FREE EVERY WEDNESDAY | METRO OKCâ€™S INDEPENDENT WEEKLY | AUGUST 7, 2019
The best, loudest, strangest and most memorable concerts in Oklahoma City history. By George Lang and Jeremy Martin, P. 24
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INSIDE COVER P.24 Oklahoma City is increasingly
included in A-list tour itineraries, but it has been a stop for many legendary acts over the years. We talked to longtime OKC music fans about the biggest shows they have seen, including Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Kiss and more. By George Lang and Jeremy Martin Cover by Kimberly Lynch
A BENEFIT CONCERT FOR
EDUCATION Pathway to Greatness
update homelessness meeting 8 STATE gun legislation
10 CHICKEN-FRIED NEWS
EAT & DRINK 13 REVIEW S&B’s Burger Joint’s
14 FEATURE Rivière Modern Bánh Mì 16 GAZEDIBLES toasted sandwiches
ARTS & CULTURE 18 THEATER The Book of Will at
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park 20 OKG SHOP OKcollective Candle Co. 20
21 COMEDY Brian Posehn at The
MUSIC 24 COVER legendary bands at OKC
Anniversary Celebration at Myriad Botanical Gardens
26 EVENT Woodstock 50th
27 LIVE MUSIC
THE HIGH CULTURE 28 CANNABIS Cannabis Cup series 1 30 CANNABIS Green Hopes 36 CANNABIS
The Toke Board
36 CANNABIS strain review
FUN 37 ASTROLOGY
38 PUZZLES sudoku | crossword
OKG Classifieds 39
the happy medium OCTOBER 4
native ink tattoo festival
I-40 EXIT 178 | SHAWNEE, OK | 405-964-7263 O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
E D U C AT I O N
The district is about 96 percent complete with transitional work, but athletic fields and facilities still need work. | Photo Miguel Rios
Summer of change
After a transformational summer, Oklahoma City Public Schools district prepares for its first year under Pathway to Greatness. By Miguel Rios
When classes begin Aug. 12, thousands of students and employees will attend new schools with new faculty under a new district brand. Pathway to Greatness, an ambitious consolidation and reorganization of Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS), led to 15 school closures and the reorganization of feeder patterns, grade bands and faculty. The district’s employees gathered for a convocation July 30 at Cox Convention Center, where officials supplemented the many changes by launching the district’s new brand. The new OKCPS logo, which draws its color scheme from the state’s sunrises and sunsets, features a scissortail flycatcher with its extended wings designed as the pages of a book. Along with new imagery, which can be seen on the district’s updated website, new slogans have been adopted: “Believe” and “Ignite Passion. Instill Pride.” “It’s not just a bird that happens to be our state bird, but it’s the bird that is so closely related to Oklahoma City’s renaissance,” district superintendent Sean McDaniel said. “As we look forward to [Scissortail Park], as we continue to draw from the light that radiates from the sculpture on the [Skydance Bridge], all signs of a new time in Oklahoma City. … It’s a bird that is in motion — on the rise, in fact, just like we are.”
Fifteen schools closed under Pathway to Greatness (P2G), but McDaniel said 13 of the buildings will be occupied or leased by Sept. 1. The district will repurpose five of the buildings for various functions like student services, school overflow, ad4
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ministration and child care. Harding Charter Preparatory High School and KIPP Charter School will be relocated to the former Centennial and North Highland school buildings respectively. Harding Fine Arts Academy is going through the process to buy the building it has always been in. Additionally, due to Seeworth Academy officials’ recent decision not to give up the former location’s lease, the school will move into the former Putnam Heights building. Oklahoma City-County Health Department will repurpose the former Sequoyah and Oakridge school buildings for learning and wellness academies. Sunbeam Family Services will repurpose the former Pierce Elementary School building. Trinity School, a religious private school, will move into the former Edgemere school building. Officials continue to look for community partners interested in taking over the former Telstar and Green Pastures school buildings, as there are no current lease negotiations.
While McDaniel boasts officials are 95-97 percent complete with transitional work, there are still things left to do. Every school’s principal has been placed, but district officials are still looking for more teachers — particularly special education teachers — and bus drivers. “We’re 96 percent staffed from a teacher standpoint, which in a big district like this, 4 percent is a lot. So there are 95 teachers that we are still looking for, and that runs the gamut from fifthand sixth-grade teachers to special ed teachers to those upper-level math
teachers,” McDaniel said. “We would like to think that we can land certified teachers there, but the reality is we may need to lean on some of those [emergency-certified] teachers.” The district had granted about 250 emergency teacher certifications as of last week. While the number is on par with last year’s number at this time, McDaniel expects the number to climb. However, State Department of Education does not grant emergency certifications for special education teachers, so McDaniel is encouraging qualified educators to apply. Officials are also still actively recruiting bus drivers for the estimated 120 routes, which it offers training for. Some of the biggest improvements still in the works are for indoor and outdoor athletic facilities. Community partners like Fields & Futures are working with the district to help improve athletic fields of elementary schools that transitioned into middle schools. “We’re able to put in futsal courts, basketball courts and then redo our fields as both practice and competition fields. Competition fields are done. Seven of our 10 futsal, basketball courts are done, so we got three remaining,” McDaniel said. “There’s a number of [school gyms] where we have to complete a basketball court.”
Some of the biggest trade-ups from Pathway to Greatness were for elementary schools, with all 33 in the district having a full-time art teacher, music teacher and counselor. “We have elementaries in our district where it’s been years since they’ve had full-time art or music teacher,” McDaniel said. “When we expose routine art, routine music and counseling services for our kids, especially in an early age, it shows up in their math scores, their reading scores.”
Every elementary school will also have a dedicated STEM center. The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools is working with Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to raise the funds needed to install equipment and furnish the centers. Mary Mélon, The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools president, told Oklahoma Gazette that they only need to raise about $168,000 more. The July 30 convocation marked the first time in four years that all OKCPS staff members gathered to kick off the new school year. McDaniel said the district added five instructional leadership directors (ILD), who will help the five already in place provide mentoring and coaching to school leaders. “You need more support. You need more resources. Our commitment is to bring those things to you,” McDaniel said. “We’re invested in this new ILD structure to allow for that additional instructional support. Our new consistent grade bands will provide support, collaboration opportunities. New feeder patterns will allow our students to stay together longer and feel more connected as they move through high school. … We’re even creating more strategic community partnerships to bring additional resources your way.”
‘Good to great’
OKCPS teacher of the year Christina Kirk, who made the move from Rogers Middle School to Star Spencer Mid-High School, spoke at the convocation and encouraged her colleagues to embrace change. “On our path to greatness, we’re heading to new buildings. We’re headed to buildings full of opportunities for collaboration. ... We have to reinvent ourselves to keep our students competitive ’cause we need them to take care of us eventually. I know I need mine to,” she said. “So as we move along this path and we’re moving from good to great, I challenge each of us, including myself, to take a lesson and reinvent it. Be more engaging with it so that your students will be engaged. … OKCPS, I need you guys to get excited with me because you’re way too quiet. So why should you get excited? Because this is our moment.” McDaniel also encouraged the district’s employees to make the first year under Pathway to Greatness special. “This cannot just be another year. This cannot just be my 34th year. This has got to be my best year, my best effort ever. What I’m asking of you is to commit to that very thing,” he said. “Do whatever it takes to make this your very best year ever. … The stakes are high. This has got to be our year.” OKCPS hosts Love OKC One Day, an event offering free resources like groceries, health services and haircuts for families, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 17 in Oklahoma Expo Hall at State Fair Park, 3213 Wichita Walk. Visit okcps.org. OKCPS superintendent Sean McDaniel encourages district employees to make the first year under Pathway to Greatness the best it can be. | Photo Miguel Rios
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Oklahoma City Police Department officials organized a town hall to discuss neighborhood issues surrounding homelessness. By Miguel Rios
Community members gathered last week for an Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD) meeting to discuss homelessness. The community meeting included presentations from Homeless Alliance and the department’s Homeless Outreach Team. Homeless Alliance executive director Dan Straughan kicked off the meeting with a presentation on the various functions of his organization as well as statistics about homelessness. He debunked the idea that one factor in a person’s life causes them to be homeless. “I’ve been doing this 15 years. It’s never one thing. It’s never, ‘I lost my job and so I’m homeless,’” Straughan said. “It’s, ‘I lost my job because I drink too much, and I drink all the time because I’ve got bipolar disorder. And I can’t get appropriate treatment for my bipolar [disorder], so I’ve been selfmedicating with alcohol.’” Sgt. Felix Valadez serves as one of two Homeless Outreach Team officers, a unit that works with local organizations to help connect people experiencing homelessness with the services they might need. The team’s office is inside Homeless Alliance, and the unit works 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. “The purpose of the Homeless Outreach Team is to ensure OCPD remains sensitive to the unique needs of the homeless population,” he said. “We don’t overlook crimes at all. I like to tell people we’re compassionate
within reason. … Our mission statement [is] to impact the homeless community through positive police contact and community partnership, with the ultimate purpose of altering the homeless person’s perspective on life.” Ward 3 councilman Larry McAtee and Ward 6 councilwoman JoBeth Hamon attended the meeting. During the Q&A portion of the meeting, many community members asked about what could be done immediately to help deal with issues surrounding homelessness. Hamon asked Straughan to discuss the Housing First model, which he also presented on during the July 31 MAPS 4 special meeting, and how landlords or business owners in attendance could help. “The Homeless Alliance brought it to Oklahoma City in 2013, and it is exactly what it sounds like: housing first,” Straughan said. “What we have found in the six years that we’ve been doing Housing First in Oklahoma City is that we have a 90 percent one-year housing retention rate. … What it requires, though, is housing. That’s why we went to the council [July 31] to talk about MAPS 4 to develop housing. … It’s a constant struggle to find landlords that are both, A, willing to rent to the kinds of people that we work with, and, B, have housing that’s at the fair-market price. So if you’re a landlord … you can really have an impact on this issue.” Housing First addresses the immediate problem of homelessness while
Sgt. Felix Valadez, one of two officers on the Homeless Outreach Team, speaks to community members at a town hall on homelessness. | Photo Miguel Rios
allowing people to get back on their feet in a stable environment. Straughan said the model particularly works for those who are chronically homeless. “Oklahoma City is where San Francisco is 20 years ago, where Portland was, where Seattle was, Austin, Washington D.C. If you’ve been to any of those cities, you know you can’t walk down any street without seeing unsheltered homeless,” said Straughan, who made similar statements during the MAPS 4 meeting. “Here’s what their MAPS did not do: The reason why people are homeless is in the name of the issue; they don’t have homes. We have to build truly affordable, accessible housing, get people off the street and back into meeting their needs above the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy [of needs].”
The purpose of the Homeless Outreach Team is to ensure OCPD remains sensitive to the unique needs of the homeless population. Sgt. Felix Valadez
While the Homeless Outreach Team uses various avenues to help people experiencing homelessness, some officers expressed frustration at situations in which people refuse to accept services. Maj. Dexter Nelson suggested that people should take actions to prevent people from using their hoses or outside electrical outlets — essentially cutting off two major needs of people experiencing homelessness. “The more resistance that you give sends the message that they need to move on. We’re trying to get people to take the services that are being offered. It’s hard to hear, but a lot of people on Homeless Alliance executive director Dan Straughan emphasized that several factors lead to people becoming homeless. | Photo Miguel Rios
the street turn down our services; they want to do their own thing,” he said. “We’re trying to get them into those services where we can better serve them and help. This is a problem not unique to Oklahoma City; it’s across the country. … It’s going to take all of us coming together to solve them.” MSgt. Bob Skalla, a community relations officer, also encouraged the crowd to stop giving money to people experiencing homelessness and instead give it to organizations like Homeless Alliance. “We strongly encourage our residents to stop giving money to the panhandlers,” he said. “Oklahoma City, we need tough love.” One community member suggested that some people choose to act “crazy.” “Mental illness is not a choice. Addiction is not a choice. And they are not root causes of homelessness. There’s a thousand times more people in Oklahoma City who have mental illness who are housed than there are homeless people,” Straughan said. “Those aren’t choices, and they don’t automatically make you homeless.” Sgt. Valadez, who is trained in crisis intervention, said dealing with somebody experiencing mental health issues is a complex issue. Unless they pose a threat to themselves or somebody nearby, they cannot force them to go to a hospital. John Doyle, better known as Judge Radar on social media, said the perception is that unsheltered homelessness is becoming more and more common, making community members uncomfortable. Straughan offered hope that projects on the horizon will help alleviate the number of people who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness. “It’s not that people are choosing not to go to a shelter; the shelters are full,” Straughan replied. “City Care, which is a Methodist ministry, is building a shelter even as we speak. It’s a low-barrier shelter like our day shelter. … It’s a 200-bed shelter, so it should cut our own shelter’s number in half. It’s due to open the first of December this year.” Officials said the meeting was a starting point to get community feedback and answer questions. They expect to host more similar town halls in the future.
O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
S TAT E
The debate over permitless carry laws in Oklahoma continues. By Nikita Lewchuk
In the past decade, the increasing frequency of high-profile shootings at schools and churches have made the right to own and carry a gun the subject of intense debate not only at the federal level but in state legislatures as well. As each state has the right to limit or expand access to guns as it sees fit, regulations can vary dramatically from state to state. According to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, including a general ban on assault weapons and the requirement that any gun bought at a gun show must be through a licensed dealer. Oklahoma is no stranger to Second Amendment issues, and if the 2019 legislative session is any indication, it will remain that way. In 2019, there were over three dozen changes to legislation concerning firearms, the majority of which were sponsored or introduced by Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association (OK2A). Since its foundation in 2009, there have been over 100 changes to gun legislation in Oklahoma, nearly 40 of which OK2A claims credit for on its website. “One of our things is we take the stupid out of state gun laws. We’re very aggressive with returning what should have never been taken away from the people to begin with,” said Don Spencer, president of OK2A. “We need people not to be victims and actually have the opportunity to be able to defend themselves without having to ask the government for permission to do so.” One of the association’s most notable successes this year was House Bill 2597, also known as permitless carry. HB2597 was signed into effect in May by Gov. Kevin Stitt. It had been introduced previously under Gov. Mary Fallin, who vetoed it shortly before leaving office. The text of the measure allows “the carrying of a firearm, concealed or unconcealed, loaded or unloaded, by a person who is twenty-one years of age or older.” The bill does not specify that the person must have a license to carry a gun or training in how to use that gun, with the exception that members of the military 18 years of age or older may carry before the age of 21. Spencer said aside from Oklahomans becoming used to seeing more firearms in public, the law will not create any significant disturbance. “I don’t see any great change overall, other than maybe that crime will go down because the bad guys who never got a license and just carried and did all their stuff anyway now have to stop and think, ‘You know, before I try to attack 8
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this person, they may have a gun to defend themselves.’ I think it will be a natural deterrent for crime.” Jennifer Birch, deputy chapter lead and cofounder of the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action, disagrees. “We obviously do see the permitless carry passing as a step backward in the wrong direction. I’m hearing a lot of feedback that even the people who passed it are regretting that now,” Birch said. “You could watch the debate on the floor and some of the people who vote for it actually debate against it at first hoping that it won’t pass, which is unfortunate. They’re not voting their conscience; they’re voting for political motive.” She declined to say which legislators or staffers she was hearing this from but cited a poll commissioned by Moms Demand Action shortly before the measure was voted on that found approximately 80 percent of all Oklahomans from a variety of political backgrounds favored keeping the current measures in place. The law will go into effect this November. Where Spencer sees broader access to guns creating a safer, more secure environment, Birch sees increased potential for accidents.
You could watch the debate on the floor, and some of the people who vote for it actually debate against it at first, hoping that it won’t pass, which is unfortunate. Jennifer Birch “This year, we’re going to focus on trying to support something that strengthens our gun laws, like a safe storage gun law,” she said. “Something that’s popular … is red flag laws, or ERPOs [Extreme Risk Protection Orders]. That would allow for family members and law enforcement to restrict people from having access to guns temporarily through the court during a crisis when they may be a harm to themselves or others.” Though permitless carry received the most attention this year, OK2A has worked with the Legislature on 38 separate gun bills. A more low-profile bill it helped pass was House Bill 1214, authored by state Rep. Carl Newton, R-Waynoka. The bill allows legal permanent residents to
purchase and carry firearms. “This was actually a constituent request bill,” Newton said. “The one that first brought it to my attention was a correctional officer at one of our correctional centers. He can carry a gun at work all day, and yet he can’t have a concealed gun on him off work.” One of the reasons this new law is important, he said, was the nature of becoming an American citizen. In order to do so, a person must renounce the citizenship of their home country. While there are some countries such as United Kingdom, Canada and Israel that recognize dualcitizenship Americans, others do not. “For some of them, especially in these eastern European nations, it makes it almost impossible for them to go back to their families because they’re not residents there,” Newton said. Though Newton is adamant the bill was his idea resulting from a conversation with a constituent, it achieved the same goal as a bill introduced by OK2A in 2012 and 2013. In a December 2017 email to Newton, Spencer wrote, “I looked back through and this bill was introduced in 2012 and 2013. There were many other bills passed in those years such as Open Carry so our efforts were used to pass those. There was never really any push back against the concept of the bill. … We will provide you with talking points and any other assistance with this bill, including a senate author.” Regardless of where the bill originated, there is a clear link between gun advocacy groups and the state Legislature. Rev. Lori Walke, associate minister at
Jennifer Birch is cofounder of the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action. | Photo Alexa Ace
Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, believes the state’s gun culture has been developing this way for years. Walke has lived in Oklahoma her entire life. She was born and raised in Moore and earned degrees at Oklahoma State, Phillips Theological Seminary and Oklahoma City University School of Law. “In a lot of ways, I think there are like two different Oklahomas. The one that I grew up in and I still think is actually the culture around here is reasonable gun sense — that guns are to be respected but not glorified,” Walke said. This is the Oklahoma, she said, that most of us know and live in. “And then there is this other Oklahoma that is made up of fundamentalist or fringe groups that glorify and worship guns in a way that makes them advocate for gun rights before they advocate for civil rights,” she said. Walke is involved in work throughout the community, including with Moms Demand Action. She is aware of the big players on both sides of the issue. “OK2A can sound very loud and very scary, but that’s not actually what most Oklahomans advocate for,” Walke said. “Most Oklahomans want reasonable gun control. They want to use guns for what they’ve always used guns for — target practice, hunting — but not as the most important things in their life.” A spokesperson from the Oklahoma chapter of National Rifle Association declined to be interviewed for this story.
O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
Lights, camera, Oklahoma
The latest big-budget Hollywood feature to film in Oklahoma will tell the story of corruption and a systematic cover-up that usurps money and power from its rightful owners into the hands of a greedy minority. No, we are not referring to the modern-day oil industry, but rather the film adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon by author David Grann. The book tells the story of the Osage tribe that became the richest in the country in the early 20th century with the discovery of oil on their land near modern-day Pawhuska. The tribe’s leading families were infiltrated by white people and then serially murdered and ultimately lost their oil rights. It was one of the first major cases for the FBI, but the book shockingly highlights how much deeper the conspiracy went than the people who were arrested by the feds. There’s a reason you never read about it in history books. The spine-tingling true story has attracted some of Hollywood’s heavyweights, including Oscar winners Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Scorsese removed all doubt that the production will take place in and around Osage County. In a meeting with Osage principle chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Scorsese and his production said everything will be shot in Oklahoma, according to Tulsa World. The film will take all measures to accurately depict Osage culture and language, according to Osage News, and principal filming will take place in spring and summer of 2020. We’re happy to see that such a sinister story is being brought to light, especially by such an acclaimed production, considering most people can’t be bothered to read a book. De Niro is set to play Bill Hale, one of the main orchestrators of the Osage murders, who was 55 at the time he was convicted. It means 75-year-old De Niro won’t have to go through any fancy computer facial de-aging effects like in Scorsese’s upcoming film The Irishman because people in their mid 50s in the early 20th century were equivalent to 75-year-olds today; at least that’s how we think that works.
Not a threat?
File this one next to Joe Exotic under “News of the Wait, What?” In July, Tulsa World reported that 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Jonathan Barnett was arrested for shooting a process server in the elbow. Barnett, who claimed the shooting was in self-defense, was released after posting $75,000 bond only to be arrested again later that day for a post on his website threatening an act of violence against the University of Tulsa, which suspended Barnett’s husband from its theater department in 2014. Tulsa World reported a page titled “How would Chris Barnett take down TU?” includes the specific threat listed on the criminal charge. “Wait for football season to come, start getting every single AR-15 put into place on the highest floor,” the blog post states. “Rig up a system that will fire all of the guns at once. … Wait until almost half time or when everyone is leaving the game. When people start to flood the gates to leave, the automatic system built starts firing.” The post also names witnesses, lawyers and a judge in the lawsuit
Barnett’s husband filed against the university over his suspension (for, get this, “alleged social media harassment”) as well as Parkland school shooting survivor and activist David Hogg and OJ Simpson, but maybe authorities missed the sentence at the top of the page stating that this 22-step plan is “all hypothetical and not a threat … but it'll drive the far left crazy.” Other than detailing a mass-murder plot to own the libs, Barnett, according to an investigator’s affidavit, also used the internet to Google search “Can you legally shoot a process server?” According to Tulsa World, Barnett finished “third to last in a field of 10 Republicans” in the 2018 primaries with 5,212 votes, but judging by the current state of the GOP, we worry he might actually do better now.
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a state with better laws.
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Dating and abetting
It is a tale as old as time, starcrossed lovers destined for tragedy, but this time with a twist that seems inspired by Orange Is the New Black. KFOR recently reported that a 20-yearold female detention officer was caught sending love letters to a 23-year-old male inmate at the Oklahoma County jail. If you are wondering, female officers are allowed on male floors because not only is the jail overcrowded, unsafe and poorly constructed, but it is also heavily understaffed — well, except for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who are always present on weekdays. Anyway, the jailhouse sweethearts started cracking on when officer Sharidan Wilson gave inmate Darryl Frost a cell phone. They began talking several times throughout all hours of the day, even while Wilson was on duty. One of Wilson’s co-workers noticed how close they were getting and reported it to supervisors before finding Wilson’s love letter to Frost. “Just know you’re all I think about and I’m ready for you to be out of there so we can actually try something real,” Wilson wrote. “I want to talk to you as much as I can.” But in between daydreaming of her inmate admirer, she was also thinking about the consequences because she
went on to write, “If they find out it’s me you are calling, not only will I lose my job but I’ll get locked up too.” Frost was in prison facing a charge for attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon but is now facing two additional charges for conspiracy to bring contraband into the facility and for possession of said contraband. Wilson faces the latter two charges as well and a third charge for a violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act. KFOR also reported there are recorded conversations between the two but they are not being released due to ongoing investigation. Wilson was fired the same day the note was found, after less than seven months on the job. According to KFOR, deputies said she spent her last two weeks “professing her love to a man she was supposed to be monitoring.” Though to be fair, she was definitely still monitoring him, just very, very unprofessionally.
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EAT & DRINK
Plant-powered S&B’s Burger Joint finds success with an expanded plant-based menu at its original location. By Jacob Threadgill
S&B’s Burger Joint 5929 N. May Ave. sandbburgers.com | 405-843-8777 WHAT WORKS: The plant-based milkshake and chicken burger would fool unsuspecting diners. WHAT NEEDS WORK: The regular veggie patty did not hold together well, and the guacamole was under-seasoned. TIP: Only the S&B’s location at 59th Street and May Avenue offers the full plant-based menu.
The introduction of a full plant-based menu at S&B’s Burger Joint’s original location at 5929 N. May Ave. earlier this year has proven to be a shrewd business decision and mirrors success found by national fast food chains with the introduction of meat replacements from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. S&B’s co-owner Shannon Roper put together the growing menu that is currently at 15 items, anchored by the Impossible Meat burger patty but also including Hungry Planet chicken, Tofurky bacon, Daiya cheese and “Just” mayonnaise. Everything is plant-based and dairy- and animal-free. Roper said inspiration came because one of his daughters is vegan and the other is vegetarian, so they cook plantbased meals at home quite a bit. “They like the same foods as everyone else, just without animal products,” Roper said. “Just because you’re vegan, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to throw down on a Frito pie burger. It turns out that a lot of people are interested.” Since adding the menu in February, Roper said plant-based items now account for 20 percent of sales and have also led to a significant overall volume increase for the location. The restauImpossible fries with taco-seasoned crumbles | Photo Aly Cunningham / provided
rant’s 23-ingredient veggie patty remains on the menu and can be substituted on any sandwich, but Roper estimated that it only accounts for about 2 percent of sales. “[The new plant-based menu] is honestly very much exceeding our expectation,” he said. “We put it in, and it’s been hard to keep up with. … We didn’t realize that so many burger eaters were looking for an alternative.” This has been the breakout year for companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s and Del Taco have added Beyond Meat to their menus. Since introducing the alternative, Del Taco has expanded its offerings after it added a 2.2 companywide sales increase, according to Restaurant Business Online. Burger King is adding the Impossible Whopper to its menu this week, and more competition is entering the market. Tyson Foods recently announced its Raised & Rooted brand, while Britain’s The Meatless Farm Co. is coming stateside in August.
We didn’t realize that so many burger eaters were looking for an alternative. Shannon Roper Adding retail locations and reformulating its formula to be gluten-free has led to some supply issues for Impossible Foods. The company capped the amount retailers could order in June and announced in July that the shortage had ended, but it’s still running into occasional supply issues. I went to try S&B’s plantbased menu on a Monday only to be told that only the house veggie patty was available. “When we first started, we had everything we needed, and then probably two months ago, we ran into issues,” Roper said. “It’s not an everyday problem. … Most of the issues have been resolved.” I returned the following Wednesday, and everything was in stock; it appeared to be a minor blip on the menu, but it did allow me to do a comparison of its original veggie patty to newer offerings. On the first visit, I got the guacamole bacon burger with the house veggie patty that is made with three kinds of beans
and 20 other ingredients. I liked that it had plenty of large chunks of roasted veggies like sweet peppers to help with the flavor, but the patty kind of compressed under the weight of the bun — a common factor for a lot of veggie patties. I enjoyed the flavor, but structurally, it was lacking. The guacamole on the burger was really just smashed avocado; I didn’t even taste salt in the mixture. I’ve had Impossible Foods’ burger patty on a few occasions; I know it’s an excellent product. It is also available locally at Tucker’s Onion Burgers, Republic Gastropub, The Pump Bar, The Wedge Pizzeria, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, The Jones Assembly, Kitchen No. 324 and many other locations. I would lean toward the Impossible patty over the house veggie patty at S&B’s. You can get plant-based versions of the standard Fatty burger, The Colombian that puts a sea salt and coffee crust on the patty, The Theta with a smoked pecan Theta sauce, green chili cheese burger, Old Fashioned, mushroom and Swiss Daiya cheese, Hot Lips with Korean barbecue and Impossible loaded fries with Daiya cheese and tacoseasoned Impossible crumbles. Since I know that I like the Impossible Burger product, I opted to try the Southwestern plant-based chicken burger. S&B’s uses St. Louis company Hungry Planet’s ground chicken product that is made with soy and wheat protein. It is breaded, fried and served with a house barbecue sauce, Daiya cheese and “Just” mayonnaise. I enjoyed the chicken patty; I wouldn’t have known it is an animal-free product unless they told me. I found the house barbecue sauce to be
S&B’s Burger Joint’s Frito chili pie cheeseburger | Photo Aly Cunningham / provided
on the sweet side, which I take no issue with, but my wife found it to be cloying. The Daiya cheese melts well, and I like it more than some of the cashew cheese alternatives that can be soupy. We finished the meal with a dairyfree milkshake made with a base of coconut milk, and Roper said they alternate between almond milk and oat milk. I primarily use oat milk at home because it can be used in baking and is the best choice for a latte at a coffee shop while having much lower water usage to cultivate than almond milk. S&B’s plant-based menu only lists a cookies and cream milkshake, but the server said they’re able to make basically any of the milkshakes on the menu vegan, especially now that they have a vegan whipped cream to top the treat. I ordered the cookies and cream one and enjoyed the dessert. It wasn’t as thick as a normal milkshake, but I’ve had a few milkshakes in my life that were so thick they couldn’t be sucked through a straw. Roper said the plant-based menu will likely only stay at the original S&B’s location, but the 20 NW Ninth St. location also has substantial vegetarian offerings. I enjoyed everything on the new menu that I tried and look forward to making it a plant-based treat. There’s no doubt plant-based alternatives are much better for the planet, but they should still be treated as an indulgence, not a regular meal.
O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
EAT & DRINK
F E AT U R E
Rivière Modern Bánh Mì brings the traditional Vietnamese sandwich to Midtown. | Photo Alexa Ace
Elevated egg From the owners of Jimmy’s Egg, Rivière Modern Bánh Mì aims to take the humble sandwich beyond the Asian District. By Jacob Threadgill
As pho has become ubiquitous throughout the Oklahoma City metro, a pair of friends began to wonder why the best bánh mì shops are mostly confined to the Asian District. What started as a conversation has turned into Rivière Modern Bánh Mì, which opened July 18 at 905 N. Hudson Ave. in Midtown. Operators James Nguyen and Sean O’Neil became friends at Oklahoma State University, and they both have a deep connection to the restaurant industry. Nguyen is a third-generation member of one of Oklahoma’s most successful restaurant empires — his maternal grandfather is Loc Le, who helped build Jimmy’s Egg into a breakfast brand, and his father Ban is the company’s current CEO. Jimmy’s Egg releft Vermicelli bowl with shrimp right Pho’rench Dip with a side of Vietnamese street corn | Photo Alexa Ace
A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M
cently opened its 63rd restaurant. After getting started in the industry in Kansas City, O’Neil served as manager with Coolgreens and A Good Egg Dining concepts Iron Star Urban Barbecue and a pair of Republic Gastropub locations. He took a trip to Moab, Utah, where he dined at a bánh mì restaurant that was packed on a Wednesday, and it rattled a kernel of inspiration. “I came back and went out with James and friends. We were talking about bánh mì in particular and the lack thereof, considering we have such a huge Vietnamese population,” O’Neil said. Simplistic as it is nuanced, there is no better example of Vietnam’s fraught colonial history than the bánh mì. The fusion of French baguettes and paté with local ingredients like lemongrass pork, spicy aioli, pickled carrot slaw, jalapeños and cilantro is the perfect sandwich: salty, spicy, sweet, herbaceous and all on a crusty roll with a soft interior. “Pho has become mainstream; you have it everywhere,” Nguyen said. “Why hasn’t bánh mì gotten there? It should. There should be a place around the corner from every where,
especially with how popular it’s getting.” During that same conversation with friends, Nguyen and O’Neil heard from a friend in the group who wanted to try bánh mì but was intimidated upon entering Lee’s Sandwiches and left without ordering. “A lot of Oklahomans are still experimenting with going outside their comfort zone,” O’Neil said. “We wanted to present something where we could get someone like him in the door to try it.” Rivière is not capitulating to that market at the expense of showcasing Nguyen’s family recipes. It is providing more bánh mì options while doing so in a modern atmosphere with a full bar and cocktail program. “I’m a steward of family recipes,” Nguyen said. “The pickled slaw is straight from my mom’s kitchen. The wings are my grandma’s recipe. I grew up eating the green beans and lemongrass pork.” His grandmother’s bone-in chicken wings are finished in a secret sweetand-salty sauce with sesame seeds, and they are next to Gangnam Style Fries on the menu, which embodies the spirit of the food menu, Vietnamese classics with updated options. The fries are topped with bulgogi beef — a Korean marinade that is spicy and sweet — and beer cheese fondue, both of which make appearances as bánh mì toppings. The bulgogi is on the K*Pop, which has been Riviére’s No. 2 seller, and the fondue makes an appearance on the Bánh Jovi, which is an ode to the Philly cheesesteak. “I’m born here and grew up here, so I grew up eating Grandma and Mom’s food but also American food,” Nguyen said. “Why couldn’t you put Buffalo chicken in a bánh mì? Why can’t we play with that protein but also stay true to the roots of the sandwich?” The Bánh Fire with Sriracha Buffalo fried chicken is the restaurant’s No. 3 seller. The top seller is the Pho’rench Dip that is like a classic French dip but uses a pho-style dipping broth instead of au jus that is paired with thinly sliced beef and caramelized onions. The kitchen spends hours to make the pho broth, which also makes an appearance in a chicken noodle soup. The Saigon Caesar salad replaces traditional dressing ingredients anchovies and lemon juice with fish sauce and lime. As a vegetarian option, Rivière eschews traditional tofu for jackfruit, which stands out in the sandwich compared to tofu, which often takes a backseat. “ It ’s t he next vegetarian option,” Nguyen said of jackfruit, which is harvested when it is still young
and hasn’t developed the sugars in its mature stage. “The texture is exactly like pulled pork and takes on marinade very well. We let it sit in the marinade overnight and throw it on the flattop to-order for the extra crust and sear marks. We’ve sold a lot of those; we’re pleasantly surprised.”
Your A** is Grass is made with lemongrassinfused vodka. | Photo Alexa Ace
In addition to its menu, Rivière sets itself apart from Vietnamese restaurants in the city by offering a cocktail program that highlights Vietnamese ingredients and a beer selection featuring local craft beer. O’Neil devised the cocktail menu, which includes seven drinks. All of the drinks are under $10, which O’Neil said was done by infusing their own spirits and making syrups in-house, like the Your A** is Grass, which features lemongrass vodka and is Rivière’s answer to the Moscow Mule. The Jamesean is a mash-up of Nguyen and O’Neil’s names and their heritage. Vietnamese iced coffee is combined with Jameson Irish whiskey, brown sugar and Saigon cinnamon. The Superfly BowThai features rum, Thai chili and basil-infused simple syrup, fresh mint and lime. “We want [the drinks] to be refreshing and approachable,” O’Neil said. “We want things you can’t find elsewhere. It isn’t going to be the place where people are taking shots until midnight; we’re the bar before the bar.” Rivière is an expansion of Jimmy’s Egg’s brand and is located next door to its new Midtown location. “It’s cool because we made our bones with American breakfast,” Nguyen said. “It’s cool to show off a different side of our family and maybe that we’re not just American breakfast. I’m lucky to have grown up with a lot of great cooks in the family. It makes me very happy to be able to showcase what goes on at home, and I hope everyone else likes it.” Visit riviereokc.com.
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EAT & DRINK
A sandwich can be transformed from mundane to memorable by adding some melted cheese and crispy bread. These seven restaurants offer some of the best for toasted sandwiches in the city. By Jacob Threadgill with photos provided and Gazette / file
New State Burgers & Spirits
La Baguette Deep Deuce
1705 NW 16th St., Suite A newstateburgers.com | 405-724-7524
100 NE Fourth St. facebook.com/labagdeepdeuce 405-445-6272
The menu at New State isn’t large, but it’s much more than just burgers. The Statesman is house-made roast beef, American cheese, crispy shallots and garlic aioli on toasted bread that gives its burgers a run for their money as the best item. The statesman typifies the restaurant’s aim to be an “elevated diner.” The dish is familiar but better than you’ve had before.
Under the guidance of chef Andrew Black, La Baguette (not to be confused with La Baguette Bistro) has expanded from Norman into downtown with gusto and flair. In addition to croissants, pastry and entrees, dig into a toasted panini like the Parisian with smoked turkey, bacon, cheddar, tomato and sprouts or the ciabatta chicken with provolone, jalapeños and veggies.
It would be impossible to compile a list of toasted sandwiches in Oklahoma City and not include the city’s first restaurant centered on grilled cheese. It is so prominent on the menu that even a salad comes with grilled cheese croutons. Even if you don’t eat meat, you can find something to enjoy, like the Herbivore with cashew cheese, roasted beets, mushroom, sundried tomato pesto, avocado, grilled jalapeños, onions and chipotle aioli.
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Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza
D Taino Bakery
Lobby Cafe & Bar
Upper Crust is more than a pizza restaurant. You can also choose from six sandwiches like the NYC Grinder that is stacked with pepperoni, hot capocollo, Genoa salami, serrano ham and bacon. The Parmesan chicken sandwich could also be called the Parmesan sandwich because it also includes fried eggplant, so you don’t have to decide between the two most famous fried Parmesan methods.
Oklahoma’s only Puerto Rican bakery sells a pair of unique breads with which sandwiches can be made. Sobao is impossibly soft, like a cloud covered in feathers. Mallorca is sweet bread that is perfect for a breakfast sandwich to titillate both the sweet and savory parts of your tongue. Pair either bread with house-roasted turkey, pork or chicken.
Lobby Bar is an excellent lunch choice, especially when you’re in the mood for a warm, melty sandwich. It offers a variety of sliders like pork belly and meatloaf in addition to a B.L.T., burger and crispy chicken. Its grilled sandwiches get a perfectly brown exterior like the grilled chicken and Brie, but the shrimp, crab and Manchego cheese sandwich is a treat that is only $10.
Sandwiches at ND Foods should come with a warning: You don’t have to fit the whole thing in your mouth. The piledhigh sandwiches can potentially cause a jaw injury because it’s so easy to be excited to dig into to its high quality Boar’s Head meats. It offers 12 warm sandwiches ranging from classics like Reuben, corned beef and pastrami to nontraditional ones like the Victor, which is pineapple-smoked turkey with honey mustard on a croissant.
300 Park Ave., Suite 1103 facebook.com/dtainobakery 405-225-1245
5860 N. Classen Blvd. ucpizza.com | 405-842-7743
4322 N. Western Ave. willrogerslobbybar.com 405-604-4650
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ARTS & CULTURE
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park examines the effort to save Shakespeare’s work in The Book of Will. By Jeremy Martin
Perhaps Hamlet said it best. “To be, or not to be,” said the tragically conflicted Prince of Denmark. “Aye, there’s the point. To die, to sleep, is that all?” Or at least that is what he says in the version of Hamlet seen by three of the protagonists in Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will, presented ThursdayAug. 13 at Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, 2920 Paseo St. Tyler Woods, managing director of Oklahoma Shakespeare, said the “really terrible production of a pirated version of Hamlet” staged at the beginning of The Book of Will establishes the stakes for its heroes Richard Burbage (played by Woods), Henry Condell (Wil Rogers) and John Heminges (Shaw n Churchman). As actors and shareholders in William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and close friends of the playwright, the three are appalled to see that in 1619, just three years after the Bard’s death, his works are already being mangled and ripped off and run the risk of being forgotten completely. Following a brief snippet of the bootleg Hamlet, Burbage, Condell and Heminges commiserate over beers at the Globe Tap House. Though “they have great fun at that pirated copy’s expense,” their merriment has a serious undertone, Woods said. Shakespeare died in 1616 at the age of 52, and his friends, who fear they are not far behind, worry that his actual words and works will be lost with them. “It was basically legal — in fact it was very common practice — for anyone to go steal someone’s play and then put on their own version of it, and there’s no copyright that protects the author’s work,” Woods said. “[Printers] would send these boys to the theater who would sit there in the audience and try to write down everything the actor said. And then those boys would go back to the print shops and hand it over. And they would type-set it and print it, and the minute they did that, that printer owned that play.” The threat of some of the most influential works in English literature being forgotten to time becomes even more serious in the next scene. “Since it happened 400 years ago, it’s not, I guess, too much of a spoiler,” Woods said, “but Burbage dies in the second scene … and what goes with him are all the plays because he had them in his head. These were men who remembered all the plays and learned 35 to 40 Kate Kemmet, Tyler Woods, Aiesha Watley, Darius Freeman and Chris Rodgers star in The Book of Will. | Photo provided
A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M
plays at a time in their heads. They would perform on a daily basis, and so when he goes, what goes with him is the history of the real Hamlet, the way that it’s supposed to be done. And so John and Henry, the two sort of main lead characters in the play, realize, ‘Oh boy. We better do something about this,’ and so they quickly start a campaign to collect his works and compile them into what we now know as the First Folio of Shakespeare’s works.” Even before assuming responsibility for the future of theater, Condell and Heminges were already leading complicated lives full of obstacles as actors and theater managers in the 17th century. “They were working theater artists trying to run the Globe Theatre in the middle of theater closures, plagues, riots, you name it,” Woods said. “It wasn’t exactly easy to do what they did, and here they are, basically taking on a moonlight gig. They had to collect it, too. That’s the amazing thing. It wasn’t even like they had these plays written down. They had to go search them out. … You can see the sort of toll it takes on the home life of these two men as they try and salvage their friend’s work.” Like Gunderson’s The Revolutionists, which Oklahoma Shakespeare produced last year, Woods said, The Book of Will also features several strong female roles. Condell’s wife Elizabeth (Aiesha Watley) and Heminges’ wife Rebecca (Renee Krapff) and daughter Alice (Kate Kemmet) also play a significant part in the folio’s publication. On Folger Shakespeare Library’s podcast Shakespeare Unlimited, Gunderson explained her approach as a playwright. “I posit that the women that accompanied these men, their wives and daughters, were just as interesting as they were,” Gunderson said. “So now we have twice as many fabulous and
interesting people.” Finding the humanity in historical figures is “where Gunderson really shines,” Woods said. “She writes, I think, characters that are very real, human and down to earth, and then she chooses orbiting characters, these planetary characters like Ben Johnson, the poet laureate of England, or Richard Burbage, this famous actor, and sort of has them revolve around the play in this almost otherworldly fashion to where they kind of dip in and out of scenes and give you a flavor of the time.” The play’s “almost magical realism” is a useful aesthetic for a theatrical company producing an ambitious period piece, Woods said, and guest director Rex Daugherty — an Oklahoman native now serving as artistic director of Washington D.C.’s Solas Nua — is skilled at capturing that aesthetic. Though we all know the eventual outcome of the protagonists’ quest to preserve Shakespeare’s works, their motivations and methods provide The Book of Will’s drama and ultimate meaning, Woods said. “Just imagine what would have been lost,” Woods said, “had this small group of people 400 years ago decided, ‘You know what? It’s not worth going through the trouble. Let’s just let it go.’ … So it’s sort of an homage to not just really printing a book or preserving one person’s work. It’s sort of the idea of, ‘What is worth saving? What in the human experience is worth cherishing and holding on to?’ ... Larger than just the publishing of one book, I think it’s
Aiesha Watley, Chris Rodgers and Kate Kemmet star in The Book of Will Thursday-Aug. 13 at Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, 2920 Paseo St. | Photo provided
the preserving of our own humanity.” On Shakespeare Unlimited, Gunderson pointed out that, while we know their attempt will be successful, Heminges and Condell did not. “I realized that this could be one big metaphor for loss and legacy, doing something when we don’t actually know what will become of this venture or this effort,” Gunderson said. “They believed in the power of story and poetry, and of course their work has journeyed across centuries to us right now, which I think would delight and surprise them, but also, probably, part of them would have known. Yeah, these plays were that good.” Addressing “the great variety of readers” of Shakespeare’s First Folio, Heminges and Condell wrote something similar. “It is now publique, & you will stand for your priviledges wee know : to read, and censure,” they wrote. “Do so, but buy it first. That doth best commend a Booke. … His wit can no more lie hid, then it could be lost. Reade him, therefore; and againe, and againe.” Tickets are $20-$30. Visit okshakes. org.
The Book of Will Thursday-Aug. 13 Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park 2920 Paseo St. okshakes.org | 405-235-3700 $20-$30
O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
O KG S H O P
ARTS & CULTURE
Jessi and Kelli Newsome enjoy the sweet smell of success with OKcollective. By Jo Light
Jessi and Kelli Newsome always knew they wanted to start a business together. The couple, both longtime allergy sufferers, soon realized they weren’t happy with the candles or diffusers they were using at home. They saw a need for clean-burning, eco-friendly soy candles, so their company, OKcollective, 12 NW Ninth St., was born. They began in 2016, making handpoured soy candles in small batches. “Everything started in our house,” Kelli Newsome said. Specifically, it started in a double boiler in their kitchen. The business is truly cooperative, with Jessi Newsome handling manufacturing, wholesale fulfillment and events while Kelli Newsome acts as designer, social media OKcollective Candle Co. started as a small handpoured soy candle company in the Newsomes’ home. | Photo Alexa Ace
expert, salesperson and accountant. Their early focus was making appearances at trade shows and pop-ups. At one event, they ran into a friend who owned a furniture store and got their first wholesale order. “We have been going, I feel, full steam ahead from that moment,” Kelli Newsome said. She estimated that they scheduled over 60 events from May to December of 2016. In the beginning, they were both still working full-time jobs, but Jessi Newsome was able leave her position at the Apple Store just six months after they started. OKcollective’s candles come in amber jars in three different sizes. Their wide variety of scents range from the woodsy richness of Oakmoss Amber to the fruity citrus notes of a candle they named Yas Queen. They have also recently added a Tattoo Collection featuring taller jars that includes a cannabis scent known as High Five. Through consistent appearances at trade shows and local events like The Paseo Arts Festival, 16th Street Plaza District Festival and Holiday Pop-Up Shops, they grew both their brand and their space. Their candles can now be found in almost 40 states. Their first retail location was the bright pink shipping container near their current shop, which clothing boutique Cargo Room, 14 NW Ninth St., now occupies. “From the get-go, we’ve always wanted and a pretty big priority has been to have a combined studio and retail space,” Kelli Newsome said. “I got a little starry-eyed when I saw the container was available.” Although it wasn’t ideal, she thought it would be a good idea to start with retail and work on brand recognition first. “Yeah, that’s how it happened,” Jessi
Newsome said, drawing a laugh from her wife. They moved their home manufacturing studio into their detached garage, but Jessi Newsome said she still outgrew it quickly. They continued looking for what they both wanted, which was a combination retail and studio space, preferably still in Automobile Alley. “I think we came at a time where it’s starting to get revitalized and getting a lot of attention,” Jessi Newsome said of the area. “And so we really wanted to stay down here and be a part of the upswing of this neighborhood.” After about a year, when the multi-use garage behind the pink shipping container opened up, they pounced. They were able to renovate and move in time to open the same day as Mix-Tape at the Womb, 25 NW Ninth St., on March 21. Jessi Newsome said the garage had been used in the past as a screen-printing building for Shop Good and a storage unit for Schlegel Bicycles. Now, for the first time, it is a retail space. The updated, climate-controlled building now has plenty of room for Jessi Newsome to hand-pour dozens of candles at once while customers can browse shelves of local and handmade goods at the front of the store. Not only is it important for the couple to be a part of the area’s vibrant retail community, but they also care about being an openly LGBTQ+-owned business. They said they receive widespread love and support as queer business owners. “When you start a business, you’re no longer in your bubble,” Jessi Newsome said. “Now you’re exposed to the world, essentially. And so you want to put your authentic self out there and be who you are.”
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Kelli Newsome agreed that simply being genuine and open is something they care about. “We want to be a really safe space,” she said. “And I think the more we put ourselves out there, all of our selves, I think the more that we attract people that can be their true selves, too, which is really nice.” In June, they produced a limited-edition candle to coincide with Oklahoma City Pride festivities, with a portion of sales going to Freedom Oklahoma. “We have a lot of friends and a lot of people we follow that are very outspoken,” Jessi Newsome said. “And then you have people like us that are outspoken, but we’re also just like, ‘This is who we are. These are our beliefs. Here’s our candles.’” The couple also both commented that being open has helped them become part of a supportive, friendly group of area businesses. “I think the time of people being competitive over their business or guarded has kind of gone away,” Jessi Newsome said. “I think that a lot of people now want to build the connections, which is so great.” “And collaborate,” Kelli Newsome said. In addition to their candles, OKcollective carries other local and handmade products, like soaps from Bell Mountain Naturals and Prairie Dust or enamel pins by Eastside Pin Co. and LuxCups Creative. They said they are already looking forward to holiday events and will make another appearance during week two of Holiday Pop-Up Shops. Visit weareokcollective.com.
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OKcollective carries soaps from Bell Mountain Naturals and Prairie Dust. | Photo Alexa Ace
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CO M E DY
Comedian Brian Posehn brings his brand of self-deprecating humor to a pair of shows at The Paramount Room. By Jeremy Martin
When comic, actor and sometimes heavy metal vocalist Brian Posehn describes himself, one word comes up frequently. His 2006 debut album is titled Live in: Nerd Rage; his 2018 memoir is titled Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal, and his Dungeons & Dragons podcast is titled Nerd Poker. “I’m a mildly successful, not so widely known stand-up comic, writer and actor and full-blown nerd,” Posehn — known for playing recurring roles on Just Shoot Me, The Sarah Silverman Program and The Big Bang Theory — writes in Forever Nerdy. “And by fullblown nerd, I mean I’m obsessed with a bunch of cool stuff that dumb people think is uncool, like comics, Dungeons & Dragons, action and horror movies, and HEAVY FUCKING METAL.” Posehn performs at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday at The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave. As a writer for Deadpool comics, an actor in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects and a musical collaborator with Anthrax’s Scott Ian (more on that later), Posehn has had the chance to creatively explore many of his obsessions in a multi-hyphenate show business career, but in a phone interview with Oklahoma Gazette, he said writing Forever Nerdy gave him a chance to think about his personal life without worrying about getting laughs. “In a book, there’s less concern of four jokes per minute or whatever,” Posehn said. “Not that I do that with my stand-up, but I mean, there does have to be constant punchlines. Even in setups, there’s got to be laugh lines just to keep people interested. That is less of a concern when you’re writing a book, that’s for sure. … It was more about telling a story because it matters in the formation of me. I included things that weren’t necessarily hilarious just because I feel like they have a lot to do with who I am now.” Formative events such as his father’s death (when Posehn was 2 years old), a babysitter’s suicide (when Posehn was 4) and his mother’s boyfriend’s death (when Posehn was 5) make for compelling reading but would be harder to fit into the context of a stand-up set. Posehn said he also found it easier to discuss negative feelings about his mother on the page than the stage, though he still does it mostly for comedic effect in the book. “Most people have two parents that form them,” Posehn said. “I just had one. Well, obviously, my dad’s DNA had a lot to do with it, but other than that, being raised by one person, there’s
really only one person to blame. So I did that, but I felt like there were a couple of times where I pulled back because I’m like, ‘My mom doesn’t need me piling on her.’ … I don’t really trash my mom onstage because I have before, and it doesn’t go well. People are like, ‘Hey, we like you, but why are you being mean to your mom?’” Other stories he shares in the book are better comedy fodder. “I pulled some stories that I’d never used before in stand-up while writing the book,” Posehn said. “I recalled these stories and went, ‘Oh, there’s something I could potentially use for comedy on stage.’ … It made me think about doing a one-man show, but then I then I decided against that for now. I’m back to just working on the regular act, but definitely, the book influenced a little bit of where the act is right now.”
I’m back to just working on the regular act, but definitely, the book influenced a little bit of where the act is right now. Brian Posehn For Posehn, a one-man show would be “more theatrical” with “less jokes.” “You can still be funny in a one-man show, which is what was appealing to me about it, but it just didn’t feel like the time for it because I’m also writing jokes about things that are happening now, and then I wouldn’t have a place to do those,” Posehn said. “I’m not touring, but I’m kind of perpetually touring. Until I come up with a new stand-up special, I’m out on the road. I wouldn’t want to do a one-man show right now in a comedy club because people might be bored if they don’t know they’re getting that, if they come expecting a normal stand-up show and they get more of a one-man show. I don’t know. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it.” At least one story from the book made it almost verbatim into his stand-up act. “I got into a fight with a fellow nerd,” Posehn said. “His glasses fell at one point, and I stomped on his glasses. Then I found out that they were actually my glasses. … The ending is already built in, so that was an easy story to adapt to stand-up because, just me telling it straight without adding anything, it already has a funny moment — the reveal of me being wrong. I’m not
afraid to self-deprecate, and that’s one that just really kind of did it for me.” As a comic, Posehn is also unafraid to look for laughs in grim or depressing places. “I don’t lean on the dark, but I’ve also never been afraid of it,” Posehn said. “I definitely say dark things. I just want it to be funny, too, not just dark and grim. It also has to appeal to a bunch of different comedic tastes.” He might not be working on a one-man show anytime soon, but a musical project Posehn has spent several years on might be coming soon. In an interview with Loudwire in December of last year, Posehn described his upcoming Grandpa Metal as “pretty much Chinese Democracy of heavy metal comedy records,” but he said the album is almost ready to release. “The complicated thing about my project is I wrote it with [Metalocalypse co-creator] Brendon Small and Scott Ian, and we’re all super busy with other things, so it took forever to get all the songs recorded. Even getting everybody together to take a band photo is a total undertaking. Once we’ve got the album cover done, we’ll have a release date.” Much like the musical tracks “More Metal Than You” and “Metal by Numbers”
Brian Posehn performs two shows Friday at The Paramount Room. | Photo provided
on Posehn’s previous comedy albums, Grandpa Metal songs such as “Satan Is Kind of a Dick” poke fun at metal’s clichés. “Heavy metal has always made Satan seem cool, when anybody who reads knows that he really isn’t,” Posehn said. “Every song has been fun in its own way, and it was just more work than I’ve ever spent on anything. … There’s a Viking song. There’s a Halloween song, like a Rob Zombie type thing. I did a metal cover of ‘Take on Me.’ … That one is just nuts, and it’s the way I always wanted it. I feel like any song is better metal.” Tickets are $25-$30, and local comics James Curtis and BradChad Porter (8 p.m.) and Cameron Buchholtz and Josh Lathe (10:30 p.m.) are also scheduled to perform. Visit facebook.com/theparamountroom.
Brian Posehn 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday The Paramount Room 701 W. Sheridan Ave. facebook.com/theparamountroom $25-$30
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CALENDAR are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members For full calendar listings, go to okgazette.com.
BOOKS Comic Book Club: Contract with God meet up to discuss Will Eisner’s groundbreaking graphic novel about the residents of a New York City tenement, 2-3 p.m. Aug. 10. Literati Press Comics & Novels, 3010 Paseo St., 405-882-7032, literatipressok.com. SAT LitFest a meetup for writers, publishers and readers, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 10. Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave., 405-231-8650, metrolibrary.org. SAT Mid-Oklahoma Writers a meetup for local writers featuring guest speakers and literary discussions, 7-9 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month. Eastside Church of Christ, 916 S. Douglas Blvd., 405-732-0393. TUE Second Sunday Poetry hear the works of a variety of local poets, 2 p.m. second Sunday of every month. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405307-9320, pasnorman.org. SUN
FILM American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel (2019, USA, Jeanine Isabel Butler) a documentary about the opposition progressive Christian churches face for their political views, through Aug. 8. Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., 405-235-3456. FRI-THU Echo in the Canyon (2019, USA, Andrew Slater) a documentary about the Laurel Canyon music scene featuring The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and more, through Aug. 8. Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., 405-235-3456. FRI-THU
film, Aug. 9. Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., 405-235-3456. FRI Once Upon A Time in Hollywood (2019, USA, Quentin Tarantino) a television actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) cope with their fading relevance in 1969 Hollywood, through Aug. 11. The Banquet Cinema Pub, 800 NW Fourth St., banquetcinema.com. THU-SUN Shark Fest a shark-themed film festival featuring 47 Meters Down, Jaws, Jaws 2 and The Meg, 4-7 p.m. Aug. 9. Harkins Theatre, 150 E. Reno Ave., 405-2314747, harkinstheatres.com. FRI-THU 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, through Aug. 1. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. FRI
HAPPENINGS An Accordion Affair a free family-friendly concert hosted by Lucas Ross, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Aug. 11. Yukon Czech Hall, 205 N. Czech Hall Road, Yukon, 3248073, czechhall.com. SUN 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 Art & Soul Gala a benefit for Pollard Theatre featuring popular performers singing famous songs from musicals and movies, 7-11 p.m. Aug. 10. Oak Tree Golf & Country Club, 700 Country Club Drive, 405-340-1010, oaktreenational.com. SAT Cookies & Cocktais pair cocktails with Girl Scout Cookies at this benefit for Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, 5:30-8 p.m. Aug. 8. Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., 405-232-6506, okcfarmersmarket.com. THU FireLake Fireflight Balloon Festival see bright and colorful hot air balloons and live entertainment, play mini golf, sample food truck fare and more, Aug. 9-10. Citizen Potawatomi Nation Powwow Grounds, 1702 S Gordon Cooper Blvd., Shawnee. FRI The Friend Zone: Speed-Friending make new friends five minutes at a time at this platonic meetup, 7 p.m. second Monday of every month. Oak & Ore, 1732 NW. 16th St., 405-606-2030, oakandore.com. MON Fund in the Sun enjoy cocktails and music by Carte Blanche at this event benefitting, Aug. 11. The Jones Assembly, 901 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-2122378, thejonesassembly.com. SUN International Cat Day an event raising awareness of vulnerable and endangered cat species, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 8. The Oklahoma City Zoo, 2000 Remington Place, 405-424-3344, okczoo.com. THU LIVE! on the Plaza join the Plaza District every second Friday for an art walk featuring artists, live music, shopping and more, 6-10 p.m. second Friday of every month. Plaza District, 1618 N. Gatewood Ave., 405-426-7812, plazadistrict.org. FRI
CluedUpp Detective Day If you ever wanted to combine Sherlock with Pokémon Go, CluedUpp Games offers something similar with a giant outdoor mystery game played in locations throughout OKC. Titled “Sneaky Finders,” this version of the game will have you and team of two to six people tracking down clues, interrogating witnesses and more with a smartphone app. 1920s-style fashion is strongly encouraged, and there will be a costume contest. Children and dogs are also welcome to play and eligible to be awarded for their mystery-solving prowess. The game is afoot 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Oklahoma City. Tickets are $60 for a team of up to six adults. Visit cluedupp.com. SATURDAY Photo provided
Father’s Little Dividend (1951, USA, Vincente Minnelli) Spencer Tracy plays a father adjusting to his daughter’s marriage and pregnancy in this film airing on OETA as part of its weekly Movie Club, 9 p.m. Aug. 10. SAT Luz (2018, Germany, Tilman Singer) a cab driver attempts to escape a demonic entity in this horror
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Pecha Kucha Night view time-limited slide presentations about urban design, placemaking, development and other local issues, 6-8 p.m. Aug. 7. Plenty Mercantile, 807 N. Broadway Ave., 405-8887470, plentymercantile.com. WED 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
Spaceballs Quote-Along If you’ve ever wanted to shout, “I can see your Schwartz is as big as mine,” “Goodbye, virgin alarm” or “I’m surrounded by assholes,” in a crowded movie theater without being asked to leave, this screening of Mel Brooks’ 1987 sci-fi comedy classic is probably your best bet. While the film’s story of a potentially planetkilling environmental crisis being poorly managed by a cartoonishly stupid and lecherous president (Brooks) seems pretty ludicrous in 2019, the stellar cast — John Candy, Joan Rivers, Rick Moranis — and endless oddball gags are as funny as ever. God willing, we’ll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money. There goes the planet 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St. Tickets are $10. Call 405708-6937 or visit towertheatreokc.com. SUNDAY Photo provided
YOUTH 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 Jurassic Art Camp campers will learn about different dinosaurs and create prehistoric projects using paint, oil pastels, air-dry clay and more, through Aug. 8. Artsy Rose Academy, 7739 W. Hefner Road, 405603-8550. MON-THU OKC Drag Queen Story Hour children and their families are invited to a story and craft time lead by Ms. Shantel and followed by a dance party, 4 p.m. second Saturday of every month. Sunnyside Diner, 916 NW Sixth St., 405.778.8861. SAT
Paseo Farmers Market shop for fresh food from local vendors at this weekly outdoor event, 9 a.m.noon Saturdays, through Oct. 19. SixTwelve, 612 NW 29th St., 405-208-8291, sixtwelve.org. SAT The Taste on 36th a monthly gathering of food trucks from throughout the state featuring live music, noon-6 p.m. second Saturday of every month. Ice Event Center & Grill, 1148 NE 36th St., 405-208-4240, iceeventcentergrill.eat24hour.com. SAT
Sanctuary Karaoke Service don a choir robe and sing your favorite song, 9 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sanctuary Barsilica, 814
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
Uptown 23rd Patio Party enjoy live music, children’s activities, tail-gate parties and more at this monthly event, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 10. Uptown 23rd Street, Northwest 23rd St., 405-831-0177, uptown23rd.com. SAT
The Return of The Golden Girls a drag parody of the beloved sitcom about four senior roommates, through Aug. 24, 8 p.m. The Boom, 2218 NW 39th St., 405-601-7200, theboomokc.com. FRI-SAT
Reading Wednesdays a weekly storytime with hands-on activities, goody bags and reading-themed photo ops, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. WED
Storytime Science the museum invites children age 6 and younger to hear a story and participate in a related scientific activity, 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, sciencemuseumok.org. TUE-SAT
World Elephant Day learn about elephants through crafts, games and activities, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 12. The Oklahoma City Zoo, 2000 Remington Place, 405-424-3344, okczoo.com. MON
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-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
Teacher Open House teachers are admitted free and given information on field trips and an owl pellet dissection kit, through Aug. 10. Museum of Osteology, 10301 S. Sunnylane Road, 405-814-0006, museumofosteology.org. SUN-SAT
Water/Ways a traveling exhibit created by the Smithsonian Institution illustrating the many ways water impacts human life and civilization, through Aug. 18. Norman Public Library East, 3051 Alameda St., Norman, 405-217-0770, pioneerlibrarysystem.org. SAT-SUN
Henry VI, Part 1 the first of William Shakespeare’s history plays centered on the War of the Roses, Aug. 8-10. The Bethany Stage, 6632 NW 36th, 405-6034668, thebethanystage.com. THU-SAT
Art of Rap hosted by Jim Conway, this monthly rap competition pits local MCs against one another for a cash prize, 9 p.m. Mondays. Hubbly Bubbly Hookah & Café, 2900 N. Classen Blvd., Suite K, 405-609-2930. MON
Blue Sunday a monthly blues tribute show hosted by Powerhouse Blues Project,6-8 p.m. the second Sunday of every month. Friends Restaurant & Club, 3705 W. Memorial Road, 405-751-4057, friendsbarokc.com. SUN 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 Hamilton the groundbreaking musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton with a score blending hip-hop, jazz, blues and R&B, through Aug. 18. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405-297-2264, okcciviccenter.com. TUE-SUN Invitational Bluegrass Jam an event hosted by Americana Media Gig Spot and Cliff Top and featuring a live interview with Ridge Roberts, 2 p.m. Aug. 10. Eatery & Cocktail Office @ The Union, 616 NW Fifth St., 405-601-2857, theunionokc.com. SAT
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Fanny Pack Fashion Show Fanny packs are the butt of many, many jokes (especially in England, we imagine), but attempts to make them fashionable will probably persist at least until women’s clothing comes equipped with actual functioning pockets. Lean into the look, which can work equally well on anyone, at this fashion show where you can see custom-made packs designed by 20 local artists, held as part of August’s Live! on the Plaza event. Pack it up 7-7:30 p.m. Friday at Dig It, 1739 NW 16th St. Admission is free. Call 405-473-4649 or visit facebook. com/shopdigit. FRIDAY Photo provided
W. Sheridan Ave., facebook.com/sanctuarybarokc. WED-THU
The Skirvin Jazz Club a monthly live jazz show presented by OK Sessions, 8 p.m. Aug. 9. Park Avenue Grill, 1 Park Ave., 405-702-8444, parkavegrill.com. FRI
ACTIVE Hurts Donut ’80s Run a 5K run open to all ages and skill levels, with a costume contest and Hurts Donuts waiting at the finish line, 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 10. Wheeler Park, 1120 S. Western Ave., 405-297-2211, okc.gov. SAT Twisted Coyote Brew Crew a weekly 3-mile group run for all ability levels with a beer tasting to follow; bring your own safety lights, 6 p.m. Mondays. Twisted Spike Brewing Co., 1 NW 10th St., 405-3013467, twistedspike.com. MON
MON. - FRI. 5 AM - 9 PM
MON. - FRI. 4 PM - 7 PM
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 Advancing the Pencil Portrait, Part I learn how to create better pencil portraits at this class for all experience levels, through Aug. 22. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. THU All My Sisters an exhibition of Janice MathewsGordon’s paintings of women, inspired by the feminist movement and her own childhood and family, through Aug. 31. JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave., 405-528-6336, jrbartgallery.com. THU-SAT
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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 Drop-In Artisan Apron Making Workshop create a personalized apron at this workshop presented by Mod Quad Collective, noon-5 p.m. Aug. 10. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405-815-9995, 1ne3.org. SAT 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 A Room in Bloom an exhibition of floral photography by Oklahoma City artist Renee Lawrence, through Sept. 1. Contemporary Art Gallery, 2928 Paseo St., 405-601-7474, contemporaryartgalleryokc.com. FRI-SUN Second Friday Art Walk tour shops studios, venues and galleries to view visual art exhibits, hear live music and more, 6 p.m. second Friday of every month. Downtown Norman, 122 E. Main St., Norman, 405-637-6225, downtownnorman.com. FRI
September 13 & 14 St. Paul’s Cathedral, OKC
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., 405-325-3272, ou.edu/fjjma. WED-SAT 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
ECHO IN THE CANYON
Echo In The Canyon celebrated the explosion of popular music that came out of LA’s Laurel Canyon in the mid-60s as folk went electric and bands like The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas gave birth to the California Sound.
BISHOP LECTURE SERIES 2019 Welcomes
Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, social justice entrepreneur, and priest. She is the founder and president of Thistle Farms, a movement dedicated to supporting women survivors of trafficking, prositution, and addiction.
T H E R E V. B E C C A S T E V E N S
Tickets at epiok.org/bishop-lecture
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.
For OKG live music see page 27
Luz is a young cab driver fleeing from the grasp of a possessed woman, whose confession could endanger the lives of everyone who crosses her path.
RUSH: CINEMA STRANGIATO 2019
Featuring R40+, this global fan event will give audiences a special look into some of the best performances from R40 LIVE, including songs such as “Closer to the Heart,” “Subdivisions,” “Tom Sawyer,” and more, as well as unreleased backstage moments and candid footage left on the cutting room floor.
One Night Only!
OKC’S UNIQUE NONPROFIT ART HOUSE MOVIE THEATRE SHOWING INDEPENDENT, FOREIGN, AND DOCUMENTARY FILMS.
Showtimes & Tickets at Rodeocinema.org
2221 Exchange Avenue, OKC 405-235- 3456 (FILM) Follow us on
O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
COV E R
OKC music fans recall visits from Kiss, Led Zeppelin and other rock ’n’ roll royalty. By Jeremy Martin and George Lang
Hey, hey. My, my. Of all the concerts Brian Beuchaw has attended in his decades as a music fan in Oklahoma City, one memory in particular stands out. “I got to see Johnny Rotten’s asshole,” Beuchaw said, recalling the time the former Sex Pistol’s band Public Image Ltd played the State Fairgrounds in 1992 on MTV’s 120 Minutes Tour. “Being just the total jerk that he is, he was like, ‘Who the hell are you people? You’re not even clapping. Come on!’ So I guess we weren’t sufficiently rousing enough for him, so he actually pulled down his pants, spread his butt cheeks, and mooned us. I’m just like, ‘Oh god. I never needed to see that,’ but it was a really good show.” Oklahoma City is increasingly being included in A-list tour itineraries, with the likes of Chris Stapleton, Megan Thee Stallion, The Raconteurs, Guns N’ Roses and Young Thug scheduled to stop by in coming months, but OKC has never exactly been a concert dead zone. Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd, Queen, Nirvana, The White Stripes and many other rock gods have graced its stages over the years. The Replacements’ The Shit Hits the Fans — which Rolling Stone listed as one of the 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time, proclaiming it “a lubricated Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin in 1977 | Photo Wikimedia Commons / provided
mix of blues, metal, soul and spilledbeer wankery” (it was 50th on the list for a reason) — was recorded at nowclosed Bowery, which also hosted R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bo Diddley. In an attempt to revisit those glory days, we spoke to a few longtime OKC music fans about some of the biggest concerts they have seen here. There’s little drugs or sex but plenty of rock ’n’ roll and — we promise — no more references to aging punks’ anuses.
Led Zeppelin April 3, 1977 Myriad Convention Center A few days after Jimmy Carter was sworn in as the 39th president of the United States, 16-year-old Wayne Coyne set up camp at the State Fair Park box office. Coyne and his brother Mark were massive Led Zeppelin fans, and with tickets going on sale for a Myriad Convention Center show that spring, the Coynes skipped school with an eye toward nabbing the best seats in the house. For what was probably his first interview, Coyne talked to Gene Triplett of Oklahoma Journal and posed for photos with Mark and a friend, and his efforts were memorialized on the Jan. 30, 1977 front page of the Journal. This would
have been a nice tipoff to his teachers at Classen High School, but Coyne had already given them the heads-up. “I remember telling them, ‘I’m going to do this, and I’ll make up my work — don’t worry about it,’” Coyne said in a phone interview with Oklahoma Gazette. “My teachers were very forgiving at the time. I don’t think any of them knew what Led Zeppelin was.” This was 18 years before Ticketmaster launched its online ticketing platform, a time when true dedication meant schlepping portable heaters and sleeping bags to a box office at the fairgrounds or on NW 23rd Street and setting up camp. For Led Zeppelin’s Presence tour, Coyne camped out for three days, but he had racked up experience sidewalk surfing for Jethro Tull, Billy Joel and Eagles tickets, so he was a veteran of this particular operation and saw combat. “We were really good at knowing how to camp and secure your spot,” he said. “There were a couple of times when people would try to bum-rush the front of the line and there would be fights. One guy pulled a knife one time.” Ultimately, Coyne said, the experience of waiting in line and building a makeshift hut out of barriers from the nearby speedway to fend off the bitter cold made the concert pale by comparison. Coyne was on the front row on April 3, 1977 at Myriad, and while he was present for Presence, he said Led Zeppelin was completely checked out. The set list started with “The Song Remains the Same” and finished with “Trampled Underfoot,” but it seemed Led Zeppelin could not be bothered with putting on a great show, much less a comprehensible one. “We literally could not tell what song they were playing,” he said. “You’d be halfway through a song and you’d be like, ‘OK, I think I know what this is.’ But in Led Zeppelin’s defense, I should have just done a handful of Quaaludes and had a great time like everybody else.”
Kiss Nov. 15, 1977 Myriad Convention Center Beuchaw went to the first of many, many concerts at the age of 12 with his 9-year-old 24
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The Grateful Dead has played a handful of legendary shows in Oklahoma City over the years. | Photo Wikimedia Commons / provided
brother and his less-than-thrilled father. “We dressed up as Kiss for Halloween and had, like, a little play concert in the backyard with smoke bombs and stuff,” Beuchaw said. “You know, you could buy that stuff at, like, Eckerd Drugs back then, or Rexall. So we did that, and my dad’s like, ‘OK, fine. Stop bugging me. We’ll go.’ So he went with us. He took earplugs. We got tickets over on the left side of the stage, the first level up, and we were close enough to feel the heat from the flames. So that was pretty cool. Then they had the massive, huge stage show. After they finish the show, but before the encore, my dad, like all dads, said, ‘Hey, if we leave now, we can beat the traffic.’ Since we were so young, we didn’t really know about encores and all that stuff. … Later on, after hearing from other kids that went, we were like, ‘Oh, man! We missed that.’” Online set list repository Setlist.fm suggests the songs Beuchaw missed might have been “Detroit Rock City,” “Beth” and “Black Diamond.” “After that, we were like ‘Dad, you’re going to take us, but you’re going to drop us off,’” Beuchaw said. “Of course, with his first kid concert being Kiss, he’s like, ‘Sure. I am not going back into one of those.’ From then on, we just did that. … That’s kind of the way it was back in the ’70s and early ’80s with us. … There weren’t a lot of parents at these concerts, either. It was just a whole bunch of kids, pretty well behaved. It was better, I think, than today’s deal where the kids go to these nice little safe concerts with their parents. It was just a whole different atmosphere, and I guess I’m old enough to have one of those ‘Yeah, back in my days’ … but it was different. That was one of the really good memories, the very first one.”
The Grateful Dead October 11, 1977 Lloyd Noble Center, Norman July 5, 1981 and Aug. 1, 1982 The Zoo Amphitheatre Mark Lyon, guitarist and vocalist for Electric Okie Test and 13 Seeds, first saw The Grateful Dead on the band’s fourth
Oklahoma stop, but he said the 1977 show still felt intimate in comparison to the large stadium tours the band would begin playing after “Touch of Grey” hit the Billboard Top 40 a decade later and “changed everything a lot.” “It was kind of a cultish thing back in those days,” Lyon said, “not quite a household word yet, for sure. … They opened up with a medley of ‘Help on the Way,’ which is an incredibly complicated piece of music. They were showing, ‘Hey, guys, you know, we’re more than a party band. We know how to play,’ and so that definitely impressed me that they could come out and start up a show with probably, to date, the hardest piece of music that they did. And I liked the whole scene. I was born in ’57, so a little young to be a first-generation hippie, but at the same time, that’s really what I was attracted to. … There really wasn’t that much of a scene for things like that back then. … Oklahoma, we’re late on everything. The whole hippie thing hit California in the ’60s, and it hit Oklahoma in the ’70s. That’s kind of been my take on it. I’m sure some people would disagree that yes, there were hippies in Oklahoma before that, but seeing their shows then, it was a unique thing. There was no one else traveling around playing anything like that or bringing this kind of circus along with them.” While Lyon enjoyed the Lloyd Noble show, he said the later shows he saw were more memorable because he had a better view of the circus. “The outdoor shows like the Zoo Amphitheatre, those were special,” Lyon said. “You could kind of see the audience a little bit better, get a little bit better vibe of who was there. Probably anyone who was there was probably anyone in Oklahoma who wanted to see them because they just didn’t come around here very often. But then there would be the traveling Deadheads going with them, and they were kind of unlike people we had seen around here in Oklahoma before, especially at the amphitheater. Off to the sides by the cedar trees … you’d get the spinners out there, the girls just spinning in circles. Then you’d always get some guy with white pants and no shirt out there practicing his tai chi moves in front of everyone. It was quite a scene. It was just a real togetherness kind of thing.” Beuchaw, who also attended the 1981 show, recalled one audience member in particular. “The only thing I really remember about that is a woman walking around in a bikini and a tie-dyed skirt with a big, like, 10 foot-long boa constrictor around her neck,” Beuchaw said. “Grateful Dead — that’s just kind of what they do.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers March 12, 2007 Cox Convention Center Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) were supposed to play Cox Convention Center Jan. 12, 2007 as part of the
Brian Beuchaw has attended many classic concerts in Oklahoma City. | Photos provided
band’s Stadium Arcadium tour, but a snowstorm blanketed Oklahoma City earlier that day, and the crawl at the bottom of television screens announced both the cancelation of Oklahoma City Public Schools and of Anthony Kiedis giving it away that night. Gnarls Barkley, the duo made up of Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green, were arguably red-hotter than the Chili Peppers at the moment, having released 2006’s St. Elsewhere to critical acclaim and scoring a hit with “Crazy,” so much of the ensuing disappointment over the postponed show was centered on missing Gnarls. When RHCP announced a rescheduled gig two months to the day after the original date, there was a faint hope that Gnarls Barkley would be there as well. Instead, Oklahoma City got something much gnarlier. As the house lights went down at Cox, Mickey Avalon, a former street hustler turned rapper, took the stage with two female dancers and DJ Kev-E-Kev cutting between Toni Basil’s “Mickey” and Roxy Music’s “Avalon” on the ones and twos to introduce the new opening act. Beyond Avalon being atrocious to the point of easily being mistaken for a prank, his stage production accentuated how outsized Cox Convention Center was for such a sparse and unpolished act. As this reporter wrote in The Oklahoman the next day, “The audience smelled the flop sweat and went in for the kill, and the booing only got louder as Avalon ran through his set of art-sleaze hip-hop, including ‘So Rich, So Pretty’ and ‘Jane Fonda.’ His final song, on which he was joined by the duo Dyslexic Speedreaders (featuring former MTV VJ Simon Rex), could not end fast enough for the crowd, which then settled in for a one-hour break before the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage.” When RHCP finally arrived onstage, guitarist John Frusciante gave the crowd a tongue-lashing over its treatment of Avalon, telling the audience they would “be bragging about it five years from now.” He later wrote an armchair psychiatry-filled open letter to OKC, “in the case of a great man such as Mickey Avalon, you only make him stronger.” Avalon continues to record. His latest single is “I’m Better Than You,” but that is only an opinion.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse March 17, 1991 Myriad Convention Center When Neil Young’s Smell the Horse tour stopped in OKC, Beuchaw said the audience was also memorable, but mostly for its hostility toward the opening acts, Sonic Youth and Social Distortion. “That pissed a lot of people off,” Beuchaw said. “Oh, man. They were just unhappy with those two bands, and in
the meantime, I’m loving it. Sonic Youth around ’91? That’s just ideal. … They didn’t really boo them, but … basically there was just a big mass exodus to go get drinks, look at the merch booth and go to the bathroom. So they’re all like, ‘Who the hell? OK, well, time to go take a pee.’ … You’d see other people just shaking their heads. They kind of tried to ignore them, but you don’t ignore Sonic Youth very easily.”
The Replacements Nov. 11, 1984 The Bowery In the band’s halcyon days, The Replacements were known for being perma-drunk, but when they arrived to play for about three dozen people during an ice storm at the second location of The Bowery, a now-demolished former church on Classen Boulevard, it was a wonder there was any booze left in Oklahoma City that day. “They were more drunk than usual,” said artist and writer Stephen Kovash, who was the bartender at The Bowery.
“We had to bail one of them out of jail.” The late Ross Shoemaker, the DJ at The Bowery, asked singer-guitarist Paul Westerberg if he could record the set. Westerberg reportedly told Shoemaker, “Why? We suck!” Fortunately for the world, a Replacements crewmember stole the tape and gave it to the band, which then released 10,000 copies on cassette as The Shit Hits the Fans. It features some of the worst/most wonderful versions of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” and The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” ever committed to tape.
Public Image Ltd March 19, 1992 State Fair Park The king is gone, but he’s not forgotten.
O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
Myriad Botanical Gardens celebrates Woodstock’s 50-year legacy of peace and love with a free concert and other events. By Jeremy Martin
In August 1969, New York hosted an event called Woodstock, promising three days of peace and love; Oklahoma City, meanwhile, did not. Fifty years later, the opposite might be true. While Woodstock 50 — which boasted a lineup featuring Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Santana and others — was recently canceled, downtown OKC hosts a three-day celebration of the original festival’s anniversary featuring a bike ride, a screening of the 1970 Woodstock documentary (caution: hella drug-use and nudity) and a live concert featuring local musicians. Christian Pearson, the concert’s creative director, said Woodstock is more about the music and the spirit of the late ’60s and early ’70s than the location. “You can think of music as being tied to a locale,” Pearson said, “but you can also think of it as being tied to a certain time period, and culturally, there’s a lot happening around 1970 that was really important to the country. And it wasn’t just about music. In fact, the music reflected the values of the time. I think the reason this 50-year celebration is important is because there are a lot of similarities in the national culture … so even though the festival happened far away from the city, it’s really incredible how music, when it’s purposeful, it doesn’t matter where you are.” All events are scheduled to take place at Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave. The celebration begins 8 p.m. Aug. 15 with a Full Moon Bike Ride and Run starting at the band shell stage on Devon Lawn and proceeding through downtown. Sixties-inspired attire is encouraged. The documentary screening starts 9 p.m. Aug. 16 on the Devon Lawn, but the celebration will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a costume contest and era-appropriate music provided by DJ Brian Smith from muttradio.com. Leslie Spears, director of public relations and marketing for Myriad Botanical Gardens, said the festival’s anniversary is a perfect time to remind people of its impact on American culture. “We know the significance of Woodstock,” Spears said. “It was the concert festival of festivals, and the music was so fantastic. Myriad Gardens just wanted to try and recapture some of the moments from that concert 50 years ago.” The live concert is 7-10 p.m. Aug. 17, but festivities begin at 6 p.m. Pearson left Bat-or Kalo will lend lead guitar solos to the musical celebration. right Vocalist Chanda Graham performs as part of a local lineup assembled especially for the Woodstock-inspired concert 7-10 p.m. Aug. 17. | Photos Doug Hoke / provided
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said he has assembled a “local superstar lineup” of musicians inspired by acts from the ’60s and ’70s. “You can hear how even local artists here are influenced by a lot of the music that came out during that time, and that’s why we have a cast of all local artists — to show that we are, in fact, tied to that legacy,” Pearson said. “We ended up with a very diverse mix of artists who are going to perform this music extremely well.” Pearson said pianist Kendrik McKinney, bassist John McCall, guitarist Clayton Roffey and drummer Dave Bowen will “hold down the fort” as a four-piece house band fronted at various times by guest musicians Rod Porter, Jose Hernandez, Chanda Graham and Bat-or Kalo. “The only thing that might be a bit more challenging than a normal concert is that we’re not taking an existing band that plays together regularly and inviting them to play their set,” Pearson said. “We’re actually building a custom set just for the show, which makes it cool. … One thing that I’m really excited about as the director is there are a lot of musicians, particularly in the house band, that are in the jazz and blues scene and they’ve played together in many situations. … They already have that camaraderie and familiarity with each other, but I’m also intentionally sort of stretching some of these musicians to play with musicians that they haven’t played with before. And I like that because nobody’s going to be too out there, kind of feeling like they don’t belong, yet at the same time, I think this event is actually going to connect several great artists within the scene that maybe have never played before together.” Kalo said the unknown variables and unexpected moments will make the
concert more exciting. “I’m expecting a very energetic show,” Kalo said. “Since we don’t know each other very much, there will be a lot of unexpected music, which is always great. The saying in America is, ‘You get lemons, you make lemonade,’ right? So we’re going to try to do that if things are going to go off. I’m not planning on that, but I’ll tell you this very simply: If the stage is not wild, it’s not good.” Pearson said he specifically wanted Kalo, who typically fronts her eponymous band as a vocalist and lead guitarist, to bring some of Jimi Hendrix’s electric energy to the show, but he does not expect a note-for-note impression. “There will never be another Jimi Hendrix, so it’s not so much about trying to imitate Jimi Hendrix,” Pearson said. “I really want everybody to hear Kalo. She’s an incredible artist in her own right.” Though her father’s gift of an electric guitar and Hendrix cassette tape originally motivated Kalo to play at the age of 12, she said the biggest lesson she learned from Hendrix was to be herself. “I’m not going to try to do exactly what he does because this is not the art of his music,” Kalo said. “The art of Hendrix is you take something and make it your own. … I don’t like the torture, anyway, of trying to make something exactly the same. … I’ll do what I do.” Graham said she finds Janis Joplin the most inspiring of the artists who originally played at Woodstock. “When I do my own shows, I do a mix of jazz and blues, so she kind of did a similar set to what I like to do now,” Graham, who also performs as one of the headliners for Arcadia Blues Festival on Aug. 31, said. “With the time she had, she made a huge mark on things
Myriad Botanical Gardens hosts a three-day event celebrating Woodstock’s 50th anniversary Aug. 15-17. | Photo Doug Hoke / provided
even though she didn’t have the decades behind her. She still left a legacy that, frankly, still hasn’t been challenged.” Fifty years later, the festival’s legacy is also lasting and meaningful, Graham said. “I think what was really cool about it is it ended up being a four-day thing that had up to 400,000 people at one point,” Graham said. “One of the most amazing things to me is there wasn’t a bunch of nonsense. … It seemed to fulfill a promise of being that weekend of peace and music, and I think you don’t really see much of that today. … I don’t know if it was the power of the weed they were smoking or the music or whatever, but everybody was able to just enjoy the situation and not be bothered by the outside mess.” Kalo, who plans to release several new songs in the coming months, said Woodstock’s promise of peace, love and music is as relevant and appealing today as it was then. “I don’t think the message has changed,” Kalo said. “Make love and not war and paint the world with all of the colors because it’s beautiful. You know the drill.” The concert and film screening are free; the bike ride and run have a $5 suggested donation. Visit myriadgardens.org.
Woodstock 50th Anniversary Celebration Aug. 15-17 Myriad Botanical Gardens 301 W. Reno Ave. myriadgardens.org | 405-445-7080 Free-$5
LIVE MUSIC These are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members. For full calendar listings, go to okgazette.com.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 7 Adam Aguilar & the Weekend All Stars, Sidecar Barley & Wine Bar. COVER Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Tower Theatre. HIP-HOP
John Carlton & Kyle Reid, The Winston. SINGER/SONGWRITER
Mighty Pines, 89th Street-OKC. ROCK Steve Crossley & Jerry Wilson, Louie’s Grill & Bar. ACOUSTIC
THURSDAY, AUG. 8 Brandi Reloaded, The Liszt. COVER Creeping Toms/Space Cowboy/Bobby Chill & The Wav, The Deli. ROCK Hot House Band, Othello’s Italian Restaurant.
No Zodiac/Strangled/Fratricide, 89th StreetOKC. ROCK On Holiday/Hey Radio/Stay The Course, Blue Note Lounge. PUNK Special Thumbs/Audio Book Club, 51st Street Speakeasy. ROCK
SATURDAY, AUG. 10 Buddy South, Bedlam Bar-B-Q. COUNTRY/ROCK
DICE, Katt’s Cove. COVER Dirty Red & the SoulShakers, Iron Horse Bar & Grill. BLUES Heartbreak Rodeo, Royal Bavaria Restaurant & Brewery. ACOUSTIC Jahruba & the Mah Mystics, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. REGGAE John Michael Montgomery, Riverwind Casino.
Kent Fauss Trio, Hollywood Corners. COUNTRY Lee Ann Womack, Sugar Creek Casino. COUNTRY
Midas 13, Remington Park. COVER The Nghiems/Carly Gwin & The Sin/ The Creepy, 51st Street Speakeasy.
Samantha Crain/Weston Gibbons, The Paramount Theatre. SINGER/SONGWRITER Terry Buffalo Ware & the Shambles, The Blue Door. SINGER/SONGWRITER Terry McBride, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar. COUNTRY
SUNDAY, AUG. 11 Beau Jennings & the Tigers, Myriad Botanical Gardens. AMERICANA Celtic Jam, Full Circle Bookstore. FOLK Greyhounds, Lions Park. ROCK Happy Hour, Newcastle Casino. COVER Hosty, The Deli. ROCK Mark Chesnutt, Riverwind Casino. COUNTRY
MONDAY, AUG. 12 Jason Hunt, Sean Cumming’s Irish Restaurant. FOLK
TUESDAY, AUG. 13 Country Clique, Friends Restaurant & Club. COUNTRY
Druce Wayne Work in Progress, Druce Wayne’s follow-up to 2018’s Year One has not been released yet, but you can be among the first to hear it and even provide feedback at this album discussion and performance, which also features appearances by Triple Eight, Shaheed Ali, Jarvix and DezzGotSteeze and catering by The Krow’s Nest. Secure the bag 4-7:30 p.m. Sunday at 10th St. Sneaks, 3904 A NW 10th St. Admission is free. Visit facebook.com/guerrillabreedokc.
Kyle Reid, Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails. SINGER/SONGWRITER
Lost Dog Street Band, Tower Theatre.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14 Adam Aguilar & the Weekend All Stars, Sidecar Barley & Wine Bar. COVER Nonpoint/Hellyeah, Diamond Ballroom. METAL John Carlton & Kyle Reid, The Winston. SINGER/SONGWRITER
This Will Destroy You, Tower Theatre. ROCK
SUNDAY Photo provided
Pedro the Lion/mewithoutYou, Tower Theatre. ROCK Shelly Phelps & Dylan Nagode, Jazmo’z Bourbon St. Café. ACOUSTIC Trip G/No_DNA/Tr3 Savage, The Queen Lounge. HIP-HOP
FRIDAY, AUG. 9 Bad Influence, 40 West Bar & Grill. ROCK Cade Roth, Eatery & Cocktail Office @ The Union. ACOUSTIC
Elaina Kay/Jared Deck, The Blue Door. SINGER/SONGWRITER
Jeremy Thomas Quartet, UCO Jazz Lab. JAZZ Left to Die, Oklahoma City Limits. ROCK Midas 13, Remington Park. COVER
Live music submissions must be received by Oklahoma Gazette no later than noon on Wednesday seven days before the desired publication date. Late submissions will not be included in the listings. Submissions run as space allows, although we strive to make the listings as inclusive as possible. Fax your listings to 528-4600 or e-mail to email@example.com. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.
GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!
O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
THE HIGH CULTURE
Years before the Cannabis Cup came to Oklahoma, Jayson Emo left the state to pursue his cannabis dreams in Colorado. By Matt Dinger
Oklahoma might be about to have its first Cannabis Cup, but the champions will not be the first Okies to win one. Jayson “Giddy Up” Emo, 37, was born in Moore and raised by his mother. “I started out like most Oklahomans, just kind of like wondering what the fuck I was going to be when I grew up with not many options laid before me,” Emo said. “I went to Westmoore High School. Was a half-ass student — couldn’t keep my attention on anything very long, easily distracted and even more easily bored.” He and his brother smoked cannabis for the first time when he was 14 years old. They were drug-tested the next day. “He failed, and I passed mine somehow,” Emo said. “We were young idiots that really had no fucking clue. So I imagine we came home stinking like pot and when we woke up to go to school the next day, my mom was like, ‘Surprise. You’re getting drug-tested.’” That was not the last time cannabis drove a wedge between Emo and his family. “One of my stepdads was a police officer during my teenage years, so it was a big no-no for any kind of pot,” he said. “And there for a while, I was actually made to choose between coming around my family or my pot habit. I think I made the right choice and chose my pot.” Emo worked odd jobs but was never happy with his work. Then, 10 years ago, he was inspired by his love of cannabis to take the early steps toward a change in profession, despite the lack of cannabis culture in Oklahoma and its illegal status in the state at the time. “We went to Colorado just to kind of check it out and see what was going on,” he said, “because the dispensaries were just starting to open. There was only, like, a handful, and the ones that were around were hidden and not marketed or anything like that. We went there from April 17 to April 19 to check it out. I came home and either sold off almost everything I had or gave it away and left to move to Colorado on April 24. I was home for like three days, and I was like, ‘Fuck this. I’m out. I don’t give a fuck if I’m homeless or if we fail, but I’m going.’ We moved to Longmont, Colorado, with the brilliant idea of growing for dispensaries. Neither one of us had any real growing experience to speak of. We were much like everybody else in Oklahoma right now. We had fucked around. We had made weed that we thought was good. There wasn’t anything really to compare it to for us. We moved to Longmont into a 9,600 square-foot house and were going to 28
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grow, and we never even got that fucking grow off the ground.” In Colorado Springs, he and his partner opened a dispensary instead. “I worked at that place seven days a week, open to close, and for a good chunk of the time, I lived in the back room of the dispensary,” Emo said. “I had a bed. I converted a mop sink into a shower. I was categorically all in. I was like, hell or high water, we’re gonna figure it out, like any business when you’re learning. [It was] real good until we made a couple of mistakes, and then we were done, more or less. We put ourselves in a position where our business couldn’t succeed, basically made from inexperience.” His business partner went to California to work on his product, and Emo stayed in Colorado. “I set out for the first time, you know, in my weed career looking for a job in the weed industry,” Emo said. “Before, I’d always been kind of doing my own stuff. Now we’re at about late 2011.” Emo had seen another processor selling shatter for $100 a gram. He had made hash as a hobby, but he decided to start doing it seriously. After a number of tube extractions, he realized there was a better way. He teamed up with a chemist, and they devised the first prototype. “The machine itself, the first one we ever built, was nothing more than some junk laying around. And I didn’t really like what we built,” he said. The chemist moved to another country, and Emo redesig ned the machine. “When you’re working as a team, you make compromises,” Emo said. “And even though the guy I was working with was a chemist and had some great ideas, he was kind of set in his way. … I created a machine that was actually viable. The runs got down to two hours instead of 12 to 16.” After a fallingout w it h t he company he was working for, another
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company approached him. That was where he made his third prototype. “It wasn’t really the machine I have today at all. It was a Frankenstein machine,” he said. After a problem with the paperwork on the laboratory, he bought his machine back from the company and set out on his own, eventually forming EmoTek Labs with his completed and patented machine. “I almost went through a year of building out that machine,” Emo said. “I released them for sale like the last month of 2012 and sold maybe 50 in the next six months. So, between $35,000 and $40,000 a pop. I started selling the machines, was still running the lab, was trying to get to bigger and better things. … I was everywhere. I was making so much hash. I was just in hundreds of stores. I’m doing good in the minor leagues, but moving to Denver and competing with the guys in the sales and the brands of Denver was the major leagues for us. [I] really started focusing on machine sales and perfecting my hash technique and getting better. At that point, I was getting really cocky and really competitive. And just the hunger to prove that I did make better, faster and more hash than anybody else around.” Then, in 2013, he entered the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup. Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series about the first Oklahoma Cannabis Cup. Jayson Emo developed EmoTek Extractors after a rough start in the cannabis business. | Photo Alexa Ace
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O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | A U G U S T 7, 2 0 1 9
THE HIGH CULTURE
Hopeful beginning CBD Plus USA has teamed up with Green Hope Wellness Clinic to open the nonprofit charity Green Hopes. By Matt Dinger
Two of Oklahoma City metro’s recognizable names in the cannabis business have teamed up to form a charity. Green Hopes, 4001 SW 119th St., is a joint venture by CBD Plus USA and Green Hope Wellness Clinic. It holds its first event 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 10. “It is a 26-acre, 26,000 square-foot facility that’s an education slash medical facility,” CBD Plus USA CEO Ryan Vicedomini said. He calls it a “cannabis campus” and thinks it is the largest cannabis education space currently operating in the state. Vicedomini said that donations and a percentage of proceeds from CBD Plus USA, Lotus Gold Marijuana Dispensary, Green Hope Wellness Clinic and Green Hope RX have provided them with enough funding to get the charity off the ground. “It’s going to be a very comfortable, fun environment. There is no wrong question. We’re here to answer it all, as the information is provided to us, and
if we don’t have the answer, we will help you figure it out,” Vicedomini said. “There’s so little education on any level for cannabis, especially on the medical side, so we’re trying to create an environment where you can get your medical card, follow up with the same doctor that recommended you, go through the dosing in any experience level from infants all the way to hospice. True education meets medical practice. “Once it fills up, we’ll open up a second, third and fourth. We’ll have a class every day, potentially, that goes over the endocannabinoid system, goes over why cannabis works, goes over the potential benefits and the science behind why it hits your receptors a certain way. A year and a half ago, I didn’t know how cannabis manipulates your system right and why it did. Through just research and listening to other people’s research and paying attention to the market, the endocannabinoid system is being fully discov-
ered. I don’t think you can cover what cannabis does for us in a two-hour class, so it’s going to probably be broken up into five classes.” All classes will be available for free to anyone interested. Both Vicedomini and Renee Harper of Green Hope Wellness Clinic in Moore have always put a premium on cannabis education and worked together on education programs at other locations in the past, so the joint endeavor is based upon a collaborative spirit that has already formed.
Green Hopes, a nonprofit started by CBD Plus USA and Green Hope Wellness Clinic, will provide educational classes and charity services. | Photo Alexa Ace
“Ryan invited me to listen to some speakers at the Cox Convention Center a couple of months ago, and it was Mick Cornett and the CEOs of all the big hospitals in Oklahoma City talking about the shitty health care in the state of Oklahoma. We’re 48th of 50. So I leaned over to Ryan and I go, ‘You know, we have the solution.’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I was continued on page 33
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THE HIGH CULTURE CANNABIS
thinking the same thing,’” Harper said. “There’s all these people out here that are kicked off from the [U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs] and different things like that because of cannabis and they don’t have anyplace to go. We can take our money and be the bridge between cannabis and the community and health care.” Vicedomini said the documentary Weed the People provided a framework for an idea he already had. “It made my whole vision come together,” he said. “That movie showed six different stories. Kids were given a death sentence, literally a death sentence, and with cannabis, five out of six of them are still alive. I think four out of six are cancer-free. Word has to get out.” Vicedomini said Green Hopes has already partnered with one baby girl and her family and hopes to document her experience through cannabinoid treatment for others who are experiencing the same unfortunate circumstances. “The parents are going to be so lost,” he said. “Easing that experience is the primary goal of the charity.”
For the opening event, Vicedomini said Green Hopes is going to underwrite as many pediatric cannabis recommendations as it can. “A discounted price or the charity’s paying for it — we’re not sure which yet — but it’s to let people know we’re here, let people know that if they’re looking for help in their cannabis journey, that that’s what we’re here to help them with,” he said. There will also be bounce houses, food trucks and possibly exotic animals at the opening event, which is geared toward an opening celebration for children more than a symposium. Visitors will also be able to walk the path around the campus’ 15-acre lake. The charity is also hoping to team Green Hopes is located on 26 acres on SW 119th Street. | Photo Alexa Ace
up with other vendors to help give to as many in need as it can. “We’re one player in an industry that’s got, I think, 3,500 licensed members, so potentially having one source for people to be able to even donate even leftover product that we can then process and have tested make sure that it’s good,” Vicedomini said. “We have extraction equipment, and we have our licenses to make it happen.” Pediatrics is just the first foot forward for the charity. Vicedomini expects more programs to develop as the charity gathers momentum. They expect to branch out to nursing homes soon to educate seniors about the benefits of cannabis and helping them get doctor recommendations. Since delivering cannabis to patients directly is not legal under state law, Green Hopes is looking to partner with a company who would instead shuttle them to the dispensary and back. Eventually, the campus is envisioned to be a research hub and also places where people can treat cannabis as part of a holistic approach to health. “Ryan and I don’t do anything very small,” Harper said. “If you could ever think of anything you’d want to do to help people with cannabis and the reason why, that’s what this charity is going to stand for. It’s just going to start one branch, with pediatrics. But that’s why it’s Green Hopes, plural. It’s not just kids,” Vicedomini said. “My endgame is research, publishing medical journal articles that actually change things so doctors down the road can go, ‘Hey, there is something about autism and cannabis right here,’” Harper said. “When I started Green Hope, I thought about how functional medicine is about improving somebody’s quality of life. If I get you off opioids, now you’re on cannabis therapy. For your movement, you may not be functioning at your optimum, so why not do tai chi classes or stretching or yoga or massage, diet and exercise, different things like that and see if we can get people functioning at the maximum potential for having the best quality of life.” Visit greenhopes.org.
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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY Homework: Make a playful effort to change something you’ve always assumed you could never change. FreeWillAstrology.com
have been necessary but aren’t any longer; 4. an ability to avoid becoming overwhelmed and controlled by situations you manage or supervise.
ARIES (March 21-April 19)
CANCER (June 21-July 22) In 1993, I began writing a book titled The Televisionary Oracle. By 1995, I had generated over 2,000 pages of material that I didn’t like. Although I was driven by a yearning to express insights that had been welling up in me for a long time, nothing about the work felt right. I was stuck. But finally I discovered an approach that broke me free: I started to articulate difficult truths about aspects of my life about which I was embarrassed, puzzled, and ashamed. Then everything fell into place. The process that had been agonizing and fruitless became fluidic and joyful. I recommend that you try this strategy to dissolve any mental blocks you may be suffering from: dive into and explore what makes you feel ashamed, puzzling, or embarrassed. I bet it will lead to triumph and fulfillment, as happened for me.
When it came time to write your horoscope, I was feeling unusually lazy. I could barely summon enough energy to draw up the planetary charts. I said a weak prayer to the astrological muses, pleading, “Please don’t make me work too hard to discover the message that Aries people need to hear; just make the message appear in my mind.” As if in response, a voice in my head said, “Try bibliomancy.” So I strolled to my bookcase, shut my eyes, pulled out the first book I felt, and went to a random page. Here’s what I saw when I opened my eyes: “The Taoist concept of wu-wei is the notion that our creative active forces are dependent on and nourished by inactivity; and that doing absolutely nothing may be a good way to get something done.”
TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
There’s an old Rosicrucian vow you might have fun trying out: “I pledge to interpret every experience that comes my way as a communication of God with my soul.” If you carry out this intention with relaxed playfulness, every bird song you hear is an emblem of Divine thought; every eavesdropped conversation provides hints of the Creator’s current mood; the shape that spilled milk takes on your tabletop is an intimation of eternity breaking into our time-gripped realm. In my years of offering you advice, I have never before suggested you try this exercise because I didn’t think you were receptive. But I do now. (If you’re an atheist, you can replace “God,” “Divine,” and “Creator” with “Life.”)
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
Below are unheralded gifts possessed by many Geminis but not commonly identified by traditional astrologers: 1. a skill for deprogramming yourself: for unlearning defunct teachings that might otherwise interfere with your ability to develop your highest potentials; 2. a sixth sense about recognizing artificial motivations, then shedding them; 3. a tendency to attract epiphanies that show you why and how to break taboos that may once
I am overjoyed that you’re not competing for easy rewards or comparing yourself to the mediocre crowd. Some people in your sphere may not be overjoyed, though. To those whose sense of self isn’t strong, you may be like an itchy allergen; they may accuse you of showing off or acting puffed up. But freaks like me appreciate creative egotists like you when you treat your personality as a work of art. In my view, you’re a stirring example of how to be true to one’s smartest passions. Keep up the good work! Continue to have too much fun! I’m guessing that for now you can get away with doing just about anything you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.
Let’s enjoy a moment of poignant silence in honor of your expired illusions. They were soulful mirages: full of misplaced idealism and sweet ignorance and innocent misunderstandings. Generous in ways you may not yet realize, they exuded an agitated beauty that aroused both courage and resourcefulness. Now, as those illusions dissolve, they will begin to serve you anew, turning into fertile compost for your next big production.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Old rules and traditions about how best to conduct intimate relationship are breaking down. New rules are still incubating. Right now, the details about how people express their needs to give and receive love seem to be riddles for which there are no correct answers. So what do you do? How do you proceed with the necessary blend of confidence and receptivity? Can you figure out flexible strategies for being true both to your need for independence and your need for interdependence? I bring these ruminations to your attention, Libra, just in time for the “Transforming Togetherness” phase of your cycle.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
It’s time for your once-a-year shout-out to your most audacious possibilities. Ready? Go ahead and say, “Hallelujah! Hosanna! Happiness! Hooray for my brilliant future!” Next, go ahead and say, “I have more than enough power to create my world in the image of my wisest dreams.” Now do a dance of triumph and whisper to yourself, “I’m going to make very sure I always know exactly what my wisest dreams are.”
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
During the next three weeks, I advise you to load up on copious amounts of caffeine from Monday at 8 a.m. until Friday at 6 p.m. Then drastically cut back on the coffee and consume large amounts of alcohol and/or marijuana from 6:01 p.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Sunday. This is the ideal recipe for success. JUST KIDDING! I lied. Here’s the truth, Sagittarius: Astrological indicators suggest you would benefit from making the coming weeks be the most undrugged, alcohol-free time ever. Your potential for achieving natural highs will be extraordinary, as will your potential to generate crucial breakthroughs while enjoying those natural highs. Take advantage!
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
I don’t presume you should or will gleefully embrace the assignment I’ll propose. The task may indeed be too daunting for you to manage right now. If that’s the case, don’t worry. You’ll get another chance in a few months. But if you are indeed ready for a breathtaking challenge,
here it is: Be a benevolent force of wild nature; be a tender dispenser of creative destruction; be a bold servant of your soulful dreams—as you demolish outmoded beliefs and structures that have been keeping a crucial part of your vitality shackled and latent.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
I have cast a feisty love spell that will be triggered in anyone who reads the first line of this horoscope. And since you have done that, you are now becoming even smarter than you already were about getting the most out of your intimate alliances. You’re primed to experiment with the delights of feeling with your head and thinking with your heart. Soon you’ll be visited by revelations about any unconscious glitches that might be subtly undermining your togetherness, and you’ll get good ideas about how to correct those glitches. Astrological rhythms will be flowing in your relationships’ favor for the next seven weeks!
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)
I estimate that about 25 percent of your fear results from your hesitation to love as deeply and openly and bravely as you could. Another 13 percent originates in an inclination to mistake some of your teachers for adversaries, and 21 percent from your reluctance to negotiate with the misunderstood monsters in your closet. But I suspect that fully 37 percent of your fear comes from the free-floating angst that you telepathically absorb from the other 7.69 billion humans on our planet. So what about the remaining four percent? Is that based on real risks and worth paying attention to? Yes! And the coming weeks will be an excellent time to make progress in diminishing its hold on you.
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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PUZZLES NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANAGRAMMAR | 0811 By Christopher Adams Puzzles edited by Will Shortz ACROSS
10 21 25
28 29 30 31 32 1 Moth attractors 6 Rescue site for a polar bear 33 34 35 36 10 “Hold it right there!” 14 Word with grand or identity 37 38 39 19 Netflix crime drama set in a small town in Missouri 20 “Hahahahahaha!” 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 21 Blacken on the barbecue 22 Sun: Prefix 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 23 Change, as a hotel lock 24 Aura 55 56 57 58 59 27 Weasley family owl in the Harry 54 Potter books 60 61 62 63 64 28 “You wish” 30 It’s SW of the Pyrenees 65 66 67 68 69 70 31 “Give me an example!” 33 Designates for a specific purpose 35 Big things in D.C. and Hollywood 71 72 73 74 36 Source of the line “A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and 75 76 77 78 79 80 Thou” 37 Real nostalgia trip 81 82 83 84 85 86 40 Mobile 42 Mao-____ (Chinese liquor) 87 88 89 90 43 LGBT History Month 44 Bite-size chocolate candy 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 47 Home for doves and pigeons 48 Home for herons and egrets 100 101 102 103 50 “In case you didn’t hear me … ” 52 Group on the dark side of the Force 104 105 106 107 108 109 54 “Alas!” in Austria 55 Generally speaking 110 111 112 113 114 59 Not only that but also 60 Pompous pronoun 115 116 117 62 Vicuña product 63 Eye-catching print pattern 118 119 120 65 Creature slain in the Mines of Moria by Gandalf 66 “A Little Night Music” composer Campari 17 Shrek’s love Lee novel) 70 Award for technological 112 Gave the pink slip 18 “For rent” sign 67 Target of a spray development since 1995 113 Organism that grows on another 25 Beehive State bloomer 68 One of two in The Grapes of Wrath 71 Shed, as feathers plant nonparasitically 26 Occasion for a high school after- 69 Film-rating org. 73 Individually 115 Bening with a star on the party 72 “For shame!” 75 Sometime collaborator with Hollywood Walk of Fame 29 “… ____ mouse?” 74 Like the verb “to be”: Abbr. William Shakespeare, per the 116 Statistician Silver 32 Org. in a 1976 sports merger 75 Purchase for a celebration Oxford University Press 34 Be on the court for tipoff, say 76 Stable period from Augustus to 81 Deepest lake in the U.S. after 117 Dog to beware of 118 Angioplasty inserts 36 Précis Marcus Aurelius Crater Lake 38 Bouillabaisse base 77 Man, to Marcus Aurelius 83 Place where musical talent may 119 Big 12 college town 120 Bounty hunter shot by Han Solo 39 Myriad 78 Barely scratches (out) be wasted? in Star Wars: A New Hope 40 Drink stirred with a spoon 79 Traitors 84 Assembly 41 Kind of alcohol used as biofuel 80 Pulitzer-winning WWII journalist 87 Burns, in a way DOWN 45 It borders the Suez Canal 81 Russian rulers of old 89 Comics debut of 1963 82 Discovery of penicillin, e.g. 90 Important topic in golf 1 One-named singer with the 2017 46 Premium movie channel No. 1 album Melodrama 47 Keto diet no-no 85 Built up gradually instruction 2 Longtime Hyundai model 48 The Jungle Book boy 86 It’s skipped in the Gregorian 91 It’s all downhill from here 49 Chopped down calendar 92 Easy way that might lead to error 3 God, with “the” 4 First words 50 Place reached by boat 88 Some track-and-field training 99 Printing measurement 5 Business with perpetually high sales? 51 University in downtown 90 Propping (up) 100 Dead letters? Philadelphia 93 Lead role in Chicago 101 “It’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and 6 Glassy-eyed look 7 CPR administrator 53 ____ Amendment, controversial 94 Nov. 13, e.g. mud,” per a Garth Brooks hit 8 Malek who won a Best Actor 1976 Congressional measure 95 ____ school 102 Enthusiastic enjoyment Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody 55 Stunned … just stunned 96 Baby shark 103 Miss, say 56 Alteration of a video game, in 97 Days of Grace memoirist Arthur 104 Girl’s name that’s also a state 9 Dimwit 10 Easily split rock gamer lingo 98 Corvette roof options abbreviation 105 Women’s rights pioneer Lucretia 105 Some laughable language 11 Which train goes to Harlem, in song 57 “I like that!” 58 Chesterfield or reefer 106 End-of-semester stressor mistakes — as found literally (in 12 Something to dip in the water 61 Sleeve opening 107 Chapeau site consecutive letters) in 24-, 37-, 13 Wedding agreement 14 Title movie role for Jim Carrey 64 What keeps athletic tape from 108 Bicker (with) 55-, 75- and 92-Across 15 “I found what you’re looking for!” sticking to the skin 111 Kylo of the Star Wars films 109 Small, rectangular candy 66 Go ____ Watchman (Harper 114 Charlemagne’s domain, for short 110 Cocktails with gin, vermouth and 16 Jane Jetson’s son Stumped? Call 1-900-285-5656 to get the answers to any three clues by phone ($1.20 a minute).
SKULLDUGGERY LANE By Ingvard Ashby
VOL. XLI NO. 32
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