Photo via CharlieRobison.com

A giant of the Texas music scene has passed away. Charlie Robison, a gravelly voiced, bad boy, say-anything singer-songwriter, died at a hospital in San Antonio on Sunday, September 10, after suffering cardiac arrest and other complications, according to an Associated Press report. Robison passed away just nine days after his 59th birthday.

His wife, Kristen Robison, confirmed the new on social media, writing:

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that my husband, Charlie Robison has passed away today, surrounded by his family and friends. My heart is broken. Please pray for me, our children and our family.”

Robison was born in Houston but grew up in Bandera, Texas, on the ranch his family has owned for generations. Tanned, ranch-strong, and standing six-foot-four, Robison looked more jock than country singer — he played football at then Southwest Texas State University in the 1980s before an injury ending his sports career.

He made his way to Austin, playing with bands Chaparral and Two Hoots and a Holler before forming his own act, Millionaire Playboys. Paying homage to his beloved ranch home, he released his solo debut album, Bandera, in 1996. Sony Records caught wind of the young star and quickly signed him to the subsidiary Lucky Dog Records, releasing Life of the Party on the label in 1998.

Life of the Party may well be Robison's most beloved album, netting monster tracks such as the singalong, anthemic "My Hometown," "Sunset Boulevard," and "Barlight." His next album, Unleashed Live, features two Texas country giants: Robison's brother Bruce Robison and Jack Ingram.

Columbia Records then snatched him up, releasing a live album and Step Right Up. The sheen of the Nashville country scene jetted him into pop culture; he was cast as a judge in the reality TV singing competition Nashville Star.

But the tough guy, straight-shootin' Robison and his Texas grit found the glossy, hip Nashville scene repressive. He left Columbia, signed with the smaller label Dualtone, moved away from mainstream/Nashville radio-friendly tunes and returned to his love of Southern rock. The move paid off: In 2004, his single "Good Times" from the album of the same name was featured on the HBO vampire series smash True Blood.

He later self-produced and released the album Beautiful Day in 2009 on Dualtone, which prominently features Nashville singer/songwriter Keith Gattis. He left his Texas base to embark on an East Coast and U.S. tour in 2009, bringing his Texas swag to national live audiences, before settling back in Texas and gigging primarily there and Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

While Life of the Party may be Robison's most familiar release, the 2013 Live at Billy Bob's Texas album is perhaps his magnum opus, showcasing his gritty voice, Lone Star State lyricism, and shredding guitar solos. (He was known to play classic rock covers during live shows, such as AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and even Elton John's "Rocket Man.")

Persistent throat problems prompted surgery in 2018 that ultimately cost him his 25-year singing career. Robison announced his retirement in a statement that year that reflected his "never take yourself too seriously" approach to music:

“With a very heavy heart I am officially retiring from the stage and studio. It’s been an amazing ride, and I cannot tell you all what the last 25 years has meant to me. I was looking forward to another 25 but as they say, ‘shit happens.’”

Always alongside country's elite, Robison will be remembered for his collaborations with notable names such as Natalie Maines of The Chicks, Lloyd Maines, Charlie Sexton, Rich Brotherton, his brother Bruce, and more — some of whom would surprise fans onstage.

Branching into the hospitality business, Charlie Robison opened Alamo Icehouse in San Antonio with former Major League Baseball player Brooks Kieschnick in 2014.

Music permeated his personal life: Robison married Emily Erwin of The Chicks in 1999; the couple divorced in 2008 and shared three children: Charles Augustus and twins Julianna Tex and Henry Benjamin. He married Kristen Robison — also a singer-songwriter — in 2015.

Legendary at Houston venues like The Mucky Duck for crowd-favorite, shout-out lines, Robison maintained everyman charm with his party boy paycheck lines like "...we drove back home at the end of that week and we spent it all on pot" from "My Hometown."

He stands tall, literally and figuratively, as a Texas rebel who traded national country music sheen for staying true to his Texas roots. The larger-than-life singer was known for his exceptional treatment of his band and being refreshingly approachable to fans.

The Royal Family/Twitter [https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily]

When and how to watch Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral from Austin

Final salute

The world will bid a final "goodbye and thank you, Ma'am" to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at her state funeral on Monday, September 19 at London's Westminster Abbey.

While the service for Her Majesty, who passed away September 8, will be attended by 2,000 family, friends, dignitaries, and heads of state, the event is expected to draw a record 4.1 billion viewers from around the world.

In the United States, every major network, broadcast outlet, and streaming service will provide coverage. And in Austin, viewers will need to get up before the sun to tune in live. The funeral starts at 5 am local time, with many noteworthy events happening before and after it (see schedule, below).

Here is a complete guide to the network, cable, and streaming service coverage, per the L.A. Times and Hollywood Reporter. (All times are local to Austin.)

Networks (television and streaming):

  • PBS: PBS will carry the BBC’s live coverage from London, starting at 3 am. A primetime special, The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II: Events of the Day, will then be broadcast at 7 pm.
  • ABC: David Muir and Robin Roberts will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • NBC: Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Lester Holt will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • CBS: Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell will anchor coverage (time TBA).

Cable networks (television and streaming):

  • BBC America: Coverage from London will start at 3 am.
  • CNN: Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will anchor coverage starting at 4 am, with additional anchors and reporters joining throughout the morning.
  • MSNBC: Chris Jansing will anchor coverage, beginning at 2 am, following with a special edition of Morning Joe from London and continuing through services.
  • C-SPAN: Live coverage will begin at 4:30 am.
  • Bloomberg TV: Live coverage will run from 4-6:30 am.
  • Fox News Channel: Martha MacCallum, Ainsley Earhardt, and Piers Morgan will anchor coverage, starting at 2 am.

Other streaming options:

  • BritBox will stream BBC live coverage, starting at 3:30 am.
  • BBC is live-streaming from London, 24 hours a day, on their news app and at www.bbc.com/news. (Click on the Queen Elizabeth II tab.)
  • ITV News offers live-streaming at www.itv.com/news and through YouTube.
  • Sky News offers live-streaming at news.sky.com, as well as through Peacock and YouTube.
  • Subscription-based streaming platforms (with free trials available) will be streaming the funeral, including: FuboTV, Sling, YouTube TV, Peacock Premium, Hulu + Live TV, and Paramount+. The service will be available to stream on regular Hulu as soon as it concludes.

Schedule of events

The funeral service itself will begin at 11 am in London (BST), which is 5 am in Austin (CDT). The service is expected to last about an hour, but it's preceded and followed by other events that also will be broadcast. Here is a schedule of events for the day, according to this handy guide from BBC. All times below are CDT.

12:30 am: The Queen's lying-in-state at Westminster Hall will end. Hundreds of thousands (including soccer legend David Beckham) have been "queueing up" and waiting in line up to 14 hours to walk by her coffin and pay their respects. The BBC is live-streaming the lying-in-state here.

2 am: The doors of Westminster Abbey will open for guests to begin arriving for the state funeral. Heads of state — including U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden — will attend, as will royal family members from across Europe (many of whom were blood relatives of the Queen). Find the guest list here.

4:44 am: About 15 minutes before the funeral, the Queen's coffin will be carried, via gun carriage, from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. Senior members of the royal family (including King Charles and princes William and Harry) will follow the coffin in the procession.

5 am: The funeral at Westminster Abbey begins. It will be presided over by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

5:55 am: Near the end of the funeral, a bugle call called "Last Post" will be played, and two minutes of silence will be observed nationally across the UK. Then the "new" national anthem "God Save the King" will be sung and a lament will be played by the Queen's piper.

6:15 am: A walking procession — including military bands and members of the armed services — will draw the coffin from the Abbey to Wellington Arch.

7 am: The coffin will be transferred to a state hearse for its final journey to Windsor.

9 am: The state hearse will arrive in Windsor for a walking procession up Windsor Castle's Long Walk. Members of the armed forces will line the three-mile route, and members of the royal family will meet the cortege outside the castle.

10 am: The coffin will enter St. George's Chapel for a committal service attended by a congregation of 800. At the conclusion of the 45-minute service, the Queen's coffin will be lowered into the royal vault, and the royal family will leave the chapel. The service will include many traditions symbolizing the end of the Queen's reign, including the removal of the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and scepter from the top of the coffin. (Read more about what to expect here.)

1:30 pm: The Queen will be buried together with her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the King George VI memorial chapel inside St. George's Chapel. The private ceremony is just for family, and it is unclear whether any part of it will be made public.

The Royal Family/Twitter [https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily]

Texas joins world in mourning as Queen Elizabeth II passes away at 96

farewell to the queen

Editor’s note: As the world marks this historic passing and end of an era, CultureMap looks back at a Texan’s photos (above) of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London in 2012, featured in a piece by former CultureMap Houston society editor Shelby Hodge.

The world has paused as Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in United Kingdom’s history, passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday, September 8 at Balmoral, the Scottish castle and holiday home of the Royal Family.

The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, read a statement from Buckingham Palace. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.

She was surrounded by family; when doctors placed her under supervision, her children traveled to Balmoral, joined by grandson Prince William. Prince Harry is en route, according to news reports.

Per ABC News, Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will take place (tentatively) at Westminster Abbey 10 days after her death, following the tradition of observing a national period of mourning. Notably, she would be the first sovereign to have a funeral there since 1760.

Following the services, the queen is expected to be buried at St. George's Chapel in a private service on the grounds of Windsor Castle. She will be laid to rest next to her father, King George VI; her sister, Princess Margaret; and Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years.

Now, in keeping with tradition, Queen Elizabeth’s passing ushers in her son, formerly known as Prince Charles, as king; he will thus be known as King Charles III.

His Majesty The King, Charles released a the following statement after his mother’s passing:

The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.

Queen Elizabeth’s reign spanned 70 years, beginning at post-World War II recovery to a transition from empire to Commonwealth. She witnessed the end of the Cold War and watched as the UK entered, and ultimately withdrew from, the European Union.

But perhaps no event, however, connected her to the world — especially those not in the Commonwealth — more than her public presence and statements following the death of Princess Diana of Wales, who lost her life 25 years ago this month.

Texas last hosted the queen 31 years ago. Her trip included a private dinner at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, a trek to Johnson Space Center, and an endearing moment at Houston’s oldest Black Baptist church, where she joyfully tapped her toes to the gleeful gospel music.

The beloved Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, September 8.

Queen Elizabeth II
The Royal Family/Twitter [https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily]
The beloved Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, September 8.
Photo courtesy of KUT

Austin mourns the passing of iconic radio personality John Aielli

Chosen from the Best

An Austin icon has passed away. Longtime KUT and KUTX radio personality John Aielli died on Sunday, July 31 at the age of 76.

“John was an Austin treasure and an indelible part of so many lives here in Austin. His unique perspective on the world made being with John a joy,” said KUTX 98.9 program director Matt Reilly in a releases. “Our lives are less interesting with him gone. God speed, we love you John, and we’ll remember you always with a smile on our faces.”

Aielli boasted more than half a century on the air, starting out at KUT 90.5 in September 1966. His first role was a part-time announcer between classical pieces, but his extensive knowledge of classic music soon led to him programming the music himself. Within just four years, he had his own time slot, “Eklektikos,” inspired by the Greek word eklektos, which means "chosen from the best."

The station marked Aielli’s 50th anniversary on the air with year-long festivities in 2016, including a community concert and a special John Aielli bobble head thank-you gift during membership drives. During the celebration, Aielli said, “I’m curious by nature. I enjoy talking to people and observing things about life, so radio is a wonderful medium to be in. And to be the guy that gets to talk behind the microphone – it’s a privilege and a challenge.”

Aielli was the inspiration behind a popular hashtag #ShitJohnAielliSays, which collected his famous one-liners, as well as a tribute Twitter handle @ShitJohnAielliSays.

Both “Eklektikos” and Aielli won 15 “Best of” awards from Austin Chronicle since 1990. Over the years, Aielli's interviews included a veritable hall of fame of musicians, writers, actors, and local community leaders, including Joan Baez, Rufus Wainwright, soprano Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Michael Chabon, Alan Furst, Dan Rather, Matthew McConaughey, and yoga master Swami Satchidananda.

Until 2013, KUT was a dual service, programming both news and music, spinning tunes through KUTX 98.9. For more than 30 years, Aielli led KUT and KUTX's biggest public event, the annual Holiday Sing Along, conducting huge crowds in singing songs of the season.

"He was such a joy to work with, and so important to what the stations have become," KUT and KUTX general manager Debbie Hiott said in a message to staff.

Listeners are invited to share their memories of Aielli on KUTX's social media channels.

John Aielli passed away on July 31, 2022.

John Aielli radio DJ KUT CD music library
Photo courtesy of KUT
John Aielli passed away on July 31, 2022.

Country music icon and Texas legend Mickey Gilley passes away at 86

remembering mickey gilley

A Texas country music icon has passed away. Mickey Gilley, the artist whose career spanned more than 50 years, died surrounded by his family on May 7, according to Pasadena mayor Jeff Wagner. He was 86.

Born in 1936 in Natchez, Mississippi to a famed family that included iconic cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, Gilley cut his teeth at small clubs, eventually charting some 39 Top 10 hits and 17 No. 1 singles.

He became a Houston-area fixture as he gigged at the Nesadel Club in Pasadena. In 1970, he opened his now-famed, eponymous Gilley’s honky-tonk in Pasadena, which would eventually be known as the “world’s biggest honky-tonk.”

The club — and its legendary mechanical bull — would eventually create a memorable setting in the 1980 John Travolta smash hit, Urban Cowboy. An over-the-top movie premiere at the club in 1980 saw the likes of Lynn Wyatt, Andy Warhol, and Diane von Furstenberg. Gilley not only starred in the blockbuster, but his cover of “Stand by Me” became a pop and adult contemporary hit that year, marking a resurgence for the singer. (He later recounted that magical era with local TV legend Dave Ward.)

With Urban Cowboy putting him back in the spotlight, Gilley moved to television in the 1980s, appearing in popular series such as Murder She Wrote, The Fall Guy, Fantasy Island, and Dukes of Hazzard.

His Gilley’s club no longer operates in Pasadena (a store is located nearby), as it shuttered in 1989 due to dispute between Gilley and one-time partner Sherwood Cryer. In 1990, the honky-tonk burned down; the fire was ruled as arson by local investigators.

But the club brand also grew to an entertainment complex in Dallas, Las Vegas, and Durant, Oklahoma. Gilley’s retro gear has become a Texan “if you know, you know” fashion favorite.

The longtime Pasadena resident boasts a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and a place in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Fittingly, a street in Pasadena is named for the star: Mickey Gilley Boulevard.

“Pasadena has lost a true legend,” Wagner said in a social media post, adding that “his talent and larger-than-life personality helped ignite a new interest in country music as he introduced the world to Pasadena through his dance hall and Urban Cowboy in 1980. We were so honored to have Mickey perform at our State of the City in February, 2020. Our prayers for comfort and peace are with Mickey’s family, his loved ones and his fans.”

Photo by Jon Shapley

Bat Out of Hell rock star and Texas native Meat Loaf dies at 74

R.I.P. Meat

Rock star Meat Loaf, a native of Texas known for his theatrical style and hits such as “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” died on Thursday, January 20. According to a statement on his Facebook page, the singer — born Marvin Lee Aday — died on Thursday night. He was 74. A cause of death was not provided.

“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife, Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda, and close friends,” the statement said.

The post cited his “amazing career” that spanned six decades, with the artist selling more than 100 million albums worldwide and starring in more than 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Waynes World.

Aday grew up in Dallas and was already singing and acting in high school before attending Lubbock Christian College and the University of North Texas. After college, he moved to Los Angeles to sing for a band called Meat Loaf Soul, and also acted in stage productions, including the Broadway production of Hair.

He eventually found massive success with Bat Out of a Hell, his collaboration with songwriter Jim Steinman, which was released in 1977, won a Grammy Award, and became one of the bestselling records in history, with worldwide sales of more than 40 million copies.

AP has a funny anecdote about his early days, when he was not yet known and was the opening act for Cheap Trick.

“I remember pulling up at the theater and it says, ‘Tonight: Cheap Trick, with Meat Loaf,’” the singer said. “And I said to myself, ‘These people think we’re serving dinner.’”

Dallas writer Robert Wilonsky recalls that the best day he ever spent at his high school was March 6, 2015, when he handed Meat Loaf his Distinguished Alumni Award.

“Upon his return to Dallas’ Thomas Jefferson, he told me to introduce him not as Marvin Aday, but as ‘Meat Loaf. Or Meat,’” Wilonsky says.

Aday was also inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2012.

According to Variety, also in 2012, the singer purchased a nearly $1.5 million home just west of Austin.

“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man,” the post from his family said. “We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time. From his heart to your souls … don’t ever stop rocking!”

He’s survived by Deborah Gillespie, his wife since 2007, and daughters Pearl and Amanda Aday.

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Magnolia's big fall festival, last-ditch winery trips, ghost tours, 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.

Throughout Texas

If searching for beautiful leaves around Texas is at the top of the priority list, cabin rental agency Smoky Mountains' fall foliage 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. Austinites can visit The Domain to catch the Barbie Truck on October 7, and return the following weekend to say hi to Hello Kitty on the 14th.

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.

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 U.S.S. 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.

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 its renovated pool cabanas with a special VIP poolside service and deluxe amenities. The private, two-person Canyons, Preserve, and Oaks Spa Cabanas each include unlimited mimosa service, shaded seating and chaise lounges, a dedicated server from 11 am to 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.

Around Austin

It's finally festival season in our great city, 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 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.

Office sexual politics rear their ugly head in Netflix's Fair Play

Movie Review

The career of Alden Ehrenreich has – so far – been one without much progress. He was the star of Beautiful Creatures 10 years ago, a film that made little impact. Since then, he’s been in a Woody Allen movie, a Coen Brothers movie, and played a young Han Solo, none of which made him a star. After a few years away from movies, he’s back with a bang in 2023, with roles in Cocaine Bear, Oppenheimer, and now Netflix’s Fair Play.

Ehrenreich plays Luke, who’s in a relationship with Emily (Phoebe Dynevor), which they must keep secret because of a no-fraternization policy at the hedge fund where they both work. Working in finance, both are naturally ambitious, although Luke is a bit more naked in his desires. When Emily gets promoted ahead of Luke, he is at first is supportive, but is soon unable to hide his jealousy.

Written and directed by Chloe Domont in her feature film debut, the film tracks the devolution of Luke and Emily’s relationship, going from hot and heavy to heavily antagonistic. The sexual politics at play in the story are front and center, with Emily being the lone visible woman working in an otherwise all-male office. Luke initially bristles at whispers that Emily was promoted for reasons other than her financial skills, but working as her underling starts to bring out the worst in him.

Because Luke and Emily start the film as equals, the power dynamics take on an unusual form. Emily arguably does much more for Luke after her promotion than he would for her if the roles were reversed, sometimes to her own detriment. His blindness to her helpfulness, which eventually turns to suspicion, speaks volumes about the fragile ego of many men.

Another type of reversal is the sexuality depicted in the film. Most films of this type build up to the big sex sequences, using them as a culmination of a particular relationship. But Domont starts the film with them, and uses the absence of them later on as a way to denote how much Luke and Emily have drifted from each other.

It’s understandable why Domont set the film in a hedge fund, given the disparity between men and women in the field. But the scenes in which the employees, led by boss Campbell (Eddie Marsan), talk about the intricacies of their work just don’t pop, mostly because the dense terminology feels like the characters are speaking a foreign language.

Ehrenreich and Dynevor (best known for Bridgerton) each start off great, but as the film goes along and they’re required to get increasingly histrionic, they both become less believable. Domont saves most of the drama for the film’s final act; if the film was more balanced in its ups and downs, the two leads might have been able to even out their performances as well.

Still, the film has a propulsion to it that keeps it interesting, and the intensity of the final sequence is sufficient to forgive any earlier missteps. And, unfortunately yet again for Ehrenreich, it’s Dynevor who leaves the bigger impression, making a case that she should get many more lead roles in the future.


Fair Play is now playing in select theaters; it debuts on Netflix on October 6.

Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor in Fair Play

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor in Fair Play.

Famous Barton Springs tree will be removed after all, memorial rescheduled

The flo of life

It's official: "Flo" will be removed from Barton Springs Pool later this week.

In late August, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) announced that a beloved, decades-old pecan tree located at the pool – affectionately known as "Flo" – had been diagnosed with a wood decay fungus called Kretzschmaria deusta, or brittle cinder fungus. The PARD said this disease weakens roots and wood at the base of a tree and has been known to cause whole tree failures in trees that otherwise look healthy.

Following the diagnosis, the PARD contacted three independent certified arborists to do a follow-up inspection and provide independent professional opinions to help guide decision-making. Once those assessments were complete, the PARD announced on Sept. 8 that after evaluating all the options and the public safety risk, it had decided to remove Flo.

But then department walked that announcement back. On Sept. 11, the PARD said it had decided to delay the removal of the tree while it reviewed "additional considerations."

Then, on Sept. 19, the department spoke to the Austin City Council, saying the tree is fragile and could fall over at any time. It said "Flo" needs to be removed because the damage is beyond repair.

On Oct. 2, the PARD announced that Flo will be removed on Thursday, Oct. 5, when Barton Springs Pool is closed.

Prior to the tree's removal, the community can honor Flo at a "Celebration of Life" ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m. The ceremony will include a water blessing, speakers detailing Flo's history and music. The PARD said attendees should plan to park on the south side of the pool and walk around due to limited space in the main lot.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.