By now, I’m accustomed to getting ambushed by some big feeling at an unlikely time and place—dread after passing a packed Chili’s parking lot, profound relief at a dripping kitchen faucet. So why shouldn’t it be that I was standing in traffic outside a racetrack by the airport when I felt real hope for the first time in a year?
It was a cool, foggy Saturday morning last month, a trial run for a new drive-through clinic organized by leaders in Travis, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties at the Circuit of the Americas parking lot. They hoped to give out three thousand vaccine doses that day, and my wife and I had signed up to volunteer. Along with a few dozen others, we each got a bright green vest and an iPad, and went car to car to check people in for their appointments. There are many opportunities like this across Texas—check your county health department website for details. Some sites offer the vaccine to volunteers if there are leftover doses or after a certain number of hours worked, though that wasn’t the case for me at this particular spot.
It was a massive operation, but my five-hour shift was low-stress and entirely outdoors. Everyone was happy to be there. After a year when anything fun was planned in advance and a surprise was usually some kind of disaster, it was a great novelty to approach a car and meet a family that had dressed alike for the occasion, or the funny guy who gave me his burger order instead of his name and appointment time. The sight of a long line of cars, stretching down the highway and out of sight, was an image that finally seemed to put this pandemic on a scale that seemed right, and make it feel like we were all inching closer to better times.
—Patrick Michels, podcast producer
Peruse the Work of Photographer Rahim Fortune
It may be odd for me to recommend something I have not yet laid eyes on, but I’d be remiss not to let the masses know that Austin photographer Rahim Fortune has a book coming out next month. Fortune’s works carry the distinct trademarks of stillness and intimacy with his subjects—whether they be people or places—and I expect that I can’t stand to see you cry will be no different. Shot mostly in black and white in natural to soft light, Fortune’s photography is without embellishment. It’s this artful, stripped-down approach that allows viewers to feel the emotions his subjects carry. With the book’s focus on Texas, I’m looking forward to seeing our state and its people through his thoughtful eyes, surely experiencing them in a new way. I can’t stand to see you cry is available for preorder. In the meantime, check out some of Fortune’s work for Texas Monthly in Michael Hall’s profile of Lydell Grant.
—Claire Hogan, photo editor
Behold the Drag Stylings of Asia O’Hara and Plastique Tiara
If you’ve ever tuned in to RuPaul’s Drag Race, you know that a Texan has yet to snatch the crown, but on season after season, queens from the Lone Star State prove that they know how to steal a scene. Earlier this month, seven of the show’s alums (including Dallas natives Asia O’Hara and Plastique Tiara) showed off their skills on the Texas leg of the national Drive ’N Drag Saves 2021 tour. Tiara, one of the franchise’s most-followed queens on social media, stunned as her superhero alter ego the Goddess, performing her dance routine in angelic wings and a feathered bodysuit. O’Hara, who made it to the finale of season ten, performed a killer light show as she tossed and twirled an LED baton to the music in a matching light-up outfit. Though we’re still a ways from being able to see drag shows in clubs and bars, the drive-in format was a fun way to satisfy that live performance fix. To find out about upcoming shows, follow O’Hara and Tiara on Instagram.
—Cat Cardenas, associate editor