Photo courtesy of Harlem Globetrotters

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters come to Houston as part of their 2024 World Tour. The Globetrotters feature an unforgettable blend of dribbling, spinning, and dunking, taking on their fierce rivals, the Washington Generals.

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Traverse Texas this fall and winter for festivals, food, art, and more

Hit the Road

One of the perks of living in Texas is having a handful of other big, fun cultural cities within driving distance. Perhaps you've already blown through your PTO or still have some vacation time you're looking to fill — why not hop in the car and drive to one of Texas' big five?

We're talking Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, and boy do these cities have a full calendar coming up to close out 2023.

Whether you're looking to experience the holiday spirit in another area code or are tempted by one of the local festivals, fall and winter are the ideal times to visit your Lone Star neighbors.

Here's a month-by-month look at what's happening around the state:

Austin Food + Wine Festival
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Austin Food + Wine Festival is back this November.


AUSTIN: Pecan Street Festival
The Pecan Street Festival, a twice-yearly arts festival, is returning to downtown Austin on September 16-17. Over 300 local artisans and vendors will be selling their handmade art, crafts, clothing, and more in booths lined along 6th Street between Brazos Street and I-35 for the weekend. Live performances by local musicians are also scheduled throughout the weekend. And the best part? The festival is free.

DALLAS: Autumn at the Arboretum
This yearly festival features 100,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash hailing from the pumpkin capital of Texas, Floydada, and 150,000 beautiful fall-blooming plants throughout the garden. For its 18th year, running September 16-November 5, the theme is "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" with the return of the Peanuts Gang, themed pumpkin houses that make up the Pumpkin Village, a hay bale maze, and plenty of special events.

FORT WORTH: Oktoberfest
This three-day, Munich-style celebration of German culture includes a ceremonial tapping of the kegs, carnival rides, dachshund races, a brat-eating contest, bier barrel-rolling, stein-hoist competition, the Oktoberfest Run Und Ride, and plenty of polka bands. It's held in Trinity Park September 21-23.

HOUSTON: Houston International Jazz Festival
Head to the Miller Outdoor Theatre on September 16 for this celebration of jazz in Houston, this year featuring the Duke Ellington Orchestra directed by Charlie Young. Special guests Paul Mercer Ellington (Duke's grandson) and Tierney Malone will be there, along with the featured work of acclaimed artist Jack Whitten.

SAN ANTONIO: McNay Art Museum presents "Dreamland: Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas"
In the exhibition, a 30th-anniversary celebration of filmmaker Tim Burton’s 1993 stop-motion animated film, visitors can reacquaint themselves with Burton’s awkwardly charming cast that includes Sally, Oogie Boogie, Bone Crusher, and the beloved hero, Jack Skellington. Also meet unusual characters created by artists from the McNay’s collection, including José Clemente Orozco Farías, Julie Heffernan, Eugene Berman, Marilyn Lanfear, Willem de Kooning, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Julie Speed, and others. The exhibition runs through January 14.


AUSTIN: Austin Film Festival
During the eight-day festival, held October 26-November 2, audiences can view screenings of film and television premieres galore, plus competition films, documentaries, shorts, and more, with all-star line-ups and Q&As by your favorite writers, actors, and filmmakers.

DALLAS: State Fair of Texas
The State Fair of Texas begins its run in Dallas September 29, with 24 days of live music, carnival games, fried food creation competitions, and more. Luckily for CultureMap readers, here's a thorough guide to getting every possible discount at the fair this year.

This festival on the lawn at Will Rogers Memorial Center, now in its second year, celebrates visual arts and classical music October 20-22. Expect artists' exhibitions plus demonstrations of decorative arts disciplines,such as glassblowing, metal pours, potters wheel, and wood-turning.

HOUSTON: Bayou City Art Festival
A juried art festival that's responsible for raising more than $3.7 million in support of local nonprofit organizations. The outdoor festival attracts more than 20,000 attendees, offering the opportunity to meet with exhibiting artists, buy one-of-a-kind art, and enjoy food, music, and entertainment.

SAN ANTONIO: Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival
Culinaria and Visit San Antonio head up this four-day epicurean experience that allows food and wine lovers alike to explore the unique flavors of Texas for themselves. Guests can look forward to enjoying live music, educational panels, and sampling a variety of cocktails, wines, and craft beers from October 26-29. The best part is that it’s a party with a purpose — the James Beard Foundation is the beneficiary, with $250,000 committed to support culinary students in Texas.


AUSTIN: Austin Food & Wine Festival
The 12th Annual Austin Food and Wine Festival will feature chefs, restaurants, and wine and spirits experts over two days, November 4-5. Festival highlights include the new Made In Texas Saturday night event; the return of the Hands-On Grilling event with chef Tim Love; the Fire Pit, featuring bites hot off the flames; cooking demonstrations and conversations; samples of signature dishes from local chefs and restaurants; wine, beer and cocktail tastings; live music; and more.

DALLAS: Chi Omega Christmas Market
A 46-year tradition, this massive market will feature more than 200 merchants and is expected to welcome more than 10,000 shoppers in search of the holiday spirit on November 15-18. Browse holiday decor, women’s clothing and accessories, home accents, children’s clothing and toys, food items, and more. All proceeds from ticket sales, merchant booth fees, and donations are donated to vetted local charities.

FORT WORTH: Lone Star Film Festival
Since its founding 16 years ago by local film advocates and legendary actor and Fort Worth native Bill Paxton, the Lone Star Film Society has provided film education programs for hundreds of students interested in filmmaking in the Fort Worth area. The festival itself has grown into a premier destination for filmmakers, producers, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts, with the honor of being ranked a “Top 50 Film Festival” by MovieMaker Magazine. Catch it November 2-5.

HOUSTON: Nutcracker Market
The 43rd annual Nutcracker Market will host more than 270 merchants from across the country — including more than 30 new merchants — showcasing a curated collection of unique holiday items, gourmet food, apparel, jewelry, accessories, home decor, gifts, toys, and more. Go shopping November 9-12 at NRG Park.

SAN ANTONIO: Cirque du Soleil Bazzar
Cirque du Soleil’s first return to San Antonio since 2006, and the first time the city will welcome a Big Top show, Bazzar is a dazzling homage to the Cirque du Soleil legacy that highlights its awe-inspiring acrobatic displays, adroit dancers, and talented musicians. Inspired by a traditional Middle Eastern bazaar, the production captures the bustling kinetic environment of the centuries-old, open-air market setting through its ensemble of diverse characters. It runs November 5-December 3 at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium.


AUSTIN: Trail of Lights
What began as a small gathering in 1965 known as the Yule Fest, a gift to the city of Austin from Austin Parks and Recreation Department, has now grown into a community wide celebration of the unique spirit and people of Austin. In the 59 years since the first Yule Log was lit, the Trail now features more than 2 million lights illuminating the park, 96 lighted holiday trees, and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. You can visit December 8-23.

DALLAS: BMW Dallas Marathon
The annual event, held this year December 8-10, features a half-marathon (running and, new this year, walking), 50K ultra marathon, five-person marathon relay, and two-person half-marathon relay. There is also a 10K, 5K (running and walking), 5K team challenge, kids' 100-yard dash, and Oncor Kid’s Race on the following day, and return of the Friday Night Lights Mile. The weekend's events directly benefit Scottish Rite for Children. Since being named as the primary beneficiary in 1997, the Dallas Marathon Festival has donated more than $4 million to the organization.

FORT WORTH: Lightscape at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
Lightscape returns for its second year with 80 percent newly designed displays. Visitors will walk a one-mile-long path with suspended strands and tunnels of light, see a fire garden, undulating wave of bluebonnets, singing trees, treetop sculptures, and artistic installations, all while toasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate and other seasonal drinks at stations along the trail. It opens November 17 and runs through January 1, 2024.

HOUSTON: Moody Gardens Ice Land
Part of Holiday in the Gardens, Ice Land lets visitors experience the vibrancy of rainforests with the monkeys, birds, butterflies, and orchid, as Christmas-decked leaf-cutter ants lead you through a magical world intricately carved from ice. Go down the giant ice slide that transports guests from the canopy to the forest floor, past ancient ruins, and along river edges. There is even an opportunity to enjoy Shivers Ice Bar, featuring festive holiday spirits inside this ultra-cool bar made completely out of ice. Visit November 18-January 16, 2024.

The 2023 Valero Alamo Bowl will be played at the 65,000-seat Alamodome and broadcast on ESPN on December 28, kicking off at 8:15 pm. Last year, the Valero Alamo Bowl and its partners awarded more than $1.2 million split between students representing every participating San Antonio-area high school and four-year university — a record-setting number.


No matter where your next adventure takes you, a Hilton hotel is waiting for you.

With over 550 Hilton hotels spanning across the state of Texas, the possibilities to earn more while exploring the Lone Star State are endless.


3 Houston golf courses score best in the state title by Texas Monthly

who's your caddy

Anyone who swings a Callaway or TaylorMade in Houston knows our fair city usually boasts 12 months for great golfing. No surprise, then, that three of the best golf courses in the Lone Star State are located in the Houston area, according to a new 2023 guide by Texas Monthly.

Texas owns the fifth-most public golf courses in the country, with about 600 tracks spread out throughout the state. With that in mind, the Texas Monthly team traveled thousands of miles to collect their data about the most unique, reasonably-priced, and accessible golf courses in Texas.

The three Houston courses all fit this criteria, while offering some of the best experiences for players of any skill level.

The first golf course on the lists is BlackHorse in Cypress, a 36-hole complex distinctly designed by Jim Hardy and Peter Jacobsen as an appreciation of East Texas' wetlands. The combined space between the South and North Courses add up to nearly 14,500 yards, with the South Course taking the shorter length but compensating with a more challenging design.

Out of the total three dozen holes, Texas Monthly explains the sixteenth and seventeenth holes are the most memorable.

"The former, a short par 4, dares big hitters to drive over a beautiful marsh, and the following par 3 is effectively an island — a wooden bridge just above the waterline takes you from tee box to green," said senior editor Josh Alvarez. "The spectacular wetland landscape and resident waterfowl provide consolation for any splashed shots."

Next on the list is the oldest 18-hole course in Houston – Gus Wortham – which the Monthly says was just "an afterthought" to the city. It was only after locals expressed disagreement over turning the course into a botanical garden that the Houston City Council decided to revamp the course into what it is today.

"Thanks to some TLC over the past six years, Wortham boasts a freshly rebuilt clubhouse, an all-grass driving range, resplendent fairways, and attractive, constantly beguiling greens," the guide said.

What sets this course apart, according to the Monthly, is how it hasn't lost its edginess through the years, even with the city's reinvestment.

Last, but certainly never the least, Memorial Park has had time in the spotlight before when it earned a title as one of the best municipal courses by Golf.com. So it comes as no surprise that the famed course would be included in Texas Monthly's guide – going so far as to say Bayou City golfers should be counting themselves lucky ("if not downright spoiled") for such a well-maintained, conveniently located, and affordable course.

Since Memorial Park's renovation and reopening in 2019, the course has become only one of two municipally-owned courses on the PGA Tour, in addition to being a formidable host for the Houston Open.

"Those who fear the sand will rejoice at seeing fewer than twenty bunkers during the round, but in exchange players must carefully navigate grass hollows, deep ravines, and thick Bermuda grass that clutches balls when they miss the fairway," Alvarez said. "Make use of the double-decker driving range to get your iron distances dialed in, because the greens can be unkind."

And don't forget to grab a Bill's Burger from Becks Prime after the round is over.

The remaining 15 courses in Texas Monthly's "A Guide to Texas' Best Public Golf Courses" can be found on texasmonthly.com.

Photo by Emily Jaschke

CultureMap's ultimate sports bash The Tailgate returns with early-bird tickets for an MVP experience

Game on

As anyone who’s rolled up to NRG Stadium before dawn with brisket, beer, and gameday gear ready to go knows, Houston tailgating isn’t for rookies.

With that in mind, CultureMap and SportsMap are teaming up to celebrate the return of the big fall sports season with The Tailgate, our all-out party devoted to our favorite sports pastime, which debuted as a smash-hit event last year.

It all goes down on Wednesday, October 25 at Silver Street Studios, and tickets are already on sale.

Tailgaters can look forward to sports-inspired bites from favorite local restaurants, premium cocktails, coveted memorabilia from Texas legends, and plenty of game-day fun at this signature event, which shows major league love for the MVP fans who cheer them on.

Favorite Houston restaurants and chefs will create tailgate-inspired dishes for you to sample and vote for your favorite. Participants include (with more restaurants to be announced):

  • FM Kitchen
  • Wild Concepts
  • Aiko
  • Good Vibes Coastal Kitchen
  • Cobos
  • Twin Peaks
  • Quad HTX
  • Patterson Park
  • Maple Leaf Pub
  • The Phoenix on Westheimer
  • Rockhouse Southern Kitchen
  • The Waffle Bus
  • d'Alba Craft Kitchen and Cocktails

As a new twist this year, readers will get to vote for their favorite local sports bar in our Ultimate Sports Bar Showdown. Think of this as sort of like the Sweet 16, where local champs face off in an online tournament. The winner will be revealed at the party.

The event also will shine a spotlight on sports-related nonprofits and give you the chance to pitch in and make a difference for the causes they champion. You'll get to learn more about Dynamo and Dash Charities, Houston Texans Foundation, and more nonprofit partners to be announced.

We'll keep you up to date on all things Tailgate-related in a special editorial series of stories leading up to the event.

A limited number of Early Bird tickets are on sale now at discounted rates of $35 for general admission (regularly $50) and $60 for VIP (regularly $75).

All tickets include bites by participating restaurants, complimentary premium beverages, and access to fun activities throughout the event. VIP tickets get you one-hour early entry, a dedicated VIP bar, and more perks for an elevated experience.

Head here to buy your tickets now.


The Tailgate is sponsored by Bud Light, NÜTRL Vodka Seltzer, Cutwater Spirits, 1800 Tequila, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, and more to be announced.

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Watch Houston G.O.A.T. Simone Biles step up to crush a 90-year-old gymnastics record this weekend

U.S. Gymnastics Championships

Houston's Olympic G.O.A.T. Simone Biles is officially back and pushing the limits of human possibility — both on the gymnastics floor and on the medal stand. The world’s most decorated gymnast will compete for her record eighth national title at the Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships, August 24-27, in San Jose, California.

That’s “record,” as in the first woman or man to win eight national all-around titles. When Biles won her seventh title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth in 2021, NBC notes, she tied a male gymnast named Alfred Jochim, who won seven, from 1925 to 30 and in 1933. (Yes, 90 years ago.)

At 26, Biles also could become the oldest U.S. women’s all-around champion since USA Gymnastics was founded in 1963. She will go for gold by competing the most difficult vault in women’s gymnastics, the Yurchenko double pike.

To get to the title, Biles will have to flip, twist, and soar above some of her fiercest competitors and Olympic teammates, including Jade Carey, Suni Lee, and her Houston training mate Jordan Chiles. Also in the mix: 2022 national champion Konnor McClain and silver medalist Shilese Jones, and superstars Skye Blakely (of Frisco) Leanne Wong, and Joscelyn Roberson (of Texarkana).

“Fasten your seatbelts. Because there has never been a better time to be a gymnastics fan than now,” say the experts at Inside Gymnastics Magazine.

How to watch this potential history-making competition? With several broadcast and streaming sites all carrying coverage, it’s more complicated than a roundoff-triple-double.

Men will compete for their national titles on Thursday and Saturday, women, on Friday and Sunday. All the action will be shown across NBC properties. The schedule looks like this, all times CDT:

Thursday, August 24

  • 7 pm - Men Day 1 - live on Peacock

Friday, August 25

  • 7 pm - Women Day 1 - live on Peacock

Saturday, August 26

  • 9:30 am - Men Day 1 - rebroadcast on CNBC
  • 3:30 pm - Women Day 1 - rebroadcast on CNBC
  • 6 pm - Men Day 2 - live on Peacock, NBC.com, and CNBC

Sunday, August 27

  • 11 am - Men Day 2 - rebroadcast on NBC
  • 5:30 pm - Women Day 2 - live coverage begins on Peacock and NBC.com
  • 6 pm - Women Day 2 - live on NBC

On the men’s side, the biggest names include Asher Hong and Donnell Whittenburg; reigning all-around champ Brody Malone is out due to injury.

Both the men and women will be competing for spots on five-person teams at the World Championships in October, and looking toward the 2024 Olympic team.

Biles began a comeback to competitive gymnastics earlier this month after a two-year hiatus following the Tokyo Olympics. She won it by a full five points. As CultureMap was first to report, she married her former Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens in April at a secret downtown location. The power couple then headed to Cabo San Lucas for a destination wedding.

After Owens signed with the Green Bay Packers, the duo has traveled back and forth to Green Bay (hardly the food capital Houston is, clearly) where Owens is readying for the 2023 NFL season. Doting wife Biles even asked fans for Green Bay food tips and must-do activities.


New Netflix documentary tackles rise and fall of Texas A&M football idol Johnny Manziel

being johnny football

A decade after “Johnny Football” frenzy swept into Aggieland, through Texas, and across the nation, a Netflix documentary sheds new light on the troubles that led to Johnny Manziel’s rapid rise and precipitous fall from grace, on and off the field. Untold: Johnny Footballwas released August 8 and within 24 hours, trended as Netflix’s No. 1 movie in the United States.

Manziel, born in Tyler and raised in Kerrville, shot to superstardom in 2012 as the scrappy Texas A&M quarterback who played what seemed like sandlot football in ultra-regimented, Division 1 college football — which is essentially a pro football assembly line.

A highlight reel favorite, Manziel generally skipped the traditional drop back, read, and fling the ball QB approach. Instead, he had a penchant for holding onto the ball, evading tacklers, and dramatically scurrying down the field and into the endzone to beat nationally ranked powerhouse teams.

He also had a penchant for partying. Big time.

Despite early headlines for extra-curricular antics that might have been a neon-flashing warning sign of things to come, Manziel went on to become the first redshirt freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious award for players, in 2012.

That, according to the documentary, is when "Johnny Football's" demise began in earnest.

While Texas A&M made hundreds of millions off Manziel mania, the player himself earned nothing, per NCAA rules (which have since changed). In Untold, Manziel says he still has a “deep hatred against the NCAA."

A secret scheme to profit from autograph sessions led to a lavish lifestyle that eventually raised eyebrows and got him suspended for half a game in 2013. But hero-worship went to his head that year, and by the time he left A&M and entered the NFL Draft in 2014, he was a mess.

Being a mess didn't stop the fascination with Manziel by certain pro teams, most pointedly by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Although not covered in the documentary, sportswriters remember that the elder Jones was intrigued by Texas' "Johnny Football" playing for America's Team. Jones' son, Stephen, wasn't as impressed, and the two bickered to the point that legend has it that Stephen snatched a draft card bearing Manziel's name from his father's hand. (Stephen swears it never happened.)

Adding to the golden boy storyline, a text from Manziel reportedly spurred the Cleveland Browns to draft him in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft — even trading up two spots to secure him (the documentary swears his agent texted the Browns). "We're sitting there and they keep showing Johnny on T.V.," recalled Browns quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to sportswriters at the time, "and Johnny and I are texting and he shoots me a text and he says, 'I wish you guys would come get me. Hurry up and draft me because I want to be there. I want to wreck this league together.'"

That "wreck" line, it turns out, would be prophetic. The two seasons Manziel spent with the Cleveland Browns are a well-documented series of professional, personal, and legal screw-ups. (YouTube viewers can watch his often brutal "career lowlights.") Manziel admits on the show he was doing everything he could to get out of the NFL; he never even watched game tape, a weekly must for any NFL quarterback.

His efforts paid off: the Browns released him in 2016.

But, the biggest revelation in Untold is about what happened next (spoiler alert): a bipolar-disorder diagnosis, severed ties with his family, a $5 million “bender,” and a suicide attempt.

The hour-long documentary is not a redemption story; in fact, the story is not yet finished. Manziel returned home to live with his family in Texas, and announced recently he’s opening a nightclub and bar in College Station. (Whoop?)

The show (directed by Ryan Duffy and part of Netflix’ Untold docuseries) lets Manziel tell his own tales, and at times he comes across as a kinda likable schmuck all these years later. “I was a frat boy and my frat was the football team,” he says at the end.

It also lets his enablers blather on about the gross behavior they encouraged — a friend who ran Manziel's autograph-profiting “business;” coaches who looked the other way when he won games hung over; an agent who dreamed up vile ways to spin his misdeeds; and even (or especially) his parents, who got so caught up in their son — the idol — that they once faked a hospital stay to delay a make-or-break NFL Draft drug test in 2014.

Not interviewed: Reps from the Cleveland Browns, his alleged victims of domestic violence, or anyone in his orbit with a moral compass.

Untold is sympathetic but stops short of making Manziel a victim.

Now, all told, die-hard fans still love him. The documentary opens in a surprising setting, in fact - Manziel’s induction into the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2022. After his speech, he’s shaking hands and thanking supporters.

"I loved you when you were here, through all the shenanigans, I still loved you," says one man. "Thank you very much," Manziel says and pats him on the shoulder.

Cut to next scene: Manziel is lighting up and partying with friends beside a pool.

"There is who you are as a football player, and then there is who you are as a human being," he says in a voiceover, "and the two, for me, were just really, really different."


Untold: Johnny Football is now streaming on Netflix.

Steven Devadanam contributed to this article.

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Rock icon Bono's daughter makes her own sweet music in Flora and Son

in bloom

The new Apple TV+ film Flora and Son centers on a single mother and her teenage son, a situation that typically calls for an uplifting story about the mother’s struggles trying to support the two of them, and the bond that develops between them as go through the troubles together. While that element exists somewhat here, it goes down a much different path that’s both saltier and equally as rewarding.

Eve Hewson and Oren Kinlan in Flora and Son

Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Eve Hewson and Oren Kinlan in Flora and Son.

Set in Dublin, Ireland, the film follows Flora (Eve Hewson), a single mom to Max (Oren Kinlan), who gets in a fair bit of trouble. She shares custody with her ex, Ian (Jack Reynor), and their antagonistic relationship, along with Max being a teenager, likely has an effect on how Flora and Max get along. A typical interchange between mother and son has them calling each other all sorts of bad names, although there rarely seems to be any true animosity behind their arguments.

When a guitar Flora refurbishes for Max goes unappreciated, she instead starts taking online lessons herself with an American named Jeff (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). She’s no less brash with him, but her sincere interest in learning how to play and in finding out more about Jeff’s music opens a new door for Flora. Soon, a discovery that Max is making music of his own on his laptop helps them communicate better than they have in a long time.

Flora & Son is the latest music-focused film from writer/director John Carney (Once, Sing Street), and he once again finds the sweet spot in telling a personal story enhanced by song. Flora has more than a few rough edges, making her a less-than-ideal protagonist, but the heart of the character shines through precisely because she has no filter. Once music is added to the equation, it become that much easier to see the type of person she is and why you should root for her.

Both Hewson and Gordon-Levitt are charming actors, so they establish a connection through a screen well. Fortunately, though, Carney chooses not to leave it at that, adding a slight fantasy element to some of their scenes by having Flora imagine Jeff in the room with her. A romantic element naturally arises, but it’s the unexpected way in which two lonely souls find each other from across the world that makes them the most interesting.

There are a couple of decent songs that come out of the process of all of the music-making, but nothing that you could truly call an earworm. Instead, it’s the feeling you get seeing the characters interact when they’re sharing music with each other that makes the film sing. Only one character could be classified as a professional musician, with the rest of them making music for the pure joy of it, an emotion Carney translates well in his storytelling.

Hewson (the daughter of U2’s Bono, in case you were unaware) is having a moment after 15 years in the business. She has a boldness that serves her as well in this role as it did in the recent Apple TV+ limited series, Bad Sisters. This is Kinlan’s first major part, and he acquits himself well. Both Gordon-Levitt and Reynor are seasoned actors who know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

The depiction of a mother/child relationship in Flora and Son is atypical, but it still winds up in a great spot thanks to the power of music and some fine performances. Carney’s love for both songs and filmmaking has yielded some memorable movies over the years, this one included.


Flora and Son opens in select theaters and on Apple TV+ on September 29.

Spectacular SPI sandcastles, F1, ACL, and more Texas travel tidbits in October

where to travel right now

Fall is finally here, and with the (hopefully) cooler temps will come the chance to get outside and enjoy autumn activities all around Texas. Can't decide where to take a quick vacation, road trip, or staycation? Here are 11 events, special celebrations, and hotel happenings to help plan a getaway in October.

Along the Gulf Coast

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spooky season than by seeking out haunted ghost experiences in Corpus Christi? The Heritage Park Museum will showcase four reportedly haunted houses, and phantom chasers will delight in visiting the USS Lexington during the "Haunting on the Blue Ghost" event, October 6-31, to glimpse any ghostly crew members lurking about the vessel. The abandoned Nueces County Courthouse also has some ghouls of its own, with reports of voices, noises, and screams being heard following a hurricane that devastated the area more than a century ago.

Summer might be over, but a trip to the beach is always in the cards on South Padre Island. The annual Sandcastle Days falls on October 5-8, drawing the attention of sandcastle-building experts, food and craft vendors, and free family-friendly entertainment. Then, from October 19-21, classic cars and motorcycles rev up the brand new Chrome in the Sand Festival. The weekend will consist of live performances, car shows, a poker tournament, and more. Tickets for the Chrome in the Sand Festival begin at $20 for general admission, $55 for VIP, and $500 for VIP tables.

Around Austin

It's finally festival season down in the Texas Capital, beginning with the iconic Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park for two consecutive weekends from October 6-8 and 13-15. Luckily for Texas travelers, CultureMap's got the scoop on all things ACL – from can't-miss acts, to new eats, and more. One-day general admission tickets begin at $170. Weekend One tickets are waitlisted, but there are still one-day general admission tickets available for Weekend Two. Weekend passes for both weekends are waitlisted.

Following ACL, Austin will race to the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas from October 20-22. Red Bull Racing has already won the 2023 Constructors' Championship after its longstanding driver Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix, and Verstappen is well in the lead to win his third-consecutive World Drivers' Championship title. Three-day general admission wristbands are $475, two-day GA is $425, and three-day parking passes are $275.

F1 racecarRace to Austin for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Circuit of The Americas

In the Hill Country

It's never too late for a day by the pool, and the luxurious Lantana Spa at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa has opened reservations for their renovated pool cabanas with a special VIP poolside service and deluxe amenities. The private, two-person Canyons, Preserve, and Oaks Spa Cabanas each include an unlimited mimosa service, shaded seating and chaise lounges, a dedicated server from 11 am-5 pm, and more. Cabana reservations can be made by resort guests or in addition to a spa service, and rates begin at $400.

Nonprofit trade association Texas Hill Country Wineries is bringing back its Texas Wine Month passport this month for a self-guided journey through 45 local wineries with special discounts scattered along the way. With participating estates scattered throughout popular weekend destinations like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and New Braunfels, it’s a chance to explore the Hill Country and soak in those autumn vibes. Wine passport-holders can visit up to four wineries daily to get the most out of a weekend getaway. Individual passes are $85, and couples' passes are $120.

Speaking of wineries, one Marble Falls-based winery is hosting regular events throughout October, which is perfect for those holding a Texas Wine Month passport. Every Saturday and Sunday, folks can venture out to Flat Creek Estates & Vineyard for their effervescent Bubbles and Brunch from 11 am to 3 pm. And if the trip transforms from a brunch outing into an all-day affair, guests catch live music from local Texas bands during the winery's weekend music series from 2-6 pm. Ernie Vasquez and Evan Grubbs are scheduled the weekend of October 7-8, and Stephen Daly and Andrew Lopez will play on the weekend of October 14-15.

Throughout Texas

If searching for beautiful fall foliage around Texas is at the top of the priority list, cabin rental agency Smoky Mountains' prediction map is the perfect guide to help estimate when the leaves will begin changing throughout the state and the U.S. The map predicts most of Texas will have minimal-to-patchy changing leaves by the end of October, and most of the state's trees will be at their color-changing peak in November.

Dallas-based luxury bus operator Vonlane added 60 new weekly departures to meet anticipated high demand for the fall travel season. There are now more than 430 trips per week departing Vonlane hubs in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Travelers can book their trips online for both one-way or round-trips, with fares beginning at $119.

Two unmistakable cutesy pink trucks are going on tour throughout Texas this month, with stops in several major cities. That's right – the cult craze Hello Kitty Cafe Truck and Barbie Truck are bringing a horde of new branded clothing and accessories to adoring fans in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Houstonians can head to First Colony Mall to say hi to Hello Kitty on October 7, then head to Baybrook Mall in Friendswood to catch the Barbie Truck on October 21. Barbie will stick around to visit The Woodlands Mall on October 28.

In Waco

The annual Magnolia Silobration at The Silos will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Waco-based home design and lifestyle empire from October 19-21. Fixer Upper fans can visit the Silos to enjoy a three-day adventure of local artisan and food vendors, live music performances, shopping, and more. The festival is free, but note that certain ticketed experiences like the 20th anniversary tour, weekend rooftop passes, and Evenings with Chip and Jo are sold out.

Houston’s oldest craft brewery taps new chef for its buzzy beer garden and restaurant

Saint Arnold's new chef

Houston’s oldest craft brewery has found a new chef to lead its popular restaurant. Chase Reid is now the executive chef at Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s beer garden and restaurant.

Hired a couple of months ago, Reid replaces chef Ryan Savoie, who had been with the brewery since 2013. A French-trained chef, Reid came to Saint Arnold’s attention after well-regarded stints at Hop Scholar Ale House in Spring and the Historic Hill House and Farm in Willis.

“I’m thrilled to join the talented team at Saint Arnold and build on the legacy they’ve created in Texas,” Reid said in a statement. “I love the creativity that comes with cooking and have always been passionate about craft beer. I’m very much looking forward to combining the two.”

Recent visitors to Saint Arnold have gotten a first taste of the chef’s work with pizza specials and new additions such as a house made bratwurst burger. He’s also the culinary mind behind Saint Arnold’s recent Doughnut Sunday offerings that pair freshly fried treats with different beers from the company’s portfolio on the firs Sunday of every month. Overall, he’s focused on maintaining the quality and consistency that has been the restaurant’s hallmark since it opened in 2018.

Reid will more formally introduce himself to the brewery’s fans at the upcoming Great Pumpkin Beer Dinner. Held on Halloween night, the meal will feature a five-course menu paired with seasonal and limited release beers, including 2013 Pumpkinator, 2023 Pumpkinator, and 2020 bourbon barrel-aged Pumpkinator with cocoa nibs. See the full menu and purchase tickets ($125) on the Saint Arnold website.

“Chase’s enthusiasm for both food and beer got all of us excited to have him joining our team,” Saint Arnold founder Brock Wagner added. “Our Beer Garden & Restaurant is a welcoming place to enjoy our world class beers. We have the same standards for our food as we do for our beer and are always working to elevate and create an experience that will keep our guests coming back again and again.”