Michael Hall

Michael Hall graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. Before joining Texas Monthly in 1997, he was an associate editor of Third Coast magazine and the managing editor of the Austin Chronicle. Hall won two 2001 Katy Awards: one for Best Reporter Writing Portfolio and one for Personality Profile/Interview for his July 2001 story “Lance Armstrong Has Something to Get Off His Chest.” He won a Texas Gavel Award in 2003 for his story about capital punishment, “Death Isn’t Fair,” which was also nominated for a National Magazine Award. Hall’s stories have appeared in the Best American Magazine Writing, the Best American Sportswriting, the Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Da Capo Best Music Writing. He has also written for Trouser Press, the New York Times, Men’s Journal, and the Austin American-Statesman.

Stories

He’s Daniel Johnston, And He Was Gonna Be Famous

He was, for a while, and look what happened: Today one of the great songwriters in the alternative-rock universe is a 44-year-old manic-depressive living with his parents in Waller. And the worst thing about it is, he’s about to be famous again.

And Justice for Some

How the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals mistakes toughness for fairness—and gives the state a black eye.

"The Buzz About Marfa Is Just Crazy"

A century after the cowboys and ranchers moved in on the local Apaches, Comanches, and Tejanos, the West Texas town is adjusting to a new breed of excitable invaders: Hollywood fashion arbiters, New York art- world youngsters, Houston superlawyers, and the like. Cappuccino, anyone?

It’s a Family Affair

For all her talent and poise, Beyoncé didn’t become the biggest star in the world without help. And she got plenty of it from the people who know her best.

Duke of Dunbar

That would be 75-year-old Robert Hughes, who has amassed more victories while coaching in Fort Worth than anyone in high school basketball history. For most people, that would be enough.

The Ballad of Billy Joe Shaver

If the Corsicana native is the best songwriter in Texas, perhaps it’s because he knows his material. Hardscrabble upbringing. Sinful behavior. Redemption. Personal tragedy. Profound sorrow. And, finally, more redemption.

God and Man at Baylor

Can one man change the world’s largest Baptist university? He can if he’s controversial preacher-president Robert Sloan, Jr. And, just maybe, one man can destroy it too.

Running for His Life

Ten years ago, on a mountaintop in Africa, about to be burned alive by tribal warriors, a teenager saved himself the only way he knew how. Even today, he wonders why he survived.

The Skinny on Slim

Thomas Austin Preston, Jr.—a.k.a. Amarillo Slim—has cut cards with LBJ and hustled all manner of sharpies at pool and Ping-Pong. But at 74, his greatest success continues to be at the poker table, as my $100 and I found out.

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.

The Ghosts of Mount Carmel

Ten years after eighty Davidians died in a government-led siege, a few surviving members of the sect have returned to the plains east of Waco, looking for something. And, in some cases, waiting for David Koresh to return.

Two Wings and a Prayer

Legend has it that an East Texas preacher’s homemade flying machine took off in late 1902, nearly a year before Kitty Hawk. Are the history books wrong about who was first in flight—or are they right, brothers?

Death Isn’t Fair

Cops who threaten torture. Prosecutors who go too far. Defense lawyers who sleep on the job. And an appellate court that rubber-stamps it all. Let’s be tough on crime, but let’s also see that justice is done.

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