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Texas Monthly

Texas Monthly June 2019

Texas Monthly has been the authority on the Texas scene since 1973, covering music, arts, travel, restaurants and events with its insightful recommendations. Above all, Texas Monthly provides its readers with a magazine of the highest editorial quality, a standard that has earned it 10 National Magazine Awards, the industry’s most coveted prize.

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1 min.
explore waco this summer

The Mayborn Museum at Baylor University celebrates the natural science and cultural history of Central Texas with walk-in dioramas including one of the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Visitors can also enjoy a multi-floor science discovery center encouraging hands-on learning for all ages and an historic village. The nine wood frame buildings that comprise the village provide a glimpse into the past, bringing to life a community in the 1890s. Through September 8, museum guests can experience the wonders of space in the special exhibits Be the Astronaut and SpaceX: Now This is Rocket Science. www.MaybornMuseum.com • (254)710-1110…

3 min.
from glam camps to man camps

Not long ago, Texas Monthly had a dedicated travel writer. She got to have all the fun. Periodically, she would decamp to a score of new and renovated luxury hotels and resorts and write about the top ten, while the rest of the staff fact-checked stories and covered hearings of the Feral Hog Subcommittee in the state Senate. Okay, I made that last part up, but you get the idea. For this month’s cover story on the best new and improved escapes, we decided to spread the love among more of our hardworking journalists. ¶ Executive editor Kathy Blackwell assigned ten staffers to check out lodgings that have opened or been refurbished in the past two years. Some of our colleagues checked in alone; some with partners. Some brought along…

3 min.
“grief does not acknowledge two legs or four. neither does love.”

The Empire Writes Back Mimi Swartz’s article on STAAR testing [“STAAR Wars,” April 2019] missed an important group: college professors. I retired in January 2019 after eighteen years teaching undergraduate psychology. While Swartz cites many sources saying the test is not accurate and students are better prepared than reported on STAAR, I can say that a common complaint among my colleagues was that many students coming out of high school are unprepared for college work. They have limited math and English language skills. They know little or no history, and even asking who is running in local elections results in a blank look. I don’t know if it’s the teachers, administration, or parents, or a combination of all, but maybe it’s the non-STAAR measures that are wrong. SAMUEL ROCK, SAN ANTONIO There is…

6 min.
back to balmorhea

Among the many celebrated swimming holes blessedly scattered across Texas, the most sublime would have to be the big beauty found way out in the Trans-Pecos, at Balmorhea State Park. Sure, all bodies of water into which you can plunge are pretty wonderful in the sweltering summertime. But this high-desert oasis is unlike any other. How did we get so lucky to have a pool like this in a place like this? ¶ Covering a whopping 1.3 acres of the park’s dusty 103-acre total and impounding some 3.5 million gallons of remarkably clear and refreshingly cool water from the prolific San Solomon Springs, the pool at Balmorhea is huge even by Texas standards. In fact, it’s the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. And situated as it is in the semi-arid…

5 min.
something old, something new

What is this place? An art gallery? A tech start-up? I’m standing outside a mysterious new building in Austin’s Warehouse District, its exterior veneered in black steel plate and glass bricks. Affixed to the wall are curvy brass letters that seem to spell out a name, but it’s indecipherable too. Suddenly, the door opens to reveal a long, narrow courtyard filled with fat green barrel cacti and a lacy paloverde tree. Parallel to the open space is a soaring dining room where shafts of light pour through a bank of industrial-looking windows that bring the sky inside. Ah, it’s becoming clear: the place is a restaurant—specifically, Austin’s restaurant of the moment, Comedor. The hive mind behind this modern Mexican enterprise is a trio of Texas chefs led by Philip Speer, most…

3 min.
tops of the class

When Diana Natalicio steps down as president of the University of Texas–El Paso this summer, she will leave behind an impressive legacy. Over the course of her 31 years at the school’s helm, UTEP—long known for its distinctive Bhutanese architecture—has gone from off ering 1 doctoral program to 22 and seen its annual research expenditures increase nearly twentyfold. In January the school reached a milestone when it met its long-awaited goal of becoming an R1 doctoral university, a designation attained by less than 5 percent of the nation’s institutes of higher education. During her time as president, the 79-year-old Natalicio, who is easily recognized by her iconic updo hairstyle, has notched up another notable accomplishment: she has amassed a collection of more than four hundred different UTEP T-shirts, dating from her…