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The Checklist

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

By June 2014Comments

Television

The Normal Heart (HBO, May 25)  
Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking drama of AIDS activism receives its long-awaited screen adaptation, nearly three decades after its stage debut. Among its star-studded cast (which includes Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts) are two gay Houstonians—Jim Parsons and Matt Bomer—whose success as uncloseted actors would have been unimaginable when The Normal Heart first electrified audiences in 1985.

Books

Lake/Flato Houses: Embracing the Landscape (UT Press, June 1)  
For thirty years San Antonio architectural firm Lake/Flato has built beautiful houses that utilize local materials and respond to their surroundings. Eleven of the eighteen homes featured in this photo-heavy book are located in the Lone Star State, reflecting, perhaps, partner David Lake’s belief that “if you can build in Texas, you can build anywhere.”

Music

Platinum, Miranda Lambert (RCA Records Nashville, June 3)  
On
 her fifth album, one of country music’s most popular artists—and the pride of Lindale—has, inevitably, decided it’s time to grow up and leave behind her crazy-ex-girlfriend persona for songs that reflect the experiences of a happily married woman who doesn’t want to burn the house down anymore. But can a kinder, gentler Lambert still burn up the charts?

Sports 

Summer X-Games (June 5–8)  
The
 king of extreme-sports events—think gravity-defying and sometimes life-threatening skateboard, BMX, and mountain bike tricks—officially moves its warm-weather edition from Los Angeles, its home for the past eleven years, to Austin. Acknowledgment that the Live Music Capital of the World is now one of the coolest cities in America? Or just that our traffic is now nearly as bad as L.A.’s?

Books

Tequila Sunset, Sam Hawken (Serpent’s Tail, June 10)  
This
 Texas native’s first border-set thriller, The Dead Women of Juárez, earned him a Crime Writers’ Association nomination for best crime novel debut three years ago. His second, set in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, follows ex-con Felipe Morales as he tries to navigate the vertigo-inducing contrasts between one of the most peaceful cities in North America and one of the most violent. 

Film

Hellion, Directed by Kat Candler (June 13)  
In
 Austin director Candler’s third full-length film, a motocross-obsessed southeast Texas adolescent spins out of control—in one scene, he destroys a pickup truck parked outside a high school football game—until his younger brother is taken away by Child Protective Services, prompting him and his sad-sack father (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, making a generational shift) to rethink the direction of their lives. 

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