Old News: An Illustrated Look at Curious Headlines From a Bygone Era

 “El Paso—Rayo Reyes, a musician, in an unwary moment, crosses to the Mexican side and is robbed of everything he had with him by highwaymen. The hold-up was a most thorough one, and included the taking of Reyes’ clothes. He was afterwards forced to recross the Rio Grande in his underclothes.”
Shiner Gazette, March 4, 1909


Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

For years, Cleveland Turner was a fixture of Houston’s Third Ward, riding his bike every day, foraging for cast-off flowers, misfit toys, and other brightly colored urban detritus to decorate his home at 2305 Francis Street, the third location of the Flower Man House, his decades-long, ever-evolving masterpiece of African American yard-show art. But when Turner fell ill with stomach cancer in 2013, the house ailed as visibly as he did.

The Checklist


Black Beauty, Elana James (Snarf Records, February 24)
As Hot Club of Cowtown’s fiddler and singer, James is best known for playing western swing and hot jazz. Black Beauty is a reminder that her training—studies in classical and North Indian music, a sideman gig with Bob Dylan—ranges much further. And so: a disparate bunch of original compositions, an Azerbaijani folk song, and covers of Dylan, the Dead, and, hmmm, the electro-pop duo Yazoo.

Meanwhile, in Texas . . .

  • A Slaton man deposited five hundred pounds of pennies, equaling about $816, which he’d been collecting for 65 years.
  • As of January 22, Amarillo had received 13.1 inches of snow in 2015, an inch more than Syracuse, New York, “America’s Snowiest Big City.”
  • The Dallas Safari Club, which last year faced criticism for auctioning off a hunt of the endangered black rhino, faced criticism again for sponsoring an African elephant hunt, which it eventually canceled.

SXSW Everything

From the moment in 1986 when the idea to hold a music conference in Austin was first broached, Roland Swenson has been a part of SXSW—initially to convince people that it wasn’t a crazy idea, and then to make it happen. In the years since, he has overseen a trajectory of growth that has included the launches of SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, SXSW Edu, SXSW Eco, and the V2V entrepreneurial conference.

Plains Sound

Sometimes Hayden Pedigo really hates Amarillo. Nothing much happens here: it’s flat and it smells and it’s full of cowboys who dip snuff and drive huge pickups and listen to bad country music. No one understands the music he makes—the intricate fingerpicking on acoustic guitar and the long, ambient dreamscapes on electric guitar and synthesizer, sometimes using sounds he records in his apartment and around town.

Origami Prunes

I first met Laura at a washateria the day both my washer and Michael Jackson died. It was the end of June, Austin gusty and yellowed in heat, orange in the sky. Wildfires were consuming the Hill Country, and local TV anchors had started to talk about the end of the world. It was Thursday, and for no reason, I had called in sick.

The White Stuff

Empire of Cotton: A Global History (Alfred A. Knopf), by Harvard professor Sven Beckert, is cut from the same cloth as last year’s surprise publishing sensation, French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Both books are groundbreaking economic histories that convincingly demonstrate how capitalism’s “invisible hand” has too often meant the back of the hand for countless workers and, more recently, an endangered middle class.

Elefant Press

One of the many posters hanging in the Deep Ellum studio of Elefant Press says it all: “Art Is Work.” The quote—from famed graphic designer Milton Glaser—rings especially true as Fernando Gonzalez moves about his shop, hand-cranking the Vandercook printing press again and again or mixing ink to get the perfect Pantone shade. Gonzalez, a former ad-agency art director, got his start in letterpress printing in 2010, with a small tabletop press in his apartment.


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