FREE EVERY WEDNESDAY METRO OKC’S INDEPENDENT WEEKLY VOL. XXXVII NO. 7 FEBRUARY 18, 2015
o r t e M
s e t i r o v Fla al n o i t i d a r t , y Trend rrific meals, . and te s and drinks e g r u l p s R P.23
ACTIVE: READY, GAZETTE, GO! SETS BOOTCAMP WORKOUT P.31 MUSIC: SMOOTH MCGROOVE'S GEEK MUSIC GOES VIRAL P.40
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ON THE COVER
From The Lunchbox (made with Coors!) at Edna’s to Okie Poutine at The Mule, Oklahoma Gazette shares food and drink trends and classics you should try right now. Story by Angela Botzer. P. 23.
— Jennifer Chancellor, editor-in-chief
City: Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City
City: Kristin Vails resigns
Performing Arts: Ryan Drake
Food & Drink: Cafe 501, Spelling Bee(r), OKG eat: neighborhoods
Sudoku / Crossword
Election: Ward 8
Cover: 15 food and drink favorites
Books: The Long and Faraway Gone: A Novel
Active: Ready, Gazette, GO!
Community: Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
Music: Music Made Me: Jacob Abello, Smooth McGroove, All That Remains, event listings
Visual Arts: Pancakes and Booze, T-shirt art
Film: Fifty Shades of Grey
MISSION STATEMENT Oklahoma Gazette’s mission is to stimulate, examine and inform the public on local quality of life issues and social needs, to recognize community accomplishments, and to provide a forum for inspiration, participation and interaction across all media.
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M A RK HA N COC K
Public-private partnership City leaders say that secrecy is essential when courting corporations and developers. BY BEN FELDER
An independent organization not beholden to open record laws and operating with a public relations firm rather than a public information officer, unlike other city departments, manages the city’s use of tax incentives and urban redevelopment. The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City was founded in 2011, partly out of a desire to keep conversations between prospective developers and businesses immune from open record laws. In the city’s agreement with the Alliance, it states that “disclosure of economic development prospects may lead to the elimination of Oklahoma City from economic development competitions,” indicating a desire to keep records and conversations private that would otherwise be exposed within a government entity. Business plans, feasibility studies, financing proposals, marketing plans and financial statements within the Alliance are not subject to public review for one year. But while an environment of secrecy can seem counter to the goal of openness in government, city leaders say it is necessary when trying to court corporations and developers. “It isn’t like we are trying to hide something,” City Manager Jim Couch said. “But nobody is going to negotiate with you if it’s going to get
out in the public.” Couch said prior to the Alliance, there have been examples of companies backing out of a possible relocation to OKC because of leaked information. He said there were also times when he had to keep documents out of his office and off his computer in order to keep them exempt from open record requests.
It isn’t like we are trying to hide something. But nobody is going to negotiate with you if it’s going to get out in the public. — Jim Couch
“Once I have them in my possession, those documents would become open record,” Couch added. When the city enters negotiations with, for example, a streetcar manufacturer, its documents and communications are subject to review by the public. Emails, documents and other forms of communication between the Alliance and, for example,
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a hotel developer seeking incentives, are kept private until it reaches the city council for a vote. Critics of the Alliance say it has a heavy hand in setting policies and tax incentives without public review. The city council has the final say on incentives and most urban redevelopment plans, but those same critics say that what reaches the council is often a proposal that represents months of behind-the-scenes meetings and negotiations. “Because we are dealing with economic development, there is hardly a project that we do that is 100 percent popular,” said Cathy O’Connor, president of the Alliance. “So you know going into it there is going to be some controversy.” O’Connor said the Alliance provides the city with a dedicated and talented economic development staff, along with an efficient operation that can be hard to replicate in a government institution. “We have people who wake up every day and think about economic development and revitalizing Oklahoma City,” O’Connor said. “The reality is, for so many people who work in government, they become very reactive, they are responding to the problem of the day and can be spread thin.” The private nature of the Alliance might be easy to criticize, but
O’Connor said there are economic development projects that would not have happened if discussions and proposals were held in public. She also said the Alliance is not as secret as people might believe. “We have a [tax increment finance] review committee, and the council has the final say,” said O’Connor about the ability to take property tax growth from new projects and use those funds to help developers. “It’s Cathy O’Connor and the Alliance who seem to take in every TIF proposal, negotiate with the property owner and then bring it to council, which seems to approve what the Alliance has recommended 100 percent of the time,” said Councilman Ed Shadid, who has been one of the Alliance’s loudest critics. “You can’t wait till the last minute to announce [a new TIF] to the council, the schools and the public.” The council was presented plans for a new downtown TIF district last month, and there was some controversy after a school official communicating with the Alliance resigned without passing along the TIF information to the school district. School board members said they felt “out of the loop” concerning the new TIF district (see Metro briefs in this issue), but O’Connor said it was an incident of miscommunication and the Alliance works closely with the school district and other taxing jurisdictions. While Shadid said the Alliance’s proposal to the council last month was “too late in the game,” O’Connor said it represented the very first step and there would be many more conversations with the council. The use of an independent entity to manage tax incentives is not an original concept unique to Oklahoma City. Many cities, such as Dallas, Kansas City and Minneapolis have similar independent economic development organizations. “We have limited resources for economic development, and we try to leverage that as much as we can,” Couch said. “[This is] a model that is done in other cities. We didn’t just invent this out of the blue; we copied this from other cities.” While Couch acknowledged the secret nature of business negotiations with the Alliance, he said the city attempts to be as transparent as possible once those negotiations reach city hall. Wiley Williams, an attorney at city hall, said the Alliance is obligated to turn over some documents related to direct work with the city. “I think you will find the Alliance to be most cooperative in this regard,” Williams said. “But it is not required to make available for public inspection all documents in its possession.”
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This exhibition is organized by Foto+Synthesis.
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NEWS CITY As news of Vails’ departure spread, social media comments highlighted the roles she played in not only transforming the neighborhood but also serving as a leader in the urban renaissance taking hold beyond downtown. Vails also has been involved in several place-making projects, including Better Block OKC. Over the past several years, the area also emerged as a creative hub as art galleries opened and hosted festivals highlighting local artists. “To me, its the most organic of all the arts districts that we have [in OKC],” said Stephen Kovash, who operates Istvan Gallery a few blocks away. “The Plaza seems to have a lot more opportunities for start-up artists and the kids getting into the business. It’s also one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Oklahoma City.”
All we ever saw her doing was hustling and working hard every single day. — Kenny Deason
MARK H ANCOCK
Urban pioneer ‘Plaza Mom’ Kristen Vails steps down as leader of the Plaza District Association. BY BEN FELDER
Kristen Vails, who has spent the last several years as one of Oklahoma City’s urban pioneers, will step down from her post as executive director of the Plaza District, a commercial hub on 16th Street that has become a model for neighborhood revitalization. “I was just kind of getting to a point where the district is going so well and we have a great board and good staff, and I felt like it is able to go on without me,” Vails said. Vails accepted a position with Fowler Holding Company, where she will manage sponsorship and community projects. Vails became director of the Plaza District Association (PDA) in 2008 and helped promote the neighborhood, attract dozens of restaurants and shops and host the Live on the Plaza art walk
and the annual Plaza District Festival. “We had had just a few Live on the Plazas, and I remember there was someone there with a stroller, a young family,” Vails said. “I had to run and grab my camera because I couldn’t believe there was a family down there. That was a real defining moment.” The district, which celebrated its 16th anniversary last year, has become one of the city’s most pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares and is home to several popular establishments, including Empire Slice House, Saints and The Mule. Once a thriving commercial area at the end of a trolley line in the 1920s, the neighborhood slowly lost businesses and residents until it was known for crime and blight in the ’80s. While the PDA formed several years before Vails arrived, she is credited for
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its latest era of cultural and business revitalization. “We all playfully called her the ‘Plaza mom’ because she was owning this thing so much as far as being the catalyst between everyone who was acting in the Plaza District,” said Kenny Deason, a board member and co-owner of District House, a neighborhood coffee shop and deli. “All we ever saw her doing was hustling and working hard every single day.” Deason said he hates to see Vails leave but feels her work set the neighborhood on a stable foundation. “Kristen is leaving with the Plaza District in such a place where there is leadership that has been developed, and she is leaving it with a very mature and vibrant and active board of directors in place,” Deason added.
Kovash, also on the Plaza District board, said he viewed Vails as not just a leader but someone who got involved in any project that helped promote the area. “She’s been a cheerleader and instrumental in bringing a lot of the top-shelf businesses that we have in there,” Kovash said. “I remember she was in DNA Galleries [before it opened], scraping paint and helping them launch. Now they are one of the most vibrant art gallery retail stores in the city.” The Plaza District also helped promote urban development through its Urban Pioneer Awards, which honored Midtown Renaissance for its revitalization work across the city last year. While Vails gets a lot of credit for the district’s success, she said the vibrant community is made up of many different people and she is excited about its future. “I think [the Plaza District] is a great model for other areas, and it’s taken so many pieces to make it work and I tell that to so many other [neighborhood] managers,” Vails said. Vails’ final day is March 31. She starts with Fowler in April. “You could not overstate her role in this neighborhood,” Deason said. “We all hate to see her go, but like she said, the Plaza District is in such a strong place right now and will continue to grow.”
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Suburban light Ward 8 will see a new face in its council seat.
Ward 8 is where Oklahoma City meets the suburbs. It includes the northern leg of the Kilpatrick Turnpike, dozens of new subdivisions and an emerging retail scene. The ward will also have a new councilor as Pat Ryan steps down following next month’s election. The growth in new residents in Ward 8 challenged city services to keep up, and each of the three candidates say this council seat will play an important part in managing needed changes. “I understand the process of going through that growth,” said Steve Curry, a brokerage director at MassMutual Oklahoma and the former chairman of the State Election Board. “You get some of those lots that are 5-acre lots or 10-acre lots and a mixture of new business complexes and other residential developments, so there are some issues with code and other concerns that growth brings.” Curry said he has always been involved in politics but never before run for office. He believes the city is managed relatively well and would like to continue the progress as a member of the council. Mark Stonecipher, an oil and gas attorney, said he is running for council with on-the-ground experience helping neighborhoods adapt to growth and the challenges it brings. “I was president of the Quail Creek
Homeowners Association and we had a break-in problem,” Stonecipher said. After contacting Ryan and law enforcement, a plan was created for the homeowners association to hire off-duty police officers, Stonecipher said. “We finally caught them,” Stonecipher said. Stonecipher, 57, was later asked by Ryan to serve on the Mayor’s Charter Revision Task Force and the Board of Adjustments. “I loved that work,” Stonecipher said. The city has its critics who say a focus on downtown neglected more suburban communities. Stonecipher believes the city can do more to help growth in areas like Ward 8 but does not feel the focus on downtown redevelopment is misdirected. “If your neighborhoods aren’t thriving and they are not complementing your downtown, you are not doing anything,” Stonecipher said. John Ederer, a realtor in north OKC, is also running for the open Ward 8 seat. The 77-year-old has a rich memory of the city’s past, including riding trolleys and shopping in the old Main Street district. “I’ve always had this passion for politics and this city,” Ederer said. It was during a visit to a city council meeting that Ederer said he observed a level of disenfranchisement between the council and public that inspired him to run.
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MARK HAN COC K
BY BEN FELDER
If your neighborhoods aren’t thriving and they are not complementing your downtown, you are not doing anything. — Mark Stonecipher
“I was trying to find out where we were [in the agenda], and all of sudden the council votes, I’m still trying to find it and now they are into the next deal,” Ederer said. “It seems like so many people in government are not, like I call myself, the working-class candidate.” Ederer said he loves all of the new additions to downtown, but he believes more needs to be done to help assist the growth of north Oklahoma City. “I see these new [housing] additions going in, and nobody seems to be paying attention to law enforcement or fire department,” Ederer said. Ederer was also a member of the University of Oklahoma football team in 1955 and ’56, when the team set a record for most consecutive wins. Like the other wards across the city, Ward 8 has seen relatively low voter turnout in past council elections. However, it led all wards for turnout during the 2011 elections with more than 6,500 votes cast. That makes Ward
8 one of the more politically engaged sections of the city. Its focus is different from the two other wards up for election that have more urban characteristics. Curry said the Ward 8 race is about understanding city residents’ priorities. “It’s the prioritization that is the most difficult part of being on the council,” Curry said. “You have a long list, but you have to figure out what is more important. And I think we need better roads and law enforcement that is keeping up with the growth.” All three candidates acknowledge the role the next councilman will have in helping shape a new $1 billion bond to bring money to Ward 8 for infrastructure, along with the beginning stages of planning for a new MAPS campaign. “Those are important decisions that I want to help my ward be involved in,” Stonecipher said. Councilman Ryan has served as Ward 8 councilman since 2005 and announced he would not seek reelection. His departure means that at least one new member will join the council this year, as the other two contested races include incumbents. Voters in Ward 6, 2 and 8 will have a chance to cast ballots on March 3. In wards where a candidate fails to receive over 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote recipients will move on to a runoff.
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Oklahoma City’s school board wants to better understand the tax increment financing (TIF) process, especially as the city considers expanding it. The Oklahoma City Council recently discussed expanding the use of tax increment financing, which is the process of taking property tax growth and using it for incentives for development projects, downtown. While it impacts all jurisdictions that draw revenue from property tax, like the school district, it’s a tool that is solely managed by the city. “We’ve all been very behind the curb on this,” said Lynne Hardin, school board chairwoman, who invited local realtor Bart Binning (pictured) to discuss the use of TIF with the school board last week during a special meeting. During TIF discussions last month, the city council was told that school district officials were supportive of the plan. However, district officials said they were not aware of the conversations. “I had contact with a senior staff member of OKCPS who is no longer with the district,” said Cathy O’Connor, director of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, the organization that oversees the city’s tax incentive programs. “This person had served as the district’s representative on the Downtown TIF district in the past. This is unfortunate, as I think it caused some confusion within the district, as they did not have the information at their fingertips because of the turnover.” The staff member referred to by O’Connor was identified as Rod McKinley, the district’s chief operating officer, who abruptly resigned last month. Robert Neu, superintendent of OKC schools, said no one in his administration was aware of the meeting between O’Connor and McKinley. During a meeting last week, the school board openly discussed its skepticism of the TIF process. Some board members said they would like to negotiate with the city to possibly build a new school downtown, where the new TIF hopes to attract residential development. “Let’s become the winning recipients of this poker game,” said school board member Justin Ellis.
The ANIMAL Conference is an open forum designed to convene, discuss, network, and learn about the important issues facing animals in Oklahoma and beyond. Skirvin-Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City
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By the numbers 52. That’s the number of new classrooms the Oklahoma City Public School district has added through the use of portable buildings this year. With the majority of the district’s growth on the south side, most of the portable classrooms have been added to Webster Middle School and U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill high schools.
Charter schools In a city where public schools can be used as a deterrent for prospective residents, many city leaders have viewed John Rex Charter Elementary (pictured) as a school that makes downtown a viable option for residents with children, especially the affluent families the city hopes to attract. “Look at how the [OKC] mayor and [city] council are constantly being told we need more John Rex schools,” Sen. David Holt, R-OKC, said. “But the mayor and council’s hands are tied because they are not a school district.” Holt filed legislation (Senate Bill 68) that seeks to give the state’s two largest cities — OKC and Tulsa — the ability to sponsor a charter school. While Holt said this does not represent a request from city hall he believes expanding the opportunity for charter schools, especially in urban communities, is a good thing. “I want to see more school options for parents,” Holt said. Holt’s bill passed the Senate education committee last week, clearing the way for a possible floor vote. A version of this amendment has been floated before, Holt said, but failed to gain a hearing in past committees.
Quotable “The bottom line is there is not going to be a lot of room for growth in the budget, and at this point, I can’t tell you what that will mean,” City Manager Jim Couch (pictured) told the city council during a budget workshop last week. Low oil prices are likely to continue impacting the city and its large energy companies. There is also a high level of uncertainty about what the future might hold concerning government employment at the state and federal level, which is the largest employment sector in the city. Add in the fact that revenue growth is not on pace to match increasing expenses over the next few years and the city council has tough decisions to make as it prepares the next budget. City staff will present a Fiscal Year 2016 budget to the council in early May for adoption a few months later.
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Russell Westbrook can rock a kurta. He can sport spots. Give him an oversized jacket with a pattern of 3-D glasses wearing moviegoer heads. Yeah, sure. Whatever. Ain’t no thang. For the man who has a fashion Tumblr for his eccentricities, he might as well have a job to go with it. As of now, the Oklahoma City Thunder personality is creative director of True Religion’s new marketing campaign. While Westbrook won’t be working his new gig 24/7, something tells us he’s going to be rocking quite a bit of denim from here on out. Last week, Westbrook filmed a TV spot that aired the following day during the NBA AllStar goings-on. With the new gig, Westbrook joins a growing movement of athletes exploring the fashion industry. Though by no means yet a Michael Jordan, Lebron James or a Kevin
Durant, who each own their own clothing lines, he might very well be on his way. Non sequitur: Do you know what happens when Russell Westbrook doesn’t get his halftime high-five? Jeremy Lamb does. Look it up.
Some Payne County residents believe fracking is the cause of increased earthquake activity. Others aren’t having any of it. “At least 10 members of the group Stop Fracking Payne County claim their anti-fracking signs were stolen, run over, ripped out of the ground or vandalized recently,” reported KOCO. com. Ariel Ross, a member of Stop Fracking Payne County, told the news crew: “I just want to be able to put up my sign because I care about it and I think it’s important.” The fracking fight comes at a time when earthquake activity has increased
dramatically in Oklahoma, and while there is some science that points to a connection with increased fracking, state leaders remain unwilling to draw that connection. Then again, maybe the protesters in Payne County should lighten up. A little earth shaking never killed anyone, right?
You know your job sucks when a robber takes all the cash in the register and then leaves you a tip. This happened to an OKC sandwich artist when a female came into the Subway she was working at and robbed the joint with a rifle, reported TheRoot.com. As she was leaving, the thief turned around and put a dollar in the tip jar and said, “This is for you,” according to the report. This was the second time the same person had robbed the same store. The employee quit the next day.
Northpark Mall is famous in OKC for its dollar theater (Starplex Northpark 7; just $1 all day Tuesdays) and Shogun Steak House of Japan. What it isn’t known for is a Vegas-style club scene — until now. The Oklahoma Planning Commission approved a proposal to open a nightclub complete with a DJ and alcoholic drinks in the east end of the mall, reported KFOR.com. However, nearby Quail Creek residents fear it will make the area dangerous. But its proprieters have a solution: The good news is that you get your picture taken as soon as you enter the
s U w o ll o F n o
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club. Sorry; no selfies. Servall Biometric Identity Scanners will be installed and high-end security will guard the door to help allay the fears of neighbors. The other good news is that the plan still needs to be approved by the Oklahoma City Council, so there’s a possibility the speedwalking grannies and tiny costumed dogs of Northpark Mall will be left to stroll in peace.
We’re not there, yet. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a nonprofit think-tank, conducted a state-by-state survey last year. The study ranked states in order based on the state’s preparedness for the future, especially in fields of innovation and research. NewsOK.com reported that Oklahoma, with its energy-based economy and little else invested in research and development, ranked 48th-lowest state in the union regarding its plans. It seems we don’t have much planned for when the wells — literally
and figuratively — run dry. On the bright side, we beat Alaska and North Dakota. Break out the confetti, y’all. Just when we were starting to feel good about ourselves again, here comes another ranked checklist to tell us our shortcomings. At least it keeps us humble.
Sometimes, making the right decision can be costly. What’s a school district supposed to do with all those uniforms, banners, sports helmets, letter jackets, signs and gear emblazoned with un-PC Redskins logos? Capitol Hill High School athletic gear and more will likely be sold to raise the estimated $200,000 needed to pay to replace it all. As it turns out, school supporters are interested in buying this “soon-to-be-retired,” “surplus” gear, NewsOK.com reported. Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Robert Neu agreed.
There are stereotypical crazy cat ladies, and there are those that take it to a whole new level. Jay Cook could be crowned the Queen of the Cat Ladies. Rather than spend her time knitting afghans and telling one of her house cats to stop one of many ruinous behaviors, Cook takes a different approach, reported NewsOK.com. She has organized an area near Lake Hefner with shelters and feeding troughs for the dozens of feral felines that have come to call the place home. She visits the colony every day, dispensing food and giving attention to the more social of the group. Cook has organized a nonprofit group, Kitty Wranglers Cat Rescue, to raise donations for the cats’ care and organize adoption for those that are fit to be pets. As a means to help control the population, she participates in a program with Oklahoma City Animal Shelter in which the cats are trapped, spayed or
neutered and returned to their colony. Both Cook and representatives from the OKC Animal Shelter concluded that the trap-and-release program is the most successful method for dealing with feral cat overpopulation. The previous solution was to euthanize the animals, which is just sad. The cats in the colony come from every situation, from being born on the street to abandoned or dumped by their owners. Cook has names for all of the felines in her charge, and her passion for the kitties ensures that they have the best quality of life possible. That’s a cat lady crusade we can get behind.
Quote of the week
“You guys really don’t know shit.” — Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant, speaking to reporters in advance of Sunday’s All-Star game. “So I really don’t care. Y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write. You’re going to love us one day and hate us the next. That’s a part of it.”
A WORLD UNCONQUERED THE ART OF OSCAR BROUSSE JACOBSON
FEBRUARY 26 - SEPTEMBER 6, 2015 FRED JONES JR. MUSEUM OF ART
555 Elm Avenue Norman, OK 73019 www.ou.edu/fjjma
For questions and accommodations on the basis of a disability, please call (405) 325- 4938. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo O K L A H O M A G A Z E T T E | F E B R UA R Y 1 8 , 2 0 1 5 | 1 3
P ROVI DE D
Bills could improve dismal voter turnout BY DAVID BLATT
Political participation in Oklahoma is in crisis. With each election in recent years, fewer Oklahomans register to vote, turn up at the polls and run for office. Let’s consider just a few dismal numbers. In 2012, Oklahoma’s turnout for the presidential election was third lowest in the nation. One-third of eligible voters are not registered to vote, and there were fewer registered voters in 2014 than in 1988, even as the state’s population grew by 700,000. In November, less than 30 percent of the state’s eligible citizens cast ballots for governor, Congress and other key offices. In state House elections, 65 of 101 seats were decided before the election, either because only one candidate ran or the winner was determined in a party primary. The winner of the primary runoff election for
a south Oklahoma City seat got fewer than 400 votes — fewer people than attend a typical film opening. The decline in electoral participation matters. Elections are a cornerstone of our representative democracy. Voting allows citizens to participate regularly in the political process and ensures that elected officials stay accountable to their constituents. When citizens don’t vote, their opinions and interests might go unrepresented, especially if they can’t afford to hire lobbyists or donate to politicians. The good news is that state leaders from both parties are beginning to recognize the problem and find solutions. This session, Sen. David Holt, R-OKC, introduced a package of 10 bills and resolutions intended to boost voter turnout by removing voting obstacles and
encouraging greater competition among candidates and parties. Holt’s measures would allow online voter registration, extend early voting, create an option for permanent absentee voter status and consolidate local election dates. His bills also address Oklahoma’s restrictive ballot access laws by making it easier for third parties and initiative petitions to get on the ballot. Meanwhile, a bill proposed by Senate Minority Leader Randy Bass, D-Lawton, would ensure that voter information guides are produced and distributed before state elections. Two of Holt’s bills are especially bold. One would move Oklahoma to all mail-in elections by 2020, making voting more convenient. The other would open up primary elections to all voters by placing all candidates on a single primary
Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.
ballot, with the top two candidates moving on to the general election. No one imagines that these proposals, if adopted, would ensure that no Oklahoma voter would ever sit out an election. But if the Legislature adopts these bills, fewer people would skip voting because they’d missed a registration deadline, had to hurry home to make dinner for their kids after work, didn’t know where their polling place was or because the party that best represents their views didn’t qualify for the ballot. At a time when so many political proposals divide us by party and ideology, the chance to help more Oklahomans exercise our civic right and responsibility to vote is something we all should be able to get behind. David Blatt is executive director of Oklahoma Policy Institute, a state policy think-tank.
LETTERS Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@ okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette. com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification. Morons
I want to call out an article that was recently written about Chris Kyle. The article stated, and I am recalling from memory, that you are not a hero because you kill people. Moron. It is not how many people Mr. Kyle killed; its how many American lives he saved and protected. He did his job and saved hundreds, if not thousands, of American lives. Thank you, Chris Kyle and others like you, for your sacrifice and dedication to our freedom, even the morons who live here. — Rick Scott Piedmont Big government, big bills
Mr. Hepner’s “Quotable” comment (News, “Briefs,” Ben Felder, Feb. 4, Oklahoma Gazette) reflects the
stereotypical fantasy of government “investing.” People invest, businesses invest but government steals the fruits of one’s labor and distributes those extorted riches to a favored sect. He believes that the panacea for not being prepared for the future is, of course, “investing in infrastructure” and “investing in our children’s future.” Our current kakistocracy used $1 trillion that we don’t have to “invest in the infrastructure” with negative results. To heap insult onto fiscal injury, our petulant leader later opined that there really weren’t any shovel-ready jobs. Haha. The joke’s on us. Furthermore, he flagrantly (some say fraudulently) directed billions of our borrowed money to his cronies and their unreliable green schemes. At the same time, for over six years, he steadfastly refused to acknowledge or approve a real shovel-ready jobs energy project, the Keystone Pipeline. Raising taxes to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the ruling class will do nothing to fix the infrastructure problem. Decades of ample lock-box funds have not accomplished anything. Government doesn’t create or fix anything; it just makes everything worse. History proves that giving more
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money to schools does absolutely nothing to improve the education of our children. If we double our teachers’ salaries today, will that result in a compatible increase in test scores? If we double the school budget today, will that cause in increase in learning? Perhaps a focused, critical look at how our education dollars are being spent, along with the fortitude to excise all no-value costs, will be more beneficial than continuing to throw cash into the fire. Inasmuch as college and university costs are out of control, the same thinking applies to higher education. What is the cost per classroom hour for a tenured professor? What is the reason for tenure? Why are anarchists,
unindicted felons and social misfits acting as and being paid as professors? In lieu of the red herrings offered Mr. Hepner, I submit real threats to our children’s future: the soon-to-be $26 trillion debt and the deficits of this administration; the dirigisme of the EPA, DOJ and Department of Education; illegal immigration; arbitrary imposition of restraints; forfeiture of our nation’s standing in the world; and the evisceration of our military. A government big enough to give you all you need is big enough to take away all you have. — Pete Lepo Edmond
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OKG picks are events
recommended by Oklahoma Gazette editorial staff members. For full calendar listings, go to okgazette.com.
BOOKS Alice Schroeder, bestselling author and author of The Snowball will speak on How Buffet Invests and Market Survival, 10:30 a.m., Feb. 19. St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 222 N.W. 15th St., 232-1371, stlukesokc.org. THU 36th Annual Friends Booksale, one of the largest book sales in the nation with over 600,000 books at discounted prices, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Feb. 21-22. Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, 3001 General Pershing Blvd., 948-6700, okstatefair.com. SAT-SUN New Ink, discover newly released books and soon-to-be best sellers, 3-5 p.m., Feb. 21. Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, 842-2900, fullcirclebooks. com. SAT Book Buzz with Dennis Spielman, Author Dennis Spielman will be at the Norman West Public Library to speak about Uncovering Oklahoma’s Date Idea Book series, Uncovering Oklahoma in general, and give a presentation on road trip idea along with a book signing, 6:30 p.m., Feb. 21. Norman West Public Library, 300 Norman Center Ct., Norman, 701-2600, pioneerlibrarysystem.org. SAT An Evening with Writer Allison Hedge Coke, Former Writer-in-Residence at UCO and current Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Hawaii will read from her new works, Streamers and Effigies II. 7:30 p.m., Feb. 23. Pegasus Theater- UCO Campus, 100 N. University Dr., Edmond, 974-2000, uco.edu. MON Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma, book discussion over the book My Last Days as Roy Rogers by Pat Cunningham Devoto which seems homage to Huck Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, 7 p.m., Feb. 24. Oklahoma City University, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 208-5000, okcu.edu. TUE
FILM Song of the Sea, (FR, 2014, dir. Tomm Moore) the story of the last seal-child, Saoirse, and her brother Ben who discover secrets of their past on a journey to save the world of magic, 5:30 & 8 p.m., Feb. 20; 3 p.m., Feb. 22. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive, 2363100, okcmoa.com. FRI/SUN The Story of Adele H., (FR, 1975, dir. Francois Truffaut) film based on the real-life diary of the daughter of Victor Hugo, Adele Hugo, and how she concealed her identity to seek out her fiance who in turn wants nothing to do with her, 2 p.m., Feb. 22. Oklahoma City University, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave., 208-5000, okcu.edu. SUN The Princess Bride, (US, 1987, dir. Rob Reiner) the classic fairy tale is showing for Tuesday Night Classics, 7 p.m.,
Black American Athletes at the 1960 Olympics During the turmoil of the civil rights movement, black athletes such as Cassius Clay, Oscar Robertson and Wilma Rudolph represented their country and their communities in the 1960 Rome Olympics. To complement the Smithsonian Institution’s Museums on Mainstreet Hometown Teams exhibit, Dr. Amy Carreiro, a professor at Oklahoma State University, leads an open discussion of black athletes at the Rome Olympics and the context and conflict that surrounded them. The free event is 6:30 p.m. at the Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 NE 23rd St. Visit metrolibrary.org.
Monday Feb. 24. Harkins Theatre, 150 E. Reno Ave., 231-4747, harkinstheatres.com. TUE
Awake: The Life of Yogananda, (US, 2014, dir. Paola di Florio, Lisa Leeman) biopic of the author of The Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 2425 The Paramount OKC, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 517-0787, theparamountokc.com. TUE-WED
Tool Care Workshop, introduction to the horticulture series; tips for caring for your tools and the best ones to use for your garden in the spring, noon-1 p.m., Feb. 19. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 445-7080, oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com/events. THU
Rembrandt from the National Gallery London & Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
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This film, documenting the last year of art great Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s (Rembrandt for short) life, will be shown Tuesday. Curated by London’s National Gallery and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the movie examines Rembrandt’s life with relevant materials from the institutions. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Cinemark Tinseltown USA, 6001 N. Martin Luther King Ave. Tickets are $9.50-$12.50. Visit fathomevents.com.
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Children’s Concert KFOR Weather analyst Emily Sutton will narrate Profofieff’s Peter and the Wolf as part of the Oklahoma Community Orchestra Children’s Concert, 3 p.m. Sunday. The bill also includes music from the movie Frozen and young musicians from El Sistema Oklahoma. If the idea of Sutton reading or hearing music from Frozen doesn’t appeal to you, you have no heart. The concert is at the Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater at Oklahoma Community College, 7777 S. May Ave. Tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 at the door. Children 12 and under get in free. Call 682-7579 or visit okorchestra.org.
Sunday Shop Hop, explore all that Automobile Alley has to offer; open house events at shops, live music, street artists, discounts at local restaurants and more, 6-9 p.m., Feb. 19. Automobile Alley, 1015 N Broadway Ave., 488-2555, automobilealley.org. THU Premiere on Film Row, a block party for the family, featuring film screenings, live music, art exhibitions, food trucks and more, 7-10 p.m., Feb. 20. Film Row, 700 W. Sheridan Ave., filmrowokc. com. FRI Orchid Care 101, learn how to care for orchids, pot and divide them along with information on watering and proper lighting, 11 a.m.-noon, Feb. 21. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 445-7080, oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com/ events. SAT
FOOD Saturday Cooking Class, learn to make Crepe Suzette, a French desert with caramelized sugar, orange juice and liqueur served on top, 10-11 a.m., Feb. 21. Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W. Covell Road, Edmond, 509-2700, uptowngroceryco.com. SAT CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
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Blithe Spirit If you thought a crazy ex doing donuts on your lawn was off-putting, perhaps you could learn to appreciate a bit more about the upside of his/her mortality by seeing Blithe Spirit Spirit, a play in which the struggles with an ex continue beyond the grave. Directed by George Adams, the production follows the life of a cantankerous novelist, his current wife and the issues of hiring a worth-her-salt medium. Curtains open 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at The Stage Door, 601 Oak Ave., in Yukon. Tickets are $9 in advance and $12 at the door. Visit stagedooryukon.com or call 866-966-1777.
Victorian Tea, ladies will learn the importance of Tea Time in the late 1800s in Oklahoma by two living history performers; come dressed in your finest Victorian, formal or prairie attire, 10 a.m., Feb. 21. Edmond Historical Society & Museum, 431 S. Boulevard, Edmond, 340-0078, edmondhistory. org. SAT Roughtail Beer Dinner, a paired four course dinner, 7 p.m., Feb. 24. James E. McNellie’s Public House, 1100 Classen Drive, 601-7468, mcnelliesokc.com. TUE
YOUTH Third Thursday, story time followed by a craft for the whole family to enjoy together, 10 a.m., Feb. 19. Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum, 1400 Classen Drive, 235-4458, oklahomaheritage.com. THU Flaky Fun: Celebrating the Snowflake, talk about what causes snow, recipes you can make with it and even create your own pretend snow along with Frozen inspired crafts to take home, 10-11 a.m., Feb. 20. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 4457080, oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com/events. FRI Art Adventures, young artists are invited to experience art through the book, Lines That Wiggle by Candace Whitman, 10:30 a.m., Feb. 24. Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., Norman, 325-3272, ou.edu/fjjma. TUE Lettuce Open the Hoop House, see and learn about the leafy greens growing and taste samples; kids can plant their oWn lettuce seeds in pots to take home, best for ages 2-5, 11 a.m.-noon, Feb. 25. Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W. Reno Ave., 445-7080, oklahomacitybotanicalgardens.com/events. WED
PERFORMING ARTS Side By Side, a musical revue featuring songs from various works of Broadway and film composer Stephen Sondheim, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 19-21; 2 p.m., Feb. 22. Rose State College, 6420 SE 15th St., Midwest City, 733-7673, rose.edu. THU-SUN
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Jerry’s Girls, a valentine to Broadway legend Jerry Herman; musical revue of the music and lyrics of Jerry Herman featuring his biggest hits including Hello Dolly!, La Cage Aux Folles and many others, 8 p.m., Feb. 19-22. UCO Jazz Lab, 100 E. Fifth St., Edmond, 359-7989, ucojazzlab.com. THU-SUN Pixar in Concert, live musical performance accompanied by clips from Pixar including Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. and others, 8 p.m., Feb. 20-21. Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave., 297-2264, okcciviccenter.com. FRI-SAT Always Patsy Cline, show based on the true story of Pasty Cline’s friendship with Houston housewife Louise Seger; a show of humor, sadness and reality, 8 p.m., Feb. 20-21 . The Boom, 2218 NW 39th St., 6017200, theboomokc.com. FRI-SAT The Revolver Comedy Tour, comedy show with Dylan Scott, Shannon Noll, Rachel McCarney, Tyler Ross and other special guests, 8 p.m., Feb. 21. The Paramount OKC, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., 517-0787, theparamountokc.com. SAT
ACTIVE OKC Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks, NBA basketball game, 7 p.m., Feb. 19. Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens, 602-8500, coxconventioncenter.com. THU Change of Heart, a special class benefiting the American Heart Association; wear red and get ready for a heart-pumping workout, 9:30 & 10:30 a.m., Feb. 21. barre3 Midtown, 801 N. Hudson Ave., 702-4333, barre3.com. SAT Cycle 2.0: Cycle and Core Workout, join tri-athlete Sandy Kimerer for a new cycling workout combining cycling with core strengthening, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Feb. 21. PACER Fitness Center, 5520 N. Independence, 949-3891. SAT Barons vs. Adirondack, Oklahoma City Barons host the Adirondack Flames, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames, 7 p.m., Feb. 20-21. Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens, 602-8500, coxconventioncenter. com. SAT
Two Voices: Painter and Poet
exhibit will run feb. 21 - mar. 7, 2015 with an artist’s reception on saturday, feb. 21 at 7pm OKC Blue vs. Texas Legends, The Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBA D-League affiliate hosts the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate of the Dallas Maverics, 2 p.m., Feb. 22. Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens, 602-8500, coxconventioncenter.com. SUN OKC Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers, NBA basketball game, 7 p.m., Feb. 24. Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W. Reno Ave., 602-8700, chesapeakearena.com. TUE
VISUAL ARTS A Step Back in Time, photography exhibit focusing on UCO’s campus and life at the turn of the 20th century. University of Central Oklahoma, 100 N. University Drive, Edmond, 974-2000, uco.edu. Abstract Abstract, a group exhibition of small abstract paintings from eleven local, national and international artists. Mainsite Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St., Norman, 360-1162, mainsite-art.com. Artist Survival Kit Workshop: Prep School, framing, crafting, installing; learn about creating your own frames, crates and pedestals and the basics of matting and framing techniques, 1-4 p.m., Feb. 21. IAO Art Gallery, 706 W. Sheridan Ave., 232-6060, iaogallery. org. SAT
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara: A Mid-Century Dream Home, exhibit explores the creation of a Wright house though the eyes of a client who spent more than fifty years fulfilling the architect’s Usonian vision. Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, 720 S. Husband St., Stillwater, 744-6016, museum.okstate. edu. Monothon Demonstration: Betty Bowen, demo of ways of making and transferring drawn marks in the monotype process, 1-3 p.m., Feb. 21. Artspace at Untitled, 1 N.E. Third St., 815-9995, artspaceatuntitled. org. SAT Pancakes & Booze Art Show, largest underground art show featuring over 50 emerging artists with an allyou-can-eat pancake bar and live music, 8 p.m., Feb. 20. Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., 232-6506, okcfarmersmarket.com. FRI Portraits of a Disappearing America, photography exhibit by Brazilian-born photographer Alex Leme documents the disappearance of rural towns in America. Oklahoma Contemporary, 3000 General Pershing Blvd., 951-0000, oklahomacontemporary. org. Randall Barnes: #EmbraceTheBuff, demo layering techniques with relief and monotype printmaking, 6-8 p.m., Feb. 19. Artspace at Untitled, 1 N.E. 3rd St., 815-9995, artspaceatuntitled.org. THU
Black and White Retrospective of Oklahoma, photography works by Eric Bloemers of Oklahoma and the OKC metro area. BlackMint Collective, 800 W. Sheridan Ave., 219-5074, facebook.com/ blackmintcollective.
Red Star Studios Resident Exhibition, exhibition of ceramics by artists from Red Star Studios in Kansas City, Missouri, and features functional pottery, figurative sculptures and installations. The Lightwell Gallery, 520 Parrington Oval, Room 202, Norman.
Botanical Drawing in Pencil and Pastel, join Oklahoma-based and nationally renowned natural history artist Debby Kaspari and draw tropical foliage and flowers in the Crystal Bridge Conservatory; learn to create beautiful works of art using pencil and pastel, 1-3 p.m., Feb. 21. Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno Ave., 297-3995, myriadgardens.com. SAT
The Ladies: New Works by Thomas Batista, exhibit by well-known local expressionist artist that pays homage to the beauty of femininity and focuses on character. Kasum Contemporary Fine Arts, 1706 NW 16th St., 604-6602, kasumcontemporary.com.
Claire Deveney, exhibit of her 3-D metal representations of her 2-D characters. DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., 525-3499, dnagalleries.com.
Featuring artwork by Corizon Watkins, Carolyn Faseler and Betty Wood
The Sensory Mood of Color, new alcohol ink paintings by artist Kim Harrison and a selection of glass art by Nicki Albright Townley. The Purple Loft Art Gallery, 514 NW 28th St., Suite 400, 412-7066.
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Chickasha, Oklahoma
Ephemeral Gradations, exhibit exploring the fleeting nature of life, its constant changes, and the human struggle to accept this transience; a journey through memory, grief, growth and self-healing. The Project Box, 3003 Paseo St., 609-3969, theprojectboxokc.com.
Evanescent Iridescence, exhibit by local artist John Bruce featuring 19 paintings and eight altarpieces. Mainsite Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main St., Norman, 360-1162, mainsite-art.com.
“RECOGNIZING GREATNESS IN THE WORKPLACE”
Invention Convention The 26th annual Oklahoma Student Inventors Exposition, an exhibition of K-12 students’ problem-solving and ingenuity, comes to the Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center Tuesday. Started by retired fifth-grade teacher and Rose State Regent Betty J.C. Wright and businessman Julian Taylor, the exposition has grown from a classroom affair to a statewide competition. The event is free and begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Chevrolet Center at 6000 Trosper Road, in Midwest City. Call 367-7385. For OKG
music picks see page 43
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Fall Old Fashioned
Seared tenderloin slices
Exciting eats From seasonal takes on the classic Old Fashioned to seared tenderloin, Cafe 501 restructures its menu with your dinner plans in mind. BY GREG ELWELL
As the waiter walks the Cast Iron Chicken across the floor and between the tables, eyes disengage from conversation to see it pass. In the elegant setting of Cafe 501’s lush Classen Curve location, the matte-black bucket stands out. The presentation is arresting, but the real show starts when the lid comes off. Red wine and a slow-braised tomato sauce are married with tender, succulent chicken and spinach. Underneath is a creamy polenta that brings the dish a satisfying heft. The look on General Manager Margaret Holloway’s face says it all: “What do you think?” An answer is hard to come by. After all, it’s impolite to speak when one’s mouth is full. And this is a dish that begs to be eaten. For Holloway and Bar Manager Ryan Young, dinner is a proving ground at a spot best known for its daytime offerings. “We are grateful that so many of our fans faithfully join us for brunch and lunch,” Holloway said. “Now we want to become part of the conversation for dinner, too.” One way they’re doing that is with a seasonal cocktail menu that reimagines classic cocktails for modern tastes. Though the Old Fashioned has certainly roared back to life, it’s still a
Santa Fe chicken
pretty heady concoction, Young said. But the mixology movement allows bartenders and chefs to work together to find new flavors and make those well-worn favorites palatable to a new audience. In 501’s Fall Old Fashioned, a vanilla-cinnamon syrup created in-house softens the edges of the Maker’s Mark bourbon and Peychaud’s Bitters. A dash of Luxardo cherry liqueur gives the drink a touch of sweetness. “This opens up an entirely new market for us,” Young said. “We’ve found that women who aren’t big fans of the traditional strong taste of some of these cocktails are finding new favorites. It’s about finding a balance that appeals to everyone.” Young has come up with another version of the Old Fashioned infused with honey and clove. “If you think about it, this sort of seasonality has been common in our cuisine for years,” he said. “Now we’re just doing it with beverages as well.” The result is a drink selection that
feels timely, original and comforting. The Moscow Mule, a local favorite at many restaurants, is highlighted with 501’s own cranberry-ginger beer, which they carbonate themselves. Served in a classic copper cup, this Mule doesn’t overpower with ginger — a problem for some — instead providing a crisp, easy-to-drink cocktail that balances well with a selection of seafood and vegetable dishes. With a flavorful bite, the Manza-rita is especially enticing thanks to a head of roasted apple foam floating on top. It’s welcome twists like this that truly set the cocktail menu apart. But man can’t (or shouldn’t) live by the bar alone, which is why Head Chef Jose “Pancho” Gallegoz’s menu steps in. The creative and collaborative opportunities at Cafe 501 mean he still has the chance to surprise himself and others. “The goal is to make it great,” the 15-year veteran said. The process is a monthslong undertaking with chefs from the Edmond and Classen Curve locations, managers and relatives contributing ideas, ingredients and recipes to the final product. The staff is already preparing for the Spring-Summer menu change, said Holloway. Much like the current iteration, some dishes will get a trial run as daily specials to judge their appeal to guests. Aside from the hearty and wholly delicious Cast Iron Chicken, the restaurant has also promoted the seared tenderloin slices to the regular menu. Served almost as an open-faced sandwich, 501 uses its rustic bread as the base for a pile of ingredients that both tickle the taste buds and sate
the deep winter hunger. Beef tenderloin is seared to order with tender caramelized onions, a mild horseradish cream and a thick slice of tomato with broiled blue cheese on top. In the hands of an amateur, this dish could be offensively bold, but 501’s chefs have prepared a dish that is exciting and easy to devour. “I don’t know why we give steak knives with this one,” Holloway said. “You can cut through this with a butter knife.” Those searching for a lighter bite might find the shrimp and crab enchiladas an enticing option. Served atop a bed of fluffy cilantro rice, these tender tortillas are filled with a perfectly cooked blend of seafood and topped with avocado and crema for a luxurious taste and feel. Though seasonality plays a role in the menu, some dishes are untouchable, Holloway said. Removing the tortillacrusted Santa Fe Chicken might cause a riot among regulars. The marinated and pounded thin chicken breast is beautifully prepared, giving this Southwest-inspired dish a leg up on what can sometimes seem like a common combo of rice, black beans and salsa. The New Orleans bread pudding will pleasantly surprise those who can somehow hollow out a leg to save room for dessert. Using a recipe passed down by Holloway’s mother, this avoids the pitfalls of so many similar dishes with a mildly chewy texture that keeps it from turning to mush. With ice cream on top and a drizzle of bourbon-based sauce, it is a rare bread pudding worth waiting for. As a fusion of both the bar and the kitchen, the classic Brandy Ice is a sweetly intoxicating dessert that warms and cools at the same time. With wide-open windows and a kind of modern-rustic decor, it is little wonder that Cafe 501 pulls in a bustling crowd for its brunch and lunch menus. But when the sun sets and the menu changes from soups and sandwiches to a sumptuous assortment of entrees and cocktails, there is a different and altogether alluring feel to the restaurant, one the staff is eager to make part of OKC’s dinner plans.
O K L A H O M A G A Z E T T E | F E B R UA R Y 1 8 , 2 0 1 5 | 2 1
P HOTOS BY GA RE TT FI S BE C K
LIFE FOOD & DRINK
The Biggest Screen
LIFE FOOD & DRINK
Movie Line: (405) 703-3777
Just South of 4th Street on I-35 in Moore
6 p.m.-midnight | Friday, Feb. 27 The Paramount OKC | 7 N. Lee Ave. okcmidtownrotary.org | 235-5100 Note: Must be 21 to enter. $20-$45
Participants (read: word nerds) indubitably enjoy last year’s Spelling Bee(r) event.
How do you spell winner? With a spelling bee that includes booze while benefitting OKC Midtown Rotary. BY GREG HORTON
OKC Midtown Rotary Club is happy to give those of you who spent elementary and middle school wondering why the object of your stomach-churning crush was not paying attention to your brilliance a chance at redemption. For the fifth year in a row, Midtown Rotary will reward someone possessed of super nerdy skills $500 for excelling in school. The annual Spelling Bee(r) is Midtown Rotary’s main fundraiser, and the winner really does get $500 — for spelling words. Proceeds help fund the civic organization’s annual grants, said Matthew Murphy, president elect. “The beer tasting and the spelling bee are certainly fun,” Murphy said. “But we like to emphasize that this is really about the programs we’re able to support.” OKC Midtown Rotary invested approximately $10,000 in the community via the 2014 fundraiser and matching grants from Rotary International. Rotary clubs can choose the focus of their charitable work within the group’s broad guidelines: promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, save mothers and children, promote education and develop local economies. OKC Midtown Rotary supports education and puts an emphasis on arts and music programs. “Thanks to last year’s fundraiser and the matching funds, we were able to buy musical instruments
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for Capitol Hill High School, send the Douglas Middle School robot soccer team to a tournament and buy supplies for Horace Mann Elementary,” Murphy said. Eric Bradshaw, an OKC Midtown Rotary member and spokesperson, said the Rotary starts working on funding projects a year in advance. “The money raised at this year’s Spelling Bee(r) will be used for programs beginning in July 2015, when the fiscal year begins,” Bradshaw said. “We are still looking for schools to help with next year’s programs.” This year’s event is at The Paramount OKC, 7 N. Lee Ave., in the Film Row district. Paramount will provide food, and Anthem Brewing Company will pour beer. Anthem will feature at least two of its locally made beers: Golden One, a Belgian-style blonde ale, and Arjuna, a Belgian-style white ale. Ticket-holders can register for the spelling bee for no extra charge. Registration is voluntary, so if spelling was not your subject, you are free to eat and drink without being traumatized, Bradshaw said. A designated driver ticket is $20, allowing access to the event, food and registration for the spelling bee. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the bee begins at 7 p.m. Since it is a fundraiser, participants are allowed to buy themselves back into the contest, but the price increases with each round. Visit okcmidtownrotary.org.
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5th Annual OKC Midtown Rotary Speeling Bee(r)
Prized provisions From The Lunchbox (made with Coors!) to Okie Poutine, Oklahoma Gazette shares food and drink trends and classics you should try right now. BY ANGELA BOTZER
Ethnic influences 4. Thai green curry
Indulge in Thai green curry at Panang 2, 14101 N. May Ave. “We make certain the green curry here is a thick curry with lots of coconut milk and lime leaves, just like you would have in Thailand,” said Toan Mac Chan, owner. This curry gets its color from hot green peppers and includes coconut milk, bamboo shoots, basil, peas, bell peppers and a choice of chicken, beef, pork, vegetables or tofu ($10.50) or shrimp ($11.50). “The Thai Green Curry is the hottest,” said Manager “Beer” Chalermphol Thiensingchai. Cool off with a delightfully frosty Thai iced coffee ($2.75).
5. Hibachi calamari
Watch Japanese knives and spatulas fly into motion over a sizzling teppanyaki grill at Shiki, 14041 N. May Ave. “It’s a wonderful live cooking performance,” said Stephanie Pham, manager.
The hibachi calamari ($18.95) comes with with miso soup, house Shiki salad with ginger dressing and a hibachi shrimp appetizer. Then it’s showtime, featuring your meal cooked in front of you with sautéed calamari, broccoli, onions, mushrooms and bean sprouts. “Traditionally, a Sapporo beer or sake goes well with dinner,” Pham said.
6. Mushroom rigatoni
Italian cuisine and romance are a perfect dinner pairing at this lovely date-night spot, Benvenuti’s Ristorante, 105 W. Main St., in Norman. The mushroom rigatoni ($17) is the quintessential romantic dish with imported Italian rigatoni, locally grown shiitake and crimini mushrooms and a pink sauce made with fresh marinara and a touch of rich cream. It is finished with a drizzle of truffle oil and Parmesan. “I would suggest a dry Chianti or pinot noir as a perfect pairing for the rigatoni,” said “Hoss” Hossain, general manager. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
1. Quinoa avocado salad
“The Camel Toes and Pimp Hands are both my own original recipes and names,” Waters said. “I had them trademarked because I didn’t want anyone to steal the recipe.” Inside the Camel Toes is a decadent cherry frosting. Pimp Hands have an apple-cinnamon filling, a callback to the bear claw. But you’ll never get the recipe. “People like the names so much, and they talk about it,” Waters said. “[But] it’s too much to give away.”
Ancient grains spelt; quinoa; and the new grain du jour, freekah (fun to say: freak-ah) are in vogue and show up frequently on local menus. Cheever’s Cafe, 2409 N. Hudson Ave., has the perfect quinoa avocado salad ($11) healthy for a lunch or dinner. “[Cheever’s] has always been innovative, ahead of the game, always thinking outside the box when it comes to creating new dishes,” said Melissa Yohn, general manager. “The quinoa salad … is a popular favorite.” It’s a refreshing and delicious dish made with red quinoa, avocado, chililime sauce, corn, pico de gallo, goat cheese and almonds in garlic vinaigrette.
2. Camel Toes and Pimp Hands
Doughnuts are back; they’re the new cupcakes. “Entire offices come here. They are in love with the doughnuts,” said Younts Waters, owner of Polar Donuts, 1111 N. Meridian Ave. Reconnect with heavenly favorites and discover two ownertrademarked doughnuts: Camel Toes and Pimp Hands.
3. Warm Brussels sprout and baby kale salad
A distinctive version of Kalettes (a hybrid of kale and Brussels sprouts) mania finally reached us from the east and west coasts. “The idea came to us when we learned of it in California, so we created our own version here,” said Margaret Holloway, one of Cafe 501’s owners. The restaurant, located at 5825 NW Grand Blvd., is au courant with warm Brussels sprout and baby kale salad ($10). “It’s using kale in a good and healthy way,” said Holloway. (Learn more about Café 501’s new dinner menu on P. 21)
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COVER FOOD & DRINK
COVER FOOD & DRINK CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23
7 7. Okie Poutine
in Money Market Rates
Oklahoma City has its own version of the trendy poutine, a FrenchCanadian comfort food. Poutine is commonly made with french fries, gravy and cheese curds. The Mule, 1630 N. Blackwelder Ave. — where almost everything is popular — offers Okie Poutine ($7.50). This beauty of a dish consists of beerbattered fries covered in a peppery white gravy and topped with cheese curds. “The gravy is Oklahoma-style, house-made white gravy, and [it’s] Watonga cheese curds … so this makes it a local delicacy,” said bartender/server Josh DaSilva. To drink, he recommends Birra Farmhouse Ale, brewed locally by Prairie Artisan Ales in Krebs.
8. Chicken-fried steak
Go straight to Chuck House Restaurant, 4430 NW 10th St., for its chicken-fried steak initiation. Part of our Oklahoma state meal, it is
8 a great deal at $7.40 with sides of deep-fried okra, mashed potatoes and Texas toast. Place your order from a telephone at your table at this friendly mainstay. “What makes our chicken-fried steak so amazing is that our steak is delivered fresh daily; we never use frozen steak as other restaurants do,” said Manager Terri Thweatt.
9. Smoked beef brisket
Leo’s Barbecue, 3631 N. Kelley Ave., has a sublimely succulent in-house smoked beef brisket with sauce, creamy macaroni salad and baked beans ($10.49). “My links and bologna are locally sourced,” said Charles Smith, owner Leo Smith’s son. “We make and sell our own barbecue sauce.” Also try Leo’s World-Famous Strawberry-Banana Cake ($3.50). “In 1974, when we started the restaurant, no one was making strawberry-banana cake; it’s our very own creation,” Smith said.
Drinks The Lunchbox
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Edna’s, a venerable part of Oklahoma City’s barmuda triangle located at 5137 N. Classen Circle, has served “about 1.4 million Lunchboxes,” said bartender Susan Emberton. Late owner Edna Scott created The Lunchbox ($5.50) years ago, and it quickly became her signature concoction. It’s Coors and orange juice mixed in large
beer mug with a shot glass of Amaretto dropped into it.
Ramos Gin Fizz
Whiskey Chicks, 115 E. Reno Ave., has its own secret specialty drink. Its Ramos Gin Fizz ($8), created by New Orleans bar owner Henry Ramos in the late 1800s, is rare in these parts. “It’s not usually found in
12 10. Wild salmon
The top-shelf feature at Rococo, 2824 N. Pennsylvania Ave., is Executive Chef Jason Bustamante’s wild salmon (market price): salmon cooked in a bamboo steamer with an Asian glaze and served with mixed seasonal vegetables like snap peas, coriander, basil, shallots and carrots. “Currently, we source a wild salmon farm off the coast of Scotland in a sustainable loch,” Bustamante said. “Fish farming has come a long way; the salmon eat what they would normally eat in the wild.”
11. The Seafood Trio
The Seafood Trio at Deep Fork Grill, 5418 N. Western Ave., features New England Maine lobster, Baha 1620 prawns and Black sea bass served in a ciopinno fennel broth ($72 for two). “The fresh lobster from Maine — not South Africa, where a lot of lobster comes from — makes this dinner-for-two quite special,” said
Oklahoma City because the drink takes a bit of time to make,” said Nick Hermes, bartender.
St. Germain cocktail
Even though the Martini Lounge at La Quinta Inn, 800 S. Meridian Ave., has martini in its name, it’s the perfect place for the St. Germain cocktail apéritif ($8.50).
11 Chris House, chef. It’s accompanied by Sicilian cauliflower and broccoli sautéed with garlic and saffron in a white wine reduction. To drink, House recommends “a clear, dry Riesling to complement the delicate layers and textures of the dinner.”
12. 8-ounce filet steak
The 8-ounce filet ($39) accompanied with potatoes and sautéed broccolini at Flint, 15 N. Robinson Ave., inside the Colcord Hotel, is the perfect celebration night dish. A bonemarrow demi-glace is gently poured over the steak with a touch extra on the side, said Colcord Manager Shawn Rogers. “We choose our beef from highquality, local Midwest farms,” Rogers said. “We lightly season our steaks … The flavor of the beef’s excellence should shine through.” Follow this with the lemon curd tart with toasted meringue and sublime kiwi lime sauce ($7).
“It’s pretty classy with a game of pool on the two pool tables in the bar’s side room,” said bartender Reanna Thompson. Don’t laugh; she’s right. The predinner libation mixes St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (made with handpicked flowers), champagne, club soda and a lemon twist, giving it a slightly pink tint.
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Follow your stomach A great way to get to know an area is to explore its dining choices. From the exotic zest of West African cuisine to the flavors of the bayou, let your hunger for new experiences guide you. — by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Garett Fisbeck
Jazmo’z Bourbon Street Cafe 100 E. California Ave. bourbonstreetcafe.com | 232-6666
This Bricktown eatery serves up fine Cajun food with New Orleans flair. Take in the canal from the patio while you sip on a hurricane, the signature cocktail of the Big Easy. Try Sachmo’s Salmon, a blackened salmon filet with a rich beurre blanc sauce paired with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus.
Joey’s Pizzeria 700 W. Sheridan Ave. joeyspizzeriaokc.com | 525-8503
This family-owned venue was one of the first restaurants in the revitalized Film Row district. Its menu features fresh, green salads, mouthwatering pastas and its signature pizzas. Its newest pie is the Italian OSB. (Make sure you read those letters in the right order.) It’s made with grilled onions, Italian sausage and basil with an olive oil glaze.
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Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse 7 S. Mickey Mantle Drive mickeymantlesteakhouse.com | 272-0777
This quiet, upscale steakhouse offers choices suited to a variety of cravings. For lighter appetites, try lobster cargot as an appetizer or main dish. The caprese salad, with tart tomatoes and sweet balsamic reduction, is a vibrant complement to any dinner. As for the entree, try the gorgeous filet mignon topped with jumbo lump crab.
Medio Tiempo Sports Cantina & Grill
Mama Sinmi’s Chop House
2035 S. Meridian Ave. okcmediotiempo.com | 605-6250
2312 N. MacArthur Blvd. mamasinmi.com | 947-6262
Medio Tiempo is a casual and fun hangout where the tacos and beer are always on special. Order a couple of pork tacos to start with. Then get down to business with the La Mexicana burger with all the trimmings. For a change, skip the fries and pair it with rice and beans.
Based on the culinary traditions of West Africa, the menu is a tantalizing opportunity to sample exotic choices like ewa alagbado made with beans and sweet corn. And the goat pepper soup is sure to wake up your taste buds.
Kamp’s 1910 Café
120 N. Robinson Ave. Suite 175W cafe7okc.com | 748-3354
10 NE 10th St. kamps1910cafe.net | 230-1910
Cafe 7 offers delicious, affordable food. Most items are — as the name suggests — less than seven dollars. Offerings include pizza, salad, sandwiches, a daily soup and plenty of ways to customize your order. But some items are perfect, like its signature salad with roasted chicken, cranberries, walnuts and bacon.
This cafe, named for the year shop founder Henry Kamp arrived in Oklahoma, offers an array of delectable bites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Old Fashioned sandwich, with Kamp’s curry chicken salad on wheat berry bread, is an excellent choice for a leisurely lunch break.
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Ready, Gazette,GO! Oklahoma Gazette’s health and fitness initiative features a Saturday bootcamp and a March 28 festival.
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Ready, Gazette, GO! Bootcamp Workout 10 a.m. Saturday Woodson Park Senior Activity Center 3401 S. May Ave. okgazette.com 528-6000
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Ready, Gazette GO! festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28 Myriad Botanical Gardens 301 W. Reno Ave.
If you’re like many Oklahomans out there, you’ve already broken your New Year’s Resolution to get fit. There’s a chance to get back on track with Oklahoma Gazette, Broadway Clinic and Optima Health and Wellness Center. If you need to ease into it, a free community workout is at 10 a.m. Saturday at Woodson Park Senior Center. The class is part of Oklahoma Gazette’s Ready, Gazette, GO! health initiative, which features health and exercise tips and events. Online registrants can track their fitness and nutrition on provided fitness logs using the honor system. You can also sign up at any of the locations listed on the site and receive a free RGG pedometer. Find more information, visit okgazette.com/readygazettego. Led by Fabulous Flamingo Fitness personal trainer Chaz Rose, Saturday’s workout includes a bootcamp-style routine, incorporating box steps, lunges, pushups, planks and other bodyweight exercises tailored to your level of fitness. The event is open to all ages, and those wishing to attend simply have to walk in to participate. Waiver release is required. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. The Ready, Gazette, GO! program culminates March 28 with a free, public health and food festival at Myriad Botanical Gardens. It will offer Oklahoma City metro residents and visitors the opportunity to explore a variety of exercises, foods and physical therapies from
Fitness instructor Chaz Rose (in pink) will be on hand at the Ready Gazette Go! event on Feb. 21. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Forty different exercise classes, running 30 minutes each; cooking demonstrations; and nutrition information is available. Health care professionals from metro clinics will be on hand. There also will be sweet and savory snacks from local food trucks. “The health initiative is important for this city,” said Christy Duane, Oklahoma Gazette marketing director. “The obesity rate is obviously very high throughout Oklahoma. We want to expose metro Oklahomans to a variety of fitness, nutrition and health options in an accessible and fun way so they can live healthier lives.” In addition to exploring activities you might have always wanted to check out, such as kickboxing, yoga, karate, pilates and rowing, the event also features a timed, one-mile run. The first 100 runners to sign up will receive a free T-shirt. Runners can start their mile anytime between 2 and 4 p.m., which leaves plenty of time to enjoy the other events. Obesity currently afflicts 32.5 percent of the Oklahoma population, according to the 2013 report, The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, including 17.4 percent of 10-17-year-olds, 23.8 percent of 18-25-year-olds and 33.5 percent of 26-44-year-olds. That makes 1.25 million of us. Visit okgazette.com/ readygazettego.
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P HOTOS BY M A R K HA N COC K
Volunteers from Life Christian Academy and South Moore High School work with donations in the volunteer center at Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
Feeding residents is still an uphill battle, even when serving 47.8 million pounds of food annually in the face of statewide prosperity. BY KEVAN GOFF-PARKER
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma distributes enough food to feed more than 110,000 hungry people every week. But Rodney Bivens, executive director of the food bank, the state’s largest private hunger-relief organization, wants Oklahomans to know that the state still has critical and widespread food insecurity. “I wish I could tell you things had gotten better or at least the demand was leveling off, but that’s not the case,” Bivens said. “Oklahoma has one of the highest poverty levels in the country, along with chronic underemployment. One out of every three new professional jobs in Oklahoma pays below the federal poverty level.” Many of the higher-paying jobs lost during the Great Recession were replaced with lower-paying, servicelevel positions that don’t pay enough to support a family. Regional Food Bank has new goals this year to address the state’s hunger needs. Established in 1980 and dedicated to “Fighting Hunger … Feeding Hope,” the food bank has increased its initial annual food distribution from 280,000 pounds to 47.8 million. It has doubled the amount of food it distributes annually during the past six years. On the big-picture level, Oklahoma can boast of impressive economic performance. In November, it had the 14th lowest unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there’s a disconnect between the overall story and Oklahoma families in need. “We anticipate that current and future economic and market conditions will serve to further increase, rather than decrease, the need among our neighbors,” Communications Director
Angie Gaines Doss said. “We know it’s still not enough. Our rapid growth has stretched the organization’s existing resources to its limits, leaving little room for future expansion to meet the increased demand for food assistance. “In order to keep up with the demand for services and program expansion, the organization must expand its facility to meet not just today’s needs but also tomorrow’s.” Funds for that expansion so far have been raised through a silent capital campaign, with no funds diverted from operational expenses. The food bank currently raises about $12 million in private donations annually for programming and service needs. Its administrative and fundraising expenses are less than 4 percent. The organization’s expansion goals are aimed at several needs: › Increasing dry and frozen food storage space to allow for more bulk donations, food purchase and increased distribution. › Adding a production kitchen to make healthy meals on-site for childhood hunger programs, like Summer Feeding and Kids Cafe. › Improving and expanding the Volunteer Center to accommodate a growing volunteer base. More than 33 percent of all food distributed is handled by volunteers. › Expanding office space to accommodate growth and support increased organizational capacity. Doss said those efforts are targeted at new and improved resources for struggling Oklahomans in 2015 and 2016. A new initiative, Fresh Rx, will focus on delivering more fresh fruits and vegetables for better nutrition.
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I wish I could tell you things had gotten better or at least the demand was leveling off, but that’s not the case. — Rodney Bivens The nonprofit also wants to extend its outreach with additional food resource centers. The charity plans to grow and improve its childhood hunger programs. It expects to serve more than 18,500 chronically hungry students this year. There are plans to add approximately 20 more schools to the School Pantry Program and create 10 more Kids Cafe sites for at-risk youth and an additional 17 summer feeding sites in rural Oklahoma. The food bank is on track to finish a production kitchen in time for the 2015 Summer Feeding Program in June. The kitchen is designed to provide healthy snacks and hot meals for the Kids Cafe after-school program and fresh, kid-friendly lunches for children during the summer months when school meal programs are not available. Doss said the ultimate goal of the food bank is to serve all Oklahomans troubled by hunger and ensure they have access to healthy food.
The food bank currently needs weekday volunteers to help sort donations from the holiday season. Volunteer tasks include bagging and boxing food products, working on salvage and
packing food bags for kids. To view available opportunities and register to volunteer, visit regionalfoodbank.org/ volunteer.
2015 special events
Chefs’ Feast, 6 to 9 p.m. March 26 The Chefs’ Feast, at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, is an annual food-tasting event that gives the public the opportunity to sample some of the finest cuisine Oklahoma’s premier chefs have to offer. In addition to great food, there are fun prize giveaways, a wine pull and music. This event helps raise awareness of childhood hunger and provides an opportunity for attendees to support Regional Food Bank’s Food for Kids programs. Feeding Hope and Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, May 9 A monthlong food and fund drive in May that encourages the community to join the fight against hunger by raising shelf-stable food, monetary donations and awareness of hunger in Oklahoma. Students Against Hunger, September through November Oklahoma students are encouraged to raise funds and nonperishable food donations to help the food bank and its partner agencies.
LIFE VISUAL ARTS
BI GSTOC K.COM
Get loaded on hot cakes, hot liquor and hot art as Pancakes and Booze returns. BY LOUIS FOWLER
Pancakes and Booze 8 p.m.- 2 a.m. Friday Farmers Public Market 311 S. Klein Ave. pancakesandbooze.com 232-6506 $5
It’s not unusual to stop at an all-night pancake house to soak up all the liquor before heading home after a night of alcoholic cavorting. For many of us, after the bite of that last flapjack, that’s where it stops. But not for Tom Kirlin. Those after-hours pit stops at
IHOP growing up in Tucson, Arizona, always stayed with Kirlin. Working as a cameraman in Los Angeles for ten years and unhappy with the scene, he opened up his own studio. In a last-ditch bid to keep it running, he remembered the syrup-drenched memories of his youth and created Pancakes and Booze. What started as a catchy show in that studio has blown up nationally, with events now held in more than 25 cities, including a triumphant return gig to Oklahoma City on Friday. Pulling from the local art scene, Pancakes and Booze is a group art showcase that will prominently feature
jokes.) “Pancakes and Booze fills a void for artists out there who are really talented [but] haven’t found their way into the gallery system yet,” Kirlin said. “A lot of people don’t like going to a stuffy wine-and-cheese gallery event; they want to have fun and be a part of a less pretentious crew. And that’s exactly what Pancakes and Booze is, a really friendly, fun environment to be around and be a part of, and people recognize that and come back.” Billed as “OKC’s Largest Underground Art Show,” the 21-andup soiree starts at 8 p.m. at Farmers Public Market, 311 S. Klein Ave., and
You can have more people in one night see your artwork than at a gallery over the course of an entire month. We don’t take commissions on sales and it’s a great networking event. — Tom Kirlin
anywhere from 50 to 150 local artists loudly and proudly presenting their work, no matter what format. There will also be live music, bodypainting, booze and, of course, an all-you-caneat pancake buffet, all for only $5. (“Not even IHOP serves pancakes this cheap!” its Facebook page
closes at 2 a.m. when the bars do. “We had a great turnout for the very first one,” Kirlin said. “Usually, when we’re new to a city, it takes a show or two for people to see what we’re doing and to hear about us to come check it out. But the very first one was awesome … several hundred people saw it. It’ll only continue to grow this year.” One of the reasons Pancakes and Booze might appeal to local artists is the wide-ranging acceptance of numerous forms, including painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture, drawings and graffiti. It’s definitely one of the reasons that Moore-based body-paint Body painting by Bryan Crump. See his artwork on display at Pancakes and Booze Booze.
artist Bryan Crump keeps coming out, mostly due to the fact that body painting is popular at the events. “The work I do is more mobile than some traditional arts,” Crump said. “I am a bit of a performing artist, you might say. I call myself a transformational specialist … Last year, we painted in secret, but this year, we will be painting models live on stage.” In addition to having his work viewed by a wide base of patrons, Crump also feels that Pancakes and Booze is different than other shows because of the emphasis on networking with other artists always intent on learning and improving their own craft. “I think events like this help local artists reach the local market with a unique and fun event but also get to meet people that travel the country doing shows,” Crump said. “[Kirlin] works hard to bring local communities of artists together for this … he brings a fun outside perspective to the arts and another great venue for artists to share their work and meet potential new clients and collectors. So many talented people were at the last one, and I made several new friends.” With final preparations for this upcoming event still being made, artwork is still being accepted for the show and can be submitted via pancakesandbooze.com. Local bands and DJs are also being sought out and can apply at the same address. Kirlin agreed with Crump that the show is the perfect place for artists to come together in a way that’s harder to do at most other exhibitions. But even more than that, he believes it’s a great place for guests to find their next new favorite local artist. “You can have more people in one night see your artwork than at a gallery over the course of an entire month. We don’t take commissions on sales, and it’s a great networking event,” Kirlin said. “A lot of the artists that were showcasing are either new to the art scene, new to the city or are just fairly young people who are just coming into their own as an artists. It’s just a great place to show your artwork because nobody’s judging.”
O K L A H O M A G A Z E T T E | F E B R UA R Y 1 8 , 2 0 1 5 | 3 3
M A R K HA N COC K
LIFE VISUAL ARTS
From left Daniel Helm, Melissa Gray and Tate James at Cheap Rent T-shirt print shop
Local artists move from the canvas to the T-shirt. BY LOUIS FOWLER
When Daniel Helm, one of the founders of Oklahoma City print shop Cheap Rent, was trying to come up with a name, he knew they didn’t want a stereotypically Okie title like Prairie Grass Gallery. Instead, he found resonance when an acquaintance asked him, “Why do you still live in Oklahoma?” Cheap Rent’s original spot was a rentfree shed, and the name just kind of took on a life of its own. Working with fellow artists Melissa Gray and Tate James, Cheap Rent collaborates with other local artists, placing their art on affordable T-shirts, creating a kind of exhibit that one can wear, like a traveling DIY underground art show. “Cheap Rent is a commercial venture,” Helm said. We make the T-shirts, we sell the T-shirts, but we’re also trying to make stuff that we like and think is cool and fits in with the aesthetics of working and collaborating with artists that are largely our friends and have stuff that we like.” Located primarily on the web at cheaprent.co, what separates it from other local clothing ventures is it treats each T-shirt release as though it’s part of an art opening, coordinating “art parties” for each new line. The inaugural party, held last December, garnered the upstarts quite a bit of notice and featured music from Peyton Green and Matt Robertson, among others. In addition to shirts, artists are also
Our ingenuity and our handmade goods really speak volumes about Oklahoma. — John Hart — Rodney Bivens welcome to sell prints, comics or zines at these events. Helm believes these parties do more because they “celebrate people’s work as artists and making cool shit happen.” “I would say we kind of have a crossmarket for people who like stylized art,” Helm said. “We have shirts, we have sweatshirts … our artists’ material ranges from a girl shaving her head to witty sayings with colorful, bold artwork.” Its current line features art from Garrett Young, Olivia Gibb and Melissa Gray. Each shirt retails for $20 and is created using eco-friendly inks and printing processes, something Cheap Rent is adamant about. Helm is happy with the response Cheap Rent’s line of shirts has received and he is planning its next batch of wearable art. But until then, he’s just happy to continue making the metro look a little more stylish. “At the end of the day, if you’re into buying T-shirts and wearing T-shirts, buy ones that look cool and support people in their local area trying to do cool things,”
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Helm said. “Support it. If you want good things to be happening around you, then you have to pay the tax for it to happen.”
Much like Helm, John Hart, owner and operator of Cerebellum Art, only makes the types of shirts he would actually wear himself. He’s best known for his unique take on Oklahoma’s love for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but T-shirt design and screen-printing weren’t his first loves; they were something he happened to fall into. Hart graduated with a degree in graphic design and found a screenprinting job out of college. From there, he learned all aspects of the industry. It has paid off for Hart, as his T-shirt designs — available mostly in small art boutiques such as DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th St., and Stash, 412 E. Main St., in Norman or online at cerebellum.storenvy.com — have become underground cult wearables, mixing OKC’s love of sports with a decidedly Okie-punk feel that takes the Thunder’s patented name and logo to new and varying extremes. “I think that’s why there is a huge market for these underground shirts, because they are speaking to the community and the impersonal Thunder shirt isn’t,” Hart said. “It’s all about breaking the inflexibility of having to use the official logo to craft something more Oklahoma-inspired.”
In 2004, Cerebellum took on more of a political tone (Hart describes himself as being “three shades from anarchist”) but found the constant “preaching to the choir” both draining and ineffective. Even though many might consider him using his talents to promote a multi-milliondollar sports team to be somewhat of a sell-out move, Hart actually believes that what Cerebellum does is just as subversive and visceral as when it began. “You know how Warhol got into commercialism and added a new angle to his art? I feel very much that this is what Cerebellum does, creating wearable art that’s not specifically meant to be massproduced and there you go,” Hart said. Working around the clock to not only keep Cerebellum’s current shirt selection in stock but also come up with new looks and ideas for 2015, Hart believes that the metro’s old-school printers carry on an age-old Oklahoma tradition of working with their hands and preserving a form of printing that, thanks to modern massproducing technology, is always on the verge of going extinct. “We’ve had an industrious ingenuity in Oklahoma for a long time,” Hart said. “It’s important to keep these things visceral and alive because it really does speak to the unique perspective of our state. Our ingenuity and our handmade goods really speak volumes about Oklahoma. It’s just another way we put ourselves on the spot.”
LIFE PERFORMING ARTS
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Ryan Drake’s new comedy album is as dirty and hilarious as it is touching — in a good way.
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BY JOSHUA BOYDSTON
Ryan Drake is fearless. A sharp tongue, sharper wit and refusal to treat any topic as off limits (he recounts getting banned from a local bar for turning a Jets v. Patriots playoff game into a 9/11 joke) all point to a comedian who couldn’t care less about offending anyone or anything. It’s an attitude that almost brought him to blows with a Loony Bin Comedy Club patron in one story shared in his debut comedy album Drinking Games For One Person. But that’s not what makes him fearless. Instead, it’s his unguarded discussions of loneliness and failed romances or his closing, no-excuses account of a DUI arrest after Norman Music Festival that demanded his sobriety. Drake applies a Steve Jobslike attention to detail in crafting a good dick joke (and does, frequently, here), but the biggest laughs come out of the deepest truths. Drinking Games does an exceptional job of slotting zippy non sequiturs next to those vulnerable confessions in a resoundingly accurate look at the life of a 20-something finding his way in urban Oklahoma.
The album is well-rehearsed and tight but fluid all at once. Not that there aren’t universal experiences shared throughout, but Oklahoma City is the undeniable backdrop to it all. The album is littered with scenes from the city (much the way Louis C.K. flavors his standup with the bustle of life in New York), with nods to the Plaza District, Drunken Fry and even Mardel. And it brings an authenticity to the nearly hourlong set of material recorded on his birthday. It often plays out like a self-help guide born out of someone’s worst mistakes, failed sexcapades and drunken blunders.
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Drake eagerly shares twisted life lessons picked up from Tetris (“People who are tall and skinny will never, ever be there for you.”) or how a hatred of Eddie Vedder can help you understand racism. The confidence Drake exudes on stage — the album is well-rehearsed and tight but fluid all at once — helps you buy into the most outrageous of punch lines. There’s a wink to it all too, the assurance that he is a nice guy even as he delivers the lowest of blows, always taking you where he wants you to go. Drake is consistently raunchy but rarely cheap, almost making concessions in his voice as he offers the few boilerplate-but-crowd-pleasing jabs at Kobe Bryant, Mary Fallin and Starbucks. A certain feline-flavored Dr. Philism for oral sex pops up frequently through the set to exceedingly hilarious results, and there’s also the best grammar-based menstruation joke ever conceived, straight out of the Mitch Hedberg playbook. But it’s the closing narrative of the aforementioned DUI that is especially remarkable. It’s here that he stands up on even footing with a Mike Birbiglia or Patton Oswalt. His story moves with excellent pacing, with steady crowd giggles sprinkled into his officer interactions onward to what feels like a conclusion (an ill-fated substitution of Jeff Foxworthy for Michael J. Fox in a hand-job joke made in an attempt to woo the officer). Alas, Drake oneups himself with the final, gut-busting finisher that finds him taking the worst moment of his life and making it the best of his career. Find the album on iTunes.
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E L O P E N E T
ACROSS 1 You may find it on your hands or side 5 Use a scalpel on 9 ‘‘O.G. Original Gangster’’ rapper 13 One connected with the force? 17 Not as brazen 19 It’s worth $200 in Monopoly 21 Princess of Power from 1980s cartoons 22 Get noticed 24 Wiped 25 DuVernay who directed ‘‘Selma’’ 26 100% 27 Ring call, for short 28 More hot 30 ‘‘Sounds about right’’ 32 In stitches 34 Knocking 37 Load of money 38 Like some windows 40 Easily defeats, in sports 42 ___ Vogue 44 J.F.K. probers 45 You may put stock in it 46 Director Coen 47 Enterprise for which a 14-year-old Buffalo Bill worked 51 One of 15 until 1991: Abbr. 52 ‘‘Baywatch’’ stars often jogged in it 54 Brownie unit 55 Japanese ‘‘yes’’ 57 ___ Nova (musical style) 60 Will, given the chance 62 Ninny 63 Dickens heroine 64 Cold-climate cryptid 66 End for an organisation’s name 67 Exploit a loophole, say 71 Radio-knob abbr. 72 Switch off 74 Unjammed 75 Cable airer of vintage films 76 Feeling low 78 Word between two last names 79 Trouble 80 Conductor announcements 82 Baloney 83 Newswoman Curry 85 Lean back and enjoy the ride? 88 Jumbo-size
91 ___ fide 92 A Giants giant 93 Pick out 96 Washington landmark that lent its name to a Senate committee 98 Equally 101 Get the show on the road 103 Pursued, as perfection 104 Big bra feature 106 Sticks in a purse? 108 Rotten 110 Little ___ 111 Company also known as ?? ?? 112 Lifesaver’s inits. 113 Facetious string? 115 Big fall from the sky? 119 Large shrimp 120 Wavering wail 121 Like crayons 122 One of the Ivies, informally 123 Organization with an Exalted Ruler 124 Aid in identifying a bird 125 Insignificant DOWN 1 Hero in a John Irving best seller 2 ‘‘Eureka!’’ 3 Sainthood prerequisite 4 It was a dark period for Poe 5 Short supply 6 *Like puberty at age 16 7 Fatal ending? 8 *Biter in Niger 9 Following behind 10 Specialty of Industrial Light & Magic, for short 11 Alphas might clash over them 12 Buff 13 *One making the rounds at a party, perhaps 14 Having an unfavorable outlook 15 Blunder 16 Bit of hope 18 Bad recollection? 20 Tattooed 21 Alternatives to cheddars 23 Peanut 29 Topmost part of a face 31 Persevere 33 Drill sgts., e.g.
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35 What buckets are made in, for short 36 Ob-___ 39 It may be a high percent for the 1% 41 Football stat 43 Chinese- restaurant assurance 45 Natl. Courtesy Month 48 Disapproving (of) 49 Swank 50 *First spacecraft to orbit a comet (2014) 51 What always comes in halves? 52 With 59-Down, permanent . . . or, literally, a feature of the answers to the seven starred clues 53 Cider server 56 Certain operatic voices
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58 Energize 59 See 52-Down 60 Symbol of equality, briefly 61 Ahab’s father 63 Randy types 65 Variety 68 Underwater trap 69 Flat-bottomed boat 70 Hank’s wife on ‘‘Breaking Bad’’ 73 *Car-dealership option 77 Event with a cantina, maybe 80 ___ treatment 81 *Chooses in the end 84 Zombie Strike SlingFire Blaster, for one 86 Linear, informally 87 Amazon activity 88 Hurtful comments? 89 ‘‘Ridiculous!’’ 90 Agent 007, e.g. 91 Really involved 94 Long-reaching weapon
95 97 98 99 100 102 105 107 109 113 114 116 117 118
of yore More delish Bit of baby talk What a general may lead *Goals for underdogs ‘‘I’m such a ___’’ (klutz’s comment) Givens on ‘‘Wheel of Fortune’’ Weightlifter’s exercise Went off Yawn-inducing Android runner, often Poet’s ‘‘prior to’’ Arctic flier Olympics host after London Spotlight hog
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Memory lane An Oklahoma author draws on his youth in OKC to create a taut, emotional mystery. BY DEVON GREEN
For his new book, The Long and Faraway Gone: A Novel, Lou Berney had two objectives: He wanted to tell a good story with two mysteries at the center and explore Oklahoma City’s growth into a dynamic city over the past quarter decade. Two decades-old unsolved crimes drive the action; a mall shooting left one teenager inexplicably alive, and a young woman disappeared from the Oklahoma State Fair the same year. The book follows the path of those connected to both tragedies. Unraveling at an easy pace, readers see the city as it was in 1986 and at present. We see most of the action through the eyes of the protagonist, Wyatt, as he navigates terrain he last visited as a teen. The book is in part a classic whodunit, with twists and a cast of characters that keep the reader guessing. The story also delves into the heart of memory, the concept of home and whether there are ever any easy answers. Readers follow the narrative as the characters attempt to make sense of their lives and the events that shaped them. The book hit shelves Feb. 10. Berney will spend weeks making public appearances to promote it.
Berney knows the feeling of looking at two different Oklahoma Citys at once. Like the protagonist of Gone, he left OKC in the 1980s to attend college. He visited, but he didn’t make Oklahoma home again until he moved with his family in the late 1990s. Like many who leave for a significant amount of time, he found the city’s transformation astounding.
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He was also thrilled to find his memories crystal clear — easy fodder to recreate the city of his youth. “When I drive down the street now,” he said, “I’m like the characters in the book … I see what was there 25 years ago and then I see what’s here now. I’m always seeing things in two dimensions.” The author admits he used artistic license with some places and people, but they are simply sly nods to the real articles. There are several hat-tips to the local color, both present and past, in the prose. It’s part of what makes the effort such a joy for native Oklahomans to read. Two major characters spend time at Cuppies & Joe, the cupcake and coffee shop on NW 23rd Street. The iconic Rainbow Records, once on the corner of NW 23rd Street and Classen Boulevard, plays a part in the action in 1986. Readers who know OKC will find several more incognito people and places. “I have complex feelings about Oklahoma City,” Berney said. “There are parts I love and there are parts I don’t love, and it’s a complex, fascinating, gritty, dynamic place. I wanted to touch on that, and I hope those reading will appreciate that someone’s taken a good look at this place … it’s not just flyover country.”
In addition to writing, Berney teaches in the Red Earth Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program at Oklahoma City University. He enjoys teaching and helping other writers hone their craft. Visit louberney.com.
Music Made Me: Jacob Abello
BY JOSHUA BOYDSTON
Norman artist Jacob Abello has morphed from a bleeding heart, organic indie-folk songwriter into a powerful, electro glam rocker with a pop diva streak as part of his reinvention as Prettyboy, which was punctuated by 2013 split single Dejvická. Now, Abello is fast at work on the long-awaited and labored-over full-length follow-up to his 2009 debut Nothing But Gold at Blackwatch Studios due this coming spring. He shared five albums that speak to his past, present and future as Prettyboy.
Shania Twain — Come On Over (1997) Don’t laugh. I’m trying to be vulnerable and honest here. I wore this CD out in elementary and middle school, and I still pop it in from time to time. (I found the CD on sale for $5.99 at Walgreens recently and couldn’t help myself.) This is good pop: plain and simple and a little cheesy. Shania (along with her former husband/producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange) taught me the basics of the pop hook, and I am forever grateful.
As a lyricist, I don’t think of Dylan as someone to learn from, but rather to sit back and admire like a starry sky.
The Good Life — Album of the Year (2004) The beauty is in the small things. That’s what Tim Kasher taught me with this record. He has this way of turning the most mundane and sometimes gross details into beautiful, heartbreaking sentiments. These songs about failed relationships will make you laugh and send shivers up your spine in the same breath. “Inmates” is an 8-minute song, but I always listen to the very end … and it always breaks my heart.
Bob Dylan — Oh Mercy (1989) As a lyricist, I don’t think of Dylan as someone to learn from but rather to sit back and admire like a starry sky. Like most sensitive and “deep” high school boys, I had a poster of a young Bob
have fun and let yourself be happy sometimes. “Ooh it feels good to be free,” sings front woman/goddess Jenny Lewis on “Breaking Up.” Indeed, girl.
Dylan hanging on my bedroom wall in high school, but I didn’t discover Oh Mercy until college. Daniel Lanois produced and perfectly complimented Dylan’s haunting lyrics with dark, atmospheric instrumentation. This is a masterpiece and has become my favorite Dylan record. Also, “Most of the Time” is the best breakup song ever written.
Prince — Dirty Mind (1980) Prince is my king. He pretty much plays every instrument on this record. (He is joined by one other musician on only two songs.) The opening track sounds like the beginning of the biggest party of your life, and that’s how the rest of the record feels. True to its namesake, the songs are dirty. There’s a song about incest and one about stealing a virgin bride on her wedding day and having oral sex with her. But the highlight and heart of Dirty Mind is in the wonderfully nostalgic “When You Were Mine.” I’m bowing down.
Rilo Kiley — Under the Blacklight (2007) Pitchfork said this record was Rilo Kiley “taking a piss with a wink,” and I don’t entirely disagree. I toiled and suffered through my youth with their earlier albums, but this is the one that has never left my rotation. It taught me that making joyful, shiny pop music doesn’t have to make you any less profound. It’s okay to just let loose,
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Smooth serenade A YouTube hit-maker lives in Yukon and has more than 1 million followers. His cat, however, is not impressed. BY ADAM HOLT
It’s a little overwhelming at first sight, but give it a moment and the video will grab you. First, a grid appears, reminiscent of the opening title sequence of The Brady Bunch. In all squares, minus the middle, appears a blue-eyed 30-year-old man with long, straight red hair and a matching mustache and beard, its length causing it to disappear at the bottom of the screen. Playing in the center square is a scene older millennials will recognize: live gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a console from the early 1990s. Suddenly, as if cued by an orchestral conductor, all eight bearded men sing separate parts of the game’s famous theme song a cappella. Midway through the video, one of the bearded men smiles as he lifts an unenthused black cat from the bottom of his musical square to the microphone. The cat continues to be unimpressed. This is the world of Oklahoma City native Max Gleason, known by his YouTube moniker Smooth McGroove. With more than 1 million subscribers, Gleason is a recognized personality in the video game community, publishing more than 90 videos of his humorous and impressive a capella takes of game music. He also makes appearances at major gaming events including the SGC gaming convention and the Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly known as E3.
Visit Smooth McGroove’s YouTube channel and you will see something similar to this.
Suddenly, as if cued by an orchestral conductor, all eight bearded men sing separate parts of the game’s famous theme song a cappella. The seeds of Smooth McGroove are rooted in a failed project from late 2012. “I was asked to write original music for a guy’s video game project. The game fell through, but it was fun experience, a new challenge,” he said. Gleason, a multi-instrumentalist, was teaching drum and guitar lessons while playing in bands when the notion of writing video game music was suggested. The change in focus expanded not only his idea of how music is written, but also how it is performed. “After the video game project, I was really excited about that kind of music,” Gleason said. “I was writing and recording guitar and drum parts, but I wasn’t satisfied. I thought to myself, ‘What if I covered songs using only my voice?’ It broke my creative block.” The result was “Zelda’s Lullaby,”
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from the Ocarina of Time installment in the Zelda series. The project marked Gleason’s first experiment with a capella, as he is an untrained vocalist. It also introduced his video’s signature look, a multi-box grid, each its own vocal track, combined to create Beach Boys-like harmony. For an extra splash of humor, the “McGrooves” make odd funny faces toward the camera, independent of each other, while Gleason’s black cat, Charl, somewhat unwillingly participates. His YouTube channel began with a modest 90 subscribers in the first two months, but with each published video featuring classic themes from games like Street Fighter II and Sonic the Hedgehog came more social media shares and website features. Ninety followers quickly rolled into hundreds, then thousands and now stands at more than 1 million and growing two years in. Gleason, with his singing and recording techniques better refined, now takes on more complicated projects. His time and energy investment continues to rise. “I competed ‘Zelda’s Lullaby’ in about five to six hours straight. My last project, ‘One-Winged Angel’ from Final Fantasy VII, after recording, editing music and video, took three weeks,” Gleason said. He no longer teaches lessons, making a living solely on his music. He has released six albums, all available on iTunes, Loudr and Bandcamp. He also earns revenue from advertisements and Patreon, a website enabling fans to support artists through donations. Through an avenue he could never have predicted, Smooth McGroove allows Gleason to live out his dream. “Performing and writing music is what I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “And this is my opportunity to do music. I’m going to continue to take it further, make videos and have fun.”
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THIS FRIDA Y !!!
Finding Order BY CHRISTIAN WILSON
Though my older brother spoon-fed me steely bites of Metallica in my formative years and I clamped onto Rise Against with a fierce vigor, it was only after All That Remains came through Diamond Ballroom last Sunday that the seven-album-deep band crossed my path. Now that they have, I wonder how I missed them. The band, which features Phil Labonte, Oli Herbert, Mike Martin, Jeanne Sagan and Jason Costa, unveils its new album, The Order of Things, on Tuesday. With the release of its album single “No Knock” last November, its hardcore fans raved. No more fucking mainstream ninny-gagging. Perhaps the fans believed it shed its hunger for universal appeal. Nope.
There’s a moment in opening track, “This Probably Won’t End Well,” when you look around wondering if you even played the right song.
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However, it’s an easy assumption to make. While vocals in some genres might caress you with sweet, airy lilts or move in around you with enveloping walls of warm Miami waves, frontman Phil Labonte’s tear at you. Your own throat feels the strain. (Ricola, anyone?) Despite this grunting vocal discharge, the album isn’t screamo. This band is too polished and selfaware to fully commit that way. And they shouldn’t. “To be flat-out honest, all I want is for people to walk away from our shows or records feeling better,” Labonte said in a media release. “That’s who we are.”
Throughout its discography, All That Remains’ strength has been its ability to diversify while keeping the most important hardcore elements intact. It walks the line. For instance, The Order of Things bookends with a lone piano. There’s a moment in opening track “This Probably Won’t End Well” when you look around wondering if you even played the right song. But sure enough, the drum beat drops, a slashing riff cuts in and Labonte’s soaring refrain takes hold. Follow that with “No Knock” and it becomes clear this album has chutzpah. From there, however, it carries on with surprisingly pleasant vocal harmonies, uplifting positivity, the expected fret-thrashing and even a poetic acoustic piece. This band doesn’t fit my expectations for it, and I appreciate that. While tenacity thrives in the band’s compositions, it isn’t overwhelming, and there is constant appeal to emotional positivity: Gather your integrity.../Show the world what strength can be/Live your life in honesty. This band wants to make you feel better, energize and lift you. But that feeling only comes after a change in thinking. “You have to adapt to the world around you as opposed to expecting everything to adapt to your perspective,” Labonte explained. “This album is about adapting to music, to self and to the world around us … This is literally The Order of Things.”
P ROVI DE D
Karen Khoury, Legend’s Restaurant, Norman. PIANO Lower 40, Moonshiners Music House. COVER
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 18 Amanda Cunningham, Saint’s. ACOUSTIC
Martha Stallings, Jazmo’z Bourbon St. Cafe. PIANO Mayday By Midnight, Baker St. Pub & Grill. ROCK MOSSHEAD/Codone/Queequeg, Guildhaul. ROCK
Dan Bern/Tom Skinner, The Blue Door. VARIOUS
Nathan Burris, Thunderbird Casino, Norman. COUNTRY
David Cook/Luke Wade, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. ROCK
Nebulae, Opolis, Norman. ROCK
Eric Harris, First National Center. JAZZ
Pidgin, The Deli, Norman. VARIOUS
Grant Wells, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO
Randy Cassimus, Full Circle Bookstore. ACOUSTIC
Maurice Johnson, R&J Lounge and Supper Club. JAZZ
Recliners, Oklahoma City Limits. COVER
Replay/80’z Enuf, Baker St. Pub & Grill. COVER
Rocky Kanaga, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. ACOUSTIC
The Friends No BS Jam, Friends Restaurant & Club. VARIOUS
Sam Riggs, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY
Travis Linville, The Deli, Norman. SINGER/SONGWRITER
Storyville Scoundrels, Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewery. ROCK
Zac Lee Duo, Will Rogers Lobby Cafe & Bar. JAZZ
THURSDAY FEB. 19 Andy McKee, Post 352. ACOUSTIC Brent Saulsbury/Will Galbraith/Wayne Duncan, Friends Restaurant & Club. ROCK David Morris, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO Reese Wilson/Michael Summers, Kendell’s Bar. SINGER/ SONGWRITER Replay, Baker St. Pub & Grill. COVER Rowdy Folk, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY
The Clique, Friends Restaurant & Club. VARIOUS The Weathermen, Tapwerks Ale House & Cafe. COVER Them Hounds/Quentin Cash Band, Blue Note Lounge. BLUES zero2sixtyband, Remington Park. ROCK
Brittany Roe, Remington Park. COUNTRY
Storyville Scoundrels, O Bar. ROCK
Casey Donahew Band, Brady Theater, Tulsa. COUNTRY
The Clique, Friends Restaurant & Club. VARIOUS
DJ Randy Lundy, Aloft Downtown Oklahoma City. VARIOUS
FRIDAY, FEB. 20
Don and Melodee Johnson, Twelve Oaks, Edmond. JAZZ
Christian Pearson/Gary Johnson, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO
Clerics and keepers of musical religion and romance, Adam and Kizzie Ledbetter have been on the rise following their debut album The Book of EEDO Vol. 1. Though their mixes include R&B, soul and hip hop, it’s their jazz grooves that will be on display Tuesday at the University of Oklahoma Sharp Concert Hall, 500 W. Boyd St., in Norman. Tickets are $5-$9 if purchased by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and $10 at the door. Call 325-4101.
Annie Up, Riverwind Casino, Norman. COVER
Caleb McGee and The Underdogs, The Deli, Norman. VARIOUS
Casey Donahew Band, Diamond Ballroom. COUNTRY
SATURDAY FEB. 21
Samantha Crain/Elms, The Deli, Norman. ROCK
Avenue, Riverwind Casino, Norman. COVER
Adam & Kizzie
Rusty and the Rough Riders, 40 & 8 Dance Club. COUNTRY
TUESDAY, FEB. 24
Sardashhh/Askanse/ReadMi/SimStim, Dope Chapel, Norman. VARIOUS
Caleb McGee/Brad Fielder/Izzy Cox, The Deli, Norman. COUNTRY
Pierce Hart, Full Circle Bookstore. VARIOUS
Drive, Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse. COVER Ellis Paul/Kierston White, The Blue Door. SINGER/ SONGWRITER Grant Stevens, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO Hosty Duo, Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewery. ROCK Jamie Bramble, Buy For Less. ACOUSTIC
Stat Band, Russell’s, Tower Hotel. R&B
Chris Kicks Trio, Devon Tower. JAZZ
The Clique, Friends Restaurant & Club. VARIOUS
LUCKY/Shaun Suttle, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. COVER
The Suspects, Tapwerks Ale House & Cafe. ROCK
Potato Pirates/The Dirty Mugs/Violent Affair, The Conservatory. ROCK
What She Said, Oklahoma City Limits. COVER
Christian Pearson/Max Ridgeway Trio, The Paramount OKC. JAZZ
Jeremy Johnson, Grady’s 66 Pub, Yukon. COUNTRY
Clayton Stroup, First National Center. JAZZ
Jeremy Phifer, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. COUNTRY
Cody Johnson Band/Mike Ryan Band, Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa. COUNTRY
Jose Hernandes/Semblance, Old School Business Center, Moore. ROCK
Cold Blue Mountain/We The Undead/Citadel, The Conservatory. ROCK
Josh Grider, Wormy Dog Saloon. COUNTRY
DJ R&R, Russell’s, Tower Hotel. VARIOUS
Jumpship Astronaut/White Girl/Softaware, Blue Note Lounge. ROCK
Drive, Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse. COVER
Mitch Casen, Friends Restaurant & Club. COUNTRY
Gentry, Kendell’s Bar. VARIOUS
OG Maco, Vibe Night Club. HIP-HOP
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Hardin Burns/Annie Oakley, The Blue Door. FOLK
Edgar Cruz, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO
Edgar Cruz, Oklahoma City Museum of Art. ACOUSTIC
Hail The Sun/The Ongoing Concept/Brent Walsh of I The Mighty, The Conservatory. ROCK
Grant Wells, Skirvin Hilton Hotel. PIANO
Justin Young, Uptown Grocery Co., Edmond. JAZZ
Justin Witte, Will Rogers Lobby Cafe & Bar. SINGER/ SONGWRITER
Karen Khoury, Legend’s Restaurant, Norman. PIANO
Maurice Johnson, R&J Lounge and Supper Club. JAZZ
Mike Hosty, The Deli, Norman. ROCK
Mike Hosty Duo, Baker St. Pub & Grill. ROCK
Power Pyramid/Sex Snobs/Shishio, Oklahoma Contemporary. ROCK
The Friends No BS Jam, Friends Restaurant & Club. VARIOUS
Scott Lowber, Friends Restaurant & Club. COVER
MONDAY, FEB. 23 Alan Orebaugh and Friends/The Handsome Devils, The Deli, Norman. FOLK Ali Harter Residency, Blue Note Lounge. SINGER/ SONGWRITER Rick Toops, Friends Restaurant & Club. ROCK
Travis Linville The Deli, Norman Wednesday
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 25
SUNDAY, FEB. 22.
Submissions must be received by Oklahoma Gazette no later than noon on Wednesday seven days before the desired publication date. Late submissions will not be included in the listings. Submissions run as space allows, although we strive to make the listings as inclusive as possible. Fax your listings to 528-4600 or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sorry, but phone submissions cannot be accepted.
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Grey matter Fifty Shades is the best one could expect from a mainstream, erotic film starring two lesser-knowns and luxury-branded quasi-sadomasochism. BY JAMES HELTON
Every decade has its much talked about, risqué feature film. In the 1980s, God gave us Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in Nine 1/2 Weeks. Rourke’s reign as Hollywood’s leading naughty man continued with Wild Orchid. By the early aughts, James Spader brought us his comeback vehicle, erotic romance Secretary, with co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal. Now, here’s Fifty Shades of Grey, the anticipated big-screen adaptation of E.L. James’ bestselling romance novel. It stars Jamie Dornan (TV’s The Fall) as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson (21 Jumpstreet, TV’s Ben and Kate) as Greys’ object of affection, Anastasia Steele. The Fifty Shades trilogy has sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print, making it one of the biggest- and fastest-selling series in history. Last weekend’s theater opening
took in an estimated $90.7 million for Universal Pictures, reported ticket sales monitor Rentrack. However, a popular book doesn’t always a great film make, and this film had trouble from its start. We all know what we are here to see: Sex and more sex and Hurt Locker-like, quasi-sadomasochism masquerading as mainstream erotica. So, dedicating an entire scene to Steele sliding a pencil with Grey’s name on it into her mouth was awkward. The upside is that the scene — though ridiculous — translates into near-parody, adding a whiff of levity to what might otherwise be a tedious rehash of James’ book. (Remember the pool sex scene between Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan in the 1995 film Striptease? Like that, but with fewer nightmares after.)
Dornan’s acting is over-the-top, as expected, and often contradicts Johnsons’ likable portrayal of doe-eyed Steele. This isn’t a new storyline, either: An attractive-yet-mysterious-and-broken man meets an innocent woman. She awakens something in him and vice versa. In the midst of all this, we see sexy, sometimes shocking scenes. Things get complicated. Hearts break and hopefully are mended. It’s a formula that works. What made Fifty Shades of Grey fall short (or succeed, if you’re into camp) is its lack of charm. It is 2015; you have every available outlet to explore every possible quirk, kink, curiosity, fetish and fancy, meaning audiences can’t be shocked into liking this film. Grey is charming yet repulsive in his adoration of Steele, but he keeps drawing her back. Ultimately, he wants her. She
wants him. And despite its flaws, if music soothes the savage beasts, then this soundtrack is where the true movie magic happens. Whether in the “Red Room” or gliding above the gorgeous landscape of Savannah, Georgia, the scenes enveloped by songs from artists like Annie Lennox, Frank Sinatra, Danny Elfman and Beyoncé were truly moving. Other finer points were the beautifully shot landscapes, the tiny performance by Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River) as Greys’ mother and the characters’ interactions with Grey’s driver, Taylor, expertly executed here by Max Martini (Pacific Rim). However, the film’s most powerful scene was its last one, perhaps followed with theater crowd watching as a close second.
O K L A H O M A G A Z E T T E | F E B R UA R Y 1 8 , 2 0 1 5 | 4 5
FREE WILL ASTROLOGY Homework: Where in your life do you push harder than is healthy? Where do you not push hard enough? Testify at FreeWillAstrology.com. ARIES (March 21-April 19) There are many different facets to your intelligence, and each matures at a different rate. So for example, your ability to think symbolically may evolve more slowly than your ability to think abstractly. Your wisdom about why humans act the way they do may ripen more rapidly than your insight into your own emotions. In the coming weeks, I expect one particular aspect of your intelligence to be undergoing a growth spurt: your knowledge of what your body needs and how to give it what it needs. TAURUS (April 20-May 20) What is the proper blend for you these days? Is it something like 51 percent pleasure and 49 percent business? Or would you be wiser to shoot for 49 percent pleasure and 51 percent business? I will leave that decision up to you, Taurus. Whichever way you go, I suggest that you try to interweave business and pleasure as often as possible. You are in one of those actionpacked phases when fun dovetails really well with ambition. I’m guessing that you can make productive connections at parties. I’m betting that you can spice up your social life by taking advantage of what comes to you through your work. GEMINI (May 21-June 20) In 1900, the world’s most renowned mathematicians met at a conference in Paris. There the German whiz David Hilbert introduced his master list of 23 unsolved mathematical problems. At the time, no one had done such an exhaustive inventory. His well-defined challenge set the agenda for math research throughout the 20th century. Today he’s regarded as an influential visionary. I’d love to see you come up with a list of your own top unsolved problems, Gemini. You now have extra insight about the catalytic projects you will be smart to work on and play with during the coming years.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) “Spanipelagic” is an adjective scientists use to describe
creatures that typically hang out in deep water but float up to the surface on rare occasions. The term is not a perfect metaphorical fit for you, since you come up for air more often than that. But you do go through phases when you’re inclined to linger for a long time in the abyss, enjoying the dark mysteries and fathomless emotions. According to my reading of the astrological omens, that’s what you’ve been doing lately. Any day now, however, I expect you’ll be rising up from the Great Down Below and headed topside for an extended stay. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) When faced with a big decision, you might say you want to “sleep on it.” In other words, you postpone your final determination until you gather more information and ripen your understanding of the pressing issues. And that could indeed involve getting a good night’s sleep. What happens in your dreams may reveal nuances you can’t pry loose with your waking consciousness alone. And even if you don’t recall your dreams, your sleeping mind is busy processing and reworking the possibilities. I recommend that you make liberal use of the “sleep on it” approach in the coming weeks, Leo. Revel in the wisdom that wells up in you as you’re lying down in the dark. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) In 1962, Edward Albee published his play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? It won numerous awards and is still performed by modern theater groups. Albee says the title came to him as he was having a beer at a bar in New York City. When he went to the restroom, he spied the words “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” scrawled in soap on the mirror. I urge you to be alert for that kind of inspiration in the coming days, Virgo: unexpected, provocative, and out of context. You never know when and where you may be furnished with clues about the next plot twist of your life story. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) Edward III, a medieval English king, had a favorite poet: Geoffrey Chaucer. In 1374, the king promised Chaucer a big gift in appreciation for his talents: a gallon of wine every day for the rest of his life. That’s not the endowment I would have wanted if I had
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been Chaucer. I’d never get any work done if I were quaffing 16 glasses of wine every 24 hours. Couldn’t I instead be provided with a regular stipend? Keep this story in mind, Libra, as you contemplate the benefits or rewards that might become available to you. Ask for what you really need, not necessarily what the giver initially offers. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) To make the cocktail known as Sex on the Beach, you mix together cranberry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, peach schnapps, and vodka. There is also an alternative “mocktail” called Safe Sex on the Beach. It has the same fruit juices, but no alcohol. Given the likelihood that your inner teenager will be playing an important role in your upcoming adventures, Scorpio, I recommend that you favor the Safe-Sex-on-the-Beach metaphor rather than the Sex-on-the-Beach approach. At least temporarily, it’s best to show a bit of protective restraint toward the wild and sometimes erratic juvenile energy that’s pushing to be expressed. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) In Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” a lawyer hires a man named Bartleby to work in his office. At first Bartleby is a model employee, carrying out his assignments with dogged skill. But one day everything begins to change. Whenever his boss instructs him to do a specific task, Bartleby says, “I would prefer not to.” As the days go by, he does less and less, until finally he stops altogether. I’d like to propose, Sagittarius, that you take inspiration from his slowdown. Haven’t you done enough for now? Haven’t you been exemplary in your commitment to the daily struggle? Don’t you deserve a break in the action so you can recharge your psychospiritual batteries? I say yes. Maybe you will consider making this your battle cry: “I would prefer not to.” CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” That’s what American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson advised. Even if you’re not naturally inclined to see the potential wisdom of that approach, I invite you to play around with it for the next three weeks. You don’t need to do it forever.
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It doesn’t have to become a permanent fixture in your philosophy. Just for now, experiment with the possibility that trying lots of experiments will lead you not just to new truths, but to new truths that are fun, interesting, and useful. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) The art of the French Aquarian painter Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927) appears in prestigious museums. He isn’t as famous as his fellow Impressionists Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro, but he wielded a big influence on them both. His career developed slowly because he had to work a day job to earn a living. When he was 50 years old, he won a wad of free money in the national lottery, and thereafter devoted himself full-time to painting. I’m not saying you will enjoy a windfall like that anytime soon, Aquarius, but such an event is possible. At the very least, your income could rise. Your odds of experiencing financial luck will increase to the degree that you work to improve the best gifts you have to offer your fellow humans. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) “It isn’t normal to know what we want,” said pioneering psychologist Abraham Maslow. “It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.” That’s the bad news, Pisces. The good news is that you may be on the verge of rendering that theory irrelevant. In the coming weeks, you will be better primed to discover what you really want than you have been in a long time. I suggest you do a ritual in which you vow to unmask this treasured secret. Write a formal statement in which you declare your intention to achieve full understanding of the reasons you are alive on this planet.
Go to RealAstrology.com to check out Rob Brezsny’s expanded weekly audio horoscopes /daily text message horoscopes. The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700.
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