What’s better than the Muppets? The Muppets with Danny Trejo. The mustachioed actor, best known for playing the title character in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete series, is also a successful restaurateur who owns Trejo’s Tacos and Trejo’s Donuts & Coffee. The gruff-on-the-outside, softie-on-the-inside celebrity recently appeared on the Disney Plus Muppets Now show’s “Okey Dokey Kooking” segment. Hosted by Muppet turkey Beverly Plume, the weekly vignettes pit the Swedish Chef character against a celebrity guest. For Episode 2, “Fever Pitch,” that guest is Danny Trejo, who makes mole tacos. Shenanigans ensue.

—José R. Ralat, taco editor

Partaking in Dog Discourse

It started on #NationalDogDay, August 26, and was fortified by my first reading of the Wishbone oral history in our October issue: a creeping need to balance my digital consumption with something more wholesome. 

The internet is not the most fun place these days. Perhaps you’ve heard there’s an impending election. Add in a pandemic and multiply by a job that requires I read the comments, and it’s a wonder I log on in my free time at all. 

Dog content is not the cure, but it is a welcome distraction that I’ll take a dose of any day. Pups are blissfully ignorant to the state of things and can remind us of the simple pleasures of playing in a sprinkler, eating a spoonful of peanut butter, or smelling a giant yard of freshly mowed grass. Plus, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a dog post that offered an unwelcome opinion or yelled at me for mine.

If you do decide to trade in your doomscrolling for Good Boys and Girls, you have plenty of options. On Twitter, I love We Rate Dogs, the only online source for “professional dog ratings,” and the #Adorables hashtag. On Reddit, I spend too much time on r/whatswrongwithyourdog, a collection of weird, hilarious, and silly pooches doing weird, hilarious, silly things. And on Instagram, I suggest following animal rescue accounts like @austinpetsalive or @houstonspca.

Finally, if you’re lucky enough to have a best furry friend at home, or several, share the love with your fellow humans by participating in the larger dog discourse. Your local social media editor will thank you.

Taylor Prewitt, social media editor 

Rothko Chapel

The first time I walked into the Rothko Chapel, I felt the comforting weight of silence. The octagonal space, which Mark Rothko created for John and Dominique de Menil in the sixties, houses fourteen site-specific paintings by the artist. At first glance, the works all look the same—large, dark abstract rectangles. But I eventually realized that in this space, the meaning is dependent on the interpretation of the seeker. An interfaith refuge, the chapel is a quiet place for anyone to sit in stillness.

The newly restored Texas gem, nestled in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, now features a skylight that brightens the space. A permanent collection of holy books and spiritual texts is housed in the chapel, encouraging any and all to enter and reflect in a way that suits them. Outside, Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk sculpture sits in a rectangular reflecting pool. 

Sitting among the purple and black canvases that mean whatever I want them to mean reminds me of a quote by author Robert M. Pirsig: “The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” The Rothko Chapel is my mountain. And when atop it, I feel at peace. 

—Gianni Zorrilla, editorial intern

All Roads to Pearla

In fall 2010, Van Ditthavong spent 21 days driving across the state for a Texas Monthly photography assignment. He captured the portraits of Texans from all walks of life—an immigrant, a rancher, a pastor, a high school teacher. “For a brief moment you get to hear their stories and see a glimpse of their lives,” he later wrote. “I just didn’t want these stories to end.” So he passed the long hours on the road by imagining what went on in the small towns he visited.

Those daydreams inspired All Roads to Pearla, his first feature film. Written and directed by Ditthavong and produced by Red Productions in Fort Worth, the noir was released on streaming platforms this week. The film follows Brandon, a high school wrestler (Alex MacNicoll), who befriends a drifter named Pearla (Addison Timlin) and is drawn into her troubled world. With a tense score by Fort Worth native Curtis Glenn Heath, and dreamlike visuals that show off Ditthavong’s photography skills, it’s a dark, engrossing tale that will transport you to a small town where things are not as they seem.

—Rose Cahalan, associate digital editor