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.

When the warmer months come around, I always crave a road trip—windows down, music on, and remote locations ahead. With more than seven hundred miles stretching from one end of the state to the other, Texas is a good place for a long drive. I began planning this summer’s road trip using conventional travel websites and had gathered a satisfactory list of options. But then I stumbled across the TikTok account @txvacation. The profile has perfectly curated shots of restaurants, cultural sites, parks, and bougie overnight accommodations. Although the account features a few too many wide-brimmed hat tips and posed twirls for my taste, the spots really set my brainstorming in motion. 

At the top of my newly expanded list is a “luxury desert escape” called the Summit in Terlingua. The TikTok shows smart mid-century furniture tucked inside a man-made mining cave in the Tres Cuevas Mountain. A floor-to-ceiling glass door is open, revealing a scenic overlook. The camera glides through the room and out the cave, blurring the line between indoors and outdoors. It looks like bliss. 

Beyond West Texas, the TikTok account also promotes sites like a European-inspired village in McKinney, a guest suite in a giraffe barn in Fredericksburg, and a cozy cabin overlooking a small pond in Waco. Needless to say, I now have enough road-trip ideas for the next few summers. 

Sierra Juarez, assistant editor 

Watch an Arlington native in The Afterparty 

Everything in the news is so upsetting right now, when I was asked to come up with something for TM Recommends this week, I had a hard time thinking of anything that actually brings me joy. But then I remembered The Afterparty, a new Apple TV+ series that I have so loved, I’ve dreamt about it during not one but two different sleeps. It’s a funny murder mystery that shifts perspective and genres every episode. One week it’s structured like a rom-com, the next it’s a cartoon.

It stars Sam Richardson, probably the most charming person currently on television, but its Texas credentials come via Arlington native Tiya Sircar, who provides another memorable performance on her journey to becoming one of Hollywood’s next That Girls (you may recognize her from The Good Place or Station Eleven.) It’s ensemble comedy at its finest. The finale drops today, March 4, so if you want, you can binge all eight episodes over the weekend, providing more than five hours of content in which no one will discuss the possibility of nuclear war. Just some light murder.

Emily McCullar, associate editor 

Get your groove on at DivaDance classes

For me, fun is the most important aspect of any exercise routine. Ever since I started tapping into movement that brings me joy with DivaDance, my physical and mental health have improved. DivaDance offers dance classes—mostly hip-hop, lyrical, and heels—for adults and has locations all over the country, with Texas outposts in Tyler, El Paso, the Dallas area, the San Antonio area, the Houston area, and Austin (where it’s headquartered). 

Founder and owner Jami Stigliano is a Waco native but founded the company while living in New York City and working in the music industry. Stigliano wanted to get back into dancing as a hobby, like she did in her youth, but was frustrated and intimidated by classes geared toward Broadway professionals. She designed DivaDance to make people feel at ease during what can be an awkward experience—dancing in public. 

You get to know your fellow dancers during “community time” at the beginning of every class, and everyone is so friendly that the connection doesn’t feel forced. The instructors are excellent at answering questions and breaking down the moves. Once you feel comfortable, you can even invite your friends and family to watch you star in a DivaDance recital. As someone who took ballet classes and did figure skating as a kid, I feel like I’m reconnecting with something I love in a gentle, give-your-inner-child-a-hug kind of way. And fellas, don’t be put off by the name. You’re welcome too.

Kimya Kavehkar, associate editor 

Seek out a disappeared artwork

You won’t be able to go visit my favorite art project in Texas—it washed away years ago, in the waters of the Rio Grande. In 2010, the Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas stepped into the river where it runs to the south of Marfa, out in the arid mountains and canyons of West Texas. With a bucket of limestone-based paint, she laid down a line from rock to rock, with gaps filled in by the mind, across the entirety of the river. By the time she had reached the other side, she had walked from the United States into Mexico. In 2020, Minerva told me about feeling with her foot for the deepest part of the river as she painted. Every day that bottom changes, as the silt and sand shift. Whenever the river bed morphs, the entire U.S.-Texas border—defined as the deepest part of the Rio Grande—shifts a few inches as well.

The performance art from that day lives on in “Crossing of the Rio Bravo,” an installation that has shown in museums around the world. I first saw it in San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art in 2019. Around the gallery walls, large photos displayed images of Minerva in the river. In display cases, she had arranged glass specimen bottles filled with sand, stone, and water from the river. There were dried wildflowers and pieces of turquoise. If you ever get a chance to see “Crossing of the Rio Bravo” as an exhibit, do it. And if you’re ever lucky enough to visit the Rio Grande, in that hostile and beautiful country in Texas’s west, spend a moment imagining a line spanning in white paint from one side to the other—an imaginary line of paint, running perpendicular to the imaginary line of the border.

—Jack Herrera, senior editor