houses, or upon arriving in Austin, depending on their circumstances. “We know that everyone’s situation is different,” the message from the university read. “Please make self-quarantine plans in a manner that makes sense for you.” For there to be a successful fall semester that doesn’t result ... more
  • 2 months Get Ready for a New Season of Texas Monthly’s Sound Check Music Series Texasmonthly
    With live music venues shuttered and touring plans on indefinite hold, Texas’ music community has had to get super-creative. From drive-in concerts to homespun livestream performances, musicians are doing what they can to connect to audiences—and, in a lot of cases, completely retool how they record and share new music. On August 11, Texas Monthly will launch a new installment of our Sound Check series that will feature five our favorite Texas artists playing from home. It’s summer, so they’ll be outside in their backyards, performing live and virtually chatting a bit with Texas Monthly’s Andy Langer. The series, sponsored ... more
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