If Netflix’s The Last Dance left you craving another deep dive into a complicated sporting legend, then ESPN’s Lance is worth a watch. Directed by Marina Zenovich, the two-part documentary tracks the Plano native from his competitive roots in Austin through his battle with testicular cancer, his seven consecutive Tour de France wins, and the superstardom that followed, as well as the stain with which his legacy will always be smeared: his doping.
For years, Armstrong beat the denial drum (“I can only assert my innocence,” he told Texas Monthly in 2001) so it’s easy to write him off as a cheat. What’s harder is to consider how Armstrong, like everyone, is more than his worst deed. He’s both a stigma-fighting cancer survivor and a bully, an influential philanthropist and a fraud. Zenovich crafts a portrait of a man who claims he wouldn’t change a thing, but also admits that he regrets—occasionally—the pain he wrought on teammates and fans. It’s a lesson of epic proportions: how lying compounds, how celebrity poisons personhood, how we’re not all good or all evil. Hop on for the ride.
—Aimée Knight, editorial intern
Mano con Ojo Studio
You could get lost in the details of artist Christina Cordova’s hand-printed goods, with their sprawling patterns and intricate lines. She starts with a blank printing block, then carves out designs that feature desert scenery lush with ocotillos, century plants, and yuccas. The result: beautiful art prints, tea towels, stationery, and clothing. Based in San Marcos, Cordova celebrates her Mexican American heritage in her work. If you’re looking for a gorgeous new addition to your home or wardrobe, be sure to check out her store.
—Arielle Avila, editorial coordinator
Womxn of Color Collective
There’s something magnetic about Austin that attracts residents from all walks of life. Like any big city, it’s a melting pot. But Austin struggles with gentrification and a widening income inequality gap. It’s also the only large U.S. city with a declining Black population.
With obstacles stacked against minorities, creating a sense of community is ever-important, and luckily, I’ve found it in groups such as the Womxn of Color Collective (WOCC). The organization, which meets twice a month either virtually or in a socially distanced fashion, works to empower women through camaraderie, education, and thoughtful conversation. Past workshops and panels have revolved around topics of sex education, spirituality, mental health, and more. Whether through virtual happy hours, community chats, or in-person events, WOCC is a vibrant safe haven open to all women of color. As a woman of color in Austin, it’s heartening to know that spaces for me exist. Find the group on Instagram @womxnofcolorcollectiveatx.
—Gianni Zorrilla, editorial intern
That Animal Rescue Show
As 2020 staggers toward its bitter end, many of us are in need of a dose of something wholesome. Legendary Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater’s new documentary series That Animal Rescue Show is exactly that. The newly released CBS series highlights the animal rescue community around Austin, where Linklater lives. Each episode focuses on a different organization and the bond between animals and their caretakers. One particularly powerful episode is about a prison program that connects women inmates in Lockhart with harder-to-adopt dogs. The ten-episode series is available to stream on CBS All Access.
—Sierra Juarez, assistant editor