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Hampton’s Place

Hampton Sides likes to say he was born to tell the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and his assassin, James Earl Ray. He was 6 when his hometown snapped. Hampton’s father worked for the Memphis law firm that represented King when the civil rights leader led protesters down Beale Street in support of the city’s striking sanitation workers, most of them black. As King’s march grew violent, riots broke out. Tanks and troops moved in to quell the roiling racial tension.

Adventures in McMurtryland

The dusty pickup plunges into the July night, and soon the lights of this tiny West Texas town are gone, replaced by a serene darkness unknown to the urbanites packed side by side in the truck bed. The truck wobbles over the gravel roads, laboring to gain traction with every turn like a roller coaster climbing its first drop, and we struggle to grasp something stable. Wheels churn, spewing rocks and dust behind us as the pickup lumbers on and on into the darkness, steered by a 20-something cowboy who may or may not be inebriated.

Let’s be Frank

By Nicole Holland Pearce

Photograph by Daniella Zalcman


Frank Deford is sitting a few yards from her long legs. She is nervous, dressed in a one-piece swimsuit much like the one Farrah Fawcett made famous. Deford stares at the girl as she walks back and forth across the Atlantic City stage. She stops, smiles, then takes her place in line with the rest of the half-naked women.

The Hummingbird’s Son

The woman arrives carefully coifed and brightly pink-faced. Just another enthusiastic fan. But the blonde’s veneer soon cracks. “You’re wrong!” she starts yelling. “You don’t understand the damage you’re doing here. You’re causing divisiveness and damage and it’s not about banning books!”

Luis Alberto Urrea, bestselling author and Pulitzer finalist, stands stunned. Just a half-hour earlier, in this Tucson ballroom, hundreds of dinner guests had given him a standing ovation. Now the woman’s accusations echo in the nearly empty room. Luis’ signature humor and warmth start to slip; his initial surprise turns to anger. The few people milling about know this woman, a Tucson school district employee. They roll their eyes and shrug her off, trying to ignore her.

Ten Spurs 2012

If a Chicago company has its way, what you are holding in your hands someday soon will be produced by an algorithm, a set of calculations driving a computer. Not just the printing on the page, the typography, the layouts. That’s already computers’ work.

But the words, sentences and paragraphs. The stories.

Putting On My Old Cockfighting Shoes

By Jesse Sidlauskas

Photography by Mike Mezeul II


TJ holds the red rooster against his chest like a cradled baby as his teenage son Gavin selects the weapon. From a lacquered box, the 17-year-old removes a 1-inch stainless steel blade in the shape of a crescent and tests the sharpness by shaving some hair from the back of his hand. He blows the hair from the blade and walks over to the rooster. Gavin struggles with wax string, trying to secure the blade to the rooster’s left leg. If it’s misaligned by a few fractions of an inch, the knife won’t cut.