What to watch, listen to, and read this month to achieve maximum Texas cultural literacy.
The San Antonio Spurs season opener (October 25)
The Spurs’ future is at its most uncertain in years, as the team prepares to take the court sans best-power-forward-of-all-time Tim Duncan. That said, they’re the most consistent dynasty in sports, and Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and newcomer Pau Gasol are still a pretty darn good basketball team. And Gregg Popovich is still a pretty darn good basketball coach.
The Beat Is Dead, Nina Diaz (Cosmica Artists, October 28)
Diaz is the front woman of the San Antonio punk trio Girl in a Coma, but there’s nothing particularly punk about her solo debut’s synthesizers and occasionally middling tempos. Which isn’t to say she’s lost her edge; these ferociously sung confessions and accusations pack a real punch, even before you get to the final, devastating song, addressed to her birth father.
Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, various artists (Eight 30 Records, October 28)
The San Marcos–based Carroll, whose songs often depict life in East Texas and along the Gulf coast, has a small but ardent fan base that includes many fellow troubadours. For this collection, fifteen devotees—among them Hayes Carll and James McMurtry—lined up for the chance to spread the gospel to a wider audience.
Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson (November 4)
Screenwriter and novelist C. Robert Cargill was a longtime member of Austin’s Ain’t It Cool News posse, penning movie reviews for the geek-centric website before he got his own screenplay produced four years ago. That horror flick, Sinister, did well enough to spawn a sequel and pave the way to the big time: a Marvel Comics fantasy starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
Proof: Photographs From Four Generations of a Texas Family, Byrd M. Williams IV (University of North Texas Press, November 5)
Since the 1880s, four North Texas photographers named Byrd Moore Williams—the last three descendants of the first—have taken pictures of everything from crime scenes to Pancho Villa’s soldiers. Nearly two hundred are collected here, an evolving portrait of a century’s worth of change and stasis.
Twenty-six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film, Alexandra Zapruder (Twelve Books, November 15)
The literature of the Kennedy assassination is so vast and so riven with lunacy that it comes as a surprise to read something fresh on the subject: a book from Abraham Zapruder’s granddaughter, which is at once a family history and a cultural history of perhaps the most-watched 26 seconds of film of all time.