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  • 4 weeks Where to Stay Now: The Honorable Mentions Texasmonthly
    In our June cover story, the 2019 edition of “Where to Stay Now,” we revealed our favorite new and renovated hotels, resorts, glamping options, and more across the state. But there’s a lot more to love than just those ten places. Here are special touches that stood out at these honorable mentions. The Texas art at the renovated Lancaster Hotel, in Houston, from the lobby (Terrell James, Donald Judd) to each guest room (Robert Rauschenberg, Joel Salcido, Lorraine Tady). The prime location of the swanky Fairmont Austin, which is not only connected to the Austin Convention Center but is right ... more
  • 4 weeks Where to Stay Now: Three Great Dallas Hotel Renovations Texasmonthly
    In our June cover story, “Where to Stay Now,” we look at the best new and improved hotels across the state, including the renovated Statler Dallas, opened in 1956 as one of Conrad Hilton’s first convention properties. But that’s not the only Dallas face-lift we loved. Here are three other renovated landmark hotels you won’t want to miss. Le Méridien Dallas, better known as the Stoneleigh Hotel, has undergone no shortage of makeovers since it opened in 1923, the most recent of which included a new lobby restaurant and restorations to the penthouse and suites on the hotel’s eleventh and twelfth ... more
  • 4 weeks The 10 Best New and Improved Texas Hotels Texasmonthly
    Now more than ever, the traveler is in control. The rise of Airbnb rentals, boutique hotels, and upscale camping has given us more options to customize our dream vacations, weekend getaways, and staycations. Long gone are the days of settling for generic hotel rooms. With that in mind, Texas Monthly staffers set out across the state in search of authentic experiences, staying at places that have opened or undergone major renovations since our last “Where to Stay Now,” in 2016. We selected lodging that truly reflected the location: we glamped across the Hill Country, lived large in Houston, got spiritual ... more
  • 4 weeks Downtown Dallas Is About to Have a Street Named Nowitzki Way Texasmonthly
    Dirk Nowitzki’s end-of-career run through the NBA this spring was a rare chance for the entire league to pay homage to one of its all-time greats. From opposing coaches to fanbases who otherwise consider the Mavs their enemy, seemingly everyone who encountered Nowitzki in his final games sought to honor his impressive career. Dallas, meanwhile, is seeking a more permanent celebration of one of its most iconic sports figures. According to D Magazine, a three-block stretch of Olive Street near the American Airlines Center (the Mavericks’ home court) is slated to be renamed Nowitzki Way. Dallas city councilman Adam Medrano reportedly has ... more
  • 4 weeks The Heimburger Makes Heim Barbecue One of Fort Worth’s Best Burger Joints Texasmonthly
    Travis and Emma Heim opened a new outpost of their popular Heim Barbecue in Fort Worth last month. They’ve dubbed it the “River” location—it sits near the West Fork of the Trinity—and it serves the northwest side of town, whereas the original brick-and-mortar on Magnolia Avenue is southeast of downtown. With the second location, they’ve more than doubled their capacity to feed hungry customers. The even better news is that you can now have the Heimburger for lunch, dinner, or anytime between six days a week (they’re closed Mondays). This isn’t your standard burger. It’s a barbecue burger through and ... more
  • 4 weeks The Best Thing in Texas: Austin Billionaire Robert Smith Pays Off Morehouse College Student Loans Texasmonthly
    WHO: Austin billionaire Robert Smith WHAT: A $40 million pledge to the Morehouse College class of 2019 WHY IT’S SO GREAT: While delivering the commencement speech for the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta, tech investor Robert Smith—the richest black person in America—made a surprise announcement: He would pay off student loans, in full, for each of the four hundred graduates. The announcement wasn’t just a surprise to the graduates. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, neither Morehouse administrators nor Smith’s own staff were briefed in advance about his plans to make the donation, which is estimated to total as much as $40 million. “This ... more
  • 4 weeks Admiral William McRaven Tells Spellbinding ‘Sea Stories’ Texasmonthly
    Sea stories are the tales that sailors and adventurers love to tell and retell as buddies gather over a bottle or two. In his new book, out today, Admiral William McRaven shares some good ones from his 37 years as a Navy SEAL and anti-terrorist commander. There was the time McRaven took part in a free-fall training jump at 13,000 feet over the San Diego coast and collided with another SEAL jumper. Instantly McRaven was plunging head-down and spinning at 120 miles an hour, tangled in his half-deployed chute, its long nylon straps wrapped around his legs. When his chute ... more
  • 4 weeks Two New Texas Restaurants Honored by ‘Food & Wine’ Texasmonthly
    Food & Wine magazine announced Tuesday that two Texas places had made its list of the ten Best New Restaurants of 2019: Suerte, in Austin (which gained the number two spot), and Indigo, in Houston (which claimed seventh place). Only two other states, California and New York, had two winners each. The news was especially gratifying, coming on the heels of Texas’s surprising shut-out in the James Beard Awards this month. Suerte, which opened in March 2018 on Austin’s booming East Side, emphasizes interior Mexican dishes, with a special focus on heirloom corn. Of the Food & Wine announcement, owner ... more
  • 4 weeks Diana Kennedy Reflects on a Lifetime of Changing the Way Americans See Mexican Food Texasmonthly
    Frequently called the Julia Child of Mexican cuisine, celebrated author Diana Kennedy has written nine cookbooks of recipes she’s gathered during her extensive travels throughout every region of Mexico, from Chihuahua to the Yucatán. In April, the British native traveled from her home in Zitácuaro, Michoacán, to personally deliver her archives to the University of Texas at San Antonio. The UTSA Libraries Special Collections is receiving her personal papers and research documents as well as her collection of cookbooks—including eleven Mexican cookbooks from the nineteenth century; those tomes will strengthen the school’s already impressive collection of Mexican cookbooks, which, at ... more
  • 4 weeks The Culture Wars Come Roaring Back in the Closing Days of the Texas Legislature Texasmonthly
    So much for a kumbaya session. For most of the 86th Texas Legislature, things proceeded in an almost refreshingly dull fashion. Just a week ago, Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune—or at least his headline-writer—called it an “unexciting, no drama, very humdrum session.” What a difference a week makes. The generally harmonious atmosphere—fostered in part by an election that scared the GOP as well as the focus on complex, but important issues such as school finance and property taxes—has now been thoroughly poisoned by a slew of culture-wars legislation that animates social conservatives and angers Democrats. Even one of the ... more
  • 4 weeks Vote for Your Favorite Texas BBQ in the 2019 Readers’ Choice Bracket! Texasmonthly
    Hey, y’all! You know that we at Texas Monthly love barbecue. We recently published the list of the Top 25 New Barbecue Joints in Texas by our illustrious barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn, and Daniel brings us the joy of smoked meats on a stunningly regular basis with news and reviews of joints from across the state. (And then there’s that grande dame of lists, the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas.) But we want to hear from you too! That’s why today we’re launching an epic Reader’s Choice BBQ Bracket to determine which joint, according to readers, is the best barbecue joint in ... more
  • 4 weeks Kirk Goldsberry: “In the NBA, Analytics and Aesthetics Aren’t Always Compatible” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify The latest episode of the National Podcast of Texas features Kirk Goldsberry, an NBA analyst at ESPN and professor of sports analytics at the University of Texas at Austin. While a visiting professor at Harvard in 2011, Goldsberry—who was then specializing in mapping and cartography—began an effort to map underutilized NBA shooting data. What started with retrieving five seasons’ worth of notes on who took shots from where led to him building a database that included more than one million NBA field goal attempts. A year later, Goldsberry published his first work on basketball at the ... more
  • 4 weeks The Flight of the Texas Fireflies Texasmonthly
    “Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never really stars at heart) Achieve at times a very star-like start. Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.” ―Robert Frost In a state with more than its share of biting, stinging, and creeping and crawling insects and arachnids with little or no charm to any but their own species, fireflies (or lightning bugs as they are variously known here) have long enjoyed a special place in our hearts, that rarest of ... more
  • 1 month Does a Sale of Whataburger Mean the Whatapocalypse Is Nigh? Texasmonthly
    Let’s start by making it clear that, at the moment, Whataburger isn’t officially for sale. After Reuters broke the news that it’s exploring the possibility of taking on a minority investor to fund expansion, the beloved San Antonio-based burger chain issued a statement: “Our company is growing and is always attractive to investors, we constantly get inquiries. We have always evaluated the opportunities that can accelerate growth and maintain the success of our brand, and we will continue to do so in the future.” Whataburger has been privately held by the Dobson family since 1951. It’s no surprise that investors have ... more
  • 1 month Is a Proposed Ban on a State Income Tax Really a Stealth Move to Undermine the State’s Business Tax? Texasmonthly
    The proposed ban on a personal income tax that’s flying through the Legislature may also blow a hole in the state’s business franchise tax—a tax that Governor Greg Abbott has said he wants to put in “a coffin.” On Friday, Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, questioned whether the real purpose of the income-tax ban was to undermine the state’s business tax, calling the proposal a “stalking horse.” If Watson’s right, the state could lose billions of dollars in revenue and decrease the chances of property tax relief in the future. In the previous two legislative session, Abbott called for seriously reducing ... more
  • 1 month Megan Thee Stallion’s “Fever” Is a Summer Party Album With a Feminist Agenda Texasmonthly
    Undulating with fun, self-confident, and candid lyrics set over bass rhythms fit only for a subwoofer, Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s debut album dropped this morning. Judging from fan response, it’s obvious after just a few hours that Fever will be essential to this summer’s party scene. The record is a collage of its inspirations—1970s blaxploitation flicks, The Players Club, and Dirty South culture. Its turnt beats and bad-bitch lyrics are reminiscent of Florida’s Trina. In the first track, “Realer,” Megan proclaims “I’m a real rap bitch, this ain’t no pop s—,” reminding listeners of the lyrical posture she exhibited ... more
  • 1 month Texas Monthly Recommends: Khalid and John Mayer Make a Summer Hit Texasmonthly
    Khalid and John Mayer’s “Outta My Head” It’s not a surprise that everything five-time Grammy nominee and El Paso native Khalid releases is a stroke of genius, but his song “Outta My Head” deserves special mention. Made in collaboration with singer-songwriter John Mayer, the tenth track on Khalid’s sophomore album Free Spirit describes young love in its infancy—when you can’t stop thinking about the apple of your eye, regardless of whether the affection is reciprocated. Mayer’s and Khalid’s voices blend seamlessly for a smooth and easy-going song ideal for your summer playlist. —Jessica Reyes, editorial intern Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi I found ... more
  • 1 month At Interstellar BBQ, the Vegetarian Sides Are as Savory as the Brisket and Sausage Texasmonthly
    Noble Sandwich Co. has been beloved in the Austin area since 2010 when co-owners and chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez began serving smoked duck pastrami and beef pastrami, among other items, in far northwest Austin. They opened a second, more central location in the city in 2014, but the flagship remained until last year, when Bates got the itch to change things up. “I was getting a bit of wanderlust, and wanted to do something different,” he told me. They closed the original location and reopened it as Interstellar BBQ in February. I know what you’re thinking. Does Austin ... more
  • 1 month Valoree Swanson’s Cough May Have Killed a Controversial Elections Bill Texasmonthly
    Representative Valoree Swanson had a strange day. The backbencher from Spring was absent from the Legislature most of the day with an illness, putting a highly contentious voting bill in jeopardy. Yet somehow, Capitol wags noted, she was voting on other legislation. To move Senate Bill 9 out of committee in these waning days of the legislative session, Swanson was needed in the House Elections Committee, which is split between five Republicans and four Democrats. A 4-4 tie would mean the legislation wouldn’t advance. But Swanson was apparently ailing somewhere away from the Capitol. Until she returned, SB 9 was ... more
  • 1 month Austin, Fort Worth, and Houston Are at Risk of a Measles Outbreak—Thanks to Anti-Vaxxers Texasmonthly
    A study from the University of Texas and Johns Hopkins University, published last week, looked at the measles resurgence in the U.S. There are a few takeaways from it, but the one that might inspire the most self-reflection from Texans is that, of the 25 counties in the U.S. at highest risk of an outbreak, three of them are right here: Harris, Tarrant, and Travis. The last time we wrote about this, back in early February, when Houston saw its first outbreak, the 79 cases to date suggested that we were on pace to see as many as 948 cases this ... more
  • 1 month The Owner of a Pflugerville Chinese Buffet Is the John Wick of Yelp Replies Texasmonthly
    This Friday, John Wick 3 hits theaters. The Keanu Reeves-led action franchise has almost nothing to do with the story we are about to tell you, but there is one thing that both the titular assassin Reeves portrays and the owner of Pflugerville Chinese restaurant Kung Fu Buffet have in common: They respond to the transgressions of others with a response so disproportionate that it’s impossible to look away. For John Wick, some jerks kill his puppy, and he spends the next three movies brutally destroying everyone even remotely connected with the people who did it. For “Kung F,” the nom ... more
  • 1 month Introducing Our Second Season of Texas Monthly Live Texasmonthly
    Attention, readers who cherish gripping stories and want to see their favorite writers up close and in person: Texas Monthly is coming to a city near you (or near to your heart, at least). On May 22, we kick off our second season of Texas Monthly Live, a ninety-minute show performed in jewel-box theaters and performing arts venues across the state. Audiences will watch as beloved Texas Monthly articles are translated from the page to the stage. Following the May show in Austin, other performances are slated for Houston (June 7), Brownsville (July 9), Dallas (November 8), and San Antonio (December 3).Tickets are available here. ... more
  • 1 month Aaron Franklin Teaches a MasterClass in Barbecue Texasmonthly
    Aaron Franklin has shared his barbecue knowledge in great detail via his web series, a television show, and a best-selling book. He thinks there’s still more he can teach aspiring barbecue cooks in his newly released MasterClass. The MasterClass website produces multi-part tutorials from experts in various fields—including Steve Martin, Jane Goodall, Ken Burns, and Serena Williams—available for purchase individually for $90 or on a $180 yearly subscription basis. Franklin’s class is a sixteen-part deep dive into smoking ribs, pork butts, and (of course) brisket. Five of those sixteen videos are dedicated to smoking brisket, from the trimming of the meat to ... more
  • 1 month BBQ News Roundup: Pulled Pork’s Rise in Texas, Dickey’s Does Dubai, and Franklin’s Breakfast Tacos Texasmonthly
    Buck’s Barbecue Co. is leaving its temporary digs in Houston for a new home in Galveston next month. Fainmous BBQ in Houston will open a second location in the upcoming Sawyer Yards development. Localish featured Blood Bros. BBQ in Bellaire: J.C. Reid explains how pulled pork became a featured item in Texas barbecue after being nearly nonexistent until recently. Now that’s a big sandwich: The making of a real @JambosBBQShack Original Jambo’s sandwich at the Rendon location — Bud Kennedy / #ReadLocal (@EatsBeat) May 14, 2019 Ashton Stauffer, owner of Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Arlington, came in a distant third ... more
  • 1 month H-E-B Opened Its Latest North Texas Store, and People Flipped the Heck Out Texasmonthly
    H-E-B is one of the more beloved Texas brands, as evinced by the fact that every time we write about them, people in parts of the state who don’t have one respond by declaring the lengths to which they’d go to see the company open a store nearby. While the San Antonio-based chain dominates in Central and South Texas, there’s a significant, Dallas-Fort Worth-shaped hole in the company’s current holdings. The company does operate three locations of its higher-end Central Market concept in Dallas, with another one each in Plano, Southlake, and Fort Worth—but otherwise H-E-B is just a dream ... more
  • 1 month Hope Springs Eternal at Balmorhea Texasmonthly
    Among the many celebrated swimming holes blessedly scattered across Texas, the most sublime would have to be the big beauty found way out in the Trans-Pecos, at Balmorhea State Park. Sure, all bodies of water into which you can plunge are pretty wonderful in the sweltering summertime. But this high-desert oasis is unlike any other. How did we get so lucky to have a pool like this in a place like this? Covering a whopping 1.3 acres of the park’s dusty 103-acre total and impounding some 3.5 million gallons of remarkably clear and refreshingly cool water from the prolific San ... more
  • 1 month Inside the Story of How Democrats Killed a Law that Could Have Saved Sandra Bland Texasmonthly
    After Sandra Bland was arrested for a traffic infraction and later committed suicide in a Waller County jail in 2015, criminal justice reform advocates proposed reforms inspired by Bland’s case. Among the most important was a proposal to bar cops from arresting people for minor offenses punishable only by a fine. In 2017, law enforcement groups derailed the measure at the Legislature, even though it had broad support on both the left and right. But this year, the legislation looked like it would sail through. It had sixteen co-authors, including some of the most liberal and the most conservative members. ... more
  • 1 month Houston Has an Aggressive, Radical Plan to Sell Affordable Housing Texasmonthly
    Houston’s reputation as a relatively affordable big city has taken a battering in recent years. Despite a downturn in oil prices, the real estate market has continued to set price records—to the joy of sellers and brokers, but to the dismay of buyers and renters. Affordability has long been one of the Bayou City’s prime selling points. Houston may have been polluted, mosquito-infested, traffic-choked, swelteringly humid, subject to frequent biblical deluges, and overrun by gigantic flying cockroaches, but the houses were cheap. On paper at least, there were few better places to achieve the American Dream. Not so much anymore. ... more
  • 1 month Does Tony Horwitz’s New Book Get Texas Right? Texasmonthly
    Several years ago Tony Horwitz was tasked by his wife to “ruthlessly cull” the books he had amassed as a college student during the Carter administration. Sifting through boxes stashed at their house on Martha’s Vineyard, Horwitz came across The Cotton Kingdom, an 1861 book by the New York journalist Frederick Law Olmsted—better known today as the landscape architect who co-designed Manhattan’s Central Park. The book was the culmination of several trips Olmsted had made to the American South, including Texas, in the 1850s. (His account of his rambles around the Lone Star State was also published separately as A ... more
  • 1 month The Loudest and Least Effective Legislator Has Actually Passed a Bill Texasmonthly
    After the 2018 election, when state representative Jonathan Stickland won re-election in his not-supposed-to-be-swingy district by just 1.4 percentage points, he told the Texas Tribune that it was time to turn over a new leaf. “Look, I still have my same principles,” he said. “But a lot of times, it’s the way that you talk about your principles and the way that you pursue your agenda.” He understood now that “the likability of a candidate is important. People need to be able to present a positive message to the constituents and the voters.” This was sort of like hearing Willie ... more
  • 1 month Aaron Franklin: “There’s Always People in a Three-Hour Line Hoping You Fail” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify This week’s National Podcast of Texas features pitmaster Aaron Franklin. His much-celebrated, oft-debated Franklin BBQ turns ten years old this year, the lines are as long as ever, and, whether or not he’s comfortable with it, it’s made Franklin the most famous pitmaster in the country—he’s published a pair of best-selling cookbooks, fed President Obama, and won a James Beard award for best chef in the region, a first for a pitmaster. On the cover of our May 2019 issue you’ll find BBQ from Loro—the ambitious Asian smokehouse Franklin created with Tyson Cole of ... more
  • 1 month Joe Exotic: A Dark Journey Into the World of a Man Gone Wild Texasmonthly
    Joe Exotic was done. For the previous two decades, 55-year-old Joe had been the heart, soul, and ubiquitous public face of a massive private zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, an hour north of the Texas line. He had boasted of owning the largest tiger collection in America. His sixteen-acre park was lined with metal cages, each filled with majestic tigers, lions, bears, alligators, and even tiger-lion hybrids called tiligers. His sun-leathered visage, horseshoe mustache, and blond mullet adorned signs all over the zoo and all along I-35 between Dallas and Oklahoma City. His image covered the side of a tour bus as ... more
  • 1 month The Texanist: What’s the Difference Between a Farm to Market Road and a Ranch to Market Road? Texasmonthly
    Q: As a Houstonian, I’m used to FM (Farm to Market) road designations and was surprised on an Easter trip to visit my in-laws in Austin to find 2222 designated as RM (Ranch to Market). Has it always been RM 2222 and I just never noticed it? And what’s the difference between an FM and an RM road, anyway? Bob Gray, Houston A: There are few things in this world that bring the Texanist as much pleasure as a long drive down a winding ribbon of beautiful backcountry blacktop. Hey, why don’t you hop in and come along for a ride? Roll ... more
  • 1 month Banger’s Goes Whole Hog With Its New Smokehouse Texasmonthly
    Banger’s Sausage House in Austin might be the only barbecue joint in Texas that doesn’t have beef on the menu. Its announcement last year about opening its own smokehouse made big news in the barbecue community because the restaurant planned on serving whole-hog barbecue every day the smokehouse is open (Thursday-Sunday currently). Whole-hog cooking is a tradition associated with parts east of here, while Banger’s sits in the heart of smoked brisket country. That’s precisely why Ted Prater, head of culinary operations at Banger’s, said he and owner Ben Siegel decided to move away from the standard Texas barbecue offerings. Prater, ... more
  • 1 month In Light of Kacey Musgraves’s Latest Video, A Brief History of Celebs as Centaurs Texasmonthly
    Kacey Musgraves is living her absolute best life right now. She won the Grammy, she’s headlining festivals, she conquered the Met Ball, her forthcoming tour is selling out dates around the globe—it is her time, y’all. And she knows it. How do we know that she knows just how thoroughly she is dominating right now? Because in the extremely psychedelic video released this morning for Golden Hour‘s latest single, the AutoTune-saturated “Oh What a World,” there is a painting of her as a dang centaur within the first minute. Take a look. Right at the 0:52 mark, the screen goes dark ... more
  • 1 month Despite the Texas Shutout, There Was Much to Celebrate at the James Beard Awards Texasmonthly
    Judging by the assorted yips and yelps and whistles, there were a lot of really, really happy people in the audience for the James Beard Awards in Chicago on Monday night. I was sitting halfway back in the auditorium, so I had a great view of the stage—which was illuminated by pulsing colored spotlights—and I watched the giant video screen as it tracked winners trotting down the aisle, smiling, laughing, giddy with happiness. Sadly, though, none of the smiling and yips of joy came from the friends and fans of the four Texas nominees in the audience. Why? Because our ... more
  • 1 month New Comedy Central Series, ‘Klepper,’ Wrestles With PTSD in Killeen Texasmonthly
    When comedian and former Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper was looking for his next TV project, he decided he wanted to get back into the field. His previous series, The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, was a Colbert Report–style right-wing satire. (Instead of parodying Bill O’Reilly like Colbert, Klepper’s persona was closer to that of Alex Jones.) The format kept Klepper mostly behind a desk, so he was ready for something different. “The idea was: Let’s go look at the battles that Americans are fighting, try to get up as close as we can to it, and see how tough it ... more
  • 1 month Old Cows Are the Newest Thing in Texas Beef Texasmonthly
    In 2006, Ronald Beeman and his son Jordan saw an opportunity to market a Japanese breed of cattle to American consumers. They bought the HeartBrand beef company and commenced expanding their herd of Akaushi cattle, a specific breed of Wagyu that’s rare in the United States. HeartBrand, headquartered in Harwood, Texas, has about 15,000 head of cattle, but that’s still not enough to meet demand. After successfully creating a market for a new breed of cattle, they’re setting their sights on another new frontier in American beef: Old cows. Most cattle don’t get past the age of two. American beef ... more
  • 1 month Why the Sales Tax Swap Died a Slow and Painful Death Texasmonthly
    On the House floor on Tuesday state Representative Dan Huberty wrapped a flag around the bloated corpse of the sales tax swap, saluted it, and pushed it out to a watery grave. Thus ended one of the session’s most high-profile policy proposals, an initiative to shift more of the state’s tax burden from property owners to its poorest residents by raising the state sales tax. This move had the public backing of Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. What happened? Politics can be complicated, but there are some simple rules. Cutting taxes is popular; ... more
  • 1 month The Mount Rushmore of Texas Music Beats All Comers Texasmonthly
    New Jersey’s governor welcomed this week’s announcement that the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards will be held in Newark by boasting that the Garden State gave the world artists like Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, and Bruce Springsteen. Twitter took this harmless bit of gubernatorial boosterism and did what it does best: transform it into an overblown, viral social media debate. We’re here to settle the matter. Which state truly has the greatest Mount Rushmore of homegrown musicians? You can probably guess our answer. TEXAS:-Beyoncé -Selena -Willie Nelson-Buddy Holly-Bun B-DJ Screw …I COULD GO ON — Sam Sanders (@samsanders) May ... more
  • 1 month San Antonio–Based Poet Naomi Shihab Nye Named Young People’s Poet Laureate Texasmonthly
    “Poetry lives everywhere,” says poet Naomi Shihab Nye, who was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation today. “Whether it’s in a small village where no one has ever said the word poetry, or in an elementary school classroom—there’s no place that poetry doesn’t live.” If anyone can make that claim, it’s Nye. The Palestinian-American writer, who has been based in San Antonio for years, has dedicated the majority of her decades-long career to working with young writers across the world. Starting in 1974, she spent fifteen years traveling across Texas as a visiting writer with the Texas ... more
  • 1 month Barbie, Boas, and Bubblegum Pink: Texas Celebs Camp It Up at the Met Gala Texasmonthly
    With a theme as elusive and misunderstood as “camp,” this year’s Met Gala attendees were seemingly set up to fail. As always, the lavish annual benefit for the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art drew inspiration from the institute’s accompanying exhibit. “Camp: Notes on Fashion” takes its name from a 1964 Susan Sontag essay that defines the concept as “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.” After it was announced, the theme sparked dozens of think pieces, deep dives, and debates trying to pinpoint a definition. If you missed it, here’s a quick run through: Lady Gaga’s infamous ... more
  • 1 month On Texas Time: Ty Haney, Founder and CEO of Outdoor Voices Texasmonthly
    Thirty-year-old CEO Ty Haney is known for #doingthings. As the founder of athletic clothing brand Outdoor Voices, Haney’s Austin-based company is all about inspiring people to get moving and have fun, without the pressure of athlete-level performance. In the multibillion-dollar fitnesswear industry, Haney has made a name for herself alongside giant brands like Nike and Lululemon. Since Outdoor Voices’ launch five years ago, the brand has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers and fostered an online community that uses the hashtag #doingthings to share their activities. Haney, a former competitive athlete, is originally from Boulder, Colorado, but here’s what she’s ... more
  • 1 month The Best Thing in Texas: A San Antonio Native Stopped the San Diego Synagogue Shooting Texasmonthly
    WHO: Oscar Stewart, a San Antonio native who attends the Chabad of Poway synagogue in the San Diego suburb of Poway WHAT: An act of courage that saved countless lives WHY IT’S SO GREAT: If not for Stewart’s actions during an attack that left one person dead and three others injured, the carnage could have been much worse. On April 27, during a Sabbath service at the Orthodox Jewish temple, a white supremacist armed with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire on the congregation after apparently posting a letter online outlining his motives. The gunman was reportedly inspired by similar attacks on Jews and Muslims ... more
  • 1 month A New Weekend Festival Will Celebrate Natural Wine Texasmonthly
    Regan Meador wants to produce wine that tastes like his native Texas. At Fredericksburg’s Southold Farm + Cellar, he’s one of a small group of winemakers in the state who are committed to using 100-percent Texas-grown grapes and as little human intervention as possible. “Natural wine” producers like Meador believe that the best vintages start in the vineyard. Their small batches are terroir-driven, drawing flavors and textures from the unique climate and land where the grapes were grown. “I believe that, until Texas wine stops attempting to emulate California and embrace making wine that is totally unique and reflective of ... more
  • 1 month Pork Ribs and Barbecue Sushi Are Specialties at Rusty Buckle BBQ Company Texasmonthly
    The building that houses Rusty Buckle BBQ Company in New Caney, northeast of Houston, was previously a real estate office, a hair salon, and a taxidermy shop. Owner and pitmaster Allen Rhoden ran all but one of those businesses. His father owns the building and the land, so it was the obvious spot for the barbecue joint too when Rhoden opened it last October. He’s hoping this new career path will stick. In 1994, Rhoden graduated college in Huntsville with a history degree, but he had a hard time finding the right job. He opted for taxidermy school and opened ... more
  • 1 month Rhett Miller: “I Was Terrified I Wouldn’t Be Creative Without Booze” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify This week’s National Podcast of Texas features Rhett Miller. Since 1993, he’s been the frontman for the Old 97’s, who rose out of Dallas to help define the alternative country movement and have released ten studio albums. Between albums with the band, Miller has squeezed in seven solo records—most recently last year’s The Messenger. In March, he released a collection of irreverent, clever poems for kids titled No More Poems!. His latest offering is a new podcast, Wheels Off, which finds him interviewing musicians, writers, artists, actors, and comedians about creativity. His first round ... more
  • 1 month Sandra Bland Made Her Own Recording of the Traffic Stop that Led to Her Death Texasmonthly
    It’s been almost four years since the death of Sandra Bland. The incident that led to her death has been well documented. The footage of the traffic stop, recorded both by a bystander and from the dashboard of former Texas Department of Public Safety patrolman Brian Encinia, has been viewed millions of times. In the full video, what you see is a patrolman who grows furious when Bland refuses to put out her cigarette. The escalation in the video is rapid—Encinia tells Bland that she’s under arrest, though declines to tell her why. She tells him she intends to call ... more
  • 1 month A New Pipeline Through the Hill Country Is Pitting the Oil Industry Against Landowners Texasmonthly
    On the day of the explosion, Randy Zgabay’s grandmother kept him inside. His grandfather would usually hold Randy, who was only eighteen months old, while his seven-year-old-sister, Laura, played in the pasture near his grandparents’ home in Rosenberg, a small town southwest of Houston. But on this August day in 1966, his grandmother just had a feeling: Randy should stay inside the house with her. With no warning, the natural gas pipeline exploded about three feet from Laura and her grandfather, engulfing the field in flames. In her haste to get away, Laura ran into a barbed-wire fence; the fire ... more
  • 1 month The Texanist: Have Texans Played a Big Role in the Space Program? Texasmonthly
    Q: I know that Texas has been one of the main centers of the country’s space program, but I’m curious: Have Texans been important to the space program? How many astronauts were or are Texans, for instance? Also, did the Texanist ever want to be an astronaut? Buddy Fishburn, Dallas A: In the very early 1960s, when the nascent National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Space Task Group was looking for digs outside of its original home at Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia, Texas was fortunate to have an impressive presence in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. There’s little ... more
  • 1 month More STAAR? The Texas Senate Proposes Even More High-Stakes Testing for Students. Texasmonthly
    Unless you happen to be a parent of a public school fifth grader, you may have missed the latest STAAR test fumble, in which the f-word somehow snuck into an illustration on a practice test. This is cause for concern—it certainly validates the worries of educators and parents who have long wondered just who the hell is overseeing the test contents—but now there are bigger reservations about the infamous standardized test. (We previously reported that two academic studies showed that the reading portion of the STAAR is at least two years above grade level.) Last Wednesday night members of the Senate Education Committee started doing some last-minute tinkering with  the school finance bill, ... more
  • 1 month An Afternoon with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Texas Anti-Vaccine Movement Texasmonthly
    Among a certain set, the Texas Legislature is known as the National Laboratory of Bad Ideas, a hothouse for legislative foolishness that often spreads across the country. But sometimes it works the other way around. Sometimes the bad ideas come here from elsewhere, and sometimes even Massachusetts. On Friday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the famed vaccine skeptic and son of the 1968 Democratic presidential candidate, spoke at a dimly-lit meeting hall deep in the Capitol extension at the invitation of Texans for Vaccine Choice, a right-leaning group that fights to loosen vaccine requirements and primaries Republicans who don’t take an ... more
  • 2 months The Paid Sick Leave Fight is All About Whose Interests Matter Most at the Legislature Texasmonthly
    Politics can be complicated, replete with unending context and backstory. But underneath nearly every political dispute—from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to fallings-out at homeowners association meetings—are almost banal matters of self-interest, explainable in just a few words. The effort to overturn paid sick leave ordinances in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas is just that simple. Proponents say that the ordinances, which require businesses to give employees a certain number of paid sick days a year, make life better for workers, especially hourly employees. Opponents say the ordinances cost businesses money. Both propositions are true, so the question is which group’s interests ... more
  • 2 months Peter Mayhew, ‘Star Wars’ Actor and Naturalized Texan, Dies at Age 74 Texasmonthly
    Peter Mayhew had been around the world as the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, but he picked a ranch out in Boyd—about 30 miles outside of Fort Worth—as his retirement spot. In 1999, he married Texas native Angie Luker, and the seven feet two inch Englishman joined her in Wise County. When he died on April 30 at the age of 74, it was in the North Texas home the two shared, according to a statement that Mayhew’s family put out on Twitter on Thursday night. The family of Peter Mayhew, with deep love and sadness, ... more
  • 2 months Deep Eddy’s Dripping Springs Tasting Room Is Tripling in Size Texasmonthly
    When two Austin businessmen—Chad Auler of Savvy Vodka and Clayton Christopher of Sweet Leaf Tea—founded Deep Eddy Vodka in 2010, it’s hard to imagine anyone could have foreseen the maker producing more than a million cases per year within less than a decade. Bottling their liquor with unique flavor infusions was the plan from the beginning. The first product to market was (unsurprisingly, given their combined backgrounds) Sweet Tea Vodka, but it’s when they introduced Ruby Red Grapefruit in 2013—a variant now found in seemingly any bar in Texas—that they truly hit the jackpot. Two years later, Auler and Christopher ... more
  • 2 months BBQ News Roundup: Houston’s International Smoke, a Bryan-College Station Tour, and a Swedish Salute to Texas Barbecue Texasmonthly
    The Austin Chronicle interviewed “The Julia Child of BBQ,” author Steven Raichlen, about his new book on brisket. The pork ribs and smoked turkey at Ray’s BBQ Shack were praised by the Houston Press. Care for a taste of International Smoke’s Houston outpost? Dragged my feet getting to International Smoke because I'm allergic to celebrity restaurants, and skeptical of budding chains. That was a mistake. — Alison Cook (@alisoncook) April 23, 2019 With so much emphasis on dry rubs, the Houston Chronicle reminds us of the key role of mop sauces in some styles of Texas barbecue. After closing ... more
  • 2 months Without the Votes for His Sales Tax Hike, Dan Patrick is Exploring Other Tax Increases Texasmonthly
    Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has quietly formed a twelve-member Senate working group to explore alternatives to pay for floundering property tax legislation important to Patrick, speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, and Governor Greg Abbott. In public, the three are plowing ahead with a one-penny sales tax hike designed to pay for a tax swap to lower property taxes. But, in private, most senators have already acknowledged that the votes simply aren’t there to raise the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 7.25 percent. Such a move would match California for the highest sales tax in the country, a politically ... more
  • 2 months ‘A Hearing Can Save a Life’: Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy Gets a Courtesy Airing Texasmonthly
    Fighting back tears, Representative Celia Israel told the Texas House Public Health Committee on Wednesday that she nearly committed suicide at age 17 because she didn’t think she could live openly as a lesbian. The Austin Democrat’s emotional testimony came in support of her effort to curtail the practice of “gay conversion therapy.” Under House Bill 517, the state could take disciplinary action against licensed therapists who attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors. Israel has filed the legislation in three consecutive sessions, but this year was the first time it was granted a hearing. “I ... more
  • 2 months Takeaways From Emerson’s Texas Senate and Presidential Poll Texasmonthly
    This week, Emerson College released a poll of Texas that looked at a handful of issues and races in the state. The grabbiest headline in the bunch was a head-to-head poll of potential one-on-one matchups of various Democratic candidates against Donald Trump, in which the recently-announced Joe Biden topped the incumbent president by a single (well within the margin of error) point, 50-49. Reading too much into a poll like that in early May the year before the election is a sucker’s game, though—18 months from now, favorability ratings will have shifted, bombshells will have been dropped, and we’ll have ... more
  • 2 months Marvel’s ‘Ghost Rider’ TV Series Will Bring Superheroics to the Texas Border Texasmonthly
    Now that Hulu, as a result of the Disney-Fox merger, is more fully under the control of Big Mouse, it appears to be deepening its relationship with Marvel Television (a Disney subsidiary). The streaming service has been home to Marvel’s Runaways since 2017, and on Wednesday it announced that in 2020 it will add two more Marvel live-action offerings. Ghost Rider and Helstrom each received series orders, along with a handful of animated shows coming later this year. Both will be big-budget series occupying the same “Spirits of Vengeance” corner of the Marvel universe, but the most intriguing detail is that Ghost Rider will be ... more
  • 2 months Joaquin Castro Says ‘No’ to Senate Run Against John Cornyn Texasmonthly
    San Antonio Representative Joaquin Castro tells Texas Monthly that he has decided against a run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican John Cornyn. Castro, 44, said he feels that he can accomplish more in the majority party in the U.S. House than running in “the fight of my life” for a seat in the Republican-controlled Senate. “This place is dysfunctional as it is,” he said of Congress. He said that he’s a better position to effect change in his current position. The announcement, first reported in the San Antonio Express-News, comes a week after another Democrat, M.J. Hegar, announced her ... more
  • 2 months ‘White Lightning’: This Houston Kid Might Be the Youngest Person to Ever Break the Ten-Second Barrier Texasmonthly
    The fastest man in history is Usain Bolt, who famously ran the 100-meter sprint in 9.58 seconds at the age of 23. His record is more than one-tenth of a second faster than the next highest competitor, a distinction that matters when we’re talking about a race that’s over in less time than it takes for most of us to, say, find our keys, unlock the door, and step inside the house. It’s impossible to know when—or even if—Bolt’s superhumanly quick world record in the event will ever be broken. But one name to watch when it comes to potential ... more
  • 2 months Midland Finally Has Destination Barbecue at Up in Smoke BBQ Co. Texasmonthly
    It’s the best of times and the worst of times for any new barbecue joint in Midland. Oil and gas are still revving the region’s economic engine and ensuring plenty of hungry customers. But any business not affiliated with the city’s biggest industry is a lower priority for city permits and inspections, as Junior Urias discovered when he was building Up in Smoke BBQ Co. from the ground up. He negotiated $10,000 off the cost of a water tap on the property, and that didn’t cover even half the fee. The review process lagged during construction, though he finally opened ... more
  • 2 months Recipe: Instant Pot Dr Pepper Chipotle Ribs Texasmonthly
    Dr Pepper and chipotle are an obvious match for ribs. The deep, plummy caramel of the soda and the smoky spice of the chile just need a hit of acid to become a unique, yet oh-so-familiar,  barbecue-style sauce for pork ribs. I’m not the first to slather these Texas-favorite ingredients on a rack—a quick online search will yield dozens of recipes. But those recipes often require hours of braising or slow cooking in the oven before you can even think of hitting the grill. Enter the Instant Pot. By braising the ribs under pressure, you can cut a process usually ... more
  • 2 months Founded by Two Texans, the Mom 2.0 Summit Is Serious Business Texasmonthly
    The welcome panel of the sold-out Mom 2.0 Summit, which came to Austin for the first time last week, was packed. The session was aimed at first-timers to the eleventh annual three-day conference, but judging from all the raised hands when the moderator asked who had brand sponsors for their Instagram accounts, blogs, or YouTube videos, most of the women in the room were far from social media rookies. In a generous tone that was part parent support group/part business think tank, the high-energy moderator invited us to approach Mom 2.0 with “an abundance mindset,” to be elevator pitch-ready for the ... more
  • 2 months If You’re Looking for Dan Patrick This Legislative Session, You Might Find Him on Fox News Texasmonthly
    Once upon a time, the Texas Senate was Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s whole world. His turbulent 2014 campaign for the post was a radical change in Texas politics, the tea party revolution taking the throne. In his inauguration speech he proclaimed that his arrival marked “a new day in Texas.” One of his first acts in office as president of the Senate was changing the upper chamber’s rules to give the majority party more power, so as to better push through his priorities. In the opening weeks of his first session, he made committee appointments in record time and repeatedly ... more
  • 2 months Grupo Fantasma on Their Latest Album and Being Pigeonholed As “Latin Music” Texasmonthly
    For nearly twenty years, the founding members of Grupo Fantasma have set themselves apart with the quality and inventiveness of their work. It’s a rare enough feat to successfully run a big group (the current Fantasma lineup is nine musicians deep), but on top of that they’ve also branched out to create additional bands Brownout and Money Chicha. Each of these projects is as interesting as the one preceding it. Members have cycled through Grupo Fantasma over the years, but Beto Martinez and Greg Gonzalez have been mainstays. In March, the band released its first record in five years, American ... more
  • 2 months Wherever the NFL Takes Him, Ed Oliver Will Always “Be Someone” in Houston Texasmonthly
    Ever since it first appeared on a Union Pacific railway trestle over Interstate 45 seven years ago, the huge, bold, and blue “Be Someone” graffito has served as a beacon of hope for the tens of thousands of 9-to-5-working Houstonians who trudge past it, often well below posted speed limits thanks to godawful traffic, on their way to work downtown. Last year, a petition called for the legitimization of “Be Someone”—technically illegal street art—by granting it official status as a protected landmark. If that proposal had been put to a popular vote, it would have won in a landslide. ... more
  • 2 months UT Chancellor James B. Milliken: “Higher Education Is More Important Now Than It’s Ever Been in the History of the World” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify This week’s National Podcast of Texas features James B. Milliken, who was named chancellor of the University of Texas system in September 2018. Milliken came to the fourteen-institution Texas system after a four-year run as chancellor of the City University of New York. Before that, the native Nebraskan served as president of the University of Nebraska system. Almost immediately after Milliken started the University of Texas system job, an internal task force report recommended the elimination of up to 110 full-time positions on the system administration level. In January, Milliken announced the first round ... more
  • 2 months H-E-B Runs the Best Barbecue Chain in Texas Texasmonthly
    The best statewide barbecue chain in Texas is housed inside grocery stores. With ten locations of True Texas BBQ and counting, H-E-B is opening its version of a neighborhood barbecue joint from Magnolia to Midland. They’re making sides and desserts from scratch, smoking all-natural meats on site every day, and serving it all in a restaurant setting with local beers on tap. I was tricked into my first visit to a True Texas BBQ. After striking out during a barbecue search in Midland, I pulled up Google Maps on my phone. “BBQ near me” in the search bar yielded a ... more
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