Photo courtesy of Visit McKinney

With one of the oldest, most lovingly preserved, and largest historic districts in Texas, McKinney radiates nostalgic charm and boasts more than 120 unique shops, including art galleries, furniture stores, antiques, gifts, home decor shops, and apparel and accessory boutiques.

In addition, nearly two dozen eateries in and around historic downtown are high on flavor, with many sourcing their ingredients from local farmers. And many of those restaurants may just be serving up live music, too; after all, McKinney is a Texas Music Friendly Community.

With all this cred, there’s no shortage of hot spots to put on your list for a weekend getaway.

Where to stay
Originally built in 1912, The Neathery Estate is a newly restored Georgian Revival that boasts beautiful estate grounds and four unique, lovely suites along with a covered porch, saltwater pool, library, and conservatory. And it’s all just a few blocks from the quaint downtown square.

Right in the heart of downtown, the Grand Hotel combines history and elegance. With its 44 boutique hotel rooms and a ballroom with six crystal chandeliers, pressed tin ceilings, and an original floor-to-ceiling brick wall, it is clearly a go-to for special events.

What to eat
With an eclectic mix of dining destinations, there is something for every possible craving downtown, starting with the first meal of the day.

Layered is an all-day brunch and lunch place, using only fresh local ingredients that are cooked to order — plus, they boast impressive latte art. A fun fact about this spot: On Thursday through Saturday nights, this daytime eatery converts to a speakeasy called Room One Eleven, complete with red velvet curtains and a secret entrance via a faux Coke machine.

Spoons Cafe is in a converted 1920s building that was originally the Texas Power and Light company. Fun, hip, and casual, they serve breakfast all day, along with other comfort faves like meatloaf, Frito chili pie, and King Ranch casserole.

And don’t miss their sister spot, The Garage, a cool craft cocktail bar and event venue — and, literally, a former garage! — located behind Spoons.

Farm-to-table takes its highest form at Harvest, which sources nearly everything from within a 150-mile radius, from proteins to produce. Their nose-to-tail menu changes four times a year, based on seasonality. Even the bar features almost entirely Texas-made spirits, and they also brew their own beer in the traditional farmhouse style using Texas grain, malt, and honey.

Patina Green Home and Market also offers breakfast and lunch with a menu that changes daily. In their market they sell local and organic produce, meat, dairy, and more along with antiques, home furnishings, unique gifts, and handmade items.

A quintessential Texas experience with a "beef centric," down-to-earth menu is what you’ll find at Local Yocal; it’s also a restaurant-meets-market that specializes in wagyu steaks, world-class barbecue, and Southern Americana favorites. And how apropos that it’s all housed in a handsomely renovated former grocery warehouse.

For all-out fun, The Yard is nestled under a towering canopy of old oaks and slings classic backyard grub — think smothered waffle fries, pulled pork sliders, taco turkey queso, and so much more — with indoor and outdoor seating (and bars both indoor and out, too) plus a big yard for games, live music, and more.

What to drink
Located at the historic Cotton Mill, Tupps Brewery is a fixture on the McKinney scene. Make yourself at home with tours and tastings, live music, and events like drag queen bingo, goat yoga, trivia, and movie nights. There's even a bottle tree farm where you can bring your empty bottles.

In fact, Tupps is so popular that it's outgrowing its current space. It's relocating to the historic McKinney Grain site, a move that will include remodeling a 120-year-old grain mill into a new, state-of-the-art, 25,000-square-foot production brewery and a retail craft community shopping area that will be housed in grain bins. The total project will encompass over 40,000 square feet of buildings on a four-acre spread.

Tastings and glasses of authentic Texas wine are available all day, every day in downtown at at Landon Winery, Lone Star Wine Cellars, 4Ranch, and Baron's Creek, and there’s live music most weekend nights.

Drinks turn into desserts at Cocktail Creamery, where boozy ice cream is the flavor of the day. Actually, there are close to 100 indulgent flavors on tap, including White Chocolate Macamania, Mint Chocolate Cookie Monster, and Salted Butter Caramel Crazy.

What to do
In addition to shopping the downtown scene and catching live music everywhere you look, there’s plenty more to do in McKinney, including getting some face time with Mother Nature.

About six miles of trails wind through the various habitats that make up the 289-acre Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary.

There’s always a variety of activities happening onsite, too, including guided hikes, nature tours, bird walks, canoe trails, and ziplining, plus Halloween and Christmas-themed nature events (that often include animatronic dinosaurs!).

Tour through Chestnut Square Heritage Village to see a collection of six historic homes, a wedding chapel, a general store, and a replica of a one-room schoolhouse just south of the downtown square. Some of the buildings feature period artifacts showing how people lived from 1854-1920, and the village is also home to many events including ghost walks and a weekly farmers market.

You’ll feel worlds away from McKinney in Adriatica Village, a charming little neighborhood that takes its inspiration from Croatia. Walk along the water, grab some food for a picnic, and check out live music at The Sanctuary or the Zin Zen wine bar.

McKinney’s Arts In Bloom festival kicks off the downtown spring season the second weekend in April each year. Featuring more than 120 juried artists and the Local Artist Village, the three-day festival also includes performance artists, musicians, Texas wineries, food vendors, and a kids’ crafts area.

Red, White, and Boom! happens each July 4, featuring a hometown parade, a Yankee Doodle carnival, and a concert with fireworks.

The Millhouse Summer ArtFest is August 27-28, with juried art by local artisans set against the grandeur of century-old architecture at the Cotton Mill.

And get your lederhosen ready for Oktoberfest in September with authentic German food, domestic and imported beer, live music, games, and more.

Home for the Holidays takes place over Thanksgiving weekend, kicking off of a magical month of holiday festivities.

The city’s newest entertainment district, Hub 121, is located in Craig Ranch in southwest McKinney and features dining and entertainment with a terrific outdoor amphitheater area for live music.

One of Hub 121's restaurants, ChopShop McKinney Sports Garage, has a two-level patio overlooking the amphitheater, while Elwood BFD, lets you hear the music from its patio. Wine a Little McKinney is a beautiful wine room attached to the sports bar, and more places are opening soon.

Plan your North Texas escape in McKinney and find itineraries for any kind of trip — from family vacay to girlfriend getaway — here.

McKinney's expansive historic downtown square plays hosts to year-round events.

Photo courtesy of Visit McKinney
McKinney's expansive historic downtown square plays hosts to year-round events.
Photo by Joe Rodriquez

8 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Sultry new bar opens downtown

News you can eat

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

Sojourn, a sultry new concept from hospitality veterans Derik Cortez and Andrew Carrillo brightened the former Juniper Tar space with a "public grand soft opening" on August 5. The 244 W. Houston St. bar offers a broad range of cocktails, including tiki classics like Mai Tais and playful originals like a martini made with oolong tea and umami bitters. The small kitchen churns out easygoing bites like crudo, dressed oysters, and a braised pork shoulder Cubano.

A new pizzeria has sliced into the River Walk. Fiume Pizzeria and Wine Bar introduced itself to the downtown scene on August 8. Located at the Palacio Del Rio hotel at 200 S. Alamo St., the eatery bills itself as Texapoletana — a portmanteau of Texas and Napolitana. The Texas part comes from seasonally sourced ingredients culled from local farms. The Neapolitan part comes from the blistered pies, panini, and appetizers like burrata.

Following the sudden departure of Playland Pizza in late June, another business has closed in Maverick Building. On August 4, Local Bar announced it had said goodbye to the downtown hustle after a decade of business. A Facebook post did not divulge a reason for the move.

A San Antonio raspa shop is limiting its hours following the closure of two neighboring businesses. Chamoy City Limits announced that it would temporarily reduce operations to Saturdays and Sundays, explaining via Instagram the February shutter of anchor business Smack's Chicken Shack has left its strip mall home feeling "sketch" after dark. The concept has suffered a string of thefts in 2022, including the April heist of a rooftop air conditioning unit. According to the post, weekday hours will resume once an unnamed new restaurant is up and running next door.

Though Chamoy City Limits didn't spill the beans on the name of its future neighbor, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission filings offer a clue. A concept called Lady Bird Beer Garden has applied for a mixed beverage permit at the 447 W. Hildebrand address. There are no details yet on the upcoming watering hole. A website and social media presence appear to be still forthcoming.

Speaking of TABC filings, a new nightspot dubbed Miranda's is headed to 415 E. Cevallos St. Again, the internet offers little clues to the concept. However, a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation record for the address does include plans for a rooftop bar. We assume the spot is not a temple to master's degree candidate and Che Diaz paramour Miranda Hobbes, but one can always hope.

Other news and notes

Local favorite Texas Nitro Coffee edged out hundreds of Texas food businesses as a finalist for H-E-B's annual Quest for Texas Best competition. Each year, entrepreneurs vie for marketing support, grocery placement, and a cash prize. This year's winner will be announced on August 24 at Dallas' Fair Park.

Fans of the Alamo City's signature condiment will have plenty to pucker over as Chamoy Challenge takes over Rolling Oaks Mall on August 20. Organizers Que Retro Arts promise plenty of sweet-sour treats, with the chamoy champion crowned by celebrity panelists and attendees. Admission is free from noon-5 pm.

Rendering courtesy of Don B. McDonald Architect

The 21 most anticipated San Antonio restaurants and bars opening this fall and beyond

Can't hardly wait

Maybe you've heard: San Antonio is currently experiencing a population boom. Even Austin renters are moving to the Alamo City in droves in search of greater affordability, less traffic, and much better tacos.

Of course, tacos aren't the only dish that San Antonio does right. A diverse crop of restaurants and bars is sprouting up to feed all the hungry newcomers. From promising new ideas from the city's most lauded chefs to a gaggle of Austin imports, here are the most anticipated spots — making local's mouths water — and coming soon.

Be Kind & Rewind
This upcoming arcade bar in the former Alamo Plaza Fuddruckers had sites on opening by this year's Fiesta. However, the website still lists a vague "opening 2022." The concept ignores the gravitas of the Texas Revolution for more recent history — the scrunchied pomp of the '80s.

Big Animal
Though locals were saddened to see Hello Paradise end its run in February, the announcement did come with some promising news. The team behind Bandit BBQ is planning to open a new all-American eatery on the grounds. The opening date is still anyone's guess. It had initially intended to open by spring.

Brenner's Steakhouse
Though locals have been abubble about the River Walk location of this luxury Houston steakhouse since May 2021, the Landry's restaurant group still hasn't offered exact opening details. It has, however, gotten around to updating the website with a targeted date in the fall.

The first of Pearl's big reveals this year, Carriqui will open at 239 E. Grayson St. on September 2. Locals are already abuzz about chef Jaime Gonzalez's menu, which is dedicated to South Texas favorites like coastal seafood, botana platters, barbacoa, and brisket.

Francis Bogside
Coyness seems to be in vogue among San Antonio restaurateurs. So goes it with Francis Bogside owner Steve Mahoney. When announcing that the popular Irish pub would leave Southtown at the end of July, he promised a new Francis Bogside would rise from the ashes. The location and timeframe are yet to be disclosed, though local reporters are no doubt breaking out their trenchcoats.

Full Goods Diner
Paperboy made a name in the Capital City with approachable, locally sourced fare. Now the team is moving into Pearl's new plaza in September. Like its Austin sibling, Full Goods will focus on breakfast and lunch. But guests can expect San Antonio flavor in dishes like carnitas tortas and breakfast enchiladas.

Go Fish Market
One of three anticipated concepts from hospitality dynamos Houston and Emily Carpenter, Go Fish will combine a fresh fish market with a casual café. The pair estimate a winter 2022 opening at 125 W. Grayson St.

Jerk Shack
Chef Nicola Blaque is gearing up for a third brick-and-mortar location of her nationally recognized concept, tentatively set for opening in late summer. The menu will have some slight tweaks with a few more upscale offerings.

Kerbey Lane Cafe
The first San Antonio location of Austin's most famous pancake slinger was expected to arrive at 5515 N. Loop 1604 W., #101 this spring. There's still no definite date, but the outpost has begun hiring.

Künstler Brewing
Vera and Brent Deckard are bringing a second location of their beloved Southtown brewery to Hemisfair's Yanaguana Garden sometime this summer. The new joint will be similar to the original but will offer to-go bites to be enjoyed on the grounds.

This Mediterranean restaurant from Austin's acclaimed Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group will fire up the grill in late summer at 200 E. Grayson St. — the former site of Andrew Weissman's Pearl pioneer Il Sogno Osteria. Executive chef Berty Richter's menu focuses on live-fire cooking with scratch pita, mezze, and bountiful vegetables.

La Ruina
The team behind Grayson Street's The Modernist hasn't revealed much about this rum-focused bar. Will it be on the East Side or Southtown? Will it open before the end of the year? For now, San Antonians are free to wildly speculate.

Construction is still underway for this upscale sports bar, a Southtown version of a Houston favorite. Social media offers little clue to the ultimate opening date. Its Instagram page's single post still says the spot will open in early 2022.

Nineteen Hyaku
Tucked into the lobby level of the upcoming Jefferson Bank tower at 1900 Broadway, Nineteen Hyaku promises upscale sushi served in chic, midcentury modern surrounds. Elevated seafood, tony design? It's no shocker that this is another project from the aforementioned Carpenters. The debut is expected in July 2023.

Pink Shark
Downtown nightlife will gain new vigor when Picks Bar owners Jessica Marinez and Amber Hernandez take over the former Davenport Lounge at 203 N. Presa St. for a brand-new concept. When CultureMap last checked in, the bar did not have a name. Now Pink Shark has an Instagram page so neighbors can follow along with the progress.

Potchernick’s Cervecería
Local architecture firm Clayton Korte is reworking a former sporting goods store at 211 N. St. Mary's St. into a stylish new restaurant and brewery. The completion date has not been revealed, but it is expected to be up and running by year's end.

Restaurant Claudine
The ever-busy Carpenters are also hard at work converting a ramshackle house at 517 E. Grayson St. into an elegant New American eatery. According to its Instagram page, Restaurant Claudine will grace Government Hill in October. Roland Gutierrez, an alum of Supper and Up Scale, will help the kitchen as chef de cuisine.

Stable Hall
Locals will have to wait a bit to enjoy this state-of-the-art music venue at the Pearl. The ambitious project with an outdoor beer garden is not set to open until Spring 2023.

Unnamed Stefan Bowers Project
Sometimes a restaurant doesn't need a name to be highly anticipated. When lauded chef Stefan Bowers unexpectedly announced the closure of Playland Pizza, he also announced a new concept opening at the 1221 Broadway Lofts this fall. Unfortunately, he shared no menu details for the upcoming eatery — only saying that pizza will not be on the menu.

Voodoo Doughnuts
Those wondering what would happen to Playland's 400 E. Houston St. spot soon got their answer. The marble-clad space will become the first San Antonio location of Portland's Voodoo Doughnut by the end of the year.

Wurst Behavior
Sean Wen and Andrew Ho, the team behind Curry Boys and Pinch Boil House, are partnering with craft butcher Joe Saenz on this upcoming beer garden just off the St. Mary's Strip. This time the prolific alchemists will meld traditional german cuisine with Asian flavors. The spot will have a fall opening to take advantage of crisper weather.

Carriqui debuts September 2.

Rendering courtesy of Don B. McDonald Architect
Carriqui debuts September 2.
Photo courtesy of Brown County Museum of History

Lock up a tour at the Brown County Museum of History in Brownwood

On the Road

Located in the northern Texas Hill Country, Brownwood is an inviting place where you have your pick of activities.

Perhaps you choose to chomp down on a chili cheeseburger that’s served in a restored train car at Runaway Train Cafe, or order up some sizzling street tacos at Tr3s Leches Bakery. Shop at more than a dozen trendy, locally owned boutiques or attend a live performance at the beautifully preserved 1920s Lyric Theatre.

You could also spend the weekend at the lakefront Hideout Golf Club and Resort, or even take a relaxing kayak ride along the Pecan Bayou.

There’s also lots of history to be savored, too. The Lehnis Railroad Museum shows how the railroad played a significant role in the town’s development.

But it’s the Brown County Museum of History that really provides an immersive look into 150 years of local history, from the Penateka Comanche and the earliest Texan settlers to a WWII-era Camp Bowie military collection and modern soil and grass conservation at the Colonel Burns Ranch.

Younger explorers love this place, too, with its children's area and the miniature Birdsong Circus.

After browsing the exhibits, you can get in on the museum's guided tour of the old jail, originally built in 1903. In the castle-like structure, you'll be transported back in time to see glimpses of what life was like as a Brown County sheriff — or as an inmate.

After your adventures through history, there are plenty of ways to cap off the day.

With its Hill Country location, Brownwood has easy access to award-winning Texas-made beers and wines for the tasting, starting with Pioneer Tap House, Teddy’s Brewhaus, and Primal Brewery.

Each spot has something special to offer, like beer floats at Pioneer, signature Bavarian-style pretzels at Teddy’s, and interesting flavors at Primal.

Stone’s Grove is an eclectic-cool place to get quirky cocktails, while 10 Mile Productions is a unique tasting experience with wines gathered from all over the state.

Discover more ways to make Brownwood your home away from home for a few days here.

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Modern Pearl lounge teases new tropical bar

News you can eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

The owners of The Modernist are trumpeting a new project but are so far keeping most details on mute. In a July 31 Instagram post, the bespoke cocktail lounge teased a new concept called La Ruina. The bar will be dedicated to the spirits of tropical America with a focus on rum (the tagline is “ron y mas”). The location, however, remains a mystery. Zillow sleuths were only offered one tantalizing clue — the spot will be “housed in a graceful but well-worn building.”

Japanese chicken spot Krazy Katsu burst into the San Antonio scene with a grand opening on July 30. The fast-casual restaurant, located at 5257 McCullough Ave., specializes in herb-brined and panko-breaded chicken sandwiches slathered with sauces like Bourbon teriyaki, Kewpie mayo, and chipotle ranch. The eatery also nods to its hometown in various offerings, including hibiscus agua fresca, craft beer from local fave Viva Brewery, and a fusion take on chicken on a stick.

Francis Bogside gave an Irish goodbye to Southtown on July 31. According to a media alert, the popular pub will soon move to a new space. The long-running bar has been pouring since 2015, save for a year interrupted by a devastating Halloween 2016 fire. After extensive renovations, it commandeered sibling restaurant Brigid’s space and reopened with a small stage and wraparound bar. There is no word yet on where the bar will start its third act. Details are promised in the upcoming weeks.

It’s out with barbecue, and in with cheesesteaks at Weathered Soul Brewing Co. South BBQ is moving out of the brewery’s kitchen on August 7 to make room for Broadway food truck Eleanor 1909. Owner Brie Morris, a former Food Network stylist who has worked with Bobby Flay, Rocco DiSpirito, and Lorenzo Polegri, will bring some sparkle to traditional pub grub. Highlights include a smash burger with pimento cheese and candied bacon, oxtail queso, and smoked salmon deviled eggs. According to social media, Morris will start serving on August 9.

In another switcheroo, New Braunfels Italian joint 188 South closed its doors July 30 to make way for a second location of San Marcos bistro Cody’s Restaurant. There are no details yet on when Cody’s will start dishing out its upscale fare, but the restaurant has absorbed many of 188’s former staff members.

Other news and notes

River Walk tiki bar Hugman’s Oasis rolled out a new food menu on August 1. Well-known Alamo City chef Teddy Liang has developed five new dishes for the watering hole, including Kalua pork sliders and two flavors of popcorn chicken. The must-order item is sure to be the watermelon coconut bowl — a tropical concoction topped with fruit, ginger, roasted almonds, and chili salt dramatically presented tableside with dry ice.

Tickets are finally on sale for the hotly anticipated Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival on October 27-30. As previously reported, the mega event is a collaboration between the James Beard Foundation, Visit San Antonio, and local food nonprofit Culinaria, featuring a daytime Culinary Market on the San Antonio River and a stellar cast of national and homegrown culinary talent. Snag passes here.

Photo courtesy of Visit Nacogdoches

There's always something new to discover in Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas

On the Road

Staking its claim as the actual oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches is rich in history, hospitality, and charm. It’s a place where you can stroll downtown’s iconic red brick streets, hike miles of historic trails that once served as trade routes for Native Americans, go antiquing, or break for tea in a Victorian mansion.

Here are a few of the reasons why the city is commonly known as one of the top tourist destinations in Texas.

You can shop local — a lot
Antiques, cool art, trendy clothing, artisan jewelry — it’s all in the bag at Nacogdoches' significant collection of locally owned specialty shops and antique stores in the highly walkable historic downtown.

While downtown, have a spot of tea at Pemberley's at the Jones House; the lovely café is inside a historic Victorian property.

You can eat like a local
There’s an eclectic list of restaurants in town, and while you can’t go wrong with any of their menu items, here’s an insider list of what the locals order.

The Butcher Boys have been slinging burgers since 1977 and their burgers have been voted the best in Texas, so do yourself a favor and put them to the test. Honorable mention goes to the homemade chicken fried steak and hand-cut rib-eyes.

At Auntie Pasta’s, go for the chicken Capone with artichoke hearts. Dolli’s Diner has all the classic, old-fashioned faves but you should get the migas.

The onion ring tower at Clear Springs is a fried work of art, and for brunch, look no further than 1st City Cafe in the newly remodeled Fredonia Hotel.

Get the good libations
Nacogdoches is home to four must-visit drink locations, including Fredonia Brewery, a micro-brewery with a 2,400-plus retro can collection that you can see in their tap room while you sample a 9 Flags Amber or Banita Blonde.

The Naca Valley Vineyard is surrounded by wild muscadine grapes, honeysuckle, purple wisteria, and pine trees; it’s a beautiful setting in which to enjoy Texas vino in the tasting room.

While you’re shopping downtown, pop into Red House Winery for their award-winning sips, or head to Front Porch Distillery for artisan craft spirits with everything from rum to barrel-aged whiskey.

You can also get in on the Wine, Whiskey, and Brew Tour, which shuttles you to all four places in one evening.

Experience history firsthand
As you’d guess for the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches boasts countless historic landmarks, museums, and more.

Head to the Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site, home of Mound Builders of Caddoan origin who lived in the region for 500 years beginning around A.D. 800.

The Lanana Creek Trail once served as an Indian footpath; its six-ish miles weave through thickets of paw-paw, dogwood and scarlet blooming buckeye.

The Old Nacogdoches University Building was constructed in 1859, and it’s the only original building of a university chartered by the Republic of Texas that’s still standing. You can also visit its museum onsite.

On the campus of Stephen F. Austin University, the thrice-built Old Stone Fort has been a trading post, a private home, a church, a jail, and a saloon — but never a true fort.

Millard's Crossing is a charming, reconstructed historic village. And the town’s oldest structure still in its original site is the Sterne Hoya House Museum & Library that dates back to 1830.

Channel a garden state
Nacogdoches is also known as the Garden Capital of Texas for its impressive array of beautiful gardens, from compact pocket parks to the native landscapes at historic sites, and the extensive network of gardens and trails on the SFA campus.

Don’t miss the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden — it’s the largest azalea garden in Texas, with 11 acres in a loblolly pine forest. While there, you’ll see more than 550 varieties of rhododendron, 100 varieties of camellia, more than 200 varieties of hydrangea, Japanese maples, and more.

Learn more about this historic town with natural beauty and a modern edge at Visit Nacogdoches.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

New Hellraiser is stylishly gut-wrenching, but lacks substance overall

Movie review

Horror franchises, even more than ones featuring superheroes, action stars, or animated characters, have proved themselves to be eternal. No matter how many times a villain or monster is bested by the hero of the film, filmmakers find a way to bring them back to try to wring more scares out of their presence.

The original Hellraiser came out in 1987 and was followed by nine sequels, including one as recent as 2018. But everything old is new again, and so now we get the reboot. An opening sequence reintroduces the series’ central device, a puzzle box that stabs unwitting users, thereby summoning horrific figures known as Cenobites to inflict torturous pain on those who’ve been stabbed.

Cut to a few years later and a group of young people are ensnared by the puzzle box’s allure, including the central figure Riley (Odessa A’zion), an addict who lives with her brother Matt (Brandon Flynn) and roommate Nora (Aoife Hinds). Riley’s boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey) convinces her to help him steal things from a warehouse, inadvertently bringing the puzzle into their lives. When Riley tries solve the puzzle, all hell is unleashed on the group.

Directed by David Bruckner and written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, the film is a stylish yet mostly empty demonstration of gruesomeness. The Cenobites – who go by names like The Priest (aka Pinhead), The Chatterer, and The Weeper – are freaky-looking creatures with all manner of flayed flesh and painful piercings. Their mere presence and supernatural ability to grab victims by chains and hooks is scary, but an actual reason for why they keep procuring more targets is lacking.

The story is hit-and-miss, with the main group alternating between heroic, stupid, or heroically stupid decision-making. Riley seems to be a person who’s unreliable at best, yet person after person tries to intervene on her behalf, a loyalty that is left unexplored in the film. While the way Riley and the others eventually fight back against the Cenobites makes sense, the scenes featuring those fights are uninspiring.

The most interesting aspect of the film is the one that is explored the least. A mysterious man named Voight (Goran Visnjic) is introduced in the opening sequence, reappearing in the film’s final act. He has a particular connection to the puzzle box and Cenobites that makes him half villain/half victim, one which could have been fleshed out a bit more to make him less one-dimensional.

A’zion, who kind of looks like Alia Shawkat, makes for an unusual protagonist. She’s not that expressive, so the audience really has to dig deep to empathize with her character. The other members of the group are also generic, never bringing anything that makes you want to care about them more. The actors playing the Cenobites are good, although the makeup does half the job for them.

This reboot of Hellraiser is the classic example of style over substance. Much effort was made into making the film look as good as possible, but the story fails on multiple levels, making all of those visuals in service of very little.


Hellraiser debuts exclusively on Hulu on October 7.

11 must-see artists at ACL Fest 2022 — from Texas and beyond

Music Notes

It’s game time for two weekends of good times by way of Austin City Limits Music Festival. Since you certainly already have a must-see list comprised of the bigger artists on the lineup, here’s some choice acts — from Austin and beyond.

Must-see acts from Austin

No one really needs to be told to see one of Austin's best bands of all-time. However, just in case you were thinking about skipping them, be sure to note that their 2022 release, Lucifer on the Sofa, plays great in a live setting. You can see them both weekends of the fest on Saturday at 4pm on the Honda stage.

Adrian Quesada’s Boleros Psicodélicos
Adrian Quesada (of Black Pumas) recently put out a solo album, Boleros Psicodélicos, and you’ll be able to check out all of its Latin America-inspired psych ballads during weekend one of ACL. Catch his set on Saturday, October 8, at 2:15 pm on the Honda stage.

Vet rockers Darkbird were supposed to play ACL in 2021, but a weather delay nixed their set. Expect the band, which is fronted by the always-spirted Kelly Barnes, to take full advantage of the do-over. Their only appearance at the fest will be Sunday, October 9 at 1:15 pm on the BMI stage.

Eric Tessmer
After a couple decades of dutiful shredding around Austin, guitar great Eric Tessmer has finally found his way onto an ACL lineup. His sure-to-be explosive turn at the fest is a weekend one only experience – see it on Sunday, October 9, at 5 pm on the BMI stage.

Good Looks
Indie rock act Good Looks are responsible for Bummer Year, one of the better albums to come out of Austin in 2022, so of course you should have them on your ACL radar. Catch this weekend two-only band on Saturday, October 15, at 1pm on the Tito’s stage.

Urban Heat
Get your new wave/post punk fix via Urban Heat during weekend two of ACL. The buzzy act, who recently put out an EP titled Wellness, will perform on Sunday, October 16 at 3 pm on the BMI stage.

Other must-see acts

LA’s own Muna, who are signed to Phoebe Bridgers' Saddest Factory imprint, head into ACL on a wave of acclaim for their 2022 self-titled album. The pop act has just a weekend one set on Sunday, October 9, at 3 pm on the Barton Springs stage.

Dehd’s Blue Skies is loaded with some of the catchiest indie rock tracks you’ll find on any album in 2022, and that’s reason enough to catch them at ACL. The Chicagoans play both weekends – look for them each Sunday at 1:15 pm on the T-Mobile stage.

Magdalena Bay
Synthpop act Magdalena Bay recently dropped a deluxe edition of their hit 2021 album, Mercurial World, and now they’ll put it on display at ACL. Catch the LA-based act both weekends of the fest on Sunday at 4 pm on the Tito’s stage.

Wet Leg
Wet Leg had quite a bit of buzz heading into this year’s SXSW and the fervor surrounding the British indie rockers has only increased with the release of their self-titled debut album, which includes the infectious single “Chaise Longue.” The band is a weekend two-only play, and their set is Friday, October 14 at 2:30 pm on the Honda stage.

Faye Webster
The dreamy, gentle sounds of singer/songwriter Faye Webster will be a treat in the middle of the afternoon at Zilker Park. Be sure to catch the Atlanta-based artist during her weekend two-only appearance on Sunday, October 16 at 3 pm on the Barton Springs stage. By the way, don’t be surprised if Webster and her bandmates engage in some sweet yo-yo action.

Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend

Weekend Event Planner

Spooky sights and outdoor nights await in the days to come. Feel the thrill at the return of Fright Fest at Six Flags Fiesta Texas or celebrate all things fluttery at the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival. Check out the top five things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a full listing of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, October 6

Gruene Music & Wine Festival
Get outside of town and enjoy a culmination of music, food, drinks, and more at Gruene Hall. Gruene Music & Wine Festival attendees can enjoy four separate events over the course of four days, each uniquely tailored to Texas-inspired interests. Highlights include a curated tasting of Texas wine and beer and a private performance with Pat Green. Visit the festival website for a full schedule of events and to get ticketing information. Programming is scheduled through October 9.

Friday, October 7

Six Flags Fiesta Texas presents Fright Fest
Fright Fest is back at Six Flags Fiesta Texas with spooky, family-friendly daytime activities and chilling attractions when the sun goes down. Freaky festivities include haunted houses, scare zones, live shows, and seasonal updates to some of the park’s most popular rides. Fright Fest is open through October 31.

Bonnie Raitt in concert
Blues-singing songstress Bonnie Raitt comes to San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre for one night only. The “Love Letter” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me” star is returning to the tour circuit in support of her new album, Just Like That... Raitt will be joined by special guest Marc Cohn. Get ticketing information here.

Saturday, October 8

Texas Butterfly Ranch presents 7th Annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival
Celebrate one of nature’s most graceful and captivating creations at Brackenridge Park Pavilion. This year’s Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is a month-long series of events including monarch tagging demos, waggle dancing, the forever journey altar, educational booths, and the traditional People for Pollinators Procession. Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events, go the festival website.

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: Back On Tour
Actor and comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias brings fresh material and guaranteed laughs to the AT&T Center. Iglesias is one of the most-watched comedians on YouTube and has had roles in films like Magic Mike, Magic Mike XXL, and A Haunted House 2. Visit the ticketing website for show information and to reserve your seats.