One of the great virtues of the World Wide Web is that it can take you anywhere. But, then again, it’s always nice to know what’s close to home. Unfortunately, the Web doesn’t make it easy for you to surf the Net without wiping out. We have. Searching thousands of sites about Texas and Texans by different categories, we came up with one hundred (most based in Texas, a few that are not) where we like to hang our hats. Each one has something to offer—a service, an idea, a point of view—that makes it stand out.
Make that 101 sites. To check out our choices, visit the Texas Monthly WWW Ranch ( http://www.texasmonthly.com), where the text of this story will appear, including links to our top one hundred. (All the Web addresses were current at the time we went to press. The Ranch will keep them updated, because addresses do change.) And be sure to let us know about your favorite destinations in CyberTexas by posting your picks at the Ranch’s Texas Talk area. The way the Web keeps growing, our next list may reach a thousand.
James B. Janknegt Did you miss Austin painter (and Web site designer) James B. Janknegt’s show “Suburban Allegories” at Austin’s LyonsMatrix Gallery? You can still catch the virtual version at his homepage. This isn’t the usual thumbnails hanging on a Web page; instead, he attempts to approximate the experience of visiting the real thing. Click through a couple of photos of the real gallery entrance to get inside—there’s even a reception desk—then start moving from one wall to the next; click on a canvas for a close-up. Janknegt’s site illustrates how an artist could go it alone, showing year-round, 24 hours a day, in a custom-designed digital gallery. http://www.utexas.edu/cofa/pac/janknegt/index.html
University of North Texas Art Galleries Most sites sponsored by Texas’ major museums—or the Louvre, for that matter—are basically digital versions of the glossy leaflets available at the information desk. But UNT’s page actually offers an in-depth look at the edgy art shown by this small, ambitious university museum. The site has an unpretentious but elegantly nested graphical structure: A year’s worth of exhibitions are represented by a menu of thumbnail images; click one image for thumbnails representing each artist, then click one of these for a menu representing each work. You can also find catalog essays, artist’s statements, and bibliographies. http://www.art.unt.edu/sova/galleries/
purepleasure Dallas artist Scott Barber combines the Web site for a real gallery, Dallas’ venerable 500X alternative space, with a virtual gallery called rawspace, where Barber and two of his colleagues show expandable images of their accomplished postmodern abstract paintings. There’s also a mini-gallery on the menu going under the name “obscure pleasure.” http://www.whytel.com/home/rawspace/index.html
The Paul Milosevich Gallery Portrait and golf artist Paul Milosevich of Lubbock has a state-of-the-art commercial site with lickety-split image display and a mechanism that allows you to e-mail your credit card number to order items like his limited-edition print of Ben Crenshaw’s 1995 Masters win. He can paint a portrait of you, your golf bags, your kids, your car, or your favorite country singer in a style that’s a cut above commercial schlock. But the real reason he’s here is his “Golf Widow Series,” each one a Wyeth-esque nude posed against the backdrop of a luscious link. You ain’t gonna find anything like the Makai Mona Lisa at the Louvre’s Web site, sports fans. http://interoz.com/gallery/MILO1.HTM
Click Me Houston computational biologist Jim Clarage has established himself as one of the foremost practitioners of an as-yet undefined art form that has its roots in postmodern multimedia conceptual art but uses the hypertext interactivity of the Net to dizzying effect. Click Me is the second of Clarage’s collections of WildWorldWeb Rides, which combine sound, graphics, and his own prose and poetry. The works include Cerebrum Flautus, an irreverent update of the Faust myth; Fitness Channel, a hilarious indictment of the war on cellulite; and Rocco Rides Again, a sort of hypertext novel in which the eponymous hero encounters Italian porn star—politician Cicciolina, Mother Teresa, Sigmund Freud, Siskel and Ebert, and a couple of busty Japanese comic book heroines. http://www-bioc. rice.edu:80/~clarage/clickme/
Project Vote Smart Most political Web sites are better for surfing than for serving up useful information. The number one exception: Project Vote Smart, which provides voting records and ideological rankings of U.S. senators and representatives from Texas (and all other states). For example, Steve Stockman, the controversial Republican freshman from Friendswood, earns a 100 percent ranking from the Christian Coalition and the League of Private Property Voters, but only 10 percent from the National Council of Senior Citizens and a zero from the environmentally oriented League of Conservation Voters. Too bad similar information isn’t available on the Texas Legislature. http://www.vote-smart. org/congress/tx/index.html
The Texas Political Resource Page The political junkie’s best friend. Assembled by Houston political consultant George Strong, the page features the latest polls, political gossip and observations (Hillary Clinton’s speech at the state Democratic convention was “long and sometimes inspiring”), visuals of political buttons, and great links to related Web pages. Check out the Nando Times link for political headlines from around the country. http://www.political.com
Texas Electronic Ethics Reporter Have you ever wondered what our beloved state legislators are trying to get away with? Scan the Texas Ethics Commission’s advisory opinions to find out. Take number 319: An anonymous legislator asks whether it is permissible to use political contributions to pay rent and maintenance fees for a Travis County condominium owned by his wife as separate property. Hmmm. It doesn’t sound kosher, but the commission blessed it nonetheless. http://www.law.uh.edu/ ethics/eao_tc.html
Window on State Government Comptroller John Sharp’s creation is a surfer’s paradise. Among the factoids to be gleaned: Texas has seventeen outlet malls and fifteen more on the way; the major source of revenue for Texas state government is not the sales tax but federal funds (until Congress gets through with us, that is); the highway mileage across Texas from south to north