Coffee Cold

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3 OKGAZETTE.COM | NOVEMBER 30, 2022 VOL. XLIV NO. 24 EDITOR & PUBLISHER Matt Dinger | ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kelsey Lowe | CREATIVE DIRECTOR Berlin Green | ADVERTISING 405-528-6000 CIRCULATION MANAGER Patrick Hanscom | CONTRIBUTORS Jerry Bennett Brett Fieldcamp Kenda Michal Johnson Adrienne Proctor Alan Sculley INSIDE COVER As Oklahoma oscillates between temper ate and frigid, we focus on local spots to drop in and get a hot cup. Cover by Berlin Green NEWS 5 Citizen Spotlight: Tim Herbel 6 988Oklahoma 8 Chicken Fried News EAT & DRINK 11 COVER STORY Coffee shops 17 COVER STORY Spiked. Coffee 18 Gazedibles 20 Winter beers ARTS & CULTURE 22 Drunk Classics 23 OKG picks MUSIC 28 Rainbow Kitten Surprise 28 Bartees Strange 30 Trans-Siberian Orchestra 33 Live music THE HIGH CULTURE 34 Strain reviews FUN 34 Astrology 35 Puzzles sudoku | crossword TORI RUFFIN TORI RUFFIN NOW PLAYING WATCHPLAYITLOUD.COM GRANDBOXOFFICE.COM I-40 EXIT 178 | SHAWNEE, OK | 405-964-7263
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Tim Herbel

Tim Herbel is a man who keeps his promises, and making good on one led him on a path he could never have imagined.

“I’ve had three chapters of life. Chapter one, I had it all planned out, went through a divorce. Closed that chapter and did financial services. And at the end of that, I started dating a cardiologist and we went into business together. I was a finan cial planner. She had her day job, I had mine,” Herbel said.

“We got into coffee in a round about way by buying the Full Cup in Edmond. It was Edmond’s number one donut store. We were putting bacon on donuts before Hurts was around, and carried high-end coffee out of Portland. We were the first in town to use a U.S. roasting champion. Developed a relationship with Topeka. We both still had day jobs but by the time that chapter ended, I’d gotten into roasting. I started sup plying coffee shops and doing fund raising through coffee. A blend of our coffee was called Not Your Average Joe. Every time we sold that blend, we would give the proceeds to umpteen charities. Everything from charities helping grandparents raise their grandkids, to charities helping with mental illness, to those helping soldiers after returning from tours of duty and those helping special needs constituents.”

It wasn’t long before Herbel found himself the steward of another coffee shop. Over the years, he had cultivated a relationship with the team at Hank’s Coffee. When the owner approached him about the impending sale, his nephew, Braxton, came to mind. Born with cerebral palsy and hydrocepha lus, he passed at age 11, but not before Tim made him a promise.

“I would always tell Braxton, ‘Hey, if Uncle Tim could ever fight for inclu sion, I’m gonna do that,’” Herbel said. “Then Marty’s like ‘maybe it’s about time you make good on that promise.’ Long story short, Marty donated Hanks and we made Not Your Average Joe. We went and filed our 501(c)(3) and put together a nationwide board and we said we’re going all in. We’re gonna hire adults with special needs and we’ll see what happens.”

Not Your Average Joe opened its Midtown lo cation Jan. 1, 2019, of fering patrons freshly roasted coffee, gourmet bakery items and savory sandwiches.

“We grew 42 percent in the first 14 months, and then COVID came,” Herbel said. “We grew 11 percent during the pan demic and then last year we opened four new stores.

Herbel wasn’t surprised.

“These people are capable. I mean, you need Danielle’s per sonality at the front desk of every public school,” Herbel said with a laugh. “No offense, but versus those that are there yet seem to be grumpy and grouchy and just want you out of their hair, Danielle is warm and welcoming. She’s the hostess with the mostess and she’s been here since day one. We printed a report on longevity. I’m the longest em ployee here, then Danielle, but when you hire special needs people, they don’t leave,” he said.

Herbel and his team now spend a lot of time teaching the importance of inclusion and sharing their stories with other local businesses, schools and organizations.

The coffee shop concept allows parents who often forgo their own ambitions to focus on their children, to return to their careers or simply some autonomy.

“Jennifer, a degreed structural en gineer from the School of Architecture at Oklahoma State University, goes out kicks booty professionally, then her youngest daughter is diagnosed with Down. What do you do? Stay home, take care of your child and provide resources. Not Your Average Joe decades later hires her daughter.

She’s gainfully em ployed now. Before, Jennifer couldn’t get a massage and go shopping or go to work,” Herbel said.

Those hired at NYAJ are affec tionately referred to as “friends,” and their jobs are tailored to their unique gifts.

Credentialed em ployees with a history of working with people with special needs are also hired to help each friend thrive in their unique position.

“We hire those with Down Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, the blind, the deaf, those with traumat ic brain injuries. One of our employ ees at Broken Arrow had a nail in his head … Different people respond differently to different things and so everybody’s needs are different and everybody’s gifts are different,” Herbel said.

Tim has big plans for the future. A new shop is in the works for the downtown Metropolitan Library and fundraising is already underway to renovate and prepare the location. He hopes to have programs in high schools and shops in cities across the country paving the way for more ac ceptance and inclusion.

“We’ve been invited to Estes Park, San Diego, Omaha, Albuquerque, Little Rock, Boston, Harlem, and the list goes on. We hope to make some inroads and create inclusion for people of all abilities. People often ask us what it takes to open a store and I tell them — 25 families to serve

as a launch team and 25 organiza tions businesses, churches, other nonprofits, groups that are going to be a center of influence in the com munity and send customers as well as employees, and then we need to find a quarter-million dollars. We started this on a dime and we’re not here to feed somebody’s 401k or any thing like that, so everything that comes in goes to the store and its staff and to hire credentialed employees,” Herbel said.

Tim hopes to see attitudes con tinue to change and more opportuni ties come available to those with special needs and he’s proud to be a part of the shift.

“For those of us that are older, back in the day, special needs stu dents weren’t mainstreamed in the classroom. They were segregated and there was maybe their own building, their own room. The neurotypical didn’t know how to respond to neu rodiverse. We were afraid of it. Made fun of it. We know what to do with it. And you know, people are saying, ‘Oh, I’m so grateful for what you do for them.’ It’s our lives that are changed. Bennett can jump and hit the ceiling—he’s like Tigger. He’s 26, this is his first job and he’s coming up on one year here. He has every episode of Thomas the Tank Engine and Scooby Doo memorized, and that’s where he’s at. Danielle wants to go get certificates for photography and public speaking. Everybody’s differently-abled and it’s truly a joy to get to know them and work along side them.”

To learn more about Not Your Average Joe, visit

MAKING GOOD ON A PROMISE, TIM HERBEL OPENED NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE TO CREATE AN INCLUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT WHERE THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS AND THEIR FAMILIES CAN PROSPER AND GROW. Above from left to right: Fernando Acuna, David Manning, Jennifer Robinson (back), Danielle Robinson (front), DeWayne (Bubba) Greenhoward and Tim Herbel. Left, a s’more latte and blueberry scone. | Photo by Berlin Green

Help at hand


Late nights saturated in sadness, struggling through the first holiday season after the loss of a family member, frozen by unnamed fears— mental health doesn’t have to reach a crisis point before it receives proper care and support.

“Whether it be, you know, two o’clock in the morning and you’re sad and blue, or you’re in a crisis situation and need some further intervention, 988 is for everybody, everybody to call out and reach out, and we hope that people reach out sooner than later,” Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) Chief Communications Officer Heath Hayes said.

988 is the new national mental health hotline that launched in July, and its rollout in Oklahoma has become part of a multi-part initiative to improve mental health care throughout the state.

“We’re seizing the opportunity of the simplicity of a three digit number and a coordination of an entire network that we’ve been building,” Hayes said.

This new Comprehensive Crisis Response program includes the 988 hotline, as well as mobile crisis teams, transportation, urgent recovery and crisis centers and in-patient care.

On the national level, 988 is replac ing the former, 1-800-273-TALK suicide prevention lifeline, which, Hayes said, now forwards to the new 988 number.

While the former system primar ily geared toward suicide prevention, the scope of the new 988Oklahoma program is much broader.

As of Nov. 21, only about 23 percent of calls to the 988 number are related to suicide or self-harm concerns, ac cording to Solari Crisis and Human Services’ OK Public Dashboard.

Solari is a non-profit selected to partner with ODMHSAS to coordi nate 988 in Oklahoma, including by operating the call center. Examples of other reasons that Solari’s OK Public Dashboard lists for calls include “coordination of care,” “de pression,” “anxiety,” “domestic vio lence,” and “substance abuse.”

For the majority of individuals who call 988, the phone call itself is what

they needed.

“What we have found so far is that 92 percent of the people who call, as we’ve been doing about four months now, that’s all they need is that interac tion over the phone, they just need somebody to talk to for that moment of crisis or that moment of uncertain ty or emotional distress,” Hayes said.

What to expect when calling 988

When someone calls the hotline, they can expect to be connected with a real person on the other end, with calls being answered in an average of 11 seconds, according to OK Public Dashboard.

The 988 program is fully funded through federal and state funding at this time, so there’s no worry of po tentially receiving a medical bill for calling, Hayes said.

For those who hate calls more than a trip to the dentist, 988 also takes text messages.

“Whether you’re calling or texting, the call is going to be answered quickly by a real person on the other end. The information you provide is private and confidential,” Solari President and CEO Justin Chase said.

Callers can expect to be asked about basic information and about their safety, he said.

“We are going to ask some ques tions to assess for safety just to make sure that you’re in a safe situation,” Chase said. “And if you’re not, we will help coordinate to ensure that we’re able to help partner with you to ensure your safety.”

“They can connect you with sameday or next-day treatment appoint ments if that’s what’s necessary, needed or wanted,” Hayes said.

For other calls, 988 may send out a mobile crisis team, which are mark edly different from a police or EMS unit response.

“Mobile crisis teams are somebody who is a mental health professional, and a peer recovery support special ist,” Hayes said. “A peer recovery support specialist is somebody who has lived experience with mental health or addiction, so the 988 call center dispatches those people out in a pair to provide a face-to-face inter


vention across the state.”

For those who need further care, “We may coordinate getting them into a facility base—whether that’s a crisis stabilization facility, detox resource if they’re in need of detoxification services for acute substance use,” Chase said.

In certain circumstances, the mobile crisis teams are able to provide transportation.

“Those mobile crisis teams—when it’s over 30 miles—can transport you, depending on the specific circum stances of the situation, can trans port you to the urgent recovery center, the crisis center, or the hos pital,” Hayes said.

The state has added ten new urgent recovery and crisis centers with plans to add 12 more by June, he said.

The instances where 911 becomes involved — emergency situations with an imminent risk of harm — make up approximately 1 percent of calls to 988 in Oklahoma, according to OK Public Dashboard.

“We do move calls between 988 over to 911,” Chase said, “And vice versa. We actually take far more calls from the 911 system into 988.”

DOJ announces investigation

The United States Department of Justice announced on Nov. 17 that it has opened an investigation to “examine whether Oklahoma fails to provide community-based mental health services to people in Oklahoma County, leading to unnecessary ad missions to psychiatric facilities and police contact. The investigation will also examine Oklahoma City’s

systems for responding to people ex periencing behavioral health crises, including through the 911 call center and OKCPD.”

ODMHSAS plans to cooperate with the investigation, Hayes said.

“Oklahoma is a national leader in the delivery of community-based mental health services,” he said. “In fact, the nation’s very first and second community mental health centers (COCMHC and Red Rock) were built in Oklahoma. Since that time, we have developed a statewide network of ser vices and community outreach pro grams to serve the needs of Oklahomans with mental illness which we believe is as good as any where in the nation.”

Meanwhile, 988 Oklahoma aims to address mental health needs through direct contact with mental health professionals.

“The 988 call system provides people immediate access to treatment services and helps divert crisis calls away from law enforcement,” Hayes said. “This has been an enormous success and the system has handled thousands of calls, with a 92 percent stabilization rate, meaning the indi vidual’s problems are resolved during the call without needing to go on to more acute care settings.”

Hayes said to call early, rather than waiting for a situation to worsen, before calling 988.

“Right now we see about 3,500 calls a month,” Hayes said. “We want to see 20,000 calls a month. We really want people to reach out earlier on in the process.”

Join Automobile Alley for the 7th annual holiday open house featuring shopping and festivities, pop-up programming, photos with Santa, and glowing light displays.

Artist Virginia Sitzes partnered with the 988 Mental Health Lifeline to reveal a mural at Equity Brewing in Norman in November. | Photo by Ãnna Frost, provided.

On Halloween night, Drew Stitt was forthright with Logan County deputies, informing him that he was intoxicated when they came to investigate a gun case taken from his vehicle while he was at Guthrie Haunts.

Unfortunately, Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux wasn’t as forthright in releasing this in formation to the public ahead of the Nov. 8 election. A Tulsa televi sion station broke the news two weeks later, after which the sheriff was more than eager to talk about

the case until the cows came home, but left out the part about how unhappy his deputy was for how the situation was being handled, of course.

Now, to be fair, Drew Stitt im mediately informed the deputy who his father was, so he seems to be miles ahead of Kevin in terms of honesty, even if his intention was to stay out of handcuffs. News of the incident likely wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the election, which can be described only as Republicans turned out to

“own the libs.”

In fairness, it seems like being the governor’s son might work against him in the long run, but requesting the governor’s execu tive security detail from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol come take possession of the weapons and then neither involved agency publicizing that information smacks of privilege, especially when Devereaux and the OHP go

way out of their way to self-ag grandize their agencies regularly.

But I guess we’d all better get used to the Oklahoma Double Standard. After all, Oklahomans overwhelmingly voted for it.

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The long and short of it is that he sought to make encampments illegal and greatly broaden what constitutes the crime of trespassing in the city. In other words, if getting them out of sight means putting them behind bars, then so be it.

Stonecipher represents Ward 8, which stretches north from Lake Hefner to as far as NW 206th Street and from west near the Canadian County line east to Edmond city limits. In other words, the part of the city that has to contend with home lessness issues least, so really, he’s just doubly an asshole to propose these ordinances.

Fortunately, the good people of Oklahoma City — whose hearts aren’t

as cold as the temperatures ahead — turned out en masse to oppose them and the city council voted unanimous ly to strike his cruel proposals.

“Today was a great exchange of ideas. We are all working hard on re solving the homeless issue in Oklahoma City, but at this time we need to keep discussing these issues among council and staff,” Stoneheart … errr … Stonecipher wrote in an email to The Oklahoman following the city council meeting.

“A great exchange of ideas” is char acterizing suggestions so repugnant that the city council chamber had an overflow section, but at least this one was universally rejected, unlike the 2015 panhandling ordinance that was

putting city taxpayers on the hook for more than $1 million in legal fees when it was struck down.

Good thing OKC didn’t need a million bucks for things like, say, helping house the homeless or get them

back on their feet, which is to say nothing of all the volunteer dollars worth of possessions that would have ended up in a landfill.

The elements
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to the Oklahoma
unhoused in winter, but not nearly as unkind as City Councillor and Vice Mayor Mark Stonecipher.
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Community centers

With a Starbucks or a Scooter’s on every corner these days, coffee culture is characterized by the on-the-go mentality, but the local coffee shop is the closest thing to an indoor public space apart from a library (there’s a reason so many roasters are paired with book stores, after all).

If you’re looking for a place to get some remote work done, study, read a book and generally just be in the company of your fellow human beings, there’s no substitute for the scent and flavor of freshly-brewed beans and Oklahoma City has no short age of shops with their own dis tinctive character.

Willow Coffee Co.

When Willow Coffee Co opened earlier this year in the former Leaf + Bean space in Deep Deuce, owner Hunter Gibbon didn’t make a lot of dramatic changes to the shop but invited local artist Kyndall Rainey to add some color with brightly painted flora.

“We bought the machine from Leaf + Bean as well as the tables, chairs and stuff but we already had all of our branding set and were looking for a location, so ul timately it was really good timing and it worked out,” Gibbon said. “It was a really smooth transition

for the most part. I know that they were closed for a little while, it was super hard with COVID and they never really bounced back from that.”

The shop has seen a lot of growth since it opened, but it has not been without its struggles.

“These late afternoons are still tough to get people in,” Gibbon said, “We just extended our hours from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. a couple of weeks ago and it’s been like a 50/50 coin flip on whether or not people are here.”

As he navigates the tides of

owning a coffee shop, Gibbon finds a strong sense of partner ship from other shop owners.

“We’ve found that the sense of community coffee shop owners here is really welcoming,” Gibbon said. “I thought I’d see a lot of rivalry between coffee shops but

Orange White Mocha Shaken Espresso, which features a re freshing blend of mocha sauce with housemade orange syrup and a doubleshot of espresso, shaken with ice and served with a candied orange.

“I’ve had people threaten to stop coming in if I take it off the menu.”


Caboose Coffee

Bookish opened along the northeastern corridor of down town in March, bringing an inti mate and comfortable space to browse a curated selection of sec ondhand books, enjoy open mic nights and community. The space wasn’t open long before owners Devon Wilson and Ty Gatewood started thinking about the pos sibilities of a coffee menu and Caboose Coffee soon opened in September.

it’s not been that way at all.”

Gibbon took great care when selecting the brands he would carry in the shop, se lecting varieties from Cirque Coffee in Tulsa and Messenger Coffee based in Kansas City. To satisfy the appetites of his hungry patrons, only the delicious pastries and other baked delicacies from Harvey Bakery could suffice.

A popular concoction that keeps people coming in is the

“I worked in retail for a long time and I wanted to open a sec ondhand store,” said Devon Wilson, co-owner of Bookish and Caboose Coffee. “I love fashion, but I feel like the vintage clothing market has become really over saturated the past few years. My friend Ty was already selling books online on Amazon, and he had a lot but Amazon only takes certain things. They have a strict criteria. He had all these books that he wanted to do something with and so we opened this store. When we first opened we only had the drip machine and we were just offering free coffee. Then we decided to make it a whole thing.”

Now Caboose Coffee partners with Sincerely Coffee Roasters to bring patrons delicious cappuc cinos, lattes and cold brews each

HERE ARE SOME SNAPSHOTS OF JUST A FEW OF THE WONDERFUL COFFEE SHOPS THAT GRACE OKLAHOMA CITY. S’More Cereal Latte, drip coffee and a breakfast burrito from Culture Coffee, (left) A customer orders at the counter of Culture Coffee (above) | Photo by Berlin Green Hunter Gibbon, owner of Willow Coffee. (left)The shops popular Orange White Mocha Shaken Espresso. (above) | Photos by Berlin Green

Perets Dessert & Coffee Bar

A visit to Film Row isn’t com plete without a stop to Perets. The elegant shop opened in January and fanfare soon followed. Follow the cheeky signs to the second floor of the historic Paramount Building and find a self-designat ed ‘late-night urban living room’ that offers a cozy and comfortable vintage-inspired vibe as well as an enticing assortment of sweet treats and delicious coffee.

Among their carefully crafted menu of gourmet coffee, special

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A Lavender Honey Latte and Turtle Affogato at Perets. | Photo by Berlin Green The Perets. | Photo by Berlin Green

ty lattes like the lavender honey and the blueberry offer guests a unique twist on traditional flavors. Here, rich Onyx Coffee espresso with notes of dark chocolate and berries is served with refreshing sparkling water for a perky pick-me-up.

While visitors can enjoy an amazing selection of coffee, loose-leaf tea and baked goods, Perets biggest draw is their sig nature affogatos. Available in flavors like Sopapilla for Mia and Chocolate Turtle, these treats pair locally made ice cream with madefrom-scratch toppings and a shot of hot espresso to pour over it.

A relaxing jazz soundtrack as well as the occasional live jazz night complement the already romantic ambiance, which ex plains why you might be in for a bit of a wait on the weekends. For those who want to enjoy the space without the amorous intentions, Perets offers later hours through out the week to accommodate long study sessions and after-office pleasantries.


Rise Cafe

Go to Rise Cafe for a delicious cup of coffee that makes a direct impact on the community. A project of the City Rescue Mission, Rise Cafe aims to break the cycle of homelessness by equipping in dividuals with the tools and train ing they need to change their lives.

The cafe opened last year and its bright and cheery atmosphere quickly made it a popular spot for small meetings and community gatherings.

The shop offers their own blends of Rise Coffee made with beans roasted by locally owned Eôté Coffee Roasters that are also available for purchase by the bag.

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Photo by Berlin Green

with s’mores cereal steeped in oat milk. It’s then added to espresso with a hint of mocha and served either hot or iced and topped with a toasted marsh mallow.

For those days when a sweet coffee just isn’t enough, delicious pastries from La Baguette might suffice but if you need something vegan, a delicacy from the Loaded Bowl is sure to do the trick.

Visit culture

The Red Cup

Beloved amongst locals and pos sibly one of our city’s best kept secrets is The Red Cup. Since 1995, this whimsical and creative cafe

has been serving up delicious fair trade coffee and creating a haven for the community to enjoy this vibrant and artsy communal space.

Whether you order a specialty latte, an espresso or a black and tan, the coffee is perfectly brewed,just

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Devon Wilson, co-owner of Caboose Coffee and Bookish. (above) Caboose Coffee sits inside Bookish. (right) | Photos by Berlin Green
The Red Cup. Photo by Berlin Green

the way you like it.

More than just coffee and pastries, you’ll find an impec cable vegan-based menu filled with breakfast dishes, pasta, burgers and much more. Those who aren’t plant-based don’t have to worry, as every dish is so flavorful you won’t even miss the meat, and there’s always an option to add dairy or eggs.

Take your coffee on the brightly colored open patio to enjoy a visit from The Red Cup’s self designated mascot, Coco the rooster.


Prelude Coffee Roasters

On the second floor of Oklahoma City’s first market hall retail center, 8th Street Market, you’ll find Prelude Coffee Roasters serving up fresh cups of their on-site roasted coffee that ranges from espresso to cold brew and a variety of single-origin hand-brewed coffees.

Prelude operates with a mission of education, not only about coffee but about the farms, growers and processes every bean goes through before it reaches your cup. Sourcing fair trade coffee from a variety of producers, they

They focus on quality and flavor, roasting with great in tention. Golden Year, named in

honor of local band, Husbands, carries the flavors of graham crack ers, brûléed sugar and pecan praline, intended to invoke some of your favorite childhood memories. Inkwell, a classic dark roast, offers

hints of vanilla and toasted marshmallows for a hot cup perfect for sipping.If you’re on the west side of downtown rather than the east, you can also find freshly brewed cups of Prelude Coffee in the FairWeather Friend taproom.

Visit preludecoffeeroast

Evan Jarvicks and Elektra Stanislava from Make Oklahoma Weirder have put together a local, caffeinethemed playlist for Oklahoma Gazette’s readers, along with the Galt MacDermot’s classic “Coffee Cold,” the namesake of the cover headline for this issue. For more Oklahoma weirdness, visit makeoklahoma

offer a rotating selection of blends throughout the year in addi tion to their proprietary roasts.
Guests sit at the bar at Prelude Coffee. (above) Prelude serves their own brand of roasted coffee. (right) | Photos by Berlin Green
sketch show
ashland craft
log launch party
white rose merryoke club
peezy &
red dirt poetry
harp with
- blue morrison
- liam kazar 12/20 - holiday team trivia with john souders
11/30 - swagtwag
12/01 -
12/02 - ok humane’s yule
12/07 - press play listening club - 6pm 12/08 - harp with oklahannah - 6pm 12/08 -
12/09 - omb
seddy hendrinx 12/10 - pb&jazz - 6pm 12/13 - pb&jazz - 6pm 12/14 -
12/15 -
with oklahannah - 6pm 12/16 -
oklahannah -


Progressive perk


When Brittani Hunter started a campus coffee cart at Oklahoma State University in 2015, she didn’t know it would plant a seed that would blossom into one of Oklahoma City’s most community-focused establishments a half decade later. At the time, it was simply a project for a business course toward her marketing degree. Today, however, she owns and operates Spiked. A Coffee Concept, a chic Northeast OKC coffee shop located in the same 23rd Street shopping struc ture that houses Eastside Pizza House and Kindred Spirits.

Alongside the reliable spread of lattes and cappuccinos with various creamer, sweetener, and syrup options, Spiked. also serves alcohol, hence the name. Any coffee can be spiked, but the shop also has a handful of house specialties. The Awe Amore combines brandy and amaretto with espresso, syrup, and whipped cream. The Cola Coffee is exactly as it sounds, with cola added to a mix of Kahlúa and vodka. The menu also includes adult drinks minus the java for those who dislike coffee or want a change of pace. It lists standards like the Eastside Mule next to more signature recipes like the Bougie, which blends grapefruit, soda, and tequila with lime juice and lavender. At a glance, Spiked.’s menu is essentially a Venn diagram of coffee and cocktails.

Spiked. doesn’t skimp on the booze, either, which helps make even some thing as straightforward as the London Joe (basic coffee with Irish liquor) a genuine treat. With inflation affecting costs in 2022, it could be tempting to water down these coffee cocktails into a ghost of themselves, but Spiked. doesn’t. This is not only a dedication to the brand’s concept but also a rep resentation of how much Hunter con tinues to value her customers. She may even do it to a fault.

“I’d say our biggest challenge is me,” Hunter said. “I want to help people, and sometimes I do that at the expense of Spiked.”

Whether holding free information events in tandem with grassroots organizations, featuring free local music and spoken word showcases, hosting book signings, or keeping flyers to other events in the com

munity available at the bar, the coffeehouse is always eager to be a catalyst in community development.

“Most local coffee shop owners are alike. We all care about the community and find ways to help or be the connec tors,” Hunter said.

While this is true, Spiked. is unlike the average coffee shop in many other ways. There are only two Black-owned brick-and-mortar coffee houses currently operat ing in OKC, and practically the same number is located on the city’s Eastside. Spiked. is one, and the slightly older Culture Coffee, which Hunter has credited as a mentor to her business, is the other. In a neighborhood that is seeing a surge in economic and real estate development, this is signifi cant. Organizations like NEOKC Renaissance are striving to keep this boom in the hands of the neighbor hood and away from opportunistic outside interests.

“In America, it is almost unheard of for Black voices to be leading the charge on so many important projects that impact the entire city,” Hunter said. “It’s also just as important to see the community showing up and sup porting these visions. It’s what makes Oklahoma City great.”

This level of black excellence runs in Hunter’s family, whose roots run back to Tulsa’s Black Wall Street. Brittani Hunter’s late grandfather, L.J. Farley, owned prominent dry-cleaning business Farley Cleaners and Laundry there for over half a century and re ceived acclaim for his work. She holds dear his advice to “Take a stand, decide what you want to do, and just get after it.” These words are commemorated on a plaque inside of Spiked., and the aforementioned London Joe spiked coffee is dedicated to him as well.

Contrary to the first impression that the drink might be a mere play on the beverage terms “London fog” and “cup of joe,” London Joe is actually the full name of L.J. Farley.

Brittani Hunter’s “getting after it” extends well beyond her coffee shop, too. In May, she officially became the executive director of OKC’s Adventure District, where the Oklahoma City Zoo, the National Cowboy Heritage and Western Museum, and Science Museum Oklahoma all reside. She also has Homeless Alliance Board of Directors and National Basketball Players Association Certified Agent on her ever-growing resume.

For an entrepreneur under 30, she is discontent to wait until her golden years to give back. She wants to build the community up with her, and the resources that she provides through Spiked. do not stop at local events and representation. Its bathrooms are stocked with discreet gift bags of fem inine hygiene products which are offered at no cost or obligation. Spiked. also runs a coat drive.

“We keep hygiene products in our bathrooms so that no one ever has to ask. Just come get what you need because you are worthy,” Hunter said. “I always knew we’d keep those in our

bathrooms. I didn’t expect to do the coat drive, but because there was a need, I responded. We will continue to keep our coat rack stocked with coats, socks, gloves, and hats as long as our doors are open.”

As for who constitutes the commu nity that her coffee shop serves, Hunter has a simple answer.

“Any and everyone that steps foot in Spiked.”

In addition to drawing customers from the immediate surrounding area, the space has become a meeting place destination for many progressivelyminded professionals who travel extra miles to support the business. Organizational figures have been in terviewed here. Politicians have strat egized here. Ballot measure signature drives have been held here. Hunter even interviews local political candi dates on Instagram Live in Spiked.’s ongoing Coffee and Candidates series.

Coffee houses have a long and proud tradition of doubling as not only com munity gathering spaces but also catalysts for major historical move ments. From their lower-class Turkish beginnings to the European Enlightenment to the American Revolution, they have favored prog ress. Now, with corporate institutions like Starbucks not only commodifying the tradition but allegedly actively busting workers’ unions, local coffee shops are as important as ever.

While Hunter naturally has to con sider profit margins when running her coffee house, and she would love to see her company go worldwide someday, she doesn’t operate with market dom ination in mind. Community comes first. When asked how she balances the business side of Spiked. with local aid, her response was concise.

“We don’t,” Hunter said. “If you need us, we’re here for you.”

Brittany Hunter laughs with Spiked. guests. (above) A Spiked. coffee flight. (left) | Photos by Berlin Green

Fall flavors

Whether you prefer the pumpkin spice or a splash of peppermint, ‘tis the season for coffee in all the festive flavors. Our fair city has no shortage of incredible coffee shops with menus packed to the brim with delicious offerings, but here are seven spots where you can find a warm drink this holiday season.

405-603-6999 • 5814 NW 63rd St.

Provision has made a name for itself by serving up fantastic coffee, amazing food and great live music. This season pumpkin spice lovers can rejoice with a latte made with house-made pumpkin spice syrup and espresso. Those looking for something a bit more unique can partake in the cranapple cream cold brew, which combines sweet, fruity foam and coffee for a drink filled to the brim with holiday flavor.

405-605-1139 • 2515 N Classen Blvd.

Classen Coffee Co. is a great place for both your morning coffee and pastries, with a drive-thru to make it quick if needed. Inside, it’s bright and comfortable, an easy pick for study sessions or lunch meetings. When the days are warmer, the patio is the perfect place to enjoy a latte with a scrumptious scone. Made just for this season is the maple cinna mon black walnut latte, a cozy coffee that’s perfect for cold weather.

405-768-5124 • 322 NE 2nd St.

In this beautiful little shop, you can find delicious coffee, baked goods and flowers. Their fall coffee offer ings, like the cookie butter latte, which mixes Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter with espresso, then tops it with crushed Speculoos for some thing spectacularly delicious. In a nostalgic twist, the apple pie toast crunch latte uses Cinnamon Toast Crunch to create a cereal milk latte


Provision Coffee and Bakery Classen Coffee Co. Flower and Flour

405-409-1662 • 1015 N Broadway Ave.

Coffee Slingers is known for a tasty cup of joe, but they make many of their syrups in house as well. Don’t miss the toasted marshmallow latte, flavored with toasted marshmallow syrup and topped with freshly-flamed marshmallows. For something with a different kind of sweet, the Fall In Love latte features a lavender blackberry syrup that pairs perfectly with the doubleshot espresso.

1325 N Walker Ave.

When you stop in to shop Commonplace Books, visit Sincerely Coffee Roasters. This sweet little shop was opened by a group of friends who share a love of good coffee and made it their mission to roast some of the best coffee in the city. Among their unique seasonal offerings is a butterscotch latte and the delicious chocolate maple rosemary cappuccino.

405-606-8771 • 1742 NW 16th St.

Neon Coffee Co., located in the heart of the Plaza District, lives up to its name. Here you can enjoy eclectic gourmet donuts and equally fun coffee in flavors like Fitzgerald and Magnificent Chai. We highly recom mend the Hot Peanut Butter Bomb, topped with ‘neon’ cream. Enjoy it with a warm, freshly baked donut for a doubly sweet treat.

405-252-0155 • 431 W Main STE A

Located downtown in the Arts District Parking Garage, Clarity Coffee offers beans straight from the source, roasted in-house with the utmost care, then served within their spacious and comfortable space. Here pumpkin spice lovers can get their fix, but those looking for other holiday flavors can find solace in a flavorful spiced vanilla latte created with mace and carda mom, among other flavors.

Coffee Slingers Sincerely Coffee Roasters
Neon Coffee Co. Clarity Coffee

Cold brew



Anthem Brewing — Festivus and Wanderlust

Billed as “a holiday ale for the rest of us,” each sip brings different waves of flavor, with the holiday spices hitting the palate on the first sip, then giving way to a rich molasses taste with a vanilla twist. You’ll definitely be able to taste the bourbon-tinged alcohol content in this winter warmer, and at 9 percent ABV, a couple of these will prime you for any and all feats of strength. In stark contrast, the Wanderlust is Anthem’s core porter, and it’s one that tastes like the brewer took time with it, tweaking and dialing in the ingredients and flavor for a strong, solid showing of the style.

Stonecloud Brewing Co. — Fluffy Fingers Pumpkin Pie

The unofficial complementary companion line to the Smooshie line, Fluffy Fingers goes heavy and dark. They’ve done peanut butter, turtle and orange in this series of double-mashed stouts, but the pumpkin pie might just be the best so far. This dessert stout is also brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, graham crackers, and maple, so if you didn’t save room for a slice of the real thing, this one will fill in the gaps. Best to consume it on a full stomach indeed, as this one comes in at 14 percent ABV.

Komes — Baltic Porter and Raspberry Porter

When dropping in to Freeman’s Liquor Mart to peruse the new beers, these were the first non-local selections that resident beer guru Kyle Edmondson pointed out. Komes, a Polish brewery, took the bronze in the World Beer Cup with this Baltic porter, which was also awarded the gold European Beer Star in 2013. The beer changes color and flavor the longer you store it (up to 36 months), but good luck keeping your hands off this one for three years. If you want to take the porter flavor down a notch while keeping its essence, the raspberry variety is brewed with juice, Indian chili peppers and Madagascar vanilla, which cuts through but doesn’t overtake the malts.

Prairie Artisan Ales — Seasick Crocodile

An ugly Christmas sweater party in your mouth, Prairie’s holiday beer is chock full of cranberries, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. While this American wild ale may sound a bit overbearing from the outset, the flavors get cozy on your tongue after a few sips, making this one a lot more crushable than it sounds, and with 4.8 percent ABV, you can slow-roll through a couple at holiday func tions without worrying about behavior that might put you on Santa’s naughty list.

St. Bernardus — Abt 12 and Wit

Many of us cut our teeth on Belgian abbey ales with St. Bernardus, and it might have spoiled us for life from the get-go. The brewery was founded in 1946, and the local hops and yeast are brewed with well water from the Watou province of Belgium. The Abt 12 is a quadrupel, meaning it comes in at 10 percent ABV, so make sure to share the larger bottle with a loved one unless you’re parked in front of the fireplace. If you’re looking for the same quality with a little less bite, try the Wit on for size. It’s an unfiltered wheat beer brewed in collaboration with a European legend and its 5.5 percent ABV makes it go down smoothly.

Hoppebräu —

and Weissbier

Another Edmondson pick, Hoppebräu may not fit neatly into the seasonal beer category with its helles and weissbier varieties, but they’re worth noting since they just hit shelves. This German brewery was started in 2010, but it tastes like it’s been around for a century, and as Kyle pointed out, tastes like there’s one brewer finetuning the creations. If you’re looking for some thing a little lighter this season, you’ve found it.

Duchesse du Bourgogne

If you really like sour (and we mean sour) beers, then Duchesse du Bourgogne is for you. Technically a Flanders red ale by style, this World Beer Cup gold winner will make you pucker when it hits the palate before breaking into a wave of sweetness on the finish. While the cherry version may make you think that the sensation would be reversed, the flavor is still far more tart than fruity. The beers are also aged in oak casks, so expect that taste also to be tossed into the mix.


Spiritual House Cleansing

There’s a new holiday tradition in

3rd Act Theatre Company’s bi-an nual tour, Drunk Classics, combines Shakespeare, improv, and alcohol for an entertaining evening at local water ing holes. This season’s Christmas of is at its core Macbeth, and will be presented, to start, as a typical Shakespearean play. But prior to the start of the show, audience members receive one vote with admission to select the “drinker” for the night. Whichever cast member wins ac tively drinks while performing. This would seemingly be enough to throw off the entire performance, but there’s more drunken merriment

Audience members can also bid on improvised edits by raising numbers at their tables during any part of a scene. Once called upon, the patron will then select a preset bid amount of $5, $10, or $20, leading a cast member to select a prompt from a correspond ing bucket. This creates a moment of sheer chaos and hilarity as the cast member must continue the scene while utilizing their improv selection

Stage managers rarely let cast members bow out of a selection and many a Shakespearean soliloquy has been recited while the actor hops on one leg or talks like a Valley Girl. The improv prompts are widely varied, and

range anywhere from Disney charac ters and famous voices to suddenly acting like a dinosaur or having hollow legs. It’s the creativity and the unpre dictability that makes the evening fun and unique, and patrons can bid as much and as often as they like.

Macbeth is known throughout the theater world as “The Scottish play.” It’s considered bad luck to utter the name in a theater, so most refer to it as such to avoid any forthcoming curses. Because it’s known as Shakespeare’s Scottish work, it’s fitting that the opening weekend is at Angry Scotsman Brewing, Dec. 9 and 10. The tour also makes stops at Solo’s Park & Pub on Dec. 16 and Roughtail Brewing Co. on Dec. 17.

“The spontaneous, collaborative, and supportive nature of improv fosters creativity and flexibility, not just in theater but in everyday life,” Production Director Dani Becker said. “In A Very Merry Macbeth, audi ences will be whisked back to medi eval Scotland where a Yuletide proph ecy of Macbeth’s rise to power and tragic downfall has our characters facing ambition, witchcraft, and murder. You might think you know how this story goes, but you don’t. Santa Claus is coming to town too, but he won’t be leaving.”

Seating is very limited, so reserva tions are highly recommended.


A Very Merry Macbeth | Photo provided.
Call Rod BakerGODNROD at 405-613-9375 for your FREE evaluation today! Do you see shadows and no one is there? Recently divorced? Death in your house? Pets agitated? Hear strange noises? Items missing?


An Afternoon with Oklahoma Authors book signing authors Helen Newton of Do You Hear What I Hear?, Lesli Bryan of Weight...That’s Not All! Barb Mehnert of Max Sterling Privately Investigation, Lori Klickman of Dumpster Diving, Kent Frates of A Du bious Collection and Paul Lehman of It’s About Time will be autographing their books, noon-2 p.m., Dec. 3. Best of Books, 1313 E. Danforth Road, 405-340-9202, SAT, DEC 3

Sherri Coale book signing memoir author will be autographing her first book, Rooted to Rise which is a collection of essays about the people in her life and how they have shaped her, 6-7 p.m., Dec. 13. Best of Books, 1313 E. Danforth Road, 405-340-9202, bestof TUE, DEC 13


Batman Returns (1992, USA, UK, Tim Burton)

Michael Keaton returns as Batman to save Gotham city from Penguin who is trying to take over with the help of a corrupt rich businessman while Catwoman is seeking revenge on said businessman, 2 p.m., Dec. 10. Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., 405-235-3456. SAT, DEC 10

Dust to Eat (2021, USA, Ryan David Green) a docu mentary of the 1930s dust storms told by Caroline Henderson who weathered the storms and stayed behind to save the family farm with her husband., Sat., Dec. 3. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, SAT, DEC 3

Holiday Horror Double Feature featuring Krampus, the story of a young boy who accidentally summons a Christmas demon and Black Christmas, where a group of sorority girls are stalked by a threatening stranger while on their holiday vacation, 6 p.m., Dec. 8. Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., 405-235-3456. THU, DEC 8

OK Humane’s Yule Log Launch Party enjoy a holiday cocktail, or two, while watching a video of puppies and kittens playing in front of a festively decorated fireplace scene, set to holiday tunes by local musicians, 7 p.m., Dec. 2. Ponyboy, 423 NW 23rd St., 405-602-5985, FRI, DEC 2

Silent Sundays:The Gold Rush (1925,Charlie Chaplin) a silent film about a prospector who goes to the Klondike during the 1890s gold rush where he gets mixed up with some burly characters and falls in love with a girl from a dance hall, featuring a live musi cal performance from Noah Engh and sound effects from CW Bardsher to bring sounds to this quiet film, 2 p.m., Dec. 4. Rodeo Cinema, 2221 Exchange Ave., 405-235-3456. SUN, DEC 4


2nd Annual Christmas Carol Karaoke a family-friendly event with Christmas karaoke, beer, handcrafted sodas, games and door prizes, 2 p.m., Dec. 11. Frenzy Brewing Company, 15 S. Broadway, 405-562-5350, SUN, DEC 11

B.A.R.K. Ranger Class a free class for dogs and owners that will teach some basic techniques for introducing dogs to one another, approaching other dogs, and leash training, 1 p.m., Dec. 11. Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7th St., 405-445-7080, scissortailpark. org. SUN, DEC 11

Braum’s Holiday River Parade start the holidays off enjoying an evening in the Boathouse District with family and friends to watch boats decked out in festive décor and water skiing elves travel the Oklahoma River with a firework show to wrap the show up in a nice bow, 6-8 p.m., Dec. 3. Riversport OKC, 800 Riversport Drive, 405-552-4040, SAT, DEC 3

Carols and Cocktails enjoy an evening of drinks, hors d’oeuvres, historical trivia, live classical music and karaoke while exploring the mansion, 6-10 p.m., Dec. 10. Overholser Mansion, 405 NW 15th St., 405-5255325, SAT, DEC 10

Christmas in the Park drive-thru, walk or ride the Santa Express Train through an almost three mile light display featuring over five million lights and over 500 one-of-a-kind lighted displays, through Dec. 31. Yukon City Park, 2200 Holly Ave., 405-354-1895, cityofyukon. gov. SAT, THROUGH DEC 31

The Christmas Village at Chisholm Creek a cu rated market, with vendors providing holiday favorite drinks, treats and gifts, holiday activities for all and a performance from the OKC Ballet, 6-9 p.m., Dec. 2.

Chisholm Creek, 13230 Pawnee Drive, 405-728-2780, FRI, DEC 2

Coffee and Cars OKC the largest monthly gather ing of car enthusiasts across the state, featuring automotives of all types spanning from classics to hotrods, exotics to luxuries, sports to supers, there is something for every car lover, first Saturday of every month, 8 p.m. Chisholm Creek, 13230 Pawnee Drive, 405-728-2780, SAT, DEC 10

Core Fourmal dress up in a suit, tux, ball gown or dinner dress for a night of friends and fun, 7-11 p.m., Dec. 3. Core4 Brewing, 7 N. Lee Ave., 405-620-4513. SAT, DEC 3

Cowboy Christmas Parade an annual holiday pa rade featuring the Slash O Ranch Longhorns, eques trian groups, marching bands, antique cars, Cowboy Santa and more, along with activities, photo ops and shopping after the parade, 10 a.m., Dec. 3. Stockyard City Cafe, 2501 Exchange Ave. SAT, DEC 3

Downs Family Christmas Lights a synchronized light display with over 280,000 lights with two mega trees that are 70 feet tall, 20-foot long arches and more, through Jan. 1, 2023. Downs Family Home, 2900 72nd Ave. SE, THUSUN, THROUGH JAN 1

Downtown in December celebrate the holiday season in Downtown OKC with an assortment of events and attractions from the annual Tree Lighting


Festival to the Devon Ice Rink, holiday pop-up shops to snow tubing at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Lights on Broadway and visits with Santa, through Jan. 29, 2023. Downtown OKC, 211 N. Robinson Ave., 405-235-3500, THUSUN, THROUGH JAN 29

Dungeons & Dragons & Brews join in on an afternoon of adventuring while playing the fantasy tabletop role-playing game and enjoying local craft beer, 1 p.m., Sundays. Vanessa House Beer Co., 118 NW 8th St., 405-517-0511, SUN, ONGOING

Forensic Night learn about the methods doctors, anthropologists and law officers use to examine human skeletons to solve true crime cases, 5:30 & 8:30 p.m., Dec. 9. Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, 10301 S. Sunnylane Road, 405-814-0006, FRI, DEC 9

Guided Garden Explorer Tour free tour of the Gardens led by the horticulture team focusing on flowering perennials, shrubs, and trees, 1 p.m. every second Friday and 10 a.m. every last Saturday of the month. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, FRI-SAT, ONGOING

Guthrie’s Territorial Christmas Events celebrate Christmas with historical authenticity and holiday festivities with a parade, Victorian themed night walks and more, Sat., Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. & 12-9 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 10, 12-9 p.m. Downtown Guthrie, Wentz and Oklahoma Ave., 405-638-8995, guthriesterritorial SAT, DEC 3 & 10

Holiday Lights stroll through the park’s paths to see light displays with a 40-foot holiday tree, a giant menorah and a light and music show at Union Station, 6-10 p.m., through Jan. 1. Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7th St., 405-445-7080, FRI-SUN, THROUGH JAN 1

Holiday Pop-Up Shops shop for seasonal gifts, treats, and more at this annual market with rotating vendors, Fridays-Sundays., through Dec. 18. Holiday Pop-Up Shops, 399 NW 10th St., 405-514-5205, okc FRI-SUN, THROUGH DEC 18 Holiday Workshop: Evergreen Wreaths at tendees will learn how to create a modern evergreen wreath, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Dec. 3. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriad SAT, DEC 3

Knit Night an evening of fellow knitters working on their projects while enjoying the store’s atmo sphere, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 405-842-2900, fullcircle TUE, DEC 6

Lights on Broadway various retail shops and restaurants will feature buzz-worthy window displays, in addition to pop-up activities, special promotions, giveaways and more, all underneath the holiday Christmas light display decorating the historic build ings, 4-7 p.m., Dec. 3 & 10. Automobile Alley, 1015 N. Broadway Ave., 405-488-2555, downtownindecem SAT, DEC 3 & 10

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, FRI, DEC 9

Opera Faire attend lectures on metaphysical topics, visit with psychics and mystics and shop vendors selling oil, crystals and other items, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Dec. 3; noon-6 p.m., Dec. 4. Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled, 8421 N. Walker Ave., SAT-SUN, DEC 3-4

Plantmas Christmas Market shop all things plants with local small business growers, purchase items and receive ticket entries for the grand prize giveaway, 5-10 p.m., Dec. 3. Anthem Brewing Company, 908 SW 4th St., 405-604-0446, SAT, DEC 3

Red Earth Treefest features 16 Christmas trees decorated with handmade ornaments that showcase the different Native cultures of Oklahoma, through Dec. 30. BancFirst Tower, 100 N. Broadway Ave., MON-FRI, THROUGH DEC 30

The Santa Market features a festive array of hand made arts and crafts including home décor, handpainted ornaments and more from over 185 vendors, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 2-3. Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, 3220 Great Plains Walk, 405-314-1033, thesantamar FRI-SAT, DEC 2-3

Sleigh Bells Market featuring over 50 vendors with vintage and local handmade goods in a festive holiday atmosphere, noon-5 p.m., Dec. 4. OKC Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., 405-232-6506, okcfarmers SUN, DEC 4

‘Tis the Season at Scissortail Park explore the park all season long with holiday lights throughout including a 40-foot tree, a giant menorah and the Union Station Illumination synchronized music and light display, as well as the Cocoa Cottage, a holiday market on Dec. 3 filled with local business and artisans along with other various holiday festivities and activi ties, through Jan. 1, 2023. Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7th St., 405-445-7080, FRI-SUN, THROUGH JAN 1

‘Tis the Season Market enjoy shopping, live music, and holiday performances from local businesses and artisans, noon-7 p.m., Dec. 3. Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7th St., 405-445-7080, SAT, DEC 3

Tulsa Time Travelers Vintage Expo a vintage pop-up market featuring all things retro and retroinspired with vendors selling items from clothing to shoes, accessories to home goods and more, Sun., Dec. 4. Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N. Main St., Tulsa, 918584-2306, SUN, DEC 4

WHAM shop the Winter Holiday Art Market with over 40 artist vendors with this year’s featured artist, Nathalie Standingcloud, Sat., Dec. 3 and Sun., Dec. 4. First Americans Museum, 659 First Americans Blvd., 405-594-2100. SAT-SUN, DEC 3-4

Wild Bird Holiday Decorations learn about the best ways to create treats for the birds during the cold months along with making garlands and outdoor ornaments for the Children’s Garden, 1-2 p.m., Dec. 3. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405445-7080, SAT, DEC 3


OKC Brew Tours jump on the bus and visit three local breweries within the OKC metro area with multiple tasters at each stop as well as take a behind the scenes tour and learn how beer is made, 6-9 p.m., Fridays and 2-5 p.m, Saturdays through Jan. 31. OKC Brew Tours, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 405-822-0285, FRI-SAT, THROUGH JAN 31

Cocoa Cottage a special holiday shop featuring coffee, hot cocoa and holiday treats for the season, 5-9 p.m., Dec. 1-16; 4-10 p.m., Dec. 17-Jan. 1. Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7th St., 405-445-7080, scissortailpark. org. FRI-SUN, DEC 1-JAN 1


Melting Pot’s Ugly Sweater Ladies Night Out dig out the ugly holiday sweater for a ladies night out with fondue, Tue., Dec. 6. The Melting Pot, 4 E. Sheridan Ave., 405-235-1000, TUE, DEC 6
are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members
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Saints Santa Run a holiday-themed 5K race and 1-mile fun run with a costume contest, face painting, balloon art and more, Sat., Dec. 3. Midtown OKC, NW 8th St., 405235-3500, SAT, DEC 3 Photo provided Hannah Parker book signing fantasy author will be autographing her second book in The Severed Realms Trilogy, Autumn’s Traitor, which continues the story of young Larken and the fairy realm, 6-7 p.m., Dec. 6. Best of Books, 1313 E. Danforth Road, 405340-9202, TUE, DEC 6 Photo Counterpoise Press/provided

Mustang Mistletoe Magic Cookie Crawl participants will visit various local Mustang businesses to get their passport stamped and receive a special cookie from each location, at the end of the week they will have a carrier full of cookies and can turn in their passports in to be entered in the prize drawings, Dec. 1-5. Mustang Chamber of Commerce, 1201 N. Mustang Road, 405-376-2758, THU-MON, DEC 1-5


Breakfast with Santa children will be able to enjoy a holiday breakfast with Santa and craft making, 9-11 a.m., Dec. 10. Overholser Mansion, 405 NW 15th St., 405-525-5325, SAT, DEC 10

Candy Cane Christmas features live music from Johnny Baier with his favorite Christmas sing-alongs, holiday treats, kid’s crafts where they can make their own paper banjo and a visit from Santa, 1-4 p.m., Dec. 4. American Banjo Museum, 9 E. Sheridan Ave., 405-604-2793, americanbanjomu SUN, DEC 4

Drop-In Art each Saturday will feature a different craft for children including holiday card creation, Shrinky Dink ornaments making, holiday picture frames and more, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturdays. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, SAT, DEC 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31

Kids Take Over the Cowboy: Holidays at the Museum children can explore the frontier town decorated for the holidays along with making Westerninspired ornaments, pinecone birdfeeders, Christmas tree decorations, photos with Santa and interacting with Western characters including Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Annie Oakley, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Dec. 3. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymu SAT, DEC 3

Oklahoma City The Polar Express Train Ride enjoy a magical re-creation of the classic story with hot chocolate and a treat by dancing chefs, story time, a gift from Santa, caroling, activities and more, FridaysSundays. through Dec. 27. Oklahoma Railway Museum, 3400 NE Grand Blvd., 405-424-8222, okcthepolarex FRI-SUN, THROUGH DEC 27 Passport to Tropical Santa Claus Weekend kids will be able to enjoy holiday music, craft making, riding the Santa Express train, get their face painted and have a meet-n-greet with Santa, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Dec. 3-4. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-4457080, SAT-SUN, DEC 3-4

Second Saturday XL: Ice Block Party celebrate the chilly weather with cool activities, create a whimsical snow globe or miniature cozy hat, play in our indoor snowball-fight arena, enjoy face painting and roaming performers, indulge in the hot-chocolate bar or sweet snow cones and much more, 1-4 p.m., Dec. 10. Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 11 NW 11th St., 405-951-0000, SAT, DEC 10


3rd Act Theatre Company presents The Christmas Express a nostalgic theatrical greet ing card is full of eccentric small-town characters wise-cracking their way to finding the true wonder of Christmas, 8 p.m., Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17; 2:30 p.m., Dec. 4, 11, 18. 3rd Act Theatre Company, 12040 N. May Ave., 405-593-8093, FRI-SUN, DEC 2-4, 9-11 & 16-18

Bang Bang Queer Punk Variety Show a variety show featuring drag, burlesque, belly dancing and more, 8 p.m., Dec. 8. Blue Note, 2408 N. Robinson Ave., 405-600-1166, THU, DEC 8

Brain Regan a live stand-up comedy performance, 7 p.m., Dec. 11. The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave., 405308-1803, SUN, DEC 11

Canterbury Christmas an annual holiday perfor mance with an evening of holiday carols and traditional choral staples, 7 p.m., Dec. 4. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405-297-2264, SUN, DEC 4

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) instead of the traditional holiday Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Show, enjoy a performance of every Christmas story ever told, seasonal icons both new and old, traditions from around the world and, of course, every carol ever sung too, 7 p.m., Dec. 2,3,9,10,16,17,22,23,29,30. The Boom, 2218 NW 39th St., 405-601-7200, FRI-SAT, THROUGH DEC 30

Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker adapted from the works of Jane Austen by Erin Woods, this interac tive play encourages the audience to socialize and celebrate the holiday season with Austen and some of her cherished characters through dancing, singing, and sweet treat eating, 8 p.m., Dec. 9-10, 15-17, 21-23; 2 p.m., Dec. 11 & 18. Oklahoma Shakespeare, 2920 Paseo St., 405-235-3700, THU-SUN, DEC 9-11, 15-18 & 21-23

OKCPHIL Pops: Coming Home for Christmas enjoy an all-new festive program with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic as they perform holiday favorites with Grammy and Emmy nominee Michael Feinstein and special guest Susan Powell, a former Miss America and Oklahoma native, to bring the sounds of the season and lead us home for the holidays., 8 p.m., Dec. 2-3. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405594-8300, FRI-SAT, DEC 2-3

Oklahoma City Ballet’s The Nutcracker an American holiday classic that tells the story of young Clara as she is taken on a magical journey by the Nutcracker Prince to The Land of Snow and The Land of Sweets after helping defeat the Mouse King and saving the Nutcracker army, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 10 and 17; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18; 6 p.m. Dec. 15; 7 p.m., Dec. 16. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 405-297-2264, SAT-SUN, DEC 10-11 & 15-18

RACE Dance Company’s Hip-Hop Nutcracker back for its tenth season, this remastered production of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet tells the coming-of-age story of Carlos on his journey of self-discovery and purpose as he learns how love comes from the diverse community that surrounds him, 7 p.m. Dec. 2-3; 2 p.m. Dec. 10-11. Visual and Performing Arts Center at Oklahoma City Community College, 7777 S. May Ave., 405-682-1611. FRI-SUN, DEC 2-3 & 10-11

The Sugar Plum Fairy with the holiday season approaching, the Sugar Plum Fairy is preparing for her famous dance in The Nutcracker ballet, but after a terrible costume mishap leaves her unable to perform, a new star of the show must be found, 2 p.m., Dec 3-4, 10-11 & 17-18; 10:30 a.m., Dec 5, 7, 9, 12,14,16, Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 405-208-6200, MON, WED-SAT, DEC 3-5, 7,9-12, 14 & 16-18

Taylor Tomlinson a live stand-up comedy perfor mance, 7 p.m., Dec. 9. The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave., 405-308-1803, FRI, DEC 9

A Territorial Christmas Carol returns in this reimagining of Dickens’ classic tale, for an adaptation that takes place on the eve of the first Christmas in the capital of the Oklahoma Territory, 8 p.m., Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 & 22-23; 2 p.m., Dec. 3-4, 10-11 & 17-18. The Pollard Theatre, 120 W. Harrison Ave., 405-282-2800, thepol THU-SUN, DEC 1-4, 8-11, 15-18 & 22-23

Trevor Wallace a live stand-up comedy performance, 8 p.m., Dec. 10. Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23rd St., 405708-6937, SAT, DEC 10


Devon Ice Rink enjoy outdoor ice skating with seasonal food and beverage offerings, through Jan. 29, 2023. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, FRI-SUN, THROUGH JAN 29, 2023

Ride OKC Holiday Lights Bike Ride a leisurely guided tour on bikes through the Christmas light displays in Automobile Alley and the historic homes of Heritage Hills and Mesta Park complete with holiday tunes and hot chocolate, rental bikes are available, 6-9 p.m., Dec. 9. Automobile Alley, 1015 N. Broadway Ave., 405-488-2555, automobilealley. org. FRI, DEC 9

Lifeshare Winterfest and Snow Tubing tube down snow slides in a controlled environment and explore a winter wonderland with special holiday light ing and décor, Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 17- Jan. 1. Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, 405-2181000, FRI-SUN, DEC 10-11, DEC 17-JAN 1

Myriad in Motion: Tai Chi dress in your comfy clothes and flat shoes for an entry-level Tai Chi class led by Ling Miller, 4:30-5:30 p.m., every other Monday. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-4457080, EVERY OTHER MON, ONGOING

Myriad in Motion: Yoga bring your mat and water for an all-levels yoga class with instructors from YMCA, 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 a.m. Saturdays. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 405-445-7080, myriadgar TUE & SAT, ONGOING

Riversport Winter Glow participants will be able to enjoy Nordic adventures such as ice skating, curl ing, climbing walls, indoor skiing and more, all with a holiday theme, through Dec. 30. Riversport OKC, 800 Riversport Drive, 405-552-4040, MON-SUN, THROUGH DEC 30

Wingardium Vinyasa! Harry Potter Yoga & Polyjuice Party Professor Ryan Moore will be guiding you through a magical evening of spells, magical creatures, quidditch and battles, all through the transfiguration of yoga, 7-9 p.m., Sat., Dec. 10. 405 YOGA OKC, 1004 N. Hudson Ave., Ste.101, 405-531-0813, SAT, DEC 10


Art of the Northwest Coast features the artistic work of the northwest coast known throughout the world for its style and vibrant colors that tell stories, teach family history and express cultural views though prints, glass, totem poles and more, through May 1, 2023. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymu SAT-TUE, THROUGH MAY 1, 2023

Ceramics Sale this fundraising sale features hand-crafted ceramics by nationally recognized and emerging Oklahoma artists including collections of functional cups, bowls and plates as well as funky tabletop sculptures that turn any holiday table into a work of art., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Dec. 9-14 & 16-18; 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Dec.15 . Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, 11 NW 11th St., 405-951-0000, CeramicsSale. FRI-SAT, DEC 9-18

Chihuly Then and Now: The Collection at Twenty an exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Chihuly collection at OKCMOA showcasing five decades of glass and painting telling the story of his groundbreaking career featuring never before seen works in Oklahoma City, through June 18,

Merry Little Christmas: Classic Holiday Films from the 1940s a week of timeless classics from the golden age of Hollywood Christmas films featuring Meet Me in St. Louis, The Bishop’s Wife, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and Remember the Night, 2 p.m., Dec. 3, 10, 17 & 31; 12:30 p.m., Dec. 24. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, SAT, DEC 3, 10, 17 & 24 Photos Wikimedia Commons

continued from page 23

2024. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, THROUGH JUNE 18, 2024

Crossroads featuring works from printmaker Karen Sova and painters Cameron Choate and Weylin Neyra whose works express multidimensional moods, experi ences and identities, Dec. 1-31. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE 3rd St., 405-815-9995, THU-SAT, DEC 1-31

The Elevate at 21c a program that presents exhibi tions for local artists in the community which currently features works by Virginia Sitzes and a collaboration between Denise Duong and Gabriel Friedman, through Jan. 31, 2023. 21c Museum Hotel, 900 W. Main St., 405982-6900, THROUGH JAN 31

Exquisite Corpse Exhibition features work by 12 different artists who have carved three pieces of linoleum to create a corpse, each piece is then interchanged with the other artists to create a one of a kind collaborative piece, through Dec. 31. Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE 3rd St., 405-815-9995, SAT, THROUGH DEC 31

Highlights from the Rose Family Glass Collection this private curated collection showcases a broader look at the Studio Glass movement that began in the 1950s in America and continues to present date, through Jan. 15, 2023. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, THROUGH JAN 15, 2023

Kiarostami: Beyond the Frame features a multimedia collection of artwork by Iranian filmmaker, photographer and visual artist, Abbas Kiarostami, through April 9, 2023. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, SATTUE, THROUGH APR 9, 2023

Leticia Galizzi/Jim Keffer/Stella Thomas an exhibition featuring works by three different artists, through Dec. 31. JRB Art at The Elms, 2810 N. Walker Ave., 405-528-6336, FRI-SAT, THROUGH DEC 31

Looking Through the Windows to the West expands on the permanent exhibit, Windows to the West, with Wilson Hurley’s never before seen prep materials such as test canvases, sketches, color studies and mathematical diagrams and formulas used to cre ate the five large scale triptychs, through Feb. 19, 2023. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, FRI-TUE, THROUGH FEB 19, 2023

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition Rome viewers can get a face-to-face experience with a reproduction of the original work, Thursdays-Sundays, through Dec. 5. Sail & The Dock, 617 W. Sheridan Ave., exhibits/oklahoma-city. FRI-SUN, THROUGH DEC 5

OKLA HOMMA the signature exhibition of the mu seum, features works of art, interactive media, and film from all 39 tribes in Oklahoma as of today depicting stories with ancestral origins, collective histories, sports and more, ongoing. First Americans Museum, 659 First Americans Blvd., 405-594-2100. ONGOING

One Hundred Years of Revolution: French Art from 1850 to 1950 features works arranged in chronological order to show how the French artists changed from creating realistic depictions of the world to abstract compositions over a 100 year period, through Feb. 19, 2023. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, THROUGH FEB 19, 2023

outLAWman showcasing the often thin-line between the lawmen and the outlaws in the American west featuring transcripts from the Osage murder trails, Virgil Earp’s Smith & Weston revolver, a purse allegedly belonging to Bonnie Parker and other items, Nov. 19 through May 7, 2023. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, MON-SUN, NOV 19 THROUGH MAY 7, 2023

Paseo Arts District’s First Friday Gallery Walk peruse art from over 80 artists with 25 participating businesses for a night of special themed exhibits, refreshments and a variety of entertainment opportunities, 6-9 p.m. first Friday of every month. Paseo Arts District, 3024 Paseo St., 405-525-2688, FRI, DEC 2

Perception and Technique in Abstract Art features works covering two different techniques of abstract styles through various artists, through Jan. 15, 2023. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 405-236-3100, THROUGH JAN 15, 2023

When kids are exposed to secondhand smoke in a car, the health risks increase. Kids in other states are protected, but in Oklahoma, smoking in cars is still legal. Where do you stand?
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Safari Lights a larger-than-life light display featuring wildlife themed light sculptures, animated displays, musical light show, interactive exhibits, photo ops, festive treats and more, through Jan. 1, 2023. The Okla homa City Zoo, 2000 Remington Place, 405-424-3344, SAT-SUN, THROUGH JAN 1

Sahara Sea Monsters features fossilized specimens of several famous dinosaurs and reptiles from the ancient Sahara, including spinosaurus, mosasaurus and more, through Feb. 12, 2023. Sam Noble Museum, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., 405-325-4712, samnoblemuseum. SAT-TUE, THROUGH FEB 12, 2023

Second Friday Art Walk a free celebration of arts & creativity held monthly in the Walker Arts District of Downtown Norman, second Friday of every month, 6 p.m. Downtown Norman, 122 E. Main St., 405-637-6225, FRI, DEC 9

Selections from In Citizen’s Garb: Native Americans on the Southern Plains an exhibit displaying modern gelatin silver prints made from glass plate negatives of Indigenous people in the Lawton and Fort Sill area from 1889 to 1891, ongoing. Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, 405-521-2491, TUE-MON, ONGOING Small Works XII an exhibit of 12 artists’ small works featuring paintings, photos, sculpting and other modes of art, through Dec. 17. The Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave., 405-307-9320, FRISAT, THROUGH DEC 17

Sombreros Texanas and Bosses of the Plains explore the evolution of the cowboy hat from the woven sombreros to today’s working cowboy hats and highly decorated hats of rodeo riders and entertainers featuring hats worn by John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Tom Selleck, Shirley Jauregui, Johnny Lee Wills and more, through Jan. 8, 2023. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcow FRI-SUN, THROUGH JAN 8

The SuperNatural an exhibit features works from several artists focusing on a new world whose shape and matter will be determined by human activity.

21c Museum Hotel, 900 W. Main St., 405-982-6900, THROUGH FEB 28, 2023

Synesthesia Factory Obscura’s newest immersive art experience focusing on color and textural elements while guests open their senses to discover what colors sound and smell like. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., 405-325-3272, THROUGH JUNE 4, 2023

Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition and Sale a showcase of saddle making, bit and spur making, silversmithing and rawhide braiding, Sept. 30-Jan. 2. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, nationalcowboymuseum. org. FRI-SAT, THROUGH JAN 2

Visual Narratives: First American Photography features works by five First American photographers, Philip Busey Jr, Peggy Fontenot, Lester Harragarra, Kelly Langley and Jim Trosper who represent different tribes, including Cherokee, Chickasaw, Patawomeck, Kiowa and Otoe-Missouria, through Feb. 2023. Exhibit C, 1 E. Sheridan Ave., 405-767-8900, exhibitcgallery. com. MON-SUN, THROUGH FEB 2023

What is Home featuring 13 local artists on exhibit, handmade goods from pop-up artists and a tour of the building, noon-5 p.m., Saturdays. Victorian at SoSA, 614 NW 8th St. SAT, DEC 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31

WINIKO: Life of an Object, Selections from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian reflecting on the Native belief that their cultural materials hold the spirit of their makers and those who wore or used them this exhibit features of over 100 items that have been returned to the 39 tribes of Oklahoma after being taken from them in the early 1900s, ongoing. First Americans Museum, 659 First Americans Blvd., 405-594-2100. ONGOING You Have Died of Dysentery an exhibit showcasing Western-themed games, books and videos, such as The Oregon Trail and Red Dead Redemption, Dec.10-May 7. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St., 405-478-2250, SAT-TUE, DEC 10-MAY 7

Visit to submit your event or email them to Sorry, but
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as space allows, although we strive to make the listings as inclusive as possible. For OKG live music see page 33 OKG PICKS GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR MORE LISTINGS
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Holiday Spectacular more than 120 dynamic performers will spread yuletide magic with high-energy holiday favorites, vivid costumes and a graceful reminder of the reason for the Christmas season.,
8 p.m., Dec. 8-10; 2 p.m., Dec. 10-11. Oklahoma City University, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 405-208-5000. THU-SUN, DEC 8-11 Photo provided


Surprise landing


When Jess Haney was asked to join Rainbow Kitten Surprise while the band members were in college at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, he cer tainly wasn’t thinking it would be a long-term commitment. In fact, as commitments go, it was as minimal as it gets.

“I got into the band through Ethan,” Haney said, referencing guitarist Ethan Goodpaster. “Me and Ethan went to high school together and we kind of played in my basement and did covers of random things. I wasn’t like a fulltime drummer. It was just kind of a thing I did in high school with my friends. And Ethan ended up getting into the band and he was like ‘Well, my roommate used to play drums and he might be able to help us out with a few shows. I was like ‘OK, I’ll do one show with you guys and then we’ll figure it out from there.’

“I always thought it was funny that I was insistent that I was only going to do one show,” Haney said. “It changed my life forever.”

Up to then, Rainbow Kitten Surprise had been the duo of singer Sam Melo and guitarist Darrick “Bozzy” Keller. They had started playing shows around the Boone area and wrote and record ed the earliest Rainbow Kitten Surprise songs as a duo.

But before long, Melo (who re cently announced on Twitter that he is trans, her pronouns are she/ her and she wants to be referred to as Ela Melo) and Keller decided they wanted to have a full band, and that’s when fellow students Haney, Goodpaster and bassist Charlie Holt joined up.

In 2013, Melo and Keller had self-released a three-song EP, Mary, and the band followed that with a self-released full-length, Seven . followed by the album RKS Things have happened fast since then for the band, which got its unique name when visiting a friend in the hospital, who while in a heavily medicated state, in explicably kept repeating the phrase Rainbow Kitten Surprise.

When the band submit ted their song “Devil Like Me” for the VH-1 reality show Make a Band Famous, it went on to get radio play, which pro pelled the band to perfor mances at notable festi vals like Bonnaroo and Sasquatch and drew the attention of Elektra Records.

“It was all just very surreal,” Haney said. “It all just happened so fast. One day we were all sitting in Boone and the next thing we were touring the world. It was incredible. I just couldn’t be more thankful to be able to do what we do.”

The move to Elektra Records found the five musicians driving to Nashville (where they all now live), setting up shop in Neon Cross Studios and working with in-demand producer Jay Joyce.

“Yeah, it was zero to 100 for us, really,” Haney said. “It was like, we did RKS . We did that on a stu dio-run label thing, and all of that was cool. Then a couple of years later we’re doing it with Jay Joyce in Nashville in like this incredible studio with all of this (label) support behind us. It was incred ible, but it was a lot to take on at the time. Somewhere in our minds, we’re still just the kids playing music in bars in Boone. So to make that jump was defi nitely a little bit of a shock for all of us. I think it was something we had to get acclimated to a bit.”

Learning how to navigate the technology and capabilities that come with a true professional studio wasn’t the only challenge for Rainbow Kitten Surprise.

The band had arrived in Nashville with only a couple of songs somewhat written and all of roughly two and a half weeks to write and record the rest of the songs for what became the 2018 album, How To Friend, Love, Freefall. What’s more, this was going to be the first time all five band members were involved in

the creative process from the ground up.

“I think the (time) restraint was probably good for us,” Haney said. “Yeah, we were pumping out a song a day and it felt good. Obviously, some days we didn’t get anything. But then some days we got more than one song. It ended up working out, and we did it. I don’t know, it was a lot of fun.”

What’s also been fun has been the significant growth in the pop ularity of Rainbow Kitten Surprise since the release of How To Friend . The band has espe cially found success on streaming platforms, where songs from the latest album, such as “It’s Called: Freefall,” “Fever Pitch” and “Hide,” have helped push the band’s total number of streams past a half-billion.

What’s also contributed might ily to the band’s success is their exuberant and energetic live shows. The band’s music is a distinctly modern, vocally layered wide-rang ing mix of styles – including rock, hip-hop, world beat, folk and pop – that evades categorizing, but somehow feels accessible and highly inclusive. The Rainbow Surprise live experience was docu mented with the release last year of the 25-song concert release, Live From Athens Georgia, which was recorded on tour in 2019.

Timing played a part in the decision to release Live From Athens Georgia.

“We had always kind of kicked around the idea of a live record because the live show is a very important part of Rainbow Kitten Surprise,” Haney said. “Obviously, we always wanted to do it. And then the pandemic came along, and the world didn’t get to have live music anymore. So it just kind of seemed like the right time to give that to the people when they needed it the most. Obviously, it’s not going to show, like being there, but it’s about as close as you can get. And that’s kind of what we were going for.”

Fans that see Rainbow Kitten Surprise on the band’s current tour can expect some visual pizazz and a wide-ranging set list and show inspired by a threeshow stand the band played between Christmas and New Year’s Day at the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville.

“Over those three nights, we played the entire catalog and some new ones,” Haney said. “So we’re trying to take that forward and just play as many of the songs as we can, and as many of the new ones [the band is working on a fourth studio album] that we can fit in there, too. Hopefully we’ve still got it from Christmas.”

Rainbow Kitten Surprise play The Criterion Dec. 12.


Rainbow Kitten Surprise. | Photo by Aubrey Denis, provided.

Strange days

“There are times when I’m just like ‘Oklahoma, I love you,’” Bartees Strange said from Washington D.C.

He’s been reminiscing about cheap Norman apartment com plexes, sadly departed OKC indie venues and the surpris ing wealth of musical styles and identities in the local scenes, but it was a mention of Oklahoma’s pink evening skies that got that concise and loving re sponse.

“I have such a deep connec tion to Oklahoma and to OKC specifi cally,” Strange said. “And it’s just really cool to come back home in a band playing a nice room after a couple of really good records. I just feel really good about the person I’ve become, mainly because of my experiences growing up as a mu sician in Oklahoma.”

When Strange next makes his way through OKC Dec. 16, it’ll be as a headliner for a late tour stop at Beer City Music Hall, exactly the kind of artist-enticing, sceneinspiring, mid-level music venue that was hard to come by in Oklahoma when he moved away.

“It’s funny, because when I left Oklahoma, one of the big reasons was, I was like, ‘I don’t really know how to do music here. I feel like I’m just playing in Texas but living in Oklahoma.’ There was a gap. There weren’t a lot of venues in that 400 to 800 range. But then I left, and ever since, the city’s just had all these venues coming up all over the place. It’s so sick.”

The changing, transitional OKC music scene that Strange will be returning to is about a lot more than just the number of stages

though. The past few years have seen an explosion in the variety of styles and sounds on display across the city, even as they still struggle to find the same crossgenre melding and common ground that Strange’s own music is largely built on.

“It’s a chal lenge every where, but I feel like in places like Oklahoma, it’s really needed because it can actually break down some walls,” he said “The rappers and the guitar players and the blues players and the country artists and the people making beats, you know, they all need to be around each other more.”

That’s exactly the mentality that Strange brings to his song writing, creating a wildly diverse and highly personalized blend of indie rock, hip-hop, folk, EDM, and R&B that’s propelled him into major indie buzz even while the prevailing playlisters and algo rithms insist that artists stick to a niche.

“I truly believe that everybody likes everything, even if they don’t know they like it yet. On my records, I used to be criticized for doing so much. People were like, ‘Why are you putting so much on these songs?’ And I’d be like, ‘Look at your Spotify history. You’re doing this to yourself.’ We all listen to everything. We need to get rid of this false purity in music, this idea that if you’re, like, a guitar-playing singer/songwrit er, then that’s all you are. That’s a lie. Everyone is everything.”

Adhering to that belief means that Strange doesn’t worry about tailoring his shows and his setlists to any single sound or energy.

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Bartees Strange. | Photo by Luke Piotrowski, provided.

“When we play these songs live, I try to take people on just as big of a sonic and emotional journey as the albums do,” he said. “I’m anchoring it around this idea that the thing that’s honest and that’s true about this experience is the person giving you the music. I’m just being extremely honest about what I listen to, what inspires me, and how it makes me feel.”

Strange’s recent headlining spots have featured songs from all of his releases, covering every thing on stage from his hardesthitting rap tracks to his most vul nerable and sparse ruminations, even pulling out tracks from his 2020 breakthrough collection of The National covers.

It’s that feeling of keeping the audience on their toes that he be lieves is the key to the rapturous reaction he and his band receive every night.

“We’re just murdering it, and people lose their minds because they’ve never seen that happen,” he said. “And it’s not backing tracks, it’s a five-piece band. It’s the most fun thing in the world to play a set like that and then to look at the room like, ‘Yeah, dude, we’re

not just your normal indie rock band. This shit is Radiohead-level disgusting.’ We’re killers out there, and we’ve been doing this for a long time.”

Strange and his band are betting on exactly that kind of frenzied, palpable reaction at Beer City, es pecially knowing that OKC is hungry for art that strikes at the difficulty and honesty that he touches on.

But Bartees Strange knows Oklahoma, and he knows that we can handle it.

“I challenge the listener, and I trust that you’re smart enough, and that you understand what’s happening in the world enough to be able to hear what I’m doing. And what I’m seeing from the shows that we’ve been playing is, like, I was right. People get it.”


Bartees Strange. | Photo by Luke Piotrowski, provided.

Ornamental orchestration

Last year’s version of TransSiberian Orchestra’s annual holiday tour was an outing unlike any other for everyone involved in bringing the visually spectacular concerts to audi ences across the United States.

On the one hand, coming off of 2020, a year in which the TSO tour could not happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a special excitement and appreciation for being back in arenas and perform ing the concerts.

The tour stops at the Paycom Center Dec. 8.

“Missing 2020 certainly made us realize how fortunate we are to do what we do,” said Jeff Plate, musical director

deliver the memorable concert spec tacle fans have come to expect and make sure any issues aren’t apparent to audiences.

“The audience just wants their show. Whatever hoops we’ve got to jump through to make that happen, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “So, yeah, we had a couple of people in the bullpen. On a moment’s notice, they could fly out to a show or we would cover each other’s parts on stage. If one of the singers was sick, one of the other singers that was there would cover the song. Again, the show must go on.”

Pitrelli and Plate, obviously, are hoping this year’s TSO tour will be more like the pre-pandemic outings,

when phrases like “daily testing” and “social distancing” weren’t associated with rock shows and masks were only for bands like Slipknot.

Over its first two decades, TSO’s shows have become easily the biggest and most elaborate of the holiday tours. It was all the vision of the group’s founder, Paul O’Neill, who passed away in 2017.

O’Neill’s idea was TSO would combine a rock band with an orchestra playing concept albums/rock operas with cohesive story lines. Instead of building an image around a singer, guitarist or conductor, the ensemble would use multiple singers and a range of instrumentalists, who would remain largely anonymous to listeners.

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OKLAHOMA’S PREMIERE PROFESSIONAL THEATRE For Tickets: (405) 524-9312 and 24/7 at
Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Photo by Jason McEachern, provided.

Plenty of industry people questioned whether TSO could be viable finan cially. O’Neill took a meticulous ap proach to making albums, searching for the perfect singers to voice the char acters in his lyrical stories and bringing in whatever types of instrumentalists his music required – steps that ex panded the recording timelines and budgets. As for touring, taking such a large musical group on the road with the kind of high-tech visual show O’Neill envisioned would be expensive as well. To accommodate the visual production, TSO had to play arenas from the start – something no music act had done.

Nevertheless, Atlantic Records got on board with O’Neill’s vision and signed TSO. The label has been re warded, as the trilogy of lyricallythemed Christmas albums all became hits and continue to rack up top 10 sales among holiday albums each Christmas season.

The first release was 1996’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories. Spurred by the hit single “Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24,” it has sold three million copies and set the stage for the other two holiday rock operas that make up TSO’s Christmas trilogy —The Christmas Attic (1998) and The Lost Christmas Eve (2004) — which have each topped two million copies sold. In addition, the group has released a Christmas EP, 2012’s Dreams of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night), and three full-length non-holiday rock operas – Beethoven’s Last Night (2000), Night Castle (2009) and Letters from the Labyrinth (2015). In all, the group’s CDs and DVDs have sold more than 12 million copies and generated 180 million streams in 2021 alone.

The group’s annual Christmas trek is easily the most popular holiday tour going. Since its debut in 1999, the holiday tours have played to about 18 million fans and grossed $725 million.

The entire TSO organization misses O’Neill, of course. But Plate

said the good thing is O’Neill and his family surrounded themselves with a stellar team that knows every part of the operation.

“Paul told us many, many, many times this thing is going to outlive us all and it’s going to last from generation to generation,” Plate said. “Thinking for a moment that it would be without him was not in any of our thoughts. When it happened, it’s like ‘Well guys, we know what to do. We know what the job is.’ We know Paul would ask certain things of us throughout the years and you learn what the guy expects out of you and the show and everybody in volved in the show. We are as protective of this as anybody. I cherish every time we go out there, every note we play. We’re doing it for, not just for the audi ence, but for Paul and his family, and it means a lot to us.”

This year’s show finds TSO per forming The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, which is the 2001 DVD that combined the most popular songs from Christmas Eve and Other Stories and The Christmas Attic. With the perfor mance initially being aired on PBS stations, it has become one of TSO’s most popular releases.

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve will take up most of the first half of the show, followed by a second part that draws on selections from across the TSO catalog. Because many of the most popular songs will be performed as part of The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, Pitrelli, Plate and the musicians had room for some songs this year that haven’t often been performed on past tours.

“We have a lot of conversations. Everybody will throw their ideas in,” Pitrelli said. “We have such a large catalog of material to draw from, almost 28 years of recording, all of a sudden a song will pop up, like, ‘Wow, I haven’t heard that song in so long. Let’s try that this year.’ So it’s just a lot of that.”


Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Photo by Bob Carey, provided.
2201 NW 39th St. OKC, OK 73112
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Jazz Night, Bradford House. JAZZ

Sunset Patio Bar Karaoke Night, Sunset Patio. KARAOKE

Kendrick McKinney Trio, 51st Street Speakeasy. JAZZ

Slum Village, Beer City Music Hall. HIP-HOP

Trett Charles, River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa. COUNTRY

The Wednesday Band, The Deli. COUNTRY


Ashland Craft, Ponyboy. COUNTRY

The Barlow/Mallory Eagle/Matt Moran, Blue Note. COUNTRY

Country Music Group Therapy/Biscuits & Groovy, The Deli. COUNTRY

Dannylux, Tower Theatre. REGIONAL MEXICAN

Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge Karaoke Night, Dust Bowl. KARAOKE

Joel Forlenza, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. INSTRU MENTALISTS

Shelly Phelps and The Storm, Bourbon Street Bar. BLUES

Short & Broke/The BlueRays/JL Jones, Mojo’s Blues Club. BLUES

Styx, River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa. ROCK


American Aquarium, Tower Theatre. COUNTRY

Caleb McGee/John Elisha, The Deli. BLUES

David James McKinney, Core4 Brewing. SINGER/ SONGWRITER

Joel Forlenza, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. INSTRU MENTALISTS

Luis Coronel/Virlan Garcia/Javier Rosas, River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa. REGIONAL MEXICAN

McKee Brother Jazz Band, Bourbon Street Bar. JAZZ

Sedated the Ramones, Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewing Company. PUNK TRIBUTE

Shorrt Dog, UCO Jazz Lab. BLUES Sports/Combsy/Sydney Lee, The Vanguard, Tulsa. POP

The Holophonics/The Big News/On Holiday, Blue Note. PUNK


Aaron Newman, Bedlam Bar-B-Q. FOLK

Cindy Scarberry/Bottom of the Barrel/Ben Brock/Paul Lopez/Keelee Bright/Zoey Butcher, Rodeo Opry. COUNTRY

Cody Johnson, BOK Center, Tulsa. COUNTRY

Dead Metal Society, The Vanguard, Tulsa. METAL Godshell/War, On Drugs/Narcissus in Metamor

phosis/Bug Nog, The Sanctuary. METAL Jabee, Beer City Music Hall. HIP-HOP

Joel Forlenza, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. INSTRU MENTALISTS

Kolby Cooper, Diamond Ballroom. COUNTRY McKee Brother Jazz Band, Bourbon Street Bar. JAZZ

MF Ruckus/Blind Staggers/Russian Girlfriends/ Klamz/ High School Drugs, Blue Note. PUNK Midas 13, Remington Park. ROCK

Muscadine Bloodline/Ben Chapman, Tower The atre. COUNTRY


Hosty, The Deli. Electric Jazz Night!, Blue Note. JAZZ

JD McPherson, Beer City Music Hall. DJ

K-Love Christmas Tour: Crowder/Matt Maher/ Jordan St. Cyr/Katy Nichole, The Criterion. CHRISTIAN

No Whiners Aloud, Mojo’s Blues Club. BLUES Tin Can Gramophone/Hosty, The Deli. FOLK


The Aints/Bailey Gilbert & Friends, The Deli. AMERICANA

DJ Paul, The Vanguard, Tulsa. DJ

The Edge Christmas Concert featuring Silversun Pickups, Wilderado & Cafuné, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. ROCK


Bruce Benson & Studio B, 51st Street Speakeasy. BLUES

Caleb McGee, The Deli. BLUES Prof, Beer City Music Hall. RAPPER


Jazz Night, Bradford House. JAZZ

Sunset Patio Bar Karaoke Night, Sunset Patio. KARAOKE

Kendrick McKinney Trio, 51st Street Speakeasy. JAZZ

Trampled by Turtles/SumBuck, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. FOLK

Trett Charles, River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa. COUNTRY

The Wednesday Band, The Deli. COUNTRY


All Under Heaven/Leaving Time/Money/Last Rites, The Sanctuary. ALTERNATIVE

Clay Walker, River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa. COUNTRY

Country Music Group Therapy/Biscuits & Groovy, The Deli. COUNTRY

Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge Karaoke Night, Dust Bowl. KARAOKE

Joel Forlenza, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. INSTRU MENTALISTS

Mark Lettieri Group, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar. ELECTRIC

Shelly Phelps and The Storm, Bourbon Street Bar. BLUES

Short & Broke/The BlueRays/JL Jones, Mojo’s Blues Club. BLUES

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Paycom Center. ROCK


Elizabeth Turner Premiere Flashbacks with the HoHoHos, Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewing Company. COVER

Flatland Cavalry/Vandoliers/Cole Chaney, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. COUNTRY

Husbands, Beer City Music Hall. POP

Joel Forlenza, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. INSTRU MENTALISTS

Luke Combs, Paycom Center. COUNTRY

McKee Brother Jazz Band, Bourbon Street Bar. JAZZ

OMB Peezy and Seddy Hendrinx, Ponyboy. RAP

OTS J Huncho, The Vanguard, Tulsa. RAP

Sing Me Back Home Festival, Blue Note. SINGER/ SONGWRITERS


Joel Forlenza, Othello’s Italian Restaurant. INSTRU MENTALISTS

Kennedy Fine, Stonecloud Brewing Co. SINGER/SONGWRITER

Langhorne Slim, Beer City Music Hall. SINGER/ SONGWRITER

Lucas Ross/Angela Brooks/Madison McCoy/Wes Fowler/Garrison Perrett, Rodeo Opry. COUNTRY

Luke Combs, Paycom Center. COUNTRY

Matthew and The Arrogant Sea/Secret Keepers, Blue Note. ROCK

McKee Brother Jazz Band, Bourbon Street Bar. JAZZ

Rid Them All, The Vanguard, Tulsa. METAL

Southern Brothers Jason Eady and Adam Hood, Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewing Company. FOLK

The Walk, VZD’s Restaurant & Bar. ROCK

Yung Gravy & Bbno$, The Criterion. RAP


Jazz Night!, Blue Note. JAZZ

No Whiners Aloud, Mojo’s Blues Club. BLUES

Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The Criterion. ROCK Tin Can Gramophone/Hosty, The Deli. FOLK


The Aints/Bailey Gilbert & Friends, The Deli. AMERICANA

Incite, The Vanguard, Tulsa. METAL


Bruce Benson & Studio B, 51st Street Speakeasy. BLUES

Caleb McGee, The Deli. BLUES Maul/Caustic/Sledge/Bashed in, The Sanctuary. METAL

Victor Internet, Beer City Music Hall. R&B

Live music

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. Visit to submit your lisitngs or email Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.

These are events recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members. For full calendar listings, go to
GO TO OKGAZETTE.COM FOR FULL LISTINGS! The KATT Record Show Oklahoma City’s first record show in decades for buyers and sellers who love community and music of all types with local retailers like Guestroom Records, Trolley Stop Record Shop and Monkey Feet Music offering amazing deals. The event will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Dec. 10 at Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S. Eastern Ave., 405460-5288, SAT, DEC 10 Photo Oklahoma Gazette/Archive


Strain name: Dave Diaz

Grown by: Noble Cannabis Co.

Acquired from: Blue Collar Criminals

Date acquired: Nov. 17

Physical traits: and green

Bouquet: earthy and fruity

Review: Blue Collar Criminals has carried their own flower since opening the dispensary doors in 2019, but after reopening them earlier this summer, they soon expanded their menu to include other trusted farmers. Noble Cannabis Co., is a family-owned hydroponics operation based in, well, you can guess. We’re not sure who Dave Diaz is, but we’re sure he’d be proud. The floral aroma hits the nose pleasantly before grinding

down into a dark, rich smoke. While this “indica”-leaning strain offers a soft and hazy body high, it’s not particularly overbearing, making it perfect for both artistic endeavors or holiday shopping sprees.

Strain name: Watermelon Zoo Zoos

Grown by: Creature Flora

Acquired from: Apothecary Farms (Broadway)

Date acquired: Nov. 20

Physical traits: frosted light green and orange

Bouquet: earthy, sweet

Apothecary Farms opened earlier this year in the former Living Leaf space in Automobile Al ley. Foremost an extracts company, Apothecary Farms specializes in its concentrates and edibles while also offering a curated menu of quality flower from their own facility and other boutique growers. Intrigued by both the name of the flower and the grower, Watermelon ZooZoos was an easy choice. Creature Flora is a newcomer to the scene, opening earlier this year, but they certainly came in hot with this proprietary strain. These buds

are frosty and fragrant and taste as good as they smell, with a hint of sweet watermelon candy flavor that produces a hazy yet energizing high. Highly recom mended for those days when you



Homework: What do you like a little that you might be able to like a lot?

ARIES (March 21-April 19)

Journalist Hadley Freeman interviewed Aries actor William Shatner when he was 90. She was surprised to find that the man who played Star Trek’s Captain Kirk looked 30 years younger than his actual age. “How do you account for your robustness?” she asked him. “I ride a lot of horses, and I’m into the bewilderment of the world,” said Shatner. “I open my heart and head into the curiosity of how things work.” I suggest you adopt Shatner’s approach in the coming weeks, Aries. Be intoxicated with the emotional richness of mysteries and perplexities. Feel the joy of how unknowable and unpredictable everything is. Bask in the blessings of the beautiful and bountiful questions that life sends your way.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

Of all the objects on earth, which is most likely to be carelessly cast away and turned into litter? Cigarette butts, of course. That’s why an Indian entrepreneur named Naman Guota is such a revolutionary. Thus far, he has recycled and transformed over 300 million butts into mosquito repellant, toys, keyrings, and compost, which he and his company have sold for over a million dollars. I predict that in the coming weeks, you will have a comparable genius for converting debris and scraps into useful, valuable stuff. You will be skilled at recycling dross. Meditate on how you might accomplish this metaphorically and psychologically.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

Tips on how to be the best Gemini you can be in the coming weeks: 1. Think laterally or in spirals rather than straight lines. 2. Gleefully solve problems in your daydreams. 3. Try not to hurt anyone accidentally. Maybe go overboard in being sensitive and kind. 4. Cultivate even more variety than usual in the influences you surround yourself with. 5. Speak the diplomatic truth to people who truly need to hear it. 6. Make creative use

of your mostly hidden side. 7. Never let people figure you out completely.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

In my dream, I gathered with my five favorite astrologers to ruminate on your immediate future. After much discussion, we decided the following advice would be helpful for you in December. 1. Make the most useful and inspirational errors you’ve dared in a long time. 2. Try experiments that teach you interesting lessons even if they aren’t completely successful. 3. Identify and honor the blessings in every mess.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)

“All possible feelings do not yet exist,” writes Leo novelist Nicole Krauss in her book The History of Love. “There are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written, or something else impossible to predict, fathom, or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact.” I suspect that some of these novel moods will soon be welling up in you, Leo. I’m confident your heart will absorb the influx with intelligence and fascination.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Virgo author Jeanette Winterson writes, “I have always tried to make a home for myself, but I have not felt at home in myself. I have worked hard at being the hero of my own life, but every time I checked the register of displaced persons, I was still on it. I didn’t know how to belong. Longing? Yes. Belonging? No.” Let’s unpack Winterson’s complex testimony as it relates to you right now. I think you are closer than ever before to feeling at home in yourself—maybe not perfectly so, but more than in the past. I also suspect you have a greater-than-usual capacity for belonging. That’s why I invite you to be clear about what or whom you want to belong to and what your belonging will feel like. One more thing: You now have extraordinary power to learn more about what it means to be the hero of your own life.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

It’s tempting for you to entertain balanced views about every subject. You might prefer to never come to definitive conclusions about anything, because it’s so much fun basking in the pretty glow of prismatic ambiguity. You LOVE there being five sides to every story. I’m not here to scold you about this predilection. As a person with three Libran planets in my chart, I understand the appeal of considering all options. But I will advise you to take a brief break from this tendency. If you avoid making decisions in the coming weeks, they will be made for you by others. I don’t recommend that. Be proactive.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Scorpio poet David Whyte makes the surprising statement that “anger is the deepest form of compassion.” What does he mean? As long as it doesn’t result in violence, he says, “anger is the purest form of care. The internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect, and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for.” Invoking Whyte’s definition, I will urge you to savor your anger in the coming days. I will invite you to honor and celebrate your anger, and use it to guide your constructive efforts to fix some problem or ease some hurt. (Read more:

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Sagittarian comedian Margaret Cho dealt with floods of ignorant criticism while growing up. She testifies, “Being called ugly and fat and disgusting from the time I could barely understand what the words meant has scarred me so deep inside that I have learned to hunt, stalk, claim, own, and defend my own loveliness.” You may not have ever experienced such extreme forms of disapproval, Sagittarius, but—like all of us—you have on some occasions been berated or undervalued simply for being who you are. The good news is that the coming months will be a favorable time to do what Cho has done: hunt, stalk, claim, own, and defend your own loveliness. It’s time to intensify your efforts in this noble project.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

The bad news: In 1998, Shon Hopwood was sentenced to 12 years in prison for committing bank robberies. The

good news: While incarcerated, he studied law and helped a number of his fellow prisoners win their legal cases— including one heard by the US Supreme Court. After his release, he became a full-fledged lawyer, and is now a professor of law at Georgetown University. Your current trouble isn’t anywhere as severe as Hopwood’s was, Capricorn, but I expect your current kerfuffle could motivate you to accomplish a very fine redemption.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

“I stopped going to therapy because I knew my therapist was right, and I wanted to keep being wrong,” writes poet Clementine von Radics. “I wanted to keep my bad habits like charms on a bracelet. I did not want to be brave.” Dear Aquarius, I hope you will do the opposite of her in the coming weeks. You are, I suspect, very near to a major healing. You’re on the verge of at least partially fixing a problem that has plagued you for a while. So please keep calling on whatever help you’ve been receiving. Maybe ask for even more support and inspiration from the influences that have been contributing to your slow, steady progress.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20)

As you have roused your personal power to defeat your fears in the past, what methods and approaches have worked best for you? Are there brave people who have inspired you? Are there stories and symbols that have taught you useful tricks? I urge you to survey all you have learned about the art of summoning extra courage. In the coming weeks, you will be glad you have this information to draw on. I don’t mean to imply that your challenges will be scarier or more daunting than usual. My point is that you will have unprecedented opportunities to create vigorous new trends in your life if you are as bold and audacious as you can be.

Go to to check out Rob Brezsny’s expanded weekly audio horoscopes / daily text message horoscopes. The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700.





One not getting in too deep


21 NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE | COLLISION COURSES By Samuel A. Donaldson | Puzzles Edited by Will Shortz | 1120

79 Beast with a mouth best left unexamined 81 Where you went 83 Longtime Progressive spokeswoman 85 Vehicle that might have parachute brakes 86 Brand name-checked in Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” 87 It’s hot right now 88 Some skin care ingredients, informally 89 Relative of a waterspout 90 More cocksure 92 Sch. for which John Wayne played tackle 97 Wedding proposal? 98 So-called “father of geometry” 100 Honors in the ad biz 101 Fit in 104 “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” spinoff 105 Unpopular food that’s rich in minerals 108 A-listers 109 Claw 110 Hägar the Horrible’s hound 112 Twosome 114 105-Down, e.g. 115 Spanish direcci—n 119 Source of big green eggs







Big name in pain relief

Game typically played in the dark

Become established

52 Politico Cheney 54 Color-wheel options 55 Old yellers? 57 Animal with a prominent proboscis 61 Trifling, informally 62 Lab-engineered fare, facetiously .?.?. or a hint to the six crossings of shaded squares 67 Totenberg of NPR 68 “____ at 11” (local news promo) 69 Prefix with biology 70 Thing moving through a tube, maybe 71 Qom home 72 Lenovo competitor

Common concert merch

Like diamonds

73 Bountiful harvests for farmers .?.?. or another hint to the crossings of shaded squares 77 Grub 78 What gorillas have that giraffes lack? 80 Spot for a tattoo 81 Prefix with biology 82 Peter Pan alternative 84 Achieved a flight training milestone 86 Hiking group? 88 Email symbols, informally 91 Target of an annual shot 93 Worker who makes a ton of dough 94 Terse affirmation 95 Producers of multiple outs, for short 96 Like a very heavy sleeper 99 Precisely 102 It’s “rarely pure and never simple,” per Oscar Wilde 103 Bit of hairstyling 106 Mop’s partner, in a brand name 107 Measures up to 111 Tight (with) 113 Pipes up 116 Pinkerton who founded the Pinkerton detective agency 117 Unpredictable change 118 Is delighted by the invitation 119 “Brille Brille Petite ____” (children’s song abroad) 120 Mesopotamian metropolis 121 Thinks up 122 Experience sharer 123 Got in order 124 Fast-sounding freshwater fish 125 Eye-grabbing email subject line DOWN 1 Tree of the custard apple family 2 “The ____ Holmes Mysteries” (young adult series)

What might prompt a run for Congress? Stumped? Call 1-900-285-5656 to get the answers to any three clues by phone ($1.20 a minute). VOL. XLIV NO. 24

Arctic jacket SUDOKU DIABOLIC | N° 29959 Fill in the grid so that every row, column and 3-by-3 box contains the numbers 1 through 9. 5 9 8 6 1 3 5 3 2 6 9

20 2 8 6 5 8 4 6 1 4 8 8 3 8 5 2 Grid n°29959 diabolic

Hairspray brand since the 1950s NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE ANSWERS Puzzle No. 1023 which appeared in the November 16th issue.

It shares a key with “!” 48 It might be stuck on the chopping block 50 Rise, as a steed might

3 Gave (out) 4 Claptrap 5 Makes some deep cuts in 6 Barely squeeze (by) 7 Unlawful occupant 8 Swear word 9 Swear word 10 Garnish for a Gibson cocktail 11 Jurors, to a defendant 12 Word with food, clothes or entertainment 13 Quick escapes 14 Cry of perfection from a carpenter? 15 City NW of Bar Harbor 16 Retort to “No, you’re not able” 17 Has for supper 18 Seeing someone socially 20 Loud, as a crowd 26 “For ____, all nature is too little”: Seneca 31 Tesla but not Edison 34 Vast quantity 35 Smart ____ 36 Bad look 38 Kenan’s comedy partner 39 Queen commemorated on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 40 Objects from faraway lands 41 Not so harsh 44 Land of leprechauns 45 Seek, as punitive payment 49 1993 R.&B. hit with the lyric “Keep playin’ that song all night” 51 Seat of Utah County 53 Most off the wall 56 Alphabet ____ 58 Illegal, as a download 59 Ensnared 60 Return payments? 62 Totally terrif 63 Go back for more 64 “Knives Out” actress Ana de ____ 65 “Happy to!” 66 Contacts via Instagram, informally 74 Singer/songwriter ____ Mai 75 They start in the corners 76 Bygone magazine for rock music enthusiasts

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ACROSS 1 Sell, as bicycles?
Coups in journalism
Band whose final album, “Synchronicity,” was their most popular, with “the”
More in need of practice
24 horas from now
Big name in pain relief
Used an unspoken language
Chinese zodiac animal
Tiny amount of time: Abbr.
Calf site
Pronoun for Frenchwomen