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Legislating hate: “This legislation does not live up to the values that I grew up with, and it does not live up to the Oklahoma Standard,” Austin Sims said about Oklahoma’s record number of proposed anti-LGBT bills. The bleak budget situation didn’t hinder some legislators from filing over two-dozen bills to restrict LGBT rights. But the backlash from local and state leaders might mean many of those bills will be dead on arrival. By Laura Eastes. P.4 Cover design by Oklahoma Gazette.


Cover: anti-LGBT bills


OKG picks


City: streetcars update



Legislature: medical pot petition

Food & Drink: Jax Soul Kitchen, Mashed in OKC, Ryan Lopez, OKG eat: bleu cheese

35 Peforming Arts: Scheherazade, Bernadette Peters, Yvonne Chouteau


State: online sales tax


Education: alternative paths


Chicken-Fried News





29 Culture: Underground Monster Carnival 31

Technology: makers


Community: Red Tie Night After Party


Book of Love


Visual Arts: cowboy exhibits


Music: Gazette Music Awards, Cherry Death, Dylan Stewart and The Eulogists, listings


Film: The Witch


Sudoku / Crossword





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Slate of hate

Members of Oklahoma’s LGBT community discuss proposed legislation that could be bad for business, youth, schools, minorities and the state.

By Laura Eastes

Nationwide threats

Earlier this month, Oklahoma made national headlines as media reported on the numerous anti-LGBT bills and their direct or indirect discrimination against the state’s LGBT community.

Paula Sophia left and Troy Stevenson

photos by mark han coc k

Family helped shape Austin Sims’ view that every Oklahoman has a unique purpose in life, no matter their situation. Oklahomans are known throughout the United States for their compassion and commitment to the Oklahoma Standard, which encompasses the spirit of resilience in the face of adversity. Raised in Moore, Sims grew up learning this valuable lesson but also witnessed the actions of his grandfather, who gave back to the community. In his 28 years, Sims has pursued a life of kindness and generosity. He is the youth program coordinator at Be the Change, an Oklahoma City nonprofit working with homeless youth. “I believe the Oklahoma Standard is about lifting each other up in our communities, especially in times of difficulty,” Sims said. “With the $1.3 billion budget shortfall, the Legislature is acting more divisive than working to bring the community together.” Sims sees the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities targeted in numerous bills filed for the second regular session of the 55th Oklahoma State Legislature. He anticipated some backlash toward the LGBT community following marriage equality, but never to “this degree.” The bleak budget situation didn’t stop a handful of lawmakers from pushing more than two-dozen bills viewed as dangerous to the state’s LGBT population. As a transgender man, Sims is concerned by many of the bills, but is particularly troubled by religious freedom bills that would allow businesses to opt out of providing services to members of the LGBT community. Bathroom bills are equally disturbing. “I’m alarmed by this legislation,” Sims said when discussing anti-LGBT bills. “This legislation does not live up to the values that I grew up with, and it does not live up to the Oklahoma Standard.”

Eight months earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right for same-sex couples to marry. In the Sooner State, same-sex marriage was legalized Oct. 6, 2014. The Supreme Court decision was a pinnacle moment in gay rights; however, the movement took a hit as more than 150 anti-LGBT bills in 31 states were filed in the first two months of 2016, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national civil rights organization. Twenty-seven of the bills were filed at the Oklahoma State Capitol, including one promoting conversion therapy, a treatment to change a person’s sexual orientation that has been banned by a United Nations panel. Last year, Oregon became the third state to ban conversion therapy on minors. In Oklahoma, House Bill 1598, which makes it illegal to ban conversion therapy, passed the House’s Children, Youth, and Family Services Committee in 2015. Oklahoma is the only state considering pro-conversion therapy legislation, according to HRC. “Oklahoma is regrettably leading the nation in the number of bills attacking LGBT people, their families and visitors in the 2016 legislative session,” Sarah Warbelow, HRC legal director, said in

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a press statement. “These vile attacks are shameful, far-reaching and would no doubt be incredibly destructive to this great state — resulting in multiple, expensive legal challenges and a greatly damaged reputation.”

A lot of these bills are not written by local lawmakers. — Troy Stevenson

Some proposed Oklahoma legislation mimics bills considered in other states, such as South Dakota. Recently, lawmakers there passed a bill requiring every public school restroom to be “designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex.” The bill is one step from becoming law as the measure moves to the South Dakota governor’s desk. Oklahoma’s House Bill 3049, authored by Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, includes similar language. It would ban transgender students from using sex-segregated facilities.

Oklahoma bills

There is a reason many bills feature similar language, said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, a statewide political LGBT rights advocacy group. National interest groups sponsor, or write, legislation that is handed down to state lawmakers to introduce. “A lot of these bills are not written by local lawmakers,” Stevenson said. Freedom Oklahoma launched last year after Cimarron Alliance Equality Center and The Equality Network merged to create the nonprofit and social welfare organization that emphasizes LGBT public education and advocacy. In 2015, the group witnessed 18 bills they viewed as detrimental to the LGBT community go nowhere at the state Capitol. The majority of the 2016 bills are, essentially, dead on arrival, Stevenson said. While the bills were assigned official bill numbers, few will reach committee hearings. “I think some lawmakers have no intention of having their bills heard,” Stevenson said. “This is aimed at starting a conversation in public and marginalizing a group of people. They know it is not going to become law, but if they keep this conversation going, the

“‘We will deny you access to accommodations because we want you to go away,’” Sophia said. “‘Go back in the closet. Leave the state.’ … I see these measures as threats.” In the first three weeks of session, three bills received committee hearings. Only one received a “do pass.” House Bill 2428, authored by Kern, would allow the state to work with child welfare and adoption agencies that reject applicants due to their religious beliefs or moral convictions. After a 5-to-2 committee vote, the bill moved to the House floor for consideration. The bill could potentially impact gay couples as well as minority and interracial couples. “Stay positive,” said Austin Sims, youth program director at Be the Change. “We are going to win this thing eventually, especially with younger generations reaching voting age.” (LGBT) community is going to be hurt.” Recently, Paula Sophia, a transgender Oklahoma City woman, created VisAbility, a transgender-specific advocacy group. The organization also works to share the stories of the state’s transgender residents. Sophia and others in the transgender community believe the anti-transgender bills send a direct message.

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Religious freedom

Senate Bill 1328, known as the Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act, failed a Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4-to-5 vote. Authored by Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, the bill would allow individuals — defined in the bill as “a natural person, a privately-held business, or a church or recognized religious organization” — to refuse service based on religious beliefs or “conscience concerning marriage, lifestyle or behavior.” A similar piece of legislation remains active. Freedom Oklahoma

staff called House Joint Resolution 1059 “alarming.” As a proposed ballot initiative, the proposed legislation skips the committee process and the governor’s office. Instead, it goes straight to the voters, who could vote in favor of the constitutional amendment. Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, proposed the resolution, which would allow “entities and individuals” to refuse services to people they believe violate their religious beliefs. In addition to HJR 1059, six other bills reference religious freedom or conscience as the basis for inequality. “One of the things I find most deeply concerning about this legislation is they are calling it religious freedom or a deeply held religious belief, but they are redefining what that means,” Stevenson said. “It is no longer the conviction of an entire religious community. They are allowing an individual to call their opinion a religious belief, which is dangerous. It puts the individual over society.”

Unconstitutional laws

Jan. 26, just six days before this year’s legislative session started, executive director Ryan Kiesel announced the American Civil Liberties Union of

Oklahoma (ACLU) was joining the fight against “hateful pieces of legislation.” “We have crises in health care, education. Yet some lawmakers continue to insist that we spend our time and energy on using religious as a weapon to discriminate against our fellow Oklahomans,” said Kiesel, who served three terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives before joining ACLU. “I think it is not only reprehensible, but given the circumstance that Oklahoma currently finds itself in, this type of behavior is simply reckless.” The majority of the bills are vaguely worded and give little detail on directly discriminating against any individual or the LGBT community. LGBT advocates describe the ploy as a tactical move to disguise the legislation’s true intent. If any of the bills are signed into law, the state can expect litigation from Freedom Oklahoma, Stevenson said. “They try to make it constitutional,” Stevenson said. “In order to make it constitutional, you make it as broad as possible. It’s not discrimination if everyone is affected. Everyone is equally harmed by the legislation. That is a horrible way to legislate. We are going to put the entire continued on next page

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m a rk h a ncoc k / Fil e

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core government services. Sophia remembers the end of the first regular session of the 55th Oklahoma State Legislator. No antiLGBT legislation passed in 2015. “I envision we will have defeated all the legislation that has targeted us and the larger LGBT community,” Sophia said. “I hope we can celebrate that by the end of May.”

Five controversial bills

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1. Ryan Kiesel

Given the circumstance that Oklahoma currently finds itself in, this type of behavior is simply reckless. — Ryan Kiesel


community in harm because we want to hurt this one class of people.”

The future

Thursday and Friday are the final days for Senate and House bills to be heard in committees; however, there are a few exceptions. Five days before the deadline, Sims felt relieved certain bills hadn’t received committee hearings, such as Silk’s bathroom bill. The one-page bill calls on the Oklahoma Department of Health to regulate public bathroom use and ensure people visit facilities matching the biological gender listed on their birth certificates. At Be the Change, Sims teaches youth, including members of the LGBT community, how to advocate for themselves and understand the legislative process at the state and local levels. He would like to see the state and the City of Oklahoma City explore employment and public accommodation protections for the LGBT community. “Stay positive,” Sims said as advice to other LGBT community members. “We are going to win this thing eventually, especially with younger generations reaching voting age.” Like Sims, Stevenson said he looks forward to future sessions when Freedom Oklahoma can work closely with lawmakers to propose measures to help the LGBT community and all Oklahomans. Like many in the state, Freedom Oklahoma’s concerns include the $1.3 billion budget hole and cuts to

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Amending the state constitution: House Joint Resolution 1059 calls for a vote by the people to “allow religious organizations, private business or individuals to refuse certain acts that violate a sincerely held religious belief.” It would protect discrimination and eliminate opportunity for litigation or consequences from the government. The law would provide cover for organizations to discriminate against LGBT community members, minorities and women. Bathroom battle: Senate Bill 1014 is proposed as a public health issue “prohibiting use of certain facilities under certain circumstance.” The bill specifically orders people to use gender-specific restrooms that match their biological gender. Limiting local control: Senate Bill 1289 looks to undo efforts in Oklahoma City, Norman and Tulsa to provide LGBT protections. It would outlaw municipalities and counties from passing ordinances that provide stronger protections than allowed under state law. Editor’s note: This bill was defeated committee on Monday and will not be considered during this legislative session. Before ‘I do’: Senate Bill 733 calls for screening all couples for infectious or communicable diseases before approving marriage licenses. It would require blood samples to be reviewed by state-licensed physicians and submitted into public record with marriage license applications. Marriage equality: House Resolution 1032 defines “natural marriage between one man and one women as recognized by the people of Oklahoma remains the law, regardless of any court decision to the contrary. Any court decision purporting to strike down natural marriage, including Obergefell v. Hodges, is unauthoritative, void and of no effect.” Additionally, it establishes a fund to pay fines against government officials who refuse to recognize same-sex marriages.

Route revision

The MAPS 3 Streetcar project heads south after the Oklahoma City Council approves a new route with a $3 million price tag. Advocates believe it is a smart move for riders and the city.

This conceptual illustration shows what a MAPS 3 streetcar will look like.


When it comes to modern streetcar projects, leaders should keep in mind streetcars provide a transit mode, but the effects are far-reaching for a city. Jeff Bezdek, a MAPS 3 Streetcar subcommittee member, made that point when addressing the Oklahoma City Council Feb. 16. During the meeting, the nine-member council approved extending the original 4.5-mile rail route of the MAPS 3 Streetcar project. The modern transit project is one of nine distinct programs included in the 2009 sales tax initiative. So far, the project has earned $131 million of $777 million gathered to fund all eight projects. With the route extension, streetcar riders will have two routes to select from, including one that specifically serves Bricktown, Myriad Botanical Gardens and two other MAPS 3 projects: the Downtown Public Park and new convention center. The 2.04-mile south streetcar line increased the modern transit budget by $3 million. Supporters of the new route expressed a desire to see the streetcar service the new convention center and the potential convention center hotel. The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City is eyeing the corner of S. Robinson Avenue and SW Fourth Street for future placement of a hotel. With the city investing $419 million between the new park and modern convention center, Bezdek argued it made sense to shift the streetcar lines south of the central business district. Over time, the streetcar will support and play a role in spurring economic growth. “I think the one thing that is overlooked in our discussions about routes is the incredible economic return the streetcar system could potentially generate in terms of sales tax revenue for all of downtown,” Bezdek said. “You can look at nearly any city that has put in a modern streetcar system, and the ratio of return is $4 to $12 depending on urban land use principals married with the streetcar system.” Bezdek already sees Oklahoma City reaping the benefits from the streetcar, which is projected to run in 2018. Development has begun along the streetcar line in Midtown and Automobile Alley. The economic development argument

Original MAPS 3 Streetcar route Expanded south streetcar line

for modern transit isn’t unwarranted. After Portland, Oregon, picked the spot for its $103-million, 4-mile streetcar line, the northwest city witnessed $3.5 billion worth of new construction within two blocks of the streetcar route. A year before Tucson, Arizona’s streetcar began rolling along a 4-mile track, an economic development organization reported a $230 million construction boom for the city of more than 500,000 people. Additionally, around 150 businesses opened along the




route during a five-year period.




Not everyone agrees on the streetcar project. Before the vote, Councilmember Pete White, representing Ward 4, expressed concerns over funding the streetcar’s operations and maintenance, which is estimated to cost $3 million annually. He questioned the fare cost and success of ridership. White voted against the route extension. Ward 1 Councilmember James Greiner, who repetitively casts “no” votes on streetcar project decisions, joined him. The conversation of a streetcar’s impact on the public is justified. Most American cities have experienced

setbacks with getting streetcars running. Some cities, including Atlanta, Georgia, struggled to get riders onboard once service began. In the case of Atlanta, the streetcars carried 18 percent fewer riders than anticipated after the first six weeks of operations. The MAPS 3 subcommittee consistently studies and discusses trouble experienced by other cities with implementing streetcars. “Our subcommittee wants to bring the best proposal learning from all these different cities and to build a streetcar system that people will want to use, meeting the expectations of the voters,” Bezdek said. “I don’t think we are there yet, but we are almost there.”

O K L A H O M A G A Z E T T E | F E B R UA R Y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 7

news state

High time Former Oklahoma state representative and gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman speaks out about his support for legalizing medical marijuana.

By Wilhelm Murg

Compassionate policy

Dorman explained why he supports medical marijuana. He watched his father, who was in an accident when Dorman was 4 years old, suffer with chronic pain throughout his life. “He took pain pills for as long as I could remember, and he progressively got worse until he was in a wheelchair in his later years,” Dorman said. “My dad was scared to death to take the full prescription of painkillers that his doctor prescribed to him. He would cut them in halves or quarters. He would live with the amount of pain he could deal with and not take the full pill because he didn’t want to get zoned out or addicted. “I don’t want to have to see anyone go through something like that. It’s barbaric to limit people’s opportunities for a normal life through whatever means a doctor prescribes. Even Gov. Mary Fallin agrees with that. One of her top issues she promoted is limiting access to prescription narcotics and trying to deal with that problem.” Dorman said he was one of the first Oklahoma lawmakers to look into allowing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat Dravet syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy with seizures that often starts in infants when they turn six months old. “Governor Fallin came on board with that later, but there’s still not a movement that is going far enough to address all of the problems,” he said. “That was only for kids. We have people of all ages that have issues with seizers, or epilepsy or chronic pain. There needs to be something that is available and accessible for all Oklahomans.” Dorman said he is working with Oklahomans for Health because he wants to make sure the petition language best addresses the needs of those who would benefit from this law. “I certainly want to make sure that this goes under a doctor’s care, that it is prescription and we address the laws and make sure people are using this without breaking any laws,” Dorman said. “We have to look through the statues and make sure [it] will stand up to legal scrutiny because I am certain there will be challenges. … We have to have an airtight case to present.” The costs associated with end-of-lifecare comprise the bulk of overall health

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big stoc

Oklahomans for Health, the local grassroots organization spearheading an upcoming petition drive to allow medicinal cannabis in the state, has an ally in Joe Dorman, a former Oklahoma state representative and gubernatorial candidate. Dorman favors legalizing medical marijuana and is helping with the wording of the upcoming petition. “Somebody’s got to do something,” Dorman told Oklahoma Gazette. “We need more courage out there from people in all areas, especially politics, to step up and consider what’s best for the people.” The upcoming petition drive is the third cannabis petition to circulate the state in as many years. Oklahomans for Health collected signatures in 2014. A separate group, Green the Vote, collected signatures last year. Both fell short of the number of signatures required to force the issue onto a ballot for a public vote. Oklahomans for Health said this effort marks the last marijuana petition of this political season before the November vote. Organizers noted that even if supporters signed each petition that came before, this one is new and they will need to sign it if they want their voices heard. Also, a petition signature isn’t valid unless you are registered to vote. A launch date is pending, but the group expects to begin circulating petitions sometime around the end of April or the first part of May. This petition differs from previous efforts, said Frank Grove, Oklahomans for Health co-chairman. “It’s a referendum instead of a petition initiative for the constitutional amendment,” he explained. That means the group needs 65,000-66,000 valid signatures, or about 86,000 signatures to buffer for its expected error rate. Having crunched numbers from previous petition drives, Grove said the goal is easily within reach. “I don’t know if I will ever run for office again,” Dorman added. “I’m certainly considering it, but it is far more important to address issues and do what’s right rather than do what is the most politically valuable.”

“We need more courage out there from people in all areas, especially politics, to step up and consider what’s best for the people,” Joe Dorman said about legalizing medical marijuana.

I do think each individual state should look at it, because that is how you influence change at the federal level. — Joe Dorman

care costs, and Dorman said access to marijuana would significantly reduce that burden for patients and families. He expects a major challenge to come from big pharmaceutical companies. Dorman believes the petition must clearly convey that pot use would be legal for medical reasons only. He sees the resistance to marijuana as simple fear people have from believing everything they’ve heard about the issue. He said he does not favor marijuana legalization for recreational use.

Divided states

“I’ll be honest — and I want to point this out very clearly — I have never smoked marijuana in my life. I have been around people who have smoked, but I have never personally tried

marijuana. It is not for me. It is against the law, and I just don’t believe you should do that,” Dorman said. “I think it is ridiculous, though, that if a doctor says that it is the best treatment for an individual to deal with some kind of health issue, that it is automatically ruled out because of a societal belief that every aspect of it is bad.” When asked if he drinks alcohol, Dorman said he does, and the only real difference he sees between alcohol and marijuana is in their legal status. “I think alcohol is bad, even though I do drink,” he said. “But we do have restrictions on alcohol.” Dorman spoke with the Gazette Feb. 6, the day after political commentator and comedian Bill Maher made headlines by lighting up a joint on his live show Real Time with Bill Maher. Within his commentary leading up to the stunt, Maher brought up the case of Raymond Schwab, a Kansas-based Gulf War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. Schwab planned to move his family to Colorado to grow marijuana. Kansas Child Protective Services heard about his intention and removed his five children from the family home. Maher pointed to Schwab’s case as an example of how having contradictory medical marijuana laws from state to state tears apart families and said that Schwab’s case is not unique. Ultimately,

Joe Dorman

Maher called for Congress to legalize marijuana at the federal level. Dorman said he agrees with Maher’s argument, but he also feels it is important to take action at a state level. “A piecemeal hodgepodge of laws by different states is not truly effective,” Dorman said, citing the lawsuit Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s marijuana laws because they violate federal law. If Oklahoma and Nebraska, which also filed suit against Colorado, are successful, many say it would be a major blow against states’ rights. Theoretically, using the same legal argument, one state could sue another for guns coming across a state border. “You’ve seen what’s happened here in Oklahoma with our attorney general trying to waste millions of dollars to fight the issue because Colorado allows it,” Dorman said. “Until something happens at the federal level, there’s not really going to be a good system in place for people to have access to this for medicinal purposes. However, I do think each individual state should look at it, because that is how you influence change at the federal level.”

Agricultural impact

Medicinal marijuana can positively affect many areas of Oklahoma, Dorman said. He pointed to how many farmers and agricultural organizations — including American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual in Oklahoma City — are now in favor of allowing industrial hemp farming in the U.S. This country has a high demand for hemp products, though hemp production was made illegal with the prohibition of marijuana. Canadian farmers make a lot of money exporting hemp products to the U.S.

“So you have a group that is traditionally very conservative-minded, but sees the benefit of this as an agricultural product,” Dorman said. “This is the first time we’ve had a major organization being in full support, in Oklahoma, of one aspect of this publicly. So I do think the attitude is changing on different levels.” When asked if he saw the medical marijuana issue as something the Democrat party can use to reach out to younger voters, Dorman said he saw it more as an opportunity for young people to get involved with the process and help shape the party’s message. His major concern is voter apathy. “We had the lowest turnout in state history of voters in 2014. In 2012, we had the third-worst turnout in the United States,” Dorman said. “We need to find ways to get voters engaged, and if voters are interested in those issues, then they need to take it one step further and get involved with the process and try to make change in the system.” When asked if he would be willing to debate the issue, Dorman said he feels what we need is not a debate, but a healthy discussion with experts involved. “I would certainly defer to a doctor or someone who understands the treatment of chronic pain or the issues with treating seizures or the different aspects where you would see this treatment used,” he said. “I think that would be a far better panel to discuss this. There are going to be people opposed to this, but I would rather the people who are opposed to it be opposed to it for legitimate reasons and not just from fear and paranoia.” The biggest problem facing Oklahomans for Health is the paranoia professionals have about being


associated with the medical marijuana movement. Politicians, doctors, lawyers and professionals of all types told the organization they support the group, but few have publically done so. Even a few group volunteers work surreptitiously for fear of reprisal from their employers. “Hopefully, we’ll see the medical community get onboard, we’ll see individuals who will realize this is an acceptable way to treat different medical conditions and we’ll see a much more positive response,” he said. “There are far too many people trying to tie this to ‘It’s just people wanting to smoke marijuana’ or that it is one more step toward full legalization — just the multiple stereotypes you hear. “We are going to try and overcome that image and show people that this is a serious issue and this is a serious effort.”




Just as the issue has attracted younger voters to the Libertarian Party, Grove said he believes it hurts the Democratic Party to sit on the fence on this issue. “It is so obviously scientifically correct. … It has the support of the majority of Oklahomans. It is obviously the way of the future. It seems easy to make the right decision and be on the right side of history,” Grove said. “I appreciate Joe. He showed up at one of the Occupy State General Assemblies years ago, when he was a representative. He handed out a bunch of documents about how to lobby and about the legislative process. He’s always been a friend to grassroots politics. I think him being on the fence has hurt him on this issue, but him coming out for medical marijuana will help both him politically and us politically.” Grove is happy to have Dorman working with Oklahomans for Health. “Joe Dorman has a name people recognize because he ran for governor and he got a lot of votes,” he added. “I’m hoping people see his name and associate him as being a pretty reasonable individual because he’s pretty reasonable; he’s pretty centrist about everything.” Oklahomans for Health holds a March 5 Cannabis Coalition meeting in Norman. Location and time was not finalized at press time.

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For more >> Register to vote: Online_Voter_Registration.html >> Oklahomans for Health: >> Joe Dorman:

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Bottom line

Stephen Fuhrman

Government and retail leaders support enhancing laws to collect online sales taxes. Changes could return millions of dollars to state and local municipalities. by Laura Eastes

Not long ago, A Cleaner Place was one of many small businesses looking to cash in on some of Amazon’s 188 million monthly visitors. That changed when the northwest Oklahoma City company’s staff reviewed Amazon and Empty Storefronts, a study by Civic Economics and the American Booksellers Association. Oklahoma ranked No. 7 nationally in “total tax loss” to the state and local governments at $47.78 million. It ranked even higher, No. 5, in “sales tax loss” at $45 million. A Cleaner Place owner Stephen Fuhrman, who also serves on the Warr Acres City Council, said his jaw dropped as he read the 2014 study. “We removed all our listings from Amazon,” Fuhrman said. “The straw that broke the camel’s back was the report. … [And] that’s just Amazon. That’s huge.” Lost Internet sales tax revenue means states and local governments have fewer funds from which to

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provide residents essential services, such as public safety, health and education. Oklahoma City loses as much as $15 million annually in potential sales tax revenue to online sellers, said Jane Abraham, the City of Oklahoma City’s community and government affairs manager. “Municipalities are very dependent on sales tax for general revenue,” Abraham said. “This is a big deal to us and to all municipalities in the state.” Internet sales tax is a hot topic in America, and Oklahoma municipalities routinely list it at the top of their federal legislative agendas, said Carolyn Stager, Oklahoma Municipal League (OML) executive director. OML is a nonprofit corporation that provides services and programs to cities across the state. “We are the only state where cities and towns do not receive ad valorem for general operations,” Stager said.

laur a e ast e s

Super TueSday

news legislature

“It makes our cities and towns overly dependent on local, voter-approved sales tax to fund everything — police, fire, roads, bridges, parks, libraries — all the essential functions that citizens expect their local municipal governments to provide.”

The law

In Oklahoma, Internet retailers with a brick-and-mortar storefront, business office or warehouse in the state must collect sales tax on purchases from Oklahomans. However, under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that dealt with catalogue sales, out-of-state Internet retailers are not required to remit sales tax. Instead, it falls upon consumers to report and pay taxes from online purchases to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. For example, a state resident who orders a pair of jeans from the Macy’s website is charged sales tax because Macy’s maintains stores in Oklahoma. If that same resident orders a book from, no sales tax is added. However, that resident is required by law to report and pay the “use tax” on their tax return. Typically, Oklahomans who clickand-buy online don’t report use tax on their individual income tax return forms, Oklahoma Tax Commission data shows. “It is not something that is difficult to do,” said Paula Ross, commission spokeswoman. “It is still one of those things — like most taxes — that is voluntary, but you have to do it. Think about your community. You are following the law if you pay that.” The tax commission estimates Oklahoma loses $185 million to $225 million in uncollected state and local taxes annually. The agency’s enforcement is limited to public education. There is no way to monitor online transactions.

Federal action

The Internet sales tax issue concerns Gov. Mary Fallin, who broached the topic in her Feb. 1 State of the State speech. Two years earlier, as the National Governors Association chairwoman, Fallin called on U.S. Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, a law to expand states’ ability to levy sales taxes on online purchases. “We all know that cities and states are losing out on sales tax revenue each year as more business is conducted online, and states like Oklahoma can’t collect sales tax because of federal inaction,” Fallin said in her State of the State speech. “We all need to call on Congress to level the field for small businesses and Oklahoma retailers by implementing a fair system for online sales tax.”

Kiley Raper, Oklahoma Retail Merchants Association CEO, agreed that federal action is needed. The association said growth in Internet shopping has led to a drop in sales for local brick-and-mortar shops. Customers visit local shops, browse products and receive help from sales staff, but make purchases online to avoid sales tax, Raper said. Consumers might believe they’re saving money by doing this, but it’s no savings considering the responsibility falls on the consumer to report and pay the use tax. “A federal solution would be the best possible solution for the whole country and retailers,” said Raper, who has followed the federal legislation Marketplace Fairness Act since 2013. “They have guaranteed a vote this year, but with this being an election year, it is not looking great. Retailers can’t wait. They can’t go through another Christmas. Oklahoma retailers need a solution, and they need it now.” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, pledged to bring the Marketplace Fairness Act to a vote “sometime this year.” In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced the Remote Transactions Parity Act, which is similar to the Marketplace Fairness Act. Like Raper, Oklahoma City and OML are monitoring both federal bills closely. In tough economic times, with cities reporting fewer dollars in sales tax collections, the legislation could go a long way to help restore lost revenue. State and local governments have already lost millions in uncollected sales tax revenue from the Internet, which Fuhrman — the Oklahoma City businessman — pointed out to former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s staff in Washington, D.C., four years ago. “When it comes down to it, when the local schools call for someone to advertise on their sports programs or the Little League team needs a sponsor for uniforms, they don’t call Amazon,” Fuhrman said. “They call on us.”

State solution

Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, proposed House Bill 2925, known as the Oklahoma Retail Protection Act. The bill amends current law to allow Oklahoma to collect sales tax on some Internet sales tax.

O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e | f e b r ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 1 1

Ruben Avila

Inclusionary education

Robert Neu

Alternative paths: Oklahoma Gazette’s series on alternative education ends with a closer look at exclusionary discipline and its impact on the school-to-prison pipeline. By Brett Dickerson

Standing in a circle of students outside his middle school, 13-year-old Ruben Avila looked at the bleeding face of a student he just cut and then at the knife in his hand. “I couldn’t believe that it was me who did that,” he said. “[I thought about running away,] but I was just in shock because of what I did.” It was the gory outcome of many hard days at Roosevelt Middle School in the Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) district, where Avila struggled with bullying and gang tensions. “Where does the school-to-prison pipeline start? It starts right there,” said OKCPS Superintendent Rob Neu. He could have turned out like some students who get lost in large schools; he could be sitting in prison. But he is not. Instead, he was given probation. He was expelled from OKCPS but found Justice Alma Wilson SeeWorth Academy, an alternative school where he could more meaningfully connect with staff and peers. His fiercely loving mother continues to be his anchor. The beginning of Avila’s story is common, but the positive end is not.

The pipeline

Across the city and the nation, students of color, especially AfricanAmerican students, are suspended at disproportionately high rates. Since the late 1980s, the U.S. has seen dramatic increases in suspensions of low-income students and students of color. This trend is often called the “school-to-prison pipeline,” as youths

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are increasingly shunted from public schools into the juvenile justice system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Oklahoma’s numbers, especially Oklahoma City’s, have mirrored or led national trends. Neu was blunt about the district’s past involvement in contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline. “To me, it’s disengaged kids, bored kids, stressed-out staff, teaching to a test. Then the kids act out because they don’t get it, or they’re not keeping pace with everyone else,” Neu said. “And that’s where we really screwed up the system. Then, once they started down the suspension road, they’re in the pipeline.” A 2015 report by the UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies, Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?, went in-depth on suspension rates by state and nationally, using U.S. Department of Education data from school districts for the 2011-2012 school year, the most recent available. The numbers were revealing. “Given that the average suspension is conservatively put at 3.5 days, we estimate that U.S. public school children lost nearly 18 million days of instruction in just one school year because of exclusionary discipline,” read the report summary. Among suspensions of high school students nationwide, almost 7 percent were white, around 23 percent were black, almost 12 percent were American Indian and nearly 11 percent were Latino, the report shows. That year, OKCPS ranked worst


news education


Todd Mihalcik teaches student inmates at the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City.


Todd Mihalcik sees the eventual extreme outcomes of student discipline. He’s the OKCPS teacher contracted by the Oklahoma County Jail to conduct high school completion classes from within its walls. He said 100 percent of the youths in his classroom have committed felonies. That’s why they are not in juvenile detention. “I consider this to be the end of the educational river,” he recently told Oklahoma Gazette. “This is the sum total of where we don’t want the kids to end up.” Mihalcik cited parental struggles as the source of disruption for many of

his students. When his students started falling behind in school, especially in reading, their alienation from positive influences grew. “They get placed on the outside of certain peer groups, and they become more attractive to negative peer groups,” he said of the spiral that too often begins in elementary school. In a phone interview, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said he sees a school-to-prison pipeline. He visits Mihalcik’s classroom and the juvenile pod often, where he hears young inmates’ stories. He said a common narrative starts with trouble at school and transforms to alienation, suspension and, eventually, jail time.

The school-to-prison pipeline is real and readily acknowledged by many who are the closest to the process. Action is now being borne out of that acknowledgement.

Student care


(No. 1) nationally for its abnormally high suspension rate of black students, which topped 64 percent (75 percent of which were male). Fifty-one percent of Native American OKCPS high-school students were suspended (60 percent of those were male). The deep disparities in Oklahoma’s prison populations closely resemble the trends of suspension rates. Using 2010 Census data, Prison Policy Initiative, an incarceration reform think-tank, published numbers for Oklahoma’s prison population. While African-Americans comprised 7 percent of Oklahoma’s overall population, they represented 26 percent of the incarcerated population. Hispanics were 9 percent of the state’s population and 15 percent of incarcerations. By comparison, whites comprised 69 percent of Oklahoma’s population and 49 percent of the incarcerated population. In public schools, many, including Neu, challenge the effectiveness of exclusionary discipline. Neu is working to help fill the nonacademic needs of at-risk and low-income students while keeping them engaged in learning. Alternative schools provide more comprehensive student care than ever before in American education.

Rob Neu

Whetsel sees the results of exclusionary discipline that propels youths out into a world that is very different from school. “They find people who will love them on the street,” Whetsel said. “And they get involved in criminal activity, drugs and gangs. The next thing you know, they’re 15, 16 years old and they are here in the county jail facing … something that’s going to change their life forever.” Neu, now in his second school year at OKCPS, said the district is working hard to reverse past practices that led to its notorious UCLA ranking.

Leaders of alternative schools respond to student needs in more innovative ways than in the past and in ways that schools couldn’t imagine even 20 years ago. A full clinic, where some paid and volunteer medical and dental staff provide services for students and their children, is incorporated into the new building for Metro Career Academy. Emerson Alternative Education Center is building a similar clinic on its campus. MAPS for Kids funding helped complete a new wing of the school’s building to house a DHS-approved child care center where students know their children are safe while they complete school. SeeWorth Academy recently installed a washer, dryer and shower for students. The school discovered that meeting basic needs like those are key to students’ success. The methodology of teaching in the alternative programs Oklahoma Gazette explored in its alternative paths series shifted to teachers and staff being sensitive to the basic human needs of students first, before making academic demands.

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Today, Avila is on SeeWorth’s football team and loves how he can be physical, even aggressive, in productive ways. “I broke six chin straps this year,” he said, then smiled. He said he plans to attend Oklahoma City Community College after graduation, using achievement scholarships and his mother’s tribal scholarship fund. He is but one example of how low a student can get and how far a student can rise when he is provided a quality education in a school system that incorporates his human needs.

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Chicken Repeat listen

Remember the popular playground song that involved spelling “kissing?” First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage! Well, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia reports Oklahomans have added another verse about divorce. W. Bradford Wilcox told that Oklahoma ranked 38th in the nation for its share of children being raised by married parents. Sixty-six percent of children live in households headed by married couples. Wilcox said families headed by married parents see “higher levels of economic growth, family median income and less child poverty, compared with states with fewer married-parent families.” That’s easy enough to grasp. So how can Oklahomans influence Oklahomans to marry, stay married or wait until marriage for starting a family? Well, Gov. Frank Keating signed the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative into law in 1999. The measure aimed to reduce the divorce rate and societal costs associated 3-8.pdf



Fried news with it. About $74 million later, some, including Wilcox, believe the program is working. The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports that 20,309 divorce decrees were issued in 2000, compared to 17,227 in 2013. Others, like Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Colgate, debate the program’s effectiveness. The two authored Senate Bill 915 to review the effectiveness of the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. The original proposal called for cutting funding altogether. We get its a tough budget year, but how about a public awareness campaign about marriage? Lawmakers could sing the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song.

Monumental idea

The State Capitol might have finally found something to fill that enormous hole the tourists keep falling into. After fighting tooth and nail

1:02 PM









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to hold on to a Ten Commandments monument, legislators finally acquiesced to its courtordered removal last year. Now, a group called would like to put a privately funded monument to the Bill of Rights on the Capitol grounds. The Bill of Rights is also a list of 10 things, but without all the religious stuff, so it’s less likely to be towed off to somebody’s backyard. While we think it would be hilarious to have that awesome Baphomet statue from the New York Satanist group overlooking our lawmakers, this Bill of Rights monument is a legitimately great idea. If nothing else, it might be a good reminder to legislators to stop passing laws that violate the Constitution. Chris Bliss, executive director of, said monuments make history come alive, “especially for young people.”

Or you could Snapchat it to them. It might be cheaper. But if all of that sounds too logical for you, don’t worry; Rep. John Paul Jordan has authored a number of bills with the aim of reviving the fight for the Ten Commandments monument. Here we go again.

Brand-new bag

Jacob Graham, 22, and Jacob Underwood, 21, were arrested recently after an overnight spree of armed robberies across Oklahoma City. reported the pair was caught “red-handed” at a southwest Oklahoma City pharmacy. “An alert officer spotted a car outside of the CVS, and the way that it was parked over to the side of the store caught his eye,” MSgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department told the news station. “And he noticed someone was in it. And as he was pulling up to check on the vehicle, one of the suspects came running out with a bag of money.” Police believe the men launched their spree Monday night with a strong-armed stop at U.S. Food at 3132 N. Drexel

Blvd., according to NewsOK. com. Hearing of the robberies, police began patrolling shops open during the early-morning hours. It ended around 4:45 a.m. recently at the CVS located at 900 SW 44th St. “Officers knew this was going on. They kept receiving robbery calls. It made it more difficult that these robberies were occurring all over the city,” Knight told

Slithery slope?

six to 10 exotic animal complaints per year. In the same news report, Norman mayoral candidate and snake owner Gary Barksdale said the proposed ban was absurd. “Basically, government, stay out of our lives,” he said. “It’s a matter of personal freedom.” Sound familiar? How many for the snake ban also staunchly support the Second Amendment? Though the mere of thought of owning a pet boa constrictor might have caused Washington to choke on his ivory molars, what might the Founding Fathers have said about the right to bear reptiles? Fortunately for ophidiophobes (look it up), there’s no constitutional provision protecting snake ownership. A final ordinance reading and vote is expected at the city council’s March 8 meeting. Here’s hoping Barksdale and other snake supporters show up in full Charlton Heston-style force. “You can take my Gopher Snake ... from my cold, dead hands!”

The citizens of Norman are fighting tooth and fang to keep hold of their Mojave Bumblebee Pythons. Norman Police Deputy Chief Jim Maisano recently told KOCO 5 News that the city is reviewing its animal ordinances. Its committee of veterinarians and various community members, he said, requested that snakes, pythons and boa constrictors be added to a list of “exotic animals” banned from city limits. Not since Genesis has the serpent been so scorned. On average, Norman deals with

Racist robes

We live in a time when you can be childish, but you have to pay the consequences when that childishness goes too far. In the last few years, it seems University of Oklahoma (OU) fraternities are learning that lesson fairly frequently. Alpha Sigma Phi is the latest OU frat to be publicly chastised for its behavior. The group returned to campus after being disbanded for 20 years, and it doesn’t even have a house yet — KOCO reporter Patty Santos said its members “wanted to bring a positive limelight to Greek Life and to OU” — but that didn’t stop its members from bringing unwanted attention to the group. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words — and actions tell another story. The photo in question features a man wearing a long-sleeved white robe with a pointed hood. The similarity to robes worn by Ku Klux

Klan (KKK) white supremacist group members is uncanny, and it’s difficult to brush it aside. Several student groups tweeted the image and demanded an explanation from the university. Fraternity president and CEO Gordy Heminger said the students were participating in an initiation ceremony and wore robes of different colors. They didn’t think about how the photo, sent via Snapchat, would be perceived. He said the white robe would no longer be used, and university personnel agreed that use of the robe wasn’t tied to racial issues. “While the photo creates a confusing appearance. It appears that no racial symbolism was intended,” Jabar Shumate, OU University Community vice president, said in a media statement. OU’s Alpha Sigma Phi founding president Matt Mullins also publicly apologized to those who were upset about the photo. Sure, there’s a chance the photo might have been misinterpreted, but are we really supposed to believe this is the first time anyone noticed the robe’s similarity to KKK robes?






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A brighter future for all Oklahomans By Troy Stevenson

For the second year in a row, Oklahoma made national headlines after a handful of state legislators proposed an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ bills. In a year marked by a looming budget shortfall of over a billion dollars, this is not only cruel, it is bad for business and bad for the overall stability of our state’s economic future. Indiana and Arizona have felt the economic backlash of passing discriminatory legislation in recent years, and we were hopeful that lawmakers in Oklahoma would have taken heed of the bullet they dodged last year by squashing 18 harmful pieces of legislation, but instead, they doubled down. On the first day of the 2016 legislative session, there were 27 bills targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oklahomans — more than have ever been proposed in any state in the union within a single legislative session. Most concerning among them

were bills aimed at harming LGBTQ and homeless youth, truly the most vulnerable members of our society. According to The Associated Press, the direct economic detriment to Indianapolis — just in lost convention revenue — last year was over $60 million after the Indiana Legislature passed a bill that would have allowed discrimination based on personal bias. Is this the path Oklahoma wants to go down? Over the last decade, there has been a paradigm shift in public opinion on equal rights across the nation, including Oklahoma. At the forefront of this change has been corporate America. Virtually every Fortune 500 company has adopted protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. This did not happen because these companies had a sudden need to be fairer; it was a direct result of

corporate directors realizing that failing to implement these policies hurt their ability to retain top talent and, in turn, hurt their profit margin. Why do our lawmakers not realize that the same is true for the state of Oklahoma? In the midst of the furor over this slate of hate proposed this session, one bill has been forgotten. House Bill 1345 actually offers workplace protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. These types of protections create a business-friendly environment that would attract new corporations and investment into Oklahoma. In light of our current fiscal struggles, this is legislation that lawmakers should be looking to move forward rather than engaging in destructive measures that create a negative view of our great state. Freedom Oklahoma is confident that these negative bills will be defeated, and

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

we are hopeful that our leaders begin to see that fairness, diversity and equality are qualities and attributes that will move Oklahoma forward rather than pushing us into a deeper financial crisis. We are a small and greatly underfunded organization, yet our members number in the tens of thousands and have proven time and time again in the last two legislative sessions that they are ready, willing and able to show up at a moment’s notice and look lawmakers in the eye as they vote on our rights. Each time one of these ill-conceived pieces of legislation is brought forward, our movement grows stronger and more organized. We will not stand by while our rights are stripped away. This is our home too. And our greatest hope is that the politics of distraction will end and we can work together toward a brighter future for all Oklahomans. Troy Stevenson is executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, Oklahoma’s statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization.

LETTERS Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@ or sent online at okgazette. com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification. Worth saving(s)?

At long last, Oklahoma is on the verge of empowering Islamic schools in Oklahoma to bloom and thrive statewide. Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, have bravely stepped forward with bills in the current legislative session to allow Muslim families to receive tax dollars to spread the message of Allah here and, indirectly, across the world. The bills would allow Muslim, Christian, Pentecostal, separatist Christian Identity and other parents to remove their children from public schools and directly receive tax money to send their children to religious-indoctrination private schools or secular private schools. That the representative and senator proposed massive nondiscriminatory

taxpayer funding of private religions statewide is laudable. Note from the author: This is satire, but factually accurate to bring up the issue. The issue is whether tax money should fund religious instruction. — Bobby Merlot Norman Debunking conspiracies

Ethan Thomas’ “Missing treasure” (Opinion, Letters to the Editor, Jan. 20, Oklahoma Gazette) asks how “income of $12 billion less appropriations of $7 billion equal a shortfall of $600 million.” (It’s now more than $900 million.) The obvious answer is that, as Ken Miller’s charts seem to have explained, “gross receipts of nearly $12 billion” less “sales taxes being returned to the cities” (which would be about $5.6 billion) results in net receipts of $6.4 billion, being $600 million short of $7 billion in spending. Yeah, too obvious. That’s for those who don’t see government conspiracies everywhere they look. The more likely answer is that constant tax cuts for the rich have resulted in a $5 billion surplus (as predicted by The Laffer Curve), which Ken Miller is hiding in empty Wal-

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Marts, and the $600 million “shortfall” is being used to construct the tunnels to the FEMA camps, where the tyrant Obama will take away your guns. Wake up, sheeple! — Jeff Collins Norman Catfishing bill

Recently, our Oklahoma House of Representatives filed a bill called the Catfishing Liability Act of 2016 (House Bill 3024). This bill would give legal recourse to victims of catfishing, a social media term used for people assuming false identities by using another person’s photos and/or information.

I’m sure a bill of this nature is fine and the infinitesimal segment of the population that it serves is certainly deserving. However, with the state budget at negative $900,000,000, schools are cutting back on everything and teachers are practically on their hands and knees, begging for pay raises. Our roads are crumbling. And because of our state’s reliance on one industry, we are now the earthquake capitol of the world. I could go on, but my point is this: Is there anything else that the people we elect could be doing more productively than a catfishing bill? Is this as good as gets? — Richard Wallen Oklahoma City

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okg picks are events

recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members. For full calendar listings, go to

BOOKS Storytime, children’s story time and activity in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, 11 a.m., Feb. 27. Barnes & Noble, 6100 N. May Ave., 843-9300, SAT Mary Coley Book Signing, author of Beehives: A Suspense Novel signs her book, 3-5 p.m., Feb. 27. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 842-2900, SAT

FILM A War, (DK, 2015, dir. Tobias Lindholm) a film of the Afghan battlefield and of the lives of those who suffer on the Danish home front, 5:30 p.m., Feb. 25; 8 p.m., Feb. 26; 2 & 8 p.m., Feb. 27. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 236-3100, THU-SAT Spaceballs, (US, 1987, dir. Mel Brooks) the evil leaders of Planet Spaceball devise a secret plan to take every breath of air away from their peace-loving neighbour, Planet Druidia, 7 p.m., Mar. 1. Harkins Theatre, 150 E. Reno Ave., 231-4747, TUE

HAPPENINGS Trees for Oklahoma, learn about tree varieties best suited for Oklahoma and learn planting and care instructions, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Feb. 27. TLC Garden Center, 105 W. Memorial Road, 751-0630, SAT Ladies’ Only Chess Club, chess club giving girls and women a venue where they can build and maintain social relationships with other chess playing girls and women; all skill levels are invited to participate, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Feb. 27. District House, 1755 NW 16th St., 633-1775, districthouse. com. SAT Cold Frame Class, cold frames can extend the growing season since they act as mini-greenhouses for plants like spinach, arugula and kale; join Bruce and Barbara of The Homestead School as they walk you through building your own cold frame to take home, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Feb. 27. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 445-7080, SAT Watercolor Calligraphy & Succulents, learn the basic techniques and technical skills of watercolor calligraphy afterwards, learn about succulents and make your own in a personalized wooden planter box using the calligraphy skills you learned, 2-4:30 p.m., Feb. 28. The Plant Shoppe, 705 W. Sheridan Ave., 748-0718, SUN

Power House 1st Anniversary Party Power House, 1228 SW Second St., celebrates its first birthday in rollicking style 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday with food, drinks and local music in the heart of the Farmers Market district. The entertainment lineup features over a dozen music acts, including Penny Hill, Bowlsey (pictured), Rachel Brashear, Elms and Sex Snobs. Admission to the all-ages event is free. Visit or


FOOD Uses and Benefits of Spices, dinner and presentation about the current and historic use of spices and herbs, 6:30 p.m., Feb. 25. Nigh University Center, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond, 974-2000, THU 6th Annual Midtown Rotary Spelling Bee(r), spelling bee and beer tasting fundraiser; several local breweries will provide a variety of beer tastings along with German food from Will Rogers Theater, 6 p.m., Feb. 26. Will Rogers Theatre, 4322 N. Western Ave., 604-3015, willrogerstheatre. com. FRI

Cheese & Wine School: Etna Rosso, in-depth varietal and pairing exploration based on The New York Times’ Wine School with Eric Asimov; think of this as a chance to take an in-depth look at one style of wine by comparing different producers and of course, pairing with cheese, 6:45-8:15 p.m., Feb. 26. Forward Foods, 2001 West Main St., Norman, 321-1007, FRI Sushi Night, spend an evening learning how to roll sushi, 6 p.m., Feb. 27. Feeling Saucy, 609 W. Sheridan Ave., 6304418, SAT Classic Cocktails: The Sidecar, refreshing and delightful mix of brandy, triple-sec, and lemon juice; one-hour class including the background and history of the drink,


March 4, ongoing

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Local artist, musician and Oklahoma Gazette contributing reporter and editorial cartoonist Jack Fowler’s Pastime opens 6-10 p.m. March 4 at Bombs Away Art, 3003A Paseo St., during the Paseo Arts District’s First Friday Art Walk. Pastime includes lighthearted, absentminded sketch portraits and cartoons made for fun in Fowler’s free time. He volunteers as assistant coach for Harding Charter Preparatory High School Eagles baseball team. Works in Pastime will be mostly small and affordable, and proceeds help the Eagles refurbish the Harding baseball field and purchase equipment and uniforms. Pastime runs through March. Bombs Away Art is open noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Admission is free.

p r ovi de d

C.C. Hunter Reading and Book Signing Full Circle Bookstore hosts paranormal young adult novelist C.C. Hunter to celebrate the release of her latest project, Almost Midnight: Shadow Falls: The Novella Collection, with a reading and signing 6:30 p.m. Thursday at 50 Penn Place, 1900 Northwest Expressway. Admission is free. Visit

Thursday instructions on how to construct the cocktail which results in a finished product to enjoy, 4 p.m., Feb. 28. Ludivine, 805 N. Hudson Ave., 778-6800, SUN A True FIESTA Part Uno, join Emilio Salinas, owner of Pepe Delgado’s for a fun evening as he creates a true fiesta, 6:30 p.m., Feb. 29. The International Pantry, 1618 W. Lindsey St., Norman, 360-0765, intlpantry. com. MON The ABCs of What You Eat: Romaine, learn the facts about romaine hearts, including nutritional benefits, how to select, store and ideas to serve them in this class; prepare and enjoy a healthy and delicious Romaine & Orange Salad, 9:30 a.m., Mar. 1. Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W. Covell Road, Edmond, 509-2700, TUE

YOUTH Bringing Gardens to Life, make a naturebased, take-home craft that relates to the book, such as an insect “hotel” or a seed pot with pizzazz, 11 a.m.-noon, Feb. 24. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 445-7080, WED Daddy-Daughter Dance, a gala for daddies and their daughters ages 3 to 14 offers a unique bonding experience, 4-5:30 p.m.; 6-7:30 p.m.; 8-9:30 p.m., Feb. 27. Reed Conference Center, Sheraton Hotel, 5750 Will Rogers Road, 455-1800. SAT Fairytale Flora, read the fairytale of the week and adventure through the conservatory, searching for treasure; Receive a prize if you complete each adventure and bring your worksheets, 11 a.m.-noon, Feb. 27. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 445-7080, events. SAT Paint Like A Fauvist, create a one-of-a-kind Fauvist painting inspired by Andre Derain’s painting, Composition classique; ages 6-8, 10 a.m.-noon, Feb. 27. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 236-3100, SAT continued on next page

O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e | f e b r ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 1 9



Through a Lens Darkly


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Thursday gare tt fisbeck / file

Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. and the Business Improvement District will host the 2016 Downtown Home Tour to provide a glimpse of what it's like to live in the heart of Oklahoma City. The tour will showcase new, popular, and high-end properties in the downtown area. Tours will be self-guided and begin at 10am. Shuttles will be running the entire route, making stops at each property. The tour is free and open to the public.

The power photography has to shape and define the way we see other races, as well as our own, is explored in first-of-its-kind documentary Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People. The Thomas Allen Harris film was inspired by Deborah Willis’ 2000 book Reflections in Black. A one-night-only screening is 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cinemark Tinsletown and XD, 6001 N. Martin Luther King Ave. Tickets are $12 at A portion of each sale helps Black Lit OKC. Learn more about Black Lit OKC at

Youth Art Class: 3-D Collage, students ages 8-12 learn how to make something beautiful and structurally sound using a variety of mediums; students create a unique wintry piece that can be hung anywhere, 10 a.m., Feb. 27. Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing Blvd., 951-000, SAT Art Adventures, children can experience the world of art through stories and projects in this event series; this week’s story is Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, 10:30 A.M., Mar. 1. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 325-3272, TUE

PERFORMING ARTS Todd Rexx, a natural comedian who quickly wins over any audience with his cunning wit, over the top impersonations and brilliant crowd interaction, 8 p.m., Feb. 24-25; 8 & 10:30 p.m., Feb. 26-27. Loony Bin Comedy Club, 8503 N. Rockwell Ave., 239-4242, WED-SAT The Drowsy Chaperone, Classen School of Advanced Studies presents the classic musical based off the book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, 7 p.m., Feb. 25-27. Classen School of Advanced Studies, 1901 N. Ellison Ave., 587-5400. THU-SAT The Last Five Years, an emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their 20s who fall in and out of love over the course of five years, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 25; 8 p.m., Feb. 26; 2 & 8 p.m., Feb. 27; 3 p.m., Feb. 28. Poteet Theatre, 222 NW 15th St., 609-1023, THU-SUN God of Carnage, Tony Award-winning, side-splitting comedy written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton; a comedy of manners, where the masks come off and the darkside of parenting is revealed, 8 p.m., Feb. 25-27 The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., Guthrie, 282-2800, THU-SAT A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare’s most popular comedy is a magical mix of romance, fantasy and slapstick physical comedy, 8 p.m., Feb. 25 & 26; 2 & 8 p.m., Feb. 27. Civic Center Music Hall, CitySpace, 201 N. Walker Ave., 297-2584, THU-SAT

Open Mic Comedy Night Do you think you’re funny? Do you like to laugh with — but hopefully not at — other people who think they are funny? Then you should be in Norman on a Tuesday night for its weekly open mic session. Featured local comedians include James Ngheim (pictured), BradChad Porter and others. It’s 10 p.m. each Tuesday at Othello’s, 434 Buchanan Ave., in Norman. Entry is free. Visit

Tuesday, ongoing

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, in a small-town dime store in Texas, the “Disciples of James Dean” gather for their 20th reunion and reminiscence, 7:30 p.m., 26-27; 2 p.m., Feb. 28. The Stage Door Theater, 601 Oak Ave., Yukon, 405-265-1590, FRI-SUN 37 Postcards, a zany family comedy by Michael McKeever centers on the well-to-do but daffy, Sutton family; after years of traveling abroad, Avery Sutton returns home with his fiancee but his home has turned into a madhouse, 8 p.m., Feb. 26-27. Carpenter Square Theatre, 806 W. Main St., 232-6500, FRI-SAT An Evening with Kelli O’Hara, Broadway superstar and Oklahoma City University alumna Kelli O’Hara performs and raises funds to benefit Meyers Theatre for Young Audiences, 5:30 p.m., Feb. 29. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 478-2250, MON

VISUAL ARTS Affinity Works: Home Lands, paintings by Michael Nicholson, who uses a technique combining on-site plein air painting with tradional studio painting. Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Brilliant: The Light Show, featuring multiple talented artists and different mediums of art; hinges on the realization that all of our visual arts are indebted to light, be it in a natural or manmade source, direct or indirect. JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave., 528-6336, Forever More, photography by Alan Ball; a blend of photojournalism, candid and traditional portraiture with a bit of fantasy and artistic creation. Contemporary Art Gallery, 2928 Paseo St., 601-7474,

New Blooms, debuting works by Brook Rowlands; display of aggressive expressive strokes, in often lush juxtaposition of vivid color, which creates the initial perspective plane of her compositions and transforms into floral forms. Kasum Contemporary Fine Arts, 1706 NW 16th St., 604-6602, Petroglyphs for Modern Cave Dwellers, during his studies abroad in Kyoto, Japan, Jack Eure painted watercolor landscapes in zen gardens and studied Japanese aesthetic philosophy; the abstract, nonrepresentational canvases in this exhibition reflect wabi sabi simplicity, asymmetry and roughness. IAO Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan Ave., 232-6060, Pry the Lid Off, Summer Wheat explores history and reveals “the world behind the white kitchen wall” of Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid; depicts the four rooms of the maid’s personal chambers and includes 2- and 3-D media. Oklahoma Contemporary, 3000 General Pershing Blvd., 951-0000, Public Narrative: Story of Self, Us & Now, three-part exhibit focuses on the idea of public narrative and its movement from our internal psyche to the collective group and the present and future of our communities. Mainsite Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St., Norman, 3601162, The Banjo World of Steve Martin, a look at the musical side of one of America’s favorite entertainers and features his private collection. American Banjo Museum, 9 E. Sheridan Ave., 604-2793, Willard Stone Centennial: A Legacy of Art Through Family, multimedia artwork by the late Willard Stone and his family. Oklahoma Country and Western Museum & Hall of Fame, 3929 SE 29th St., 677-3174, Women in War Zones, an exhibition about the millions of women worldwide who face physical and emotional trauma; Women in War Zones documents their resilience. The Project Box, 3003 Paseo St., 609-3969,


fresh stART, a program of the Homeless Alliance and City Care displays new work through February. Paseo Gallery One, 2927 Paseo St., 524-4544, paseogalleryone.

Justice Smithers, photography inspired by the fragility of human existence focuses on portraits and represents the delicacy of physical bodies. DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., 525-3499,

Kyle Kinane Known as the voice of Comedy Central, Kyle Kinane finds himself in Oklahoma City 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, for his Shooting for Third tour stop at ACM@ UCO Performance Lab, 323 E. Sheridan Ave. He has appeared on shows such as Adventure Time and Workaholics and has been a guest on Comedy Bang! Bang! and Drunk History. Last year, he released his second Comedy Central special, I Liked His Old Stuff Better. OKC Comedy Presents Kyle Kinane also features Dave Ross, Spencer Hicks, Cameron Buchholtz and Andrew Deacon. Doors for the all-ages show open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17 at or $22 at the door. For okg

Wednesday, Feb. 24

music picks see page 43

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Creole trois at Jax Soul Kitchen Soul Pie

Soul asylum Norman’s Jax Soul Kitchen is a haven for those seeking Creole flavors.

575 S. University Blvd., Norman | 801-2828 What works: Soul Pie is proof of a loving creator. What needs work: The spicy fisherman’s stew and gumbo need refining. Tip: Check out the sofas in back if you’re just there to drink and hang out.

By Greg Elwell

Never trust someone who says he doesn’t like grits. “A bowl of creamy, buttery, delicious grits? No thanks, friend. But let me tell you about this neat cult I just founded.” Next thing you know, you’re shaving your eyebrows, signing over all your earthly possessions and living on a commune with people who talk about having “kind eyes.” That’s as good a reason as any for you to take all potential friends to Jax Soul Kitchen, 525 S. University Blvd., in Norman to test their resolve against the Soul Pie ($10). If they eat a bite of this Creole take on shepherd’s pie, with pulled pork and jambalaya baked under a layer of cheesy grits, without smiling, you’ll know they’re up to no good. It is nearly impossible to not have a physical, shiver-down-your-spine reaction to this dish. The pork is tender and fatty, and the jambalaya, which is fine on its own, adds a juiciness and spice to the proceedings. But the grits — good lord, those grits — they tie it all together, giving each bite a smooth, mildly sweet base for all those savory flavors to play off. How I got out of Jax without trying the shrimp and grits, I am not sure. That low-country staple has been flourishing across the metro, and it’s one of my favorites. Certainly, I will remedy

Jax Soul Kitchen

this oversight in the near future. As a sampler goes, the Creole trois ($12) was two-thirds good and one-third gumbo. Maybe it was just an off day for the gumbo ($11 for a bowl), but the thin seafood stew had an unpleasant bitterness, possibly from a burned roux. That’s a dish I saw mentioned positively online in connection to Jax, so I’m hoping my experience was an outlier. The shrimp étouffée ($11 for a bowl) and jambalaya ($10 for a bowl) were much better.

Jax has a pedigree for great bar service. The étouffée was creamier and had a buttery thickness with perfectly cooked shrimp. Usually seen made with crawfish, this version of étouffée walks a fine line by keeping the sturdier shrimp from getting chewy. There’s plenty of hot sauce on the table if you want to crank up the heat, but I’d like to see the kitchen amp up the spice a little. Hot sauce packs a punch, but slow-cooked spice can build slowly and leave your mouth tingling pleasantly throughout the meal.

The jambalaya, heavy with chicken, andouille and pork, was filling and fatty in the best of ways. That’s the magic of andouille sausage — it’s packed full of spicy fat that renders deliciously into broth, making it more substantial. Jax uses a fairly mild sausage for this, so anyone allergic to too much heat shouldn’t be scared off. The spicy fisherman’s stew ($10) is a play on a cioppino. The thin, red broth had good tomato flavor, but the spiciness was a little one-note. The taste of the catfish seemed to dominate the scallops and shrimp, which was a little disappointing. I could see ordering this on a very chilly day, but it didn’t stand out nearly as much as the étouffée in depth of flavor. It’s a wonder there was any room for these dishes after the waiter dropped off a massive plate of loaded fries ($10) at the table. Potatoes are cheap, but maybe prices have fallen as low as oil, because this was a truly impressive amount of tubers. Hidden among the crispy planks of potato are chunks of andouille, chicken and pork under a slathering of melted cheese. This isn’t an appetizer for two; it’s a meal. It might be the biggest value on the menu for college kids looking to fill their bellies with delicious Creole flavors before spending the rest of their meager

allowances on Jax’s impressive list of beers and cocktails. As one of the Good Life Dining Group restaurants, along with Blackbird Gastropub and Blu Fine Wine & Food, Jax has a pedigree for great bar service. That might explain the bevy of heavy sides for $4. Beans & rice, sweet potato smash and dirty rice all look like great options for a quick and easy meal for those not burdened by full wallets. But anyone who is looking for something more substantial might check out the po’boy menu. The classic fried catfish po’boy ($9) came with a mountain of coleslaw and a choice of side. The catfish itself was fried well and retained good moisture, but the flavor wasn’t pronounced. You should slather on some of the accompanying remoulade sauce, which did pack a decent amount of spice. Jax Soul Kitchen is still pretty young, but staying open more than a year in a city like Norman, in which restaurant turnover can happen in the blink of an eye, is impressive. Better still, it seems like Good Life Dining Group has established a winning formula for opening new concepts. If the quality of the food tends more toward the Soul Pie, it’s a fair bet Jax could become a Norman staple in no time.

O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e | F E B R ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 2 3


life food & drink

life food & drink

Tues-Thurs 5PM-10PM | Fri & Sat 5PM-11PM Sun 5PM-9PM 1 block from Civic Center & OKC Museum of Art

Gift Cards now Available 305 N. Walker


Mash bash

Gail White at The Brew Shop

Homebrewers taste the competition at the fifth Mashed in OKC.

By Greg Elwell

Mashed in OKC 2-5 p.m. Sunday TapWerks Ale House 121 E. Sheridan Ave. 319-9599 Free (ticket required) 21+

lunch & dinner

6014 n. May 947.7788 | zorbasokc.coM 2 4 | F E B R ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e

On Sunday, if you can get a ticket, you can drink the future. Area home brewers will be sharing their beers with each other and the public for free at the fifth annual Mashed in OKC Sunday at TapWerks Ale House, 121 E. Sheridan Ave. The second and third floors of the bar and restaurant will see members of brew clubs Red Earth Brewers, High Plains Drafters and The Yeastie Boys and plenty of independent hobbyists opening bottles and tapping kegs of their concoctions. And if the prospect of beer brewed in somebody’s home doesn’t sound enticing, TapWerks general manager Greg Powell said to remember that a few notable Oklahoma breweries began the same way. That’s one reason COOP Ale Works helped set up the first Mashed in OKC event — to encourage more brewers in the market. “Tony (Tielli) and the guys from Roughtail [Brewing Company] were here the first year as home brewers,” he said. “Another gentleman who is starting the Twisted Spike Brewery, Bruce Sanchez, has poured at Mashed.” The name comes from the process of adding water to grain, the beginning of the beer-making process, said The Brew Shop owner

and Mashed organizer Gail White. And much like the process, the event has been blooming more with each passing year. This year’s Mashed should have 40 brewers and about 100 beers to taste, she said, which is another sign of craft beer’s growth in Oklahoma. “A brewing club that started five years ago with 10 members now has 80,” she said. “It’s definitely taking off in the [Oklahoma City] area.” Mashed is a chance for the community to get together and share recipes and ideas — and drink, of course. White said that’s one thing that’s special about the local breweries and home brewers — they share. “To talk to somebody in their position, to get information and advice from a pro, it builds a good rapport,” White said. “And it really comes back around, because the home brewers are the ones who really love craft beer. We all feel strongly about supporting our local craft breweries.” There’s also an optional competition to be judged by Red Earth Brewers, with home brewers entering for hops, malt and best of show. Because of Oklahoma’s laws, no beer can be sold by the home brewers and the tickets to the event are free, but limited. Only 300 tickets are available at Learn to Brew, 2307 W. Interstate 35 Frontage Road; The Brew Shop, 2916 N. Pennsylvania Ave.; and TapWerks. Mashed in OKC is a 21-and-up event. But White said that might not be true next year. Organizers hope to grow Mashed into a bigger venue and split sessions as demand grows.

Ga rett f i sbeck


provi ded

MVP eats

Ryan Lopez

Kevin Durant’s personal chef, Ryan Lopez, teaches how to cook like an all-star. BY GEORGE LANG

Ryan Lopez: From Kevin’s Kitchen to Yours 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24 and Thursday The International Pantry 1618 W. Lindsey St., Norman 360-0765 $45 Note: Attendees receive a full meal by the end of class.

Like all the busboys at the Detroitarea country club, Ryan Lopez used to sneak soup — rich and flavorful and made fresh each morning for patrons — from the tureens. After a few too many surreptitious servings, the chef pulled him aside. “He decided he was going to teach me how to make soup. I don’t know what he was thinking — if he was going to teach me a lesson about how much work went into it or something,” Lopez said. “It was butternut squash soup, and that was my first introduction to cooking. The more I cooked in high school and college, the more I had a passion for it.” Five years later, Oklahoma City Thunder pro baller Kevin Durant hired him as his personal chef. Lopez was 21. Lopez teaches an observation class 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24 and Thursday at The International Pantry, 1618 W. Lindsey St., in Norman. When he auditioned for Durant during a September 2011 meeting in Akron, Ohio, he prepared soul food and barbecue favorites for No. 35. “It was a pretty short process, going to meet Kevin and talking with him and cooking with him,” Lopez said. “We clicked. He liked my food, and I liked his personality. A couple of weeks later, I moved to Oklahoma.” He said a personal chef spends considerable time learning what the client can and cannot abide. In the ideal scenario, they meet in the middle. Lopez developed a close understanding of Durant’s culinary tastes and can predict which new

flavors will appeal to the Thunder star. “That’s how you get along as a private chef — you do what your client wants,” he said. “Then again, your client wants you to be yourself and expose them to what you have to offer: your flavors, your artistry, your personality. … Kevin has a great palate, and he’s very diverse in his food tastes.” Lopez said that he has quarterly meetings with National Basketball Association staff nutritionists, who brief players’ personal chefs on the latest nutritional guidelines. He also has to remain cognizant of Durant’s specific needs during the season and adjusts his plates to reflect what Durant will need on the court. “If it’s a game day, we cook a little more carbs, more energetic food that will stay with you longer,” he said. “Certain carbs like pasta or sweet potatoes don’t immediately turn into fat — they convert quickly into energy.” During the cooking classes, Lopez teaches observers how to take care of their bodies the Durant way — at least in the kitchen. They will learn how to make a three-course meal: a cauliflower soup with shaved hazelnuts, lime zest and apple cider reduction; roasted salmon with butternut squash puree, toasted pumpkin seeds, pancetta and fried sage; and an olive oil cake with lemon mousse, blueberry coulis and fresh basil. “I wanted to do this class to teach people different techniques and skills so they can have this when they want to cook for their husbands, their wives or their kids,” he said. “They’re going to come in and experience how to make soup, how to cook fish and the proper techniques — the skills and timing.” Everything on the menu is MVPapproved. “Obviously, I cook a lot of fish for Kevin, and the cauliflower soup,” Lopez said. “Everything we’ll be cooking will be something I’ve made for Kevin.”

O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e | F E B R ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 2 5

The bleus Down in the dumps? Considering an asymmetrical haircut? Thank goodness you came to us first — partly because not every head shape can make that look work, but also because the best way to get rid of the blues is with plenty of bleus — cheese, that is. Moldy gold. French cave fruit. Oklahoma City is lousy with the stuff. — by Greg Elwell, photos by Mark Hancock and Garett Fisbeck

Deep Deuce Grill

West in Bricktown

The Mule

323 NE Second St. | 235-9100

1 S. Mickey Mantle Drive | 601-5306

1630 N. Blackwelder Ave. | 601-1400

Rumors that the chefs at Deep Deuce Grill have actual fistfights with the blackened bleu cheese burger are just that. Maybe they tenderize the steaks or tune up the chicken breasts, but those cheeseburgers are just coated in spices, fried to perfection and topped with a bleu cheese cream sauce for a sandwich that is moist and nearly dripping with powerful flavors. Fights could break out if someone tries to take a bite of yours, though.

After decades of construction in Bricktown, it’s nice to finally see some deconstruction. So when you order the deconstructed Cobb salad at West, you don’t have to worry about taking a wrecking ball to a pile of roasted chicken, bacon, avocado, tomatoes and bleu cheese — unless you count your mouth as a wrecking ball, in which case, put on your hard hat and level that salad.

The Mule is perhaps the most sensitive sandwich shop in the metro. The caring, emotionally available wait staff has been known to frequently ask customers if they are “feeling bleu.” It’s OK to cry. They’re used to it. But after drying those eyes with a few paper towels, don’t forget to add some tangy bleu cheese to the Big Ass Grilled Cheese, which, as the name implies, is quite large.

Now RolliN’

Call us today to book your next event!

Trevino’s | 387.3221 or 397.1866

Get Swirled with us ON THE PATIO!

OPEN DAILY 11AM - 2 AM CORNER OF CLASSEN & BOYD, NORMAN 329.3330 | THEMONT.COM 2 6 | F E B R ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e

Rococo 2824 N. Pennsylvania Ave. | 528-2824

Cookies are not cookies at Rococo. No doubt owner Bruce Rinehart could whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies that would heal a troubled soul, but at his East Coast-style eatery, the cookies are slices of baguette with a myriad of tasty toppings. The bleu cheese cookies are toasted with a mix of three cheeses to mellow out that big bleu bite and mixed with toasted garlic. They’re a good appetizer before the main course arrives.

Deep Fork Wood Grill & Seafood

McNellie’s The Abner Ale House

Jo’s Famous Pizza

5418 N. Western Ave. | 848-7678

121 E. Main St. | 928-5801

James Taylor said it best when he sang, “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen bleu cheese crumbles that I hoped would never end. I ate candied pecan when I could not find a friend. But I always thought we should go to Deep Fork Grill one more time again.” Of course, the music industry changed the lyrics to “Fire and Rain,” which makes no sense and isn’t even about a delicious salad.

There’s got to be a better name for the “smothered tots” at The Abner Ale House, right? It’s not technically incorrect, but it brings up some very uncomfortable imagery. Still, if you’re going to smother tots, at least make sure they’re tater tots and they’re being deluged by a mixture of Buffalo sauce, bleu cheese and bacon. In the land of potatoes, that’s basically going to a deepfried, delicious Valhalla.

900 S. Kelly Ave., Edmond | 340-7070

How did we ever get by before the Oklahoma City Thunder? How many sandwiches went unnamed? How many drinks were just blue for the fun of it? Thank goodness for our basketball overlords, because now we get The Thunder pie from Jo’s Famous Pizza. It’s a large disk of dough covered in red sauce, mozzarella, spicy Buffalo chicken and a heaping helping of bleu cheese crumbles.

O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e | F E B R ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 2 7

Stage Door theatre preSentS:

& Dime 5 e h t o t ck Come Ba Dean y m im J , n a by ed graczyk Jimmy De Fri. February 19 & 26 - Sat. February 20 & 27 7:30 PM | DoorS at 7 PM Sun. February 21 & 28 - 2:30 PM | DoorS at 2 PM 601 oak, yukon, ok 73099 | 405.265.1590

For ticketS viSit www.StageDooryukon.coM


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life culture

Monster mash-up Art Sunday’s creation celebrates its fifth birthday with furry beasts and super creeps.

Underground Monster Carnival 1-9 p.m. March 5 Hobbies, Arts and Crafts Building State Fair Park 3001 General Pershing Blvd. Free-$11

In Art Sunday’s experience, a monster festival can become too bloody monstrous. With the fifth annual Underground Monster Carnival, Sunday said his philosophy is to ensure that fans of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, comics, anime and multiple subgenres have a place at the table, but never let it get so huge that it becomes impersonal. “We try to keep this as local as we can,” said Sunday, who owns urban horror curio store Dig It! in the Plaza District with his wife, Stephanie. “With the Internet, you can get anything you want, but you can’t get as much handmade, local stuff.” This includes firsthand, local knowledge about art, film and pop culture. “So if someone wants to become a writer, an author from Enid can tell them how to do it, or if a young girl wants to learn how to make chain mail, she doesn’t have to leave Oklahoma to meet someone who can teach her,” he said. The Sundays designed their cosplayenriched fun-fest, which runs 1-9 p.m. March 5 in the Hobbies Arts and Crafts Building at State Fair Park, 3001 General Pershing Blvd., as the kind of family-friendly event in which Dad cosplays as Deadpool and he pilots an SUV with Sailor Moon, Amy Pond from Doctor Who and Ash from The Evil Dead.

Turnpike transfer

Underground Monster Carnival started in Tulsa as Underground Horror Fest, and Sunday noticed that a huge number of attendees and exhibitors came in from the Oklahoma City area, prompting the couple to relocate, rethink and retool the event. In its earliest incarnation, Sunday focused on handcrafted horror items and promoted the carnival as a chance for like-minded horror fans to celebrate their obsessions, but then all kinds of

special interests emerged to join the horde. These included live action roleplayers, furries, steampunks and a large population of science fiction enthusiasts. To engage with all parties, Sunday changed “horror” to “monster” in the event name, covering greater expanses of the nerd universe and keeping things more fun and less phantasmagoric. “It’s funny, because in Tulsa, the word ‘horror’ would get me no interviews,” he said. “People would say, ‘Horror? Is this going to be all bloody with zombies?’ Of course, this was before The Walking Dead made zombies popular.” The result is an inclusive event at which interesting cultural obsessions receive respect and experts guide neophytes into immersive role-playing and deeper knowledge. Experts include Dave Richmond, a makeup effects artist who studied under Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow legend Tom Savini; ceramic corset designer Nicole Moan; the staff of New World Comics; and John Ferguson, the legendary WKY announcer best known as horror show host Count Gregore. In addition, Underground Monster Carnival features panel discussions by local experts in the culture. Film critics Patrick Crain, Eric King and Louis Fowler host Horror Films: A Critical Eye, a deep dive into the genre. While there is a popular misconception that critics do not respect horror, panel co-hosts examine how filmmaking mastery can result in deep critical appreciation, from Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to Robert Eggers’ The Witch. For those in need of expert assistance in their cosplay, Ashley Shadowheart and The Shinigami Chick return to host their popular Costuming 101 panel, in which they demystify the art of designing the perfect Daredevil gear or fashioning elven ears. The panel includes discussions on proper measuring and how to turn an intimidating Singer sewing machine into a magical cosplay implement.

Participate, observe

No matter what their preferred genre might be, a controlling majority of Underground Monster Carnival attendees come dressed as their favorite characters.


By George Lang

Art Sunday at his Plaza District shop, Dig It!

You might see someone wearing the best Captain America costume you’ve ever seen and then discover that there’s a woman behind the mask. And that’s cool. — Art Sunday

But this is a participatory event where observers are still welcome. “There might be 400 people who aren’t cosplaying and are just walking around, looking and taking photos, but

there might be 2,000 or more people there,” Sunday said. Cosplay thrives in an accepting environment, a place where Adventure Time or Gravity Falls is just as valid as Game of Thrones or Guardians of the Galaxy. Sunday said his carnival encourages all experimentation. “You might see someone wearing the best Captain America costume you’ve ever seen and then discover that there’s a woman behind the mask,” he said. “And that’s cool.” Sunday said it’s not uncommon for people to wait until they’re in their 30s or beyond to attend an event like this, which can be a liberating experience. “But for young kids, the advantage is that they get to meet these adults and realize that they can write books and draw and create,” he said.

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Tech boom

Maker guru Mark Hatch wants to see frequent, all-access workshops across Oklahoma.

Ga r ett fisb eck

life technology

Mark Hatch

BY greg elwell

“One, two, three — boom!” Mark Hatch is a maker. And he wants Oklahomans to be makers, too. Hatch authored The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers because every revolution needs a manifesto. And he said this is a revolution. He described his experiences as co-founder and CEO of TechShop in San Francisco during a recent talk to an Oklahoma Business Roundtable audience laden with state legislators and education officials at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Rockwell campus. TechShop is an open-access workshop where, for a monthly or annual fee, anyone can receive training for and use a variety of high-tech tools. “$150 a month gets you into hundreds of classes with access to every

kind of tool,” Hatch explained. Makers go to TechShop to use classic woodworking tools to 3-D printers and everything in between. That access gives people a low-cost entrance into the act of creation — often with big results. The list of million-dollar businesses launched out of TechShop is staggering. Hatch punctuated each one with a “Boom!” According to Hatch, in the San Francisco bay area, his company helped create $12 billion in shareholder value and $200 million in annual salaries for 2,000 jobs. That’s part of the reason Gov. Mary Fallin invited Hatch to Oklahoma. As the state works through budget shortfalls and the energy sector swings from boom to bust, she said that innovation is a key component of

protecting and developing jobs. “We are a state that believes in the entrepreneur spirit,” she said. Even better, being a maker has no age limit, which Fallin said means Oklahoma’s next generation of innovators could be 9 or 90. Hatch encouraged lawmakers to embrace TechShop’s model as a way to jump-start Oklahoma’s own maker movement beyond the career tech system. “Let’s open a dozen or more maker spaces in this state,” he said. That would please Norman’s Alcott Middle School eighth-graders Canaan Carman, Davis Cochran and Henry Ingels, who came to the expo to show off their VEX robotics elevator. The trio is part of a class in which, Cochran explained, rather than simply taking notes, students test hypotheses

and “use [their] own thoughts.” Pre-engineering teacher Brian Twomey said their robotic elevator has been undefeated for the last year. For students who learn by doing, the hands-on class is good way to get ideas out of their heads and into the real world, Ingels said. Fallin wants to harness that independent thinking to fill the state’s skills gap and create new industries away from the faltering oil and gas sector. She stopped short of calling for state-led intervention, but expressed a desire for similar innovation centers in Oklahoma, noting that it will require an investment. There are eight TechShops across the country with new ones coming to St. Louis and Los Angeles soon.


life community

Cher alike

Celebrity impersonator Chad Michaels helps launch Red Tie After Party with “Love and Understanding.” Celebrity impersonator Chad Michaels as Cher, next to the real deal

By Mark Beutler

Red Tie Night 6 p.m. March 5 Grand Ballroom | Cox Convention Center 1 Myriad Gardens | 348-6600 $350-$1000; sponsorships available

Red Tie After Party 9 p.m. March 5 Angles Nightclub 2117 NE 39th St. | $33-$71.50

It will be a night of big hair, sequins and Auto-Tune as Chad Michaels, the nation’s No. 1 Cher impersonator, brings his high-energy show to Oklahoma City. It’s part of Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund’s annual Red Tie Night inaugural after-party. Doors open 9 p.m. March 5 at Angles Nightclub, 2117 NW 39th St. Michaels performs as the diva herself — the Oscar-, Emmy- and Grammy-winning Goddess of Pop.

“I will be bringing the Cher, baby,” Michaels recently told Oklahoma Gazette. “Rhinestones, fishnets and lip licks. I’m coming ‘Dressed to Kill,’ so get ready, Oklahoma City.” In 2012, Michaels joined the cast of RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race and strutted away with the $100,000 grand prize. Being in the reality TV series also helped land him the first spot in the show’s Drag Race Hall of Fame. Michaels said he began impersonating the Cher in 1992. “I grew up watching Sonny & Cher on TV in the 1970s, so I feel like she was imprinted on me then,” he said. “I love what she stands for as an entertainer and as a human being. She set the standard for women in music and continues to deliver her brand of polished fabulousness.” Michaels said he is primarily a lipsync performer. He also incorporates live comedy monologues as Cher using his own voice. With more than 50 years

of Cher’s music to choose from, he said his show always feels new and fresh. “Choosing what music I perform really depends on what kind of crowd I will be performing for,” he said. “I try to select the songs everyone loves and connects with. Everyone loves Cher, so that kind of makes my job easy.” The after-party is something new for Red Tie Night. The main event happens earlier, beginning at 6 p.m. March 5 at Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens. Ladies and gents don formal attire for the 24th annual fundraiser benefiting Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund (OACF). However, organizers said the afterparty is a less formal and lower-cost event created to appeal to a more diverse crowd. Doors open at 9 p.m., and music starts at 10:30 p.m. “I feel it is my responsibility to raise awareness and educate my generation of the need to fight HIV and AIDS in our community,” said local musician Graham

Colton, who co-chairs the event with his mother, Cindy Cooper-Colton. “There’s still so much more work to be done. The new after-party will be a crazy, fun night of dancing and celebration and an opportunity to connect with so many who want to help.” Colton’s grandparents, the late Jackie Cooper and his wife Barbara, started OACF in 1991. Annual fundraiser Red Tie Night has generated millions of dollars through the years, and 100 percent of its proceeds remain in Oklahoma to help people with HIV or AIDS. This year, Colton and his mother bring the event full-circle back to the Cooper family. “I love the idea of the after-party becoming an annual event,” Colton said. “It will be loud and proud, and we can’t wait.” Visit or call 348-6600 for more information.

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life visual arts

American experience The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum launches four distinctive exhibits this month. By Adam Holt

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February is a busy time for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Four new exhibitions launched this month with subjects from neckties to weather. Each demonstrates how the American West affects life and art.

Fashion pieces

Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary Artistry celebrates the art and history of the bolo tie. The exhibition contains approximately 370 examples of an accessory whose origins range from Mexico to Alaska and differ in story and subject. The exhibit is on loan from Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. The majority of the show’s ties were owned by collector and author Norman L. Sandfield, who amassed the collection over 10 years. “This show really is two different shows in one. It’s about the history, and it’s about the art,” Sandfield said. While the true origin of the bolo tie is a bit murky, Sandfield’s research indicates the neckpiece goes back to at least 1947 or 1948. As word-of-mouth and visual influence spread, popularity grew. By 1955, they were found in catalogues, television shows and movies. Sandfield said the components from which the bolo tie is created tells of the tie’s geographic origin. “They may be popular here, but Southern Plains [Oklahoma and Texas] people are going to be doing more beading than silver. Silver is popular in the Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico, that area,” Sandfield said. “You go down to the far end, you will see pieces from Alaska and the Northwest coast, and they are made out of whale bones, baleen, walrus ivory — different materials, completely different styles.”

Everyday cowboys

The separate works of a father and son whose photos depict the daily life of cowboys can be compared and contrasted in The Cowboy Returns: Photographs by Bank and John Langmore. The Cowboy, a 1975 book of photography by Bank Langmore, details the story of those who worked big outfit cattle ranches and is a landmark in the history of American West culture. Rather than filling pages with

“Moose Hunting” by Philip R. Goodwin (1882-1935), oil on canvas, circa 1930. Private collection. stereotypes like riding into the sunset or showing off a sidepiece, Bank chronicled everyday tasks such as calving and livestock tending. “I think his purpose was and would be the same as mine, was to authentically tell the story of the working cowboy,” said son John about their photography goals. “Take them out of the overly romanticized view of their lifestyle and paint a meaningful, complete picture of who these people are and how they lived their lives.” Starting in 2012, John returned to some of the same big outfit ranches he visited with his father for earlier projects to document today’s cowboys. The result is a traveling exhibition of 100 black-and-white and color photographs depicting cowboy life from 1974-75 and recent years from Mexico to Oregon.

Great outdoors

On Feb. 19, the museum also launched Philip R. Goodwin: America’s Sporting & Wildlife Artist, A Private Collection. Born in 1881 in Norwich, Connecticut, Goodwin is considered one of America’s premier illustrators of Western art. Throughout his career, he created works for publications such as Harper’s Magazine, Scribner’s Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post. His work’s primary focus was the great outdoors and what it offered, including hunting, fishing and camping. Mike Leslie, museum assistant director, said the exhibition contains

80 works of art, plus examples of calendars, magazines and illustrations, and allows the viewer to see Goodwin’s method of creation. “Most of the works in the show are small studies, so not only will people get to see works that are reflective of a time and place about the great outdoors, but also for people who have just an interest in art,” Leslie said. “They will get to see a process of how Goodwin thought through, designed composition and subject matter and created what he thought was the best overall narrative.”

Western weather

Riding the Whirlwind: Weather in the West looks into how weather and the American West are interwoven. “The exhibition is important for us because it looks at the West through a different lens,” said Steven Karr, museum president. “Weather, in many respects, defines the American West.” The exhibit is comprised of multiple interactive stations demonstrating climate phenomena — such as microbursts, lightning and the water cycle — that occur in the West. Also included are garb protecting cowboys from the elements and a weather station. The presenting sponsor for the exhibit, KFOR, donated a green screen and teleprompters, allowing visitors to present weather news. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at 1700 NE 63rd St.

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Magic three Scheherazade – 1001 Arabian Nights: A Triple Bill offers OKC Ballet a chance to show its diverse repertoire.

Principal dancer Alvin Tostovgray and corps de ballet dancer Sarah Jane Crespo in Oklahoma City Ballet’s Scheherazade — 1001 Arabian Nights: A Triple Bill

By George Lang

Scheherazade — 1001 Arabian Nights: A Triple Bill 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday Thelma E. Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre Civic Center Music Hall 201 N. Walker Ave. 297-2584 $27-$66

In 2009, at the end of Robert Mills’ first season as artistic director of Oklahoma City Ballet, he decided that he needed to take the audience’s temperature. It was a pivotal year, one that saw a new name for the company and the leadership change that brought Mills to Oklahoma from Ballet Nouveau Colorado. With the backstage adjustments settling down at the end of a successful year, he wanted to know what Oklahoma City desired from its premier ballet company, so as audiences left The Wizard of Oz, the final production of the season, they were handed a survey. “It was a survey that people voluntarily filled out as they left the theater, and one of the questions on the survey was, ‘What is your favorite type of dance?’” Mills said. “The choices were classical ballet, modern dance, tap dance, jazz and contemporary ballet. The overwhelming choice was classical ballet. But later on in that questionnaire, one of the last questions was, ‘What was your favorite ballet of the season?’” Amy Seiwart’s Finding/Almost came out as the clear winner among season ticket holders, but this was by no means a classical ballet piece; Seiwart, artistic director of San Francisco-based contemporary ballet company Imagery, is nearly synonymous with the vanguard of modern dance. Oklahoma City patrons thought they preferred Romeo and Juliet, but they really wanted something to

shake them up. Oklahoma City Ballet presented Finding/Almost in February 2009 as part of a triple bill featuring Frédéric Chopin’s Les Sylphides and Mills’ own Paris Rouge. In that triple bill, 1909’s Les Sylphides was the best-known piece of the evening and featured the original choreography by Michel Fokine, but the real eye-openers of the triple bill were the new, original works by Seiwart and Mills. The triple bill became Oklahoma City Ballet’s Trojan horse for introducing the unexpected. The tradition continues with Scheherazade – 1001 Arabian Nights: A Triple Bill 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave.

I sneak in these very current, modern works to educate our audience that ballet is relevant. —Robert Mills Scheherazade features the original Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov score along with acclaimed choreography by the late Dennis Spaight, while the other pieces — Without Words by Staatsballett Berlin Artistic Director Nacho Duato and a new, untitled piece by Tulsa Ballet’s resident choreographer, Ma Cong — offer the unexpected. For this performance, Oklahoma City Ballet worked with Duato’s ballet master Thomas Klein, who flew from Berlin to lead the choreography for Without Words, while Cong was just a turnpike away. From selection to

performance, Mills said Scheherazade took two years to produce, and a triple bill can be a particular challenge for the company’s dancers. “Even with 35 dancers, some of the people coming in want to use the same people, and so there are some dancers who are in all three works,” Mills said. “So then it becomes a challenge to get the rehearsal schedule together.” Mills said a triple bill can be the ultimate demonstration of Oklahoma City Ballet’s artistic skill. When Mills recruits dancers for the company, he looks for professionals who can go from classical to modern and back without losing balance. “I look for people with versatility, so I’ll take them through a normal ballet class,” Mills said, “but near the end of the class, I’ll teach them some of the choreographies that we have in our repertoire that will reveal whether they can move in various, diverse ways. A program like this directly speaks to the kind of dancers I look for.” Of course, Scheherazade is the main draw for good reason, since it draws from a classically exotic story and features equally classic ballet technique, but then Duato and Cong’s works will provide that new spark — something Mills values greatly in his programs. “I sneak in these very current, modern works to educate our audience that ballet is relevant and it can speak to our times,” Mills said. “It can utilize the evolution that dance has taken over the years, and I’ve seen a lot of success with that. These triple bills are probably people’s favorite things that we do all season. When they come to our triple bills, they leave loving it.” For more information, visit okcballet. com or call 848-8637.

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life performing arts

The entertainer

Bernadette Peters

Broadway, TV and film star Bernadette Peters brings her iconic sense of humor and a roster of music classics to her March 3 concert.

By Wilhelm Murg

An Evening with Bernadette Peters

8 p.m. March 3 OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater 7777 S. May Ave. 682-7579 $50-$200

Legendary actress, singer and comedian Bernadette Peters performs a March 3 concert benefiting Oklahoma City Repertory Theater (CityRep) at Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater, 7777 S. May Ave. Peters has had a varied career since she was first cast in a television show at age 3. While she went on to carve out a formidable spot for herself in American film and television comedy, at this point, her success on Broadway overshadows everything else. She has been nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning two. She also was nominated for nine Drama Desk Awards, winning three. Peters also is considered the leading interpreter of Stephen Sondheim’s music — she premiered the role of The Witch in Sondheim and James Lapine’s classic Into the Woods when it opened on Broadway in 1987.

‘Musical journey’

In an Oklahoma Gazette interview, Peters described her upcoming performance as “a mixture of everything.” “I take people on a musical journey,” Peters said. “I’m there to entertain, and

that can be in a funny way or a dramatic way; hopefully I’ll surprise both the audience and myself. We are in this place together to have an experience. I do a lot of Steve [Sondheim] and Rogers and Hammerstein, and I sing Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ on the piano. I don’t play it; I lay on the piano.” And there’s that Betty Boop giggle. Amid her Broadway work and her concerts, Peters also has gone back to her television roots by appearing in the Amazon comedy series Mozart in the Jungle. It was renewed for a third season. Peters said she was attracted to the project because of the people involved. The first episode was co-written by Tonynominated director Alex Timbers; Roman Coppola, who co-wrote The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom; and actor, writer and director Jason Schwartzman. “I just loved the writing,” Peters said. “They don’t throw anything in arbitrarily.” Peters plays the chairwoman of the board who manages the symphony. Last season, the backstory of her character revealed she was a former cabaret singer and she was encouraged by the conductor of the symphony to sing. “So I would secretly go out to open mic night and sing,” Peters said. “I hope I get to sing again this season.” The symphony goes to Europe for the third season. Peters plans to do three June concerts — in London, Manchester and Edinburgh — before she joins the cast to film on location.

3 6 | f e b r ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e

I sing Peggy Lee’s “Fever” on the piano. I don’t play it; I lay on the piano. — Bernadette Peters

Cult icon

However, for all her Broadway acclaim, her original fans always will remember her work with masters of American comedy in the 1970s. She appeared in Mel Brook’s Silent Movie (1976), opposite Andy Kaufman in Allan Arkush’s Heartbeeps (1981) and opposite Steve Martin in his first two films, Carl Reiner’s The Jerk and highly experimental Pennies from Heaven (1981), adapted by Herbert Ross from the Dennis Potter BBC series. She also made 12 appearances on The Carol Burnett Show and worked with Burnett on the 1972 television adaptation of the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress and again in John Huston’s 1982 film adaption of Annie. Peters was nominated for an Emmy for her 1977 performance on The Muppet Show and later appeared as a guest when they hosted The Tonight Show in 1979. She also starred in a Norman Lear series during his classic run of socially relevant sitcoms, All’s Fair (1976-1977), where she appeared with a fresh-faced Michael Keaton. “I’ve always taken what’s offered

to me that was the most interesting,” Peters said. “I was lucky because I was working in television, doing concerts and Broadway, so if I didn’t like what was being offered, I could always do my concerts. I always choose carefully.” Though panned by important critics at the time, like Roger Ebert, The Jerk is now generally considered a comedy classic. It appeared as a cultural reference in Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s cult television series Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) — when a lead character’s girlfriend doesn’t find The Jerk funny, he realizes he must break up with her. Peters pointed to a recent reference. “You know the movie Deadpool?” she asked. “I’m his love object. On a coin purse, it’s me from Silent Movie, I think, or The Jerk. I haven’t seen it yet.” While the comic book version of Deadpool is pansexual, or attracted to people of all sex and gender identities, it is not as obvious in the film. His obsession with Peters is a sly play on his ambiguity. While she is iconic to gay men because she is a Broadway diva, in her youth, she was also painted by Alberto Vargas as a scantily clad pin-up girl. She also appeared on the December 1981 cover of Playboy. However, what makes her truly iconic for a generation of American men was that Steve Martin ended up with her in The Jerk. If a woman like that could fall in love with Navin Johnson (Martin’s character), there was hope for the rest of us.

Miss Larkin always extolled the unique gentleness, purity and spirituality of Yvonne’s dancing. — Georgia Snoke

Yvonne Chouteau during her time with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo

Ballet legacy Without Yvonne Chouteau, one of Oklahoma’s five Native American prima ballerinas, dance in the metro wouldn’t exist as it does today. By Wilhelm Murg

Jan. 24 saw the passing of Yvonne Chouteau, a legend in 20th century ballet and one of the Native American prima ballerinas from Oklahoma known as the Five Moons. Along with her late husband Miguel Terekhov, she founded The University of Oklahoma’s School of Dance. Chouteau died of heart failure at 86 years old. “It is with great regard that I look back at Yvonne Chouteau and everything she did to bring the art of ballet to Oklahoma,” said Robert Mills, artistic director of Oklahoma City Ballet. “Were it not for her, we would not be able to do what we love here at Oklahoma City Ballet. Her legacy lives on through us and everyone she has influenced in her life. We are forever indebted to her.” Chouteau was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Vinita, Oklahoma. Her heritage was Shawnee, Cherokee and French; she was a descendant of Jean-Pierre Chouteau, a prominent fur merchant, slave owner

and US Indian agent under President Thomas Jefferson. Chouteau began dancing when she was 2 years old and was inspired to devote her life to dance after she saw an Oklahoma City performance by Alexandra Danilova, the prima ballerina who defected from Imperial Russian Ballet with legendary choreographer George Balanchine. At the age of 12, Chouteau was given a scholarship to study at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet. Danilova herself recommended Chouteau for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1943, where she was the youngest member ever accepted, at the age of 14. There, she soon began dancing major roles in productions of The Nutcracker, Paquita, Raymonda and Pas de Quatre. In 1947, at the age of 18, Chouteau was the youngest person ever (and the first under the age of 50) to be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. While dancing in Ballet Russe, Chouteau met and married Uruguayan-

Bronze moons

Chouteau is best remembered by the general public as one of the Five Moons, the Native American prima Ballerinas born in Oklahoma who danced with the Ballet Russe companies during World War II, along with Rosella Hightower (Choctaw), Moscelyne Larkin (Peoria/Shawnee) and sisters Maria and Marjorie Tallchief (Osage). Marjorie Tallchief is now the sole surviving member of the group. The term the Five Moons comes from native composer Louis Ballard Sr.’s ballet The Four Moons, in which four of the ballerinas (excluding Maria Tallchief ) performed during the Second Oklahoma Indian Ballerina Festival in 1967 at Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. The ballet, written specifically for the ballerinas to honor their individual cultures, consisted of four solos that drew upon and evoked the tribal heritage of the dancers; the Osage solo is dedicated to both Tallchief sisters. “My soul came to life in my variation in The Four Moons, which depicted the struggle of the Cherokee people driven out to Oklahoma, and the pathos of my heritage, but I survived at the end, and that has been the story of my life,’’ Chouteau told The New York Times in 1982. Of course, the ballerinas have been an inspiration to their tribes, the state and the Indian people in general as they became major figures in the world of ballet at a time when Russian dancers dominated the field. Oklahoma City

and Tulsa’s ballet companies were started by two of the dancers. One of the last paintings by highly influential Muscogee Creek/Seminole artist Jerome Tiger depicts The Four Moons; it was used on the program for the 1967 ballet performance. “Flight of the Spirit” by Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen is a mural in the Oklahoma State Capitol rotunda that depicts the five ballerinas. The piece went on to inspire Tulsa sculpturer Monte English to design five life-size bronze works honoring the ballerinas. (English died after completing only two of the pieces; the rest were realized by Gary Henson.) The bronze sculptures can be seen at the Tulsa Historical Society. Georgia Snoke is Tulsa Ballet’s board president emeritus. When contacted by Oklahoma Gazette, she noted the work Chouteau and Terekhov did with Moscelyne Larkin, who founded Tulsa Civic Ballet (now Tulsa Ballet) along with her husband Roman Jasinski in 1956. “Yvonne and her husband, Miguel Terekhov, assisted the Jasinskis in many of the early Tulsa Civic Ballet efforts. They set ballets in Tulsa, participated in the two Oklahoma Indian Ballerina Festivals and danced in Tulsa as guest artists while organizing their own civic ballet in Oklahoma City,” Snoke said. “Miss Larkin always extolled the unique gentleness, purity and spirituality of Yvonne’s dancing — characteristic of her life both on and off the stage. Tulsa Ballet has lost a treasured friend.” Chouteau is survived by her two daughters, Elizabeth A. Impallomeni and Christina Conway, and two grandsons. TUL SA BALLET / PROVIDED


born dancer Miguel Terekhov in 1956. She left the company the next year when she became pregnant. By the early 1960s, they had two daughters and settled down in Oklahoma City, where they helped organize Oklahoma City Civic Ballet (now Oklahoma City Ballet) and founded the school of dance at the University of Oklahoma, the first accredited university dance program in the country.

Yvonne Chouteau and husband Miguel Terekhov while they were with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

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life music

Sound election

Your voice and your vote usher in the return of Gazette Music Awards and shine a spotlight on local music.

It’s been a full presidential term since the last time we held the Gazette Music Awards. So in this election year, after much caucusing, we’ve decided the time is right to bring back the Woody Awards. Music fans might remember 2012 as the year Carly Rae Jepsen gave us her number or Gotye — somebody that we used to know — ruled the radio. Locally, the year brought us memorable releases from Parker Millsap and Michael Rose (Palisade) and John Fullbright (From the Ground Up). After a four-year hiatus, why is 2016 the year we bring back the Gazette Music Awards? The better question is, Why not? “We predict a hearty lineup of music festivals in 2016, including Metro Music Fest and Norman Music Festival,” said Jennifer Chancellor, Oklahoma Gazette editor-in-chief. “Plus, with the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@ UCO) in the heart of downtown and the number of new and wellestablished metro music venues across the metro, Gazette Music Awards gives fans, festivals and music lovers a heads-up on what’s happening with local music through spring and summer.” As one reality show figurehead-turnedpresidential candidate might say, “Let’s make music great again!” or rather, let’s shed light on all the great music across the metro. The Gazette is dedicated to bolstering its thorough music coverage and recognizing individuals who contribute to our notably vibrant soundscape. Nominating a local artist for a Woody Award gives music

fans the chance to thank the musicians and songwriters who give us so much. Claiming a prize also exposes artists and groups to audiences that might have been unaware of where to find certain types of music locally. The awards help guide and define the local music scene and future Gazette coverage. Know a band people should be paying closer attention to? Put it on our radar. Your vote matters. “We love local music, and supporting the scene is our mission,” Chancellor said. “We also love getting feedback from our readers. Like our annual Best of OKC contest, Gazette Music Awards is reader-driven.” She added that Oklahoma Gazette has long been the region’s only locally owned, independent source for arts and entertainment news. Yes, readers already have a lot of voting to think about (Republican and Democratic primaries are March 1!), but thankfully, Gazette Music Awards voting is much simpler than showing up to the election booth on a Tuesday. We promise there’s no requirement to show your ID or any registration card. No purchase is necessary, either. Instead, readers can find a ballot printed in the March 2 and 9 issues. A completed ballot may be mailed to our office at 3701 N. Shartel Ave. Readers can also vote online through midnight March 15 at okgazette. com. Please, one ballot Oklahoma Gazette covers from past special music issues


By Ben Luschen

Ali Harter left and Jabee right received Woody Awards at Oklahoma Gazette’s 2007 winner party. vote per reader. Winners and awards will be presented at a venue and time yet to be announced. Winners also will be named in Oklahoma Gazette’s April 6 issue, which will include an expanded music section. As much as we’d like to see it happen, there are no debates or town hall discussions set up between bands to determine winners. And while we doubt anyone will form a coalition or political action committee and create slick “message” ads to state their case, general campaigning is encouraged. With 24 categories for musical acts, venues, festivals and musical storefronts, there is room to recognize every type of sound found in the state. Here, there are no electoral colleges, split delegates or hanging chads. Those who receive the most votes become proud owners of a coveted Woody Award. It’s that simple. Gazette Music Awards sponsors include Oklahoma Film & Music Office, DowntownOKC Inc. and Cory’s Audio Visual Services.

Voting and categories Gazette Music Awards reader voting runs March 2 through midnight March 15. Find ballots in the March 2 and 9 issues of Oklahoma Gazette and online at Categories include: 1. Best Acoustic 2. Best Americana / Folk 3. Best Country 4. Best Electronic / DJ 5. Best Jazz 6. Best Latin 7. Best Metal 8. Best Punk 9. Best R&B 10. Best Rap/Hip-Hop 11. Best Red Dirt / Rockabilly 12. Best Rock 13. Best Cover Act 14. Best Overall 15. Best Other Genre 16. Best Singer-Songwriter 17. Best Underage Band (members under 21) 18. Best Record Store 19. Best Music Gear Store 20. Best Place to Dance 21. Best Place for Karaoke 22. Best Music Festival in Oklahoma 23. Best Live Music Venue (small) 24. Best Live Music Venue (large)

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life music

Cherry blossoms Songwriter Tim Buchanan finds creative footing in “family band” Cherry Death.

Ga re tt f is be ck

By Ben Luschen

Everything Is Not OK 2 Cherry Death with Sheer Mag, Downtown Boys, Gag, Carbonleak, Deacons and Crutch 7 p.m. March 10 89th Street Collective 8911 N. Western Ave. $20

Those who knew Tim Buchanan’s work from former Oklahoma City rock ’n’ roll outfit Glow God might have been surprised to hear the guitarist’s postband project, Neil Young- and Big Starinfluenced Cherry Death. He wasn’t. “Mostly, I feel like it’s just a straight pop thing,” Buchanan said of Cherry Death’s sound. “The songs, I feel like, are mostly pop songs.” Before the end of Glow God, Buchanan began work on a side project with drummer Atlee Hickerson and bassist/vocalist Lacey Tackett called Dream Bend. They played a few shows together and recorded a single at Dust House, but over time, that idea morphed and grew into family affair Cherry Death. Buchanan said he had a “vague idealistic change” following Glow God and began writing a lot of songs. The first Cherry Death record, 2014’s Brain into Blue Skies, was almost entirely a solo effort from Buchanan. One day, he said, he was just recording a couple of songs and realized he had a group of tracks he liked, so he just decided to put it out. “I just stumbled into it being what it is, and I’ve continued to stumble since then,” he said.

Developing passion

Buchanan joined his first band in junior high. Since then, music has been what he does, what he cares about. “Especially the last seven or eight years now, it’s been the main focus; trying to tour a lot and actually putting out records and making things,” he said. It takes time, Buchanan said, for anyone to understand what it is you do and how you do it, music or otherwise. Growing up around Baptist churches, he saw his grandpa on one side of the family singing in the choir and his grandma from the other side playing piano. There was no one in his

Cherry Death

family who was specifically a musician, but Buchanan always felt welcomed and supported in his own pursuits, growing up around the gospel hymns and seeing what music meant to other people in his family. He especially remembers a music teacher at Soldier Creek Elementary School in Midwest City who helped foster his musical spark. “It just seemed like he really cared about it,” he said. “When you’re able to hear something and it makes you feel some way, but then you see someone else that’s doing it and it obviously makes them feel some way, it’s like little guidelines that point you in the right direction.”

Drawing inspiration

Cherry Death has no official roster. Aside from Buchanan, Hickerson, Tackett and guitarist Kilyn Massey, the band uses a rotation of many other members within Buchanan’s circle of friends, depending on show needs and member availability. “It’s kind of always changing, and we’ve had different people play with us live,” he said. “On the recordings, we always try to get a lot of different people involved too.” For Buchanan, Cherry Death is a much more intimate venture than Glow God, a band in which the brain trust was divided up more evenly among the band’s members. Writing for this project, in many ways, has been therapeutic for Buchanan. “It’s just me writing for the most part [with Cherry Death], so I guess just by default, I forced myself into doing something more personal,” he said.

Buchanan said his songwriting process tends to change as often as the makeup of the band. The two fulllength Cherry Death projects were written sitting down with his guitar at his computer, usually on a whim or whenever the mood struck him. However, the songs on the two single releases were ideas Buchanan said he had before he even wrote them down. “Instead of being part-by-part or piece-by-piece, I just had a song pop into my head, which is a bit more rare, so it’s kind of slowed down a little bit, but it’s all right with me,” he said. Buchanan tries to let his songwriting come across as naturally as possible. The point, he said, is not to put too much thought into it. If you play too much of an active role in the process, if you try to force something, you’ll be messing with the product. “It’s not possible to do anything wrong with music if you’re acting through nature rather than letting your or anyone else’s ego get in the way to form whatever it is,” he said. Above all, the songwriter said simply interacting with others provides him with creative fuel. “That’s kind of why I make it a point to play with so many different people,” he said. “Growing up, I was in more bands at the same time, so I learned to draw inspiration from all these different people constantly.” Buchanan said Cherry Death should start work on another project soon. He said the band has as many as 50 demos prepared for a future record.

O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e | f e b r ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 4 1

life music

Ghost rock

Dylan Stewart and The Eulogists impress in its first release as a unit.

Dylan Stewart and The Eulogists Giving Up the Ghost Available on

Raspy-voiced Dylan Stewart found a new band to paint the sonic landscape for his eerie but often touching stories, and to an overall great effect. The project also features strong contributions from Samantha Crain, Camille Harp and Travis Linville. Giving Up the Ghost, released Feb. 5, is Stewart’s third album and his first with his new band, The Eulogists. It marks his first release since 2012’s Dylan Stewart and The Johnny Strangers. The Eulogists is an appropriate name for the group, considering Stewart’s penchant for a lyrical style that dabbles in Southern Gothic aesthetic. The immediately noticeable strength in Ghost lies in the quality of the songwriting. Stewart is a storyteller, but not one you can listen to passively. He turns phrases and speaks with vivid

Stewart is a storyteller, but not one you can listen to passively.

descriptions full of often-allegoric intent. The listener has something to decipher at the end of most tunes, which is admittedly a turnoff for some but is a welcome challenge for those who feel up to unpacking his messages and meanings. Album opener “Stay in Tune” navigates through heartbreak as Stewart sings, “I don’t want to go to heaven; I don’t want to go to hell; I don’t want to have to see her while I’m caught up on a rusty nail.”

Fri, Feb 26 RECKLESS KELLY w/ bleu edmondson sat, Feb 27 MUTEMATH w/ nothing but thieves thurs, mar 3 JON PARDI w/ Justin adams sat, mar 5 TEXAS PLAYBOYS mon, mar 7 CARLY RAE JEPSEN wed, mar 9 PAPADOSIO thurs, mar 10 POST MALONE tues, mar 15 AwOLNATION tues, mar 22 UNDEROATH Tulsa, OK

★ 423 NOrTh MaiN sT.

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From its opening keys to the acoustic strumming that follows and the haunting chains and accordion that close it, “Down to the Rio” is one of the album’s most memorable songs, and its transition into track three is perhaps the record’s greatest musical moment. If any song rivals “Down to the Rio,” it is rough-and-tumble “Cleveland County Wine,” a true Wild West, bounty-hunter tale with Spaghetti Western undertones. Stewart is melancholy, sure, but not like when someone’s sad and writes an album while curled up in a corner with a box of cheese crackers. This is an album that grits its teeth and confronts life’s hazards. A drawback to Ghost would be that the Southern Gothic idea sometimes comes off as a heavy-handed effort


By Ben Luschen

to fulfill a concept. A lack of contrast dulls some of the album’s entrancingly downcast feel. There was room for more variance in tempo on the project as well, especially across a number of the slower, middle tracks. “Down to the Rio” and “Cleveland County Wine” are standout tracks not only lyrically, but because they are the most distinct instrumentally. No one wants an album full of rattling chains, but taking that inventiveness further and into even more places could not have hurt the project. However, Ghost hits much more than it misses and is a fresh take on Americana. Stewart clearly draws from influences like Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt, but the singer-songwriter finds a musical voice all his own.


Jamie Bramble, Full Circle Bookstore. ACOUSTIC John Baumann, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY


Justin Bloss, Othello’s Italian Restaurant, Norman. FOLK

Grant Wells, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. JAZZ

Scott Keeton, Remington Park. ROCK

Harumph, The Deli, Norman. JAZZ

Seabound/NITE/Esoterik, The Vanguard, Tulsa. VARIOUS

Laura Hope/The Ark-Tones, Red Brick Bar, Norman. ROCK

Souled Out, UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond. POP

Maurice Johnson, R&J Lounge and Supper Club. JAZZ Turncoat, 89th Street Collective. ROCK Scott Lowber/Will Galbraith/Ed VanBuskirk, Friends Restaurant & Club. COVER

THURSDAY, FEB. 25 Brantley Gilbert, Chesapeake Energy Arena. COUNTRY Brent Saulsbury/Will Galbraith/Wayne Duncan, Friends Restaurant & Club. ROCK Carrie Rodriguez and Luke Jacobs, The Blue Door. SINGER/SONGWRITER Chelsea Grin/Oceans Ate Alaska/Wage War, 89th Street Collective. ROCK

Reckless Kelly/Bleu Edmondson, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. COUNTRY

Stars, Baker Street Pub & Grill. COVER Sundown, Sliders. COUNTRY The Pines/Keelan Donovan, The Blue Door. FOLK The So Help Me’s/Massey, Blue Note Lounge. FOLK Tyler Lee, Fuze Buffet & Bar. ACOUSTIC

SATURDAY, FEB. 27 BC & The Big Rig, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY Camille Harp/John Calvin, Othello’s Italian Restaurant, Norman. SINGER/SONGWRITER Daniel Jordan, Fuze Buffet & Bar. ACOUSTIC Deuces Wild, Baker Street Pub & Grill. ROCK

David Morris, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO

DJ SIX, Russell’s, Tower Hotel. VARIOUS

Drive, Baker Street Pub & Grill. ROCK

Drowning Pool/Audiotopsy/Violet New Breed, Diamond Ballroom. ROCK

We Dream Dawn/Annie Oakley/Kyle Reid, The Deli, Norman. FOLK

FRIDAY, FEB. 26 Blind Date, Oklahoma City Limits. COVER Branje and The Filthy Animals, The Deli, Norman. R&B Christian Pearson/Gary Johnson, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO DJ SIX, Russell’s, Tower Hotel. VARIOUS Drive, Riverwind Casino, Norman. ROCK

Gary Gibson, Sliders. COUNTRY Grant Stevens, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO Hawthorne Heights/Mest/The Ataris, The Vanguard, Tulsa. ROCK

Ellis Paul



Hosty Duo, The Deli, Norman. ROCK Layken Michelle, Remington Park. VARIOUS MUTEMATH/Nothing But Thieves, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. ROCK Patrice Pike, The Blue Door. SINGER/SONGWRITER

March 5


Folk singer-songwriter Ellis Paul performs live to benefit Woody Guthrie Coalition, which hosts the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah. The show is 7 p.m. March 5 at Crystal Theatre, 401 W. Broadway St., in Okemah. Tickets start at $30. Visit

Robby Ray, Full Circle Bookstore. VARIOUS

Elizabeth Speegle Band, Noir Bistro & Bar. JAZZ

Sam Flora/The Edmond Jazz Quartet, UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond. CLASSICAL

Evan Michaels Band, Thunderbird Casino, Norman. COUNTRY

SquadLive, Riverwind Casino, Norman. POP

Team Nightstand/Shutdown Shoutouts/Creep City, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK

Vanna, 89th Street Collective. ROCK

Stephen Salewon, Noir Bistro & Bar. SINGER/ SONGWRITER

The Headliners, Oklahoma City Limits. VARIOUS


Iron Maiden, BOK Center, Tulsa. ROCK J. Horne/Nicolo Cron/Beat Rydaz, 89th Street Collective. HIP-HOP

Annie Oakley, The Deli, Norman, Thursday

p rovid ed


Live Music


Breaking Benjamin/Starset, Brady Theater, Tulsa. ROCK

Edgar Cruz, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. ACOUSTIC


Edgar Cruz/The Three Amigos, Othello’s Italian Restaurant, Norman. ACOUSTIC Protomartyr, Opolis, Norman. ROCK

BrokeNCYDE/Justina Valentine/Challenger, The Vanguard, Tulsa. VARIOUS

The Toasters, 89th Street Collective. ROCK

Experience Hendrix, Brady Theater, Tulsa. COVER

Travis Linville/Mike Hosty One Man Band, The Deli, Norman. FOLK

Maurice Johnson, R&J Lounge and Supper Club. JAZZ

Tyler Lee & Friends, Oklahoma City Limits. VARIOUS

Scott Lowber/Will Galbraith/Ed VanBuskirk, Friends Restaurant & Club. COVER

Watermelon Slim, The Depot, Norman. BLUES Scott Lowber/Will Galbraith/Rick Toops, Friends Restaurant & Club. COVER

MONDAY, FEB. 29 Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin/The Guilty Ones/Sarah Borges, The Blue Door. VARIOUS Rick Toops, Friends Restaurant & Club. ROCK The Patron AintS/Bread and Butter Band/Buffalo Rogers, The Deli, Norman. BLUEGRASS

Submissions must be received by Oklahoma Gazette no later than noon on Wednesday seven days before the desired publication date. Late submissions will not be included in the listings. Submissions run as space allows, although we strive to make the listings as inclusive as possible. Fax your listings to 528-4600 or e-mail them to Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.

O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e | f e b r ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | 4 3


life film

Witch season

Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin in The Witch

A Pilgrim family faces evil on the edge of the woods in Robert Eggers’ searing directorial feature debut. BY GEORGE LANG

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The Witch, Robert Eggers’ unflinching story of possession and despair in the New World, illustrates why the early European-American settlements of the 1600s occupy rarefied space in our collective anxiety. They were populated by people who feared God, one another and what awaited them beyond the tree line. The Witch succeeds because all of its sources of tension and danger give those fears horrific credence. In 1630, William and Katherine (Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie) leave their New England settlement to lead a more austere and godly life with their five children in tow, forcing themselves into an unforgiving wintry landscape where crops barely grow and William’s hunting skills cannot pass muster. Despite the unrelenting gray skies and their parents’ dour countenances, oldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), oldest son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) and twins Mercy and Jonas (Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson) find room to play with their baby brother, Sam, and find light in the darkness. But then the baby suddenly disappears and the family’s tenuous grip on stability starts giving way to recrimination, madness and the evil lurking somewhere in the tall trees. Eggers reveals the malevolent source early in The Witch as a crone deliberately pounds the contents of a mortar and pestle into oozing pulp. Kate sinks into a deep depression, and all eyes focus on Thomasin, a willful teenager on the cusp of womanhood. What follows has almost nothing to do with suspense; the pain, sadness and unalloyed evil 4 4 | f e b r ua r y 2 4 , 2 0 1 6 | O k l a h o m a G a z e t t e

emanate from one source. What gives The Witch its power is the film’s desolate setting. Family members cannot escape their circumstances; they cannot return to the settlement because of pride and belief, and there is nothing ahead of them that they would ever want to face by themselves. When Kate tells William that, despite their destitution, she wants them to return to England, it’s a solution so remote and unfeasible that it barely exists. They are completely, utterly alone — except, of course, for the danger lurking in the darkness. Eggers fills The Witch with utterly convincing players. In their performances and appearances, Ineson and Dickie look like nothing other than joyless peasants from pre-Renaissance religious paintings, which stands in stark contrast to the pale, alien beauty of Taylor-Joy — the 19-year-old delivers what is unquestionably the spellbinding central performance of the film. Thomasin’s adolescence makes her dangerous, and her indolence makes her suspect. Grainger and Dawson completely fit the bill, playing creepy twins in a truly creepy film, and Scrimshaw proves his shocking level of talent in a pivotal, thoroughly harrowing third-act scene. For years, horror was in dire need of a recharge, and after the tortureporn trend of the early 2000s, salvation came with the rise of low-budget, new traditionalists like Ti West, whose The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers showed reverence for traditional, practical scares. But while West’s taste

Eggers fills The Witch with utterly convincing players. veers closer to low-budget grindhouse fare, The Witch is unquestionably part of the new wave of thinking-person’s horror that came with 2014’s The Babadook and last year’s It Follows. Like those films, The Witch is a scary movie with more going on behind the eyes than pure menace, and it takes some thematic risks. The piety and judgmental nature of life in the early colonies is well represented in culture, from The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible onward. But The Witch takes the unusual stance that, while those settlers’ fears and their actions were often abhorrent toward people who did not conform to society’s requirements, they were also right about the cackling around the bonfires. Granted, William and Katherine treat Thomasin with suspicion and try on several occasions to banish her back to the colony, but who’s to say they’re wrong? Despite that moral ambiguity, The Witch is an uncommonly direct horror film, a story that will leave nearly everyone who watches it feeling just as rattled as their neighbor. It rarely falls back on jump-scares or other contrivances that result in cheap, easily dissipated fear. Instead, it exploits the inescapable, time-honored fear of being alone and then shows that there are far worse things after all.

sudoku/crossword By Mary Lou Guizzo / Edited by Will Shortz


1 The Beatles’ first single, 1962 6 Cold-shoulder 10 Not fight all-out 14 1951 #1 Mario Lanza hit with lyrics written by 36-Down 19 Containing element #56 20 Jerry-rigging material 21 Musical lead-in to -smith 22 “See ya!” 23 Inappropriate 24 Kind of arch 25 Pelvic bones 26 Watch 10 episodes in a row, say 27 Circulates 29 Comment accompanying “That’s your problem, not mine” 31 Romantic date 33 Belittled 37 Scapegoat for the Fab Four breakup 38 ____ criminal 43 “Enough!,” in Ensenada 44 Mil. authority 47 One waiting in line at an airport? 50 Get back together, as 57-Acrosses 51 Camera feature 52 Apprise 54 Took a chance 56 Make a splash 57 See 50-Across 58 Big dipper 59 Some old Harper’s Bazaar covers 60 Bananas 61 1994 Oscar- and Grammy- winning song for Elton John 65 Cinephile’s channel 66 Ones doing needlework? 67 Here, on une carte 68 Smooth over 71 Much IRS mail 72 1990s-2000s tennis champ nicknamed “The Punisher” 75 Hit song title for Bob Marley, Whitesnake and Survivor 77 Symptoms 78 2010 R. Kelly top 10 album 79 Like some care 81 Basic ones are above 7” 82 Eyes impolitely

83 GM’s Mary Barra, for one 85 Opposite of vert. 86 1990 #1 hit for Mariah Carey 93 1967 #1 hit for Lulu 100 One of two circuit court characters? 101 Quiet coastal spot 103 Spirited horse 104 Foreign currency unit worth about a third of a dollar 105 Relative of ecru 106 Where Pamplona is located 107 Overrule 108 Breast implant filler 109 Inflate 110 Former telecom giant 111 The pack in a six-pack 112 “Well, whaddya know!” 113 Bad beginning? 114 Eyes impolitely 115 Court call 116 Mars from the vantage point of Earth, e.g. 117 Hindu honorific 118 Comedian Poehler 119 Approximates 120 Shogun capital 121 Where there may be openings in the medical field?


1 Insect also called a honeymoon fly 2 Stable locks? 3 QEF part 4 Showy ballroom moves 5 A piano has seven of them 6 Bar fixture 7 ____ Tribunal 8 Wharton’s sch. 9 Must 10 Declined 11 Martinique volcano 12 Met expectations? 13 Explorer Amundsen 14 Commemorative Yevtushenko poem 15 Change one’s story? 16 Ho Chi ____ City 17 One seeking enlightenment 18 6-0 28 “Sweet!” 30 Female WWII enlistee 32 Smitten


























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33 Soldier from Down Under 34 When doubled, an old college cry 35 Totals 36 See 14-Across 39 Copy 40 Kirk Douglas, Robert Wagner and Gregory Peck, for Frank Sinatra 41 Methuselah’s father 42 Transplant 44 Skill 45 Like some stud piercings 46 X’s 47 Turns at high speed 48 Aesthetes 49 Borscht base 52 ____-ray 53 What’s the point of marking things? 54 Renders harmless, as a bull

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55 Brit. honor 62 Amor vincit ____ 63 Sending a child to military camp, say 64 River to the Gulf of Guinea 68 ____ Tin Tin 69 Reverse of WNW 70 Summer hrs. 72 Resembling 73 Antarctica’s Amundsen ____ 74 NYC subway line 76 2003 Hugh Grant romantic comedy 78 Rick, Ilsa and Victor, in Casablanca 80 Hawaiian Airlines extra 82 It has three dashes in the middle 84 Head of Olympus? 85 Spectacularly disordered sort

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New York Times Magazine Crossword Puzzle All You Need

86 Serenades, e.g. 87 Like each line of an eye chart vis-à-vis the one above 88 ____ Kosygin, longtime Soviet premier 89 Nickelodeon’s Kenan & ____ 90 Perplexity 91 Follower of live or down 92 Bring to a boil 93 Come-on 94 Risqué, say 95 Silently greet 96 Basketball Hall-of-Famer Hank 97 Rant 98 Hold, as secret feelings 99 Tryst sites 102 Bizet priestess

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Sudoku Puzzle EASY

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4 7 2 3 8 5 4 3 2

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Homework: What book do you suspect would change your life if you actually read it? Testify at ARIES (March 21-April 19) Just one species has a big enough throat to swallow a person whole: the sperm whale. If you happen to be sailing the high seas any time soon, I hope you will studiously avoid getting thrown overboard in the vicinity of one of these beasts. The odds are higher than usual that you’d end up in its belly, much like the Biblical character Jonah. (Although, like him, I bet you’d ultimately escape.) Furthermore, Aries, I hope you will be cautious not to get swallowed up by anything else. It’s true that the coming weeks will be a good time to go on a retreat, to flee from the grind and take a break from the usual frenzy. But the best way to do that is to consciously choose the right circumstances rather than leave it to chance. TAURUS (April 20-May 20) You have cosmic clearance to fantasize about participating in orgies where you’re loose and free and exuberant. It’s probably not a good idea to attend a literal orgy, however. For the foreseeable future, all the cleansing revelry and cathartic rapture you need can be obtained through the wild stories and outrageous scenes that unfold in your imagination. Giving yourself the gift of pretend immersions in fertile chaos could recharge your spiritual batteries in just the right ways. GEMINI (May 21-June 20) “Hell is the suffering of being unable to love,” wrote novelist J. D. Salinger. If that’s true, I’m pleased to announce that you can now ensure you’ll be free of hell for a very long time. The cosmic omens suggest that you have enormous power to expand your capacity for love. So get busy! Make it your intention to dissolve any unconscious blocks you might have about sharing your gifts and bestowing your blessings. Get rid of attitudes and behaviors that limit your generosity and compassion. Now is an excellent time to launch your “Perpetual Freedom from Hell” campaign!

CANCER (June 21-July 22) “A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking,” said journalist Earl Wilson. Do you fit that description, Cancerian? Probably. I suspect it’s high time to find a polite way to flee your responsibilities, avoid your duties, and hide from your burdens. For the foreseeable future, you have a mandate to ignore what fills you with boredom. You have the right to avoid any involvement that makes life too damn complicated. And you have a holy obligation to rethink your relationship with any influence that weighs you down with menial obligations. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) “Your illusions are a part of you like your bones and flesh and memory,” writes William Faulkner in his novel Absalom, Absalom! If that’s true, Leo, you now have a chance to be a miracle worker. In the coming weeks, you can summon the uncanny power to rip at least two of your illusions out by the roots — without causing any permanent damage! You may temporarily feel a stinging sensation, but that will be a sign that healing is underway. Congratulations in advance for getting rid of the dead weight. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) “We are defined by the lines we choose to cross or to be confined by,” says Virgo writer A. S. Byatt. That’s a key meditation for you as you enter a phase in which boundaries will be a major theme. During the next eight weeks, you will be continuously challenged to decide which people and things and ideas you want to be part of your world, and which you don’t. In some cases you’ll be wise to put up barriers and limit connection. In other cases, you’ll thrive by erasing borders and transcending divisions. The hard part — and the fun part — will be knowing which is which. Trust your gut. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) When life gives you lemon juice from concentrate, citric acid, high-fructose corn syrup, modified cornstarch, potassium citrate, yellow food dye, and gum acacia, what should you do? Make lemonade, of course! You might wish that all the raw ingredients life sends your way would be pure and authentic,

but sometimes the mix includes artificial stuff. No worries, Libra! I am confident that you have the imaginative chutzpah and resilient willpower necessary to turn the mishmash into passable nourishment. Or here’s another alternative: You could procrastinate for two weeks, when more of the available resources will be natural. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Your Mythic Metaphor for the coming weeks is dew. Many cultures have regarded it as a symbol of life-giving grace. In Kabbalah, divine dew seeps from the Tree of Life. In Chinese folklore, the lunar dew purifies vision and nurtures longevity. In the lore of ancient Greece, dew confers fertility. The Iroquois speak of the Great Dew Eagle, who drops healing moisture on land ravaged by evil spirits. The creator god of the Ashanti people created dew soon after making the sun, moon, and stars. Lao-Tse said it’s an emblem of the harmonious marriage between Earth and Heaven. So what will you do with the magic dew you’ll be blessed with? SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) It’s prime time for you to love your memory, make vivid use of your memory, and enhance your memory. Here are some hints about how: 1. Feel appreciation for the way the old stories of your life form the core of your identity and self-image. 2. Draw on your recollections of the past to guide you in making decisions about the imminent future. 3. Notice everything you see with an intensified focus, because then you will remember it better, and that will come in handy quite soon. 4. Make up new memories that you wish had happened. Have fun creating scenes from an imagined past. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Most of us know about Albert Einstein’s greatest idea: the general theory of relativity. It was one of the reasons he won a Nobel Prize in Physics. But what was his second-best discovery? Here’s what he said it was: adding an egg to the pot while he cooked his soup. That way, he could produce a soft-boiled egg without having to dirty a second pot. What are the first- and second-most fabulous ideas you’ve ever come up with, Capricorn? I suspect you are on the verge of

producing new candidates to compete with them. If it’s OK with you, I will, at least temporarily, refer to you as a genius. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) You may be familiar with the iconic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. It’s about a boy named Max who takes a dream-like journey from his bedroom to an exotic island, where he becomes king of the weird beasts who live there. Author Maurice Sendak’s original title for the tale was “Where the Wild Horses Are.” But when his editor realized how inept Sendak was at drawing horses, she instructed him to come up with a title to match the kinds of creatures he could draw skillfully. That was a good idea. The book has sold over 19 million copies. I think you may need to deal with a comparable issue, Aquarius. It’s wise to acknowledge one of your limitations, and then capitalize on the adjustments you’ve got to make. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) “People don’t want their lives fixed,” proclaims Chuck Palahniuk in his novel Survivor. “Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.” Your challenge in the coming weeks, Pisces, is to prove Palahniuk wrong, at least in regards to you. From what I can tell, you will have unprecedented opportunities to solve dilemmas and clean up messy situations. And if you take even partial advantage of this gift, you will not be plunged into the big scary unknown, but rather into a new phase of shaping your identity with crispness and clarity.

Go to to check out Rob Brezsny’s expanded weekly audio horoscopes /daily text message horoscopes. The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700.


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Slate of Hate  

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Slate of Hate  

LGBT community fights proposed legislation that could damage business, youth, schools and state