What to hear, read, and watch this month to achieve maximum Texas cultural literacy.
The Eagles vs. the Cowboys, LSU vs. A&M, TCU vs. UT (November 27)
Meaningful football on Thanksgiving! Well, at least in Arlington, where one team could clear a path to NFC supremacy. And in College Station, where the Aggies hope to end a disappointing regular season with the same spark they displayed at the beginning. And definitely in Austin—if TCU still has playoff ambitions by then. At press time, how would we know?
Texas: The Great Theft, Carmen Boullosa (Deep Vellum, December 2)
No less a figure than Roberto Bolaño once called this author “Mexico’s best woman writer.” Her latest novel—and the first book published by the Dallas-based translation press Deep Vellum—is set amid the 1859 Mexican invasion of the United States, a.k.a. the Cortina Troubles, and portrays a border region even more fraught than today’s.
December Day: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1, Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie (Sony/Legacy, December 2)
At this point it’s clear to everyone that pretty much any song is susceptible to Willie’s interpretive powers. So it’s no shock that on this low-key outing with his piano-playing sibling, songs by Al Jolson and Irving Berlin sit alongside a dozen of his own. Still, you’ll be surprised by how much you’ll like “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”
Centro-Matic’s Final Three Shows (December 19–21)
On the eve of its twentieth anniversary, one of indie rock’s most beloved bands (and one of its most stable: no one ever quit, no one ever got fired) says farewell to touring (and maybe recording; it’s all a bit vague) with one last go-round: sixteen shows in thirteen cities, including an Austin date, a Dallas date, and a teary three-night stand in Denton, where it all began.
Owen Wilson’s Third and Fourth Movies of the Year (December 12 and 19)
Those would be Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-buzzed-about film version of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and the third installment of the Night at the Museum franchise, respectively. That makes 37 movie appearances in the twenty-first century for the Dallas-born actor, with three more coming up next year. And then there are all those Zoolander 2 rumors.
Annie, Directed by Will Gluck (December 19)
In our era of endless military campaigns, the name Daddy Warbucks wouldn’t fly in a feel-good holiday-season movie. So in this adaptation of the theatrical adaptation of Harold Gray’s classic comic strip, Terrell native Jamie Foxx plays Will Stacks, a New York City mayoral candidate who decides that a wisecracking orphan (Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhané Wallis) would make the perfect campaign prop.