John Spong

Senior Editor John Spong holds a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Texas. In 1997, after working two years as a civil litigator, he joined Texas Monthly as a fact-checker, then moved into a staff writing position in 2002. He was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2010 for his story on Texas dance halls, “Step Right Up” and has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters’ O. Henry Award for Magazine Journalism—for “The Good Book and the Bad Book,” about a censorship battle at a private school in Austin, and for “Holding Garmsir,” about a month he spent with a platoon of U.S. Marines fighting in Afghanistan. He is the author of A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove, and his stories have appeared in numerous collections, including Best Food Writing 2012 (Da Capo Press, 2012) and The Best American Sports Writing 2009 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). Inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2013, Spong also sits on the advisory council of the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. He lives in Austin, his home since 1971, with his wife Julie Blakeslee and their son, Willie Mo.

Stories

The Rehabilitation of Charlie Wilson

It happened in twelve steps, which is not surprising, given the legendary Lufkin lawmaker’s history with booze, broads, and bad behavior. For now, at least, it’s taking.

Spoon at a Fork

According to Time, the Austin rock-pop trio Spoon “just might be your next favorite band.” But Britt Daniel and the boys have been burned by such pronouncements before, so this time they’re carefully considering their options—and, as always, putting their music first.

Road Warrior

“There were a lot of wild nights, people taking us in and offering us whatever they had. There were a lot of those ‘offerings.’”

Off the Wall

Call it “Glove Story”: Being the president of the international Michael Jackson Fan Club means never having to say you’re sorry—even now.

Dream for Sale

Who wants to own a West Texas town? At least two eBay bidders have offered the asking price—but it could still be yours.

The Spirit of '76

How Matthew McConaughey got discovered, why Renée Zellweger’s part is so small, why some of the actresses can’t eat ketchup to this day, and everything else you didn’t know about the making of the classic high school flick Dazed and Confused.

King's Ransom

At UT’s Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, extraordinary cultural treasures are available for your inspection—if you know the magic word.

Talk To Me

Associate editor John Spong talks about Hollywood types, drinking beer, and a typical high school scene.

State Bar

If Texas politics is your thing and you live in Austin, sometimes you want to go where every lobbyist knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.

The Story of O

Never mind that he got kicked out of St. Mark’s and dropped out of UT, or that his line readings seem a little … off. Somehow, Owen Wilson is the kind of guy who gets movies made. And he gets $10 million a pop, dude.

Pit Stops

Where are the best places to eat barbecue in Texas? Six years ago we published a highly subjective—and hotly debated— list of our fifty favorite joints, and now we’ve gone back for seconds. Ten intrepid souls drove more than 21,000 miles in search of 2003’s worthiest ‘cue. Here’s what they came back with: the top 5 and the next 45, plus honorable mentions, great chains, and meat by mail.

Chasing Shadows

Why is James Evans so good at photographing the mavericks and renegades who make Big Bend one of the most interesting places on earth? Because he is one himself.

Oh, the Horror!

Another installment in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise?

Hooked

Why have Americans fallen for Longhorns hoof, line, and sinker?

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