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INSIDE COVER P. 24 Oklahoma City’s hip-hop scene

has been around for decades. Oklahoma Gazette talked about its history and beginnings with those who have participated in and fostered events across the metro since 1984. By Jeremy Martin Cover by Ingvard Ashby

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CITY ISSUE MAPS 4 Citizens

Advisory Board

6 BUSINESS Casey’s General Stores 8 STATE State of the State response 10 CHICKEN-FRIED NEWS

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NEWS

CIT Y

The MAPS 4 advisory board will make recommendations to the city council about the projects’ implementation plan. | Photo Bigstock.com

MAPS board

Oklahoma City Council established the MAPS 4 Citizens Advisory Board despite some concern about the name. By Miguel Rios

Ward 2 councilwoman JoBeth Hamon sought to amend the MAPS 4 Citizens Advisory Board’s name in an attempt to be more inclusive. Hamon’s amendment would have changed the word “citizen” to “resident” wherever it would be legal to do so. But before any discussion even took place, a motion was made to pass the item without Hamon’s amendment. “I was a little upset and frustrated because of that feeling of, ‘Oh, this isn’t even a discussion that council is wanting to have,’ and that just feels insulting and somewhat dismissive of myself and any other person on that board,” Hamon told Oklahoma Gazette. “I didn’t feel like my input was taken seriously, and I know other councilmembers had feedback and input about some of the subcommittees for projects that were a little more controversial.” Despite the original motion, there was a discussion about the amendment, but it ultimately failed 6-3, with Ward 2’s James Cooper and Ward 7’s Nikki Nice voting in support. Council then voted 8-1, with Hamon as the sole opposition, to establish the advisory board using the word “citizen.” “This is an important enough issue that I’m willing to say, ‘I’m not for this.’ I tried to make a change, and that didn’t work,” Hamon said. “It’s not because I didn’t get my way that I’m voting no, but because I truly do feel like this is not in the best interest of the city as a whole and the people I represent.” Hamon said some of her constituents have expressed to her that the word “citizen” is exclusionary to immigrants, particularly undocumented people without citizenship. “If we really do want to say that we’re being open and encouraging engagement from a diverse set of people, in my mind, that means that language should be important and should be really taught about,” she said. During the meeting, Ward 8’s Mark Stonecipher said he had concerns about 4

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“tinkering with the language” since the original MAPS 4 vote included the word “citizen.” However, Hamon said their legal counsel had already identified places where it would be legal to change the language. Ward 4’s Todd Stone said during the meeting that he represents many different ethnicities and that despite anyone’s legal status, he considers them citizens of the city if they live in Oklahoma City. Mayor David Holt agreed, citing the dictionary’s definition.

I didn’t feel like my input was taken seriously. JoBeth Hamon Holt later told Gazette that he doesn’t want any undocumented residents to feel excluded by the terminology. “The word ‘citizen’ is defined as the inhabitant of a city. That’s the most broad and inclusive definition possible. It covers every single human being who resides in your city. That’s the dictionary definition,” Holt said. “I think the word as used here is absolutely inclusive, and I absolutely want the advisory board to be inclusive. So I never really understood where the confusion lay because I think the word as defined is absolutely inclusive of all people residing in Oklahoma City. It has nothing to do with your legal status. That seemed to be a source of confusion, and I think that’s why the amendment failed.” Hamon pushed back during the meeting, saying that despite a dictionary definition, some people have negative perceptions of the word. In a statement to Gazette, Dream Action Oklahoma, a local community-based nonprofit that provides information and resources to the immigrant community, agreed with Hamon, saying the word “resident” is far more inclusive. “In Oklahoma, we continue to battle

against systemic oppressions that disenfranchise undocumented and immigrant bodies from being seen as stakeholders in decision-making opportunities,” reads the statement. “These disparities begin with exclusive language that targets underrepresented people, resulting in perpetual harm to our community. The MAPS 4 advisory board is intended to continue OKC’s effort in transformational changes that affect undocumented and immigrant bodies too, deeming it rather important to be as inclusive as possible. The word ‘citizen’ establishes a segregation between citizens and non-citizens, who are all residents contributing to the growth of Oklahoma City.” Despite the name, there is no citizenship requirement for serving on the board, which will make recommendations on the implementation plan to the council.

brought in like there was in MAPS 3. ADG served that role on MAPS 3. It’s going to be a lot of conversation about the implementation plan,” he said. “The project order is probably not as clean as people think of it. … Many of those projects are going to be multi-faceted, and as you get into these complexities, you’re going to have projects that are actually being implemented throughout the whole decade. The park initiative, for example. That’s going to affect over 150 neighborhood parks, so that’s not going to be all in year six.” Hamon said she hopes the human needs and social services are prioritized before things like venues. “Those are such pressing needs. I want to make sure that we aren’t letting some of those languish for a few years when maybe we really could get some of that stuff started and some of those projects off the ground,” she said. “Something like the diversion hub is only allocated [$17 million], that’s one of those that’s like, ‘Can we just get that going?’ That’s a huge need that we have right now.” Hamon and Holt both encourage anyone interested in joining the board to apply online.

Board organization

The board will consist of 11 members and have six subcommittees. Members will be appointed by Holt with confirmation by council. Two members will be appointed at-large and one will be a city council representative, while other members will be appointed from each ward. “My intention is to be very deferential to the councilmembers as they recommend names, and I suspect we’ll have those conversations in the weeks ahead,” Holt said. “The subcommittees are not ward-specific, so similarly, I’ll be making the appointment subject to council approval. But some of the councilmembers are really interested in certain projects, and so I’ll certainly talk to them about that.” The 16 projects are split up into subcommittees by categories with only Innovation District and Freedom Center having their own subcommittee. The other four subcommittees are for neighborhoods (parks, youth centers, senior wellness center, animal shelter); connectivity (transit; sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and streetlights; beautification); venues (Chesapeake Energy Arena, fairgrounds coliseum, multipurpose stadium); and community (mental health and addiction, Palomar family justice center, homelessness, diversion hub). In terms of project priority, Holt said that will be a conversation between the advisory board, city council and a consultant. “There will be probably a consultant

Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon wanted to change the word “citizens” to “residents” in an attempt to be more inclusive. | Photo Alexa Ace

“There’s only so many positions, and it’s a big city. So we’re not going to be able to accommodate everybody, but we certainly want people to express their interest,” Holt said. “I would also remind people that the meetings are public, and even if you don’t make it onto the advisory board or a subcommittee, you’ll have opportunities to engage in the process. It’s a long process. … If you want to be really engaged and you really want to have an influence on the outcome, you’re going to have to be somewhat patient and persistent.” Visit okc.gov/maps4.


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More convenience

Casey’s General Stores expands into Oklahoma City with four stores and more expected by the end of 2020. By Miguel Rios

Three Casey’s convenience stores have already opened in Oklahoma City, and a fourth opens by the end of the week. The Iowa-based chain has more than 2,100 stores in 16 states. Though there are roughly 41 stores across Oklahoma, the chain only recently expanded into OKC. Since 2014, Casey’s has been in the top five largest convenience store chains and has held the fourth position since 2016, according to CSP. Katie Petru, Casey’s communication director, said the chain is also a big player in the pizza space. “While we’re the fourth largest convenience store, we’re also the fifth largest pizza chain by number of kitchens in the United States,” she said. “Our pizza is certainly something that helped put us on the map and made us famous beyond that convenience offering that we provide, like a great bakery, beverages, coffee and fuel.” Petru said Casey’s pizza, which was introduced in 1984 and has become a signature item for the chain, is the anchor of its fresh food program. “It’s not just your run-of-the-mill convenience food. It’s really an elevated offering that we have, and we take great pride in that. Our pizza’s been around for over 30 years now,” she said. “The novelty and innovation part of it, we’ve been introducing different types of specialty pizzas, so you’ll see like meatballpepperoni, spinach-Alfredo, mac and cheese. Where that novelty really started and one of our fan favorites is the taco pizza, which is very highly sought after, as well as this cult following we have around breakfast pizza. And that’s not just pizza you eat at breakfast time; it’s actually breakfast pizza.”

All of the convenience chain’s pizzas are made from scratch, but Petru said its other food options are also freshly made. Casey’s offers a selection of pastries, sandwiches, burritos, burrito bowls and salads along with a fullservice coffee station. “We bring ingredients into our stores and have our food service team there in the store, rolling out the dough, mixing the ingredients. It’s handmade from scratch, never frozen,” she said. “We have made-to-order subs and sandwiches, and we’re doing a lot of that fresh preparation, not just for the pizza dough and ingredients, but also for our bakery items.”

It’s really an elevated offering that we have, and we take great pride in that. Katie Petru Petru said Casey’s purpose is to “make life better for guests and communities,” so it also specifically designs its stores and select merchandising to meet the needs of local markets. “We consider the local footprint and information around guests in the area to merchandise our stores in a way that they should be able to find their favorite items all the time as well as keeping it fresh with new items,” she said. “We’re very focused on the guest and the guest experience, so [Oklahomans] can expect our team members wanting to serve and get to know them and get to know the community.” Petru said Casey’s also serves as a


While there are about 41 Casey’s General Stores in Oklahoma, only a few have opened in the Oklahoma City metro. | Photo provided

gathering place for the local communities it serves. “It’s a space that can serve as a place where the community convenes. Our stores, they’re often the place where maybe a book club or a retired group of friends gather and sit and enjoy their morning coffee, or community service workers come through for their lunchtime hour, or the busy parent picking up their pizza on the way home for dinner,” she said. “So it’s one of those places where people really convene around different points of their life and their day. We have a lot of community, and I think people will sense and feel that when they’re in our stores.”

or high school sports or band programs in communities as we get to know the community and get invested. … So the fresh food and being invested in the community are two key differentiators.” Casey’s also recently launched its first ever rewards program, Casey’s Rewards, which Petru said can further benefit local schools. “It gives our guests a reason to come back every day and earn points on their purchases, and then they can redeem those for cash back off of a purchase in store, discounts on fuel, and then — going back to who Casey’s is and being at the heart of the community — the third option is taking those points and directing them towards a donation that we then make to a local school,” she said. “In the Casey’s Rewards program, which you can sign up for on our website or the Casey’s app, you’re able to see over 30,000 schools and … you can put your points into a donation for them.” Oklahoma City locations: • 13001 W. Reno Ave. • 8000 W. Wilshire Blvd. • 1685 SW 134th St. • 15001 S. Western Ave. (opens this week) “Casey’s will have ... another four by mid to late summer, with a few others in neighboring communities such as Harrah, Piedmont and Tuttle,” Petru

above Casey’s General Stores offer a selection of freshly made food. inset While Casey’s is the fourth largest convenience store chain, it’s also the fifth largest pizza chain. | Photos provided

As they get more intimate with local communities, Petru said Casey’s also becomes involved with local schools. “Our brand talks a lot about, ‘Here for good,’ and one of the things that’s really central to us is that being rooted in the local community is a key way to make that come to life. We do a lot with local schools and things like sponsoring little leagues

said. “We’re really excited to be coming into these communities. Already, we’re getting to see a lot of new faces and guests through our doors, and we’re looking forward to what’s ahead for Oklahoma City as well. We just encourage people to come out, try our pizza, try our coffee and join Casey’s Rewards.” Visit caseys.com. O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0

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2020 state

Oklahoma Gazette talked with House Minority Leader Emily Virgin to get her response to the governor’s State of the State address. By Miguel Rios

Gov. Kevin Stitt kicked off the 2020 legislative session last week by delivering his second State of the State address, discussing education, health care, the disagreement with tribes on casino gambling and criminal justice reform. “Let me get right to the point. The state of our state is growing in strength, stability and new opportunity for generations to come. We are moving in the direction we all want to go: Top Ten in the nation,” he said. “And we are getting there because of the hard work of Oklahoma’s entrepreneurs, because of the dedication of teachers in the classroom, because of the generous givers and compassion coming from Oklahoma’s nonprofits, because of the community involvement of churches and because of those in this room and across our state agencies who are making the tough, selfless decisions for the future of our great state.” In his address, Stitt proposed a cap increase from $5 million to $30 million in the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship, a program that primarily benefits private schools. House Minority Leader Emily Virgin said this point illustrates that the governor’s “priorities are pretty backwards.” “He essentially called for an increase of $25 million of state tax dollars going to private schools, but he only asked for about $12 million increase in the amount that public schools get from the state,” she said. “We know that our public schools in Oklahoma are still underfunded and they still need more investment to get where we want them to be. So for him to call for more money to go to more private schools than public schools in his State of the State was really disappointing.” 8

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Stitt also talked about his intention to pursue a Donald Trump-backed Medicaid block grant plan. Despite a big push by Oklahomans to get Medicaid expansion on the ballot via initiative petition, Stitt has said this plan would give the state more flexibility. “I just returned from Washington, D.C., where I stood with the Trump administration to announce that the State of Oklahoma will be pursuing new flexibilities through the Healthy Adult Opportunity. With these new flexibilities, Oklahoma will begin the process in the coming weeks to roll out SoonerCare 2.0,” he said. “Under this reformed Medicaid program, we will seek to close the gap of those uninsured in Oklahoma. We will deliver much-needed accountability in the Medicaid system to focus on rewarding health outcomes and stronger performance in care.” Oklahoma could be the first in the nation to receive the Trump administration’s waiver in enacting the plan. Stitt urged lawmakers to pass legislation that shows support for the block grant plan. Virgin said she does not support the governor’s plan. “I think it was very telling that he talked about this being an Oklahoma plan, yet he announced the Oklahoma plan in Washington, D.C. because it’s something the Trump administration is essentially going to try out,” Virgin said. “We’re sort of their guinea pig, and I think that’s pretty irresponsible of the governor, to try this unproven program on the health of Oklahomans.” She added that the Medicaid expansion state question is currently the best proposal to expand coverage.


Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered his second State of the State address Feb. 3, kicking off the 2020 legislative session. | Photo Oklahoma State Legislature / provided

“This is something that will benefit all Oklahomans,” she said. “When more people are insured, all of our costs go down.” Stitt also brought up the lingering disagreement with the tribes over casino gambling, again saying the current gaming compact is expired, which is at the center of a current lawsuit. “After five offers from the state for all stakeholders to come together to modernize the Model Gaming Compact, three tribes instead sued the State on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “While we wait for the federal court’s decision, I am calling for the Legislature to join me in protecting public education. I am asking for legislation that will allow the remaining cash balance from 2019 and funds from the Revenue Stabilization Fund to be leveraged, if needed, to compensate for any temporary pause in Class III gaming fees. As governor, I remain supportive of the sovereignty of the State of Oklahoma and our right — and your duty as the Legislature — to oversee all industries operating in the State.” Virgin said she thought Stitt referring to state “sovereignty” was offensive. “We know that the tribal nations have

House Minority Leader Emily Virgin said she will continue working on priorities like education, health care and criminal justice reform. | Photo Oklahoma State Legislature / provided

sovereignty rights that we need to respect, and I’m not sure if he intended to use that word because he knew the connotation that it carries because tribal sovereignty is their most important issue or if it was just an oversight,” she said. “Either way, it was not good. He talked about how the tribes give between $100 and $150 million to the state through their gaming exclusivity fees … like it was the only thing that the tribes do for our state. That discounts the investments that they make all across the state, not just in education but in health care and roads and bridges and creating jobs.” Virgin also criticized Stitt for bringing up the progress that has been made on criminal justice reform without talking about what he plans to continue doing. “He did play a big part in finding legislation and granting commutation,”

she said, “but there’s still a lot of work to be done on that issue. … In his executive budget that he handed out, he actually called for a decrease in funding for the state mental health department, which is pretty disappointing. “We’re calling for an increase investment in mental health and substance abuse services to fund more mental health courts across the state … and funding for the mental health department’s Smart on Crime initiative, which does a lot of those things that I just talked about, but it also funds some other important criminal justice reform measures.” Stitt’s executive budget lists several financial strategies, with five specifics listed as “items of critical need”: • $6 million to reduce the Developmental Disability Services waiting list by 10 percent. • $10 million for the Digital Transformation Fund to modernize state government. • $1.5 million to reimburse the Department of Public Safety for the REAL ID rollout beginning April 2020. • $4.97 million for the OSU Medical Authority residency programs. • $3 million to assist with a new Veterans Administration facility.
 Stitt said the state’s greatest challenge is bureaucracy. “Oklahomans, our economy is competitive, and in this administration, we will keep it that way,” he said. “The greatest challenge before us today is government bureaucracy. In my first year of public service and as the chief executive, I have found government too big and too broken.” He proposed further consolidation of state agencies. For example, he wants the Department of Corrections to absorb the Pardon and Parole Board, the Office of Emergency Management to merge with the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Department of Transportation to combine some functions and several health-care agencies to consolidate into one central agency. He also called on legislators to pass a bill by Sen. Joe Newhouse that would double the Constitutional cap on Oklahoma’s Rainy Day fund to 30 percent. This would require a statewide vote. As the 2020 session unfolds, Virgin said she encourages Oklahomans to make their voices heard. “The areas where we’ve seen progress in the past few years in Oklahoma … have happened because Oklahomans have gotten engaged and demanded that laws change,” she said. “So democracy does still work, at least at the state level. It works in response to the public demanding something. That’s what I would remind people. When they get engaged and they get their friends and family engaged, they really can change what’s going on.” Visit oklegislature.gov to track bills or find your legislator’s information.

Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, 1936. Courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California. © The Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of Paul S. Taylor.

ON EXHIBI T AT T H E CO WBOY

February 14 — May 10 Visit nationalcowboymuseum.org to register for speical exhibit programming. 1700 Northeast 63rd Street Oklahoma City, OK 73111 (405) 478-2250 Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing is organized by the Oakland Museum of California. Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing is supported in part by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Susie Tompkins Buell Fund, Ann Hatch and Paul Discoe, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and Peter Rossi/Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0

9


chicken

friedNEWS Not in Kansas

Amazon heist

Forget porch pirates! Jason Kravis took Amazon package theft to a whole new level when he stole an entire delivery van in Tulsa. He would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling police officers. Surveillance video shows Kravis getting out of a green Chevy SUV and jumping into an Amazon van while the delivery man was dropping off a package. It also shows the Chevy and another vehicle driving away from the scene and the delivery guy doing that thing where you run after something for a bit and then stop because you know there’s no way in Amazon sweatshop hell you’ll be able to catch up to it. The van was later found because of course Amazon has GPS trackers, but the merchandise was already gone. About a day later, an officer noticed the SUV and followed it to the parking lot of a storage facility where Kravis and a woman who was with him were taken into custody. After obtaining a search warrant, they found the stolen merchandise in the storage facility. Officials said high-value items might’ve been given or sold to co-conspirators, according to KFOR. During the investigation, officers followed fresh tire tracks to a shed on an abandoned property, where they found 58 empty packages with the labels ripped off. That made it impossible for officers to link the items to the people who bought them, so officials suggest reaching out to Amazon if you believe your package might have been stolen. Police say boxes, books and “other intellectual type of materials” were left in the shed, according to KJRH, which if we’re being honest, is not terribly shocking. Kravis was arrested for auto theft and possession of stolen property. The woman who was with Kravis was somehow not connected to the crime but was still arrested for public intoxication, which might be more sad. Police believe at least one other person was involved in the heist, but we can neither confirm nor deny whether or not they were also publicly intoxicated.

How NOT to fake your death

If you’re going to fake your death, it’s probably not a good strategy to have your family pull up headstone searches when the authorities come to alert you 10

F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M

of your death. Such is the case of Mississippi accused child rapist Jacob Blair Scott, who was on the lam for nearly two years and was caught hiding in an RV in an Oklahoma campground last week. According to Biloxi Sun Herald, Scott left a suicide note tied to an abandoned dinghy in the Gulf of Mexico with a small amount of his blood. As far as faking your own death goes, that’s a pretty decent plan, but the rest of his scheme might’ve been a few chapters in How NOT to Fake Your Death for Dummies. Scott received a wire transfer for $47,000 a few weeks before his disappearance in July 2018 and then proceeded to write a check to himself for $45,000 the following day. Scott’s actions quickly attracted the attention of U.S. Marshals, and they got tips of Scott being seen with his brother in Denver and in Memphis with this mother that included a trip “to see Elvis” at Graceland, according to Sun Herald. The trail for Scott’s capture went cold until the U.S. Marshals added him to the agency’s list of 15 most wanted fugitives, and within 24 hours, they received a tip that Scott was living in an Antlers, Oklahoma, campground under the name “Luke.”

According to a release from the U.S. Marshals, it was the fastest apprehension of a suspect on the agency’s 15 most wanted program. We salute the residents of Pushmataha County for not letting Scott, who is accused of raping and impregnating his 14-year-old stepdaughter, escape to the Ozarks. Scott is awaiting extradition to Mississippi.

Remember last week when the president of the United States congratulated Kansas City’s Super Bowl champions for representing “the Great State of Kansas … so very well” in a since-deleted-andcorrected tweet? People familiar with the admittedly confusing geography of Kansas City (hint: the NFL team actually plays in Missouri) had one of those brief, nervous, laugh-to-keep-fromcrying, covfefe-esque chuckles we’ve become so familiar with in the past four years. Many predicted a Sharpiegate sequel while the red-hatted faithful predictably argued that the error was actually somehow correct both before and after it was corrected. The next day, OKC Mayor David Holt probably not coincidentally tweeted, “A lot of people don’t think about all the work that a city must undertake to host an event like the Super Bowl, so I just want to take a moment to congratulate the great people of Miami, Oklahoma for a terrific job last night!” The calculated shade was subtle enough to keep trolls from turning Holt’s mentions into a dumpster fire, with most replies offering some variation of “LOL” or reminding people that true Oklahomans pronounce it “My-am-uh” for some reason, but our favorite response was, “This must be a joke.” If you’ve already forgotten all of this (or covfefe or the Greenland thing or the flushing the toilet 15 times thing, etc.), it’s probably because in the days

since, the Senate essentially voted that the president is above the law; the Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to a talk-radio bigot; the botched Iowa caucus and response to it cast serious doubt on our ability to get out of this mess anytime soon; and we can’t even begin to speculate on what previously unthinkable abominations will have transpired in the time between us writing this sentence and you reading it. If any of this is a joke, it isn’t funny and we would like for it to stop now, please.


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REVIEW

EAT & DRINK

Cuvée comfort

Café Cuvée carries the tradition of The Coach House in a setting that can be both relaxed and fancy. By Jacob Threadgill

Café Cuvée 1200 N. Walker Ave. cafecuvee.com | 405-898-8120 WHAT WORKS: It delivers both contemporary and classic French-inspired dishes like cornbread and hazlenut-crusted salmon. WHAT NEEDS WORK: The Brussels sprouts were a little bland and could have benefitted from texture. TIP: Don’t forget about breakfast and brunch service.

On the bottom floor of the Ambassador Hotel, Café Cuvée is carrying the legacy of the city’s influential Coach House, but making it more accessible with all-day service in an atmosphere that accommodates both relaxed and fancy moods. I moved to Oklahoma City in 2017 and never had the opportunity to dine at The Coach House, which closed in 2016 after 31 years serving French food done right and where chef Kurt Fleischfresser’s apprenticeship program trained many chefs that are shaping Oklahoma City’s culinary scene to this day. As The Coach House converted from a special occasion restaurant into more approachable The Hutch on Avondale, 6437 Avondale Drive, under Coach House chef de cuisine David Henry, one of his former students guides Café Cuvée. Fleischfresser took over leadership of the restaurant in the Ambassador, 1200 N. Walker Ave., which was Viceroy

officially took that role in early 2019. “[Café Cuvée] really reminds me of The Coach House because as long as we’re doing good food, we can really play around with whatever we want,” Gordon said. “I trained under David Henry, and he had more molecular gastronomy, avant-garde plating style and chef Kurt was old-school, French technique and mastering the basics.” Café Cuvée has most of the traditional dishes you might find at a stuffy, white tablecloth, old-school French restaurant on which you read a menu by candlelight but also provides contemporary dishes that hint at Henry’s influence on Gordon. There are Escoffier-approved dishes like bouef bourgignon ($24), coq au vin ($24), mussels steamed in white wine sauce ($16) and steak tartare ($18), but there are also more inventive dishes like scallops topped with kettle corn gremolata ($35), ancho chili glazed tuna ($22) and seasonal specials like classic chilled potato and leek soup vichyssoise made with Peruvian purple potatoes. “I’m not sure who else is doing soufflé

soning, fennel, rosemary, basil, lavender, tarragon) is one of my favorite blends to use at home with salmon. When I put it in the smoker, I just coat it with plenty of olive oil, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. “It’s usually used with chicken or pork, but it works well with salmon,” Gordon said. “It’s so herbaceous and floral.” Cuvée also offers Dover sole fileted tableside and a S’mores chocolate mousse — the server uses a blowtorch to singe cinnamon in front of guests. Dinner service also includes a free amusebouche of the kitchen’s selection like a potato and herb croquette or salmon belly tartare. Whether you order dessert or not, the meal ends with a bite-sized mignardise, often a macaron or shortbread cookie.

above Salmon with herbs de Provence and panko crust, red flannel hash, asparagus and yellow tomato butter will be on the menu full-time in late February or early March. left Cassoulet is served like a soup at Café Cuvée. | Photos Jacob Threadgill

Grille at the time, in 2017. First, he tapped apprenticeship program graduate Taylor Desjarlais to lead Café Cuvée’s opening in August 2018, but Desjarlais left for another opportunity and Fleischfresser promoted Coach House graduate Jeffrey Gordon to Cuvée’s chef de cuisine position, who 12

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in town,” Gordon said. “Things like lavender crème brûlée and the Peruvian purple potatoes are just little things that we’re trying to do to set us apart.” Gordon said that Cuvée’s cornbread and hazelnut-crusted salmon ($28) is a nod to The Coach House’s version with cornbread and pecan that was served with tomato butter. This spring, he plans to offer salmon crusted with panko and plenty of herbs de Provence with tomato butter made with yellow heirloom tomatoes. I love that idea. Herbs de Provence (thyme, savory sea-

I also can’t think of many restaurants in the city open from 6:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day of the week. It supplements its midweek breakfast menu with brunch offerings on the weekends. When the restaurant opened, it originally closed between 2 and 5 p.m. to get ready for dinner service, but it has made the switch to continuous service by hosting happy hour wine and cocktail specials during the afternoon. “I think being in a hotel, people might be a little scared if they can come in or not or the dress code,” Gordon said. “It’s kind of intimidating when you’re

Crêpe of the day topped with wild mushroom sauce | Photo Jacob Threadgill

walking up the steps. Are flip-flops OK? We’re pretty laid-back in that aspect.” Gordon said he is pleased with the reception of the restaurant and that dinner service has really picked up over the last year. It is already booked solid for Valentine’s Day with 150 reservations. I’ve stopped into Cuvée on a few occasions, and it’s always supporting a healthy lunch crowd. It was the first place I ever got to eat escargot. Growing up, my dad told me snails tasted like erasers, but Cuvée ameliorated those preconceptions with plenty of butter and garlic and a consistency like a more substantial oyster. Cuvée is home to not only an excellent beef burger with blue cheese, lardons and garlic aioli, but one of the best veggie burgers in the city, which was somewhat of a passion project for Gordon. “I spent about three months developing that mix,” he said. “When I came in, they were doing a white bean burger that you had to cook in a sauté pan, and I really wanted to get something you can grill.” He individually shreds and roasts beets and mushrooms and puts washed black beans in the oven until they split. The ingredients are blitzed with quinoa, oats, chile powder, smoked paprika and cumin for a final product that holds up on the grill and while you’re eating it. Instead of a traditional cassoulet made by layering beans with duck, sausage and pork, Cuvée offers a stewed version that starts with white beans and is topped with duck confit, sausage, pork skin and pickled onions ($6 for a cup). The restaurant has recently begun offering a savory crêpe of the day option at lunch, and I couldn’t pass up the crêpe stuffed with cornbread, roasted chicken, carrots and peas and topped with forestière sauce made with demi-glace, Dijon mustard, cream, plenty of wild mushrooms and thyme. The dish was excellent and makes me want to try to fennel pork loin ($32) with the same sauce on the dinner menu. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, dinner or an post-work drink, Cuvée is a comforting restaurant that will make you feel at home. Visit cafecuvee.com.


F E AT U R E

EAT & DRINK

Cheesesteak commitment

Philly Homa, which is accumulating lunchtime lines, gets its bread and steak shipped from Philadelphia. By Jacob Threadgill

A commitment to serving Philly cheesesteaks like those found in Philadelphia has led to breakout success for Philly Homa after just a few months in business and has already set the groundwork for expansion. Owner and operator Charles McEntire founded Heifers & Hens, 2219 W. Interstate 240 Service Road, in 2019 after years of operating three pizza restaurants in Dallas and deciding to move back home to Oklahoma. McEntire opened Heifers & Hens as a burger-focused restaurant but decided to add Phillys to the menu and quickly noticed they were outselling burgers. “You can go into Chili’s or anywhere and they’ll throw something together on any roll,” McEntire said. “Let’s do it right and see what happens. We did research and watched a lot of videos on Phillys and knew we could do it right in Oklahoma. We were selling more Phillys than burgers [at Heifers & Hens], and that wasn’t what was supposed to happen.” McEntire sold Heifers & Hens last

ask], ‘Do you use Amoroso?’ You’ve got to use the best,” McEntire said. “It sucks up all the juices and doesn’t fall apart. It’s got a good flavor to it, and it’s just an awesome bread. … You’d be surprised how many people from Philadelphia live in Edmond.” Philly Homa also gets its steak shipped from Philadelphia and serves its 8-inch ($9), 12-inch ($12) or massive 24-inch ($23) cheesesteaks with double meat (either steak or chicken). It is also committed to providing Cheese Whiz, which is popularized at famous Philadelphia locations Pat’s and Geno’s. “I didn’t think I’d like the Whiz, but it’s amazing,” McEntire said. “They’ll tell you in Philly that it’s real meat and fake cheese, but it’s really good. Oklahoma is more of a provolone cheese state, but you’ll get more people who venture out. … A lot of people will order provolone on one half and try the Cheese Whiz on the other half. Cheese Whiz usually wins; once you try it, it is really good.” If you don’t want Cheese Whiz, it also offers provolone, queso, Swiss, pepper jack, cheddar, American and white American cheese. The most popular cheesesteak variety is the Southwest Philly (8-inch $11, 12-inch $14, 24-inch $27) with grilled green, yellow and red sweet peppers, mushrooms,

Southwestern Philly is the most popular cheesesteak at Philly Homa. | Photo Phillip Danner

or jalapeño cheddar. Fresh chicken tenders and wings, either boneless or traditional, are available with mild, medium, Insane, garlic Parmesan, sweet chili, Korean pepper barbecue and honey barbecue teriyaki sauces. Fries and fresh-cut onion rings are battered in-house.

of 24 cinnamon rolls each per day, not including ones he eats. “They say cinnamon is good for me,” he said of its anti-inflammatory properties in a tounge-in-cheek manner. “So we put double cinnamon in them and I eat three or four per week.”

Sweet treats

The commitment to offering a high quality product has led to loyal customers and lunchtime lines out the door. McEntire said one Philly native dines at the restaurant three times per week. He said other customers routinely drive from Moore and Norman, while another couple drove all the way from Weatherford just to have Phillys. “A guy was sitting here and said, ‘This brings me back home,’” McEntire said. “‘I’m from Philadelphia and this brings me back to my childhood.’ We get that all the time. It’s good that we can bring them back home, and we’ll never waiver. It’ means a lot to get those compliments. We’ll continue to do them right.” He said the Oklahoma City metro market was devoid of a good Philly cheesesteak offering besides Texadelphia, 200 S. Oklahoma Ave, Suite 110, and Hobby’s Hoagies (two locations). The void Philly Homa is helping fill is striking a chord with customers, as the restaurant sold over 2,600 cheesesteaks in January and has already signed up for a new, larger location at Meridian Avenue and Memorial Road next to the Pei Wei and across from Mercy Hospital. The second Philly Homa location will open later in 2020 and use the extra space to continue to offer authentic cheesesteaks but also build off McEntire’s pizza roots with a twist. He said outside The Heat Pizza, 1319 S. Broadway Ave., in Edmond, there isn’t a pizza restaurant offering Chicago-style deep dish. “It will be two locations in one, still called Philly Homa,” he said of the new location. “Going to have Chicago deep dish. Going to have New York-style too, but we’re going to push the deep dish because there really isn’t a lot of it in Oklahoma.” Visit phillyhoma.com.

McEntire’s cousin Sharon Jesse joined Philly Homa after the two talked about opening a restaurant together since they were kids. Jesse handles dessert duties each morning, making pies, cheesecake and cinnamon rolls. “I use my great-grandmother’s recipe for the crust,” Jesse said. “I’ve just never found another one like it. It’s got vinegar, which nobody puts in the crust anymore. It makes a better product.” Pies ($3 per slice) like coconut cream, which has been one of the most popular, use her great-grandmother’s crust while others like Oreo cream have a crushed

above Coconut cream is among the most popular pies at Philly Homa. right Sharon Jesse and Charles McEntire with Philly Homa | Photos Phillip Danner

November and opened Philly Homa at 1165 E. Second St. in Edmond around the same time, putting the emphasis of the restaurant on eight styles of Phillys, hand-battered chicken and housemade dessert highlighted by daily slices of pie and huge cinnamon rolls. He said that in order to make an authentic Philly cheesesteak, it isn’t as much about the topping (with Whiz or without) as much as it is the bread. His research points to using Amoroso’s hearth-baked rolls that originated in Philadelphia in 1904. “Anyone you get in from Philly [will 14

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jalapeños and a Southwest chipotle ranch sauce. A pizza Philly with pepperoni, pizza sauce, green peppers and choice of cheese and either chicken or steak is also popular, McEntire said, along with a Buffalo chicken version. If you want to limit carb intake, substitute bread with one of three tortilla wraps: regular flour, spinach herb

cookie or graham cracker crust. “I think it’s great and it’s been fun,” she said. “It’s really enjoyable when people say they like the food.” They also serve huge cinnamon rolls ($4) topped with housemade cream cheese frosting and pecans. McEntire said they sell multiple pans

Striking a chord


F E AT U R E

No fryer zone

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe stakes its claim for healthy options by making more than 100 items in-house. By Jacob Threadgill

Providing healthy options has been important for Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe since it was founded in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1997. As the franchise has expanded to more than 80 locations in 16 states, it became the first national franchise to receive designation from U.S. Healthful Food Council, in 2015. The council, which is a nonprofit, started the REAL Certification program to recognize businesses that provide healthy options, limit fried and processed foods and provide local and sustainable ingredients as much as possible. Not long after Taziki’s received the REAL recognition, veteran Oklahoma restaurant operator Dino Nithianandan and a group of partners secured the license to bring Taziki’s to Oklahoma in 2016. The group opened the first two locations in Tulsa before bringing it to Edmond in April 2018, at 1389 E. 15th St., Suite 128. “We don’t call it a franchise because we’re locally owned and operated,” Nithianandan said. The Oklahoma group continues

Taziki’s commitment of supporting local organizations with donations to local charities and donates food and resources to three Edmond high schools, including nearby Edmond Memorial. Nithianandan attended Oklahoma State University to pursue a degree in engineering but fell in love with the restaurant industry, where he worked while in school. He worked for Mexico

Joe’s, where he started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to management. “I don’t think I would have any time [to pursue engineering],” he said. “I love the restaurant business, and I love people; they keep you thinking. With a restaurant, it is hard to survive, but if you have a great good, great service and clean restaurant, you can survive.” After Nithianandan and his partners operated Genghis Grill, they decided to make the switch to Taziki’s, in part because of its commitment to providing healthy options. “We viewed it as expanding market,” he said. “If you read and talk to doctors, Mediterranean diet is the best diet for the next 20 years. It’s healthier, and more people are turning to healthier options. Oklahoma is a little bit different, but very recently, everyone is trying to eat more healthy and it is picking up fast.” He said a majority of Taziki’s catering requests come from doctor’s offices and hospitals and there is a local doctor who has dined in the restaurant literally every day for four months and lost 30 pounds.

above Grilled veggies are a topseller at Taziki’s in Edmond. right A lamb gyro is made with 100 percent lamb. | Photos Jacob Threadgill

“There is no fryer,” he said. “All of our food is homemade, and we’re all about healthy food. Even the crunchy pita is made here. The only thing we don’t make is sandwich bread. We cater to gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, vegan. We make everything from scratch.”

Health aspects

The Mediterranean Diet — one high in fish, fruits, olive oil, legumes and nuts — first rose to prominence in the 1960s thanks to physiologist Ancel Keys’ Seven Countries Study that looked to analyze the diets of seven countries to find the best to prevent heart disease. Keys’ study singled out Greece as the best for heart health. While the landmark study has been criticized for ignoring countries like France, Norway and Sweden that have diets high in saturated fat and have low rates of heart disease, its underlying elements were supported in a five-year study done in Spain and released in 2013. The 2013 study did require a retraction from The New England Journal of Medicine in 2017, but only because 10 percent of participants didn’t receive one of three randomized diets. (Instead, they all ate the same.) For Dr. Miguel Martínez-González , who led the study at University of Navarra, the retraction only helped strengthen its findings, which said the Mediterranean Diet can slash risk of

A chicken feast meal with basmati rice from Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe | Photo Jacob Threadgill

cardiovascular episodes like a stroke or heart attack by 30 percent. “After all this long work, I am more convinced than ever of his report,” Martínez-González told The New York Times. “Seldom has a trial undergone more scrutiny.”

Fresh choice

Taziki’s menu opens with dips that are all made in-house to reduce the potential for added preservatives. Hummus made with chickpeas, tahini, cumin and lemon juice can be supplemented with basil pesto and tomato topping. It also makes pimento cheese dip and eponymous Taziki dip with Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill and lemon juice. Whipped feta with cream cheese and lemon drizzled with honey is a new addition. Salads can be topped with any protein: shrimp, chicken, salmon and lamb. A salmon salad ($13.99) features a freshly grilled 8-ounce filet. The salad is topped with candied pecans, chickpeas and tomatoes. Housemade pita wraps gyros ($7.299.89), and the lamb option is the most popular, Nithianandan said. “It’s hard to get good lamb anywhere,” he said. “Most gyros are lamb and beef mix, but ours is 100 percent lamb. If you are a big lamb fan, we have the best lamb.” It combines lamb with skordalia sauce made with roasted garlic, red wine vinegar and blended pita bread as a thickener. Taziki feasts showcase freshly grilled protein over your choice of basmati rice or roasted potatoes with Greek salad and baked pita chips ($9.99-12.99). The restaurant also offers housemade chocolate cake, baklava, a children’s menu, private dining room and a full bar featuring cocktails, wine and local beer on tap. “You can relax on the couch next to the fireplace with a glass of wine,” Nithianandan said. He and his partners want to add a fourth Taziki’s location in Oklahoma City and are looking for options. Visit tazikiscafe.com. O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0

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GAZEDIBLES

EAT & DRINK

Date night

Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, so it is likely that many restaurants are already booked up that day, but it is always worth a shot. Even if you aren’t celebrating on the 14th, these seven restaurants make a great date night any day of the year. By Jacob Threadgill with provided and Gazette / file photos

Vast

333 W. Sheridan Ave., 49th floor vastokc.com | 405-702-7262 What can be more romantic than getting a bird’s-eye view of the city that we love? It’s even weirder when you are on the 49th floor of Devon Tower and see birds flying below you. The food and service at Vast matches its lofty expectations, and there is something for everyone. Enjoy a great bone-in rib-eye or plantbased options that expand during the last week of every month with a full vegan menu.

One large top-filled Tamale w/your choice of beef, chicken, or pork, topped with Queso or Red Sauce. Served with Refried Beans and Guacamole Salad All day every day during the month of February.

$7.99

Valentine's Day Special $29.99

A Coffee-Encrusted Ribeye w/ Coffee Butter. Served with a Side Salad, Veggie Blend, and one side.

Open - Close on February 14th only

GRANDRESORTOK.COM I-40 EXIT 178 I SHAWNEE, OK I 405-964-7263 16

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The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro

6418 N. Western Ave., Nichols Hills metrowinebar.com | 405-840-9463 This venerable restaurant has been in business since 1988, and for good reason. The food and atmosphere — led by one of the best wine selections in the state — will never disappoint. Be on the lookout for special events, like the annual wine and chocolate tasting every February.

Paseo Grill

2909 Paseo Drive paseogrill.com | 405-601-1079

This Paseo Arts District staple is one of the most sought-after Valentine’s destinations. It is likely already full for the big day, but it’s always a great date night option, especially if you request one of the booths with a curtain that will make you feel like you’re sitting inside the bottle from I Dream of Jeannie.


Jamil’s Steakhouse

La Brasa

Ludivine

Castle Falls

One of Oklahoma City’s most established restaurants has been open since 1964 and in some respects feels like stepping into a time portal — in a good way. The dim lighting helps create the romantic mood, and the Lebanese appetizer that comes with every meal is great way to share a meal with someone you love.

Just like the restaurant named after its signature Peruvian dish but has a menu featuring worldly influence, the décor has something for everyone. In some places it is comforting, and other places it has a club vibe, which it often turns into during weekends. La Brasa is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic meal and then hit the dance floor to tunes curated by a DJ.

If you haven’t been to Ludivine since it moved to its new location in the midcentury modern building connected to its sister restaurant, The R&J Lounge and Supper Club, you will be impressed. Ludivine’s rotating menu highlighting local providers is always one to satisfy, but it is only enhanced by its cool new setting with an expanded bar.

Another in-demand holiday restaurant is The Cellar at Castle Falls, but the romantic restaurant is an intimate one with nine seats. The unique location is literally built with Oklahoma City history, made to recreate a French castle with reclaimed material from the city’s urban renewal destruction. Castle Falls also offers curated menus elsewhere in the building at The Primrose and a five-course experience upstairs in The Library. It is open Thursday-Saturday.

4910 N. Lincoln Blvd. jamilssteakhouse.com | 405-525-8352

1310 NW 25th St. labrasaokc.com | 405-524-2251

320 NW 10th St. ludivineokc.com | 405-778-6800

820 N. MacArthur Blvd. castlefalls.com | 405-942-6133

PRESENTS

Christian & Sons Clocks

LOCALLY OWNED | SCRATCH KITCHEN

Mondays

4:30–6:30PM PASTA, CAESAR SALAD & BREAD—$25

Happy Hour

4:30–6:30PM | MON-SAT M–TH 4:30–9pm | F & S 4:30–10pm Closed Sunday piattookc.com | 405-608-8866 2920 NW 63rd

LOVE IS TIMELESS VALENTINE SALE

FRESH PASTA | HOUSE-MADE SAUCES

LARGE INVENTORY OF DECO CLOCKS!

10 HAIRY LEGS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2020 MITCHELL HALL THEATRE

C A LL 4 0 5 - 974 - 3 375 FO R T I C K E T S U N I V E R S I T Y O F C E N T R A L O K L A H O M A C O L L E G E O F F I N E A R T S A N D D E S I G N

2911 W. Wilshire | 405 810 5979

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ARTS & CULTURE

T H E AT E R

Julia Lema and Terry Burrell star as the Delany sisters, who recount stories from their more than 100 years on earth while cooking dinner live onstage. Having Our Say runs Feb. 19-March 8 at Lyric Theatre.| Photo K. Talley Photography / provided

Home cooking

Lyric Theatre’s Having Our Say reveals 20th-century America through the eyes of two centenarian sisters. By Jeremy Martin

Monique Midgette remembers her grandmother’s house — the sights, the sounds and the smells. “The house always smelled like food,” Midgette said. “Something was always cooking. You could always find some good food at my grandmother’s house, and there was just always so much to see. I think in that time period, everything meant something, so there was always a trinket or, ‘This picture reminded me of this,’ or ‘This was a tray that was given to me by this person,’ so walking through my grandmother’s house was like walking through a museum.” Midgette directs Having Our Say, running Feb. 19-March 8 at Lyric Theatre, 1727 NW 16th St. She said the banter between the play’s protagonists Sadie (played by Julia Lema) and Bessie (Terry Burrell) Delany, both over 100 years old, reminds Midgette of the “kinship, friendship and love” she felt visiting her grandmother’s house as a child. “These are conversations that I’ve had or have been privy to my whole life, sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen, while she’s talking to her friends,” Midgette said. Adapted by Emily Mann, the play is based on the book Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years an oral history of the sisters’ life recorded by Amy Hill Hearth, originally assigned to write a profile on them for The New York Times. In more than a century together, the Delany sisters moved from the Jim Crow-segregated South to Harlem to the middle-class suburbs. Onstage, Bessie and Sadie tell stories from their lives while preparing dinner

to celebrate their late father’s birthday. “I believe it helps you feel like you’re invited into their life,” Midgette said. “There’s a lot of information, and there’s a lot of stories that the women tell. … But there’s a difference between sitting in someone’s living room and feeling how homey and familial that is and a play where people are just talking. So everything about how they’re dressed and all of the actions that happen in the show help you feel like you’re in the world of these sisters. Some of the actual food will be cooked onstage, and we’re going to be actually cooking food backstage so the theater will smell and feel like there’s an actual meal taking place, and then you’ll leave and want to go have some home-cooked food somewhere.”

When you get past a certain point, you can say whatever you want because you’ve been here long enough to earn that right. Monique Midgette Midgette wants the smell of homecooked food to trigger the audiences’ pleasant childhood memories the way rehearsing the play triggers some of hers, but the logistics of having actors prepare food live onstage require Midgette to take a different approach to directing the script. “I want to say there’s maybe six or seven pages of props, and I want to say

four of those pages are food, so it changes everything, but after the shock wore off in time and I had conversations with people that cook, because I don’t really cook, it [comes] down to the fact that this is what they do every year for this father’s birthday celebration, so we’re just trying to make sure that we can organize it in a way that these women who have been cooking together for years would both orchestrate the meal in the kitchen and all of the things that it takes to celebrate their dad. … There was lots of preparation, lots of conversation … but you hire two accomplished actresses who also cook in their own homes, and they bring a lot of the knowledge,” Midgette said. “And they’ve been friends for years, too, so the comfort and knowledge that they bring into the room is helpful. So I just kind of lay out a ground plan and say, ‘OK, let’s just start and see where we go.’” When she was hired to direct the play, Midgette said she knew she wanted to cast Burell, who — in addition to roles in Broadway productions of The Threepenny Opera, Into the Woods and Dreamgirls — played Midgette’s mother in a 2007 production of The Women of Brewster Place. “Terry and I spent a lot of time together years ago,” Midgette said, “so Terry was the first person that popped into my mind. … When I knew it was Terry, I said, ‘You’re going spend a lot of time with this person, so you should probably have a lot of say into who your sister is,’ and she just gave me a list of some of her friends, people she wouldn’t mind spending some time in Oklahoma with, and we looked at some videos, and Julia was perfect.” In addition to their acting abilities, Burrell and Lema’s friendship and culinary knowledge helped overcome some the play’s unique challenges. “This is a two-handed play, so they had to come to rehearsals pretty much knowing the play already,” Midgette

said. “If they had to learn the play, learn each other, learn how to cook, we don’t have time. It’s good that they already can feel comfortable with each other and bring a lot of knowledge, so now it’s just about shaping and crafting who these women are and the story that they’re telling in this particular piece.” True to the play’s title, the Delany sisters told their story exactly how they wanted to. “When you get past a certain point, you can say whatever you want because you’ve been here long enough to earn that right,” Midgette said. “And that’s the best thing about these women. … They say, ‘I’ve been here for 100 years. I can say what I’m thinking,’ so there’s a lot of sass and wisdom in this play that is so much fun.” In many ways, the Delaney sisters’ experiences reflect the history of 20thcentury America. “Everything that happened here happened to them,” Midgette said. “To me, that’s the most important thing about this, the fact that you just sit and listen to the stories of the two women that you didn’t really know and understand that everybody has lived a life. To have been here for over 100 years, all the things they’ve seen hopefully make you look at everybody that you pass on the street differently. What have they been through? And how can I be a little kinder to everyone that I see, knowing that literally everybody has been through something and might be going through something right now? “It’s probably a tough sell in some ways to get people to come out and hear two old ladies talk, but it’s so worth it. ... It’s one of those shows where even if you don’t remember everything that they say, you’ll remember how they made you feel. … You remember what it was like in a space when you just maybe felt warmer, more open, more optimistic about the world, when we were younger. In comparison, there’s nothing that you’ve been through, nothing that you’ve done that they haven’t seen, so it kind of makes you feel like, ‘OK, I can get through this because they made it to 101 and 103.’” Tickets are $25-$69. Call 405-5249312 or visit lyrictheatreokc.com.

Having Our Say Feb. 19-March 8 Lyric Theatre 1727 NW 16th St lyrictheatreokc.com | 405-524-9312 $25-$64

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PODCASTS

ARTS & CULTURE

Straight up Brandy Mayes’ A Shot of Brandy podcast features interviews with local artists and entrepreneurs, and his Creators Create studio will help people start their own. By Jeremy Martin

Brandy Mayes discovered podcasts three years ago, and he was immediately impressed. “I just started listening and I just took a liking to it,” Mayes said. “The radio plays the same songs all day, so it’s kind of refreshing to drive around and just learn some stuff.” On July 24, 2017, Mayes released the first episode of his own podcast, A Shot of Brandy. “We’re going to have guests,” Mayes told listeners. “We’re going to vibe out. We’re going to drink. We’re going to smoke a little bit. We’re going to do us at all times.” The podcast, which released its 120th episode in December, features interviews from local artists and entrepreneurs. Past guests include hip-hop artists Jabee, J. Poe and Jacobi Ryan, Class Matters

founder Darron Lamkin and All City Plug dispensary co-owner Brian Tucker. “The uniting theme is just showing people that hard work pays off,” Mayes said. “If you want to really get to the next level, all you have to do is work for it. So I’ll try to bring guests on to show people the steps that they took toward being a successful and show people it’s possible.” In these interviews, Mayes hopes to discover what drives his guests to succeed in an era when focus and determination seem difficult to maintain. “I want to kind of get their background and their upbringing, how they turned into the person that they are today, because it takes willpower in this day and age,” Mayes said. “There’s a lot of distractions from all the social

media, so it really takes mind power to buckle down and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this, no matter what. Nothing’s going to stop me.’ I wanted to get the story on that willpower. What mindset did you have to make you want to say, ‘I’m going to open this restaurant, no matter what,’ and then it comes into fruition? I just wanted to get the story so people can say, ‘If if he did it, then it’s possible.’”

Whatever you’re interested in, there is a market where somebody will listen to you and take a liking to you. Brandy Mayes The most common recurring theme in all of these stories, Mayes said, is finding the discipline to forgo immediate gratification for the possibility of longer-term success. “A lot of people say they sacrificed their time,” Mayes said. “They sacrificed going out with friends. Man, I had some people say they sacrificed two years just to get where they are, and that’s really what it takes. How bad do you want to get to the next level with your life? You’re going to have to put up something and sacrifice something for a little bit to get where you want to be in the future.” Mayes, who previously studied criminal justice at Oklahoma State University and now works as a sheet metal mechanic, also found inspiration for his own life in the process of recording the podcast. “Three years ago, when I started the podcast, I was actually going to trade school during the day, and I would try to book a guest during the night,” Mayes said. “That’s kind of where my motivation came from. … Getting guests for the show was kind of a challenge to me.”

Creators Create

On Saturday, Mayes opens Creators Create Podcast Studio to help aspiring Brandy Mayes started his podcast A Shot of Brandy in 2017 and has released more than 100 episodes since. | Photo Ziggie Olerv / provided 20

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Mayes’ Creators Create Podcast Studio will rent space and equipment for others to create podcasts of their own. | Photo Devin Houston / provided

podcasters pursue their own dreams. Mayes, who learned how to record and distribute his podcast by watching YouTube videos, said podcasts are “still fresh” to many in Oklahoma City and some of the people who might be interested in starting one of their own are unsure of how to begin. “People are still trying to get used to them,” Mayes said. “I wanted to bring that to OKC, to offer that service to people. You can start your podcast, too. You don’t have to just listen to me or listen to somebody else. Whatever you’re interested in, there is a market where somebody will listen to you and take a liking to you.” The studio provides space and equipment to record up to four podcasters at one time for $50 an hour and offers editing services for $100 per episode. “We’ve been working real hard to give people quality sound and quality equipment so they can be satisfied with the service,” Mayes said. With his podcast and his studio, Mayes hopes to change people’s perception of OKC and its residents. He said the guests he features on A Shot of Brandy deserve more recognition for their efforts. “They’re doing all this stuff in Oklahoma City, and not a lot of people know about it,” Mayes said. “If I give them my platform, maybe they can talk, because there’s a lot of people who come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I didn’t even know that these people were in Oklahoma City doing this type of stuff.’ They feel like there’s nothing to do here, but actually there’s a lot of stuff if you just get out of the house.” OKC itself also deserves more recognition. “The city is coming up,” Mayes said. “I try to tell people, in three to five years, Oklahoma City’s going to be the place to be. … I just want people to know that Oklahoma City is a great place to stay. … I’m from here, and I love my city. I love where I’m from, and I love the people in it.” Visit brandymayes.com.


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

BOOKS Brunching with Books a book club meeting every other week, with reading selections chosen by group preference, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Buttermilk Paseo, 605 NW 28th St., 405-605-6660, buttermilkokc.com. SAT LGBTQ+ Book Club meetup to discuss The Color Purple by Alice Walker, 6-8 p.m. Feb. 19. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-8422900, fullcirclebooks.com. WED What Lies Between Us activist and journalist Ayanna Najuma discusses the societal implications of Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing, Odyssey Home by Richard Bell 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, fullcirclebooks.com. TUE

FILM VHS & Chill: Blockbusted Video a cult-classic film screening where audience participation and commentary is encouraged, 7-9 p.m. Feb. 12. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-8873327, theparamountroom.com. WED

HAPPENINGS The Factory Party celebrate the Warhol and the West exhibition at this ’70s-inspired evening, 7 p.m. Feb. 15. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. SAT

Gardening 101: Seeds learn about seeds and make a seed bomb, 11 a.m. Feb. 15. Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place, 405-602-6664, sciencemuseumok.org. SAT Kokedama – Japanese Moss Ball Planters learn how to display small indoor plants using this method at a demonstration presented by Oklahoma County Master Gardeners, 6 p.m. Feb. 12. Will Rogers Garden Center, 3400 NW 36th St., 405-943-0827, okc.gov. WED LIVE! on the Plaza join the Plaza District every second Friday for an art walk featuring artists, live music, shopping and more, 6-10 p.m. second Friday of every month. Plaza District, 1618 N. Gatewood Ave., 405-426-7812, plazadistrict.org. FRI Moore Chess Club play in tournaments and learn about the popular board game at this weekly event where all ages and skill levels are welcome, 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Moore Library, 225 S. Howard Ave. SUN Oklahoma Observer Newsmakers Series Observer editor Arnold Hamilton leads a discussion about current events, 6 p.m. Feb. 13. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, fullcirclebooks.com. THU

FOOD OKC Farmers Market a year round farmers market featuring fresh produce, honey, baked goods, meat, hand made goods and more., Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. OKC Farmers Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., 4054860701, okcfarmersmarket.com. SAT

YOUTH Art Adventures children can enjoy story time and related activities, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., 405-325-3272, ou.edu/ fjjma. TUE Beginning Martial Arts Classes students ages 7 and older can learn martial arts from instructor Darrell Sarjeant at this weekly class, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Monster Jam: Triple Threat Whether or not you have a Valentine on Friday, you could probably stand to de-stress, and what better way than watching monster truck mayhem featuring such intimidatingly named trademarked terrors as Grave Digger (pictured above), Zombie, Earthshaker and Soldier Fortune Black Ops? Since this is Oklahoma, you’ll probably see at least a couple of bigger, less fuel-efficient trucks in the parking lot. The events are 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W. Reno Ave. Tickets are $15-$55. Call 405-602-8700 or visit chesapeakearena.com. SATURDAY-SUNDAY Photo provided Thursdays. Nappy Roots, 3705 Springlake Drive, 405896-0203, facebook.com/pg/nappyrootsbooks. THU

fer Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-7370, ou.edu/finearts. THU-SUN

Children’s Concert the Oklahoma Community Orchestra presents a concert/dance party featuring Sugar Free All Stars, 3 p.m. Feb. 16. OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater, 7777 S. May Ave., 405-682-7579, tickets.occc.edu. SUN

Love Letters playwright A.R. Gurney chronicles the potential unrequited romantic subtext in 50 years of correspondence between two lifelong friends, Feb. 14-29. The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., Guthrie, 405-282-2800, thepollard.org. FRI-SAT

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

Monday Night Blues Jam Session bring your own instrument to this open-stage jam hosted by Wess McMichael, 7-9 p.m. Mondays. Othello’s Italian Restaurant, 434 Buchanan Ave., Norman, 405-7014900, othellos.us. MON

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

National Folkloric Ballet of Mexico the worldrenowned dance company presents an evening of traditional regional dances, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13. Armstrong Auditorium, 14400 S. Bryant Ave., Edmond, 405-285-1010, armstrongauditorium.org. THU

Sankofa Chess Club children 7 and older are invited to learn chess in this club meeting weekly, 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Nappy Roots, 3705 Springlake Drive, 405-896-0203, facebook.com/pg/nappyrootsbooks. WED

Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers find love despite the hatred between their families in this all-time classic, Feb. 14-March 1. Shakespeare on Paseo, 2920 Paseo St., 405-235-3700, oklahomashakespeare.org. FRI-SUN

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

PERFORMING ARTS Oklahoma African American Family Film Festival See documentaries, filmed theatrical productions and unedited footage documenting the African American experience in Oklahoma at this festival featuring I. W. Lane: Blacks’ Right to Vote, Collective Visions: A History of African American Women in Oklahoma, 1833 to 1921, Inside Buffalo: The Story of African American WWII Soldiers of the 92nd Division and more. You’ll also have the chance to see a trailer for the upcoming film Black Wall Street Burning and meet creators Dekoven Riggins and Marcus E. Brown. The festival is noon-5 p.m. Saturday at Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Call 405-521-2491 or visit okhistory.org. SATURDAY Photo bigstock.com

Adèle Wolf’s 8th Annual Valentine’s Affair burlesque, circus arts, belly dancing, and cabaret style performances await at this annual event, 8 p.m. Feb. 15. The Auditorium at the Douglass, 600 N. High Ave., 405-652-9541, auditoriumatdouglass.com. SAT African Drumming Class learn percussion techniques at this introductory class for all experience levels; drums will be available if you don’t have your own, 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 12. Norman Cultural Connection, 1017 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-201-9991. WED Blood Wedding playwright Federico García Lorca’s surreal exploration of murder, revenge and romance, through Feb. 16, Feb. 13-16. Weitzenhof-

Staged a stage show hosted by Raven Delray, 10:30 p.m. third Saturday of every month. Frankie’s, 2807 NW 36th St., 405-602-2030, facebook.com/frankiesokc. SAT Stand Up Science podcaster and comic Shane Mauss will interview scientists, followed by a Q&A, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19. The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-887-3327, theparamountroom.com. WED The Trailer-Hood Hootenanny join Rayna Over and friends for a night of comedy, music and drag performances, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. the second Friday of every month. Frankie’s, 2807 NW 36th St., 405-6022030, facebook.com/frankiesokc. FRI

ACTIVE Monday Night Group Ride meet up for a weekly 25-30 minute bicycle ride at about 18 miles per hour through east Oklahoma City, 6 p.m. Mondays. The Bike Lab OKC, 2200 W. Hefner Road, 405-603-7655. MON

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C A L E N DA R

WE’RE SOCIAL.

CALENDAR Run the Alley a three-mile social run for athletes of all abilities ending with beers at The Yard, 6:30 p.m. Thursdays. OK Runner, 708 N. Broadway Ave., 405-702-9291, myokrunner.com. THU

Stars and Stripes Spin Jam a weekly meetup for jugglers, hula hoopers and unicyclers, 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. Stars & Stripes Park, 3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive, 405-297-2756, okc.gov/parks. WED Twisted Coyote Brew Crew a weekly 3-mile group run for all ability levels with a beer tasting to follow; bring your own safety lights, 6 p.m. Mondays. Twisted Spike Brewing Co., 1 NW 10th St., 405-301-3467, twistedspike.com. MON

Colors of Clay an exhibition of clay pots, bowls, pitchers and jars created by Native American artists, Through May 10, 2021. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. FRI-SUN D.J. Lafon exhibition view paintings by the Oklahoma artist who died in 2011, through Feb. 29. JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave., 405-5286336, jrbartgallery.com. FRI-SAT Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing an exhibition of photographs documenting the experiences of Dust Bowl migrants and Japanese American prisoners in World War II internment camps, Feb. 14-May 10. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. FRI-SUN

Yoga Tuesdays an all-levels class; bring your own water and yoga mat, 5:45 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgardens.com. TUE

Huda Hashim exhibition view works created by the British-born Sudanese-American designer, contemporary artist and 3D architect, through Feb. 29. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405-8159995, 1ne3.org. THU-SAT

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

Inside the Artist’s Heart an exhibition featuring photographs by Blu Lirette and jewelry by Jennifer Woods, through March 3. The Paseo Plunge, 3010 Paseo St., 405-315-6224, paseoplunge.org. FRI-TUE

VISUAL ARTS 40 Over 40: Women Artists of Oklahoma an exhibition highlighting works created by Oklahoman artists over the age over 40, Feb. 14-March 13. MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St., Norman, 405-360-1162, mainsitecontemporaryart.com. FRI Articulation work on your art or craft project with other creators at this weekly meet-up; bring your own supplies and clean up after yourself, 6:30-10 p.m. Thursdays. Little D Gallery, 3003 Paseo, 720773-1064. THU

O. Gail Poole’s Sideshow an exhibition of surreal and unusual paintings by the eclectic Oklahoma artist, through May 10. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, ou.edu/ fjjma. FRI-SUN Re-New an exhibition of Tulsa artist Whitney Forsyth’s mandala-inspired ceramic work, through Feb. 29. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE Third St., 405815-9995, 1ne3.org. THU-SAT Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of Architecture an exhibition celebrating non-traditional architecture inspired by Native American designs, everyday objects and natural landscapes, through April 5. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 405-325-3272, ou.edu/fjjma. FRI-SUN Renewing the American Spirit: The Art of the Great Depression an exhibition of paintings, prints, photographs and more created in the 1930s, Through April 26. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, okcmoa.com. SAT-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., 405637-6225, downtownnorman.com. FRI A Thin Place view fantasy-inspired conceptual photography by Oklahoma artist Lauren Midgley, through Feb 29. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., Norman, 405-307-9320, pasnorman.org. FRI-SAT Tiny Little Fables: The Enchanted a multimedia art exhibition featuring works by Nonney Oddlokken, Nicole Moan and Aztrid Moan, through May 18. The Art Hall, 519 NW 23rd St., 405-2315700, arthallokc.com. FRI-MON Until We Organize: The Struggle for the Equal Rights Amendment an exhibition of photographs chronicling Oklahoma’s battle over the ERA, through Nov. 30. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, okhistory.org.

The Lynn Institute is currently DEPRESSION enrolling participants for an Study Currently Enrolling

Alzheimer’s Study.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects millionsoffering of adults The Lynn Institute of Oklahoma City is currently a in the United everywith yearAlzheimer’s according to the American research study States for people Disease who... Psychological Association. • Fall between the ages of 55The - 80 Lynn years Institute of Oklahoma City isbeen now enrolling patients agesto18moderate - 65 whoAlzheimer’s are currently on • Have diagnosed with mild an antidepressant that isn’t adequately controlling symptoms. Disease Participants will receive study-related healthcare from medical • Have a caregiver or family member who will attend study visits, professionals at no cost and may receive compensation for report on daily activities and oversee the taking of medication time and travel! Interested in more information? Participants will receive all study related care and treatment at no cost and may compensated for time and or travel. Contact usbe TODAY at 405-447-8839 visit us online

lhsi.net/participant-information-form. For more information about participating in the study or to schedule your appointment for a memory screening, please call: 405-447-8839 3555 N.W. 58th St., Suite 800, Oklahoma City, OK 73112

MON-SUN

Alonzo Bodden Last Comic Standing season three winner, recurring panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! and host of the podcast Who’s Paying Attention, stand-up Alonzo Bodden released his fourth special Heavy Lightweight last year. “I do topics that are heavy, but I break it up with topics that are lightweight,” Bodden said of the special’s title. “So if I hit you with racism, I’ve got to balance it with jokes about my new iPhone. ... I can’t make you think for that much for that long.” The shows are 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Bricktown Comedy Club, 409 E. California Ave. Tickets are $20-$28 plus a two-item minimum. You must be at least 18 years old to attend. Call 405-594-0505 or visit bricktowncomedy.com. FRIDAYSATURDAY Photo Todd Rosenberg / provided

Warhol and the West an exhibition exploring Andy Warhol’s artwork featuring icons and imagery from the American West, including his Cowboys and Indians print series, through May 10. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum.org. FRI-SUN

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

For OKG live music

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COV E R

MUSIC

Old school

Oklahoma Gazette looks back at four decades of Oklahoma City hip-hop history. By Jeremy Martin

The poster for 1984’s Beat Street promised “the music and breakdance explosion of the summer,” but for Brian Frejo, watching in a Capitol Hill movie theater, what happened after the movie might have been more important than anything on screen. “The movie was packed,” Frejo said, “and when we came out of the movie, in the parking lot, a big circle formed, and then people just started breaking right there in the parking lot. And it was just a diverse crowd, people of color. ... It broke out into a big circle and then a battle, and then everybody was jumping in. That’s kind of one of the first times that I could feel that culture. It’s hard to explain. … The energy was there and you could feel it from everybody in that circle, in that parking lot, and it went on for a little while. And then there was a lot of things that happened in the south side, too, at that time, and the cops came and kind of broke it all up. Everybody just left, but from there, it was really connected to me.” Frejo, aka Shock B, said he first entered the hip-hop scene as a b-boy or breakdancer, forming the crew Supreme City Rockers with people he met breakdancing in a corner outside JC Penney at Crossroads Mall. Local dance competitions featured groups from around the city, but gang rivalries sometimes threatened to overshadow the hip-hop. “Some of those areas were pretty bad at the time, so violence would break out at some of these events because there was a lot happening in those communities,” Frejo said. “So you had to get people on the same page. ... ‘Let’s put an event together and do it in a safe place and everybody can be cool in a neutral space where we can, you know, partici24

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pate in this hip-hop culture. … It was challenging though because there were different parts of the city with different mentalities.” Frejo started making mixtapes (“on two cassette players”) to dance to. In those pre-internet days before hip-hop was regularly played on the radio, mixtapes were a vital source for new music, and information about events usually came from flyers and word-of-mouth — “guerilla promotion” and “street marketing.” Making mixtapes soon transitioned to DJing on turntables. “I’m blessed to have come up in that era of the culture and to know how to make a mixtape, what a mixtape really meant, how to make a flyer and how to connect neighborhoods and communities and build with people,” Frejo said. “Networking, but I didn’t know what it was called then. We were organizing. We were just trying to make things happen. … At that time, there was a lot of separation and segregation and stuff, but through that dance culture and music culture, you really brought a lot of people together from different parts of the city.”

Culture Shock

Angel Little, 41, was first introduced to hip-hop culture at the age of 5, watching graffiti writers tag passing trains and breakdance on particleboards at a lumber yard near his grandmother’s house in Louisiana. But after moving to Lawton, Little didn’t see anything like that again until he went to Celebration Station in Oklahoma City around the age of 11. “Celebration Station was the place that a lot of teens and all that would go to,” Little said. “That was the first time

here in Oklahoma City that I’d seen people doing what I did when I was a kid in Louisiana, and it was like, ‘Oh, wow! I want to hang out with these guys,’ so I kind of did. I was a really smart kid, and I did a lot of things that most kids wouldn’t really do. … I would trick my mom into thinking I was staying at a friend of mine’s house around the corner when really I was catching a ride Oklahoma City and hanging out with the dancers and the hip-hop heads that I met, and then we would go to other places like Kansas. … Everyone thought I was somebody else’s little brother.”

Oklahoma City’s hiphop started from people who just wanted to make things better for others, and it’s continuing to do that right now. Angel Little Frejo, who left Oklahoma in the early ’90s to pursue an acting career in California, returned in 1997, hoping to recreate the massive hip-hop events he’d seen in Los Angeles and on Venice Beach. “It was blowing up, so when I came back to Oklahoma, I was inspired by what I saw, and I was trying to visualize, ‘How can I make something like this happen here?’” Frejo said. “‘How can I bring these different groups of people, different communities and neighborhoods together?’ … Things had kind of died down a little bit. It was mostly just clubs at that time. It wasn’t events and parties and battles and things like that. … There was a lot of talent, and people weren’t getting any exposure ... and there was no outlet for it.” Hoping to provide a platform for artists and prove that hip-hop can be a positive force in the community, Frejo and his brother Marcus, aka Quese IMC,

started Culture Shock in 1997, a recurring hip-hop “summit” that would continue through 2015. Held at Will Rogers Theatre, the inaugural event drew a crowd of about 300, Frejo said, at least 100 fewer people than needed to break even. “We didn’t make any money,” Frejo said. “We lost money, but to me, it was a success because people came.” Frejo also wanted to highlight the Native American influence in hip-hop. “We brought a drum,” Frejo said. “We brought a fancy dancer and a fancy shawl dancer because we knew the dancing part connected. It was all connected — the drum, the dancing, the art, the energy. … We worked together as a crew and as a family, and a lot of people wanted to be a part of it, all across the board — African Americans, Latinos, the Caucasians, the Asians. Everyone wanted to be a part of it because we built a community through the music.” Little said the Culture Shock events “sparked the image of hip-hop here in Oklahoma.” “We were making this up as we go, simply put,” Little said. “Oklahoma City’s hip-hop started from people who just wanted to make things better for others, and it’s continuing to do that right now. … It’s the only culture I know of that says, ‘Come as you are, and be a better you tomorrow. … Be different. Be out of the box. Do things you’ve never heard, never seen, and let it inspire us to be bigger and better ourselves.’” Nymasis, aka Anthony Tee, who was introduced to the OKC hip-hop scene through raves in the late ’90s, said Culture Shock was the first event he had seen that incorporated all of the elements of hip-hop. “It was breaking, DJs, MCing and graffiti, all for the first time, that I saw, together,” Nymasis said. “It was all being done at the same time. It was all working together, as opposed to one element.” Nymasis soon joined Culture Shock Camp, along with Duo the Sick Prophet and Jabee Williams, who went to his


first Culture Shock event in 1999. “I was probably, like, 14 or 15,” Williams said. “I met the guys who put the festival on, who were in the group, and they let me roll with them and do shows with them. They pretty much taught me everything. … I was the baby. … They had all graduated. I was still in school.” Frejo said he offered some simple advice to anyone who joined up with Culture Shock. “All I said to people that we brought in was, ‘If this is what you love, man, you go all out,’” Frejo said. “‘You bring it all. You learn as much as you can. You push yourself, and we’ll all help each other.’”

Everyone wanted to be a part of it because we built a community through the music. Brian Frejo

Finding venues

Rap battles at now-closed Samurai Sake House and in rented warehouse spaces followed. Many shows incorporated more than one element of hip-hop, along with poetry, rock bands or anything else that might help draw a crowd. “The scenes were small, so we had to combine them,” Nymasis said. Though hip-hop was increasingly popular, finding venues that would agree to host events was often challenging and still can be today. “Nobody wanted hip-hop,” Williams said. “Nobody wanted rappers. They only wanted bands. They only wanted DJs, and DJs couldn’t spin hip-hop. … There’s still a stigma. ... There’s always a million questions about the crowd and about what type of people are going to come out if you want to do a hip-hop show, no matter where it is. They always want to know what kind of crowd you’re going to attract before you do any show. That probably doesn’t happen to other genres. A Red Dirt show isn’t getting questions like a rap show is getting questions.” The difficulty of booking and promoting shows pre-social media is dif-

ficult to explain to younger rappers, Williams said. “They wouldn’t understand how hard it was,” Williams said. “It was hard to get shows and hard to get into clubs and bars to do shows and hard to put on your own shows, but, I mean, now you could just post a flyer on Instagram or Twitter. We had to actually get out in the streets and meet people. There was way more work to it than there is now.” The work required to put on a show often made artists more intentional about what they brought to the stage. “We knew that if anything was bad, people wouldn’t come back because it was hard to get them in there anyway,” Williams said. “For later groups, there was a lot of a lot of venues and bars and places that had seen us and given us chances, so it opened the door for other groups and other rappers and other promoters and other people to do stuff because they had done it before and it was successful with us whenever we did it.” Williams said the lessons he learned in those days continue to help him in music and business. “It was fun,” Williams said. “It definitely made me who I am, and it taught me a lot. I wouldn’t still be around were it not for what I learned and the work I put in it back then. It’s all about your work ethic. It’s all about the time you put into it, the blood, sweat and tears, the boots-on-the-ground type stuff. It’s not just about being cool and putting out music.”

Making connections

In addition to local and regional artists, shows with national headliners Clipse, DJ Premier, Biz Markie and Atmosphere followed. At a show featuring Los Angeles rapper Blu, DezzGotSteez got hooked. “I was like, ‘I’m going to every show forever,’” DezzGotSteeze said, “and I literally went to every show. Even to this day, I go to shows, and I won’t miss shows. … I got saved when I was, like, 15 because I watched a Billy Graham crusade on TV. And I knew Jesus had come into my life because I got goosebumps, and I don’t really get those very often. … When I started going to the shows, I got the same chills, and I said, ‘Oh, I have to chase this,’ because it was like a high without being on drugs.” She began bringing friends to

shows, handing out flyers and promoting Williams’ group Puzzle People through MySpace. “A lot of people trusted me because I would tell them if stuff was trash,” DezzGotSteeze said. “I was just happy to be there. That’s how I was. It never went away. It didn’t die down, really, until I started doing more business stuff and taking everything more seriously.” Club Lexus, Sauced on Paseo, The Conservatory, Opolis, Blue Note Lounge, Kamp’s and OKC Farmers Public Market hosted local showcases and A-list acts. Kendrick Lamar, The Cool Kids, Curren$y and Big KRIT made OKC stops. “If you want to be involved with the hip-hop scene, it’s not hard,” Williams said. “Somebody just told me there’s no hip-hop scene in OKC, and to say that is disrespectful and a disservice to everybody that does such hard work making sure that there’s always dope stuff going on. That just means you aren’t connected. It’s not the scene. It’s just you. You’re not connected, and you don’t try to be.” Huckwheat, aka Mike Huckeby, said he was unaware of the scope of OKC’s hip-hop scene until he did his first show in 2011, performing “complete garbage” songs at the now-closed Bora Bora Club near “the old, busted down gas station” that would become The Pump. “I didn’t really know much of the scene until I actually started doing it,” Huckwheat said. “Then I was like, ‘Holy shit! This was going on the whole time, and I just never really knew about it.’ There was something already bigger than I would have thought.” Norman Music Festival gave hip-hop a larger stage, and Memory Lane offered young artists and fans a venue on the east side. “That’s when stuff really started really brewing with the hip-hop community and started building up into more and more people doing it and coming out with more and more quality and started working together and started connecting and building with each other and trying to do more things and push the envelope and trying to open up more doors at different venues,” Huckwheat said. “It really gave a lot of young cats an opportunity to be somewhere because a lot of times, you had to

OKC’s hip-hop scene has a longer history than most people know. | Photos DezzGotSteeze / provided

be 21 to play anywhere.” Venues such as Hubbly Bubbly, which hosts Art of Rap and Heart of Hip-Hop each month as well as open mics and other shows; Saints, which hosts Lyricist Lounge and Color of Art; and The Queen Lounge, which hosts Trip G’s monthly showcase, continue to provide spaces for hip-hop and art to flourish. But before we celebrate the future, a few more shout-outs to the past. Frejo, who said Culture Shock events might be returning soon after a five-year break, wanted to recognize Midwest City rap group Point Blank and every other local artist who was “already rocking spots” when he arrived on the scene. “There’s other people that have put in the time, the years,” Frejo said. “I’m always wanting to let people know to spread it out to everybody. It can’t just be one person. … There’s guys that helped me out when I came up.” Williams added that any discussion of OKC’s hip-hop history should also include Mr. Nitro, who produced beats for Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit and signed to Sony Music for 2000 debut Hustlin’ Pays, which showcased several local artists, and Presidential Trap House artist Chop Chop whose “Red Durt” promises “You ain’t seen shit till you’ve been to Oklahoma.” “I just want to make sure that the history of hip-hop in Oklahoma City is told correctly and people don’t get left out,” Williams said, “because a lot of people really put a lot into this, and people are eating off of and benefiting from the work that people did before them, and they have no idea who they are and what their names are and the things they did.” Who did we forget? Send your story to jmartin@okgazette.com.

O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0

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MUSIC “It’s one thing to find the harmony, but it’s another thing to also find a blend,” Patrice said. “And that’s something that we pride ourselves on is finding not only good harmony notes, but a blend where it just meshes very well together.” Pitch HER Perfect’s sound also blends a variety of genres. “We both come from the background of old-school R&B music and the hip-hop generation,” Patrice said. “All of that is kind of fused together with rhythm and blues. And then our backgrounds are deep in gospel music … so it’s kind of like a fusion of all of those things together because some of our tunes might be melodic and then some of them you might hear the bass going.”

We have such a bond, and usually we think alike and we are always on the same frequency.

EVENT

Vada Patrice

Harmonic convergence Pitch HER Perfect’s Rhythm and Flow brings music and poetry to The Paramount Room. By Jeremy Martin

Annisia Anderson and Vada Patrice met singing backup for other artists, but as the duo Pitch HER Perfect, they’ve taken center stage. “We’ve been in music all of our lives, starting out in church, of course,” Patrice said. “I’ve been behind the scenes for a long time. I’m a songwriter as well, so I’ve written songs for different local artists and did the background for some of the artists that I was writing songs for, and it just kind of went from there. Annisia kind of has a similar background, and we have a lot of mutual friends. The musical network in Oklahoma City isn’t that big, so we would just run into each other all the time, and we ended up singing background for some of the same people. And we just had a bond. … With our chemistry as people, we became good friends and we became sisters, and it just really grew from there.” Pitch HER Perfect performs 9 p.m. Feb. 21 at The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., as part of Rhythm and Flow, a showcase also featuring spokenword artists Glenjamin the Great, Joanna Reich and Miss Vee. Anderson and Patrice began singing as a duo seven years ago after Patrice 26

F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M

performed at an open-mic night at Tree Lounge, 203 NE 36th St. When she was offered a gig at the mic, she knew who she wanted onstage with her. “The first person that came to my mind was Annisia, and so I hit her up,” Patrice said. “She was already kind of doing her own thing anyway as an individual artist. And we just tried it out, you know, just kind of for fun, and it just developed into something naturally. That’s what birthed Pitch HER Perfect; we started out, really, at an open mic, and a lot of the venues would come and scout us out and hear us, and they all wanted to book us.” They knew they had something special. “We decided to go ahead with the sister bond we had and form a group,” Anderson said, “and we’ve been singing for seven years, ever since then.” Together, they decided to step into the spotlight. “We both actually got the same vision at the same time, to come forward as the lead singer, and we had a conversation about it one night,” Patrice said. An alternating “group of guys” forms their backing band. The duo plans to release an EP later this year. Though

Pitch HER Perfect performs 9 p.m. Feb. 21 at The Paramount Room. | Photo provided

Anderson and Patrice are both songwriters, they often perform new arrangements of other people’s songs onstage, so writing material for an original album has been a challenge. “Because we were doing mainly cover songs, it’s taken some time to find our sound, that would be signature for Pitch HER Perfect,” Patrice said. “That’s really what we’ve been focused on. That’s why we’ve both dedicated our time to really just Pitch HER Perfect right now instead of working with some of the other artists because sometimes it will get confusing if you’re working on so many different projects at once.” Harmonizing, however, still feels as natural as it always has. “We have such a bond, and usually we think alike and we are always on the same frequency,” Patrice said. “Both of us can sing soprano, alto or tenor. If I had to describe our vocals, I would say I have more of a melodic, airy, softer tone and Annisia has a very strong—” Patrice paused at this point in the phone interview to confer with Anderson. “Would you say raspy? Not really raspy. She has a very, strong, soulful tone, and it just works. … We know what song will be better for the other person,” she said. Anderson added, “Also, we work on our blending when we’re singing together, so it’s not one more or the other. We’re kind of just on the same wavelength so one doesn’t out-power the other.” Tuning to this wavelength, Patrice said, goes beyond harmonizing.

In addition to a signature sound, Patrice and Anderson want their music to have a purpose that sets it apart. “We strive to create feel-good music with a positive message because it’s just kind of crazy out here in the world right now, and they don’t need another artist just to talk about money, clothes, cars,” Patrice said. “They need another artist out here just talking about what’s going on, what’s real — and love, too. We always end up singing songs about love for some reason. But we both have big hearts, and we both want to create a positive atmosphere so people would come and listen to music and just relax and let go because we believe music is therapy. A lot of people feel better after listening to music. It can heal certain mental problems. We just want to do our part and live our dreams because I think music has always been a part of our lives. ... We’ve always had music in our lives, so it’s kind of awesome to do something bigger and really start writing music that will just change things.” Anderson added, “And inspire people. We sing from the heart, and we perform, truly, from the heart.” Tickets are $10-$15. Call 405-5326376 or visit theparamountroom.com. Follow Pitch HER Perfect on Instagram @pitchherperfect.

Pitch HER Perfect presents Rhythm and Flow 9 p.m. Feb. 21 The Paramount Room 701 W. Sheridan Ave. theparamountroom.com | 405-532-6376 $10-$15


LIVE MUSIC

Oklahoma Community Orchestra PRESENTS

A Children’s Concert

Sunday,

February 16TH

3:00pm FEATURING...

Chat Pile “I think this show is unique,” wrote Chat Pile bassist Austin Tackett in an email, “in that it collects OKC’s most prominent art-metal weirdo bands all on one bill.” In addition to Chat Pile, which released 27 of the most misanthropic musical minutes of 2019, the show features aptly named W/OE (short for “Without Empathy”) and Yew, whose demented folk metal will almost seem like a respite in comparison. Earplugs are a must, in other words. It might get loud 10 p.m. Saturday at Drunken Fry, 1201 N. Western Ave. Admission is $5, and guests must be at least 21 years old to attend. Visit facebook.com/drunkenfryokc. SATURDAY Photo provided

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

THURSDAY, FEB. 13 Brother Moses, Ponyboy. ROCK Grace Potter, The Jones Assembly. SINGER/ SONGWRITER

Hot House Band, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. JAZZ Shelly Phelps & Dylan Nagode, Jazmo’z Bourbon St. Café. ACOUSTIC Trip G/Nayborhood Barbie/D. Wright, The Queen Lounge. HIP-HOP

Motherfolk, Ponyboy. ROCK Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol/KLAMZ/Psychotic Reaction, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK

TUESDAY, FEB. 18 Country Clique, Friends Restaurant & Club. COUNTRY Jauz/Habstrakt/Tynan, OKC Farmers Market. ELECTRONIC Kyle Reid, Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails. SINGER/

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19

Casey & Minna, Full Circle Bookstore. FOLK

Amarillo Junction, JJ’s Alley Bricktown Pub.

Bottom of the Barrel, Stockyards Central. AMERICANA

Christin Pearson, Saints. JAZZ

ACOUSTIC

Amon & The Creatures/Death by Knowledge/DIVA, The Deli. ROCK Elizabeth Speegle Band, The R & J Lounge and Supper Club. JAZZ John Carlton & Kyle Reid, The Winston. SINGER/ SONGWRITER

Spite/Varials/Orthodox, 89th Street-OKC. HARDCORE

DJ Navi, Bison Witches Bar & Deli. ELECTRONIC Howard Brady, Full Circle Bookstore. SINGER/ SONGWRITER

Index Paradox/Revolution X, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK Jarvix & Elecktra, Bluebonnet Bar. ROCK/POP

SUNDAY, FEB. 16 Hosty, The Deli. ROCK Jessica Tate, Full Circle Bookstore. JAZZ

E OkOrchestra

Michael Angelo Batio, Oklahoma City Limits. METAL

Brian Lynn Jones & the Misfit Cowboys, Remington Park. COUNTRY

SATURDAY, FEB. 15

National Endowment for the Arts

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

Star Parks, Ponyboy. POP

Jon Wolfe, Diamond Ballroom. COUNTRY

SUPPORT HAS BEEN PROVIDED, IN PART, BY

The Fulton Ansley Project, Red Brick Bar. ROCK

FRIDAY, FEB. 14

COUNTRY

$15 @ the Door (children 12 and under are admitted free)

SONGWRITER

Granger Smith/Earl Dibbles Jr., The Criterion.

www.okorchestra.org

Terry “Buffalo” Ware/The Shambles/John Fullbright, Main Street Event Center. AMERICANA

The Aints, The Deli. AMERICANA

Van Darien/Indianola, The Deli. AMERICANA

$12.50 in Advance @

JAZZ

MONDAY, FEB. 17

SONGWRITER

TICKETS

Metro Jazz Collective, Othello’s Italian Restaurant.

Amarillo Junction, JJ’s Alley Bricktown Pub. John Carlton & Kyle Reid, The Winston. SINGER/

OCCC Visual & Performing Arts Center 7777 S. MAY AVE | OKC

MC Lars/Schaffer the Darklord/ S. Ready, 89th Street-OKC. HIP-HOP

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12 ACOUSTIC

Sugar Free All Stars

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

GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS!

Phil Keaggy

Friday, Feb. 14, 7 p.m.

Edgar Cruz with Red Dirt Rangers Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7:30 p.m.

Jazz Combos Concerts Wednesday–Thursday, Feb. 19–20, 7 p.m.

The Groove Merchants Friday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m.

Jeremy Thomas

Saturday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m.

George Winston

Sunday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.

Afro Bop Alliance Big Band Monday, Feb. 24 7:30 p.m.

The Civilized Tribe Dixieland Band Tuersday, Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.

Wise Guys

Grammy Award-Winning Artist:

Old Bulldog Band

Saturday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m.

Ashley Cleveland

Saturday, Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit www.ucojazzlab.com or call 405-974-2100. 100 E 5th St, Edmond, 73034 O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0

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F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M


THE HIGH CULTURE

Cannabis patients and fight fans flooded OKC Farmers Public Market on Saturday night for the sold-out debut of Buds and Brawls. The event was at capacity with 1,200 tickets sold, organizer Chase O’Grady said. “I never would have pictured that we would have had to turn away 300 people, that there was that level of excitement,” he said. The crowd was standing-room-only around the ring in the center of the venue, while there was steady traffic in the balcony, which is the only area cannabis consumption was allowed. Fortunately, the design of the venue provided those hanging out in the smoking section with an equally impressive view. In addition to growers, processors, dispensary owners and other industry leaders filling the venue, some local sports icons like champion boxer Sean O’Grady and BMX legend Mat Hoffman were in attendance. Oklahoma Gazette and Extract sponsored fighter Thane Zulkoski, whose match became an unscored exhibition after his opponent dropped out of the contest during the medical clearance. Instead, he fought friend Matt Guymon, whose opponent dropped out during the

weigh-ins. Zulkoski said it was the largest audience he had fought before in his career. He took the fight on five days notice. “Fighting in front of 20 people or 2,000 people, it’s an experience that 90 percent of the world doesn’t get. … I was honestly shocked at the size of the crowd,” Zulkoski said. “I was thinking I’d go out there and there’d be 200, 300 people, but there were 500 people sitting to the right side of the ring. There were people standing because there were no seats.” Zulkoski said he supports the use of cannabis and that this was the “most mellow and relaxed crowd” he had encountered and it was the first event he has fought in where they were not any scuffles in the crowd. “I’m a huge proponent of medical marijuana, even recreational. I support that 100 percent just because of everything it can do,” he said. “I’m not a fan of big pharma. I’m actually completely against big pharma. I hate pushing pills on people, and with all this opioid addiction and everything like that, if weed cures it, just fucking legalize it.” Buds and Brawls returns to OKC Farmers Public Market for the Spring Showdown on May 9. Bryon “Squirrelly” Harmon and Phillip Rose boxed in the main event at Buds and Brawls on Feb. 8. | Photos Phillip Danner O KG A Z E T T E . C O M | F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0

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THE HIGH CULTURE

THE AUTHENTIC VOICES TOUR | February 15 LOST DOG STREET BAND | February 20 DWEEZIL ZAPPA | February 28 ROME & DUDDY | February 29 PUP | March 2 KAMASI WASHINGTON | March 7 RAUL MALO | March 12 SHINYRIBS | March 13 MT. JOY | March 15 AMANDA SHIRES | March 21 KILLER QUEEN | March 25 TICKETS & INFO AT TOWERTHEATREOKC.COM @TOWERTHEATREOKC 405-70-TOWER | 425 NW 23rd Street | Oklahoma City

2.13 BROTHER MOSES 2.14 MOCHATEA PODCAST LIVE - VALENTINE’S DAY 2.17 MOTHERFOLK 2.18 STAR PARKS with Lacey Elaine Dillard 2.19 An evevning with DRIVIN N CRYIN 2.20 VINTAGE PISTOL 2.26 STEVE with Noah Engh 2.29 SAINTSENECA with Mad Honey 3.2 JACK BROADBENT 3.5 ROOTS OF THOUGHT with Twigs & Swimfan 3.8 IGOR AND THE RED ELVISES with Klamz 3.10 THE HAPPY FITS 3.11 DEAD HORSES with Ken Pomeroy 3.12 JOHN ROBERT KIRK WWW.PONYBOYOKC.COM @ponyboyokc #StayGoldOKC 30

F E B R U A R Y 1 2 , 2 0 2 0 | O KG A Z E T T E . C O M

CANNABIS

KELLER WILLIAMS | March 14

Peaceable assembly

A large group of Oklahoma cannabis advocates met with lawmakers and other policymakers at the March on the Capitol 2020. By Matt Dinger

Medical cannabis advocates and patients marched to the Capitol last Thursday, meeting with legislators and sharing stories of their successes since State Question 788 was passed. About 200 people met on the south side of the building before gathering in the second-floor rotunda. There was a steady stream of speakers in both morning and afternoon sessions. Among them were politicians, activists and patients. “We’re really trying to be open and receptive to information that we get from the industry, people that have been in this process and people that know and are affected by it, so please allow us to kind of work with you,” Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) director Travis Kirkpatrick said. He had been serving as the interim director after Adrienne Rollins left the agency. He was recently named as director. “I appreciate the opportunity to come into this as a bureaucrat, someone that comes in that’s really just trying to have a service-oriented kind of SEE approach: service, effectiveness and efficiency. … We may not always agree, but we can always agree that we’re going to be transparent, communicative and assist whenever we can,” Kirkpatrick said. Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, also spoke to the gatherers. He was recently named assistant floor leader of the state House of Representatives. “Not everybody agrees with you. That’s just a fact. We have as many people bending our ears on the opposite side of

the issue on any given issue at any given time, and we have to weigh out what we feel is best for the safety and the state of Oklahoma,” Fetgatter said. “We base that on the feedback we receive from people like yourselves.” A man interrupted Fetgatter with a statement about the “57 percent,” a reference to the percentage of voters who turned out to vote on SQ788 that voted in favor of the initiative.

We may not always agree, but we can always agree that we’re going to be transparent, communicative and assist whenever we can. Travis Kirkpatrick “I get the 57 percent and, look, if you know me well enough, you know you just get the straight, blunt answer,” Fetgatter said. “The 57 percent of people that voted in that election, yes, but it wasn’t 57 percent of all the people in the state of Oklahoma, so you have people on both sides. That’s all I’m saying. So go to your representatives and please go see your senators.” He said he thinks there are about a dozen bills that have been filed for this legislative session that are “pro-patient and pro-business” for the medical cannabis community.


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Among these are bills are two that Fetgatter has authored that would modify the state’s DUI laws where cannabis is concerned and allow dispensaries to grind and roll cannabis instead of requiring a processor license. Fetgatter also said shell bills will also allow for home delivery, bestowing reciprocal rights on cannabis patients from other states and remediation, which would allow contaminants to be stripped from cannabis and the resulting products could be sold if they passed further testing. Other bills would benefit hemp manufacturing and processing in the state, which was made legal in Oklahoma prior to SQ788 and was federally legalized in December 2018.

Patient testimonials

After breaking for lunch and meetings with their individual senators and representatives, they reconvened in the rotunda for another round of speeches, which were primarily patient testimonials about how access to medical cannabis had changed their lives. Teresa Grossnicklaus opened the afternoon session. She said she suffered from a genetic hepatic disease. “The thing about liver disease and my liver disease is that I struggle to metabolize medications, so when you’re given medications that you can’t metabolize, it just makes you sicker and sicker,” she said. “When I started with the cannabis, it was within the first year that my enzymes had dropped more than 200 points. Right now, almost six years later, my enzymes are at 10 and 15, so I’m healthier than probably most of you. … I changed my life, and I see a lot of patients every single day that are doing the same thing. They’re changing their quality of life. … I’m seeing elderly patients now cut their medication more than in half. I’m seeing children with seizures no longer needing the majority or none of their medications. I’m seeing people with PTSD dealing with their issues. I’m seeing people with depression figuring out their own way, and it isn’t just about cannabis. It’s about us taking control of our bodies. It’s about us deciding the best choice and how to treat ourselves because at the end of the day, we’re

Feb. 20, cannabis advocates spent the day talking with lawmakers, making speeches and listening to patient testimonials at the March on the Capitol. | image Bigstock.com

the ones living in this body.” Jack Caywood, a student and juvenile cannabis patient from Henryetta, also told his story of dealing with ADHD and anxiety among other ailments. It was his first time to speak publicly, though he has formed a group, Young Weediez, to help educate people about medicinal cannabis use for minors. “I have ADHD and chiari malformation and dyslexia, and I’ve never really been good at reading. Since I’ve started medicating with cannabis, my test scores have went up two grade levels. ... My mom would have to come get me from school and then take me back to our house so I could medicate there, and so we talked to our principal and she talked to the school district, and then after a long battle, I get to medicate at school now,” he said. Jack said he uses flower and tincture and edibles to curb the aforementioned issues as well as anxiety and anger issues. His mother, Lori Sisson, brought his test results with him for people to review. “From about third grade until seventh grade, he scored from a 2.2 to a 3.2 on his reading tests. The 3.2 was taken in 2018, and then in 2019, after he started medicating, he scored a 6.6,” she said. The event was rounded out with a speech by Chip Paul. He is the founder of Oklahomans for Health and was a key figure in writing SQ788, getting it on the ballot and the efforts to ensure it passed at the ballot. Paul pointed out that due to its lack of qualifying conditions, Oklahoma is the only state with more than 6 percent of its population participating in the medical cannabis program. “Do you know how many states have 5 percent? Zero. Do you know how many states have 4 percent? Zero. Do you know how many states have 3 percent? Three. It ain’t many,” Paul said. “We’re in a unique position. We have a beautiful, wonderful program. We need to protect it.”

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A HEART-HEALTHY DESSERT? LOVE AT FIRST BITE.

TOKE BOARD

THC

Chocolate Cherry Heart-Smart Cookies INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spoon flours into measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk.

- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour - 1 1/2 cups rolled oats - 1 teaspoon baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon salt - 6 tablespoons unsalted butter - 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar - 1 cup dried cherries - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract - 1 large egg, lightly beaten - 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat. Add brown sugar; stir until smooth. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed until well blended. Add cherries, vanilla, and egg; beat until combined. Fold in chocolate.

PATIENTS Applications Received:

268,201

Applications Approved:

GROWERS

258,604

Applications Approved:

Drop dough onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray, two inches apart. Bake at 350° F for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm, then cool on wire racks.

Find more heart-healthy recipes and physical activity ideas at:

DISPENSARIES

2,302

Applications Approved:

5,704

CONSUMERS Natural person or entity in whose name a cannabis license would be issued

DISPENSARIES

Allows the entity to purchase medical cannabis from a processor licensee or grower licensee and sell medical cannabis only to qualified patients, or their parents or legal guardian(s) if applicable, and caregivers

GROWERS

allows the entity togrow, harvest, and package medical cannabis for the purpose of selling medical cannabis to a dispensary, processor, or researcher

FLOWER REVIEW

Cannabis effects vary wildly from patient to patient based on a multitude of factors, including THC tolerance, brain chemistry and personal taste. This review is based on the subjective experience of one patient. Strain name: Slurri Punch Grown by: Pure Exotics Acquired from: Gaia’s Favor Date acquired: Feb. 6 THC/CBD percentages: 27.6 percent/.19 percent (per Highgrade Labs) Physical traits: light green and purple with small bright orange stigmas and dense trichomes

purple and orange, but the flavor was particularly sweet and only became moreso with each hit. By the latter half of the bowl, each draw remained smooth on the throat and lungs but tasted more and more ... well, purple. (Some of you know know I’m talking about, and the rest will understand once you hit this cultivar.) The high definitely had a Slurricane feel with the easiness that goes with a Purple Punch. This one made me feel good and lifted but also relaxed without being sleepy, another reason Purple Punch and its offshoots are an around-the-clock go-to strain.

Bouquet: sweet with a touch of gas Review: It’s no secret that I have been on a Purple Punch kick this winter, but the Rooted Zen pheno pack last month was my first taste of Slurricane. The next day, Shawn Carson at Gaia’s Favor texted me to let me know he had just gotten his hands on several new strains he was excited about, and this was one of them, a cross between the aforementioned. It definitely looks like a Purple Punch with its sandy sheen of trichomes with equal amounts of green, Slurri Punch | Photo Phillip Danner

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY Homework: Want to get married to yourself ? The ritual’s here: https://tinyurl.com/ YouCanMarryYourself ARIES (March 21-April 19)

Now that she’s in her late forties, Aries comedian and actress Tig Notaro is wiser about love. Her increased capacity for romantic happiness has developed in part because she’s been willing to change her attitudes. She says, “Instead of being someone who expects people to have all the strengths I think I need them to have, I resolved to try to become someone who focuses on the strengths they do have.” In accordance with this Valentine’s season’s astrological omens, Aries, I invite you to meditate on how you might cultivate more of that aptitude yourself.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

Taurus artist Joan Miró loved to daub colored paint on canvases. He said he approached his work in the same way he made love: “a total embrace, without caution, prudence thrown to the winds, nothing held back.” In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to invoke a similar attitude with all the important things you do in the coming weeks. Summon the ardor and artistry of a creative lover for all-purpose use. Happy Valentine Daze, Taurus!

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

In 1910, Gemini businessman Irving Seery was 20 years old. One evening he traveled to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to see an opera starring the gorgeous and electrifying soprano singer Maria Jeritza. He fell in love instantly. For the next thirty-eight years he remained a bachelor as he nursed his desire to marry her. His devotion finally paid off. Jeritza married Seery in 1948. Dear Gemini, in 2020, I think you will be capable of a heroic feat of love that resembles Seery’s. Which of your yearnings might evoke such intensely passionate dedication? Happy Valentine Daze! CANCER (June 21-July 22) I’ve been married twice, both times to the same woman. Our first time around, we were less than perfectly wise in the arts of relationship. After our divorce and during

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the few years we weren’t together, we each ripened into more graceful versions of ourselves; we developed greater intimacy skills. Our second marriage has been far more successful. Is there a comparable possibility in your life, Cancerian? A chance to enhance your ability to build satisfying togetherness? An opening to learn practical lessons from past romantic mistakes? Now is a favorable time to capitalize. Happy Valentine Daze!

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

In 1911, the famous Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and the famous Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani were in love with each other. Both were quite poor, though. They didn’t have much to spend on luxuries. In her memoir, Akhmatova recalled the time they went on a date in the rain at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Barely protected under a rickety umbrella, they amused each other by reciting the verse of Paul Verlaine, a poet they both loved. Isn’t that romantic? In the coming weeks, I recommend you experiment with comparable approaches to cultivating love. Get back to raw basics. Happy Valentine Daze!

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

[Warning: Poetry alert! If you prefer your horoscopes to be exclusively composed of practical, hyper-rational advice, stop reading now!] Happy Valentine Daze, Virgo! I hope there’s someone in your life to whom you can give a note like the one I’ll offer at the end of this oracle. If there’s not, I trust you will locate that person in the next six months. Feel free to alter the note as you see fit. Here it is. “When you and I are together, it’s as if we have been reborn into luckier lives; as if we can breathe deeper breaths that fill our bodies with richer sunlight; as if we see all of the world’s beauty that alone we were blind to; as if the secrets of our souls’ codes are no longer secret.”

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

In the course of your life, how many people and animals have truly loved you? Three? Seven? More? I invite you to try this Valentine experiment: Write down their names on a piece of paper. Spend a few minutes visualizing the specific qualities in you that they cherished, and how they expressed their love, and how you felt as you received

their caring attention. Then send out a beam of gratitude to each of them. Honor them with sublime appreciation for having treasured your unique beauty. Amazingly enough, Libra, doing this exercise will magnetize you to further outpourings of love in the coming weeks.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

[Warning: Poetry alert! If you prefer your horoscopes to be exclusively composed of practical, hyper-rational advice, stop reading now!] Happy Valentine Daze, Scorpio! I invite you to copy the following passage and offer it to a person who is receptive to deepening their connection with you. “Your healing eyes bless the winter jasmine flowers that the breeze blew into the misty creek. Your welcoming prayers celebrate the rhythmic light of the mud-loving cypress trees. Your fresh dreams replenish the eternal salt that nourishes our beloved song of songs. With your melodic breath, you pour all these not-yet-remembered joys into my body.” (This lyrical message is a blend of my words with those of Scorpio poet Odysseus Elytis.)

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

The poet Virgil, a renowned author in ancient Rome, wrote three epic poems that are still in print today. His second was a masterpiece called the Georgics. It took him seven years to write, even though it was only 2,740 lines long. So on average he wrote a little over one line per day. I hope you’ll use him as inspiration as you toil over your own labors of love in the coming weeks and months. There’ll be no need to rush. In fact, the final outcomes will be better if you do them slowly. Be especially diligent and deliberate in all matters involving intimacy and collaboration and togetherness.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

[Warning: Poetry alert! If you prefer your horoscopes to be exclusively composed of practical, hyper-rational advice, stop reading now!] Happy Valentine Daze, Capricorn! I invite you to copy the following passage and offer it to a person who is ready to explore a more deeply lyrical connection with you. “I yearn to earn the right to your whispered laugh, your confident caress, your inscrutable dance. Amused and curious, I wander where

moon meets dawn, inhaling the sweet mist in quest of your questions. I study the joy that my imagination of you has awakened. All the maps are useless, and I like them that way. I’m guided by my nervous excitement to know you deeper. Onward toward the ever-fresh truth of your mysterious rhythms!”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Aquarian author Derek Walcott had a perspective on love that I suspect might come in handy for you during this Valentine season. “Break a vase,” he wrote, “and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.” I urge you to meditate on how you could apply his counsel to your own love story, Aquarius. How might you remake your closest alliances into even better and brighter versions of themselves?

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

Piscean poet Saul Williams wrote a meditation I hope you’ll consider experimenting with this Valentine season. It involves transforming mere kisses into SUBLIME KISSES. If you choose to be inspired by his thoughts, you’ll explore new sensations and meanings available through the act of joining your mouth to another’s. Ready? Here’s Saul: “Have you ever lost yourself in a kiss? I mean pure psychedelic inebriation. Not just lustful petting but transcendental metamorphosis, when you became aware that the greatness of this other being is breathing into you. Licking your mouth, like sealing a thousand fleshy envelopes filled with the essence of your passionate being, and then opened by the same mouth and delivered back to you, over and over again—the first kiss of the rest of your life.”

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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Freedom of speech to the unchained mind Three-fifths a human being to the untrained eye Negroes with a purpose Rise above the surface I’m looking for a come up Cuz you know they trynna hold my people down They don’t want to see us come up They only want to see us in the ground Gentrifying hoods We the target They can’t erase what Malcolm X was to Harlem You can’t take what Clara Luper is to me Using Ellison’s name to mark your streets Be Black Be bold Forbidden to be both Overcome the odds in this city you need hope I get excited about the days to come Even if my day is done The lord giveth The lord taketh I had an amazing run - Jabee -

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