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

MUSIC
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.

Sharp Tressed Man

In late 1972 ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill were summoned to Johnny Winter’s Houston apartment. The Beaumont-raised Winter—whom Rolling Stone famously put on the map in 1968 by describing him as “a cross-eyed albino with long, fleecy hair, who plays some of the gutsiest, fluid blues guitar you’ve ever heard”—was an arena-filling draw four records into his career. ZZ Top, on the other hand, were still largely beardless and just getting started.

Feels Like the Last Time

The College Station of my late-seventies adolescence had its share of record shops—mall mainstays like Musicland and mom-and-pops that came and went. But Hastings Entertainment was a destination. Its megastore in the Culpepper Plaza strip center, a short bike ride from my home, became the place to while away summer afternoons and shed discretionary income in proportions that only a teenager with part-time employment as a dishwasher could justify.

That’ll Fix Him

Wilfredo Gutierrez, of Houston, pleaded guilty to fraudulently passing himself off as a veterinarian. His dozens of clients apparently appreciated his willingness to make house calls and his cut-rate fees for spaying and neutering.

101 Sure Signs That Summer Anne Burton Is From Texas

After four hectic months working remotely from Austin as the weekend editor for the New York–based news and entertainment website BuzzFeed, Summer Anne Burton accepted a full-time editing position with the company in 2012. For someone who loves creating and curating things on the Internet—she has an active Tumblr, a blog featuring her drawings of major league baseball Hall of Famers, and another blog devoted to obscure music from the fifties and sixties—it was a dream job.

Clear Eyes, Full Wallets

Tom Westerberg would just as soon not answer another question about Allen High School’s Eagle Stadium. “It’s the same thing over and over and over,” the coach of the Allen football team says of the parade of journalists that has interviewed him over the past several months. They want to know about the extraordinary amount of money that was spent on the facility in advance of its 2012 opening. They want to know about the problems that forced the stadium to close this past February.

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