June 1997 Issue

On the Cover

“Nothing to It”

Bolstered by his favorite phrase, my son Mark faced life with grace, dignity, and good humor. I knew he’d face death the same way.


The Curse of Romeo and Juliet

Frankie Mitchell and Janet Evans want to be together, but their families are feuding. It’s a story as old as Shakespeare—older, in fact, because they’re Gypsies, the children of two prominent Dallas clans, and ancient superstitions guide every aspect of their lives. Even love.

Shock Therapy

By employing stereotypes like Sambo and Aunt Jemima, Austin painter Michael Ray Charles hopes to master the art of racial healing.

Sloane, Alone

Dallas’ Sloane Simpson was a society queen who enchanted New York, seduced Mexico City, and turned Acapulco into a jet-set getaway. But when she died last year at age eighty, she was almost completely forgotten.

Out There

For seven days Rick McLaren and his armed cohorts were holed up in their Republic of Texas “embassy” while reporters dug for stories, lawmen kept watch, and the residents of nearby Fort Davis wished they’d all go away.

Captions and Comments

Left: Untitled, 1993. Right: Beware, 1994. The old stereotypes have only been repackaged, Charles says. Right: Clockwise from top left, four paintings from the Liberty Bros. Permanent Daily Circus series: Blue Period, 1995, Oop’s, 1995, Desperados Leap for Life, 1996, and Smiles, 1996. “I’m trying to be as honest



The Doctor Is In

For El Paso physician Abraham Verghese, writing about life and death in the age of AIDS is a prescription for literary success.

Sierra High

High in the Mexican mountains and only a day’s drive from Texas lies El Cielo, a stunning cloud forest where exotic birds soar but the temperature doesn’t.


Jack Valenti

When I got out of high school at three o’clock each day, I went to work giving away movie passes and hanging up posters in barbershops and drugstores for coming attractions at the Iris or the Texan or the Ritz theaters in downtown Houston. Unfortunately, when I graduated I didn’t

Uma Pemmaraju

While she was still in high school, Uma Pemmaraju persuaded the editors of the San Antonio Express-News to let her write the weekly fishing report—even though she was, so to speak, out to sea on the subject. “I knew nothing about fishing,” she says. “I was basically calling around different

CD and Book Reviews

Hot CDsThe Horsies are an extremely unusual outfit, so it figures that the perverse, polymorphously percussive Austin combo’s second record, Touch Me Columbus, is only available on the relatively obscure Japanese label Benten (though some Texas record stores will be carrying it). A giddy three-man, three-woman band with five often

Triumph of the Williams

After five years ex-Austinite Lucinda Williams’ follow-up to her 1992 CD Sweet Old World is finally kicking up dust. The album’s title, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (American Recordings), refers not to the sound of the Grammy award winner’s voice but to the cross-country travels that inspired such


That’s what Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall got on their recent trip to West Texas. West Texas retailers got it too.


The state prison name game; Dallas alternative-country band the Old 97’s is feeling no depression.

Lights! Camera! No Action!

GEORGE W. BUSH may have the most power in the Capitol, but when it comes to power over the Capitol, he’s just number two. In one of the strangest rivalries of a contentious legislative session, the Texas Film Commission, an arm of the governor’s office, squared off against the State


Sautéed Shrimp on Cannellini Beans

Radicchio Walnut Salad9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (preferably from Modena) 2/3 cup sugar 1 cup walnut halves 2 heads radicchio, coarsely chopped or torn 3 ounces Gorgonzola, finely crumbled salt and pepper to tasteWhisk oil and vinegar until thick and season with salt and pepper. Set


Wore Stories

For her history of Texas fashion (see “The Way We Wore”), senior editor Anne Dingus began with—who else?—Sam Houston. “He’s always a good place to start,” she says, “and he distinguished himself by being sartorially flamboyant.” Then, drawing on library research and her personal archive of vintage postcards, ads,

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