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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’s 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.

292 Articles

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.

News & Politics|
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 DavisWhat You’ll Need: Cowboy hat, canteenThe 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 County, in

News & Politics|
April 1, 2009

Hysteria

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

True Crime|
April 1, 2009

Across the Line

Was the quaint East Texas town of Mineola home to a horrific child sex ring? Were the three people sent to prison last year for running it guilty? Was justice served? Depends on which district attorney you ask.

Feature|
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.

Feature|
March 31, 2008

Child’s Play

Summer vacation is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. We’ve rounded up 68 of our favorite things to do with your toddlers, teens, and every kid in between. Dance the hokey pokey. Rope a horse. Eat way too many hot dogs. Zip down a waterslide.

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.

Music|
June 1, 2007

Let There Be Lightnin’

Twenty-five years after his death, Sam Hopkins is still one of the most influential bluesmen in history—that much we know. But we don’t know nearly enough about who he was.

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.

Web Exclusive|
August 31, 2006

Running With The Ball

The number one thing you need to be a good running back is a good mind-set—you have to think that you can do whatever you need to. You can’t doubt yourself for a minute. If a guy’s fixing to come knock your head off, and you know he’s fixing to

Books|
June 30, 2006

Body of Work

For twenty years, the Southwestern Writers Collection, on the campus of Texas State University, in San Marcos, has gathered up manuscripts, personal papers, photos, and other mementos from various icons and at least one outlaw. Want to have a look-see?

Feature|
May 31, 2006

The Truth Is Out There

Spoiler alert: The mythic Marfa lights may not be real. But there’s no way to know for sure, and that’s why they’re cool.

Feature|
March 1, 2006

The Believer

Like Cindy Sheehan, Gary Qualls lost a son in Iraq. Unlike her, he doesn’t oppose the war.

Feature|
December 1, 2005

Army Brat

More than anything, we hated the moves, the long drives in a hot car with squabbling siblings, then getting to the new post and having to be the new kid all over again.

Feature|
May 31, 2005

Happiness Is a Warm Gun

In the state with the nation’s most celebrated concealed carry law, is it any wonder that the annual convention of pistol packers, peddlers, and promoters was number one with a bullet?

Reporter|
March 1, 2005

The Survivors

Whether burned, shot, or blown up, the brave soldiers who leave Iraq on a stretcher and start to rebuild their lives at Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, have a lot of fight left in them.

Music|
February 1, 2005

He’s Daniel Johnston, and He Was Gonna Be Famous

He was, for a while, and look what happened: Today one of the great songwriters in the alternative-rock universe is a 44-year-old manic-depressive living with his parents in Waller. And the worst thing about it is that he’s about to be famous again.

Art|
August 31, 2004

“The Buzz About Marfa Is Just Crazy”

A century after the cowboys and ranchers moved in on the local Apaches, Comanches, and Tejanos, the West Texas town is adjusting to a new breed of excitable invaders: Hollywood fashion arbiters, New York art- world youngsters, Houston superlawyers, and the like. Cappuccino, anyone?

Reporter|
May 31, 2004

Class Warfare

When Sul Ross State University professor Larry Sechrest called his neighbors and students idiots and inbreds, the entire town of Alpine rose up against him. Not that he's changed his mind.

Music|
April 1, 2004

City Girl

"I moved to Austin in 1974, and it was this kind of magical place. The whole alternative culture controlled the town."

Sports|
January 1, 2004

Duke of Dunbar

That would be 75-year-old Robert Hughes, who has amassed more victories while coaching in Fort Worth than anyone in high school basketball history. For most people, that would be enough.

Feature|
September 30, 2003

God and Man at Baylor

Can one man change the world's largest Baptist university? He can if he's controversial preacher-president Robert Sloan, Jr. And, just maybe, one man can destroy it too.

Sports|
July 31, 2003

Running for His Life

Ten years ago, on a mountaintop in Africa, about to be burned alive by tribal warriors, a teenager saved himself the only way he knew how. Even today, he wonders why he survived.

Atsbox|
May 31, 2003

Get Out

PASSED BALL The national pastime is as much about the past as the present—and that’s a good thing for Texas baseball fans this season. The Rangers were sent to the cellar almost immediately, and the Astros, even with their fast start and the addition of slugger Jeff Kent, are doomed

BBQ|
April 30, 2003

Top Fifty

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 where

Food & Drink|
April 30, 2003

The Best of the Best

Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q MasonThe name “Cooper’s” has long been synonymous with Llano, but now the Mason operation of the same name has overtaken its distant cousin. Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q was opened in Mason in 1953 by the late George Cooper, whose son Tommy (also deceased) cloned it a decade later

Sports|
April 30, 2003

The Skinny on Slim

Thomas Austin Preston, Jr.—a.k.a. Amarillo Slim—has cut cards with LBJ and hustled all manner of sharpies at pool and Ping-Pong. But at 74, his greatest success continues to be at the poker table, as my $100 and I found out.

Feature|
April 1, 2003

The Ghosts of Mount Carmel

Ten years after eighty Davidians died in a government-led siege, a few surviving members of the sect have returned to the plains east of Waco, looking for something. And, in some cases, waiting for David Koresh to return.

Atsbox|
March 1, 2003

Straight Talk

HIGH FIDELITY Daniel Lanois was born in Hull, Quebec, Canada, in 1951 to French-speaking and musical parents. In addition to being an acclaimed solo artist, he is one of the top record producers in the business, working on albums with U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, and Willie Nelson, among others.

Texas History|
January 1, 2003

Two Wings and a Prayer

Legend has it that an East Texas preacher's homemade flying machine took off in late 1902, nearly a year before Kitty Hawk. Are the history books wrong about who was first in flight—or are they right, brothers?

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