April 1996 Issue

On the Cover

The Ultimate Hill Country Tour

Spend a long weekend this spring meandering through Texas’ fabled heartland, where you can stop and smell the wildflowers, taste country cooking, and take home a trunkful of fine antiques.


Life After Oil

Midland’s energy companies are still laying people off a decade after the bottom of the bust. But—surprise—the city’s economy is booming again.

Wafer Madness

Inside a state-of-the-art semiconductor factory, a day’s work is never done, as technicians race to build smaller, faster, and more-powerful computer chips.


The Cult of Keen

It took two decades of shows at honky-tonks filled with frat-boy fans and Aggie admirers, but singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen has his first major-label record deal.

Not a Pretty Picture

Dallas and Houston have done it; Beaumont and Corpus Christi have too. So why hasn’t Austin built a respectable art museum? It comes down to three things: money, management, and mission.

Cool Hand Lukas

Austinite Lukas Haas is back on the big screen alongside Winona Ryder, Julia Roberts, and Jack Nicholson. For now, though, he isn’t letting Hollywood go to his head.


Don Baylor

Growing up in Austin in the fifties and sixties, I couldn’t play baseball in certain places. In Clarksville, a mostly black area where there were no paved streets, I could usually find a pickup game. In West Lynn, which was whiter, I kind of had to push myself into one.

Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger’s acting résumé to date is a mixed bag of (mostly) generational posturing. The 26-year-old graduate of the University of Texas at Austin had a nonspeaking role in Dazed and Confused, then took on heftier parts in films like Love and a .45 and Empire Records. But Zellweger, who

Wild About Harry

Houston attorney-novelist Eric L. Harry flashed on the idea for his new technothriller while rafting on a river. In Society of the Mind (Harper Collins, $25), due out in June, a mad genius lures a young Harvard professor to his secret island compound to psychoanalyze an equally disturbed computer…New York

Death and Texas

Here’s a World Wide Web page to die for. The Texas State Cemetery in Austin goes online (www.cemetery.statetx.us) late this month, thanks to the General Services Commission. You can scan a list of the more than two thousand luminaries buried there, from father of Texas Stephen F.

CD and Book Reviews

Hot CDsYes, it’s that Tiny Tim—albeit with a gruffer voice than you probably remember—singing with Denton polkaholics Brave Combo on Girl (Rounder). Together, the onetime tulip tiptoer and the 1995 Grammy nominees bip and bop through a set of standards (“Stardust”) and pop-rock faves (“Hey Jude”). The collaboration may not


Fresh Beet, Radicchio, and Goat Cheese Salad

Recipe from chef-owner Lynette Hawkins Mandola, La Mora, Houston.Balsamic Vinaigrette2 tablespoons pancetta (2 or 3 ounces), sliced 1/8-inch thick and then cut into 1/4-inch squares (you may substitute prosciutto) 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon sugar 4 tablespoons olive oil


Around the State

For Texas baseball fans, April is the cruelest month. Find out if the Rangers go down swinging this year—and if the Astros will be safe at home. Plus: Wildflower power (Austin), head-turning tribal masks (Houston), Russian ballerinas on their toes (El Paso), and the twentieth century by design (Dallas). Edited

The Buckle Stops Here

“I always liked Western buckles,” says Robert Brandes, “and then one day it dawned on me to ask, ‘Hey—who makes these things?’” The Austin collector-investor set out to learn more about the silversmiths and engravers who made their mark on cowboy adornment in the form of weighty, elaborately decorated rodeo-style

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