SURPRISES ABOUND AT THE Austin Museum of Art—some pleasant, others not. A recent exhibition by the long-struggling and still homeless museum, called "The Road to Aztlan: Art From a Mythic Homeland," ranks among the pleasant ones. The collection of historical objects from Mexico and the American Southwest, which originated at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, represented a departure from the cutting-edge contemporary fare the museum's temporary galleries on Congress Avenue usually deliver.
EARLY IN HIS HIT MOVIE CAST AWAY, screenwriter Bill Broyles has Tom Hanks's character deliver to his Federal Express employees in Moscow a lecture on the intrinsic value of time. We live or die by the clock, Chuck warns his people. A few scenes later Broyles isolates his protagonist on a remote island in the Pacific, with nothing to his name except a pocket watch, a pager, and whatever he can claim from the rocks and sea. His options: reinvent or perish.
Dear Ron and John:
Heard y'all are coming to Texas to make a moving picture. We are mighty excited! It has been a long, lonely fifteen years since somebody made an epic about our favorite subject, the Alamo. Here are a few tips to make your stay productive and enjoyable.
Tip Number 1: FINDING THE ALAMO
GENE RISER WHEELS HIS PICKUP over the caliche road in the thorny South Texas brush country near the town of George West, halfway between Corpus Christi and San Antonio. He's showing off his 2,500-acre mesquite-studded property while explaining why he became a deer rancher. His grandfather, he tells me, bought this land and tried to make a living as a cattle rancher. He barely made ends meet. Riser's father cleared a lot of the brush away and tried to farm the land, but the lack of rain doomed that effort too.
GALVESTON IS ONE OF GOD'S FORSAKEN PACKAGES, a place where the desperate and the disenfranchised wash ashore with every tide, so the wiry little man with the bleached peach-pit face and a fishing cap pulled over his ears looked no different from the other drifters waiting for food vouchers. The staff at the Jesse Tree, a small storefront charity on Market Street, a few blocks from the port and hard against a sprawling ghetto of shotgun houses and abandoned cotton-storage warehouses, was always ready to hear a tale of woe.
Did you hear the one about the country singer who was funny enough to be a stand-up comic? At least that’s what Willie Nelson’s friends say. “He’s very sharp,” insists Texas Monthly writer-at-large Kinky Friedman, a pal for thirty years.
HAPPIER NEW YEAR! SURELY 2002 HAS TO be better than 2001, and the best way to help it get off to a good start is with a little laughter. Along with our regular January feature, the Bum Steer Awards, in this issue we present a collection of Texas humor pieces: two hundred classic Texas jokes, plus Willie Nelson's favorite clean jokes—no dirty cracks, please—and lots more.
KNOCK, KNOCK. WHO'S THERE? TEXAS. TEXAS WHO? Texas no time at all to round up a herd of regional jokes. On these pages are two hundred of them, from hoary groaners to vintage postcard sentiments to modern one-liners. More than a fourth are examples of the state's undisputed favorite, the Aggie joke. So get ready for some eye-rolling, knee-slapping, sidesplitting humor—not to mention a few jokes so bad they might make you gag.
AT A TIME OF DUMB AND DUMBER HOLLYWOOD FARE, Wes Anderson is making comedy smart again. The 32-year-old Houston native has made arguably the funniest movie of 2001, though he seems unsure just what to call The Royal Tenenbaums' mix of deadpan wit and melancholy longing. "I usually call it a comedy, but that's because I don't know what else to call it, really," Anderson says.
Is that your real name? I thought Jack Handey was a made-up name. Jack Handey is a made-up name. It was made up by my parents when I was born. However, I am a real person. I was born in San Antonio on February 25, 1949, went to high school (Eastwood) and college (the University of Texas at El Paso) in El Paso, and worked for a while at the San Antonio Express-News—until my reporting job was eliminated after I wrote an article that offended local car dealerships.