Retired Strippers, Dogfights: Gary Cartwright, Texas Monthly Writer, Honored At Alkek…

Nov 15 2010 – 10:53pm | Michelle Stav

A stripper’s story made him famous.

His writing topics range from dogfights to his late son.

Gary Cartwright, journalist for Texas Monthly, was honored Thursday at the Wittliff Collection. Jake Silverstein and John Spong, Texas Monthly editors, joined Cartwright in a discussion of his career.

Steve Davis, assistant curator of the Wittliff Collection, introduced Cartwright, Spong and Silverstein and spoke of the strong friendship between Texas Monthlyand the collection.

The magazine has been donating its archives to the Wittliff Collections for years, Davis said.

The collected archives would cover a length of 1,400 feet if laid out cover to cover.

“We are honored to be associated with (Cartwright),” Davis said.

The event, which filled most of the seats in the gallery, began with applause for military veterans in attendance. Enlarged displays of Cartwright’s articles flanked the table where microphones and water bottles greeted the three Texas Monthly speakers.

Cartwright said he was able to express opinions while working for Texas Monthly, which was difficult at previous jobs.

“I was waiting for a magazine like Texas Monthly to come along,” Cartwright said. “All these great stories have never been told. Suddenly there was a place to tell them.”

The writer said he’d always been interested in people who are different.

The crowd laughed as Cartwright read passages from his story about Candy Bar, a famous stripper from Dallas.

“She was retiring,” Cartwright said. “I spent the strangest two days of my life at her house.”

Silverstein commented that Cartwright’s ability to draw information from people seemed unparalleled. Cartwright recalled a story he wrote about Duane Thomas, former player for the Dallas Cowboys, who was known for not talking to the press. Cartwright said he tracked the player down at his home after phone calls were ignored and had to be indirect to get answers.

“He never invited me in,” Cartwright said. “I talked to him without talking to him.”

Spong, senior editor of Texas Monthly, spoke of Cartwright’s impact on the magazine.

“In the office, one of his books is on the corner of every desk,” he said. “When people get stuck, they read Cartwright.”

Cartwright said he was flattered by the compliments from Silverstein and Spong.

An audience member asked what Cartwright will do now that he is retiring fromTexas Monthly.

“I’ll still write,” Cartwright said. “I’m doing a story right now for Sports Illustratedabout the sorry plight of the Longhorns and Cowboys.”



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