Michael Hall's Profile Photo

Mike Hall writes about criminals, musicians, the law, and barbecue. Mike graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979 with a degree in government. He wrote for various publications, including Trouser Press, Third Coast Magazine, the Austin American-Statesman, and the Austin Chronicle. In 1997 he joined Texas Monthly, where he has won two Texas Gavel Awards from the State Bar of Texas and four Stephen Philbin Awards from the Dallas Bar Association. He was named Writer of the Year at the City and Regional Magazine Awards in 2015. His stories have appeared in The Best American Magazine Writing, The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Da Capo Best Music Writing, the New York Times, and Men’s Journal. Mike is also a musician and has played in Austin bands the Wild Seeds, the Setters, the Lollygaggers, and the Savage Trip. He pitches for the Burkas, the Texas Monthly softball team.

Music |
January 20, 2013

It’s a Family Affair

For all her talent and poise, Beyoncé didn't become the biggest star in the world without help. And she got plenty of it from the people who know her best.

The Culture |
January 20, 2013

The Fabric of Our Lives

I know her as my mother, whose womb I emerged from more than fifty years ago. They—the million or so quilting fanatics, mostly women, who spend hours a day with needle, thread, fabric, and sewing machine—know her as a celebrity. She can’t believe it either.

Sports |
January 20, 2013

EEEEEEAAAAOOOOWWW!!!

On November 5, 181,500 people crowded into a former cow pasture north of Fort Worth to watch 43 race cars drive really, really fast for five hundred miles. That day, the Texas Motor Speedway would be, measured by population, one of the largest cities in the state. Welcome to NASCAR,…

Web Exclusive |
January 20, 2013

Hysteria

When adults are accused of unthinkable crimes against children, what’s fact and what’s fiction can get lost in translation.

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

Pit Stops

Where are the best places to eat barbecue in Texas? Six years ago we published a highly subjective—and hotly debated— list of our fifty favorite joints, and now we’ve gone back for seconds. Ten intrepid souls drove more than 21,000 miles in search of 2003’s worthiest ‘cue. Here’s what they…

Music |
January 20, 2013

The Ballad of Billy Joe Shaver

If the Corsicana native is the best songwriter in Texas, perhaps it's because he knows his material. Hardscrabble upbringing. Sinful behavior. Redemption. Personal tragedy. Profound sorrow. And, finally, more redemption.

Music |
January 20, 2013

Music Clubs

Old country and western in Mingus, zippy zydeco in Bridge City: The shows always go on at these ten tuneful spots.

Law |
January 20, 2013

Death Isn’t Fair

Cops who threaten torture. Prosecutors who go too far. Defense lawyers who sleep on the job. And an appellate court that rubber-stamps it all. Let’s be tough on crime, but let’s also see that justice is done.

Art |
July 31, 2012

Willie Nelson Statue, Austin

Washington, D.C., has Abraham Lincoln, Salt Lake City has Brigham Young, Philadelphia has Rocky Balboa. And now Austin has Willie. The massive bronze sculpture, which was commissioned by a local group called Capital Area Statues, rests downtown at the corner of Willie Nelson Boulevard (formerly Second Street) and Lavaca outside the new studios of Austin City…

Web Exclusive |
March 31, 2012

Justice in Time

Fifteen years after being released from death row, Kerry Max Cook is still looking for freedom.

Web Exclusive |
December 1, 2011

Unsolved Mystery

It has been twenty years since four teenage girls were murdered in a north Austin yogurt shop—and still no answers.

Feature |
May 31, 2011

Falling Comet

In 1955 Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” transformed the sound of popular music and made him an international star. Twenty-five years later he was forgotten, desperate, and dying in Harlingen. How did one of the fathers of rock and roll land so far outside the spotlight?…

Music |
April 30, 2011

Psychedelic Summit

Fifty-eight bands from around the world play Austin Psych Fest 4 April 29–May 1. Michael Hall sits down with the Black Angels, founders of the festival (and the “Reverberation Appreciation Society”) and rejuvenated psychedelic godfather Roky Erickson.

Web Exclusive |
August 31, 2009

Widespread Panic

Despite its status as a public health emergency, is the swine flu just another flu?…

Music |
July 31, 2009

G-L-O-R-I-A

When the legendary Liberty Lunch club closed in July 1999, senior editor and musician Michael Hall came up with a way to say goodbye to an era—play “Gloria” for 24 hours straight.

Web Exclusive |
June 30, 2009

Searching for Truth

Investigators and social workers in the Mineola Swingers Club cases have admitted that there was plenty of evidence that never made it into the first three trials that resulted in three life sentences. Will it make a difference?…

Feature |
May 31, 2009

The Weird, Weird West

Location: Fort Davis What You’ll Need: Cowboy hat, canteen The pleasures of Fort Davis aren’t as arty or oddball as the ones in nearby Marfa or Alpine, but that’s not to say that things aren’t strange. For example, which is weirder: that Fort Davis and Jeff Davis…

Buddy Holly |
February 1, 2009

The Night the Music Died

Fifty years ago, a plane carrying Buddy Holly crashed in a remote Iowa cornfield. This month, hundreds of fans will gather at the ballroom where he played his final show to sing, dance, and mourn the greatest rock star ever to come out of Texas.

Web Exclusive |
January 1, 2009

The Science of Murder

Someone killed Melissa Trotter and dumped her body in the Sam Houston National Forest. But according to six forensic experts, that someone was not Larry Swearingen.

Web Exclusive |
September 30, 2007

American Dreamers

These six entrepreneurs are members of a unique Dallas program that is bringing the promise of microcredit to the Untied States: one small business at a time.

Business |
September 30, 2007

The Unbankables

All over Dallas are working-class dreamers with more will than wallet, would-be entrepreneurs who’d start their own businesses if only they had savings, good credit, home equity. That’s what brings them to the PLAN Fund.

Politics & Policy |
August 31, 2007

Craig’s List

Of the many things the first black district attorney of Dallas County is doing, none is more important than rethinking the concept of guilt and innocence.

Music |
March 1, 2007

The Songs Remain the Same

And for these 8 one-hit wonders, including Balde Silva, of Toby Beau, that’s a good thing: Thanks to wildly successful singles they released many years ago, what might have otherwise been forgettable careers are anything but.