There’s a lot to take in from Travis Scott’s new cover story in GQ—from the rapper’s passionate visions for flying-car-filled superhighways to the descriptions of Scott’s new $23.5 million home he had wrapped in a sheet of metal to “evoke the lines of a modern yacht” to all the dramatic, neon-saturated photos, in which Scott resembles a Prada model who just stepped out of Blade Runner 2049. But if, like Scott, you grew up in or around Houston, the most intriguing takeaway will undoubtedly be this: the musician, designer, and all-around cultural mogul says his biggest dream is to bring back Six Flags AstroWorld, the defunct theme park that inspired his hit 2018 album Astroworld, and continues to loom large in his imagination.
Again, this is just a dream for now—and at the moment, it’s no more concrete, nor less fantastical, than Scott’s blunt-fueled plans for our coming American utopia, a place he envisions where everyone just wants everyone else to be happy. Nevertheless, he tells GQ’s Gerrick D. Kennedy that he has been talking with Houston mayor Sylvester Turner about how he can best help their mutual community, besides just donating money. Scott’s fantasy, he says, would be to restore the amusement park that was shuttered in 2005—a move that “took the fun out of the city,” as Scott told GQ back in 2017. While he’s still not sure exactly what he would do with that now-barren grassland where AstroWorld once stood, Scott has already tested the waters with his two Astroworld music festivals on the site, where he successfully merged futuristic hip-hop with old-fashioned carnival rides to the tune of 50,000 tickets. Besides, even if it were literally just a swing set and an iPod playing Travis Scott songs on shuffle, it would still be more fun than a rodeo parking lot.
Megan Thee Stallion Gives Away $1 Million to Deserving Women
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Scott’s fellow Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion has been on her own altruistic streak, teaming with her “WAP” partner Cardi B to give away a total of $1 million to various “powerful women” through Twitter and Cash App. Over the course of 24 hours this past Wednesday and Thursday, the artists teamed up to donate that money in allotments of up to $500, doled out to women who’d nominated themselves or been nominated by others as deserving. Understandably, many of them offered profuse messages of gratitude in return. According to an official statement, the campaign was inspired “by the inspirational conversation that’s been happening in response to [“WAP”]”—a discussion, it must be noted, has been largely dominated by men shriveling into Victorian schoolmarms at the mere thought of a vagina. That was truly gift enough, so the money is just above and beyond.
Bun B Condenses the History of Racism Into One Eight-Minute Song
Rounding out a big week for civic-minded Southern rappers, Houston–via–Port Arthur legend Bun B released the eight-minute short musical film “The Future Is Mine,” a clip that manages to distill the entire ugly record of American racism into one scathing hip-hop history lesson. With the UGK emcee trading verses with Soulsonic Force’s Mr. Biggs, all over a vintage early-eighties-sounding production from Afrika Bambaataa producer John Robie, “The Future Is Mine” traces the long path of racial violence from Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the police killing of George Floyd, always returning to the refrain, “Like that cross in the yard, it continues to burn.” Adding to the Texas angle, both song and video were released by British entrepreneur and Houston transplant Michael Zilkha, who even revived his cult label ZE Records from a 36-year dormancy just for the occasion.
Alamo Drafthouse Returns with Free Bill & Ted Screening
The Alamo Drafthouse is waking from its own long slumber, with the Austin-based chain preparing to reopen select locations on August 21, and commemorating the moment with a free screening of Bill & Ted Face the Music on August 26. After staying closed for five months while it sorted out its new COVID-19 reality, the Drafthouse will begin opening up theaters in Austin, to be followed by locations in other cities in the coming weeks. Tickets are already available for screenings of The New Mutants, with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet arriving shortly thereafter. In addition to showing the Bill & Ted sequel a day before it opens anywhere else, the Drafthouse will also debut two new programs: “Making Up For Lost Time,” highlighting movies about time travel, and “Masks,” celebrating mask-wearing heroes and villains alike. All the tickets to the free Bill & Ted screenings have been snapped up, suggesting there are plenty of people who—like Bill and Ted—remain doggedly optimistic about the future and our capacity to be excellent to each other, despite repeated evidence to the contrary. Party on, dudes.
Texas Dominates Barack Obama’s Playlist
Bill and Ted’s faith in the power of music to pull us out of even the darkest times is clearly shared, if perhaps more clearly articulated, by President Barack Obama, who this week carried on his annual tradition of releasing his summer playlist—even amid a summer that feels a lot more like a long winter. Perhaps this explains Obama’s top-slot pick of “Texas Sun” from Leon Bridges and Khruangbin’s EP of the same name, a warm and winding tune that’s bathed in enough ultraviolet light to kill the coronavirus for good. [Note: I am not a doctor.] The Fort Worth and Houston artists were joined by plenty of other Texans on Obama’s list, which this year also includes tracks by the Chicks, Khalid, Megan Thee Stallion, and (of course) Beyoncé.
Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to music with my family. I wanted to share some of my favorites from the summer—including songs from some of the artists at this week’s @DemConvention. Hope you enjoy it. pic.twitter.com/2ZFwdN46jR
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 17, 2020
Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki Ready to Wrap Up and Move On
Similar signs of life are happening around Supernatural, which this week saw its Texan stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles finally returning to the set to complete filming on the remaining two episodes of the series. Production on the show’s fifteenth and final season was shut down back in March amid rising pandemic fears, and it’s remained in limbo ever since, with fans surely wondering whether the series would ever wrap up, and if it would find the Winchester brothers return to investigating the paranormal while sporting a “quarantine fifteen.” We’ll find out on both counts when the final seven episodes begin rolling out on October 8, with the series finale scheduled for November 19. And you won’t have to wait long to see Ackles and Padalecki again after that. Dallas’s Ackles recently joined the third season cast of Amazon’s superhero series The Boys, playing “original superhero” (and Captain America analog) Soldier Boy. And as previously reported, San Antonio’s Padalecki is readying an Austin-set reboot of Walker, Texas Ranger that’s due to premiere in January 2021, give or take however long Padalecki might need to grow back a proper Chuck Norris beard.
Did Post Malone Get a New Tattoo?
No. However, Malone’s extant tattoos appear in a new documentary that’s aimed at saving the beloved Norman’s Rare Guitars in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, just one of the many businesses whose future has been threatened by our ongoing public health crisis. The Grapevine rapper can be spotted in this TMZ excerpt alongside other, less-tattooed celebrities like Slash, Melissa Etheridge, and Jeff Daniels, with Malone paying his own tribute to the guitarists’ mecca by mentioning how much money he spent there and how someday he’d like to spend even more. Okay, see you next week!
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
It’s pretty tough just being in 2020 right now, so it’s perfectly understandable that even Matthew McConaughey would rather spend the week somewhere more fun, like 1982. The Austin actor is getting ready to join an all-star cast for a live reading of the classic high-school comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Friday, appearing alongside Julia Roberts, Morgan Freeman, Shia LaBeouf, Dane Cook, Henry Golding, original Fast Times star Sean Penn, and (for maximum virtual discomfort) exes Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. The unrehearsed read-through will stream at 7 p.m. Central via Facebook and TikTok, as a benefit to raise funds for Penn’s humanitarian organization, CORE. Casting is being kept under wraps, although Penn has said he definitely won’t be reprising his iconic role as laidback stoner Jeff Spicoli. But Penn added that he is “very confident in the new guy,” which can only mean one thing: Morgan Freeman’s gonna nail this.
To stoke the retro mood (or, you know, to satisfy whatever capricious whim skitters across his brainpan), on Thursday McConaughey posted a throwback photo to Instagram of his approximately-eighties self, rocking nothing but a pair of jorts and the joie de vivre of youth as he leans against a classic Nissan 300ZX that’s sporting “candy red and T-tops,” as McConaughey captioned it. You can practically hear the REO Speedwagon. Anyway, enjoy this little hit of concentrated summer, to sustain you in its waning days.