Like so much else about Leon Bridges, his stage patter is a work in progress. Every few shows he gets up the confidence to say something new to the crowd, to introduce a song with something beyond a simple recitation of its title. At a recent gig at Austin’s South by Southwest music festival, the 25-year-old soul singer from Fort Worth tested out a new introduction to his song “Brown Skin Girl.” “Where are my brown-skin girls?” he asked the audience.
Texans love a tipsy holiday. Take St. Patrick’s Day, when hordes of green-bedecked revelers spill out into the streets, despite our cities’ lacking any sizable Irish populations. But one of the drinking-est occasions comes on the day when we honor, many of us unwittingly, Mexico’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862.
You can get in over your head fast at Oporto Fooding House. Everything on the jumbo-sized menu sounds so beguiling—and is so reasonably priced—that ordering too much is unavoidable. “Let’s see, we’ll have the charred carrots with root chips and goat cheese, please,” you tell your waiter. “And the blue-cheese-stuffed dates. Oh, and the risotto croquettes.” Then your friends pipe up, “Can we get the stuffed piquillo peppers?
Juliet Stipeche doesn’t look like a troublemaker. She has a broad smile, a contagious laugh, and a barely tamed mane of black curls. Her disarming, effervescent manner is reminiscent of the most popular girl in your high school, the one everyone really did like. But behind that charming exterior lurks a relentlessness that would shame a Jack Russell terrier. This is particularly true when it comes to the Hispanic community that the forty-year-old strives to represent.
David Norris still remembers staring in disbelief at the 2008 tax bill for his conference-and-event-center company. In 2007 he’d paid the State of Texas $157. A year later, the number had soared to a staggering $21,000. That increase wasn’t the result of an uptick in revenue. It was a consequence of the state’s new business tax, which had just taken effect.
Marfa is a dancing town. It may also be a doomed town. My friend Frank once told me that years ago a handsome stranger arrived in Marfa and asked a girl to a dance. Her parents forbade the date, so she snuck out the window and danced all evening with this dashing fellow. People marveled at his splendor—his bespoke clothes and his good looks—but when the dance was over and the lights came up, everyone realized that the enchanting stranger had the feet of a chicken.
As cars drove by the soccer fields at Texas State University on a gray Sunday afternoon this past February, they slowed down to take in a strange scene: a dozen people running around holding broomsticks between their legs.
The U.S.S. Texas, a historic vessel now moored near the San Jacinto battleground site, was commissioned in 1914. It is the second Navy battleship to bear that name. The original Texas, authorized by Congress in 1886 but not completed until 1895, was the first American steel battleship, but because of its light armament and the placement of its turrets, it became outmoded before it was launched.
The calming assurance came to Ben Crenshaw where so much had happened before. It was last spring, in the first round of his forty-third Masters Tournament, his favorite week of the year. He walked down the slope at the thirteenth hole, accompanied by ghosts of triumph and grief and questions that will never get answers. Crenshaw stopped his caddie, Carl Jackson, and looked at him square. “I’ve been thinking about this a long time,” he said.