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Senior editor John Spong holds a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Texas. In 1997, after working two years as a civil litigator, he joined Texas Monthly as a fact-checker, then moved into a staff writing position in 2002. He was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2010 for his story on Texas dance halls, “Step Right Up,” and has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters’ O. Henry Award for Magazine Journalism—for “The Good Book and the Bad Book,” about a censorship battle at a private school in Austin, and for “Holding Garmsir,” about a month he spent with a platoon of U.S. Marines fighting in Afghanistan. He is the author of A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove, and his stories have appeared in numerous collections, including Best Food Writing 2012 (Da Capo Press, 2012) and The Best American Sports Writing 2009 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). Inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2013, Spong also sits on the advisory council of the Wittliff Collections, at Texas State University. He lives in Austin, his home since 1971, with his wife, Julie Blakeslee, and their two sons, Willie Mo and Leon.

Articles by John Spong

Road Warrior

Apr 1, 2004 By John Spong

"There were a lot of wild nights, people taking us in and offering us whatever they had. There were a lot of those 'offerings.'"

Spoon at a Fork

Apr 1, 2004 By John Spong

According to Time, the Austin rock-pop trio Spoon "just might be your next favorite band." But Britt Daniel and the boys have been burned by such pronouncements before, so this time they’re carefully considering their options—and, as always, putting their music first.

Off the Wall

Feb 1, 2004 By John Spong

Call it "Glove Story": Being the president of the international Michael Jackson Fan Club means never having to say you're sorry—even now.

Talk To Me

Sep 30, 2003 By John Spong

Associate editor John Spong talks about Hollywood types, drinking beer, and a typical high school scene.

King’s Ransom

Sep 30, 2003 By John Spong

At UT's Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, extraordinary cultural treasures are available for your inspection—if you know the magic word.

State Bar

Jun 30, 2003 By John Spong

If Texas politics is your thing and you live in Austin, sometimes you want to go where every lobbyist knows your name. And they're always glad you came.

The Story of O

May 31, 2003 By John Spong

Never mind that he got kicked out of St. Mark’s and dropped out of UT, or that his line readings seem a little . . . off. Somehow, Owen Wilson is the kind of guy who gets movies made. And he gets $10 million a pop, dude.

Top Fifty

Apr 30, 2003 By Patricia Sharpe, Eileen Schwartz, Joe Nick Patoski, Katy Vine, John Morthland, Paul Burka, John Spong, Michael Hall, Jane Dure and Christopher Keyes

Unless otherwise noted, all places take credit cards. ABILENE: Harold’s Pit Bar-B-Q We didn’t catch pitmaster Harold Christian singing gospel songs to his customers, but we’re told that isn’t an unusual occurrence. This cozy little room, packed with nine picnic tables, seven booths, and a congregation of athletic trophies, is…

Chasing Shadows

Mar 1, 2003 By John Spong

Why is James Evans so good at photographing the mavericks and renegades who make Big Bend one of the most interesting places on earth? Because he is one himself.

I, the Juror

Apr 1, 2002 By John Spong

As a "recovering" attorney with a mixed record at picking juries, I always wondered what made them tick. After receiving a summons this year, I'm still deliberating.

Dreade Locke

Nov 1, 2001 By John Spong

Russell Erxleben and Brian Russell Stearns were first-rate frauds who cheated scores of unsuspecting investors. So how did the prominent law firm of Locke, Liddell, and Sapp get stuck footing a $30 million bill?

Billy “White Shoes” Johnson

Aug 31, 2001 By John Spong

In 1988, when former Houston Oiler Billy “White Shoes” Johnson ended his fourteen-year NFL career, he was the league’s all-time leading punt returner and one of only seven men to have returned four kicks for touchdowns in a single season. But despite all the juking and jetting that earned…

Randall “Tex” Cobb

Aug 31, 2001 By John Spong

On the April morning that opened the last day of shooting the Walker, Texas Ranger series finale, the center of attention was not the all-American star of the show but a retired heavyweight boxer who played a bloodthirsty galoot. Randall “Tex” Cobb had barely twenty words of scripted dialogue, but…

The Judge, Judged

Jul 31, 2001 By John Spong

Corpus Christi's Manuel Bañales believes that some sex offenders should post warning signs in their yards. He says it's about good law; his critics say it's about good publicity.

The Hate Debate

Apr 1, 2001 By John Spong

The question about the James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Act isn't whether it will pass. The question is, Is it good law?

History in the Making

Apr 1, 2001 By John Spong

Austin's new Bob Bullock museum sports six bas-reliefs that tell the story of Texas. Here's how a sculptor and a team of artisans made them, like the museum's namesake, larger than life.

Almost Famous

Nov 1, 2000 By John Spong

For brothers Charlie and Bruce Robison, making country music safe for men again is an intriguing proposition—and a risky one because of their wives.

Transcendental Blues

Jun 30, 2000 By John Spong

In the fourteen years since Steve Earle released his debut LP, Guitar Town, and carved “Dwight Yoakam Eats Sushi” into an elevator wall at MCA-Nashville, he has given a generation of songwriters the courage to buck the Nashville suits. But somewhere in Earle’s well-documented war with authority (a dollar for…

Web Exclusive
Best of Austin: Nightlife

Dec 31, 1969 By John Spong and Michael Hall

Who says it ain’t the good life? These sixteen clubs, lounges, and dives (including one Hole in the Wall) are the reason Austin is called the Live Music Capital of the World.