What to watch, listen to, and read this month to achieve maximum Texas literacy.
Live Dinner Reunion, Robert Earl Keen (Dualtone, November 18)
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his best-selling album No. 2 Live Dinner, Keen returned last year to Floore’s Country Store, in Helotes, for the most rousing overview to date of his career. On hand to help out were several of Keen’s closest musical friends, including Joe Ely and Lyle Lovett, as well as five thousand fans who showed up to sing along to every word.
Rules Don’t Apply, directed by Warren Beatty (November 23)
Nearly two decades after Bulworth, his last outing as writer-director, Warren Beatty returns at the helm of an unconventional love story, in which he also stars as the Houston-raised industrialist Howard Hughes, viewed through the eyes of young employees played by Lily Collins (daughter of Alamo obsessive Phil) and Alden Ehrenreich (soon to play Han Solo in a Star Wars spin-off).
Seeing Texas History, Victoria Ramirez (Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, November 29)
Since 2001, the Bullock Museum has displayed hundreds of edifying artifacts. This gorgeous volume highlights 81 of them, from a tool made from a rabbit’s jaw that might be three thousand years old to the robotic costume worn by a character in Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.
The Old and the Lost, Glenn Blake (John Hopkins University Press, November 29)
“How Far Are We From the Water?” reads the title of one of the short stories in this impressive collection, and the answer, as far as Blake’s oeuvre goes, is, never far at all. In these unsettling tales of Southeast Texas, water, in the form of bayous, rivers, hurricanes, and drowned battlefields, is as ubiquitous as air—and as unavoidable as fate.
Wildhorse, Raelynn (Warner Music Nashville, December 2)
Four years after competing on The Voice, this 22-year-old Baytown native has recorded a country debut that’s surprisingly solemn; there’s little of the sass and swagger people are used to hearing on the radio right now. But her songwriting doesn’t lack an edge: the first single, “Love Triangle,” about being the kid stuck between divorced parents, is fraught with heartbreaking tension.
Nocturnal Animals, directed by Tom Ford (December 9)
Texas-raised fashion mogul Tom Ford stunned many in 2009 by directing a movie: A Single Man, which earned actor Colin Firth an Oscar nomination. His much-buzzed-about second turn behind the camera, starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon, is a psychological thriller whose intertwined narratives have elicited comparisons to David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock.