Giving a Tour of the Capitol

● When I started working as a tour guide, it was a part-time job for college kids. Today it’s much more competitive. We have guides who have earned advanced degrees in history. One guide worked in the architect’s office at the U.S. Capitol, and another teaches American history at Austin Community College.

The Usual Suspects

There’s an old joke that goes like this: A girl is out milking the family cow one morning when a stranger rolls up and asks if her parents are at home. The girl yells out, “Mama, there’s a man here to see you!” Her mother peers out the door and, seeing the man, says to her daughter, “Get in the house! Haven’t I told you not to talk to strangers?”

“But, Mama,” the girl protests, “he says he’s a state senator.”

“Well, then,” says the woman, “bring the cow too!”


Imagine a pinball machine where the ball never drops out of play, slamming into one far-flung target after another, over and over again. It would be thrilling—until the careering gave you whiplash. Austin’s White Denim, a power trio turned quartet, are nimble players with the sort of hinky synchronicity that comes from rehearsing exhaustively and obsessing over the same formative influences.


The atmosphere at this French brasserie veers to the burlesque, especially if you find yourself in the tent that encloses the front yard during bad weather. With its floor-to-ceiling red drapes and chandeliers entwined with red tree branches, the place could be a set for Moulin Rouge. The food is classic French: steaming bowls of onion soup with gobs of Gruyère on top, steak frites, thick grilled pork chops with potatoes au gratin.

Night of the Living Ed

The Guests

David Anthony is the superintendent of Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, the third-largest ISD in Texas.

Bill Hammond is a former state representative and the president of the Texas Association of Business.

Louis Malfaro is the secretary-treasurer of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, the country’s second-largest education union.

Bob “Bleed” Merkt, Vintage-Car Builder

Merkt, who grew up in Wisconsin, has been designing and building hot rods for more than twenty years. He moved to South Austin in 2007 and is currently a partner and main fabricator at Austin Speed Shop.

When I was six or seven, my uncle gave me his collection of fifties and sixties hot rod magazines. There were a few hundred, and since I was just a kid, I didn’t realize they were old. I memorized every one. Now I can pick an era and know exactly what cars were popular in a certain year.


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