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4/20, 2016

Oklahoma Gazette examines the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. A joint project of OKG and The Oklahoma Daily. INSIDE




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Mission statement Oklahoma Gazette’s mission is to stimulate, examine and inform the public on local quality of life issues and social needs, to recognize community accomplishments, and to provide a forum for inspiration, participation and interaction across all media.

ON THE COVER Photo illustration Chris Street Inside This week celebrates April 20 (420). In pot parlance, that means it’s time to smoke. As Oklahoma’s debate for or against the legalization of medical or recreational cannabis rages, Oklahoma Gazette collaborated with University of Oklahoma journalists and the school’s campus newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, to report on related issues. See our coverage inside and at 4

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Gazette Weekly Winner! Jill Pettingill To claim your tickets, call 528-6000 or come by our offices by 4/27/16!


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Mark Woodward

Narcotic realities Oklahoma Gazette looks at the state’s most dangerous drugs. By Laura Eastes | Photo Garett Fisbeck

When it comes to marijuana — the most common drug in the world — the United States consistently ranks high in consumption. Nationally, about 7 percent of Americans age 12 and older have used marijuana in the past month, according to data in the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Oklahoma’s cannabis consumption falls short of the national average, as about 6 percent of survey respondents say they used marijuana within the past month. Data shows the national average is 7.5 percent (up from 5.8 percent in 2007). However, a separate NSDUH survey found Oklahoma leads the nation in nonmedical use of painkillers, with more than 8 percent of the population abusing or misusing them. National survey figures match narcotics trends tracked by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drug Control (OBN), the state agency responsible for combating illegal drug use and enforcing drug laws. “Right now, our drug addicts’ drug of choice is meth and prescription drugs,” said Mark Woodward, OBN spokesman. In a 2002 U.S. Department of Justice report, methamphetamine was named the “greatest drug threat to Oklahoma.” Around the millennium, Oklahoma’s drug problem began to move from streets to medicine cabinets as pain medication prescriptions proliferated. The report also listed the presence of street drugs — cocaine, marijuana and heroin — in the state. 4

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More than a dozen years later, pharmaceutical drugs are now responsible for 68 percent of drug overdose deaths across the state, according to OBN. Additionally, only one street drug — cocaine — was included in its list of the top nine abused drugs. In 2015, 823 fatal drug overdoses occurred in Oklahoma, an almost 140percent increase over the 344 deaths reported in 2001, OBN data shows. “They are in every medicine cabinet,” Woodward said about prescription painkillers. “You see teenagers abusing because of accessibility. You see people addicted to street drugs realizing they don’t have to feed their addiction on the street. … You don’t have to sneak around in a dark alley for a potentially dangerous drug deal. You can go visit grandmother and ask to use her bathroom.”

Arrests, reform

An Oklahoma Gazette analysis found the number of arrests for drug abuse violations in the state are declining. In 2002, Oklahoma’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, recorded 22,097 arrests for drug abuse violations, including sales and possession. Marijuana possession comprised 45.5 percent of arrests in the state. Possession of opium or cocaine and their derivatives, such as crack, morphine and heroin, followed with 15.6 percent of arrests. Possession of synthetic narcotics — laboratory-created drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone, which cause dependency — accounted for 13

percent. Possession of other dangerous drugs, which included methamphetamine and Benzedrine, made up 6.73 percent. According to the most recent Uniform Crime Report, Oklahoma law enforcement arrested 16,846 people for drug law violations in 2014, a decrease of 23.7 percent compared to 2002. Marijuana possession accounted for 52.39 percent of total drugrelated arrests. Synthetic narcotic possession arrests came in second with 20.24 percent, followed by other dangerous drug possession with 17.93 percent. Possession of opium or cocaine and their derivatives comprised 7.4 percent of the arrests. Currently, penalties for possession depend on the type and amount of drug a person is accused of possessing and the number of prior drug-related offenses. According to Oklahoma law, a first offense for marijuana possession is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum of one year in jail. A second offense is a felony and requires between two and 10 years. Illegal possession of Schedule I or II drugs — such as Ecstasy and LSD, oxycodone, methadone, amphetamine and codeine — is a felony punishable between two and 10 years and a $5,000 fine. A secondary offense can lead to a sentence between four to 20 years in prison. In recent months, Oklahoma lawmakers have pushed for reform of the state’s drug laws with House Bill 2479, which is one vote away from the governor’s desk. The measure reduces the mandatory punishment for subsequent drug offenses. Authored by Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, the bill would reduce first-time possession of marijuana offenses to jail time not to exceed a year. For first-time possession of a Schedule I or II drug, a person could face a felony punishment of no more than five years. Similar criminal justice reform measures are proposed in the citizen-led initiative petition known as State Question 780. The Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act calls for statutory changes to state law, including amending drug sentences. Under the measure, drug possession would be a misdemeanor carrying no more than one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000. Through early June, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform is collecting signatures in an effort to bring the question before voters in November. Proponents of criminal justice reform believe new policies are needed to curb the state’s high prison populations. Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform believe its proposal, coupled with measures to reinvest the savings in mental health and drug abuse treatment programs and job training, will reduce the number of prisoners. As president of the Oklahoma chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Norma Sapp has advocated for loosening restrictions on Oklahoma’s marijuana laws. She described adverse effects from simple possession arrests, such as struggling to afford the first-time offender fee of up to $1,000. Sapp said public opinion has evolved on drug laws. A circulator of state ques-

tions 780 and 781, Sapp hears comments about Oklahoma prisons being over capacity and the cost to incarcerate an offender. “It’s the expense,” Sapp said. “We’ve got to cut the bleeding from the state budget.”

Location influence

For decades, Oklahoma has played a critical role for many Mexican drug cartels in their efforts to push their products, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, into the United States. The drugs travel across the Texas-Mexico border and north on Interstate 35 into the Sooner State. “It is not uncommon for the cartels to send a shipment: two or three cars across with cocaine, two or three cars that have large quantities of Mexican tar or black tar heroin and two or three cars loaded with marijuana or ice [crystal meth],” Woodward said. “They move it through [Oklahoma] and use it as a base for trafficking. … A lot of these shipments are going to the East Coast , like Chicago or Boston. Some of the drug cartels set up cell groups in Oklahoma for managing those drugs.” In recent years, Oklahoma’s crackdown on locally run meth operations resulted in outsourcing meth from the Mexicobased drug cartels. Last year, OBN tracked 118 meth labs, down from 913 labs in 2011. During that period, meth-related deaths continued to rise, resulting in 265 deaths in 2015. “We are still having more and more people using meth; it is just sourced differently,” Woodward said. OBN has taken note of the rising heroin crisis in parts of the United States. Heroin abuse has skyrocketed in the Northeast and Midwest but has ticked upward at a slower pace in Oklahoma, Woodward said. “We’ve got so many more people in Oklahoma using meth or prescription drugs first, before ever going to heroin,” Woodward said. The Center for Disease Control links the rise of heroin to the addiction of prescription opioid painkillers. In some instances, even when taken as prescribed, patients develop a substance dependence to prescription painkillers; when the prescription stops or the prescription becomes too expensive, they turn to heroin. While heroin didn’t make OBN’s topnine abused drug list for 2015, fentanyl — a drug that delivers a heroin-like high — did. Fentanyl, a prescription painkiller, contributed to 68 Oklahoma deaths over the past year. “Heroin is almost the last resort because … you’ve got to go out on the streets,” Woodward said. “You’ve got to know a heroin dealer. … As prescription drugs get harder to obtain and doctors start cutting them off, they will start going on the streets.”


From left William Patrick Jones and Chelsea MarlettKennedy led Oklahomans for Health’s medical marijuana petition in the Oklahoma City metro. | Photo Garett Fisbeck

Good medicine

Oklahomans for Health presents a second petition to legalize medical marijuana. By Laura Eastes | Photo Garett Fisbeck

Days after Oklahomans for Health filed an initiative petition to ask state voters to legalize medical marijuana, William Patrick Jones was eager to begin. After first working on a California medical marijuana farm — cultivating medicine later used to treat illness and manage

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medical conditions — the Oklahoma native became a proponent for medical marijuana expanding into other states. In 2013, he returned to Oklahoma after a year in Colorado. Jones saw the benefits of medical marijuana firsthand, as he did in California. “There are so many ailments that this

Candidate forum plant — which has been “I never once had a and fundraiser negative reaction,” proven scientifically over Marlett-Kennedy said and over again — helps 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 20 about the 2014 petition reduce pain and, in some Oklahoma Democratic Party cases, cure diseases, from drive. “The people clearly Headquarters Crohn’s disease and epiwant it.” 4100 N. Lincoln Blvd. lepsy to PTSD [post-trauFor the most recent matic stress disorder] and petition, Oklahomans for $10 suggested donation chronic pain,” Jones said. Health switched tactics Jones’ experiences to call for statutory prompted his involvechange. By seeking statument in Oklahomans for Heath, a statewide tory reform, the group is required to collect grassroots organization that advocates for signatures of registered voters equal to 8 medical marijuana laws. More than 23 states percent of the last gubernatorial election. have legalized marijuana for medical use, The movement needs exactly 65,987 valid according to the Office of National Drug signatures to put it on the Nov. 8 ballot for a public vote. Control Policy. Under the proposal, new laws assert the Oklahomans for Health looks to add the Sooner State to the growing list as it pursues rights of Oklahomans who wish to use mara petition to get the issue before voters on ijuana for medical purposes. The group calls the November ballot. for the Oklahoma State Department of During the summer of 2014, Oklahomans Health to regulate the medical marijuana for Health volunteers collected more than licenses of patients, dispensaries, growers 75,000 valid signatures in support of a and transporters. Additionally, medical marijuana would medical marijuana question appearing on a statewide ballot. Proposed as a state conbe taxed at 7 percent with proceeds first stitutional question, the group fell short of going to pay for regulations. Excess tax funds collecting the necessary signature amount. benefit the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s general fund at 75 percent and Chelsea Marlett-Kennedy collected 700 the state Department of Health’s drug and of the signatures by sharing stories of soldiers battling PTSD and Oklahoma children alcohol rehabilitation programs at 25 suffering from Dravet syndrome. It was percent. important to share personal stories of chilMarlett-Kennedy and Jones predict voldren with brighter futures and veterans with unteers will begin collecting signatures in May. painless days because of cannabis.

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4/11/16 11:12 AM



J. Keith Killian at his University of Central Oklahoma office | Photo Garett Fisbeck

Critical care

Approaches to treating substance dependency are evolving, and many help options are available. By Laura Eastes | Photo Garett Fisbeck

J. Keith Killian remembers a time when censed as alcohol and drug counselors with turning away patients was the norm. a mental health designation, which is needed “If a patient came in and said they were to treat a dual diagnosis. UCO is the only depressed, but I found out that they were public state college with a freestanding subabusing alcohol, I would tell them, ‘Until stance abuse studies program. Its master’s you stop using alcohol, I can’t treat your degree track began six years ago, not long depression,’” Killian, a physician and psyafter patients with co-occurring disorders chiatrist, recalled. “It wasn’t until the early became the norm rather than the exception. 2000s that a lot of people started asking the “When we first started looking at the question, ‘Why aren’t we treating these at co-occurring issue, we knew it was a big the same time?’” problem for people,” Killian said. “Now, we Now, the co-occurring treatment model almost expect that a patient is suffering from is the standard. Research supports the best more than one thing. So many people conoutcomes when treating tinue their substance a dual diagnosis, or more abuse or start their subthan one disorder at a stance abuse as self-medFor more time, like when a patient ication for many different with opioid addiction also things. You’ve got to take A Chance to Change: has mental illness. Other care of them both and; disorders that co-occur treat them equally.” the group offers continuing are depression, anxiety, With statistics education classes 6:30-8 trauma or attention-defshowing opioid use on the p.m. each Monday at the icit hyperactivity disorrise in Oklahoma, coupled Boy Scouts of America der. with estimates that six building, 3031 NW 64th St. As the director of the out of 10 Oklahoma adults Call 405-840-9000. substance abuse graduate do not receive the mental program at the University health and substance Drug Free Oklahoma: abuse treatment they of Central Oklahoma need, addiction and (UCO), Killian trains the next generation of addicmental health counselors Oklahoma City Al-Anon, tion and mental health are needed now more a resource for relatives counselors. A majority of than ever. and friends of alcoholics: graduates become


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Mental health A new report finds that people with marijuana use disorder are vulnerable to other mental health disorders. Researchers from Columbia University and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, found that 2.5 percent of American adults suffered from marijuana use disorder, a condition characterized by the harmful consequences of repeat cannabis use. Findings show that people with the disorder, specifically those with severe forms, experience mental disability. The study calls for developing evidence-based treatment.

Help provided

In Oklahoma City, A Chance to Change Foundation stands ready to help. The nonprofit offers education, treatment and prevention programs to those suffering from addictions and behavioral disorders. Last year, staff served 2,223 clients. “It takes a village,” said Iona Cunningham, assistant clinical director and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. At A Chance to Change, counselors involve a user’s family in treatment. “Counseling is a huge piece, not only for the addicted person, but the people in their lives,” Cunningham said. “[Addiction] does not just affect one person, but the whole family.” Cunningham said her drug abuse and addiction patients typically come from two routes to treatment. “What I notice, it starts with alcohol or cannabis and moves up the ladder to opioids. Sometimes people go to heroin,” Cunningham said. “There is the other side: people who suffer from chronic pain or underwent back surgery. They get a high dosage of hydrocodone or oxycodone and become addicted.”

Federal conversation

Prescription opioid abuse is not limited to Oklahoma. Last month, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell called the opioid epidemic “one of the most pressing public health issues in the United States today.” When speaking at the National RxSummit in Atlanta in late March, President Barack Obama said opioid addiction is “devastating communities.” He said that in 2014, 28,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses, more than the number of people who died in traffic wrecks. Obama proposes dedicating $1.1 billion to fight the epidemic by moving more Americans into treatment. Already, HHS released $94 million to community health centers, including Midwest City’s Community Health Centers Inc. and OKC’s Variety Care, Inc., to expand medication-

assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. Additionally, Obama’s federal announcement was timed with more than 60 medical schools — including the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine — to announce new requirements for students to take some form of prescriber education. In mid-March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new rules that stressed doctors, when possible, should try to avoid prescribing addictive opioid painkillers for patients with most forms of chronic pain.

Treating addiction

Counselors look to a variety of different ways to treat addiction. Depending on factors and circumstances, a patient might receive medication, attend group or individual counseling, attend meetings, participate in a 12-step program or begin a supported plan of absence, stability and consistency. While sometimes hard for others to understand, addiction is a disease of the brain and should be treated like any other chronic illness, both Cunningham and Killian said. “One thing people really need to understand is that addiction has nothing to do with willpower,” Killian said. “It has nothing to do with moral failure. It is a chronic disease. Most people who have an addiction are genetically predisposed to it. “For the addict to say, ‘I wouldn’t do this again.’ When they say that, they actually mean it. Because this is a disease of the brain, willpower is typically not enough to stop it.” Killian is a supporter of medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependency. Unlike other rehab concepts, medicationassisted treatment combines behavioral therapy with treatment drugs like methadone and Suboxone to treat substance addiction. As a consultant at a local clinic, Killian has noticed opioid drug dependence impacts most age groups, men and women and all income levels. “Every one of them has something in common,” Killian said, “the inability to take control of this chronic disease.” Both Killian and Cunningham believe increased awareness about substance use, abuse, dependency and treatment is needed. Addicts and their families need to understand what is happening and know that help is available. One resource is Drug Free Oklahoma at, a website created by a woman who lost her brother to a prescription drug overdose. Michelle Evans began the site to bring awareness to prescription drug abuse, her platform as Mrs. Oklahoma in 2015. Signs and symptoms of abuse and listings of treatment facilities and the help line number, 1-855-378-4373, are posted. “There is help available,” Evans said. “I know it seems scary, but the hotline is there for crisis situations. This is a resource, and there is no reason for waiting to get the help that you need.”

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Sparking debate

Native American tribes weigh in on legalizing medical and recreational marijuana. By Wilhelm Murg

In October 2014, Department of Justice director Monty Wilkinson released a three-page memo regarding policies surrounding the Controlled Substances Act as it relates to Native American tribes. The “Wilkinson memo” states that priorities in an earlier memorandum “will guide United States Attorneys’ marijuana enforcement efforts in Indian Country, including in the event that sovereign Indian Nations seek to legalize the cultivation or use of marijuana in Indian Country.” By many, the memo was seen as a signal that marijuana was legal to sell on Native American land; tribes began investing in marijuana productions, and reservations planned pot resorts. However, it was not long before some of those same tribes were burning their crops and closing down operations for fear of government prosecution. Lael Echo-Hawk, who is Pawnee, is general counsel to National Indian Cannabis Coalition. She has been advising tribal leaders on subjects regarding the process of financing, designing and constructing marijuana cultivation and manufacturing enterprises since legalization began in Washington state in 2012. Echo-Hawk spoke with Oklahoma Gazette about the issues surrounding marijuana sales and production among tribes in Oklahoma, which will likely become a major issue in coming months. Oklahoma has one of the highest Native American populations in the country, second only to California.

Sparking interest

Echo-Hawk said only two tribes have opened small retail shops in the country, and they are both in Washington state. She sees this as an indication of how tribes interpret the memo. She said the directive gives tribes the freedom to see if their local district attorney desires to enforce

be sold in the state. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, along with the state of Nebraska, recently attempted to sue Colorado due to its legalized marijuana flowing into neighboring states, claiming it impeded Oklahoma’s and Nebraska’s “sovereign interests” and ability to enforce federal antidrug laws. On March 21, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Furthermore, U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) introduced the KIDs Act (Keeping out Illegal Drugs Act) in the U.S. Senate last year. It would prohibit Native American tribes and tribal organizations from “cultivating, manufacturing or distributing marijuana on Indian lands,” knowingly allowing it to be done or failing to destroy a crop and alert the “appropriate federal official” if an individual or entity is found growing or selling marijuana. Under the proposed KIDs Act, tribes or tribal organizations found in violation would be stripped of all federal benefits agreed to via historic treaties between individual tribes and the U.S. government. Lankford, who serves on the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (BIA), cited his concern for “protecting future generations of Indians from the harmful effects of illegal drugs,” in the act’s language. “Senator Lankford’s bill is horrific,” Echo-Hawk said. “It’s a termination bill; it’s awful. … I understand he has some personal belief about this issue, but he doesn’t get to decide what tribes do simply because he has an opinion. “Senator Daniel Inouye, who was a very powerful politician from Hawaii, would always say that he was personally opposed to gambling, but that it was for tribes to decide what to do, not for him. Senator Lankford should take a cue from that.” An Oklahoma Gazette contributing reporter contacted Sen. Lankford’s office for a comment about the proposed bill for

Tribes are being treated quite a bit differently than the rest of the country when it comes to this issue. Lael Echo-Hawk drug laws. If the district attorney doesn’t and agrees to leave the tribe alone, marijuana can be sold. “The problem is that there’s no uniformed standard,” Echo-Hawk said. “All of the regions take a different approach.” Many Oklahoma politicians are hostile to the concept of allowing marijuana to 8

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this story. It sent a press release about the bill dated Aug. 6, 2015. “Last time I looked, the KIDs Act didn’t have any cosponsors,” Echo-Hawk said. “I think he was trying to send a message to tribes in Oklahoma, frankly, that Oklahoma is not going to support this kind of initiative.”

Lael Echo-Hawk | Photo Patricia Vaccarino / Provided

New world?

Most agree that the idea of a Native American tribe opening a marijuana operation in a state where it is illegal is not a smart one and likely won’t happen. But while all this is going on, Oklahomans for Health, the grassroots organization with the goal of getting medical marijuana to a public vote on November’s ballot, is preparing a signature petition. Based on previous experience with its 2014 petition drive, the organization believes it can easily get the needed signatures to add it to the ballot. It is possible that medical marijuana could be legal in Oklahoma by the end of the year. “There is definitely economic opportunity in the industry,” Echo-Hawk said. “If you look at Colorado, in 2014, they made $700 million in sales. The state made $70 million in taxes. For 2015, it looks to be almost double; it’s a lot of money.” She points to hemp production as another way to encourage economic development for tribes, which many agricultural organizations — including American Farmers & Ranchers in Oklahoma City — are now in favor of allowing. There is a high demand for hemp products in the U.S. Even though it is cannabis fiber with no psychoactive properties, hemp farming was also outlawed in 1970 under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). “The only way to grow hemp under the

law is under the umbrella of the 2014 farm bill, which allows institutions of higher learning and resource institutes to grow hemp,” she said. “The Menominee tribe tried to do this up in Wisconsin, and the DEA came in and burned their stuff to the ground.” “[The tribe is in litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice] because the DEA, the state and the BIA said the tribal college is not an institute of higher learning for the purposes of the farm bill, which is total nonsense,” Echo-Hawk said. “Tribes are being treated quite a bit differently than the rest of the country when it comes to this issue.” A part of Echo-Hawk’s job is talking to congressional members, administrations and district attorneys as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Indian Health Service (IHS) and Bureau of Indian Affairs. “They are all making policies. They are all trying to figure out how to handle this issue,” she said. “We are trying to make sure the tribes don’t lose their federal funding if they decided to engage in the industry.” Every time a tribe accepts federal funding for self-governance, it agrees not to violate federal law, Echo-Hawk said. “There’s no two ways about it; if you engage in the sale, manufacture or production of cannabis, as it is defined by the CSA, it is a violation of federal law. A lot of tribes are hesitant because of that,” she said. “Other tribes are hesitant because

they know they are in a district where you have a district attorney who is tough on crime and who is not going to tell them to go ahead. And usually those are the states that don’t have legalization; Oklahoma is one of them. In the middle of the Bible Belt down there, I think it would be a costly mistake to engage in that.” Gaming was not fully illegal in the U.S., Echo-Hawk noted; there were rules and regulations on how to go about it when tribes began operating casinos. However, marijuana distribution is still a federal crime. “If you are a truck driver driving in production equipment for a hydroponic grow operation, you could go to jail for possession of paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture and distribute,” she said. “If it is over a certain amount, which isn’t very much, you can get a lifetime sentence. There’s a ton of risk involved, and mitigating the risk is one of the things I have been talking to tribes about. We go through all the scenarios.” The tribes in Washington have entered into compacts, or agreements, with the state. Echo-Hawk said she was leery at first, but once she realized what they gained, she could see the future for other tribes’ marijuana operations. “The problem was Washington state had already locked down their system. To buy into the system, you had to be licensed by the state, so the tribes entered into these compacts,” she explained. Tribes made concessions, she said. But if the legality is challenged, the state agrees to co-defend any challenge against the tribe. “So you have tribes now that have locked arms with the states,” Echo-Hawk said. “That’s how they’ve backstopped the issue of how to protect themselves.” The most logical reason for tribes to get into the marijuana business is the vast amount of unutilized farmland in Indian country, including some in Oklahoma. Much of it was leased out decades ago. As

James Lankford | Photo Garett Fisbeck / File

those leases expire, a lot of farmland reverts back to tribes or individual tribal members that are trying to figure out what to do with it. The irony that the historic policy of the government was to reeducate Native Americans so they would turn to farming rather than hunting for survival is not lost on Echo-Hawk. “Over the next 10 years, we’re going see

agricultural, it’s important,” she added. “When you combine that with the 2014 farm bill, where the government seemed to say they were just kidding, that tribes could not grow hemp, that’s very hypocritical.” High-quality cannabidiol (CBD) is made from hemp. CBD is a physiologically inactive form of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) sometimes used to medically treat ailments such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. U.S. Patent #6630507, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants,” was filed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The patent claims medical value contrary to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s definition of marijuana (cannabis) as a Schedule I drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” The National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, signed an exclusive license agreement with privately held Kánnalife Sciences Inc. to commercially develop the government patent. The company announced the agreement in 2012.

In the middle of the Bible belt down there, I think it would be a costly mistake to engage in that. Lael Echo-Hawk marijuana descheduled and we’re going to see hemp farms everywhere,” EchoHawk predicted, saying it could be the second highest-grossing crop per year, behind tobacco. “If you think about how much agricultural land tribes have and the fact that the United States government went around trying to dictate to tribes that they become

“[Kánnalife is studying CBD as a medical treatment] for people who have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from concussions, for people who are having the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s,” Echo-Hawk said. “It is so hypocritical to me that the United States has refused to reschedule even industrial hemp, but on the other hand, they have a

license because they understand what amazing medicinal properties this product could have.”

Witnessing results

Echo-Hawk’s sister has epilepsy. “I’ve given her some CBD products because it helps her sleep. If she sleeps, she doesn’t have grand mal seizures,” she explained. Her sister’s prescription epilepsy medication gives her insomnia. “CBD oil has been really good for helping her get the rest she needs, but IHS won’t pay for the medication that she needs. So, as a family, we pay for these very expensive drugs. It’s a crazy cycle,” Echo-Hawk said. “People with these health issues could be helped by really exploring the property of medicinal marijuana and the impact of CBD in-depth. Cannabis as a plant, as medicine, there is amazing science behind this. I think it will be life-altering when the real research starts.” Of course, while gaming was a major boom for many Indian tribes, Echo-Hawk said she believes that medical cannabis will not be as big of an economic boom because Native American tribes won’t be able dominate the market like they did with casinos. However, she believes tribes could still earn a lot of money. “Even when they have to compact with the state, the tribes have figured out ways to charge lower tax rates. For tribes, it is going to be about creating a product and infrastructure that makes it cheaper and more cost effective for people to come to the reservation to buy it, just like they do for gas and cigarettes. That’s where this is going,” Echo-Hawk said. “Demand is going to be very high at first, until it is saturated, then it will go back down and people will keep going out to the reservation and buying cigarettes, gas and marijuana there because it’s cheaper.” Learn more about the National Indian Cannabis Coalition at

Tribal hemp and cannabis farming has seeded a growing debate and threats by some U.S. politicians to threaten to void tribal treaties and halt federal tribal funding. | Photo O kg a z e t t e . c o m | a p r i l 2 0 , 2 0 1 6




Drug war refugees

Oklahoma’s rigid medical marijuana laws have forced some to leave the state even though the law prevents them from returning with needed medication. By Wilhelm Murg

phylactic shock. The seizures continued. “We didn’t have a choice,” BourlonHilterbran said. “I mean, what would anybody else do if it was their child? They would do whatever it took.” She and her husband, Jason Hilterbran, became politically active to get medical marijuana available in Oklahoma; she was a speechwriter for legalization advocate Sen. Connie Johnson. She also worked with Sen. Jon Echols, though she did not endorse his cannabidiol (CBD)-only law, which she called “a waste of paper.” “It should be completely and fully accessible; the entire plant, not just one compound,” she said. “CBD is one compound, and THC is one compound; the cannabis plant has over 486 known compounds, and our son gets all of them. Everybody should have access to all of them.” Pointing out that many of the prescription drugs Austin was on made him “like a zombie” and caused him to drool, BourlonHilterbran noted that Austin “has never been as high on cannabis as he has been on pharmaceuticals.”

Colorado reboot

Austin Hilterbran takes his cannabis medication. | Photo provided

Like the Oklahoma farming families forced from their homes during the Great Depression, a new generation of Oklahoma refugee families are uprooting their lives and heading for clearer skies. States with more progressive marijuana laws are seeing an increase in new residents from Oklahoma with a chronic or terminal medical conditions that are treatable with cannabis. Amy Dawn Bourlon-Hilterbran lived in Choctaw her whole life until December 2014. She moved to Colorado to seek treatment for her 14-year-old son Austin, who has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy. The condition brings on multiple forms of seizures along with cognitive impairment, behavioral disorders and motor deficits. Bourlon-Hilterbran said doctors tried virtually every anti-seizure pharmaceutical on the market. The drugs did not work and they had side effects that often exacerbated Austin’s problems. “Dravet syndrome is the genetic and absolute worst of the epilepsy syndromes because these seizures are normally intractable and there is cognitive and physical decline,” Bourlon-Hilterbran told Oklahoma Gazette. “Austin was on pharmaceuticals — dozens of different ones in different dosages — for over 10 years; none of them

stopped the seizures. In fact, three years ago, he was on life support because the pharmaceuticals started shutting down his organs.” Bourlon-Hilterbran’s voice cracked as she spoke; she relived the torment as she recounted the nightmare of watching her child go through seizures multiple times a day. “Austin would have five to 20 grand mal seizures every single day, and some days he would have hundreds. Most of those led to hospital stays,” she said. “The quality of life for our son devolved because of the seizures, the damage and the pharmaceuticals. It had become more than miserable. We were waiting for our son to die.” An experience with Keppra doubled his body weight and tripled the occurrence of seizures, and Lamictal sent him into ana-

Bourlon-Hilterbran and Austin moved to Colorado in December 2014. As soon as he started using cannabis medicine, Austin did not have a seizure for three days. Once the family saw Austin was responding, Jason and their two toddlers also moved there. According to Bourlon-Hilterbran, Austin has been weaned off daily pharmaceuticals, he is experiencing 95 percent fewer seizures and the organ damage is gone. Bourlon-Hilterbran said Austin recently had a hospital stay during which medical staff made an error and overdosed him on intravenous Ativan; his blood pressure dropped to 59/30. The first week, the hospital did not feel comfortable giving him his cannabis, so they tried every pharmaceutical drug that should have helped — Ativan, phenobarbital, Versed — but none of them stopped his seizures. Austin has two growers. One makes suppositories out of oil from the whole plant for him, while another makes oil out of a spore compound to rub on the soles of his feet. Bourlon-Hilterbran said Austin’s vital signs improved and his seizures reduced and ultimately stopped once the cannabis was in his system. “They were actually able to see me administer his cannabis medication,” she said. “It stopped the seizures in seconds and led to a change in perspective of the hospital.” Bourlon-Hilterbran said the hospital now allows nonhospital personnel to administer cannabis to patients. Dravet syndrome is genetic and cannabis cannot cure it, but she said there has been cognitive and physical im-

It should be completely and fully accessible; the entire plant, not just one compound. Amy Dawn Bourlon-Hilterbran Photo


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provement in the 15 months Austin has used medical cannabis. They can go to the park and play, and while he used to talk in the third person in one- to three-word repetitive sentences, he is now speaking in five- to seven-word sentences in the first person. He also used to clap his hands as hard as he could over and over, but the medical marijuana therapy has stopped it.

Outside support

Both sides of Austin’s family have deep roots in Choctaw, but he cannot come back to Oklahoma because his medicine cannot come into the state. “It’s still illegal because he takes the full plant,” Bourlon-Hilterbran said. The family left everything — friends, family, home and jobs — behind in Oklahoma. “To leave your support, the people who love you; they can’t see that Austin is getting better. They can’t see that Austin is no longer a zombie on pharmaceuticals; they just get to see pictures and hear stories about him and how great he’s doing,” BourlonHilterbran said. “It’s not fair.” The family experienced the financial, physical, emotional and mental stress of having a chronically ill child and then had to risk everything in the hope that cannabis could help. They organized a support group, the American Medical Refugees Foundation, for other families in their situation. One part of the organization is designed to help families with job placement when they move. After a year, the group has 152 member families. Many of the members travel back and forth to their home states to lobby for medical marijuana.

Continuing fight

Austin averages one seizure every two weeks now, and they are usually less than a minute long; however, he has gone for weeks and months without seizures since he started regularly using medical marijuana. “People say, ‘We don’t know the longterm effects of cannabis,’ [but] to date, no one has ever died of a cannabis overdose,” Bourlon-Hilterbran said. “If you are willing to say that to me to justify not giving me access, then why do you provide access to pharmaceutical drugs that have lists of side effects and have proven long-term damage and potential lethality? Cannabis saved his life, stopped the seizures and gave us our lives back. It gave us our family back. It gave us hope.” Bourlon-Hilterbran is currently the Colorado state chairwoman for CannaMoms, a nonprofit group that offers a community of support, awareness, education, legislative and legal assistance and financial help to parents who are doing everything they can to save their children. For more information about CannaMoms, visit cannamoms. com.


A student smokes a joint. Students from states where recreational marijuana usage is legal sometimes face difficulties adjusting to life in a state like Oklahoma where pot is illegal. | Photo Lexie Patterson / The Oklahoma Daily

Smoking scholars

Students from states in which marijuana is legal experience a range of bizarre cultural differences when they come to school in Oklahoma. By Derek Peterson of The Oklahoma Daily

Editor’s note: Oklahoma Gazette staff collaborated with University of Oklahoma journalists and the school’s campus newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, to report on issues related to medical and recreational marijuana use. Find more coverage online at The names Lars Harris and Hannah Jones are pseudonyms for sources who wished to remain anonymous. Students who travel from states in which marijuana is legal to states where marijuana is illegal often experience culture shock and encounter new attitudes toward the controversial drug. Marijuana enthusiasts at universities throughout the country smoke the drug that is outlawed entirely in more than 20 other states. Marijuana is legal for medicinal and recreational use in only Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. The controversy has even made its way to Norman, where students who come from states whose governments allow pot experience a shift in the popular beliefs associated with the drug. One student called it “an entirely different institutional attitude towards marijuana.” Lars Harris lived in Colorado before coming to school at the University of Oklahoma (OU). He said it was a bit of an adjustment to move from a place where marijuana wasn’t seen as a problem to a state where just the word “marijuana” carries a hint of criminality.

“There seems to be sort of an association with weed and criminality that exists through culture where the people who smoke weed are marked as criminals,” Harris said. “That has kind of shifted. Weed has become something that is more like alcohol, something that everybody does and something that your friends do even if you are an ‘uppity’ person.” Sarah Pitts, a journalism senior at OU and a former Colorado resident, agreed that there is a negative perception surrounding weed in Oklahoma. Pitts said that perception hinders the ability of people to truly learn and have meaningful discussions about the drug and whether or not to legalize it. “People are more open-minded, especially in states like Washington and Colorado, to both the pros and cons of legalization. Because it’s really heavily criminalized here, it continues to keep that negative connotation,” she said. “I do wish that people were maybe a little more open to talking about options, because I think if that happens, then more research could be done on marijuana.” Pitts also said if people allowed the conversation to take place and allowed for research on the medicinal and beneficial aspects of weed, more of their concerns would be answered and they might not be as opposed to weed as before. She said that conversation has already happened in Colorado and people have accepted marijuana. “[In Oklahoma, where weed and criminality are somewhat linked,] this cultural shift starts with a recognition of marijuana

as something that’s not merely a recreational, criminal drug, but also something that has important medicinal uses,” Harris said. “I think that the scientific literature is pretty conclusive that there are medicinal uses for marijuana. “When there is no longer a state understanding of marijuana as something which is criminal, but also as something which is beneficial, social groups tend to slowly come to that understanding as well.” Another out-of-state student said she has noticed the difference in how people obtain weed — not necessarily the means by which the drug is acquired, but rather the methods to get it and its prices. “The price is different here, too,” said Alannah Hobson, a human resources management junior at OU and former Colorado resident. “You’re going to pay more here than you are in [states in which it’s legal]. In high school, you could probably get a decent amount for $10, and it wasn’t a big deal. But here, you get the same thing for, say, $20.” Harris has had similar experiences. “It was always easily available; I never had to search to find weed, right? Here it’s like, ‘Oh, let me text 17 different random people to see how this is going to work out,’” Harris said. “It’s a completely different world.”

Strange substance

Hobson also said she thinks the drug’s more strict regulation in states where it is illegal leads to some of the negative student perceptions about it. She also detailed how she is often greeted by students who discover she’s from Colorado. “Typically, the first question people ask is, ‘Do you want to bring me some back with you next time you go?’ I understand; I would be curious too. It’s just different,” Hobson said. Pitts said she hears the same kinds of things. “The biggest thing I noticed was that, especially during freshman year, whenever

I said I was from Colorado, most people would say ‘Oh, do you smoke a lot of weed?’” she said. “That was just the first thing that everyone asked about, and I thought that was so funny that people cared so much and just automatically assumed that I smoked a lot of weed and wanted to talk about it. It seems just so novel here.” Hannah Jones, an environmental studies senior at Seattle University who asked to remain anonymous, moved to Washington from Colorado and said she didn’t experience the same kind of cultural shifts that Pitts, Hobson or Harris have experienced. “Honestly, I feel like there hasn’t been that great of a shift,” Jones said. “It hasn’t seemed like there’s been this great boom of people smoking weed because it’s legal. The people that wanted to do it in the past would find a way to do it, and I think now some people try it out that didn’t smoke before, but it didn’t change that much.” Jones said the popular correlation of criminality and marijuana one would find in Oklahoma doesn’t exist in Washington. “If you’re walking down the street and you smell weed, that’s not uncommon,” she said. Jones said students at her school feel more than comfortable talking about marijuana use in public, even with certain professors. Pitts said that type of conversation isn’t likely in Oklahoma. “In the South, a lot of people seem a little more conservative about it and are pretty adamant that they would never want to see it legalized here,” she said. Both Hobson and Harris talked about the different 420 celebrations that occur in states where marijuana has been legalized and said that type of widespread use is so different from what happens in Oklahoma. “It just happens so much [in Colorado]. It was just different to come here and have people that have never smoked before,” Hobson said.

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Pot perception

Many find medicinal benefits when using cannabis, regardless of whether or not it’s legal. By Derric Cushman and Ope Adegbuyi for The Oklahoma Daily Photo illustration Siandhara Bonnet / The Oklahoma Daily

Editor’s note: Oklahoma Gazette collaborated with University of Oklahoma journalists and the school’s campus newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, to report on issues related to medical and recreational marijuana use. Find more coverage online at and The names John Doe and Dave Smith are pseudonyms for sources who wished to remain anonymous. Although marijuana is illegal in Oklahoma, some University of Oklahoma (OU) students use the plant as a form of medicine to fight ailments they struggle with daily. While marijuana has been legalized in the neighboring state of Colorado, a debate still rages in Oklahoma over whether or not to decriminalize it. Oklahoma-based groups like Oklahomans for Health have been waging campaigns to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. The group also filed an initiative petition April 11 in an effort to put the proposal to a public vote on the November ballot. (Read more about the petition on P. 5) Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, a physician-scientist and adviser to the Oklahomans for Health initiative, said he believes marijuana has healing properties that can help people with some medical ailments. Aggarwal is a native Oklahoman who identifies himself as a “cannabinologist” on his website. Aggarwal said he studies the cannabis

hemp plant and works to further cannabinology of all kinds. He wants to help people like John Doe, a biology junior at OU, who need the plant for its healing properties. Doe said he feels marijuana helps him greatly with his sleep apnea. He said he has had apnea since childhood and marijuana has been the most effective treatment to date. “I felt that marijuana calmed me down better and made me relax a lot more than over-the-counter drugs,” Doe said. “It was more effective than melatonin or other drugs.” Doe said he continues to do research on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and he has yet to be negatively affected by it. The U. S. Dr ug Enforcement Administration has announced it’s reviewing how to classify marijuana, and a change could loosen restrictions on researchers. In 2013, CNN health reporter Sanjay Gupta found just 6 percent of marijuana studies in the United States focus on the substance’s medical benefits. The rest focus on harm. OU economics senior Dave Smith said marijuana is more effective at easing his pain than prescription drugs. “Marijuana helps to numb my pain; I would really like it to be legalized here,” Smith said. “Not for recreational purposes, but for medical purposes, yes. Just like any

Cannabis [or marijuana] is a traditional medicinal plant that’s been around since before recorded history. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal

Marijuana, although illegal in Oklahoma, is often used for medicinal purposes. Some organizations advocate for the legalization of the plant for medicinal use in cases like sleep apnea. | Photo illustration Siandhara Bonnet / The Oklahoma Daily

other drug, it has its uses.” Aggarwal has spoken about how marijuana’s illegality in Oklahoma has impacted the way people perceive it. According to Aggarwal, marijuana has been used medicinally throughout history and has been unfairly branded with a negative stigma through politics and ignorance. “Cannabis [or marijuana] is a traditional medicinal plant that’s been around since before recorded history, and we know that people have been using it for medicinal purposes,” Aggarwal said. “I looked into a lot of medicinal history and a lot of geographic history for where it was used and when it was used. I found out there was a big discovery in the early ’90s where the endocannabinoid signaling system was discovered.” Aggarwal said the discovery was a breakthrough in understanding how natural marijuana compounds interact with the human body. He said the endocannabinoid

signaling system plays an important role in regulating physiological functions, including mood, appetite, inflammation and pain perception. Aggarwal said that finding the signaling system’s involvement in so many things helped validate many of the traditional understandings of cannabis resin as having medicinal qualities. He found cannabis can have a positive effect on some of these functions in helping treat illnesses such as anxiety, depression, nerve pain and posttraumatic stress disorder. In the end, Aggarwal said he hopes campaigns like the one launched earlier this month by Oklahomans for Health achieve their goal of medicinal marijuana legalization. With the correct supervision of a physician, he said, marijuana is one of the safer options available to treat certain illnesses and symptoms.


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History, centered Landmarks and Turning Points in Oklahoma History lets guests delve into the Sooner State’s past. By Brett Dickerson | Photos provided

For more than 30 years, the annual or someone who has immersed themselves Oklahoma History Conference has proin this story.” vided a rally point for those interested in state history. Special presentations Organized by Oklahoma History Tom Love, cofounder of Love’s Travel Center and Oklahoma Historical Society, Stops & Country Stores, joins Blackburn this year’s conference, Landmarks and for his session, The Love’s Story, 11 a.m. Turning Points in Oklahoma History, runs April 28. April 27-29 at Woodward Conference Love’s family spans three generations Center, 3401 Centennial Drive, in in Oklahoma. Blackburn will show how Woodward. Oklahoma’s history coincides with the “Most of our presenters are not acafamily’s history. demics,” said Bob Blackburn, Oklahoma Love and his wife Judy started the company in 1964 when they leased an Historical Society (OHS) executive director. “They are people who have been inabandoned gas station in Watonga. It has terested in the subject, and they have a grown to include 370 retail sites in 40 real passion for it.” states. The three-day event incorporates 18 In 2015, Forbes ranked Love’s No. 14 formal sessions, conference luncheons, on its America’s Largest Private scenic tours, the Companies list. Oklahoma Historical Jay Hannah, a Cherokee historian Hall of Fame awards Landmarks luncheon and more. and the executive vice and Turning Points Blackburn said the president of financial in Oklahoma History society makes it a services at BancFirst, point to invite speakspeaks at noon April April 27-29 28 during the event’s ers and moderators Woodward Conference Center with passion and deep annual conference 3401 Centennial Drive, Woodward luncheon. He will knowledge of a topic. Session topics include discuss his efforts to conference Gov. Henry Bellmon’s save t he Beck405-522-0317 Hildebrand Mill in 1965 signing of the $15-$20 Oklahoma Arts and Delaware County. Note: Registration Humanities Council Best speculation deadline is noon Friday into law, topography shows the grist mill and turning points in was built around 1845 state history, homeand was rebuilt around 1907 after a steading, small-town space pioneers, Oklahoma City’s oldest flood did extensive damage. During the neighborhood and others. Panelists hail Civil War, Confederate troops — and later, from Tulsa, OKC, Moore, Muskogee, Union troops — used the mill as a key part Vinita, Ponca City, Ada and Clearview as of their supply operations. well as Arkansas, Texas and Iowa. In 2011, the Cherokee Nation bought “This is something that someone has the site to ensure a future preservation lived with and pursued,” Blackburn said. effort could be accomplished. Hannah’s “They are either a collector or an advocate presentation updates those efforts.

Jay Hannah

The April 28 buffet-style dinner honors Western Swing Society Hall of Fame member Ron Hohweiler. He will perform later that evening. Three bus tours also are available for conference guests. April 27, a 1:30 p.m. tour traces the route of Custer and his troops to the Battle of the Washita. April 28, two afternoon tours offer views of Fort Supply and a modern wind farm or sites in historic Waynoka. Blackburn said he is looking forward to another annual conference, as OHS and Oklahoma History Center see the “role of history in general as developing a sense of community.” “What do we share? What binds us

Bob Blackburn

together as a community?” he asked. “Because we are stronger together than we are divided.” Conference registration pricing varies by which tours, luncheons, receptions and other events a guest wishes to attend, Blackburn said. Standard conference registration is $15 for OHS members and $20 for nonmembers. Learn more and register at Conference registration deadline is noon Friday. Oklahoma History Center is a division of Oklahoma Historical Society.

Help us recognize outstanding leaders. To nominate one of Oklahoma City’s brightest young leaders visit

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for the 2016 Class of

deadline is friday, july 8, 2016. BrouGHt to you By

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friedNEWS Celebrity crush

Educational arrests

Elementary schools are for art projects, singing, learning basic skills, playing games, recess, boogers and, uh, buying drugs. Actually, two houses down the street from school are for buying drugs, which makes perfect sense because those second-graders sure do love their meth. reported that 11 arrests were made March 29 in connection to a drug ring located near Mustang Trails Elementary School, 12025 SW 15th St., in Yukon. An unnamed person pulled over and questioned by police said they bought methamphetamine, heroin and hydrocodone at two houses near the school. Police obtained search warrants and found meth, weed, Xanax, a loaded pistol, a stolen U-Haul and about $10,000 in cash. It isn’t clear what the U-Haul was for, unless the suspects thought carrying large amounts of drugs around in a big, orange trailer that screams, “Look at me! Look at me!” was a good idea. Teryl Ray Jeans, Johanna Rae Duley, William Ray Huskey Jr., Daniel Lee Kunkle, Vida Florene Lewis, Dominick Juan Adam Wood, Cameron James Reichel, Eddy Shawn Teel, Evan Story Bond, Amber Schompert and Cameron Schompert face multiple charges, none of which have anything to do with eating Elmer’s glue or calling little Timmy mean names on the playground.

Who doesn’t love Kristin Chenoweth? The charming Broadway star is talented, adorable and generous. She hasn’t forgotten the arts community in Oklahoma or her alma mater, Oklahoma City University. We at Chicken-Fried News are not surprised when we hear the Broken Arrow native was honored by PFLAG National, an organization to dedicated uniting LGBTQ people with their allies. According to Windy City Times, earlier this month, Chenoweth was one of three to receive an award at the eighth annual Straight for Equality Gala in New York. Actress Rosie O’Donnell presented the award. “Not only is she the most amazing talented individual I’ve ever known, she is without a doubt the most loving, honest, fully open-hearted human being I’ve ever met in my life,” O’Donnell was quoted in the Times. That’s how we feel, Rosie! Who doesn’t want to hug the charming little blonde who speaks about her Oklahoma roots? At the gala, Chenoweth recalled asking her conservative, religious grandmother why some believe that people who are gay are going to hell. Chenoweth told the crowd her grandmother responded, “I read the Bible like I eat fish. I take the meat that serves me well, but I don’t choke on a bone.”

Go West(brook)

Just when you think you can’t be surprised by Russell Westbrook anymore, think again. Fashion plate? Check. Loving husband? Check. Celebrity endorser of products? So many checks. And then you remember he’s also an amazing basketball player. It would be hard for almost anyone to play alongside Kevin Durant without being overshadowed, but Westbrook is not so quietly doing something pretty amazing. He has amassed 18 triple-doubles so far this season (as of April 15), beating Magic Johnson’s 1988-89 season for the most in the last 33 years. For you nonsporty types who might call it “hoopsball” or something, a double in basketball means you got a double-

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digit number in points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocked shots. A triple-double is when you knock out three of those categories in a single game. Westbrook is having an amazing year, including capping off his 18th triple-double in less than 18 minutes. That’s the second-fastest triple double in NBA history. Whatever happens to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs, let’s take a second to marvel at this strange happenstance. Who would have thought 20 years ago that not only would Oklahoma City have a professional basketball team, but one that is perennially in contention for a title with two of the most transcendent players in NBA history?

Whopper pranks

Last week, Burger King workers in Oklahoma and Minnesota saved themselves and their store from imminent gas leak explosions by smashing the windows out of the fast-food franchises. If that sounds weird to you, well, it sounded crazy to them, too. But the guy on the phone claiming to be a fireman sounded like a real professional, according to The Washington Post. “For a prank, this is very bizarre. I’ve

never heard of anything like this,” Thomas Larman of the Shawnee Fire Department told “[The prankster called and told employees there were] high levels of carbon monoxide in their building and they needed to break out all their windows,” Larman explained. So they hurled a bunch of furniture through the glass, causing around $10,000 in damage. Workers in a store near Coon Rapids, Minnesota, used tire irons to break out their windows. A similar prank was pulled earlier this year at a California Burger King location, causing $35,000 in damage, according to The Washington Post. Jack in the Box and Wendy’s locations in Arizona also were pranked. “We would never call you and say you have high levels of carbon monoxide in your building. We would

never tell you to destroy your property,” Larman told kfor. com. The Coon Rapids police emphatically echoed Larman’s sentiment in a press release, saying it “WOULD NEVER call a residence or business to ask them to take action of any kind,” according to Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Hall no

Ever get to the checkout lane at the grocery story only to realize there’s not enough money to pay for that incredible amount of food in the basket? It’s a special kind of humiliation, one that starts with making a value judgment between a dozen apples and two boxes of White Cheddar Cheez-Its and ends with putting back a dozen apples. The City of Yukon is finding itself in the flustered customer role, only instead of spending too much on some Red Delicious, they’re putting off plans for a new city hall. There were plans to build a new facil-

ity near the intersection of E. Main Street and Yukon Parkway, but recently discovered financial errors and mismanagement have forced the city to move on. It is estimated by the city manager that Yukon is facing as much as $3 million in debt. The Yukon City Council recently voted to sell the land intended for the new site. According to a story by, Yukon is due to pay $2.4 million for the land in September. It’s too bad Yukon can’t afford a new hall. Have they considered starting a GoFundMe? It sounds silly, but there have been odder Internet requests for cash. Perhaps they should seek a sponsor. Call it Yukon City Hall Powered by White Cheddar Cheez-Its.

Quote of the week “They changed it. It’s going right through my house — my house, where my kids were basically raised, rode ponies all their lives, over 30 years of memories.” Local resident Johnnie Schofield reacted to the April 14 reveal of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s latest route for a planned Northeast OK County Loop toll road. | Source:


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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.

Legalize options


On April 11, the Oklahomans for Health organization filed paperwork to pursue State Question 787. This petition drive will place language on the November ballot to allow medicinal marijuana use under the care of a doctor in Oklahoma. This follows up on the effort begun two years ago that attempted an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution. The major difference with this new petition is the language will instead amend the Oklahoma statutes. This only requires 8 percent of the number of votes in the previous governor’s election, about 66,000 signatures of registered Oklahoma voters. The last attempt saw more than 75,000 signatures collected. We simply need to look around us at those who would receive the benefits of this treatment for why this is so important. When watching a loved one enter the final stages of life and seeing their need for pain management, it is apparent to many that all options should be on the table for doctors to use. To see a person in their final days need a morphine drip should be enough for anyone to realize another form of pain treatment should be allowed if available. Often, chemotherapy, the treatment for cancer, is as excruciating as the actual illness. Others can attest to friends who have struggled with painkiller addiction from prescription medications, which many times lead to arrest. I also have known those who have lost their lives due to this struggle. The final conversation I had with a friend from my hometown

I trust medical doctors — not bureaucrats or politicians — to make decisions on my best plan for health care.

before he died was on this exact topic. He simply did not understand why it was illegal to use something that could help so many overcome the devastating effects of pain pill dependence. His son faced addiction to narcotics, and he saw this as a way to find the help he needed to overcome that. I know he would be proud the state is now giving a serious and legitimate consideration to this discussion. I became more involved after meeting with Brittany Hardy, a mother who fought for the use of CBD oil for her daughter to help overcome the seizures this child was experiencing. This led to a bipartisan legislative study and a new law to allow children to have this as a treatment. Strides have been made, and now the next step to treat others should be considered. Ultimately, I trust medical doctors — not bureaucrats or politicians — to make decisions on my best plan for health care. The stigma associated with marijuana is instilled in us as we grow up. It has grown less polarizing as Oklahoma Farm Bureau and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company support policy to legalize commercial growing of hemp for economic purposes.


‘Education experts’


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Law enforcement has its concerns, and many are justified. We do need regulation of these many substances to avoid abuse or addiction. I disagree with them that something should be completely banned instead of placed under the care of a doctor if it improves the life and health of someone. Simply saying no to all cases is too heavy-handed. With this current petition language, there is additional funding guaranteed for oversight and regulation. This will provide the resources for them to verify if someone has possession with a legitimate license for usage. Law enforcement will adapt to regulation just like they did following the repeal of prohibition of alcohol over 80 years ago. Please give this a serious and legitimate discussion. I feel this is important for those in need of all options for the care of a doctor. I hope you will agree and sign the petition.

The Sacramento Bee paper; you know, as in “those Okies.” Fortunately, Sen. John Sparks amended the bill to require the attorney general to determine what the defense of the law in court would cost taxpayers. Maybe that price will convince House legislators that this is certainly not what Oklahoma needs in our budget crisis era; at least we should be hope so. Chadwick Cox Norman

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 or sent online at Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

I teach in Oklahoma City Public Schools, and I am disappointed that the catchphrase “school-to-prison pipeline” has become the mantra of so many “education experts” who have not been in a real classroom in a very long time. These overpaid ed gurus seem to act as though teachers like me simply want to throw students out the door so we can have an easy time while teaching. What we want is to save students from prison, unemployment and harm, but often, we spend most of our time and energy managing classrooms where a few disruptive students make it impossible for the majority of the class to learn. Alternative education works. However, every year, usually before the first nine weeks are up, we are told that all available spaces in the alternative schools have been

Joe Dorman is a Democrat from Rush Springs who represented District 65 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 12 years. He was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Oklahoma. Photo provided

filled. We are then faced with a dilemma: Should we simply put up with the disruption, or do we show students that there are consequences for bad behavior? Too often, we just put up and shut up. R. Lynn Green Oklahoma City

soul. I am thankful to have such a progressive paper like Oklahoma Gazette, and this recognition of his work is one of the many reasons why. Kevin Moore Norman

Frenetic thanks

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 40-7, mostly along party lines, to approve the bill by Broken Arrow Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm that would deny doctors performing abortions a medical license or renewal in Oklahoma. That even made

Thank you so much for recognizing my friend and musical genius Tyson Meade with this prestigious award (Music, “Frenetic fortitude,” Christine Eddington, Oklahoma Gazette)! He is such a wonderfully creative

‘Those Okies’

Conservatives want to make government so small that they can drown it in a bathtub? They’ve drowned the schools, the roads and bridges, DHS and rural health care. What about the subsidies for corporations? I doubt it! Elda Davis Bethany


I think it is time for our state legislators to leave the gays and lesbians alone and move on to more important matters. They should move to ban the manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of frozen chicken-fried steaks. They are an abomination unto the eyes of God. After all, Jesus never ate a frozen chicken-fried steak. Jay Rice Del City

re v ie w


Fuze-ion cuisine With a world of foods under one roof, this local Las Vegas-style buffet doesn’t ask you to choose just one. By Greg Elwell | Photos Garett Fisbeck

“Yes,” she said. At a buffet lined with steak, stir-fry, tacos, seafood, sushi and gelato, the salad bar is tantamount to the garnish on your entree. You could eat it, of course, but it’s just there to look pretty before you get to the main course. I am torn by my love for the Mongolian barbecue. On the one hand, it’s delightful. Grab a bowl and fill it with meats, vegetables, sauces, seasonings and what-have-you. Grab an egg while you’re at it. Take that flaFuze Buffet & Bar vorful uncooked melange to the counter and be prepared to wait 6512 Northwest Expressway a minute. Someone will toss it 405-603-8668 on the grill, scraping and flipWhat works: When it’s fresh on the line, ping and chopping it up for you. the steak is the best deal around. Do you want it over rice or maybe as lo mein? You get it What needs work: Sushi is bland. Mongolian barbecue often moves slowly. back in a giant bowl, which you can either take back to your seat Tip: Is the buffet out of something you want or try to balance in your arms to try? Ask someone and they’ll refill it. as you collect more tasty bits and bobs. The Mongolian barbecue is We live to eat and eat to live. That’s why wonderful, but it takes time, even without Fuze was more or less inevitable. a line. And it’s quite filling, depending on Eventually, someone would see that our what you choose, which is good and bad. boundless love of food and our rapacious Surely I’m not the only one who goes to a thirst for adult beverages should be combuffet thinking, “I’m going to eat everybined into one gut-busting juggernaut. thing.” It’s harder to eat everything else if you’re already full of one thing. Upon entering Fuze, you will be If you can resist the siren song of the greeted by a host who will take you and your party to a table. A server will come Mongolian barbecue, then you will likely by to offer you drinks — alcoholic or non end up with the steaks. Grilled to a juicy — and direct you to the buffet. perfection, the steak is best when it has The first thing you will see is the salad spent the least amount of time sitting bar. Note I did not say “your first stop” under the heating lamp. Do you want two? because you will not stop there. No one Three? Take them. Don’t be a jerk and take does. a whole side of beef while other people are “Does it get lonely over here?” I asked waiting, but it’s a buffet. Get what you the woman behind the salad bar. want. What happens in a Las Vegas-style buffet stays in a Las Vegas-style buffet. Fuze Buffet & Bar, 6512 Northwest Expressway, is far from Oklahoma City’s first buffet, nor will it be the last. We are a city of eaters, a people who shall not be controlled by so-called “portion sizes” or “urgent pleas from medical professionals who are concerned about your health, Greg.”

The tableau also features ribs, pork and turkey among other choices. Steak is the most popular, but I found the turkey, when freshly sliced, to be tender and juicy. Cross the busy aisle and you’ll find a large section dedicated to sushi. While I’m an eternal fan of raw fish wrapped in rice, I am sad to report that Fuze’s sushi buffet leaves something to be desired: flavor. The rice is fine. The fish is fine. The sauce is fine. It’s all fine, but you can save space on your plate and in your tummy for even better-tasting fare. Ditto for the burger bar. It’s not that it isn’t fun to build your own burger; it’s just that you can do that almost anywhere. That said, if you’ve ever thought, “What would a cheeseburger with mu shu chicken and taco meat taste like?” then Fuze is the perfect place for your mad culinary scientist dreams to see the light of day. For the most variety, you will need to pay the highest price. Fuze has a larger selection of seafood, like crab cakes and crab legs and other, less-crabby items, available at night. Lunch on weekdays is $8.99. Dinner 4-9 p.m. weekdays and all day on the weekends is $12.99. Kids 2 years old and younger are free. Three-year-olds

are $2.99, and it’s an additional 50 cents for each year until they’re 12. And, believe me, your kids will want to go to Fuze. Even children that aren’t yours will befriend you in the hopes that you’ll take them. Because the dessert case is immense. Pies and cakes don’t stretch as far as the eye can see, but that’s OK. You can’t eat everything that’s there as it is; don’t get greedy. But also don’t forget to turn the corner, because that’s where the gelato and ice cream and fixings bar is located. Did you know your stomach makes extra room for dessert? Japanese scientists actually proved it, as much as science can definitively prove anything. So even if you load up at Fuze like you’re about to move west on the Oregon Trail, you’ll still have room for a scoop of peanut butter gelato. For the sheer depth and breadth of allyou-can-eat options under one roof, it’s absolutely worth a trip up Northwest Expressway to fill a plate or seven and see for yourself.

Steaks on the grill

Fried chicken and mashed potatoes with brown gravy

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Wagnon Roasts founder Ross Wagnon

Daily grind What should I do with my life? Ross Wagnon’s answer: coffee.

By Greg Elwell | Photo Audrey Dodgen / Provided

Addiction is a disease, and the cure, so much as there is one, often involves cultivating a new addiction. When Ross Wagnon got sober after 10 years, he needed something to fill the void. “I found coffee,” he said. “And, like all obsessions, you want to have the best. I dove into the coffee world.” Coffee fanaticism can take many forms. Some become obsessed with the equipment: pour-overs and French presses and old-school percolators. Others get lost in the process: the precise grind of the beans, the temperature and purity of the water and the method of extraction. Wagnon went deeper. After trying commercially roasted coffee, he decided to make his own by ordering raw beans and roasting them at home. “It was a hobby for a couple of years,” he said. “I built a contraption to roast beans on the grill.” At first, he roasted for himself. Then he did it for friends and family. Wagnon fell in love with the art of roasting. Now he’s finishing up a preaching ministry degree from Oklahoma Christian University and asking himself what’s next. “I thought about what I want to do with my life,” he said. “The answer is coffee.” So Wagnon Roasts was born. Currently an online venture, the one-man company sells small-batch roasted beans at It’s a startup, and he’s still learning the ropes of how to take his passion and make it a viable business. “There’s a huge difference in roasting at home versus the consistency of com-

mercial roasting,” he said. “I’m getting ready to make it a steady part of my life.” He spends about six hours a day roasting on the grill, and each roast takes 10 to 18 minutes. He said it’s not a set-it-andforget-it job, either. “I have to pay attention to sight, sound and smell,” he said, “listening to the roast, looking at the color and changing the heat or adjusting the airflow to get it right.” To grow the business, he started a crowdfunding page at wagnonroasts to raise $10,000 for a commercial roaster to replace what his father refers to as the Rube Goldberg machine he built for his propane grill. He stuck with his name for the company because he wants to develop a personal relationship with other coffee lovers. “I love the idea of people seeing that coffee and knowing the guy who roasted it,” he said. Twelve-oz. bags of coffee are $16, but he hopes to start a program with 6-oz. portions in mason jars that can be returned and refilled at a discount. Ideally, Wagnon said he would like to open up a coffee shop to roast, make and sell coffee. And his payment system is fairly unique. “I’m a story collector,” he said. “I’d love for people to have that personal face-toface transaction where they can pay for a cup of coffee by telling me their story.” Who knows? Maybe learning the tales of Oklahoma City’s burgeoning coffee community will become his next obsession.

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Hidden gem

Golf might be members-only, but The Trellis Bar and Grill at Rose Creek serves everyone. By Greg Elwell | Photos Alex Galindo / For Gazette


Tues-Thurs 5PM-10PM | Fri & Sat 5PM-11PM Sun 5PM-9PM

Now taking reservations on Open Table 1 block from Civic Center & OKC Museum of Art

Gift Cards Available

305 N. Walker


Running a restaurant is hard enough these days. Being hidden away in a golf club just makes it harder. Executive chef Arlen Buff took over the menu at The Trellis Bar and Grill at Rose Creek Golf Club, 17031 N. May Ave., about six years after it opened. There was a problem. “The members weren’t eating here,” he said. “They might get a burger or a club sandwich, but that was it.” Trained at the Le Cordon Bleu campus in Pasadena, California, in 2006, Buff worked his way across the U.S. in restaurants in Los Angeles, Houston, Hawaii and, most recently, at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. At The Trellis, he immediately recognized two hurdles he had to overcome. First, the people at the club weren’t interested in the menu. Second, he needed people from outside Rose Creek to eat there to make it work. “People assume, tucked away on a private golf course, that we’re a private restaurant,” he said. “We’re open to everyone.” Even if you’re not sure what a sand trap is, you can still get a sandwich at The Trellis. And that’s where Buff made the other big change: the menu. “We revamped everything,” he said. “It’s a rustic American menu. I like to take things you’re comfortable with and put a little twist on it.” Buff added the pork lover sandwich ($9) to the lineup and has seen customers step outside their comfort zones to try a fried pork loin covered in jalapeño gravy and candied bacon. The same goes for the mac and cheese burger ($11), which combines grass-fed beef with a spicy pepper jack and jalapeño macaroni and cheese. “Going fresh is the key. That was my first change,” he said. “We make the dressings now. We make the soups. We use local produce when possible by getting to know

local farmers and butchers.” Little touches and new techniques are bringing a fairly staid menu “to the next level.” Things like compound butters might be old-school, but they work. Speaking of work, Buff’s biggest challenge isn’t retraining diners to try new items. It’s finding the right staff to make the food. He said excitement is more important than experience. “I look for someone who has a passion for food but needs to be taught,” he said. “Everything else can be learned, but you can’t teach a love for food.” New menu items go through rigorous testing and tasting so Buff can break down textures and flavors for cooks and show them how he got to the end product. Then they work the station together until the cook has it down pat. Buff is still learning, too. Catering to the tastes of members and just understanding what the Oklahoma City market craves takes work, but he has created a menu he thinks will appeal to a much broader audience. “I want people to have fun when they eat,” he said. “I like strong flavors that encourage people to eat. We eat too much of our lives not to do it right.”

Sous vide salmon salad

Carnitas pizza 20

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Tickets start at $30 // Shows through April 24 Tickets: 405.524.9312 .

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Doug Iske and Chad Trost with the truck at Penn Square Mall

Chew-chew train

Douglas Iske’s started out online, but it has quickly found a home in Oklahoma City. By Greg Elwell | Photos Garett Fisbeck

Is there a better place on earth to be the home base of a business called than Oklahoma City? Owner Douglas Iske doesn’t think so, even though he’s a native of Omaha, Nebraska, and an Internet business can be run from anywhere with a computer. “My former business partner lived here, and at the time, it made sense for me to be closer,” he said. “Then, I found out I really like Oklahoma City. I come from a farm family, so it reminds me of home. There’s just a great sense of community here.” So when it was time to take the next step with the business, he opted to stay. In fact, he’s importing family to help run the business. Chad Trost is Iske’s cousin from Omaha who came to Oklahoma to spend his days like so many teenagers wish they could — hanging out at Penn Square Mall. Trost sells exotic jerky, summer sausage and licorice from’s signature motorized van just north of the central hub of the mall.

Plans change was never supposed to be a brick-and-mortar store. Iske’s background is Internet marketing, meaning he builds businesses by providing products to underserved niche markets online. People wanted beef jerky, so he built a website to sell it to them. That has been going for eight years. “Find a need and fill it,” he said. “It’s

the same for furniture or clothing. Jerky. com started off like anything else, but then it turned into a labor of love. Now we’re building a brand.” He was talked into taking the virtual shop’s wares into the real world of local markets, giving out free samples and getting Oklahomans hooked on his products. “People would ask, ‘Can I just come to your store and get more?’ and I’d say, ‘We don’t have a store. Just go online.’” But when people asked and asked and asked, the Internet marketer said it started to penetrate his thick skull. There was a need, so he filled it. The truck still goes out a lot, but the headquarters in Midtown, 918 N. Hudson Ave., is about to celebrate one year in business. As easy as it would be to stay behind the keyboard, Iske said he has found joy in seeing people respond to his products.

pany the jerky in a gift basket. That’s where the exotic animal summer sausage came from. And when people said they wanted to sate their sweet tooth, Iske wanted to add something that was similar to jerky in an old-fashioned way, but with a twist. That

deep-fried peanuts, which are eaten shell and all. Iske said it’s a mix of comforting and new. That’s the sweet spot. The jerky selection started with 12 flavors as well. Now has over 100 in varying types of seasoning, meat and process. One interesting version is a South African-style jerky called biltong. Rather than cutting and then drying the beef, biltong is made by drying and then cutting, giving it a subtler flavor reminiscent of steak. Like so many other things in the business, the growth comes down to demand. “People came back from Florida and asked if I’d ever had alligator jerky. You hear it enough times and you know there’s a demand for it. I’m kind of thick-headed,” he said. “The same happened with kangaroo jerky.” Those are seasonal products because the supply chain is tricky. Getting the right quality of meat reliably is difficult, which is one reason those varieties sell out so quickly.’s brand has become so defined to Iske that the company has spun off brands for different types of jerky, like the “soft and tender” Bricktown jerky or the rough, tough Cowboy-style jerky of the Oklahoma Jerky Company. That’s quite a change for a business that was supposed to be a turnkey operation for Iske. Though he didn’t plan on making dried meat his life’s passion, he found a market and a home in Oklahoma City.

People would ask, ‘Can I just come to your store and get more?’ and I’d say, ‘We don’t have a store. Just go online.’ Douglas Iske led to selling different flavors of licorice. “We started with 12 flavors, and we’re adding two new ones next month,” he said. The site still focuses mainly on seasoned, dried meats, but it also offers what Iske called “man gifts” before quickly correcting himself. “Really, they’re gifts for everybody,” he said. “People just want better rounded gifts.” One of the most unique products is the

Soon, the company will make another expansion into one of the city’s newest centers for commerce and entertainment: Chisholm Creek. Another store will sit alongside Top Golf, iFly, Cabela’s and Republic Gastropub’s second location. “When people find out about all the things Chisholm Creek is going to have ... it’s a big deal,” Iske said. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”

Growing market

Iske claims that he literally eats, sleeps and breathes jerky, which is probably, at most, two-thirds true. What is true is that the team is constantly dreaming up new flavors. Not all will make it to market, but Iske said team members are always listening to customers, trying to figure out what other needs they can fill. Though plenty of folks are excited to just buy peppered beef jerky or buffalo jerky, customers were asking if there was something else they could get to accomThe truck is located inside Penn Square Mall.


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©2016 SFNTC (2)



*Plus applicable sales tax Offer for two “1 for $2” Gift Certificates good for any Natural American Spirit cigarette product (excludes RYO pouches and 150g tins). Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Offer and website restricted to U.S. smokers 21 years of age and older. Limit one offer per person per 12 month period. Offer void in MA and where prohibited. Other restrictions may apply. Offer expires 12/31/16.

Oklahoma Gazette 04-20-16.indd 1

O kg a z e t t e . c o m | a p r i l 24/7/16 0 , 2 0 1 611:27 23 AM

brief s By Greg Elwell


•Raised roof

Photo Gazette / File

One of the best patios in Oklahoma City reopens next week. Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s Roof Terrace begins the season Thursday as part of Art After 5, a weekly Thursday night event. Each Thursday through late October, the terrace opens for live music, a full bar, access to museum galleries and gorgeous views of the city for $5 after 5 p.m. Starting Thursday, the terrace opens from 5 to 10:30 p.m., though high temperatures or wind and storm warnings can affect the availability of the space. Visitors can sign up for Roof Terrace email alert at to receive updates on weather-related delays and closings.

Seafood diet

Photo Gazette / File

•Beer garden

Perhaps best known for whiskey (or maybe its eponymous dessert), Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar, 1845 Northwest Expressway, hosts a day-after-Earth Day beer garden in front of the restaurant 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Local breweries will offer complimentary samples of their beers, and a homebrewing expert will be there to give sustainable beer-brewing tips. Local nurseries join in the farmers market-style event with sales of herbs and saplings for guests to plant at home.

Cow town

Conde Nast Traveler published the results of a readers poll for the best cities for hamburgers in America and we’re No. 1! Nobody else had a chance with Oklahoma City in the running. Our mecca for grilled beef patties beat out Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Orlando, Florida; and Las Vegas, Nevada, with notable love for the quickly expanding local shops Tucker’s Onion Burgers, 324 NW 23rd St., and The Garage, 307 E. Main St., in Norman. Conde Nast also name-dropped the lamb burger at Ludivine, though that particular delicacy is actually a permanent feature at sister restaurant The R&J Lounge and Supper Club, 320 NW 10th St. 24

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Swimming is great exercise, but even eating foods that swim can do wonders for the waistline, according to Seafood Nutrition Partnership. That group is working with Moore resident Rob Morris for OKSeafood Slimdown. Morris is eating seafood as his primary source of protein for his day-to-day dietary needs for six months. He started April 1. Norman Regional Health System will act as his medical support team for monthly check-ups to make sure he stays healthy. “We’re confident that this new positive change in Rob’s lifestyle habits will lead to healthier choices and overall good health,” said Dr. Michael Klepper, Morris’ official primary care doctor, in a press release. “As with any lifestyle change, we recommend consulting with a medical professional beforehand and are proud to support Rob throughout his journey.” The American Heart Association estimates a quarter of all Oklahoma deaths are related to heart disease, which is why Seafood Nutrition Partnership is challenging Morris and other Oklahomans to eat seafood twice a week. Following the weekly plan for seafood can lower the risk of heart disease by 36 percent. To bring awareness to his commitment, Morris is documenting his experience with his smartphone for his public figure Facebook page and a collaboration with Moore Monthly and

Get Swirled with us ON THE PATIO!


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g a z e di b l e s

eat & DRINK

Highly respected

We all get hungry. But there’s a certain ravenousness that takes hold around mid-April. People mysteriously get mellow, but also quite intensely focused on snacks. Oddly enough, this pervasive need for food is not necessarily preceded by an excess of planning, which leaves many at home, stomachs rumbling, at the tender mercies of the munchies. Thank goodness these local restaurants cater to those in need. By Greg Elwell Photos by Garett Fisbeck


730 NW 23rd St. | 405-702-6960 There is no way The Pip was designed by someone who hasn’t experienced a few mood-altering substances. A wrap filled with black beans, rice and Cheetoscrusted chicken? What’s fascinating is how much the menu works regardless of one’s appetites. The Ramen Rap is a work of art. The Ring of Fire is a pizza that will burn the hunger out of you from the inside out. Add on a gorgeous view of 23rd Street from the roof and it’s always Guyutes time.

Taqueria La Tropicana 1022 SW 29th St. 405-634-8231

“But where is the taco emoji?” people asked. Had we really fallen so far that the act of typing out the word “taco” became too much to bear? It’s not as if you even have to make the tacos yourself; certainly you can spare the effort to type three more characters. And for Taqueria La Tropicana, you should be able to type all 19 letters and quite a few more, because these are the tacos dreams are made of. They’re so good you should savor them, but small enough you can just order more.

Zorba’s Mediterranean Cuisine 6014 N. May Ave. | 405-947-7788

Zorba’s does so much more than gyros. Much more. Yet when it really comes down to it, you know you want that fatty, juicy seasoned meat; the soft, chewy pita; and the tangy bite of the tzatziki sauce. Kebobs are a delight. The tabbouleh is light and flavorful. The avgolemono soup is a taste explosion and worthy of your time. Zorba’s was the first place we had a gyro and where we continue to go for that comfort food classic from across the sea.

Now RolliN RolliN Now 26

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Waffle Champion

1212 N. Walker Ave. | 405-525-9235 People don’t line up for nothing. Whether you’re floating in on a cloud of smoke or waiting for breakfast to fuel the rest of your day, Waffle Champion is beloved by all for tender waffle sandwiches filled with daring, crowd-pleasing flavor combinations. Newly added to the menu is the Cheeseburger Mac, which combines grassfed bison, macaroni and cheese, lettuce and “sassy sauce.” It’s breakfast! It’s lunch! It’s a midnight snack!

Smokey’s Midnight Express

520 S. Coltrane Road, Edmond 405-359-3663 Open Wednesday through Sunday, this University of Central Oklahoma favorite does late-night and early morning food for those who sleep odd hours but still enjoy quality meals. So what if it’s 1 a.m.? Does that mean you don’t deserve battered, fried shrimp covered in bacon and cheese? If you’re looking for a breakfast that will put you right to sleep, it’s hard to beat chicken and sweet potato waffles.

Knucks Wheelhouse

Anchor Down

Tucked away on the Bricktown canal, Knucks Wheelhouse built a following with its COOP Ale Works-powered crusts and delectable topping combinations. The Hoochie Cuchi is an upscale treat covered in pesto, bacon and prosciutto. The Mediterranean is slathered with hummus and vegetables for an unforgettable slice. But for ’shroom lovers, the only choice is You Must Be Trippin’ with portabello mushrooms, mozzarella, pecorino and truffle oil.

Corn dogs are nature’s perfect fruit. Grown in the corn orchards of Iowa, these seedless wonders have a stem that extends most of the way into the “meat” of the corn dog, almost like a handle. Crisped in the sun, they have a golden-hued crunchy skin of corn cake giving way to a juicy center. This all-natural treat has sustained our earliest ancestors during the lean season known as The Fair. Now, Anchor Down brings this miracle to us on the daily.

103 E. California Ave. | 405-605-4422

30 NE Second St. | 405-605-8070

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Go to to register Application deadline: May 20, 2016

(405) 605-6789 Partners: okc.BIZ, Oklahoma Gazette, OK HR, The State Chamber of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber


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performing arts

Bebe Adams performs during Gender Bender Lipstick Revue at Phoenix Rising.

Gender benders While some things have changed since the girls of Phoenix Rising began their drag careers, a close bond remains constant. By Ben Luschen | Photos Garett Fisbeck

Bebe Adams endlessly danced across the everything connects, and branches would length of the OKC Pride Parade. It would extend into Texas, Kansas and be a long enough hike into the NW 39th Pennsylvania. Street enclave in tennis shoes, but she did “It’s our fun little way of creating our all her flipping, kicking and hair twirling own family, which is something a lot of gay while strapped into a pair of six-inch heels. people have to do when their real family “That was the first time I ever paid doesn’t understand,” Delray said. attention to the kind of dancer she was,” Adams, Bryans and Delray have said Raven Delray, who performed at Phoenix for participates in the regular six to 10 years and have Gender Bender Lipstick more than 60 years of drag Revue with Adams and experience between them. Gender Bender others around 10:30 p.m. “We’ve done it around Lipstick Revue each Saturday at Phoenix each other for so long, we Rising, 2120 NW 39th St. all make bonds with each 10:30 p.m. each Saturday other,” Bryan said. “It’s just burned in my Phoenix Rising memory. Every time I see 2120 NW 39th St. her, I just flash back to Making space that.” A lot can be accumulated 405-601-3711 That parade about 13 in a long career. Adams’ Free years ago was Delray’s two-car garage at home (Tips are encouraged.) first in Oklahoma City. has no space for parking. More than a decade later, Instead, it’s packed with she regularly hosts the weekly show that gowns and drag accessories. features some of the most experienced drag “My guest room is basically full of drag,” performers in the state strutting elegant said Delray, who has performed since she was 15 years old. “My laundry room is full or vibrant clothes and hairstyles while dancing or lip-syncing to music. of drag. My garage is full of drag. Some Each Friday night, Phoenix Rising hosts costumes are just too big, and some stuff another show for less-experienced you don’t wear as often but you don’t want performers. to get rid of it.” Delray makes many of her own outfits The state’s drag community is highly connected. Delray describes Adams as her as a way to keep thrifty in an avocation that drag aunt. Taylor Bryans is Delray’s drag can get very expensive very quickly. A dress mother because she was responsible for might cost $50 to make. Shoes can cost in excess of $100, and $8 nails and $4 lashes bringing her into performing. Most trace their drag ancestry in this stack on top of makeup, tights and jewelry way. If someone drew a family tree, costs. And that’s one outfit. Phoenix

dancers go through two or more each night they perform. At the pageant level, prices get truly exorbitant. Adams said the cheapest gown from her pageant days was $2,000. “If you’re serious, you’ve got to spend a million to look like a million,” she said. Drag queens aren’t just quiet models showing off flashy outfits. To earn tips at Phoenix shows, performers are expected to entertain crowds with music. Delray streams Pandora Internet Radio at home and turns everyday household chores into rehearsal sessions. Each of the girls has a long list of tunes in her repertoire. They have songs or routines they’re known for. Bryans, a 30-year drag veteran, is known for performing her version of Cher. Tips come easier when music is recognizable. Song selection on any given night varies according to mood and what seems appropriate for a given audience. “We all try to cater to the crowd,” Bryans said. “You have to, really, if you want to make any money.” The thrill of a captive audience and the chance to take on an alter ego keep them going despite the cost and personal demands on time and space. “It’s just an adrenaline rush when you become somebody else and somebody new,” Adams said. “It’s exciting.”

There are occasions when people don’t get along, but that occasionally happens when you put together any large group of people. “[New performers] come in with preconceived notions,” she said. “They don’t always get what they see on TV, but

TV tropes

The best drag advice Delray has to offer is also excellent advice for life in general: Be kind. “Sometimes, just being nice to people is all it takes for people to become your fan or your follower,” she said. “Those people will come back every single time and they’ll ask you to do those numbers. They’ll want to see you on a show.” When Delray started experimenting with drag as a teenager, people told her the average drag queen lasted about 10 years. Today, she’s a few years away from her second decade of work. “We have all proven that we’ve been able to stick around and still be able to be successful,” she said. “I think that says something about the crowd liking what we do.”

The popular reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race has significantly impacted the drag world. Drag has never been more popular, and with that popularity has come an unprecedented wave of new performers into the scene. Often, those new entertainers come with expectations molded by what they’ve seen on television. Nothing like that was available to the Phoenix girls. Any understanding of the culture was obtained through what they saw firsthand. “When we started, we didn’t have that,” Adams said. “We had to go to the bars and see what the girls were doing.” Infighting or general “bitchiness” between performers is rare, Delray said.

I have never wanted to be a woman. I like portraying a woman. Taylor Bryans usually by the time they leave, they’re OK with it.” Another common misconception is that all drag queens really want to be women. “I have never wanted to be a woman,” Bryans said. “I like portraying a woman. I’ve loved it for all the time I’ve done this.” While there are performers who use drag as a way to help discover who they are, Adams enjoys putting on a persona very different from the one she assumes on a day-to-day basis.

Finding success

Lindsay Paige center helps Raven Delray with her costume during Gender Bender Lipstick Revue at Phoenix Rising. O kg a z e t t e . c o m | a p r i l 2 0 , 2 0 1 6


ARTS & CULTURE Rachel Craig (Vajaquan) wrestles Summer Graham (Sensational Sherri) at a BLOWmania practice at Mid South Wrestling.

“I’ve carried a lot of dumb wrestling tropes around me my whole life,” he said.

Performing arts

Real pain


A pro wrestling event brings to life the biggest names in the sport’s history. By Ben Luschen | Photos Garett Fisbeck

One at a time, they rolled into the ring, a roped-in field of dreams. Ravishing Rick Rude, Big Van Vader, Steve Austin, Randy Savage — pro wrestling legends from across eras joined forces to practice and spar at Mid-South Wrestling Alliance inside Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads. No crowd assembled that day to watch Vader throw his Hulk-sized frame on Hacksaw Jim Duggan. But don’t fret. A large and rowdy audience will be on hand when they step into the ring for real during BLOWmania 6 p.m. April 28 at OKC Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave. BLOWmania is the last event of the season for BLOW, a wrestling company started two years ago by Leslie Hensley, who performs under the moniker Balthazar. In the past, BLOW players have adopted personas of ’90s pop culture icons and circus freaks. This time around, they take on some of the most storied characters in the sport’s history. “What better way to end with a bang than for us to all dress up as our favorite old-school legends?” Hensley said. She becomes The Ultimate Warrior when she enters the BLOWmania ring.

Hensley said BLOW has grown at an unexpected pace since its first match in April 2014. BLOWmania should be the group’s last match before it attempts to buy its own ring, a place to call home. “Once we have our own ring, we’ll be able to do a lot more shows,” she said. “Right now, we’re kind of limited to how many shows we can do.” Build it and they will come.

Beginning BLOW

Hensley rarely is content with the status quo. If she itches to try something, she does it. “One day, I was just like, ‘I want to wrestle. Who’s in?’” she said. “‘Who wants to do this; who wants to be ridiculous?’” BLOW originally stood for Balthazar’s Ladies of Wrestling and began as a sevenmember, female-only club. They trained for a few months with Mid-South before taking what they learned and going on their own. Daniel Rueb and Zeke Varnell managed the group, but as events went by, they became more involved in performances. The two trained and were eventually featured in BLOW’s first all-male bout. Since then, more and more people have approached Hensley asking to get involved. She no longer makes any restrictions on who can participate. “If you want to wrestle and throw some glitter and spandex on, absolutely,” she said. “You’re welcome to come.” Rueb is living a lifelong dream by stepping into the ring. He has been a die-hard wrestling fan all his life. He will portray Ric Flair at the April 28 event, a choice he made to honor a relative who composed the music Flair used as his personal theme. Having that kind of tie to the sport bled his fandom into other aspects of life. After winning a pool game, he might lean in for a handshake only to draw back with a loud “Woo!”

If you do things right, you know you’re walking into a certain amount of soreness. It’s not a tickle competition. Daniel Rueb


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Those who complain about pro wrestling being fake have never prepared for a match. Athletes took turns tumbling on the mat during practice at Mid-South and flung themselves onto the surface with hard and loud thumps. “They say if you do it right, you hurt; if you do it wrong, you get hurt,” Rueb said. “If you do things right, you know you’re walking into a certain amount of soreness. It’s not a tickle competition.” To best protect oneself, Hensley said it’s good to learn the basics and make sure to land safely — as safely as possible, anyway. “We always put that in quotations, ‘land’ safely,” she said. “And don’t die. Try not to kill yourself.” It’s great advice. And the best way not to die is pretty clear. “Tuck your chin,” the room of wrestlers said in unison. “Protect your neck, like Wu-Tang says,” Hensley added. Christian Winston, who will portray Bret “Hitman” Hart at the April 28 event, has a personal background in competitive

BLOWmania 6 p.m. April 28 OKC Farmers Public Market 311 S. Klein Ave. 405-232-6506 $10

her character. “You can be a total dick if you want, or you can be a goddamn hero,” she said. Part of the fun comes from raucous crowds. Many BLOW wrestlers have backgrounds in theater and more traditional performing arts. The crowd is an important part of any live show, but in a wrestling environment, there are no rules for etiquette like there would be at a play. “If there weren’t fans yelling at us in every direction, waving around beer, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun,” Price said. Crowd support has taken BLOW where it is today. Its first match was intended to

BLOWmania wrestlers at Mid-South Wrestling

wrestling and judo. BLOW perfectly combines his loves for wrestling and theater. “It’s definitely just as physical [as wrestling],” he said. “There’s a little more glitter.”

Following dreams

Each member of BLOW is literally a cardcarrying professional. Oklahoma requires all practicing wrestlers to be licensed. A white, pictureless card identifies the holder as a “professional wrestler” in bold, black letters. The ability to put on a wrestler persona and perform is BLOW’s biggest perk. Holly Price, Mankind in BLOWmania, said she loves taking personal attributes and attitudes to an extreme level within

be a one-off event, but fans demanded more. That demand led Hensley and the others on a journey to fulfill fantasies that once seemed ludicrous. “We’re all adults,” she said. “We’re all achieving these ridiculous dreams we never thought would be possible. I never thought at 33 I’d be like, ‘I got to go to wrestling practice.’ Every time we’re warming up, I look around and think, ‘This is so ridiculous.’” Visit

ARTS & CULTURE “Pandora’s Box” by George Bogart

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Lasting Legacy George Bogart’s teaching and mentorship inspired and influenced more than a generation of artists, including Jennifer Cocoma Hustis, Michele Mikesell and BJ White. By Jezy J. Gray | Photo provided

There’s a story George Bogart’s former Aside from a yearlong residency at students like to tell about their late mentor University of California, Berkeley, Bogart sneaking tubes of bright acrylic paint into spent the last 35 years of his life in Frontier their studios. Bogart was a masterful Country. He worked and lived in Norman colorist who worked big, and it was one of until his retirement in the late ’90s, the many ways he pushed occasionally returning to his pupils to take risks and OU as professor emeritus until his death in 2005. remap their aesthetic Legacy: George boundaries. Bogart’s widow asked Bogart and “If you’re working on Belt to work with her late Students an MFA and your husband’s estate. The professor comes by and spirited gallery owner and Through May 1 leaves a bunch of paint collector wanted to put JRB Art at the Elms together an exhibit sitting next to work that 2810 N. Walker Ave. featuring his paintings you think is already pretty but soon considered terrific,” said JRB Art at 405-528-6336 including his students’ the Elms gallery owner Free Joy Reed Belt, “you start works as well. “I didn’t know George to think, Should I add Bogart personally, but some of the artists those? Should they be part of my next piece?” I’m so interested in were his students,” Belt In tribute to Bogart’s dual role as artist said. “When I first started having shows and mentor, JRB Art at the Elms presents with artists like Michele Mikesell, David Legacy: George Bogart and Students, a Crismon and George Oswalt, it was clear selection of Bogart’s work alongside those that their work was so uniquely different he inspired. The new exhibit runs through from anybody else’s. Legacy is a way of May 1 at the Paseo Arts District gallery. exploring that.” Bogart’s work on the canvas and in the classroom left a mark on visual culture in Role model Oklahoma and beyond. The Duluth, Those who knew the beloved professor and Minnesota, native launched his painter remember his unique ability to distinguished career in the 1960s, holding challenge and inspire his students as vividly teaching positions at the University of as the finesse of his playful, abstract works. Texas at Austin and Pennsylvania State “Sometimes he played devil’s advocate,” University before landing at the University featured artist Sunni Mercer wrote in a of Oklahoma in 1970. statement posted to Bogart’s website.

“Other times … he challenged and he had relentless expectations, but no matter what teaching posture he took; he always stood alongside. … I consider myself so fortunate to be able to say, ‘George Bogart taught me to paint,’ but even more honored to say he was my friend.” Former students Joe Andoe, Linda Lou Warren, Larry Hefner and others also are featured in Legacy. “He was a role model for those he taught. They could see how dedicated and disciplined he was, and it was contagious,” Belt said. “There were things some of them modeled after Bogart because he was so encouraging and loved his craft so much. I thought it just made a lot of sense to put them all together and see what connections there were to be made.” While Bogart’s work emphasizes abstraction, many of his former students’ subjects featured in Legacy — like the sleek, psychedelic horse leering with alarm in Jennifer Cocoma Hustis’ “Fight or Flight” — are more figurative and earthbound. Other works, like BJ White’s seasonsinspired quartet of acrylic paintings, make just enough visual reference to the natural world for it to be recognizable. As Belt moved through the exhibit, she remarked that some of Bogart’s students, including now-retired public school art instructors Oswalt and Caroline Farris, went on to become teachers themselves. She doesn’t think it is coincidence. “It’s like people who say, ‘I’m a doctor because of my family physician because somebody saved my grandmother’s life,’” Belt said. “I think art is that way. I think Bogart showed his students that this was a profession with honor and meaning.” Belt stopped for a beat to turn over a thought that seemed complicated, but it came out clean, vivid and compact, like the surrounding work on the walls of her gallery. “It’s a powerful thing,” she said.

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Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan) | Photo RealProduct / Provided

From Dusk Till Dawn | Photo Miramax Films / Provided


Off the Air | Photo Adult Swim / Provided

Todd Barry: The Crowd Work Tour | Photo Pig Newton / Provided

Couch kushin’

No one needs to leave home to live the high life. Here’s what to watch when nothing is the best something you can do. By Ben Luschen

This is a golden age for those who love to do nothing. Any Joe or Jane can sit on the couch, turn on the television, light up and take in some of the world’s finest visuals produced by the most creative minds. In the not-too-distant past, people used to get dressed, leave their homes and pay a whole quarter to take in a fancy talking picture show. The modern couch-potato luxury is so taken for granted, some spend most of a movie’s runtime looking down at their phones, ignoring the fact that freaking Anthony Hopkins is magically being projected into their living space. So here’s a tip on this 420 holiday: Put down the phone, pick up that new piece you just bought at your favorite (non-K2-selling) head shop and focus. Here’s a list of a few fun films. With all due respect to Cheech and Kumar, this roundup doesn’t feature no-brainer stoner flicks. It includes chill-time staples and low-key movies. And for the love of hash, don’t forget snacks.

larious 3-D monster fight scene after another. Watching the whole thing later at home, I realized the full beauty of this wacky, Japanese-language mockumentary about an otherwise average man who grows to the size of Godzilla to fight behemoths that always seem to be on the attack.

Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan)

R, 2004 Directed by Wes Anderson; starring Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett

PG-13, 2007 Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto; starring Matsumoto, Riki Takeuchi, Ua (Kaori Hasegawa) Imagine The Wrestler meets Best in Show meets Power Rangers. What? Exactly. My introduction to Big Man Japan came at a college Halloween party. I marveled as a totally stoned stranger showed me one hi32

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From Dusk Till Dawn

R, 1996 Directed by Robert Rodriguez; starring George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel Amazingly, the only Quentin Tarantino film to make this list is a movie he did not direct. He wrote the mind-melting screenplay and plays disturbed killer Richard Gecko, one of his most memorable acting roles. That being said, From Dusk is probably most known for its abrupt change in plot, tone and pace in its last act. As usual for dark comedies, Clooney does an excellent job leading the way into that off-the-rails place.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou | Photo Touchstone Pictures / Provided

Wet Hot American Summer | Photo Eureka Pictures / Provided

Anderson flicks like The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenenbaums are not only hilarious; they’re incredible visual treats. The Life Aquatic is no exception. Murray is a no-brainer addition to any chill movie lineup. Watch the actor at his best as a prominent oceanographer who vows revenge on a shark that gobbled up one of his crew. (Though, admittedly, the real-life Most Interesting Man in the World always seems to be “at his best.”) We don’t know for sure that Murray is a smoker, but it’s safe to say he’s no prude.

in history. Barry arms himself with a quick wit and deliciously dry delivery as he talks about life with various audience members. This takes observational comedy a step further as guests are asked to confirm guesses made about their lives based only on their appearance or previous answers. We meet professional Tweeters, dogcollar makers, starving artists and bitter actors. Barry is civilly cruel. This isn’t Lisa Lampanelli insult comedy; it’s fun banter between friends.

Off the Air

R, 2001 Directed by David Wain; starring Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Amy Poehler Bless you, Netflix. If any film deserved a second wind, it’s this one. As the years have ticked away since its lukewarm release, many of its actors — Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks and H. Jon Benjamin, to name a few — have become stars and the film is now considered a cult classic. Leave highbrow comedy expectations at the door. This movie is wonderfully ridiculous. Knowing how big the actors became makes the summer camp satire all the more enjoyable. Somehow, the Netflix eight-episode prequel series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, is even more absurd and, perhaps, even better than its predecessor.

TV-PG, 2011-present Created by Dave Hughes It’s true. In the Internet age, our attention spans have suffered some damage. If investing more than 90 minutes in a movie doesn’t sound like a good time, Off the Air is the answer. Created for Adult Swim, these 11minute bursts of hypnotic color and music have won dedicated online and stoner followings. The magic of the series lies in the genius editing from Hughes, known for his work on Beavis and Butt-Head and Celebrity Deathmatch. The series creator weaves together the best viral videos with art school projects for a seamless, awe-inspiring product. View episodes for free on YouTube.

Todd Barry: The Crowd Work Tour

Not rated, 2014 Directed by Lance Bangs Comedian Todd Barry has always been funny, but his Crowd Work Tour is among some of the finest improvised stand-up

Wet Hot American Summer

Put down the phone, pick up that new piece you just bought at your favorite (non-K2-selling) head shop and focus. To

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Oklahoma Gazette

Short flight

An inaugural drone film festival showcases more than 175 shorts made with camera-equipped flyers. By Christine Eddington | Photo Garett Fisbeck

More than 44 countries are represented by The keynote speaker is Jamey Jacob, more than 175 short films at U.S. Drone director of the Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State Film Festival’s inaugural event April 30 at Oklahoma City Museum of Art, according University. New Zealander Laurent Youmi’s to event founder Ersin Demirci. session focuses on his epic, nine-month “One of the main reasons I wanted to backpacking trip through 15 countries, which he documented with his trusty organize this event is to let people know all of the good things that drones can do, and drone. Other speakers are local experts and to eliminate fear,” said Demirci, an entrepreneurs. Oklahoma State University doctoral canDarren Hensley, CEO of Oklahoma busididate. ness American Drones LLC, and colleague “I have flown drones since 2012,” he Kelly Coldiron both appreciate the festival’s said. “The drone industry is a big business, mission. and according to Business Insider, it will “There are so many applications for increase by more than using drones, especial$12 billion over the next ly drones w ith cameras,” Coldiron five years.” U.S. Drone Film While there is only said. Festival one Oklahoma entry so OKC Polo Club, far, the rest of the where she is marketing 1-4 p.m. April 30 world is well repremanager, uses drones Donald W. Reynolds sented. Demirci said to record matches and Visual Arts Center he received entries practices. Oklahoma City Museum of Art from Israel, Japan, “Ranchers now use 415 Couch Drive Kenya, Turkey and drones to check fence ma ny We s t e r n lines, locate cattle or 405-793-3338 European countries. keep an eye on an $15-$20 All entries are five injured cow,” she said. minutes or less and “Wildlife organizations were at least 50 percent shot with a camcan use them to track herds of elk, using era-equipped drone. heat-seeking cameras.” Twenty-three drone film festivals are American Drones supplies hobbyists being held around the globe in 2016, acwith the small, unmanned aircraft and cording to Skytango, a startup business offers training, customization and repairs that serves as a marketplace for drone with each purchase. Coldiron said the flyers and others. demand for camera-equipped drones has In size, the local event rivals or surincreased, especially among municipalities. passes those on the east and west coasts. She said Oklahoma is central to the safe, In 2015, San Francisco’s Flying Robot legal proliferation of drones of all kinds. “The FAA has developed guidelines for International Film Festival drew 153 submissions from 35 countries. New York’s drone flight, and those guidelines came out Drone Film Festival screened 44 films in of its Oklahoma City offices,” Coldiron said. 2016, its second year. Her company will have a presence at the About 30 entries will be shown at OKC’s film festival. festival in categories such as action, narra“We are very excited about the buzz tive, landscape, architecture, people’s we’ve received nationally and internationchoice and critic’s choice. Demirci said ally,” Demirci said. viewings will be interspersed with a series Visit for more of Ted-style talks. information and tickets. O kg a z e t t e . c o m | a p r i l 2 0 , 2 0 1 6


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Bagheera and Mowgli in Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book

Jungle love

Director Jon Favreau creates a lavish, tastefully computer-generated version of the Kipling classic. By George Lang | Photo The Walt Disney Co. / Provided

When The Walt Disney Co. made its animated musical version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book in 1967, it created a cuddly and accessible distillation of Kipling’s work for the generations that followed, who often had a hard time separating Wolfgang Reitherman’s distinctive hardline visuals and the Terry Gilkyson/Sherman Brothers’ songs from Kipling’s original fables. Director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) clearly recognizes that cognitive fusion, because his new version of The Jungle Book elegantly finds the sweet spot between the two classics. From the moment Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi) begins his run through the jungle, Favreau sets about depicting a believable rainforest society in which wolves, panthers, pythons and elephants live together in relative détente. Rescued by Bagheera the black panther (voiced by Sir Ben Kingsley) and raised by wolves Akela and Raksha (Giancarlo Esposito and Lupita N’yongo), Mowgli strives for acceptance within the animal population but must contend with his human impulses toward individuality. Ultimately, those impulses put him at odds with the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), who insists that Mowgli be delivered to him by the animal kingdom under penalty of bloody tyranny. When Mowgli escapes Shere Khan during an exhilarating stampede sequence, The Jungle Book begins to lovingly incorporate elements of animated film, particularly Bill Murray’s performance as Baloo the bear. Baloo is a loveable layabout in the classic Murray mold and finds excuses for extreme leisure at every turn and employing the boy as an expert food finder. These days in the sun eventually lead to Mowgli’s run-in with King Louie (Christopher Walken), a gigantopithecus ruling over an inner-jungle primate kingdom like an enormous Colonel Kurtz.

This is when Gilkyson’s “Bare Necessities” and Robert and Richard Sherman’s “I Wanna Be Like You” get showcased as a sweet tip of the hat to the earlier Disney film. They make sense in the film’s lively second act, and since King Louie was not a Kipling creation in the first place, it all fits nicely, as if their absence would be a serious error. Beyond the story, Favreau’s Jungle Book is nothing short of visually breathtaking and could not exist without Ang Lee’s 2012 adaptation of Life of Pi, which raised the bar for photorealistic depictions of CG animals. The fluidity of movement, the precise shifts of fur and musculature and the animals’ seamless interactions with Mowgli and the plants around them take the viewer on a deep dive into a densely populated uncanny valley. But the technical achievement would matter little if it weren’t powering some genuinely affecting work by Elba, Kingsley, N’yongo and especially Murray, who all prove adept at giving their CG characters depth and believability — at least as believable as talking animals can be. It all takes The Jungle Book out of the realm of the cynical rehashes that seemingly hit theaters on a monthly basis. This film feels like a genuine effort to deepen and improve on the 1967 version, and while there will always be childhood affection and attachment to Disney’s animated version, Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks largely succeed. In recent years, Disney has released a series of live-action remakes of its animated films with varying degrees of success, ranging from the horrific 2010 versions of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Alice in Wonderland to more nuanced takes such as last year’s Cinderella. But Favreau’s The Jungle Book feels like a labor of love, one that will please both the Kipling faithful and the ones who first saw Baloo walking on two legs.

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Mother’s Day

Love Notes

Click on the Mother’s Day Love Notes banner on to place a FREE message to your Mom, wife or that special person that puts up with you.

3 lines (115 characters) of love note.

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Your Love Note will publish in the May 4, 2016 issue in the Oklahoma Gazette What Mama Wants section.

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DEAREST MOM, words can’t express my appreciation for putting up with my laziness all these years. I know you only were helping me grow up. YOuR lAzY buT lOving SOn, biFF ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥




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Cherished charity The Bella Foundation and Barry Switzer team up to raise money for pets in need. By Mark Beutler | Photo Gazette / File

When it comes to Oklahoma football, pet owners during difficult financial Barry Switzer is the reigning king. But times,” Ballard said. “This event will help he’s also a passionate advocate for animal The Bella Foundation continue to help rights and has lent his name to The Bella Oklahomans who may be faced with a Foundation’s upcoming Barry, Bella & grueling decision when a pet gets sick or BBQ fundraiser. It is 5-9 p.m. Saturday at needs surgery. The decision, many times, a private Gaillardia neighborhood resican be a matter of life or death if the pet dence. owner doesn’t have the money for expen“We have been thinking of honoring sive medical procedures.” Barry and Becky Switzer for a few years Quite often, Ballard said The Bella now because they are such animal lovers,” Foundation hears from pet owners who said Cherokee Ballard, Bella Foundation are faced with the decision of having to vice president. “We put down their animal are very excited to because they can’t have these Sooners afford treatment. Barry, Bella & BBQ and Oklahoma advo“That’s where we step in and when our cates work with us.” 5-9 p.m. Saturday The evening is a guidelines are met, we Gaillardia fun meet-and-greet assist with the medical with Switzer and his bills,” she said. “We 866-318-7387 w ife, Beck y. It ’s can’t imagine putting a $100 casual, Ballard said, family member down and happens in the because there are no resources available. We partner with home of a foundation supporter in the northwest Oklahoma City gated commumany local veterinarians who offer us nity. discounted rates for the animals we are helping. This event will also help us with “We will have Head Country BBQ as our adoption program.” well as OU auction items, several of which were signed by Barry,” Ballard said. Over the past few years, the foundation “Drinks are included, and guests can tour has helped place more than 5,100 animals the house and grounds.” for adoption. It has found nearly 250 The foundation is a not-for-profit orfoster homes for displaced pets and spent ganization that helps low-income, elderly more than $730,000 on veterinary care. or terminally ill pet owners with the cost of veterinary care when they cannot Switzer approved afford it. Foundation president-elect Jeremy “We have been very successful helping Busche adopted his first Bella dog about

coming soon

Cherokee Ballard walks her dogs in her neighborhood.

a year and a half ago. He and Ballard have been working together to make Barry, Bella & BBQ a reality. “Large events like this take lots of work and many people coming together to make them happen,” he said. “But this is what keeps us going and enable us to continue saving the lives of animals in our community. As with most nonprofits, donations are down and requests for assistance are up these days.” Ballard agreed and said the foundation is a lifeline for Oklahomans and their pets. “We are all struggling to raise money,” she said. “We believe this event and others coming up, like our golf tournament, Keep Bella out of the Ruff, will allow us to continue our mission. We hope Gazette readers will consider coming to our event, meeting coach Switzer and his wife Becky and raising money for The Bella Foundation.” Tickets are $100, available at The event address is provided when tickets are purchased so the security team at Gaillardia will have a complete count of guests coming into the area. In a prepared statement to Oklahoma Gazette, Switzer said he hopes events like this will bring awareness to the need for saving animals. “There is a great need to support The Bella Foundation versus kill shelters,” Switzer said. “Our foundation, K9 ETC Foundation, is for ‘working dogs,’ but we love The Bella Foundation. The work they do for the lost ones is amazing. The metro has over 220 foster families that take in the lost ones and house them until a good home is found. “There are many great rescues all doing great work, but this one is at the top of my list. The work The Bella Foundation does on behalf of animals is to be applauded and supported.”


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ac t i v e

Eric Oesch at Red Earth’s office downtown | Photo Gazette / File

Supportive strokes

Red Earth Golf Tournament benefits a nonprofit’s efforts to promote culture. By Ben Luschen

Red Earth’s annual golf tournament Native American art events. changed venues for its 19th event. The golf tournament, Oesch said, is a This year, Edmond’s Oak Tree Country tribute to former Major League Baseball Club, 700 Country Club Drive, hosts the Red pitcher and Oklahoma native Allie Pierce Earth Golf Tournament. In recent years, Reynolds. Reynolds, a member of the the tournament was held at Oklahoma City Muskogee tribe and founding member of Golf & Country Club. Red Earth, was one of the game’s most Eric Oesch, Red Earth deputy director, dynamic pitchers in the 1940s and ’50s. He said the nonprofit is excited to take the event won six World Series titles with the New to a new course. York Yankees from 1947 to 1953. “It’s a really nice place,” he said. “They Oesch said Red Earth’s goal is to have hosted the [2014 U.S. Senior Open] a couple about 25 four-person teams participating of years ago, so it’s a very in the tournament. well-respected course.” “A lot of people that Oak Tree was speget a team have done it cifically designed by for numerous years, but Red Earth Golf highly regarded golfwe always have room for Tournament course architect Pete new people as well,” he Dye with Oklahoma’s said. 11 a.m. Monday landscape in mind. Registration begins Oak Tree Country Club Oesch said it preserves 11 a.m. Monday. Lunch 700 Country Club Drive, the character of the land will be served on the Edmond course, and a 1 p.m while maintaining a challenge for players. shotgun start tees off the 405-427-5228 The tournament is tournament. $250-$1,000 one of Red Earth’s main Awards will be preyearly fundraisers. sented to top-finishing Profits raised at the event help Red Earth teams. Prizes also will be awarded for closest accomplish its mission to promote Native to the pin and longest drive. On two holes, American art and culture through educaspecial prizes, including a new car provided tion, its museum and the Red Earth Native by Seth Wadley Auto Group and a Rolex American Cultural Festival. watch from B.C. Clark Jewelers, will be given It also helps keep the small nonprofit away for a hole-in-one. The deputy director said it will likely be running on a day-to-day basis. It has two a beautiful spring day and it would be best full-time and two part-time employees. to use it for a worthy cause. “We have a very small, lean staff, but we have about 300 volunteers that help us “It’s a great way for people to support Red throughout the year to achieve our goal,” Earth,” he said. “We realize not everyone Oesch said. on Earth is in love with Native American Red Earth also makes money through art, but we do a lot of education, we provide curriculum for teachers to use in the classits annual summer festival and fall Buffalo Bash gala. The festival began in 1987 as a room ... Participating in our golf tournament way to showcase indigenous art and is a great way for people to help us achieve our goals without having to buy art.” culture. It is the largest event Red Earth puts on each year and has developed a Register online at or by reputation as one of the nation’s premier calling 405-427-5228. 38

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

BOOKS Stephanie Mines Book Signing, author of They Were Families: How War Comes Home, signs her book devoted to the families if veterans, 6:30 p.m., April 21. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-8422900, THU IAO Out Loud, a special reading honoring the 37-year-old organization’s poetry roots; featuring performances by those shaping IAO’s poetry legacy, as well as a special reading of work by poets who put pens to paper throughout the years, 7-9 p.m., April 22. IAO Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-232-6060, FRI Book Signing, Vivian Armitage signs Dorm Room Dining: A College Student’s Guide to Healthy Cooking, which teaches students ways to stay healthy with a busy schedule, limited kitchen space and resources, 2-4 p.m., April 23. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, SAT Amber Tamblyn Book Signing, actress, director and author, signs her book Dark Sparkler, which explores the lives and deaths of child-star actresses, 3-5 p.m., April 24. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, SUN

FILM King George, (US, 2015, dir. Erika Frankel) documentary about Georges Perrier, who opened Le Bec Fin, which became one of the best fine-dining establishments, 5:30 & 8 p.m., April 21. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch

Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa. com. THU Born to be Blue, (US, 2015, dir. Robert Budreau) a reimagining of jazz legend and Oklahoma native Chet Baker, one of the most famous trumpeters in the world, 5:30 & 8 p.m., April 22-23; 2 & 5:30 p.m., April 24. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa. com. FRI-SUN Carnival of Souls, (FI, 1962, dir. Herk Harvey) after a tragic car accident, Mary Henry tries to put the incident behind her by moving to Utah as a church organist and is drawn to the deserted carnival on the outskirts of town, 8-9:30 p.m., April 22. The Paramount, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-517-0787, FRI M, (SE, 1931, dir. Fritz Lang) a German thriller in which a serial killer who preys on children, becomes the focus of a massive Berlin police manhunt, 8-10 p.m., April 23. The Paramount, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-517-0787, SAT

April 20 Photo David Liebe Hart / YouTube / Provided

Sunday Soup #2, a grassroots model for funding creative projects through community meals; come together to share a meal that is an affordable price with all proceeds benefiting creative projects, 6-8 p.m., April 24. Current Studio, 1218 N. Pennsylvania Ave., 405-673-1218, SUN Earth Day Celebration, celebrate Earth Day at Whiskey Cake’s beer garden; several local breweries offer complimentary samples along with a home-brewing expert onsite sharing sustainable brewing tips and other advice. Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar, 1845 Northwest Expressway, 405-582-2253, whiskeycakeokc. com. SAT

works of art inspired by the museum’s collection, exhibitions and special occasions, 1-4 p.m., April 23. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100,


Weather Round Up Day, meet KWTV-NEWS 9 storm chasers and anchors and explore storm chasing vehicles; experience hands-on activities and be entered to win prizes, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 23. The Orr Family Farm, 14400 S. Western Ave. SAT

Charlotte’s Web, the beloved classic, based on the book by E.B. White tells the memorable story of Wilbur, a little pig who becomes famous with the help of his cleaver friend Charlotte and their chatty animal neighbors, 2 p.m., April 23-24; 11 a.m., April 25. Oklahoma Children’s

HAPPENINGS Cocktails and Conversation with Mike McGrath: Only You Can Protect Your Native Bees, unique, entertaining and enlightening event with one of our favorite Public Radio personalities, Mike McGrath of You Bet Your Garden; enjoy light appetizers, purchase a pollinator-inspired cocktail all while enjoying a fascinating talk about ways to protect native bees, 6-8 p.m., April 21. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, oklahomacitybotanicalgardens. com/events. THU Fish Hatchery Open House, learn about the city’s fisheries management program; fisheries staff answers questions about rearing fish at the hatchery, stocking and sampling fish at the hatchery, along with habitat work on city lakes, in-park ponds and Oklahoma River, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., April 22. H.B. Parsons Fish Hatchery, 10940 N. Meridian Ave., 405-297-1426, parks. FRI

Quail Creek Home Tour, backto-back events celebrating and showing off Quail Creek homes, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., April 23. Quail Creek Homeowner’s Association, 11032 Quail Creek Road, 405-7515661, SAT Zoo Treasures from the Great Depression, adult education program exploring the zoo structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corp. in 1933, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., April 23. Oklahoma City Zoo, 2000 Remington Pl. SAT

FOOD Art After 5, enjoy the Oklahoma City skyline along with live music, friends and cocktails on top of the OKCMOA, 5-11 p.m., April 21. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 4059236-3100, THU Cooking Demo, learn how to bake zucchini bread, 1 p.m., April 23. Uptown Grocery Co., 1230

8503 N. Rockwell Ave., 405239-4242, WED -SAT Clybourne Park, comedy-drama by Bruce Norris explodes in two outrageous acts set 50 years apart; act one takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family; act two is set in the same house in present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification, 7:30 p.m., April 21; 8 p.m., April 22-23. Carpenter Square Theatre, 806 W. Main St., 405-232-6500, THU -SAT My One and Only, a zany comedy following Captain Billy Buck Chandler, a transatlantic aviator, in his pursuit of the affections of famous swimmer and performer Edythe Herbert, 7:30 p.m., April 21-23; 2 p.m., April 24. UCO Mitchell Hall Theater, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond, 405974-2000, THU -SUN Light Up The Sky, a new play debuts and the cast is giddy at the prospect of a hit show; the comedic shenanigans make this Moss Hart classic one of the best looks at how a new play evolves in spite of everyone’s intentions, 8 p.m., 21-23; 2:30 p.m., April 24. Jewel Box Theatre, 3700 N. Walker Ave., 405-521-1786, THU -SUN

On The Waterfront, (JP, 1954, dir. Elia Kazan) classic tale of crime and corruption among unionized dock workers in New York and New Jersey, 2 & 7 p.m., April 24. Cinemark Tinseltown, 6001 N. Martin Luther King Ave., 405424-0461, SUN

Earth Day Birthday Celebration, a day of education, music, food and fun on the Great Lawn, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 22. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, oklahomacitybotanicalgardens. com/events. FRI

David Liebe Hart Actor, comedian and musician David Liebe Hart brings his funny, bizarre antics to OKC 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20 at 89th Street Collective, 8911 N. Western Ave. Liebe Hart is known for his stint on Adult Swim hit Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Local bands Limp Wizurdz, Akiba and Cosmostanza also perform. Tickets are $10. Visit,

W. Covell Road, Edmond, 405509-2700, uptowngroceryco. com. SAT

Candidate Forum and Fundraiser Oklahoma Coalition to End Prohibition and Oklahomans for Health teamed up to hold a candidate forum and fundraiser Wednesday, April 20. Political candidates who support legalization of marijuana — Tom Guild, Ron Marlett, Jess Eddy, Jeff Ferguson and others — are scheduled to gather 6-8 p.m. at Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters, 4100 N. Lincoln Blvd., to speak with constituents. Visit facebook. com/okcep. See our story on P. 5 for more information about Oklahomans for Health. Wednesday, April 20 Photo

YOUTH OETA Day, meet and greets with Curious George and Daniel Tiger, storytime with guest reader, photo booth and many more family-friendly activities, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 20. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, okhistory. org/historycenter. WED Third Thursday: Go Green for Spring, enjoy a story followed by a craft for families to enjoy together, 10 a.m., April 21. Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum, 1400 Classen Drive, 405-235-4458, THU Macbeth, Reduxion Theatre performs its rendition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in its Classics for Kids play; complete with silly sword fights and somber soliloquies, Professor Spillsby’s antics introduce children to popular Shakespeare classics, 4 p.m., April 21. Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 NE 23rd St. THU Looking Closely, using the art of examination, create artwork inspired by the Our City, Our Collection: Building the Museum’s Lasting Legacy special exhibition, ages 9-12, 2-4 p.m., April 23. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, FRI Drop-In Art: Torn Paper Self-Portraits, join guest artists each Saturday as they interact with families to create extraordinary

Theatre, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 405-606-7003, oklahomachildrenstheatre. org. SAT

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, a lavish production including an impressive live symphony orchestra and international special solo instruments; experience the franchise’s groundbreaking and wildly popular musical achievements while iconic Star Trek film and TV footage is simultaneously beamed in high definition to a 40-foot-wide screen, 8 p.m., April 22. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405-2972264, FRI Hairspray, and the lovable plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad dreams of dancing on the popular Corny Collins Show and when her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star; a family-friendly musical piled bouffant high with laughter, romance, and deliriously tuneful songs, 8 p.m., April 22-23; 2 p.m., April 24. The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., Guthrie, 405-282-2800, FRI-SUN Evita, winner of seven Tony

OKC Comedy at Norman Music Festival Not everything heard out of Norman Music Festival is a song, unless jokes count as music to visitors’ ears. The NMF comedy lineup is stacked with local talent, including Madison Allen, Cameron Buchholtz, Ryan Drake (pictured), Spencer Hicks, Brett James, Josh Lathe, BradChad Porter, Alex Sanchez and Amanda Stonebarger. The all-ages show begins 8 p.m. Thursday at The Sooner Theatre, 101 E. Main St., in Norman. Admission is free. Visit Thursday Photo Gazette / File

Awards; musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, 8 p.m., April 22-23; 3 p.m., April 24. Bass School of Music, OCU, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., FRI-SUN David Cross: Making America Great Again, Emmy winner and Grammy nominee David Cross is an inventive performer, writer, and producer on stage and screens both big and small brings his comedy tour to Oklahoma

continued on page 40

Festival Día del Niño, free outdoor fiesta for the entire family; art, music, food, crafts, obstacle courses and more, noon-6 p.m., April 24. 29th Street Children’s Day Festival, 741 SW 29th St. SUN Art Adventures, children can experience the world of art through stories and projects in this event series; this week’s story is Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, 10:30 a.m., April 26. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-3253272, TUE

PERFORMING ARTS The Fantasticks, “Try to Remember” what it’s like to be young and fall in love with this classic musical fable; the world’s longest-running musical enchants with its universal story and charming music, 7:30 p.m., April 20-21; 8 p.m., April 22; 2 & 8 p.m., April 23; 2 p.m., April 24. Lyric Theatre, 1727 NW 16th St., 405-524-9312, lyrictheatreokc. com. WED -SUN Sam Norton, Norton uses a comedy style that’s been described as fearless, innovative and more than quirky, 8 p.m., April 20-21; 8 & 10:30 p.m., April 22-23. Loony Bin Comedy Club,

Christie Owen and Friends Multimedia artist and graphic designer Christie Owen is Verbode’s 2016 Urban Core Artist in Residence. Her work, along with that of friends and fellow artists Ashley Griffith and Christie Hackler, will be on exhibit at the Oklahoma City real estate brokerage. See their work at an opening reception during Automobile Alley’s Shop Hop 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Verbode, 415 N. Broadway Ave., Suite 101. Daily viewing is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through June 2. Viewings are free. Visit or call 405-7577001. Thursday, ongoing Photo Rob Ferguson / Verbode / Provided

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calendar These are are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members. For full calendar listings, go to continued from page 39 City, 8-11 p.m., April 24. OKC Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., 405-232-6506, SUN

ACTIVE Drop-In Yoga, yoga class in museum galleries, 5:45-6:45 p.m., April 21. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, THU

OKC Dollar Dash, a team scavenger hunt competition in downtown Oklahoma city, 9 a.m., April 23. Centennial Land Run Monument, 200 Bass Pro Drive. SAT OKC Energy vs. Swope Park Rangers, professional soccer game, 7 p.m., April 23. Taft Stadium, 2901 NW 23rd St. SAT Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, marathon, halfmarathon, relay, 5K and kids walk in memory of the Oklahoma City bombing; proceeds support The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 6:30 a.m., April 24. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 620 N. Harvey Ave., 405-235-3313, oklahomacitynationalmemorial. org. SUN Big Green Dot 5K Color Run, family half-mile Color Run and a 5K Color Run; food, face painting, bounce houses along with live music and green fun, 5-9 p.m., April 27. Henderson Hills Baptist Church, 1200 E. I-35 Frontage Road, Edmond. WED

VISUAL ARTS 102nd Annual School of Art and Art History Student Exhibition, the gallery is transformed into an exhibition space for University of Oklahoma students; top student works in multiple mediums. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, Accoutrements, finely crafted jewelry and weaving by Andrea Kissinger. In Your Eye Gallery, 3005 Paseo St. #A, 405-525-2161,

Madd Maxx’s 420 80’s Prom Night Nothing screams 1980s like prom. Whether you actually went to prom in the ’80s or lived vicariously through heartbreaking and terrifying prom nights on the silver screen, you can rock the night away in a fog of Calvin Klein’s Obsession right here in OKC. The party starts 8:30 p.m. Saturday at OKC Limits, 4801 S. Eastern Ave., and includes a king and queen contest and prizes. Tracii Guns of legendary hard rock band L.A. Guns headlines. Tickets are $15$30. Visit Saturday Photo


April Featured Artists, Oklahoma City-based artist Kelly Rogers creates embroidered paintings inspired by both her collection of antique family photos and sketches of her family; Sarah K. Coffman works with a variety of mediums, including ink, paint, paper, wood, thread, leather and found objects, and loves experimenting with woodburning; Reagan Kloiber uses watercolors and ink on fabric placed on embroidery hoops, then adds stitching to the final works. DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., 405-525-3499, Brown Bag Lecture Series: Awesome Bolo Ties, guest Lecturer Norman L. Sandfield is an internationally known collector, antique dealer and owner of bolo ties displayed in Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary Artistry exhibit; Sandfield discusses bolo tie history and the art of collecting, noon, April 21. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, THU

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em/BARK: A Migratory Experiment, a sequel to Christie Hackler’s popular installation FOR/give; exhibit celebrates the monarch butterfly as a symbol of freedom, of release from the past and joy for the future with 300 brightly colored enameled butterflies. The Project Box, 3003 Paseo St., 405-609-3969, Erratic Fieldwork: Doing Art and Art History in the Anthropocene, art exhibit by Robert Bailey and Todd Stewart. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, 555 Elm Ave., Norman. Featured Artists, Linda Guenther’s “Trip’n with Linda,” Jan Hellwege’s “Unforgettable, Adoptable Dogs” and Verna Fuller’s “Birds and Birds’ Nests.” Contemporary Art Gallery, 2928 Paseo St., 405-601-7474, Flora and Felines, a cat’s-eye view into Oklahoma artist O. Gail Poole’s unique vision; exhibit collects some of Poole’s most engaging work, a collection of whimsical depictions of cats in nature, blending into their surroundings. Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-297-3995, Forgotten, Isaac Harper aims to preserve what people once called their homes and show the legacy that is left behind by these families. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St. , 405-815-9995,

Photography Exhibit, showcasing Ron Brandon. 50 Penn Place Gallery, 1900 Northwest Expressway, Suite 113-R, 405-848-5567, Scattering Light-The Optics of Clouds, oil paintings by David Holland focus on how light interacts with clouds and also features educational components. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Pl. Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844-2012, explores a variety of styles, design trends, and printing technologies; features the most exciting and rarely seen posters created in the last 170 years. Edmond Historical Society & Museum, 431 S. Boulevard, Edmond, 405-340-0078, Spring 2016 Show, featuring works in oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media; handmade jewelry and ceramic sculptures will also be featured. The Studio Gallery, 2642 W. Britton Rd., 405752-2642, Spring Selections, a sampling of new works from gallery artists are surging into the gallery and onto the walls throughout the early spring Kasum Contemporary Fine Arts, 1706 NW 16th St., 405-6046602,

Earth Day Weekend Festivities Everyone loves trees. That’s especially true for SixTwelve. The nonprofit hosts a variety of Earth Day activities Friday-Sunday. A free ceremonial tree planting begins noon Friday and is followed by a 4 p.m. free seed and plant exchange. A free community potluck is 6 p.m. Saturday followed by a 7 p.m. screening of the film Can You Dig This. A gardening and placemaking workshop is 1 p.m. Sunday. Donations are encouraged for the screening and workshop. All events are at SixTwelve, 612 NW 29th St. Visit or call 405-208-8291. Friday-Sunday Photo SixTwelve / Provided

Fringe Women Artists of Oklahoma, annual group show featuring works from 19 Fringe artists. Graphite Gallery, 1751 NW 16th St. Kate Pritchett Photography Show, showcasing nature, abstract and contemplative images, 3-5 p.m., April 23. YogaLab, 1745 NW 16th St. SAT Mastering Manual: A Photography Class, learn how to create dreamy photos by shooting in manual mode; walk through basics of how to manipulate camera settings to achieve the wanted photo; and a mini-shoot with a live model, 2-4:30 p.m., April 24. Rally, 1745 NW 16th St., SUN Natural Impressions-Evolved, Oklahoma City artist Stacey Dianne Miller creates mixed media artwork with a focus in printmaking. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405-3079320, NEXT COURSE! A taste of the epic life that awaits, solo show of whimsical artwork by OSU alum Shel Wagner; meant as both a celebration and inspiration for new graduates, or for anyone looking ahead to a fresh chapter. Stillwater Multi Arts Center, 1001 S. Duck St., Stillwater.

Where the Lilies Bloom The Stage Door Theatre closes out its six-show run of family drama Where the Lilies Bloom this weekend. The play follows four orphaned children in North Carolina as they try to keep their father’s death a secret from the town and their landlord and survive on their own. It’s based on a novel by Vera and Bill Cleaver. The curtain rises 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at The Stage Door Theatre, 601 Oak St., in Yukon. Tickets are $10-$14. Visit or call 405-966-1777. Friday-Sunday Photo The Stage Door Theater / Provided

Calendar 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 405-528-4600 or e-mail them to listings@okgazette. com. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.

For okg live music picks see page 44

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Sat, apr 23 80s PROM Wed, apr 27 BLACKBERRY sMOKE thurS, apr 28 THE DEL MCCOURY BAND preSented By the Woody Guthrie Center

Sat, apr 30 PARACHUTE Sun, May 1 ANIMAL COLLECTIVE thurS, May 5 WE CAME As ROMANs & MEMPHIs MAY FIRE Fri, May 6 AsLEEP AT THE WHEEL Wed, May 11 JJ GREY & MOFRO W/ Ben Miller Band Tulsa, OK

★ 423 NOrTh MaiN sT.

TICKETs & INFO: caiNsballrOOM.cOM



Wise words

Oklahoma Songwriter’s Festival reunites The Nixons and brings the best of Nashville into OKC. By Ben Luschen | Photo Oklahoma Songwriter’s Festival / Provided

Oklahoma Songwriter’s Festival April 28-30

Oklahoma Songwriter Showcase 9 p.m. April 28 Blue Door 2805 N. McKinley Ave. $20

Writer’s Showcase 7 p.m. April 30 ACM@UCO Performance Lab 329 E. Sheridan Ave. $25-$35

Daytime workshops and panels 10 and 11:30 a.m. April 30 ACM@UCO 25 S. Oklahoma Ave., Suite 400 Free

He made his name smashing instruments in the mid-’90s as singer and guitarist for The Nixons, but Zac Maloy now enjoys his role as a successful songwriter in Nashville. The former Oklahoma alternative rock act’s frontman did not scorn his home state for Tennessee. Instead, he now hopes to bring Nashville’s best into Oklahoma City. Maloy, who helped write “Temporary Home” for Carrie Underwood and “Words Are Medicine” for Tim McGraw, is a mastermind behind the first Oklahoma Songwriter’s Festival held at multiple Oklahoma City venues April 28-30. In addition to live performances, local musicians can attend free panel discussions led by leading industry songwriters and insiders at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO), 25 S. Oklahoma Ave., Suite 400. A Nixons reunion highlights the fest’s 7 p.m. April 30 finale at ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E. Sheridan Ave. The stripped-down, acoustic performance will emphasize the meanings behind the act’s songs. That night, writers Marcus Hummon (Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road”), Jim Beavers (cowriter, Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup”), Marti Frederiksen’s (cowriter, Aerosmith’s “Jaded”) and JD McPherson also will talk about and play their hit tunes. Maloy recently spoke with Oklahoma Gazette about the art of songwriting and why the festival is important to him. Oklahoma Gazette: Why was it important for you to bring an event like this into 42

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Oklahoma, where you’re from? Zac Maloy: Part of it was to bring some of my guys from Nashville in to see the city. It’s vibrant and as booming, culturally, as I’ve ever seen it. The other thing was my sister (Tava Maloy Sofsky, Oklahoma Film & Music Office director) and I talked about creating almost a conduit, an artery, from Oklahoma City to Nashville. OG: What’s your advice to the aspiring songwriters attending the festival? ZM: Write all the time. Write with other writers. Cowriting is a very, very healthy exercise — something I resisted. I was in a rock band, and they said they were going to send me to Los Angeles to cowrite. “I don’t want to do that. What are you talking about? I can write my own songs.” But it was incredibly healthy. Push yourself to write every day. Billie Joe Armstrong has a mantra that goes, “Write something every day” — a melody, a lyric, a title, something.

do you always approach songwriting from your own perspective? ZM: That’s a great question and one, to be honest with you, I’m sort of asking almost every day. It’s easy to sit down and think, “I’m going to try and write a song for Tim McGraw.” The truth is, the song that I actually had on Tim McGraw’s last album, we didn’t sit down and try to write it for anybody. We just tried to write a great song. I will admit I do think about it sometimes, like, “Oh, this would be great for Blake Shelton,” but to me, a great song is a great song. I’ve been surprised over the course of my career when I get the call that so-and-so wants to cut this song I’m like, “What? I wouldn’t have expected that at all.” OG: Do you write things other than music? ZM: It’s funny you should mention it. Of course I have a script idea and a book idea like everyone probably in this room. We don’t have to be just songwriters, but I will tell you that my focus is songwriting.

OG: Do you step into someone else’s perspective when you’re writing for them, or Zac Maloy

Write all the time. Write with other writers. Cowriting is a very, very healthy exercise. Zac Maloy


Rapper Open Mike Eagle left and producer Paul White

Open records

Chicago-born rapper Open Mike Eagle brings a healthy work appetite to Norman Music Festival. By Ben Luschen | Photo Owen Richards / Provided

As the weight of stacking allegations way intimate. His newest album, Hella began to crush comedian Bill Cosby’s Personal Film Festival, is a collaboration pristine legacy, rapper Open Mike Eagle with British producer Paul White and watched from a unique perspective. was released March 25. Comedian Hannibal Buress helped Eagle’s style is unorthodox even in the propel Cosby’s career into its darkest self-aware rap realm. His lyrics closely days. At a 2014 set in Philadelphia, one resemble poetry read from a cool, young literary professor. joke he told about existing rape accusations against Cosby was Many rappers and songwriters can decaptured on video and uploaded to t he scribe exactly how they Norman Music Internet. It quickly sit down and come up Festival went viral. Eagle was with material. Eagle said his approach to Buress’ resident adviser Thursday-Sunday at Southern Illinois writing is always whichE. Main Street, Norman University Carbondale, ever way is convenient where the two became at the time. Free “It differs a lot from good friends. Buress has seen his song to song,” he said. public profile spike since “the joke.” A “Sometimes I don’t form it until I hear role on Comedy Central’s Broad City the beat. I don’t have a standard approach helps, too. Still, Eagle doesn’t like it when I take every time.” There’s a notion that everyone wants people credit the comedian’s success to to be or is a rapper. one chance moment. “When I think of that and how long “That’s something that’s always been I’ve known him, it has a lot to do with his true,” he said. “With all the equipment, it’s something you can practice on your energy,” Eagle said. “He puts a lot of work own. There are no barriers for entry.” into what he does. It wasn’t just one joke that got him here.” Eagle said while there aren’t necesSome parallels can be drawn between sarily more rappers now than there have the careers of the native Chicago rapper been, there are many more ways for and Buress. Eagle’s big, viral moment still rappers to become known. hasn’t come, but he has kept a steady work The emcee first met frequent collaboethic. He put out six albums in seven rator Milo through Myspace. (Milo peryears, not including EPs or records he forms 11 p.m. Friday at Norman Music released with groups Thirty Fish or Swim Fest.) Eagle was once a faceless Internet Team. rapper like thousands of others that Eagle performs 7:15 p.m. Saturday on populate sites like Bandcamp. Norman Music Festival’s main stage. He advises artists to keep working as Before Buress could write his Cosby if everybody is paying attention. Stop joke, there had to be a certain level of focusing on hit songs and viral moments. research or awareness involved. Show people you’re interested in producSimilarly, Eagle is known for a delibering art. ately thoughtful brand of hip-hop that is “A song is great, but it won’t be enough often loaded with meaning or in some to open any doors,” he said. O kg a z e t t e . c o m | a p r i l 2 0 , 2 0 1 6


live music These are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members. For full calendar listings, go to

WEDNESDAY, 4.20 Edgar Cruz, UCO Jazz Lab, EDMOND. ACOUSTIC Grant Wells, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO Maurice Johnson, R&J Lounge and Supper Club. JAZZ Pegboard Nerds/Prismo, Subsonix at the Market. VARIOUS

TrollPhace, Kamps 1310 Lounge. VARIOUS


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

THURSDAY, 4.21 Allen Byrd, S&B Burger Joint NW OKC. ROCK

The Stringents, Full Circle Bookstore. CLASSICAL

Blues Jam, Bourbon Street Bar. BLUES

Ben Franz/Stephen Salewon/ Brothers Of, Sauced on Paseo.

The Struts/Made Violent/Hanging Hayley, Diamond Ballroom. ROCK

David Wilcox, The Blue Door.


Brent Saulsbury/Will Galbraith/Wayne Duncan, Friends Restaurant & Club. ROCK


David Morris, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO


DJ Rodney Ladd, Flint. VARIOUS Evin Brady/Luke Wade/Joey Green, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY

Lip Service, Baker Street Pub & Grill. ROCK Sara Hickman/Jon Vezner/Don Henry/Mollie O’Brein & Rich Moore, The Blue Door. SINGER/


The Garage Band Jam, Bourbon Street Bar. ROCK

FRIDAY, 4.22 Adam Carroll/Chris Carroll, The Blue Door. COUNTRY Allen Byrd, S&B’s Burger Joint, Midtown. ROCK Casey & Minna, JJ’s Alley. FOLK Christian Pearson/Gary Johnson, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO

Country Vibes, Sliders. COUNTRY

Kwiksand Band, Bourbon Street Bar. ROCK Patrick Winsett, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY


a p r i l 2 0 , 2 0 1 6 | O kg a z e t t e . c o m

Johnny Rivera, WinStar World Casino, Thackerville. VARIOUS

4 of a Kind/Zac Copeland, Hillbilly’s. VARIOUS

Michael Kleid, Flint. VARIOUS

Adam Aguilar, S&B Burger Joint Midwest City. ROCK

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus/ Avion Roe, 89th Street Collective. ROCK

Austin Nail, Bourbon Street Bar. ROCK

Tyler Lee/Open Jam, Oklahoma City Limits. SINGER/

Carter Sampson, Noir Bistro & Bar. SINGER/SONGWRITER Country Vibes, Sliders. COUNTRY

DJ Jason Daniel, Russell’s, Tower Hotel. VARIOUS DJ Ray, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar. VARIOUS Grant Stevens, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO Hattie Hughs/Tanner Young/ Marcus Hill, Rodeo Opry. COUNTRY

Home Free, Riverwind Casino. COUNTRY

Hook Echo, Newcastle Casino. ROCK

Kali Ra, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK

Skillet, Frontier City. ROCK

Heavy Glow, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK


100 Bones Band, Tapwerks Ale House & Cafe. ROCK

DJ Six, Russell’s, Tower Hotel.

Equilibrium, UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond. JAZZ



Michael Kleid, Fuze Buffet & Bar. VARIOUS

Empire Grey, Riverwind Casino, Norman. ROCK

Scott Keeton, Remington Park. ROCK

Steve Crossley Solo, Bellini’s Underground. VARIOUS The Remedy OKC Band, Oklahoma City Limits. ROCK


Desiring Dead Flesh/ Mute Preachers, First Pastafarian Church of Norman, Norman. ROCK

Cover Me Badd, Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse. COVER VARIOUS


Friday Photo Provided

Arson for Candy, Hillbilly’s. COUNTRY


The Plums

The Plums and Redwitch Johnny The Plums (pictured) will plant seeds on Earth Day — seeds of Red Dirt and rock ’n’ roll in the ears of all those who go to their show, also featuring Stilwell band Redwitch Johnny. The show begins 7 p.m. Friday at Sauced on Paseo, 2912 Paseo St. Admission is free. Visit or call 405-521-9800.

Spring Fest, 89th Street Collective. VARIOUS Steelwind, The Blue Door. BLUEGRASS

The Great Divide, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY Tracii Gunns/Metal Headz/ Chasing Jenny/Drunk on Monday, Oklahoma City Limits. ROCK Wesley Micheal Hayes & Outlaw Territory, Remington Park. COUNTRY

SUNDAY, 4.24 Arctic/CobraJab, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK


Scott Lowber/Will Galbraith/ Rick Toops, Friends Restaurant & Club. COVER

MONDAY, 4.25 Hit The Lights/Seaway, 89th Street Collective. ROCK

TUESDAY, 4.26 Shaun Suttle, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. COVER

WEDNESDAY, 4.27 Blackberry Smoke/SIMO, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. ROCK Grant Wells, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO Maurice Johnson, R&J Lounge and Supper Club. JAZZ The Barr Brothers, The Criterion. FOLK

Live music 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 405-5284600 or e-mail them to listings@okgazette. com. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.



New York Times Magazine Crossword Puzzle Something in the Water


By Randolph Ross | Edited by Will Shortz | 0417 ACROSS 1 “Things aren’t so bad!” 8 Memorable mission 13 Napoleon, for one 19 Head of the army? 20 Jerusalem’s province, to the Romans 21 Role for Julia Louis-Dreyfus 22 Iron Man, e.g. 23 Where a 28-Across was often submerged in W.W. II 25 Prefix with comic 26 Chinese leader? 28 See 23-Across 29 More sound 30 Global supporter of the arts 33 Retailer ____ Taylor 34 Kind of PC port 37 Grocery chain since 1926 38 See 43-Across 39 A or O, e.g. 41 Ready to be drawn 43 Where you might tour the Grand Canyon in a 38-Across 47 See 50-Across 49 Young hare 50 Where an Italian tourist might ride in a 47-Across 52 Honkers 54 “If I Ruled the World” rapper 56 Heavy metal venue? 57 Approximately 58 Bars frequented at night 61 Tiny bit 62 Not, to a Scot 63 Saloon sounds 64 Knock over 65 Animal that an ailurophobe fears 66 Unimpressive mount 67 “So ____” 68 Where to find Moscow in the U.S.: Abbr. 69 1993 standoff site 70 Trembling trees 72 Does some grilling 73 See 79-Across 76 Solo pilot? 77 Vice ____ 79 Where a 73-Across sails loaded with fuel 81 See 85-Across 84 What a vulgarian has 85 Place for an 81-Across to catch seafood

90 [Humph!] 91 Put one’s foot down 92 Cowpoke’s friend 93 U.K. award 94 Yearbook sect. 95 Political writer Matt 97 École educator 99 Ticked off 101 See 105-Across 103 First name on the Supreme Court 104 Suite spot, say 105 What a 101-Across travels for some urban commuters 111 James Joyce short story in Dubliners 113 Self-image? 114 Time to start walking 115 Campaign poster word 116 Not quite 117 “Ain’t happening” 118 Investigative pieces DOWN 1 Great work of literature 2 Try 3 “But thy ____ summer shall not fade”: Shak. 4 It’s a Wonderful Life role 5 Attention to detail 6 Article in Le Monde 7 Sell 8 They have belts and coats 9 Cholesterol inits. 10 Top of the minors 11 Aid in picking sides 12 Crunchy snack 13 Butter ____ (ice- cream flavor) 14 Buckets 15 It counts as a plate appearance but not as an at-bat, briefly 16 Trash-bag accessory 17 Retrovirus component 18 Appetite 20 Cabinet member who served all eight years under Bill Clinton 24 Saturn model with a scientific name 27 Awaiting 31 Basketball’s King James, for one 32 Cassini of fashion 34 Let flow again 35 Lack of compassion 36 Russian relative of a guitar
















37 44




69 75









Accounting/HR Manager Marian Harrison


Accounts receivable Sue Auld

83 87















64 Charged 67 Support for ballet dancers 69 Place for a spare tire 71 Send into a swoon 74 Lifts up a mountain 75 Geom. shape 77 ____ III, inspiration for Dracula 78 Cry of mock horror 80 “Don’t forget about me” 82 Set off 83 Announcement at the end of a long car trip 86 Org. established by President Nixon 87 “Little piggy” holders 88 Lack 89 “Count me in” 91 When repeated, 1968 name in the news

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38 Party with glow sticks, maybe 40 Stumbles 41 Rouen relation 42 Makeshift beds 44 Bread spreads 45 Lawyer’s thing 46 Lake that’s the source of the Mississippi 47 Banded rock 48 Waiting for Lefty playwright 51 Hindu soul 52 Metal grates for grilling 53 One-way flight? 55 Hide away 57 Seven U.S. presidents, by birth 58 Notre Dame football legend 59 They’re blown in the winds 60 Tourist attraction on N.Y.C.’s Fifth Ave.

Marketing Manager Kelsey Lowe




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Oklahoma Gazette is circulated at its designated distribution points free of charge to readers for their individual use and by mail to subscribers. The cash value of this copy is $1. Persons taking copies of the Oklahoma Gazette from its distribution points for any reason other than their or others’ individual use for reading purposes are subject to prosecution.

publisher Bill Bleakley




















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EDITOR-in-chief Jennifer Palmer Chancellor

95 Generic juice flavor 96 Scroll holder 98 Choking on a Life Saver, e.g. 99 Fowl language? 100 Rich kid in Nancy 101 Young Arab 102 Sant’ Gria brand 105 “I don’t think so” 106 Stowe girl 107 Card game for two 108 Financial report abbr. 109 Opposite of FF 110 Dangerous pet 112 Aggravate

Assistant EDITOR Brittany Pickering Staff reporters Greg Elwell, Laura Eastes, Ben Luschen Contributors Mark Beutler, Brett Dickerson Christine Eddington, Jezy J. Gray George Lang, Wilhelm Murg Photographer Garett Fisbeck Marketing & Editorial Intern Kylie Kallsen Circulation Manager Chad Bleakley ASSISTANT Circulation Manager Duke Fleischer

Stumped? Call 1-900-285-5656 to get the answers to any three clues by phone ($1.20 a minute).

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Sudoku Puzzle Medium

Print Production Coordinator Ashley Parks

Fill in the grid so that every row, column and 3-by-3 box contains themedium numbers 1 through 9. Grid n°11545

8 1 5

1 9 3 4

9 4



7 3 2 2 9 4 7 3 5



1 5 4

New York Times Crossword Puzzle answers

Advertising/Marketing Design Coordinator Erin DeMoss

Puzzle No. 0410, which appeared in the April 13 issue.





















Graphic Designer Anna Shilling




Phone (405) 528-6000



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O kg a z e t t e . c o m | a p r i l 2 0 , 2 0 1 6


free will astrology Homework: If you had to choose one wild animal to follow, observe, and learn from for three weeks, which would it be? ARIES (March 21-April 19) “The writer should

never be ashamed of staring,” said Aries writer Flannery O’Connor. “There is nothing that does not require his attention.” This is also true for all of you Aries folks, not just the writers among you. And the coming weeks will be an especially important time for you to cultivate a piercing gaze that sees deeply and shrewdly. You will thrive to the degree that you notice details you might normally miss or regard as unimportant. What you believe and what you think won’t be as important as what you perceive. Trust your eyes.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

The ancient Greek geographer Pausanias told a story about how the famous poet Pindar got his start. One summer day, young Pindar decided to walk from his home in Thebes to a city 20 miles away. During his trek, he got tired and lay down to take a nap by the side of the road. As he slept, bees swarmed around him and coated his lips with wax. He didn’t wake up until one of the bees stung him. For anyone else, this might have been a bother. But Pindar took it as an omen that he should become a lyric poet, a composer of honeyed verses. And that’s exactly what he did in the ensuing years. I foresee you having an experience comparable to Pindar’s sometime soon, Taurus. How you interpret it will be crucial.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

“I measure the strength of a spirit by how much truth it can take,” said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Measured by that standard, your strength of spirit has been growing -- and may be poised to reach an all-time high. In my estimation, you now have an unusually expansive capacity to hold surprising, effervescent, catalytic truths. Do you dare invite all these insights and revelations to come pouring toward you? I hope so. I’ll be cheering you on, praying

By Rob Brezny

for you to be brave enough to ask for as much as you can possibly accommodate. CANCER (June 21-July 22) Göbekli Tepe was a monumental religious sanctuary built 11,600 years ago in the place we now call Turkey. Modern archaeologists are confounded by the skill and artistry with which its massive stone pillars were arranged and carved. According to conventional wisdom, humans of that era were primitive nomads who hunted animals and foraged for plants. So it’s hard to understand how they could have constructed such an impressive structure 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid of Giza. Writing in *National Geographic,* science journalist Charles C. Mann said, “Discovering that hunter-gatherers had constructed Göbekli Tepe was like finding that someone had built a 747 in a basement with an X-Acto knife.” In that spirit, Cancerian, I make the following prediction: In the coming months, you can accomplish a marvel that may have seemed beyond your capacity.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

In myths and folklore, the ember is a symbol of coiledup power. The fire within it is controlled. It provides warmth and glow even as its raw force is contained. There are no unruly flames. How much energy is stored within? It’s a reservoir of untapped light, a promise of verve and radiance. Now please ruminate further about the ember, Leo. According to my reading of the astrological omens, it’s your core motif right now.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Uh-oh. Or maybe I should

instead say “Hooray!” You are slipping into the Raw Hearty Vivid Untamed Phase of your astrological cycle. The universe is nudging you in the direction of high adventure, sweet intensity, and rigorous stimulation. If you choose to resist the nudges, odds are that you’ll have more of an “uh-oh” experience. If you decide to play along, “hooray!” is the likely outcome. To help you get in the proper mood, make the following declaration: “I like to think that my bones are made from oak, my blood from a waterfall, and my heart from wild daisies.” (That’s a quote from the poet McKenzie Stauffer.)

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a p r i l 2 0 , 2 0 1 6 | O kg a z e t t e . c o m

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

In many cultures, the butterfly is a symbol of transformation and rebirth. In its original state as a caterpillar, it is homely and slow-moving. After its resurrection time in the chrysalis, it becomes a lithe and lovely creature capable of flight. The mythic meaning of the moth is quite different, however. Enchanted by the flame, it’s driven so strongly toward the light that it risks burning its wings. So it’s a symbol of intense longing that may go too far. In the coming weeks, Libra, your life could turn either way. You may even vacillate between being moth-like and butterfly-like. For best results, set an intention. What exactly do you want?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

“I gladly abandon dreary tasks, rational scruples, reactive undertakings imposed by the world,” wrote Scorpio philosopher Roland Barthes. Why did he do this? For the sake of love, he said -- even though he knew it might cause him to act like a lunatic as it freed up tremendous energy. Would you consider pursuing a course like that in the coming weeks, Scorpio? In my astrological opinion, you have earned some time off from the grind. You need a break from the numbing procession of the usual daily rhythms. Is there any captivating person, animal, adventure, or idea that might so thoroughly incite your imagination that you’d be open to acting like a lunatic lover with boundless vigor?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

“Difficulties illuminate existence,” says novelist Tom Robbins, “but they must be fresh and of high quality.” Your assignment, Sagittarius, is to go out in search of the freshest and highest-quality difficulties you can track down. You’re slipping into a magical phase of your astrological cycle when you will have exceptional skill at rounding up useful dilemmas and exciting riddles. Please take full advantage! Welcome this rich opportunity to outgrow and escape boring old problems.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) “When I grow up, I want to be a little boy,” wrote novelist Joseph Heller in his book *Something Happened.* You have cosmic permission to make a comparable declaration in the

coming days. In fact, you have a poetic license and a spiritual mandate to utter battle cries like that as often as the mood strikes. Feel free to embellish and improvise, as well: “When I grow up, I want to be a riot girl with a big brash attitude,” for example, or “When I grow up, I want to be a beautiful playful monster with lots of toys and fascinating friends who constantly amaze me.”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

In one of his diaries, author Franz Kafka made this declaration: “Life’s splendor forever lies in wait around each one of us in all of its fullness -- but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come.” I’m bringing this promise to your attention, Aquarius, because you have more power than usual to call forth a command performance of life’s hidden splendor. You can coax it to the surface and bid it to spill over into your daily rhythm. For best results, be magnificent as you invoke the magnificence.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

I’ve got a controversial message for you, Pisces. If you’re addicted to your problems or if you’re convinced that cynicism is a supreme mark of intelligence, what I’ll say may be offensive. Nevertheless, it’s my duty as your oracle to inform you of the cosmic tendencies, and so I will proceed. For the sake of your mental health and the future of your relationship with love, consider the possibility that the following counsel from French author André Gide is just what you need to hear right now: “Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.”

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.

P h o n e (4 0 5 ) 5 2 8 - 6 0 0 0 | E - m a i l a dv e r t i s i n g @t i e r r a m e d i ag r o u p. c o m


Kathy Christian



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The Pot Issue  

Oklahoma Gazette examines the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis.

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