August 2006 Issue

On the Cover

96 Minutes

At 11:48 a.m. on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman began firing his rifle from the top of the University of Texas Tower at anyone and everyone in his sights. At 1:24 p.m., he was gunned down himself. The lives of the people who witnessed the sniper’s spree firsthand would never be the same again.



American Idol

Although many people haven’t heard of him, Bishop T.D. Jakes is one of the most famous—and richest— preachers in the country. Whence cometh this man?


Light in the Darkness

The title of James Evans’s new series of Big Bend photographs is “The Camera Never Sleeps.” It doesn’t matter, apparently, that the photographer does.


Free for All

Eighty-five incredibly fun things, from movies to museums, that won’t cost you a red cent.


Karen Olsson

The Old College Try

The mayor of El Cenizo is 23, is still in school, and lives with his mother. But he’s serious about making life better in his impoverished border hometown.


Music Review

Sound Team

SOUND TEAM initially gained notoriety with their DIY work ethic: They gigged constantly, hawked cassettes, built their own studio. Like many young bands, their early music lunged from one direction to another, finally coalescing in their recently released major-label debut, MOVIE MONSTER (Capitol). The irony of a fiercely independent Austin

Music Review

Legends of Country Music: Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

Texas without BOB WILLS? If you can even conceive of such a thing, you need to spend some serious time with the four-CD LEGENDS OF COUNTRY MUSIC: BOB WILLS AND HIS TEXAS PLAYBOYS (Columbia Legacy). Crowing his trademark “a-haaaa!” over this weird, ofttimes hokey music, Wills—bandleader, master fiddler, drunk, innovator,

Book Review


JEFF ABBOTT’s star has been slowly but steadily on the rise. A string of paperback-only mysteries earned the Austin writer a bump up to the hardcover big leagues. His second hardback, FEAR, is a pharmaco-thriller about a clandestine medical clinic (cue diabolical laughter) experimenting with Frost, a drug that smoothes

Book Review

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

One might suspect that gremlins erased all the peaceful democracies from BEN FOUNTAIN’s office globe, so fascinated is the Dallasite with the world’s trouble spots in BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH CHE GUEVARA, a collection of eight finely crafted short stories. Touching only quickly on the revolutions and coups of his settings

Book Review

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

THE LOOMING TOWER: AL-QAEDA AND THE ROAD TO 9/11 might be the bracing splash of ice water that alerts the Great Satan America to how little it knows about the radical Islamic culture that spawned its bête noire, Osama bin Laden (the seventeenth of 25 sons and one of 54

Author Interview

Allen Wier

What about this era appealed to your novelist instincts? During the war, so many men left Texas to fight in the East that the Comanches moved the western frontier eastward by one hundred to two hundred miles. In June of 1875 Quanah Parker and his tribe were the last Comanches

Artist Interview

George Jones

You’re about to be 75. Anything you’d do over? I never dreamed I would have the life that I’ve had. I’m in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I have loyal fans. It tears me up when people tell me they went to see me and I didn’t show. I

Joe Allbaugh

“They take a shot at the presidency indirectly through me, which is fine . . . It just angers me that our professional journalists have accepted lower standards. I feel like Sergeant Friday: ‘Just the facts, ma’am.’”


Happy Trails

Happy Trails

For most of my life as a provincial San Antonian, I had often heard about this wondrous place in Austin called Barton Springs.

Texas History 101

Texas History 101

Today, the McDonald Observatory considers catering to star-savvy folks serious business.

Web Exclusive

A Life’s Calling

Writer-at-large William Martin on writing about T.D. Jakes, one of the nation’s most famous ministers.

Web Exclusive

Down and Out

Writer-at-large Cecilia Ballí talks about former Cameron county sheriff Conrado Cantu.

Web Exclusive

The Deadly Tower

Senior editor Pamela Colloff talks about tracking down eyewitnesses and listening to their accounts of Charles Whitman’s shooting spree from atop the University of Texas Tower.


Jalapeño Poppers

1 pound chicken breasts, poached 1 cup coconut milk, reduced 25 whole jalapeños, pickled and cleaned 1/4 cup coconut, flaked 3 tablespoons ginger, minced 3 tablespoons garlic, minced 1/4 cup scallion, sliced 3 tablespoons lemongrass, minced 3 tablespoons lime juice 2 cups buttermilk 1 whole egg, whisked 3 cups flourPoach

Books That Cook

Books That Cook

Packed with information on the history and culture of Houston, The Star of Texas Cookbook reads like an encyclopedia of cuisine from the Bayou City and the surrounding areas. The ladies from the Junior League of Houston really know their stuff—food included.The book begins with a helpful guide on choosing

Texas Tidbits

Texas Tidbits

The element most conspicuously absent from our tour of the University of Texas Tower was any mention of sniper Charles Whitman.

Pat's Pick


IN MY 31 YEARS AS A RESTAURANT REVIEWER, I’ve never seen this before: The wives of two of the most famous chefs in Dallas have gotten together and opened their own restaurant. No, they’re not cooking, but they are definitely running the show, and, as might be expected given the


Editor's Letter

Change, Pardners

Two related points about the state of the increasingly crazy business we’re in. First, like delicate species in the ecosystem, magazines can’t survive if they don’t adapt. Second, rumors of print journalism’s death have been greatly exaggerated, but as with so many overstatements, there’s an embedded grain of truth, and

Around the State

Around the State

Jordan’s PickShakespeare Festivals HOUSTON, ODESSA, WINEDALEWHAT IS IT ABOUT this time of the year That breeds such great love for thee, O Shakespeare? ’Tis said the sun’s heat doth render one giddy Is it more likely your verses so witty? In hamlets, in towns, no thought for

Roar of the Crowd

Water Log

I’M SURE GLAD YOU decided to exclude Belton Lake from your “Water, Water Everywhere” story [June 2006]. Maybe it will stay one of the most gorgeous, least crowded, clearest, and most enjoyable lakes in the state.GEORGE DUTTONArlingtonHOW COULD YOU LEAVE OFF the state’s number one bass-fishing lake,

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