Going Deep

With three documentaries in the past decade, Austin transplant Margaret Brown has tapped a rich cast of colorful characters—regional docents and witnesses to history—to discover the larger truths of culture and place. Her first film, Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt (2005), is a lyrical, engaging portrait of the troubadour-ambassador and native son whose short, storied life (he died at 52) presents like the Stations of the Cross for artistic suffering.

Steer Campaign

For the record, my favorite Bum Steers cover is from way back in 1976. It features Governor Dolph Briscoe smiling and waving from a herd of cattle with the line “Find the Bum Steer in This Picture.” I realize it’s not the most original joke or the smartest image—it’s entirely possible that I’m the only one who finds it funny—but its tone has always struck me as just right when it comes to capturing the spirit of the Bum Steers issue.

Tilting at Gas Wells

In November the citizens of the North Texas city of Denton went to the polls for the midterm elections. They filled in their ballots for the various political races—governor, senator, and so on—and then came upon a very curious proposition. They were asked to vote on an ordinance banning all fracking, a technique used in oil and gas drilling, within Denton’s city limits.


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