The Texas Bracket: Vote for top Texans in round two

For the most part first round of the Texas Bracket pitted celebrities from Texas against Texan legends and little-known Texans against Lone Star giants. No. 1 seeds Willie Nelson and Audie Murphy crushed the competition, while Barbara Jordan and Tommy Lee Jones cruised to victory. Earl Campbell joined Willie and Audie as the only three to gain more than 90% of the vote.

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VOTE NOW: ROUND TWO OF THE TEXAS BRACKET — CLICK HERE

But there were some upsets and near-upsets, too. Most notably, Dr. Red Duke — who, on closer inspection, proved to be much more awesome than a No. 15 seed — lost to columnist Molly Ivins by ONE VOTE. Duke was down big early, but rallied late and nearly made up the difference.

Another notable early exit is George W. Bush, who was neck-and-neck with Judge Roy Bean for the most of the day, but faded late. On the other hand, Ranger Joaquin Jackson rallied from a muddled contest with TV reporter Marvin Zindler to crush him late and Special Forces soldier Roy Benavidez was down early to Texas Country Reporter Bob Phillips, but came back strong. Perhaps late voters looked up Benavidez’s incredible story before voting.

In the Music and the Arts category, the favorites all won without drama, with the exception of heavily-nominated Beyonce, who lost large to Janis Joplin. In the Politics and History category, Ann Richards easily won her rematch with Clayton Williams, perhaps unsurprisingly in an Austin-based bracket. In the Actors and Athletes category, Sammy Baugh was the only favorite to lose, never having a chance against Sissy Spacek.

But enough recap … ONTO THE SECOND ROUND!

This is where it gets interesting. Round 2 still has a few heavy favorites, but in some instances, Texas legend is pitted against Texas legend. Voting closes at midnight. Let’s look at the best of each category:

POLITICS AND HISTORY

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Lady Bird Johnson vs. Lyndon Johnson

The top matchup of Round 2 features husband vs. wife. Lyndon was the president of the United States and clearly as Texan as could be, but Lady Bird is equally legendary, especially in Central Texas. There’s no clear favorite here. We’ll be watching results of this one closely. Vote here.

ACTORS AND ATHLETES

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Nolan Ryan vs. Earl Campbell

Clearly, both of these Texas legends should have made the Sweet 16, but the intricacies (or goofs) of seeding have brought us this clash of titans in Round 2. (Also a shout-out to Matthew McConaughey vs. Farrah Fawcett, the best-looking matchup.) Vote here.

MUSICIANS AND THE ARTS

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Stevie Ray Vaughan vs. Lyle Lovett

While Vaughan is the favorite here, the Texan-ness of Lovett could give him an advantage with voters. Vote here.

WILDCARD

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Joaquin Jackson vs. Molly Ivins

After defeating Dr. Red Duke by a single vote, No. 2 seed Ivins looks vulnerable against the Texas Ranger, who will rally the conservative vote. Vote here.

The Texas Bracket: Who is the most Texan of them all?

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Who is the most Texan Texan? Is it an Alamo defender? A political giant? Legendary singer? Gruff actor? Dignified football coach? Maverick businessman? Enterprising businesswoman?

The Lone Star State turns 181 a week from today, and with that birthday will come the chance to choose the most Texan of all Texans. But today we introduce the Texas Bracket and its field of 64 nominees.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE  — The Texas Bracket: Who is the Most Texan?

That’s right, 64 Texans from all corners of Texas history, each ready to advance through a “March Madness” style bracket — depending on your votes. We have selected the field of 64 from at least twice that many nominees and organized and seeded them (no doubt controversially) … but the rest is up to you. Vote for (or against) whomever you wish. If you haven’t played the Statesman’s UPickem game before, you’ll have to register to vote, but there’s no cost involved.

(Don’t forget to vote in all four “regions” — Musicians and the Arts, Actors and Athletes, Politics and History and Wildcard.)

Today’s 32 matchups predictably feature some heavyweights who are likely going to win big, but also some very intriguing matchups. Let’s look at 4 of them …

Musicians and the Arts Region

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George Strait vs. Billy Joe Shaver

“King” George has one of the most devoted fan bases of all Texans, but faces a very difficult road to the quarterfinals. In the second round he’d likely face off against Beyonce, just to have a chance to face favorite Selena in the third round.

But first, he has to beat out underdog Billy Joe Shaver. Not a problem when it comes to album sales, but when it comes to being “Texan” … a young Billy Joe threatened to beat up Waylon Jennings in front of God and everybody in the Nashville street. An old Billy Joe shot a man in the face at a bar in Lorena. And in between he wrote some of the most authentic Texas music ever. Vote here.

Politics and History Region

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Ann Richards vs. Clayton Williams

The Texas Bracket is meant to be non-partisan. Republicans should be able to appreciate the “Texan-ness” of Richards the same as Democrats should tip their hat to Williams’ Lone Star bona fides. But if you aim to vote by party, this rematch of the 1990 gubernatorial race offers you the chance.

Richards won in 1990 after a series of gaffes by Williams. But there’s no guarantee she’ll win this time around. Vote here.

Actors and Athletes

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Babe Didrickson Zaharias vs. Bum Phillips

A pair of Southeast Texans who could not be possibly any less alike.

A quote from Babe: “Before I was ever in my teens, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. My goal was to be the greatest athlete that ever lived.”

A quote from Bum: “He can take his’n and beat your’n, and he can take your’n and beat his’n.” (Talking about Alabama coach Bear Bryant)

Vote here.

Wildcard

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Hallie Stillwell vs. Mary Kay Ash

When it comes to Texas women, who ya got? The Dallas entrepreneur who built a cosmetics empire? Or the Big Bend ranch wife who could ride and shoot and handle rough living? (Also a shout-out goes to the matchup between Houston TV reporter Marvin Zindler and Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson. And we wish good luck to Texas Country Reporter Bob Phillips … who has to face Special Forces soldier Roy Benavidez. Nobody wants to go up against Roy Benavidez.)

Vote here.

RELATED: 180 Things We Like About Texas

If Chip and Joanna Gaines could live anywhere, would it still be in Texas?

Waco: The home of Baylor University, the Dr Pepper Museum, and Chip and Joanna Gaines. That’s how we all think of the north Central Texas town, right?

HGTV’s power couple could honestly live anywhere with the serious buck they rake in from the tremendously popular “Fixer Upper” show, but proudly laid their roots down in Waco. Yet in a recent media talk, the twosome revealed the idea of living in a new city is not completely off the table.

Chip seems to be a fan of Sin City, jokingly saying, “I think the kids would really appreciate it,” according to People Magazine.

RELATED: From flat broke to HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ for furniture maker Clint Harp

On the other hand, his wife Joanna thinks New York City has some potential. Chip admits the Big Apple would be a bit of a challenge with the couple’s four kids.

“You know, you would lose at least one of those kids every time you walked down to the store and back,” Chip said.

The Caribbean, Mexico or South America land on Chip’s list of potential destinations.

Kansas City is another contender, with Chip saying the two “have just fallen in love with that community.”

Salt Lake City makes the list too. “Every time we go there it just kind of really inspires us,” Chip said.

Don’t worry Gaines fans: The moving-out-of-Waco talk is still largely hypothetical—for now.

Snoop Dogg tweets respect for Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg have formed a friendship over a ... common interest. Statesman file photos
Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg have formed a friendship over a … common interest. Statesman file photos

Even as he prepares to release a new album, wins awards for his last one, and continues to tour, Austin legend Willie Nelson hasn’t been feeling well this year, canceling shows because of health issues.

Willie, who extols the power of positivity, hasn’t said anything publicly about his health, but even the most optimistic people could always use a kind word from a friend.

Good thing Snoop Dogg has Willie’s back.

In a tweet on Saturday, the West Coast rapper showed his respect for the Texas icon’s continued mastery of dominoes and, you guessed it, herbal pursuits …

It’s good having friends. Let’s hope Willie is feeling like his old self again soon.

RELATED: Latest on Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion

This is the ‘Friday Night Lights’ scene that made Taylor Kitsch and Scott Porter cry

 

“Friday Night Lights” was always about more than just football. The show tackled racism, classism, abortion, disability, teenage sex, steroid use, marital relationships and more during its five season run.

But its biggest legacy is the characters it created— Coach Eric Taylor, his wife Tami and daughter Julie; football players Smash Williams, Tim Riggins, Jason Street and Matt Saracen; sleazy booster Buddy Garrity and his cheerleader daughter, Lyla; Tyra Collette and Landry Clarke, and more.

08/18/06- Rodolfo Gonzalez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN: Actor, Taylor Kitsch works on a couple of scenes during the filming of NBC's Friday Night Lights television series filmed in Kyle, Tx., on Friday, August 18, 2006. Friday Night Lights was filmed in Austin and surrounding Central Texas based on the Peter Berg feature film and Buzz Bissinger's book, "Friday Night Lights," a look at Texas high school football.
08/18/06- Rodolfo Gonzalez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN: Actor, Taylor Kitsch works on a couple of scenes during the filming of NBC’s Friday Night Lights television series filmed in Kyle, Tx., on Friday, August 18, 2006. Friday Night Lights was filmed in Austin and surrounding Central Texas based on the Peter Berg feature film and Buzz Bissinger’s book, “Friday Night Lights,” a look at Texas high school football.

One of the biggest friendships on the show was between Taylor Kitsch’s Tim Riggins and Scott Porter’s Jason Street.

More: ‘Friday Night Lights’ cast has ideas about where their characters are today

In a recent interview on Entertainment Weekly’s “Binge” podcast, Porter recalled the one scene that made him and Kitsch cry more than all the others. It takes place in season three, when Street moves to New York City to pursue a job opportunity, and is accompanied by Riggins. The episode was one of the last Porter ever shot as Street, and the emotions on screen as Street says goodbye to Riggins were real, Porter said.

“I couldn’t keep it together,” Porter told EW. “I couldn’t not cry, and Taylor couldn’t not cry.”

Here’s part of the scene he’s talking about, starting at the 10:44 mark.

Fans of the show will remember that Street gets paralyzed during a game in the pilot episode, confining him to a wheelchair. The grief and trauma that Riggins feels at his friend being injured and his inability to do anything about it becomes a major plot point of the first season, and their friendship became one of the highlights of the show by the time the third season rolled around.

More: The most popular TV show set in Texas is, well, a surprise

“It was odd not shooting my last scene in Texas,” Porter said in the podcast. “It wasn’t where I normally had worked. I wasn’t around a bunch of people I normally worked with. It’s a special moment that I’ll never forget. Being in New York, it really felt like closure.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

Weeklong dance hall tour to ‘cruise’ through Texas history

Patrons dance in the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009.
Patrons dance in the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman

Take a cruise and you’re gonna be afloat in entertainment, drinks, dinner and more. But no matter what level of luxury you’re paying for, there’s one thing you can’t get at sea: An authentic Texas dance hall experience in a polished-by-the-decades historical Texas dance hall.

Don’t worry, though. Ray Benson has a plan.

The band leader and his “Asleep at the Wheel” cohorts are hosting a six-night “land cruise” that features stops at six time-honored venues — including the famed Luckenbach Dance Hall — with entertainment, drinks and dinner all included, as well as daytime tours and shopping. The Texas Dance Hall Tour runs March 20-26.

Lisa Martin enjoys the antics of dancing partner Jim Coale as they make their way around the floor in front of Gary P. Nunn and band playing on a Saturday night in Luckenbach, Texas, May 8, 2004. Photo by Tom Reel, San Antonio Express-News
Lisa Martin enjoys the antics of dancing partner Jim Coale as they make their way around the floor in front of Gary P. Nunn and band playing on a Saturday night in Luckenbach, Texas, May 8, 2004. Photo by Tom Reel, San Antonio Express-News

The dance hall is an integral part of the Texas story — more than 1,000 once dotted the Lone Star map, built largely in German and Czech communities. But the dance hall is also quickly becoming history — about 400 remain. A recent loss was Tin Hall in Cypress outside Houston. It closed down last year.

If you went to college in Texas you might have done the dance hall thing at least once — Whittington’s beef jerky for lunch, a burger for dinner. Too many beers outside the dance hall, the old “clutch and sway” inside.

But the Texas Dance Hall Tour is a bit more upscale than that: For $3,500 a couple gets six nights at two hotels, transportation to and from all the events and dinner and drinks .. AND dance lessons on the first full day of the tour. (There’s also less expensive packages for folks whose wallet doesn’t weigh down their Wranglers.)

Exterior of the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in downtown Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman
Exterior of the newly renovated Sengelmann Dance Hall in downtown Schulenburg, Texas, on Thursday July 30, 2009. Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman

Included on the tour is a stop at Twin Sisters Dance Hall outside Blanco with performances by Asleep at the Wheel and Dale Watson and a stop at Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg with performances by Lee Ann Womack and Hot Club of Cowtown.

Learn more about historic Texas dance halls at Texas Dance Hall Preservation Inc.

UT got in formation for ‘Ellen’ with these Beyoncé costumes

When Ellen Degeneres announced late Monday afternoon on Twitter that her crew would be showing up to the University of Texas on Tuesday, everyone was wondering what antics the talk-show host would create.

Turns out, her crew’s visit had to do with Beyoncé and the Grammys. DeGeneres promised tickets to the music awards show to the best Beyoncé-clad students at the Main Mall.

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Obviously, many students obliged, with costumes ranging from the “Single Ladies” era up until Beyoncé’s recent pregnancy announcement.

This costume won:

And here’s a sampling of some of the best Beyoncé costumes we could find from UT on social media Tuesday:

See more Beyoncé photos in our gallery

More:  UT students get all Beyonce’d up for ‘Ellen’ TV crew

https://twitter.com/basicbelindaa/status/829083295187079170

 

George Strait lands on an online list of ‘worst Texas songs’

Sure, “All My Exes Live In Texas” is a novelty song, to be fair, but does it deserve to be included on an online list of “worst songs in Texas history” right next to “Ice Ice Baby”?

Apparently a survey of 1,000 Texans believe so, according to Super Bash Houston. The Super Bowl weekend festival group commissioned the survey and asked 1,000 random Texans to name their state’s worst song about Texas or performed by a Texan. The results were diverse.

George Strait poses for a portrait following his press conference at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nev. Strait announced on Tuesday, Sept. 22, that he’s releasing a new album, “Cold Beer Conversation,” on Friday and that he’ll play a series of shows at the new Las Vegas Arena when it opens in 2016. (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP)
George Strait poses for a portrait following his press conference at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nev. (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP)

While King George scored towards the more favorable end of the survey (thank God), with just 12 percent of those surveyed thinking that “All My Exes” is THE WORST, the artist responsible for the survey’s worst song was the Waco-born Ashlee Simpson. Her 2004 song “La La” led the pack with 25 percent of the vote.

More: George Strait says country music is ‘trending towards traditional’

Here are the full results, from “worst” to “not as worse”:

“Most festivals try to guess what your favorite songs are, we went the extra mile to find out what songs and artists you really hate and guarantee you won’t hear them at the Super Bash,” said Houston Super Bash co-founder Joe Paonessa in a news release.

More: Super Bowl bites: Get a taste of New England and Georgia at Austin restaurants

 

Austin Twitter to Trump: Don’t tax my Topo Chico

President Donald Trump announced his method Thursday for paying for that border wall he commissioned Wednesday: a 20 percent tax on all goods imported from Mexico.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the plan would generate $10 billion a year and “easily pay for the wall,” according to the Associated Press.

Later, Spicer said the 20 percent tariff was just one of several options available to the administration to pay for the wall.

The announcement set off a firestorm on Twitter. Users were quick to point out the many things imported from Mexico that would balloon in price if the tax is approved by Congress, like cars and car parts ($24 billion worth, according to CNN Money), telephones ($11.9 billion), refrigerators ($4.1 billion), tomatoes ($1.8 billion) and beer like Corona, Modelo and Dos Equis ($2.8 billion).

But you know what else comes from Mexico?

Topo Chico.

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You know what Texans love?

Topo Chico.

The wonderful mineral water drink started trending on Twitter in Austin shortly after Trump’s tax announcement. Users were passionate, to say the least.

Other users were dispirited about the taxation of other alcohols such as tequila, Corona and Dos Equis. Republican South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham called the plan “mucho sad.”

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https://twitter.com/EvilMopacATX/status/824725208883986434

https://twitter.com/soniasaraiya/status/824719834764247041

What about you? Do you think the tax plan will get approved? What item would you hate to see get taxed?

Why does Matthew McConaughey live in Austin? The answer is simple

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves attend a party at the Highball before the Austin premiere of McConaughey's movie "Gold" on Jan. 12, 2017. Contributed by Rick Kern
Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves attend a party at the Highball before the Austin premiere of McConaughey’s movie “Gold” on Jan. 12, 2017. Contributed by Rick Kern

Sure, the Uvalde-born Matthew McConaughey is a Texan’s Texan with an obvious affinity for the Lone Star State …

EXHIBIT A: Yes, that's Matthew McConaughey back there cheering on a Longhorn touchdown during an October 1999 game. Photo by Sung Park / American-Statesman
EXHIBIT A: Yes, that’s Matthew McConaughey back there cheering on a Longhorn touchdown during an October 1999 game. Photo by Sung Park / American-Statesman

… but the Hollywood superstar could live anywhere he wants — and afford to bring plenty of Texas with him — why does he live in Austin?

The answer is simple: Family. In an interview with ABC News film and TV critic Peter Travers, McConaughey said “my mother is there, the rest of my family is there, part of the reason for going back there was having kids.”

McConaughey has lived here in Austin with his wife, Camila Alves, and their three children. His mom, Kay, lives in the Sun City retirement community near Georgetown.

Last week, McConaughey appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to promote his new film, “Gold” — wearing, fittingly, a shirt emblazoned with Texas yellow roses …

RELATED: Photos of Matthew McConaughey through the years