In the Texas Monthly Recommends series, Texas Monthly writers, editors, photographers, and producers offer up their favorite recent culture discoveries from the great state of Texas.

The barbecue keeps coming. In the wake of the new Texas Monthly Top 50 barbecue joints list comes the annual Blues, Bandits & BBQ festival. Established ten years ago by Dallas neighborhood booster organization Go Oak Cliff as a family-friendly competition featuring local amateur pitmasters, the event now attracts contestants from across North Texas. It’s also grown from one day of barbecue to two. This year’s gathering at Kidd Springs Park begins Friday evening with a concert—from a blues band, of course. “It’s another reason to drink at night in the park,” says Go Oak Cliff partner Jimmy Contreras with a chuckle. After the show, prep kicks off for the next day’s main event.

Fifteen barbecue teams will go head-to-head in four categories: chicken, sausage, ribs, and brisket. The competitors will set up tents and light campfires while tending to their pits overnight. 

On Saturday, November 6, gates open to the public at noon and Blues, Bandits & BBQ continues through 6 p.m., with musical entertainment, beer, and judging by food industry folks and community leaders. Tickets range from $15 (for drinks only) to $40. The latter gets attendees one plate of barbecue, a cup, and two drink tokens. Bring a blanket or folding chairs, and grab a spot to catch the bands while chowing through the holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and ribs.

—José Ralat, taco editor 

Listen to Juicy Podcast Episodes on Self-help Guru Rachel Hollis

Since launching their Maintenance Phase podcast a year ago, Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes have explored the wild world of wellness, critically examining and often debunking the diet and fitness crazes of today and of yore. They have taken on the rise and fall of SnackWell’s Cookies in the nineties, the damage done by the reality competition show The Biggest Loser, and the true story of when Murder She Wrote’s Angela Lansbury released a fitness video and book. But only once have they devoted two episodes to one topic. Much to the hosts’ own apparent surprise, they recently debuted a two-part series on Austin-based self-help guru Rachel Hollis, she of those best-selling girl-comma-command books (Girl, Wash Your Face; Girl, Stop Apologizing).

Hollis, you might recall, earlier this year watched her self-made world implode not long after a livestream in which she commented that she had a housekeeper who cleaned the toilets twice a week. When a viewer criticized her for being unrelatable, Hollis doubled down, brazenly responding via a TikTok video: “Literally every woman I admire in history was unrelatable,” she snaps. In the caption below, she listed those women: Harriet Tubman, Oprah Winfrey, Malala Yousafzai, and Frida Kahlo, among others (her subsequent apology also gets the full Maintenance Phase treatment). Hollis suddenly lost tens of thousands of followers, just a month before she was scheduled to begin her next national tour of Rise women’s conferences in her new hometown.

With humor and insight, Hobbes (who recently announced he was leaving his other popular podcast, You’re Wrong About) and Gordon (a columnist for Self and author of 2020’s What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat) trace Hollis’s trajectory, starting with her Pentecostal upbringing in Weedpatch, California, through this year’s controversy, which hasn’t ended her career as a guru by any means but definitely damaged her brand. They’re compassionate when they should be—Hollis lost her brother to suicide when she was a teenager and was given no familial support to help with the trauma afterward, and she’s actually a talented writer—but otherwise they astutely analyze and take apart the claims of her books and messages. “Self-made” means something completely different when you’re married to a Disney executive, for example. There’s a lot to unpack; the “unrelatable” controversy was just the latest in a string of them, including her surprising divorce last year even as she and her husband were giving out marriage advice on a podcast and charging $1,800 for couple’s trips. Hollis, in fact, made Texas Monthly’s annual Bum Steer Awards last year when she Instagrammed a Maya Angelou quote without attribution. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Hollis, the podcast serves as a helpful guide on how to navigate the stormy self-help waters as a consumer. And if you’re unfamiliar with Maintenance Phase, these two episodes showcase the brilliant banter between Hobbes and Gordon and their smart perspectives, something much needed right now.

—Kathy Blackwell, executive editor 

Get Weird With Teezo Touchdown’s New Song 

Beaumont rapper Teezo Touchdown takes the perspective of a household appliance on his late September single. “I’m Just a Fan” is a three-minute existential ballad about the common fan: always reliable, but often taken for granted and criticized for making noise. The occasional voice crack adds to the track’s vulnerability, and his crooning becomes increasingly desperate as the instrumentation accelerates from a lone acoustic guitar on the first verse and chorus to a thumping bass, strings, and a brief drum break on the bridge. 

Teezo closes out “I’m Just a Fan” by singing, “What’s the point of being on all day when you can’t tolerate the noise I make?” A scathing Pitchfork column called him “the latest insufferable fashion rapper,” and the review argues that his commitment to styling himself, a prime example being his trademark array of six-inch nails intertwined into his hair, would be received better if he . . . made better music.

Yet the negative review seemed to work to Teezo’s advantage, with many others, including myself, doubling down on our admiration for him on Twitter. To me, Teezo’s forays into weird fashion offer him another avenue through which to be discovered and appreciated. Those who listen to “I’m Just a Fan” can also become fans of his bold style choices, and those who recognize him only as “nail head guy” may then play his music. The nails do not distract from the songs; rather they are parts of a whole, two versions of “the noise he makes.” You can catch him opening for Tyler, the Creator on tour in early 2022.

—Ben Moskow, editorial intern