April 2000 Issue

The Texas A&M bonfire tragedy.
On the Cover

The Aggie Bonfire Tragedy

What’s so important about a stack of wood? Every Aggie knows that the answer is tradition—which is why, after a catastrophe that took the lives of twelve young men and women, the decision of whether to continue, change, or call a halt to the bonfire looms so large at Texas A&M.



Can Doodle

From the fabulous, furry Gilbert Shelton to the hypercaffeinated Shannon Wheeler, these celebrated Texas cartoonists will surely draw you in.


The Sins of the Father

For Tom Cherry, the precise place where loyalty to his dad ends and a larger obligation to society begins lies deep in the woods of East Texas, at the intersection of history and conscience, where the truth about a church bombing during the struggle for civil rights in the South


Shrake’s Progress

The Borderland, Bud Shrake’s epic novel about the early days of the Republic of Texas, is the crowning achievement of a life that is itself the stuff of legend.



The Sundance Kid

Fresh from a victory tour of the film festival circuit, UT's Paul Stekler is ready for action. And lights. And camera.


Straight Shooter

Rashard Lewis may have left his Texas hometown for the NBA at a frighteningly young age, but he's no Leon Smith.


The King of Clubs

The longtime impresario of the coolest chain of nightlife spots in Texas remembers well what it was like to be a Cellar dweller. Me too.



Studio City

Oh, Canada: You've taken film business away from Texas. Can an Austin soundstage get it back?

Book Review

A Twist at the End: A Novel of O. Henry

HI, SAYLOR Austin’s grisly past.IN AUSTIN IN 1885 the talk of the town was the series of unsolved ax murders of eight people — most of them maids or young mothers — by unknown fiends who were dubbed the Servant Girl Annihilators. Today Steven Saylor’s fictional take on the crimes

Music Review

Wrestling Over Tiny Matters

EVER SINCE SISTER SEVEN moved from Dallas to Austin in 1991 and became one of Texas’ most consistently popular and hardest-touring bands, their curse has been that of every post-Dead “jam” band: great improvisational players don’t often fare well in sterile studios, and rubbery funk grooves rarely add up to

Music Review

Too Much Coffee Man

HEARD OF BOB DOROUGH? The former Plainview resident’s early work never caught on with the record-buying public, yet many unsuspecting fans know him as the anonymous voice behind such animated Schoolhouse Rock vignettes as “Three Is a Magic Number.” Too Much Coffee Man, Dorough’s sophomore effort in his late-in-life jazz

Music Review

Chris Rybak

TAKE A LANKY 22-year-old kid in a cowboy hat who cites Flaco Jiménez and Myron Floren as major influences alongside Hank Williams, Garth Brooks, and George Strait, and you just know there’s a whole lotta polka in his country soul. And that’s precisely what Chris Rybak’s self-titled CD is all

Music Review

Toad of Titicaca

HAVING MADE HIS NAME AS A producer, Austin’s Gurf Morlix has finally stepped up to the plate with his solo debut. These eleven originals reflect the music of the artists he’s worked with (Lucinda Williams, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Robert Earl Keen) and the influence of his Southern California cronies Dave

Book Review

Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush

FOR THE BRIEFEST OF MOMENTS in Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (Random House), the authors allow that political expediency is not George W. Bush’s sole call to arms. Witness his aggressive pursuit of a school funding initiative. That moment aside, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist

Book Review

God’s Favorite: A Novel

Panama’s deposed dictator Manuel Noriega has disappeared from the world’s radar screen, but Austin’s Lawrence Wright shines a klieg light on the despot’s bizarre tenure in God’s Favorite: A Novel (Simon and Schuster). The former Texas Monthly contributing editor brilliantly fictionalizes Noriega’s fall from grace, complete with chilling depictions of

The Ex Files

Charles Barsotti

I was born in San Marcos at my grandmother’s house in 1933, but I grew up in San Antonio. I did most of the kid stuff you do when you grow up in Texas, like play sandlot baseball. I read all the comics — Li’l Abner, Captain Marvel, and all



Stir-Fried Squid Pasta

1/2 cup good quality oyster sauce 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons sesame oil (for frying) 3/4 pound squid, either cut in half-inch rings or cut in half lengthwise and scored vertically 2 Thai chiles or 1 serrano chile, minced 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 2 shallots, thinly sliced 1/2 pound

Book Excerpt

The Borderland

PART ONE: TOWARD THE LITTLE PIGEONI am busy and will only say how da do, to you! You will get your land as it was promised, and you and all our Red brothers may rest satisfied that I will always hold you by the hand.—letter from Sam Houston to


The Inside Story

The Inside Story

Perhaps he heard a voice whisper, “If they build it, you will come.” Whatever the reason, contributing editor John Morthland was happy to spend much of the early part of the year visiting the state’s new minor league baseball diamonds for this month’s guide to the eight Texas teams in

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