Author Archive

Buffalo Bayou Brouhaha

Harris County Flood Control District Map showing showing the spanof Buffalo Bayou slated for the district's proposed "demonstration project."

In the Harris County Flood Control District’s “demonstration project,” 5,800 feet of Buffalo Bayou winding through the Hogg Bird Sanctuary and Houston’s River Oaks neighborhood will have its vegetation, including its riparian forest, scraped bare.

Read full

Killing Kid Care

EDITOR’S NOTE: In a previous version of this story, the Observer stated that KTRK reporter Wayne Dolcefino failed to retract an erroneous reports that Kid Care founders Carol and Hurt Porter Jr. had used charity funds to pay property taxes; KTRK did air a retraction. Also, Dolcefino did not win an Emmy award for his reporting. […]

Read full

Review

In a 1981 Paris Review interview, Donald Barthelme averred that his life’s story “would not sustain a person’s attention for a moment.” Perhaps he intended to excuse the absence of obviously biographical material in his work. Barthelme was, after all, famous for writing surrealistic stories about balloons expanding mysteriously over Manhattan, or the romantic regrets […]

Read full

The Man Without a Middle

If you’re one of those people who grumbles that nobody in Hollywood takes chances anymore, take a moment to consider the cases of director Steven Soderbergh and actor Benicio del Toro. Che, their bifurcated film about the beginning and the end of Ernesto Guevara’s career as a revolutionary warrior, seems to share its subject’s disdain […]

Read full

A Quiet Life, but Not Desperate

I wonder how many residents of Gonzales, Texas, are aware that a luminous work of art has been created on the streets of their home town. That work of art is Austin filmmaker Chris Eska’s August Evening. It’s an extremely low-budget film that is mostly about difficult family relationships between retirement-age undocumented immigrants who have […]

Read full

Misfortunate Son

Has anyone ever been more fascinating on account of his limitations, rather than his strengths, than George W. Bush has? The unreflective gut-player has inspired a library of books, a shelf of documentaries, and now an Oliver Stone film. (He has also been fictionalized in Curtis Suttenfeld’s American Wife.) Most of the interest is attributable […]

Read full

A Poet Without Borders

You can track Fady Joudah’s biographical trajectory along one of two appealing threads. The humanitarian strand goes like this: He’s a doctor who works in the ER of Houston’s Veterans Administration hospital, doing his best to heal patients who often have no place else to turn. He’s also done two stints with Doctors Without Borders, […]

Read full

Sino Eyes

Under the guidance of co-founders and curators Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss, FotoFest, the biennial Houston extravaganza that ranks among the world’s best photography festivals, has always been something of a cultural agenda-setter. It’s only a slight exaggeration to claim that FotoFest’s 1992 show of South American photography introduced the continent to the world-photography mainstream. […]

Read full

The Devil’s Domicile

There was much talk last fall about the box office failure of a handful of films that dealt directly with the Iraq War. In the Valley of Elah, Grace is Gone, Redacted, and Lions for Lambs combined didn’t gross enough to pay for Spider-Man 3‘s catering. Brian de Palma’s Redacted grossed less than $300,000 worldwide, […]

Read full