“If a man could learn to fly, why could he not learn how to live forever?”
– Charles Lindbergh

The heart beats on rhythm rippling electric red through the body, a wet erosive machine. As if on cue the animal breaks down, eventually. It’s born strange and confused and grows into a sleek engine, skin taunt and muscles primed. The full grown animal seems beautiful and perfect to our eyes, and it’s a sorrowful notion that it must inevitably wither and degrade.

There must be a way to save it.

In the early hours of November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. methodically shot six members of his family, including four of his younger siblings, while they were sleeping in their home on in the Amityville, NY. The family had moved into the sprawling Dutch colonial on 112 Ocean Avenue a few years ago, and though their home life was rife with abuse and drama, the house had been a symbol for a fresh start. The dad, Ron Sr., even named the house High Hopes, a chillingly ironic moniker for an estate that would be rife with such pain, horror, and a haunted legacy.

What does it mean to own land? That’s one of the questions at the heart of the gorgeous western Hell or High Water. In the film two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) scour the dry and lonesome West Texas landscape robbing multiple branches of the bank that’s threatening to foreclose on the family ranch after their mother died. On the surface, their cause seems righteous: familial morality in the face of heartless corporate greed, but as the story lingers on the moral lines smudge into the gray confines of the human condition. Complete moral dualism is an illusion, and every fight to secure something for your own family, your own tribe, can lead to unintended consequences for everyone.

Humans want to know answers and we yearn for comfort in an uncomfortable world. Answers to any question are fairly scarce and only point toward more questions. That’s why cults are so attractive. They give us clear answers and then cut us off from the well of more questions with the force of Authority. The faucet is blocked, the flicker of curiosity sated by clean lines of certainty’s illusion.

Austin, TX is home to a great deal of interesting street art, but there are a few murals that are deeply ingrained in the city’s story and culture. Like musician Daniel Johnston’s Jeremiah the Innocent Hi How Are You Frog (which can be found on a Guadalupe wall that now belongs to Thai How Are You restaurant and is instantly recognizable to Johnston’s fans,) Jo’s Coffee on South Congress features a similar mural with a sweet, simple message. It says in red, handwritten scrawl “i love you so much.” This is behind the mural that excites so much wonder and curiosity.

The Neon Demon is a gorgeous film. The bold, color-saturated photography of Natasha Braier paired with Cliff Martinez’s haunting score makes the entire event a devilish sensuous treat. It’s a horror flick set in the L. A. fashion scene, a notorious breeding ground for real monsters. When everyone is beautiful, the currency of pretty depreciates quickly, so some other savage quality may be required to thrive. The Neon Demon jumps, with impish glee, straight into the sparkle-lined abyss that idea conjures, like Alice spiraling into the underworld.