What to read, watch, listen to, and look at to achieve maximum Texas cultural literacy.
“James Drake: Anatomy of Drawing and Space (Brain Trash)” (El Paso Museum of Art, through January 8)
A Lubbock native, Drake has spent the past forty or so years earning acclaim for his sculptures and videos, many of them relating to the U.S.-Mexico border. His latest project is more than a thousand recent drawings, pinned to the walls of a museum located in the city where he lived and worked for more than two decades.
“On the Texas Homefront” (Bullock Texas State History Museum, through January 8)
Vintage film footage and newspaper clippings, World War II military uniforms, and first-person accounts of life in Texas internment camps are just a few of the items found in this exhibit on the effects of Nazi propaganda on the Lone Star State. Parallels with any recent events across the globe are, of course, purely in the eyes of the beholder.
God Country #1, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw (Image Comics, January 11)
Austin writer Cates, perhaps best known for Buzzkill, a collaboration with Toadies drummer Mark Reznicek, has something new on offer: a West Texas–set fantasy series drawn by New Mexico artist Shaw. Most Texas moment of all? In the second issue, our protagonist has four words for a mystical creature who wants to steal his sword: “Come and take it.”
Corner Suns (Idol Records, January 13)
It’s been nearly twelve years since Dallas indie-rock darlings the Deathray Davies put out an album, but front man John Dufilho has kept busy with a series of other bands. The latest, Corner Suns, is a duo with Brandon Carr, of the recently reunited British–North Texas psychedelic outfit the Earlies, in which Dufilho demonstrates that his knack for melodies that are at once catchy and enigmatic hasn’t dimmed.
Stinger, Hard Proof (Modern Outsider Records, January 13)
It’s no surprise that this Austin supergroup, in which members of the Echocentrics and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears fuse Afropop to hard funk, has a hot rhythm section. The less expected pleasure is the high quality of the solos. Check out “Men of Trouble,” in which Joseph Woullard’s blistering flute showcase is followed immediately by John Branch’s roof-raising guitar work.
Gold, directed by Stephen Gaghan (January 27)
Anyone still needing proof that Matthew McConaughey is done letting his chiseled abs carry his career should look to this drama, in which he plays a failed businessman seeking gold in the jungles of Indonesia. To make viewers recoil as much as the character’s investors (who can virtually smell his desperation), Uvalde’s luxuriantly tressed son not only acquired a belly, he made himself bald.