If you know of Bill Callahan, (most people know him from his earlier work under the “Smog” moniker), you’re most likely a loyal fan. Some might even call themselves followers of his distinct, simple, original, and we’d even say brilliant writing. The 6 songs he has released from his new album, (coming out in its entirety in July) “Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest,” shows as much ingenuity and intelligence as any of his albums to date, and there are plenty of them - all worthy of a listen. This one is technically an Austin record since that’s where we’re proud to say he lives now, and in our humble opinion we think he is one of, if not the greatest, American singer songwriter currently active (reference Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Nick Drake). Here’s one of our favorite songs from the new record.
“From a distance, Oklahoma City looked like almost nothing,” writes Anderson in the book’s opening pages. “Up close, it turned out to be about almost everything.” You might already be thinking, “You’re suggesting I read a 400-page biography about Oklahoma City? Ok, Grapes of Wrath - I get it, but this?” If what you already know (or don’t know at all) about “The Great Minor City of America” doesn’t sound exciting or interesting, we urge you to read on. Maybe the “Land Run” sounds familiar. Just think about it - a state that is founded on deprived land-hungry settlers, running crazy with wooden stakes in their hands to claim their home territory. It has to have a good, if not entertaining, story built on it. Boom Town is the story of the city’s quest to become a “world-class metropolis,” beginning with its Wild West "Land Run" origins to its cataclysmic weather/tornadoes/earthquakes, and the tragedy of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The spearhead of the story is the NBA OKC Thunder, the franchise some considered “swiped” from Seattle. Basketball fan or not, the eclectic characters, including but not limited to Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, "Holy Chief Meteorologist and Severe Weather Savior" Gary England, plus a cast of affluent wheelers and dealers, makes the book as dramatic and uncertain as the Thunder roster itself. Thanks to Sam Andersons’s original, creative, honest, tongue-in-cheek writing, it makes sense that this book has been described as ‘best of’, ‘noteable’ and ‘award winning.”.
WATCH | THE CRITERION CHANNEL
Most folks who know films across the board are familiar with the Criterion Collection. What do we mean by “across the board?” Well, we mean not just commercial successes or the big budget movies that you see on the billboards, but also the ones you gotta look a little harder to find. Films that are often as beautiful, powerful and just as important to be seen. What’s great about this Collection is that they recently launched a streaming service, and it’s excellent! The channel streams contemporary films as well as well-loved classics, plus a constantly refreshed selection of Hollywood, international, art-house, and independent films from major studios and dozens of independent distributors. We agree with them when they say the channel is “A Movie Lover’s Dream.” We’re definitely still Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu junkies, but Criterion is unlike any of these, and we think it’s worth asking that special someone if they want to do something a little different like, “Criterion and chill?”
SHOP | JACK MASON WATCHES
Dad just might need a new watch for Father’s Day, and our buddies at Jack Mason have some pretty fresh ones. Whether your pops is a watch nerd or could care less what’s on his wrist (let’s help him with that one), the size, style, and kinds of watches here are easy to choose from. Nothing overwhelming, just classy, clean, and original. We’re personal fans of their Field Watches and think the Solar option is super smart and attractive. Their Automatic Divers definitely make the podium as well. The Aviators and Chronos are handsome, but Dad would be proud to adorn his wrist with whatever you choose. We’re gonna say that the quality, warranty and choice at this price point makes Jack Mason a true timepiece contender. (PS- They’re based in Dallas, and you know us Texan companies stand by our products, even after the cows come home.)
LAUGH | MOON TOWER COMEDY PRESENTS
Even though Austin isn’t LA or NYC, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a comedy scene, and a growing and commendable one at that. The folks at Moon Tower Comedy work hard to bring in the best current names, so if you like to laugh, they provide plenty of opportunities. Coming up is Eddie Izzard at the Long Center, IIana Glazer at the Paramount, and even Celeste Barber (yes, the one whose Instagram account often has us crying tears of joy), just to name a few. So when people think of Austin, they might think live music and even film, but we’re here to say we’ve got comedy too, and it’s here to stay.
Are you a cynic or a builder? Do you apologize when you’re wrong? Are your actions based more on dogma or originality? If you can go through these questions and answer honestly, look at them not from a self-help or even self-realization POV. More like a challenge to address some core issues that might or might not be happening in the day to day. Read the questions with the thought that they are meant for encouragement instead of judgement - we’re hard enough on ourselves as is. So don’t be threatened, it’s you confronting you and nothing else.