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INSIDE COVER P.24 Marcus Choi, who plays George

Washington in the long-awaited OKC Broadway production of Hamilton: An American Musical, discusses the responsibility, opportunity and multiple challenges of performing in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning play.

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By Jeremy Martin Cover by Tiffany McKnight

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NEWS

CIT Y

Oklahoma City Police Department would not be involved in ICE raids unless it was requested for assistance. | Photo Alexa Ace

Jails on ICE

Advocates are urging area police and sheriff’s offices not to collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. By Miguel Rios

Oklahomans are tackling a national immigration issue at the local level. Activists are urging state and municipal law enforcement agencies to not assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) amid reports of immigration raids and detained asylum seekers. Last Saturday, immigration advocates gathered outside Fort Sill, a military base near Lawton set to house more than 1,000 detained children, to demand the closure of detention facilities. Additionally, various groups created a petition urging Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority and Sheriff P.D. Taylor to remove ICE agents that are on duty at the county jail. “One of the ways that our community gets into this deportation machine is through encounters with local law enforcement,” said Serena Prammanasudh, Dream Action Oklahoma (DAOK) executive director. “In Oklahoma City, raids on a large scale are not happening. ICE is not going door to door.” Bo Mathews, spokesman for Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD), said the department would only be involved in potential ICE raids if they were requested for assistance. “If they needed backup or they needed something where there was a perimeter that needed to be held, that’s the only kind of thing we’d be able to assist them in,” he said. “We’re not going to turn another law enforcement agency down when they need assistance, but we do not go out looking for undocumented people.” However, Mathews said that officers have a lot of discretion on the field. Whether to turn in an undocumented person to ICE is mostly left up to indi4

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vidual police officers. “A police officer has all kinds of discretion. I know when I was on the street, everyone did not get a ticket,” Mathews said. “If an officer pulls somebody over that’s undocumented that didn’t have a license, we can’t let them drive that car anymore. Now that doesn’t mean that person’s going to jail … but his car may go to jail because it’s more likely not insured.” DAOK is sponsored by United We Dream, the nation’s largest immigrant youth-led community network. Through United We Dream and local resources, DAOK receives reports and personal testimonies regarding encounters with law enforcement that lead to ICE involvement. “The law enforcement officer has the discretion to issue a citation, a warning or an arrest, and that is up to the officer on duty,” Prammanasudh said. “We know that there are people who are driving without a valid driver’s license, and somehow they end up being arrested. We know that that is not an arrestable offense by state statute; that’s a citation. There’s an option to arrest someone for a period of time, but again, this is all up to the officer on duty. And this is where this ties in with racial profiling and criminalization. … We know that in our community, someone who’s brown or black often does not just get off with a warning.”

Local collaboration

In 2014, OKCPD adopted a policy stating officers would not “inquire into a person’s immigration status during routine calls for service unless the officer can show reasonable suspicion, supported

by objective and clearly defined facts.” However, officers may ask about immigration status if it is found relevant to the “scope of the investigation.” In a press conference introducing himself as the new OKCPD chief, Wade Gourley said the department would continue with that policy. “Nothing’s going to change as far as that. We want those in this community that need us to feel like they can call us without fear of being deported or something else happening,” Gourley said. “Oftentimes, there are people out there that specifically prey on those individuals because they know they might be leery of law enforcement. So we have to do everything we can to break that barrier.” The department would not turn down a request for assistance, Gourley said, but it would not be “actively engaged in enforcing immigration law.” However, DAOK members have recently become more outspoken about how local law enforcement collaborates directly or indirectly with ICE. “We’re not trying to vilify OKCPD, but we’re trying to be real,” Prammanasudh said. “We acknowledge that they work really hard to do outreach to communities of color in OKC, but we also acknowledge that their mission is to serve the community. And I don’t think that we’re feeling that protection and that trust, so we’re trying to activate some dialogue

with the directly affected communities to stop the racial profiling, criminalization and brutalization of our people.” Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, Okmulgee County Criminal Justice Authority and Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office have 287(g) agreements with ICE that allow local law enforcement officers to be deputized to enforce immigration laws. While Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) does not have a 287(g) agreement, sheriff spokesman Mark Myers said the county jail has retained two ICE agents for three years. He said they work alternating shifts Monday-Friday. OKCPD’s operations manual states that “by agreement, Oklahoma County Jail personnel shall make a reasonable effort to determine the citizenship status of all persons arrested and jailed for a felony crime” or DUI. “What we’ve done for years is anytime someone comes into the facility and they do not have identification, we thoroughly vet who that person is. Obviously, you can understand that in a jail, we have to know who is in our facility,” Myers said. “ICE is part of that process to determine who these people are. … This has nothing to do with politics; it has everything to do with knowing who is in our facility.” Over the years, Myers said county officers would call ICE so often, it became easier to offer agents space in the county jail to expedite the process. “Now with ICE here, they can vet folks as they come in,” Myers said. “What they will do is they will place a detainer on anyone they feel they need further investigation or, once their state or local charges are wrapped up, that they need to either speak with more or whatever their process is. It’s not like they have an office or anything in here; they just work out of here. There’s a space that they use.” The county notifies ICE when individuals are set to be released, but Myers said OSCO does not continue to detain the individuals. He said that if ICE is not present or fails to show up, the person is released. But Prammanasudh said elected officials should use their authority and influence to help reduce ICE presence within local law enforcement. “[Sheriff Taylor] has the power to get ICE out of the jail, and so does the Oklahoma County jail trust,” she said. “Everyone thinks immigration is a federal issue that can only be dealt with at the federal level, but that’s not true. We’ve seen that with community organizers across the country, at the local level, the municipal level, the county level. Sheriffs and county commissioners are the ones that sign the 287(g) agreement, and they have the power to end them anytime.” Mark Myers, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said two ICE agents work at the county jail Monday-Friday. | Photo provided


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CIT Y

NEWS

Northeast housing The Page Woodson development continues to bring more housing options to northeast Oklahoma City. By Miguel Rios

The third phase of development in the Page Woodson area is set to begin soon. Local developer Ron Bradshaw already created more than 200 affordable and market-rate apartment units through new construction and redevelopment at the former Page Woodson school building, 600 N. High Ave. The newest phase of development will usher in more rental units and amenities for the area. “There will be four buildings that’ll contain 114 units,” Bradshaw said. “There will be outdoor amenities for patios and covered areas. There will be a fitness facility in this third phase. There are two commercial locations that we’re having discussions with, a possible bookstore that might be there as well as a restaurant.” Bradshaw is working with the city, which has $10 million from the last bond package allocated for affordable housing, to ensure that 30 percent of the 114 units are priced more affordably. He said 15 percent of the units will be reserved for people who make no more than 70 percent of the median income, and 15 percent will be for those who make no more than 80 percent of the median income. “It’s lower pricing for that workforce segment, and there’s no difference in the housing. … That kind of goes along 6

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with our philosophy that this is not a project; this is a neighborhood. We’re building a neighborhood that is diverse. We just had a picnic cookout for all the tenants and the neighbors, and that kind of thing will continue,” Bradshaw said. “We try to do outreach to our neighbors and be mindful of them in what we’re developing and encourage all sorts of people to live there. This isn’t really gentrification; I don’t see that happening here. We’re really building it with a lot of help from the Urban Renewal Authority and the City of Oklahoma City and my investor group. We’re building what we think is something different and developing it into a neighborhood that is very inclusive.” The four new buildings will be constructed west of the former school between High Avenue and Kelley Avenue and between NE Sixth Street and NE Fourth Street. High Avenue will be extended to connect Sixth Street with Fourth Street. NE Fifth Street will also be extended to connect Stonewall Avenue with Kelley Avenue. Bradshaw said those streets will be further developed with streetlights, landscaping and sidewalks and will provide better access and more parking spots.


The Seven at Page Woodson offers around 80 market-rate rental units. | Photo Alexa Ace

“We’re in the final processes of closing, so we think we’ll be started in the first part of August,” Bradshaw said. “The four buildings will be opened in phases so that we’ll have some of them that will open [next] June, July, August and October.” Bradshaw expects phase three to be completed by the end of October 2020.

Previous development

The first phase of development was completed nearly two years ago and included redeveloping the former Douglass High School building — now known as The Douglass at Page Woodson — into 60 affordable housing units. It also included constructing an adjacent building, The Douglass Next Door, to create 68 more units for rent. “We bought the Page Woodson school that had been vacant for about 20 — almost 25 — years, and we converted it to residential rental housing and redid the theater and commercial space that is primarily occupied by nonprofits,” Bradshaw said. “All 128 units are built and operated as affordable housing, which means to qualify, you cannot make more than 60 percent of the median income. It’s now over 90 percent occupied and stays that way, and all of the commercial spaces are leased.” The Douglass has studio ($660 monthly), one-bedroom ($700 monthly) and two-bedroom ($820 monthly) apartments. The Douglass Next Door has one- ($700 monthly) and two- ($835 monthly) bedroom apartments. Phase two was construction of The Seven at Page Woodson, 14 gray buildings constructed north of The Douglass with about 80 market-rate rental units. The apartment’s name is an homage to seven important black historical figures: Inman Page, Zelia Breaux, Ralph Ellison, Henrietta B. Foster, Charlie Christian, F.D. Moon and Abram Ross. Construction finished in January, and by June, Bradshaw said the apartments were 90 percent occupied. “There are seven courtyards that you use to gain entrance into each building, and each of those seven courtyards in The Seven are named for seven African The Seven at Page Woodson is named for seven important historical African American figures the community selected. | Photo Miguel Rios

American individuals that were selected by the neighborhood association to be commemorated,” Bradshaw said. “That also has a coffee shop that was part of that development that has been leased. They’re doing their tenant finish work now and will open soon.” The Seven offers two sizes of onebedroom apartments, one is 525 square feet ($801 monthly) and the other is 670 square feet ($1040 monthly). It also has two-bedroom ($1,248 monthly) and four-bedroom ($1,992) apartments. The entire Page Woodson area is about one mile from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), which serves roughly 4,000 students and employs thousands more. Bradshaw said that while a majority of market-rate apartment residents work at OUHSC, they have a diverse group of residents at the three current apartment sections. “To us, it’s validated our thoughts that there was a demand for housing — not only around the Health Science Center, but in that market — with the speed at which they leased up and the interest that continues to be shown,” he said. “It’s a diverse group of tenants from students to some professors to people that work at Boeing and nurses.” When Bradshaw’s team bought the school, he said a large section of the local community felt like they had ownership of the building. “We continue to try to be respectful of the neighborhood and reach out. Sometimes there’s difficulties because, at the same time, I have investors that put equity in this and have to get a return, so it’s a business,” Bradshaw said. “It’s not just something where you get all government money. We are a business, so we have to run it that way, but we try to be open and transparent. … We’re not promising anything; we’re just telling people what we can do and what we can’t do and be respectful of their feelings. I know we don’t do that all the time, but we do our best at that and we’ll continue to do our best.”’ A fourth and fifth phase with about 100 units each are expected to take place after phase three is completed. Depending on demand, Bradshaw said the next part of the development could encompass both phases. Visit pagewoodsonokc.com.

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S TAT E

NEWS

Abortion ruling District judge Cindy Truong recently ruled to uphold a law banning a specific secondtrimester abortion procedure. By Miguel Rios

An Oklahoma judge made history by upholding a law banning a second-trimester abortion procedure. District judge Cindy Truong’s ruling affects a 2015 bill that bans dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions in the second trimester. Reproductive rights activists are calling the decision “rogue” because other states — including Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas — passed similar bans on the same procedure but were struck down by judges. “We cannot overstate the harm this decision will have on women in Oklahoma,” said Julie Rikelman, Center for Reproductive Rights litigation director, in a statement. “Politicians should never take medical options off the table for pregnant patients. This law bans care that women need and doctors recommend and is part of a national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to push abortion care out of reach by passing hundreds of laws that limit access.” Attorneys for Center for Reproductive Rights, along with local attorney J. Blake Patton of Walding & Patton, filed the case on behalf of Tulsa Women’s Clinic. When the case was filed, a temporary injunction was issued to prohibit the bill’s enforcement. Attorneys plan to appeal the decision to Oklahoma Supreme Court as soon as possible and hope to retain the injunction until the case is completely settled. “The D&E ban is a legislative act that bans the most common and safest method of second-trimester abortion. Uniform across all experts in the field, we contend that it is the safest and most common, and this is just an all-out ban on that,” Patton said. “Not only could this potentially have great impact on the women of Oklahoma, but it also is another example of legislators trying to tell doctors what the standard of care is, reaching into their professional judgment and dictating that.” American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement in 2015 affirming that D&E is “evidence-based and medically preferred because it results in the fewest complications for women compared to alternative procedures.” “Efforts to ban specific types of procedures will limit the ability of physicians to provide women with the medically appropriate care they need, and will likely result in worsened outcomes and increased complications,” the statement reads. “These legislative efforts are based on nonmedical, subjective language. This language will create confusion, thus putting women at risk and, 8

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in certain cases, actually leading to abortion later in pregnancy. … Doctors will be forced, by ill-advised, unscientifically motivated policy, to provide lesser care to patients. This is unacceptable.” Oklahoma attorney general Mike Hunter praised Truong’s ruling on the ban. “Dismemberment abortions are barbaric, brutal and subject unborn children to more cruelty that we allow for death row inmates,” he said in a statement. “It is unconscionable to think that we would allow this practice to continue. Judge Truong is to be commended for declaring this legislation constitutional. Today is a major victory for basic human decency in Oklahoma” The main argument in favor of the law was that it “does not actually bar abortion” because there are other alternatives like “fetal demise procedure, in other words, a lethal injection, so to speak,” which they contend are effective and safe. The counterargument was that the ban “forces women to undergo an unnecessary, invasive procedure that confers no benefit on the patient … and creates heightened risks.” ACOG has also stated that no evidence supports “fetal demise to increase safety of secondtrimester medical or surgical abortion.”

We want to ensure that Oklahoma women and providers in this field of medicine are free from any enforcement action until this issue is fully and finally litigated. J. Blake Patton

Next steps

During the hearing, Patton said there was little interaction with the court. A transcript of the proceedings shows the court asked only one question. “‘It’s the court’s findings that the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in regard to House Bill 1721 is denied. The court’s opinion is Oklahoma House Bill 1721 is constitutional,’” Patton said, reading the transcript. “That’s it. We don’t know the reasoning; we don’t know much beyond that. In order to get to the appellate court — the Supreme Court, in this case — you have to have what’s called a final judgment.” Both sides must negotiate and draft

a journal entry of judgment, get it signed by the court and filed before it can be appealed. “Where we are right now is we are currently negotiating with the state [on] the language to essentially memorialize what happened at the meeting,” Patton said. “If an agreement can be worked out with counsel, then we can both sign the order and present it to the judge and have it filed, and that can be done in very short order.” If the two parties cannot agree on the journal entry, it could take a month or two before it is filed. The two parties have narrowed the gaps on issues they had, Patton said, but some remain outstanding, making it difficult to tell how long the process might take. “We want to ensure that Oklahoma women and providers in this field of medicine are free from any enforcement action until this issue is fully and finally litigated,” he said. “That is our intent no matter how it comes down.”

Reproductive justice

Efforts by opponents of abortion to target reproductive rights, Patton said, have shifted slightly over the years. “It’s hard to think of another area of medicine where there is so much targeted legislation,” he said. “Efforts have kind of shifted from banning or modifying or redrawing the contours of the right to terminate a pregnancy, and what you see now is what people call the TRAP era: targeted regulation of abortion providers. They’re not going after the right itself; they’re trying to regulate the providers. … That essentially has the same effect as rendering it not available.”

J. Blake Patton, attorney at Walding & Patton, represents Tulsa Women’s Clinic in a case challenging a 2015 abortion law. | Photo Miguel Rios

The original filed case challenged two separate bills, the D&E ban and a bill raising the mandatory waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours. However, Patton said their injunction for the latter bill was denied. “That was law and it still is law,” he said. “When this case is ultimately ripe for appeal, both challenges will be part of that single appeal, so it’s kind of procedurally unique in that it’s one case challenging two bills. Oklahoma is a very harsh environment for reproductive justice, but at the same time, I think that it is giving Oklahoma a chance to vindicate the rights of the people affected by this insidious type of legislation and kind of expose how checks and balances work — taking it to the end, holding the legislators and Legislature accountable.” Tulsa Women’s Clinic, Patton said, is helping breathe life into the concept of checks and balances. “In order to effectuate that check and balance through the judicial system … you need a plaintiff, and our plaintiff is one of four providers in the state, one of two providers that provide second-trimester abortions,” he said. “If we don’t have a plaintiff who is willing to enter the fray of litigation and see it through to the end, there is no check, no balance. … If this law were to go into effect, women would be forced to undergo a less safe procedure to exercise their established constitutional rights.”


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Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

Ogle, lost

KWTV anchor Kelly Ogle’s ‘My 2 Cents’ betrays a crush on authoritarian treatment of the press and political opponents. By George Lang

On July 16, as a nation processed what it meant to have a president who explicitly engaged in what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission calls “potentially unlawful conduct including insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ whether made by supervisors or by co-workers,” KWTV anchor Kelly Ogle took the side of the bully. Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the House of Representatives in a resolution condemning President Donald Trump for tweets that told Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” In response, Ogle, whose “My 2 Cents” opinion segment runs 10 p.m. weekdays on News9, decided the real issue was not racism, but people calling racists … racists. “Eventually the House held an actual vote,” Ogle said. “Not on anything most of us care about. They voted to condemn the president for his tweets. It was a barroom brawl, a bare-knuckle fight over some tweets. They were certainly unpresidential, but can we knock it off with this race to call everything racist?” I think it is fair to say that nobody is calling “everything racist.” Our beauti-

ful world is filled with wondrous things that are objectively free of racial animus and definitively not racist. Trump is not one of those wondrous things. Yet Ogle chose to devote his opinion piece to deflecting blame for this cancer on our body politic by complaining about Pelosi, congressional Democrats and the calling out of racism in a time when the antagonism of “others” is de rigueur in the Republican Party.

Ogle’s docile and deferential treatment of Trump comforts the comfortable, which in turn afflicts the afflicted. This is no surprise, given that Ogle is a master of false equivalency. On Nov. 7, 2018, when The White House pulled Jim Acosta’s press pass after the CNN reporter refused to give up his microphone until Trump answered his question, Ogle sided against his own industry’s quest for truth. “The whole exchange just made me cringe,” Ogle said. Yes, me too, but not for the same reason. “The White House says Acosta lost

| Illustration Ingvard Ashby

his credentials partly because he essentially strong-armed the intern trying to take the mic. He didn’t, but he should have given it to her. He’d had his turn; he’s made himself too much of the story,” Ogle said. “Trump is the President, for crying out loud. He has got to show some restraint and stop these childish personal attacks. Neither one was right today. They both behaved beneath the dignity of their office.” “Their office”? Acosta does not hold “office.” He is a reporter working in the private sector, not an elected official with a responsibility to be as honest as governmentally possible with reporters. I cannot believe I have to explain the relative professional burdens of U.S. presidents and television reporters to someone who has been a reporter his entire adult life. The 126-year-old quote from Chicago Evening Post reporter Finley Peter Dunne saying that “the job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” is still true today, but Ogle’s docile and deferential treatment of Trump comforts the comfortable, which in turn afflicts the afflicted. Under Trump, “My 2 Cents” is almost indistinguishable from Sinclair Broadcast Group’s “Bottom Line with Boris Epshteyn” segments, in which a former Trump employee does the daily

bidding of his ex-boss in “must-run” commentaries shown throughout the country. In June, when Trump threatened tariffs against the importing of goods from Mexico over the current immigration crisis, Ogle seemed in awe of his strongman. “Don’t be surprised if President Trump uses that same strategy to try to get them to pony up for part of his border wall,” Ogle said. I’m not sure if this was intended as humor. Ogle, unlike Epshteyn, spends the balance of the news hole on KWTV’s evening newscasts reporting the news, making it harder for viewers to distinguish objective reporting from his opinion pieces. I am a firm believer in the power of a well-reasoned editorial, but the consumers need to understand the difference between news and opinion at a time when the line is blurry to the point of invisibility. Honest labeling is important in the information business, and swinging from fact to opinion and back confuses the audience. Speaking truth to power is absolutely essential in an era of corruption and kleptocracy, but when Ogle takes a supine stance with Trump, it feels as if he is “ripping and reading” the same talking points espoused each morning on Fox and Friends. I generally and genuinely support KWTV for staying independent when so many of its competitors are merely small cogs in enormous corporate machines, and I sincerely hope the station remains independent for the foreseeable future. But “My 2 Cents” is a relic of a time when CBS’ Walter Cronkite, NBC’s John Chancellor and ABC’s Howard K. Smith weighed in and shaped the national discussion from the three bully pulpits that existed in television at the time. Such opinion pieces have largely fallen out of favor at the network level, but they are now thriving at the affiliates and on 24-hour news stations. They choke out the truth by emphasizing conjecture, which is a great strategy if you are trying to sow confusion and subvert democracy. George Lang is editor-in-chief of Oklahoma Gazette and began his career at Gazette in 1994. | Photo Gazette / file

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chicken

friedNEWS

Whiter whites

Party foul

One of President Donald Trump’s most recent Twitter rants, which media outlets cannot help but call “racially charged” comments, targeted four congresswomen of color. Unfortunately, Trump’s racist battery seems to always be at full charge. Trump told “progressive Democrat congresswomen” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” He quickly received backlash, so he doubled — no, tripled — down, again inviting people who are not happy to leave and going as far as to write, “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Maybe his bones aren’t racist, but that pale, gaslighting mouth and brain of his sure are. Even Congress had a hard time calling the comments racist. It took several hours before members voted on a resolution that “strongly condemns” his “racist comments.” Oklahoma’s own members of Congress, except Rep. Kendra Horn, voted against the resolution, of course. Despite the fact that Equal Employment Opportunity Commission literally lists “go back to where you came from” as a textbook example of unlawful harassment and discrimination, Oklahoma’s Republican congressmen stood by the president. Sen. James Lankford called Trump’s statement nonsensical but said he is not a racist and blamed both sides. Sen. Tom Cole initially tweeted he was “deeply disappointed,” but probably got a good talking to because he then tweeted “Americans who have different opinions are not racists” the next day. Rep. Markwayne Mullin agreed with Trump in an ass-kissing Facebook video basically telling people to go be socialists elsewhere. Sen. Jim Inhofe gave an irrelevant statement, babbling on about “smugglers and illegal aliens.” Rep. Horn condemned the “toxic back and forth” but did not call the president’s tweets racist. An honorable mention goes to mayor David Holt, who took to Twitter to affirm that Oklahoma is welcoming to all immigrants — a positive message that would be much more powerful if he actually follows it up with actions.

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Classically trained pianist/existential philosopher Andrew W.K. famously said, “Let's get a party going (let's get a party going)/ When it's time to party we will always party hard.” These are words Gov. Kevin “The Original Party Animal” Stitt seems to live by, as the Associated Press recently reported his first-term inauguration celebrations cost more than $2.4 million. Three pre-inaugural events were held in Jenks, Tulsa and Lawton in addition to the inaugural ball rager in the Renaissance Grand Ballroom of OKC’s Cox Convention Center, which cost more than $200,000 to rent. Stitt’s inauguration committee also paid $75,000 to contemporary Christian band MercyMe for rockin’ the party and nearly $900,000 to Eventures Inc., an event planning company. The committee also donated $121,478 to the charity managing the governor’s mansion.

The money for these stately shindigs, we should note, did not come from our tax dollars but, according to a finance report filed July 11, from ticket sales and private donors including QuikTrip convenience stores ($100,000), Devon Energy ($50,000) and a combined $25,000 from Continental Resources, its political action committee and its CEO Harold Hamm — i.e., entities seeking influence over how our tax dollars are collected and spent. Compared to the $8 billion state budget passed by the House of Representatives in May, the $2.4 million spent on Stitt’s inauguration is relatively low, of course, closer to 10 percent of the money allotted for public education or the $2 million of the Department of Health budget earmarked for “crisis pregnancy centers,” or as NARAL Pro-Choice America calls them, “fake healthcare clinics that lie to, shame and intentionally mislead women about their reproductive-healthcare options.” Incidentally, Oklahoma had the third-highest teen birth rate in the country in 2017 according to Centers for Disease Control and

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Prevention. Also incidentally, Hobby Lobby — which successfully sued the U.S. government in 2014 to get out of paying for contraceptives for its employees — donated $20,000 for Stitt’s inauguration celebrations. Please remind us — what exactly were we celebrating again?

Asp clowns

OK, we are getting ready to head out on the town. Let us go over the checklist: Did you pack the bourbon? Check! What about the rattlesnake? You know it! Uranium? Radioactive as ever! A couple in Guthrie made national headlines when a routine traffic stop yielded all three unusual items, plus possession of a firearm by a felon. A Guthrie officer pulled over the vehicle around 11 a.m. for an expired tag, and further investigation revealed that the car was stolen. What better way to tool around a neighborhood in a stolen car than with an open bottle of bourbon and radioactive material? Stephen Jennings, the driver, was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, transporting an open container of liquor and driving with a suspended license, but he did not face charges for the rattlesnake or the uranium. Passenger Rachel Rivera was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

According to Fox News, Jennings joked with officers that he was planning to build a “super snake” before coming up with the excuse that he found the uranium rod in a Geiger counter. That would be a good excuse if Geiger counters actually contained uranium, but they don’t. They are filled with an inert gas that conducts to electricity upon coming into contact with radioactive particles. You can actually order uranium ore — or at least what is advertised as uranium ore — on Amazon, and it is legal to possess non-weapons-grade amounts in many states. Jennings did not face charges for the uranium or the snake because he had the necessary hunting license and it is currently snake season. If we start getting reports of glowing snakes in Logan County, we will know who to blame.

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Sushi, noodles, cocktails and happiness.

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REVIEW

EAT & DRINK

Craft pizzeria

With quality ingredient and service, Birra Birra delivers top-shelf pizza. By Jacob Threadgill

Birra Birra Craft Pizzeria 1316 W. Memorial Road, Suite 102 birrabirrapizzeria.com | 405-607-0060 WHAT WORKS: The servers are prompt and knowledgeable, and the pizza ingredients are high quality. WHAT NEEDS WORK: The cheese bread was only slightly warm under melted cheese. TIP: Do not be afraid to ask your server about cocktail and drink pairings.

Earlier this month, a Twitter user in Chicago created a meme associating nine different photos of iconic Bill Murray movie roles with different neighborhoods. Local public relations maven Tracey Zeeck took the template and applied it to the Oklahoma City metro. Her post received nearly two thousands likes and inspired photographer Cody Lusnia to apply the photos to local pizza joints — the beauty of the internet. I love it when someone makes content that appeals directly to you. “I must’ve been thinking about pizza that day and said, ‘Let’s see if I can put one together,’” Lusnia said in an interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “The one that caught me was the zombie one that made me think of Little Caesars. It’s sort of in jest. If you’ve eaten Little Caesars, you know that it’s not the greatest, but when you have $5, it’s fine. I wanted to have fun with it and didn’t want it to be a knock on anybody.” Sauced, Hideaway, The Wedge, The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen, Empire Slice House, Falcone’s and Pizzeria Gusto are also listed in Lusnia’s meme, but his pairing of Birra Birra Craft Pizzeria with the photo of Murray’s character from Lost in Translation in a tuxedo as Suntory

Whisky’s pitchman caught my attention. Opened in Chisholm Creek in March, Birra Birra, 1316 W. Memorial Road, comes from the folks at Provision Concepts (Broadway 10 Bar & Chophouse, Sidecar Barley & Wine Bar, Hatch Early Mood Food) and includes the ice cream shop Bibi’s Craft Ice Cream. Lusnia admitted that as a downtown resident, he has not made it up to the Memorial corridor to visit Birra Birra, but I found his outside impression interesting. “In the end, Suntory whisky is not any different than any other whisky that is sold. They’re all basically made the same way,” he said. “There’s a marketing aspect to it. So, whatever they’re doing at Birra Birra isn’t wildly different than Pizza Hut except the ingredients are higher quality and the atmosphere isn’t the old parlor with the checkered tablecloth that we grew up with. It’s a façade of fanciness.”

The opportunity to bring more flair to the pizza scene here in OKC was something we couldn’t turn down. Jeff Dixon After my first visit to Birra Birra, I can say that the experience is certainly pricier than the average neighborhood pizza joint, but excellent service and a relaxed setting justify it. Overlooking the manmade body of

water in the late evening and sitting on the second floor, the restaurants on the end of the Chisholm Creek development are great spots to watch some of Oklahoma’s famous sunsets. There are a few other Provision Concepts restaurants, including Hatch and Sidecar, nearby. “Adding craft pizza to our portfolio was a must,” said Provision Concepts chief financial officer Jeff Dixon. “I’ve had a passion for brick oven, wood-fired pizza since my uncle Tommy Byrd created Bellini’s in the early ’90s. I worked at Bellini’s while in college and had a second round of pizza in helping create Upper Crust with Hal Smith’s group.  The cuisine is in my blood, coupled with the development at Chisholm Creek. The opportunity to bring more flair to the pizza scene here in OKC was something we couldn’t turn down.”

Everyone’s pizza

I commend Birra Birra for appealing to all sorts of eaters. Pizza is something everyone loves but not always something they can or want to eat. The addition of cauliflower and gluten-free crusts help in that regard. I am surprised it does not have a vegan cheese option, but its dairy cheese can be left off any of their veggie pizzas or they can be built to order without cheese. Birra Birra does offer vegan Bolognese and an Impossible patty for its burger, which is normally made with wagyu and Italian sausage and sounds like a real winner. As excited as I was to dig into some pizza, I started the meal with an order of cheese bread ($10), which is a fivecheese blend melted over ciabatta in a cast-iron skillet served with Alfredo, pesto and red dipping sauces. The choice of ciabatta helped mitigate the redundant quality of a lot of cheese bread, which is basically deconstructed pizza. The dipping sauces came in handy for the pizza crust later in the meal, but I would have preferred the bread to be toasted before the cheese was melted. It

Birra Birra’s Supreme pizza | Photo Jacob Threadgill

was only warm with the melted cheese. I was impressed with the service throughout the meal. Our server was attentive and knowledgeable about the cocktail menu, even suggesting a few off-the-menu drinks. We tried the Bellissimo ($9), which is the restaurant’s top-selling cocktail featuring grapefruit rosé vodka, peach puree and prosecco. Our server also made a Lemon Drop with ginger liqueur and vanilla flavor of her own creation that was quite fun. I was impressed with the servers’ knowledge and training. When you are paying a higher price, it is a great sign when it is reflected in the service. This also comes through in the quality of ingredients. We tried the Supreme ($18), which has the ingredients you would expect to find, but the sausage was ground nicely and the mushrooms were fresh. I expected the crust to be crispy in the middle because it was so thin, but it was actually quite soft, which I assume is what the kitchen intended. I should also note that Birra Birra has three deepdish pizzas, and its Chicago Classic is one of its overall top sellers. It is only one of a handful of restaurants in the metro to offer deep-dish. I enjoyed the pizza, but upon return visits, I would actually gravitate toward the pasta on the menu. Birra Birra offers nine choices — much more than the standard lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs at other pizza joints. I ordered the smoked salmon pasta ($16) with fettuccine and baby spinach tossed in a sundried tomato cream sauce. The salmon was smoked on the premises and really popped even in a cream sauce, which was not too heavy. I liked that an additional dollop of sun-dried tomato pesto was included on top for added acidity. Between quality ingredients and excellent service, Birra Birra delivers on its mission as a craft pizzeria.

Smoked salmon pasta with sun-dried tomato cream pesto | Photo Jacob Threadgill O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | J U LY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9

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EAT & DRINK

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F E AT U R E

DQE

Downtown Cajun

The owners of Brielle’s Bistro expand into Automobile Alley with the opening of Magnolia Bistro. By Jacob Threadgill

Building from the success of Midwest City’s Brielle’s Bistro, chef Dwayne Johnson and wife Kaylee have opened a second concept in Automobile Alley, Magnolia Bistro. Located in the former Fit Pig location, 722 N. Broadway Ave., Magnolia Bistro is chef Johnson’s opportunity to expand on the Cajun and Creole offerings from Brielle’s. “At Brielle’s, I wanted that to be solely Cajun and Creole, but everything is based on demographics for the area, so I had to add some traditional stuff, which is why we have the chicken-fried steaks, meatloaf and breakfast all day,” Johnson said. “So when Magnolia came about, my wife was like, ‘You need make it all Cajun and Creole so that we can add things we always wanted on that menu.’” Staples like crawfish étouffée, chicken and sausage with gumbo and smothered blackened catfish remain on the menu at Magnolia, but Johnson is flexing his Southern culinary muscles by adding Natich itoches meat pies, which are like Cajun empanadas with a mixture of beef and pork. He has a lso added chicken fricassee that is winebathed a nd smothered in sauce and a new take on shrimp and grits that lets the grits cool before

Surf and turf eggrolls | Photo Alexa Ace

adding them to the deep fryer and covering in a tomato-based sauce. “With the meat pies, I was trying to figure out what I could add to the menu that says ‘New Orleans,’ and that stuck out in my mind,” he said. “I’ve done it a ton of times, but it’s different and I don’t know of anyone else who had it on the menu. Once we posted the picture online, we had someone say they wanted a dozen.” Shrimp and grits is a Low Country specialty and Johnson has a traditional offering on the Brielle’s menu, but he said he wanted to put a different spin on the dish with a new texture of a fried exterior and creamy interior. The appetizer section keeps Brielle’s famous fried-green tomatoes topped with crawfish rémoulade but adds crab beignets, boudin balls and surf and turf eggrolls that are a partnership with the food truck Tia’s Home Cooking With a Dwayne Johnson stirs a pot of gumbo. | Photo Alexa Ace


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Southern Flavor, which provides the a brisket egg roll, and Johnson adds the flavors of a traditional crawfish boil and a pair of dipping sauces. Po’boys are served on six-inch baguettes with the choice of blackened chicken, catfish, blackened or fried shrimp and alligator, the latter of which Johnson said is a surprisingly popular option at Brielle’s Bistro. The Who Dat po’boy takes the sandwich to another level by offering a 12-inch option that is topped with blackened shrimp, fried green tomato and lump crab. “The spice level here will be higher than over at Brielle’s,” Johnson said. “It’s handcuffed me a little bit out there, but we’ll be able to do it here.” For dessert, Magnolia Bistro offers strawberry and blueberry beignets and daily offerings of cakes baked by Johnson. “I’m originally from Florida,” he said. “A lot of people think I don’t know how to cook Cajun, but I don’t consider myself a one-trick pony. I can cook all types of food, even baking. I can do desserts, as well. Louisiana is Southern as far as the history except for the French part of it. That part came easy because I was raised on fish and grits and things like that.”

Downtown lights

Magnolia Bistro will only operate 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday to target the surrounding office buildings. Johnson said that he might consider expanding the hours to 6 or 7 p.m. in the coming months, but he still needs to check in on Brielle’s at nights and on weekends. “Ten people will bring 100 just because they’ll be going back to office buildings,” Johnson said. “If it’s good, they’re going to be like, ‘Hey, check this out.’” “We’re happy to be part of this area,” Kaylee Johnson said. “It’s a good spot. Just be sure not to pass us by [on Seventh Street].” Johnson met his wife while they both briefly worked at Pappy’s Diner, 207 S. May Ave., but he left to go to Platt College’s culinary arts program despite having decades of the experience in the industry because he was attracted to

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Kaylee and Dwayne Johnson inside Magnolia Bistro | Photo Alexa Ace

its business program. The Johnsons opened King’s Catering & Cuisine and excelled at the catering aspect, but they struggled to attract a regular restaurant crowd. When the Johnsons moved to the Spencer area, Dwayne kept his eye on a location that would eventually become Brielle’s Bistro, which opened in early 2018. “The next thing you knew, it was like, ‘Boom,’” Dwayne Johnson said of Brielle’s Bistro’s business. “I still think we can hit a whole other level out there. It might be standing room only before you know it. A lot of people still don’t know about it. … We’ve only been open 16 months, and to be in this position is a blessing.” Brielle’s Bistro is named for their daughter, who was born with the rare condition arthrogyropsis multiplex congenita (AMC), and she has undergone numerous surgeries to increase use of her extremities. “Brielle is doing well. I do this for her. I work this hard for her,” he said. “The condition is different in each individual, and thank God it wasn’t as extreme as some that I’ve seen. They’ve done a great job on her hands and she’s started to use them more. She’s still not walking, but we anticipate that she will within a year. Sometimes it takes up to four years to be able to walk.” Two of Johnson’s three sons help in the kitchen at Brielle’s, and his desire to provide a comfortable life for his kids drives him to work seven days per week. “I used to work for other people, and I would put that same amount of passion in there,” he said. “I tell my cooks all the time, ‘You have to be able to follow before you can lead.’ If you want to have anything of your own, you have to care about what you’re doing. I go out to eat every now and again, and you can tell that it’s people going through the motions.” Visit facebook.com/magnoliabistro405.

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F E AT U R E

EAT & DRINK

Burger meisters

New State Burgers & Spirits brings an elevated full-service dining experience to 16th Street Plaza District. By Jacob Threadgill

New State Burgers & Spirits, the newest restaurant in 16th Street Plaza District, is the culmination of friends who grew up in Oklahoma’s burger capital behind the slogan, “For the people.” The phrase appears on kitchen uniforms and throughout the restaurant. Friends Chris Gomez, Jordan Harris and Tyler Maune grew up in El Reno, home of the onion burger, and always thought about getting into the restaurant business. They brought in managing partner Jay Iaquinta, and with the help of chef Robert Black’s consulting company Spring Board, the concept opened at 1705 NW 16th St. last week. “Burgers were a big part of why we’re doing this,” Maune said. “It was a way of life growing up in El Reno.” But even though they grew up surrounding by onion burgers, they are not featured on New State’s menu, and it has more to offer than burgers. “We’re going for a modern diner,” Gomez said. The signature burger on New State’s menu is two thin patties covered in cheese and topped with dijonnaise and pickles. Diners have the choice to add thick-cut, maple-smoked bacon and an over-easy egg for a fully loaded option. The Hot Hamburger is an open-faced burger topped with cheese, fries and brown gravy in honor of Murphy’s Original Steak House in Bartlesville. In a similar vein, the gravy fries use the thick-cut maple bacon for lardons and are topped with a sunny side egg. The smoked pork belly also makes an appearance on a BLT with tomato confit. There is a black bean burger for vegetarians, and The Statesman is a housemade roast beef sandwich topped with

American cheese, crispy shallots and garlic aioli with enough of its own juices that it becomes its own au jus while keeping the toasted bun crisp. More refined options on the menu include steak frites — teres major-cut with Parmesan herb butter—and chef Lizzie Jane’s crispy chicken thighs served with pickled onion, scallion, garlic and Thai peanut chili sauce. For dessert, New State offers a Brookie, a mashup of a brownie and a cookie, a draught root beer float and a Peisenberg Pie, which is inspired by New York chef Christina Tosi, who made the Milk Bar Pie popular under its previous Crack Pie name. It has an oat cookie crust with a filling that has two types of sugar, whipping cream, butter and egg yolks.

We’re going for a modern diner. Chris Gomez The ownership group signed a lease for the New State space last year and went about converting the former Collected Thread store into a kitchen. “[Collected Thread] was an important part of what the Plaza District has become, and they got the momentum started,” Gomez said. The 1,250 square-foot space has fewer than 20 tabletops and a 14-seat bar with nine taps for local craft beer. While the rest of the restaurant industry is gravitating toward counter service, New State places an emphasis on full service and quick execution of its streamlined menu.

“We want to be motivated by making it a fun atmosphere for our staff and for our guests,” Iaquinta said. “It’s going to be a high-energy, fun place to be, whether you’re working or eating. We don’t want anyone to walk in and be confused if they’re dressed enough; it’s not that kind of place. It’s a come-as-you-are.” Gomez said it is the kind of restaurant where someone who is in the neighborhood after a run in yoga pants and a tank top can stop in for a beer, or it can be a date night destination. “I know the industry is moving that way and counter concepts and delivery are growing,” Iaquinta said. “People are finding a way to devalue service. I don’t think that’s because it’s what consumers really want. I think it’s because of the product. I think the service product has suffered and consumers reacted to that.” Iaquinta said its relatively small staff eliminates variables in service and will shine with New State’s ambitious cocktail program. The Apple Jack Punch, which is made with clarified milk punch, leads nine cocktails on the menu. It requires an involved, three-day process to make the milk punch. The staff adds citrus to heated milk and watches as the milk curdles and separates from the clear liquid. The remaining milk is infused with absinthe, rum, Pernod and bitters. It is topped with Kellogg’s Apple Jacks cereal and a pineapple leaf. There are nods to the recently traded Thunder legend Russell Westbrook with the drinks Why Not, which consists of Elijah Craig small batch bourbon, dry curacao, lemon and maple, and Next Question, which is bartender’s choice. Other cocktail options include the Moltisanti, which features grapefruit gin, Aperol, St-Germain liqueur and

New State is located in the former Collected Thread space. | Photo Alexa Ace

The Apple Jack punch takes three days to make. | Photo Alexa Ace

grapefruit seltzer; the Gomez with pisco brandy, apple, grapefruit and lime; and the Ellsworth with Bulleit rye, fig, orange juice and bitters. The interior is exposed brick lined with prints of art that include something with graffiti-style messages that will increase over time. “We didn’t want it to be like your parents’ place, but an elevated experience without a pretentious or stuffy feel,” Gomez said. “We want people to have a lively experience without a high cost.” Visit newstateburger.com.

The Stateman is housemade roast beef with American cheese, crispy shallots and garlic aioli. | Photo Alexa Ace O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | J U LY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9

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GAZEDIBLES

EAT & DRINK

Schmear tactics

Friday is National Bagelfest Day. Many of the food holidays are simply the name of the food followed by “day,” but the bagel gets “fest” because it’s worthy of celebration. By Jacob Threadgill with photos by Alexa Ace and provided

Stitch OKC

The Red Cup

Ingrid’s

Now with two locations — one in Bricktown and the other near The Jones Assembly — Stitch offers a variety of drinks and entrees, both of which are adaptable for morning or evening. In the morning, dig into Stitch’s selection of Bagel n’ Schmear by combining marble rye, jalapeño, everything or seven-grain bagels with a choice of spread: honey almond, herb, plain and seasonal berry.

The sesame bagel is the No. 2 selling bagel in the country, right behind the standard plain bagel. The Red Cup uses its own sesame bagel as the foundation for its Bagelwich, which also includes scrambled tofu, tomato, onion, peppers and cashew cheese sauce.

Bagels are the only baked products that are boiled before hitting the oven to create their signature chewy texture. Ingrid’s even refers to them as “water bagels” and has an extensive selection: banana-nut, blueberry, cheddar-oniongarlic, cherry, cinnamon raisin, cranberry-orange, date-nut, egg, everything, jalapeño cheddar, orange, poppy seed, sesame seed, plain and plain with raisins.

229 E. Sheridan Ave. stitchokc.com | 405-652-1322

3122 N. Classen Blvd. theredcupokc.com | 405-525-3430

Traditional East Coast Clam Bake

3701 N. Youngs Blvd. ingridsok.com | 405-946-8444

PARK HARVEY

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Old School Bagel Cafe

Brown’s Bakery

Kitchen No. 324

Kamp’s 1910 Café

Founder Danny Cowan spent 20 years in the bagel business before moving back to Oklahoma and starting Old School Bagel Cafe. The 11 locations offer 16 varieties of bagels with an assortment of cream cheeses, dressing and garnishes. They can be enjoyed as a breakfast sandwich (six varieties) or for lunch or dinner when the options expand to 21 choices.

Brown’s has served Oklahoma City since 1946, long before the bagel became a common sight in Oklahoma, but this venerable bakery has adapted to the times by offering plain, blueberry and cinnamon raisin varieties daily for a sweet treat to start the morning.

Lox and a bagel is a combination that goes together like Russell Westbrook and Paul … let’s try that again. It’s a combination like Shai Gilgerous-Alexander and Steven Adams. Kitchen No. 324 offers its smoked salmon on a hearthbaked bagel with whipped cream cheese, capers, red onion and salmon roe with a side of crispy potatoes.

Kamp’s makes its own bagels every morning and offers four varieties: plain, wheat, everything and blueberry. The Rise and Shine sandwich ($4.99) is scrambled eggs with American cheese with a choice of ham, bacon or sausage. You can go a healthier route with the Fresh Start Sandwich made with a whole-wheat bagel, turkey sausage, egg white and low-fat cheese.

511 NW 23rd St., Suite 101 oldschoolbagel.com | 405-602-3447

1100 N. Walker Ave. facebook.com/brownsbakeryokc 405-232-0363

324 N. Robinson Ave. kitchen324.com | 405-763-5911

10 NE 10th St. kamps1910cafe.net | 405-230-1910

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ART

ARTS & CULTURE

Kabuki rodeo

Jack Fowler’s Cowboy Swordfight! exhibition explores cultural cross-pollination. By Jeremy Martin

Inspiration for Jack Fowler’s latest art exhibition came from concerns that he might be hanging meaningless garbage in his house. “I’ve got stuff on my walls from my travels that probably don’t mean anything to the people that are from those countries,” Fowler said in a phone interview while he was preparing for a trip to Cyprus and Qatar. “I noticed that a few months ago, and the actual thought that led me to do the whole show was … I wondered if in Uganda that my counterpart has like Arby’s coupons on the wall or something like that — some throwaway thing for us, but to them it’s exotic. The French wine poster is the best example I can come up with because it’s so ubiquitous in every restaurant and apartment. They’re just everywhere, and I wonder what it is about that. If we could read it in English, would we still buy it?” Fowler’s curated “movie mix-tape” and “nonsense Western pop-art show” Cowboy Swordfight! runs SundayMonday at Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St. Visitors can watch Western films chosen by Fowler and view several paintings he created exploring crosscultural disconnect by emblazoning Western scenes with random phrases in foreign languages. “If you can ignore the text or can’t read it, we ascribe value to it that might not be there,” Fowler said. “There’s a guy on a bucking bronco on the image, so it must say something daring or brave or something about being tough. That’s just what it feels like it says, but it says ‘Worst Volleyball Team Ever,’ and that’s just a private joke for me.” Other paintings are titled “I Wouldn’t Say I’ve Been Missing It, Bob,” “Yankee Cowboy Football Hot Dog USA” and “These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty,” inspired by a Seinfeld rerun he saw while staying in a West Texas hotel room. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid shows 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Tower Theatre. | Photo provided

“I wanted it to look like it obviously meant something else, like, grander,” Fowler said. “I wanted the paintings to look like this is some sort of inspirational message … like a poster some businessman would have on his wall, but other than that, the qualifications were pretty loose.” Aesthetics were his main concern, so spacing was more important than actual meaning. The messages are written in Portuguese, Japanese and other languages, but Fowler said he was unable to make Swahili work because the translations were too wordy. “They don’t go obviously with the scene, but they look like they do because I don’t read Portuguese or Japanese, so it looks beautiful over the scene,” Fowler said. “That’s what intrigues me.” The inspiration for the images on the paintings came from another crosscultural mash-up.

If we could read it in English, would we still buy it? Jack Fowler “I borrowed composition and some posing and stuff like that from old Bollywood Western posters, which I didn’t know was a thing that existed,” Fowler said. “But Bollywood produced quite a few Westerns, and their posters are badass. They were making movies 50 years ago about our Western cowboy culture, setting it in India, making posters that were very reminiscent of Gary Cooper and John Wayne and John Ford movies from the ’40s and ’50s, in that style. And then I see them 50 years later and borrow the images right back and then write Japanese on top of it. I think it’s beautiful. I really do. I like the whole idea of it.” While he enjoys the concept of mixing cultures together, Fowler attempts to avoid cultural appropriation in his art. “An interesting conversation is, What’s the difference between appropriation and an homage?” Fowler said. “I’m showcasing at least two Native portraits, ‘He Dog, Lakota’ and ‘Pretty Nose’… and I’ve asked myself if my portraits of Natives were appro-

priation. I’ve come to the conclusion, just for my own peace, t hat those are homages to, number one, the beauty of their faces. I like painting old men, the wrinkles and the character and all that, but old portraits, old phot o g raphs of Natives, to me, are very powerful. I want to pa i nt t hem because they’re beautiful, and I don’t claim any Native ancestry or anything like that, so I’ve never worried anymore about that appropriation as far as my portraits go, but with these pictures that I’m doing now, it’s just borrowing another language. It doesn’t have anything to do with another culture. All the portraits are our Western American culture. The phrases are nonsense, and I just borrowed somebody else’s letters because they’re beautiful. Chinese calligraphy is the most beautiful thing in the world. I know why people get tattoos of that. It’s really graceful and lovely.” Growing up in Oklahoma with Native friends, Fowler said, has made him concerned about remaining culturally sensitive, but combining cultures seems almost unavoidable. “In a bigger sense, the borrowing and building upon and admiration of other cultures is all a big circle,” Fowler said. “It’s an inevitable conclusion. The first time, I think, people traded spices along some ancient trade route, they borrowed a little bit of what they liked from the next guy they met. I think that’s sort of a human condition.”

Western movements

The films Fowler selected to screen also showcase the West as a place where different cultures can cross-pollinate. Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, showing 2 p.m. Sunday, stars Johnny Depp as a fugitive who has a mind-expanding encounter with a Native American outcast named Nobody (played by Gary Farmer). Bradley Beesley’s Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo, showing 5 p.m. Sunday, is a documentary about women competing in the 2007 Oklahoma State Penitentiary Rodeo. George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, showing 7:30 p.m. Sunday, stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the titular outlaws attempting to escape to Bolivia after a failed train robbery.

“He Dog, Lakota” by Jack Fowler | Photo provided

Monday’s selections — The Magnificent Seven (showing 6 p.m.) and Seven Samurai (8:45 p.m.) — feature seven fighters who attempt to save a poor farming village from violent bandits, though Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film is set in feudal Japan and the American remake is set along the U.S. border with Mexico. “This isn’t an original thought, but I think maybe it was Shakespeare or Pope or someone that said there aren’t any more new stories,” Fowler said. “I like the idea that those two movies are the same story, and all you have to do is tweak the environment and they become vastly different. I find that somehow comforting. As much as I like to travel, it always makes me sort of nervous before I go. I wonder about language barriers and changing money and all the normal stuff that people worry about before they go somewhere really different, and then every time I get there, I have no idea what I was so worried about. It’s always comforting to know … that everyone sort of does tell the same stories and that the cultural differences that surround them are just almost entirely aesthetic sometimes.” Tickets to Sunday films are $10; Monday screenings are free. Visit towertheatreokc.com.

Cowboy Swordfight! Sunday-Monday Tower Theatre 425 NW 23rd St. towertheatreokc.com | 405-708-6937 Free-$10

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COV E R

ARTS & CULTURE

His shot

For Marcus Choi, playing George Washington in Hamilton: An American Musical is an opportunity and a responsibility. By Jeremy Martin

As part of the cast of a different Broadway musical opening the same year, Marcus Choi got a good idea of how popular Hamilton: An American Musical is. “No other show mattered,” said Choi, who played Johnny Goto in Allegiance, a musical about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, which closed in 2016 after 111 shows. “It was all about Hamilton; 2015 was the year of Hamilton. Every other show was just happy to be at the party.” Now Choi plays George Washington in the touring production of Hamilton running July 30-Aug. 18 at Civic Center Music Hall’s Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre, 201 N. Walker Ave. He said he believes the show — written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and based on the life of Founding Father and first secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton — is so popular because audiences have never seen or heard anything quite like it. “For so long, musicals have kind of maintained the same equation,” Choi said. “You know what works, but this kind of broke the mold in a lot of ways. This show is a musical for people who love musicals. It’s also a show for people who love hip-hop and a show for people who love history. … I say broad appeal because it really kind of hits on every level. That really kind of makes it unique and sets it apart from shows of the past.” In a review that begins, “Yes, it really is that good,” New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley wrote, “I am loath 24

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to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show. But Hamilton … might just about be worth it — at least to anyone who wants proof that the American musical is not only surviving but also evolving in ways that should allow it to thrive and transmogrify in years to come.” Choi — who previously appeared in Wicked, Sweet Charity and Miss Saigon — said he has never performed in anything similar to the historical sungthrough hip-hop musical, but Miranda’s blending of disparate influences seems intuitive in retrospect. “I’ve never done a hip-hop show,” Choi said. “I’ve never done a musical where I had to rap. Going into it, I guess, one of the things that I didn’t really realize was how much rap lends itself as a vehicle of storytelling. I grew up in the ’90s, and I was a huge fan of R&B and rap. I should have put two and two together because all the songs growing up, they were all narrative-driven songs. Biggie was one of the best storytellers. Tupac and all these rappers from the ’90s and even the ’80s, ‘Rapper’s Delight,’ and all these classic hip-hop songs told stories. Hamilton, I feel like if you were to strip away all the music, it’s just a very intense play, and it’s told in prose. It’s kind of like a Shakespearean play set to hip-hop music. In essence, I’ve never done a show like that.” While Choi said the show’s music bears some similarity to patter songs by composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim,

learning to rap the complex lyrics based on Ron Chernow’s more than 800-page biography Alexander Hamilton was a challenge for a performer accustomed to more traditional musicals. “I’m the best rapper in my car,” Choi said, laughing. “With the rap, it’s not a question of if you make a mistake; it’s a question of when you make a mistake. There’s so many words … a staggering number. They’re densely packed, and [musical supervisor] Alex Lacamoire really kind of broke everything down into rhythm and specificity of phrasing. It’s the most technically challenging show that I’ve ever been a part of.”

Hip-hop revolution

In an interview with Grantland, Miranda said that rapidly rapped lyrics were “the only way” to tell Hamilton’s full story, which follows the title character (played in this production by Joseph Morales) from his youth through his time as Washington’s “Right Hand Man” in the Revolutionary War to his coauthoring of the Federalist Papers encouraging the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the Washington and Adams presidential administrations, the election of 1800 and his death in a duel with rival and former friend Aaron Burr (played by Nik Walker). “You could do a Les Mis– type musical about Hamilton, but it would have to be 12 hours long because the amount of words on the bars when you’re writing a typical song — t h at ’s maybe

Joseph Morales as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton: An American Musical | Photo Joan Marcus / provided

got 10 words per line,” Miranda said. FiveThirtyEight’s Leah Libresco counted more than 20,000 words in the lyrics in Hamilton’s two-hour-and23-minute original Broadway cast recording — an average of 144 words per minute — but Choi said he knows how


important those words are to Hamilton fans, many of whom listen to the soundtrack on repeat but have not yet had an opportunity to see the show. He was once in the same category. “I don’t think it’s necessarily pressure that we feel, going to these cities where people haven’t had the opportunity to go to New York or Chicago and see this show that they fell in love with,” Choi said, “but there’s certainly a responsibility to just kind of bring it every night, and really kind of put on the best show possible for people who have paid a lot of money to see this piece that they hold so dearly and have such a connection to.”

This show is a musical for people who love musicals. It’s also a show for people who love hip-hop and a show for people who love history. Marcus Choi Though the cast wants to give the audience the caliber of performance they expect, Choi said Lacamoire and director Thomas Kail encouraged the touring per-

formers to make the production their own. “They’ve definitely instilled in us the freedom to find our own path through the narrative because, by default, there’s absolutely no way that I can do what [original Washington] Chris Jackson did,” Choi said. “I’m not Chris Jackson, so it’s really nice that they don’t put that expectation on you. I think it would be a disservice to the actor if they did that, so they give us the freedom to find our own moments and carve our own path through the show. And when people see that, I think they enjoy it,because even though it’s the same show that they know, it’s a different take. A lot of times people get so locked into what they heard on the album, that even when we were learning it, Alex would remind us not to do what the recording did because they recorded it as an album, not as a live show. So as far as making it our own, I don’t want

to say it was easy, but it wasn’t as bad of an experience as one might think.”

American immortals

Jackson’s portrayal of Washington might have set a challenging precedent for the supporting role, but the first president of the United States and “Father of His Country” has been revered as an almost superhuman character since at least the 1750s. According to an article on the website for Washington’s home Mount Vernon, the Founding Father had “two horses shot out from under him and four bullet holes shot through his coat” at the Battle of the Monongahela during the French and Indian War in 1755, and during the American Revolution at the Battle of Princeton in 1777, he risked his life to lead troops to a decisive victory: “Despite the widespread fears that he would be shot down at any moment, Washington was heard to say to his troops, ‘Parade with me, my fine fellows, we will have them soon!’” “He became a bit of a mythical figure, where people thought that Washington was kind of larger than life,” Choi said. “Maybe this is the wrong way of putting it, but kind of like a supernatural Jesus type where he could escape death. I think that just kind of lends itself to his story and why people loved him so much and followed him so much.” Or, as Washington raps in “Right Hand Man,” “I’m the model of a modern major general/The venerated Virginian veteran whose men are all/Lining up to put me up on a pedestal.” One of the challenges of the role, Choi said, is portraying a mythic figure as a mortal man. “I think I try to bring the humanity to

Hamilton: An American Musical is based a biography by Ron Chernow. | Photo Joan Marcus / provided

it,” Choi said. “For me, I think the most important thing is maintaining the integrity of who he was, and it’s a challenge any way you look at it. Washington, at the end of the day, was a person, and I think that it’s important to show that he did struggle with the responsibility and the choices that he made and the failures in battle and how it took a toll on him.” While the musical is based on America’s past, Choi said the themes it explores and its unconventional multicultural recasting of the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries resonate in the present day. “It’s definitely a historical piece, but there are so many correlations with what’s happening in the country right now,” Choi said. “The design of the show, I think is very intentional, with immigrants telling the story and people of color playing these characters.” Or, as Hamilton raps in “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)”: “Finally on the field/We’ve had quite a run/ Immigrants, we get the job done.” Tickets are $106-$404. Visit okcbroadway.com.

Hamilton: An American Musical July 30-Aug. 18

Shoba Narayan as Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and Joseph Morales as Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton: An American Musical | Photo Joan Marcus / provided

Civic Center Music Hall’s Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Theatre 201 N. Walker Ave. okcciviccenter.com | 405-594-8300 $106-$404

O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | J U LY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9

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FILM

ARTS & CULTURE

Tackling subjects Bradley Beesley’s Fathers of Football takes an empathetic look at a winning Oklahoma high school football team. By Jeremy Martin

He lives in Austin now, but filmmaker Bradley Beesley has spent much of his life thinking about Oklahoma. His documentaries about barehanded fishing (Okie Noodling), the Oklahoma State Penitentiary rodeo (Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo) and The Flaming Lips (The Fearless Freaks) shine a spotlight on some of the state’s stranger corners. Growing up in Oklahoma, Beesley said he considered the subjects for years before making the films. His latest documentary, Fathers of Football, screens 8 p.m. Friday at Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., followed by a Q&A with the director. The film chronicles the Wagoner High School football team during its 2015 season, but Beesley said he has been preparing to make a similar film since the early 1990s. “My dad was a high school football coach,” Beesley said. “I filmed a lot of his games when he was coaching even though I didn’t know what I was going to do with the footage, kind of in the same way that I started out filming music videos for The Flaming Lips, and after 10 years of having a bunch of behind-the-scenes content, I thought, ‘Oh, I could make a film out of this.’ … I’ve learned now to just start shooting, start engaging with the idea, and then over the years, it’ll build into something.” His father, who Beesley described as a “football-coaching drifter,” worked for schools in Del City, Meeker, Crooked Oak, Dibble and other small Oklahoma towns and coached Beesley when he played as a linebacker and fullback for Piedmont in the ’80s. Though Beesley is currently working on a documentary about his father, none of the Fathers of Football chronicles the Wagoner High School football team during its 2015 state championship season. | Photo Bradley Beesley / provided

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footage filmed at his games appears in Fathers of Football. “I don’t think my dad was willing to go deep enough,” Beesley said. “[Wagoner Coach] Dale Condict was a better subject for a high school football documentary because he just allowed total access to me and my crew, and he was just totally open about his process and his life. He shared everything and wanted to share everything. … It was very difficult to get my father to emote. He wasn’t a guy that ever screamed at you. In fact, a lot of the players would say, ‘Man, doesn’t your dad ever want to get us fired up more or yell at us?’” Fathers of Football finds Condict at a particularly emotional time in his life, soon after his father Tom, who was also a high school football coach, died of colon cancer and his son Austin, a player on the Wagoner Bulldogs football team, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Because Condict was so open about his personal life, he was an ideal collaborator for a documentary, Beesley said, but the filmmaker was surprised that Austin was also willing to share his experiences for the film. However, many of the other players were more reluctant to talk about their thoughts and feelings. “Teenage boys are just a little more guarded and less willing to share,” Beesley said. “That was really the most difficult part of making this film, because I had never faced that before. Making the prison rodeo film, the women that we filmed with and most of the men were very receptive to telling stories and wanted to tell their stories. Clearly, Dale and Austin did, but I think a lot of the other players on the team were not as receptive. … At times, I really felt like, ‘Oh, man. I’m pushing these teenagers too hard to


OK EXPO HALL

divulge things about their personal lives that they don’t want to,’ so I’d have to kind of back off. In fact, we completely removed one of the characters from the film just because he wasn’t able to kind of go there with his backstory and his emotions the way some of the other players did.” Modern technology also provided an avoidance tactic that was not as readily available when Beesley first filmed football games in the early ’90s. “It’s just much easier for them to play video games and look at their phones,” Beesley said. “The big thing for me was when you’re filming these guys, they’re so involved with their phones that a lot of the footage is them looking at their phones and playing with their phones, and certainly that wasn’t going to happen in 1994.”

Wins and loss

Though concussions and the associated risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are hot topics of conversation in contact sports these days, football’s potential health risks did not seem to be much of a worry for the players, who were more concerned with “winning a state championship and hanging out with their girlfriends and finding out where the lake party is,” Beesley said. “Shockingly, throughout the entire season, no one on the Wagoner team received a concussion, and I thought that that all along was going to be a good jumping off point for us to discuss that — which we do, but not at length,” he said. “There’s definitely a couple of scenes regarding concussions that were cut from the film that just didn’t play with the rest of the themes as well as we wanted them to, but definitely a topic that we, as filmmakers, thought about and explored.” At one point during the film, Condict watches a news report about high school football-related deaths. “At the state championship game in 1982,” Condict said, “I can remember my dad, one of his better players got knocked about half out on the kickoff team … an obvious, bad concussion, and they’re all trying to figure out a way to

Bradley Beesley’s latest documentary, Fathers of Football, screens 8 p.m. Friday at Rodeo Cinema followed by a Q&A with the director. | Photo Bradley Beesley / provided

get that kid back in the game. But of course, that was before we knew that could be worse. There’s definitely going to be major changes coming to football.” Though Beesley had access to the locker room, sidelines, players’ homes and even doctor’s appointments, he said there was one thing Condict, one of the winningest coaches in the history of Oklahoma 11-man football, never gave the filmmaker. “I wanted them to lose,” Beesley said. “I didn’t want them to lose during a playoff game, but I would tell Dale after they won a game, ‘Man, I thought you were going to lose that and it was going to be great,’ simply because I know how emotional high school football is. … I cried after every high school football game that I ever lost … and I played for three years and won five games. That’s a lot of crying. You take it so personally. It’s so hurtful. … You’re just so wrapped up in it. The community is so wrapped up in it, and it’s all you’re preparing for all week. It’s not too dissimilar to a film production. There’s so much pre-production that goes into it, and then you have a game night.” But even when the film turns out differently than he planned, Beesley said he is more concerned about letting the subjects control their own narratives. “For me, it’s never been about guys catching giant catfish or prisoners riding bulls or kids playing football or whatever,” Beesley said. “It’s just about humanizing individual stories through these character-driven documentaries, so it’s hopefully less topical and more about the people.” Tickets are $10. Visit rodeocinema. org.

SAM DE LA ROSA SANDI SELLNER JOE EISMA ROBERT WILSON IV CHAD THOMAS JERRY BENNETT NATASHA ALTERICI

Fathers of Football 8 p.m. Friday Rodeo Cinema 2221 Exchange Ave. rodeocinema.org | 405-235-3456 $10

O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | J U LY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9

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BOOKS

ARTS & CULTURE

End times

Local novelist Noah Milligan’s Into Captivity They Will Go explores the arrival of an Oklahoma messiah. By Charles Martin

Into Captivity They Will Go is about the end of the modern world — not as a reality but as a concept, a promise. It is about the intoxicating bigness of ideas like rapture, tribulation, apocalypse and prophecies that have long seemed so immediate despite one century passing uneventfully into another and another and another. To play a meaningful role within a biblical event is tantalizing to believers and nonbelievers alike, inspiring countless fantastical novels and summers packed end to end with global disaster movies. In Noah Milligan’s upcoming novel, debuting Oct. 1, those big ideas inspire a mother and her pliable son to abandon the rest of their family to find significance within a messianic cult. The novel presents two climaxes. One addresses the sensationalist ending that readers anticipate from any book that delves into end-of-the-world cults — the dramatic reveal of whether a divine plan has been truly fulfilled. But there is the second, even more interesting climax that takes place years after the cult has faded into a cautionary tale. This is when Milligan turns from sensation to the emotional resolution between the Oklahoma writer Noah Milligan is the author of two novels and a short story collection. | Image Central Avenue Publishing / provided

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mother and son having to process their roles in a trauma that devastated an entire community. Though Milligan has not pulled heavily from any one historical event, the tone feels familiar this deep within the American Bible Belt. “Oklahoma is a very interesting place whenever it comes to politics and religion,” Milligan said. “I think there’s these dueling forces: a stubborn resistance to change and a progressive push to move our community forward. They’re constantly in conflict, and I wanted to show a young boy at the center.” The main character, Caleb Gunter, enters the world in chapter one as a virgin conception staged in a barn with the Holy Spirit summoned by his mother’s stepfather. Caleb was to be the longawaited second coming of the Christian Messiah, Oklahoma born and bred. The book quickly jumps to Caleb’s childhood within a family cracking under the weight of his mother’s fanatic devotion. Caleb and his brother are the types of kids that should be able to sink safely within the public school scrum, but their mother’s escalating foreboding of God’s impending judgment alienates the boys from their friends. As their father tries to manage the fallout, the mother only grows more insistent on spreading the good news of

humanity’s collapse. She knows that her son is the Messiah. She knows this deeper than any other truth. Because she knows, Caleb knows. He is an impressionable child who is eager to please his mother. Every step the boy takes becomes a fulfillment of prophecy; every word spoken is the whisper of divinity — a huge weight for a child to bear. “He is living in a world where he’s basically been lied to his entire life,” Milligan said. “You base your entire identity off something that turns out is false, that can cause significant trauma. I just wanted to show a young boy trying to navigate seemingly disparate worlds. We all live in a place where not everything fits neatly into a certain box. So whenever your entire world is shattered, how do you rebuild it from the ground up?” This is the real meat of the book. There is plenty of room granted to the inevitable clash between the cult and local law enforcement, but Milligan leaves the full final act to the emotional repercussions of a failed Messiah and his disgraced mother. This is Milligan’s third release from Central Avenue Publishing following An Elegant Theory, a psychological thriller about a scientist choosing between breakthrough and family, and Five Hundred Poor, a humanist short story collection focusing on those living on the fringes of society and trying to make life work in any way they can. The latter’s title is taken from a passage in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations: “Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.” It is that fascination with the lives and plights of the underprivileged struggling within Oklahoma’s unique culture and history that drives much of Milligan’s work. “I’ve had a privileged upbringing, upper middle class; both my parents were college-educated and provided for me and my older brother really well,” Milligan said. “My parents, however, came from a community called Pawhuska which is right smack dab in Osage County. If you’ve read Killers of the Flower Moon, you’ve already got an idea of what happened to that community.” In Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, David Grann writes about the oil boom in Osage County and how Native American families were targeted by swindlers and assassins trying to tap into Osage Nation’s sudden and immense wealth. The Great Depression followed and the once affluent town began a long and ongoing decline.

Into Captivity They Will Go by Noah Milligan will be released Oct. 1. | Image Central Avenue Publishing / provided

“It basically devastated Pawhuska,” Milligan said. “And we’re 100 years later, and that community is still devastated.” Milligan is a character-focused writer in the John Steinbeck tradition, and Into Captivity They Will Go is set up to be the next critical darling from Oklahoma following Lou Berney’s November Road and Brandon Hobson’s 2018 National Book Award Finalist, Where the Dead Sit Talking. Despite the strides Oklahoma authors have been making, Milligan does believe that there is still a lot to overcome for any writer wanting to make a living inside the state. There is a dire need for more support to develop and retain the state’s wealth of talented storytellers. “If you want to be a writer,” Milligan said, “if you want to do it for a living, the belief is you have to live in New York City or you go the MFA route. With the advent of the internet, the barriers are starting to crumble because through Twitter, through online literary magazines, there is a chance to thrive within a burgeoning writing community regardless of where you come from or your educational background.” Milligan said that one of his long-term goals is to look for sustainable options to strengthen the state’s writing culture and provide storytellers with avenues to the publishing industry that will help ensure that Oklahomans are among the voices telling the Oklahoma story. “Not everybody has the means to be able to get a master’s degree in creative writing,” Milligan said. “Not everybody has the means to be able to live in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago, where there is a hotbed of literature and publishing houses. I’m hoping that soon, we won’t have to have that debate anymore.” Visit noahmilligan.com.


RUNOFF BALLOT IS HERE! Oklahoma City’s first and longest-running readers’ poll, Best of OKC, is back for its 35th year! You nominated your favorites last month and we tallied them up, so now we need you to tell us who is the Best of OKC in print or at bestofoklahomacity.com, until July 29th. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE KGAAZZEETTTTEE. C . COOMM| |JJUULY N E2 4 8, 2019 6 OOKG

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BOOKS

ARTS & CULTURE

Going underground

Mystery novelist Mary Anna Evans’ Catacombs explores a downtown Oklahoma City secret. By Charles Martin

Oklahoma City’s abandoned underground catacombs built by Chinese immigrants remain the most underappreciated wonder of local urban lore, but Mary Anna Evans is taking readers down into the depths for the latest archaeological mystery novel in her Faye LongchampMantooth series that follows the exploits of an archeologist crime fighter. Catacombs begins with an explosion in a historic downtown hotel. A movie celebrity/wayward son of Oklahoma is embroiled in the search for a terrorist hiding out in the barren, subterranean city. Utilizing a tightly constrained, rotating perspective, readers piece together the clues doled out by various witnesses to the crime as well as a shadowy character that set the entire series of events into motion. It is a quick and energetic read for fans of whodunits but also interesting as an imaginary roam through an underground community hidden beneath the city’s bustling downtown. Evans teaches professional writing with a focus on genre fiction and commercial nonfiction at University of Oklahoma. She said that one of the pitfalls of mystery writing she tries to avoid in her work is the Murder, She Wrote conundrum in which a detective series populates a small community with a shockingly high number of unexplained murders. Since Longchamp-Mantooth lives in a plantation home on an island, there is not a lot of opportunity for gumshoeing and derring-do. Instead, Evans has her hero trotting around the country, using

her unique insight into American antiquity to unravel mysteries wherever they might arise. But getting LongchampMantooth into the right place at the wrong time can be a challenge. “I have an archeologist friend who enjoys putting my feet to the fire, always asking, ‘Why is she there and who’s paying her?’” Evans said. “I may have this fabulous idea for a novel, but there might also be no reason for her to be there other than I thought it was interesting.”

Where some people call science fiction ‘the literature of ideas,’ I see crime fiction and mystery as the literature of justice. Mary Anna Evans Getting her heroine off the island and into the thick of things is the big trick. When Evans first learned about a series of tunnels and rooms under downtown Oklahoma City that once housed as many as 200 Chinese immigrants, Evans strove to construct a storyline that believably lured LongchampMantooth below the surface to utilize her archaeological expertise to solve the otherwise unsolvable. She opted for a Native Amercian cultural festival as the reason why a movie star, an archeologist and a bomb-wielding fanatic walk into a hotel on the same day. A positive, preexisting relationship with law enforcement actually helps Evans place Longchamp-Mantooth into the heat of the action as a consultant. “Where some people call science fiction ‘the literature of ideas,’ I see crime fiction and mystery as the literature of justice,” Evans said. “With my book, something happens that sets the world askew, which is generally a murder, since that’s the most askew the world can get — to take a Mary Anna Evans teaches genre fiction at University of Oklahoma. | Photo Randy Batista/ provided

human life. Then the rest of the book is configured around restoring order. You can’t make it right since you can’t bring that person back to life, but you can honor their memory and survivors by bringing about justice in the end.” The research was tricky for this novel because there is not much in the way of official documentation about the Chinese catacombs outside of an expedition by former mayor George Shirk in 1969. There are certainly no guided tours ongoing. “It was mostly an internet deep dive,” Evans said. “But there’s a lot online because people are fascinated with the place. The most fanciful posts were from the urban explorers. I’m not going to go down there with a bunch of 15-year-olds with the light on my head, but there are people looking, trying to find it. That’s where I got the idea that it’s probably close to a storm sewer, which is what I used in the book.” Evans also talked to Public Works of Oklahoma City officials to discuss the project and ask questions about the storm sewer system. One of the staffers followed up with a phone call. “She said, ‘First off, you’re not in trouble. But there is a policeman who wants to talk to you,’” Evans said. When she called the policeman, Evans said he began with, “‘You’re not in trouble. But I really want to talk to you about this book. Because you’re not going to, like, draw a roadmap for somebody to set off a bomb under Oklahoma City, right?’” Once Evans convinced him that she was not trying to inspire hordes of copycat, subterranean terrorists, he wished her good luck on the project. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years. It’s the first time I got the attention of the police,” she said. This will be her second novel set in Oklahoma after Longchamp-Mantooth helped solve a missing person case 29 years prior in Creek Nation. Other stories have her unlocking the secrets of a small town in New York founded by spiritualists, roaming through postKatrina New Orleans and excavating a site on a sacred mountain. “She was also working in south Louisiana at the time of the Deepwater Horizon explosion,” Evans said. “It’s about the ticking clock. Set during the two weeks it took the oil to reach the shore, she is trying to save antiquities as people are looking around at their

Catacombs by Mary Anna Evans | Image Poisoned Pen Press / provided

livelihoods, now gone. Whether you worked for the oil companies, fishing or tourism, it was all gone. So there’s this tension in the air that was interesting.” It’s a unique challenge to write a long series focused on a primary character, but can still be read out of order. Trying to keep the story accessible to readers new to the series can be tough when you also don’t want to alienate those who’ve been reading since the very first novel. “I’ve written now 12 books about one person, basically in real time,” Evans said. “I’ve slowed time a little bit for the last few, but there is a continuity. She has her life, there is a husband, there are children, she has her island. I always feel like the descriptive passages should be subtle so, even in the first book, I don’t want to open up with, ‘She is 5-foot tall.’ I have to find other ways to incorporate it.” Evans works those sensory details into narrative action so she does not need to slow the pace of the story to catch new readers up on the characters others might already know. Evans also writes academically about the links between crime fiction and psychological needs. “We need the dreams of science fiction and fantasy, and we need the love of romance,” Evans said. “And I think we want the world to make sense. It doesn’t always in the real world, but it can in crime fiction.” Visit maryannaevans.com.

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CO M M U N I T Y

ARTS & CULTURE

Local ink

New World Comic Con continues its expansion by focusing on local artists. By Jacob Threadgill

Saturday’s New World Comic Con represents the fifth consecutive year the local convention has seen growth, which organizers call a testament to grassroots support of Oklahoma talent. Sponsored by New World Comics, 6219 N. Meridian Ave., owner Buck Berlin and organizer Stephanie Cerny have watched the convention grow from its first year at The Paramount Room to State Fair Park, where it has increased its venue size annually and will be hosted in Expo Hall this year. “The first year, we had to put it together in three weeks,” Berlin said. “We were expecting 400 to 500 people and got 1,000 to 1,500. The venue was at capacity. You’d go into different rooms and every space was filled. It was a cool experience, but we outgrew the space instantly.” Berlin has watched various chains and corporate-owned comic conventions come into Oklahoma City throughout the years, but they haven’t been able to achieve sustained success. In contrast, New World Comic Con has focused its attention on local artists and steady growth. “We’ve had a few fly-by-night cons come through that are just trying to get as much money from the local scene as they can and then go,” Berlin said. “I More than 100 artists and vendors will be at New World Comic Con. | Photo provided

know that Oklahoma couldn’t quite sustain that, because the numbers they were getting were not too dissimilar from the numbers that we are getting, and they were putting thousands and thousands of more dollars into the thing.” While national conventions spend money on lodging for out-of-state celebrities, New World Comic Con focuses on providing a platform for established and emerging Oklahoma artists.

We just want to make something cool for Oklahoma, so to get outside attention is really big for us. Buck Berlin “Just within Oklahoma City and Tulsa, there’s so much talent here that people don’t know about, and it’s nice to be able to highlight what’s happening in the community,” Cerny said. Oklahoma City artist Jerry Bennett is the current Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City artist-in-residence, and his credits include freelance work for DreamWorks, Marvel, Lucasfilm and others. Bennett will appear at this year’s New World Comic Con along with 100 other vendors and artists.

“The organizers are very intentional in placing us in the spotlight, and because of that, aspiring comic creators of all ages see us local comic creators, most of whom are very encouraging and helpful, put our stuff out there, creating another avenue of community to lift one another up to see each other become the very best creators we can be,” Bennett said. Local illustrator Alexandra Brodt has appeared at New World Comic Con since its second year and credits its platform for building her career. “New World has such an amazing community in Oklahoma City,” Brodt said. “By bringing creators of comics and other artists together, they have given us an outlet to showcase our work to not just recurring but new people who come to the convention. New World Comic Con has become a staple local show for me, where I have a small following that expects me there and loves to see new things I’ve come up with. New World has helped me grow my business by allowing me to be at their con and to help promote all artists who have a table on their social media.” For the first time in New World Comic Con’s history, it is hosting outside talent including Sandi Sellner, who was Alpha 5 in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. Texas-based comic artist Sam de la Rosa is one of the earliest artists to work with Marvel on the character Venom, and his resume includes Captain America, Predator and many others. Both Sellner and de la Rosa will host separate panels in addition to appearing at booths for signings and photos. “[Sellner] heard good things from other conventions and comic goers and she sought us out specifically,” Berlin said. “We just want to make something cool for Oklahoma, so to get outside attention is really big for us.”

Oklahoma comics

Oklahoma’s connection to comics began in the first half of the 20th century with Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould, who was born in Pawnee. Berlin said some of the most notable appearances of

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will make an appearance at the 2019 New World Comic Con. | Photo provided

Oklahoma in major comics include Doc Sampson, a major character in the Incredible Hulk comics who was born in Tulsa. In Thor comic books, the Norse God’s home Asgard floated above Broxton since the late 2000s. Tulsa artist Natasha Alterici, whose Heathen comic series was optioned for a movie this year by producers of the Constantine television series and Frank Miller’s The Spirit, is a regular guest at New World Comic Con and will appear on Saturday.

Family fun

Admission to the convention is $7 for adults, $5 for children and free for children under five. There will be ample gaming tables, including a Magic the Gathering draft and cosplay contests. “Instead of having best male and best female [cosplay], we’re breaking it up into categories,” Cerny said. “We’re going to have best anime, video game, comic book, kid’s contest and a free play category, so it is all-inclusive.” During the convention, New World Comics will host its regular weekly superhero school, which is part of its outreach to get children to read. Throughout the convention, there will be appearances by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers. In addition, Berlin and his staff created a life-sized Pokémon, and Godzilla will battle King Kong on the convention floor. “The whole family can come out and there is something for everyone to enjoy,” Cerny said. “It’s not so expensive that you get in and can’t buy anything.” Visit facebook.com/newworldcomicsokc.

New World Comic Con 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday Expo Hall, State Fair Park 3213 Wichita Walk facebook.com/newworldcomicsokc | 405-721-7634 Free-$7

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OKG Lifestyle

Around OKC EAT Okie Pokie WATCH The Chilling Adventures

of Sabrina (Netflix)

LISTEN Lovelytheband READ The Overstory by Richard Powers LOVE kittens at Central Oklahoma Humane Society EXPERIENCE Literati Variety Show

Outside OKC California Club Flatbread EAT at BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime) WATCH Factually! With Adam Conover podcast LISTEN A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza READ Classic with M&M’s cookies from Insomnia Cookies LOVE Watermark Books & Café in Wichita, Kansas EXPERIENCE

Miillie Mesh’s Picks EAT Tequila Sunfryz at Guyutes WATCH The End of the F***ing World (Netflix) LISTEN “One” by Cleo Sol READ We’re All Bad in Bed by Shelby Simpson LOVE Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Concord Grape - Acai

EXPERIENCE Art of Rap at Hubbly Bubbly

Hookah & Café

Miillie Mesh is a hip-hop goddess living and working in Oklahoma City. Her latest mixtape is Mesh Madness.

OKIE POKIE | PHOTO JACOB THREADGILL • THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA | IMAGE NETFLIX / PROVIDED THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL | IMAGE AMAZON PRIME / PROVIDED • FACTUALLY! WITH ADAM CONOVER | IMAGE EARWOLF / PROVIDED THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD | IMAGE NETFLIX / PROVIDED • TEQUILA SUNFRYZ | PHOTO GAZETTE / FILE 36

J U LY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M


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

HAPPENINGS Afro Beats a dance party featuring hip-hop, Caribbean, dancehall and more with DJ Sinz, 11 p.m. July 5. Glass Lounge, 5929 N. May Ave., 405-835-8077, glasshouseokc.com. FRI Banquet Cinema Bingo Night buy a card for a chance to win cash prizes, 7-8:45 p.m. Wednesdays. The Banquet Cinema Pub, 800 NW Fourth St., banquetcinema.com. WED

BOOKS Last Sunday Poetry Reading a poetry reading followed by an open mic, 2 p.m. last Sunday of every month. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, fullcirclebooks.com. SUN Multiple author book signing authors vehoae, Betsy Randolph and Wayne Harris-Wyrick will autograph copies of their books, 1-2:30 p.m. July 27. Best of Books, 1313 E. Danforth Road, Edmond, 405-340-9202, bestofbooksok.com. SAT Not a Drop to Drink book discussion teen readers are invited to discuss the science fiction novel with a live Skype appearance from author Mindy McGinnis, 6:30-7:30 p.m. July 29. Norman Public Library East, 3051 Alameda St., 405-2170770, pioneerlibrarysystem.org. MON

Board Game Brunch play board games while enjoying a variety of food and beverage options, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. last Sunday of the month. The R&J Lounge and Supper Club, 320 NW 10th St., 405602-5066, rjsupperclub.com. SUN 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 Bridging Realms Live: Extraterrestrials, Disclosure & You a discussion of extraterrestrial, paranormal and conspiracy culture, 9-10 p.m. July 27. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-887-3327, theparamountroom.com. SAT

SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR THE PLAZA VOTE FOR US! PLAZA DISTRICT

BEST LOCAL DISTRICT BEST PLACE TO BUY LOCAL ART .......................

PLAZA WALLS IN PLAZA DISTRICT Daniel Acuna: Living in Color Inspired by Fauvism’s color palette and Impressionism’s attention to essence, Oklahoma City painter and Inclusion in Art mentorship program participant Daniel Acuna’s work gives viewers intimate glimpses of its subjects. See it up close and personal, the way it was most likely made, at this exhibit, opening to coincide with Paseo’s monthly First Friday Art Walk. The opening reception is 6-9 p.m. Aug. 2 at Little D Gallery, 3003 Paseo Drive. Admission is free. Call 720-773-1064 or visit deniseduongart.com. AUG. 2 Photo provided

FILM Floating Films: Jaws (1975, USA, Steven Spielberg) watch the classic killer shark thriller on the water; bring a blanket and lawn chair to sit on the bank for free or rent a tube or raft, 9-10:30 p.m. July 27. RIVERSPORT Rapids, 800 Riversport drive, 405-552-4040, riversportokc.org. SAT Song of Bernadette (1943, USA, Henry King) a young peasant woman inspires adoration and ire after she sees a mysterious vision in the city dump in France in 1858; presented on OETA as part of its weekly Movie Club, 9 p.m. July 27. SAT The Third Wife (2018, Vietnam, Ash Mayfair) a 14-year-old discovers the harsh realities of her life as the third wife of a wealth landowner, 5:30 p.m. July 26. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. FRI Trolls (2016, USA, Mike Mitchell) Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake and Zooey Deschanel provide voices for the popular toys in this animated film, 7:30-10 p.m. July 25. Pelican Bay Aquatic Center, 1034 S. Bryant Ave., Edmond, 405-216-7649, pelicanbayaquatics.com. THU Vincent & Theo (1990, USA, Robert Altman) the relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo is examined in this biographical film based on their correspondence, 7:30 p.m. July 25. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. THU

BEST PUBLIC ART/MURAL .......................

LYRIC THEATRE

Cocktail Cruise see the Boathouse District, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and more on this sunset cruise with a full cash bar, Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 28. Regatta Park Landing, 701 S. Lincoln Blvd., 405-702-7755, okrivercruises.com. FRI-SAT

EMPIRE SLICE HOUSE

THE PEAK

BEST RESTAURANT .......................

MAPLES BARBECUE DNA GALLERIES

BEST PLACE TO BUY LOCAL ART BEST ART GALLERY .......................

BAD GRANNY’S BAZAAR

BEST DISPENSARY BEST HEAD SHOP BEST DISPENSARY FOR CONCENTRATES BEST CANNABIS KNOWLEDGEABLE STAFF BEST PLACE TO BUY CBD PRODUCTS BEST PLACE TO BUY CANNABIS PLANTS

BEST THRIFT STORE BEST MEN’S CLOTHING .......................

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

SAINT’S PUB

Family Bone Dig students can examine real bones and fossils and learn about careers in paleontology, archaeology and anthropology, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 27. Museum of Osteology, 10301 S. Sunnylane Road, 405-814-0006, museumofosteology.org. SAT

ROSY PALMER - THE MULE

GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!

BEST CHEF .......................

THE PRESS

PIE JUNKIE

continued on page 38

JEFF CHANCHALEUNE - GORO RAMEN

BEST PIZZA PLACE BEST LATE-NIGHT EATS .......................

Dancing in the Gardens: ’70s Disco learn to disco dance and then show off your moves at this family event, 7-10 p.m. July 26. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. FRI

Flower Gardening learn to plan and plant a flower bed at this class taught by Elia Woods at CommonWealth Urban Farms, 6:30-7:30 p.m. July 25. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. THU

BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT .......................

BEST PERFORMING ARTS GROUP .......................

BEST BARBECUE ....................... Building Your Business Plan learn how to develop an idea into an action plan with financial projections at this lecture by James Arati, business advisor with Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, 9-10:30 a.m. July 30. Norman Public Library East, 3051 Alameda St.,Norman, 405-2170770, pioneerlibrarysystem.org. TUE

GORO RAMEN

BEST DESSERT RESTAURANT SHOP OR BAKERY ....................... BEST BAR FOR LIVE MUSIC ....................... BEST COCKTAIL

EXPERIENCE LOCAL TOGETHER

VISIT US ONLINE PLAZADISTRICT.ORG

@PLAZADISTRICT O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | J U LY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9

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CALENDAR C A L E N DA R

continued from page 37 Fuzzy Friday a monthly happy hour meetand-greet hosted by the Bears of Central Oklahoma, 5:30 p.m. Fridays. Apothecary 39, 2125 NW 39th St., 405-605-4100. FRI Gardener’s Gold: Composting 101 learn about worm beds and compost piles at this workshop taught by David Braden and Allen Parleir, 11 a.m.-noon July 27. CommonWealth Urban Farms, 3310 N. Olie Ave., 405-524-1864, commonwealthurbanfarms.com. SAT

Harry Potter Trivia Night test your knowledge of The Boy Who Lived for a chance to win prizes, 6 p.m. July 31. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, fullcirclebooks.com. WED Jedi OKC club meeting talk about the past and future of the OKC Star Wars fan club, 7-9 p.m. July 27. McKinley Design Studio, 220 NW 59th St., 405607-5902. SAT Karaoke Wars the audience decides the results of this singing competition, 9 p.m. July 29. Partners, 2805 NW 36th St., 405-942-2199, partners4club.com. MON A Magical Runway Show a fashion show hosted by Henry McMullen III and Kyra Merz and benefitting A Beautiful Me, A Beautiful You a nonprofit raising awareness for adolescent mental health, 6-9 p.m. July 27. Skyline on Bricktown Canal, 12 E. California Ave., Suite 300, 405-698-1757. SAT

Hook Steven Spielberg’s 1991 return to Neverland was never a critical darling (26 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes) but it is certainly a fondly remembered family classic (76 percent audience score), and the casting (Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, Bob Hoskins as Smee and Robin Williams as grown-up Peter Pan) is impeccable. Cheer for Rufio, hiss at Hook and try not to look too closely at that imaginary food the Lost Boys are eating on your own return trip. The movie is 8:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday at Westwood Water Park, 2400 Westport Drive, in Norman. Admission is free. Call 405-447-7665 or visit normanok.gov/parks. SATURDAY Photo provided

Maps 4 Mental Health Town Hall a panel of experts discuss the mental health component of the MAPS 4 program, 6-7:30 p.m. July 29. NorthCare, 2617 General Pershing Blvd., 405-858-2700, northcare.com. MON

the month. NE OKC Community & Cultural Center, 3815 N. Kelley Ave., 405-401-3350. SUN

National Day of the Cowboy decorate bandanas, make rope and learn about the life of cowboys at this family-friendly event, 10 a.m.-noon July 27. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. SAT

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

OICA Heroes Ball adults and children alike are encouraged to dress as their favorite super-hero to help Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy honor some of the champions for children who reach “hero status” for those they help, 6-9 p.m. July 26. Skirvin Hilton Hotel, 1 Park Ave., 405-272-3040, oica.org/events/ heroes-ball. FRI

Pop Culture Trivia team up to answer questions about entertainment and other topics in this competition, 7-10 p.m. July 26. Opolis, 113 N. Crawford Ave., Norman, 405-673-4931, opolis.org. FRI

Oklahoma Meth Labs: Decades of Chaos a photo exhibit chronicling the impact of methamphetamine labs on the state, through Aug. 9. University of Central Oklahoma, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond. THU-FRI Over The Rainbow: Pride Prom enjoy drag performances, dancing, an art show and more at this event benefitting SISU Youth, 7-11:30 p.m. July 27. Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St., 405-708-6937, towertheatreokc.com. SAT Paper Sack Project prepare sack lunches to pass out to people on the streets at this event hosted by Debate Night OKC, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. last Sunday of

Queen Mariah’s Variety Show a monthly stage show featuring various drag performers, 10:30 p.m. Saturdays. Frankie’s, 2807 NW 36th St., 405-6022030, facebook.com/frankiesokc. SAT Recycle Your Rain with Rain Barrels learn about home water conservation at this workshop with a hands-on demonstration, 6:30-8 p.m. July 25. Norman Public Library East, 3051 Alameda St., Norman, 405-217-0770, pioneerlibrarysystem.org. THU Red Dirt Dinos: An Oklahoma Dinosaur Adventure learn about regional prehistoric reptiles at this hands-on exhibit featuring three interactive robotic dinosaurs, through Sept. 2. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, sciencemuseumok.org. THU-MON

Reiki/ Energy Share learn about reiki healing and share good vibes at this community get-together, 6 p.m. Fridays. Beautifully Connected, 13524 Railway Dr., Suite J, 262-753-6852, beautifullyconnectedwellness.com. 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 The Revolutionary War Your Mother Didn’t Tell You About! a living history reenactment presented by Mike Sheriff discussing the lead-up to the war and the lives of the soldiers who fought it, 1-3 p.m. July 27. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, okhistory.org. SAT Saturday Afternoon Dart Tourney bring your own Tourney 501-Cricket-Choice darts for this competition, 1 p.m. July 27. Frankie’s, 2807 NW 36th St., 405-602-2030, facebook.com/frankiesokc. SAT Sketch and Sip with Amanda Zoey learn about art and flower gardening at this sketching event; bring your own supplies, 3-5 p.m. July 27. Wholeshot Coffee, 2200 W. Hefner Road, Suite 1, 405-242-4198. SAT Sketching with Skeletons artists and photographers can use the museum’s skeletons as subjects and view a sculpture by Wayne Coyne at this meet up, 6-9 p.m. July 27. Museum of Osteology, 10301 S. Sunnylane Road, 405-814-0006, museumofosteology.org. SAT Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday Party join firefighters and the bear himself to honor 75 years of preventing forest fires at this family event, 10 a.m-2 p.m. July 26. The Oklahoma City Zoo, 2000 Remington Place, 405-424-3344, okczoo.com. FRI Stonecloud: Orbit II celebrate the second anniversary of Stonecloud Brewing with food, live mural painting and, of course, craft beer, noon-8 p.m. July 27. Stonecloud Brewing Co., 1012 NW First St., stonecloudbrewing. com. SAT Succulent Birdhouse Workshop learn to build a living shelter for birds at this workshop taught Chelsea Hughes from Calvert’s Plant Interiors, 1-2 p.m. July 27. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. SAT Summer Sale shop for books, toys, vintage-style items and more at this annual sale, July 26-27. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, okhistory.org. FRI-SAT Throw Back Thursday DJ Afistaface presents an old-school dance party, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. July 25. Fassler Hall, 421 NW 10th St., 405-609-3300, fasslerhall.com. THU

Drink & Donate: Help Feed The Homeless Whoever said demon alcohol never helped anybody was only right, like, 99.9 percent of the time. Imbibing comfortably in that remaining .01 percent is this event, where drinks are discounted if you donate food items (5-10-pound tubes of ground beef and snack items are preferred; no canned goods) to Feed it Forward OKC, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding homeless people. In addition to a cheaper buzz, your good deeds will be rewarded with prizes and live music by Ashley Windham Wittrock. That’s a real happy hour or three. The event is 7-10 p.m. Saturday at The Patriarch Craft Beer House & Lawn, 9 E. Edwards St., in Edmond. Admission is free. Call 405-285-6670 or visit thepatriarchedmond.com. SATURDAY Photo bigstockphoto.com 38

J U LY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M

Trivia Night at Black Mesa Brewing test your knowledge at this weekly competition hosted by BanjoBug Trivia, 6:30 p.m. June 18. Black Mesa Brewing Company, 1354 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-778-1865, 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 Vision Board Brunch create a visual aid for realizing your goals at this brunch event hosted by Cortney Kane Sides, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. July 27. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-8873327, theparamountroom.com. SAT Water/Ways a traveling exhibit created by the Smithsonian Institution illustrating the many ways water impacts human life and civilization, June 29-Aug. 18. Norman Public Library East, 3051

GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!

Alameda St., 405-217-0770, pioneerlibrarysystem. org. SAT-SUN WWE Live: Summerslam Heatwave Tour Becky Lynch, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and other professional wrestlers face off at this live event, 7:30 p.m. July 27, Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W. Reno Ave., 405-602-8700, chesapeakearena. com. SAT

FOOD Odyssey de Culinaire local chefs team up with high school students to create dishes with the theme Tiki Takeover: Island Creations at this benefit for the Oklahoma Restaurant Association’s Oklahoma Hospitality Foundation, 6 p.m. July 25. Skirvin Hilton Hotel, 1 Park Ave., 405-272-3040, skirvinhilton.com. THU Paseo Farmers Market shop for fresh food from local vendors at this weekly outdoor event, 9 a.m.noon Saturdays, through Oct. 19. SixTwelve, 612 NW 29th St., 405-208-8291, sixtwelve.org. SAT Vegan | Vegetarian Brunch enjoy veggie hash migas, granola bowls, quiche, cocktails and more, 11 a.m-2 p.m. July 28. Opolis, 113 N. Crawford Ave., Norman, 405-673-4931, opolis.org. SUN

YOUTH Architecture for Kids Night Time Summer Camp students ages 8-16 will create structures from boxes and toothpicks, learn about earthquake testing, Greek columns and more at this hands-on workshop, 6:30-8:15 p.m. July 24. Artsy Rose Academy, 7739 W. Hefner Road, 405-603-8550. WED Beauty and the Beast children ages 4-18 perform the fairy-tale musical; presented by KidsAlive!, Through July 28. The Auditorium at the Douglass, 600 N. High Ave., 405-652-9541, auditoriumatdouglass.com. FRI-SUN 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 OKC Improv Summer Kids Camp children ages 7-17 can learn about the art of improvised acting at this workshop, 7 p.m. July 24-27. Oklahoma City Improv, 1757 NW 16th St., 405-456-9858, okcimprov.com. WED-SAT OKC Zoo Camp children age 4-15 can learn about a variety animals at these weeklong themed camps, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays through Aug. 9. The Oklahoma City Zoo, 2000 Remington Place, 405-4243344, okczoo.com. MON-FRI 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 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 Tech Theater Workshop students ages 9-16 can learn about the technical aspects of theater production at this workshop, 4-6 p.m. July 22. Edmond Fine Arts Institute, 27 E. Edwards St., Edmond, 405-3404481, edmondfinearts.com. MON-WED


PERFORMING ARTS Comedy at the Corners local standup comics Anthony Cavazos, Spencer Hicks, Andrew Shank and more are scheduled to perform, 8-9:30 p.m. July 25. Hollywood Corners, 4712 N. Porter Ave., Norman. 405701-4990, facebook.com/HollywoodC0rner. THU

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

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

Shelly Phelps Blues Revue a monthly variety show featuring music, comedy, performance art, drag and more, 7-10 p.m. Sundays. Frankie’s, 2807 NW 36th St., 405-602-2030, facebook.com/ frankiesokc. SUN

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

Titanic a musical based on the real-life stories of the passengers on the ill-fated ship, through July 28. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405-2972264, okcciviccenter.com. TUE-SUN

George Lopez and DL Hughely the standup comics and television personalities will perform, 7-10 p.m. July 28. Riverwind Casino, 1544 W. State Highway 9, Norman, 405-322-6000, riverwind.com. SUN 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 Joel Forlenza: The Piano Man the pianist performs variety of songs made famous by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and, of course, Billy Joel, 5:30-8:30 p.m. TuesdaySaturday. Othello’s Italian Restaurant, 434 Buchanan Ave., Norman, 405-701-4900, othellos.us. TUE-FRI 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

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 Botanical Balance an all-levels yoga class in a natural environment; bring your own mat and water, 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. Saturdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. SAT

Laughs & Love Leo Edition standup comics Mack O and Damon Detroit are scheduled to perform at this event hosted by Velly Vel, 7 p.m. July 26. Quality Inn Oklahoma City Airport, 6300 Terminal Drive, 405-681-3500, facebook.com/qualityinnokcairport. FRI

all abilities ending with beers at The Yard, 6:30 p.m. Thursdays. OK Runner, 708 N. Broadway Ave., 405702-9291, myokrunner.com. THU 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 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., 405-3013467, 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, okc.gov. 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 Art Studio for Adults art instruction for adult students of all experience levels in a variety of mediums and techniques; taught by Gary Lennon, 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 8. Edmond Fine Arts Institute, 27 E. Edwards St., Edmond, 405340-4481, edmondfinearts.com. WED-THU Beautiful Minds: Dyslexia and the Creative Advantage an exhibition of artworks created by people with dyslexia including students from Okla-

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

Triple’s Open Mic a music and comedy open mic hosted by Amanda Howle, 7:30 p.m. every other Wednesday. Triple’s, 8023 NW 23rd St., 405-7893031. WED 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 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 Poetry & Chill Open Mic poets, rappers, comics, singers and all other performers are invited to take the stage at this weekly show with a live band and featured performer, 8-11 p.m. July 26. Glass Lounge, 5929 N. May Ave., 405-835-8077, glasshouseokc.com. FRI Public Access Open Mic read poetry, do standup comedy, play music or just watch as an audience member at this open mic hosted by Alex Sanchez, 7 p.m. Sundays. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-887-3327, theparamountroom.com. SUN 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 The Return of The Golden Girls a drag parody of the beloved sitcom about four senior roommates, 8 p.m. through Aug. 24, The Boom, 2218 NW 39th St., 405-601-7200, theboomokc.com. FRI-SAT Rhyme in Reasons share your talent or just watch other artists perform at this weekly open mic,

Print on Paseo a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and contemporary styles, through July 27. Paseo Art Space, 3022 Paseo St., 405-525-2688, thepaseo.com. FRI-SAT Remembering Regina Murphy an exhibit honoring the art and legacy of the painter and Paseo Arts District leader, through Aug. 31. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405-307-9320, pasnorman.org. FRI-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., Norman, 405-325-3272, ou.edu/ fjjma. WED-THU 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

Urban Core exhibition view art works by Christie Owen, Denise Duong, Jason Pawley, Kerri Shadid and more, 6-9 p.m. July 25. Verbode, 415 N. Broadway Ave., 405-757-7001, verbodegroup.com. THU Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts a traveling exhibition of a collection of works by influential European painters including Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Picasso, Rousseau and many more, through Sept. 22. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. SAT-SUN

The New New Show an experimental comedy variety show featuring Tyler Spears, Justin Keithley, James Nghiem and Alex Sanchez, 9-10 p.m. July 26. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405887-3327, theparamountroom.com. SAT

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

Patrick Riley: A Retrospective an exhibit of drawings, jewelry, sculpture and other artworks created by the artist and educator, through Aug. 29. Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum, 1400 Classen Drive, 405-235-4458, oklahomaheritage.com. THU

The UNlearning a solo art exhibition featuring works by Andrea Martin, through Aug. 11. IAO Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-232-6060, iaogallery.org. FRI-SUN

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

OKC Comedy Open Mic Night get some stage time or just go to listen and laugh, 7 p.m. Mondays. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405887-3327, theparamountroom.com. MON

Life Imagined: The Art and Science of Automata see examples of mechanical proto-robots from 1850 to the modern day, through Sept. 29. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, sciencemuseumok.org. SUN

Summer Night Print Series: Monotype Printing with Laurence Reese learn to create monotype prints with water based inks at this art workshop, 5:30-8 p.m. July 25. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405-815-9995, 1ne3.org. THU

Locked & Loaded a drag lip-synch competition hosted by Q and Topatío, 10 p.m. July 26. The Loaded Bowl, 1211 SW Second St., 405-820-9599, theloadedbowlokc.com. FRI

OK Country Cafe Open Mic show off your singing talent, 6 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of every month. OK Country Cafe, 6072 S. Western Ave., 405-602-6866, okcountrycafe.com. THU

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., Norman, 405325-3272, ou.edu/fjjma. WED-THU

Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival Hosted by Perpetual Motion Dance company, the 13th annual Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival brings together professional choreographers and local dancers for a creative learning experience leading up to a final performance featuring contemporary works by several notable OKC choreographers including Cassi Craig, Danielle Ricci, Riley Daniel, Amy Nevius and Hui Cha Poos. The performances are 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at Rose State College’s H.B. Atkinson Theater, 6420 SE 15th St., in Midwest City. Tickets are $20. Visit perpetualmotiondance.org. FRIDAY-SATURDAY Photo provided Bowling for Rhinos the OKC Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers hosts the event benefitting rhino conservation efforts, 6-9 p.m. July 27. Heritage Lanes, 11917 N. Pennsylvania Ave., 405-755-7575, heritagelanesokc.com/. SAT Fall Training Group Info Meeting work with a running coach to develop a personal training plan for the fall and winter, 6-7 p.m. July 30. OK Runner, 708 N. Broadway Ave., 405-702-9291, myokrunner. com. TUE Glow-ga in the Gardens bring your own mat and water and wear neon and glow sticks for this luminous yoga session, 9-10 p.m. July 27. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. SAT Heart Shine Yoga a beginner-level yoga class taught by Scott Bartel, 7 p.m. July 25. SixTwelve, 612 NW 29th St., 405-208-8291, sixtwelve.org. THU Hotter 5K a race held in partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kid’s Programs, 8 p.m. July 26. Wiley Post Park, 2021 S. Robinson Ave., 405-297-2756, okc.gov. FRI 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 Open Badminton hit some birdies in some morning pick-up games of badminton with friends, 10 a.m.noon Saturdays. Jackie Cooper Gymnasium, 1024 E. Main St., Yukon, 405-350-8920, cityofyukon.gov. SAT Run the Alley a 3-mile social run for athletes of

Vikki McGuire: Vision an exhibition of the Norman artist’s abstract acrylic paintings created using brushes, palette knives, stencils and stamps, through July 28. Contemporary Art Gallery, 2928 Paseo St., 405-6017474, contemporaryartgalleryokc.com. FRI-SUN Welcome Home: Oklahomans and the War in Vietnam explores the impact of the war on Oklahoma families as well as the stories of Vietnamese families relocated to Oklahoma, through Nov. 6. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, okhistory.org. MON-THU Woman Revealed an exhibition of paintings by Oklahoma City artist Rebecca Wheeler featuring women working, playing, dancing and completing other activities, through July 31. JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave., 405-528-6336, jrbartgallery. com. FRI-WED

homa City’s Trinity School, through Aug. 4. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405602-6664, sciencemuseumok.org. FRI-SUN Brenda Kingery: A Retrospective an exhibition of 23 paintings by the Chickasaw artist and Oklahoma City native, through Sept. 6. Oklahoma City University, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 405-208-5000. SAT-FRI

Dirty Pour - Beginners Fluid Art Class create your own painting using the dirty pour method at this class hosted by Wine and Palette, 3-5 p.m. July 28. Partners, 2805 NW 36th St., 405-942-2199, partners4club.com. SUN Estate Paintings view “Tree Arbor” by Nan Sheets and Standing Nude Female” by Charles Apt, through July 31. JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave., 405-528-6336, jrbartgallery.com. THU-WED Far Away Lands an exhibition featuring works by painter Jessica Legako, 4:30-8 p.m. July 25. amshot, 428 Dean A McGee Ave., 4054186282, amshot.com. THU From the Golden Age to the Moving Image: The Changing Face of the Permanent Collection view portraits painted by Kehinde Wiley, Anthony van Dyck, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and George Bellows, through Sept. 22. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. FRI-SUN

Integris Art Show view a variety of art works created by people whose lives have been affected by cancer, July 25-Sept. 6. Integris Cancer Institute, 5911 W. Memorial Road, 405-773-6400, integris.tv/ cancer. THU-FRI

GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!

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 43

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MUSIC

Sugar kisses

Ester Drang’s resurgence included a run of opening gigs with admirers Echo & The Bunnymen. By Jeremy Martin

The Boston Globe warned that the HBO documentary Heroin: Cape Cod, USA “will break your heart,” but Echo & The Bunnymen frontman Ian McCulloch must have liked the soundtrack. Hearing “The Greatest Thing” by Tulsa’s Ester Drang in the 2015 film inspired McCullough to get the band as the Bunnymen’s opening act for several dates on its 2016-2017 North American tour. “I guess he was just watching that one night,” said Ester Drang frontman Bryce Chambers, “and for some reason, he just latched onto that song. He was like, ‘Bryce, I had to rewind and listen to that again.’ … Their tour manager emailed us and I thought it was a joke at first because it’s not usually how things work. The email was just like, ‘Hey, this is so-and-so. I noticed you were fans of The Bunnymen. Would you be interested in playing some shows?’ That was all it said. … We wound up doing, like, 20 shows with them.” Ester Drang plays Aug. 2 at 51st Street Speakeasy, 1114 NW 51st St. with Lord Buffalo and Applied Music Program. Formed in Broken Arrow in 1995 and essentially dissolved after its 2006 album Rocinate, Ester Drang had only recently reformed when Chambers Ester Drang plays Aug. 2 at 51st Street Speakeasy with Lord Buffalo and Applied Music Program. | Photo Ryan Magnani / provided

got the email. Other than the offer itself, Chambers said the most unexpected part of touring with The Bunnymen was how considerate the band is. “I was surprised at how nice most of those guys are because you expect them to be kind of pissed off at the world or something,” Chambers said. “They’ve been doing it so long, you feel like they’d be like, Oh, no, it’s another band. Screw these guys. … I’d think they’re probably kind of frustrated that they’re not at the level of U2 or something, but they’ve had a great experience with music in their lives to be able to keep that kind of cult following for like, 25, 30 years.” Though he wishes the opportunity had come about 15 years earlier, Chambers said touring with The Bunnymen was a helpful reminder to “not feel like you’re too old or something to be trying to play music.” Ester Drang’s EP The Appearances, released last year on Oklahoma City record label Clerestory AV, collected songs recorded after Rocinate. NPR called The Appearances “velvet-draped space rock” with “threads finer than silk.” Chambers said he initially intended the songs — some of which were recorded about seven years before the release and feature contributions from Broncho drummer Nathan Price and Ester Drang’s original drummer James

McAlister, who has since gone on to work with The National and Sufjan Stevens — to be demos. “Some of them were pretty old, and they were just kind of like demos that I was trying to hopefully go to probably a better studio [to record them] in my mind, but I think I was kind of liking this oversaturated sound, what it ended up being just through the demos,” Chambers said. “‘Might as well leave it the way it is if you like this dirty sound you’re getting.’ … It’s pretty murky-sounding, which is kind of nice to do for a change because I feel like the last Ester Drang record was a lot more polished.” NPR reviewer Lars Gotrich wrote, “Chambers’ smoky croon fills the air like a lonesome cowboy sailing across a starry abyss — cloaked in reverb, you have no what idea what he’s singing, but reckon it’s something about the expanding prairie we call the universe.” Chambers said his vocals are lower in the mix because he likes playing keyboard and guitar more than he does singing. “I’ve always just written the music first and then tried to come up with vocals over the top of it,” Chambers said. “A lot of people do it the other way … but I’ve always just loved the music more than actually coming up with lyrics, which is probably not a good thing, you know?” He basically became the singer out of necessity. “A long time ago, we tried to have a couple of other singers, and they were not particularly that great for the style we were trying to go for,” Chambers said. “I kind of just got stuck doing it because it was just a small group of friends, and nobody could really play their instruments and sing at the same

The Appearances was released in October. | Image provided

time when we were younger. … I don’t mind it, but I never really wanted to be, like, the frontman per se.” The Philip Glass-influenced single “Mindlessly,” recorded at OKC’s Stowaway Recording, was released in April as one side of a 7-inch vinyl split with Clerestory label mates Lord Buffalo. Chambers said working on the song gave him a “little push” to get back to making music after his brother died last year. “I was just kind of not really focused on trying to do any sort of music,” Chambers said. “We’ve only played, like, one show until now in the past year. … Everybody’s got to go through that at some point in their life, but it was a little strange. But I’d already recorded a lot of things … so it was pretty smooth going, even though I was kind of out of my mind.” In addition to the Speakeasy show, Ester Drang is playing in Austin and Tulsa. Chambers said he hopes the band — which now includes guitarist and keyboardist Tommy McKenzie, cellist Jon Paul Pope, drummer Hank Hanewinkel III and founding bassist Kyle Winner — will begin to get the hang of playing live shows again. Chambers is currently considering a larger tour and planning to record new music, but some aspects of being in a band are getting more difficult with age. Though the band has toured with headliners such as The American Analog Set, The Get Up Kids and Pedro the Lion in addition to The Bunnymen, Ester Drang is still in search of bigger following. “Sadly, we’re still kind of like an opening act,” Chambers said. “If we were going around doing a nationwide tour, it would just be smaller, like, Speakeasy-type places. I don’t know if you’ve ever played Omaha, Nebraska, before, but it’s pretty rough. … I think you’re always excited about hearing new material or something that you’re working on … but as far as like traveling around and not getting any sleep, you probably kind of lose passion for that.” Visit 51stspeakeasy.com.

Ester Drang 8 p.m. Aug. 2 51st Street Speakeasy 1114 NW 51st St. facebook.com/esterdrangmusic | 405-463-0470 $3

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Flipped out

Tyson Meade revisits his past and builds his future with a multimedia concert at Tower Theatre. By George Lang

When former teenagers who used to bravely traverse the local mosh pits in the early 1990s start boring their children with stories about bands with names like Radial Spangle and Coma Club, eventually they tell the tale of Tyson Meade. As lead singer of Defenestration in the 1980s and then Chainsaw Kittens in the 1990s, Meade became the ultra-glam bard of the dispossessed, writing brilliant alternative-dimension pop music for the kids who were not short-listed for the homecoming float. “I had a listed number and I’d get these calls from these kids who would say, ‘Hey, I’m the outcast at my school,’” Meade said in an interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “‘I’m not popular, you know, but what you’re doing really makes me feel better.’ And I’d ask them, ‘Well, do you have any friends?’ and they’re like, ‘I have a few friends.’ I told them, ‘Well, you don’t need to be popular in your school if you have these friends.’” Nearly three decades after Meade declared, “I am the bloodstorm,” in the opening track to Chainsaw Kittens’ Violent Religion, there are still disaffected youth — and plenty of adults — who need heroes. As part of an effort to revisit a storied discography and recontextualize “High in High School” and “Dorothy’s Last Fling” for 2019, Meade is mounting an ambitious stage show Aug. 2 at Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St., that will take some of his most beloved work in unforeseen directions. The multimedia show features all stages of Meade’s career, from the earliest Defenestration work of the mid1980s through his latest solo album, 2019’s Robbing the Nuclear Family. Meade, who ran as a Democrat for Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district in 2018, is cagey about the details, but there will be strings. “We will play a more obscure

MY SO CALLED BAND July 26 OVER THE RAINBOW: PRIDE PROM July 27 MAC SABBATH July 30 TYSON MEADE August 2 BONE THUGS ‘N’ HARMONY August 7 MEWITHOUTYOU & PEDRO THE LION July 26

Former Chainsaw Kittens leader Tyson Meade performs a multimedia retrospective of his music at Tower Theatre. | Photo Alexa Ace

Defenestration song that people will know if they know the two records, and I’ve added strings to them because originally, when I wrote the song on guitar, it seemed the guitar parts I wrote were really like violin parts,” he said. “So with this, I’ve got to rethink the songs. I didn’t have the resources with Defenestration that are now more readily available. Now, as an older person, I can get ahold of people and say, ‘Hey, you know, do you know some string players?’” The visuals will also benefit from the passage of time and the accumulation of footage from the breadth of Meade’s career and experience. Working closely with George Salisbury, the graphic designer and video artist behind most of The Flaming Lips’ album covers, Meade is constructing a visual presentation that pulls from both his 1970s childhood and the mind-warped psychedelia of his recent music video for “P.S. Nuclear Forest Dance Boogie.” “We’re still putting all the video elements together,” he said. “I’m just so entrenched in the ’70s and, you know, in television like Brady Bunch, Partridge Family — all the best shows we grew up with. I’m not sure what is going to fit into the show this time and what will fit into shows later on. For now, it’s going to be really sort of psychedelic.”

First fling

Born in Bartlesville 56 years ago, Meade grew up surrounded by music in the kind of household where an older sister might snatch baby Tyson out of his crib just so he could hear The

continued on page 42

TICKETS & INFO AT TOWERTHEATREOKC.COM 405-70-TOWER 425 NW 23rd Street OKC

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07.26.19

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10.03.19

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AMERICAN HERETICS: THE POLITICS OF THE GOSPEL

Labeled as “heretics” for their beliefs and actions , a group of defiant Oklahomans refuse to wield their faith as a sword sharpened by literal interpretations of the Bible. Especially those interpretations that continue to justify nationalism and hack away at landmark civil rights protections for women, minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities. These American Heretics are still interested in saving you from hell, but it’s the earlthy one, where poverty, discrimination and nationalism oppress those “who are least among us.”

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MUSIC continued from page 41

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Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Not really fitting in with his oil town environment, Meade met up with fellow music obsessive, skater and guitarist Todd Walker, and throughout their teen years, Walker and Meade would play early punk songs along with The Who, T. Rex and David Bowie classics on their freshly acquired guitars. Around the time they graduated high school, Meade and Walker also graduated to writing their own songs. Defenestration was born and, at a tender age, moved to Norman. Over the course of a self-titled EP and the 1987 full-length album Dali Does Windows, Defenestration became one of the most beloved bands in the local scene and built a reputation among national critics.

A SEASONAL GUIDE TO CENTRAL OKLAHOMA

There is a lot to see and do throughout Autumn, and Gazette gives its readers direction on where to find the best festivals, shows, foods and more!

FEATURING A 3 MONTH CALENDAR along with expanded editorial content

ATTENTION PUBLICITY SEEKERS! Submit calendar events at okgazette.com or email to listings@okgazette.com Please be sure to indicate ‘Fall Guide’ in the subject line. We do not accept calendar items via phone. Deadline to submit items for our Fall Guide calendar is Wednesday, August 28, 2019 by 5pm.

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Now, as an older person, I can get ahold of people and say, ‘Hey, you know, do you know some string players?’ Tyson Meade “Recorded for almost no money and released on a loan from Meade’s mom, Defenestration is quirky and brilliant, a result of being far more ambitious than its means,” wrote Ira Robbins in The Trouser Press Record Guide. “‘Cut Your Soul in Half’ has grand ideas and sprawling gothic piano; ‘Slaughterville’ is a showcase for Meade’s Joplinesque shriek; ‘Heartthrob’ is a subtly written and beautifully melodic discourse on the politics of being an outcast.” Meade and Walker had a falling out after Dali Does Windows; Walker went on to a solo career and now plays in Locust Avenue. Meade, then working at Shadowplay Records on Campus Corner, met guitarist Trent Bell at the store, creating the core of the Chainsaw Kittens lineup that would eventually include bassist Matt Johnson and drummer Eric Harmon. While Defenestration was comparatively straightforward in its indie sensibility, Chainsaw Kittens came on like a revenge fantasy for the weird kids in class. Meade sang frankly about LGBTQ+ emotions and life in the margins while dressed in thrift store drag, and as 1990’s Violent Religion began to circulate, Chainsaw Kittens became your favorite band’s favorite band, opening for The Smashing Pumpkins on the Gish tour and Meade showing up in the pages of Rolling Stone with Iggy Pop. Even though 1992’s Flipped Out in Singapore and 1994’s Pop Heiress became cult favorites, Chainsaw Kittens did not ascend the alternative rock Olympus like many of their patrons,

even when Ethan Embry wore a Kittens T-shirt throughout Empire Records. After moving from Mammoth Records to James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky’s Scratchie Records, Chainsaw Kittens still did not break through, and after 2000’s The All American, the band closed out its decade together. Meade spent the next two decades expanding his artistic reach as a writer and painter. While he took a multi-year break to teach English in Shanghai, China, Meade has performed more frequently in recent years, even reuniting with the Kittens for a 2008 Norman Music Festival slot and an Opolis anniversary party in September 2017. Harmon died less than a month later. While the upcoming Tower Theatre show finds Meade in a reflective mood, he said it is unlikely that the show will include a semi-reunion of Chainsaw Kittens. Instead, Helen Kelter Skelter will bring Robbing the Nuclear Family to manic life. “I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Meade said. “It’s still been so hard for us without Eric.” Yet the more Meade talked, the more it seemed possible. If it were to happen, he said, the stand-in on Harmon’s drum riser would have to be someone with a tight connection to Harmon, both stylistically and personally. “If we find a drummer to play with us, it would have to be somebody who has a connection to the period,” he said, “a connection to the band. And you know, there’s only a few people like that. And you know, obviously Steven Drozd is one of them.” Whether or not the reunion takes place, Meade said he felt this concert will serve as a bridge between his past and his Nuclear present, and one element will start his future with appropriate flamboyance and audacity. “I have this one section that I think is going to be worth the admission for this,” Meade said. “Like, the strings and the drums and the bass will start out and then everybody will come in and everybody will be on stage. Everybody. Then Helen Kelter Skelter will just walk up and start playing — just jump into the song. And the drums will kind of switch and everything. So I have it in my head like, ‘OK, this is how I like it.’” Tickets are $10-$25. Visit towertheatreokc.com.

Tyson Meade 8 p.m. Aug. 2 Tower Theatre 425 NW 23rd St. towertheatreokc.com | 405-708-6937 $10-$25


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

WEDNESDAY, JUL. 24 Ben Brock/Isaac McClung, JJ’s Alley Bricktown Pub. FOLK

Hummin’ Bird/On Holiday, Resonator. PUNK/ ROCK

Original Booty Burglars/Jason Apple/Manicflow, 51st Street Speakeasy. ROCK Shortt Dogg, NE OKC Community & Cultural Center. R&B/HIP-HOP Westering/Make Out Spot, The Paramount Room. ROCK

SUNDAY, JUL. 28 Alice Cooper/Halestorm, The Zoo Amphitheatre. ROCK

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

Night Moves, The Jones Assembly. ROCK Spirit Ghost/Sasha & the Valentines, The Deli. ROCK

THURSDAY, JUL. 25 Amon & the Creatures/The Sweet Talkers/ Schat & the Skeleton Trees, Red Brick Bar.

Empire State Band, Myriad Botanical Gardens. BLUES/ROCK

Kyshona Armstrong, Lions Park. SOUL The Shelby Phelps Band, Frankie’s. JAZZ/R&B

MONDAY, JUL. 29

ROCK

Holy Fawn/Hookup/Seasonal, 89th StreetOKC. ROCK

Casey & Minna, COOP Ale Works Tap Room. FOLK

Jason Hunt, Sean Cumming’s Irish Restaurant.

Franks and Deans/On Holiday, Lost Highway. PUNK

HarborLights/Ghost Suit/Saturn, The Deli. ROCK

FRIDAY, JUL. 26 Austin Slade/Sid Carter & High-Sobriety, Bison Witches Bar & Deli. SINGER/SONGWRITER Dustin Arbuckle & the Damnations/The So Longs, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar. ROCK

FOLK

Pigments/Easter Island/Hott Handz, The Paramount Room. POP

TUESDAY, JUL. 30 Johnny Black/Fast Eddy, Nancy’s Place-57th Street Lighthouse. ROCK Mac Sabbath/Okilly Dokilly/Playboy Manbaby, Tower Theatre. ROCK

LOOKING FOR A CONCENTRATED DEMOGRAPHIC FOR YOUR MEDICAL CANNABIS PRODUCTS?

Shoreline Mafia, OKC Farmers Market. HIP-HOP

Gin Blossoms/Wakeland, Newcastle Casino. ROCK

Vagrants, 89th Street-OKC. ROCK

Jimmy Davis/Jed Zimmerman, The Blue Door. SINGER/SONGWRITER

WEDNESDAY, JUL. 31

Katie Ballew & Kelly Ray Potts, Toby Keiths I Love This Bar & Grill. COUNTRY

Decrepit Birth/Aenimus/The Kennedy Veil, 89th Street-OKC. METAL

THC Advertise next to Gazette’s medical cannabis section

THE HIGH CULTURE

to gain market share and top-of-the-mind awareness. Stone Tide Released last year, Stone Tide’s EP Sun & a Moon is blues-infused psychedelic rock that is spacey enough to allow Mariah Gleason’s well polished vocals to shine through. “Phoenix” proclaims that it’s “time to take the airwaves back,” and though psychedelic rock has gotten a reputation for unwieldy jamming, every song on the album clocks in at under five minutes and would not sound out of place in a late ’60s radio block with Jefferson Airplane and Buffalo Springfield. Fellow OKC rock bands Death by Knowledge and Tribesmen share the bill. The show is 9 p.m. Friday at Blue Note Lounge, 2408 N. Robinson Ave. Admission is $5. Call 405-600-1166 or visit facebook. com/bluenoteokc. FRIDAY Photo provided Monxx/Jkyl & Hyde/Finggaz, OKC Farmers Market. ELECTRONIC

Fit for a King/Norma Jean/Perseus, Diamond Ballroom. METAL/HARDCORE

My So Called Band, Tower Theatre. COVER

John Carlton & Kyle Reid, The Winston.

Parker McCollum/Mitchell Ferguson, The Jones Assembly. ROCK REO Speedwagon, Riverwind Casino. ROCK SteventheThorn, Cornerstone United Methodist Church. SINGER/SONGWRITER Stone Tide/Death By Knowledge/Tribesmen, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK

SATURDAY, JUL. 27 Blake Burgess/Samantha Crain/ Carly Gwin and the Sin, Opolis. SINGER/SONGWRITER

Echo-21/To Kill Porter, 40 West Bar & Grill. ROCK

FTF Kirkwood/Pick$ix/Oscillation Situation, 89th Street-OKC. HIP-HOP

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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!

Gazette’s weekly section, The High Culture, explores Oklahoma’s new medical cannabis industry, including the social, medical and economical impact as it unfolds across the metro. Speak to YOUR demographic 405.528.6000 advertising@okgazette.com Weed-Friendly since 1979

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THE HIGH CULTURE

Rolling home

THC

Former roadie Tommy Gragg is now the owner of Red Dirt Labs, which produces a wide variety of cannabis products. By Matt Dinger

Tommy Gragg traded a life on the road for a life in the lab. The former rock ’n’ roll roadie opened Red Dirt Labs, a processing facility that specializes in THC and CBD vape cartridges and tinctures in varying ratios. Conveniently enough, each of the products in the Red Dirt Labs line are named after the moods and feelings they prompt. The Rise ’N Shine, for instance, is a 1:1 ratio with 30-40 percent THC and 30-40 percent CBD. Meanwhile, the High is accurately named with 70-90 percent THC. The Goodnight, which comes as both a vape cartridge and a tincture, boasts of 5-7 percent CBN, or cannabinol, which is most commonly found in aged or light-exposed cannabis. It is one of the lesser-known cannabinoids, and many users report that higher percentages of it act as a sleep aid. The names are intentionally simple and direct, Gragg said. “We realize the market here is a lot of people that are new to cannabis, especially in Oklahoma, and they’re just soccer moms and grandmas,” he said. Gragg said he has seen the dramatic differences in patient reactions even over the course of a two-day period. He gave his wife a cartridge with 17 percent THC, which she absolutely loved. The next day, he gave her one that was 77 percent and she was on the moon. Red Dirt Labs owner Tommy Gragg | Photo Alexa Ace

“That’s the thing; it is a trial and error process,” said Red Dirt Labs sales director Trish Hill. “It’s really crazy to me because our individual tolerances are subjective. People have negative experiences with cannabis, and if it’s a negative first experience, they’re less likely to come back and try to figure out or titrate the medicine that they need. So when we provide ratio products, it’s a little bit more of like dipping your toe into the pool and understanding your tolerances, and you’re still getting these amazing, full-spectrum health benefits from the CBD, from the entourage effect of the THC and the CBD bolstering one another. But you’re allowing people who have no real concept of how this chemical works in their body and who are trying it themselves and who are responsible for their own doses, you’re empowering them by giving them options.” The low and slow dosing method also helps people who are new to medical cannabis from unintentionally setting high tolerances to cannabis from the beginning. “We have to consider the fact that there are people with chronic conditions who aren’t in a space where they can take tolerance breaks,” Hill said. “They need consistent medicine and their tolerances are going to build, so we have to create a diversified product line. We don’t want to throw them into the deep end and then have them blast their tolcontinued on page 46

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CANNABIS

erances up from there. There’s cannabis medicine that will be accessible to them and that will work for them, but they might not necessarily know because they’re getting blasted with this highpotency stuff that longer standing industries have kind of dictated.” However, the High and the Happy (with 70 to 80 percent THC) vape cartridges are still the bestselling products, Gragg said. “People are still just looking for the high,” he said. “But Goodnight’s real popular, and in tinctures, Goodnight and the 10 to 1 are very popular. There’s a lot of people that like the 10 to 1.” That 10:1 CBD to THC only comes as a tincture because Red Dirt Labs is using CBD isolate to create it. “We haven’t done it in a vape cart just mainly because we were using CBD isolate first, which is in a powder form. And that much in a cart just doesn’t really work,” Gragg said. “We’re going to start working with distillate, so we may consider it. It’s not in the plans yet.” For patients who like a low-dose method of vaping, Red Dirt Labs is launching the Transcend brand, which comes in a pod form of cartridge like a Juul. “This is more of a low-dose, microdosing, hit-it-all-day kind of product,”

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Gragg said. “It doesn’t go higher than 35 percent, and one of the flavors is actually 15 percent. It’s not oil. This is e-juice with THC in it instead of nicotine.” Higher Love is Red Dirt Labs’ personal lubricated massage oil. “I’m really excited about this product. Having come from the California market and seeing what THC-infused personal lubricants are available on the market, most of them are coconut oil-based, and if you know anything about how coconut interacts with latex, it’s not a good story,” Hill said. “[Higher Love] will not degrade a condom, which is extraordinarily good news.” However, the product will degrade silicone toys. “We can’t use it with toys, but we can use it with protection and you’ll still be fully protected,” Hill said. Red Dirt Labs also has the Rawhide product line of specialty products. “We also work with Oklahoma artists,” Gragg said. “They are helping me develop an identity for each one of our flavors. They’re all done by different Oklahoma artists, and that’s the way we’re going to try to keep that and just we just really want to be in tune with a lot of local artists here in town.” In addition to the distillate cartridges in colorful packaging, Red Dirt Labs also does pre-rolls under the Rawhide brand.

“All our pre-rolls are hand-rolled by my cousin, Rick. We have no filters. It’s just oldschool turkey leg for you,” Gragg said. “We also have a Cowboy Caviar. They have a glass tip. They’re rolled in our oil and then rolled in our kief and they make a really good smoke.” A dry powdered sports drink in a fruit punch flavor called Fifty Seven is also in the works. Each packet will be about 35 percent THC, so a three-packet box would provide patients with a little over 100 milligrams. Gragg anticipates that will start hitting shelves in early September. “The absorption rate is a little bit greater just because of the nature of it being in liquid form, so it hits a little bit quicker, which is really great for edibles,” Hill said. “People really hate the waiting game.” While the walls of Red Dirt Labs are lined with memorabilia from his past on the road with acts like Kiss and TransSiberian Orchestra, Gragg’s future is in cannabis. Even though he has lived the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle for decades, he is

Red Dirt Labs is an Oklahoma City processing facility that makes a range of products. | Photo Alexa Ace

still concerned with how his home state sees the cannabis market. “I have two teenage kids,” Gragg said. “I’m worried how this is going to affect them. They’re D.A.R.E. kids. They’ve been shown D.A.R.E. their whole life, and now their dad is a ‘potrepreneur.’ It’s confusing for them, but, you know, I think it’s worth it. Now my son is interested in chemistry because he sees that it’s actual chemistry going on here.” Visit reddirtlabs.com.


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THE HIGH CULTURE

Nug run

THC

Drive-thru dispensaries are a good option during the summer months. By Matt Dinger

While the summer’s first heat wave has abated, Oklahomans know good and well that it will not be the last one the state sees this season. For cannabis patients who do not want to leave the comfort of their vehicles, there is an alternative: At least two dispensaries in the metro area now offer drive-thru service. The most recent to open is Stellar Herb, 11925 N. Interstate 35 Service Road. “As soon as I saw this building, I saw a drive-thru,” owner Sandy Corzine said. “And I knew that there weren’t any drivethrus in Oklahoma. … I’ve lived here now a year and the weather in Oklahoma is probably the worst of any place in the United States. The drive-thru was like automatic. And that’s what drove me to purchase that building. “We found this location next to Frontier City. I wasn’t really interested in doing retail, but the location spoke volumes to me and specifically the location with regard to recreation when it finally does go legal nationwide.” Corzine said he got his start in the

cannabis business in California and brought his knowledge and contacts to Oklahoma to begin production. His Stellar Herb vape cartridges that retail for $50 are produced by his processing facility, and Corzine will be starting his grow operation in a nearby building under the name Supersonic Hydroponic. He also plans to bring popular California brand Los Angeles Kush to Oklahoma soon. In addition to cannabis, Corzine’s family also knows something about successful drive-thrus. “My family comes from McDonald’s,” he said. “We own franchises, and so I know about speed and I’m all about getting that down to, literally, you pull up and 30 seconds later, you’re pulling away with your already ordered product. ... I want you to be literally able to buy, order the product and pull up and get the product without taking money out of your wallet. All you’ve got to do is order it and pick it up. You don’t get out of your car or you don’t have to take

money out of your wallet or get money out of an ATM. That’s my ultimate goal. And you’re in there and out of there in 30 seconds to a minute.” Currently, Stellar Herb is attempting to fill drive-thru orders within three minutes. But ordering directly from the window is just the first phase of Stellar Herb’s drive-thru. In coming months, the process will become even more streamlined. “I work with a company called APOP,” Corzine said. “They’re out of California. They’re one of my good friends. Long story short, I want to have it be app-based ultimately, but we’re not there technologically yet. We’re about two months away. So as of right now, you pull up to

A budtender serves patients through a drive-thru at Stellar Herb. | Photo Alexa Ace

the drive-thru. I send out like a sushi menu. It’s got all the strains on it, doublesided. I give you a dry erase pen and you just circle what you want, and then it goes back in my little drive-thru and we fill the order. But ultimately it’s going to go through our website, stellarherb.com, and you’ll be able to go right there, order, and then it’ll be ready for your pick-up either in the drive-thru or walk in. “I don’t have the ability yet to order online, which is really what I’m driving for. And then I’m going to put up a ‘McDonald’s,’ some sort of signage that you can, like, talk continued on page 53

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THE HIGH CULTURE continued from page 51

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into the box. But when you pull up to the window, you’re talking through a speaker to the budtender.” As it stands, customers can converse with the budtender through a speaker system at the window about their orders and the products available. In addition to its own branded vape cartridges, Stellar Herb also carries other premier Oklahoma lines. “I’ve got Xen in there; I’ve got Caviar Gold in there,” Corzine said. “Variety

is the key. My focus is, again, for legalization and recreation. I’m a marketing guy. I’m driven by sales.” Stellar Herb currently buys its flower from other growers and has $12 grams of flower. However, Corzine said he is willing to honor any other dispensary’s prices. “I just opened up, which means either I’m signing up new patients and patient drives or I’m stealing other patients away from other dispensaries. ... I just want everybody to know that there’s literally no deal that I won’t beat,” Corzine said. “I’m ready to run and gun and be literally the best dispensary in the state and I’m not

done opening dispensaries. We’re looking towards OU, where people like weed.”

I know about speed and I’m all about getting that down to, literally, you pull up and 30 seconds later, you’re pulling away with your already ordered product. Sandy Corzine

Sweet convenience

Jimmie Smith owns The Honeypot, 1035 36th Ave. NW, in Norman. His dispensary started its drive-thru operation in February. “You can order on Weedmaps, you can order off Leafly, you can call us right here on the phone or you can just pull up to the window,” Smith said. “Make sure you have your medical card, all that stuff. We still have to have the same identification. We’ve got pretty much everything you could imagine. We’ve got 20-plus different flowers, about

every edible they make.” Smith said the average time for a drive-thru customer who does not have a selection made before getting to the window is six minutes. The dispensary’s drive-thru is styled like a bank window, with bulletproof glass and a drawer rather than an open window. “It’s just an extra to help the customers out who have trouble getting in or whatever,” he said. “Maybe they’re handicapped or they have kids with them. It helps them.” There are also customers who have no idea what they want who just show up to the window. “We definitely have some. It happens,” Smith said. “It definitely happens. And we print off the menu off of, say, Leafly or whatever, and show it to them. We’ve had a few cars. On a Friday night, we stay open until midnight, and Saturday night we’re open until midnight. Come about 11:30, gets four or five deep. They’re in and out of here probably in six, seven minutes. The people that know what they want and call ahead, they’re literally in and out of here in a minute. It’s pretty quick.”

Pineapple Jack is one of the strains available at Stellar Herb’s drive-thru. | Photo Alexa Ace

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Papaya Punch | Photo Alexa Ace

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105 World’s shortest-reigning monarch? 107 Sphere of influence 108 Tweak, in a way 109 In no way reticent 110 Sketch out 111 Tries 112 Flotsam and Jetsam, in The Little Mermaid 113 Really like 114 Sign of a packed house

17 ____ Miss 19 Sole supporter? 24 “____ She Lovely” (Stevie Wonder song) 25 Neighbor of an Armenian 29 Some prom rentals 31 Scenic fabric 32 Improve gradually, say 33 Doing well (at) 34 Give a false impression of 35 Got taken for a ride 36 Unsolicited mentions online, in DOWN the press, etc. 1 Bust 37 “Meeeeeeeeow!” 2 Locale for a shrine 38 It makes you yawn 3 Personal favorite on an agenda 39 Shelfmate of Webster 4 Least taxing 42 One who gets take-out orders? 5 Colorful stone in a brooch 46 Subject of an annual festival in 6 Flaps one’s gums Holland, Michigan 7 Actress Mendes 48 Mini-program 8 What strawberries become as 49 Egyptian ____ (cat) they ripen 51 Derbies, e.g. 9 Cover-up for a robbery? 53 Spread out at a banquet? 10 Notoriously hard-to-define 54 Attire aesthetic style 55 Parts of a gymnastics routine 11 Servings from a tap 59 Calculation for an aerospace 12 La Baltique, e.g. engineer 13 Big figures in 47-Across 60 When doubled, “I agree!” 14 Back to the original speed, in 61 Alternative to a condo music 62 Certain finish 15 They usually include drinks 64 Comparative in a wedding vow 16 Relief 65 Flinch or twitch, say

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66 Computer guru, informally 67 Pops up in a flash? 69 Common sports injury site, briefly 71 Piquant bakery offerings 72 John who pioneered the steel plow 73 Messed up 75 Get bent 76 Green lights, so to speak 77 “Stop being such a baby!” 79 Old dentist’s supply 80 Ingredient in insect repellent 84 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. 85 Powerpoints? 87 Envelop in a blanket 90 “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green” crooner 91 Opposites of 76-Down 92 Palais des Nations locale 94 Say for certain 97 Echolocation method 98 Bull, e.g. 99 Half of a children’s game 100 Dastard’s doings 101 Popular 2017 Pixar film set in Mexico 102 “Caboose” 103 Old Bond rival 104 Hit 2010s HBO series, familiarly 105 Late ____ 106 Fish-taco fish

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY Homework: What’s the most amazing feat you ever pulled off? What will you do for your next amazing feat? Truthrooster@gmail.com. ARIES (March 21-April 19)

After analyzing unusual animal behavior, magnetic fluctuations, outbreaks of mayhem on Twitter, and the position of the moon, a psychic has foretold that a moderate earthquake will rumble through the St. Louis, Missouri area in the coming weeks. I don’t agree with her prophecy. But I have a prediction of my own. Using data about how cosmic forces are conspiring to amuse and titillate your rapture chakra, I predict a major lovequake for many Aries between now and August 20. I suggest you start preparing immediately. How? Brainstorm about adventures and breakthroughs that will boost exciting togetherness. Get yourself in the frame of mind to seek out collaborative catharses that evoke both sensory delights and spiritual insights.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are,” wrote Taurus philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. You could use that idea to achieve a finer grade of peace and grace in the coming weeks. The navel-gazing phase of your yearly cycle has begun, which means you’ll be in closest alignment with cosmic rhythms if you get to know yourself much better. One of the best ways to do that is to analyze what you pay most attention to. Another excellent way is to expand and refine and tenderize your feelings for what you pay most attention to.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano wrote that in Havana, people refer to their friends as mi sangre, my blood, or mi tierra, my country. In Caracas, he reported, a friend might be called mi llave, my key, or mi pana, my bread. Since you are in the alliance-boosting phase of your cycle, Gemini, I trust that you will find good reasons to think of your comrades as your blood, your country, your key, or your bread. It’s a favorable time for you to get closer, more personal, and more intimate. The affectionate depths are calling to you.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) Your emotional intelligence is so strong right now that I bet you could alleviate the pain of a loved one even as you soothe a long-running ache of your own. You’re so spiritually alluring, I suspect you could arouse the sacred yearning of a guru, saint, or bodhisattva. You’re so interesting, someone might write a poem or story about you. You’re so overflowing with a lust for life that you might lift people out of their ruts just by being in their presence. You’re so smart you could come up with at least a partial solution to a riddle whose solution has evaded you for a long time.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

The Queen of North America and Europe called me on the phone. At least that’s how she identified herself. “I have a message for your Leo readers,” she told me. “Why Leo?” I asked. “Because I’m a Leo myself,” she replied, “and I know what my tribe needs to know right now.” I said, “OK. Give it to me.” “Tell Leos to always keep in mind the difference between healthy pride and debilitating hubris,” she said. “Tell them to be dazzlingly and daringly competent without becoming bossy and egomaniacal. They should disappear their arrogance but nourish their mandate to express leadership and serve as a role model. Be shiny and bright but not glaring and blinding. Be irresistible but not envy-inducing.”

animal called a dat. A cross between a cat and a dog, it will have the grace, independence, and vigilance of a Persian cat and the geniality, loyalty, and ebullient strength of a golden retriever. Its stalking skills will synthesize the cat’s and dog’s different styles of hunting. I also predict that in the coming months, you will achieve greater harmony between the cat and dog aspects of your own nature, thereby acquiring some of the hybrid talents of the dat.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Scorpio poet Marianne Moore (1887–1972) won the Pulitzer Prize and several other prestigious awards. She was a rare poet who became a celebrity. That’s one of the reasons why the Ford car company asked her to dream up interesting names for a new model they were manufacturing. Alas, Ford decided the 43 possibilities she presented were too poetic, and rejected all of them. But some of Moore’s names are apt descriptors for the roles you could and should play in the phase you’re beginning, so I’m offering them for your use. Here they are: 1. Anticipator. 2. The Impeccable. 3. Tonnere Alifère (French term for “winged thunder”). 4. Tir á l’arc (French term for “bull’s eye”). 5. Regina-Rex (Latin terms for “queen” and “king”).

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Congrats, Virgo! You are beginning the denouement of your yearly cycle. Anything you do to resolve lingering conflicts and finish up old business will yield fertile rewards. Fate will conspire benevolently in your behalf as you bid final goodbyes to the influences you’ll be smart not to drag along with you into the new cycle that will begin in a few weeks. To inspire your holy work, I give you this poem by Virgo poet Charles Wright: “Knot by knot I untie myself from the past / And let it rise away from me like a balloon. / What a small thing it becomes. / What a bright tweak at the vanishing point, blue on blue.”

It’s conceivable that in one of your past lives you were a pioneer who made the rough 2,170-mile migration via wagon train from Missouri to Oregon in the 1830s. Or maybe you were a sailor who accompanied the Viking Leif Eriksson in his travels to the New World five hundred years before Columbus. Is it possible you were part of the team assembled by Italian diplomat Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, who journeyed from Rome to Mongolia in the thirteenth century? Here’s why I’m entertaining these thoughts, Sagittarius: I suspect that a similar itch to ramble and explore and seek adventure may rise up in you during the coming weeks. I won’t be surprised if you consider making a foray to the edge of your known world.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

I predict that between now and the end of the year, a Libran genetic engineer will create a new species of

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before that era, and are still here now. Why? “They are extremely tough and robust,” says croc expert James Perran Ross. Their immune systems “are just incredible.” Maybe best of all, they “learn quickly and adapt to changes in their situation.” In accordance with the astrological omens, I’m naming the crocodile as your creature teacher for the coming weeks. I suspect you will be able to call on a comparable version of their will to thrive. (Read more about crocs: tinyurl.com/ ToughAndRobust.)

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

“My only hope is that one day I can love myself as much as I love you.” Poet Mariah Gordon-Dyke wrote that to a lover, and now I’m offering it to you as you begin your Season of Self-Love. You’ve passed through other Seasons of Self-Love in the past, but none of them has ever had such rich potential to deepen and ripen your self-love. I bet you’ll discover new secrets about how to love yourself with the same intensity you have loved your most treasured allies.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

“Poems can bring comfort,” writes Piscean poet Jane Hirshfield. “They let us know . . . that we are not alone— but they also unseat us and make us more susceptible, larger, elastic. They foment revolutions of awareness and allow the complex, uncertain, actual world to enter.” According to my understanding of upcoming astrological omens, Pisces, life itself will soon be like the poems Hirshfield describes: unruly yet comforting; a source of solace but also a catalyst for transformation; bringing you healing and support but also asking you to rise up and reinvent yourself. Sounds like fun!

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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