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free every wednesday | Metro OKC’s Independent Weekly | February 21, 2018

Oklahoma ‘Dreamers’ fight to stay in a state they call home. By Laura Eastes P.4

ARTS MONTH : A monthlong series focusing on the arts in OKC!


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inside COVER P.4 The stories of Oklahoma DACA recipients vary dramatically, and the local impact of young students losing their protective status could be just as dramatic. By Laura Eastes Cover by Sarah Leis NEWS 4

Cover DACA recipients


City Saxum moves to The Heritage


City mayor-elect David Holt

10 Chicken-Fried News

EAT & DRINK 13 Review Bistro 46 Restaurant

& Grille

15 Feature Marcus Samuelsson 16 Feature Stella Nova 18 Gazedibles gravy

ARTS & CULTURE 21 Art Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

23 Theater The Other Mozart at

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center

Joy at Carpenter Square Theatre

by Brandon Hobson

at University of Central Oklahoma

24 Theater Crumbs From the Table of 25 Books Where the Dead Sit Talking 26 Community Marianne Williamson 27 Calendar

MUSIC 29 Event Dropkick Murphys at

Diamond Ballroom

30 Feature Chelsey Cope

32 Review OGB by J French

FUN 33 Astrology

34 Puzzles sudoku | crossword

OKG Classifieds 35

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cov e r

Taz Al-Michael left and Jose Rubio both hold protective legal status through the program known as DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. | Photo Mark Hancock

Deportation threat

The threat to DACA is very real for recipients and their families, but also the greater community. By Laura Eastes

After the election of President Donald J. Trump, Jose Rubio braced for some sort of directive from him regarding immigration. Campaign trail rhetoric, followed by travel bans and blueprints for border walls, convinced the Oklahoma City resident that the president would make good on his promise to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “We all expected it as soon as Trump was elected,” said Rubio, who was brought to Oklahoma City from Mexico at age 3. “It was just a matter of when.” Rubio, his sister and thousands of other immigrant youth whose parents brought them to the United States as children faced that life-changing turn nearly six months ago. The program that allowed them to earn temporary resident status and freed them to legally work, study, serve and more was given a March 5 phase-out deadline. Congress would be forced to act to preserve the protective statuses of 880,000 people, including about 7,500 Oklahomans, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The morning of Sept. 5, 2017, a heartbroken Rubio thought of his sister, Jennifer, when he heard U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce DACA’s end. “She wants to be a nurse,” Rubio said. “Without DACA, she can’t practice. She is going to school, and she struggles because it is a difficult program. She 4

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might never be able to practice, even though she has been here her entire life.” Rubio paused. After a sniffle, he went on. “That’s what hit me: my sister,” he said. Following the announcement, Rubio demonstrated on Capitol Hill three times, calling on Congress to pass legislation in protection of “Dreamers,” and he met with U.S. Sen. James Lankford. Back home, he spoke at Dreamer rallies at his school, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSUOKC). He shared his story with white church congregations. And during the second federal government shutdown and after the government re-opened, he remained optimistic that a deal on DACA was coming, but waiting for Congress to act is easier said than done.

Coming to America

“I grew up thinking I was an American just like everyone else,” Taz Al-Michael said. At 14, Al-Michael learned otherwise. He came to learn why his parents said no to sleepovers and didn’t sign permission slips for field trips. Now, his parents were saying no to Putnam City North High School’s trip to New York in which performing arts students would perform at Carnegie Hall. The son of a Bangladeshi couple, AlMichael was born in Brunei, a small, oil-rich sultanate country in Southeast Asia. When he was 9 months old, Al-

Michael entered the U.S. with his visaissued parents, who received misguided advice that young children were granted visas at borders. To make matters worse, Al-Michael was not issued Brunei citizenship. “I was undocumented with no documents whatsoever,” Al-Michael said. The saving grace was DACA. Within a year, at age 15, Al-Michael applied for the program. With help from an immigration attorney, he was advised to find every trophy and locate any certificate he had ever earned in his short life to prove his character and contributions to the community. “When I finally got my work authorization and social security card, I remember my parents were crying with joy,” Al-Michael said, “because they didn’t have to worry.” While DACA allowed Al-Michael to live the American dream he always wanted with a driver’s license, a college acceptance letter and more, Al-Michael remained silent about his status. In late 2016, he broke his silence after hearing his peers discuss “bad hombres” and “illegal aliens” and reference Islamophobia in immigration policies. At last fall’s rally in support of DACA recipients on the University of Oklahoma campus, Al-Michael, who is a student, placed his story into the spotlight.

We always said that the one leverage we have that no one can ever take from us is our stories. Jose Rubio “I didn’t know anybody else who was like me because not many are open about their status,” said Al-Michael, who is the only one in his family without legal status. “It wasn’t until I found Dream Act Oklahoma that I found my community, people who knew what it was like. It grew beyond that cultural boundary. This is a civil right. This is a human rights issue.”

provide a better life for their children. They struggle with low-wage jobs, poverty and racism. With immigration policy at the center of the 2016 presidential election, Hart’s congregation sought to increase understanding of immigrants. Scripture served as the inspiration for their action plan. Christ Community Church found other faith communities also committed to loving immigrants. Then they helped launch El Camino, a coalition of local faith groups. “There was a public conversation on this issue which was not based on facts,” Hart said. “There were all too few moral voices in the conversation. We wanted to tell the true story of these people, and we wanted to have a serious moral conversation about our obligations as human beings to take care of each other.” El Camino organized March 2017’s sixmile prayer pilgrimage in which 500 people walked from Santa Fe South Elementary School to Frontline Church. Days after the announcement to rescind DACA, hundreds attended their vigil for “Dreamers” on the steps of the Oklahoma Capitol. Then there is Rev. Nathan Hedge, who runs Immigrant Connection at May Avenue Wesleyan Church. The ministry provides immigrant services, including DACA application assistance. Last December, when the ministry hit the twoyear mark, it recorded helping 200 clients from 35 countries. Hedge, like many other faith leaders, not only advocates for DACA recipients but also for humane immigration reform. Recently, a client arrived at Immigrant Connections looking for help to legally emigrate his son from Mexico to the U.S. For this client, Hedge said, the only option was to file and wait more than 20 years for an answer. “My heart is broken for the undocumented in our society, including the ‘Dreamers’ who are really at the wrong Jose Rubio has traveled to Washington, D.C., three times in the last five months to advocate for legislation to protect himself, his sister, friends and other immigrant youth from deportation. | Photo Mark Hancock

Compassionate help

Faith leaders have been among the most vehement in demonstrating against the end of DACA and advocating for a legislative solution in Washington, D.C., and in communities across the nation. Oklahoma City is no exception. In 2016, Rev. John-Mark Hart of Christ Community Church noticed how immigrants were portrayed on television in terms of immigration policy. Not only did it disturb him, it contradicted his experience with thousands of firstgeneration and second-generation immigrants he encountered through his ministry. To Hart, immigrants come to the U.S. for the sake of their families, to

continued on page 6

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end of some sour rhetoric,” he said. “None of us want to be called ‘illegal.’ We are not necessarily advocating for the breaking of laws. We understand the rule of law is necessary. The rule of law must also be tempered with the law of love.”

Talent at risk

The debate over DACA and immigration has a direct correlation to the economy. New American Economy’s research finds that 93 percent of the 11,672 young people in Oklahoma who are DACA-eligible are working, thus contributing $20 million in state and local taxes. Immigrant workers, including DACArecipients, fill gaps in the labor market. In the U.S., where close to one in four construction laborers is an immigrant, builders closely watch discussions on DACA and immigration, said Mike Means, executive vice president of Oklahoma State Home Builders Associations.

Not only did I not have any visa status, I didn’t have status whatsoever. Taz Al-Michael “There is nothing more devastating to an industry than when you can’t count on that workforce,” Means said. “One day, they are there. The next day, they could get deported. We’ve had situations where ICE [immigration officers] will come on a job site. The guys with green cards run, mainly because they’ve got to protect a friend or a brother.” Means said the homebuilding industry has long advocated and asked federal leaders for comprehensive immigration reform in hopes to create stability for workers. While reform should include border protections, “Dreamers,” along with guest workers, need to be addressed. While DACA recipients are in the early stages of their careers and lives, many are following their American dream. At Scissortail Community Development Organization, where the program Aspiring Americans helps undocumented and DACA youth navigate opportunities in higher education, Robert Ruiz frequently meets students with aspirations to study engineering, pharmacy, education, nursing and more. “They are our heroes,” said Ruiz, explaining Aspiring Americans seeks to remove obstacles “Dreamers” face when they seek higher education. This past year, Ruiz noted that fewer students have sought help. The reduction is not related to need but to DACA’s uncertainty. “We talk a lot about merit-based immigration policies, but there is probably no better group that merits legal status than these students,” Ruiz said. 6

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After learning he had no visa status, Taz Al-Michael felt alone. He was inspired to tell his story following the 2016 presidential election. | Photo Mark Hancock

“These are people that we want and who have proved they are contributed to our society.” For months, “Dreamers,” along with immigrant advocates, civil rights groups and business and faith leaders, have called on members of Congress to pass immigration reforms. “It is really going to take individuals stepping up to help, make a difference and become allies,” Ruiz said. “That could look like a lot of different things, advocating for legislation both federal and state, becoming a contributor to a scholarship fund.”

Will DACA continue?

Last week, 18 days before the March 5 deadline and after heated discussions on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation addressing DACA recipients and other immigration reforms. Yet, because federal courts in California and New York issued temporary injunctions requiring the administration to extended DACA, it appears DACA will extend beyond March 5. Though much is still unknown, the calls for action continue. “Though there are various moral and legal ambiguities in the issue of immigration, there is no ambiguity to ‘Dreamers,’” Hart said. “They are in no way at fault. To leave them in the shadows would be morally abhorrent. To deport them would be abhorrent. The only morally acceptable option would be to create a pathway for them to stay here legally and participate fully.” Rubio and Al-Michael continue to wait like they have for more than five months, and they are sharing their stories. “People say we lost our leverage,” Rubio said. “We’ve always said that the one leverage we have that no one can ever take from us is our stories. It really does humanize it. It does unite people. They can take anything else, but our stories are our best weapons.”


Entrance interview

OKC mayor-elect David Holt’s job begins April 10, but planning for leading the city through the next four years is well underway. By Laura Eastes

Over the next two months, pages and pages of notes — ideas from citizens on how to improve Oklahoma City — will occupy mayor-elect David Holt’s time. For nearly a year, the state senator crisscrossed the city, meeting with folks of all ages, professions and socioeconomic statuses as well as different races and ethnicities in his quest for mayor. Holt’s platform focused on police and fire protection, streets and infrastructure, education, quality of life and diversity. Often, the conversations went beyond cookie-cutter municipal issues. Citizens poured out their ideas and dreams for Oklahoma City. Some were good, and some were bad. The good ones, which Holt said were many, made his notes. Two days after Holt won with more than 78 percent of the vote in a three-way race for mayor, he named his notes as the starting point for building his plan. “I probably have eight years of work already, but we will think about it in terms of four,” said a jovial Holt. “Any great endeavor requires a plan to be successful. I’ll have a plan by the time April 10 arrives. Great presidents, governors, mayors and other executives don’t just show up on day one and wait for events to happen to them. They enter with a strategy, a plan and a vision. … The job begins April 10, but the planning begins today.” Holt will return to City Hall after an eight-year absence to begin his fouryear term. The former chief of staff for Mayor Mick Cornett, Holt will be sworn in as the City of Oklahoma City’s 36th mayor.

Momentum building

Holt stands to inherit a city in good shape: a growing economy, an efficient and lean city government, new tax increases plugging additional dollars into public safety, the winding down of a successful third installment of the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) program, etc. There are no troubling spikes in crime, no scandals at City Hall and no line of citizens expressing grievances to the council at meetings. There was no campaigning to fix Oklahoma City. Instead, Holt presented himself to voters as the candidate to maintain the “visionary leadership” in the mayor’s office. After all, he served in the mayor’s office for five years during which MAPS 3 was discussed and developed. The second part of his message was to take the city’s momentum to another level. “The overall picture of the city is not

dire; it is really good,” Holt said. “As I talked about in the campaign, you can’t stop investing in yourself, which is why I think we should have a MAPS 4 conversation. And I think there are some areas that are a little bit dire. I think that’s the state of the city’s education system and how people perceive it. Also, I think it’s the current mobility for people in certain groups of our city to participate in the decision-making process. I think that is something we need to work on. People on the south side, the Latino community, the African-American community don’t feel a part of our momentum. We need to work on that. There are challenges.” Holt said he is committed to working with public education leaders for improvement; however, the school systems and the city government are separate entities. When it comes to increasing diversity in city government, Holt wants to use his appointment power on the city’s boards and commissions to bring diversity into the decision-making process.

I want every community in this city to have a seat at the table on this. David Holt

MAPS 4 conversation

It’s hard to say what will be Holt’s first major action or vote when he begins to lead the eight-member nonpartisan council come April 10. There’s a good chance it could involve MAPS. In September, OKC voters endorsed the extension of the 1-cent MAPS sales tax for streets over a 27-month period. Holt takes the reins four months into the new tax. MAPS initiatives, which are designed around the notion of transformative projects, require time, and lots of it. For instance, Cornett kicked off the MAPS 3 conversation in his January 2007 State of the City address. Nearly two years later, in December 2009, voters approved the $777 million proposal. The city has a history of placing MAPS programs on ballots months before the tax ends. Holt sees the city following the same model for MAPS 4. As it stands, the city is already a few months behind on initiating the public conversation, the first step of shaping any MAPS proposal.

With fewer months to plan the fourth installment of MAPS, Holt will likely push for the MAPS 4 conversation with a sense of urgency early in his term. While he hasn’t named any project ideas of his own, he has expressed support for it going a different direction if it maintained its core characteristic: transformative capital projects. Either way, he wants the citizens to dream big and participate in the conversation. “I want the most inclusive process that we’ve ever had for this,” Holt said. “I want every community in this city to have a seat at the table on this. We are going to do every communication method that there is to get everyone’s feedback and involvement.”

Youth, experience

At 39, Holt will become the youngest elected mayor of a city with more than 500,000 people. Ninety miles north of Oklahoma City, G.T. Bynum serves as mayor of Tulsa. Like Holt, Bynum was elected at 39. Months from now, Oklahoma’s two largest cities will be served by mayors

David Holt will be sworn in as Oklahoma City’s 36th mayor on April 10. | Photo Laura Eastes

under the age of 45. Both entered their elections with past public service experience. Bynum served as a city councilor. These mayors are friends whose lives first crisscrossed more than a dozen years ago as staffers in Washington, D.C. Holt sees a unique opportunity for Oklahoma City and Tulsa to partner on initiatives and present a united vision for the state’s urban areas. “I think it’s another great opportunity for our two cities and Oklahoma,” Holt said. “If you look at the challenges that seem to face our state, which are kind of hurled at us by the Legislature and our state government, I think it is comforting to think you could have two cities united in their leadership as G.T. and I will be. We really need the two big urban centers of Oklahoma to be linked as closely as possible if we want to have any luck in trying to persuade the Legislature to do what it needs to do with cities. You will certainly have that unity with Mayor Bynum and I.”

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New life

A symbol of OKC’s perseverance, the former Journal Record building now houses Heritage Trust Co., Saxum and others. By Laura Eastes

In 1998, when Oklahoma City Industrial & Cultural Facilities Trust acquired downtown’s Journal Record Building, which was badly damaged by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, few could imagine its rebirth two decades later. Discussion centered on redeveloping a portion of the building at 621 N. Robinson Ave. to house a planned memorial museum. Two-thirds of the building went unspoken for and sat vacant for years. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum welcomed thousands to pay their respects. Eight years ago, Bond Payne, founder of Heritage Trust Company, found himself inside the building. Designed in 1923 as a Masonic Lodge by architect Solomon Layton, who is known for the Oklahoma State Capitol and Skirvin Hilton Hotel, the classic revival-style building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It was home to the Journal Record newspaper until the 1995 bombing when a city trust bought the property. While the city poured dollars into its preservation, it would take great effort to redevelop the historic building for any type of use. The building, a symbol of the city’s perseverance and hope, intrigued Payne. “I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” Payne said when recalling his initial interest in the building during an interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “I felt like it might be the perfect place for us to move our company downtown. It was such a special building, such a special place, and it was important to Oklahoma and Oklahoma City. Our business is a multigenerational business that is connected to Oklahoma. We are a multigenerational Oklahoma 8

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family. This was an opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment to Oklahoma City.” Payne acquired the building from the city’s trust for $7.25 million in 2014, which kicked off the redevelopment. Payne sought a Class A alternative office space with an “artful balance of modern design and amenities enveloped by its familiar, classic architecture.” The result is The Heritage, which provides vibrant, modern elegance while maintaining the integrity and soul of the property. Unveiled in 2017, The Heritage is now home to Heritage Trust Company, Eide Bailly LLP and Saxum. “It is always fun to work on a project that exceeds your expectations,” Payne said.

New digs

Long before Payne’s vision came to fruition, it caught the attention of C. Renzi Stone, Saxum’s founder and CEO. Like Payne, Stone took hold of the concept of ensuring the future of a near-century-old building with deep ties to Oklahoma City history while also creating a space that matched the creative energy of clients and staff. “I wanted a space that was formal and informal, modern and traditional, loud and quiet, public and private — creative,” Stone said. “I wanted something that allowed people to be who they are.” Saxum views itself as an integrated marketing and communication agency focused on public relations, digital and advertising. The company dates back to July 2003, when Stone walked away from a public affairs and public relations firm in Washington, D.C., to break out on his own. Mick Cornett, an OKC

A brass name plate marks the entrance of The Heritage, 621 N. Robinson Ave. Bond Payne led the remodel of the historic building, which reopened last year. | Photo Logan Walcher / provided

councilman, hired Stone to assist in his campaign for mayor in 2004. Cornett won the election; Stone received a phone call from Dell, Inc., who had their sights on Oklahoma City. The clients continued to arrive. For its sixth office move in 15 years, Stone was after a space to take the company into the future. Inspired by offices he experienced during a business trip to New York City, Stone wrote out his own vision for the fifth and sixth floors of The Heritage. The sixth floor was an addition to the historic structure.

It was such a special building, such a special place, and it was important to Oklahoma and Oklahoma City. Bond Payne In December, Saxum and its 55 employees moved into the new space, which offers 22 meeting areas complete with sleek and sophisticated aesthetic, superior technology and postcard views of Oklahoma City’s downtown. On the building’s fifth floor, which Stone affectionately refers to as the heart of the company, is the shared employee workstations as well as small conference rooms. One-person soundproof rooms provide peace and quiet for employees. On the sixth floor, light The fifth and sixth floors of The Heritage are occupied by Saxum, which designed the space to feature 22 meeting rooms, from traditional conference rooms to sitting rooms. | Photo Logan Walcher / provided

wells help illuminate the fifth floor, the former attic. Each light well is inscribed with a word that matches Saxum’s characteristics: bold, lively, original and driven. On the fifth floor is a window view of the Survivor Tree and the memorial. “I believe it is the most creative space in Oklahoma,” Stone said as he walked through his company’s headquarters with Oklahoma Gazette. “I think it is a model of how creative people and millennials work. It gives people options for how they work and when they work. … We feel like it is a real game-changer in terms of the company and where we hope to be in the future.”

Looking forward

Heritage Trust will celebrate its first anniversary in The Heritage in May. Payne said the feeling of newness hasn’t worn off, as staff continues to bring family and friends by for tours. “This isn’t just people like me,” Payne said. “It’s people like Renzi and Eide Bailly who captured the vision and went with it when it was really hard to see. It took vision to capture what we were trying to do.” Many have speculated why the building sat mostly empty for so long. The building’s proximity to the Murrah Federal Building is one reason. Years ago, redevelopment seemed unlikely, given the emotions tied to the site. Time heals, and downtown Oklahoma City is a very different place in 2018 than it was in 1995. The Heritage is part of Oklahoma City’s renaissance story, Stone said. “I am not sure what will exist in Oklahoma City 100 years from now,” Stone said. “I am certain that the memorial will be here. If I am certain the memorial will be here, I am pretty certain this building will be here. It feels like you are a part of nearly 100 years of history but also a part of 100 years in the future.”

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Anti-Democratic process

Imagine having to choose between your job and pursing an elected political position. This is the position in which University of Oklahoma employees find themselves, as highlighted by OU Daily. Breea Clark, the university’s associate director of academic integrity, has served on Norman City Council for over a year, but that position does not require party affiliation. When Clark prepared for a State House of Representatives run, her supervisors said she couldn’t stay with the university if she pursed the house seat. Citing a Board of Regents policy dating back to 1943, Clark was told she had to offer her resignation before declaring candidacy. By comparison, the University of Missouri and University of Nebraska-Lincoln grant a leave of absence to employees during their candidacy, only requiring a resignation if the employee wins the election. OU’s press secretary told OU Daily the university avoids conflicts of interest and while state law does not prohibit state employees from running for public office, they’re sticking to principles outlined in state ethics policies. There is a faculty committee investigating the policy. There has been no ruling since it first convened in November, but its agenda said the committee will consider a leave of absence for employees. “I just find it really discouraging ... that thousands of people aren’t even able to consider running for a county, state or federal office — it seems almost anti-democratic,” Clark told OU Daily. Chicken-Fried News has a similar policy, but it exists so staffers don’t have to report on colleagues when they try to mandate a redhead quota in state government.


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What’s in a rule?

We all know that termed-out state lawmakers take jobs as lobbyists pretty soon after their term ends. On the federal level, this revolving door of lawmakerto-lobbyist happens too, if not more regularly. Some former state representatives and state senators don’t dive into lobbying. Instead, they get hired into prominent positions in state government when their term expires. If anyone takes a very close look at the state constitution, they will find the small print listing a two-year waiting period lawmakers must observe before going to work for any agency that receives state appropriations. To call attention to this constitutional concept, Oklahoma Ethics Commission approved this policy as a new rule. Ashley Kemp, the commission’s executive director, told Tulsa World the rule prohibits lawmakers from using their positions to benefit themselves after office. “It also serves to ensure state officers and employees always keep the state of Oklahoma and the interests of the citizens as the priority,” Kemp told

Tulsa World. However, the ink is not dry on this rule, as the Legislature has the opportunity to disapprove the rule through legislation this session. While some lawmakers support it, others lawmakers — current and former — do not. “My primary problem is they are trying to dictate to someone what they can or can’t do to make a living,” Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia, told the newspaper. “It is not fair.” Why is life not fair? Another perspective comes from current lobbyist Jim Dunlap, a former House and Senate member from Bartlesville. “Our talent pool in Oklahoma is not that deep,” he said. “We need qualified people who know the process to serve not only as a lobbyist but also in appropriate positions for the governor.” That’s right; our education system does a poor job preparing students for Oklahoma’s jobs. If only we could pinpoint where our troubles are in education and then enact legislation to help. One last perspective of a lawmaker who understands and appreciate the rule but warns it could have unintended consequences: “Not everybody is a

dirtbag politician,” said Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa. “Some of us are just trying to do good.” Certainly, there are still some good lawmakers left in this state! Right?

’Screen saver

As the sun peeks out more and more, people all across the state are going to be buying and applying sunscreen again. That goes double for the state’s children and students. No one wants a child to get sunburned, but few are as adamantly against it as Sen. Gary Stanislawski. The Tulsa Republican has recently introduced legislation that would keep student sunscreen from getting blocked. The bill would allow a student to bring sunscreen to school and apply it without the written permission of a doctor or parent. If the child is unable to apply the block themselves, a teacher or faculty member may apply it with

written permission from the student’s guardian. As reported in a story by the CNHI news service, Stanislawski told the committee that his bill is necessary because state schools often refuse to let students use the product. “This has definitely become an issue,” he said. “And we have the vagueness in our own state statutes.” Who knew state schools were such vicious promoters of melanoma? If a bookworm student has a sunburn, does that make them well-red? Other members of the committee, like Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, were more skeptical of the bill’s necessity. “I’ve never run into a school district that has denied sunscreen,” Smalley said. The bill passed committee by a slim margin and now awaits a hearing on the full Senate floor. There are several fair-haired writers on CFN’s team. As redheads, our school lunchboxes were almost always packed with a side of Banana Boat (not recommended for consumption). No teacher ever batted an eye. We have a hard time believing schools in this state would prohibit sunscreen. After all, we’re pretty sure school districts have had plenty more important things to worry about in the last few years.

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A pass through the buffet includes macaroni and cheese, candied yams, black-eyed peas with rice, fried chicken, neck bones and collard greens. | Photo by Jacob Threadgill

Comfort love

The Sunday soul food buffet at Bistro 46 is one of the tastiest deals in town. By Jacob Threadgill

Bistro 46 Restaurant & Grille 2501 NE 23rd St. | What works: Bistro’s neck bones, candied yams and collard greens are top-notch. What needs work: The fried chicken’s most prominent seasoning was salt. Tip: Be prepared to wait in line.

Drive down NE 23rd Street and see the line of people waiting to get into Bistro 46 and you might think it is the hottest nightclub in the city. Well, it can be when it closes for private events on Saturday nights, but this is Sunday at noon as people in their church clothes vie for a spot for one of the best deals in town: the soul food buffet (2 for $22). Husband-and-wife team Donny and Tonya Beechum, along with their daughter Tori, founded Bistro 46 Restaurant & Grille, 2501 NE 23rd St., in October 2015 after first opening Ordinary People Lounge for music, poetry and art. Inspired by Buttons in Fort Worth, the Beechums envisioned Bistro 46 as a supper club and large event space. They settled on the name because “bistro” described the atmosphere they wanted and “46” because Oklahoma was the 46th state admitted to the union. Bistro 46 started with a Sunday soul food buffet, expanded to end-of-theweek lunch specials in 2016 and added a Friday seafood buffet in November 2017. The Beechums took flyers for the Sunday buffet to church services, plas-

tered car windows with them and built a following through word of mouth. “It’s been growing and growing,” Tori Beechum said. “It’s a good thing, but it’s almost scary at times because we’ll have a line out the door. How are we going to get them in here? We have several people who knew about us [in the beginning] and could come in and out easily. Then, out of nowhere, they were like, ‘I told my friends, and I can’t even get in.’”

Feeding souls

Building off the supper club theme, the menu at Bistro 46 varies slightly from week to week as lunch specials and buffet items are posted on its website the start of each week. Buffet mainstays are fried chicken and fish in addition to baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens and candied yams. The first Sunday of every month features smoked turkey with cornbread dressing and homemade peach cobbler. Other weeks include selections of meatloaf, chicken and dumplings and neck bones, which I found on my first visit to the buffet. I arrived at noon to find a line of folks eagerly waiting to hit the buffet, and we waited a few minutes while staff put the finishing touches on the food. Customers get to choose from lemonade, water or iced tea before going through the line. I opted for neck bones, a fried chicken thigh, black eyed-peas with rice, collard greens and macaroni and cheese.

The staff is accommodating, bringing out bowls for overflow beyond the plate, and I grabbed a slice of cornbread before sliding into a seat between the bar and large projection screens showcasing Olympic coverage. The chicken was juicy and crispy, perhaps salt-heavy, but very good. The best bite of the meal came when I combined neck bone meat with the collard greens. It was the first time my dining partner tried neck bones; it made them wonder what else they’ve been missing. Rich and full of flavor from all the fat and marrow from the bones, the meat was the star of my plate, followed by the candied yams. Donny and Tonya work in the kitchen with the help of a few others while Tori greets customers and manages the line that ends out the door and begins where customers slide over to the buffet. “We have a lot of experienced cooks who learned from their family. It’s the one good thing about soul food,” Tori Beechum said. “We’re not the best at

plating things, but it tastes great.” The family traditions and love poured into Bistro 46 come through in its food. Admittedly, I haven’t been to Oklahoma City’s mecca of soul food, Florence’s Restaurant, in my six months here, but Bistro 46 provides the best soul food I’ve had in the city. Judging by its popularity, I’d say I’m not alone. A dedicated group of teenage servers refill drinks and bring out condiments and hot sauce, which Tori Beechum said is her mother’s commitment to providing early job experience for younger generations. “[My mom] got started at the VA hospital and really believes it will help someone else,” Tori Beechum said, “that one day they will have a dream to start their own thing.” Although I loosened my belt and was ready for a second trip through the buffet line, which also includes dessert and a separate salad bar, I didn’t try the fried fish because the line just kept getting longer and longer. “It usually shortens at 3 p.m., but the risk you take is that we might be out or running low,” Tori Beechum said. “It’s something we’re trying to learn. You never know how much you need. It’s the struggle as a small business.” Bistro 46 hosts live comedy the second Saturday of every month and a live gospel music showcase the third Sunday of every month. Saturdays are used for private rentals, and if you’re interested in booking, email contact@ Ordinary People Lounge at 3024 NE 23rd St., is a smaller venue also available for rent. Part of me can understand the ire of Bistro 46’s regular customers for divulging the secret of a popular but under-theradar restaurant. But I also want to highlight the work the Beechums and family are doing to provide great food and sociable community space.

from left Tonya, Donny and Tori Beechum opened Bistro 46 Restaurant & Grille in 2015. | Photo provided O kg a z e t t e . c o m | F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8


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EAT & DRINK Chef Marcus Samuelsson spoke to 700 guests at the eighth St. Anthony Celebrity Chef event at Chevy Bricktown Events Center on Feb. 15. | Photo provided

cooked in a steamer and served with roasted carrots over couscous.

F e at u r e

Beyond buzzwords

Sustainble consumers

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson dishes on healthy recipes and gives Chopped advice. By Jacob Threadgill

Whether it is as a judge on the reality cooking show Chopped, winner of a Top Chef Masters or becoming the youngest chef to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s worldview is influenced by his time as an immigrant. Born in war-torn Ethiopia, Samuelsson learned to cook from his Swedish grandmother after emigrating as a refugee from Africa to Eastern Europe as a toddler. His cooking career took him across Eurasia before he settled in Harlem, where his Red Rooster restaurant has preached sustainability in a neighborhood where that was difficult to pull off when it opened in 2010. “I was an immigrant six times in seven years,” Samuelsson said to a crowd of 700 guests Feb. 15 at Chevy Bricktown Events Center for the eighth St. Anthony Celebrity Chef event. “When people say that immigrants are lazy, I know that I’m not lazy, and I think a lot of immigrants have more love for this country than people born here

who take things for granted,” Samuelsson told the audience to one of the largest applause breaks of the evening. He answered questions from the crowd and invited volunteers from the audience to help him prepare three dishes designed to show that healthy eating doesn’t have to lack flavor. He prepared a Peruvian ceviche with hamachi, which uses only fresh lime juice to cook the raw fish, and paired it with shiitake mushrooms, radishes and cilantro. He followed with a baked halibut topped with freshly grated horseradish, which goes from spicy to sweet during the roasting process, and paired it with a sauce of coconut milk, lime juice, sliced granny apple and bok choy. “I made the dish for free tonight, but if you visit me in Harlem, it will be $28,” he said. The final dish showcased his native Ethiopia, in particular the spice blend berbere, which features dried chiles, garlic ginger and basil, among other things. Samuelsson added berbere to a sauce with pulled chicken that was

During the hourlong cooking demonstration, Samuelsson discussed active ways people can take ownership of eating healthy, something he expounded upon during a pre-show interview with Oklahoma Gazette. He encouraged people to look beyond organic and search for ingredients in season and from local producers. “Instead of focusing on whether something is organic or not,” Samuelsson said. “Obviously, it’s a big buzz word, but if we’re flying [organic produce] from Australia, it might not be sustainable. The two words you want to hold onto are ‘seasonal eating’ and ‘local’ as much as you can. In my own family, my wife thinks organic is better; I say, ‘Sometimes it is; sometimes it is not.’” He said residents in Oklahoma, in the heartland of the country, are positioned to have great access to farmers markets and fresh meat and game, and he urged consumers to evolve with trends. “Today, you can order so much online. Just because you click, it doesn’t mean you aren’t part of the conversation,” he said. “Food can be local but not sustainable based on how the food is shipped to me. You want to ask more questions: ‘How did it get to me? How was it picked? Was it frozen?’” In effort to curb the country’s food waste — upward of 35 percent of food is thrown away — Samuelsson said meal planning should be done to think about how to re-use ingredients to create a new meal. “Buy a whole chicken and use the breasts one day, use the chicken thighs the next day and then maybe a pulled chicken salad the next day with kale, Brussels [sprouts] and a buttermilk vinaigrette,” he said. “You can use the leftover bones to make broth, poach some eggs, and now we have brunch.”

Small-screen adventures

Samuelsson has been a fixture as judge and contestant for many of the most

popular competitive cooking shows, beginning with Chopped 10 years ago. The breakout Food Network hit gives contestants a mystery basket of ingredients they must use in appetizer, entrée and dessert courses, and Samuselsson said the key is avoid a technique outside a chef’s comfort area. “The hardest round is the appetizer because you only have 20 minutes,” Samuelsson said. “You want to have flavor-driven food that you can cook quickly. A great appetizer is ceviche or crudo — something that is high on flavor and acid, but it doesn’t require a long cooking time.” After a decade on television — including a powerful 2015 episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown where he visits Ethiopia — Samuelsson is debuting his own series, No Passport Required, on PBS this summer. A partnership between Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Vox Media (founders of Eater), the show will feature six episodes in which Samuelsson highlights the food of immigrant communities in the United States. “We talked about what TV show we can do that fits this very moment that we’re in right now. As an immigrant, I felt it was important to tell strong immigrant tales,” he said, noting that it will feature Vietnamese culture in New Orleans, Ethiopian culture in Washington D.C., Haitian culture in Miami, Mexican culture in Chicago and the Arab American communities of Dearborn and Detroit. In his latest visit to Oklahoma City, Samuelsson said he was excited to see growth in the city since the last time a cooking appearance brought him in town. “As I walked around today, I went to Deep Deuce and then the opposite part of town,” he said. “It’s grown a lot, and that’s amazing to see. There are more jobs and events. I had a great cup of coffee at Elemental [Coffee Roasters], and that was a really interesting part of town.”

Marcus Samuelsson leads a cooking demonstration during the eighth St. Anthony Celebrity Chef event. | Photo Jacob Threadgill

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F e at u r e


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Local commitment

Stella Nova aims to be the chain coffee store that thinks local first. By Jacob Threadgill

With four locations opening in 2018, Stella Nova is using a model of local products, high-quality coffee and unique architecture that owners hope will service the Oklahoma City area and beyond. Business partners John Kennedy and Kelli Lay have worked together at Kennedy Consulting Team for the last 16 years, and with the help of a small group of investors, they’re using their building and management background to recreate the local coffee scene. Stella Nova’s first location opened at 1415 W. Main St. in Norman in early January 2018, and its second location at 4716 N. Western Ave. in Oklahoma City will have a soft opening March 12. Stella Nova has secured building permits near the intersections of 63rd Street and May Avenue and 110th Street and Western Avenue. Seated in the Norman location under a painting by his son, Buck, Kennedy is excited for the outlook of his new business. The Norman location also features the art of Michi Susan, Stephen Grounds and Linda Warren. “Wherever we go in the future, it will all be locally roasted and it will all be filled with local art,” Kennedy said. “We will source as many local products as possible. … We feel like what we are doing is scalable. It’s a simple concept: getting good locations, developing iconic buildings and using local suppliers of food and art.” While Kennedy enjoys designing 16

F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8 | O kg a z e t t e . c o m

from left Co-owner Kelli Lay, supervisor Lydia Rice and co-owner John Kennedy stand outside the first Stella Nova in Norman. | Photo Jacob Threadgill

buildings, curating art and buying furnishings, Lay uses her graduate degree in human relations to hire the staff and manage the menu. Stella Nova secured a deal with Roxy’s Ice Cream Social to sell single servings for the first time in that company’s history. “We sold out of our first order of ice cream within a week,” Kennedy said. “We were pleasantly surprised because we didn’t know if people would eat ice cream in January or not.” Local markets supply the ingredients for breakfast sandwiches and wraps at Stella Nova, and they stock energy bars from Oklahoma City’s Kize Concepts, Lay said. “We will adjust the menu based on customer feedback,” Lay said. “For example, customers have asked for coconut milk. We found coconut milk and added it to the menu, and some customers enjoy sugar-free beverages, so we increased the sugar-free offerings from more than one.” Stella Nova will feature a specialty drink each month. In honor of February, they are selling either a chocolate frappe with house-made strawberry whipped cream or a strawberry frappe with chocolate whipped cream. Lay and the investment group worked with Oklahoma City-based

Leap Coffee Roasters to develop a special espresso blend, tasting 42 samples before settling on the right mix. Leap co-owner Kari Hirst Starkey said it’s only the second time her company has developed a new blend. “Most cafes that come to us just want wholesale pricing; they’re not interested in the whole process,” Starkey said. “They were the first to get involved through the whole process, tasting things along the way.” Starkey said Leap hired an assistant roaster for her husband Eric Starkey, to help with the demand that comes with Stella Nova’s new stores.

We are challenging the idea that if you are convenient, you can’t be local. John Kennedy “We want to be able to grow with them,” Starkey said. The Western Avenue Stella Nova will be located across the street from The Wedge Pizzeria, which was home to Starkey’s Yippee Yi Yo Cafe. “It’s great karma because that was one of the first great early local coffee shops in Oklahoma City,” Kennedy said. At one point in Kennedy’s career, his company owned what is now First National Center, which he said is the pinnacle of antique architecture in the city. “I love blending antique materials,” he said, referencing a series of ornate lights hanging from the ceiling, which repurposed antique materials into a design that includes Stella Nova’s name and logo. Kennedy enlisted Tulsa-based architect James Boswell, who designed The Jones Assembly, to work on Stella

Nova’s building. Kennedy said it’s important that each building fit into the neighborhood and be different from each other. He wants the brand to be a high-quality product, art showcase and commitment to local purveyors. “The building itself should be a work of art,” Kennedy said. “The one thing that will be consistent is the quality of the coffee, the fact that it is small-batch and locally roasted. Nothing in our bakery case has been frozen before you eat them.” Each Stella Nova is outfitted with a drive-thru service, something Kennedy said he expects to account for 50 percent of its business. The 63rd and May location is reducing the existing building from 5,000 square feet to 2,200 in order to accommodate the drive-thru. “We are challenging the idea that if you are convenient, you can’t be local,” Kennedy said. “We believe you can be convenient, local and have great quality all at the same time.” The expansion of Stella Nova comes at a busy time for Kennedy, who also owns Irish Realty Corp., and Lay, who was elected to the Deer Creek Schools Board of Education on Feb. 13. “My secret is that I still use a paper calendar,” Lay said with a laugh about maintaining a busy schedule. Kennedy and Lay have been business partners for more than a decade, and Kennedy said their personalities do well to fill in for each other’s strengths and weaknesses. “I would’ve never had the patience to go through 42 blends of coffee, and I’m sure she wouldn’t have the patience to sit in 140 chairs before we found the one,” Kennedy said. Stella Nova is hiring for its Western Avenue location. Email your resume to to apply.

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Stella Nova features light fixtures made with antique metal. | Photo Jacob Threadgill

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g a z e di b l e s

eat & DRINK

Smothered, covered

By Jacob Threadgill Photos Gazette / file and provided

Is it possible to eat a chickenfried steak without gravy? Sure, but are you really having the full experience? Whether its creambased, white or brown, gravy is the product that ties dishes together. The Oklahoma City area has a variety of options whether you’re looking for red-eye gravy or waiting for the weekend so you can get chocolate gravy.


F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8 | O kg a z e t t e . c o m


Royal Bavaria

Ann’s Chicken Fry House

Poutine is the national dish of Canada, but if it doesn’t have cheese curds, it’s just another version of gravy fries. Although the Guyutes version of the poutine wrap uses cheddar cheese, we’ll give them a pass because the combination of pulled pork, beef gravy and waffle fries is really good, especially when you consider Guyutes has a lot of quality vegan options as well.

This Bavarian farmhouse structure has been an icon for authentic German food since it opened in 1994. Centuries before Oklahoma put chicken-fried steak on its official state menu, the Germanic people were pounding cuts of meat thinly and frying them in breadcrumbs. The hunter’s schnitzel is pork loin topped five different ways, including with creamy mushroomand-bacon gravy. Royal Bavaria also has brown beer gravy for its slow-roasted pork shoulder and red wine gravy for pot roast.

The pink neon glow emanating along the highway is a remnant from the days when Ann’s Chicken Fry House was an attraction on Route 66. While the highway became 39th Street Expressway, the fry house stayed committed to what it does best: chicken-fried steak. It claims to be the largest seller of the dish in the state since 1971. Thursday-Saturday, you can get Ann’s classic brown or white gravy over pork chops.

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Why settle for standard sausage gravy when you can have sausage gravy with mushrooms, or jalapeño or chorizo? The varieties are nearly endless, as 40 types of gravy are the stars of this Nichols Hills diner. Open Wednesday-Sunday, Good Gravy expands on the weekend to include ever-elusive chocolate gravy. Pair the chocolate gravy with a flaky biscuit, French toast, waffle or pancakes.

Are you looking for a little more flavor than nondescript brown or white gravy? Whether it is curry, masala or roganjosh or many other cream-based sauces, Mt. Everest Cuisines has a variety of gravy options across Indian and Nepalese dishes. If you want to have a full sit-down meal, order the Nepalistyle thali, which includes gravy, dal (lentils), vegetables, papad (thin crisps) with rice and dessert to pair with a protein of your choice.

Any list focusing on gravy in the Oklahoma City area is null and void without including Florence’s. Dating back to 1952, the venerable soul food institution has operated at its current 23rd Street location since 1969. Get the fried chicken smothered in its own gravy or opt for the yammed fried chicken, which puts yams in the batter. Also get the gravy with smothered steak, the steak burger or the beef tip special on Thursdays.

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Red-eye gravy differs from traditional white or brown gravy in that it doesn’t use flour as a thickening agent. Many red-eye gravy recipes also include a little kick from leftover coffee. Cattlemen’s is more than just one of the best and most iconic places in the city for a steak; it is one of the few restaurants serving red-eye gravy, which can be found with its ham steak or onion rings. If you’re looking for cream gravy, opt for its chicken-fried steak.


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Open book

Shawnee’s Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art continues its encyclopedic approach to art and history despite the closing of St. Gregory’s University. By Ben Luschen

The first thing most guests at Shawnee’s Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art encounter is the windowed cabinet of curiosities, a hodgepodge display of everything from a pig’s tail whistle to tacks burned in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The eclectic assortment all comes from the original collection of Rev. Gregory Gerrer, the museum’s namesake founder who officially opened the museum in 1919. The cabinet is intended to illustrate how varied the artist and Benedictine monk’s collection of cultural artifacts could be. While giving a tour to Oklahoma Gazette, museum curator of collections Delaynna Trim pointed to a pair of ancient Jivaroan shrunken heads housed behind the cabinet’s polished glass. “They’re very popular with the kids,” she said with a smirk. Though it has always been independent of St. Gregory’s University, MabeeGerrer, 1900 W. MacArthur St., in Shawnee, does sit on the former university’s campus. The school’s surprising closure after the fall 2017 semester had no immediate effect on the museum’s ability to stay open, and Mabee-Gerrer plans to proceed with its scheduled exhibition plans for the foreseeable future. Still, Trim said calls asking whether the museum will remain open have not stopped since the news of St. Gregory’s closing first broke several months ago. She is always happy to inform them that Mabee-Gerrer remains committed to its mission of bringing the world to Oklahoma. The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and 1-4 p.m. Saturdays. Though it is called a museum of art, Allied Arts-affiliated Mabee-Gerrer houses far more than paintings and sculptures. The museum is the only in

the state to feature Egyptian mummies in its permanent collection. Centuriesold armor and regalia from around the world can be found in the same gallery space that also hosts a collection of contemporary Oklahoma art. Gerrer’s original mission was to collect as much as he could from his world travels and associations with various figures in the art world. “Everything was up for grabs,” Trim said. “Anything that wasn’t from around here in Oklahoma he wanted to collect so people could see it.” Instead of focusing on a particular time or place, Mabee-Gerrer tries to collect a little bit of everything. “You name a culture or time period, and we probably have something from that time,” Trim said.

Global collection

Aside from being the founder and namesake of the museum, Gerrer could also stake a legitimate claim as the original world’s most interesting man. Born in France in 1867, Gerrer was trained in Italy as a painter. He moved to the United States with his family as a young man. For a while he worked in a circus, where he played clarinet while riding a donkey. He even worked on fishing boats off the coast of Alaska for a time before eventually joining the church. As a monk, Gerrer split his time between St. Gregory’s and Indiana’s University of Notre Dame. Gerrer traveled the world, both through his work in the church and as a trained portrait artist and museum conservator. Trim said he was able to build his collection of art and artifacts partly through his travels and partly through influential connections he made.

“He knew people who knew people,” she said. Not far from the museum’s cabinet of curiosities is a life-size portrait of Pope Saint Pius X painted by Gerrer himself. The pope selected the close likeness as his official portrait. Gerrer painted two copies of the portrait. Somewhat surprisingly, the original hangs inside Mabee-Gerrer while the Vatican houses his reproduction. Trim said Gerrer was aware that he held many opportunities for travel that others did not. “He felt very privileged to be able to go to all of these places around the world,” she said. “Of course, Oklahoma in 1904 is before statehood, so in the early years of the state, he wanted to bring the world to Oklahoma.” From the very beginning, MabeeGerrer’s collection has always been about promoting global literacy. “Unlike many museums that started out as a personal collection in a home,” Trim said, “we were pretty much always a collection for the people.”

Still open

Trim and the Mabee-Gerrer staff were as surprised as anyone else to hear the news of St. Gregory’s closing. “We were not told ahead of time,” she said. “We heard the same time as the students heard.” In November, students were told in a schoolwide meeting that the university would close at the end of the semester. Many of the students that did not graduate at that time transferred to Shawnee’s Oklahoma Baptist University and other schools around the state. Though Mabee-Gerrer was not affiliated with St. Gregory’s, the museum did work closely with the school. Often humanities, art and history coursework at the school would incorporate the museum’s resources. The closing of the surrounding campus also led to a noticeable dip in museum foot traffic. “We definitely are missing the students,” Trim said. “We worked a lot with the students over there.” The school’s closure even led to some minor technical difficulties with the museum’s water and electricity. “Those problems are being worked on,” Trim said. “Nothing moves fast.” Everything was working as normal during the recent Gazette visit. A group of local high school students on a guided tour were the only other visitors. The large surrounding campus, recently reannexed by the City of Shawnee, was quiet and empty. Trim said the museum would like to move into a larger space in the future, perhaps into a more prominent building on the former school campus. But no firm plans are developed. The news of St. Gregory’s closing is still as fresh to Mabee-Gerrer as anyone else. The gallery space inside Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art includes paintings, sculptures and cultural artifacts from a wide range of places and time periods. | Photo Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art / provided

An Igbo maiden mask in Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art’s permanent collection | Photo Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art / provided

Though the closing will alter the course of the museum’s future in some way, the way in which that change will come is yet to be known. Regardless, Trim is excited for what could be. “The news was very shocking and very sad,” she said, “but we’ve continued on and will continue on.”

Reference points

Though the art and artifacts on display in Mabee-Gerrer’s gallery space are fantastic, the museum only ever has about 3 percent of its total collection on display at any one time. The rest is all tightly packed into its on-site archives, which doubles as Trim’s office. It is impossible to look somewhere without seeing something of historic or cultural significance. “Pretty much every space is completely filled,” she said. A rack of weapons includes seal harpoons, medieval Belgian halberds and African spears. A full suit of samurai armor stands in another corner. Ancient Egyptian pottery on one shelf dates back to 6,000 B.C. Trim has worked at the museum for more than 18 years. No one deals with the artifacts more than her. “I probably know the collection better than anyone else,” she said. “I’ve been here a long time, and even then, I probably don’t know everything.” Though Gerrer was a monk, he was fascinated with other cultures and religions. Trim said it is a common misconception that Mabee-Gerrer is a Catholic museum. It is not affiliated with any religion. Instead, visiting Mabee-Gerrer is more like stepping into a real-life encyclopedia. There is something new for every visitor to learn, and the museum is more than happy to facilitate that discovery. “We have a wonderful collection,” Trim said. “It’s always fun to get to go through and see what new treasures you can unearth.” Visit O kg a z e t t e . c o m | F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8


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ARTS & CULTURE The Other Mozart stars Sylvia Milo as Nannerl, the little-known composer sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. | Photo The Other Mozart / provided

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Defining discovery

Forgotten daughters

The Other Mozart kicks off Oklahoma Contemporary’s Women in Performance series. By Ben Luschen

The first thing most people who go to see The Other Mozart will notice is the enormous Victorian-era dress that covers the entirety of the stage. The elaborate gown is as impressive structurally as it is symbolically. It’s the perfect way of framing the story of a talented woman forgotten in history. The Other Mozart is a one-woman show by New York writer and performer Sylvia Milo. The play enjoyed a critically successful off-Broadway run in New York at HERE Arts Center and in London at St. James Theatre. It brings its ongoing tour to Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center with two 8 p.m. shows March 2-3 at the art center’s State Fair Park headquarters, 3000 General Pershing Blvd. Admission is $18-$25. The performance piece is also the first installment of Oklahoma Contemporary’s three-part Women in Performance series with two other shows scheduled to come through the space later in the year. The Other Mozart tells the littleknown story of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s composer sister Maria Anna Mozart, known by her nickname Nannerl. Considering Wolfgang’s great and lasting fame, most are surprised to learn he not only had a sister, but that the two toured together as children. Nannerl was sometimes billed above Wolfgang in their early performances. Yet social expectations of the day prohibited Nannerl from pursuing a

music career far past her youth. As Wolfgang grew in fame, his sister’s legacy fell farther into the shadows. That is why the large, 18-foot dress, worn in the show by Milo, carries such symbolic weight, even while its physical form is surprisingly light. The dress was designed by National Theater of Poland costume desig ner Magda lena Dąbrowska and weighs just 50 pounds. It fits inside a suitcase when folded. “[Dąbrowska] created an incredible, sculpture-like dress with detachable pockets and foldable, accordion-like elements symbolizing the opulence of the 18th century and the lavishness of court life that the young Mozarts were part of on their tours,” Milo said. “At the same time, the size of the dress limits movement, which symbolizes the restrictions placed on women at that time.” Nannerl did compose original music in her life, but it has either been destroyed or, like the rest of her legacy, lost to history. Instead of blindly guessing at what her music might have sounded like, sound designers Nathan Davis and Phyllis Chen used sounds that would have existed in Nannerl’s era — clavichord and harpsichord — to create a musical imagination and sense of wonder that could be interwoven with Wolfgang’s music and other compositions from the era, serving as a contrast between the course of the siblings’ careers. “Simply put,” Milo said, “his music gets grander and more complex as her world slowly shrinks.”

Milo, like most people, was stunned to hear Wolfgang had a sister who was, at some point, at least as talented as her brother. Milo grew up as a musician and a lifelong fan of Wolfgang’s music. She travelled to Austria for the composer’s 250th birthday celebration in 2006. While in the country, she took a tour of Wolfgang’s former apartment. On the exit wall, she noticed a family portrait that showed Wolfgang and his sister playing the piano, fingers interlocked on the keys. It was the first time Milo noticed Nannerl, and she was immediately compelled to learn more about her story. She knew right away that she wanted to play the character. She wrote the script, which relies heavily on family letters Nannerl saved, with director Isaac Byrne in about one year’s time. “Wolfgang is one of the greatest classical composers, and we know his music so well,” Milo said. “We also know his story so well; there is such interest in his story. And yet nobody was telling Nannerl’s story.” Milo grew up dreaming of a career in music, not theater. She has studied studied violin, jazz and composition internationally. Her first forays into theater and acting were an attempt to improve her musicianship.

Simply put, his music gets grander and more complex as her world slowly shrinks. Sylvia Milo “I decided to take an acting class to find out what are the secrets that actors know about being on stage that musicians may not know,” she said. In that class, she worked on Tennessee Williams’ Blanche DuBois monologue from A Streetcar Named Desire. It made a big impact on her. “It felt to me like music, only even fuller,” she said. “My dream changed. I went to acting school.” The rest, of course, is history. In addition to telling the story of Nannerl, The Other Mozart also brings Milo’s story full circle with a return to her classical music roots.

Working women

Years before Jeremiah Matthew Davis worked for Oklahoma Contemporary as its artistic director, he was working in New York City, designing theater sets and immersive performance experiences. It was during a recent visit to his former city that he first heard about The Other Mozart. An old colleague told him she had

been working on this cool show, and Davis went to check out a rehearsal and talk about it with Milo. He loved what he saw, but he was not yet committed to basing an entire series on the show. Later the same day, when he met another former colleague, writer and actress Kerry Ipema, about her One Woman Sex and the City performance piece, the idea for Women in Performance took off. “That’s when it hit,” Davis said. “I was like, ‘This could be something that we could do as a series at Oklahoma Contemporary.’” The original intention of the series was to highlight amazing contributions women are making to the performing arts — contributions which sometimes get overlooked. “With the way production schedules are arranged and the way shows are ‘greenlit,’ so to speak, all too often, those works are cast aside in favor of works that are written by men or performed primarily by men or directed by men,” Davis said. “This is an opportunity to showcase some of the other amazing work that is out here around the country and in Oklahoma.” Davis said when one looks at the numbers for theater graduate training programs, it is close to a 50-50 split between men and women. But 10-15 years into their careers, women are far less represented. Aside from The Other Mozart, Oklahoma Contemporary is teaming up with Fresh Paint Performance Lab to produce an original production tentatively titled Honey. The show is scheduled to run June 14-23. “That’s going to be wild,” Davis said. “It’s an immersive experience. We’re going to completely rearrange the space. It’s going to be a multi-sensory experience that I don’t think has ever really happened here in Oklahoma City.” In October, Oklahoma Contemporary is bringing Ipema’s One Woman Sex and the City to its theater space. “While it will be a loving send up to the show that everyone remembers fondly, it’s also really an opportunity to explore ideas related to feminism and women’s equality, women in the workplace,” Davis said. “It actually deals with some pretty heavy-hitting subject matter even though the context seems frivolous.” Davis hopes the series makes more people aware of women’s representation in theater. “It’s just a handful [of shows],” he said, “but it’s one small effort to try and shift the conversation.” Visit

The Other Mozart 8 p.m. March 2-3 Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center 3000 General Pershing Blvd. | 405-951-0000 $18-$25

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Divine theater

Carpenter Square Theatre explores race and religious sects in Crumbs From the Table of Joy. By Jeremy Martin

In 1912, Reverend Major Jealous Divine, whose birth name might or might not have been George Baker and whose parents are commonly thought to have been freed Southern slaves, began telling people he was God. After he was arrested on “lunacy” charges in Georgia, Father Divine, as he was more commonly called, moved with his followers to Brooklyn to establish the religious society known as the International Peace Mission Movement. Divine taught abstinence from sex, alcohol and tobacco. He also preached, more controversially, racial integration and equality. Father Divine’s controversial forerunner to the civil rights movement sets the backdrop for Lynn Nottage’s play Crumbs From the Table of Joy, scheduled for February and March shows at Carpenter Square Theatre, 800 W. Main St. The play tells the story of the Crumps, an African-American family attempting to seek solace in the Peace Mission after the death of its matriarch. While widower Godfrey is a true believer, his two teenage daughters and his Communist sister-in-law are significantly less impressed with Father Divine and his teachings. “Some people will call him a charlatan, because what he did was he united all of these people, but in order to become a part of the Father Divine movement, you had to sign over your property,” said Crumbs director Albert Bostick. “So he became extremely wealthy, but in return, what he did is he bought land and he brought them all in, and he brought people of every ethnicity into the Peace Mission. He himself in the 1950s was married to a white woman, and so being married to a white woman, most people don’t realize in certain areas, it was punishable by being whipped, beaten or lynched.” Following Divine’s teachings, Godfrey gets remarried — to Gerte, a white German immigrant with no money for food. Despite his intentions, the marriage creates strife inside and outside the house. Bostick, directing his second play for Carpenter Square, said he “immediately fell in love” with Crumbs because he related to its historical setting and many of the issues the characters face. “I’m so enamored of the Harlem Renaissance and the Great Migration … the idea in the ’50s that people from the South moved north, trying to seek a better life,” Bostick said. “Nottage’s play deals with the coming-of-age of two African-American females and a father who is trying to find a way to have them grow up and be positive folk. And the difficulty for him is that he came up 24

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North looking for a better thing for his children, only to find out that it is equally as difficult.” As rehearsals began, Bostick realized that Crumbs’ younger cast members needed additional explanations to relate to some of the material. “The unique challenge is having actors in the play who are not familiar with the era,” Bostick said. “We have two young ladies who, of course, are millennials, and being a millennial, there are references in the play that they’re not aware of, and so you’re teaching that while you’re also getting them in the play because you want them to be immersed in the time period.”

The unique challenge is having actors in the play who are not familiar with the era. Albert Bostick

Because Ernestine serves as narrator, Bostick said, the actress’ understanding of the context of play is crucial to its success. “She has to be able to communicate those things as if it were happening to her in the ’50s,” Bostick said. “She has to know who Father Divine is, she has to understand Father Divine’s hold on her father and she has to struggle with whether she believes the way that her father believes because of his belief in Father Divine. So if you don’t know who Father Divine is, you don’t know about the Peace Mission, you don’t know what occurred, then how can you hope to tell that story?” Further complicating Crumbs staging are Ernestine’s occasional fantasies relating what she wished had happened instead of what actually took place in the play’s reality. “It’s very complex,” Bostick said, “but it’s also very rich. That also is something that attracted me to it — the complexity of these ideas and the complexity of trying to produce it that way, to make sure that all the messages get across.” Bostick, who has taught in-school workshops as an artist in residence and previously served as artistic director for Black Liberated Arts Center, will participate in a question-and-answer portion following two Friday morning matinee presentations for high school students. Bostick said he expects he’ll have to coax questions out of the students, who are often more comfortable

seeking out answers online, where they might not have the motivation to do historical research without a specific reference point. “If they don’t have an interest, what they do on the computer is they just scroll past it. If they’re not interested on television, they just change the channel,” Bostick said. “What’s not good about the internet is there is no human interaction. That’s a thing I fight tooth and nail about because theater is about human interaction.” But Bostick said he’s discovering the play’s setting is sparking his cast’s curiosity about the past. “What’s wonderful about the cast and these kids that I’m working with is that

Carpenter Square Theatre’s Crumbs From the Table of Joy depicts a family following spiritual leader Father Divine in the 1950s. | Photo provided

they begin to want to know,” he said. “They want to know and they want to experience what is going on in this play, and that has been what’s so rewarding for me as the director and a teacher, because I love teaching as well.”

Crumbs From the Table of Joy Thursday-Sunday and March 1-4 and 8-10 Carpenter Square Theatre | 800 W. Main St. | 405-232-6500 $5-$25



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With his newest novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking, Oklahoma author Brandon Hobson creates a literary portrait of adolescent specificity and universality. By Ian Jayne

Writer, professor and social worker are all professions that require skillful observation and empathy, and they’re also all positions that Oklahoma-born novelist Brandon Hobson has held. In his new novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking, out Feb. 20 through Soho Press, Hobson puts those skills to use in the story of Sequoyah, a Cherokee teenager living in 1980s Oklahoma who finds himself in the foster care system. Alongside foster siblings Rosemary and George, Sequoyah discovers much more about himself than he might have thought. Questions of individual identity, Native American heritage and gender occupy him, as do the darker currents of obsession and the temptations of illegal money. Hobson, a literature and creative writing professor at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa who will sign copies of Where the Dead Sit Talking at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, spoke with Oklahoma Gazette about his life, career, writing process and new novel. Questions and answers have been edited and condensed for clarity. Oklahoma Gazette: How did this novel come to be? Was there an initial inspiration? Hobson: It started with an image in my head. The image was a man at a gravesite… We get a sense at the very beginning that he’s looking back on this one event, which really is when he spent time in a foster family in northeastern Oklahoma, near Tulsa. He tells us right away that a girl died that was living in the house. He grew very close to this girl — obsessively close, almost dangerously close. In a way, there’s what I hope is a sort of urgency, or almost mystery, as to her death. The key to this book was that there was a really strong, youthful voice in Sequoyah, the main character, the narrator. I’ve always been drawn to strong, youthful voices as a reader: Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, Jeffrey Cartwright in Edwin Mullhouse: [The Life and Death of an American Writer, 1943-1954, by Jeffrey Cartwright], which was written by Steven Millhauser. OKG: What came after that inspiration? How did you find the story from there? Hobson: I think you just have to write through until you find the story. That sometimes takes a great deal of time. I think that’s one of the reasons why people spend years writing on novels.

“Gotta Have’s”

The fun thing about a teenage narrator is that teenagers are always going through a metamorphosis. They’re always trying to find their identity; they’re always changing, and they’re always trying to figure out who they are. Sometimes that leads to questions of gender, it leads to questions of identity and interests, and that’s really what Sequoyah is going through, which I think is like a lot of 15-year-old boys.

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OKG: There are many different elements of identity in the novel: Native American heritage, gender and the foster care system. How did you juggle all of these? Hobson: It was really hard. In Oklahoma, we have such a large Native American culture in the state, with all of our tribes, and I myself am a member of the Cherokee Tribe. I’ve been around it my whole life, and I wanted to provide a voice of a youthful narrator who was Native American but yet was also going through the same struggles that, regardless of race, teenagers go through.

It started with an image in my head. The image was a man at a gravesite. Brandon Hobson OKG: Why did you set the novel in the 1980s? Did that change your treatment of identity issues? Hobson: I was a kid in the ’80s. The good thing about writing in the past is that you don’t have to worry about problems of writing about technology and texting and all that kind of stuff. There were a lot of cultural references to music. I think about when I was a kid. Mainly punk and new wave ’80s bands — that was fun to write. Even though gender, right now, is becoming a lot more accepting in our country, these kinds of questions of identity and gender and so forth have always been around. OKG: Did your experiences as a social worker inform how you wrote this novel, about children in the foster care system? Hobson: It did, a lot, because of working with foster families and really seeing how common it is. There are people who are in the foster system all around us. I think it’s a very important issue to think

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above Author Brandon Hobson’s new novel explores issues of gender, race and the foster care system. | Photo provided below Where the Dead Sit Talking | Image Soho Press / provided

about. I think that the foster system gets a lot of bad publicity. The good foster families don’t get the publicity. Sequoyah is a boy whose mother is a single parent. I just think it’s a very common problem that a kid is placed in foster care because of a parent dealing with a substance abuse issue or a criminal issue. The question is, How do you deal with that? I wanted to explore that. OKG: Did you find it easy to write about the state where you live? Hobson: I found it easy. The town is a mythical town. I wanted to write an Oklahoma book because I’m from here. We have a lot of really great writers in Oklahoma. I’m just always astounded by the level that people are writing on in this state. A lot of that comes out of their roots, from Oklahoma. We have really well-established writers who are here: Rilla Askew, [Constance] Squires. OKG: Do you know what’s next for you? Are you working on anything yet? Hobson: I have started something new, and we’ll see where it goes. It will be a little while before I’m able to talk about it. Visit



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Meinders Auditorium | NW 27 & N McKinley For more information visit

In its 36th year, OCU Film Institute presents films on the theme “Picturing Reconciliation” for more info O kg a z e t t e . c o m | F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8




Spirituality and politics

Writer and speaker Marianne Williamson brings her Love America Tour to Edmond. By Laura Eastes

In the early 1990s, Marianne Williamson wrote in her first book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment — or unlearning — of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.” Williamson’s insights on the application of love in search for inner peace resonated with millions of readers. The book went on to become a New York Times best-seller, and Williamson emerged as a spiritual leader, appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live and Good Morning America, among others. Around that same time, in 1995, Karen Carothers received a copy of the book from a friend’s daughter. A year later, she joined a Course in Miracles study group, which continues to meet on Sunday evenings in her Oklahoma City neighborhood. On the first and third Tuesday nights of each month, Carothers listens to Williamson’s livestreamed talks.

People want to hear messages of hope and unity. Karen Carothers




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In January, Williamson, a 2014 candidate for California’s 33rd congressional district, announced her Love America Tour, publicized as an effort to promote political renewal. Carothers immediately imagined Williamson returning to the OKC metro as part of her tour. Through Facebook Messenger, the local resident invited the internationally recognized speaker to Oklahoma City. So did another one of Carothers’ friends. In a day’s time, Carothers heard back from Williamson’s team. They were interested. Williamson addressed an Oklahoma City audience at a fundraiser for Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy in 1998. “Her message is just so well received wherever she goes,” Carothers said. “People want to hear messages of hope and unity, and we love America.” Williamson’s Love America Tour will stop at the University of Central Oklahoma 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Constitution Hall in Nigh University Center, 100 N. University Drive, in

Author and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson will speak at a public lecture on the University of Central Oklahoma campus Sunday. | Photo provided

Edmond. A book signing and reception follow the ticketed event. Respect Diversity Foundation, a local nonprofit that promotes tolerance, acceptance and respect, is the sponsoring organization. The Love America tour is billed as a discussion on “how a revolution in consciousness paves the way for both personal and national renewal,” according to Williamson’s website. Williamson argues that fear and hatred have turned into a political force. For democracy to survive, it will take a response of love and decency, she said. It will be a relevant address during a time when the political divide grows wider daily. “I have found in Oklahoma City, which has been our home since 1971, that there is so much activity going on here,” Carothers said. “So many people are rising up to do things that are remarkable in areas of mental health and education. I just felt like this talk was the right talk at the right time. It’s happening.”

Marianne Williamson’s Love America Tour 2 p.m. Sunday | Constitution Hall University of Central Oklahoma 100 N. University Drive $10-$25

calendar backyard a bird-friendly habitat with plants and make a bird feeder to further welcome birds to your yard, 11-11:45 a.m. Feb. 24. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, SAT

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

Explore It!, answer all your questions of what, why and how about the natural world we live in, 11:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Sam Noble Museum, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., Norman, 405-325-4712, SAT

BOOKS Friends of the Library Book Sale, bring some bags to pack with books, books and more books! Or buy a box of romance, mystery or children‘s books and enjoy the surprises inside, 5:30-9 p.m. Feb. 23 and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Feb. 24-25. Oklahoma State Fairgrounds; Oklahoma Expo Hall, 3213 Wichita Walk, 405-606-3763,

Discovery Time, a program for preschool and elementary-age kids with a hands-on activity of stories, crafts and discovery table specimens, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Sam Noble Museum, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., Norman, 405-325-4712, SUN

Storytime with Miss Julie, Bring the kids for storytime with books Miss Julie picked herself 10:15 a.m. Saturday. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, SAT

Little Sapling Series, enjoy songs, games and interactive fun for the whole family exploring the world of gardens with mud pies, observing caterpillars and more, 10-11 a.m. every other Tuesday. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, TUE

Wordy Birdy, author Tammi Sauer signs her children‘s book about a very chatty bird and hosts a special storytime, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 24. Best of Books, 1313 E. Danforth Road, Edmond, 405-340-9202, SAT Art Adventures, bring your young artists ages 3 to 5 to experience art through books with related art projects, 10:30 a.m.-noon Tuesdays through June. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, TUE Read for Adventure, the OKC Zoo and Metropolitan Library Systems have partnered to publish the children’s book, Our Day at the Zoo and create a community Read for Adventure program enabling readers to check out the new book from any of the 19 Metro Library locations, through March 31. Metropolitan Library System, 300 Park Ave., 405231-8650, MON

FILM The Disaster Artist, (2017, USA, James Franco), is the story of aspiring film actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) as they navigate Hollywood, 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 25. Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St., 405-708-6937, SUN

Teaching American History: Westward Expansion This professional development seminar for educators at no cost covers topics of Manifest Destiny, the Monroe Doctrine and more. Dr. Greg Schneider, professor of history at Emporia State University, leads the seminar 8:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St. Call 405-478-2250 or visit TUESDAY Photo National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum/provided

HAPPENINGS Lewis & Clark Revisited, explore the journey made by the Corps of Discovery through journal entries, works of art, historical photos, and more, and learn about what became of the corps members and the people they met, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Thursdays Feb. 22-March 29. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St.,405-744-5868, THU Unlocking the West, an overview of Glenn D. Shirley Western Americana Collection full of documents, photographs, movie memorabilia, books and magazines with a variety of guest speakers, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursdays. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405478-2250, THU Waste Management’s Environmentally Inclusive Business Model, Greta Calver with Waste Management shares how they help care for the environment at their landfills even after they are closed by providing valuable environmental resources to the communities, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Feb. 22. Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 W. Memorial Rd., 405-297-1429, THU Oklahoma Farmers Market and Agritourism Conference and Expo, learn about starting and sustaining farmers markets, marketing to the public, growing winter produce and more, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 22. Tower Hotel, 3233 Northwest Expressway, 405-271-2774, OKFAMC. THU

The Poetree Show Nate Tschaenn, director of horticulture and resident orchid expert, curates an orchid show with exhibits inspired by poetry. The show runs through March 24 at Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave. Admission is $7-$8. Call 405-445-7080 or visit myriadgardens. org. THROUGH MARCH 24 Photo Myriad Botanical Gardens/provided

Poetic Justice, (1993, USA, John Singleton), grieving the murder of her boyfriend, hairdresser Justice (Janet Jackson) writes poetry to deal with the pain of her loss, 7 p.m. Feb. 26. Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St., 405-708-6937, MON I Am Not Your Negro, (2016, USA, James Baldwin), a documentary telling the story of race in modern America with James Baldwin‘s unfinished novel, Remember This House, 6-8 p.m. Feb. 26. RalphEllison Library, 2000 NE 23rd St, 405-424-1437, MON

Sex Trafficking: An Oklahoma Case Study, sex trafficking survivor Shanna Parker speaks about sex trafficking in Oklahoma to help Oklahomans better understand the issue, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Feb. 23. Moore Norman Technology Center, 4701 12th Ave NW, Norman, shannaparkersextrafficking. FRI

a group of pros from Ad2OKC, 6 p.m. Feb. 28. TapWerks Ale House & Cafe, 121 E. Sheridan Ave., 405-319-9599, WED Museum Theory and Practice, explore the research, preservation, management and interpretation of historical and cultural resources through the University of Central Oklahoma’s graduate program in museum studies, through April 27. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250,

FOOD Geeks Who Drink, weekly trivia with fun audio and visual rounds where teams compete to win free pints and gift cards, 7-9 p.m. Mondays. Stonecloud Brewing Company, 1012 NW 1st St., 405-602-3966, WED Stress Fighting Foods Cooking Demo, there are foods that help support a calm mood and healthy stress response; learn these recipes and how to incorporate these foods into your diet, 3-4 p.m. Feb. 25. Natural Grocers, 7013 N. May Ave., 405840-0300, SUN The Lost Ogle Trivia, for ages 21 and up, test your knowledge with free trivia play and half-priced sausages, 8-10 p.m. Tuesdays through November. Fassler Hall, 421 NW 10th St., 405-609-3300, TUE

YOUTH Strictly for the Birds, a morning of bird-brained education and craft making while learning how to make your

Kid Inventor, design, test and build unique creations using a variety of materials and technologies such as Legos, string, paper and more, through March. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, WED

PERFORMING ARTS Crowns: A Gospel Musical, an uplifting celebration of life connects the love affair African-American women have with their hats to tales that recount memorable occasions in the lives of six women, through Feb. 25. Lyric Theatre, 1727 NW 16th St., 405-524-9312, A Few Good Men, a play by Aaron Sorkin about the trial of two Marines for complicity in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay and the lawyer who makes a valiant effort to defend his clients, through March 3. The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., Guthrie, 405-282-2800, Kuleshov’s International Piano Festival and Competition, features 16 young artists from around the United States that compete for $15,000 in prize money; guest jurors will perform recitals and concludes with a gala finals awards concert, 7:30-10 p.m. Feb. 22-25. UCO Radke Fine Arts Theatre, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond, 405-974-2000, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, a two-person play written by Stephen Temperley, Souvenir features OKC native Molly Cason Johnson as the comically terrible singer Florence Foster Jenkins, 8 p.m. Feb. 23-24, March 2-3, 2 p.m. Feb. 25 and March 4. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405-297-2264, Tuesday Noon Concerts, a series presented by OU School of Music and the museum features 30-minute concerts during the lunch hour, noon-1 p.m. Tuesdays. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, TUE

ACTIVE 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, 405845-5672,

Orange Peel, a night of fun and music raising money for OSU student scholarships with entertainment includes comedian Spencer Hicks and an acoustic set with Cody Canada and Mike McClure, 7-10:30 p.m. Feb. 23. OKC Farmers Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., 405-232-6508, FRI Cannabis Education Advocacy Symposium and Expo, aims to provide fact-based information and build a definitive understanding of the benefits of medical marijuana, noon Feb. 24. Tower Hotel, 3233 Northwest Expressway, SAT Introduction to Growing Plants for New Gardeners, an introduction to the basics of growing ornamental garden plants including trees, shrubs and perennial flowers and grasses, 6-7 p.m. Feb. 27. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, TUE Senior Wellness Wednesday, a 30-minute heart healthy exercise class, followed by a heart healthy cooking /wine demo and tasting with Kam’s Kookery, 9-10:30 a.m. Feb. 28. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, WED Ad2OKC Annual Agency Speed Dating, get tips on interviews, portfolios, resumes and inside information on job/internship opportunities with

The Dark Crystal The 1982 fantasy adventure directed by Jim Henson follows a Gelfling as he searches for a magic crystal to save his world. The showing features an introduction about the making of the film. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday at Warren Theatre Moore, 1000 Telephone Road, in Moore and AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial Road. Tickets are $12.50-$13.56. Visit SUNDAY AND WEDNESDAY Photo provided

go to for full listings!

continued on page 28

O kg a z e t t e . c o m | F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8




$375 Microblading PERMANENT MAKE UP $250 Eyebrows $250 Lip Line $250 Eyeliner $350 Full-Lips

generation, and the work of her son, Joe Hilario Herrera, through April 8. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, In Their Element: A Showcase of Native Photographers, features four American Indian photographers — Brad Woods, Jim Trosper, Lisa Hudson and Cara Romero — with their individual photography styles, through Feb. 28. Exhibit C, 1 E. Sheridan Ave., Ste. 100, 405-767-8900,


BOTOX Always $10 Per Unit

Jardin do Amor/Garden of Love, view works by Skip Hall with mixed-media drawings of tattoo expressive patterning, looping graphic lines and kinetic scribbling creating a sensual and sensory experience, through March 23. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080,

Schelly’s Aesthetics Schelly Hill, R.N.

Gift Certificates Available

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Beer, Bratwurst and Board Games Bring your friends for a night of games for ages 21 and up. The event features homemade sausage, schnitzel sandwiches and German beer 7-11 p.m. Wednesday at Fassler Hall, 421 NW 10th St. Admission is free. Call 405-609-3300 or visit WEDNESDAY Photo/provided continued from page 27


Shoppes at Northpark, 12028 May Ave. 405-751-8930 Open Mon-Fri

Hip-Robics, a fusion of Zumba, hip-hop dance, and a bit of finesse, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.-Oklahoma City Alumnae Chapter hosts its heart health month awareness event with door prizes, snacks, hip-hop, zumba and aerobics, 6:30-8 p.m. Feb. 22. E.L. Gaylord Downtown YMCA, 1 NW 4th St., 405-2977700, THU

Yoga with Art, relax and stretch in contemporary art-filled spaces with yoga instructed by This Land Yoga, 10 a.m. Saturdays. 21c Museum Hotel, 900 W. Main St., 405982-6900, SAT Yoga in the Gardens, an all-levels class led by Lisa Woodward from This Land Yoga; class participants should bring a yoga mat and water, 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, TUE

VISUAL ARTS As I See It, features paintings of Oklahoma Artist Steve Hicks ranging from landscapes to abstract art, through Feb. 25. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405-307-9320, Botanical Watercolor Painting, learn how to create watercolor paintings working with silk flowers and live flowers with teaching artist Kiana Daneshmand, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, THU Brett Horton Art Show, features acrylic and oil paintings, colored pencil and ink drawings, mixed media and surreal works as well as photos and videos by the artist, through Feb. 28. Picasso Cafe, 3009 Paseo St., 405-602-2002, Cartoons & Comics: The Early Art of Tom Ryan, the drawings of acclaimed Western artist Tom Ryan are displayed showcasing his creativity, talent, and

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humor from his teenage imagination, high school and coast guard years and his school paper’s sports page, through April 1, 2018. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405478-2250, Dale Chihuly: Magic & Light, the galleries incorporate a unique design that features a three-dimensional approach to viewing some objects in the collection of glass art, through July 1. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, Decomposition: Discovering the Beauty and Magnificence of Fungi, the kingdom of fungi is on display at SMO‘s smART Space Galleries exploring the uses, benefits and beauty of fungi, through Aug. 12. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, Do You See What I See? Painted Conversations by Theodore Waddell, explores Waddell’s abstract expressionism like never before by redirection the visitor‘s attention to the importance of what they do not see rather than what they do see on the canvas, through May 13. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405478-2250, Fine Print! Posters from the Permanent Collection, arranged chronologically and thematically with five topics: artists, entertainers, patriotism, products and ideas reflecting the twentieth century‘s conflicting values, through May 27. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, Fringe at the Art Hall, hosts artists of Fringe Women Artists of Oklahoma providing various fine art mediums and provocative concepts to our communities, through April 1. Art Hall, 519 NW 23rd St., 405-231-5700, Generations in Modern Pueblo Painting: The Art of Tonita Peña and Joe Herrera, documents and celebrates in particular the art of Tonita Peña (1983-1949), the only female Pueblo painter of her



...all the COOL KI are doin DS g it!

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Cub Scout Science Overnight Tiger and Wolf Cubs participate in activities that count toward multiple adventures. Bear Cubs can take a forensics or super science merit badge class, and Webelos can take engineering or adventures in science merit badge class. The overnight for scouts starts 6 p.m. Friday at Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place. Admission is $25-$45. Call 405-602-6664 or visit FRIDAY-SATURDAY Photo Science Museum Oklahoma/provided

Life and Legacy: The Art of Jerome Tiger, one of Oklahoma’s most celebrated artists, Jerome Tiger, produced hundreds of works of art and won numerous awards throughout the country. Celebrate the life and legacy of this remarkable painter, through May 13, 2018. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405478-2250, Love, an exhibit of Behnaz Sohrabian‘s portraits of women and abstract paintings as well as work by Malaysian fashion and jewelry designer Stella Thomas, through Feb. 25. JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave., 405-528-6336, Mindscape: The Subjective Realism of Steve Breerwood, features oil paintings that relate to the artist‘s relationship with his inner self through an autobiographical approach giving the view a glimpse of subjective reality, through Feb. 22. Melton Gallery, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond, 405-974-2000, OFF-SPRING: New Generations, explore the development of both personal and group identity, childhood, family, history, and gender politics through sculptures, paintings, photographs, and videos, through Apr. 2018. 21c Museum Hotel, 900 W. Main St., 405-982-6900, 21cmuseumhotels. com. Open Impressionism: The Works of Erin Hanson, a large selection of paintings by Erin Hanson showing works from the past decade and her evolution into one of the most sought after artists of her generation, through Feb. 22. The Goddard Center, 401 1st Ave SW, Ardmore, 580-226-0909, Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay, focuses on figurative and non-objective images that convey isolation with pieces originating from the printmaking process, through March 16. Nesbitt Gallery, 1727 W. Alabama Ave., Chickasha, 405-416-3524, SHIFT, Factory Obscura presents a fully-immersive, experiential art installation that challenges the participant to physically explore the full-sensory environment, Thu-Sun noon-6 p.m. through Feb. 25. Current Studio, 1218 N. Pennsylvania Ave., 405673-1218, Unlocking the Vault: Mysteries and Marvels of the Museum, exposes rarely seen artifacts from the museum’s vault such as John Wayne’s personal Buddha sculptures and a sketch of a dinosaur on CM Russell letterhead, through March 13. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, Works on Paper, features works with a range of visual qualities, subject matter and printmaking techniques as well as works by former artists in residence, Feb. 22-March 17. [Artspace] at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405-815-6665,

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

go to for full listings!

For okg live music

see page 33



Going green

Dropkick Murphys brings its St. Patrick’s Day Tour to OKC’s Diamond Ballroom. By Ben Luschen

Dropkick Murphys will be forever tied to its home city, Boston, and for good reason. The hard-hitting Celtic punk band not only oozes with gritty, tough East Coast ethos, but plays a large annual St. Patrick’s Day concert in Boston each year. The band made its widespread national introduction to audiences through 2006’s The Departed, one of the most Boston movies ever made. Still, the band known for its rowdy live performances has an Oklahoman to thank for “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” the song that was so key in establishing The Departed’s visceral aesthetic and the band’s only platinum-selling single. A poem by Woody Guthrie was found by the band in the folk legend’s archives years after its creation and directly inspired the tune’s lyrics. Dropkick Murphys brings its St. Patrick’s Day Tour back to Guthrie’s birth state March 2 at Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S. Eastern Ave. It released its ninth and most recent album, 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory, in January 2017. This year, the band celebrates the 20th anniversary of its debut, Do or Die. Only two current members — percussionist Matt Kelly and bassist, co-lead vocalist and principal songwriter Ken Casey — were around for the album’s original recording. The rest of the current roster includes lead vocalist Al Barr, guitarist James Lynch and multi-instrumentalists Tim Brennan and Jeff DaRosa. Kelly recently spoke with Oklahoma Gazette about the band’s busy season, its ties to Woody Guthrie and his status as a self-described beer nerd. Oklahoma Gazette: When was the last time you all had a March off? It must be the busiest time of the year for you. Matt Kelly: It was 1996. It certainly is the busiest time of year. The tour leading up to it culminates in the

11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory | Image provided

Boston run. Even before we regularly had our St. Patrick’s Day gig in Boston, we’d be on tour during that time of year. 1997 was the first Paddy’s Day gig in Boston, then somewhere in the Pacific Northwest in ’98, and then in ’99 we played Coney Island High in NYC. I believe that in 2000 we played our first of eighteen consecutive annual Boston St. Patrick’s Day runs. OKG: Amazingly, it’s now been 20 years since the release of Do or Die. How big of a deal is that to the band? Kelly: It’s amazing that it’s been two decades! That era will always be a special time for me, as I had joined the band in early 1997, so probably half of the songs were written before I was in the band. And I was a fan and had gone to see the band many times in ’96 and early ’97… but I think the songs we wrote for Do or Die were classic. These days, with such a huge catalogue of songs, I think the foundation and precedent for musical experimentation that Do or Die set is integral to what we do as a band. Oddly, Ken and I are the only guys left in the band who recorded that album, so the other guys joined as fans. They probably all have different perspectives on the gravity of our first album. OKG: How do you think the album holds up over the years? It’s an album some fans would say is the band’s best. Kelly: They say you have your whole life up till then to write your first album and a year to write your second one. Everyone says a band’s first album is their best because, typically, it’s the first one you hear from a band and it’s often in your formative years. However, these days, 22 years in, a lot of fans weren’t alive for the first album, so it doesn’t resonate as much with them as it does with the old guard. I haven’t listened through the record for a couple years — it’s weird to listen to your own music — but when I did, I was happy with everything except the drumming. The sound of the guitars and vocals is awesome and unique for the modern era, where every album sounds synthetic and sterile. The producer [Lars Frederiksen of Rancid] made sure to capture the sound and energy of our live set and bottle it on an album. OKG: Arguably the band’s biggest ever song, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” was written in part by Oklahoma’s greatest music legend,

Woody Guthrie. Can you please shed some light on the origin of that song? I’ve heard you all based it off a poem from Guthrie’s archives. Kelly: Woody Guthrie wrote these five lines in his notebook: “I’m a sailor peg, I’ve lost my leg; climbing up the topsails, I’ve lost my leg. I’m shipping up to Boston.” We had a semi-formed instrumental that we started working on in a dressing room in Madrid, Spain, in 2001, and after being approached by his daughter and granddaughter — a fan of our band — we were able to look at his archives. Those lines stood out to us, obviously. Also, the song “Gonna Be a Blackout” were his lyrics as well. They were the lyrics to the title track of that album.

We probably got twice as much done in three weeks in Tornillo, Texas, as we would have done at a studio at home. Matt Kelly OKG: You might have told this story before, but I’m not sure I’ve heard it. How did that song wind up on The Departed in the first place? Kelly: Leonardo DiCaprio was a fan, and Robbie Robertson had to do with the soundtrack to the film, so they both suggested using that song. OKG: You released 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory a little over a year ago now. On this one, you all made the decision to step away from Boston and record somewhere that is not much like Boston at all, West Texas. Now that there has been adequate time to reflect, what effect do you think that had on the overall album? Kelly: We probably got twice as much done in three weeks in Tornillo, Texas, as we would have done at a studio at home. We were isolated from the world on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. It was eat, record, listen, sleep, repeat for three weeks.

Dropkick Murphys | Photo Gregory Nolan / provided

OKG: I saw that Magic Hat Brewing Company has helped concoct a special Dropkick Murphys Barroom Hero beer with a tie-in to your charity foundation, Claddagh Fund. Have you had a chance to sample it yet, and are you a fan? What’s the perfect beer, in your opinion? Is there a perfect beer? Kelly: Yeah, that’s pretty cool of them. We went up to Vermont and sampled some of the styles of beer and came up with a template for what it should be. When we were up there, it was to discuss the making of it, so no, I haven’t tried the final product. However, I sampled a few that it would be similar to. It’s basically a style called English Mild. It’s a not-too-aggressively hopped ale that you really don’t find much of in North America. It’s a “session” style beer, which means it will probably be 4-5 percent (alcohol). For me, the perfect beer is probably Eureka by Tree House [Brewing Company] out of Western Massachusetts. It’s a blonde ale with huge dry hopped juicy flavor and about 4.1-4.3 percent alcohol. I’m not looking to get bombed! Also, there are a lot of incredible breweries in New England these days, so we’re spoiled for choice. OKG: Anything else you all want to add about the show here in Oklahoma City? Kelly: I’d say thanks for the 21 years of support! Our first gig there was with the Main Street Saints in late ’97, if my time-addled memory serves. It’s always been a great stop on tour, and the loyalty of our supporters has always been in our hearts.

Dropkick Murphys

w/ Agnostic Front and Bim Skala Bim 7:30 p.m. March 2 Diamond Ballroom 8001 S. Eastern Ave. | 1-800-514-3849 $29

Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield | Photo Jesse Riggins / provided

O kg a z e t t e . c o m | F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8




Thurs, MAr 1

maTisyahu w/ eminence ensemble sAT, MAr 3

The Texas playboys sAT, MAr 10

March 16 DAN LAyuS March 20 THE BLACK ANGELS March 21 COLTER WALL March 22 THE DEAD SOuTH Tickets and Info TOWERTHEATREOKC.COM @towertheaterokc 405-70-TOWER | 425 NW 23rd St. OKC

josh abboTT band w/ roger creager sun, MAr 11

flogging molly life is good Tour fri, MAr 16

granger smiTh w/ earl dibbles jr. fri, MAr 23

jeezy w/ Tee grizzley

sAT, MAr 24

frank fosTer w/ denny sTrickland Thurs, MAr 26

sylvan esso w/ suzi analogue TuEs, MAr 27

k. flay w/ yungblud

Mike Hosty | Photo Gazette / file

Chelsey Cope | Photo provided

TuEs, April 10

sleep w/ subrosa

Mon, junE 4

minus The bear w/ The new TrusT Tulsa ok

423 norTh main sT

TickeTs & info

featu r e

March 9 & 10 405 PITSTOP

Uncharted territory

Chelsey Cope celebrates her 30th birthday with her debut full-length album Where Nobody Goes. By Ben Luschen

There are parts of our minds and personalities that are put on display for others to see, but that visible portion of a persona does not tell the complete story of who we are as people. Nearly everyone also has internalized dialogue and perceptions that only they know. As well as a person can know someone else, there is always a portion of that person’s personality that can’t be known from the outside. These internal monologues and ponderings take center stage on local singersongwriter Chelsey Cope’s new solo album Where Nobody Goes. “It’s kind of like the gray matter in your brain where you just kind of keep certain things to yourself, your pep talks to yourself, just the relationship that you form to get you through life the best possible way you know how,” Cope said of the album’s theme in a recent Oklahoma Gazette interview. “But it’s not a part of your life or personality that you really share with anyone. It’s just embedded in all of us, I think, in a different way.” Despite a lengthy history in the state’s music scene, this is the first full-length album Cope has released as a solo artist. Where Nobody Goes was released Jan. 26, on Cope’s 30th birthday. The album’s cover art features Cope 30

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in a surreal, double-exposed profile shot taken by photographer Nigel Bland at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge near Yukon. Those who keep close tabs on Cope’s career will know that nature is a recurring theme for the artist. Her 2012 solo EP was titled A Deeper Root. One of her most recent bands, now dissolved, was named Elms. “It’s always been an accidental thing, like my trademark,” she said. “I don’t know; I love the outdoors. I could live in a tent. It’s just a part of me, and I don’t even realize it until I’m done with a project and I’m like, ‘Crap; I used a tree again.’” Where Nobody Goes was released just two weeks after the self-titled debut album from Vonna Pearl, the experimental folk rock band that features the dual vocals of Cope and Taylor Johnson, known for his work in Wurly Birds. Johnson also produced and played several instruments for Where Nobody Goes. Cope said she was somewhat hesitant about releasing the two projects so close together, but Johnson did not think it was an issue and she was eager to get her record — which she has worked on in various capacities for the past several years — out from between her ears and into the ears of others.

“I just wanted to get it off my chest, out of my head and into the world to be judged,” she said.

Planting roots

Cope grew up listening to country music stars like Garth Brooks with her older sister Rachel, now a local restaurateur. Her grandparents were Pentecostal and big into worship music. They always had guitars and banjos around the house, and the Cope sisters often played around on them, though they did not really know what they were doing. Eventually, her sister was given a guitar for her birthday. Cope jokes that she was never good enough to be given her own. “I was almost always grounded because I was a terrible kid who was really bad at lying,” she said. Cope would sneak into her sister’s room when she wasn’t around and play her guitar for as long as she could, sometimes for most of the day. “Six hours would go by, and I’d be like, ‘Whoa! What am I doing?’” she said. Cope eventually moved from country to artists like Jeff Buckley, Jewel and Garbage. For a while, she formed a band with her sister called The Sirens, which played mostly covers around OKC. Outside of her work as a singer-songwriter, Cope’s band experience has been with an eponymous group that featured band members the artist gathered from a Craigslist ad shortly after moving to OKC from Tulsa and the indie rock quartet Elms. Vonna Pearl, her current band with Johnson, grew as an extension of his work as producer on Where Nobody Goes. Johnson asked Cope to record a few vocal tracks on some songs he was working on, and the results sounded so good to the duo that they decided to explore the concept deeper with a full group. “We got so stoked on the idea that we just ran with it,” she said.

Taking shape

Cope paid for the recording of Where Nobody Goes herself, and she could only take the recording process as far as she could afford at any one time. That extended the length of time it took to complete the album, but it was worth the wait for Cope, who has longed dreamed of putting out a proper full-length. When the album was finally ready, it felt like a career development that was long overdue. “When you play with these really talented people and they’re in other bands Where Nobody Goes | Image provided

and they’re releasing things, it really inspires you,” she said. “You’re like, ‘I’m too far along in this business to not have something out there.’” Where Nobody Goes features polished and generally upbeat instrumentation, with a few more delicate moments. Cope’s lyrics are introspective and straightforward. Songs like the title track and “Shadows” feature near-danceable grooves and contrast with the more personal moments found on songs like “Blind Eye.” Often, Cope finds a great balance, like on “Loved a Fool,” which couples some of the album’s best lyrics with a lively bridge and entrancing guitar distortions. One of the album’s best standouts is closer “Monster,” a loud and raw piano ballad that Cope said has become a favorite of many. Though most often, it is the lyrics that people dissect to find an artist’s headspace at the time of recording, Cope has noticed that the instrumentation on her songs is often just as indicative of her mood.

I was almost always grounded because I was a terrible kid who was really bad at lying. Chelsey Cope “It sounds cheesy,” she said, “but the instruments you use and all of that, that’s like an emotion in and of itself, and that often portrays the emotion you were feeling when you wrote the song.”

Open future

Cope is planning an official album release show with Husbands and Twiggs for March 24 at Opolis in Norman. She is also in the process of writing a new five-song EP, which she plans to release at the end of this year or early next year. Recently, she was inspired to increase her productivity. “I waited a long time to put out stuff, and I just turned 30, so I’m like, ‘Oh my God; I have to pick up the pace,’” she said. “But also, I just really love recording, especially after going through the process of doing this record.” Cope is also trying to keep herself open to new opportunities. She always plays around with the idea of starting new bands or exploring new sounds. While she has musical influences, Cope said she never tries to directly emulate them. She has yet to paint herself into a creative corner. While Cope has a lot of experience, it also feels like she is just beginning to embark on a journey through an open field of possibility. “It gets really confusing when people ask, ‘What genre are you?’” she said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ I write what I feel, and that’s about it.” Visit

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r evie w

J French | Photo provided

French class

OKC rapper J French uses his new album OGB as a lesson in hip-hop craftsmanship. By Ben Luschen

J French has never been a rapper afraid of a little self-promotion. And why should he be? He has a lot to promote. Those who follow Oklahoma City’s hip-hop scene know things have been coming up rosy for Jamal French, son of Burning Spear percussionist Brother Num and cousin to Kanye West — perhaps the self-perfected master of the kind of empowering egoism that also turns up in the lyrics of J French and across the history of hip-hop music. Since releasing his sophomore fulllength album OGB (Only Gets Better) in January, French has been on a tear. He recently secured a March 17 headlining appearance at Tower Theatre’s local hip-hop showcase. His OGB single “Different Ain’t Different” was recently played on Ebro Darden’s Beats 1 Radio program. J French has risen to prominence primarily on the back of his obvious talent. Not all — or even most — rappers have the discerning ear of a trained musician. French does; and while that’s not necessarily the quintessential indicator of good hip-hop, it does help the emcee stick out in an era saturated with endless mixtape artists. But a keen ear and respect for the basic principles of music theory isn’t enough on its own. Talent needs determination, which takes us to album-opening “Drive.” French kicks off OGB by waving off the advice and encouragement of others. Over dark, looping keys and some rattling 808s, the emcee raps that he has always been driven for success, never lacking in self-confidence. He couples his time-honed technical flows with a

OGB | Image provided 32

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healthy dose of braggadocio, which listeners will recognize as a trend over the rest of the album’s runtime. “Flowers” might represent the best version of J French, one that puts subtly aggressive vocals over softer, jazzy instrumentals. There is a more menacing beat switch in the middle of the song, which sounds good, but the front half is such a welcome change of pace for French that it would have been nice to hear him more fully explore a more delicate style of rap song. On “Westside,” French tosses in several lyrical nods to his cousin West, repeating some famous lines from songs like “Heard ‘Em Say” and “No More Parties in LA.” Repeatedly — not just on this song but across the album — several parallels can be drawn between French and West, particularly the so-called “old Kanye,” who first made a name by repopularizing and perfecting smooth, soulmusic samples in his production. The middle of the album is where listeners will get the most use out of their repeat buttons. “Zonin” features a fun and infectious chorus by Zilla and “Different Ain’t Different” wows as an anthem for originality and a pitying of the culture’s blind followers. OGB concludes with “God Given,” which lets the beat ride out over the timeless “step up” funk sample from 1974’s “Bumpin’ Bus Stop.” Coincidentally, a different sample from the same song was used on West’s biggest hit “Gold Digger.” The talent and craftsmanship on OGB is undeniable. If French had a full studio budget behind him, there is no limit to the potential he could reach. Still, the album is called “Only Gets Better,” not “Already Peaked.” OGB is an exciting starting point, but French’s music will only improve as he begins to refine his distinct point of view. People have made many criticisms of West in the past, but his style is very unique. The listener definitely knows when a Kanye song is on. French’s music is unquestionably good, and over time, he should be able to develop his own memorable style and perspective. Visit

LIVE MUSIC The Blend, Remington Park. COVER

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

The Chad Todd Band, Okie Tonk Café, Moore. COUNTRY

SATURDAY, 2.24 Acie James, Blue Note Lounge. BLUES


Dan Martin, The Bluebonnet Bar, Norman. FOLK

Amarillo Junction/Dan Martin, JJ’s Alley. COUNTRY Hippie Sabotage, OKC Farmer’s Market. HIP-HOP Martha Odom, The R&J Lounge and Supper Club. POP NF/Nightly, Diamond Ballroom. POP

Atlantis Aquaris/Acie James, The Root. R&B Blue Water Highway, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar.


THURSDAY, 2.22 Amber Ikeman, Red Brick Bar, Norman.


Dan Martin, The Deli, Norman. FOLK Nicnos/LCG and the X/Masterhand, Tower Theatre. ROCK Stinky Gringos, Blue Note Lounge. REGGAE

FRIDAY, 2.23


Chloe-Beth Campbell, Grady’s 66 Pub, Yukon. SINGER/SONGWRITER

Crobone, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK Dalton Domino, Graham’s Central Station. COUNTRY

Electric Okie Test, 51st Street Speakeasy. COVER

KC and the Sunshine Band, Riverwind Casino, Norman. R&B Kestrel & Kite, Full Circle Bookstore. ACOUSTIC My Girl My Whiskey & Me, Anthem Brewing Company. BLUEGRASS Randall Coyne, Grand House. JAZZ Rocky Kanaga, Mooney‘s Pub and Grill, Norman.

Hosty, The Deli, Norman. BLUES Michael Kleid’s Touch Of Sax, Flint. POP

Don’t Tell Dena, Your Mom’s Place. INDIE

Ghost of Paul Revere/Erik Oftedahl, Tower Theatre. FOLK

Flock of Pigs, Opolis, Norman. HIP-HOP

Jake Flint, Hollywood Corners Station, Norman.

Holly Beth, McClintock Saloon & Chop House.




Amarillo Junction, JJ’s Alley. COUNTRY

Jason Young Band, Newcastle Casino. COUNTRY

Carolyn Cotter & Michael Howard, The Depot, Norman. FOLK

Jeremy Thomas Quartet, UCO Jazz Lab, Edmond. JAZZ

Happy Tuesday, Red Brick Bar, Norman. ROCK Kali Ra, Current Studio. ELECTRONIC

Kalo, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar. BLUES Layken Urie, Classics Bar & Grill. COUNTRY Mojo Thief, Bison Witches Bar & Deli, Norman ROCK Neoromantics/Lilac Kings/Overcast, 89th Street - OKC. ROCK Roger Lienke, The Blue Door. FOLK

Chasing Jenny Band Okc, Oklahoma City Limits. ROCK




Michael Cavanaugh: The Songs of Elton John and More Known for his role in Billy Joel’s Broadway musical Movin’ Out, Michael Cavanaugh performs renditions of singer/songwriter, pop and rock favorites, featuring the music of Elton John 8 p.m. FridaySunday at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. Tickets are $19-$73. Call 405-297-2584 or visit okcciviccenter. com. FRIDAY-SATURDAY Photo Oklahoma City

Don Conoscentti, The Depot, Norman. ACOUSTIC Donavon Frankenreiter, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar.

Dirty Red and The SoulShakers, Red Brick Bar, Norman. BLUES

Heartbreak Rodeo, Anthem Brewing Company.

Waxahatchee, Tower Theatre. INDIE

SUNDAY, 2.25

Space4Lease/Swim Fan, Tower Theatre. INDIE The Savoy Trio, The Lobby Bar. JAZZ Tyler Lee Band, Mooney’s Pub and Grill, Norman. COVER

Lee Rucker, The Lobby Bar. JAZZ Lomelda, Tower Theatre. ROCK

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 Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.

go to for full listings!


List your event in

Wed, Feb 21

abbigale dawn thurs, Feb 22

clinT hardesTy Fri, Feb 23

jared deck sat, Feb 24

dan MarTin Wed, Feb 28

brenT nere thur, Mar 1

sTephen baker Fri, Mar 2

erik The Viking sat, Mar 3

raina cObb / naThan lanier / ben brOck Wed, Mar 7

blake lankfOrd thur, March 8

clinT hardesTy Fri, Mar 9

dirTy red and The sOul shakers / brujO sat, March 10

scOTT hunT Weekly events Mondays

Open Mic w/caleb Mcgee tuesdays

Tanner Miller 405.928.4550

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.

Submit your listings online at or e-mail them to Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted. O kg a z e t t e . c o m | F E B R U A R Y 2 1 , 2 0 1 8


puzzles New York Times Magazine Crossword Puzzle PARONOMASIA By Matt Ginsberg | Puzzles Edited by Will Shortz | 0211

ACROSS 1 Like most seamen, supposedly 5 Writer who said “Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood” 10 Holiday celebrating the arrival of spring 13 Islam’s final pillar 17 Nonirons 19 Two make a Hamilton 20 Handel’s “Messiah,” e.g. 22 Narrow passages for killer whales? 24 Kitchen nooks 25 Zodiac feline 26 Backs down 27 Fable about smoked salmon? 28 Kvetches 30 Balneotherapy site 32 “Yeah, right” 33 Raised some vegetables? 35 Decrease in the number of people named Gerald? 40 Hot Wheels maker 41 Are no longer 42 Mother ____ 43 Gulager of The Return of the Living Dead 44 In amongst 45 Number of bits in a byte 48 Gradually diminishes 50 Abstract artist Mondrian 51 First mass consumer product offering Wi-Fi 53 Sticks for breaking things 54 Belts for a Chinese leader? 57 Chaney who was called “The Man of a Thousand Faces” 58 Oakland’s Oracle, for example 60 Not budging 61 Cry from the mizzen top 62 Conveyance in Calvin and Hobbes 63 Overused 65 Storm harbinger, maybe 66 Gave a pick-me-up 69 Josip Broz, familiarly 70 Like many a campfire story 72 Responsibility lesson for a child 75 Inventors’ diaries? 77 So-called “Island of the Gods” 78 Ordinary Joe 80 Impose 81 Afterthought indicator 82 Well-known Cuban export

84 Fancy collar material 85 Lao-____ 86 Crucifixion letters 88 Guerre’s opposite 90 MGM’s lion, e.g. 92 Cloudophobia? 95 Opposite of a strong boil? 97 Pandora’s release 98 Like Verdi’s “La donna è mobile” 99 As-yet-undeciphered Cretan script 100 What brings the rocket to the pad? 104 Archaeologists’ study 106 Managerial exec 109 Mark Twain farce about a painter who fakes his own demise 110 Jewelry for the oracle at Delphi? 112 Versatile 113 Subleases 114 Arafat of the PLO 115 What Simon does 116 Classic British roadsters 117 Rank things 118 Trix alternative DOWN

1 Not reporting as instructed, maybe 2 Induce ennui in 3 Fuss about The West Wing actor Rob? 4 Old English letter 5 Electricians 6 Several Russian czars 7 Resident of Riga 8 Cousin of a highboy 9 Part of a road test track 10 List heading 11 Runner Liddell depicted in Chariots of Fire 12 Pub container 13 It might pick up a passing comment 14 Contrived 15 Beverly Hills ____ 16 Kid 18 Colorful shawl 19 Neighbor of Palisades Park, NJ 21 Chanteuse O’Shea

VOL. XL No. 8 1





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86 87 89 91 93 94 95 96 99 100 101 102 103 105 107 108 110 111

Tepid approval Small, biting fly Lined with trees Playwright Sean who wrote Juno and the Paycock Lets out, e.g. Step on it All thumbs Second and fifth Career employee GIs of concern Cuba, por ejemplo Drink disliked by Buzz Aldrin [true fact!] Strangely enough, they’re often even Hershey chocolate Doing the job Shrek, for one Voting affirmatively Arctic explorer John

New York Times Crossword Puzzle answers Puzzle No. 0204, which appeared in the February 14 issue.






















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23 Declining because of age 27 China’s Chou En-____ 29 Best 31 Early arrival 33 Service with more than a billion users 34 Recurring role for Stallone 35 Groks 36 Philatelist’s item 37 Turn’s partner 38 Hebrew leader 39 Wack 41 Small undergarments? 46 Like some sprains and champagnes 47 Rev 49 Carried cash around? 50 Schoolmarmish 52 Superman’s birth name 55 Morales of NYPD Blue





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EDITOR-in-chief George Lang Assistant EDITOR Brittany Pickering Staff reporters Laura Eastes Ben Luschen Jacob Threadgill Contributors Ian Jayne, Mark Hancock, Jeremy Martin Circulation Manager Chad Bleakley Production coordinator Aubrey Jernigan Graphic Designers Jim Massara Sarah Leis Order mounted or ready-to-frame prints of Oklahoma Gazette covers, articles and photos at 3701 N. Shartel Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73118-7102 Phone (405) 528-6000 Fax (405) 528-4600 Copyright © 2018 Tierra Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

free will astrology Homework: Is it possible there’s something you really need but you don’t know what it is? Can you guess what it might be? Go to and click on “Email Rob.” ARIES (March 21-April 19) When you’re playing poker,

a wild card refers to a card that can be used as any card the cardholder wants it to be. If the two of hearts is deemed wild before the game begins, it can be used as an ace of diamonds, jack of clubs, queen of spades, or anything else. That’s always a good thing! In the game of life, a wild card is the arrival of an unforeseen element that affects the flow of events unpredictably. It might derail your plans, or alter them in ways that are at first inconvenient but ultimately beneficial. It may even cause them to succeed in an even more interesting fashion than you imagined they could. I bring this up, Aries, because I suspect that you’ll be in the Wild Card Season during the next four weeks. Any and all of the above definitions may apply. Be alert for unusual luck.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) If you gorge on ten pounds

of chocolate in the next 24 hours, you will get sick. Please don’t do that. Limit your intake to no more than a pound. Follow a similar policy with any other pleasurable activity. Feel emboldened to surpass your normal dosage, yes, but avoid ridiculous overindulgence. Now is one of the rare times when visionary artist William Blake’s maxim is applicable: “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” So is his corollary, “You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.” But keep in mind that Blake didn’t say, “The road of foolish, reckless exorbitance leads to the palace of wisdom.”

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Have you ever had a rousing insight about an action that would improve your life, but then you failed to summon the willpower to actually take that action? Have you resolved to embark on some new behavior that would be good for you, but then found yourself unable to carry it out? Most of us have experienced these frustrations. The ancient Greeks had a word for it: akrasia. I bring it up, Gemini, because I

suspect you may be less susceptible to akrasia in the next four weeks than you have ever been. I bet you will consistently have the courage and command to actually follow through on what your intuition tells you is in your best interests.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) “There is no such thing

as a failed experiment,” said inventor Buckminster Fuller, “only experiments with unexpected outcomes.” That’s an excellent guideline for you to keep in mind during the coming weeks. You’re entering a phase of your astrological cycle when questions are more important than answers, when explorations are more essential than discoveries, and when curiosity is more useful than knowledge. There will be minimal value in formulating a definitive concept of success and then trying to achieve it. You will have more fun and you will learn more by continually redefining success as you wander and ramble.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) During World War II, British

code-breakers regularly intercepted and deciphered top-secret radio messages that high-ranking German soldiers sent to each other. Historians have concluded that these heroes shortened the war by at least two years. I bring this to your attention, Leo, in the hope that it will inspire you. I believe your own metaphorical codebreaking skills will be acute in the coming weeks. You’ll be able to decrypt messages that have different meanings from what they appear to mean. You won’t get fooled by deception and misdirection. This knack will enable you to home in on the elusive truths that are circulating -- thus saving you from unnecessary and irrelevant turmoil.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) In April 1972, three

American astronauts climbed into a spacecraft and took a trip to the moon and back. On the second day of the 11-day jaunt, pilot Ken Mattingly removed and misplaced his wedding ring. In the zero-gravity conditions, it drifted off and disappeared somewhere in the cabin. Nine days later, on the way home, Mattingly and Charlie Duke did a space walk. When they opened the hatch and slipped outside, they found the wedding ring floating in the blackness of space. Duke was able to grab it and bring it in. I suspect that in the coming weeks, you will recover


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LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) According to British philosopher Alain de Botton, “Maturity begins with the capacity to sense and, in good time and without defensiveness, admit to our own craziness.” He says that our humble willingness to be embarrassed by our confusion and mistakes and doubts is key to understanding ourselves. I believe these meditations will be especially useful for you in the coming weeks, Libra. They could lead you to learn and make use of robust new secrets of self-mastery.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) During the next four weeks,

Now is a favorable time for you to contemplate metaphorically similar juxtapositions and combinations, Capricorn. For the foreseeable future, you’ll have extra skill and savvy in the art of amalgamation.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) “Be stubborn about

your goals but flexible about your methods.” That’s the message I saw on a woman’s t-shirt today. It’s the best possible advice for you to hear right now. To further drive home the point, I’ll add a quote from productivity consultant David Allen: “Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” Are you willing to be loyal and true to your high standards, Aquarius, even as you improvise to uphold and fulfill them?

there are three activities I suspect you should indulge in at an elevated rate: laughter, dancing, and sex. The astrological omens suggest that these pursuits will bring you even more health benefits than usual. They will not only give your body, mind, and soul the precise exercise they need most; they will also make you smarter and kinder and wilder. Fortunately, the astrological omens also suggest that laughter, dancing, and sex will be even more easily available to you than they normally are.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) In her novel The Round

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) The little voices in

places for new seeds to be planted.

your head may have laryngitis, but they’re still spouting their cracked advice. Here’s another curiosity: You are extra-attuned to the feelings and thoughts of other people. I’m tempted to speculate that you’re at least temporarily telepathic. There’s a third factor contributing to the riot in your head: People you were close to earlier in your life are showing up to kibitz you in your nightly dreams. In response, I bid you to bark “Enough!” at all these meddlers. You have astrological permission to tell them to pipe down so you can hear yourself think.

House, writer Louise Erdrich reminisces about how hard it was, earlier in her life, to yank out the trees whose roots had grown into the foundation of her family’s house. “How funny, strange, that a thing can grow so powerful even when planted in the wrong place,” she says. Then she adds, “ideas, too.” Your first assignment in the coming weeks, my dear Pisces, is to make sure that nothing gets planted in the wrong place. Your second assignment is to focus all your intelligence and love on locating the right

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

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) Paleontologist Jack

Horner says that developmental biologists are halfway toward being able to create a chickenosaurus -- a creature that is genetically a blend of a chicken and a dinosaur. This project is conceivable because there’s an evolutionary link between the ancient reptile and the modern bird.



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a lost or missing item in an equally unlikely location, Virgo. Or perhaps your retrieval will be of a more metaphorical kind: a dream, a friendship, an opportunity.


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