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state renewable energy
8 State energy producers and law
makers endorse tax plan to plug budget hole
11 Business Oklahoma owned and
operated Love’s stores expand into 41 states
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EAT & DRINK Yokozuna food celebrity Alton Brown’s edible science
19 Review 20 Event
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ARTS & CULTURE 27 Cover growing up Red Dog
29 Art Make it Rain short order poem
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sculptures have big stories to tell
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April 29-30 in Bicentennial Park
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38 Community Inclusion & Diversity
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NEWS Illustration Anna Shilling
but we also have the ability to export at the height of the market each day.” While multiple studies show the potential in Oklahoma and its largest city and how the birth of “Big Solar” would benefit the economy, employment and the environment.
S tat e
Sierra Club’s policy push
Local efforts show Oklahoma’s energy future has sunny potential. By Laura Eastes
Row after row of solar panels, which rest perfectly aligned and angled to the west, fill an open field along NW 10th Street in western Oklahoma City. When OG&E’s 2.5-megawatt solar farm began harvesting energy from the sun less than two years ago, the company hawked the farm’s ability to power a one-stop-sign town. As the sleek metal of the solar panels glistens in the blazing sun, the electric utility company’s aging natural gas plant stands in the background. When it comes to power stations, natural gas is king in Oklahoma, but indicators show solar has a bright and rising future. Last month, Google’s Project Sunroof program, which estimates sunlight and translates it to energy production, ranked Oklahoma City No. 8 in its list of most solar-potential cities in the nation. Houston earned the No. 1 spot, followed by Los Angeles and then Phoenix. Furthermore, Google determined that OKC has enough solar-viable rooftops to meet and exceed the city’s residential power needs. Anyone who spends any time in
Oklahoma is well aware of its hot, bright summers and plentiful supply of yearround sunshine. Outside of the southwestern U.S., experts agree that the Sooner State has some of the best solar energy potentials in America. Yet, when ranked by solar production, the state receives an “F” grade, even lagging behind Minnesota in production, which is home to the Midwest’s first large-scale solar energy project. Oklahoma has no similar largescale solar energy project. “There is a tremendous amount of energy hitting the surface every day and we haven’t yet developed measures to capture it,” said Jim Roth, a director and chairman of Phillips Murrah law firm’s Clean Energy Practice Group and a former Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner. Roth represents solar and wind energy developers for the Oklahoma City business law firm. “The technology is catching up,” he said. “Oklahoma is uniquely situated in that the best sun penetration happens at the time of day which is the most expensive time in the market. We not only have a lot of opportunity for local use,
Sierra Club Oklahoma director Johnson Bridgwater has studied and supports renewable energy and its growth in Oklahoma. When it comes to solar, Bridgwater said significant barriers inhibit widespread use by Oklahoma homeowners. The environmental organization is pushing pro-solar policies, which could be authored during the 2018 state legislative session. “What we are trying to do is help Oklahoma … realize its potential as a top 10 state in solar energy production,” Bridgwater said. “We have actually seen legislative action that has damaged Oklahoma’s solar market. We propose some very specific pieces of legislation that could overturn the damage, invigorate and release the solar energy potential.” The Sierra Club advocates for lawmakers to end the state’s ban on thirdparty leasing, also called third-party ownership, in which private companies lease solar panels to homeowners and sell them the energy through thirdparty power purchase agreements. Many believe the solar energy residential boom is directly linked to thirdparty leasing. In fact, Greentech Media (GTM) Research, which provides market analysis of the global electricity industry worldwide, found that, in 2014, 72 percent of residential solar systems were installed through thirdparty lease agreements. Sierra Club Oklahoma also backs efforts to revise the state’s net metering regulation. In states that allow net metering, homeowners with solar system rooftops can sell their excess electricity back to the grid for fair market value. In other words, they can profit from feeding their excess power back into the power grid.
To truly move the residential solar industry forward, Bridgwater said the state must first repeal 2014’s Senate Bill 1456, which was labeled a solar surcharge bill. While solar advocates contested it as it moved through the Capitol, it allowed the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to establish separate customer classes and surcharges for distributing energy generated by things like rooftop solar systems and small wind turbines. Lastly, the Sierra Club supports efforts to establish standard interconnection rules, or uniform procedures and technical requirements for connecting solar energy systems to the electric utility grid. Oklahoma’s absence of a standard interconnection rule can make it difficult for property owners to connect to the grid. While the potential for solar receives a lot of attention in renewable energy circles, the public still often perceives solar as a costly energy source. Bridgwater said that technological advances coupled with plummeting solar panel prices make solar a cost-effective energy source. “What makes this the right time is that battery technology has finally broken two barriers,” Bridgwater said. “The cost is no longer prohibited and the technology is readily available.”
A sustainable OKC
Local government can play a significant role through policies and programs to build a sustainable community, one that is planned, built or modified to promote sustainable living. Located inside the City of Oklahoma City’s planning department, the Office of Sustainability is arguably one of the most important, and sometimes unrecognized, government services. Its two associate planners are charged with meeting the city needs while looking ahead to anticipate how city decisions and policies impact future generations. Its focus is on economic and environmental sustainability, said associate continued on page 6
Johnson Bridgwater, Sierra Club Oklahoma Chapter director, advocates for changes in state policies that would support alternative energy development in the state. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
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S tat e
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planner Ryan Baker. “We are focused on thinking in economic terms when it comes to policy,” Baker said. “It is about recognizing that in many cases there is an opportunity to create and invest in Oklahoma City, but those policies might also be environmentally friendly.” Recently, the city was awarded a SolSmart advisor through a grant from the U.S Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. For six-months, an advisor will work closely with the Office of Sustainability in reviewing politics, reducing soft costs of going solar and signaling that OKC is open for solar business. “What are our policies? If somebody — a commercial entity or a homeowner — wants to do a solar project, are we sure that we have policies set up that are not prohibited,” Baker said. “We want to make sure we don’t have any roadblocks to people’s interest in pursuing solar. We have a stake in seeing solar in our city and state.” The advisor, who comes to the city from the nonprofit Solar Foundation, has experience in public policy, local government and environmental and energy consulting. The hands-on assistance involves evaluating how a solar project would navigate through planning and zoning, permitting and inspection.
At last year’s ScienceFest Oklahoma, groups of fourth and fifth graders and their teachers visited the Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council’s (OREC) booth to see a radio relying on solar power to play tunes. “The kids were so engaged to see this solar demonstration powering a radio,” recalled Tyson Taussig, OREC president. “It was like a magic trick to them. Look there is no power cord.” As Taussig and other OREC members answered student questions about renewable energy, they fielded invites from teachers to visit classrooms for further presentations. The nonpartisan organization supports efforts in Oklahoma to develop renewable energy in areas like solar, wind, 6
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is one of two City of Oklahoma City employees working with an advisor through the U.S. Department of Energy to review the city’s solar energy potential. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
biomass and geothermal, but places a large focus on educating the public. Founded two decades ago, the council is comprised of 60-active members working in the renewable energy field. Through once-a-month meetings, OREC members stay current with projects moving through the state, as well as hurdles and challenges. As educators in renewable energy, one of their audiences is lawmakers. “Part of our mission is to be advocates for renewable energy in our state,” Taussig said. “With a lot of issues decided at the Capitol, we feel we have an obligation to say something and provide the legislature with unbiased and educational information. Take wind. There are so many different claims about jobs, dollars, benefits and detriments. With so much experience and expertise in this group, we can get unbiased information to decision makers.”
Across Oklahoma’s western border and into the Texas Panhandle are hints of a solar boom. Roth said the major Texas projects foreshadow Oklahoma’s future. Within Oklahoma, solar energy has caught the attention of utility companies. It’s not limited to the OG&E solar farm in OKC. Public Services Company of Oklahoma’s (PSO), which services areas around Tulsa, McAlester and Lawton, recent long-term plan calls for the addition of solar resources. Additionally, rural electric cooperatives are diving into small-scale solar farms. “The reality is the technology is there and solar is being implemented all around the country,” Roth said. “I really believe this is our greatest potential — we have such blessings with clean natural gas underground, such blessings with world-class wind and with solar opportunity. Few states, if any, have the trifecta. … Oklahoma is actually perfectly situated for the future which is unfolding.
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NEWS Some lawmakers and a newly created small producers alliance are pushing for higher gross production taxes
S tat e
on oil and gas. | Photo Gazette / file
To help repair Oklahoma’s gaping budget hole, lawmakers and some oil and natural gas producers call for increasing gross production taxes. By Laura Eastes
In late March, faced with an $868 million budget shortfall and with few revenue-raising bills passed through the state Capitol, Oklahoma House Democrats crafted a budget plan to repair the state’s revenue problem by reversing specific tax cuts, including for oil and gas production. In its Restoring Oklahoma Plan, which lays out a strategy for funding a teacher pay raise as well as protecting key government services from further budget cuts, the Democratic caucus determined raising the gross production tax, or severance tax, from 2 to 5 percent would generate an estimated $312 million in state revenue. “For decades, the state of Oklahoma had a stable tax rate on gross production by taxing wells at 7 percent,” Vinita Rep. Chuck Hoskin told members of the press. “In recent years, the legislature has created more and more tiers and incentives for oil and gas production, including historically low tax rates when a well is at its most productive [time]. … While we understand and agree that oil and gas [industry] is very important to our state’s economy, investing in our children and our infrastructure is mutually beneficial.” While this isn’t the first proposal floated to increase state’s tax rates on oil and gas production, the idea has 8
A p r i l 1 9 , 2 0 1 7 | O kg a z e t t e . c o m
found some support among some small oil and natural gas producers and a former state Republican chairman. “We must face the stark reality that state government is bankrupt,” Keener Oil and Gas owner Dewey Bartlett Jr. said in an Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance press statement. “We believe the oil industry should stand up and agree that returning the oil and gross production tax to its historical level demonstrates our commitment to help solve this serious state budget crisis.”
We must face the stark reality that state government is bankrupt. Dewey Bartlett Jr. During a current legislative session where a budget shortfall looms and the public cries for teacher pay raises and an end to state agency cuts, lawmakers have a daunting task to fill state budget holes by the end of May.
Three years ago, a very different gas production tax proposal was making its way through the State Capitol. With a
tax break for horizontal drilling scheduled to sunset in 2015, a bill to keep the tax rate progressed through the House and Senate. Historically, Oklahoma placed a 7-percent tax on drilling; however, in 1994, lawmakers created a horizontal drilling incentive and lowered the rate to 1 percent for the first 36 months. At the time, horizontal drilling was relatively new, and the incentive helped spur growth in technology. In 2002, the incentive was extended with a 2015 expiration, which would restore the rate to 7 percent. In 2014, Oklahoma lawmakers passed legislation setting the horizontal drilling tax rate at 2 percent for the first 36 months. Proponents believed the break would keep drilling dollars in Oklahoma and foster economic growth. Opponents argued horizontal drilling was no longer a new technology, so such an incentive was unnecessary. As the bill headed to the governor for approval, state lawmakers continued to piece together a state budget and plug a $188 million funding hole. In early 2015, the state faced a $611 million budget shortfall. In 2016, the deficit rose to $1.3 billion. Most recent revenue reports estimate the state currently faces a $900 million deficit for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The newly created Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance gathered in the grand staircase inside the Capitol and called on lawmakers to restore the gross production tax to 7 percent. The alliance is comprised of small, privately owned oil and gas producers. “The fact that Oklahoma — a state with prolific oil and gas reserves and the
nation’s best oil industry regulatory climate — already has the lowest tax rate in the nation at the historically 7 percent rate should be good enough,” Bartlett said in the press statement. Days after the oilman visited lawmakers, Oklahoma’s two-term Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones offered his budget solutions. The Republican recommended increasing the gross production tax to 5 percent as well other measures to bring “stability” to long-term revenue planning. Calls to modify the gross production tax have been met with resistance, especially from a number of the state’s horizontal drillers. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association, which represents the state’s largest oil and gas producers, points out the industry, by paying gross production taxes, local property taxes, payroll taxes among others, is the state’s “largest single source for tax funding public services.” With six weeks left in the session, state lawmakers contend there is still time to pursue new revenue streams for the coming year’s budget, which begins July 1, and not pass a budget with dire cuts to core services. In recent months, lawmakers have tossed around ideas like increasing the cigarette tax, raising the gas tax, reforming tax credits and expanding the sales tax. Now, jacking up the gross production tax is added to that list.
By the numbers Oklahoma crude oil and natural gas gross production rates: >> 1 percent / 7 percent: For horizontal wells that began producing before July 1, 2015, the tax rate is 1 percent for the first 48 months. Then, the rate rises to 7 percent. >> 4 percent / 7 percent: For deep wells (more than 15,000 feet) that began producing before July 1, 2015, the tax rate is 4 percent for the first 48 months. Then, the rate rises to 7 percent. >> 7 percent: For wells introduced prior to the horizontal and deep incentive rates, the tax rate is 7 percent. >> 2 percent / 7 percent: For wells produced after July 1, 2015, the tax rate is 2 percent for the first 36 months. Then, the rate becomes 7 percent. Source: Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller
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NEWS Family-owned Oklahoma business Loves Travel Stops & Country Stores plans to open an additional 50 shops nationwide in 2017. |
B u s i ness
Photo Loves family archives / provided
Keep on truckin’
Oklahoma owned and operated Love’s travel and convenience company grows as its family does. By Kevan Goff-Parker
With 422 Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores nationwide and 73 in Oklahoma, America loves the Oklahoma City-based, privately owned, multibillion-dollar company. Strategically built along local and U.S. highways, the company plans to open 50 more shops this year. However, in the early 1960s, finding lasting business success was a bit of a challenge for Love’s founder and chairman Tom Love and wife Judy, who is now Love’s corporate secretary and chairwoman of the Love Family Fund. “We have the best customer services and this sets us apart,” said Kealey Dorian, Love’s media specialist. “Tom and Judy’s sense of family really trickles down from the corporate office into the field and we believe our great customer service set us apart.” More accurately, it’s succeeded due to, customer service, hard work and a commitment to community service. “Tom Love is still extremely active as the founder and executive chairman,” Dorian said. “We employ about 17,000 employees across the nation and anticipate hiring thousands more this year. We love supporting fellow Oklahomans.” Dorian said that because Love’s is nationwide, the company donates a large part of its budget in support of area nonprofits’ needs. Dorian said as for Love’s financial footprint, each new store has an average capital investment of about $11 million. As for Love’s charitable arm of the company, it has already donated more than $5 million this year statewide and beyond. “The company also steps up to help
communities in times of crisis,” she said. “When there were terrible wildfires in the panhandle in Oklahoma and Texas, we donated gas cards to farmers and others delivering supplies to farmers and ranchers. Much of the hay had burned and people needed food for the animals, so we worked with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau to supply fuel cards for those bringing in hay for the animals.”
Building a legacy
As one of seven children born to Margaret Love and F.C. Love Jr., Tom Love knew early on he had big shoes to fill if he would someday match his father’s achievements. Love Jr. was a successful attorney and civic leader and in the late ’60s, became Kerr-McGee Corp.’s president. After dropping out of St. John’s University in Minnesota and
briefly attending the University of Oklahoma, it soon became clear Love’s passion was business, not academics. Early on, Love managed car washes and restaurants. He married Judy in 1961. By 1964, the couple had family feed as their brood grew. They saved their money before next trying the family’s oil business in western Oklahoma. The Loves leased a self-serve gas station for $5,000 in Watonga. Soon, they leased a similar one in Sayre. Their shops also sold Kerr-McGee Corp. gasoline. By leasing the fuel stations and operating with used equipment, the couple could test the shops out before buying them. Eventually, the Loves had 40 fuel stations and had named their company the Musket Corporation. Moving with the times in 1972, they expanded their filling stations to offer customers a multitude of shopping choices, and added the first Love’s Country Store, a combination convenience store and self-serve filling station, in Guymon. Love’s Country Stores’ one-stop shopping located mainly near interstates soon hit the spot with professional truckers, RV travelers and other long-distance drivers hungry for clean, safe and 24-hour service. The company continued to expand to other states and in the early 1980s, added gifts, toys and eventually in-store restaurants like Subway, Winchell’s Pizza Hut and others. The Loves opted for a big family, too. They raised four children. Three work for the family business: daughter Jenny Love Meyer is vice president of communications and sons Frank and Greg Love are co-CEOs. A third-generation Love family member now works for the company in field services. Thirteen Loves Travel Stops & Country Stores now dot the greater Oklahoma City metro, including Guthrie, El Reno, Norman and Choctaw. Love’s employees also give to local food banks, tutor students and stretch well beyond in support of many local and national nonprofits. “Local charities also benefit during our store openings during ribbon-cutting celebrations as partners with local chambers of commerce,” she said. “We also nationally support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals during their annual fundraising campaign in support of local children’s hospitals. Overall, the Love’s companies have raised more than $17.5 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1998.”
Love’s Country Store, circa 1970s | Photo Loves family archives / provided
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NEWS who work for those organizations want to support a political candidate, they are free to do so in their own time. They have their freedom of speech. How can an organization that has over a certain number of people represent every person equally with their political views? I do not believe it can. If I feel, as an individual, that I cannot bring up politics in my family gatherings or work events because someone might get overzealous, then I do not see it being possible for an organization to represent the group equally as a whole. Kimberlee Rohrer Oklahoma City
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 email@example.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.
I think I share this question with every American citizen right now: When? When is somebody going to do something? When are the republicans on Capitol Hill going to stand up like adults and confront this juvenile bullying of the most vulnerable populations of the United States? How much more indignity will we suffer as members of the world community? What must the people of Germany be thinking? There is no disgrace in mental illness — and to ignore it in places of authority is perilous to the people at stake, and it is simply enabling neurotic, destructive behavior and, therefore, not fair to the person possessing it. It is obvious that our worst fears have begun to be realized in this presidential election and current administration.
The elected officials have to intervene! Why has no one done this? Fear; fear of retribution — in the form of a tweet. There it is. We are being held captive by a Tweety bird! Will some courageous souls please stand up and come to the aid of our great nation? Won’t someone stand up for the most vulnerable? Janine Taylor Bryant Oklahoma City
Keep them separated
The article about U.S. Sen. James Lankford unveiling his Free Speech Fairness Act written by Laura Eastes (News, Say what?, March 1, Oklahoma Gazette) deserves more attention, as it is
excellent. It gives great insight to the reasoning behind the Johnson Amendment and why we need a separation of church and state. In the past, we have allowed these two major powers to coerce, and it has proved to be unsuccessful. I agree with a lot of what Mitch Randall had to say on the matter. Churches have the right be political if they want; they simply have to start paying taxes. If they were to begin influencing political campaigns by essentially advertising to their followers, then they could grow as powerful as the Roman Catholic Church did in the 15th-18th centuries. Our past is a great source to learn from as to what we should and should not repeat. If the individuals
Regarding the OKC streetcar passenger and traffic issues: Suggest the steering committee research the methods used in Germany. That system, which has been in operation for over 70 years, is passenger, traffic and environmentally friendly. Passengers can use the same ticket for both bus and streetcar. The traffic signs indicate at each intersection which one has the right of way, and both bus and streetcar allows passengers to transport their bicycles, thus reducing automobile traffic in the downtown area. Oklahoma City needs to emulate public transportation systems that have proven successful. Michael Manning Yukon
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Many of us have eaten fast food and then spent the next day regretting the decision, but Oklahoma City police officer Shawn Byrne is literally making a federal case out of it. Byrne and his wife are suing Taco Bell in United States District Court for more than $75,000 because of a very bad steak quesadilla. He alleges that workers at the restaurant, 10830 N. Rockwell Ave., intentionally made him sick, causing him to miss weeks of work. “After the person at the window took his order, he went over to two men employees and said something to them. They all looked over at him and started laughing,” court documents state. “As he drove away, he started eating the quesadilla. On the third bite, his tongue, throat and the roof of his mouth began burning.” Byrne said he stopped eating, but the burning didn’t stop, despite him finishing his Mountain Dew. “When he wiped the sweat from his eye, his eye began to burn,” according to the complaint. “It was all like what happens when someone gets pepper spray in the face and mouth.” A visit to the doctor the next day revealed burned spots in his throat, forcing him to take more than 127 hours of sick leave and miss 68 hours of “extra jobs.” According to court documents, two of the three employees who laughed at Byrne were convicted felons. Tests of the remaining quesadilla found “a high concentration of pepper and also tested for cologne.” Gives new meaning to the term “special sauce.” But wait; there’s more! “Less than two weeks after the incident, he suffered an attack of appendicitis, which required surgery,” court documents state. Byrne’s doctor said the quesadilla “either caused or exacerbated the appendicitis.” We know hindsight is 20/20, but the first clue he should avoid the quesadilla was the employees laughing. As former fast food workers, we at Chicken-Fried News know nobody working a drive-thru window should be enjoying themselves.
The Gun State
Oklahoma’s nickname is the Sooner State, which originates from the days of the Land Run of 1889. Hold onto your horses! After this pro-gun legislative session, Oklahoma might earn another nickname: the Gun State. First, let’s look at House Bill 1721, the Bus Passenger Safety Act, which allows anyone with a handgun license to pack heat on public transit. According to Public Radio Tulsa, the bill’s author, Rep. Greg Babinec, R-Cushing, said the bill “helps people with a [Self-Defense Act License] who can’t take their guns to work just because they ride the bus.” Reminder, it’s illegal to fire a shot on a bus unless in self-defense or in defense of another person. Next, there is House Bill 2323, which — according to the bill’s author Rep. Jeff Coody — calls for anyone age 21 and older to exercise their “God-given, constitutional right” to carry a gun without a permit in their own vehicle, according to Tulsa World. After a 70-16 vote, the bill passed by the House to the Senate. Under this bill, a pistol could be carried in any matter. Think loaded, unloaded, open, concealed or
in the hands of a driver while accepting a hamburger meal in the drive-thru window. This takes us to Slaughterville Republican Rep. Bobby Cleveland’s bill to allow elected county officials to carry guns into courthouses. House Bill 1104 is the key to solving small counties’ security troubles by allowing county officials to strap a pistol on and roam the halls, protecting courthouse staff from people who “make rash decisions and act out” against elected officials, Cleveland told the Associated Press. Again, keep in mind guns would still be banned from inside courtrooms. And last but not least is legislation by Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Depew, and Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud. Signed by the governor, House Bill 1428, the Handgun Carry Military Age Exemption Act, modifies existing law to allow any person who is a member, veteran or honorably discharged from the United States armed forces to apply for a handgun license. In other words, Oklahomans as young as the age of 18 could apply for a handgun license, the Associated Press reported. In 2015, magazine Guns & Ammo published the article “Best States for Gun Owners” and ranked the Sooner State No. 30. Considering these pro-gun bills, some trigger-friendly lawmakers are working to ensure Oklahoma
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improves that middle-of-thepack ranking.
Russell Westbrook’s campaign for Most Valuable Player rolled through the final stretch of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s regular season much like a powerful locomotive pushing through the night air, as seemingly unstoppable as a meteor streaking through space on a collision course with destiny or, heck, a Westbrook drive to the basket between dumbfounded defenders. His final statement games were not only heroic; they were historic. Take his March 28 game against Orlando as an example. Westbrook amassed 57 points to match 13 rebounds and 11 assists in the highest scoring triple-double the National Basketball Association (NBA) has ever seen. Three of his points came on a wild 31-foot shot with seven seconds left to force overtime and led to an eventual Thunder win. If that was not impressive enough, how about Westbrook’s performance during the April 9 game on the road against the Denver Nuggets? The Thunder was behind by double digits when the point guard recorded his
10th assist and clinched his 42nd triple-double of the season, passing the legendary Oscar Robertson for most triple-doubles in a single season. The record was nice, but Westbrook, of course, wanted the win. A nearly unbelievable 36-foot three-point shot as time expired put the Thunder up for good. The shot brought his total to 50 points on the night, making it his record third 50-point triple-double in a season. It also mathematically eliminated the Nuggets from playoff participation. Most experts agree that the race between Westbrook and Houston’s equally matched James Harden for NBA MVP is the tightest competition for the award in many years. Fans are digging into the most obscure analytics to find a way to distinguish the two impressive resumes. The race has jocks cracking open the nearest Merriam-Webster dictionary to debate semantics of the word “valuable.” Though MVP is a regular season award, the opening round playoff series between Oklahoma City and Houston will impact the national
narrative. The league is scheduled to announce the award winner during a live awards show June 26. We at Chicken-Fried News leave you with words from Robertson himself, who congratulated Westbrook on breaking his record before the Thunder’s last regular season home game April 12: “I just have one more thing to say,” the former player proclaimed over the arena intercom, “MVP!”
When you’re hiding from the cops and they show up at your house and start yelling, “Come out with your hands up,” through the loudspeaker, it’s usually a good idea to call it a day and surrender. However, a standoff in northwest Oklahoma City on April 7 bucked common sense and just sort of fizzled out and ended with police leaving without nabbing their suspect. Fox 25 reported the standoff occurred at the 3400 block of N. Shartel Avenue. Harding Charter Preparatory High School, located across the street, and nearby
Edgemere and Wilson elementary schools were placed on lockdown, and parents were required to pick up their children. News9.com reported that police were led to the house in northwest OKC after investigating a shooting near Whole Foods Market. A man asked someone if he could use their phone to call his sister to ask her to take him to the hospital. When police arrived, they found several gun shell casings and a car with blood, gunshot holes and a flat tire in the store’s parking lot, but the bleeding man was gone. Police later found him at a nearby Sonic Drive-In. Police questioned three people and then called the department’s tactical team because they believed the suspect was barricaded in the house. The standoff lasted hours, and police set off flash-bang grenades — explosive devices that emit bright light and thunderous noise and are used in hostage and high-risk warrant situations — around 4:45 p.m. We at Chicken-Fried News could hear the police’s requests that the suspect surrender and come out of the house from our offices down the street at Oklahoma Gazette, but according to NewsChannel 4, “inaccurate witness information led them to believe a fourth man was inside” the house and they were yelling into a void.
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some love wi th
3 lines (115 characters) of love note. No Charge! Click on the Motherâ€™s Day Love Notes banner on okgazette.com to place a FREE message to your Mom, wife or that special person that puts up with you. Your Love Note will publish in the May 10, 2017 issue in the Oklahoma Gazette What Mama Wants section.
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EAT & DRINK
Tulsa sushi king Yokozuna’s OKC opening means local sushi bars need to up their game. By Greg Elwell Seared pork belly tacos | Photo Greg Elwell
Pork katsu ramen | Photo Greg Elwell
Yokozuna 1320 Pawnee Drive, #100 | 405-500-1020 yokozunasushi.com What works: The Geisha’s Demise roll is must-try sushi. What needs work: The ramen broth is thin and flavorless. Tip: Look for Monday specials on steamed buns and happy hour sushi and appetizer prices.
Locally owned restaurant groups are in a real sweet spot. They combine the kind of branding and attention to detail you might expect from a successful national concept and the service and quality of food you get from local owners. That’s one reason Yokozuna, 1320 Pawnee Drive, #100, comes to Oklahoma City in a great position. As part of The McNellie’s Group, the successful owners behind James E. McNellie’s Public House, Fassler Hall and Dust Bowl Lounge, Yokozuna brings years of expertise and a menu that’s a proven winner. It’s also one of the first eateries in Chisholm Creek, the mixed-use food/ entertainment/shopping complex near Memorial Road and Western Avenue that Topgolf calls home. Inside the restaurant, the color palette turns cool with darkened nooks nestled among the window-lit rooms. The only concern there is the too-small waiting room when you walk inside. In a business that size, the holding area becomes packed quickly with just a few people. Luckily, Yokozuna has a rooftop bar area that can hold folks waiting for their tables. Once you’re seated, there’s a fairly large selection of rolls and entrees to contend with. If it’s your first time in, you can stall for time by ordering some steamed buns (two for $6, three for $8). For the uninitiated, steamed buns, sometimes called nikuman or bao, are tasty little folded sandwiches. The dough is steamed, creating an airy, slightly tacky bread. They are quickly becoming the snack du jour in Oklahoma City, appearing at Goro Ramen + Izakaya, Ocean 81 Sushi Bar, Chae Modern Korean and soon-to-arrive Ur/ Bun. Pork or Sriracha chicken fill Yokozuna’s folded buns. The spice level on the chicken is pretty mild. Srirachastyle chili sauces pack a little punch but, when cooked, can make dishes sweeter. Deal hunters will want to make Yokozuna a Monday night haunt with buns for $1 each 5-10 p.m. They’re excellent accompaniments to Yokozuna’s
cocktail list. Though I generally don’t recommend ordering tacos at Japanese restaurants, I’ll make an exception for seared pork belly tacos ($9 lunch, $14 dinner). It includes three tacos of fried wonton shells stuffed with tender pork belly, avocado, green salsa and Asian coleslaw. They’re not huge, but they come with tempura sweet potato fries or a house salad.
Geisha’s Demise is torture, and I will order one every time I go in. The menu is filled with great foods to share or look cool eating on a date. These tacos are not among them. By their nature, tacos are kind of messy, and seared pork belly is not the easiest filling if you hope to make a clean bite. There’s a little chew to the meat, and the shell isn’t structurally sound enough to survive the pulling. But if you’re not worried about looking cool (or if, like me, it’s never an option) the flavor is worth a bit of mess. Pork belly is sweet and tender, with fat that melts on the tongue. Mixed with avocado and a surprising spicy salsa, it runs the gamut of flavors and sensations while the crunch of the slaw makes each bite feel more substantial.
While I enjoyed the cooked selections overall, the pork katsu ramen ($10 lunch, $13 dinner) was a letdown. Taken as parts, it was good. The pork cutlets had a lovely, savory flavor and a nice crunch. The noodles were tasty but hadn’t plumped up enough. The softboiled egg was, as always, delightful. But the broth just can’t compete with other ramen shops in town. It needs to cook longer to gain the full, smooth, creamy quality that makes ramen such a treat. But the draw of a sushi restaurant is sushi, and this is where Yokozuna shines. The must-have roll is Geisha’s Demise ($10), especially if you are a fan of spice. Inside the roll is seared yellowfin tuna, avocado, wasabi and imitation crab. Outside, the rice is covered in ichimi pepper, which brings a lot of heat. As much as I love the traditional dip in soy sauce, Geisha’s Demise comes with its own dipping liquid — the aptly named sweet evil sauce. The fat of the tuna and the creamy avocado find a stiff counterbalance in the wasabi, which brings a searing nasal heat. The ichimi pepper and sweet evil sauce, on the other hand, keep pouring pressure on the mouth and tongue, leaving the diner nowhere to run. It’s torture, and I will order one every time I go in. There’s less heat in The 405 Roll ($11), but plenty of flavor. The filling is
Geisha’s Demise roll with sweet evil sauce | Photo Greg Elwell
seared albacore tuna, cucumber, roasted red pepper, pickled red onion and jalapeño. On top of the roll is avocado, garlic aioli and fried onions. The overwhelming feeling with The 405 Roll is freshness. Tart pickled onions and roasted peppers play off the cool crunch of the cucumber and the subtle tuna. The toppings are pure decadence, especially the crunchy sweetness of the fried onions. The value winner is the $6 veggie roll. A simple cucumber roll is nice enough, but the blend of textures and flavors in Yokozuna’s veggie roll is a delight. Cucumber and asparagus are the backbone. Avocado and red bell pepper provide the flavor. And the sprouts are the perfect vehicle to soak up and deliver soy sauce to your mouth. Oklahoma City’s sushi game was already strong, but the addition of Yokozuna means competitors have to bring service and style up to snuff to survive. The more options available, the better consumers can choose price, quality and comfort that suits their needs. With The McNellie’s Group behind it, you can be sure Yokozuna is staying in the metro for the long haul.
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EAT & DRINK
express lunch - $7
Alton Brown | Photo Alton Brown Live / provided
Monday — Friday
some challenging time in their lives. “I try not to think about that too much, because you can start to believe you’re more important than you are,” he said. “I just think, ‘At least I didn’t screw it up.’” Brown’s food and filmmaking passion came through in each episode, which is why it has become a classic. He said that wasn’t by accident. “Looking at the great television shows of the last decade, like Mad Men or Breaking Bad, they were all being driven by one person who is passionate about that work,” he said. “I’m not trying to compare Good Eats to Breaking Bad, but ultimately, great work comes from small, passionate teams or one person, not a committee. … High-brow, low-brow, intellectual or not, authenticity is really what makes or breaks a project.”
Pick 4 items happy hour
1/2 off all sushi rolls M-F • 4p-6p Dine-in only
live Jazz MusiC FriDays 6:30-9:30p
E v ent
2701 n. Classen • 524-733 www.GrandHouseoKC.com
Food Network star Alton Brown brings his live food science show to Oklahoma City. By Greg Elwell
Food is the connective tissue of society, said TV host and cookbook author Alton Brown. His new theater tour Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science hits Oklahoma City 7 p.m. April 30 at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. “One reason I even have a job at all is that no matter what happens between human beings that they can fight about, food has the miraculous ability to bring people together,” Brown told Oklahoma Gazette during a recent telephone interview. As creator and host of Good Eats, which aired on Food Network 1999-2012, Brown made an impact on culinary culture by moving past simply sharing recipes and into the science behind cooking. “Food is a good avenue for science,” he said. “We all have kitchens. That’s basically a laboratory for food.” Brown wrote about 90 percent of the episodes and directed 200 of them. Part of that was economics — Good Eats was expensive to make, so he did much of the work himself — but it also let his wry sense of humor and personality permeate the show. “I ended up hosting the show because 20
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I couldn’t afford a different host,” he said. “That’s why I could only ever make 22 episodes in a year.” However, his Eat Your Science tour is not a live version of Good Eats. “I’m not going to say there aren’t some of the same components: It’s me, it’s food. But there’s a lot more going on,” he said. Brown performs musical numbers, including original songs about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the joy of cocktail bitters and undertakes large-scale food science demonstrations onstage. “The demos we’re doing are much larger and less practical [than on Good Eats],” he said. “I’m not expecting people to go home and make one of these rigs.” The 41-city tour is grueling, Brown said, but it also allows him to enjoy a personal connection with people who watched him on TV for more than a decade. “You can’t soak up love making television, but when you walk into that theater, you’re getting that investment,” he said. He tries not to dwell on it, but there’s something extremely gratifying when people stop him to talk about how they grew up with Good Eats or how the show got them through cancer treatments or
Touring also means enjoying regional cuisines and learning about culinary traditions. Brown was fascinated to learn that Oklahoma City has a deep and abiding love for pho, Vietnamese beefand-noodle soup. “I don’t let it surprise me anymore. In the latter days, when we were still doing Edible Inevitable tour, we’d come up on some dumpy strip mall and I thought, ‘Come on. Are people serious?’” he said. “And then you walk out a different person. Great food can be found anywhere. Great food can be found under a log — sometimes literally.” That doesn’t mean every meal is a delight. He said some places that are locally beloved have bad food. “How a community places a value on a local joint may be because it’s been there a long time. There’s a lot of bad food that a lot of people love,” he said. “Half of the barbecue places in the southeast that are revered by the local community make bad barbecue.” He’s always looking for food that makes a city unique. During a recent trip to Bakersfield, California, he discovered Basque-influenced cuisine. “The people who settled the area came from the Basque region [of Europe]. Basque culinary traditions continue there,” he said. “It’s fascinating the way these traditions influence not just what you cook but how you eat it.” Fans can help guide him to Oklahoma City’s best food via Twitter (@altonbrown) and facebook.com/altonbrown by posting your favorite metro coffee shops, their restaurants and late-night and after-show spots with the hashtag #ABRoadEatsOKC.
Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science 7 p.m. April 30 Civic Center Music Hall 201 N. Walker Ave. altonbrowntour.com 405-297-2264 $39-$136
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Food truck files
A new generation of rolling eateries delivers novel flavors to OKC diners. By Greg Elwell
Taco trucks dotted south Oklahoma City’s landscape before 2009, the epicenter of the metro’s food truck boom. It was the year Big Truck Tacos, 530 NW 23rd St., rolled into town. Then it seemed like new ones arrived weekly. Some, like Heo’s Kitchen, came and went, while others became scene staples. H&8th Night Market, Eats on 8th & Harvey and Heard on Hurd delivered food truck festivals, and The Bleu Garten, The Patriarch Craft Beer House and Lawn and Delmar Gardens Food Truck Park made mobile dining a daily activity. Once a novelty, food trucks are now simply another option in OKC’s everexpanding question of where to eat next. While longtime favorites remain, there are several new ones on the scene waiting to become your next culinary obsession.
Yum Yum Bites
Opened 2015 facebook.com/yumyumbitesokc 405-990-8331 Yum Yum Bites co-owners Kayla Nguyen and Christopher Galvez met in a much less itinerant job at Chase Bank. “Kayla had owned a restaurant before and was talking about opening another one,” Galvez said. “I asked, ‘Have you thought about doing a food truck?’” About a year later, Nguyen called him up to say she’d bought a truck. After a few months of work to convert it from a barbecue truck to one with more of a kitchen, Yum Yum Bites opened in August 2015. The food — grilled chicken skewers and Vietnamese sausages served on sugarcane sticks — relies heavily on Nguyen’s background in Vietnamese cooking. Despite Oklahoma City’s large
Vietnamese population, Galvez said he thinks Yum Yum Bites is the only truck of its kind in the metro. Business is going so well that it is now a full-time venture for both owners. A steady stream of private events and street festivals in Edmond and Norman keeps them busy. This year, the truck is serving at Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts, which is Tuesday through April 30 at downtown’s Bicentennial Park, 500 Couch Drive.
Blue Donkey Cafe
Opened 2015 facebook.com/bluedonkeytaco 405-434-5172 Richard Glitsch and Ann Ogorek are stuck with Donkey Poo. “We have enough Donkey Poo fans that we pretty much have to carry it,” said Glitsch, Blue Donkey Cafe co-owner. Poo is a blend of avocados, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, diced onions and citrus juice — a much tastier combination than the name suggests. Glitsch said the humorous moniker keeps customers interested. “We get so much fun out of it. Anybody new who sees it, it definitely puts a smile on their face,” he said. Ogorek learned to cook Guatemalan cuisine from a Guatemalan citizen years ago. She said the fare isn’t fancy, but it sure tastes good. Blue Donkey serves tacos, black bean soup and Donkey Poo. This summer, it will add cilantro rice. “Our business plan is just to do those four things the best we can every time out,” Glitsch said. The menu is gluten-free, including the tacos, which are served in a puffy shell. They mix serrano peppers, which is traditionally Guatemalan and provides
a short burst of intense heat, into the ground beef.
The Chosen Juan Mobile Cocina
Opened 2015 twitter.com/chosenjuan_okc 405-693-0599 His food truck business was supposed to drive traffic to Erick Almaguer’s restaurant, Medio Tiempo Sports Cantina & Grill, 2035 S. Meridian Ave. But when fans tried The Chosen Juan Mobile Cocina’s Mexican-style hamburgers, their reaction was too overwhelming to ignore. Unfortunately, someone loved Chosen Juan a little too much, Almaguer said. “A month in, it got stolen,” he said. Instead of letting it slow him down, Almaguer paid off the old trailer and bought a new, improved food truck that he will launch in a few weeks. “We put a full kitchen in this one; we rebuilt it from the ground up,” he said. In addition to burgers, The Chosen Juan will serve Asian-Mexican fusion dishes, including sushi tacos.
BlueJ’s Rollin’ Grill Opened 2016 bluejsrollingrill.com 405-824-4462
Josh and Michelle Spurlock love two things: music and food. So when they began looking for a new business opportunity, they combined the two. “Our foods are gourmet burgers, mac and cheese and other comfort foods,” Michelle said. “But our truck is also about music and entertainment.” In addition to fresh fare, BlueJ’s is decked out with a 48-inch TV hooked up to a satellite dish, a Bluetooth soundbar to crank up tunes and even karaoke equipment to let guests get in on the fun. “One of the things we try to do is work with different types of people in those industries,” she said. “We help promote them and their music events. Now we’re
starting to work with people in the film industry.” But the real draw is their menu, Michelle said. In addition to craft burgers, the truck is one of the few places in Oklahoma City where diners can get Cincinnati-style chili. A thinner chili, it’s made with Mediterranean spices that set it apart from other versions, and it’s served over macaroni and cheese. It might be a business, but the Spurlocks hope it can be a help to families, too. “We both had really strong relationships with our grandparents. We learned a lot about sharing time together through food,” Michelle said. “The truck can be a place for family meals. A food truck can bring people together.”
Opened 2015 metrominisokc.com During trips to Colorado, Amanda Cseh and Matthew Pelter discovered Sugar Lips Mini Donuts on Copper Mountain and fell in love. Back in Oklahoma, they noticed a lot of mobile eateries opening up and thought they could get in on the game by introducing those delectable little doughnuts to the Sooner State. “There was nothing like it around here,” Pelter said. “Now we’re starting to see a lot of repeat business and people who seek us out. We call them Mini Maniacs because they’re obsessed with the doughnuts.” With a machine on the truck, Metro Minis sells gourmet doughnuts that are made fresh when customers order them. “They melt in your mouth,” Pelter said. “We say they’re life-changing doughnuts. I can’t even eat other doughnuts anymore.” Cseh makes the toppings from scratch daily, adding to the allure. Varieties include cake doughnuts covered in vanilla glaze and blackberry puree, dredged in cinnamon and sugar and topped with sweetened condensed milk and pecans.
clockwise from top left Blue Donkey Cafe’s black bean soup, tacos and
Yum Yum Bites food truck’s menu, including grilled chicken skewers
Owners Josh and Michelle Spurlock’s combined their love of music and
Donkey Poo avocado salad. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
and Vietnamese sausages served on sugarcane sticks (pictured),
food to create BlueJ’s Rollin’ Grill. | Photo Michelle Spurlock / provided
has become popular across the metro. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
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EAT & DRINK b rief s By Greg Elwell
Pot brownies return to the menu at Freebirds World Burrito Thursday (4/20). | Photo Freebirds World Burrito / provided
•Sugar high Regional burrito restaurant Freebirds World Burrito will reintroduce its pot brownies just in time for April 20 at its two Oklahoma City locations: 1841 Belle Isle Blvd., Suite J and 14220 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 1. Marketing vice president Eric Coolbaugh said the popular dessert gets its name from the little pots used to bake the brownies. “We’re a funky concept,” he said. “We keep our tongue firmly planted in our cheek.” After leaving the menu a few years ago, pot brownies are returning as part of the restaurant’s 30th anniversary. Guests were vehement about bringing it back, so the restaurant chose 4/20 as the perfect day to give hungry diners what they want. Freebirds customers who buy a monster or super monster burrito Thursday-Sunday will receive a free pot brownie with their order. The restaurant is also curating playlists for all of its locations with plenty of 4/20-friendly bands. Visit freebirds.com.
Norman breakfast boutique syrup. will open a second Oklahoma City location this summer. General manager Matt Kossler said they’ve long wanted to expand the restaurant, but the search for a location ramped up in the last five months. “We just landed the property in the last month and a half,” he said of the former home of La Catrina, 1501 Norman restaurant syrup. opens a new location NW 23rd St. “It’s a great location, and in Oklahoma City in a few months. | Photo Gazette/file we’ll be marketing it and becoming part of the community.” Uptown 23rd is a popular food destination, but turning a good restaurant concept into a successful business can be challenging. Kossler said he thinks it’s a matter of having the right product, which syrup. has. “The whole experience at syrup. is totally different,” he said. “I think every great restaurant needs three great things: service, product and atmosphere. We do it all very well.” The welcoming culture includes a lot of repeat business, which is important in making a restaurant profitable. “I would say about 40 to 50 percent of our customers are regulars,” he said. Breakfast competition in Oklahoma City is fierce, but Kossler said more people are taking time to enjoy a great breakfast because it really is the most important meal of the day. Kossler said the Oklahoma City location of syrup. is scheduled to open in June or July. Visit syrup-breakfast.com.
June 9-18 2017
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Tropical Smoothie Cafe opens its eighth metro location Friday with specials and prizes. The new store, 7800 N. May Ave., Suite A, will give away free smoothies for a year to the first 30 guests when it opens 7 a.m. Friday. There are also prize wheel giveaways and product tastings. The cafe will sell $1.99 smoothies 2-9 p.m. Tropical Smoothie Cafe expanded
rapidly in the metro in the last two years. Its May Avenue location is the third to open in 2017. Glen Johnson worked his way up from franchise owner to president and owner of Tropical Tango, LLC. He’s on track to have 30 operating cafes in west Texas and Oklahoma by 2018. Visit tropicalsmoothiecafe.com.
Parks Prince Jr. opened Parks Bar & Grill to honor his parents, who went on their first date
feat u re
together in the same Deep Deuce location 55 years ago. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
Stop in today! SoupS•SaladS•SandwicheS
Parks Prince Jr. opens his own eatery in the Deep Deuce location where his parents first dated 55 years ago. By Michael Kinney
In 1962, Park Prince Sr. asked Marjorie Franklin out on a date. In the early 1960s, black couples could find a limited number of venues in which to enjoy a night out together. One area they were welcome was Deep Deuce, known for its great jazz and blues establishments. So 55 years ago, Park Sr. took his future wife to Ruby’s Bar & Grill. In December, Prince Jr. opened Parks Bar & Grill, 322 NE Second St., in the same location. As he walks through the door every day, he’s greeted by a painting of his parents that hangs on the wall.
I want it to be a generational thing. Parks Prince Jr. “I still get chills every day. It’s a very surreal feeling,” he said. “The memories that they have in this building and the memories that I’m creating in this building. … I get emotional.” With large couches and armchairs, flat-screen TVs on the wall and DJ Hez spinning the turntable, Parks Bar & Grill’s atmosphere is low-key. The venue offers craft beers, signature cocktails, rib tips, barbecue, sandwiches, wings and waffles and smoked chicken. “If you come in here, the bartender is going to know your name,” Parks said. “They are going to know what you like to drink, what you like to eat. They are going to make you feel at home. … This is a real, true Cheers-type bar.” From open mic nights to karaoke and even a little country music, Prince said he caters to a wide variety of clientele. “I’m a huge lover of live music, and I
love diversity,” he said. “The easiest way to create diversity is to have the country bands fans come, have the R&B bands’ fans come, and they all vibe and … everyone can get along and those cultures can intertwine.” Prince also recently added a VIP virtual reality room where guests can play Call of Duty with a VR helmet. He knows of no other bar in the city that offers that. Parks said he worked a year and a half to ready Parks Bar & Grill — located in the former Urban Roots venue, surrounded by condos and brownstones and nestled in the opening to the Deep Deuce district — for its grand opening late last year. He said the eatery is a tribute to his family and the fulfillment of his lifelong dream to own and run his own business. “The building became available, and the opportunity to recreate their first date and that vibe,” he said. “I knew this is what I was supposed to be doing.” His goal is to contribute to growing the communal feel of the downtown Oklahoma City district; to renew the welcoming and diverse vibe that drew his parents to it so many years ago. Prince’s daughter is 10 years old and has already caught the entrepreneurial bug. Prince hopes to leave his bar and grill to her when she gets old enough. “That’s a goal, man; that’s a generational goal,” he said. “I want it to grow so much that when my daughter has this bar when she is old enough, she can say that her father started something and she kept it going. I want it to be a generational thing.” Parks Bar & Grill is open seven days a week. Visit parksbarandgrill.com or call 405-839-8190.
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According to Michelangelo, the true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. But according to a different, more teenage mutant Michelangelo, “Mmm ... pepperoni!” That brings us to an event that would be enjoyed by both Michelangelos: Festival of the Arts, which runs Tuesday-April 30 at Bicentennial Park, 500 Couch Drive. Look at sculptures, paintings and sketches after gorging yourself on the delicious dishes that benefit local arts organizations. By Greg Elwell Photos by Garett Fisbeck and provided
I Don’t Know & I Don’t Care
The Meat Market Refectory
Where do you want to eat? If your answer is “I don’t know” or “I don’t care,” then visit Festival of the Arts. As soon as you realize how good I Don’t Know & I Don’t Care’s food is, you’ll care deeply about visiting its festival tent. Chef Mary Coffin’s farm-fresh food truck serves loaded potato chips with bacon and scallions; Beef & Blue sandwiches with flank steak; roasted cherry tomatoes and blue cheese; quinoa and kale salad; and a chilichocolate burger.
Fine dining? Definitely. The Meat Market Refectory’s always-enticing fare returns for a second year to the downtown festival. Last year, the restaurant earned the Best Sweet prize with its brioche and cream bread pudding. Supple and sweet, the French pastry soaks up the liquid and holds it tight during baking, giving the final product a moist, creamy texture. It’s back again this year to battle dishes like Chocolate Meltdown and Strawberries Newport.
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Rodney & Lisa Pizza Stand mobile 405-387-3886
2920 NW 63rd St. meatmarketrefectory.com | 405-608-8866
If a big lunch makes you sleepy, maybe a snack is a better bet for your festival repast. That’s what Rodney & Lisa do best. The Oklahoma-based concessionaires travel cross-country selling handspun cotton candy, kettle corn and crisp apples covered in gooey caramel (on sticks!). Grab one or enjoy a variety of candy-covered apple goodness. Our pick: the S’more apple covered in marshmallow fluff, chocolate and chopped nuts.
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C’est Si Bon
Taste of Soul Egg Roll
Back Door Barbecue
Festival of the Arts fans named Dan might want to steer clear of the C’est Si Bon tent, because a lot of people will be ordering boudin balls. It might sound like “Boo-DAN,” but what the crowds want is savory pork-and-rice sausage dipped in batter and then fried. These tasty crowd-pleasers have a thin, crispy outside and a warm, spicy filling. Order one for Dan, too. He might be feeling low.
Religious scholars have long wondered whether the soul exists. With their popular mobile eatery Taste of Soul Egg Roll, Ricky and Cerise Bly have gone one step further to discover what soul tastes like. This year, they create giant egg rolls filled with chicken and turkey, fried rice and their sweet dessert: cherry egg rolls made with powdered sugar and ice cream. A crispy wonton crust gives way to the warm cherry filling, and vanilla ice cream cools you down for the next bite.
It’s snow joke — Festival of the Arts can get hot. Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather might break out a heat wave, which is one reason we’re happy Snow S’more is on the scene. The food truck sells shaved ice in a variety of tempting flavors. Try one of its specials, such as the S’more Cone with “silver fox”-flavored ice, ice cream, graham crackers and a drizzle of chocolate on top. You’ll want s’more.
One of the city’s favorite purveyors of fine smoked meats serves up barbecue for art lovers. Back Door Barbecue brings a truncated menu to the festival, but you won’t go away hungry. For a fantastic and filling meal, order the PB&J — pork, brisket and jalapeño sausage. Served on a tender brioche bun, the PB&J is 8 oz. of delicious meat covered in gourmet barbecue sauce with some of Back Door’s beloved coleslaw. Be sure to grab some napkins.
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ARTS & CULTURE
Songwriter and filmmaker Luke Dick | Photo Suzanne Strong / provided
Songwriter Luke Dick’s upcoming documentary Red Dog explores his childhood in one of Oklahoma City’s longest-lived strip clubs. By Greg Elwell
Luke Dick is one of those multi-hyphenates who seems adept at everything he tries. The Oklahoma native was an adjunct philosophy professor in New York. He wrote jingles that ended up in ads for Hilton hotels and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He’s a member of new wave punk band Republican Hair. He’s also one of the hottest songwriters in Nashville, turning out songs recorded by Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley. Dick was featured in Rolling Stone in January. But his latest venture goes back a good deal further. Red Dog is the documentary Dick and director Casey Pinkston are making about Dick’s unconventional childhood in the early 1980s, when his mother Kim was a dancer at Red Dog Cafe, 6417 NW 10th St. “I was back in Oklahoma, working on producing an artist, and I had my sound recording gear,” he told Oklahoma Gazette. “My mother, I was staying with her; it was no secret she worked at the Red Dog,” he said. “So I asked her to tell me stories.” Dick had no idea what to do with the recordings, so he edited them down to a couple of minutes, put them to music and sent them to his friends. They went crazy for it, so Dick went to get a camera.
“Mom moved to Oklahoma City, got married at 15 and was divorced and dancing at the Red Dog by 16,” Dick said. Then she met Luke’s father, Charles, who was a regular at the popular strip club.
“They split up shortly after I was born, so she was back there again,” he said. That’s the short version of how he came to spend his toddler years in one of the metro’s most popular strip clubs. “I started having memories going back to 2 or 3 [years old],” he said. “There’s no emotional hang-ups from being a toddler being around the Red Dog. What I remember is being a little kid and interacting with the people in my family circle.” That group includes his mother’s best friend, an addict nicknamed “Nasty Cathy,” and a man Dick called Uncle Rick, who was also known affectionately to others as “Rick the Spic.” Rick was a bouncer and drug dealer who had so many epileptic seizures that 4-year-old Dick learned to roll him over and put a pill in his mouth. “I remember these people the way you piece together the images you remember in your head,” he said. “I remember the game machines. We would go in there at night. Being able to play all the video games for free was a serious draw for a toddler.” The staff would project cartoons on the wall to keep Dick entertained on nights he slept there. But the more he remembers about his early life, the more he learns about his mom. “It becomes more of a discovery of your parents
at right Songwriter and filmmaker Luke Dick at age 2. | Photo Red Dog / provided
and their lives and when they were young and free,” Dick said. “They were youngsters trying to find their life and livelihood.” He said it’s a story about his roots. “The short-lived love that they had that resulted in me. Everyone wants to know their origin story,” he said. “If a strip club in Oklahoma City didn’t exist, then I wouldn’t exist.”
Making a movie isn’t cheap, Dick said. Though the project began small, he has since been back to Oklahoma several times to interview people he and his mother knew from Red Dog. In an effort to make the movie the best it can be, he turned to Kickstarter for crowdfunding. He said the film will be finished regardless of the fundraising efforts. The $14,000 he’s asking from backers will pay for editing, animation and polish. “The plan is to finish the film, have private screenings with the backers and enter it into film festivals,” he said. “We’d like to see if we can get into Sundance. Maybe we’ll reach back out and see if This American Life wants to do an audio piece on it once it’s out.” Dick didn’t stay at the strip club long. Before he started kindergarten, his mom — by then married to the club’s manager — decided Red Dog was no place to raise a son. The movie isn’t about condemning that lifestyle, but it will show the humanity of the people who live it. Luke Dick’s parents in 1977 | Photo Red Dog / provided
That’s one reason his mom is happy to see Red Dog being made. “No one wants to be devalued or scorned in their current lives based on things that happened 40 years ago,” Dick said. “But the message of the film is hope and the value of all these people we loved and still love, and my mom knows that.” That’s what current Red Dog Cafe general manager Louis Garcia hopes will come from the documentary. “These people have families. They’re human beings,” he said. “People think because they’re strippers they can be disrespected or taken advantage of.” Despite the club’s long history in the city, Garcia said, many people stigmatize it. It’s easy to find customers, but when the roof needs work or the plumbing breaks, it’s much harder to hire people to repair them. “Some people will refuse our business. They say, ‘We don’t do work for places like this,’” he said. He’s looking forward to seeing Red Dog humanize the people who work at and patronize the club. “[Dick] started calling us four years ago, asking if we knew his mother,” Garcia said. “He came in from New York and hung out for three or four days. He got a lot of good stories.” For Dick, it’s an opportunity to learn more about his past and the woman who would do anything to raise him right. “How else can someone else without an education make a middle-class living?” he said. “They were people living lives and going to the lake and having cookouts. There are drugs involved and sexualized culture and some wilder stories that come out of it as well, but it’s also this beauticontinued on page 28
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ARTS & CULTURE
Luke Dick interviews his mom, Kim, for the
continued from page 27
fully mundane story.” Dick said it has been an opportunity to hear all of these stories straight from the people who lived them, especially his mother. “I want to hear my mom tell it from the start. I want to go see if all these people we called family made it out too or if some of them just never could crawl out of the Red Dog,” he wrote on Kickstarter. “I want to see if there are some lessons I learned somewhere in all this insanity. Really, I just find out what my old ‘family’ is up to now, some 30 years later. Or at least find somebody who can corroborate these insane stories my mom always tells.” The response, like when he sent the audio to his friends, has been intensely positive. At press time, nearly 150 backers had pledged almost $14,000 to help make Red Dog. “I didn’t think about getting a publicist. I thought I might just get a star or two to tweet out the thing and maybe get it funded,” Dick said. “I did a soft launch, and before I even put it out myself, I had a flooded inbox of dancers and people who have been [to Red Dog]. I’m excited that people are responding just to the front end of it.” In addition to the film, Dick is recording original music to send to people who give $15 or more to the campaign, which ends May 3. Learn more at lukedick.org. “What I see, what I like about it, is it’s a story of an enduring love of a parent in a strange circumstance that isn’t ideal,” he said. “There’s humanity even in the darkest corners of 10th Street.”
What Mama Wants
Showcase your gift ideas in this Mother’s Day Gift Guide advertising section to show them all What Mama Wants!
Present a special unique item or service you offer in the Gazette’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide. Purchase any size ad in these issues to receive your complimentary item in the Gift Guide.
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Red Dog Cafe
The first thing you need to know before heading into Red Dog Cafe, 6417 NW 10th St., is that it is still a strip club and you will see some nudity. The building is lit mostly by red neon lights and flat-screen TVs hanging around the room. The club allows smoking, so be prepared for your clothes to smell like cigarettes for the rest of the day. Once inside, navigate straight to the back wall, where you’ll find a small window to the kitchen — one of the
documentary Red Dog. | Photo Red Dog / provided
only other sources of light in the room. That is where you order a burger. Red Dog Cafe serves nachos and tacos, too, but the crown jewel of the tiny kitchen is its burgers. While some clubs might go cheap and easy with frozen beef hockey pucks, Red Dog uses fresh ground beef seasoned simply and charbroiled on the grill. The cook said the most popular options are the jalapeño Tex-Mex burger ($7, including fries) and the Sooner bacon burger deluxe ($8, with fries). If you go for lunch with a view, Red Dog knocks the prices down to $6 for a burger and fries on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Use the extra couple of singles for, uh … whatever you want. A Tex-Mex burger comes covered in grilled onions, grilled jalapeño, lettuce and tomato. Be sure to grab some napkins before you head to a table. It’s a messy burger in the best way possible. The beef is cooked beautifully and is still quite juicy. The onions add more umami sweetness and the jalapeño has a slight bite, but nothing that will have you sweating. The fries are fresh from the oil, too, with a gorgeous golden skin and a lovely dusting of salt. It’s an excellent lunch in a place where food might not be the first or even the third thing to come to mind.
Jalapeño Tex-Mex burger and fries at Red Dog Cafe | Photo Garett Fisbeck
Chad Reynolds left and Timothy Bradford discuss their latest downtown public art project, which is
only visible when it rains. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
Downtown’s Short Order Poems public art project reveals itself beneath pedestrians’ feet just in time for the rainy season. By Laura Eastes
It is no easy task to take poetry to the people, but that’s what practicing poets Timothy Bradford and Chad Reynolds set out to do with Short Order Poems, which was conceptualized in a Midtown coffee shop three years ago. While most people turn the pages of literary fiction or choose nonfiction works, poetry still deserves attention. In fact, it deserves a reader’s undivided attention, as poetry is delicate, every pause is important and no punctuation mark is accidental. The two poets contend that poetry, with its comments on politics, culture, the past and everyday experiences, deserves to be heard. “We believe poetry helps people understand their world. It brings a little bit of beauty to their lives and clarity as people slow down in a world that is moving too fast,” Reynolds said. “Poets are often creative, but they often fall into normal customary patterns. We are interested in finding new ways to make poetry more accessible.” Short Order Poems takes an unconventional route by placing poetry in unlikely places. In 2014 and 2015, Bradford and Reynolds, along with other local poets, placed their typewriters on folding tables in the streets of Midtown during the popular H&8th Night Market. Visitors approached the tables, and poets generated poetry on the spot on topics like the moon and grandchildren. Those events served as the launching pad for Short Order Poems, which now holds monthly events and has aligned with the city’s most eminent fine arts organizations such as Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center and Ralph Ellison Foundation.
“It connected us with a lot of people,” Bradford said when recalling the organization’s early days at H&8th Night Market. “People began to think about poetry in different ways.” Now, Bradford and Reynolds are at it again in an effort to bring poetry to an unlikely place and introduce the genre to a new audience.
A year ago, the City of Boston and nonprofit organization Mass Poetry received national attention for their public art installation by displaying poems by well-known American and Boston poets onto various sidewalks throughout the city. The poems were only visible when sidewalks were wet, producing a surprise for people as they traveled the city. The poems were stenciled with water-resistant paint that only appeared when hit by raindrops or splashed with water. The installation caught the attention of Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc., the nonprofit community development and downtown management organization responsible for placemaking and public art initiatives in Bricktown, Deep Deuce, Automobile Alley, Arts District, Film Row, Central Business District, Park Plaza and Midtown districts. Downtown OKC leaders Staci Sanger and Riley Cole reached out to Short Order Poems in hopes to replicate the Boston project with an OKC spin. With grant funding support from the International Downtown Association and Springboard for the Arts through the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program, the Make It Rain Poems project commenced as Bradford and Reynolds designed it with the model
of Short Order Poems. Last February, through social media, Short Order Poems asked for themes. The public submitted topics ranging from Ralph Ellison to Russell Westbrook and soggy socks to spring flowers. Sixteen guest writers, including the state’s poet laureate Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, received three random topics with the instructions to choose one for a poem. In the spirit of Short Order Poem, guest poets had a short turnaround. In total, they produced 27 Make It Rain poems. Alexis Orgera, Nahjah Amatullah, Brent Newsom, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Benjamin Myers, Jenny Yang Cropp, Mish, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Candace Liger, John Selvidge, Kathleen Rooney, Grant Jenkins, Victoria McArtor, Shira Erlichman, Reynolds and Bradford wrote poems for the project. The poems were installed by Bradford and Reynolds using a biodegradable paint and stencils donated by Stephen Saak and Todd Williamson with S&S Promotions, Inc.
Catch a glimpse
This week, visitors to downtown OKC districts might get their first glimpse of poems glistening under spring raindrops. They will appear on sidewalks in front of popular restaurants, coffee and retail shops and public gathering places. For those impatient for a downpour, wetting a sidewalk with a squirt gun or water bottle also will reveal the works. To find locations, Downtown OKC and Short Order Poems created a public Google map, available at the project website downtownokc.com/rain-poems. For readers who can’t get enough of the poems, Midtown’s Commonplace Books will feature a Make It Rain Poems section with published works by participating poets. Since the paint lasts for six to eight weeks, Bradford and Reynolds plan to go back and refresh their creations this summer and fall to keep the installation going for more than six months. During rainstorms, the poets hope to see the public with an eye to the ground, inspired to take a moment to read. “What we do see is us doing any kind of project that helps us accomplish our mission to bring poetry to the people in unexpected ways and in unexpected places,” Reynolds said when asked what the future holds for Short Order Poems. “We will be keeping our eyes open for another project that can help us put poems where people who don’t typically read poems are.”
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Mustang-based artist Holly Wilson’s diminutive sculptures tell large-scale stories. By George Lang
Everywhere she goes, Holly Wilson searches the ground and pokes through underbrush in a quest for the oddly shaped branches and found objects that add dimension to her miniature, humanlike works of art. She organizes them in drawers inside her Mustang studio, knowing it might take years before the right sculpture beckons them.
“I feel like a kid that didn’t grow up,” Wilson said. “You know how kids will pick up sticks and they’re like, ‘It’s a dragon’ or ‘It’s a gun’ or ‘It’s a bird’? I feel like I’m still doing that. I walk around constantly, picking things up and going, ‘I love the curve of this.’” She expresses her connection with childhood in her life and work. In Wilson’s home, her 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter stage action figures throughout the house as they create elaborate narratives about armies and civilizations. Wilson constantly works on her art and alternates studio time with family time and renovating their home. Meanwhile, in Wilson’s studio, tiny bronze sculptures of men, women and children with elongated, sinuous limbs and open, expressive faces also tell her their stories.
a p r i l 1 9 , 2 0 1 7 | O kg a z e t t e . c o m
Holly Wilson in her Mustang art studio | Photo Garett Fisbeck
After completing her graduate studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, Wilson was introduced to a method of small-scale sculpture firing that ultimately determined the general size of her creations. The kiln space was about the size of a coffee can, so Wilson downsized her pieces accordingly — each between 4 and 8 inches tall — often using cigar butts to create the molds for their bodies. She also discovered that the miniature figures had big stories to tell. “A multitude could become a mass,” Wilson said. This is especially true of her Bloodline pieces, in which dozens of men, women and children walk in implied familial relationship along slabs of locust wood.
Bloodline is currently on display at the Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona, with an asking price of $120,000. Wilson commands that price because her work is so singular — as individual as the faces on her tiny figures. She is a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and Cherokee Nation, and her artistic focus is to be a storyteller. This is borne out
Artist Holly Wilson carefully sculpts her diminutive pieces in wax before casting them in bronze. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
in several works in progress, including “I’m Still Here,” a mixed-media piece that captures the innocence of childhood, the history of Native American boarding schools and the difficulty of fighting cancer. “It’s two little girls who are the same girl; it’s a commentary and a connection between cancer and the Indian boarding schools,” Wilson explained. “My sister had cancer, and she said the worst thing about it was that she was herself but nobody saw her anymore. Sometimes she felt like she was losing who she was — it was the combination of losing her hair and people wouldn’t make eye contact.” She sculpts in wax and then casts the figures in bronze. Wilson said she plans to have the piece finished in time for the Santa Fe Indian Market in August. “I was reading about how the children [at the schools] had their hair cut, they couldn’t speak
their language and felt like they were losing their identities,” she said. “So the parallels between the disease and what happened at the schools is what the piece is about.”
Like the branches and found objects inside her studio’s drawers and cabinets, communities of diminutive sculptures with carefully detailed fingers and feet and unforgettably expressive faces reside in other drawers, huddle together on trays and silently sit along studio surfaces, sometimes for years, until their stories needs to be told. “It takes a while for them to become something sometimes,” Wilson said. “Each one has its own soul or spirit.” Visit hollywilson.com or facebook. com/hollywilsonartist.
The Film Festival For
Film Makers | By Film Makers THURSDAY, APRIL 27 THROUGH
SATURDAY, APRIL 29
Artist Holly Wilson said her work reflects her childlike curiosity, often incorporating found and nature-made objects. | Photo Garett Fisbeck
Festival Pass $10 VIP Festival Pass $15
Twister Alley Film Festival Woodward Arts Theatre
Purchase Tickets at: TwisterAlleyFilmFestival.com
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O kg a z e t t e . c o m | a p r i l 1 9 , 2 0 1 7
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Jimmy Pardo talks comedy and podcasts ahead of an April 27 gig in OKC. By Ben Luschen
Sitting in the row behind Don Rickles more than a decade ago while on a flight to Chicago, Jimmy Pardo tried hard not to be the guy who pesters the celebrity. But the urge to tap the comedy legend on the shoulder and say something burned inside him. “Quite frankly, it ruined my flight,” Pardo said in a recent interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “All I thought about the entire time was, ‘I have to say hello to Don Rickles.’” Pardo, known nationally for a lengthy tenure opening for Conan O’Brien on his nightly talk show and his long-lived Never Not Funny podcast, performs his standup comedy 8 p.m. April 27 at ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 329 E. Sheridan Ave. Though Pardo found the composure to keep to himself, that did nothing to stop seemingly everyone else on the flight from approaching the boisterous (but warm) insult comic. It’s ironic that Pardo — who is compared to Rickles by many because of his improvised, crowdworking performance style — would be the one on the plane with the most respect for the funnyman’s privacy. As fate would have it, Pardo eventually got his moment. Rickles exited the plane but waited outside alone while his associate was gathering their bags. Pardo took the chance to quickly approach him, telling Rickles he was also a comedian and took a lot of influence from his act. Rickles thanked him for the kind words and wished him luck on the rest of his career. The exchange was over in less than 30 seconds. “It was enough,” Pardo said. “It was exactly what it should have been. It was him saying hello and not getting into the nuts and bolts of comedy. It was perfect.” His initial encounter with the crowdworking forerunner has taken on even more significance to Pardo since Rickles’ April 6 death. Rickles often said he fell into an interactive comedic style early in his career while responding to hecklers. Similarly, Pardo said he got into crowd work early on because he always felt most comfortable while speaking with other people. His friends often told him he was funnier offstage than he was on. He began to rely more on his natural people skills to get laughs. “You know it’s a really great crowd when I don’t hardly do any of my act,” he said. “The stiffer the crowd, the more of 32
a p r i l 1 9 , 2 0 1 7 | O kg a z e t t e . c o m
Jimmy Pardo | Photo Michael Carano / provided
my prepared material you’re going to get.” Pardo said crowd work is sometimes seen as a comedic crutch — something to rely upon if your regular material is failing. This is an error young comedians often make. The ability to get laughs while interacting with a crowd is distinct from prepared joke writing and delivery. For some, like Pardo, it comes natural. For others, he said it can seem forced. Many comics confuse crowd work for insult comedy. Pardo does not describe himself as an insult comic. He said he uses comments from the audience to make a joke and relate with his own story. “When I’m on stage, it’s like I turn into a different person where my brain literally rifles into my head everything I should be saying at the time,” he said. “A guys says something in the audience and — boom — my brain reacts faster than it does even in everyday life.” Still, Pardo might be most on his game in the role of host. The Never Not Funny podcast, which began in 2006, is seen by many as a pioneering program that helped bring in the podcast revolution. Pardo was far from the first person to start a podcast, but he was among the first comedians with a name to get behind the medium. “When we started, literally nobody knew what a podcast was,” he said. Pardo said some of this favorite shows outside his own include The Phil Hendrie Show, Serial, S-Town, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Pat Francis’ Rock Solid. The comedian said he especially enjoys podcast hosts who have a strong and distinct point of view, though he admits his own show is much more loose. Pardo is happy to see the medium getting some attention. “It changed my life,” he said. “I’m lucky I got in early and was able to build an audience.” Visit jimmypardo.com.
Jimmy Pardo 8 p.m. April 27 ACM@UCO Performance Lab | 329 E. Sheridan Ave. ticketstorm.com | 405-974-4700 $17-$22
Festival of the Arts runs Tuesday through April 30 at Bicentennial Park in downtown Oklahoma City. | Photo provided
Yokozuna and Sizzle N Spice. Some returning favorites are The Meat Market Refectory, Tad’s Bodacious Burritos and C’est Si Bon and culinary art from A Good Egg Dining Group, La Baguette, Florence’s Restaurant, Trader Joe’s, Chae Modern Korean and Sushi Neko. In order to reduce waste, some vendors will have potato starch spoons or wooden forks, and others will donate unsold food to area homeless shelters.
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Festival of the Arts features six days of arts, cultural and culinary adventure in Bicentennial Park. By Brian Daffron
Six days of art, music and food await nearly 750,000 guests as Arts Council Oklahoma City’s Festival of the Arts returns Tuesday through April 30 at downtown’s Bicentennial Park. From Lee Avenue east to City Hall and from Colcord Drive north to Couch Drive, art is in charge. “We like to think of it as a little something for everyone,” said Lindsey Pendleton, Arts Council director of communications. There is space for children’s activities and youth art sales, adult make-and-take pottery and “literally art for everyone and food for everyone,” she said.
juried artists chosen from 300 applicants. Art mediums span two-dimensional and three-dimensional mixed media, ceramics, drawing, digital printmaking, fiber, glass, oil painting, jewelry, photography, water media, wood and sculpture. “Because of the juried process, we have new artists every single year — it’s never the same festival twice,” Pendleton said. “The same goes for the performing artists, the food that’s available and the culinary demos. While we do have some old favorites and things that people look forward to, there’s also new and exciting things each year.”
The festival has been part of Oklahoma City since 1967, and Pendleton said this year’s 51st annual festival features 144
Juried food selections feature 44 vendors chosen from 60 applicants. New additions this year include Back Door Barbecue,
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While fine art and dining cover the majority of the five senses, Pendleton said it is better to have music that will enhance the artistic atmosphere. Filling three stages, 300 performing artists and musicians showcase genres spanning country, bluegrass, rock, jazz, soul and blues. Musical performers include everyone from classical guitarist Edgar Cruz to hip-hop performer Pawnee and OKCbased Choctaw dance-rap siblings Mike Bone from America’s Got Talent. One of the returning bands, Ravens Three, is a three-piece Celtic band whose members are all vocalists and include Audra Blankenship-Pierce on tin whistle and bodhrán (Irish drum), Dustin Cooper on guitar and Shawna Kennedy on fiddle. “They dance around and enjoy it,” Blankenship-Pierce said of festivalgoers’ reactions to their performances. “Kids love it because of the rhythm.” This year, festival organizers requested Ravens Three add a 40-minute set that includes traditional Irish love songs such as “P Is For Paddy” and “Tell Me Ma” in addition to their featured fare of Irish revolutionary songs, including “Foggy Dew.” Performing and youth-based acts feature Science Museum Oklahoma’s Science Live! and an American Idol-style talent show, Festival’s Got Talent.
“I try to make sure I get a good bite to eat,” she said. “I like jewelry a lot. If I see someone selling handmade jewelry, I’m definitely going to go there.” While much of the festival is geared toward adults, many children enjoy finding and buying art, too. For this reason, the Children’s Art Market lets youth buy affordable art for $5 or less. After browsing and buying all day long, some inspired festivalgoers can create their own pieces, Pendleton said. Pottery Place allows children and adults to learn more about the Japanese pottery method Raku. Another area, Creation Station, sponsored by Oklahoma City University, encourages children to decorate a sculpture with colored tissue paper and is open throughout the festival. Children’s Art Field allows youths ages 3 to 12 to make miniature sailboats and other items for $2.
Arts Council Oklahoma City’s annual fundraiser, the Angels and Friends Party, is 5:30-8:30 p.m. April 26 in the atrium of nearby Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. Angels and Friends is the only benefit for Arts Council Oklahoma City, and funds help the festival in addition to All Access Arts and Sunday Twilight Concert Series. Entertainment includes fine dining and performances by area cellists, singers and aerial dancers. Tickets for Angels and Friends benefit are $65 each or $125 for two.
Pendleton said that people should attend Festival of the Arts because “it’s a wonderful opportunity to experience art from all over the country, from some of the top artists in their field.” The event is free and open to the public. However, pets are not allowed.
Festival of the Arts
When not on stage, Blankenship-Pierce said she enjoys the wearable art and the food she finds each year at Festival of the Arts.
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-April 29, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 30 Bicentennial Park | 500 Couch Drive artscouncilokc.com | 405-270-4848
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ARTS & CULTURE
Oklahoma’s largest gaming expo returns to OKC April 29-30. By Adam Holt
The fourth edition of Super! BitCon, billed as Oklahoma’s largest gaming expo, returns April 29-30 to Oklahoma Expo Hall, 3213 Wichita Walk, at State Fair Park. Organizers expect the two-day event to draw 4,000-5,000 gamers of all ages. This year, Super! BitCon features 150 exhibitors, an almost 11 percent increase over last year, said event co-founder B.C. Phillips. Tabletop, card game and video game developers will have a larger presence. Super! BitCon’s prime draw this year is guest of honor Marc Summers. Convention guests might recognize The Food Network host and producer as host of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare, which premiered on the children’s entertainment network in 1986. He will sign autographs both days and participate in an onstage interview about his career. Prior to the interview, he’s scheduled to make a surprise appearance somewhere at the expo, Phillips said. There will be two raffles involving Summers — one allows a lucky guest to participate in a Double Dare-inspired challenge with the star, and the second is an opportunity to break free from a mobile escape room with him. Tickets for both raffles are $5, and proceeds benefit the nonprofit Hotdogs For the Homeless. Last year’s Super! BitCon guest of honor and producer, writer and host of Nickelodeon’s Nick Arcade Phil Moore will join Summers in the panel discussion. “So it will be not only about Marc and his experiences, his career, but it will give them an opportunity to shoot the breeze about their Nickelodeon days and what it was like to be there,” Phillips said, “slimings and all that stuff.” Featured event guests also include Dan and Terry Diebold, the father-andson owners of the only known working Nintendo PlayStation prototype in the world. A fierce competition and scandal 34
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Games, giveaways, guest speakers and cosplay return to this year’s Super! BitCon event in Oklahoma City. | Photo Frank Gresh / provided
erupted in the mid- and late ’80s when Sony (before the company became a gaming powerhouse) attempted to enter the video console market. It recruited Nintendo to develop Super NES CD-ROM prototypes that accepted game cartridges and CD-ROMs and included both Sony and Nintendo logos. It also featured a Super Nintendoesque controller that carried a PlayStation logo. The partnership didn’t last. Nintendo split and announced a partnership with Sony industry rival Philips. One prototype found its way into the hands of the Diebolds via auction. They did not know what they owned until several years later, when they learned about it on Reddit. “Their life has been a whirlwind ever since,” Phillips said. “It’s a piece of history.” The Diebolds also will participate in a panel discussion about their experiences and boot up the console. Many traditions, including a charity bazaar, games and giveaways and the popular scavenger hunt, return to Super! BitCon this year. Phillips credits part of Super! BitCon’s success to fan and vendor feedback. He said he thinks this edition will be the best yet. “We tried to pare it down to the essentials of what people like to do, and I think we’ve got there this year,” he said. Visit superbitcon.com.
Super! BitCon 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 29 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. April 30 Oklahoma Expo Hall | State Fair Park 3213 Wichita Walk superbitcon.com Free-$10
Highland games events run all day April 29-30 at Iron Thistle in Yukon. | Photo United Scottish Clans of Oklahoma / provided
tional dancing by The Ladymon School of Scottish Dance and other groups. There will be plenty of animals on-site as well. Sheep herding demonstrations with Border Collies will take place for public observation. For the first time, Iron Thistle also welcomes some Highland cows, known for their bushy red fur. “They’re hilarious,” Ladymon said. “We call them emo cows because they have that hair over their eyes. We have baby Highland cows that are coming out with their mama.”
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United Scottish Clans of Oklahoma establishes a family tradition with Iron Thistle. By Ben Luschen
Under the threat of severe weather, a traditional fire ceremony planned to open last year’s Iron Thistle festival was canceled. There was talk of thunderstorms and tornadoes, and the sky looked menacing. Organizers waited as long as they could before making their decision. As luck would have it, the weather seemed to clear up immediately after they called off the ceremony. The Thistle concluded the rest of its weekend without a problem. “It was just a little muddy,” said Laura Ladymon, Iron Thistle entertainment chairwoman and publicist. “Being an April festival, and before that in March, we’ve had some crazy weather.”
Iron Thistle, an annual celebration of Scottish and Celtic culture featuring music, food, dancing and traditional athletic competitions, hopefully returns to clearer conditions April 28-30 at Yukon’s Kirkpatrick Family Farm, 1001 Garth Brooks Blvd. The event is sponsored each year by United Scottish Clans of Oklahoma. Organizers will attempt once again to open the fest with a free fire ceremony beginning 8:15 p.m. April 28. A cèilidh, a social event with traditional dancing and storytelling, will follow with music by Flowers of Edinburgh. Scottish and Celtic-themed bands will perform throughout the weekend. Chicago Celtic punk act Flatfoot 56 returns after its Iron Thistle debut last year. It plays 5 p.m. April 29 and 8 p.m. April 30 on the main stage.
Additionally, this year’s fest welcomes a record number of traditional bagpipe and drum bands, some coming in from as far as Wichita, Kansas. Participating pipe bands include Oklahoma Scottish Pipes & Drums, Tulsa Metro Pipe Band, City of Tulsa Pipes & Drums, River City Pipes & Drums, Wichita Caledonian Pipes & Drums, Highlanders of OKC, Stillwater Pipes & Drums.
It’s a really awesome feeling because you’re not teaching s omeone just to love wearing a kilt; you’re teaching them to love culture. Laura Ladymon Aside from the music, other key draws to Iron Thistle are the Highland games athletic competitions. Competitions include the tossing of a caber (similar to a large telephone pole) and the hammer throw, in which contestants fling a round, weighty metal ball. Athletics begin before the gates open each day and last until the daily awards ceremony, which begins around 5 p.m. Other draws include a wide selection of Scottish fare and drink, archery, blacksmithing, storytelling and tradi-
Its variety of attractions have made the event into a family tradition for many. “There’s families that I don’t even know their names, but they come up and talk to me every year,” Ladymon said. “It’s definitely a tradition, especially for families around the Yukon area. It’s affordable, it’s family-friendly and there’s something for the kids to do.” Ladymon danced in the first Iron Thistle 11 years ago and has been involved in the event ever since, stepping into a leadership role in 2012. The festival has steadily grown by around 20 percent each year, which she said is exciting considering 10-20 years ago, Scottish culture seemed close to the brink of extinction in Oklahoma. “At one point, I was the only Scottish dancer in the state,” Ladymon said. “It was really sad.” Iron Thistle has done a lot to drum up participation in the Scottish and Celtic arts and reconnect a younger audience with things like Scottish dance and bagpipes. Ladymon said more and more, the festival is looking like a torch passed between generations, a relieving sign that the culture will remain intact for years to come. Still, Ladymon said participation does more than strengthen ties to one particular culture. Learning to respect cutural traditions increases awareness of others. “Learning about one culture creates interest in a lot of other cultures and a lot of other people groups,” she said. “For me, it’s a really awesome feeling because you’re not teaching someone just to love wearing a kilt. You’re teaching them to love culture in general.” Visit unitedscotsok.com.
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Iron Thistle 7-10 p.m. April 28, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. April 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 30 Kirkpatrick Family Farm 1001 Garth Brooks Blvd., Yukon unitedscotsok.com/iron-thistle Free-$15
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T h e at e r
ARTS & CULTURE
Listen to Your Mother co-producer and past performer Mari Farthing first heard about the event through her circle of blogging friends. | Photo Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City / provided
Stories of motherhood bring Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City to its completion. By Ben Luschen
One thought has crossed nearly everyone’s mind after they’ve flung their football into a lamp by accident or polished off every last cookie in the jar before dinner: “I should have listened to my mother.” Though mothers’ words are at times received with a chorus of frustrated sighs and eye rolls, one group of talented moms will have the chance to share their stories in front of a captive audience.
These stories are so vastly different, but there’s that common thread. Jennifer Dennis-Smith
Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City, a storytelling event in its final year, features 13 mothers and products of mothers sharing tales that range from hilarious to heartbreaking and everything in between. The event is 3 p.m. April 30 at Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden’s Education Center, 2101 NE 50th St. A percentage of proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County. Listen to Your Mother is an international movement founded by blogger Ann Imig. Oklahoma City is one of the program’s 29 participating U.S. cities. Event co-producer and 2017 performer Jennifer Dennis-Smith said Listen to Your Mother is coming to an end because the program’s national leaders feel like the event has run its course. “They never intended this to go on forever,” she said. “This was a good time to kind of step away.” First-time cast members join return-
ing favorites in this year’s OKC event. The performance roster includes Dennis-Smith, Rose Marie B., Stephanie Clinton, Heather Davis, Rachel Forrest, Loralei Gann, Jammie Kern, Mandy Moore, Jan Morrill, Jennifer Poynter, Jenifer Silence, Dani Stone and Marie Wreath. Performers are chosen through an auditioning process. Some are professional writers, and some have never attempted anything like this before. Performers aren’t required to be The 2017 cast for Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City includes 13 performers. | Photo Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City / provided
mothers themselves. Male storytellers have participated in the past. The only requirement is that one’s story is related to motherhood in some way. There are many kinds of people in the world and thousands of ways people can divide themselves, but one of the few things every person has in common is that they have all had a mother. Dennis-Smith said as people share their stories, they can discover they might be more like others than they realize. “These stories are so vastly different, but there’s that common thread,” she said. Mari Farthing is Listen to Your Mother’s other co-producer. She is a past performer and former blogger who first heard about the national program through blogging friends. Farthing has been involved in Listen to Your Mother since it expanded into Oklahoma City in 2013. One of the striking things about the event, she said, was how real every story is. Not all mothers are perfect, and there are sure to be more than a few tears shed as some stories are told. But Farthing said through the emotional rollercoaster, everyone involved leaves feeling closer together. “I don’t have the same experience Jennifer has; I don’t have the same experience as most of the other people in the cast, but I can relate to some part of their story,” Farthing said. “That’s why I like it, and I think that’s one of the things that draws people into it is that you can relate to people you don’t think you have anything in common with.” Visit listentoyourmothershow.com/ oklahomacity.
Listen to Your Mother Oklahoma City 3 p.m. April 30 Education Center | Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden | 2101 NE 50th St. listentoyourmothershow.com/oklahomacity $18
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Co m m u n i t y
ARTS & CULTURE
Inclusion & Diversity Summit organizers work to bring change to Oklahoma. By Chris Eversole
Schnake Turnbo Frank partner, president and CEO Russ Florence noticed a big difference when he moved from Tulsa to Oklahoma City four years ago: a lack of commitment to workforce diversity and inclusion. He wants to fix that. His company hosts the Inclusion & Diversity Summit 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive. “I kept asking people to work toward and inclusion and diversity project, and everyone agreed it was needed and important, but no one stepped up,” said Florence, who is president and chief operating officer of the public relations and management consulting firm. “I finally said, ‘Why not us?’” Florence hopes the summit will help create something like Mosaic, Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce’s diversity business council. Mosaic has grown to 210 member companies and was featured in Chamber Executive magazine’s fall 2016 issue. Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti will speak Tuesday. “The diversity in the Thunder extends beyond the players on the court,” Florence said. “The organization is rich and diverse in the front office, and it embraces differences.” Isaac Rocha will discuss inclusion and diversity efforts at The Bama Companies. Rocha worked in its Tulsa office for nine years before moving to its Los Angeles office, where he works as regional business development and inclusion officer. In Tulsa, the baking goods company helps employ people released from prison through “second-chance hiring.” The retention rate among these hires is 74 percent higher than with other new employees, Rocha said. “Having a diverse workforce helped us expand our product line,” he said. “We added a guava pie that’s selling well in the Hispanic market.” Oklahoma must be attractive to people from out of state, including minorities, immigrants and LGBT people, he said. “We have a skills gap that’s growing as baby boomers retire,” he said. “Tulsa and Oklahoma City are competing for millennials, 40 percent of whom are minorities nationally. We also need to retain as many people from within our state as possible.” Rocha said embracing diversity and inclusion is good business. “It’s more than the right thing to do; companies that are leaders in this field outperform those that aren’t,” he said. Speakers at the summit include na38
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Strategist Redia Anderson will speak at Tuesday’s Inclusion & Diversity Summit in Oklahoma City. | Photo provided
tional diversity and inclusion leaders. Redia Anderson, retired BP America chief inclusion and diversity officer, will highlight her success in promoting advancement, retention and development of women and minorities at BP and other organizations over 25 years. Michael Gonzales, Hallmark Cards director of diversity and inclusion, will speak about the company’s diversity and inclusion strategies. “As long as state leaders take stances that are anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT, antiHispanic, anti-immigrant, we will have barriers to business success,” Florence said. “We can’t call ourselves a probusiness state unless we’re welcoming and inclusive.” Florence advocates the best practices that are a cornerstone of Mosaic in Tulsa, which include making a commitment at the top of the organization; using diverse suppliers; supporting diverse groups in the community; and recruiting, training and promoting diverse candidates and employees. Schnake Turnbo Frank follows these practices. “We have an environment in which we can talk about Black Lives Matter and cultural differences,” he said. “It’s part of our DNA.” Florence is encouraged about buy-in to the summit. Registration is going well, and sponsors include Arvest Bank, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Natural Gas and the Oklahoma City Thunder. But he won’t be satisfied with a good turnout. “If we have a full house and everyone says, ‘That was great,’ but nothing happens afterward, we haven’t done our job,” Florence said.
Inclusion & Diversity Summit 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday Oklahoma History Center 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive schnake.com/summit | 918-582-9151 $150
calendar The Graduate, (US, 1967, Mike Nichols) a disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 23 and 26. AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial Road, 405-755-2406, amctheatres.com. SUN,WED
are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members For full calendar listings, go to okgazette.com.
HAPPENINGS Ranger Talk, join a park ranger to discover the meaning behind the outdoor symbolic Memorial elements and share how they relate to those that were killed, those who survived and those who were changed forever, 2 p.m. April 19. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 620 N. Harvey Ave., 405-235-3313, oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org.
BOOKS Lost and Found Cat, author Amy Shrodes reads and signs her story about today’s refugee crisis and a true story of a cat named Kunkush and his journey to reunite with his family, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 22. Best of Books, 1313 E. Danforth Road, Edmond, 405-3409202, bestofbooksok.com. SAT
The Diaspora, explore African culture around the globe. Learn about Africans in the Caribbean, South and Central America, Asia, Oceania and Europe, 2-4 p.m. April 22. Nappy Roots Books, 1800 NE 23rd St., 405-410-2677, facebook.com/nappyrootsbooks. SAT
Syria and the Middle East Town Hall Lecture, join Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, who writes a daily newsletter on Syrian politics and is recognized as the USA’s foremost expert on Syria, 10:30 a.m. April 20. St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15th St., 405-755-2362, stlukesokc.org. THU
Little Ree, join bestselling author Ree Drummond as she discusses her story inspired by life on the ranch, 6:30 p.m. April 24. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, fullcirclebooks.com. MON
Green Country Fest, three days of funk, reggae, indie, blues and hip-hop music with food trucks, artists and merchants, 6 p.m. April 20-23. The Fur Shop, 520 E. Third St., Tulsa, 918-949-4292, furshoptulsa.com. THU -SUN
FILM Boston: An American Running Story, following the tragic events of 2013, this documentary records the preparations of the 118th Boston Marathon one year later. Narrated by Matt Damon with an original score by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. April 19. AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial Road, 405-755-2406, amctheatres.com. WED The Forest for the Trees, (Germany, 2003, Maren Ade) as an awkward idealistic high school teacher begins her first job in the city, things turn out to be much tougher than she had imagined, 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. April 20. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. THU Beasts of the Southern Wild, (Russia, 2012, Benh Zeitlin) faced with both her hot-tempered father’s fading health and melting icecaps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, 6-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love, 8 p.m. April 21. 21c Museum Hotel, 900 W. Main St., 405-982-6900, 21cmuseumhotels.com. FRI Thunder Soul, (US, 2010, Mark Landsman) an alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band returns home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for their beloved band leader who turned the struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early ’70s, 2 p.m. April 23. Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 405-208-5536, okcu.edu/business. SUN Hangmen, in his small pub in the northern English town of Oldham, Harry is something of a local celebrity, but what’s the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they’ve abolished hanging? 6 p.m. April 23. OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center, 7777 S. May Ave., 405682-7579, occc.edu. SUN
Cocktail Chemistry: Modern Cocktails Drinks don’t just magically make themselves (at least until we find a bottle with a genie in it). It takes a lot of delicious testing to make a cocktail that people will enjoy. V2 Events at Vast will teach guests the science behind their favorite potables during Cocktail Chemistry: Modern Cocktails 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday on the 50th floor of Devon Tower, 333 W. Sheridan Ave. Guests will take part in an interactive mixology demo with a tasting and enjoy hors d’oeuvres with their drinks. Tickets are $35 on eventbrite.com. Visit vastokc.com or call 405-702-7262. Thursday Photo bigstock.com
Ted2017 Cinema Experience, experience revelatory TED Talks and performances as they unfold for the first time on the TED stage in Vancouver with speakers Tim Ferriss, Garry Kasparov, Laura Galante and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, with a musical performance by OK Go, 7 p.m. April 24. Cinemark Tinseltown, 6001 N. Martin Luther King Ave., 405424-0461, cinemark.com. MON Doctor Who Season 10 Premiere, celebrate the return of Doctor Who with a special two-night event featuring bonus programs and never-before-seen bonus features, 7 p.m. April 17 and 19. Cinemark Tinseltown, 6001 N. Martin Luther King Ave., 405-424-0461, cinemark.com. MON-WED Frantz, (US, 2016, Francois Ozon) in the aftermath of WWI, a young German who grieves the death of her fiance in France meets a mysterious Frenchman who visits the fiancé’s grave to lay flowers, April 21-27. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405236-3100, okcmoa.com. FRI-THU
Color & Couture Fashion Fundraiser, a one-of-a-kind fashion show hosted by the International Interior Design Association benefiting Focus on Home, a nonprofit providing furnishings to help single-parent families turn their houses into homes, 7-11 p.m. April 21. Gaillardia Country Club, 5300 Gaillardia Blvd., 405-302-2800, ejoinme.com. FRI
FOOD Healthy Gluten-Free Living Seminar, learn the basics for the healthiest approach to gluten-free living with shopping and cooking tips, advice on dietary supplements for nutritional support, door prizes and free samples, 1-2 p.m. April 22. Natural Grocers, 7013 N. May Ave., 405-840-0300, naturalgrocers.com. SAT Dutch Oven Cooking Class, learn historic recipes and cook a Dutch oven meal in a hands-on class for teens and adults, 1-5 p.m. April 22. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr., 405-522-0765, okhistory.org. SAT Soundbites Lunchtime Acoustic Concert Series, enjoy the Loaded Bowl food truck or bring your own lunch, a live performance by Mike Rae and yard games, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. April 25. Kerr Park, 102 Robert S. Kerr Ave., 888-757-2291, dougloudenback.com. TUE
YOUTH YMCA’s Healthy Kid Day, features activities, healthy cooking demonstrations and arts and crafts to motivate and teach families how to develop healthy routines at home, 9-11 a.m. April 22. E.L. Gaylord Downtown YMCA, 1 NW 4th St., 405-297-7700, ymcaokc.org. SAT
Western Heritage Awards, commemorating the American West by honoring the legacy of men and women for their works in literature, music, film and television, April 21-22. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. FRI-SAT Stillwater Arts Festival, view and purchase artwork during a weekend of activities and live entertainment with food trucks, artist demonstrations and more, April 21-23. Downtown Stillwater, Eighth and Main St., Stillwater, 405-3720025, stillwater.org. FRI-SUN Earth Day and Party for the Planet Celebration, the OKC Zoo partners with the global Earth Day celebration to help students and adults become environmental and climate literate citizens, ready to take action and be voices for change, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. April 22. Oklahoma City Zoo, 2000 Remington Pl., 405-424-3344, okczoo.org. SAT Neighborhood Block Party, join the festivities for food, fun, music, dance, open mic, basketball tournament, bubble soccer, interactive art display, crafts and more, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. April 22. Southern Oaks Library, 6900 S. Walker Ave., 405-631-4468, metrolibary.org. SAT AIA Architecture Tour, a self-guided tour including seven architectural destinations such as residential homes and commercial buildings that allow participants to experience great architectural design in Oklahoma City, 12-5 p.m. April 22. Fitzsimmons Architects Annex, 2715 N. Walker Ave., 405-948-7174, aiacoc.org. SAT Midtown Walkabout, merchants open their doors and provide specials, discounts and giveaways, in addition to live music, free face painting and a photo booth, noon-7 p.m. April 22. Midtown OKC, NW 8th St., 405-235-3500, midtownokc.com. SAT Community Charity Ball, the Junior League of Norman’s annual Charity Ball event benefiting various community programs with the theme Havana Nights. Enjoy salsa dancers, a cigar roller, a silent auction, raffles and more, 7 p.m. April 22. Embassy Suites, 2501 Conference, Norman, 405-329-9617, juniorleagueofnorman.org. SAT Overholser Urban Campout, paying homage to the Oklahoma Land Run, guests are invited to camp on the historical grounds of the Overholser Mansion. Enjoy outdoor activities, a tour of the mansion, an evening under the stars and a breakfast food truck the following morning, April 22-23. Henry Overholser Mansion, 405 NW 15th St., 405-525-5325, overholsermansion.org. SAT-SUN Holocaust Remembrance Day Observance, highlighting the powerful stories of individuals during the Holocaust and celebrating those in our community who demonstrate the difference that each person can be an agent for good, 2-3:30 p.m. April 23. Oklahoma City Community College & Performing Arts Center, 7777 S. May Ave., 405-6827579, eventbrite.com. SUN
Oklahoma March for Science As part of Earth Day, Oklahomans will gather on the south oval of the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., for the March for Science. The Science Expo begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with science fair-type exhibits for all ages to enjoy. Science-minded speakers take the stage at 10:30 a.m. with the march starting at 11 a.m. and concluding on the steps of the capitol. Admission is free. Visit facebook.com/sciencemarchokc or call 405-808-1571. Saturday Photo bigstock.com
Cards Against Humanity Tournament, good wine and dirty minds come together for the ultimate Cards Against Humanity tournament. Only two of the most horrible minds will win gift cards, 8 p.m. April 26. The Pritchard Wine Bar, 1749 NW 16th St., 405-601-4067, pritchardokc.com. WED
National Speaker Series with Vu Le, the author behind nonprofitwithballs.com and executive director of Seattle-based social justice organization Rainier Valley Corps will discuss the mentality that leads to the nonprofit hunger games manifestations of the games, and what we all must do to put a stop to them, 7:30 a.m. April 25. OSU-OKC Campus, 900 N. Portland Ave., 405-947-4421, osuokc.edu. TUE
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Guthrie’s ’89er Days Celebration Celebrating the first Oklahoma land run, held April 22, 1889, Guthrie’s ’89er Days Celebration is five days of family fun in the state’s territorial capital. Events include a carnival 5 p.m. Wednesday on Wentz Street between Oklahoma and Harrison avenues; a free Guthrie Jazz Band concert 5:30 p.m. Thursday in front of the post office, 201 W. Oklahoma Ave.; and the Old Timers’ Baseball Game 6 p.m. Friday at Squire’s Field, 156 E. Springer Ave., in Guthrie. Visit 89erdays.com. Wednesday-Sunday Photo provided Weather Round-Up Day, meet the KWTV NEWS 9 storm chasers and anchors, explore storm chasing vehicles, learn about severe weather safety and experience hands-on activities with a chance to win prizes, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 22. The Orr Family Farm, 14400 S. Western Ave., 405-799-3276, orrfamilyfarm.com. SAT Power and Prestige Children’s Gallery, designed to complement the temporary exhibition Power and Prestige: Headdresses of the American Plains, the museum offers a fun activity space to explore bravery, pageantry, artistry, community and respect for culture and diversity, through May 14. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org.
PERFORMING ARTS The Whipping Man, a tale of loyalty, deceit, and deliverance set after the Civil War. Follow a young confederate officer who has returned home and now waits for his city to come back to life while wrestling with the past, through April 22. Carpenter Square Theatre, 806 W. Main St., 405-232-6500, carpentersquare.com. WED -SAT
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calendar Urban Art with James Rojas, enjoy a come-andgo workshop created for critical thinking about spatial organization and urban space and how these elements affect everyday lives. Join James Rojas as he leads an interactive workshop in which participants are challenged to come up with a threedimensional vision of their ideal city, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. April 22. Southern Oaks Library, 6900 S. Walker Ave., 405-631-4468, metrolibary.org. SAT
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continued from page 39 Bang Bang! Queer Punk Variety Show, an eclectic, irreverent, LGBT-positive mix of burlesque, dance, drag, musical, lip-sync and sideshow performances with a great mix of delightfully naughty personalities and performances which appeal to everyone, 10 p.m. April 20. The Drunken Fry, 5100 N. Classen Ave., 405-286-1939, facebook.com/drunkenfry.
Edmond Artists Open Studio Tour, self-guided tour giving visitors the opportunity to visit private studios displaying the work of local artists in Edmond. Purchase original work, see new art being created, inquire about lessons or just visit and ask questions, 1-5 p.m. April 23. Kelli Folsom Art Studio, 407 W. 15th St., Edmond, kellifolsom.com. SUN
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, witness the vibrant and mystical fantasy of William Shakespeare’s classic comedy while following the adventures of a group of mortals and immortals in their quest for love, April 21-23. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405-297-2264, okcciviccenter.com. FRI-SUN The Three Billy Goats Gruff, performed by students from the University of Oklahoma. Singers will present John Davies’ operatic version of the story, based on scenes from operas by Mozart, Donizetti and Rossini, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 22. Norman Public Library West, 300 Norman Center Court, Norman, 405-3252081, ou.edu/finearts. SAT Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and all of the Sesame Street friends take to the stage to share their love of music, 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. April 22. Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens, 405-602-8500, coxconventioncenter.com. SAT Drag Variety Extravaganza, experience singing, dancing, lip-syncing and experimental performances from local drag queens, a live raffle and cash bar with proceeds supporting local entertainers and the creation of a documentary about drag culture in Oklahoma, 7-10:30 p.m. April 22. Resonator, 1010 N. University Blvd., Norman, resonator.space. SAT Steve Rannazzisi, from the stage to the silver screen, Steve Rannazzisi has made audiences laugh, currently on the critically acclaimed FX Network comedy series The League as Kevin McArthur, the fantasy football league commissioner, 8 p.m. April 22. Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs, 2415 Highway 4111, West Siloam Springs, 800-754-4111, cherokeecasino.com. SAT Suicide Girls, burlesque filled with pop culture references, a high energy indie soundtrack and performances in tribute to Star Wars, Orange Is the New Black, Donnie Darko, A Clockwork Orange and more, 8 p.m. April 24. Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S. Eastern Ave., 405-677-9169, diamondballroom.net. MON
Oklahoma LeatherFest It’s time for the real fun to begin. LeatherFest returns as sultry as ever. Come clad in your favorite leather duds and enjoy 24-hour dungeons, S&M demos, parties, vendors and more. The event begins 4 p.m. Friday and runs through 2 p.m. Sunday at Quality Inn Oklahoma City, 6300 Terminal Drive, near Will Rogers World Airport. Tickets are $70 and can be ordered in advance at eventbrite. com. Must be 18 or older to enter. Visit oklahomaleatherfest.com or call 918645-1831. Friday-Sunday Photo bigstock.com
The Producers, a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant come up with a scheme to produce the biggest flop in history, through May 6. The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., Guthrie, 405-282-2800, thepollard.org. South Pacific, set in an island paradise during World War II, two parallel love stories are threatened by the dangers of prejudice and war, through May 7. Jewel Box Theatre, 3700 N. Walker Ave., 405-521-1786, jewelboxtheatre.org.
ACTIVE OKC Dodgers vs Nashville, 7:05 p.m. through April 21. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, 405-218-1000, okcballparkevents.com. WED -FRI B.A.R.K. Rangers at the Dog Park, bring your dog to play, meet and take pictures with National Park Rangers. Dress your pet for a chance to win prizes, 3:30-7 p.m. April 20. Bickham-Rudkin Park, 379 E. 33rd St., Edmond, 405-348-8830, edmondok.com. THU Walk MS: Central Oklahoma, join the country in raising critical funds and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with families, friends, neighbors and co-workers to raise funds that drive groundbreaking MS research, provide life-changing services and guarantee a supportive community, April 22. Myriad Botanical Gardens, Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno Ave., 800-3444867, nationalmssociety.org. SAT
Voices of Justice The University of Oklahoma’s Women’s and Gender Studies Board of Advisors presents Voices of Justice 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Sam Noble Museum, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., in Norman. The event features a keynote address by Oklahoma District 44 Rep. Emily Virgin, live music by Furlough Sextet and a silent auction. The 2017 Courage Award winners who will be honored at the gala include T. Sheri Dickerson, executive director of Black Lives Matter Oklahoma; Rev. Lori Walke, associate pastor of Mayflower Congregational Church; and Kathy Fahl and Kasey Catlett, director and assistant director of OU’s Gender + Equality Center. Tickets are $125. Visit wgs.ou. edu/voices or call 405-325-2454. Friday Photo Gazette / file
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Learn-to-Swim Program, giving residents of all ages and financial situations the opportunity to learn to swim with proper technique and basic water safety at their own pace offered by the King Marlin Swim Club, ongoing, Lighthouse Sports, Fitness and Health, 3333 W. Hefner Road, 405-845-5672, marlinswimamerica. com.
VISUAL ARTS Freestyle 360 Improv Jam, Fresh Paint Performance Lab presents a collaborative improvisation, inviting artists to practice their medium in an improvisational style, drawing inspiration from the creators around them, 6:45-9:30 p.m. April 20. Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing Blvd., 405-951-0000, oklahomacontemporary.org. THU
Joe Andoe: Horizons, Andoe is a painter of landscapes and objects that inhabit the land. Distant horizons, the artist’s east Tulsa roots and his treks through Texas and Wyoming as a young man are ever-present in his work, April 21-Sept. 10. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, ou.edu/fjjma. Experimental Book Workshop, join Susie Clinard and explore recycled and found materials, merge words and images creating a mood, clarify a meaning or produce a journal for creative expression and visual communication, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 22. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405-815-9995, artspaceatuntitled.org. SAT
Uncertain Future: Photographs of Oklahoma City Zoo Animals, a traveling exhibit featuring the unparalleled work of world-renowned National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore in his quest to visually document the thousands of animal species scientists believe are close to extinction around the world, through April 28. Oklahoma City City Hall, 200 N. Walker Ave., 405-424-3344, okczoo.org. SAT Meditative Spaces, exhibition featuring abstract art works from Brandon Mitts and Katie Henderson, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through April 27. Melton Gallery, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond, 405-525-3603, sites. uco.edu. New Works by Eric Tippeconnic, conveying Indigenous peoples in a way that demonstrates that they are not a remnant of a bygone historical era but instead are a vital part of the modern world, through May 14. Kasum Contemporary Fine Arts, 1706 NW 16th St., 405-604-6602, kasumcontemporary.com. Power and Prestige: Headdresses of the American Plains, original exhibition includes nine headdresses from Northern and Southern American Great Plains along with historical photographs and other supporting artifacts including ledger art depicting Indian warriors and bonnets from the museum’s permanent collection, through May 14. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org.
to unfamiliar and often unsettling places within the bounds of their own minds, through May 14. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405236-3100, okcmoa.com. Celebrity, Fashion, and the Forgotten Man, best remembered for striking, modern portraits of American celebrities and elegant fashion photography, Lusha Nelson pursued documentary photography before his untimely death in 1938. This exhibition celebrates Philbrook’s recent acquisition of the artist’s estate and the rediscovery of this littleknown talent in this first-ever one-person exhibition, through May 7. Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road, Tulsa, 918-749-7941, philbrook.org. Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science., stories from four indigenous communities, providing real-life examples of how traditional knowledge and Western science together provide complementary solutions to ecological and health challenges we face today, through May 7. Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., Norman, 405-325-4712, samnoblemuseum.ou.edu. Exhibit C Ledger Art, four contemporary artists experienced in ledger art will have their distinctive artwork on display. Discover a captivating scene showcasing the creations by Paul Hacker, George Levi, Dylan Cavin and Lauren Good Day Giago, through June 30. Exhibit C, 1 E. Sheridan Ave., 405767-8900, exhibitcgallery.com. Expressionist paintings, American expressionist Bert Seabourn is a painter, print maker, sculptor and teacher. Seabourn makes each piece of art a unique fusion of design, color, form and composition, using a layering of texture with drips, smears, runs and splatters, through April 29. 50 Penn Place Gallery, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-848-5567, 50pennplacegallery.com.
The Complete WPA Collection, the museum’s Works Progress Administration collection features a large proportion of rural American landscapes and depictions of labor, infrastructure and industrial development. All are figurative, as was favored by the WPA, and there are significant representations of female and foreign-born artists in the museum’s holdings, through July 2. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. Lowell Ellsworth Smith: My Theology of Painting, features watercolor studies and Smith’s own words and observations, it introduces the man, his methods and his belief in the power and potential of creative energy, through July 9. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. The Cultivated Connoisseur: Works on Paper from the Creighton Gilbert Bequest, Gilbert was a renowned art historian specializing in the Italian Renaissance and was one of the foremost authorities on Michelangelo. The bequest includes a total of 272 objects, the majority of which are works on paper spanning a time period from the 14th century to the 20th. Through June 4. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, ou.edu/fjjma. Hollywood and the American West, candid, intimate and raw, these photographs showcase private access to the greatest movie stars, musicians and directors of all time. Subjects include John Wayne, Natalie Wood, Ann Margret and more, through May 14. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. A Yard of Turkey Red: The Western Bandanna, a rare collection of period bandannas provides museum visitors a glimpse of authentic neckwear once sought after by young horsemen on the range and later popularized in Western fiction, through May 14. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum. org. Jeffrey Gibson: Speak to Me, Internationally known multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first Oklahoma solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage, aesthetics and traditions, through June 11. Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 3000 General Pershing Blvd., 405-9510000, oklahomacontemporary.org. After the Floating World: The Enduring Art of Japanese Woodblock Prints, images carved onto wooden blocks used to create colorful prints on paper are among the most famous Japanese art forms. Ukiyo-e artists produced prints in a variety of subject matter including actors in the kabuki theater, female portraiture, folktales and mythology and landscapes, through May 14. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. The Unsettled Lens, by converting the familiar into unrecognizable abstract impressions of reality, by intruding on moments of intimacy, by weaving enigmatic narratives and by challenging notions of time and memory, photographs take viewers
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Eroica Trio The wildly popular all-female chamber trio makes its way to Edmond. Eroica Trio has earned the prestigious Naumburg Award and now tours globally. The members have a long personal history, having known each other since they were teenagers. The event is 7:30 p.m. April 27 at Armstrong Auditorium, 14400 S. Bryant Road, in Edmond. Tickets are $23-$48. Visit armstrongauditorium. org or call 405-285-1010. April 27 Photo Armstrong Auditorium / provided
Submissions must be received by Oklahoma Gazette no later than noon on Wednesday seven days before the desired publication date. Late submissions cannot be included in the listings. Submissions run as space allows, although we strive to make the listings as inclusive as possible. Fax your listings to 528-4600 or email them to email@example.com. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.
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Book of Biram
Scott H. Biram | Photo Sandy Carson / provided
One-man band Scott H. Biram delivers his Bad Testament to Oklahoma City. By Ben Luschen
Looking over the official soundtrack for the 2016 film Hell or High Water, Texasborn blues, punk and country musician Scott H. Biram sees he is in good company. “They had an ad for [the soundtrack] one time,” he said during a recent Oklahoma Gazette interview. “It had pictures of Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, Ray Wylie Hubbard and me. I was like, ‘Well, one of these things doesn’t belong.’” Hell or High Water, directed by David Mackenzie and starring Jeff Bridges, was a recent Best Picture Academy Award nominee. The movie, which is partially set in Oklahoma, was scored in part by Australian post-punk legend Nick Cave and features Biram’s 2005 song “Blood, Sweat & Murder.” Biram might feel out of place among the blues, folk and outlaw country icons his music shares some of the film’s runtime with, but a long-lived career has earned him a reputation as one of music’s hardest working and most consistent acts.
I’ve learned more in the last three months since we started hitting the road again than I have in probably 10 years on guitar. Scott H. Biram The frequent road warrior performs 8 p.m. April 26 at VZD’s Restaurant & Bar, 4200 N. Western Ave. Aside from sharing a soundtrack with names like Van Zandt and Jennings, Biram recently has been earning praise for his own work. His newest album The Bad Testament, released Feb. 24, has earned accolades from both critics and fans. Biram is known for his diverse stylistic background and as a one-man band. Bad Testament’s liner notes credit the musician for all the vocals and instrumentation, including percussion, harmonica, keyboards, synthesizer, tambourine and acoustic, baritone, bass, classical and resonator guitar.
Biram’s tunes have also been featured in TV shows and commercials, including Dog the Bounty Hunter and Sons of Anarchy. His rough-and-tumble aesthetic visually and aurally contributes to his allure. He said he always considers it an honor to be included in a show or movie. “But not as cool as going to the mailbox after that happens,” he said, wryly referencing the royalty checks that follow.
or concept in his albums, but for this project, he knew he wanted something gritty — a throwback to his 2005 release The Dirty Old One Man Band, considered by some to be one of his best. One Man Band — Biram’s debut on the Chicago-based roots rock label Bloodshot Records — was recorded somewhat hastily. However, this time around, he said he wanted a fuller sound. He diligently recorded multiple instrumental layers before piecing them together in the studio. “I always do a lot of overdubbing and multiple tracks,” he said, “but other than having friends come in and putting drums on one song, I’ve never gone and tried to record a full-band sound on there.” The resulting record is proof to many that the gruff, 43-year-old honky-tonk hero still delivers the goods. Performing and songwriting has always come naturally to Biram, who said he wrote his first song in the ninth grade. Lyrics tend to arrive during Image Bloodshot Records / provided sleepless nights as his consciousness wavers between the realms of dreamland and the real world. Writing scripture “I guess being half-asleep and writing The Bad Testament was recorded in songs works the same way as shooting heroin does for other people,” he said. about 18 months, and studio sessions were squeezed in between Biram’s hectic touring schedule. He said he does not typically go after any type of theme
Taking a breather
Little time usually passes between Biram’s concert dates, but in 2016, he forced himself to take several months off from touring. He was between booking agents, and the relentless grind of live shows took a toll on his overall enthusiasm. “It was a really good decision on my part because I was getting kind of burned out being on the road all the time,” he said. “You need some real inspiration sometimes. You can’t just write songs about your booking agent and your manager.” Biram used his time off to rekindle his love for playing guitar. In the past, he pretty much only picked it up in the studio. “For a long time, it was just like my work, so I didn’t mess with it so much,” he said. “I’ve learned more in the last three months since we started hitting the road again than I have in probably 10 years on guitar.” He played it so much, in fact, that he developed tennis elbow and now has to incorporate stretching exercises into his tour routine. Biram said he could see himself taking longer breaks between records from now on to re-energize. “I miss out on so much stuff at home because I’m always on the road. It’s really nice to be able to participate in some of the things I don’t get to normally,” he said. “I’ve been pretty much putting records out consistently since ’99 or 2000, [but] I don’t ever wait so long that someone is going to forget about me.”
A lot of people picture Biram as a whiskey-slingin’ desperado, and while that image was true for a time and to an extent still is, his home life in recent years has been calm. The Bad Testament ’s drinking anthem is an ode to, of all things, red wine. However, Biram said he sticks to silver tequila on the road because it helps him avoid unmanageable hangovers. “At home, my Zen is cooking and gardening,” he said. “We don’t go out to bars too often, so I just drink red wine at home.” Biram quietly tends beloved pet chickens and homegrown peppers and tomatoes while in his Austin, Texas, homestead. Gardening is among his favorite hobbies. “The very last day before we left for this tour, I hauled ass to Home Depot to pick up some plants and rake out my garden,” he said. “I got it planted right before I left.” Visit scottbiram.com.
Scott H. Biram 8 p.m. April 26 VZD’s Restaurant & Bar | 4200 N. Western Ave. ticketstorm.com | 405-602-3006 $10-$15 | 18+
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hayes carll w/ band of heaThens Wed, April 26
black Town blues and norTh Tulsa Jazz
feaTuring ernie fields Jr. & his all-sTar band Sun, April 30
andrew mcmahon in The wilderness w/ aTlas genius, nighT rioTs TueS, MAy 2
Trey anasTasio band ThurS, MAy 4
lil uzi VerT
Wed, MAy 10
ThurS, MAy 11
ray wylie hubbard w/ mike mcclure band ThurS, MAy 18
greensky bluegrass w/ Joshua daVis
s U w o ll Fo on
facebook ...all the
cool kids are doing it!
michael franTi & spearhead Sun, ocT 01
gary clark Jr. liVe (nighT Two) 423 norTh main sT
TickeTs & info cainsballroom.com
Local music enthusiast Taylor McKenzie hopes his small-but-mighty record distribution service fuels OKC’s underground music scene. By Ben Luschen
Mon, Aug 21
f e at u r e
Fri, April 21
Taylor McKenzie flips through his inventory: a stack of vinyl records stored neatly in a large milk crate. The obscure selection of electronic, techno, house and avant-garde music is culled from labels and private distributors across the United States and Europe. Some lack cover art or anything that counts as commercial appeal. “To me, that just tells me this is only about what’s on the record,” he said. By day, McKenzie teaches German at Classen School of Advanced Studies. Many also know him as a skilled guitarist and fixture in Oklahoma City’s do-ityourself punk and rock scenes. He started his small-scale Nowhere Affiliated record distribution service earlier this year, showing off his rare stock across the city at local shows and while performing as DJ Nowhere Sands. On weekends, guests can browse his collection in person at Warehouse B inside OKC Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave.
Even in the age of the internet, it’s hard to get your hands on new media. Taylor McKenzie “You can’t find some of this stuff in any record store in all the U.S., and here I just have it in a box in my room,” he said. “It’s really kind of weird.” McKenzie curates his collection directly from warehouses in places like Detroit and from record labels like London’s Where to Now? Records. Access to his albums is limited, but not exclusive. There’s no website to browse or order from. Those who are interested can join his mailing list. (Sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org.) His goal is to deliver music that has yet 42
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Taylor McKenzie performs as DJ Nowhere Sands, spinning many of the records he offers via his Nowhere Affiliated distribution service. | Photo Garett Fisbeck / file
to set firm roots locally to as many interested people as possible. “The ‘Nowhere’ thing plays into the idea of being in a super overlooked city,” he said. “Not just overlooked, but even in the age of the internet, it’s hard to get your hands on new media.” He admitted anyone with access to a web browser can find just about anything, but it usually takes some kind of outside encouragement for people to expand beyond what’s familiar to them. McKenzie hopes having these eclectic genres and subgenres available in the city will spark curiosity about the sounds he first fell in love with while studying in Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar. While in Germany’s capital, he was exposed to a vibrant party scene that deepened his appreciation for ambient electronic music, separate from the trap and dubstep sounds that were more popular back home. While passion for that type of music exists here, it’s confined mostly to household listening. McKenzie said there’s potential to expand its popularity. “I’m really into the movement aspect of it,” he said. “I have this dream of a lot of people acquiring this type of media and projecting it out onto party scenes as an expression of themselves, even though they didn’t even make it.” To learn more about McKenzie’s Nowhere Affiliated service, email McKenzie at email@example.com. Check Warehouse B’s hours at facebook. com/warehousebb. He said he’s happy to hand-deliver albums. “To me, it’s unjust to not be able to access new music or to not have access to the avant-garde,” he said. “I think that’s really important to experience.”
Cody Canada is a stagemaster at this year’s Bob Childers’ Gypsy Cafe fundraiser in Stillwater. | Photo Red Dirt Relief Fund / provided
Bob Childers’ Gypsy Cafe event raises money for Red Dirt Relief Fund. By Brian Daffron
Bob Childers left his mark on many of Oklahoma’s Red Dirt musicians. While his legacy is widely regarded among the singer-songwriters across the state, it is now a focal point for Red Dirt Relief Fund, an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to medical bill assistance for Oklahoma musicians. Bob Childers’ Gypsy Cafe is one of its principal fundraising events. According to Red Dirt Relief Fund secretary and event producer Katie Dale, guests should wear walking shoes. This year, it runs 4:30-11:45 p.m. April 26 in Stillwater. Featuring 71 musicians, the event is so large that it occupies three venues: Eskimo Joe’s, 501 W. Elm Ave.; Stonewall Tavern, 115 S. Knoblock Ave.; and George’s Stables, 502 W. Elm Ave. “It’s basically a songwriter, songswap festival,” Dale said. “We invite songwriters and pair them up. This year, because we have so many on the bill, there will be some groups of four. It’s a
45-minute acoustic set.” Each stage has its own leader; this year’s are led by stage masters Cody Canada, Kaitlin Butts and Mike Hosty. The groups of musicians change from year to year, and while they take turns performing each other’s songs, they must also perform at least one of Childers’ songs. “Every year is a discovery where fans get a chance to meet an artist or hear an artist they’ve never heard of before,” Dale said. “Also, they get to hear artists that they love and they’re fans of … in a new way.” Being alumni of The Farm — the Stillwater property considered the home of Red Dirt songwriting — many of the musicians on the bill knew Childers. One of them, Jimmy LaFave, will be given the inaugural Gypsy Cafe Artist of the Year award during his set, which will take place before the 11 p.m. finale, when as many musicians as possible are crammed onto the stage.
Gypsy Cafe began in 2011 as a showcase originally sponsored by Red Bull, with the proceeds going to a nonprofit. Rather than selecting an organization, Dale said, John Cooper of Red Dirt Rangers said, “Why don’t we start one instead?” and Red Dirt Fund was born. Red Dirt fund is modeled after the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares emergency assistance fund, and beneficiaries must reside in Oklahoma and have worked as a musician for at least five years. Documentation such as show posters, websites or a social media account with performance dates and locations help the committee verify the amount of time performing. Since its inception, the fund has provided over $60,000 in assistance. Last year’s benefit raised over $22,000, earning
enough to match the $21,950 distributed to musicians in 2016. LaFave, Canada, Cooper, Butts, Hosty, Jason Boland, Brandon Jenkins, Mike McClure, Cale Lester, Monica Taylor and others who have signed for the April 26 event are a who’s-who of Red Dirt. For Dale, the mentorship part of Gypsy Cafe has as much to do with Childers as the music and musicians on the stage. A few hours before the concert, a noontime picnic is held at The Farm, where new musicians meet those who are more experienced. “It’s very much like a family,” Dale explained. “We always try to invite young or up-and-coming so that they get a chance to spend some time and collaborate with musicians who have made it.” Tickets are $20-$50. Visit reddirtrelieffund.org/gypsycafe.
Bob Childers’ Gypsy Cafe 4:30-11:45 p.m. April 26 Eskimo Joe’s | 501 W. Elm Ave., Stillwater Stonewall Tavern | 115 S. Knoblock Ave., Stillwater George’s Stables | 502 W. Elm Ave., Stillwater reddirtrelieffund.org/gypsycafe $20-$50
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A SeASonAl Guide to CentrAl oklAhomA
LIVE MUSIC These are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members. For full calendar listings, go to okgazette.com.
WEDNESDAY, 4.19 2 Chainz/Jauz, Lost Lakes Ampitheater. HIP-HOP Burn the Past/Dead Horse Trauma/Art of Deception/Deathbox, Thunder Alley Grill and Sports Bar. ROCK Carter Sampson, Will Rogers Lobby Cafe & Bar. SINGER/SONGWRITER Chris Dickson, UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond. JAZZ Grant Peeples/Annie Oakley, The Blue Door. FOLK
Larry V TheRemedy, Oklahoma City Limits.
The 1975, Brady Theater, Tulsa. ROCK Umphrey’s McGee, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. ROCK
THURSDAY, 4.20 Allison Arms, Baker Street Pub & Grill.
Summer never seems long enough so Gazette is giving its readers the go-to guide for filling every second with fun across the state. FeAturinG A 3 month CAlendAr inCludinG: Fairs Festivals Concerts museums Art exhibits
theater day trips Classes Workshops Summer Camps
Andy Paczak/Chris Hatfield/Julien Boussontie/ Whitney Maxwell, Michael Murphy’s Dueling Pianos. PIANO
Christophe Murdock, Your Mom’s Place. COUNTRY
Jamie Bramble, Full Circle Bookstore. ACOUSTIC
Digisaurus, Red Brick Bar, Norman. INDIE
Kelli Lynn and the Skillet Lickers, Red Brick Bar, Norman. FOLK
DJ Ku Rx, Coyote Ugly Saloon. DJ Giulia Millanta, Power House. SINGER/SONGWRITER
Grant Peeples/Annie Oakley, The Blue Door. FOLK
House Trio, Noir Bistro & Bar. JAZZ
FRIDAY, 4.21 Admirals/Vehicles/Rousey, Blue Note Lounge. INDIE Billy Currington, The Criterion. COUNTRY Brandi Reloaded, So Fine Club. POP Darrin Kobetich, Jazmo’z Bourbon St. Cafe. FOLK David Wayne Broyles, Sliders. SINGER/SONGWRITER
DocFell& Co., JJ’s Alley. FOLK
F.N.G., Oklahoma City Limits. COVER Groove Merchants, UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond. JAZZ Horse Thief, Opolis, Norman. ROCK Jason Eady, The Blue Door. COUNTRY SINGER/SONGWRITER
Lacy Saunders and the Ravens, Othello’s Italian Restaurant, Norman.
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Midas 13, Okie Tonk, Moore. ROCK Old Bulldog Band, UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond. ROCK Sammy Mitchell, JJ’s Alley. COUNTRY Stealing Saturn, Oklahoma City Limits. COVER The Chad Todd Band, Sliders. COUNTRY Vibro Kings, Bedlam Bar-B-Q. BLUES Whey Jennings and the Unwanted, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY
SUNDAY, 4.23 Alyssa Elaine, Hollywood Corners Station, Norman. SINGER/SONGWRITER Danny Thrashville, Red Brick Bar, Norman. SINGER/SONGWRITER The Direct Connect Band, Elmer’s Uptown. R&B
MONDAY, 4.24 Steve Parnell, Bourbon Street Bar. ROCK
TUESDAY, 4.25 Redneck Nosferatu/The Normandys, Blue Note Lounge. PUNK Tech N9ne, Diamond Ballroom. HIP-HOP
Lionel Richie/Mariah Carey, BOK Center, Tulsa.
PubliShinG mAy 3, 2017 Ad deAdline APril 26, 2017
Matthews / Warner Bros. Records / Provided
Blake Lankford, JJ’s Alley. SINGER/SONGWRITER
Jordan Law, Noir Bistro & Bar.
Along with expanded editorial content
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers torpedoes Oklahoma City with an onslaught of rock ’n’ roll hits like “American Girl,” “Refugee,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Learning to Fly,” and “Free Fallin’” as the band launches its tour from Chesapeake Arena, 100 W. Reno Ave., 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Longtime Eagles band member and solo hitmaker Joe Walsh opens. Tickets are $46.50$635. Visit chesapeakearena.com or call 1-800-745-3000. Thursday Photo Mary Ellen
Randy Cassimus, Full Circle Bookstore. ROCK SavageBlush/DeadShakes/PlanetWhat/ Sensitive Southside Boy, 51st Street Speakeasy. VARIOUS
Shotgun Rebellion/SuperPimp/Cosmic Wool and more, Wormy Dog Saloon. ROCK Tattoo Slover/Amy Behrman/John Tuck, Malarkey’s Dueling Piano Bar. PIANO Willow Way, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar. INDIE
SATURDAY, 4.22 Bleak Age, Blue Note Lounge. PUNK Buddy Mondlock/Miss Brown To You, The Blue Door. VARIOUS Cavern Company, 51st Street Speakeasy. INDIE
The Flaming Lips, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. ROCK
WEDNESDAY, 4.26 Amanda Cunningham, Grady’s 66 Pub, Yukon. Country
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 528-4600 or e-mail to email@example.com. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.
Eric Dunkin, Noir Bistro & Bar. SINGER/SONGWRITER 44
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free will astrology Homework: At least 30 percent of everything you and I know is more than half-wrong. Are you brave enough to admit it? Describe your ignorance. FreeWillastrology.com.
After George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States, he had to move from his home in Virginia to New York City, which at the time was the center of the American government. But there was a problem: He didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay for his long-distance relocation, so he was forced to scrape up a loan. Fortunately, he was resourceful and persistent in doing so. The money arrived in time for him to attend his own inauguration. I urge you to be like Washington in the coming weeks, Aries. Do whatever’s necessary to get the funds you need to finance your life’s next chapter.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) A reader named Kris X sent me a rebuke. “You’re not a guru or a shaman,” he sneered. “Your horoscopes are too filled with the slippery stench of poetry to be useful for spiritual seekers.” Here’s my response: “Thank you, sir! I don’t consider myself a guru or shaman, either. It’s not my mission to be an all-knowing authority who hands down foolproof advice. Rather, I’m an apprentice to the Muse of Curiosity. I like to wrestle with useful, beautiful paradoxes. My goal is to be a joyful rebel stirring up benevolent trouble, to be a cheerleader for the creative imagination.” So now I ask you, my fellow Cancerian: How do you avoid getting trapped in molds that people pressure you to fit inside? Are you skilled at being yourself even if that’s different from what’s expected of you? What are the soulful roles you choose to embody despite the fact that almost no one understands them? Now is a good time to meditate on these matters.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Fantasize about sipping pear nectar and listening to cello music and inhaling the aroma of musky amber and caressing velvet, cashmere, and silk. Imagine how it would feel to be healed by inspiring memories and sweet awakenings and shimmering delights and delicious epiphanies. I expect experiences like these to be extra available in the coming weeks. But they won’t necessarily come to you freely and easily. You will have to expend effort to ensure they actually occur. So be alert for them. Seek them out. Track them down.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
Contagion may work in your favor, but it could also undermine you. On the one hand, your enthusiasm is likely to ripple out and inspire people whose help you could use. On the other hand, you might be more sensitive than usual to the obnoxious vibes of manipulators. But now that I’ve revealed this useful tip, let’s hope you will be able to maximize the positive kind of contagion and neutralize the negative. Here’s one suggestion that may help: Visualize yourself to be surrounded by a golden force field that projects your good ideas far and wide even as it prevents the disagreeable stuff from leaking in.
In the coming weeks, there will be helpers whose actions will nudge you -- sometimes inadvertently -toward a higher level of professionalism. You will find it natural to wield more power and you will be more effective in offering your unique gifts. Now maybe you imagine you have already been performing at the peak of your ability, but I bet you will discover -- with a mix of alarm and excitement -- that you can become even more excellent. Be greater, Leo! Do better! Live stronger! (P.S.: As you ascend to this new level of competence, I advise you to be humbly aware of your weaknesses and immaturities. As your clout rises, you can’t afford to indulge in self-delusions.)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
I love to see you Virgos flirt with the uncharted and the uncanny and the indescribable. I get thrills and chills whenever I watch your fine mind trying to make sense of the fabulous and the foreign and the unfathomable. What other sign can cozy up to exotic wonders and explore forbidden zones with as much no-nonsense pragmatism as you? If anyone can capture greased lightning in a bottle or get a hold of magic beans that actually work, you can.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
A friend told me about a trick used by his grandmother, a farmer. When her brooding hens stopped laying eggs, she would put them in pillowcases that she then hung from a clothesline in a stiff breeze. After the hens got blown around for a while, she returned them to their cozy digs. The experience didn’t hurt them, and she swore it put them back on track with their egg-laying. I’m not comfortable with this strategy. It’s too extreme for an animal-lover like myself. (And I’m glad I don’t have to deal with recalcitrant hens.) But maybe it’s an apt metaphor or poetic prod for your use right now. What could you do to stimulate your own creative production?
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
Now would be an excellent time to add deft new nuances to the ways you kiss, lick, hug, snuggle, caress, and fondle. Is there a worthy adventurer who will help you experiment with these activities? If not, use your pillow, your own body, a realistic life-size robot, or your imagination. This exercise will be a good warm-up for your other assignment, which is to upgrade your intimacy skills. How might you do that? Hone and refine your abilities to get close to people. Listen deeper, collaborate stronger, compromise smarter, and give more. Do you have any other ideas?
weeks, you won’t devour your own children. Nor, I hope, will you engage in any behavior that metaphorically resembles such an act. I suspect that you may be at a low ebb in your relationship with some creation or handiwork or influence that you generated out of love. But please don’t abolish it, dissolve it, or abandon it. Just the opposite, in fact: Intensify your efforts to nurture it.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
Your astrological house of communication will be the scene of substantial clamor and ruckus in the coming weeks. A bit of the hubbub will be flashy but empty. But much of it should be pretty interesting, and some of it will even be useful. To get the best possible results, be patient and objective rather than jumpy and reactive. Try to find the deep codes buried inside the mixed messages. Discern the hidden meanings lurking within the tall tales and reckless gossip. If you can deal calmly with the turbulent flow, you will give your social circle a valuable gift.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
The best oracular advice you’ll get in the coming days probably won’t arise from your dreams or an astrological reading or a session with a psychic, but rather by way of seemingly random signals, like an overheard conversation or a sign on the side of a bus or a scrap of paper you find lying on the ground. And I bet the most useful relationship guidance you receive won’t be from an expert, but maybe from a blog you stumble upon or a barista at a café or one of your old journal entries. Be alert for other ways this theme is operating, as well. The usual sources may not have useful info about their specialties. Your assignment is to gather up accidental inspiration and unlikely teachings.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Go to RealAstrology.com 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.
“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my ax,” said Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s most productive presidents. I know you Sagittarians are more renowned for your bold, improvisational actions than your careful planning and strategic preparation, but I think the coming weeks will be a time when you can and should adopt Lincoln’s approach. The readier you are, the freer you’ll be to apply your skills effectively and wield your power precisely.
Zoologists say that cannibalizing offspring is common in the animal kingdom, even among species that care tenderly for their young. So when critters eat their kids, it’s definitely “natural.” But I trust that in the coming
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puzzles New York Times Magazine Crossword Puzzle Having nothing on By Bryon Walden | Edited by Will Shortz | 0416 ACROSS 1 Ecclesiastical leader 6 “Get out!” 10 Blood enemy 14 Aussie critters 18 Diaper option 19 Bridge shape 20 French director Clément 21 Martial art whose name means “sword way” 22 Home for Bilbo Baggins 24 West Wing worker 25 A lot 26 A.L. East team: Abbr. 27 Contemptible sorts 28 The ladies-only Western-themed bar I own? 30 Inspector Clouseau or Borat? 33 Peevish 34 Most contemptible 35 Blowup: Abbr. 36 See 9-Down 37 Like some quilt blocks 39 Decoration in a deli case? 45 Tony who managed two World Series championships for the Cardinals 47 Setting for Cardinals home games, briefly 48 Vivacity 49 Neutral tone 50 Parliamentary proceedings, e.g. 51 Romeo or Juliet 53 ____ booster 55 Drained of color 56 “Indubitably” 57 Product of a stable of comic-strip artists? 62 Kentucky college 63 Communication system pioneered by Thomas Gallaudet, for short 64 Greek city where Perseus was born 65 Scaled-down woodwind? 70 Ice-cream container 73 Calendar model 74 Suffix with blast75 Eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Anton ____ 76 Condo VIP 77 Art Deco artist 78 Belgradian, e.g. 81 Audiophile’s collection 83 Elizabeth with the memoir
Saving Graces 85 Audibly upset Belgian francophone? 89 Words after “Sure!” 90 Mournful work 91 MSN alternative 92 Musician in the woodwind section 94 Runs through 97 Satirical depiction of the story of Noah? 100 Most important mounted cavalryman? 102 Opposite corner in a romantic triangle 103 Bush league, for short? 105 Jean who played Aunt Martha in Arsenic and Old Lace 106 Important positions 107 Alphas 109 Son of Gloria on Modern Family 110 Food thickener 111 Big name among radio shock jocks 112 So-called “Butterfly Capital of Alabama” 113 Environmental bane 114 Hand (out) 115 Study of the heavens: Abbr. 116 Attacked DOWN 1 Drei + fünf 2 Sign of spring 3 1992 Tim Robbins mockumentary 4 Horse picker’s hangout, for short 5 Melodramatic NBC hit starting in 2016 6 Indian “masters” 7 Hybrid bakery treats 8 Roman ____ 9 With 36-Across, a Dr. Seuss book 10 Marker maker 11 Time on the throne 12 “____ Club” (No. 1 hit for 50 Cent) 13 Removes, as a sticker 14 They can provoke knee-jerk reactions 15 Reaching new heights in ballet? 16 Ancient theater 17 Little lad 21 Aussie critters 23 Quick series of social-media posts 28 Something seen at Frankenstein’s birthday party?
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58 The BFG author 59 Automaker that introduced the Rambler 60 Witch 61 2004 Scarlett Johansson film adapted from Lady Windermere’s Fan 62 Apt to go Democratic 65 Spit out 66 Actress Sorvino 67 One opposed 68 Big brass 69 Middling 70 Work out spectacularly 71 Beehive, for one 72 Overcome 76 Authority 78 Villainous visage
79 Vegetarian sandwich filling 80 Train syst. 82 Quarters : basketball :: chukkers : ____ 84 Abrupt, disconcerting reaction 86 After-dinner volunteer’s words 87 Pays de ____ (Nantes’s region) 88 Variety of hold ’em 93 Frances who played TV’s Aunt Bee 94 Religious leaders 95 ____ President 96 Baldwin offering 97 Central 98 Gets ready to do push-ups, say 99 Title opera heroine who is a Druidic high priestess 101 Kind of boots 104 ETS offering 107 Going nowhere, metaphorically 108 Women’s- club event
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New York Times Crossword Puzzle answers Puzzle No. 0409, which appeared in the April 12 issue.
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29 Shopping ____ 31 Empty spaces 32 Rhubarb with deep roots? 36 Welcoming necklace 37 DVD remote button 38 Go a mile a minute 40 Woe for some 51-Acrosses 41 Shine 42 Tres + cinco 43 Two-tone treat 44 Georgia senator who helped establish “don’t ask, don’t tell” 46 Correo ____ (words on foreign correspondence) 52 Hairy hunter of Genesis 54 Big do 55 Elvis ____ Presley 57 Pitch in
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