January 2007 Issue

On the Cover

The 2007 Bum Steer Awards

It was a year of aggrieved actors, banned boobs, Cuban commodes, DeLay denial, errant Elmo, frisky floaters, grouchy governors, hung hoopsters, immigration insensitivity, job-seeking judges, klobbered Karl, Longhorn lushes, miffed musicians, nude no-no’s, ousted Osteens, peeved passers, quarreling queens, riled Rangers, subpar sheriffs, tiny “terrorists,” unseemly URLs, vice presidential violence, wiseacre W., x-asperated x-wives, youthful yakkers, and zoo zeal.


Erykah Badu in an egg chair.

Home Girl

Most people from Dallas who make it big in the music business get out of town as soon as they can. “That’s what celebrities do,” Erykah Badu says. “I never wanted to be a celebrity.”

Coal Hard Facts

Facing an energy crisis, Texas is on the verge of a solution that will belch about five billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the next forty years. Breathe deeply—while you still can.


The Permanent Campaign

Elections disappear into the history books, but the buttons and matchbooks and posters that exhorted us to vote for one candidate or another live on in our memories—and in the personal collection of the state’s biggest political junkie.


Michael Ennis

The Mighty Metroplex

Just a few years after nearly being written off the map, the region has become a roaring engine of growth and social transformation.


Your Biggest Fan

There may be a wait for Austin’s next big thing. In what has to be one of the longest teases in rock history, VOXTROT has released its third consecutive EP. As in, just a measly three more songs. The group’s previous two EPs met with the kind of acclaim that

Cold, Cold World

Much has been written about BLAZE FOLEY over the yearsmaybe too much. His outsized reputation has overshadowed his recordings, which by comparison seem enigmatic, unfocused, and devoid of ambition. But this could actually describe Foley, who in his short lifetime (he was murdered in 1989 at age 39) never made


Looking to feed your indie-rock jones? San Antonio’s SNOWBYRD may be just what you’re seeking. Hard-driving, chugging guitar rhythms, melodic songs with off-kilter Phish/Meat Puppets/Grateful Dead (pick your generation) harmonies, a flair for weird turns, and, of course, a proud lo-fi aesthetic are all combined on the band’s self-titled debut

Murder Among the OWLS: A Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery

MURDER AMONG THE OWLS, the fourteenth offering in BILL CRIDER’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery series, has no literary conceits; it is nothing more—nor less—than a pleasant police procedural set in the sleepy burg of Clearview. This time out, Rhodes is faced with the apparent slip-and-fall death of seventyish neighbor Helen

Sunset Limited

Imagine a stage play with two characters in a ghetto tenement debating the value of life: White is a professor who jumped in front of a train, and Black is the ex-con who rescued him. This is the premise, weighted with all the pretensions of an Intro to Dramaturgy effort,


Even the most cynical hipsters are terminally charmed by their own offspring, which explains how the birth of NEAL POLLACK’S first child, Elijah, sparked the satirist’s transformation—with the publication of ALTERNADAD and an online column of the same name—into America’s postmodern Erma Bombeck. Pollack writes of moving from Philly to

Author Interview

Daniel Quinn

The Houston-based author first reached a widespread audience with his innovative novel Ishmael. His new book, If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways, attempts to explain how he derives his ideas.Your book is drawn from a transcribed dialogue between you and a woman named Elaine. How did you decide

Dick Armey

“If we advocate righteousness and if in the way we live our lives we exemplify righteousness, we are winning by doing our duty. But if we try to mandate righteousness, we are wrong.”

Andrew Shapter & Joel Rasmussen

The Austin filmmakers traveled the country to explore the state of today’s popular music for their documentary Before the Music Dies, which features interviews with Doyle Bramhall, Elvis Costello, Branford Marsalis, and Eric Clapton, among others.How is today’s hand-wringing different from just another generation’s complaining that music is no good



NORMALLY I WOULDN’T DO THIS: mention tripe, tongue, and sweetbreads in the first sentence. No, no, no. The very thought of organ meats makes some people woozy. But here’s my point. A chef who makes a cow’s innards appealing—and Will Packwood emphatically does—can make anything else taste great. At two-month-old

Books That Cook

Books That Cook

Brennan’s of Houston has a tradition in which guests can reserve a spot at the kitchen table and watch their food simmer, ask the chef questions, and scrawl their names in a book (autographs began on a wall but there’s no more space). It’s a way to let people in


Editor's Letter

Our Cover Is Blown

IT WILL SHOCK AND DISTURB YOU—OR MAYBE it won’t—to learn that there are no original ideas in the magazine business; there are only good, worthwhile, creative riffs on original ideas. All of us who assign stories know what we like, and our job is to figure out how to do

Around the State

Jordan’s PickNHL All-Star CelebrationDallasHOCKEY WILL NEVER BE FOOTBALL. In Texas, at least, this truth is self-evident: No matter how many hockey fans rise up in defense of their sport (or write letters to a certain magazine’s editor decrying yet another football cover, as the case may be), the puck will

Roar of the Crowd

Saving Accounts

TEXAS A&M AND THE AGGIES do not need “saving” from anything [“Agent of Change,” November 2006]. CLIFFORD FRYCollege StationA&M SHOULD CONTINUE TO IMPROVE ITSELF, as any viable enterprise must. The question really becomes this: Beyond things like student-faculty ratios, number of minority students, and the quality of faculty credentials,

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