October 1997 Issue

On the Cover

The Real West Texas

High peaks, scant rain, and hardpan soil—but also high art, hip hotels, and a new telescope that’s a star in its own right: Snapshots from a remote region of our state unlike anyplace else on earth.



Writes of Passage

Getting published was supposed to be a cure-all, but for Austinite Louise Redd, it was just another chapter in the life of a struggling novelist.

Rare Byrd

Beaumont’s Tracy Byrd may be a hunky, hitmaking hat act, but if it’s all the same, he’d rather be singing an old Bob Wills tune.


Reneé O’Connor

Their mission is to save the world, not conquer it, but the stars of Xena: Warrior Princess are winning television-ratings battles from San Angelo to Slovakia. The two-year-old syndicated show airs in more than eighty countries, making Lucy Lawless, who plays Xena, the first leather-clad TV lead since the Fonz—and

Dan Rather

MY MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER, Grandma Page, was up at three-thirty or four o’clock in the morning to bake and churn and get ready for the cotton fields on our family farm in Bloomington. At night, after all the cooking and sewing, there was energy left for her reading. “Come, Danny, I’ll

The (Non)candidate

George W. Bush faces a dilemma. What’s a poor front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination supposed to do when all anyone in the media wants to talk about is when he’s going to announce his intentions? Why don’t interviewers ask him about shoes or ships or sealing wax—anything but that?

CD and Book Reviews

Hot CDsFew voices evoke the pathos of country and western tragedy as genuinely as the rich, honeyed timbre of George Jones. By 1962, the year Jones signed with the United Artists label, the East Texan had been divorced, jailed, and was already as legendary for his hard drinking as his


Rigatoni With Basil-Pecan Tomato Pesto

Tomato Pesto Pesto1 cup chopped pecans 4 medium garlic cloves 3/4 cup olive oil 25 large fresh basil leaves 10 sprigs Italian parsley, leaves only 10 leaves fresh mint salt and pepper to taste 1/2 to 1 tablespoon red-pepper flakes 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, blanched and seeded 3 tablespoons good-quality


Travelin’ Man

Senior editor Joe Nick Patoski provides readers with what you used to get at your local gas station: full service. Writing so-called service pieces—mini-guidebooks that offer readers do-it-yourself instructions and suggestions for trips and other leisure activities—has taken the 46-year-old resident of Wimberley all over Texas. Says Patoski: “I’ve

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