West Texas

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2014

    The Dark Side of the Boom: Oil Is Doing Great Things for Some in Texas, but Not for Everyone

    It was like landing on the moon. The thought ricocheted through Joleena Malugani's mind as she took in the vast, dusty expanse of the corner of West Texas claimed by Midland and Odessa. Malugani was fresh out of college when she came across an Ector County Independent School District booth at a job ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 16, 2014

    Should Rattlesnakes be Gassed? Texas Parks and Wildlife Says No

    There's not much in Sweetwater to recommend it to the outside world. People in the dusty little West Texas town seem to enjoy it all right, but for most of the year it's just a wide spot in the road. But on the second weekend in March the town comes to life, the site of the largest rattlesnake round ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 16, 2013

    The 30 Essential Texas Restaurants: The List Is Live

    Sorry about that teaser earlier this week. No fooling around this time, though: Our list is live. Go check out this week's feature -- "Eat Here: 30 Essential Texas Restaurants to Visit Before You Die" -- before reading on. We don't want to spoil any surprises for you. *** Read it yet? Are you sure ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2012

    The First Alt-Country Record? Flatlanders Rediscover The Odessa Tapes

    A lot of stellar music came out of that flat land known as West Texas. Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Terry Allen, Guy Clark, and the Sparkles are just a few artists who found something in the wind, the dust, the heat, the cactus, the mesquite, the sandstorms, the blizzards, t ... More >>

  • Music

    August 2, 2012
  • Blogs

    June 20, 2012

    Cover Story: Preppers Ready Themselves for When the Shit Hits the Fan

    Preparing for Doomsday is as venerably American as cherry pie. Mormonism, America's most successful homegrown religion, even has hoarding food as one of its tenets. Some prep for a biblical Armageddon, while others do so for secular reasons. Maybe they just want to get out of the rat race and off t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 23, 2012

    Friday Night: Mountain Goats at Fitzgerald's

    Let us be clear from the very beginning -- this member of the Rocks Off Aftermath team isn't the most storied fan of The Mountain Goats. Though we'd heard of the legendary John Darnielle before, out first actual exposure to his music was in 2007 with Heretic Pride, and we were so struck by the power ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2011

    Eight Very Strange PSAs From The `70s, Featuring Terrible Sideburns And A War On Condiments

    Fashion advice from the government​In the course of our assiduous research into strange and ineffective anti-drug PSAs (public service announcements), we got somewhat immersed in the whole 1970's PSA world. It's a world in which you want to tread lightly. The PSAs can be creepy, ill-lit grai ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 20, 2011

    The Five Best (& Five Worst) Stretches of Texas Highway

    Scenic routes, and others​Texas has some beautiful stretches of highway, and it has some where you just want to pluck out your eyeballs. Truth be told -- if you take out the urban panoramas of strip malls and national franchises -- there's probably more of the former than the latter. Let's l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 15, 2011

    Top 10 Texas Movie Soundtracks

    ​This weekend, as the rest of the world catches Harry Potter mania for (perhaps) the final time, Houston gets a serious dose of Urban Cowboy nostalgia. Theater Under the Stars' production of the Tony-nominated 2003 musical - which The New York Times called "a conclusive demonstration that it's ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 17, 2011

    Texas School Buying "Smurf Turf" Football Field; Superintendent Speaks To Criticisms

    "Smurf turf" is coming to Canutillo High. ​West Texas' Canutillo Independent School District hasn't been bringing in much green of late so they've decided to sing the $350,000 blues. Last week, CISD board of trustees approved the installation of a "smurf turf" field that will replace, for "s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 23, 2011

    75 MPH Speed Limit Passes: Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

    The Texas Senate has sent to the governor's desk a bill allowing 75 mph speed limits in semi-deserted parts of Texas. Assuming that the Tea Party is not against, Rick Perry is expected to sign it. So get ready to put the pedal to the metal, Texas, and try to imagine what it must have been like in t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 20, 2011

    Possum Kingdom On Fire: The Official Video

    Possum Kingdom, the beloved state park west of Fort Worth -- celebrated in song by The Toadies -- has been very unlucky when it comes to the wildfires hitting west and north Texas. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has released some official video of the event, including interviews with firefig ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 11, 2011

    West Texas is Burning: Maybe the Worst Wildfires in State's History

    Tough times in the vast stretches of West Texas​Massive drought conditions have turned West Texas and the Panhandle into a tinderbox, and the spark has been lit. This weekend saw what might develop into the worst wildfire days in the state's history, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 7, 2011

    85 MPH on Texas Highways: Why the Hell Not? (Five Houston-Area Spots That Should Be Considered)

    We can all indulge our inner Racer X​The Dallas Morning News (behind a paywall but AP report is here) noted a small clause in a transportation bill passed by the House in Austin this week -- if approved by the Senate, it allows speed limits to be raised on some Texas highways to 85 mph, the hi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 4, 2011

    No Mexico? No Problem! Five (Very Lame) Spring Break Alternatives

    The Texas Department of Public Safety has strongly warned Spring Breakers from going to Mexico. whether it's one of the famous tourist cities or the border towns that for years have attracted college students. What's a person to do with their free time if they can't cross over to a magical land whe ... More >>

  • Music

    February 24, 2011
  • Music

    September 2, 2010
  • Film

    May 27, 2010
  • Blogs

    January 25, 2010

    Texas Traveler: Terlingua to the Park

    Photos by Brittanie SheyFire at La Kiva​Ed. Note: This is the fourth part in a series of posts on traveling to Big Bend and back. Let me start off by saying that if you are a Big Bend virgin and you have the opportunity to visit the park for the first time with a seasoned veteran, jump on that ch ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 6, 2010

    Road Trippin': A West Texas/Big Bend Playlist

    ​ Right after Christmas, Rocks Off hopped into our car and headed straight for the bowels of West Texas. It's a long drive to Big Bend, mostly through the middle of nowhere, huge swaths of land where even AM radio can't reach. Twelve hours in the car demands a certain kind of playlist that, like a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 5, 2010

    Texas Traveler: Heading West

    Photos by Brittanie SheyEd. Note: This the first part of a series on heading west to Big Bend and back. Check back next week for our continuing adventures. The very first thing we have to decide is which way to go. We're meeting friends in Big Bend for a New Year's camping trip, but we have several ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 6, 2009

    Amarillo's Big Texan Steak Ranch

    Photos by Nikki Metzgar​Having seen the steak challenge at Amarillo's Big Texan on television, I had to drop by the restaurant when I swung through West Texas. For the unacquainted, the challenge touted on billboards hundreds of miles away requires you to eat a 72-ounce steak, a baked potato, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 15, 2009

    In the Little Stalls Behind Canino's: Papalo

    Photo by Robb WalshAfter the item about the Mexican herb chepil appeared, Tracy Lee Vaught, of Backstreet Café and Hugo's, emailed me. "Next time you are at the market, pick up some papolo and put it in your tacos. It is quite peppery," she wrote. "Hugo uses the chepil in his rice when he can get ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 8, 2009

    Lonesome Onry and Mean: Hoyle Nix and Big Spring's Stampede Club

    Photo courtesy of Jody NixHoyle Nix (left) and Bob Wills, mid-1950sThere's an old saying in West Texas about Midland and Odessa, two oil towns only 20 miles apart in the middle of nowhere: raise your kids in Midland, raise hell in Odessa. True enough, Midland has all the soul of a loaf of Rainbow br ... More >>

  • Music

    June 4, 2009
  • Blogs

    May 21, 2009

    San Angelo Mayor Springs A Hell Of A Surprise On His Town

    Photo courtesy City of San AngeloMayor JW Lown, in the middleOut there in West Texas, they know how to do things right. Like spring surprise mayoral resignations.The mayor of San Angelo, J.W. Lown, abruptly announced his resignation just days before he was to be sworn in for his fourth term as mayor ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 26, 2009

    Lonesome Onry and Mean: Western Swing Royalty at iFest

    Looking ahead to the Houston International Festival - never mind the SXSW bollocks - I was pleasantly surprised to see that Jody Nix and the Texas Cowboys will be playing on the Texas Stage at 6 p.m. on April 18. Not long ago in these cyberpages, we examined the gloom and doom that surrounds the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 18, 2008

    Aftermath: Heybale! at the Continental Club

    Photos by Matt Smith Per our recent blog pondering the slow death of honky tonk and the wisdom of pursuing that genre as a career path, after Heybale!’s masterful show at the Continental Club I think it’s safe to assume that honky-tonk is still alive, even if only as a few enclaves among the ba ... More >>

  • Film

    June 5, 2008

    Austin City Limits: The Unforeseen

    Man vs. nature deep in the heart of Texas

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2008

    Court of Appeals Rules State Had No Right to Seize FLDS Kids

    Keith Plocek Send the little fundamentalists home. That was the decision earlier today as a state appellate court ruled that child welfare officials had no right to seize some of the more than 400 children they took into custody during a three-day raid in early April of the 1,700-acre Yearning F ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 14, 2008

    Mp3: Jon Cartwright's "Plural Girl Blues"

    I recorded this ditty from Schleicher County crooner Jon Cartwright while I was reporting on the polygamist compound in West Texas a couple years ago. The song might not make mention of all the recent developments, but with its "what's your name again?" and "I got 13 pages of honey-do's," it defin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 7, 2008

    Authorities Raid Polygamist Compound in West Texas

    Keith Plocek "This is the United States," Schleicher County Justice of the Peace James Doyle told me two years ago when I was reporting on polygamy in West Texas. "And I don't kick in your door and you don't kick in mine and we don't kick in theirs. They're citizens of the United States and we've ... More >>

  • Music

    March 6, 2008
  • Blogs

    October 31, 2007

    Last Night: Bukka Allen at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck

    Bukka Allen McGonigel’s Mucky Duck October 30, 2007 Better Than: Other Texas Music son acts. Much, much better. Download: “Behold What You Found” or “Confidante” at For the release of new CD Confidante, longtime Jack Ingram sideman Bukka Allen brought his partne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 5, 2007
  • News

    June 21, 2007

    I Love CFS

    Thank goodness it's still popular in the small towns of the Chicken-Fried Steak Belt.

  • News

    April 27, 2006

    Big Love, Texas-Style

    Polygamists live in a compound on our state's dry western plains

  • Music

    November 3, 2005

    Los Lonely Boys

    Thursday, November 3, at Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas, 713-225-8551.

  • News

    May 5, 2005

    Swoopes: Hardwoods Homie

    A Comets star helps redefine Houston basketball

  • Culture

    December 23, 2004

    O Little Town of West Texas

    Lee Friedlander goes to homes for the holidays

  • Best of Houston

    September 23, 2004
  • Dining

    November 16, 2000

    It's All in the Game

    Speaking off the toque: Francis Walters

  • Calendar

    May 25, 2000

    The Curbside Critique

    (Houston Sculpture 2000)

  • News

    August 13, 1998

    Space Odyssey

    Tom Moser wants to put Texas on the map as a commercial launch pad for cargo-carrying rockets

  • News

    June 4, 1998

    Poindexter's Barbecue

    A Houston manufacturing magnate sets West Texas on fire -- and now he's taking the heat

  • News

    April 30, 1998

    Three from Texas

    With a spate of independent movies, the state once again leaves its mark on film

  • Music

    June 20, 1996

    Same Old Waylon

    The most rebellious thing Waylon Jennings has done is not change

  • Music

    August 31, 1995

    Postmarked Texas

    Joe Ely sends a sad, beautiful Letter to Laredo

  • Culture

    September 8, 1994

    Pushing the Artistic Borders

    Mexico, America and La Frontera find expression in "Poison Amor"

  • More >>