"Las Marthas": The Ordinary Lives of Laredo Debutantes Donning Gowns in the Style of Martha Washington

Most contemporary entertainment set along the Mexican border tends to focus on the brutal drug wars that have killed scores of thousands. Consider the film No Country for Old Men, or the FX series The Bridge. And with the exception of the occasional hard-driving female detective, women in these stories tend to be passive figures or the victims of grisly violence.

Not Just Semi-Opinionated

Dan Jenkins is very likely the only person who started off writing for the afternoon newspapers in the forties and ended up as a maestro of Twitter. But although the Fort Worth legend’s longevity is mind-blowing—next month he’ll cover his sixty-fourth consecutive Masters Tournament—even more impressive is the effect his funny, bracing writing style has had on American sportswriting (newbies looking to sample Jenkins’s prose should start with his pro-football novel, Semi-Tough).

The Checklist

MUSIC

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers Featuring Edie Brickell Live (Rounder, March 11)
The Grammy won this year by the odd-couple native Texans billed by name on this CD/DVD combo—one best known for his movies, the other for a brief flirtation with pop stardom—might have seemed unlikely. But only to those who haven’t heard how well his banjo melodies complement her gingham-dress country vocals. 

God Bless Steve Fromholz

Refugio, Texas, 1975. Midnight. I’m babysitting a drilling rig on the Tom O’Connor ranch, trying to find a station, any station, on my ten-inch portable television. I turn the set to the west and bend the rabbit ears in opposite directions. Nothing but snow. I decide to reboot: I kick the crap out of the TV. Eureka!

The Texas Auteurs Club

The Oscars, which air March 2, are a celebration of all things Hollywood. But they’re also a celebration of more than a few things Texas—like best actor nominee Matthew McConaughey and best documentary feature nominee Cutie and the Boxer. That makes the ceremony a fine cap to a year that saw Texas films and filmmakers achieve impressive results by any number of metrics. From box office returns to critical acclaim to a strong presence at various festivals, it’s obvious there’s a film boom happening right here, right now.

Hypothesis: Our Asses Are Going to Jail If We Don’t Come Up With a Quick Excuse

Five people were arrested on state felony charges when Hidalgo County police broke up a cockfighting match in a warehouse outside of Edinburg. The arrestees protested in vain that their activities were not illegal, citing a section of the Texas Penal Code that permits cockfighting intended as “bona fide experimentation for scientific research.” 

St. Vincent Bares All

In the midst of early January’s polar vortex, St. Vincent—the alter ego of Dallas’s Annie Clark—is tucked into one corner of a bistro booth in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, still bundled in a scarf and puffy black coat intended to protect her from the subfreezing temperatures. Her recently dyed silver curls peek out from beneath her black wool cap.

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