April 2008 Issue

On the Cover

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. And yes, feed the animals.



Citizen Cane

Ten years ago I was shot in Mexico City by a street thug who wanted to kill me. Since then, I’ve endured unbelievable pain and learned how to walk again, and I’m thankful for what I have: a new outlook on life, time with my family, and a chance to

David Koresh

The Fire That Time

On April 19, 1993, the world watched as the Branch Davidian compound, outside Waco, burned to the ground after a 51-day standoff. Fifteen years later, witnesses and participants—from federal agents to loyal followers of David Koresh—remember what they saw during the deadliest law enforcement operation in U.S. history.


The Final Frontier

Karl Gebhardt and Gary Hill, two astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin, are racing to solve one of the greatest mysteries in science: What is dark energy? How does it work? Can it explain the origins of the universe? There’s only one problem. Dark energy may not actually


Child’s Play Directory

Urban Adventures• Tower of the Americas San Antonio 600 Hemisfair Plaza Way, 210-207-8615 or toweroftheamericas.com• Cowtown Cattlepen Maze Fort Worth 145 E. Exchange Ave., 817-624-6666 or cowtowncattlepenmaze.com• Bat Watching Austin and Houston Austin: Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at Lady Bird Lake. Houston: Waugh Drive


Letter from Stephenville

The Searcher

When a UFO streaks across our skies— c’mon, the truth is out there!—Ken Cherry gets to work.


Dog of Love

Like Joe Ely, Jo Carol Pierce grew up in the dusty vacuum of Lubbock, and though she was part of the town’s famed clique of talent, only in her late forties did she begin to take her writing seriously. She penned and performed Bad Girls Upset by the Truth,

Gavin Tabone

He writes their songs, records their music, and gets the fifty-plus kids from Austin’s Palm School Choir onto high-profile stages such as NBC’s Today show and the South by Southwest music festival. Needless to say, this is not your typical school choir. The group has just released its sixth album,

Just Us Kids

The title track may lament the fact that even arrested adolescents grow old, but, if anything, James McMurtry sounds more energized than ever. On Just Us Kids (Lightning Rod), he and his longtime rhythm section—Daren Hess, Ronnie Johnson—have solidified their sound into a low, tribal rock growl, with

Live Cactus!

There’s a short roster of rock and roll performers (Jagger, Springsteen) who can rivet your attention every time they step onstage. If you grew up in Texas, here’s a name on that list: Joe Ely. Those who have seen Ely give his all, particularly with his early Jesse Taylor/Ponty

Willie Nelson: An Epic Life

The first time nine-year-old Booger Red got drunk on beer, he decided, “I had already fucked up more ways than God was going to put up with . . . so I had in mind, the sky’s the limit from here on, I mean I can’t go to hell twice.”

The Story of Forgetting

Stefan Merrill Block is a talent. Though his debut novel, The Story of Forgetting, sings a bit from the Jonathan Safran Foer hymnal (a precocious teen trying to unravel his family’s tragic history), the Plano native distinguishes himself with inventive plotting and an urbane Texas voice. High Plains

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The best-selling Houston-based writer sets her new novel, The Palace of Illusions, in the fifth millennium BCE. Based on India’s epic Mahabharat poem, it examines love and war from the perspective of Princess Panchaali. (Read an excerpt.)What concerns did you have in tackling such a beloved

Joe Wayland, Oil Field Worker

Wayland grew up in Midland and has worked in the oil industry for nearly a decade. He is now a mud engineer for Baker Hughes Drilling Fluids in Victoria.When I was growing up in Midland, I didn’t want anything to do with the oil field. In junior high, you learn


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The best-selling Houston-based writer sets her new novel, The Palace of Illusions, in the fifth millennium BCE. Based on India’s epic Mahabharat poem, it examines love and war from the perspective of Princess Panchaali. (Read an excerpt.)The Palace of Illusions is a re-imagining of the


Editor's Letter

The Audacity of Hope

I have a very clear memory of returning from a birthday trip with my wife to Paris, where we were blissfully unaware of the awful happenings back home. This was in late April 1998, when cell phones weren’t ubiquitous and BlackBerrys didn’t exist—even e-mail was in limited use—so my first

Roar of the Crowd

Tap Dance

I have been in the water business for more than 28 years. “The Last Drop” is the best article I have ever read about the state of water supplies, planning, and history of supply development in Texas [February 2008]. This article should be considered a great public service. However,

Explore the Archive

See all issues
Magazine Latest