Our cover story this issue is about an actor I really like, talking about a city I really love. John Cusack is a quirky fella who’s played some even quirkier characters. And though he’s someone you rarely see in People, most everyone is familiar with him and has seen at least one of his films — and there are a lot of them. Because of his seemingly off-kilter look at things and dry sense of humor, I was very interested in his take on Chicago, where he was born and raised.

Chicago is my favorite city in the U.S. and one of my top five in the world. It is the perfect combination of architecture, cul­ture, sports, food, and, best of all, people. Both of my parents were raised there, so my family spent many a holiday visiting the city. One of my favorite childhood memories is of us staring at the incredible Christmas windows at Marshall Field’s while bundled up so tight that only our eyes showed.

And although the long, cold winters in Chicago are the primary reason I don’t live there (I’m a regular lizard), here in Texas, in the middle of July, a little cold weather sounds good even to me!

Of course, it’s not just Texas that’s hot. Everywhere you go, the heat seems to be the topic of the day. If people aren’t talking about how hot it is, they’re talking about where they can go to escape it.

South America would be a good place to visit. It’s wintertime on most of the continent, and you might get a chance to check out the new International Terminal D at DFW Airport. The design of the building is quite cool, inside and out. If you see page 32, you can learn about one of the artists whose work was commissioned for this terminal, as well as get a glimpse of what you’ll find there.

Another “cool” story in this issue is about poker, the card game that just won’t die. (I predict, however, that poker games on TV will be usurped by dart games. Have you seen that show? And to think I had a hard time believing poker on TV could be interesting.)

The writer of the story, Larry Olmsted, secured a seat at the World Poker Tour Invitational and reports on what it was like to play cards with celebrities who play poker and with poker players who have become celebrities. Click here to see how he did.

Eric Celeste, who was formerly our senior editor but who has just been promoted to editor of Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine (which we also publish), undertakes the difficult task of participating in a chef’s table dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. See page 28 to read his description of a simply fabulous dinner and to learn where you can experience it for yourself.

Although we have just lost Eric (congratulations and best wishes, Mr. Celeste — really), we have gained Zac Crain, our new associate editor. Zac is a music aficionado. In addition to having written for us, he has also had his fine work published in Spin and in the Dallas Observer. In just a few short weeks, Zac has already proved himself an invaluable editor and coworker.

As you travel around this summer, stay cool and keep your cool. It’s busy out there.

Picture of Sheri Burns