November 2004 Issue

On the Cover

The Good Wife

Is she a “saccharine phony”? A closet liberal? A foot soldier—or a rebel—in the culture wars? The truth about Laura Bush is that her ambiguity makes her a model first lady: a blank screen upon which the public can project its own ideas about womanhood.


They Came. They Sawed.

And they most definitely conquered. The inside story of how a ragtag bunch of hippies made the wildest Texas movie ever (and spilled no more fake blood than was absolutely necessary).


Attack Here

The Houston Ship Channel is considered one of the top strategic targets in the U.S.—an enormous bomb waiting to be detonated by terrorists. But what happens if the bomb actually goes off? Brace yourself for a worst-case scenario of the sort the Homeland Security folks are modeling and simulating and

Around the State


Motherwell Knows Best

If Robert Motherwell’s father had had his way, his son would never have pursued a profession as financially unreliable as painting. But sometimes nothing—not even a father’s will—can deter a child from what he wants to do. Motherwell, whose circle of artistic brethren grew to include Jackson Pollock, Willem


The Bold and the Beautiful

The Spanish Colonial Revival–style mansion in San Antonio known as the McNay Art Museum is a real piece of work—literally. With its manicured lawns, Japanese-inspired fishpond, colorful tiles, and stenciled ceilings—many of which were designed by the mansion’s original owner, art collector and heiress Jessie Marion Koogler McNay—this 24-room masterpiece


Goldie Hawn

The actress will be speaking at the Verizon Wireless Theater, in Houston, on November 11. When did you meet Kurt Russell? 1983. Why didn’t you two get married? We had no need to get married. We just loved each other. It’s a ceremony



Somewhere east of downtown Fort Worth lies the Bethlehem of free jazz. That’s where the innovative, avant-garde sax player Ornette Coleman grew up, in a modest little house near I. M. Terrell High School, which produced jazz greats Charles Moffett, John Carter, King Curtis, Prince Lasha, and Dewey Redman.


Kingdom Come

Back in the eighteenth century, when Emperor Qianlong reigned over a prosperous China, plebeians weren’t allowed anywhere near the palatial quarters of the ruling body. The lavish buildings—9,999 in total—where the emperor lived and governed weren’t collectively called the Forbidden City for naught. Off-limits to the commoner were luxurious


Anne Dingus


From bullet bras to panties emblazoned with the Lone Star flag, a brief history of women’s underwear in Texas.

Accentuate The Negative

To read a Patricia Highsmith novel is to suspend one’s moral judgments. She irresistibly persuades us to side with killers and other amoral characters.



Sects With Strangers

Have you heard the one about the Mormon polygamists who descended on a tiny West Texas town? It would be funny if it wasn't so serious. (Okay, it's pretty funny too.)

Music Review


The tragedy of ELLIOTT SMITH’s 2003 suicide underscores every note of FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL (Anti). Smith made a trio of smart, overlooked indie releases prior to his Oscar-nominated song in the film Good Will Hunting, which launched the career of the Dallas-raised pop singer into the

Music Review


The Texas roots of hypnotic singer-songwriter RICHARD BUCKNER date back to 1994, when his acclaimed debut, Bloomed, was released by a San Marcos label. Eventually, Buckner, a restless wanderer, wound up in Austin, where he spent a good chunk of this past year. He recruited some locals (Butthole Surfers drummer

Music Review


Musicians often disparage board tapes, the live recordings made through a concert PA system. It’s what they don’t capture—stage volume, energy, charisma—that somehow makes them less-than-perfect artifacts. So it goes with GOURDS albums. The Austin group is unquestionably one of Texas’s best, but things can get lost in translation

Book Review


It was relatively easy for SCOTT ZESCH to find his great-great-great uncle Adolph Korn’s gravestone in their family’s hometown of Mason. It was considerably more difficult to uncover the facts of his ancestor’s abduction as a child by an Apache raiding party in 1870 and understand why, by most

Book Review


In 1994 caustic stand-up comic BILL HICKS was knocking on stardom’s door when he died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 32. Ten years later, those who missed the Houston-bred Hicks on his first go-round get fresh exposure to his scathing and profane social commentary with the simultaneous release



Cream-Filled Pumpkin Roll

Filling1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature 1 cup cold mascarpone cheese 1 cup powdered sugar 1 generous teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans 1/2 cup whipping creamUsing a mixer fitted with a

Web Exclusive

Court Reporter

Senior editor Michael Hall talks about Ernest Willis, who was recently freed from death row, and the super-conservative Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Web Exclusive

Heard the Buzz?

Writer John Bloom, who wrote this month’s “They Came. They Sawed,” talks about slasher flicks and horror-movie audiences.

Texas Tidbits

Texas Tidbits

Throughout its 112-year history, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has been known for its tendency to overturn the rulings of lower courts on technicalities.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails

Today, it is hard to come by places like San Saba, with its hometown feel and emphasis on community. I’m sure glad I found it.


Festive Milk (Sure Packs A) Punch

1 1/2 gallons premium-quality vanilla ice cream 1 quart whole milk 2 cups bourbon 1 cup rum 1/4 cup brandy nutmeg, for dustingRemove ice cream from freezer and let sit at room temperature until it begins to soften, 15 minutes or more (cut into chunks to speed process). Put milk,

Texas History 101

Texas History 101

While it can boast about the more than 6,300 ships that passed through its waters last year, the Port of Houston started out as a mere loading point for cotton on the way to the Port of Galveston.


Caramel-Filled Brownies

Recipe from The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes From the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Café (co-written with Alison Oresman and published by Ten Speed Press)1 1/2 cups pecan halves 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 large


Silken Chocolate-Walnut Tart

Recipe from The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes From the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Café (co-written with Alison Oresman and published by Ten Speed Press)Tart Crust2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup sugar 2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter 1 large egg, lightly

Pat's Pick

Your Pad or Mine

Eat cactus? Most Texans would just as soon lick a fire ant bed. About the only cactus dish we’re familiar with is Mexico’s tart nopalito salad. But the much-maligned prickly pear offers lots of other yummy possibilities, as you will discover if you pick up a copy of Carolyn Niethammer’s

Pat's Pick


What should a Moroccan restaurant look like? Casablanca, of course—Rick’s Café Américain or one of the movie’s other exotic locales. And Saffron, newly opened in Houston, does not disappoint. Dim lights threw mysterious shadows on the wall as four of us huddled together on banquettes and ottomans around a


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