December 1997 Issue

On the Cover

Thanks a Million

From the Altshulers to the Zales, the state’s top philanthropists support a range of causes but have at least one thing in common: their selflessness.



Tortilla Flat

A year after she was forced to file for bankruptcy, Houston’s Ninfa Laurenzo is cooking up a way to save her popular restaurant chain.

Crime Pays

He hasn’t been able to find his father’s killer, but Austinite David Wheeler’s computer programs are catching lots of other crooks.

Weekly, Strongly

Why are small-town Texas newspapers thriving? Because unlike big-city dailies, they know their readers, and they give them what they want.


Ara Celi

“When I was little,” Ara Celi says, “I used to watch TV and ask, ‘How do you get on there?’” At 19 the El Paso native set out for Hollywood to answer that question; once there, she quickly learned the three most important words in show business: audition, audition, audition.

Tommy Tune

I started dancing when I was five, after [Houston dance teacher] Emmamae Horn visited my school and asked my parents if I could enroll in her dance class. It must have run in the family, though, because my parents were great dancers too. When I was about nine, I remember

CD and Book Reviews

Hot CDsSure, you can waltz across Texas to the Cornell Hurd Band’s Texas Fruit Shack (Behemoth), but you can also shuffle, two-step, boogie, and maybe even jitterbug. Joined by guest stars like Johnny Bush, Austinite Hurd fronts a versatile group that puts an authoritative stamp on the full run of

Brown in Front

Ten reasons why former police chief Lee Brown is well positioned to be elected Houston’s first black mayor on December 6: (1) He ran stronger than expected in the November 4 primary, with 42 percent to Rob Mosbacher’s 29 percent. Both were projected to poll in the 30’s. (2) The

Austin, Storied

Just as Austin is the Dallas of the nineties—a booming cultural icon bordering on cliché—Austin Stories may be the Dallas of the nineties. The MTV sitcom, which debuted this fall, is weekly television’s first credible portrayal of Texas and Texans since J.R. got shot. (Walker, Texas Ranger? Kung fu in


Hot Chocolate Cake

Pistachio and Eggnog Milk Sauce1/2 cup shelled pistachios 4 medium egg yolks 1/2 cup sugar (less if using eggnog, to taste) 1/2 quart whipping cream or eggnog 1 quart milk 1 vanilla bean, splitRoast pistachios at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, chop, and cool. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in


Her Home Page Is Her Castle

“I love lists,” says Ann Castle, who got into the listmaking business last year when the online magazine Slate asked her for a roundup of the nation’s biggest givers. “Because of the Slate list, lots of people have contacted me about doing this in their state,” she says, though she

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