Alpha House’s Bret Lada writes, directs and stars in unnerving found footage horror movie The Andy Baker Tape, releasing this August from Terror Films. A multi-award-winner on the festival circuit, The AndyBaker Tape premieres on the Terror Films Channel August 5 before a wide digital on August 12 and the Kings of Horror on August 19, 2022. (Terror Films, 2022)
The Andy Baker Tape – On October of 2020 food blogger Jeff Blake and his half-brother Andy Baker hit the road on a food tour that had the potential to change their lives. They were never seen again. This is their footage.
“The Andy Baker Tape was written, shot, and edited in a 6-month period during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Created by a displaced screen actor, an out-of-work Blue Man, an Australian-based sound engineer, and a first-time female producer; this film is a testament to creation and keeping the artistic spirit alive while the rest of the world was forced into hibernation. Our story is a joyride of laughs, thrills, and suspense. My team and I are delighted to share it with you.” – Bret Lada
Terror Films released found footage horror film Infrared, starring The Room’s Gregory Sestero, worldwide on digital platforms on July 22 and it will be available on Kings of Horror on August 5, 2022. (Terror Films, 2022)
Infrared – A paranormal investigator and his production crew gain access to a mysterious, abandoned school but when the thrilling haunt turns deadly, the team must race to uncover the terrifying truth before they become the school’s next victims. Jesse Janzen, Leah Finity, and Lori Richardson also star in the spooker.
“Infrared is first and foremost a horror film, but at its heart, is a movie about siblings reconnecting in a time of need. Often in horror films, we find ourselves rooting for the characters we don’t like to die, so it was important for us to develop characters that we wanted to survive, creating a larger emotional investment for those watching. With this intention in mind, we set out to wholly develop their backstories and create a believable connection. From there we tackled the darker themes and scares within the film, workshopping ideas with our actors, and giving them the freedom of collaboration within our improvisational process. This film is injected with humor, tension and scares, and we really hope that nobody finds an owner’s manual in their basement.” – Directors Robert Livings and Randy Nundall Jr.
Paper Girls is a mystery/science fiction comic book series written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, published by American company Image Comics. Paper Girls follows the story of four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls (Erin, MacKenzie, KJ, and Tiffany) set in Stony Stream, a fictional suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. As they are out delivering papers on the morning after Halloween in 1988, the town is struck by an invasion from a mysterious force from the future. The girls become unwillingly caught up in the conflict between two warring factions of time travelers. The television adaptation premiered on Amazon Prime Videoon July 29, 2022 and consists of eight episodes. (Wikipedia, 2022)
Paper Girls is a science fiction drama television series created by Stephany Folsom based on the comic book series. It stars Camryn Jones as Tiffany Quilkin, Riley Lai Nelet as Erin Tieng, Sofia Rosinsky as Mac Coyle, Fina Strazza as KJ Brandman, and Ali Wong as Adult Erin. The girls become unwittingly caught in a conflict between warring factions of time-travelers, sending them on an adventure through time that will save the world. As they travel between our present, the past, and the future – they encounter future versions of themselves and now must choose to embrace or reject their fate.
This series premiered on Friday July 29 and I just watched the first episode and judging by the comments online, it is being compared to Stranger Things (I have never watched that show). The first episode introduces the main characters and sets off the time traveling where the first meet Adult Erin. Being a big fan of science fiction, especially time travelling, it looks interesting. The story line goes back and forth between the past, present, and future so I hope I do not lose interest because I really want to see it through. The best thing is that all eight episodes are available now, so I can probably binge watch the entire season.
Whenever I get a craving for a salad, I usually head for the nearest salad buffet restaurant. The only problem is that around here, those types of restaurants are hard to find. Sure, you can go to different restaurants and try their ‘salad buffets’ but honestly, the choices are limited and sometimes the ingredients are not too fresh. So when I heard about Lettuce Eat Salad in Brownsville, I was excited but hesitant to try it out.
Located on Pablo Kisel, it was not hard to find because it is among the many new restaurants in the area. It is a small location, but there is plenty of seating depending on the time of the day that you go. The first time I saw the buffet options, I was pleasantly surprised. They boast over 80 ingredients and they are not kidding. The menu options are limited because it is a salad buffet, so it is either a small for $9.99 or large for $10.99 so I went with the small. In reality, it looks like a large after you get all the ingredients you want. The employee puts it together for you, kind of like going to Subway and you only get one trip to the buffet but believe me one trip is enough. I also ordered a cup of the chicken enchilada soup for my dining companion, which is $5.75 since the soup options are limited as well; they only have one type but on a recent visit they also had mushroom soup, so it may vary from day to day.
With over 50 fresh toppings and dressings available, you can definitely customize your salad. Every visit is a chance to try a different type of salad. You can choose either a salad or have it in a wrap. They also have a variety of coffees ranging from Cappuccinos to Americano, either iced or hot, and soups. I have been back three times since then and every time I go, I have different fixings on my salad. This is one of the best experiences I have had with a salad bar because all the ingredients are fresh. The soup was tasty as well, it comes with a side of chips, and the iced latte was the perfect complement to my meal. It is clean and well lit and no doubt a favorite with people coming to and from the gym. The employees are friendly and helpful. I will definitely be returning more often and recommend this place to anyone looking for healthier options. Even if you do not always eat salads, give it a chance. You can always go eat tacos another day. Or detox the day after a taco binge.
Lettuce Eat Salad 3341 Pablo Kisel Blvd, Ste R Brownsville, TX 78526 (956) 265-7186
Business hours: Monday – Friday 11a.m. to 8:30p.m. Saturday 12p.m. to 6p.m. Sunday – closed
Texas Book Festival is thrilled to announce fifteen authors joining a full return to the in-person Festival Weekend this fall. The Festival will feature Screen Actors Guild Award recipient and nine-time NAACP Image Award winner Omar Epps, Good Morning America Book Club Pick author and Women’s Prize finalist Angie Cruz, Texas literary legend and author of seventy-three New York Times bestsellers Sandra Brown, Pulitzer Prize finalist and Guggenheim Fellow biologist David George Haskell, NYT bestselling children’s author-illustrator and Caldecott medalist Michaela Goade, and many more. (Texas Book Festival, 2022)
The Festival, returning in person November 5–6 in downtown Austin after two years of virtual and hybrid programming, will include a sizable list of impressive literary talent for readers of all ages. The full lineup will be completed and revealed in September.
“This announcement marks the beginning of our Festival season, and we are very excited to bring talented authors and thousands of readers together again at our beloved annual event, ” says Lois Kim, TBF’s Executive Director. “We hope all Texans, young and old, newly Texan or 7th generation, are marking their calendars to join us for an epic literary weekend.”
The sneak peek lineup includes: Omar Epps, the actor-producer known for his roles in House, Shooter, This Is Us, and many more television shows and feature films, will present his debut young-adult novel “Nubia: The Awakening,” an epic Afrofurturist saga billed as perfect for fans of Black Panther. Angie Cruz, the award-winning author who debuted her first novel “Soledad” at Texas Book Festival 2001, will return to present new work “How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water,” about a woman who, faced with an unexpected job loss amid the Great Recession, evaluates her life.
Mega bestselling author, onetime TBF First Edition Literary Gala emcee (2003), and Texas native SandraBrown will present latest novel “Overkill,” in which a former NFL superstar struggles with a crisis of conscience and juggles a life-or-death decision. Acclaimed professor of biology and environmental scientist David George Haskell brings to the Festival his Kirkus-starred book “Sounds Wild and Broken,” in which he explores the auditory wonders of the animal kingdom, and how endangered they are. Michaela Goade—illustrator for 2021 Caldecott winning and bestselling “We Are Water Protectors”—presents “Berry Song,” a Kirkus- and Publishers Weekly–starred picture book in which granddaughter and grandmother deepen their connection with the earth.
“There’s something special about seeing authors in-person again,” says TBF literary director Matthew Patin. “Virtual programming provided us, and continues to provide, creative opportunities, yet nothing quite matches an author visiting Austin once more. In pre-COVID times we took a physical appearance for a given, but now it feels that much more valuable and important. And the fifteen names here are only a fraction of what’s to come.”
The full list of sneak peek authors includes: ● Vishwesh Bhatt, “I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef” ● Sandra Brown, “Overkill” ● Sandra Cisneros, “Woman Without Shame: Poems” ● Angie Cruz, “How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water” ● Erin Entrada Kelly, “Those Kids from Fawn Creek” ● James Kirchick, “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington” ● Omar Epps, “Nubia: The Awakening” ● Sidik Fofana, “Stories from the Tenants Downstairs” ● Michaela Goade, “Berry Song” ● Xochitl Gonzalez, “Olga Dies Dreaming” ● David George Haskell, “Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction” ● Elizabeth McCracken, “The Hero of This Book” ● Matt de la Peña, “Patchwork” ● Mary Laura Philpott, “Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives” ● Roger Reeves, “Best Barbarian: Poems”
The 2022 Texas Book Festival is co-presented by H-E-B and AT&T. Other major sponsors include Brigid Cockrum and Family, Tocker Foundation, Still Water Foundation, Amplify Credit Union, Buena Vista Foundation, Tapestry Foundation, Kirkus Reviews, Central Market, Texas Monthly, Austin Chronicle, and Jordan Foster. BookPeople is the official Festival bookseller.
With a vision to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading, the Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Founded in 1995 by former First Lady Laura Bush, Mary Margaret Farabee, and a group of volunteers, the nonprofit Texas Book Festival promotes the joys of reading and writing through its annual Festival Weekend, the Reading Rock Stars Title I elementary school program, the Real Reads Title I middle and high school program, grants to Texas libraries, and year-round literary programming. This year’s Texas Book Festival will take place from November 5 to November 6, with events taking place in downtown Austin and at the Texas Capitol, featuring renowned authors, panels, book signings, and activities. Thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and volunteers, the Festival remains free and open to the public.
Lone Star State honky-tonkers The Western Express are aware of the renewed interest in the eras of country music that inspire them—and the major-label artists who are leading that surge in popularity with radio-friendly hits—but they are not chasing trends. “My first real concert was the Judds at the Houston Rodeo in the late ‘80s. I sang George Strait songs at every talent show I could enter as a kid,” says Stephen Castillo, one half of The Western Express, along with Phill Brush. “I’ve just always been immersed in it.” Their sound is real, and it goes deep. Their new album Lunatics, Lovers & Poets will be out August 9,2022. (The Western Express, 2022)
Phill Brush and Stephen Castillo, together known as The Western Express, met via Craigslist in early 2018 and bonded over their shared love of first-rate songwriting and the country hits of the 1980s and ‘90s. Drawn to the tragic or notable lives of writers and performers such as Dean Dillon, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Watchhouse, and Chavela Vargas, Brush and Castillo’s unique set of influences are balanced with classic country troubadours like Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, and Alan Jackson. It is through this lens that they refract a sound all their own. Touching on classic pop country, Latin blues, gospel, and even a little outlaw, The Western Express are cultivating their one-of-a-kind brand of Texas country.
Pro Country debuted The Western Express’ “Flower of the Rio Grande,” the first single from their upcoming full-length album, Lunatics, Lovers & Poets. With a swaggering, moody Mex-Tex feel, “Flower of the Rio Grande” tells the story of a lovelorn man roaming the desert, as Castillo puts it: “searching for the dark-eyed woman who now only lives in his dreams.” A lonesome fiddle and a reverbed-out electric guitar dance in and out of Castillo’s vocal melody, painting a perfect, cool desert evening scene. “He wants her and she knows it,” says Brush. “And she’s not giving in that easily.” Fans can check out the music video for “Flower of the Rio Grande” now and stream it.
The nine songs on Lunatics, Lovers & Poets work together despite their differences—much like Brush and Castillo themselves—because of Castillo’s strong, but not self important, songwriting decisions. There is an old-school storytelling style masking deeply personal reflections in “Flower of the Rio Grande,” and “Leyenda,” unflinching honesty over upbeat melodies in “Trust Me, You Can’t Trust Me” and “Emptying Me,” and straightforward, dancehall-ready love stories in “You and Me and the Neon” and “Lovin’ You for a While.”
“I took the craft of writing these songs seriously,” explains Castillo, who wrote much of the album during a solo trip to West Texas in the fall of 2018, “but the songs themselves don’t take themselves very seriously.”
Lunatics, Lovers & Poets track list:
Honky Tonk Saints
Flower of the Rio Grande
You and Me and the Neon
Trust Me, You Can’t Trust Me
Lovin’ You For A While
Catch The Western Express on tour: August 4 – Austin, TX – Broken Spoke Dancehall (Album Release Show) August 7 – Helotes, TX – Floore’s Country Store August 19 – College Station, TX – Calvary Court
Singer-songwriter Tiffany Williams is the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of eastern Kentucky coal miners, but the more she introduced herself to audiences that way at her live shows, the more she felt guilty about it. “I hadn’t done anything to deserve claiming that,” she says. What she meant is that she did not have to make the same sacrifices or take part in the back-breaking labor that they did, yet she was proudly sharing and identifying with that part of her culture and heritage. In actuality, Williams is an award-winning fiction writer and a self-described lexophile who has taught high school English and studied Appalachian speech and sociolinguistics in graduate school—not to mention working as a dialect coach on the set of “The Evening Hour,” which debuted at Sundance in 2020. She shares a stunning example of a sum of her lifetime of parts; the title track from her debut full-length album, AllThose Days of Drinking Dust, due to be released August 19, 2022. (Tiffany Williams, 2022)
“All Those Days of Drinking Dust” was written, in a way, to purge Williams’ guilt about attaching herself to her forebearers’ hard-working Appalachian lineage, and what came from it is a hauntingly beautiful tribute to not only her family but to generations of families like hers; folks who spent their lives working beneath the mighty Appalachian mountains. Those mountains, as the song says, “are the only ones that watched us ripe and rot / and hold the bones of both our living and our dead”—the “ripe” and “rot” a reference to Shakespeare’s As You Like It. “From the first-line echo of the original coal miner’s daughter Loretta Lynn, this song pays homage to a succession of coal mining forebears and talks about living life in the shadow of the harrowing vocation—how it comes to bear on the body, the spirit, and the people making a home in fraught yet beloved coal country,” says Williams.
Americana Highwayspremiered “All Those Days of Drinking Dust,” writing, “Williams’ rich vocals hold sorrow and longing, and the album promises to be one of this year’s favorites.” Produced by legendary Lexington, Kentucky-based Duane Lundy, All Those Days of Drinking Dust will be released on August 19. Fans can pre-order or pre-save the album ahead of its release and listen to the album-opening title track. All Those Days of Drinking Dust represents a monumental convergence of each chapter of Williams’ life.
Williams and Lundy recruited an eclectic band of pickers from the Commonwealth that add energy and nuance to each track. Virtuoso cellist Ben Sollee lends a ghostly vibe to “The Sea,” while J. Tom Hnatow adds bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and steel to other tracks throughout. There is percussion from Tripp Bratton; contributions on keys, acoustic, and electric guitars from Justin Craig; fiddle stylings from Ellie Miller; and Taylor Shuck on banjo. Fellow Kentuckian and noted New York Times best-selling novelist Silas House adds vocals to a lively duet. Lundy not only produced and contributed keys but also engineered and mixed the recording.
All Those Days of Drinking Dust track list: 1. All Those Days of Drinking Dust 2. Carletta 3. Harder Heart 4. Know Your Worth 5. The Sea 6. Wanted It To Be 7. When I Come Back Around 8. Don’t Give A Damn 9. No Bottom 10. The Waiting
Len Joyis the author of four books that have have received shining reviews and several awards. His first novel, “American Past Time,” published in 2014 took 1st Prize in the Top Shelf Book Awards in 2019, his second novel, “Better Days” was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards in 2019, and “Everyone Dies Famous,” published in 2020 won 1st Prize in the 2020 Top Shelf Book Awards. His new book “Dry Heat” is about an All-American young man, Joey Blade, whose life begins to unravel when he learns that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, is betrayed by his new girlfriend, and is arrested for the attempted murder of two police officers.
“Dry Heat” – The story is set in Phoenix, Arizona and begins in November 1999 as a teenage Joey Blade is at a park playing basketball with his friends. Shortly thereafter at the high school bonfire, his life takes a turn for the worse as he is at the wrong place at the wrong time. The bonfire explodes and Joey, his girlfriend Wendy and her drug dealing friend TJ flee in her truck. When the police pursue, TJ shoots at the cop’s car. It crashes and in the ensuing chaos TJ slips away undetected. Joey, the only adult in the truck, is arrested and charged with attempted murder and released on bail. TJ is nowhere to be found. In desperation, he reaches out to notorious gang leader, Chico Torres, whom he met in jail, for help locating TJ. When Joey is offered a deal–his freedom in exchange for his cooperation in nailing Chico–he faces a decision that will change the course of his life. The book is divided into two parts: Part I Joey and Part II Joseph and spans years in Joey Blade’s life, up to the year 2017 as an adult.
Some of the best novels plunge deep into the human condition by examining a character’s lifetime of experiences. Such is the case in “Dry Heat” as readers are witnesses to Joey Blade’s transformation from an idealistic teenager to a young man who, despite being falsely convicted of a crime, he is far from jaded. As with his previous novels, Len Joy excels at character development and by the end of the story, readers cannot help but be heavily invested in finding out what happens. Due to the dialogue driven action, it is an easy read and hard to put down. The characters are down to earth and relatable because anyone can easily become a victim of circumstances and have his or her life turned upside down from one minute to the next. “Dry Heat” by Len Joy has everything from family drama to courtroom action and is recommended for readers who enjoy both. It is a must read coming of age saga.
*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.
Austin’s glamorous Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection’s The Mansion is debuting a new, immersive cocktail menu inspired by the resort’s lush grounds that incorporates the tastes, smells, and sights in the property’s beloved rose garden. The Mansion’s Lead Mixologist, award-winning Sarah Rahl, a veteran of the industry who has held positions at Proper Hospitality and Four Seasons, inspires guests to experience the property with rose-colored glasses, embracing the unique flavors that are exclusive to the renowned hotel. (Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection, 2022)
The Location: Step through the Mansion’s ornate wrought-iron doors and be transported to an era when Texan businessman Edgar “Commodore” Perry and his wife Lutie presided over lavish Jazz Age soirées. Their intangible spirit lives on in the 10,800-square-foot Mansion, reimagined by acclaimed designer Ken Fulk as a glamorous social hub.
The Inspiration: Sip on craft cocktails curated by the Mansion’s Lead Mixologist, Sarah Rahl, that run the spectrum of the rose garden’s particular pantone: pinks, fuchsias, blush, and bright reds. Each cocktail boasts vastly varying flavor profiles, including body, heat, herbaceousness, salinity, and fresh produce.
From the refreshing Desert Rose cocktail, a medley of mezcal, watermelon and lime juice, to a custom Sunken Garden (referring to the on-property garden), featuring gin and sparkling wine, cucumber and lime juice, topped off with green chartreuse – there is a hyperlocal, artisanal cocktail for everyone. Guests and members can enjoy the spectacular cocktails in the charmingly distinct Mansion, or perhaps by the European-inspired chaises for poolside dining.
With this new female-led mixology program at The Estate, the property reaffirms its dedication to exceptional dining and celebrates the story of each cocktail’s unique inspiration and methods.
The owners behind successful Paperboy in Austin are excited to announce Full Goods Diner, a new restaurant coming to Pearl. The new diner is the product of San Antonio native and restaurateur Ryan Harms and chef Patrick Jackson of Paperboy in partnership with Potluck Hospitality. Full Goods Diner will open in September 2022 in the Full Goods building on the property, with an official opening date to be announced soon. The restaurant will be located at 200 E. Grayson St., San Antonio, TX 78215. (Potluck Hospitality, 2022)
“Having grown up in San Antonio, I am particularly excited to be back here, contributing to the city’s dining scene. We are so proud of what we’ve created with Paperboy in Austin and can’t wait to bring this fresh, yet familiar style of food and hospitality to our guests.” – owner Ryan Harms.
Full Goods Diner will serve made from scratch, seasonally-driven food for breakfast and lunch with a menu consisting of comforting and familiar everyday food. Seasonal and local ingredients will be used to connect the restaurant to its central and south Texas roots with a blend of Mexican and American fare. Guests can expect to see menu items like handmade pastries, seasonal toasts, breakfast enchiladas, pancakes, sopes, carnitas tortas, hill country salads, and more.
“We are excited to welcome Full Goods Diner to Pearl. Their menu is very reflective of San Antonio and we’re thrilled that they are anchoring Pearl’s new plaza and joining the excellent lineup of culinary concepts in the neighborhood.” – Pearl CEO Mesh Millsap
The design of Full Goods Diner embodies the warm and welcoming environment at Pearl with rich wooden accents, plenty of natural light, and a greenhouse-style entry. Full Goods Diner will also feature a patio that extends out into the new plaza space at Pearl that is also set to open this summer. The Full Goods team is excited to create this environment by working with Laura Brittain of Kempt Design Studio and architect Chioco Design.
After graduating from Baylor University’s entrepreneurship program, San Antonio native Ryan Harms began working in the hospitality industry in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex before moving to Austin with the ultimate goal of owning his own restaurant. In 2015 he launched the successful Paperboy food truck, which ultimately transitioned into an even more successful brick-and-mortar location by the same name.
In 2017, chef Patrick Jackson joined the Paperboy team as executive chef and was integral in helping to get the permanent location off the ground. Patrick grew up making pasta with his Italian grandfather and has been in the kitchen ever since. He was an invaluable part of the opening teams at The Lark and Lucky Penny in Santa Barbara’s funk zone, as well as Herb & Wood in San Diego’s Little Italy before his move to Texas. Patrick is joined at Full Goods Diner by chef de cuisine, Ruvin Samarasundera, who has worked under legendary chefs including Thomas Keller and Michael Chiarello and has been with the Paperboy team since 2021.
Founded in 2022, Potluck Hospitality conceives, operates, manages, and partners on culinary and experiential brands in San Antonio, TX. Potluck’s team is made up of chefs, designers, strategists in culture-crafting, brand, and finance who share a love of food and gathering. Potluck Hospitality’s name pays tribute to memorable experiences with great food, great music, and great company–where everyone has something to contribute. Being together, sharing meals, and communally experiencing music is elemental to what it means to be human.