Houston band Khruangbin knows how to maintain the groove, and their track “Evan Finds the Third Room” is no exception. The lyrical repetition of the word “Yes” summons you into hypnosis by funk.
The accompanying music video is also an absolute delight. Bringing color to an otherwise normal day in Shanghai, a Chinese woman dances throughout the city, completely carefree and inspiringly unbothered by those watching her. She swivels her hips with her arms reaching up to the sky, spinning an imaginary Hula-Hoop as she travels through alleyways, across streets, and through the park—all in red heeled platform boots. There’s an innocence and purity to her movement, which makes the video as wholesome as it is funky.
The song’s title comes from philosopher Homi K. Bhabha’s theory of the “third space,” a place in which different cultures coexist and meld into hybrids. The video is a surefire pick-me-up. It’s a reminder to let go and embrace the groove for however long you need to. The invisible Hula-Hoop never drops, after all. So, should you give this video a try? “Yes.”
—Gianni Zorrilla, editorial intern
Toasted Coffee + Kitchen
I am writing this as I sit at my desk and face my window on a wet and gloomy day. Midweek through work deadlines and needing a kick of caffeine, a creamy almond milk, caffeine-charged cappuccino from Toasted Coffee + Kitchen sounds amazing. Prior to this pandemic, I was definitely a coffee-shop hopper. I tried out so many places and rated them mostly based on their ambiance and cappuccinos.
Toasted Coffee + Kitchen in Lower Greenville, Dallas, is one of my favorites. I suggest Toasted to anyone looking for a cool and contemporary space. Find a seat in their open first-floor area with large windows, warm lighting, and tables close to many electrical outlets, or hide away in their cozy and quiet second floor, where the walls are lined with art you’ll be drawn to admire. Just as important, they serve their cappuccinos in darling red mugs along with an accent vanilla wafer cookie. To top off this great treat, I like to get a Topo Chico as well.
—Kathia Ramirez, art assistant
Vinylranch’s Spotify Playlists
Lately, being stuck at home has had me turning to movies and music as a mode of transporting myself to faraway lands or different eras. David Wrangler, a.k.a. Disko Cowboy a.k.a. Vinylranch on Spotify, churns out solid playlists that do just that. The Houston DJ and producer has earned a cult following for his performances and retro merchandise brand. He curates mixes that fit the tones of different cities and decades, encompassing the vastness of Texas. Playlists range from sleepy Western ballads that conjure the dusty roads of Marfa and old-school country classics to Houston’s chopped and screwed bangers and modern Texas hits. His collection of public playlists is so broad that there’s nearly one for every mood. Tune in if you miss hitting up honky-tonk dance floors or staring up at the West Texas sky.
—Arielle Avila, editorial coordinator
Ghosts of Sugar Land
Though it’s a troubling tale, Netflix’s Sundance-award-winning short Ghosts of Sugar Land is well worth your time and attention. Director Bassam Tariq crafts a haunting portrait of young Muslim men in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, contending with their childhood friend’s rapid descent into extremism.
The subjects, who wear masks to remain anonymous, attempt to reconcile the boy they thought they knew—“Mark,” later revealed to be Warren Christopher Clark—after he leaves Texas for ISIS-controlled Syria. In its short 22 minutes, the film deftly tracks personal threads of betrayal and loss, while also touching on the complexity and pain of growing up Muslim in post-9/11 America.
—Aimée Knight, editorial intern