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The Checklist

What to hear, read, and watch this month to achieve maximum Texas literacy.

By July 2014Comments

Music

Neon Icon, Riff Raff (Mad Decent, June 24)
The Houston-gone-Hollywood rapper—often referred to as “the most viral human being in music” because of his pioneering ascent by way of YouTube—releases his official debut album, featuring guest appearances from home-town heroes Slim Thug and Paul Wall and, no doubt, plenty of near-random wordplay about cars, girls, foodstuffs, personal grooming, and B-list celebrities.

Film

La Bare, Directed by Joe Manganiello (June 27)
Dallas’s La Bare—reportedly the most popular male strip club in the world—was the inspiration for the Matthew McConaughey vehicle Magic Mike, which in turn inspired McConaughey’s co-star Manganiello to dig into his own pocket to film a documentary about the real thing, complete with the story of the murder of Ruben Riguero, a stripper described as “the real Magic Mike.” 

Books

Midcentury Modern Art in Texas, Katie Robinson Edwards (UT Press, July 1)
Though newcomers from New York and California like to think they’ve brought cosmopolitanism to Texas, the evidence continues to mount that our state was a full participant in the twentieth century. The latest exhibit: this eye-opening survey of dozens of Lone Star artists who held their own beside such giants as Jackson Pollock and Jasper Johns.  

Books

Getting Life, Michael Morton (Simon & Schuster, July 8)
Readers of Texas Monthly already know a great deal about Morton—how he was falsely accused of his wife’s murder in 1986, how he spent a quarter of a century in prison, how he was finally exonerated and set free, and how the real killer was eventually brought to justice. Now the world gets to read the details of this story in his own words.

Television

The Bridge (FX, July 9)
This El Paso–set and –filmed cable drama initially drew a lot of attention, not just for Diane Kruger’s uncanny portrayal of an Asperger-y detective but for its strong sense of place—and then squandered all that enthusiasm by veering into standard dumb-cop-show territory. For season two, there’s been a change of show-runners and an apparent turn back to the border world that once made the show so promising.

Music

No fools, No fun, Puss N Boots (Blue Note, July 15) 
Norah Jones will never again be the Norah Jones of 2002, who sold 26 million records and earned an armful of Grammys. And the former Grapevine resident seems fine with that, judging by her eagerness to take a backseat in side projects like this low-key trio that tosses off a few rootsy originals and a whole lot of covers from the likes of Wilco, Neil Young, and Rodney Crowell. 

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