Pumped-Up Kicks

One morning in late July, Chris Santos climbed out of bed filled with anxiety over which pair of shoes to wear. This wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary; for Santos, almost every waking moment revolves around athletic footwear. He spends at least an hour a day on websites like NiceKicks (“the most read source for sneaker news, information, history, and release dates”).

How the Border Crisis Became Inspiration for a Television Show

Last year, the FX show The Bridge won a Peabody Award for “raising awareness of border issues” and indeed, many of the plotlines were based on the realities of life in El Paso and its violence-stricken Mexican sister city a bridge away, Ciudad Juárez. The show touches on drug cartel violence, labor issues, and the hundreds of women who have been murdered or gone missing in and around Juárez since the mid-nineties.

Editor’s Letter

Let me tell you a story about Pamela Colloff. In the mid-nineties, fresh out of college, she was working in Austin as a writer for a law enforcement trade magazine. But what she really wanted was an assignment from Texas Monthly. So she sent in a pitch, only to receive a rejection letter. Undaunted, she sent another and another and another, and each time she was turned down.

The Red & Rough Guide

In an increasingly liberal America the market for books that explain why Texas remains steadfastly conservative seems to only grow. The two latest entries are Princeton University professor Robert Wuthnow’s Rough Country: How Texas Became America’s Most Powerful Bible-Belt State (Princeton University Press) and Texas Republican operative Wayne Thorburn’s Red State: An Insider’s Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics (UT Press).

The Checklist

Chrome Cactus, The Young (Matador Records, August 26)
Anyone who listened to this Austin band’s 2012 album, Dub Egg, and wondered what indie standard-bearer Matador Records heard in the quartet’s not-quite-hard-rock (even a song called “Poisoned Hell” sounded thin and watery) now has an answer, thanks to thicker textures, strong melodies, and a heightened interest in tension and release that the dueling guitarists make good on.

The Compassionate Social Conservative

As a student at Alief Hastings High School, outside Houston, Kyleen Wright became, she says, a “noisy” pro-life activist, and the 54-year-old has since spent more than thirty years working for the cause. It can be rowdy work at times, as during last year’s debate over Texas House Bill 2, which introduced new abortion restrictions and prompted two special sessions and Wendy Davis’s famous filibuster.


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