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INSIDE COVER P.16 There are no longer any members left from the original Oklahoma City Thunder team. Management and players discuss the short-term and long-term goals as the new season awaits. By Jacob Threadgill Cover by Phillip Danner

NEWS 4

STATE Impact Oklahoma grantsa

5 STATE Freedom Oklahoma update 7 CITY Bricktown Comedy Club 9

CHICKEN-FRIED NEWS

EAT & DRINK 10 REVIEW Taste of Soul Giant Egg Rolls 11 FEATURE Sunshine Baking Company 13 FEATURE Cafe 110

14 GAZEDIBLES Cajun food

ARTS & CULTURE 16 COVER Oklahoma City Thunder

update

19 THEATER Hello, Dolly! at Civic

Center Music Hall

20 THEATER Evil Dead: The Musical at

The Pollard Theatre

22 CALENDAR

MUSIC 25 EVENT EmiSunshine and The Rain

at Rodeo Opry

26 EVENT Tenacious D at The Criterion 29 LIVE MUSIC

Oct 25 - 27 $25 per day $40 weekend

THE HIGH CULTURE 31 CANNABIS DUIs

32 CANNABIS Mary Mechanix 37 CANNABIS The Toke Board 37 CANNABIS strain review

FUN 38 PUZZLES sudoku | crossword 39 ASTROLOGY

OKG Classifieds 39

COMING SOON

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NEWS

S TAT E

The $100,000 grant allowed Sooner Theatre to buy sound and lighting equipment, relieving about $50,000 from its budget for more scholarships and programs for students with special needs. | Photo provided

Impact strength

Five local organizations benefit from sizable Impact Oklahoma grants as the nonprofit gears up for its next grant cycle. By Miguel Rios

Impact Oklahoma distributed almost $250,000 this year to five local organizations. Impact Oklahoma is a network of women who strive for the betterment of Oklahoma and work for the goal through annual grants to local nonprofits. OKC Metro Alliance and Sooner Theatre were awarded grants of $100,000 each. Putnam City Schools Foundation, Variety Care and Central Oklahoma Humane Society each received $14,000 grants.

Kitchen aid

OKC Metro Alliance is already putting the grant to use, improving and expanding the kitchen at Women’s Firstep, a sober living recovery program. Women’s Firstep was founded about 30 years ago in a home with a kitchen that could only seat 16 people at a time. So the goal is to provide a state-ofthe-art commercial kitchen, appliances and a fully furnished dining room. “We had a very tiny residential kitchen for 56 women, and so we tore down an old building and we’re completely building a new dining room and commercial kitchen,” executive director Connie Schlittler said. “I’ve been out there when they’re having their meals, and they’re all crowded around three little tables or they’re sitting on the floor. They don’t have enough space to even eat their meals together.” The new kitchen is expected to be completed near the end of this month. Schlittler said the women are so excited they’re already planning what their first meal will be in the new space. “They’ve all been voting, and they have it narrowed down to three options,” OKC Metro Alliance hosted a beam signing for Women’s Firstep’s new kitchen and dining room being built with funds from the Impact Oklahoma grant. | Photo provided

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she said. “It’s just encouraging for them to see this new construction and all this new equipment and kind of dream about what their meals are going to be like in this new facility.” OKC Metro Alliance also partnered with Oklahoma State University to help women in the program develop products that could be sold out of the new kitchen. Once the kitchen is completed, they will begin to work on products. “They suggested things like barbecue sauce, jams and jelly. Products like that that have a really good shelf life,” Schlittler said. Not only will the new facility better serve the women in the program and set them up with tools to start businesses or create products, Schlittler said it will also be a positive change for their families and potential donors. “When their families come out to visit the program, they’ll have a really nice area to visit with their children, with their parents,” she said. “It’ll be a good

place for donors to come and see the program. We can do meals and things like that as people are coming out to tour. So we see this as a really good launching place not only for economic development for the women to learn how to start their own business and develop their own products, but also for us to have a better place for people who want to come and learn about the program.”

Lighting lives

Sooner Theatre’s application for the grant requested funds to buy its own light and sound equipment, which it had to rent for every production, but Nancy Coggins said it was about much more than that. “It cost us anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 a year to rent lighting, depending on the shows that we do, and sound,” said Coggins, the theater’s spokeswoman and development director. “Because Impact Oklahoma is so generous and gave us this grant, we can take that $50,000 and take it out of our budget for the shows and put it into the budgets where we know it needs to be and where our hearts are. And that is in building our special needs program at the studio.” Sooner Theatre already doubled the amount of classes it offers for people with special needs and continued training more instructors on how to better work with them. The theater is also

working with several local organizations on a pilot program for children who have undergone trauma. “Two troupes of students are going to be doing theater activities and improv games and all kinds of things to help them work through their trauma. It’s called Trauma Drama, and we’re so very excited about that,” Coggins said. “That’s a program that we were able to help launch because we had the money in our budget that we didn’t before.” The ability to buy lighting and sound equipment relieved so much pressure from its budgets that the theater has also been able to provide more scholarships at larger amounts to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in performing arts. “We did that to the tune of about $42,000 dollars,” Coggins said. “Those are things that we know are critical. Those are the things that we know are making an impact and changing lives in the community for a long amount of time. It’s helping kids find their way and find their voice that didn’t have that opportunity. … The $100,000 Impact Oklahoma investment is going to equal about a million-dollar impact in our organization and on the lives that we can change over the next 20 or so years — the lifespan of lights and sound. It’s phenomenal. It’s life-changing.” Grant applications are split into five focus areas: community, culture, education, health and wellness and healthy families. Sooner Theatre is the first organization to receive a top grant in the culture focus area. “I think that says a lot for not just the programs that we do, but for the women who are part of Impact Oklahoma, who know the impact of what the arts has on a community and the arts can have on an individual,” Coggins said. “We are incredibly grateful that they recognize the power of the arts and we could not be more elated.”

Local impact

Oklahoma Impact pools membership fees and donations into a grant fund that allows it to provide sizable grants to various organizations annually. The grant process begins in autumn and culminates around April with the group’s annual meeting, where finalists make presentations and women vote. The group hosts a membership mixer 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Social Capital, 517 S. Hudson Ave., for current or former members or anyone who wants to learn more about the organization. Impact Oklahoma also hosts Circles of Impact 7 p.m. Oct. 26. It is an event to celebrate and benefit the organization’s mission. It features shopping, dinner, drinks, a short program and recognition of Shannon Presti as the 2019 Woman of Influence. Visit impactok.org.


S TAT E

Freedom fighters

After one of its best years, Freedom Oklahoma readies to ramp up its advocacy for the state’s LGBTQ+ community. By Miguel Rios

Freedom Oklahoma aims to build off a successful year for Oklahoma’s LGBTQ+ community by focusing more on diverse sects of the community and advocating for more issues. With October being LGBT History Month, Allie Shinn, Freedom Oklahoma executive director, said the organization is reflecting on recent history to inform what is next to come. The community had several major victories in 2019, with Norman modernizing its nondiscrimination ordinance to include LGBTQ+ people, the election of Oklahoma City’s first openly gay city councilmember and the state’s largest Pride ever. “It’s been a huge year for LGBTQ people in Oklahoma,” Shinn said. “Not only did Norman just become the first city in Oklahoma to adopt comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, but we also saw Oklahoma City elect its first openly gay council member, James Cooper. … We saw our community really rally together in the last minute to throw a Pride

UNI_19-RP-203 OK_Classics.indd 1

that maybe wouldn’t have event happened at all and then became the largest Pride in Oklahoma City history. “On top of that, for the first year in recent memory, the Legislature did not file a single apparently anti-LGBTQ bill this year, and that’s huge. For a population that’s used to holding their breath every single February through May to see what sort of attacks the Legislature might throw, to know that we have so convincingly made our case that the Legislature was willing to take a step back and really focus on policy elsewhere was a huge sigh of relief and a huge victory and a sign of what all we’ve done.” Freedom Oklahoma hosts its 5th Annual Unity Gala 7-11 p.m. Oct. 25 at Devon Boathouse, 608 Riversport Drive, as a way to celebrate LGBTQ+ progress and honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. “We’re calling it cocktail or costume attire, and the costumes are definitely encouraged because we are celebrating

50 years of the Stonewall Riots. Our theme is ‘through the decades,’” Shinn said. “It’s an opportunity to look back on where we’ve been and celebrate how far we’ve come. And to talk about what’s next for our future. … As we grow Freedom Oklahoma, it’s an opportunity to make sure we are fully representative of the LGBTQ community.” Several individuals will be recognized at the gala for their local contributions, including Ward 2 councilman Cooper and Rep. Chelsey Branham, who are receiving the Lawmaker of the Year award. “Both of these people are people who have represented the LGBTQ community in ways that I wish I would’ve had when I was growing up. There have been some

Allie Shinn, Freedom Oklahoma executive director, and Rep. Kendra Horn lead a group of supporters at the 2019 Oklahoma City Pride parade. | Photo Stephanie Montelongo / provided

incredible trailblazers in this community,” Shinn said. “What is really so impactful about seeing [LGBTQ+] people … in government is that our government can look like us. Representation is so important, and we can’t be it if we can’t see it. So simply by being there and being strong and out advocates for their communities, these lawmakers are giving young people across Oklahoma permission to be exactly who they are and to reach for the stars while they’re being themselves.” continued on page 6

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NEWS

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Moving forward

While the past year has been positive for LGBTQ+ Oklahomans, Shinn said the work is far from done in the local community and through all levels of government. Nationally, the U.S. Supreme Court heard three cases Tuesday about LGBTQ+ employment discrimination. Shinn said those hearings underscore the importance of Norman’s updated nondiscrimination ordinance. “Something that a lot of people might not know is that right now in Oklahoma

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2550 MT WILLIAMS DR, NORMAN, OK 73069

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and many other places in this country, it is perfectly legal to be fired or denied a job based on who you are,” she said. “We think of this post-marriage equality world where we really have a lot more acceptance about LGBTQ people. We’re more likely to see LGBTQ people on TV and in government. But here’s the truth: I could get married today and be fired tomorrow simply for being who I am. “What Norman did is say, ‘No matter how the court rules on this, we are a community that does not believe you should be discriminated against based on who you are, and we’re going to put our money where our mouth is and enshrine that into our laws here in Norman, Oklahoma.’ And we’d love to see that happen statewide and in cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa and Lawton, and ultimately, we need to see that at the federal level.” While there was no anti-LGBTQ+ legislation at the state level during the last legislative session, a bill introduced by Rep. Jason Dunnington that would’ve outlawed conversion therapy for minors failed to pass. However, a bipartisan interim study was approved for Oct. 15. “What we’d like to see is the Legislature take up this issue and say, ‘We are not going to subject our children in Oklahoma to this harmful practice. We’re not going to abuse our children in this way,’” Shinn said. “The Legislature has an opportunity to protect our youth, and we’d really like to see them step up to the plate and do so.” The study, requested by Dunnington

and Rep. Randy Randleman, will analyze the short- and long-term effects of practices intended to change a minor’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. “Rep. Randleman has joined Rep. Dunnington in asking for this study, and that’s so important for us because we know that protecting our youth is not a bipartisan issue,” Shinn said. “We know that good, kind-hearted Americans and Oklahomans don’t support child abuse, but we also know that so many people just don’t have enough information about what’s going on. This is an opportunity to bring experts to the table to get

Rep. Jason Dunnington (pictured) and Rep. Randy Randleman requested an interim study on the effects of conversion therapy on minors. It will be Oct. 15. | Photo Stephanie Montelongo / provided

more information out there and to start building a coalition of support.” To better serve local communities, Freedom Oklahoma is shifting slightly as an organization and making stronger efforts to represent all facets of the LGBTQ+ community through its board and staff as well as through the issues it tackles. “We are making the shift to a real community-driven organization. We know that we have an opportunity to act as a megaphone for our community, that we can amplify the voices of the LGBTQ community, but it is not our job to speak for the community,” she said. “We know that we have work to do to be better allies and to be more inclusive of our transgender family; we know that we have work to do to be a more inclusive racial justice organization, and we’re working toward building all of that right now. But we also know that that takes humility, it takes listening, it takes effort and it takes time. We’re in it for the long haul.” Freedom Oklahoma’s political advocacy takes off when the Legislature is in session. To get involved in advocating for equal rights, Shinn encourages people to sign up for the organization’s emails or to volunteer. “LGBTQ people live in every single corner of Oklahoma,” she said, “and if we all work together, we believe that we can create an Oklahoma in which LGBTQ people can fully thrive.” Visit freedomoklahoma.org.


CIT Y

Bricktown laughs A family-owned entertainment company brings national comic headliners to a new downtown venue. By Miguel Rios

A Washington-based entertainment company will open a comedy club and arcade bar downtown by the end of the year. BARK Entertainment, which opened its first comedy club almost a decade ago, expands its portfolio with Bricktown Comedy Club. Located at 409 E. California Ave., the club will have its first show Dec. 27 and continue with a slew of shows every Thursday-Saturday. “We’re going to have national-touring headliners every single weekend,” BARK CEO Adam Norwest said. “We’re a family business, and we have three other comedy clubs — two in Washington State and one in Wisconsin. It’s my wife and I and my parents. My dad’s retired Air Force, so the Air Force community is one of those things that drew us to Oklahoma City initially. And also the fact that you guys took our [Super]Sonics.” Because of the group’s experience running other comedy clubs, Norwest said they have developed good connections with well-known comedians. “A lot of times, a new club won’t be able to attract that talent, but if you’re like, ‘Hey, it’s us from Tacoma,’ they’re like, ‘OK, we like you guys,’” he said. “Our theory is that we have to make three people happy. We have to make the comedians happy and the customers happy and the staff happy, and if everybody’s happy, then there’s no way we won’t succeed.” Bricktown Comedy Club has already booked big names through May 2020.

Bricktown Comedy Club, 409 E. California Ave., has its first show Dec. 27. | Photo Peter J. Brzycki

MMA fighter turned comedian Brendan Schaub is the club’s first performer Dec. 27. Ryan Niemiller, who placed third on the most recent season of America’s Got Talent, performs Dec. 28. The club is also opening just in time to ring in the new year. “We’re also doing our New Year’s Eve shows with John Heffron, who won Last Comic Standing,” Norwest said, “and we’re going to be giving away a pair of tickets at each show that will get you in for free to every single show in 2020.”

If everybody’s happy, then there’s no way we won’t succeed. Adam Norwest A couple of Wayans brothers, former SNL cast member Jay Pharaoh, Margaret Cho and Nailed It’s Nicole Byer, among many more, are also booked for future shows. “It’s cool to think that we get to bring people to a city they’ve never been to and to give people a chance, like, ‘Hey, you can come see Damon Wayans live.’ And not all of the comedians do it, but at least half of them meet people after the show and do pictures,” Norwest continued on page 8

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NEWS BARK Entertainment owns and runs three other comedy clubs — two in Washington and one in Wisconsin. | Photo Miguel Rios

continued from page 7

CIT Y

said. “Just to have access to somebody who’s been on Saturday Night Live for six years or someone that was a finalist on America’s Got Talent, it’s cool to bring those people somewhere new.” Tickets for shows are already for sale online. Norwest said the company’s other clubs don’t typically start selling tickets until a few weeks out from a particular show. Most comedians also perform multiple times, either on the same night or consecutive nights. “If there’s someone you really want to see and you have a certain date and time that you want to see them, then get your tickets as soon as possible,” he said. “But if you’re flexible, then you can probably wait until two weeks before. You may not get to choose which showtime or which date you want, but you can still probably see the show.” Loony Bin Comedy Club is the city’s most well-known comedy club, but Norwest said their models are different. Additionally, Bricktown Comedy Club will have the benefits of being in downtown Oklahoma City. “They bring in very funny comedians, but it’s half an hour out of downtown and it’s not necessarily the nationally recognized acts,” he said. “We like downtown and the Bricktown area

especially. … We’d been hoping for a Bricktown location and looking on and off for like two or three years, just trying to find the right spot. So I do really believe in the market, and the response has been good so far. I think people seem really excited.” Norwest said the club can also help companies or groups book a comedian

for a party or accommodate large groups in the venue. “A lot of times people will want to book a comedian for their company holiday party, and so we can find a comedian to go to you. Or we have group events at the club, private or public,” he said. “It’s a great spot if you have like 30 employees or something and you want to take everyone out

to do something. We can accommodate groups, smaller groups and larger groups.” The comedy club will feature a full bar and what Norwest calls “really good bar food,” with a bulk of it being gourmet sandwiches. The group also plans to open a small arcade bar connected to the club. “It’s called Gamers Arcade Bar. We have one in Spokane, and it’s just a small arcade bar next to the comedy club. It’ll be a good place to go before or after the show or even if you’re not going to a show,” Norwest said. “We’ll have good happy hours there and everything. That’ll be open sometime in the middle of November, so it’ll be open a little before the comedy club. It’s just a fun little addition.” Norwest said the club and arcade will offer residents something different to experience downtown. “I would encourage people to come see a comedian, even if it’s somebody you haven’t heard of,” he said. “Even if they’re not famous, our goal is to book people who are super funny. If you go to a comedy movie, I think you have a 50-50 chance of it being good. And these people are professionals, even if it’s not someone you necessarily know. Their job is to make you laugh for an hour and a half.” Visit bricktowncomedy.com.

Pray the Homophobia Away. We don’t need thoughts and prayers to ensure true freedom for our LGBTQIA neighbors; we need truly moral leadership to ensure no Oklahomans will ever again be threatented by destructive policies and practices like conversion therapy.

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chicken

friedNEWS

Dr. Roboto

Bittersweet release

A new high-tech way to go to the dentist is here, and it will either terrify you or encourage you to finally visit your dentist. Oral Surgery Specialists of Oklahoma has one of the country’s first “robotic dentists” for dental implant surgery. “[Yomi Robotic Dental System] delivers critical insight on patient anatomy to aid with personalized surgical planning,” according to Neocis, the robotics healthcare startup behind the robot. Doctors first take a 3D model of the patient’s teeth and upload it to the software. Then they use a “virtual surgical treatment planning program” to place the dental implant in the exact location, according to KFOR. Officials say it makes procedures more “precise, efficient and minimally invasive.” The latter benefit, while probably surgically true, seems a bit ironic given the fact that the “robot” is a big robotic arm digging around your mouth. But either way, Oklahoma’s first patient Elizabeth Bolen told KFOR she was actually excited to go to the dentist. “Just looking at the benefits of a robotic machine was amazing,” she said. “I didn’t even second-guess it.” Unlike Bolen, some people would, understandably, be scared to let a robot assist with a dental implant. Some would probably even wave their fists in the air and complain about job-stealing robots. But neither should worry too much because a surgeon is always in control of the robot. That is until the robots develop complex emotions and start pulling out everybody’s teeth in an attempt to take over the human race. But that probably won’t happen for a few years in, so we should be good for a bit.

Nobamacare

State Question 802 would allow voters to decide whether Oklahoma will finally accept the Medicaid expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, but in order to get it on the ballot in 2020, organizers have until 5 p.m. Oct. 28 to collect 177,958 signatures from registered Oklahoma voters. If a number close to 200,000 sounds familiar, it’s probably because that’s about how many people would gain access to Medicaid under the expansion, according to a study commissioned by Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Announcing in 2012 that Oklahoma would refuse the Medicaid expansion, potentially worth billions of dollars of federal funding, Gov. Mary Fallin predicted that the expansion, as part of much-vilified Obamacare, would “in fact decrease the quality of health care across the United States.” In the years since, one thing has noticeably decreased in states that accepted the Medicaid expansion: the number of uninsured people. Meanwhile, Oklahoma, where the uninsured rate is the second-highest in the nation and nearly twice that of states that have accepted the expansion, has seen a significant decrease in the number of rural hospitals that remain open. According to The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, seven rural Oklahoma hospitals have closed since 2012, most recently Mercy

The sweet taste of freedom quickly soured like an unripe cherry for an Oklahoma City man last week after he led police on a high-speed chase just hours after being released from prison. According to KFOR, Jonathan Tecumseh fled a routine traffic stop around SE 29th Street, taking the vehicle north on Interstate 35, and eventually blew a tire around NE 24th Street and Santa Fe Avenue, where he ditched the vehicle and took off on foot for a wooded area, where he was taken back into custody. Tecumseh told police he fled the initial traffic stop because he was in possession of a firearm. According to KFOR, Tecumseh has previous drug violations, and he told police that he left jail that morning for being in a stolen vehicle. Police recovered the gun at the scene. Tecumseh didn’t read his copy of How Not to Get Sent Back to Jail for Dummies book while he had some

time on in his hands during his previous stint. The passenger in the police chase did have some common sense. According to police, he stuck his head out the window, waved his arms and tried to surrender. When the chase ended, he immediately laid on the ground, rather than going into the woods. The story doesn’t mention that the passenger received any charges, and hopefully he didn’t because he was an innocent bystander. Let’s hope the suspect takes a few days before doing anything that might get him sent back to jail the next time he gets out.

Hospital El Reno in April. According to a report released by GateHouse Media in July, 77 of the 106 rural hospitals that closed in the past decade were located in the 14 states that have refused the Medicaid expansion. “A hospital closure is a frightening thing for a small town,” said Patti Davis, president of Oklahoma Hospital Association, in a quote that doesn’t seem to have made its way into the pages of GateHouse-owned Oklahoman. “It places lives in jeopardy and has a domino effect on the community.” In an interview with NPR last year, Davis also noted that states that “have found ways to accept these federal funds, they are moving forward, their hospitals are in better shape because of it.” In related news, the 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book released by The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently ranked Oklahoma 43rd in the U.S. in children’s health. But at least we can still say “Thanks, Obama” ironically.

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REVIEW

EAT & DRINK

Soul expansion Taste of Soul takes its giant egg roll concept to Del City with a drive-thru window. By Jacob Threadgill

Taste of Soul Giant Egg Rolls 4605 SE 29th St. | 405-677-5820 facebook.com/tasteofsouleggroll WHAT WORKS: Purple pork is a welcome addition to the menu. WHAT NEEDS WORK: The breastfast egg roll needs a sauce other than sweet and sour. TIP: The sesame salad dressing can be substituted for egg roll dipping.

The journey from food truck to brick-andmortar restaurant was already a successful one for Taste of Soul owners Cerese and Ricki Bly, but it has only gotten stronger as the brand opened a new storefront in Del City and expanded its chicken and waffles concept into Kansas. Taste of Soul opened a new venue for its giant egg roll concept at 4605 SE 29th St. in Del City in August, which replaces its previous location inside the White Star Petroleum building on NW 63rd Street. The Taste of Soul Chicken and Waffles concept opened in Wichita late last year and has a food truck in the Oklahoma City area. “It’s going great,” Celeste Bly said. “We still have some stuff to work on; we still have to get a drive-thru window up and running. It’s a great spot overall with a great location that is super high-traffic. Everyone is excited we’re there.” She said customers will be able to order and pick up food through a drivethru window later this year and to follow Taste of Soul on social media for a formal announcement.

The egg roll and bowl salad | Photo Jacob Threadgill

The new Taste of Soul has easy access to Interstate 35 and is located near Del City staple Don’s Alley. The first thing that you notice when walking into Taste of Soul is a bright and colorful mural painted by Plaza Walls veteran and Tree & Leaf founder Dusty Gilpin. “We wanted to create a fun atmosphere that people, especially in Del City, can be proud to come and call their own,” Bly said. “We’re having a lot of fun.” The Blys started serving egg rolls out of their original food truck in 2011, building off Cerese’s lifelong love of the food. She grew up going to Egg Roll Express in Edmond and made Ricki a convert to the dish with her playful takes that blend traditional Chinese flavors with American comfort. The hallmark of a good restaurant is one that doesn’t stray too far from what it does well. Taste of Soul succeeds in that regard by keeping its menu options to egg rolls, rice and one salad, but the egg roll choices are expanding with the opening in Del City. The Blys have added a purple pork egg roll with ground pork and purple cabbage and have elevated an Asianinspired “egg roll in a bowl” salad to full-time availability. Monthly specials of egg rolls have become a hit at the Del City location. September’s feature was an Okie cheesesteak with steak, potato, cheese and tri-colored peppers with a spicy ranch dipping sauce. This month’s special is a Korean beef egg roll with bulgogiinspired ground beef, purple cabbage, carrots, scallions and Sriracha aioli. “People have already asked us to add the Okie cheesesteak to the menu full-

time, and the Korean beef has been popular as well,” Bly said. “We might offer 12 egg rolls and then let the public vote to see which one they want to add to the menu because we can’t add them all.” On my recent visit to the restaurant, the Korean beef egg roll seemed to be in high demand, and it’s one I’ll have to get on another visit. I sampled four types of egg rolls and the salad option.

We might offer 12 egg rolls and then let the public vote to see which one they want to add to the menu because we can’t add them all. Cerese Bly My favorite of the four was the purple pork, which has the most unique texture and flavor. A close second is the jalapeño turkey, which narrowly edged out the regular chicken variety and the breakfast eggroll with hash browns, sausage and cheese. If the idea of starting your day with either bacon or sausage, hash browns and cheese stuffed into a wonton wrapper and fried is your thing, then Taste of Soul is the place for you. It’s an item that is a fun tailgate option, but it’s a bridge too far for me. The combination of meat and hash browns desperately needed an acidic element like salsa to cut through all of the grease. Taste of Soul’s main menu item is the “pick 2” option where you choose from two huge egg rolls and spicy chicken

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Taste of Soul’s “pick 2” option with spicy chicken-fried rice | Photo Jacob Threadgill

fried rice, regular fried rice or steamed rice with a drink for $9. The egg rolls themselves are huge; they’re basically the size of burritos, and when paired with the rice, it’s a heavy meal, to say the least. I was happy to have also ordered the egg roll in a bowl salad, which is basically a deconstructed egg roll that isn’t cooked except for the chicken. The star of the whole meal outside the purple pork was the sesame dressing served with the salad. I dipped my egg rolls in the dressing and preferred it to the house sweet and sour sauce that comes with the order. Bly said the dressing is something customers can order in addition or in place of the sweet and sour for the egg rolls. The salad with cabbage, green onion, almonds, crispy noodles, carrots and chicken was good, but I would’ve preferred an additional green for added nutrition. The cabbage has a great crunch but doesn’t provide many nutrients. Even if they added antioxidant-heavy cilantro, I think that would be nice. For dessert, Taste of Soul also offers apple or cherry egg rolls that are topped with powdered sugar and served à la mode. Bly said they’ll be adding dessert egg roll specials in the coming months. The service at Taste of Soul was friendly and relatively quick, considering everything was made to-order. I probably consider the egg rolls a rare treat, but they’re well executed, and the monthly specials provide reason to continue to check out the restaurant. Visit facebook.com/tasteofsouleggroll.


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Spreading Sunshine

Sunshine Baking Company debuts in south Oklahoma City to enthusiastic customers.

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By Jacob Threadgill

More than expanding on its mission to “spread sunshine” with delectable sweet and savory treats, Sunshine Baking Company wants to create a happy working environment for its employees from the special needs community. Owner and head baker Savannah Tillman is a Georgia native and culinary school graduate who spent three years as the lead baker at 16th Street Plaza District’s Pie Junkie before branching out on her own with Sunshine, which opened at 7705 S. Walker Ave. Sept. 14. Tillman grew up around Atlanta, where she developed a love for cooking and baking from her grandmother Esther K. Brown. After graduating with a degree in culinary arts and business from Bob Jones University, Tillman worked as a wedding caterer before meeting and marrying a native Oklahoman. After the couple moved to Oklahoma City, Tillman quickly found work as the head baker at Pie Junkie, where she worked until July 2018, when the Tillmans began selling baked goods at the farmers market and other events until finding the retail space in February of this year. An enlarged photo of Brown’s original cheesecake recipe hangs on the wall next to Sunshine Baking Company’s entrance as a way to honor Tillman’s inspiration for her love of food and service. “She was able to host and meet a lot of people through food, and I thought that was a really amazing thing,”

Peanut butter cookies topped with salted caramel at Sunshine Baking Company | Photo provided

Tillman said of her grandmother. “We ate at her house weekly, and my grandfather was notorious for inviting anybody and she always had to be prepared. She made me fall in love with food and to meet people’s needs through it.” Tillman also uses the same rolling pin that her grandmother used — one that originated with her great-grandmother — to make Sunshine’s sweet and savory options. She keeps the lessons learned from her family close to heart by working with Dale Rogers Training Center to hire employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “My aunt is somewhere on the [autism] spectrum, but she never got continued on page 12

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Savannah Tillman spent three years as the head baker for Pie Junkie before opening Sunshine Baking Company. | Photo Alexa Ace

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formally diagnosed,” Tillman said. “She was wrongfully fired once from a job. There is a lack of help for people there, and she was poorly treated even though she’s capable and gets opportunities turned down. … We want to promote inclusiveness and that everyone is created with a purpose, dignity and that they deserve an opportunity.”

Leap of faith

Sunshine is closed Sundays and Mondays, but even on days the store is closed, Tillman is in the kitchen, getting ready for the week. She arrives at work at 3:30 in the morning and stays until after 5 p.m. “This is what I wanted, so I love every minute of it,” Tillman said with a smile. Sunshine Baking offers a mixture of savory and sweet breakfast options that turn into a lunch deal around noon and an assortment of desserts like cookies, brownies, lemon bars and cakes and cheesecake by request. Savory options include frittatas, buttermilk biscuits with gravy, loaded biscuits with bacon and cheddar rolled with freshly cracked pepper and salt and stuffed croissants that change

weekly with fillings like colby jack and turkey. For lunch, Sunshine offers a stuffed croissant with pasta salad and a cookie for $10. Sunshine has a full-range coffee service though EÔTÉ Coffee Roasters. Tillman said Sunshine’s top sellers are chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon rolls. “I’m a huge fan of soft cookies,” she said. “I don’t like a snap to it. I want it nice and soft and to have really good butter. If you can engineer it so that it’s always really soft and the butter is really good quality, it will be really good.” Peanut butter cookies get a thumbprint and are topped with salted caramel. Offerings of scones like cin-

namon walnut, lemon poppy seed and chocolate chip change almost daily. After a few weeks, the lemon blueberry muffin has become a customer favorite. Sunshine offers at least one glutenfriendly treat every week, which is something Tillman has picked up since culinary school, as there is more awareness for gluten sensitivity. “I’ve learned that more on my own by trying out different flours and additives that mimic the gluten texture that people want,” she said. “It is the highest dietary demand — there are keto and stuff, but gluten-free is the No. 1 people ask for. It is gluten-friendly because the kitchen does have gluten in it, but we

Mini ham and cheddar-stuffed croissants | Photo provided

do our best to have an option because it is such high demand.” The Tillmans were attracted to the location in south Oklahoma City because there wasn’t another similar bakery in the area. The strategic spot has paid dividends in the first few weeks. “I’ve had this in my head since I was in high school and always thought it was down the road somewhere,” Tillman said. “Two years ago, my husband and I were talking and it turned to, ‘Well, if this bakery is actually going to happen, it’s now or never.’ We took that leap of faith and kind of dove in. I’d rather try and fail than to never know. It’s what kept pushing me.” After building a following through cottage sales and social media, Sunshine Baking Company has exceeded the Tillmans’ own expectations for early business. It sold out during its grand opening in just an hour and a half. “Going in, everyone tells you when you’re starting a business to prepare for a couple of months for it to be slow before you take hold in the community, and we were braced for that,” Tillman said. “It blew me out of the water that that many people were ready for us. These first couple of weeks, I have a minimum to meet each day, and we’ve gone at least two or more above every day. We’ve had a really good response, and we’re really thankful.” Visit sunshinebakingco.com.

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Alicia Gomez-Grayson is the owner of Cafe 110. | Photo Alexa Ace

adding meat and cheese. Ingredients at Cafe 110 are sourced seasonally, and Gomez-Grayson uses her years working on a farm in the horticulture community to find products for the restaurant. “I want people in Oklahoma to look at food in a different way,” she said. “I think that people don’t understand that if we buy local, we support the local economy and it’s better for us. We might pay a little more, but isn’t it worth it to support our neighbors?”

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Outside influence

Equal-opportunity nourisher

Cafe 110 bucks downtown trends by staying open late and providing a Dinner’s Done option for the whole family. By Jacob Threadgill

Throughout her more than three-decade career in the food industry, Alicia Gomez-Grayson has literally worked with food from seed to table. It wasn’t until the domino effect after an accident led her to open a restaurant that provides both healthy and indulgent choices in downtown Oklahoma City. Cafe 110, located at 110 N. Robinson Ave. in the former Urban Taco space, opened in May and is the culmination of a career in the food industry that includes a decade as an adjunct professor of horticulture, time running restaurants, being a private chef and working for Sonic Drive-In’s corporate office, among others. Gomez-Grayson was working as personal chef for Oklahoma City Thunder player Jerami Grant and coach Maurice Cheeks when she was diagnosed with diabetes during a series of tests following a car accident. “For 25 years, I had been cooking for other families, and I cooked healthy for all of them. I cooked well for everyone else, but not myself,” she said. “I found out I was diabetic, and they told me that if I could

get my A1C down to 9 before end of year, they would let me get off insulin. I lost 30 pounds and got my A1C down to 6 by September. [The doctors] were amazed. I watched what I put in my mouth.” While trying to reach her goal, GomezGrayson noticed when dining out with her husband, former University of Oklahoma wide receiver Bobby Grayson, that most menus only had one or two healthy or vegetarian options. “I wanted a restaurant that is an equal-opportunity nourisher,” she said. “We try to make sure that when you come up to the counter, you’re not just ordering food off the menu; we’re listening to you.” Staff is trained to work with customers to customize menu items to meet their dietary needs, whether that’s reducing carbohydrates or

The menu at Cafe 110 includes a mixture of influences from Gomez-Grayson’s Mexican heritage, where she learned to cook from her grandmother and aunt, and her travels around the country. When she worked for Sonic, she would add days on either sides of business trips just to visit restaurant kitchens for inspiration. Cafe 110 offers street tacos (with meat or veggie fillings), burritos, sandwiches, grain bowls, salads, burgers, sandwiches and breakfast. Burritos can be adapted to be glutenfree by replacing the wrap and serving it in a bowl with fixings (without rice) served over spaghetti squash. Meat like tender, slow-cooked chicken can also be added to items such as the top-seller enchilada bowl that comes with rice, black beans, housemade sauce and salsa. The restaurant’s second top seller is its housemade veggie burger made with quinoa, black beans and sweet potatoes served with sweet potato chips and house Creo sauce. “The difference between our veggie burger and everyone else’s in the world is that it’s not a frozen patty,” GomezGrayson said. “I’m sorry if this offends you, but I have touched your meatless burger with my hands because I patty every patty.”

Cafe 110 is open for breakfast on the weekends and is one of the few downtown restaurants that stays open for dinner, and Gomez-Grayson said it will welcome local beer and wine to the menu in time for the Thunder’s first regular season game. During weekdays, Cafe 110 offers Dinner’s Done takeout options designed to feed between two and four people for $28.99 plus tax. It offers meat or veggie lasagna with salad and garlic toast; beef, chicken or cheese enchiladas with chips and salsa; chicken or veggie curry with salad, rice and gluten-free flatbread; chili with corn bread and salad; or pork ribs with pasta salad and baked beans. Orders must be placed by 3 p.m. the day of pick-up and will be ready between 4 and 6 p.m. “I was Hello Fresh before Hello Fresh,” she said of her days selling at OSU-OKC Farmers Market. “Instead of just selling my produce, I’d put a basket together and give them recipes too, and they’d want to buy from me more than the other farmers.” In November, Cafe 110 will begin offering housemade soups, like a vegan tomato basil and others that are being menu-tested. Cafe 110 is open for groups, like an all-you-can-eat pancake fundraiser for Saints and Angels Rescue 8 a.m.-noon Oct. 27. The neighboring building is being converted into a mixed-use space that will include shops, apartments and hotel rooms. The scaffolding is blocking Cafe 110’s signage along Robinson Avenue, but Gomez-Grayson is excited for the future. “It’s hurting us badly, but just like eating healthy isn’t about feeling better tomorrow, it’s going to feel better in a few months,” Gomez-Grayson said. “The building will be 180 hotel rooms and 180 apartments. I will have 360 people walking through the restaurant every day.” Visit cafe110okc.com.

The handmade veggie burger at Cafe 110 is one of its top-sellers. | Photo Jacob Threadgill

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EAT & DRINK

Cajun favorites

Oklahoma City has received a handful of new Cajun and Creolestyle restaurants in recent years that complement the likes of longtime favorite Cajun King. Here are seven new and old Cajun concepts. By Jacob Threadgill with Gazette / file and provided photos

Pearl’s Oyster Bar

5641 N. Classen Blvd. pearlsokc.com | 405-848-8008

From the top of the menu to the bottom, Pearl’s isn’t strictly a Cajun restaurant, but there are dishes like shrimp and grits, gumbo, étouffée, jambalaya and fried chicken smothered in Andouille sausage sauce. The redfish Pontchartrain is everything you want from Cajun food — the blackened fish is served over spicy crawfish étouffée and rice.

Wine Tasting • Live Music • Food • Cocktails

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Rew Orleans 447 NW 23rd St. 405-384-7344

Chef Reuben Carey went to culinary school in New Orleans and trained under some of the city’s most renowned chefs, Emeril Lagasse and Leah Chase. After running Rew Orleans as a catering business, he has opened up in Uptown 23rd, where he’s serving New Orleans classics like roast beef po’boys and filé gumbo.

The Shack Seafood & Oyster Bar

13801 Quail Pointe Drive theshackok.com | 405-286-5959

The Shack aims to be a little bit of Cajun country in Oklahoma City by styling itself after the kind of places you might see along the Gulf Coast and bayou, where they put seafood front and center. It offers multiple types of jambalaya, gumbo and étouffée on the menu, and you can choose between Cajun preparations of fish and steaks. Be sure to get a plate of oysters, served raw on the half shell and cooked Rockefeller, Oklahoma, Mardi Gras or house-style.


C’est Si Bon

308 W. Edmond Road, Edmond cajuncatfishandpoboys.com 405-285-1800

Chef Ken Mills is turning out great food from his native New Orleans at three locations in the metro area. However, it’s a lot more than delicately fired catfish and po’boys. It is also serving up red beans and rice, crawfish étouffée and gumbo. Save room for dessert because all of the entrees come with a side of complimentary bread pudding.

Cajun Corner

9200 N. Council Road, Suite A cajuncornerokc.com | 405-792-2588

While the second Cajun Corner is under construction in Uptown 23rd District, you can visit its original location off Northwest Expressway. Cajun Corner serves Beaumont-style Cajun rather than New Orleans-style, reflecting its owners. Its counter-service model allows for quick service so customers can swiftly enjoy a selection of fried fish baskets, po’boys, gumbo and cream sauce étouffée.

Brent’s Cajun Seafood & Oyster Bar 3005 S. Broadway, Edmond brentscajunseafood.com 405-285-0911

Owner Brent Hickman’s family has been in the Cajun restaurant business for generations. Hickman originally opened The Shack, and Brent’s Cajun has operated in Edmond since 2016. Étouffée can be served with dirty rice, and the menu is full of options, including a weekend brunch. No meal at Brent’s is complete without an order of boudin balls that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Magnolia Bistro

facebook.com/magnoliabistro405 405-673-7550

First, owner Dwayne Johnson blessed Midwest City with Brielle’s Bistro that is serving up great Cajun and Creole classics, but he has taken it to another level at his new restaurant in Automobile Alley. There are dishes like fried grits and shrimp or surf and turf egg rolls, but the Who Dat Po Boy is unrivaled in size. It’s a 12-inch po’boy with blackened shrimp, lump crab, fried green tomatoes, red onion and remoulade.

GRANDRESORTOK.COM I-40 EXIT 178 I SHAWNEE, OK I 405-964-7263

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When Chris Paul arrived in Oklahoma City as a 20-year-old rookie member of the Hornets, refuged from New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he moved into a house in Edmond with his brother C.J. They would drive out to Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, where the waylaid team held practice and facilities, and the brothers bonded while being away from North Carolina for the first time in their lives. Paul developed a pregame routine en route to winning Rookie of the Year in the first of two seasons spent in Oklahoma City that ultimately paved the way for the franchise moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City: He ate a meal at Charleston’s. Fourteen years later, Paul returns to Oklahoma City as a member of the Thunder with a completely new, plantbased diet. Paul’s transition from meat-eater to plant-based diet advocate, complete with being a Beyond Meat investor/spokesperson and co-producing the documen-

tary exploring the science behind plantbased athletes, is as dramatic as the offseason overhaul for the Thunder. The events that were set in motion by All-Star Paul George’s trade request to join reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard with the Los Angeles Clippers simultaneously feel like the last week and last decade in Oklahoma City. The trade with the Clippers netted promising second-year player Shai GilgeousAlexander, forward Danilo Gallinari coming off the last year of his deal and an unprecedented five first-round draft picks and two additional pick swaps. Forward Jerami Grant was traded to Denver for another first-round pick, and it set the stage to move former MVP Russell Westbrook to join former Thunder teammate and MVP James Harden in Houston for Paul and two more additional first-round picks. Thunder general manager Sam Presti finds himself in an unusual position: A treasure trove of future draft assets are at his disposal, but the team has enough talent to contend for a playoff spot this year. “Eventually, this organization is going to do what every other franchise in pro sports does,” Presti said at a press conference on the eve of the opening of training camp. “Over the last 12 years, while we’ve been in this era of the team, I would say 25

other teams have gone through some type of transition, and we’ve been able to fight that off a few different times. Eventually, we’re going to get there, and we’re trying to be transparent about that, but it’s not right now. … At some point, we will get to that restructuring and rebuilding point, and we’re not going to sacrifice the long-term vision of the team.” The decision to hold steadfast on the long-term vision of the team likely led to Paul’s return to Oklahoma City. The 12-time All-Star arrives after a two-year stint with the Houston Rockets in which they were a Paul injury away from potentially winning the 2018 NBA title after they lost a 3-2 series lead against San Francisco’s Golden State Warriors without him, but reports hinted at a problem in the relationship between Paul and Harden, especially after the team was unable to take advantage of Kevin Durant’s injury in last season’s playoffs. Paul’s contract, with three years remaining that escalates to $44.2 million for its final year in his age 36 season, is considered one of the most difficult in the league to trade. The Rockets had to attach two first-round picks in the Westbrook deal, and reports indicate Presti refused to do the same when other team inquired about Paul this offseason. “I think Chris is going to have a really, really good year,” Presti said. “No. 1, he’s in incredible shape, and this is a guy who I think is a guy that is overlooked as to how good a player he is, and the impact he has on the basketball court, primarily because of his mind. He’s a brilliant basketball thinker and sees the game extremely well. … Usually when you lose a player of that magnitude [Westbrook], it’s a different outlook and you’re not replacing him with another Hall of Fame player.” For the Thunder and Paul, it’s in everyone’s best interest for him to maximize his value, whether it’s for a midseason trade or in the future, and he showed last year in Houston that he’s still an elite player when he didn’t have to share the court with isolation-dominant Harden. In more than 700 minutes played without Harden on the court, Paul averaged 22.5 points and 12.5 assists per 36 minutes last season. Many of those minutes were against the opposing team’s bench units, and Paul missed 24 games due to rest or injury. At age 34, Paul is entering nearly unrivaled workload for a point guard under 6-foot-1. The list of All-Star guards playing at a high level at that size are basically Paul and Utah Jazz great John

Photo Oklahoma City Thunder / provided 16

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Stockton, who played in all 82 games at age 34 in the 1996-1997 season. However, Paul has the advantage of two decades of nutritional and training improvement at his disposal. “Competition is the thing that fuels me, always trying to get better, always trying to see how I can improve,” Paul said at preseason media days. “I’ve got an unbelievable team around me that help me day in and day out. It’s the competition of it. Having the opportunity to have a number of really good friends [Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James] who did it for a long time.”

At some point, we will get to that restructuring and rebuilding point, and we’re not going to sacrifice the long-term vision of the team. Sam Presti

Franchise cornerstone

While he didn’t get the hype of Luka Doncic or Oklahoma native Trae Young from his 2018 draft class, GilgeousAlexander represents a cornerstone building block for the Thunder franchise. He started 72 games as a rookie point guard for the Clippers, which ended up surprising the league by making the playoffs after trading its leading scorer in the middle of the season. At 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan, Gilgeous-Alexander has the mold to be one of the league’s most impactful defensive perimeter players. He also averaged 13 points on 50 percent 3-point shooting in the first round of the playoffs as the Clippers pushed the fully healthy Warriors to six games. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said Gilgeous-Alexander has the versatility to play any of the three perimeter positions and might share the court with both Paul and fellow point guard Dennis Schröder. “I think they can all help each other,” Donovan said of the point guard trio. “There’s clearly going to be times this year where two, if not three, of those guys will be on the floor together. I think they can all help one another. … They can help generate shots for each other and for the team. I think they’re all smart and cerebral enough to play off of each other.” In the Thunder’s first open scrimmage of the preseason, GilgeousAlexander guided a team comprised primarily of second-unit players and scored 21 points, keeping the team competitive with the starters led by Paul, Gallinari and center Steven Adams. While there is uncertainty around the future of the Thunder roster for seasons going forward, Gilgeous-Alexander, 21,


figures to the face of the organization when it embarks on its next era of basketball. “This organization is in a great spot to get better,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Obviously having a lot of picks through the work in the summer and having guys on the team that are talented and have something to prove, that’s a good thing. The organization has done it in the past with guys like Russell, Kevin [Durant] and James [Harden]. They know what it takes and how to do it, and it’s only a matter of time.” Despite having an extra season of NBA experience, Gilgeous-Alexander’s backcourt mate Terrance Ferguson is the same age. Ferguson made a leap in his second season, becoming a fixture in the starting lineup, but his growth this season is a microcosm of how the team will have to play to be successful without Westbrook and George dominating the ball. “[I’ve been working on] doing more on the ball,” Ferguson said. “Last year, I had it easy with Paul [George] and Russ; I could just spot up for shots. This year, I want to be more on the ball and impact the game in different ways than just

shooting the corner shot. I’m not going to try to force anything.”

Defensive stalwart

Donovan said that a lot of the offense last season was about creating space for George and Westbrook to make plays on their own, but this season’s success will be predicated upon working as a team to generate scoring opportunities. The Thunder has ranked as one of the league’s top defensive teams under Donovan’s tenure, and it figures to have one of the best perimeter defenses in the league based on Paul, who has led the league in steals six times; Gilgeous-Alexander’s length; and the return of André Roberson, who has not played since January 2018 after setbacks from a patellar tendon injury. “This last year and half has been a lot of ups and downs,” Roberson said. “It’s taught me a lot about myself, about my body and about the game in general and its effect on my life. It’s taken me down certain paths; it’s been a great character-builder, and it’s great to see the game from another perspective.” Roberson has been a full participant in training camp, even showing off a different shooting motion, but he was held out of the first scrimmage as he continues to work his way back. When healthy, Roberson is one the league’s best perimeter defenders. He was voted second-team all defense the last full season he played, and the starting lineup in 2017-2018 with Roberson on the court ranked as one of the best defensive units in the league and one of the worst without him. “[I’ve missed] locking people up and getting back to my roots first and foremost,” Roberson said. “Let’s just put it this way: Some of these guys have been a little too happy, too cute.”

who is somehow only 26 years old, despite being a stalwart for the franchise since 2013. The New Zealand native with a dry sense of humor — “There might be some cultural differences [for the type of things I teach my teammates]. Whatever sticks, sticks, even if it’s that I say ‘mate.’” — said that losing Westbrook is hard, as is any teammate. “The personal relationship is still there, but you’re not going to see them as much,” he said matter-of-factly. Adams figures to see a personal statistic rebounding increase without Westbrook swooping in for defensive rebounds. For his career, Adams has one of the lowest defensive

Frontcourt duo

At age 30, Gallinari averaged a careerhigh 19.8 points per game with 43 percent 3-point shooting on 5.5 attempts per game last year and gives the Thunder the type of consistent 3-point shooting it has desired from the power forward position since pushing Serge Ibaka, Domantas Sabonis and Grant out beyond the 3-point line with limited success in lower volume during recent seasons. One of the best free-throw shooters in the league, both in terms of percentage and rate getting to the line, Gallinari is a proficient scorer. Depending how the season unfolds for the Thunder, Gallinari is a valuable piece to make a playoff push, but his expiring contract is also enticing for other teams around the league if the Thunder decides to accelerate its rebuild during the season. “The NBA is a crazy business,” Gallinari said of trade rumors. “As players, we can control what we can control, and I cannot control that part of the business.” Alongside Gallinari in the Thunder frontcourt is Adams, Photo Oklahoma City Thunder / provided

rebounding rates in league history for a player his size, due to playing with Westbrook. During the first scrimmage of training camp, Adams pulled down 21 rebounds in 21 minutes of action. “Since I’ve been here, [Adams has] gotten better every year, and my guess is he will improve and get better this year,” Donovan said. Over the last 12 seasons, the Thunder has the second best record in the NBA and the league second best net rating. Presti said that as outside expectations no longer have the Thunder in the elite class of the NBA, the organization is focused on keeping internal standards for fundamentals and locker room respect. “One thing that has deepened our roots probably more than anything is adversity, and we’ve had our fair share of those things,” Presti said. “The way we have responded to those have hopefully have been representations of the values of the city that we represent.

Photo Oklahoma City Thunder / provided

The way we go about our business that when you do get knocked back, dusting yourselves off, getting up and taking steps forward.” The Thunder hosts preseason games Thursday against the New Zealand Breakers, Oct. 16 against the Memphis Grizzlies and has its first regular season home game Oct. 25 against the Washington Wizards. Visit nba.com/thunder.

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EXERCISE YOUR GOD GIVEN FREEDOM!

Christian Science Lecture Sunday, October 13th, 2019

2:00 PM Free Event ALL ARE WELCOME SPEAKER DAVE HOHLE, CSB OF CHICAGO, IL IS A MEMBER OF THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE BOARD OF LECTURESHIP

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ARTS & CULTURE

T H E AT E R

The musical features classic show tunes “It Takes a Woman,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” (also featured in Pixar’s Wall-E) and the title song. | Photo Julieta Cervantes / provided

Quality Dolly!

Put on your Sunday clothes to see a starstudded cast bring Broadway’s favorite Yonkers matchmaker to life in OKC. By Jeremy Martin

Ironically, Hello, Dolly! is such a large production that cast members have trouble finding time to say hello to each other. “We have 31 people in our cast, and if I don’t specifically work my way into seeing everyone, I can go almost weeks without seeing people I actually work with every day,” said Sean Burns, who plays Barnaby Tucker in the touring revival of the classic Broadway musical. “It sounds silly, I know, but that is something I noticed from the get-go. I was like, ‘Oh, man! I’ve got to say hi. I can’t not say hello to people I’m working with every day for weeks on end.’” Hello, Dolly!, presented by OKC Broadway, runs Oct. 15-20 in Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. Featuring show tune standards “It Takes a Woman,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” (also featured in Pixar’s Wall-E) and the title song, the touring version of the show, now in its second year, said hello to several new cast members last month, including John Bolton (Anastasia, A Christmas Story: The Musical) as the “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder and Carolee Carmello (Parade, The Addams Family) as the eponymous matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi — who convinces Horace to travel from Yonkers to New York City in search of a wife and take his clerks Cornelius (Daniel Beeman) and Barnaby, niece Ermengarde (Laura Sky Herman) and her fiancé Ambrose (Colin LeMoine) along. The musical tracks the courtship rituals of the younger generation of characters, but the reluctant romance between curmudgeonly Horace and charismatic widow Dolly provides the show’s heart. “To have the top two in the show

change has really changed the dynamic of the show,” Burns said. “The directors didn’t bring in cookie-cutter replacements for those two. They’re playing the roles as they pertain to them, and it’s really cool to see them take it on. It’s a different show. It really is.” Performing dance numbers with Bolton’s Vandergelder, for example, is a striking enough change to keep Burns on his toes. “He is so tall,” Burns said. “He’s just a tall man, and he’s very quick and light on his feet. During rehearsals, I found myself almost jumping at how quickly he would whizz by me because the previous Vandergelder was about my height and he had this way of moving about the stage that was so intentional in its own way; it was just much slower. So it’s little things like that, but when you get so used to the muscle memory of what everyone seems to do every single night, seeing anything new is fun and feels very different.”

Master class

Having the opportunity to work with veteran Broadway actors Bolton and Carmello (as well as Lewis J. Stadlen and Betty Buckley, who previously played the roles) has been a valuable educational experience for Burns. “While they are all vastly different from each other,” Burns said, “there’s so much to learn just by watching all of them. It’s incredible. … It almost feels like I’m gushing in a way where it sounds like it could be over the top or false in some way, but truly, just getting to watch those four people and be in the wing and get to interact with them, it is almost like a master class.” Burns has been especially impressed

sional production. … The show itself takes on such a different energy, and I love the movie, honestly; I have nothing bad to say about the movie, but … seeing it on stage is a whole other game. It’s incredible. … The amount of detail and the sheer size and spectacle of the setting and the costumes of the show — it’s insane. There’s so much to look at.” Though Burns has some trouble relating to the musical’s late 19th-century setting, he said a conversation with associate director Stephen Edlund helped him better understand Barnaby’s character. “He has a line at the end where he wants his back salary for the past four months, and it’s $6 and some change,” Burns said. “But while the setting was different and times were different, people were the same. My job and my whole thing in life is to help out Cornelius, who is my best friend in the show. That is how I think of Barnaby. … He may be a little simple. He’s not always the first to the stop when it comes to thoughts, but he’s completely altruistic and wants what’s best for everybody around him, but especially his best friend. … It’s all very different than anything I’ve experienced, but the person himself is very easy to empathize with. Anytime that you’ve had a real, genuine care for someone and hoped the best for them and tried your best to help them out, that’s him at his heart, the whole show.” Tickets are $27.16-$92.33. Visit okcbroadway.com.

by Carmello’s versatility and openness as an actress in a role famously originated by Carol Channing and played by Pearl Bailey, Phyllis Diller, Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters. “There’s almost no ego to it,” Burns said. “She’s going to try and try, and if she already tried it three ways and somebody asked her to try a fourth way because those three weren’t working, she’s never acted in a way like, ‘I was doing it my way. You should want it my way.’ She is so willing to try things and willing to move on to the next thing.” Before the new cast took the show on the road, they had the chance to meet with Jerry Zaks, the director of the Tony-winning Broadway revival. “It’s not typical, honestly,” Burns said. “I’ve done tours where Hello, Dolly! runs Oct. I went the entire time 15-20 in Thelma Gaylord without ever having Performing Arts Theatre met any of the origiat Civic Center Music nal creators, so it was Hall. | Photo Julieta Cervantes / provided very cool to have him take the time and come in and usher these new people in — not to the show itself, but into their own versions of the show. Little things were added, bits that had been done in the past that are new for me but not new for Jerry Zaks because he has so many tricks up his sleeve, but things definitely changed. It was an adjustment, but it was really fun to do.” Though Hello, Dolly! originally opened on Broadway in 1964, winning 10 Tony Awards and widespread critical acclaim, and was revived in 1975, 1978, 1995 and 2017, Burns said he was originally only familiar with the musical from its tepidly reviewed 1969 film adaptation. “The show is not revived all that often Hello, Dolly! because it usually takes kind of a star to Oct. 15-20 make the show work,” Burns said. “It’s Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre usually star casting, so the show only Civic Center Music Hall revives itself once every however many 201 N. Walker Ave. decades. I was never lucky enough — I okcbroadway.com | 405-297-2264 just fell in that gap, technically, I guess $27.16-$92.33 — to see it on stage and in a big profes-

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ARTS & CULTURE

3 SIMPLE WAYS TO GET ACTIVE

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TAKE A WALK WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS

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T H E AT E R

Get creative and walk backwards, walk like a crab, gallop or skip!

Bloody Dead

Pollard Theatre Company’s stage adaptation of the popular Evil Dead films features music and a splash zone. By Jeremy Martin

Like a corpse clawing itself out of the fruit cellar floor, Evil Dead: The Musical has been revived, and somebody will have to wipe up all the blood. “The last time we did it was five years ago,” said director Jared Blount. “We had our stage crew, and then we had a crew that specifically came in for cleanup, so three different people that weren’t involved in the production came up and had to mop and scrub flats on the set. That was mainly because we had midnight shows, which we don’t this year, so our crew is going to be able to stay and clean up, but it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get all that blood not visible for the next production.” A singing, dancing stage adaptation of Sam Raimi’s cult horror-comedy trilogy of films, with book and lyrics by George Reinblatt, Evil Dead: The Musical returns Friday-Nov. 2 at The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., in Guthrie. Blount has long been a fan of the franchise, which follows unreasonably cocksure Ash Williams (played in the films by Bruce Campbell) as he attempts to put the titular zombie hordes back into the ground — a gruesome business often requiring him to violently dismember demonic versions of his departed friends and lovers. “I think I saw Evil Dead 2 when I was maybe 11,” Blount said. “And I’ve just been hooked on Evil Dead — and really any Sam Raimi movie or TV show — ever since then. I’ve got four books signed by Bruce Campbell. In fact, our Necronomicon that we use in the show, the book of the dead, we brought to a book signing and had Bruce Campbell sign it. Everybody inWil Rogers and Megan Montgomery in Pollard Theatre Company’s Evil Dead: The Musical. | Photo provided

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volved in this is a pretty big fan.” Though popular with the cast and crew, the musical presents different challenges from a typical Pollard production. “There’s a lot more moving pieces involved,” Blount said. “We have kind of a large-scale production at least once or twice every season, but that doesn’t necessarily involve a lot of technical elements, whereas this show specifically, we’ve got to have disembodied hands that run around, people’s body parts getting chopped off and blood spraying from various areas on stage.” Also unlike most productions, Evil Dead includes a designated audience “splatter zone,” in the first two rows, where, according to the Pollard’s website, “a variety of non-toxic (but potentially fabricstaining) liquids will be ‘sprayed’ in your direction — representative of arterial spray, viscous gory material, and miscellaneous bodily f luids.” Fortunately, getting the blood out of the theater after every show is easier than an average crime-scene cleanup.


Evil Dead: The Musical, a stage adaptation of Sam Raimi’s cult horror-comediy films, runs FridayNov. 2 at The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., in Guthrie. | Photo provided

“Sixty percent of it is Dawn dish soap, so it kind of doesn’t necessarily stain anything,” Blount said. “You just kind of wipe it away.” Since the theater staged the production in 2014, Blount has been wanting to bring it back. “When we first did it, we knew we wanted to do it again, and we stored the set away,” Blount said. “I’ve been saying to our artistic director [W. Jerome Stevenson] ever since then, ‘Hey, we should bring it back,’ and I think it could be a go-to Halloween show in Guthrie. It was really just kind of a unanimous decision from everybody at the theater that I think this is probably a good time to bring it back and get all the fans used to seeing it here.”

Sixty percent of it is Dawn dish soap, so it kind of doesn’t necessarily stain anything. Jared Blount It wasn’t a recitation of passages from the dread Necronomicon that inspired the production’s resurrection, but the untimely demise of the franchise’s most recent entry. “The new series on Starz, Ash vs. Evil Dead, had been canceled, and I remember telling our artistic director Jerome, I said, ‘There’s not really an outlet for people to regularly see Evil Dead stuff,’” Blount said. “So I thought, ‘How perfect would it be if we brought it back, and fans of Evil Dead actually can attend and be immersed in that world again?’”

Immersive archetype

Making sure everybody is on the same page about the franchise’s twisted humor and skewed perspective is crucial for setting the right tone. “The show is based in such a nonrealistic atmosphere, so directing the actors to do things that are completely unnatural has been kind of difficult because an actor’s normal instinct is to immerse themselves in a scene to make

it seem natural, but with this show, it’s like, ‘No, you’ve got to play an archetype, and you’ve got to play it so that there’s no question what trope you’re playing,’” Blount said. “Once we all got on the same page, it took a few rehearsals but they all got it — it’s just campy as hell.” Much of the story’s gory black comedy comes from the inversion of common B-movie clichés. “Ash, essentially in my mind, is kind of the final girl in every other horror movie, but he kind of builds his character up to be the hero archetype, and of course, there’s the female hero, as it were, who, in this particular case, is the guy in every other horror movie that winds up dying,” Blount said. “Then we’ve got the douche-y best friend and the nerdy sister and the harbinger, the hillbilly that lives in the woods. Basically, any kind of horror movie trope that you can think of is kind of wedged into the show.” Blount said he wanted actor Wil Rogers to play Ash because he is able to evoke elements of Campbell’s performance while bringing his own distinct energy to the part. “One of the big ones for me was the look,” Blount said. “Ash has to have a certain look, and Wil Rogers definitely has it. And secondly, I think it was the ability to make Ash his own character while at the same time drawing a lot from Bruce Campbell and his character from the movies. But Wil has such a natural comedic timing and a very seasoned approach to the character in the show. One of the biggest reasons I asked him was he’s one of those people that just absolutely gets it, so it was pretty easy to make him the number one choice.” Ultimately, Blount said, theatergoers familiar with the films should know what to expect from the title alone. “The only thing different is that there is music in it,” Blount said. “The movies are really near and dear to my heart, so I think me and the cast tried as hard as possible to adhere to the films, but I think the biggest differences that the audience will notice is that they’re just up there having fun, and there’s plenty of thematic elements that people can identify with the movie, and most of the lines are from Army of Darkness and Evil Dead 2. So the only difference is seeing it live and getting to be sprayed with blood. … The show is just silly and campy and ridiculous and bloody as hell.” Tickets are $12.50-$30. Visit thepollard.org.

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Evil Dead: The Musical Friday-Nov. 2 The Pollard Theatre 120 W. Harrison Ave., Guthrie thepollard.org | 405-282-2800 $12.50-$30

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

BOOKS Brunching with Books a book club meeting every other week, with reading selections chosen by group preference, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Buttermilk Paseo, 605 NW 28th St., 405-605-6660, buttermilkokc.com. SAT Second Sunday Poetry hear the works of a variety of local poets, 2 p.m. second Sunday of every month. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405307-9320, pasnorman.org. SUN

FILM A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014, USA, Ana Lily Amirpour) a vampire stalks through Iran’s Bad City, 2 p.m. Oct. 13. Oklahoma City University, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave, 405-208-5000. SUN Holiday (1938, USA, George Cukor) a man’s plan to spend his early life in leisure is met with skepticism by almost everyone; airing on OETA as part of its weekly Movie Club, 9 p.m. Oct. 12. SAT The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, USA, Jim Sharman) an interactive screening of this cult-classic sci-fi musical sex comedy, Through Oct. 30. The Boom, 2218 NW 39th St., 405-601-7200, theboomokc.com. FRI-WED

HAPPENINGS Adèle Wolf’s Burlesque & Variety Show Halloween Spectacular an annual event featuring burlesque, cabaret, aerial arts, belly dancing, games, door prizes and a Halloween costume contest, 8 p.m. Oct. 12. Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St., 405-708-6937, towertheatreokc.com. SAT Afro Beats a dance party with soca, hip-hop, Caribbean, dancehall and other genres of music provided by DJ Sinz, 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays. Glass Lounge, 5929 N. May Ave., 405-835-8077, glasshouseokc.com. FRI Atlas Obscura: The Gameshow! an interactive game show celebrating the release of Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, 6-9 p.m. Oct. 15. Factory Obscura, 25 NW Ninth St., factoryobscura.fun. TUE Banquet Cinema Bingo Night buy a card for a chance to win cash prizes, 7-8:45 p.m. Wednesdays. The Banquet Cinema Pub, 800 NW Fourth St., banquetcinema.com. WED Board Game Day enjoy local craft beer while playing old-school board and arcade games with friends, 5-8 p.m. Sundays. FlashBack RetroPub, 814 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-633-3604, flashbackretropub.com. SUN

Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert Written in the last decade of his life, Duke Ellington’s three sacred concerts are the sound of one of America’s greatest composers stretching outside his comfort zone in an attempt to touch heaven by infusing his groundbreaking jazz and blues with elements of classical music and choral gospel. The amount of musicians needed to do these compositions justice keeps them from being performed more frequently, but Oklahoma City Jazz Orchestra (pictured) and Canterbury Voices have teamed up to honor Ellington’s work, which he reportedly considered his most important, at this performance also featuring local jazz vocalist Pamela Fred Hammond and Dan Keberle’s jazz arrangements of traditional choral hymns. Praise God and dance 3 p.m. Sunday in Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. Tickets are $15-$62. Call 405-594-8300 or visit canterburyokc.com. SUNDAY Photo provided Teach-In: Japanese Internment a threepart weekly series about the history of Japanese Internment and its relevance to the present day, 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 9. Mayflower Congregational Church, 3901 NW 63rd Street, 405842-8897, bellavoceokc.org. WED

PERFORMING ARTS

Trivia Night at Black Mesa Brewing test your knowledge at this weekly competition hosted by BanjoBug Trivia, 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Black Mesa Brewing Company, 1354 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-7781865, blackmesabrewing.com. TUE

Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown a musical showdown between tribute bands Abbey Road and Satisfaction, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14. Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St., 405-708-6937, towertheatreokc.com. MON

Trivia Night at Matty McMillen’s answer questions for a chance to win prizes at this weekly trivia night, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Matty McMillen’s Irish Pub, 2201 NW 150th St., 405-607-8822, mattymcmillens.com. TUE

Blue Sunday a monthly blues tribute show hosted by Powerhouse Blues Project,6-8 p.m. the second Sunday of every month. Friends Restaurant & Club, 3705 W. Memorial Road, 405-751-4057, friendsbarokc.com. SUN

Watonga Cheese Festival enjoy live entertainment, a quilt show, a carnival, cheese tastings and more at this annual event now in its 43rd year, Oct. 11-12. 505 S. Clarence Nash Blvd., Watonga. FRI-SAT

Cabaret University of Oklahoma music students will perform this musical set in Berlin during the lead up to World War II, through Oct. 13. Elsie C. Brackett Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-4101, theatre.ou.edu. FRI-SUN

Drag Me to Bingo bingo night hosted by Teabaggin Betsy, 9 p.m. Tuesdays. Partners, 2805 NW 36th St., 405-942-2199, partners4club.com. TUE

Veggie Dinner enjoy a multi-course vegetarian meal paired with wine, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15. Picasso Cafe, 3009 Paseo St., 405-602-2002, picassosonpaseo.com. TUE

LIVE! on the Plaza join the Plaza District every second Friday for an art walk featuring artists, live music, shopping and more, 6-10 p.m. second Friday of every month. Plaza District, 1618 N. Gatewood Ave., 405-426-7812, plazadistrict.org. FRI Moore Chess Club play in tournaments and learn about the popular board game at this weekly event where all ages and skill levels are welcome, 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Moore Library, 225 S. Howard Ave., Moore. SUN The Musical Swings Montreal-based Daily tous les jours installed this swing set, and operating each swing triggers a different set of notes so that, through cooperation, visitors can play a song, through Oct. 13. Bicentennial Park, 500 Couch drive, 405-297-3882, facebook.com/pages/bicentennial. WED-SUN

Pooches on the Patio bring your best friend to this dog-friendly happy hour with drink specials, appetizers and free pet treats, 4-7 p.m. Saturdays. Café 501 Classen Curve, 5825 NW Grand Blvd., 405844-1501, cafe501.com. SAT Renegade Poker compete in a 2-3 hour tournament with cash prizes, 3 p.m. Sundays. Bison Witches Bar & Deli, 211 E Main St., Norman, 405-3647555, bisonwitchesok.com. SUN

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Goldberg Variations with Anastasia Abu Bakar the harpsichord and director of OCU’s Early Music Ensemble performs Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous composition, 7:30-8:45 p.m. Oct. 15. Bass School of Music, OCU, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 405-208-5227, okcu.edu. TUE Ladies Night of Comedy comics Madison Woodcock, Sondra Slade, Julie Drake and Shawna Blake perform at this fundraising event for YWCA of Greater Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. Oct. 11. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-887-3327, theparamountroom.com. FRI

Paseo Farmers Market shop for fresh food from local vendors at this weekly outdoor event, 9 a.m.noon Saturdays, through Oct. 19. SixTwelve, 612 NW 29th St., 405-208-8291, sixtwelve.org. SAT The Taste on 36th a monthly gathering of food trucks from throughout the state featuring live music, noon-6 p.m. second Saturday of every month. Ice Event Center & Grill, 1148 NE 36th St., 405-208-4240, iceeventcentergrill.eat24hour.com. SAT

The Friend Zone: Speed-Friending make new friends five minutes at a time at this platonic meetup, 7 p.m. second Monday of every month. Oak & Ore, 1732 NW. 16th St., 405-606-2030, oakandore.com. MON

Dance Into the Shadows a talent, dance and music showcase, 7 p.m. Oct. 12. Adelante Dance Studio, 201 N. Broadway St., 405-586-0201, adelantedancestudio.com. SAT

FOOD

Celtic Festival Music & Food enjoy food, music, dancing and games, Oct. 11-12. Sean Cumming’s Irish Restaurant, 7628 N. May Ave., 405-841-7326, seancummings-ok.com. FRI-SAT

Edmond Pride a family-friendly celebration with live performances, food trucks and an appearance by Rupaul’s Drag Race contestant Farrah Moan, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 20. Hafer Park, 1034 S. Bryant Ave., Edmond, 405-359-4630, edmondok.com. SAT

Art of Rap hosted by Jim Conway, this monthly rap battle pits local MCs against one another for a cash prize, 9 p.m. Mondays. Hubbly Bubbly Hookah & Café, 2900 N Classen Blvd. Suite K, 405-609-2930. MON

Category Is a monthly variety show hosted by Tilly Screams and Robin Banks, 10 p.m.-midnight second Saturday of every month. Frankie’s, 2807 NW 36th St., 405-602-2030, facebook.com/frankiesokc. SAT

YOUTH Art Adventures children can enjoy story time and related activities, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-3253272, ou.edu/fjjma. TUE OKC Drag Queen Story Hour children and their families are invited to a story and craft time lead by Ms. Shantel and followed by a dance party, 4 p.m. second Saturday of every month. Sunnyside Diner, 916 NW Sixth St., 405.778.8861. SAT Reading Wednesdays a weekly storytime with hands-on activities, goody bags and reading-themed photo ops, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. WED Sankofa Chess Club children 7 and older are invited to learn chess in this club meeting weekly, 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Nappy Roots, 3705 Springlake Drive, 405-896-0203, facebook.com/pg/nappyrootsbooks. WED Signing Time Sign Language Class children can learn American Sign Language at this class taught by Mrs. Stacy, 4-5 p.m. Sept. 12. We Rock the Spectrum, 64 E. 33rd St., 405-657-1108, werockthespectrumoklahomacity.com. THU Storytime Science the museum invites children age 6 and younger to hear a story and participate in a related scientific activity, 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, sciencemuseumok.org. TUE-SAT

Xanadu Jr. Whilst composing his famous opium-fueled poem about Kubla Khan’s stately Xanadu pleasure dome in 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was infamously interrupted by a person from Porlock knocking at his door. When Coleridge returned to the poem, so the story goes, he’d forgotten most of what he meant to say. So maybe we can assume that he really meant to write the plot to the 1980 musical Xanadu, which mixes Greek mythology with roller-disco to a soundtrack by Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton-John. Though the film was critically panned, the 2007 Broadway musical was nominated for four Tony Awards. If that all sounds like magic, just imagine it being performed by actors too young to have a real reference point for anything mentioned in this paragraph. Drink the milk of paradise FridaySunday at Edmond Fine Arts Institute, 27 E. Edwards St., in Edmond. Tickets are $10. Call 405-340-4481 or visit edmondfinearts.com. FRIDAY-SUNDAY Photo provided

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Pumpkinville If the artificial flavor of pumpkin spice has already begun to wear out its welcome, immerse yourself in the real deal at this annual gourd festival featuring more than 16,000 pumpkins, all of them great in their own ways. Check out the full schedule for special events in the outsized pumpkin patch including storytelling, train rides, improv, a juggling workshop and the as-adorable-as-it-sounds Spooky Pooch Parade. Get your fall on 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Oct. 27 at Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave. Admission is free-$8. Call 405-445-7080 or visit oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com. FRIDAY-OCT. 27 Photo provided

Literati Variety Show a talk-show style event featuring Poetic City, 7-9 p.m. Oct. 12. Literati Press Comics & Novels, 3010 Paseo St., 405-882-7032, literatipressok.com. SAT Pick-A-Tune with Lucas Ross learn to play the banjo; instruments provided, 2 p.m. Oct. 12. American Banjo Museum, 9 E. Sheridan Ave., 405-6042793, americanbanjomuseum.com. SAT The Rocky Horror Show naive Brad and Janet find themselves stranded at mad scientist Dr. FrankN-Furter’s in this groundbreaking musical by Richard O’Brien, Oct. 9-Nov. 2. Lyric Theatre, 1727 NW 16th St., 405-524-9310, lyrictheatreokc.com. WED-SAT The Tempest Prospero the magician shipwrecks his enemies on an enchanted island in this fantasy by William Shakespeare, through Oct. 26. Shakespeare on Paseo, 2920 Paseo St., 405-235-3700, oklahomashakespeare.org. THU-SAT

ACTIVE Botanical Balance an all-levels yoga class in a natural environment; bring your own mat and water, 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. Saturdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. SAT Fall Foliage Paddle paddle through the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge on a dragon boat to see the autumn leaves changing color, 1-2:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Riversport Rapids, 800 Riversport Drive, 405-5524040, riversportokc.org. SAT

University Drive, Edmond, 405-525-3603, uco.edu. MON-THU

Japanese Bookbinding learn to create handmade stab bound books at this workshop led by Wendy Fox, 1-4 p.m. Oct. 12. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405-815-9995, 1ne3.org. SAT Sarah Elizabeth Cody, Sam Smith, Ofelia Ochoa, Paige Busick an exhibition featuring works by four local artists, 6-9 p.m. Oct. 10. DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., 405-525-3499, dnagalleries.com. THU Second Friday Art Walk tour shops studios, venues and galleries to view visual art exhibits, hear live music and more, 6 p.m. second Friday of every month. Downtown Norman, 122 E. Main St., Norman, 405-637-6225, downtownnorman.com. FRI Thoughts on Africa an exhibition of Don Nevard’s photographs of native African wildlife, through Oct. 31. Inasmuch Foundation Gallery at Oklahoma City Community College, 7777 S. May Avenue, 405-682-7579. SAT-THU

The Wounded Eye an exhibition of works by photographer, singer, poet and guitarist Cherryl Seard, through Nov. 2. Nappy Roots, 3705 Springlake Drive, 405-896-0203, facebook.com/pg/nappyrootsbooks. FRI-SAT

Full Moon Bike Ride & Run a monthly evening bike ride and run through downtown OKC, 7 p.m. Oct. 14. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. MON JediOKC Masquerade Run a 5K and 1-mile fun run where Star Wars-themed costumes are encouraged, 5-9 p.m. Oct. 12. Wiley Post Park, 2021 S. Robinson Ave., 405-297-2756, okc.gov. SAT Twisted Coyote Brew Crew a weekly 3-mile group run for all ability levels with a beer tasting to follow; bring your own safety lights, 6 p.m. Mondays. Twisted Spike Brewing Co., 1 NW 10th St., 405-301-3467, twistedspike.com. MON Wheeler Criterium a weekly nighttime cycling event with criterium races, food trucks and family activities, 5-8 p.m. Tuesdays. Wheeler Park, 1120 S. Western Ave., 405-297-2211, wheelerdistrict.com. TUE Yoga with Art workout in an art-filled environment followed by a mimosa, 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. 21c Museum Hotel, 900 W. Main St., 405-982-6900, 21cmuseumhotels.com. SAT

VISUAL ARTS Between Pastures & Skies: Art from the Ranch, 2014-2019 view mixed-medium works, paintings, drawings, installations, photos and videos created by Irmgard Geul and Skip Hill, Oct. 11-Nov. 16. MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St., Norman, 405-360-1162, mainsitecontemporaryart. com. FRI-SAT Figures & Landscapes: The Art of Carol Armstrong an exhibition of works by the Oklahoma Governor’s Art Award winning painter, through Nov. 2. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405-307-9320, pasnorman.org. FRI-SAT

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 listings@okgazette.com. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.

For OKG live music

see page 29

Imperfect Exchange an exhibition of Patrick Earl Hammie’s artwork exploring race, gender and identity, through Oct. 10. Melton Gallery, 100 N. O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | O C TO B E R 9 , 2 0 1 9

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O C TO B E R 9 , 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M


EVENT

MUSIC

Sunshine songs

EmiSunshine and The Rain plays at Rodeo Opry the day after the release of a new album. By Jeremy Martin

The girl was 9 years old, but the song she sang was 75 years older. A YouTube video of young EmiSunshine singing Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 6” in a flea market in Sweetwater, Tennessee, became popular enough to land her a spot on the Today show, where the hosts called her “spunky” and marveled that she preferred Dolly Parton to Miley Cyrus. That was more than five years ago — half a lifetime, during which EmiSunshine has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and shared a stage with Loretta Lynn. “I’ve grown as a person, and that’s what you’re supposed to do,” EmiSunshine said. “I’ve gotten smarter, and I’ve worked a little bit harder over the years, and I’ve come into myself as a person. And that’s what I think is really important. I’m not really the little 9-year-old girl playing at a flea market in pigtails anymore. I mean, I’m growing up and I’m becoming my own person, and that’s a good thing. I have changed a little bit, and my perspective has.” EmiSunshine and The Rain plays 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Rodeo Opry, 2221 Exchange Ave. Her latest album, Family Wars, will be released the day before. The title track laments, “Sister’s out here living in sin / Grandma’s on the dope again / No one speaks to Daddy anymore / Mama can’t get off the couch / Her heart’s too broke and she’s wore EmiSunshine and The Rain plays Oct. 19 at Rodeo Opry. | Photo Alan Messer / provided

out / At 44.” Considering she has been writing songs with her mother for a decade and The Rain features her father Randall Hamilton on bass, brother John Hamilton on guitar and “Uncle” Bobby Hill on drums, the song might be a little awkward to play if it were based on her real family history, but like the singer’s many murder ballads, the inspiration comes from “other people’s lives.” “It’s not really from my family,” EmiSunshine said. “I write about a lot of things that I’m passionate about and my views and my opinions on things in this world. I think that my family supports me very, very much.”

I’m not really the little 9-year-old girl playing at a flea market in pigtails anymore. EmiSunshine She began writing songs seriously at the age many children learn the alphabet. “My mom and I, we started writing songs when I was itty-bitty, like little kids songs, and then when I was 5, I decided that I wanted to write a real song,” EmiSunshine said. “I started writing a song called ‘My Time to Fly,’ and my mom, she helped me a little bit with it. She kind of let me take the lead

on that song. I wanted to write a gospel song because my grandmother was a singer, and so was my great-grandmother and my dad and my uncles and cousins and everybody in between, really. So I was very influenced by them because they had a gospel group that they sung in, and they went all around the United States. I just really wanted to keep their memory alive through that.” Since then, she said, her songwriting has evolved and “blossomed out.” Family Wars’ “Jonas Black” adopts the perspective of the mother of the title character, a man killed in the September 11 attack. “It’s happened before, it will happen again / another nightmare is just around the bend,” the song says. “Scarecrow” tells of an abusive husband whose “body lies at the bottom of a well” after his wife gets hold of a shotgun. “The Ghost of Hank Williams” haunts its “heartsick and lonely” singer. “Same Boat” warns, “The bough’s about to break and the sails are torn in two / And waves crashing down on you are crashing on me, too.” “I write in a way that it can relate to just about anyone,” EmiSunshine said. “I mean, I want to write for other people’s interpretation of my song. I don’t want it to be mostly all about me and what I think. I want to make it where it appeals to me, where it could appeal to my fans. It can appeal to anyone, and they can interpret it in their own way. That’s what I love about writing.”

American interpretation

“Meanwhile in America” compares life in the U.S. to that in Afghanistan and Mexico and asks, “Why should I complain about anything?” The title track for 2016’s American Dream, which reminds listeners to “think of all of these people whose American Dream was a lie” drew some criticism from listeners, but in a Facebook post, EmiSunshine said, “I knew when I wrote it people might think that it was too harsh! But I’m not too worried about it. I didn’t write it to be political I wrote it because of my Papaw who was injured at a local steam plant and who has had it so rough that it tore my poor mama apart! And I wrote it because of a lot of people I know that lost their American dream so it didn’t matter to me if people don’t like it! All that matters to me is if my Papaw is honored by it!” EmiSunshine said the perspective in both songs is similar. “My views on a lot of things really didn’t change,” EmiSunshine said. “It’s talking about a lot of subjects that people don’t really want to talk about very much from what I’ve seen, and I just wanted to say be thankful for what we have. Things might be a little bit messed up every now and then, but I think that we as a society need to be more thankful for the things that we have.” Family Wars’ “Politicians Dance” laments, “We close our eyes and never glance while leaders fail to make a stand / The world looks out with blind-

Family Wars will be released Oct. 18. | Image provided

ers on, mailboxes filled by Amazon / While kids like us do what we’re told, greed and lust fill empty holes.” All EmiSunshine would say about the song is it sounds different because she wrote it on the guitar instead of the ukulele. “I’ll leave that one open for interpretation in your own way,” EmiSunshine said. “I don’t really want to go into that one as much.” Features written about EmiSunshine often call her an “old soul.” “I hear it a lot, but I mean, I grew up like an only child, and I’m homeschooled, so I guess I took time to be around adults more, and I guess that might have something to do with it,” EmiSunshine said. “I really don’t know. I’m just me. … I used to be very uncomfortable around kids my own age, but then I realized they’re just as uncomfortable as I am around them. They really are. You just find your people. I get along with adults. I get along with kids. I think that really what it is for me was just I was very intimidated in a way. I don’t know why I wasn’t intimidated by adults when I was younger. I was intimidated about kids my age, a little bit older. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to find people that are very, very kind and are good friends my age that don’t scare me.” While much attention has been paid to EmiSunshine’s haunting ballads, she also likes to write “ridiculous, silly songs” in her “free time.” “I don’t really write a lot about those things,” EmiSunshine said. “I do it every now and then for fun, but it’s not really what I’m trying to put out in the world. It’s not something that I feel is as needed out in the world. I want to write about things that can be beneficial to people, society. I want this album to be something where [people say] ‘Oh, I need to think about that more. I need to think about this topic more.’ That’s pretty much what I’m trying to do.” Tickets are $7.50-$15. Visit ohfo.org.

EmiSunshine and The Rain 7 p.m. Oct. 19 Rodeo Opry 2221 Exchange Ave. ohfo.org | 405-297-9773 $7.50-$15

O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | O C TO B E R 9 , 2 0 1 9

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MUSIC

EVENT

Tenacious D plays 8 p.m. Oct. 20 at The Criterion. | Photo Shane McCauley / provided

Stage warning

Tenacious D brings its new, possibly incendiary, apocalyptic rock opera (and its hits) to OKC. By Jeremy Martin

Before you can watch Tenacious D’s 2018 sort-of animated sci-fi rock opera Post-Apocalypto on YouTube, you must click through a screen warning: “This video may be inappropriate for some viewers.” Go ahead and apply that same warning to the text beyond this sentence. In anticipation of the D’s Oct. 20 show at The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave., we had a short phone conversation with Jack Black (aka JB, aka Jables) and Kyle Gass (aka KG, aka Rage Kage) about their latest tour, inspired by the film, which depicts the duo surviving a nuclear holocaust, befriending a threeheaded dog named Hope and a chainsaw-bazooka-ma-

chine-gun-toting robot, and taking on the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Nazis and the White House through a slideshow of Black’s crude (in every sense) drawings and soundtracked and voiced as only the D could or would. Topics covered include narcissism, when it’s racist to yell “Free Bird” at a concert, and the president’s (allegedly) weird little penis. (Remember, you were already warned.) Oklahoma Gazette: I read an interview with you guys on Uproxx where you said part of the inspiration for PostApocalypto was recognizing Donald Trump’s narcissism as similar to your own in some ways. Do you think narcissism is something you need to overcome or can it be used in positive ways? Black: You could just ask Howard Stern. He seems to have harnessed it into a powerful entertainment industry tool. A lot of people have. We’ve definitely used our own narcissism to our benefit, but it’s kind of like the Force. It’s very, very susceptible to being turned to the dark side. OKG: When you’re dealing with highly Post-Apocalypto, the soundtrack to Tenacious D’s sort-of animated sci-fi rock opera, was released in November. | Image provided

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charged subjects, do you worry about what you’re saying being misunderstood? Black: Yeah. We did have that conversation. There’s a section in there where we’re on a mission to save the world, and one of the things we have to do is get the, what’s it called again, Kage? Gass: The Crystal of Gilgamesh. Black: Yeah, we’ve got to get the Crystal of Gilgamesh and it’s in the White House, and it’s being guarded by KKK soldiers and Nazi soldiers, and we devise a plan to sneak in there, kind of like The Wizard of Oz, where our heroes have to dress up like the guards, but the KKK are singing a song. When we first get to that scene, to that chapter of the movie, Kage was like, “Dude, this song is, I don’t even know if we should put it on the album because maybe the KKK will use it as their thing,” but we ended up using it anyway because I think if you listen to the lyrics, you know that we’re antifascism. It’s pretty obvious. Gass: Our KKK demographic is very low. Black: But we can always tell when we’re doing a show … during that section, there have been people that have yelled out “Free Bird!” and that, we think is code for, “Fuck you, snowflake! Make America Great Again!” is what they really want to yell, but they know they can’t do that, so they yell “Free Bird,” which is the international word for, “This is boring. Play Skynyrd.” Really what they’re saying is, “Fuck you. I’m a KKK guy.” OKG: I know your album Rize of the Fenix had some discussion of the negative response to your film The Pick of Destiny. How have you felt about the feedback you’ve been getting for Post-Apocalypto? Gass: We hope people liked it. What have they been saying? I can’t read comments anymore. They say I’m old, and then I stop reading. OKG: So you’re just not really concerned about that anymore? Gass: I’m very concerned, but I try not to be. Black: I love to play our rock opera in its entirety for audiences. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of Tenacious D’s whole career trajectory for me. When we get up there and we’re just sitting behind the screen and the images from the movie are playing up on the screen in between songs, we get to just chill and listen to the audience and watch the movie do its magic. We’ve been touring it for like a year, and I just never get tired of it. I just love it. And it feels good to be making something that you really believe in. We always love our own shit. We love our own music, and we love to listen to our albums, but this is the first time we’ve really done something where there’s actually a meaning and a message behind this thing that’s bigger than just your everyday average rock ’n’ roll album, and it fucking feels great, and the audiences have been really into it,

except for one or two “Free Bird”s. I’ll take that. … And we should say, we do our rock opera, which really is a condensed version, I’d say it’s about 45 minutes, and then the rest of the show is greatest hits. We’re all about showmanship at the end of the day. We’re not going to deny anybody our hits. Gass: We’re too insecure for that. We have to deliver. OKG: I’m curious why you go after Donald Trump Jr. instead of Trump Sr. in the movie. Gass: We knew that it’s against the law to even threaten the president of our country. It’s not really a bad law. You should really try to hold off on the leader, the great leader, but fortunately for us, his son is an even bigger piece of shit than he is. Black: And also, aside from that, Donald Trump Sr. is, like, 80 years old, and he just eats fucking Kentucky Fried Chicken every day. So we’re like, “Wait. He could easily have a heart attack any minute now, and then we’re running around town, you know, with a rock opera about a dead guy, so let’s think ahead a little bit.” Donald Jr. seemed like a safer bet to stay relevant for at least until the election in 2020. Gass: Just covering our own asses. OKG: It also ties in with the overall theme about negativity being passed down through generations. Black: It comes down to looking at ourselves in the mirror and looking at, “What kind of people are we creating? What’s Jables Jr. gonna be about?” Gass: That’s one of my favorite parts, is our song “Colors” when Jack draws the Trump lineage all the way back to cavemen. It’s pretty effective, I think. Black: It all started with a comparison of penis size by the campfire. That started all of this hatred. Gass: You can see the social rock anthropologists that we are. Black: There’s lots of armchair psychologists that have linked Trump’s rage to his obsession with mushroom penises. We know this. This is just factbased stuff. That was my favorite thing was when we cross-faded from Trump’s mushroom cock to a mushroom cloud and a nuclear holocaust. Gass: They’re talking about the Nobel Prize for transitions. Black: It’s true. There’s a lot of talk about it. We’re not talking about it, but the Nobel commission is. The show is all-ages. Tickets are $52.50. Visit criterionokc.com.

Tenacious D 8 p.m. Oct. 20 The Criterion 500 E. Sheridan Ave. criterionokc.com | 405-840-5500 $52.50


List your event in

FRIDAY

OCTOBER 11 7PM TOM MACDONALD & STRUGGLE JENNINGS

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 okgazette.com or e-mail them to listings@okgazette.com.

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O C TO B E R 9 , 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M


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

Let Us Serve You!

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 9

CORPORATE EVENTS HOLIDAY PARTIES BIRTHDAY PARTIES WEDDINGS REUNIONS ANNIVERSARY

Adam Aguilar & the Weekend All Stars, Sidecar Barley & Wine Bar. COVER The Almas/Index Paradox/Don’t Tell Dena, Red Brick Bar. ROCK

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The Big News/The Holophonics/Madaline, Blue Note Lounge. SKA Kali Ra/Fresh Juice Party/The Lunar Laugh, 89th Street-OKC. ROCK Masterhand/Bear Call/Stone Tide, 51st Street Speakeasy. ROCK Mumford & Sons, Chesapeake Energy Arena. POP Plain Speak/Via Luna/Speak, Memory, The Deli. ROCK Struggle Jennings/Tom MacDonald, Your Mom’s Place. SINGER/SONGWRITER Weekend All Stars, Remington Park. COVER

SATURDAY, OCT. 12 B Boys/Karger Traum, 89th Street-OKC. ELECTRONIC

Indigenous/Kingcoopa/JessTheMann, OKC Farmers Market. ELECTRONIC Jane Mays & the Minnie Funk Band, Bedlam Bar-B-Q. SINGER/SONGWRITER The Raconteurs/The Casualties of Jazz, The Criterion. ROCK Sativa Prophets/Don’t Make Ghosts/From Parts Unknown, 51st Street Speakeasy. HIP-HOP/ROCK

SUNDAY, OCT. 13 Hosty, The Deli. ROCK Jai Wolf, Tower Theatre. ELECTRONIC Regional Justice Center/Downward/Inferna, 89th Street-OKC. HARDCORE

Megan Thee Stallion Of the many quotable lines Megan Thee Stallion has dropped during her endless hot girl summer reign, only a few are close to printable, so let’s just go with this tweet: “Being a Hot Girl is about being unapologetically YOU, having fun, being confident, living YOUR truth, being the life of the party etc.” Promoting sex-positive woman power in a way that only a Houston rapper who grew up listening to UGK would ever probably think to, Megan Thee Stallion, by her own definition, is so hot she’s liable to raise the body temperature of the entire audience, so dress accordingly. Feed a fever 8 p.m. Friday at The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave. Tickets are $50-$65. Call 405-840-5500 or visit criterionokc.com. FRIDAY

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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 listings@okgazette.com. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.

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O C TO B E R 9 , 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M


CANNABIS

THE HIGH CULTURE

THC

Rolling stoned

Oklahoma’s DUI laws currently leave no allowance for medical cannabis patients. By Matt Dinger

Oklahoma cannabis patients currently have no exceptions to the state’s laws pertaining to driving under the influence. The applicable statute reads in part, “It is unlawful and punishable as provided in this section for any person to drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within this state, whether upon public roads, highways, streets, turnpikes, other public places or upon any private road, street, alley or lane which provides access to one or more single or multi-family dwellings, who has any amount of a Schedule I chemical or controlled substance ... or one of its metabolites or analogs in the person’s blood, saliva, urine or any other bodily fluid at the time of a test of such person’s blood, saliva, urine or any other bodily fluid administered within two hours after the arrest of such person.” Cannabis metabolites might be detectable in a patient’s urine for more than a month after their last use and will be present in blood if they are currently

John Hunsucker | Photo provided

using cannabis to treat their conditions. “Every single person with a patient license who is actively using or consuming cannabis in any way, according to this, none of them can drive,” said Clayburn Curtis of Overman Legal Group. “Even if they have a recommendation and a license, those metabolites, at the very least, are going to be present in your blood. The fact that those metabolites are present in your blood does not mean that you were actually under the influence of THC or any type of cannabis.” While there have been decades of evolving law when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol, no such thing currently exists for cannabis. “The law is pretty self-explanatory,” Curtis said. “It’s illegal to drive while under the influence, and Oklahoma does not have a test that is capable of actually telling us that someone is driving under the influence. … Colorado is at least working towards tests that

would be capable of determining whether someone is, in fact, under the influence of cannabis and driving. Oklahoma’s not even trying to do that. We haven’t looked into changing this.” Updating this will require an update of the state’s DUI laws by the Legislature, which does not meet again until February. “There is obviously a gap between what the law should be, what would be fair and equitable and even really the intent of the law and what the law actually is. … I think we need to be changing this conversation to address real concerns, such as is it more dangerous for people who are recommended cannabis to drive under cannabis? I think the answer is no,” Curtis said. “I’m aware of several studies that have come out that the answer simply is no. The simple truth is it’s not like alcohol. It’s not like many other drugs. I think we can make comparisons that are insightful or meaningful if we want to be deliberate. For example, should it be legal for someone who was prescribed Adderall to drive under the influence of Adderall? The reality is that many ways Adderall is prescribed to them because it actually helps them adjust to the necessities of everyday life and requirements of everyday life, and for many cannabis users, I think this is also true. That, in fact, the reality is people who are daily users, daily consumers of cannabis, cannabis does help them cope or deal with just the regularity of everyday life and many people perform and function better on cannabis.

It’s not science at all. It’s junk. John Hunsucker “I think to even make that comparison to me would illustrate a fundamental misunderstanding of what the distinction is between cannabis and a drug like, say, alcohol. There are many studies out there that show that that cannabis doesn’t negatively impact people’s ability to operate motor vehicles. Now, could it? I think that it certainly could. There are already rules and laws that protect us from unsafe driving.” John Hunsucker with Hunsucker Law Firm, a longtime Oklahoma City firm that specializes in DUI cases, agreed that the comparison between cannabis and alcohol is not an equivalency when it comes to DUI. “There are studies that show you’re a better driver under the influence of marijuana than you are under the influence of alcohol,” Hunsucker said. Because there is no test for cannabis intoxication, this leaves whether a driver is impaired up to the discretion of a law enforcement officer. While some have been certified as drug recognition experts or DREs, those tests are highly subjective. “I think it’s junk science. Well, it’s not science at all. It’s junk,” Hunsucker said. “There have been absolutely no

validation studies done to support that DRE is accurate in any shape or form. You’re going to use a person that basically went to a seven-day course and he’s going to determine what type of drugs are in your system? It takes four years to get a degree in pharmacology. But yet we’re going to put cops out there with seven days’ training and they’re going to make that type of determination based on several things like an eye test. There’s other causes of [horizontal gaze nystagmus] besides alcohol or drug usage.” Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeballs that becomes more pronounced when people are intoxicated. “It’s all hocus pocus; it really is,” Curtis said. “Pseudoscience is another way of saying ‘not science.’” The practice is similar to that of fingerprint analysis, which is done by comparing two samples flagged by a computer algorithm, compared by eye and then compared by a supervisor, who signs off on the analysis. “Fingerprint science, in a nutshell, is, ‘That looks the same to me. I showed it to my boss. He also looks at a lot of fingerprints, and he also agreed with me. It looks the same.’ To me, that is so ripe for error,” he said. “The drug nation experts are essentially the same. Basically, it’s just a guy who has gotten the most basic training.” Hunsucker said there has not been a deluge of cannabis DUI cases since State Question 788 went into effect. “We’re not seeing a rise in DUI marijuana cases, so it’s not like with the new law passing, they’re just out there arresting everybody. It’s not been that way at all. We’re getting maybe three or four a month, which isn’t a lot for us. I would say it’s just a slight uptick,” Hunsucker said. “Is a medical marijuana card in itself probable cause to ask for blood if you’re driving your car? The statute’s got to change. The law definitely needs to be clarified because the law’s basically unclear.”

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CANNABIS

Flower | Edibles | Plants | Vapes | Tincture | & more!

Herbal engineering Mary Mechanix just introduced its fall flavor of distillate cartridges. Seasonal offerings are a key component of its brand. By Matt Dinger

When the season changes, so does the flavor of Mary Mechanix’s seasonal cartridges. Its spiced apple cider cartridge debuted on the autumnal equinox, the same day the company retired its popular Bomb Pop for the year. To Mary Mechanix, having a unique brand with distinctive offerings is as important as quality products. “We’ve been kind of perpetual entrepreneurs,” chief executive officer Ty Saner said. “We started with the landscape and lawn mowing company, and then we went on to roofing, on to flipping homes, then on to actual building of homes to rental property to developing, so when the marijuana business came along, we both were very versed in marijuana by the time. We knew the medicinal sides and aspects of it, and we knew we wanted to get in some sort of opportunity. We had several people that came to us that are already prominent in this industry and want us to invest in them. I just didn’t see any business model, and neither did he, that we wanted to stick our money into. None of it made sense to us.” When a construction superintendent left early for the day to tend to his grow, Chaz Saner accompanied him. “The minute I got to the grow, I called my brother,” chief operating officer Chaz Saner said. “They were the founders, I guess you could say, of this business because we came in when they just had 1,000 square feet and it was just hodgepodged together,” Ty Saner said. “We came in and we saw the potential of what they

The spiced apple cider vape cartridge, available only in the autumn, is the newest of Mary Mechanix’s offerings. | Photo Alexa Ace

could be and the atmosphere that we could employ inside of this industry. We needed ability to grow, we needed to learn the processes of the business and we put it all together, and that’s where Mary Mechanix now becomes something that we can put branding to. The branding came first. Just like with any good startup, I feel, branding is the most important thing of a company.”

It’s been a ton of work and a ton of headache, but it’s the most incredible industry I’ve ever been in. Chaz Saner “It leads our direction, where we’re trying to go and not necessarily where we are today but where we eventually want to be,” Chaz Saner said. Mary Mechanix began getting more growhouses online and hired an experienced processor from Washington to come in and start concentrating cannabis for its vape cartridge line. That processor came from a recommendation from the guy doing the pre-roll line. And so on. “What Mary Mechanix is really about is it’s friends wanting to help friends that then become employees because they love the cannabis indusTy Saner is the CEO of Mary Mechanix. | Photo Alexa Ace


YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD CLINIC

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try, so it’s one big family even though it’s not blood,” Chaz Saner said. “But it’s a community. … It’s just funny how all those puzzle pieces make us who we are and how everyone here was the perfect piece for that puzzle at the right time. It’s just been this natural progression of local Oklahoma City boys hanging out with their buddies, growing fire and making some fire distillate, and it’s been a ton of work and a ton of headache, but it’s the most incredible industry I’ve ever been in.” That spirit is evident in the new facility that Mary Mechanix is currently constructing in downtown Oklahoma City. While the rest of the building is still undergoing construction, a sizable restroom with a shower and a full-service kitchen are already installed. It is obvious that the company expects the operation to become a home away from home. “We want to make sure that we can stay ahead of the curve in an innovative grow facility, making sure we’re growing healthy plants that are mold-free, pestfree,” Chaz Saner said. “It’s just a good, clean atmosphere that makes people want to work harder.”

Growing Mary

The name of the brand is founder Joey Neihart’s grandmother’s name and their admiration for processors in the Pacific Northwest. The company colors, black and pink, were met with some resistance from a group of bearded men, Chaz Saner said, but it soon grew on them all. Then they developed Mary herself. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t taking people too far, and we wanted to capture everyone, not just men, not just women. We didn’t want to oversexualize the woman because that wasn’t our goal. Our goal is to literally create her to be a goddess in a sort, to be the face of what we do,” Ty Saner said. “Everybody’s got a ‘Mary,’ right? They’ve got a mom that needs a little anxiety relief going to bed. They all got a grandma that has Alzheimer’s,” Chaz Saner said. Thus the iconic image of “Mary” and the company slogan “the face of cannabis” was born.

The brand has developed four facilities in different areas of the metro that will have 20,000 square feet of canopy space by year’s end. Their products are currently in more than 250 dispensaries. In addition to raw flower, Mary Mechanix also produces pre-rolls and will be rolling out several forms of concentrates by the end of the year, but what it has become known for is its flavorful vape cartridges made through short-path butane hash oil extraction. Bomb Pop was the first seasonal flavor. “The McDonald’s of the world does the McRib. Everybody goes crazy over the launch of the McRib,” Ty Saner said. “Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. You have these huge brands that do seasonal runs, and we knew that we could bring some really unique flavor profiles to the distillate world.” The strong, distinctive flavorings of the cartridges come from botanically sourced terpenes rather than food-grade or reintroduced cannabis terpenes, Ty Saner said. “They’re botanical terpenes from terpene-extracting companies that are thirdparty processed,” he said. “We use solventless, botanical terpenes to achieve the flavor. We won’t use any additives or any type of carrier agent in our flavors or strain-specific cartridges. They can pull terpenes from anything that has those terpenes in it. The companies we use actually use lemons for limonene, so it’s a true botanical terpene. That’s the difference. They’re more expensive. I think a lot of people assume that we re-infuse the cannabis terpenes.” Mary Mechanix originally experimented with a pumpkin flavor for autumn, but those botanical terpenes did not emulsify properly despite many attempts. Mary Mechanix will have a seasonal winter flavor but is not revealing it yet. “Be ready for Christmastime,” Chaz Saner said. “Christmas is going to be a good one, but the Bomb Pop will be coming back on the first day of summer. So everybody better be ready.” Visit marymechanix.com.

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Cannabis effects vary wildly from patient to patient based on a multitude of factors, including THC tolerance, brain chemistry and personal taste. This review is based on the subjective experience of one patient. Strain name: Cookie Monster Fire Grown by: Green Rush Processing Acquired from: Eden Rose Dispensary Date acquired: Oct. 2 THC/CBD percentages: no testing available

gravitate toward sativa-dominant hybrids for the type of high that Cookie Monster Fire produces, albeit this one has a more relaxing vibe than the heightened edge I look for in strains to sharpen my focus. A cross between Cookie Monster and Fire OG, this one burns off well into a calming indica high before tapering off completely. This strain is versatile, making it suitable for both stimulation and relaxation.

Physical traits: bright green with numerous wiry stigmas and light purpling inside

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Bouquet: sweet and gassy Review: Eden Rose Dispensary just opened a few blocks from my house, and I had noticed a good number of patients coming and going, so I dropped in and let them pick a strain for me to check out. They chose Cookie Monster Fire, describing it as a 60 percent indicadominant strain. The buds were smaller, but coated with trichomes throughout and had a deep, rich scent. The smoke also is smooth and produces a very deep, gentle high that kept me moving forward. I smoked a bowl and then went about doing some work, forgetting that I had smoked until I took another break and realized how baked I actually was. I tend to

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY Homework: I discuss some of my ideas about astrology in the article published here: https:// tinyurl.com/RobOnAstrology ARIES (March 21-April 19)

“Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself,” wrote poet André Breton. I think that’s an excellent principle to put at the top of your priority list in the coming weeks, Aries. To be in maximum alignment with cosmic rhythms, you should seek input from allies who’ll offer insights about you that are outside your current conceptions of yourself. You might even be daring enough to place yourself in the paths of strangers, acquaintances, animals, and teachers who can provide novel reflections. There’s just one caveat: Stay away from people who might be inclined to fling negative feedback.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

Constantine P. Cavafy’s poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” imagines the imminent arrival of an unpredictable agent of chaos. “The barbarians are coming today,” declares the narrator. Everyone in town is uneasy. People’s routines are in disarray. Faces look worried. What’s going to happen? But the poem has a surprise ending. “It is night, and the barbarians haven’t come,” reports the narrator. “Some people have arrived from the frontier and say that there aren’t any more barbarians.” I propose that we use this scene as a metaphor for your life right now, Taurus. It’s quite possible that the perceived threat isn’t really a threat. So here’s my question, taken from near the end of the poem: “What are we going to do now without the barbarians?”

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

Some folklorists prefer the term “wonder tales” rather than “fairy tales.” Indeed, many such stories are filled with marvelous events that feature magical transformations, talking animals, and mythical creatures like elves and dragons and unicorns. I bring this up, Gemini, because I want to encourage you to read some wonder tales. Hopefully, as you do, you’ll be inspired to re-imagine your life as a wonder tale; you’ll reframe the events of the “real world” around you as

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MUSIC

being elements in a richly entertaining wonder tale. Why do I recommend this? Because wonder tales are like waking dreams that reveal the wishes and curiosities and fascinations of your deep psyche. And I think you will benefit profoundly in the coming weeks from consciously tuning in to those wishes and curiosities and fascinations. CANCER (June 21-July 22) I suspect that in the coming days you’ll be able to see into everyone’s souls more vividly than usual. You’ll have a special talent for piercing through the outer trappings of their personalities so as to gaze at the essence beneath. It’s as if your eyes will be blessed by an enhancement that enables you to discern what’s often hidden. This upgrade in your perception may at times be unsettling. For some of the people you behold, the difference between how they present themselves and who they actually are will be dramatic. But for the most part, penetrating to the depths should be fun, enriching, even healing.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

“This heart is rusty,” writes poet Gabriel Gadfly. “It creaks, it clanks, it crashes and rattles and bangs.” Why is his heart in such a state? Because he has been separated from a person he loves. And so he’s out of practice in doing the little things, the caring gestures and tender words, that a lover does to keep the heart well-oiled. It’s my observation that most of us go through rusty-heart phases like this even when we are living in close proximity to an intimate ally. We neglect to practice the art of bestowing affectionate attention and low-key adoration. We forget how important it is for our own welfare that we continually refresh and reinvigorate our heart intelligence. These are good meditations for you right now, Leo.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

“All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired,” writes novelist Chuck Palahniuk. I agree! And that’s a key meditation for you right now. Your assignment is to enhance and upgrade the inspiration you feel about the activities that are most important to you—the work and the play that give you the sense you’re living a

meaningful life. So how do you boost your excitement and motivation for those essential actions you do on a regular basis? Here’s a good place to begin: visualize in exuberant detail all the reasons you started doing them in the first place.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

I hope you are embarking on a vigorous new phase of self-redefinition. I trust you are excited about shedding old ways of thinking about yourself and eager to revise and re-imagine the plot of your life story. As you do, keep in mind this helpful counsel from physicist Richard Feynman: “You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Genius is 99 percent perspiration and one percent inspiration.” It’s often attributed to inventor Thomas Edison. Sixteenthcentury artist Michelangelo expressed a similar idea. “If you knew how much labor went into it, you would not call it genius,” he said about one of his masterpieces. I’m guessing that you Scorpios have been in a phase when these descriptions are highly apropos. The work you’ve been doing may look productive and interesting and heroic to the casual observer, and maybe only you know how arduous and exacting it has been. So now what do you do? I say it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Celebrate! Give yourself a thrilling gift.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

“The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you,” declared astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. If that’s even a little bit true, I bet you won’t believe it in the coming weeks. According to my analysis, the universe will make a great deal of sense to you—at times even exquisite, beautiful, breathtaking sense. Life will be in a revelatory and articulate mood. The evocative clues coming your way about the nature of reality could tempt you to believe that there is indeed a coherent plan and meaning to your personal destiny.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

In 2005, Facebook was a start-up company barely on the map of the internet. Its president asked graffiti artist David Choe to paint murals on the walls of its headquarters. Choe asked for $60,000, but the president convinced him to be paid with Facebook stock instead. Years later, when Facebook went public, Choe became a multi-millionaire. I suspect that in the coming months you will be faced with choices that are less spectacular than that, Capricorn, but similar and important. My conclusion: Be willing to consider smart gambles when projects are germinating.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

“Experiment is the sole source of truth,” wrote philosopher and polymath Henri Poincaré. “It alone can teach us something new; it alone can give us certainty.” He wasn’t merely referring to the kinds of experiments that scientists conduct in laboratories. He was talking about the probes and explorations we can and should carry out in the course of our daily lives. I mention this, Aquarius, because the coming days will be prime time for you to do just that: ask provocative questions, initiate novel adventures, and incite fun learning experiences.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

In my opinion, Piscean singer, poet, and actor Saul Williams produces high-quality art. So he has earned a right to critique mediocre art. In speaking about movies and TV shows that are hard to enjoy unless we dumb ourselves down, he says that “we have more guilty pleasure than actual f------ pleasure.” Your assignment in the coming weeks, Pisces, is to cut back on your “guiity pleasures”—the entertainment, art, and socializing that brings meager returns—as you increase and upgrade your actual f------ pleasure.

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

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