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Oklahoma City metro cannabis laboratories after sample testing and a surveillance laboratory are added to the OMMA rules. By Matt Dinger Cover by Phillip Danner

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STATE Mosaic UMC resists

Traditional Plan

6 CITY The City of Oklahoma City vs.

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NEWS

S TAT E

Rev. Scott Spencer, lead pastor at Mosaic UMC, said his church is prepared to exit the UMC if significant changes aren’t enacted at the May 2020 general conference. | Photo Miguel Rios

Holy resistance

Mosaic United Methodist Church intends to resist punitive rules that target LGBTQ+ individuals. By Miguel Rios

A local Methodist church is calling 2020 a period of “holy resistance.” New rules that punish clergy for consecrating, ordaining or marrying “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” were adopted in early 2019 and go into effect at the start of the new year. Unless the rules are changed at the upcoming May 2020 general conference to reflect inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people, Mosaic is ready to exit the United Methodist Church (UMC). “We, the members of Mosaic United Methodist Church, actively refuse to continue to squander our energy in argumentative debate over sexuality, or over who God has created very good,” a statement from Mosaic reads. “We refuse to be bound by the codified harm found in the Book of Discipline. We will lavish God’s love and grace on others, as Jesus commanded us to do.” Jay Williams grew up in a different denomination, but once he found the UMC, he felt drawn to it. He practiced through elementary school and joined a youth group before feeling like he was being called to serve in the ministry. “It was like the Methodist church raised me. They fostered my calling,” he said. “It was where I felt God’s love and got to be involved and experience the church in different ways.” Today, Williams is in his senior year as a religion student at Oklahoma City University while serving as co-pastor at Village United Methodist Church. He said he feels accepted and loves serving his community at Village, but as an openly LGBTQ+ man, he often has thoughts of potentially leaving the UMC altogether. 4

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“It’s an ongoing thought. I’m not exactly ready to jump ship yet,” he said. “Although, at some point if there’s not a lot of progress that does include me or people like me, I don’t necessarily think that I can stay committed.”

Keeping hope

At a special general conference in February, UMC voted to adopt the Traditional Plan, which doubles down on its stance against homosexuality. The Book of Discipline, the church’s set of global laws and doctrines, has stated that homosexuality is immoral since 1972. However, the vote earlier this year sets in place harsher penalties for those who go against new rules. The first offense constitutes a one-year suspension without pay, and the second offense means termination of conference membership and church credentials. Williams, who was at the general conference, remembers feeling shocked and saddened when the vote took place. “It became clear that where I thought the church was going to go was not the case. I thought the church might at this point become more progressive,” he said. “I don’t think we ever gave up hope until the last minute. We were just hopeful that something would change.” Despite feeling called to serve in the Methodist church, Williams now worries that his path to ordination could be blocked by the new rules or by any bias that might exist. “It’s just going to be really tough for Since the UMC voted to adopt the Traditional Plan in February, three Oklahoma churches, including Crown Heights UMC in Oklahoma City, have joined Reconciling Ministries Network. | Photo Miguel Rios

me because I’m out as a gay man, but I’m not practicing. So I’m not married. I’m not pursuing a relationship,” he said. “So I’m safe-ish, but bias can still set in. And people who might not agree at all despite my vow, they can just say, ‘Well, we don’t like him,’ and decide that I’m not fit.” That’s why Rev. Scott Spencer, lead pastor at Mosaic UMC, released a statement last week repudiating the church’s new rules. He said there are two key parts of the statement: Mosaic’s governing body will affirm clergy who choose to perform same-sex weddings in their building, and it is prepared to leave the UMC if no significant changes are enacted at the next conference. “A lot of churches are kind of gearing up and making statements of resistance basically and how we intend to resist those policies that we don’t agree with,” he said. “Many churches both conservative and more progressive have been talking about [leaving the UMC] nationwide. … That’s not a decision we’ve made yet. It just means that’s where we’re heading. It depends what happens at the next general conference. We’ll have to revisit that, of course.” Spencer said the statement was also released because there are some pastors who refuse to have the conversation with their congregations. “They’re just hoping that the issue goes away, so by making a public statement, we hope to keep this in the public eye,” he said. “We know there are people in the pews who are frustrated because their pastors refuse to talk about this in their churches.” Craig Jackson considers himself a lifelong Methodist, though he stepped away from the church for about a decade because of its stance on homosexuality. Jackson, an openly LGBTQ+ man, officially became a member of Mosaic after the UMC voted on the Traditional Plan. “I knew it would be a safe place for me. I didn’t feel pressured or anything. I just felt a tug to go, and I knew that was the place I could go,” he said. “I watched the [vote on the Traditional Plan] through a livestream. Like a lot of people, I had a lot of hope that things would change. But a

lot of these people just don’t know LGBTQ people. So they don’t know our stories and how the intolerance and these views have affected us. Just to hear that it was going to be more strict, it broke my heart. “I haven’t felt a personal impact because Mosaic is so loving and accepting. I consciously joined after February. … One of the impacts I have seen are LGBTQ people who have been traumatized by their experiences in the church, and it was almost like re-traumatizing to them. I had people tell me, ‘I was thinking about coming to your church, but after this, I just don’t know if I can.’” Williams, Spencer and Jackson said they are all holding out hope that something changes at the next general conference. However, they said that despite how unfortunate it would be for the UMC to split, it could ultimately be the best move for those who support equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals. “For me, that’s kind of the best option. One of the Methodist church’s key points is mission work, and this way, if it were to split into two, we can still work together and do mission and provide for people in need all over the world but be able to practice our faith the way we feel,” Jackson said. Despite the negative effects the UMC’s new rules have had on LGBTQ+ people and their view of the church, Williams said a silver lining is seeing so many churches come out as affirming. Since February, St. Stephen’s UMC in Norman, St. Paul’s UMC in Tulsa and Crown Heights UMC in Oklahoma City have joined Reconciling Ministries Network, an organization primarily made up of Methodist organizations and individuals that seek to affirm and find justice for “people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.” “I think that’s the greatest gift that we had in 2019 that general conference gave us,” Williams said. “A lot of our churches that have kind of sat silent and maybe were too afraid to rock the boat are now like, ‘This is evil. This is not right. We need to make a stance, and we need to be intentional about making a statement.’ So we’ve seen so many churches, not even just within Oklahoma. The rainbow wave, that’s what I kind of refer to it as.”


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Suit settlement

Oklahoma City is in the process of settling a seven-year lawsuit either monetarily or via land swap. By Miguel Rios

A land swap could settle a seven-year lawsuit with the city. The suit involves Hilltop Plaza LLC, which owned two properties that the city acquired through eminent domain for Scissortail Park’s construction. Despite the city’s acquisition, Hilltop officials challenged the amount they received and called for a jury trial to determine just compensation. Hilltop Plaza’s properties were on the corner of Robinson Avenue and Oklahoma City Boulevard, which the Scissortail Park Foundation’s executive director once called the “billion-dollar corner,” as it will be situated across from the future Omni Oklahoma City Hotel, the new convention center, Chesapeake Energy Arena and a streetcar stop. Despite the ongoing litigation, the city legally took control of the businesses in 2013 when it deposited $2.5 million to the court as part of the eminent domain process. Those properties are now part of the park’s promenade and the future home of an art installation.

Suit history

Hilltop Plaza purchased the two properties in December 2007 and February 2008 respectively for a total of $2.26 million. In later court documents, Hilltop’s managing members write that they purchased the properties because of the location. At the time of Hilltop’s purchase, The seven-year lawsuit could be settled by giving Hilltop Plaza the former Goodwill Industries building, 410 SW Third St. | Photo Alexa Ace

construction of the Devon Tower had just been announced and there were discussions about a new convention center and Oklahoma City Boulevard. “Based on these and other facts, we made a decision to purchase the property which is across from the [Chesapeake Energy Arena], close to the existing convention center and on the boulevard in the middle of all future developments,” Hilltop officials wrote. “We agreed to pay more for the corner lot because it is a hard corner with sizable frontage on Robinson and also SW 3rd & 4th Street.” In 2010, the city sent Hilltop Plaza a notice that the city was interested in acquiring its properties for the new MAPS 3 Downtown public park project. In 2012, the city offered Hilltop a cumulative $2.175 million for the properties. However, Hilltop Plaza officials responded to the letter, saying the properties were some of the most valuable


Oklahoma City acquired Hilltop Plaza’s properties in 2013 for $2.5 million through eminent domain. | Photo Peter J. Brzycki

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downtown, so they made a counteroffer to sell the properties for $9.571 million. Because the two parties could not come to an agreement, the city began a condemnation case. In 2012, commissioners were appointed to assess the properties’ value, and in 2013, they reported Hilltop Plaza should receive $2.5 million for the two properties.

We do anticipate that what we are moving toward is the swap. Amanda Carpenter Amanda Carpenter, deputy municipal counselor, said the city then deposited the funds and took possession of the property. “Hilltop filed what’s called a demand for jury trial, which means they were challenging the amount of the commissioners’ award,” she said. “Oklahoma City was preparing for trial, and ultimately we ended up coming up with a settlement agreement, which was approved by council. … The park has been built and built on that property. Previously, we were litigating the value. Now we’re reached a settlement agreement as to the value.”

The settlement agreement, which was approved just last month, lays out two possible options to close the case. Hilltop has until Dec. 1 to decide which option to pursue. One option is a property swap. In exchange for Hilltop’s properties, which are already part of the park, they would receive the former Goodwill Industries building, 410 SW Third St. If Hilltop officials take this option, they would return the $2.5 million they received in 2013 and pay the city an additional $650,000. Hilltop would also agree to close by Dec. 25 and demolish the structure within 60 days of closing if it chooses this option. Other stipulations include specific timing requirements of any future construction and ways the property can be used. “Hilltop agrees unless it received written permission for the development of a hotel or motel on the swap property, it will not propose or construct a hotel or motel on the swap property,” the agreement reads. “Hilltop also agrees the minimum number of stories of any building constructed on the swap property shall be five stories.” The other option is a monetary settlement. The city would pay Hilltop Plaza a total of $4.5 million, which would be made up of the $2.5 million commissioners assessed in 2013 and an additional $2 million. Carpenter said the city doesn’t necessarily prefer one option over the other. “Both of the options were acceptable to the city council because they agreed to it in the settlement agreement. We do anticipate that what we are moving toward is the swap,” Carpenter said. “Hilltop is going through what’s called a due diligence period, where they’re looking at the title to the property to make sure there’s a clean title; they’re looking at the environmental conditions. One of the provisions of the swap is that they have to demo the Goodwill building within 60 days of closing, so they’re looking at what that costs. They’re doing all their steps to make sure that if they elect to take the swap, that they can actually develop.” The trial for the case is set for Dec. 9.

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District improvement The city council unanimously approved the Uptown 23rd Business Improvement District, helping establish financial sustainability for the district. By Miguel Rios

People visiting Uptown 23rd next year will notice cleaner sidewalks and a more vibrant and attractive district, officials say. Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously last week to establish Uptown 23rd Business Improvement District, which helps the district sustain itself without constantly relying on fundraising for services. Uptown 23rd District Association was established as a nonprofit in 2012 to promote the district and host programs and events while providing some maintenance services. Funds were secured through business memberships, community partnerships and fundraising, which meant the association could only provide minimal maintenance services. Now as an established Business Improvement District (BID), the city can assess a fee from property owners so Uptown 23rd can deliver better maintenance, sanitation, landscaping, beautification and security. Executive director Riley Bailey said the BID is a game-changer and will help tremendously with any safe and clean programs. For Uptown 23rd, this specifically means biweekly sidewalk cleaning, annual sidewalk power washing and weekend security as well. “It will more than double our annual budget of the services we’re able to provide, and services will begin in January 2020,” executive director Riley Bailey said. “So anything you can think of that’s going to help the district be more safe and more clean, that’s what Business Improvement Districts can provide. It can also be allocated to events and programs and marketing, which a portion of it will be, but the majority of our BID is going to be funding weekly maintenance and security.” Uptown 23rd BID is roughly contained from NW 25th Street to NW 22nd Street and from Broadway Avenue to Shartel Avenue. | Image provided

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Behind the scenes

Uptown 23rd BID is roughly contained from NW 25th Street to NW 22nd Street and from Broadway Avenue to Shartel Avenue. Uptown 23rd is the city’s sixth BID, joining Downtown, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District, Stockyards City, Historic Capitol Hill and Western Avenue.

It will more than double our annual budget of the services we’re able to provide, and services will begin in January 2020. Riley Bailey “Several years ago, our board and key stakeholders came together and said, ‘We need to put some sort of system in place where we can have these regular services that keep our district looking vibrant and safe and clean,’” Bailey said. “Honestly, the research for what it would take to establish a BID started two to three years ago.” But around March last year, Chelsea Banks really started laying out the groundwork. At the time, Banks was the district’s interim executive director. Bailey took over as full-time director at the beginning of 2019, so they worked side-by-side on the process. “We worked very closely with the Commercial District Revitalization Program for The City of Oklahoma City. They helped us with all the legal forms and what we would need on the back end,” Bailey said. “Then it came to the solicitation process.” By state statute, Bailey and Banks had to secure 51 percent of property

owner support to begin establishing the BID through city council. “Beginning in … March of this year, we started recruiting property owners to sign our petition for this process, and we had over 51 percent of our properties secured by July,” Bailey said. “It was all just about building relationships with property owners that the district hasn’t had a lot of contacts with because all of our efforts have been from a part-time staff person or just volunteers in the community trying to build bridges and make relationships. So now, not only is this a big step for us financially but also relationally.” The district ultimately secured 54 percent of property owner support, though Bailey estimates the percentage was actually higher because some owners who might have intended to sign the petition did not do so by deadline. “Also, 16 percent of businesses in the district are either corporate or out-ofstate, so for most of those, we don’t have any contact from a person locally,” Bailey said. “That wasn’t a huge concern for us because corporate businesses are involved in Business Improvement Districts all over the world, so they’re not opposed to paying this assessment. They just don’t necessarily have someone local that’s a good contact for us.”

Self-sufficiency

Uptown 23rd BID will be active for a period of 10 years, though the city has to go before council each year to approve the assessment role, a list of all property owners and how much they are to pay. Kim CooperHart, principal planner with the city, said she considers BIDs to be more sophisticated arrangements between stakeholders and not something a new district would want to start doing immediately.


The approval of Uptown 23rd Business Improvement District brings biweekly sidewalk cleaning, annual sidewalk power washing and weekend security starting in January. | Photo Alexa Ace

“The reason for that is that it’s mandatory,” she said. “When the city invoices the ratepayers, if they don’t pay in 30 days, they have a late fee of 10 percent. If they don’t pay in 60 days, the city puts a lien on their property for the amount due; that’s state statute, and that’s a pretty powerful agreement to have with your next-door neighbors in your district. There needs to be a lot of trust already on the ground, and people have to really want this.” Invoices were being prepared to be sent out to businesses after the Nov. 19 council meeting where the BID was approved. Owners have 30 days from that date to make the first payment. Each business will be assessed at the same rate but will pay a different amount dependent on the fair market value and their linear footage. “Assessments are determined by the amount of benefit that is conferred onto the properties in the district. That’s what the state statute says,” Cooper-Hart said. “So for every dollar you pay in assessments, you are receiving a dollar back in service during the service year. … In areas where there’s higher foot traffic, where there’s higher retail, where maybe you want to put Christmas decorations on the main street and not on the side streets, where you have more trash receptacles and benches, more landscaping and that sort of thing, the assessments in those areas would be higher than in areas where there are less of those things to maintain.” Since the BID allows Uptown 23rd to support itself outside of sponsorships and donors, Cooper-Hart said the main benefit is financial self-sufficiency. “The Business Improvement District assessment should be enough to help you keep your lights on if you don’t collect anything else from anybody because we’re having a bad economy,” she said. “It’s enough to keep you competitive, to advertise yourself, to keep the street cleans, take care of all your street furniture, keep the plants watered and keep a staff person engaged so that things can still happen. If that’s the minimum they can do on a bad year, that’s better than a district who’s not a Business Improvement District.” Visit uptown23rd.com. O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | N OV E M B E R 2 7, 2 0 1 9

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chicken

friedNEWS

Commutation confluence

Oklahoma’s unprecedented commutation, which released nearly 500 people from prison, a majority of which were convicted for nonviolent offenses, was a step in the right direction to reduce the state’s prison population, which is one of the highest per capita in the world. The happy news that came with so many families being reunited was muted last week when one of the people released on commutation was arrested just four days later for similar charges, according to News 9. Oklahoma City police arrested Eric Beck for trying to sell meth and cannabis (Maybe he didn’t get the memo that

it’s legal now?) in a hotel parking lot. Beck was recently commuted for simple possession and paraphernalia charges and was due to be released within two months, regardless — prior to ending up back in handcuffs. Hardliners and people who really like having their tax money go to support substandard living conditions for nonviolent offenders might say something to the effect of “This is why they shouldn’t have been released in the first place.” Believe it or not, Oklahoma actually has a one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country at about 25 percent, which puts it in the bottom third of the country. According to Oklahoma Policy Institute, one of the reasons the rate is relatively low is because the state was locking up so many people that didn’t deserve to be there in the first place, which is sad to think about. Beck’s situation is a reminder that seclusion isn’t the best way to reintroduce someone into society.

Supermarket sweep

When the Smart Saver at 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Avenue closed in August, leaving the 73111 zip code without a grocery store, residents interviewed by NonDoc called the closing “frustrating,” “devastating,” “a complete loss” and “a bad situation for northeast

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Oklahoma City.” As news of the store’s sudden closing spread, Smart Saver owners Hank and Susan Binkowski, who also own Buy for Less and Uptown Grocery, declined to say much of anything outside of Facebook comments suggesting neighborhood residents have their groceries delivered from other Binkowski-owned stores, until Aug. 16, when the Binkowskis appeared in a Facebook video blaming plumbing issues for making the store inoperable. On Nov. 14, Oklahoma City Free Press reported the property, faulty pipes and all, might be worth millions of dollars. “If voters approve MAPS 4 December 10, one project listed is to spend up to $5 million to purchase that and surrounding property owned by Susan Binkowski’s company, Esperanza Real Estate Investments LLC, and develop it to improve commerce on the east side,” Oklahoma City Free Press editor Brett Dickerson wrote. The Free Press report also cited Oklahoma County Assessor records indicating that “Esperanza spent from March through July of 2014 buying assorted tracts of land at the corner and going back to the north and east,” paying “around $3.4 million for all the properties,” which are currently valued around $2.1 million. Hip-hop artist and community activist Jabee Williams, who’s opening a

Ground House Burger in nearby EastPoint development, told Free Press “buying that block from them and flipping it” would be an “opportunity for the city to make good on a bunch of promises to the Eastside community that they haven’t held up yet.” The Binkowskis’ Aug. 16 Facebook video also announced plans to open an Uptown Grocery at 1124 NE 36th St. “within 60-90 days.” Though Uptown Grocery’s Facebook page announced a Nov. 9 “hiring event” at that location for “positions across all stores across the Buy For Less family,” there is still no official opening date for the NE 36th St. store.


Vegan virtue

Oklahoma is finally in a national top 10 list for a positive reason. Unfortunately for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s most overused catchphrase, much like the time he was named No. 6 most popular governor simply for the fact that he succeeded Mary Fallin, the distinction doesn’t apply to the whole state. Tulsa debuted on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) annual list of Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities. Replacing Kansas City, Missouri, as the 10th most vegan-friendly city in the country, T-Town actually made history as the first city in Oklahoma to even make the list. “From delicious BBQ tofu to spicy jackfruit tacos and fluffy egg-free pancakes, Tulsa proves that the vegan revolution has arrived in Oklahoma,” said Tracy Reiman, PETA executive vice president, in a statement. “The number of American vegans grew by 600 percent in just three years, and the cities on PETA’s list are meeting the skyrocketing demand for animalfriendly fare.” Tulsa’s placement is attributed to the various local spots that offer vegan options like Chimera in Brady Arts District, Roppongi Ramen, Lone Wolf

Banh Mi, The Local Bison, Elote Café & Catering and Bakeshop Tulsa. Some not-surprisingly more veganfriendly cities on the list include D.C., Detroit and New York City, with San Francisco taking the top placement. Along with Tulsa, this is also the first year Dallas and Orlando have made the list. While other cities in the state are doing a little better at offering vegan or vegetarian options than in the past, they still don’t seem too poised to make the list anytime soon. Maybe Tulsa’s placement will mobilize more people to make their cities vegan-friendly. Then again, Oklahoma has an official state steak, an official state meal with several meat and animal products and milk as our state beverage.

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REVIEW

EAT & DRINK

Ramen service

Tamashii Ramen House’s second location in Edmond successfully implements fast casual ordering with full-service elements. By Jacob Threadgill

Tamashii Ramen House 132 E. Fifth St., Edmond tamashiiokc.com | 405-920-8234

WHAT WORKS: Tamashii’s chasu pork belly is delicate and crispy. WHAT NEEDS WORK: The Japanese curry needs more punch. TIP: Read the menu before you arrive.

In 2015, when Wakana and Matt Sebacher made the decision to open Tamashii Ramen House in Midtown without experience in the restaurant industry, the couple knew that they were taking a risk. As we prepare to enter 2020, a second Tamashii Ramen location in Edmond, 132 E. Fifth St., is getting ready to celebrate its one-year anniversary in December. “I was an accountant, and my husband [Matt] was in IT,” Wakana Sebacher said. “We had never worked in a restaurant before, but we decided that it was something we wanted to do together. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, but we’ll at least try because life is short. We tried, and it went very well.” Tamashii’s original location in Midtown has become such a hit that it helped establish a foothold for Japanese ramen in a city known for its abundance of Vietnamese pho. Wakana moved to Oklahoma from Japan to go to school at University of Central Oklahoma. Her familiarity with Edmond and requests from customers at the original location led them to

opening the second Tamashii location in a relatively new development that also features Hideaway Pizza and Skinny Slim’s and is close to the excellent Fait Maison French restaurant. “There were a lot of people telling us that they live in Edmond and came to the [original location] because they work downtown, but the [rest of their family] didn’t want to go downtown to eat. … I used to live [in Edmond] and knew there weren’t many locally owned restaurants, a lot of franchises or chains. As a student, we wanted to have something unique,” she said. “We knew there was a need and guests were telling us, so why not?” When Oklahoma Gazette visited the original Tamashii location for a review in 2016, the only negative was that it was so popular that finding a seat was difficult. When planning the second location, the Sebachers sought to alleviate that problem by switching from traditional sit-down service to a hybrid of fast casual with a full-service twist. Guests arrive at Tamashii and order with the staff at the front before being brought to a table as servers refill drinks, answer questions and deliver food to the table. “We saw fast causal as the ‘new thing’ for the service industry. We noticed there are a lot of restaurants that can be full-service are doing fast casual and still nail it; it’s a good restaurant with good service,” she said. “We thought we should try a different style.” It allows the kitchen to get started on tickets and the restaurant to turn tables faster. It also means that customers have to have a pretty good idea of what to order before they get in line. “I thought we were going to have more time to decide,” my wife said to me as we stood in line. The decision process can be difficult because Tamashii offers seven varieties of ramen, which include the pork-based tonkotJapanese curry served with chicken karaage and white rice | Photo Jacob Threadgill

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su (in regular and garlic versions), miso butter with corn, spicy ramen, curry ramen, vegan and tsukemen; the latter of which are “dipping noodles,” a wider variety of noodle served with a sauce make of pork and a fish base on the side. I ordered the tonkotsu garlic ramen that utilizes four types of garlic: fresh, roasted, fried and black garlic oil. It’s topped with chasu (pork belly that has been slow-cooked and grilled on the flattop), negi (green onion), menma (marinated bamboo) and nitamago (a soft-boiled egg). My wife ordered the miso butter corn ramen that includes chasu, negi and menma but adds nori (roasted seaweed) and moyashi (bean sprouts). We started the meal with an order of Japanese rice curry as an appetizer. One of the staple meals that my mom cooked while I was growing up was chicken with onion, potatoes and carrots in the brow n curr y sauce that is enhanced with the curry packets from brands like Golden Curry and Java Curry. I hadn’t had the dish in over a decade but got a craving for it a few weeks ago and bought one of the curry boxes at Super Cao Nguyen. The warm and unique curry flavor was introduced to Japan from India while it was still under British colonial rule, but it’s a richer flavor enhanced by chicken stock rather than coconut milk. I thought Tamashii’s version was going to blow the box packet version out of the water; I could tell the curry gravy was constructed from scratch in the Tamashii kitchen because it had some nuanced flavor, but I wanted a little more spice. It’s paired with chicken karaage — dark meat coated in a light amount of wheat or potato flour and fried. The biggest draw at Tamashii is its tonkotsu broth, which is a sumptuous blend made by hours of pork bones and spices simmering on the stove. The garlic version only enhances the fact. Slowly adding heat to cloves of garlic over the course of several weeks makes black garlic. The process brings out hints of sweetness reminiscent of tamarind or balsamic vinegar. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fried garlic in the dish because it brought out a borderline acrid taste, but Tamashii’s chasu is the best version I’ve

top The tonkotsu garlic ramen utilizes four types of garlic. above Miso butter corn ramen at Tamashii Ramen House in Edmdond | Photo Jacob Threadgill

had with ramen in the metro area. The miso corn ramen is a great option for those who love miso. The few bites I had weren’t very spicy, but it increased the more the dish was mixed, and my wife brought home leftovers and said the next day’s version was much spicier. Tamashii entertained a hearty dinner crowd that seemed to be having fun as projectors displayed three different anime shows on the walls behind guests. Despite the popularity, we had no problem getting a seat. If the Midtown location was at the same capacity, we very well might’ve had to wait. I think Tamashii’s blend of counter service with full-service elements is the right model for its continued success, and I look forward to returning.


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The same type of oak wood that kept the Richardson house warm in Watonga for generations is powering Smoked Out BBQ, which is gaining traction since opening its brick-andmortar last August, thanks in part to creative sandwiches. Leroy Richardson and fiancée Jacque Lucas made the leap by opening Smoked Out as a food truck in January 2018, and by August of the same year, they were already in a permanent location. The 28-foot truck’s limegreen paint job inspired the modern décor of the restaurant. “We imagined ‘Smoked Out’ in black letters on the side of the truck before we even bought it,” Richardson said. The couple grew up in Watonga and both went to Southwestern Oklahoma State University before going their separate ways. They reconnected over the years, in part over cooking meals. “We both had different professions,” Richardson said. “I was doing cooking and bringing them into our jobs; so was she. Believe it or not, a lot of our coworkers and bosses were like, ‘Oh my goodness! You could sell this.’ I would do the Thanksgiving turkey and ham for the company. We decided we had the smokers; why don’t we look at these food trucks? And we found one out of Enid.” Richardson’s barbecue pedigree started in the family home. His grandmother Velona kept the house warm with oak picked from the surrounding neighborhood. His father Glenn used that wood to become Watonga’s favorite caterer-on-the-side. “I would watch my dad and learn

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from him,” he said. “Out of the three boys he had, I was the one that wanted to learn more about the cooking process than the other two. … My father sold ribs out of the back of a station wagon in Watonga. He was the go-to barbecue caterer. When I was in high school, he catered all of my football functions and was all over town.” Velona also managed Dew Drop Inn in Watonga, and the family opened A1 BBQ in Oklahoma City near the corner of Council Road and Reno Avenue. Richardson has harnessed the family history and combined it with modern technological cooking methods and inventive sandwiches to make Smoked Out BBQ a success. Richardson said his father had to work for hours tending the fire for direct heat on the barbecue, while he can rely on timers and sensors to smoke meat overnight and still get some sleep.

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Holy Smokes — more than 2 pounds of a mixture of fry preparations topped with pulled pork, sauce and cheese | Photo Alexa Ace

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He’s the restaurant’s lead pittmaster, overseeing the cooking for pulled pork, brisket, chicken, hot links, pork ribs and whole ham. Smoked Out also sells brisket burnt ends on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Richardson is committed to using Certified Angus Prime meats, the highest possible quality. “We wanted to let everyone know that you can have really good barbecue and still eat off of real plates with real silverware; it doesn’t have to be paper plates and butcher paper,” he said. “It’s a nice establishment that doesn’t look old and rustic. It’s upscale but quality barbecue that you might find at home.”

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While Richardson leads the charge of tending the selection of meat, Lucas is the creative force behind Smoked Out’s unique sandwich offerings. Some are takes on classics crafted with housemade sauces like the mustard sauce on the Cuban Boss with pickles, Swiss cheese, pulled pork and house-smoked ham. “We have people coming in here saying it’s the best Cuban sandwich they’ve ever had. Only thing we don’t do is that we don’t press the bread. … Everyone tells us that we don’t need to,” Richardson said. Lucas came up with the Sampson sandwich while working in the kitchen one day. It’s all six meats chopped together and topped with barbecue sauce and onion rings. Pineapple Express is smoked chicken topped with cheese and a battered and fried pineapple slice. The MJ sandwich is the combination of two requests from regular customers who lend their first initials to the sandwich name. It is chopped brisket with chopped hot link topped with coleslaw. While other restaurants have a rib sandwich on the menu but serve bone-in ribs with bread on the side, Richardson pulls the bones out and excess gristle off to offer a true rib sandwich on a brioche bun. “We love all kinds of food; we love to cook but to also go and sample different places,” Lucas said. “We sit at home [and Banana pudding is made to-order at Smoked Out. | Photo Alexa Ace

Samson is six meats — chicken, rib, brisket, pulled pork, hot link and ham — chopped together and topped with onion rings. | Photo Alexa Ace

think about] what might go together, something that might be a meal in a sandwich, and do something that everyone isn’t doing and is unique to us.” Nontraditional items on the menu include the Holy Smokes, a more than 3-pound offering that tops a choice of a mixture of fried potatoes — tater tots, curly fries and straight or steak fries — with pulled pork, brisket, cheese and barbecue sauce. Dessert offerings range from banana pudding made to-order to battered and fried peaches and apple crescents (pie dough stuffed with apple filling, coated in cinnamon sugar and served with caramel sauce). Lucas recently experimented with a holiday item that stuffs dressing and chopped smoked turkey into a wonton wrapper and deep-fries it with brown gravy. “I have a feeling you might see that one on the menu soon,” Richardson said. Smoked Out got its name while Richardson was using a large outdoor smoker attached to a trailer at home. One afternoon, a neighbor came over and was inundated with the plumes of oak smoke emanating from the smoker. “I said, ‘We just smoked you out,’ and thought that was a great name for a restaurant,” Richardson said. With a name that might carry a connotation to consuming cannabis, paired with the bright green signage, Richardson and Lucas said it has actually helped drive in customers. “It’s happened and brought us in some business; it hasn’t hurt our business,” Richardson said. “Some people want to know if we’re infusing our food or using hemp stalks, but that’s not the case.” Visit smokedoutbbq.green.


F E AT U R E

Silver celebration

During its 25th anniversary, Gopuram: Taste of India is thriving at its new location. By Jacob Threadgill

Gopuram: Taste of India wasn’t the first Indian restaurant in Oklahoma City, but it is the longest serving, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year at its new location at 412 S. Meridian Ave. Isaac Samuel founded the restaurant in 1994 at 23rd Street and Meridian Avenue at a time when the Oklahoma City market was still wary of the spice and flavors associated with the cuisine. Under the leadership of chef and owner Viral Mehta, who took full ownership in 2008, Gopuram has helped introduce new dishes to the city as it has become more welcoming to vegetarian meals.

I saw there was a market and tell people that this food isn’t spicy and not just curry. Viral Mehta Growing up in Bombay and Mumbai with a background that includes advanced business degrees and formal culinary training, Mehta couldn’t even find Oklahoma on a map when he received a serendipitous phone call from Samuel in 2002 while visiting family and attending a conference in Chicago. “‘Where is Oklahoma? Do they have Internet?’” Mehta remembers thinking. “I was totally new to this country.” Samuel brought Mehta, who had years of experience working for multinational

companies as a consultant, to Oklahoma City, and he immediately saw an opportunity to expand the city’s nascent Indian culinary offerings. “When I came to Oklahoma, my first feeling was, ‘I came; I saw; I conquered. This is the place I need to be,’” Mehta said. “If I decided to stay in any of the metros, let’s say Chicago. Chicago was already established. It’s more fun to introduce things to the people.” When Mehta arrived in Oklahoma City, Gopuram’s signature lunch and dinner buffets had a limited selection of items, but slowly but surely, he began to introduce new dishes for the a la carte menu as well as the buffet. “I saw there was a market and tell people that this food isn’t spicy and not just curry,” he said. “People always think that there is one kind of curry; no, there is a masala sauce, korma sauce and different kinds. You can introduce that to the market, and that’s what we’ve done.” A strict vegetarian, Mehta added things like vegetable cutlets and IndoChinese cuisine, like spring rolls, which was new to the market. Gopuram offerings are almost evenly split between meat and vegetarian dishes. “Between 2002 and 2006, you could hardly find vegetarians in Oklahoma,” he said, noting that only about 5 percent of customers ordered vegetarian dishes when he first started working with Gopuram. “Starting between 2010 and 2012, [the number of vegetarian orders] started to increase, and now it’s about 30 percent as we’ve introduced new dishes,” he said.

Gopuram’s robust vegetarian offerings include baingan bharta, eggplant cooked in herbs and spices; four preparations built around paneer cheese; bhindi masala (okra); daal (lentils); chana (chickpeas); both dosas (rice and lentil crêpes); and utthapam (rice and lentil pancake). “It is very easy to please a non-vegetarian; anyone can please a non-vegetarian with spices and meat,” he said. “It is very hard to please a vegetarian, and a person that can please a vegetarian is a real culinary.” Over the decades, the prices of the lunch ($9.95 from $8.95) and dinner buffet ($12.95 from $10.95) haven’t even kept pace with inflation. Mehta said that the buffet is key to drawing in customers, especially those that might not be familiar with Indian cuisine. They supplement the buffet experience by delivering naan and freshly fried pakora to the table. “If person walks in, they haven’t had Indian food, and they order the wrong dish, they’ll have a bad experience that will prevent them from having Indian food again,” Mehta said. He said that while the assumption might be the buffet is where food goes to sit under a heat lamp for hours on end, that’s not the case at Gopuram. Everything is rotated at a minimum every two hours, and a fresh order of chicken often only sits out for 10 or 15 minutes because of its popularity. The buffet brings in customers, but it doesn’t keep the doors open. Over the Viral Mehta owns Gopuram: Taste of India. | Photo Alexa Ace

Items at Gopuram: Taste of India’s buffet have expanded over the years. | Photo Alexa Ace

years, Mehta said the buffet has introduced people to the cuisines and allows them to be more adventurous on the a la carte menu, where they pair dishes with imported beer and wine selections. As it has become more established regionally, Gopuram has bolstered itself as a sought-after on-site caterer, servicing clients as far away as Boise and Boston. Mehta said about 30 percent of its income is made through weekend catering service. “We’ll be there at 7 a.m. if need be; it might cost extra, but we’ll be there,” he said. Mehta relies on his business degrees to turn Gopuram, which also has a location at 4401 W. Memorial Road, Suite 111, into a stable and successful restaurant business in an industry with an already-slim profit margin, even though he said that it basically breaks even on buffet service. The key to its survival is 15,000 square feet of warehouse space across three locations where it stores dried goods and spices bought in bulk. It runs through so much inventory that all of the ingredients are replaced every two to three months. “The restaurant industry is always going to have a cash crunch problem. Margins are low,” he said. “One day, you might see 300 covers, and next day might be 100. Some days are cold, some are hot; some days are snow, some are rainy. People start cutting corners on the food quality. [We] don’t cut corners on the food quality, but people generally do that. The fresh food is always going to help.” Visit gopuramtasteofindia.com. O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | N OV E M B E R 2 7, 2 0 1 9

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GAZEDIBLES

EAT & DRINK

Holiday cleanse

It can be easy just to let things go between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Avoid overdoing it during the holidays by enjoying a healthy option at one of these restaurants. By Jacob Threadgill with provided and Gazette / file photos

Plant

1120 N. Walker Ave. plantokc.com | 405-225-1314 You can sit down and spend some time in this cozy Midtown space while enjoying a turmeric latte, smoothie or salad, or pick up something from Plant’s grab-andgo section. Regardless of what you choose, it will provide some much-needed revitalization after going into a few food comas over the holidays. The Ironman salad is black lentils, roasted beets, basil, arugula, tahini and balsamic glaze.

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Café 110

110 N. Robinson Ave. cafe110okc.com | 405-724-7195 This downtown eatery bucks neighborhood trends by offering dinner and weekend service. With a menu full of indulgent and healthy options, a grain bowl topped with local, seasonal vegetables will fill you up, or order Café 110’s signature veggie burger made in-house with quinoa, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Also check out its weekday Dinner’s Done takeout options that feed families of four for under $30.

Oozie Mediterranean Restaurant

1211 N. Shartel Ave., Suite 102 oozierestaurant.com | 405-724-7659

The only downside to Oozie is that it’s located on the bottom floor of an office building and that means it’s closed after 5 p.m. and on the weekends. Everything else is great because it offers the best baba ghanoush in the city, traditional Lebanese tabbouleh, and other dishes that go great in the cooler months like lentils and stewed lima beans.


Stitch Café

835 W. Sheridan Ave., Suite 100 stitchokc.com | 405-212-2346 This relatively new addition to West Village is a perfect stop for a nutritious and tasty option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Start the morning off right with a breakfast burrito with chickpea scramble or sautéed veggies to pair with black beans, eggs and sweet potato and a smoothie bowl. Stitch also offers five salads and a few other plant-based options during its lunch and dinner service.

Nabati Vegan Mediterranean

7101 Northwest Expressway nabatiokc.com | 405-506-0478 Taking its name from the Arabic word for “plant-based,” this new addition to Oklahoma City is wowing guests with its fresh and healthy offerings that range from familiar dishes like falafel to more unique ones like majadra, which is lentils served with rice and garnished with caramelized onions. Nabati also offers an impressive selection of vegan baked goods and sweet treats.

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Picasso Cafe is well-known for offering vegetarian options, but it’s really leaning in by celebrating World Vegan Month in November. Be sure to check out some of its monthly vegan specials like mushroom katsu, vegan shepherd’s pie, a sweet vegan pandan cake or vegan ramen with grilled shitake mushrooms, radish, tofu, bok coy, carrot, daikon and nori seasoning.

The green in Yummy Mummy’s branding represents its fresh and healthy options. Of course you can get tasty chicken or beef, but Yummy Mummy has one of the tastiest salad options in the metro. King Tut’s Salad tops the collection of vegetables with crispy pita chips and a mixture of spices like sumac that pair perfectly with its house vinaigrette. Pair a salad with a bowl of lentil soup for some additional protein.

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ARTS & CULTURE

ART

Jennifer Woods’ jewelry collections inspired by Oklahoma’s geophysical land regions are currently on display at The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City. | Photo provided

Oklahoma rocks

The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City artist-inresidence Jennifer Woods creates jewelry inspired by the state’s natural landscape. By Jeremy Martin

Before Jennifer Woods became a jeweler, she was a child in rural Oklahoma, picking rocks and chicken eggs up off the ground. As the current Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City artist-in-residence, she is taking inspiration from the state’s natural features to create handmade jewelry collections based on the 10 geophysical land regions in Oklahoma. “I’m using beads with colors and textures that match the landscape,” Woods said, “but that also coincides with the commodities produced in the region — whether it’s fruits or crops, even animals grazing, things like that. … I usually have a couple of main focus colors and then some accent colors. I try to make sure that all the pieces will go together in one collection so you could mix and match earrings or a necklace and it all will still be a part of the same region.” Skirvin Paseo Artist Creativity Exposition (SPACE) selects one Paseo Arts Association member each year to work in the Skirvin’s studio space. Woods, who began her residency at the beginning of October, has already finished a collection inspired by northeastern Oklahoma’s Ozark Plateau region and a collection inspired by the Gypsum Hills region to the west. Each collection contains 20 pieces. Seeing the empty studio space motivated Woods to get started immediately, she said, because she knew people would be stopping by and she wanted to give them something to look at. “I allocated roughly a month, maybe longer, per collection, but I’ve been working really rapidly,” Woods said. “I had to fill up a whole space with jewelry, and I didn’t have any when I first started, so I think that was my motivation. I just put my head down and went.”

Her next collection will focus on the Red Bed Plains region, which contains Oklahoma City and Kingfisher, her childhood hometown, where she first became interested in the natural landscape. “I grew up in a small town, and I played outside all the time,” Woods said. “My dad’s a farmer, and I was always at my grandma’s, outside in her garden, picking eggs from the chickens. I was just always surrounded by farmland and animals and nature. … I would pick up rocks and leaves and sticks and things like that, and my grandmother would take me on vacation to Arkansas and all throughout Oklahoma. We would always go visit art galleries, but also jewelry stores and touristy things. I would always pick up rocks and those little gemstones that you can get in the store, and I collected jewelry with her. … She had a little one-room cabin in Arkansas, and we would stay out there. It was just so pretty and peaceful.”

Creative method

Her love of nature led to studying biology in college, but she never stopped wanting to make jewelry. “I wanted to learn metalsmithing, but there really aren’t that many classes, so I taught myself how to string beads, basically because I just wanted to do something creative,” Woods said. “I had always wanted to learn how to make jewelry. I just thought that I would have a chance to do it at some point, but during college, I just got so focused on my studies.” As a biology student, Woods studied the nine biomes of Oklahoma and remembered them when she began working on a proposal for the Skirvin artist-in-residency program as a potential connecting theme she could use to

combine her scientific background with her current artistic interests. Eventually, she chose instead to focus on the state’s geophysical land regions, which allowed her to draw inspiration for colors and materials from the landscape as well as the flora and fauna. “Beads are rocks,” Woods said, “so it seemed to work better. … Each region should look distinct from one another, but within that region, those pieces should go together. Some of them will look different depending on if I’m focusing on the hardscape with the rocks and things, or even some of the vegetation versus the crops, but I do like to mix them together.” Working with beads is in many ways a continuation of her childhood fascinations.

I love to hold onto the beads; it’s like when I was a kid and picking up the rocks. Jennifer Woods “I love it because I’ve always been a collector of rocks, gemstones and things,” Woods said, “polished gemstones when we would go on vacation, or rocks from the ground even. I still have rock collections that I gathered when I was in first grade. So it really works for me because that’s always the part of it that I just loved. I love to hold onto the beads; it’s like when I was a kid and picking up the rocks. I love that part. Eventually, maybe I’ll learn metalsmithing, too, but I just really enjoy working with the beads.” But the scientific method does continue to play a role in her creative work. “My brain does think in steps and processes and planning things out ahead of time,” Woods said. “I think it’s systematic or methodical. It took me awhile to figure out my process. … Just like science, there’s a lot of trial and error. You try something, it doesn’t work; you try something else. I think that I’ve developed a process and a method that works for me, but just like science, I think I’m always looking for a new way or a different way or a way that might work better.” The collections Woods is creating for the artist-in-residency program give her a chance to combine her varied interests and expertise while allowing her to try a new approach to her art. “Most of my stuff has been one-ofa-kind,” Woods said. “It is inspired by nature, but forming a cohesive collection that goes together, that part is completely different.” The project also gives her an opportunity to explore and study her

A necklace inspired by Oklahoma’s Gypsum Hills region | Photo provided

home state in a different context. “I’ve learned so much about each of the regions, what makes up the region and what the region looks like,” Woods said. “There’s a learning and educational aspect to it, which I can pass down to the people that buy the pieces and the people that come in to look at the pieces. We talk about my inspiration in the land. That part is fascinating and very different from what I’m used to. … My pieces aren’t typically based on Oklahoma, but I’ve lived here all my life, so I do feel like that has to factor into it somehow. … I’ve based some things on my environment around me and the nature that I see, but this is the first time that I really infused Oklahoma into the work.” Woods’ jewelry can be viewed at The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City, 1 Park Ave., or at Jennifer Woods Jewelry, 3010 Paseo St. Visit jenniferwoodsjewelry.com.

A necklace inspired by Oklahoma’s Ozark Plateau region | Photo provided O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | N OV E M B E R 2 7, 2 0 1 9

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ARTS & CULTURE

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Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker runs Dec. 5-21 at Shakespeare on the Paseo. | Photo David Bricquet / provided

‘Friendly meetings’ Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker encourages the audience to step into Austen’s world and celebrate the season with friends. By Jeremy Martin

Combining jokes, treats, decorations and a small explosion, Christmas crackers are an only partially edible English yuletide tradition. According to BBC America, “a cracker is a three-chambered cardboard tube wrapped in brightly colored paper that is twisted to connect the two outer chambers to the middle. Running through the middle is a cardboard strip with a tiny (and I mean really tiny) explosive charge on it so that if you take one of the outer chambers in your hand and someone else takes the other outer chamber, you can have a small tug-of-war until the cracker breaks and the explosive makes a mild bang. But that’s not the end of the fun, oh no sirree Bob. Inside the center chamber is a world of delights.” Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker — running Dec. 5-21 at Shakespeare on the Paseo, 2920 Paseo St. — is similarly designed to combine a number of holiday-themed delights into a single pleasing package. Director Tyler Woods calls the production — which combines elements of traditional theater with interThe play adapts scenes from Austen’s work into an interactive holiday party, and audience participation and costumes are encouraged. | Photo David Bricquet / provided

active improv, holiday music, dancing and snacks — “a Christmas treat,” which Oklahoma Shakespeare hopes will become a holiday tradition in OKC alongside Oklahoma City Ballet’s The Nutcracker and Lyric Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. “It’s hilarious; it’s a hoot; it’s a different play in so many ways,” Tyler Woods said. Playwright Erin Woods, seeking inspiration from someone not named Charles Dickens or Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, based the play on Austen’s novels and letters. “We wanted something that would fit into the mix of those traditional holiday events,” Erin Woods said, “but it would be something that no one had ever seen or participated in before, meaning that it didn’t have to do with Dickens or A Christmas Carol and it didn’t have to do with the ballet and The Nutcracker. It was a completely new type of story, but it still had that old-world feel.” The play was last staged in 2016, but Erin Woods said she rewrites the script every year it’s performed. “It’s the same overall premise,” Erin Woods said. “Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra Austen are giving a ball, and the guests are both the audience and some of Jane Austen’s beloved fictitious

characters — but we change who those characters are and the storylines that we sort of play out throughout the night. … People who have seen the show before may recognize that we do a little bit of Pride and Prejudice every time, just because that’s an audience favorite and universally known, but this time … some of the characters from Emma show up and some of the characters from Northanger Abbey. Those are the three novels that we are concentrating on. Now, we don’t tell the whole story because there isn’t time, but we do have some scenes directly from those books and stories.” Christmas is mentioned in all six of Austen’s novels, but the holiday during the author’s lifetime (1775-1817) wasn’t celebrated in quite the same way. Christmas trees didn’t become popular until after Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert brought the tradition from his native Germany to Windsor Castle in 1841, and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, helped codify the “Christmas that we know today as the jolliest, most sentimental time of the year,” Erin Woods said.

I recognized there’s a lot of humanity in her writing. Erin Woods “It would be a time to have friends over and play parlor games, to sing songs, to have a dance,” Erin Woods said, “but … obviously there’s no great shopping that’s done. This is pre-Scrooge, -Dickens era, so there’s not that idea of redemption and the idea of Christmas as this hugely holy holiday. It’s more of a social time for the Austens to get together with friends. … We’re throwing a party, and we’re dancing and we’re snapping crackers and doing all the fun stuff.” Holiday celebrations may have been low-key during Austen’s lifetime, but Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker requires its actors to learn Regency-era dances, Christmas carols and parlor games well enough to teach them to audience members and know Austen’s characters well enough to “converse very fluidly” outside of the script or even the scope of the books they star in. “If you go up to Mr. Darcy and you ask him a question about Emma Woodhouse, then he’ll be able to answer you intelligently,” said Tyler Woods, referencing characters from Pride and Prejudice and Emma, respectively. “Some actors are used to doing improv, but they’re used to doing either an improv play or a scripted play, but to do both kind of all of it at once presents some unique challenges.”

Accessible Austen

Though actors have to be familiar with Austen’s works, audience members don’t 20

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necessarily need to be. For Austen fans, who often come in costume, the production can be something like a comic book convention offering a chance to meet and take photos with favorite characters, but Erin Woods said the sometimes skeptical “tagalongs” that these fans bring with them are often pleasantly surprised by the “super likeable and super accessible” experience. The playwright was similarly surprised by Austen’s work, which Erin Woods didn’t begin reading until her mid-20s because she’d been convinced in high school that “Jane Austen was pretty frivolous and pretty much rolling-of-the-eyes romantic-comedy kind of stuff.” “When I actually sat down and read Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey,” Erin Woods said, “what I found was that the writing was something really special because it was very recognizable. It was the drama of everyday life and everyday living. Even though it was at a time period far removed from myself, I recognized my friends; I recognized my family; I recognized there’s a lot of humanity in her writing. It’s pretty terrific. … Ever since then, I’ve been sort of a huge Jane Austen fanatic.” Her husband Tyler Woods — who was originally introduced to Austen’s work when he played Mr. Darcy in his wife’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice — said that men sometimes approach the author reluctantly. “At first glance, men don’t think that they’re going to be interested in Jane Austen,” Tyler Woods said. “And then they’re exposed to it, whether it’s by a movie or a play or reading a novel, and they figure out that Jane Austen wrote incredible love stories with compelling characters, both male and female. Her men are really full of depth and intricacy. … You have these compelling stories that are just told in such a way that they’re timeless. In many ways, it’s like Shakespeare. Shakespeare is 400 years old; Jane Austen is 200 years old, but they both hold such relevance to today with their stories.” Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker can serve as “a lighthearted and fun introduction” to these stories. “You get to learn a new dance — and the dances are really fun, and you don’t have to dance if you don’t want to,” Tyler Woods said. “You sing Christmas carols; there’s food; we have ice cream and treats and so forth. … There’s things to eat; there’s things to do, so it’s sort of like you can’t lose. There’s something for everyone, really.” Tickets are $10-$30. Call 405-2353700 or visit okshakes.org.

Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker Dec. 5-21 Shakespeare on the Paseo 2920 Paseo St. | okshakes.org | 405-235-3700 $10-$30


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10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visits with Santa are first-come, first-served. Enjoy family activities and entertainment. Located at the Myriad Gardens. downtownindecember.com @SaturdaysWithSanta

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Homeless Alliance Supply Drive in the Paseo Arts District November 1- December 31

Order from our Amazon wish list at thepaseo.org/support

Items requested for donation: Hats Gloves Socks Hand Warmers Drop off sites: The Paseo Plunge Studio Six Betsey King. A Shoe Boutique Paseo Arts Association Little Market CMG Art Gallery

Homeless Alliance Fresh StART Show on Display at the Paseo Plunge November 1-30

holidayshopping m a d e e a sy i n … 1 5

STUDIO SIX 3021 paseo | 405.528.0174

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PRAIRIE ARTS COLLECTIVE 3018 paseo | 405.436.5439

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BETSY KING. A SHOE BOUTIQUE 3001 paseo | 405.601.7776

4 EDEN CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES 5

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8 SU CASA

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2924 paseo | 405.642.9494

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3000 paseo | 405.900.6613

7 PASEO ARTS ASSOCIATION

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3022 paseo | 405.525.2688

3 016 paseo | 405.601.9075

9 BRAYER & BRUSH

3012 n lee #a | 405.204.1120

10 THE CREATIVE STUDIO 11 REMODERNOK

3014 paseo | 405.205.7240

12 LITTLE MARKET

3004 paseo

13 LITERATI PRESS

3010 paseo | 405.882.7032

14 84 HOSPITALITY

3000 paseo | 405.900.6613

15 CMG ART GALLERY

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1104 nw 30th st | 405.256.3465 3005 #a paseo | 405.525.2161

17 SCRATCH KITCHEN & COCKTAILS 18

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2928 b paseo | 405.314.8273

16 IN YOUR EYE STUDIO & GALLERY

605 nw 28th suite b | 405.602.2302

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OK SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK 2920 paseo | 405.235.3700

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JRB ART AT THE ELMS 2810 n walker | 405.528.6336

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

BOOKS Oklahoma Voices hear featured poets read from their works at this monthly event, 2 p.m. the first Sunday of every month. IAO Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-232-6060, iaogallery.org. SUN

FILM The Irishman (2019, USA, Martin Scorsese) a mob hitman recalls his mob career and possible involvement in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, through Nov. 28. Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., 405235-3456. FRI-THU

Devon Ice Rink ice stake in the Myriad Botanical Gardens and enjoy seasonal food and beverages., Mondays-Sundays. through Feb. 2. Devon Ice Rink, 100 N. Robinson Ave., 405-708-6499, downtownindecember.com/devon-ice-rink. 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 Edmond Electric’s Luminance a walkthrough holiday light attraction featuring 30 three-dimensional displays, 5-10 p.m. Nov. 27. Mitch Park, 1501 W. Covell Road, Edmond, 405-359-4630, edmondok. com/parks. WED Free Holiday Water Taxi Rides take a cruise around Bricktown, 6-9 p.m. Nov. 29. Bricktown Water Taxi, 111 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, bricktownwatertaxi.com. FRI Fuzzy Friday a monthly happy hour meet-andgreet hosted by the Bears of Central Oklahoma, 5:30 p.m. Fridays. Apothecary 39, 2125 NW 39th St., 405-605-4100. FRI

Synonyms (2019, France, Nadav Lapid) an Israeli immigrant has trouble adjusting to a new life in France, Nov. 29-30. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. FRI-SAT

Holiday Pop-Up Shops at Midtown shop at a rotating selection of pet-friendly stores, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Dec. 5-8, Dec. 12-15, Dec. 19-22, Nov. 29-Dec. 22. The Bleu Garten, 301 NW 10th St., 405-879-3808, bleugarten.com.

VHS and Chill: Blockbusted Video riff along with comedians and film fans at this monthly movie screening where audience participation is encouraged, 7-9 p.m. first Wednesday of every month. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-8873327, theparamountroom.com. WED

Illuminations: Starry Starry Night an immersive light installation inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting, through Jan. 1. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. WED

HAPPENINGS 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 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 Conversational Spanish Group Meetup an opportunity for all experience levels to practice speaking Spanish, 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, fullcirclebooks.com. TUE

FRI-SUN

Jackbox.tv Game Night play interactive party games with host Alex Sanchez, 8-10 p.m. Mondays. Oak & Ore, 1732 NW. 16th St., 405-606-2030, oakandore.com. MON Lifeshare Winterfest and Snow Tubing tube down snow slides in a controlled environment, Nov. 29-Jan. 4, Nov. 29-Jan. 4. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, 405-218-1000, okcballparkevents.com. 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 PAMBE Ghana Global Market shop for handmade and artisanal crafts, clothing and other items at this holiday pop-up shop benefitting bilingual education, through Dec. 24. 50 Penn Place Gallery, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-848-5567, 50pennplacegallery.com. TUE 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 Postcard Perspectives an exhibition featuring thousands of postcards created by artists from across the U.S. and 37 other countries, 7-10 p.m. through Dec. 28. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405-815-9995, 1ne3.org. FRI-SAT The Queens of Oklahoma current Miss Gay Oklahoma America Erikka Shaye hosts a royal evening featuring Miss Gay Tulsa, Miss Gay Enid, Miss Gay Lawton and more, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Nov. 29. Frankie’s, 2807 NW 36th St., 405-602-2030, facebook.com/ frankiesokc. FRI 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 Tree Lighting Event a family friendly holiday event featuring children’s crafts, live music by Ed Lycan Conservatory, horse-drawn sleigh rides and more, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 1. Will Rogers Garden Center, 3400 NW 36th St., 405-943-0827, okc.gov. SUN

Literati Indie Book Fair The Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition of jólabókaflóð encourages friends and family to exchange books and spend the night reading. Along with electing environmental activists to office and whatever Björk’s got going on at pretty much any given time, the Christmas book flood is an idea worth importing. Get an early start on your own jólabókaflóð at this event, returning after a nine-year hiatus and featuring appearances by Literati writers, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Literati Press Comics & Novels, 3010 Paseo St. Admission is free. Call 405882-7032 or visit literatipressok.com. SATURDAY Image provided

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 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

FOOD OKC Farmers Market a year round farmers market featuring fresh produce, honey, baked goods, meat, hand made goods and more., Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. OKC Farmers Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., 405-486-0701, okcfarmersmarket.com. 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 Beginning Martial Arts Classes students ages 7 and older can learn martial arts from instructor Darrell Sarjeant at this weekly class, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursdays. Nappy Roots, 3705 Springlake Drive, 405896-0203, facebook.com/pg/nappyrootsbooks. THU

Autumn Unwinding Workshop For those struggling to shake the culinary and familial stress accumulated on Thanksgiving, good news: Liquor stores will re-open Friday morning. But if you’re searching for a healthier way to unwind, try this two-hour yoga class taught by Kathryn Zimmerhanzel and focusing on tension release through gentle movements, making space for reflection and stillness. Then booze. The workshop is 9-11 a.m. Friday at This Land Yoga, 600 NW 23rd St., Suite 208. Registration is $30. Call 405-905-5181 or visit thislandyoga.com. FRIDAY Photo Todd Ballje / provided Early Explorers toddlers and preschoolers can participate in fun scientific activities they can repeat later at home, 10-11 a.m. Thursdays. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, sciencemuseumok.org. THU The Polar Express Train Ride take a fanciful round trip train ride to the North Pole with hot chocolate, cookies and Santa Claus, through Dec. 31. Oklahoma Railway Museum, 3400 NE Grand Blvd., 405-424-8222, oklahomarailwaymuseum.org. FRI-TUE 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. Thursdays through Dec. 19. We Rock the Spectrum, 64 E. 33rd St., 405-657-1108, werockthespectrumoklahomacity.com. THU Story Time with Britt’s Bookworms enjoy snacks, crafts and story time, 10:30-11:30 a.m. first and third Thursday of every month. Thrive Mama Collective, 1745 NW 16th St., 405-356-6262. 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

PERFORMING ARTS

Iron Horse Open Mic and Showcase perform music on stage at this show open to all experience levels, 7-10 p.m. Wednesdays. Iron Horse Bar & Grill, 9501 S. Shields Blvd., 405-735-1801. WED Josh Fadem the comic and actor (Twin Peaks, Better Call Saul) will perform, 8-11 p.m. Nov. 30. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-8873327, theparamountroom.com. SAT Kendell’s Open Mic play up to four songs at this weekly music open mic, 8-11 p.m. Tuesdays. Kendell’s, 110 S. May Ave., kendellsbar.com. TUE Lomazov Rackers Piano Duo the duo will perform Brahms’s majestic “Variations on a Theme by Haydn” and Lutoslawski’s vigorous “Paganini Variations” and more, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Armstrong Auditorium, 14400 S. Bryant Ave., 405-285-1010, armstrongauditorium.org. TUE Lumpy’s Open Mic Night play a song of your own or just listen to the performers at this weekly show hosted by John Riley Willingham, 9 p.m. Wednesdays. Lumpy’s Sports Grill, 12325 N. May Ave., 405-286-3300, lumpyssportsgrill.com. WED Monday Night Blues Jam Session bring your own instrument to this open-stage jam hosted by Wess McMichael, 7-9 p.m. Mondays. Othello’s Italian Restaurant, 434 Buchanan Ave., Norman, 405-7014900, othellos.us. MON The Nutcracker Oklahoma Festival Ballet presents Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas ballet, through Dec. 8. Elsie C. Brackett Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-4101, theatre.ou.edu. FRI-SUN OKC Comedy Open Mic Night get some stage time or just go to listen and laugh at this open mic hosted by Travis Phillips, 7 p.m. Mondays. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-887-3327, theparamountroom.com. MON

African Children’s Choir the choir will perform a program of traditional gospel and children’s songs, 7 p.m. Dec. 1. First Church, 131 NW Fourth St., 405-2396493, firstchurchokc.com. SUN

OKC Improv performers create original scenes in the moment based on suggestions from the audience, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Oklahoma City Improv, 1757 NW 16th St., 405-4569858, okcimprov.com. FRI

A Christmas Carol the annual production of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic directed by Michael Baron and featuring Dirk Lumbard as Ebenezer Scrooge, Nov. 29-Dec. 24. Lyric Theatre, 1727 NW 16th St., 405-524-9310, lyrictheatreokc.com. FRI-TUE

Open Mic at The P share your musical talent or just come to listen at this weekly open mic, 7 p.m. Wednesdays. The Patriarch Craft Beer House & Lawn, 9 E. Edwards St., Edmond, 405-285-6670, thepatriarchedmond.com. WED

Christmas with the Crawfords spend the holidays with Joan Crawford and family with cameos from Judy Garland, Ethel Merman and Bette Davis, Nov. 29-Dec. 28. The Boom, 2218 NW 39th St., 405601-7200, theboomokc.com. FRI-SAT

Othello’s Comedy Night see professionals and amateurs alike at this long-running weekly open mic for standup comics, 9 p.m. Tuesdays. Othello’s Italian Restaurant, 434 Buchanan Ave., Norman, 405-7014900, othellos.us. TUE

Divine Comedy a weekly local showcase hosted by CJ Lance and Josh Lathe and featuring a variety of comedians from OKC and beyond, 9 p.m. Wednesdays. 51st Street Speakeasy, 1114 NW 51st St., 405-463-0470, 51stspeakeasy.com. WED

Paramount Open Mic show off your talents at this open mic hosted by musician Chris Morrison, 7 p.m. first Wednesday of every month. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-887-3327, theparamountroom.com. WED

Don Quixote Open Mic a weekly comedy show followed by karaoke, 7:30-9 p.m. Fridays. Don Quixote Club, 3030 N. Portland Ave., 405-947-0011. FRI

Red Dirt Open Mic a weekly open mic hosted by Red Dirt Poetry, 7:30-10:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Sauced on Paseo, 2912 Paseo St., 405-521-9800, saucedonpaseo.com. WED

Dope Poetry Night read your poems or just go to listen to others at this open mic hosted by J. Wiggins and Proverb, 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Ice Event Center & Grill, 1148 NE 36th St., 405-208-4240, iceeventcentergrill.eat24hour.com. WED Drunk Classics: A Christmas Carol a production of the Charles Dickens holiday classic with a twist: one cast member will be randomly selected to perform under the influence, 8-10 p.m. Nov. 30. Waters Edge Winery-OKC, 712 N. Broadway Ave., 405-232-9463, http:wewokc.com. SAT

GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!

Rhyme in Reasons share your talent or just watch other artists perform at this weekly open mic, 7:30-10 p.m. Thursdays. Reasons Lounge, 1140 N. MacArthur Boulevard, 405-774-9991. THU Sanctuary Karaoke Service don a choir robe and sing your favorite song, 9 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sanctuary Barsilica, 814 W. Sheridan Ave., facebook.com/sanctuarybarokc. WED

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From Humbug to Happy in One Magical Night!

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The Santaland Diaries working as an elf in Santa’s village is not as holly or jolly as advertised in this comedic play based on David Sedaris’ essay, Nov. 29-Dec. 21. Carpenter Square Theatre, 806 W. Main St., 405-232-6500, carpentersquare.com. FRI-SAT

The Sorcerer & The Comedian an evening combining comedy and magic featuring performances by John Shack and Maverick McWilliams, 7:30-10:30 p.m. Nov. 30. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-887-3327, theparamountroom.com. SAT

BY

CHARLES DICKENS • DIRECTED BY MICHAEL BARON

VZD’s Open Mic Night a weekly music mic hosted by Joe Hopkins, 7 p.m. Wednesdays. VZD’s Restaurant & Bar, 4200 N. Western Ave., 405-6023006, vzds.com. WED Weekly Jams bring an instrument and play along with others at this open-invitation weekly jam session, 9:30 p.m.-midnight Tuesdays. Saints, 1715 NW 16th St., 405-602-6308, saintspubokc.com. TUE

ACTIVE Monday Night Group Ride meet up for a weekly 25-30 minute bicycle ride at about 18 miles per hour through east Oklahoma City, 6 p.m. Mondays. The Bike Lab OKC, 2200 W. Hefner Road, 405-603-7655. MON Run the Alley a three-mile social run for athletes of all abilities ending with beers at The Yard, 6:30 p.m. Thursdays. OK Runner, 708 N. Broadway Ave., 405-702-9291, myokrunner.com. THU

OKLAHOMA’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY TRADITION LIVE, ON STAGE!

NOV 29 - DEC 24

Photo by KO Rinearson

Charge Tickets at LyricTheatreOKC.org or (405) 524-9312 Special discounts for 8 or more! • E-Mail: Groups@LyricTheatreOKC.org SEASON SPONSORS

Stars and Stripes Spin Jam a weekly meetup for jugglers, hula hoopers and unicyclers, 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. Stars & Stripes Park, 3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive, 405-297-2756, okc.gov/parks. WED Turkey Day Run 5K and 1-mile fun runsUnited Way of Norman, Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity and Serve More charities, 8:30 a.m. Nov. 28. Norman High School, 911 W. Main St, Norman, 405-837-8859. THU 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.

Oklahoma City Tree Lighting Festival An annual OKC tradition since 2002, this event features performances by Lyric Theatre’s A Christmas Carol cast, Academia OKC’s intermediate mariachi group, Jabee, Tony Foster Jr. and many more. Buy food, coffee and hot chocolate from Junction Coffee and Taco Nation and wrapping paper from The Curbside Chronicle’s Wrap Up Homelessness campaign, and see Mayor David Holt and Santa Claus light the tree. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 5-7 p.m. Friday at Third Base Plaza at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive. Admission is free. Call 405-2353500 or visit downtownindecember.com. FRIDAY Photo provided

TUE

Whole Body Healing Event shop for natural products, handmade gifts, watch stress relief presentations and treat yourself to a chair massage, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 30. Will Rogers Garden Center, 3400 NW 36th St., 405-943-0827, okc.gov. SAT Yoga Tuesdays an all-levels class; bring your own water and yoga mat, 5:45 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405445-7080, myriadgardens.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 Colors of Clay an exhibition of clay pots, bowls, pitchers and jars created by Native American artists, through May 10, 2021. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. FRI-SAT Harold Stevenson: The Great Society a collection of 98 large-scale portraits of residents of Idabel, Oklahoma, through Dec. 29. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-3253272, ou.edu/fjjma. TUE-SUN Holiday Wine-Down a floral painting class paired with wine; all supplies provided, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 3. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. TUE Leviathan I: The Aesthetics of Capital an experimental exhibition created by artist Pete Froslie exploring climate change, moral and political philosophy through electro-mechanics and game engine-based digital projection, through Dec. 31. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., 405325-3272, ou.edu/fjjma. WED-TUE Renewing the American Spirit: The Art of the Great Depression an exhibition of paintings, prints, photographs and more created in the 1930s, through April 26, 2020. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa. com. SAT Seeds of Being an exhibition examining the evolution of art created by Indigenous groups in North America, through Dec. 30. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Edmond, 405-325-3272, ou.edu/ fjjma. WED-MON

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Seeing Now an exhibit of multimedia art works by Hank Willis Thomas, Ken Gonzales-Day, Travis Somerville, Paul Rucker, Graciela Sacco, Terence Hammonds and Michael Waugh, through Dec. 31. 21c Museum Hotel, 900 W. Main St., 405-982-6900, 21cmuseumhotels.com. THU-TUE Small Works IX view smaller-format works by artists Carol Beesley, Julie Marks Blackstone, George Bogart, Douglas Shaw Elder, Skip Hill, Don Holladay and more, through Dec. 21. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405-307-9320, pasnorman.org. TUE-SAT Until We Organize: The Struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment an exhibition of photographs chronicling Oklahoma’s battle over the ERA, through Nov. 30, 2020, Through Nov. 30, 2020. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, okhistory.org. MON-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

GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!


EVENT

MUSIC

Intimate Archive

Singer-songwriter Maddie Razook celebrates the release of her new solo album at The Blue Door. By Jeremy Martin

You might have heard her in Pigments or Lust, but Maddie Razook’s Archive is the sound of the singer-songwriter going solo in the truest sense. “I decided that it was really important to me that every single element of the album was played by me alone,” Razook said. “I didn’t want to bring in any sort of extra musicians for any other elements. I just wanted to be able to record it all, just me, so when you’re hearing the album, the vocal harmonies or, like, six synth parts on one track or additional keyboard or whatever, that’s all just me. That’s sort of the common thread, and that’s how I really hope to maintain that sense of intimacy that people recognize in my music because my live shows are definitely very intimate.” Razook celebrates the release of her latest album 8-10:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at The Blue Door, 2805 N. McKinley Ave. Archive includes the single “Spinning,” released in April, and a re-recorded version of “See Me” from 2017 debut Beneath the Skin along with eight previously unreleased songs. “Each of the 10 songs represents a different way I’ve felt throughout the four years that these songs were written in,” Razook said. “The title, Archive, is the name of one of the tracks on the album, but it also represents, definitely, my feeling about this collection of music. My idea of it is, sort of, I’m ready to share it and then put it away. … Once it’s out of my hands and in everyone else’s ears, it won’t completely feel like mine anymore. It will sort of be tucked

away in my memory and out of my hands, and that’s OK. That’s a good thing about it.” While Pigments is currently inactive, Lust is scheduled to begin recording an album of its own in December. But Razook said releasing music under her own name is also an important part of her creative life.

I have the ability and the skill set and the drive to want to do something like this, and so I did it. Maddie Razook “The community aspect of playing with other people definitely offers something that I don’t necessarily experience while playing solo, and I wouldn’t want to ever give up doing that in some form,” Razook said. “But just this project, my own project as Maddie Razook, has definitely been the one that keeps me the most grounded in my musical expression in a way, just because it feels so much like an extension of me and me alone.” A conversation with a friend who recently started performing solo highlighted an intense aspect of the experience. “She was like, ‘What is this feeling of just wanting to throw up when you play alone?’” Razook said. “I’m like, ‘It gets

easier, but sometimes you will feel that way in, like, four years, honestly.’ It almost makes it harder if you have played in bands before. … You’re more vulnerable when you’re playing alone. I think I sort of crave that sense of vulnerability and that intimacy that you share with the people who are watching you when you’re playing alone, but I think it can be overwhelming for people sometimes to put themselves in that situation. Sometimes it’s the best feeling in the world to be able to do that and be vulnerable with people … but then, some days, if I’m not completely in the right headspace for it, it can feel … like I’m reading my journal to a bunch of strangers.” In some ways, Razook said that’s exactly what she’s doing in all her projects. “I’m just constantly writing lyrics, honestly, whether it be in a physical journal, or if it’s in the Notes app on my phone, just like jotting down things I hear, things I think about, and then sort of putting them together later, whatever,” Razook said. “It’s all very personal to me — all my lyrics are, regardless of the project — but the thing that’s been really cool about this project is, more so than any projects I’ve ever been in, people will come up to me after shows and be like, ‘I could really relate to that,’ or ‘That that really meant something to me.’ Maybe it’s even just that since it’s just me and my keyboard, they can hear the lyrics more. … It sort of hits you in a different way when you can really hear it all.” Her Lust bandmate Connor Schmigle recorded and mastered the album between December of 2018 and spring of 2019. “It takes a long time to record an album like that, where every element is played by one person, so Connor was incredibly patient with me, which was really wonderful,” Razook said. “I trust Connor so much, both as my musical collaborator and my friend, and that was super essential to this project.” Schmigle said the main challenge for such an intimate, personal album was preventing the layered synthesizers from sounding like “some spaceship instrument.” “We tried to keep it as human as possible,” Schmigle said. “I felt like that was a good direction for the record. If it got too stiff or rigid … that doesn’t feel like Maddie’s music to me at all.” To Schmigle, Razook’s music feels more “like a hug.” “That’s the best way to describe it,” Schmigle said. “It feels like an embrace. There’s a comfort to a lot of her music, and it feels like getting to sit down and Maddie Razook celebrates the release of her latest album 7-10:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at The Blue Door. | Photo Jo Babb

Archive includes the single “Spinning” and a rerecorded version of “See Me” along with eight previously unreleased songs. | Image Jo Babb / provided

think for a second. … I just don’t think this music would benefit from having anyone but her on it.” Razook said the recording process taught her that she’s capable of doing things on her own, and she hopes hearing it encourages other people to do the same. “I can make things happen, even if it takes a year to record the album or it takes a little bit of self-motivation to get up and do it,” Razook said. “I have the ability and the skill set and the drive to want to do something like this, and so I did it. … It’s something that I wish more people felt that they could do — maybe not in the sense of sitting down and writing and recording an album, because I don’t think everyone wants to do that or has the interest in that. But just in general, I feel like we’re all so much more capable of things than we believe. I’ve been really lucky because I have a wonderful community who is just constantly supporting me, and I hope that I’m doing that for other people as well.” Sharing her highly personal lyrics in such an immediate way has also made that community feel larger. “I’ve discovered that if I write stuff that I feel and I don’t try to make it relatable — I’m not sitting there like, ‘How are people going to relate to this?’ I’m just talking about what I feel, how I’m feeling — people just do relate to it because we’re all just human beings who feel things,” Razook said. “That’s been really rewarding to realize.” Spinster and Lacey Elaine share the bill. Admission is $10, cash only. Call 405524-0738 or visit bluedoorokc.com.

Maddie Razook 8-10:30 p.m. Dec. 5 The Blue Door 2805 N. McKinley Ave. bluedoorokc.com | 405-524-0738 $10 (cash only)

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MUSIC

F E AT U R E

Nicholas Ley, director of the contemporary music business program at University of Central Oklahoma’s Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM@UCO), also plays in The Flaming Lips and Colormusic and DJs in The Brothers Griiin. | Photo Ryan Magnani / provided

Bank notes

More local musicians tell us what they do for money, honey. By Jeremy Martin

After our cover story about the difficulties local musicians have making money (Music, “Broke music,” Jeremy Martin, Nov. 1), a few musicians reached out to tell us that article didn’t really reflect their realities. “While the fact that the Oklahoma City public does a terrible job of supporting live, local, original music could itself be the subject of standalone article, that’s not the only way musicians make money with and through their art here or anywhere else,” wrote Than Medlam, a fulltime lecturer at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM@UCO) who also described himself as a guitarist, singer, trombonist, luthier and arranger in an email to the editor. “There are amazing, talented, hard-working, motivated, and innovative people hustling hard in OKC and paying all their bills through music. … There are world-class musicians all over town teaching privately and at colleges, playing in orchestras, writing and recording jingles for local businesses, writing film scores, running studios, collaborating with other musicians outside the state, performing/directing/ running sound in churches, marketing and selling their songs as intellectual properties, designing logos, doing web design, building music gear (effects pedals, cables, amplifiers, guitars), selling gear at stores, doing repairs, running sound for major venues and touring acts, and lots more. The arts is often called a ‘portfolio career.’ We have to diversify to make it, but that diversification doesn’t diminish one’s position as a musician. In fact, it informs it and strengthens it while helping the local scene become more lush and complex.” Nicholas Ley, director of ACM’s con26

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temporary music business program, also supports himself through several jobs. “What do I do for money?” Ley asked. “Well, I do so many things, and they’re all centered around music and they all add up to one big income. Do I lead with, ‘I teach at ACM, and I’m the program director of the music business department’? Is that my career? Or am I a fulltime member of The Flaming Lips, and that’s what I lead with as my career? Both of those things pay me about equally, and they’re both two very large parts of who I am. The reality is I couldn’t do one without the other.” Ley, who is also a member of Colourmusic and Brothers Griiin, said people often misunderstand the purpose of ACM’s music business classes and what to expect from a career as a musician.

The idea is work begets work. Nicholas Ley “I talk to parents a lot, and they’re worried about, ‘What is my child going to be able to do with this degree?’ and they ask questions like, ‘Hey, we had lunch at Bricktown before we took this tour at ACM, and the server that took our order is a graduate of ACM. What do you have to say about that?” Ley said. “What I have to say about that is, ‘I did the exact same thing while I was getting my degree and even after that. … [Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne] worked at Long John Silver’s for years, not because he wanted to, but because he could use his brain while he was frying stuff up to think about a new song

idea, a new visual idea, the next tour, all these sorts of things. … Why wouldn’t you take a job that allows you all this time and flexibility in your schedule to launch your career? … I just think that there’s a little bit of a stigma altogether around working musicians and what the difference is between somebody who does it full-time and part-time and that sort of thing. It really has to be assessed more on an individual basis and seeing how hard people are working individually.” Through the high points (playing on Saturday Night Live with Miley Cyrus) and “giant valleys” (a period five years ago when Colourmusic took a break) in his music, Ley said, the crucial lesson he has learned is to keep working. “The common thread through all that is I stayed active no matter what, even if it felt like the floor had fallen out from beneath me,” Ley said. “I think the most important thing is that you constantly be chipping away. Even if it doesn’t feel like what you’re doing right then is going to win you a Grammy or whatever, the idea is work begets work. ... Even though I’m in a band that is fortunate enough to tour the world pretty regularly, I’m still cobbling it together, and I’m still very proud of that.”

Professional artists

To get yet another perspective, we also interviewed Jay Wilkinson, who plays trumpet in Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Boyd Street Brass jazz band, but his primary source of income comes from working at University of Oklahoma as the coordinator of jazz studies. Wilkinson said most if not all of the musicians in the philharmonic have day jobs as well. “A lot of people wouldn’t know that, but a lot of my colleagues, we wake up in the morning and have a regular workday and then we go work nights in very intense pressure situations until 10 or 10:30 and then do it all again the next day. It’s a labor of love,” Wilkinson said. “Even the principal players wouldn’t be able to live on their salary. Everything has to be supplemented with some sort of a more nine-tofive kind of job, and that varies greatly. We have instrument store owners. We have, obviously, several teachers. You may have a stay-at-home mom or two, so that may count as a primary income, but I don’t think there’s too many of those. Everybody’s involved in something.”

Jazz musicians typically make “spending cash at best,” for gigs, Wilkinson said, and like the rock musicians we’ve spoken with, can commonly make the most money playing in pop cover bands. While Wilkinson’s job at the university provides many creative outlets and time to play in the symphony and a jazz band, he did not have either when he taught at an elementary school. “I could barely find time to practice,” Wilkinson said. “I got there at 7:30; I got home by 6:30. Pretty typical teacher day, but the main problem with that is after a full day of teaching, most teachers are dead tired. They plop in a chair and can’t move until the next morning. I’m sure there are some that just have impeccable will, but I did not. I really struggled to find practice time. I could not muster the energy, and the idea of being creative or playing recitals or writing music, that’s ridiculous.” Wilkinson also serves on the executive board of Oklahoma City Federation of Musicians. While most of the symphony musicians are also members of the local union, Wilkinson said he doesn’t know how the union could offer comparable representation for bands playing at local music venues. “We have spent many, many hours in conversation, trying to figure out a way to bridge that gap for those guys in the clubs and if there’s some way that the union could have a voice for them without alienating all the places that hire bands,” Wilkinson said. “That’s the tough part. We continue that struggle. … The union does protect its players in the symphony, but the club guys don’t really participate in the union. There’s not much we can do. … It’s a difficult situation.”

Jay Wilkinson plays trumpet in Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Boyd Street Brass jazz band and works at University of Oklahoma as the coordinator of jazz studies. | Photo provided


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LIVE MUSIC

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Nile Even if you never heard how South Carolina’s venerable Nile channels Egyptian-inspired esotericism through technical death metal, song titles from latest album Vile Nilotic Rites, released in November, would give you an indication of the eldritch earworms awaiting within: “The Oxford Handbook of Savage Genocidal Warfare,” “Snake Pit Mating Frenzy” and “Thus Sayeth the Parasites of the Mind” sound exactly like you might expect, only almost unbelievably more so. You’re welcome/you’ve been warned. Grindcore innovators Terrorizer share in the sonic slaughter. A river runs through you 7-11 p.m. Dec. 5 at 89th Street – OKC, 8911 N. Western Ave. Tickets are $22-$25. Visit 89thstreetokc.com. DEC. 5 Photo Francesco Desmaele / provided

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

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 27

SUNDAY, DEC. 1

Jason Hunt and Preston Ware, Sean Cumming’s Irish Restaurant. FOLK

Montu/Olympus Mons, The Deli. ROCK/ELECTRONIC

TUESDAY, DEC. 3

Third Eye Blind, The Criterion. POP

Country Clique, Friends Restaurant & Club. COUNTRY Kyle Reid, Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails. SINGER/SONGWRITER

THURSDAY, NOV. 28

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4

Hot House Band, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. JAZZ

Chavelle/Convey, Diamond Ballroom. ROCK

Shelly Phelps & Dylan Nagode, Jazmo’z Bourbon St. Café. ACOUSTIC

PREPARE TO BE SURPRISED. Meet the Maddox family. They have two boys, a daughter with cerebral palsy who is confined to a wheelchair and an infant they foster. It’s more than most of us could handle.

John Carlton & Kyle Reid, The Winston. SINGER/SONGWRITER

FRIDAY, NOV. 29

MC Chris/Shubzilla, 89th Street-OKC. HIP-HOP

ATLiens/Ray Volpe, OKC Farmers Market. ELECTRONIC

Susan Herndon, Hollywood Corners. SINGER/SONGWRITER

But the Maddoxes don’t just receive help from United Way agencies, they find room in a stretched budget and they give to the United Way.

Rainbows Are Free/Snowchild/Klamz, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK Westering/Speak, Memory/King Pink, 89th StreetOKC. ROCK

SATURDAY, NOV. 30 Adam Miller Live, The Blue Door. SINGER/SONGWRITER

Chelsey Cope/Michael Loveland/Dorian Small, Opolis. SINGER/SONGWRITER Functional Polly, Full Circle Bookstore. ACOUSTIC

02.13.20

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Hosty, The Deli. ROCK

Kyle Reid & Noah Engh, The Blue Door.

Tail Light Rebellion, Red Brick Bar. AMERICANA

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Worst Friends/Violent Victim/Letters to a Friend, 89th Street-OKC. METAL/HARDCORE

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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.

GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!

Can you? GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.

Martin Scorsese’s epic saga of organized crime in postwar America, as told by a hit man, stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Now in his old age, WWII veteran and former mafia hitman Frank Sheeran reflects on the moments that defined his mob career, especially his role in the 1975 disappearance and murder of Jimmy Hoffa.

MARRIAGE STORY

A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, and Laura Dern.

AMERICAN DHARMA

Academy Award winning Director Errol Morris faces off with controversial political strategist and former Donald Trump adviser, Steve Bannon.

Now Playing

Opening December 6th Exclusively at Rodeo Cinema

Coming December 13th

OKC’S UNIQUE NONPROFIT ART HOUSE MOVIE THEATRE SHOWING INDEPENDENT, FOREIGN, AND DOCUMENTARY FILMS.

United Way of Central Oklahoma

Showtimes & Tickets at Rodeocinema.org 2221 Exchange Avenue, OKC 405-235- 3456 (FILM)

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Laboratory, tested

Oklahoma Gazette spoke with four Oklahoma City metro cannabis laboratories about their processes and submitted a flower sample for review. By Matt Dinger

Testing is now required for all cannabis products in Oklahoma. Meanwhile, all laboratories currently operating in the state are being tested by growers and processors and will soon be tested by the state. Several labs in the Oklahoma City metro have been operating since well before sample testing became a requirement, and savvy cannabis consumers by now have no doubt seen at least one comparison of similar samples (often from the same batch, if not the same plant) with varying numbers, including THC and CBD potency. The question is, Who is right? The answer, at least for now, is everyone and no one. While all growers and processors are required to test their products with one of the many available labs, none of them are yet accredited, nor is the so-called “surveillance laboratory,” or “the lab to test labs,” operational yet in Oklahoma. The newest version of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) rules released Nov. 1 deal with that issue, but for now, producers, consumers and even the labs themselves are partially in the dark about what their cannabis contains. Oklahoma Gazette submitted a flower sample to four Oklahoma City metro laboratories and spoke with its personnel about lab testing. All of them waived their testing fees for the purposes of this experiment, and Fire Leaf Dispensary was gracious enough to provide the flower for samples, a batch of the Lemon Tree strain.

Oversight wanted

The heading for Subchapter 8 of the OMMA rules describes the purpose of laboratory testing as such: “To ensure the suitability and safety for human consumption of medical marijuana and medical marijuana products, growers and processors are required to test medical marijuana and medical marijuana products for microbials, mycotoxins, residual solvents, pesticides, THC and cannabinoid potency, terpenoid potency, heavy metals, and contaminants and filth in accordance with the following standards and thresholds.” Batches are defined as being no larger than 10 pounds, and all acceptable levels of the non-cannabis materials listed above are delineated in the rules. A point of recent contention is the sample size for testing of the batch, which includes half a percent of the batch for testing and a reserve amount also set at half a percentage. This means a 10-pound batch will be required to provide 23 grams for the testing and 23 grams in reserve. This number applies to all products, whether they are flower, distillate, edibles, etc. As these rules have been adopted by the OMMA based on input, they may be modified at any time and are expected to be as the cannabis industry in the state matures. One of the major changes expected in the laboratory testing requirements is the accreditation of all working labs in the state. From the OMMA rules: “A laboratory that submits an application to become a

licensed testing laboratory prior to January 1, 2020 must have made application for accreditation to ANSI/ASQ National Accreditation Board, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation (PJLA), or any other accrediting entity using the ISO/IEC Standard 17025, at the time of application. Application for accreditation must be made to one of these entities in both chemistry and biology, or cannabis.” The second facet of laboratory standardization scheduled to come online early next year is the creation of the “surveillance laboratory,” through which all laboratories testing Oklahoma cannabis will be required to provide samples for review at least three times a year.

We are super excited about that there’s some regulation going on with labs because it shouldn’t matter what lab you go to. Carl Wheeler “If the Department determines on the basis of a proficiency testing that the laboratory has not satisfactorily identified the presence, quantity, or other relevant factor(s) pertaining to a given analyte, the Department may revoke the license, require additional tests, and/or require remedial actions to be taken by the laboratory,” according to the rules. All of the labs Gazette spoke with for this story, plus several others, have formed a voluntary coalition and communicate and work with one another about procedures and requirements as well as meeting with OMMA’s new laboratory program oversight manager director, Lee Rhoades. “To OMMA’s credit, they realized that they didn’t know what they were doing

left to right The Highgrade Testing Lab, Express Toxicology Services, Scissortail Laboratories, F.A.S.T. Laboratories | Photos Alexa Ace and provided

in the cannabis space and they’re like, ‘Look, we’re open to input. We want help.’ And so we’ve been meeting with them and we’ve been providing recommendations, some of which they’ve gone with and some of which they haven’t,” said Matt McRorie, general counsel for Express Toxicology Services. “[Rhoades] has been really helpful and instrumental because he realizes the burdens that it puts on the industry, but at the same time, there’s all the internal political pressure and stuff at OMMA, so he’s trying to do the right thing. They got overwhelmed by a citizen’s initiative, and they wanted a full regulatory scheme sent out in 10 minutes, and you just can’t do that. It’s not even feasible, and so you’ve had the Wild West for the past year.” All of the laboratories Gazette spoke to are looking forward to accreditation and laboratory oversight. “We are super excited that there’s some regulation going on with labs because it shouldn’t matter what lab you go to, and more regulation will help that,” said Carl Wheeler, business director for The Highgrade Testing Lab. “Not saying that we’re doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong at all. It’s just some standards that all the labs are following. That will help with making sure that every single thing is tested the same way because a lot of the flack that laboratories in general are catching is that like, ‘Hey, this flower testing different than this flower that I tested at this lab over here. Why is that?’ There’s so many different reasons why that could happen. One of them totally is that the lab doesn’t have their calibrations right or the method by which they’re doing the test needs to be fixed. But if everyone has been told by a central authority the way that it’s supposed to work, then that will make it continued on page 32

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THE HIGH CULTURE COV E R

continued from page 31

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such that like everyone’s doing it the same way at a minimum.”

Sample acquisition

As it currently stands, growers and processors are allowed to bring their samples for testing directly to the labs themselves, but the new rules will modify this procedure. “Samplers shall collect samples at the location of the grower or processor. A licensed laboratory must either utilize a licensed commercial transporter to transport samples or obtain a commercial transporter license in order to transport samples from the grower or processor to the laboratory. All commercial transporters transporting to a laboratory shall be prohibited from storing samples at any location other than the laboratory facility. All samples must be delivered the day of collection. The laboratory may obtain and analyze samples only from harvest batches and production batches in final form,” OMMA rules state. Ian Cameron, lab director for Scissortail Laboratories, explains why random sampling on-site is important. “The idea is to get a random sampling of your crop,” Cameron said. “What happens now is that if you bring in your sample, you’ve got a bunch of plants. Some don’t look so great, but you’ve got a handful of them that look top-tier, so you can say, ‘Okay, I’m going to use those buds, the top buds, the juiciest ones I could possibly find, look at them under the microscope, I’m going to send those A lab worker at The Highgrade Testing Lab prepares a sample. | Photo Alexa Ace

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in the lab because they’re going to impart the highest potency, maybe the best terpene profile, whatever it is.’ So the idea is to eliminate that by having third-party testing and then with the amount it’s coming up with based upon its volume or its weight, it’s coming up with a representative sampling.” Other states do their randomized samples for testing by a three-dimensional grid, taking coordinates and plucking a sample determined by length and depth of the material, like a 3D game of Battleship.

Testing samples

While each of the laboratories uses different equipment made by different manufacturers, they follow much of the same procedures. Cameron gave a walkthrough of Scissortail’s testing process. The process here has been simplified drastically. As the program stands currently, patients, growers or processors can bring their samples directly to the labs. After the sample is logged under the OMMA license number, it is relinquished, labeled, photographed and weighed. Then comes a visual inspection under a low-power, wide-field microscope for pests and other issues. “Things like mold and mildew, if it’s a real heavy, heavy infection, you can see it. It stands out like a sore thumb. … The other day, we had a caterpillar in there. A full-on caterpillar,” Cameron said. For flower, the sample is frozen and then ground. Scissortail uses a stainless steel mortar and pestle. “One of the issues that they had in Oregon and California for a while was cross-contamination from grinding, pesticides specifically,” Cameron said.


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“The reason being is because pesticides are notoriously sticky. You need some sort of a solvent to rinse them off. You can’t just use a little bit of hot water. They don’t go away readily.” It goes through a dry weight analyzer, and solvents are added and then the substances to be tested, or analytes, are extracted. Then the sample is tested. The two most common methods for cannabis testing are gas and liquid chromatography, specifically highperformance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Sample variance

The biggest controversy involving cannabis testing has been disparate results based on the same samples from different labs. There are many different explanations for this phenomenon. Kyle Felling, owner and lab director of F.A.S.T. Laboratories, uses an analogy involving another popular Oklahoma crop. “Have you ever grown tomatoes? Because that’s a common thing that a

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Cannabis samples are placed in a solvent prior to testing. | Photo Alexa Ace

lot of people have really tried to grow at some point in their life. Or have you ever seen tomatoes on a tomato plant? And of course most people answer, ‘Well, yeah, I’ve done that,’” Felling said. “Have you ever grown a tomato plant where every single tomato on that plant looks exactly the same, has the same color, tastes exactly the same and everything else? And, of course, their answer is, ‘No. That’s crazy. They’re all different sizes.’ The cannabis bud is the same way. I’ve done a little bit of research myself, and I’ve taken buds, with a grower, from the top of the plant, buds from the middle of the plant, and buds from the bottom of the plant and we’ve tested all of them, and they have a variance in them, a variance of up to 6 percentage points depending upon where they were. But then the even better deciding factor, we took two buckets from the same branch, and one tested out at like 13 percent. The

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THE HIGH CULTURE continued from page 33

COV E R

other one tests out at 17 percent. Quite a bit of difference between the two, and they were on the exact same branch at the same point. So flower material is, to use the scientific term, very inhomogeneous, so unless the people that are doing these studies ground it all together and then sent off parts of that ground specimen to different labs, there’s no way they’re coming back the same except by chance luck.” In order to homogenize the samples used for this experiment to the best of our ability, Gazette took buds of similar sizes from the same Lemon Tree batch and ground them together using a food processor. Once the samples were thoroughly ground, portions that were roughly even were divided up into four identical glass containers and taken to the labs. All samples were kept at room temperature prior to being transported to the labs, where they were tested only for potency and terpenes. The first sample was taken to Scissortail at about noon on Nov. 13. The second sample was delivered to Highgrade at about noon on Nov. 14 and the third sample was delivered about three hours later to Express Toxicology. The final sample was delivered to F.A.S.T. Laboratories at about noon on Nov. 19. Highgrade reported a potency of 13.71 percent THC. Express reported that the sample contained 12.14 percent THC. F.A.S.T.’s report states that the sample contained 15 percent THC. Scissortail’s instrument went down and they were unable to complete sample testing by press time Nov. 25 All reported small amounts of CBD in the samples and beta-caryophyllene as the predominant terpene in the samples with beta-myrcene also being present as a secondary terpene. None of the labs were made aware of the results before publication. The full lab reports can be accessed by scanning the QR code or by visiting okgazette.com. The variance found within the test results of the sample were predicted by Felling before they were submitted. “Say the true answer of this flower is 20 percent THC, which of course, I don’t know what it is, but say the true answer is 20 percent,” Felling said. “Most people in the state are using HPLC or highperformance liquid chromatography for potency, and accuracy or what’s called the uncertainty of measurement on those is about plus or minus 10 percent. And what I always tell people is that doesn’t mean 10 to 30 percent. If it was 20 percent, what it means is 10 percent of that number. So the true answer is 20, you can expect from any lab using HPLC a variance of around 18 to 22 percent would be statistically the same number.” That variance also changes if the percentage is much larger or smaller. “Using distillate, if the true answer is 80 percent, then the quote unquote valid 34

N OV E M B E R 2 7, 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M

answer is anywhere from 74 to 88 percent because that number’s large,” he said. “If one lab gives you 74 percent and the other lab gives you 84 percent, is one right and one wrong? Are they both right? And they’re like, ‘Well, no. One’s got to be right and the other one’s gotta be wrong.’ And I was like, ‘No. Realistically, if that really answers 80, they’re both right within the variance of the machine,’ and then I follow that question up with them, saying, ‘Okay. Well, let’s say you’ve got another plant that’s got a minor cannabinoid like CBD that comes in at 1 percent and one company comes in at like .80 percent and another company comes in at 1.3 percent.’ I was like, ‘Is that close enough? Are they the same number?’ And they all say, ‘Yes, they’re very close; they’re within .5 percent of each other,’ and I say, ‘No. Not if the real answer is 1 [percent]. The variance would tell you that .9 [percent] to 1.1 [percent] are acceptable answers there. “When you’re talking about variances, small numbers produce small variances, large numbers produce very large variances, and so it all comes with education of people, what they’re looking at with the materials. But on the homogeneity, distillates should realistically be spot-on from lab to lab to lab to lab because you don’t have that inhomogeneity that you have with flower.” Assuming that the true number is somewhere in the middle of the range of percentages reported back by the laboratories, then all of the results are within an acceptable margin of error. But until the state’s surveillance laboratory is up and running, assumptions are all there is.

Surveillance laboratory

Oklahoma House Majority Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, was directly involved with crafting legislation that created the framework for the surveillance laboratory, which should be up and running in 2020.

Unless the people that are doing these studies ground it all together and then sent off parts of that ground specimen to different labs, there’s no way they’re coming back the same except by chance luck. Kyle Felling “This was really my baby,” Echols said. “Everybody struggles with, How do they test labs? And what most people do is they have the government go in and test them, and I just thought that was a terrible idea, so we created a lab that tests labs. The requirements are that they have nothing to do with the medical marijuana industry. So if you’re the lab that tests labs, that’s all you get to do. And obviously the reason is you don’t want to let lab X be the lab that tests labs and be able to be in competition with everyone else. That’s not fair. When we do that, it’s going to put everybody on a level playing field. Everybody’s being graded by the same professor, so to speak.

A lab worker at Scissortail Laboratories does a visual inspection of cannabis flower. | Photo Alexa Ace

I think if we do this for about 12 months, Oklahoma is going to have the best testing in the nation because everybody’s going to up their game because they’re all being graded the same. And the way we did it, it doesn’t add huge expense. … We don’t have the lab infrastructure to do it, period. We’re not state-of-the-art. But when we do it this way, I think it’s going to up our game. I believe if it works the way I think it will, other states are going to be copying us as to how they take care of the labs, and it makes for a better product. If I’m a patient that knows that, for example, I need to be on 1000 milligrams of CBD as opposed to 500 because that’s what cuts down my headaches because of the antiinflammatory, I need to know what I’m buying is 1000 or at least as close to 1000 as you can get, given the science. … People forget testing is not just about safety; it’s also about patients knowing what it is they’re buying.” Scan for the test results mentioned in this story.


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Review: Roadkill is one of those strains that just looks powerful. The frosty trichomes make this strain look lighter in color like the trichomes were hit with a light snow, and it dusts off on your fingertips when you grind it by hand. The smell leaves an equal impression; it’s a deep funk that hits the back of your nose. This indica-dominant hybrid is a cross between Roadkill Skunk and GG4, so the scent makes sense. The smoke itself tastes more spicy than dank with a modicum of harshness. Roadkill takes a minute to sink in but then hits hard. This one put me back in my chair for more than a minute from just a

Roadkill | Photo Phillip Danner


FREE WILL ASTROLOGY Homework: You have the power to re-genius yourself. Guidance: https://tinyurl.com/ ReGeniusYourself ARIES (March 21-April 19)

Humans invented the plow in 4,500 BC, the wheel in 4,000 BC, and writing in 3,400 BC. But long before that, by 6,000 BC, they had learned how to brew beer and make psychoactive drugs from plants. Psychopharmacologist Ronald Siegel points to this evidence to support his hypothesis that the yearning to transform our normal waking consciousness is a basic drive akin to our need to eat and drink. Of course, there are many ways to accomplish this shift besides alcohol and drugs. They include dancing, singing, praying, drumming, meditating, and having sex. What are your favorite modes? According to my astrological analysis, it’ll be extra important for you to alter your habitual perceptions and thinking patterns during the coming weeks.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) There are Americans who speak only one language, English, and yet imagine they are smarter than bilingual immigrants. That fact amazes me, and inspires me to advise me and all my fellow Cancerians to engage in humble reflection about how we judge our fellow humans. Now is a favorable time for us to take inventory of any inclinations we might have to regard ourselves as superior to others; to question why we might imagine others aren’t as worthy of love and respect as we are; or to be skeptical of any tendency we might have dismiss and devalue those who don’t act and think as we do. I’m not saying we Cancerians are more guilty of these sins than everyone else; I’m merely letting you know that the coming weeks are our special time to make corrections.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

“Erotic love is one of the highest forms of contemplation,” wrote the sensually wise poet Kenneth Rexroth. That’s a provocative and profitable inspiration for you to tap into. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you’re in the Season of Lucky Plucky Delight, when brave love can save you from wrong turns and irrelevant ideas; when the grandeur of amour can be your teacher and catalyst. If you have a partner with whom you can conduct these educational experiments, wonderful. If you don’t, be extra sweet and intimate with yourself.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

What’s something you’re afraid of, but pretty confident you could become unafraid of? The coming weeks will be a favorable time to dismantle or dissolve that fear. Your levels of courage will be higher than usual, and your imagination will be unusually ingenious in devising methods and actions to free you of the unnecessary burden. Step one: Formulate an image or scene that symbolizes the dread, and visualize yourself blowing it up with a “bomb” made of a hundred roses.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

In the follow-up story to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, our heroine uses a magic mirror as a portal into a fantastical land. There she encounters the Red Queen, and soon the two of them are holding hands as they run as fast as they can. Alice notices that despite their great effort, they don’t seem to be moving forward. What’s happening? The Queen clears up the mystery: In her realm, you must run as hard as possible just to remain in the same spot. Sound familiar, Virgo? I’m wondering whether you’ve had a similar experience lately. If so, here’s my advice: Stop running. Sit back, relax, and allow the world to zoom by you. Yes, you might temporarily fall behind. But in the meantime, you’ll get fully recharged. No more than three weeks from now, you’ll be so energized that you’ll make up for all the lost time—and more.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

The word “enantiodromia” refers to a phenomenon that occurs when a vivid form of expression turns into its opposite, often in dramatic fashion. Yang becomes yin; resistance transforms into welcome; loss morphs into gain. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you Geminis are the sign of the zodiac that’s most likely to experience enantiodromia in the coming weeks. Will it be a good thing or a bad thing? You can have a lot of influence over how that question resolves. For best results, don’t fear or demonize contradictions and paradoxes. Love and embrace them.

Most sane people wish there could be less animosity between groups that have different beliefs and interests. How much better the world would be if everyone felt a generous acceptance toward those who are unlike them. But the problem goes even deeper: Most of us are at odds with ourselves. Here’s how author Rebecca West described it: Even the different parts of the same person do not often converse among themselves, do not succeed in learning from each other. That’s the bad news, Libra. The good news is that the coming weeks will be a favorable time for you to promote unity and harmony among all the various parts of yourself. I urge you to entice them to enter into earnest conversations with each other!

Poet Cecilia Woloch asks, “How to un-want what the body has wanted, explain how the flesh in its wisdom was wrong?” Did the apparent error occur because of some “some ghost in the mind?” she adds. Was it due to “some blue chemical rushing the blood” or “some demon or god”? I’m sure that you, like most of us, have experienced this mystery. But the good news is that in the coming weeks you will have the power to un-want inappropriate or unhealthy experiences that your body has wanted. Step one: Have a talk with yourself about why the thing your body has wanted isn’t in alignment with your highest good.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Sagittarian composer Ludwig van Beethoven was inclined to get deeply absorbed in his work. Even when he took time to attend to the details of daily necessity, he allowed himself to be spontaneously responsive to compelling musical inspirations that suddenly welled up in him. On more than a few occasions, he lathered his face with the nineteenth-century equivalent of shaving cream, then got waylaid by a burst of brilliance and forgot to actually shave. His servants found that amusing. I suspect that the coming weeks may be Beethoven-like for you, Sagittarius. I bet you’ll be surprised by worthy fascinations and subject to impromptu illuminations.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

During the next eleven months, you could initiate fundamental improvements in the way you live from day to day. It’s conceivable you’ll discover or generate innovations that permanently raise your life’s possibilities to a higher octave. At the risk of sounding grandiose, I’m tempted to predict that you’ll celebrate at least one improvement that is your personal equivalent of the invention of the wheel or the compass or the calendar.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. Philosopher Georg Hegel said that. But I think you will have an excellent chance to disprove this theory in the coming months. I suspect you will be inclined and motivated to study your own past in detail; you’ll be skilled at drawing useful lessons from it; and you will apply those lessons with wise panache as you re-route your destiny.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

In his own time, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) was acclaimed and beloved. At the height of his fame, he earned $3,000 per poem. But modern literary critics think that most of what he created is derivative, sentimental, and unworthy of serious appreciation. In dramatic contrast is poet Emily Dickinson (1830¬–1886). Her writing was virtually unknown in her lifetime, but is now regarded as among the best ever. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to sort through your own past so as to determine which of your work, like Longfellow’s, should be archived as unimportant or irrelevant, and which, like Dickinson’s, deserves to be a continuing inspiration as you glide into the future.

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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7 Lulu 8 Used Gchat, e.g. 9 Went back through a passage 10 Hockey infraction 11 “Yer darn ____!” 12 Clear soda 13 Lit ____ 14 Farm setter 15 Story 16 Stereo quality: B 17 Blake who wrote “Memories of You” 18 Roast rotators 20 Fantasy author Canavan, author of the “Black Magician” trilogy 24 Whirl 28 Producers of the most Mideast oil 31 Actress Samantha 32 Rides since 2011 34 Burned rubber 35 Designer Bill 36 U. S. Grant adversary 37 Trouble terribly 38 Learns to live with 39 Set a price of 41 Malodorous 45 Metro areas, informally 46 Sticks together? 48 Luxury-car pioneer Henry 49 One may exert pressure 50 Significant advances 51 The other guys 52 Diver Louganis

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ACROSS

1 Lack of this results in baldness 6 Alcohol 13 Scenes from action movies 19 Old foundation 21 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme sci-fi thriller 22 Get back 23 Parenting: A+ 25 Night demons 26 Maintain 27 Number of people in an office? 29 “Step ____!” 30 Bye word 33 Nervous stress 34 Chip-on-one’s-shoulder outlooks, in slang 35 Taming wild horses: D40 Reflex messengers 42 Heavy metal 43 Some kitchen appliances 44 Wildlife conservationist’s device 47 Union station? 49 Valet skills: B+ 54 You can dig it 55 Spain and England in the 16th century 57 Like a sure bet 58 Watch chains 59 Do an old printing-house job 60 Skills, in Sevilla 61 Heart 62 Hosting a morning news show: C+ 67 Photo finish 70 First draft picks 71 It makes stealing pay off 75 “See you later!” 76 Cheerful 78 Norman Lear series star 80 Spots 81 Stuffing tip jars: D 83 Chip away at 84 Bottom-line figure 86 Alternative to a Maxwell 87 Indy winner Luyendyk 88 Hot stuff 91 Employee efficiency: D+ 95 Sorcerer 97 Much, informally 99 Supply-____ (economic theorist) 100 Growing room 101 Do a P.R. makeover on 103 16501–16511 107 Put on hold 109 Baseball skill: C 113 Protect, as freshness 114 What to do once you’ve made your bed, per a saying 115 Skirts 116 Nueva York, e.g. 117 Afterword 118 Bibliographical abbr.

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53 Porgy and bass 56 F.D.R. program 58 Dangerous structure 60 Combat zone 61 Anglican headwear 63 Strong brew 64 “Movin’ ____” 65 Call attention to, as a potential problem 66 Small power source 67 Classic shoe name 68 Starting job in Washington, say 69 Fashion sense: A 72 Lead-in to fare 73 Part of a TV transmission 74 ____ Garson, Oscar winner for Mrs. Miniver 76 Solomonlike 77 One-eighth part 78 Funeral stands 79 Mushroom that might be served in ramen 81 Uncivil greetings 82 Sign of a smash hit 85 ____ de Vil, Disney villain 89 Patch (together) 90 Way to get to Harlem, per Duke Ellington 91 Desire a piece of the action 92 Conception 93 Chutzpah 94 Mourn

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95 Snooker shot 96 Flu symptoms 98 Full 101 Clinton’s attorney general for all eight years 102 Rat Pack nickname 104 Quod ____ faciendum 105 Stationer’s stock 106 Let Us Now Praise Famous Men writer 108 Kid-____ (TV for tots) 110 Tiny criticism 111 Pioneer cellphone co. 112 Fancy-looking name appendage

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