Patricia Sharpe, Chester Rossen, and Penny De Los Santos.
Senior editor Patricia Sharpe has done it all at texas monthly, from proofreading restaurant reviews in the seventies to writing celebrated features today (this year she won a prestigious James Beard Foundation Journalism Award). “I had been lusting after a job at the magazine after I saw a picture of the staff on its first anniversary,” says Sharpe, who was hired in 1974. “Everyone was so young and cool.” This month she digs into tacos (“The Greatest Tacos Ever Sold,”). “You have to psyche yourself up for the story,” she says. “You get in your car at 10:45 in the morning, and you eat all day long.”
The close of the October 2006 issue was a sad one. Associate editor Chester Rosson, who first started at texas monthly in 1975, retired to his family farm outside Crockett. He was the kind of person you didn’t mind poring over a complicated story with at two o’clock in the morning, and he patiently fielded our questions about the Houston Grand Opera and the state’s Germanic roots. But thankfully, “retirement” didn’t last long. Though he’ll stay in East Texas, this month Rosson rejoins the staff as a contributing editor, fact-checking a ranking of public schools (“The Best Public Schools,”). At the start of every workday, he used to greet his colleagues with a cheerful “Is everything wonderful yet?” To which we can say once again, “Yes, Chester. It is.”
Penny De Los Santos
The average person would balk at hanging out in a nightclub frequented by gang members or cruising around the meaner streets of Houston with a gang task force. For Austin-based documentary photographer Penny De Los Santos, though, doing that was just another few days on the job. “It didn’t feel as intense or intimidating once I got to know these kids,” she says about capturing images of the various street crews (“You Don’t Want to Know What We Do After Dark,”). So how exactly did De Los Santos, whose work has appeared in National Geographic and Sports Illustrated, get the members to make nice with the camera? “You really have to be nonassuming and as comfortable as you can, because these kids will see right through you.”