Table of Contents Live by the Gun Die by the Gun Feature
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live by the gun die by the gun a young man shares his experiences growing up in okc gang life
This article is about one young manâ€™s experience with gang life. Some language could be considered graphic.
compiled by Whitley Oâ€™Connor photos by Quit Nguyen
While gangs aren’t as visible in Oklahoma City as they are in other major metropolitan areas, they are real. And the impact they have on the lives of young people is irreversible. The Curbside Chronicle sat down with one young man whose interactions with gang life began at the age of five. After years in the gang, being shot, and seeing friends die, he has decided to turn his life around. This is his story. When did you first get into gang life?
Were you jumped in?
Well, the influence started very young, like around five or six years old. I moved back and forth a lot from Omaha, Nebraska and Oklahoma City. At the time, my mother was incarcerated in Elk City, Oklahoma. I went to live with my dad in Nebraska, and we lived in the projects. My whole family was into that kind of life. My dad, he sold drugs for 11 years in the projects. That’s how he met my mother. And they were doing their little thing, the little Bonnie and Clyde style life. They were good for a minute but then you know how it goes. People was snitching, and my dad’s name kept coming up. Then they started doing raids in the projects, and eventually he was facing 50 years in the pen. He had to take all the money he got from selling dope to pay off lawyers. And when that was all said and done, he was free but he was broke. So, that’s where the influence first came from.
I was 14 and my cousins all jumped me in. I was on from there. My hood consisted of a lot of family, so they wasn’t trying to do me like that. But I did get beat up pretty bad. They knocked me down and kicked me and all that. But that ain’t nothing. I’ve seen people get hurt. Get demolished. Trashcans thrown in the air. Stomped. It just really depends on what the people that’s jumping you are on and what they see in you. The whole purpose of getting jumped on is to see your heart. If you’re gangbanging and you’re caught slippin’, you’re gonna get jumped by the other side. It’s just to make sure that you can take what they gonna give you. It’s not just they want to beat you up. There’s reasons for everything in the gang society.
When my momma got out, I moved back to OKC. I lived in North Highlands. We moved out there around ’97, ’98, and I was 7 or 8 years old. We were kids, and we were just going off what we seen above us. You know what I’m saying? It’s not like you just wake up and say, “I wanna gangbang. I wanna do this.” It’s just what you see. Like if we were in the suburbs or something and all we’d seen were doctors and lawyers and people with good careers, then that’s what we’d want to be. But we seen the opposite of that, and that’s what happened. I didn’t get real serious in the gang until I moved back to Omaha from the Highlands. My mother saw that the gangs were trying to get me down in OKC. I was doing stuff for them, beating people up and all that kinda stuff. So she said, “You’re moving to Omaha.” So, I moved to Omaha in 2003. I was 13, almost 14.
I came back to OKC in 2009. I was beefin’ bad with this one guy and his friends. One day I’m on my porch and they rode by on their bikes, acting like they shootin’ at me. Twenty minutes later they was walking up the street. I went and got my cousin. She got the 38 and put it in her pants, but there were like 13 people in front of my house all with guns. I was scared now. My auntie pulled up right when all this was happening, and she got out with her gun. She was like, “I’m calling the police right now.” It was broad daylight, so they left. A couple weeks later they started shooting my grandma’s house up. I couldn’t have that because I got my little nieces and nephews in that house. I knew where the dude’s momma’s house was, and I shot his momma’s house up. Luckily, she wasn’t there. He got hit in the leg. My little cousin shot him in the chest. But my grandma told my momma about it. She said I had to come back to OKC. So, in the beginning of 2009, I came down here.
My whole family is from the Vietnam projects in Omaha. They were originally called the Logan Fontenelle Housing projects, but they called it Little Vietnam because of all the dope, drugs, and prostitutes. When Bloods and Crips was going from Cali to everywhere, we had someone come down there from Crenshaw Mafia Bloods, and that’s how we got labeled as Bloods. They wanted to come sell dope out of our projects. In order for that to happen, they basically had to make a treaty with the people already living in the projects. My uncle and them, they were already in the projects selling dope. They had the same mentality and the same plans as the Crips and Bloods; they just wasn’t gangbangin’ until the Crenshaw Mafia Bloods came from California into their projects. But instead of taking their name, we made our own. We named it Vietnam Gangster Blood, and that’s what I was in Omaha. My cousins, they put me on. They was like, “You old enough. You need to get out here and make some money.” You see, in the hood it’s different. You don’t have the same kind of rules and role models that you have when you’re in a better place. When it was time to help pay bills, cause grandma can’t do it all by herself, I had to do what I had to do. So, they put me on, put dope in my pocket, gave me a gun. My first gun was a 22 rifle. My second gun was a 20-gauge shotgun. I’d sleep with them under my bed.
It’s not like you just wake up and say, ‘I wanna gangbang’... It’s just what you see. Like if we were in the suburbs or something and all we’d seen were doctors and lawyers and people with good careers, then that’s what we’d want to be. But we seen the opposite of that...
You say your whole family was into that kind of life. How so?
When did you come back to OKC?
Did you stop when you came back to OKC?
Are gang wars common?
I was still gangbanging, but I was doing job core too. So, I’m down here and I’m trying to change my life, but I’m still in the same kind of stuff. I’m from North Highlands in OKC, and they 456 Piru Bloods. They used to be City Block Gangsters until 456 Piru came in from California. Our hood is from 80th to 89th. I’m from 87th block. Blocks are basically like cliques inside the hood. And our generation is just block banging. We bang our blocks before we bang 456 Piru or Bloods. It’s 87th block for me.
The only time we get into gang wars is when people leave their boundaries. Your hood is supposed to be where you make money, sell dope, sell weed, whatever. So, whenever someone else comes to your territory and tries to sell, that’s when you got to get them out. If you gotta shoot them up to get them out, that’s what you gotta do. If they come back shooting you up because you shot at them, then you gotta defend. It’s kind of just like states and nations. Ain’t nobody about to come up to America and just set up shop without going through the process. You gotta be a legal citizen to be over here. Just like that, you come to our neighborhood, you gotta be a citizen.
Was that your first time being shot? I’ve been through a lot of things, but that was the first and last time I’ve been shot. They came to my house at night. We were supposed to fight. No guns. None of that. But they was coming for my life. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever been through. It made me feel like I was an animal. Like I was being hunted. I got shot in my stomach, and it went into my kidneys. I ain’t supposed to drink alcohol or eat pork. I really ain’t suppose to be doing nothing. But I deserved that because I did a lot of things to people too. I used to shoot a lot of people. But when you’re doing stuff like that, you’re not thinking about hurting people. You’re thinking about people hurting you. I can’t speak for everybody. There are some people that’s psycho and want to go kill people. With me, it was just a self-defense thing.
In the past, it was all about getting territory. That’s what all the killing and stuff was over. But now, everybody has got their territories and has had them for years. Now, just don’t come to our territory. A lot of people say, “Y’all stupid. Y’all don’t own these blocks.” They right. We don’t own these blocks. But what they don’t realize is, in a way we do. All the white people and rich people moved out. They left it to us. People think we out here bangin’ over colors and that’s not true. It’s not over colors. It’s simply your environment, your habitat, what you grow up in. That’s all it’s about. We didn’t choose this. Our forefathers chose this, and that’s why we are growing up in the hood. My grandma moved my daddy and them to the projects when she was young. By the time I came around, there was a whole generation of my family in the projects. This is who I was. I couldn’t go anywhere else and try to fit in. I couldn’t until I got old enough to actually change my character.
They put me on the block in 2011, and that was the year that changed everything. My homeboy, he got stabbed in February when we was at the Lil Webbie concert. He got stabbed like 7 times by some Dungee Crips. That started a lot of things. A month later my homeboy got killed in his grandma’s backyard. And then a month after that I got shot by a Crip. Then two days after that my homeboy, Lil Los, got shot. And then my homeboy, Baby Flame, got killed. And then my homeboy, Stretch, got killed. Then one of the guys that put me on 87th block got killed. So, from like February to May 2011 it was just crazy. Everybody was in the hospital ICU.
It made me feel like I was an animal. Like I was being hunted.
Is it difficult to change?
If you have a choice, then why choose gang life?
It wasn’t an overnight thing. It was a long process. The first year I gangbanged, I didn’t want to do it no more. But it was already too late because I had to bang. But you grow up. When you young, you don’t have the knowledge. All you got is what they tell you. Ain’t nobody really about to sit there and explain to a kid everything that’s going on. Then you start growing up and being like, “Why did my big homie have me do that?” Cause you’re basically a crash dummy at a young age. When you’re 15 and you get caught with a pistol, it’s most likely gonna be your first case. They gonna let you out. You’re not gonna go to the pen. But once you turn 18, it gets a lot harder. They use kids to get away with things they know they can’t get away with... It’s a young man’s game. Ain’t too many OG’s out here anymore. They all locked up or dead. The oldest people in the hood right now are in their mid twenties, and a whole lot of little guys. Young, senseless, little guys with guns in hand.
Thinking you ain’t ever gonna make it out. Thinking that there’s no other way. Trying other ways and seeing them fail. Trying to go get a job and not getting it because of that address that you gotta put on your application. You’re labeled for the things that people in your neighborhood have done. Eventually, you start thinking, “I’m not good enough to go nowhere. I’m not good enough be nothin’.” Regardless of what anybody says, only 1% out of everybody in the hood actually wanted to be a gang member just to be a gang member. The other 99% had dreams of being and doing other things. But we are limited.
If I had a choice, I would have never done none of that. You know what I’m sayin’? If I could have asked God what family I wanted to be in, what I wanted my mother to do, what I wanted my father to do, it wouldn’t have been sell dope. I would have asked just to be in a family that was actually gonna help me in a positive way, instead of make me grow up in a negative way just to help take care of things. That’s really all it’s about. A lot of us ain’t forced to do what we do. We’re forced to be where we are. You see where I’m coming from? I didn’t have no choice but to live in the hood. We had no money to live anywhere else. But I had a choice to go outside or stay in the house. I had a choice to be on the block or be in school.
The YMCA programs and Boys and Girls Club help, but they don’t reach everyone. You’ve got too many neighborhoods, and you’ve got too many gang members. There’s not enough resources to help them. The best thing we can do is jobs because poverty is the only thing keeping the hood thriving. If you can get rid of poverty, you can get rid of crime. I know some people that would rob you right now. But if you gave these people a job, they wouldn’t have to. But it’s hard to get a job with a criminal record. I know somebody that’s been to the pen two times for robbery, but right now he has a good job. He’s been having a good job for two years now and ain’t even thought about robbing no one. If you get rid of poverty, you will get rid of half the crime. Poverty is what’s gonna keep this game going.
Do you feel like you chose to be in a gang?
What would help?
Eventually, you start thinking, ‘I’m not good enough to go nowhere. I’m not good enough be nothin’.’
I want to… get up out the hood and raise my children into a better place, so… instead of giving you the story I’m giving you, they can give you a different story like, ‘I grew up in the suburbs.’
Who do you see as the enemy? We are against the government. You got way more Black and Mexican senators and congressmen and lawyers and doctors these days. People of different races that they wasn’t allowing back then. So, you’re looking at somebody Black in politics, and you’re expecting them to be on your side. But they’re actually looking at you with a hatred almost deeper than a White man’s, because they got it into these people’s heads to hate what they came from. Like we saved you. You have a career and an education. Now look at your people. They’re still like this. And they tell them that they’re different. You’re different from those people. Y’all might be the same color, but you’re different. It’s not against White people or Black people. It’s against the government or the law that’s oppressing us. It’s not because the laws are wrong. It’s because there’s nowhere in the law for us to survive. The way that we are being raised up is contrary to the way they want us to be raised. You can make a law, but is that law gonna stand in my home? With my mother and my father? Especially if they are against the law? No way. So, you got me growing up thinking that breaking the law is all right. Then you try to take me at the age of 18 or 19 and change me. It’s possible, but not overnight. What do you want from the government? We’re supposed to have a democracy. That’s what we hear. Basically, that’s freedom of the people. And we’re living in a country where we are taught we are free, but law enforcement surrounds us. I cannot leave my neighborhood looking like this and go to Nichols Hills. I can walk around my neighborhood all day looking like this and the police won’t stop me. But if is step one foot in Nichols Hills, they don’t know what I’m doing. They pull up on me five cars deep. “What are you doing in this neighborhood?” I can’t even sit on the curb and rest for a minute. You can rest a block outside this neighborhood. So, how am I free? What’s the hardest part about moving forward? If you really want to know what’s messed up with my generation, with my color, we are confused. When we get to an age where we are old
enough to choose, we ain’t choosing nothing. There’s so much in our minds that we are just going stiff. I just feel like my generation needs people that’s gonna be in our lives and tell us about better things and give us more dreams. A lot of people, even if they wanted to go to college, they don’t know what colleges to go to. All they know is their community college. Nobody sits there and teaches us about what’s out there. All we see is the next block over, and that don’t look too good. But we need people in our lives to say, “You don’t want no felony.” But why don’t I want no felony? “Because when you get a felony, this is gonna happen. Because your homies in the hood ain’t gonna tell you what’s gonna happen if you get a felony.” Then you actually gonna have a child listening. We need people to be in our lives to help us focus. Whatever you’re surrounded by constantly is what you’re gonna be. What are your plans for the future? I got my GED. I didn’t graduate high school because I got kicked out, but I got my GED. When it came in the mail, my momma seen it and she cried. I really wanted to do that before my grandma died, but I didn’t do it until 2010. My grandma, she tried her whole life to make me graduate and make me have a better life. She messed up with my dad and them, letting them sell drugs and all that. She tried to be different with me, and that’s what pushed me. I really wanted to do that for her, but I know she’s seen it up in Heaven... I’ve got two felonies, which makes it really hard to get a job. I’m working at the temp place now. I love working in the kitchen. I hope to get a cookin’ job somewhere. What do you want people to know about gang life? I want people to know that we didn’t want to choose this life. It’s about where your family landed you. And that it lasts through generations. It goes deep. If a lot of gang members had a choice and opportunity to have better, they would. A lot of my OGs now are moving out of the hood. They live in Edmond and Norman now. They got good jobs, and they’ve changed. That’s what I want to do too - get up out the hood and raise my children into a better place. So, when their descendants grow up, instead of giving you the story I’m giving you, they can give you a different story like, “I grew up in the suburbs.”
by T.O. Bowman
Spectacle Stage at Norman Music Festival: Saturday, April 25th from 3p to 10p at Main Street and Peters Blvd. (between Sooner Theater and the Main Stage).
Don’t let the name fool you. The Norman Music Festival (NMF), known primarily for music, also plays host to some seriously skilled street performers. From 3-10pm on the festival’s final day - Saturday, April 25th NMF’s Spectacle Stage will showcase Oklahoma’s best of the most obscure categories of artistic expression. This collection of wildly talented performers will captivate and amaze the whole family throughout the day and into the night with a wide range of skills and performance art on display. The acts range from juggling and unicycling, to light-spinning wizardry and hula-hoop mastery, to physically demanding aerial dancing and tasteful pole routines. The NMF Spectacle Stage has exponentially grown in popularity since its grassroots beginnings in 2009. During NMF’s second year, 30 members of the now-defunct Prairie Folk Circus marched into downtown Norman and showcased their talents with an impromptu, 15-minute show featuring live music, dancers, jugglers, and looselycoordinated outrageousness. Jeremy Philo, Spectacle Stage organizer, said, “We try to bring more than music and keep things interesting. There is something for everyone to enjoy at our stage.” Philo is in his 5th year coordinating, promoting, and performing at NMF’s Spectacle Stage. He is pleased by the increased popularity of the stage, but reiterates the importance of remembering the NMF spectacle pioneers. “We have continued to grow,” Philo said, “but [we] have stayed true to our roots of street performing.”
Follow the Curbside Chronicle’s official dog correspondent, @Igby_, on Twitter for live updates, photos, and videos from the 2015 NMF Spectacle Stage.
Unicycles, Stilts, and Juggling You can expect to see Jeremy Philo performing with his fiancé, Kelsey Lundsford, as they keep the circus alive with juggling, unicycling, hoops, LED lights, and more during their night routine entitled Inspyral. Philo’s incredible hand-eye coordination allows him to keep command of an array of circus props, such as juggling balls, clubs, spinning plates, and scarves. When performing, Philo describes his sense of total focus as “flow.” Flow is when a performer becomes fully immersed in what they are doing and lets their body and props flow like energy from one move to the next. Prior to street performing, Philo’s roots were in Alaska, where he grew up working on a commercial fishing boat with his dad. A selftaught unicyclist for 15 years and juggler for seven, Philo is drawn to challenging feats - like balancing atop a five-foot-tall unicycle and juggling glowing bowling pins in the dark. He credits his fishing boat experience and tenure in the US Marine Corps to teaching him that “no matter how impossible a task may seem, with determination you can accomplish it.”
of hoop dancers known as Hoop Troupe at festivals such as, the Center of the Universe Festival in Tulsa and Mystik Sanctuary Music Festival in Oklahoma City. You can expect to see Kaysea surrounded by spinning lights and improvising in her set that will feature multihooping and single hooping tricks.
Jeremy Philo juggles bowling pins while wearing size 32 x 72 floral pants.
Hoop Dancing The 2015 NMF Spectacle Stage will feature several hoop dance performers. Hooping refers to the artistic movement of dancing with hula-hoops. Kaysea Barlass, from Tulsa, has hula-hooped her way around the local music festival scene. She’s performed with a group
photos courtesy of Respective Performers
Kelsey “3rd Degree Burns” Lundsford hooping.
The NMF Spectacle Stage will feature (at least) two poi performers, Thomas Davis and Patrick Curry. Davis, from Oklahoma City, started spinning poi just as a hobby but is now in his sixth year and is drawn to the mental fitness required for the art form. “[Performing with poi] uses both sides of your brain at the same time,” says Davis. Expect Davis’ performance to emphasize the freedom of expression, physicality, and meditative qualities of poi. Patrick Curry has worked with glow poi for five years and first learned poi to perform in a Tulsa theatre troupe’s version of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Curry has spun at countless concerts, including the fire poi stage at Wakarusa in 2013 for headliner STS9. “My practice has allowed me to transition without difficulty from move-to-move, creating a smooth visual flow performance for all watching.” Sarah Wheeler, from Oklahoma City, will make her public debut at NMF as part of a Glow Hoop Jam with five or six other performers. Like many who decide to pursue this type of street performance art, Wheeler doesn’t have a background in performance, “...unless you count marching band,” she joked. She decided to buy a hoop and start practicing after seeing hoop dancers at Easter Island Music Festival. With a little help from YouTube videos, Sarah has gained experience in hooping and is confident that her majestic spinning and seamless light show will amaze the NMF crowd. “It’s more than just hula-hooping,” she said, “it’s about flow - somewhere between dancing and a type of meditation. The most important aspect is just enjoying it,” Wheeler said. For some performers, hoop dance can be more of a therapeutic escape than a sideshow hobby. Kelsey Lundsford is somewhat of a local legend when it comes to the meditative power of hooping. Following a brutal car accident in 2006 where she sustained a broken spine and paralyzed leg, doctors told Lundsford she might never walk again. While struggling with depression and long hours of physical rehabilitation, Lundsford discovered a spark of enthusiasm and positivity through meditating with a hula-hoop. “I couldn’t even hula-hoop as a kid,” she said, but she relied on her newfound determination to practice this unorthodox form of expression and meditation and, in her case, escape from negative thoughts. “As you grow up, it gets really easy to give up and say, ‘I can’t do something,’” she explained, “but, honestly, hula-hooping changed my life.” When asked what people can expect to see during her Inspyral performance with her fiancé Philo, she said, “a crazy, psychedelic light show and two people who are in love and love what they do.”
The performance art of poi involves swinging tethered weights to create a variety of rhythmical and geometric patterns. Poi spinners often use fire in performances, but since use of fire is banned for all NMF performances for public and artist safety, NMF poi performers will utilize colorful, glow poi in their sets. These artists will spin seamless designs, creating stunning visual displays to the rhythm of music at the Spectacle Stage late evening sessions.
While NMF is explicitly a PG-13 festival, as the night grows older, the intended audience for each Spectacle Stage session will do the same. “We gear our daytime acts towards children,” Philo said. “At night things get a little more entertaining for adults, but we keep everything tasteful.” Jenae James will astound festivalgoers with her physical prowess and body control during her pole routine. James said people should expect “a very audience-involved, exciting
Thomas Davis spinning what appears to be two flourescent jellyfish on ropes, which we can only assume are poi.
performance” that is sure to stop bystanders in their tracks. Combining core strength, exceptional dexterity, and mind-bending balance, this street performance art form requires a level of skill and focus that would rival those of the most practiced gymnasts. James began pole performance in 2010 while searching for new avenues to continue developing her fitness and performance skills. She enrolled in a pole class at Teaze Dance and Fitness in Oklahoma City and “quickly fell in love with the combination of dance, fitness, and creativity required” in pole performance. James then began entering local pole dance competitions, such as Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma. In 2014, James received the Most Athletic Award at the Oklahoma Pole and Burlesque Expo. She is a certified yoga instructor and teaches pole fitness at Yoga Life in Norman. This will be her third year performing pole at NMF’s Spectacle Stage.
Jenae James holds on for dear life over a slab of cement.
this year. She’s performed at several festivals around Oklahoma and claims that despite her daredevil expertise, “I’m still a regular person - I have a five year-old daughter and a day job.” Carter’s background in gymnastics and dance contribute to her performance style. She first started performing in aerial acrobatics in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. Carter states, “As an artist and an acrobat, I strive to present the beauty of the human body and find the wonders of what we can do… I am determined. I am empowered.”
Courtney Carter holds on for dear life over a pit of piranhas.
Bang Bang Queer Punk Variety Show Bang Bang Queer Punk Variety Show is a 15-member troupe led by Cassidy Queerface a.k.a. Misty Snatch when she’s performing as a faux queen - that is, a female performing as a drag queen - a drag king, a burlesquer, and occasional theater actor. Cassidy resides in Oklahoma City and has performed in drag since 2009. In 2011, she took over as ringleader for the Bang Bang group. While Bang Bang was not working with the Prairie Folk Circus in the first NMF spectacle performance, they are grateful for the pioneers who helped raise awareness for these types of performances. “It was those guys that paved a way for non-traditional artists to perform at NMF, and they’re amazing for it,” Cassidy said. Bang Bang can range from PG-13 to R-rated at 21 and over venues, but at NMF “we tone that part down [so the show is] more appropriate with families about,” Cassidy conceded, “but [we] still keep hold of our love of the bizarre and untraditional.”
“We do call ourselves Queer Punk Variety because we are exactly that,” Cassidy said. “We have a wide variety of acts, but we’re also a little irreverent and gritty in our costumes and comedy.” Festivalgoers can expect to be entertained by aerial silk performers, pole acrobats, magicians, jugglers, drag queens and kings, belly dancers, hula-hoop artists, and whatever else the troupe dreams up between now and April 25th.
Aerial Acrobatics Believe it or not, NMF’s highest performer won’t be using any illicit drugs. Chickashanative and aerial acrobat, Courtney Carter, will rise high above the crowds and chaos, only to elegantly unwind herself in a graceful display of control and talent. “I will climb to the highest point just to let myself soar back to the ground I grew from,” Carter states. Carter a.k.a. The Flying Okie has performed with other acts at NMF’s Spectacle Stage over the past three years but is performing solo
The crew of Bang Bang Queer Punk Variety Show, not to be confused with the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Festival of the arts
food guide by Ashley Dekat
picture courtesy of Arts Council of Oklahoma City
It is springtime in Oklahoma, a time filled with beautiful blooms, warmer weather, longer nights, and the much-anticipated, annual Festival of the Arts hosted by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City. This year’s festival will take place April 21-26 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The six-day arts festival is held downtown around the Myriad Gardens in an area that stretches from Walker Ave. east to Robinson and from Reno north to Sheridan. It is a favorite pastime for downtown workers, residents, families, and millennials alike. The event boasts 144 artists selling their work, art demonstrations, creation stations for kids, and performances. There is also a cornucopia of food offerings along the festival’s International Food Row. Twenty-eight local and visiting food vendors have been selected to dish up delicious fare at the 2015 Festival of the Arts. Better yet, each food vendor partners with a local arts-based nonprofit and donates a percentage of its sales to the organization. Below are just a few of the local and visiting eateries we recommend you try. With so many tasty vendors to choose from, remember to come hungry!
Craig and carter's famous fish tacos
-Fish Taco/Sandwich -Pork Carnitas Tacos -Chicken on a Stick -Southern Fried Okra -Chocolate Meltdown
$8.5 $8.5 $3/3 for $7 $5 $5.5
Paying a visit to Craig and Carter’s Famous Fish Tacos is a must while visiting the Festival of the Arts. After all, this is the only time a year these delicious tacos can be found in OKC. Carter Tague and Craig Stringe have been serving their famous Baja style Fish Tacos ($8.50 for two) to Festival patrons long before they became a trend. In fact, this year will be their thirteenth year at the Festival. They heavily season, batter, and deep-fry Pollock fillets until crispy and golden and serve them on a corn tortilla topped with a creamy, spicy coleslaw and a chipotle cream sauce. Their simple Pork Carnitas Tacos ($8.50) are a great gluten-free option at the festival. And the kiddos are sure to like their Chicken-on-a-Stick ($3 for one, $7 for three), which is simply battered and fried chicken tenders on a stick for easy consumption while walking. Another huge hit is their Chocolate Meltdown ($5.50), which is four fried puff pastry balls filled with a warm chocolate ganache, served alongside a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with your choice of orange, raspberry, or chocolate sauce, and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. Don’t let this one get away! Nonprofit partner: Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra
Gopuram: Taste of India
-Pakora -Crispy Appetizer (Vegetarian) -Gopuram Combination Platter -Veggie Platter -Tandoori Platter
$5 $7 $8 $8 $8
-Mango Lassi (small/large)
Returning to the Festival of the Arts this year is Gopuram Taste of India. Always a Festival hit, they offer unique ethnic dishes and extensive vegetarian options. Owned by husband and wife team Veeral and Kiran Mehta, their restaurant in Northwest Oklahoma City has been in business since 1996 and has received The Oklahoman’s Reader Choice Award for 14 consecutive years. Start with their delicious Fried Spinach Pakora ($5), which is fresh spinach that is battered and fried to make it light and crispy and served with two sauces. Or try their Crispy Appetizer ($7), which includes the pakora but also samosa and spring rolls. For entrees, they offer a Tandoori Platter, which is a combination of various meats, a Veggie Platter, which is a combination of two daily vegetables, and the Gopuram Combination Platter, which has one daily vegetable and two kinds of meat (all $8). All three platters are served with Spinach Pakora, rice, and their homemade naan bread. Complete your meal with their signature Mango-Lassi drink ($3), which is made with homemade yogurt and blended with fresh mango to make a delightful smoothie-like drink. Nonprofit partner: Oklahoma International Folk Dancers
C'Est si bon
C’est Si Bon (pronounced say-c-bon) means “it’s so good!” in French, and I think you will find it to be just that. Located in Midwest City, Chef Ken Mills dishes up classic New Orleans dishes daily. This year he plans to take The Festival of the Arts by storm and turn Food Row into Bourbon Street. On the menu is their hot and crispy fried catfish meal ($9) with tender strips of fish coated in a light batter and fried until golden. It is served with their sweet, tangy, and addicting tiger sauce for dipping and a side of fries or red beans and rice. Their red beans, infused with smoked sausage and heavily seasoned, taste like they are straight from the heart of the Big Easy. Also not to be missed is the Stuffed Cajun bread ($9). Your choice of crawfish or spinach and artichoke is stuffed in a pizza crust baguette with a three-cheese blend and sautéed onions. It is sure to be Mardi Gras in your mouth. Nonprofit partner: Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc.
-Fried Catfish dinner $9 -Crawfish Bread $9 -Spinach & Artichoke Bread $9
pie are square
-Apple, cherry, apricot almond, bavarian cheesecake, coconut creme, German chocolate Pies -Beef Pie -Chicken Pot Pie -Broccoli-Cheese Pie -Spinach Cheese Pie
$5 $7.5 $7.5 $6 $6
Pie are Square is ready for its grand debut at this year’s Festival of the Arts. Owner Michael Pittman says, “Pie are Square is a collection of square walk-about-to-eat pies. Fillings are available in both sweet and savory. Pies are approximately 4 inches x 4 inches, baked, not fried. The pie crust is different from most pie crusts. Based on a European-style puff pastry, it yields a light, flaky crust that is the perfect complement to the fillings inside.” Pies are served in an eco-friendly wrap that requires no utensils, perfect for munching while admiring the art. Savory options include everybody’s favorite Chicken Pot Pie with seasoned creamy chicken stock, veggies, and chicken breast ($7.50). Other savory pies include Beef Pie with lean ground chuck, seasoned breadcrumbs, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder ($7.50) and vegetarian friendly Broccoli-Cheese Pie and Spinach-Cheese Pie ($6). Of course the sweet pies ($5) are what we are most excited about, and Pie are Square’s selection does not disappoint: apple, cherry, apricot-almond, Bavarian cheesecake, coconut crème, and German chocolate. Yum! Get them while they’re hot because these pies are available exclusively at the Festival of the Arts. Be there or be square! Nonprofit partner: Paseo Arts Association
z cafe do bra
-Chicken Stroganoff -Brazilian Pie & Spinach Salad -Spinach Salad with Chicken -Brazilian Pie -Carne Cozida Sandwich -Feijoada Rolinho
$9 $9 $8 $6 $9 $4
One of Oklahoma City’s most beloved and long-standing restaurants, Cafe do Brasil, is returning to the Festival of the Arts to share its interpretation of classic Brazilian fare. The great news is that all of the items on its festival menu can also be enjoyed year-round at its restaurant in the heart of Midtown. For starters, try the Feijoada Rolinho ($4), a Brazilian egg roll filled with black beans, rice, pork, and served with a spicy green sauce. The unique Brazilian Pie ($6) has layers of sliced ham, mozzarella cheese, garlic, onions, and spinach served in a flaky pastry crust. It can be served as a combo ($9) with their refreshing spinach salad, which includes fresh cut strawberries, grated Swiss cheese, and homemade sesame seed dressing, or get an entreesized salad with grilled chicken breast ($8). Of course, who could pass up the Festival debut of their Carne Cozida Sandwich? A hoagie roll is topped with shredded top sirloin that has been sautéed with tomatoes, onions, and jalapeno peppers and topped with cheddar, served with salad for $9. Whatever you decide on will be sure to send you soaring on a cultural culinary experience to Brazil. Nonprofit partner: Everything Goes Dance Studio
When I think of a booth claiming to have bodacious burritos, I expect giant, flavorful, over-the-top burritos, and that is exactly what Bodacious Burritos delivers. Bodacious Burritos is an annual Festival of the Arts favorite and the only time of the year to get these burrito beauties. The menu includes options for everyone. Carnivores will rejoice while eating the Chipotle Beef Burrito ($9), which is a chipotle cheese tortilla stuffed with shredded beef that has been rubbed in a spicy chipotle seasoning, black beans, cheddar, Monterrey Jack cheese, and topped with chipotle cheese sauce and pico de gallo. Another flavorful option is the Garlic Chicken Burrito ($9), which has moist all white meat chicken stuffed in a garlic herb tortilla with cheeses, beans, lettuce, and topped with cheesy garlic and Monterrey Jack sauce and pico de gallo. The Black Bean and Spinach Burrito ($9) and the Veggie Taco Salad ($9) are sure to please herbivore festivalgoers as well. Bursting with flavor and weighing in at one pound, these plate-sized burritos are bodacious indeed. Nonprofit partner: Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park
-Fried Peaches -Fried Peaches with Ice Cream -Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich -Fried Pickle-Os
$6 $7 $8 $6
-Chipotle Beef Burrito -Garlic Chicken Burrito -Black Bean & Spinach Burrito -Taco Salad (Beef or Chicken)
$9 $9 $9 $9
In business in Moore since 1995, few restaurants have participated in the Festival of the Arts longer than Harry Bears. According to coowner Jane Mitchell, the restaurant has been serving its wildly popular Fried Peaches on and off at the festival for twenty years! Such a successful run is evidence that they are serving up delicious, crowdpleasing American classics. This year we can look forward to their Southside Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich ($8), grilled steak and sautéed bell peppers and onions are stuffed in a sourdough roll and topped with melted Swiss cheese. Add a plate of Fried Pickle-O’s ($6) on the side for sharing. Harry Bear’s takes tart and tangy pickle slices and dredges them in a seasoned batter. Then they are fried crisp and served piping hot alongside their homemade ranch dressing. The real show stopper is their famous Fried Peaches ($6, add a scoop of ice cream for $1 more), where slices of peaches are battered and fried, heavily sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and served hot alongside a creamy peach sauce. There is just something about the crunchy, hot peaches dipped in the cool sauce that sends you to Cloud Nine. It’s peachy! Nonprofit partner: Irish Arts of Oklahoma
waffle awesome If awesome waffles are your thing, then look no further than Waffle Awesome. Owner Michael Pittman and his family have been participating in the Festival of the Arts, in various cuisines, since 1981. Waffle Awesome is only available once a year at the Festival of Arts, so indulge while you can. These 7-inch malty waffles are stuffed with savory and sweet toppings and folded to make a delicious, piping hot waffle sandwich. The top seller is the Chicken ‘n’ Waffle ($8), which features buttermilk-fried chicken tenders drizzled with sriracha-aioli mayonnaise, wrapped in a fresh-baked waffle, and slathered with a maple-honey-butter blend. Another savory option is the Pulled Pork Waffle, which has 1/3 pound pulled pork with sweet barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, maple-honeybutter sauce, and sweet chili sauce. If you have a sweet tooth, then don’t miss the Nutella Strawberry and Banana Waffle ($7) with whipped cream and brown sugar. It won Best Sweet Item at the 2013 Festival. Another guaranteed sugar rush is the S’More Waffle ($7) with Nutella, marshmallow crème, and crushed Graham Cracker. Whichever selection you choose, it is sure to be awesome.
-Chicken n Waffle
-Pulled Pork Waffle $8 -Nutella, Strawberry, Banana Waffle $7 -Smores Waffle $7
Nonprofit partner: Paseo Arts Association
OTHER FOOD VENDORS AND MENUS AAA/Bon Appetit Catering Nonprofit partner: Red Earth, Inc. Falafel Sandwich Muffaletta Sandwich Italian Meatball Sandwich Caramel Apple Dumpling ala mode Bananas Foster ala mode Brewer Entertainment Nonprofit partner: Not yet confirmed Jumbo Turkey Leg Chopped Brisket Sandwich w/ Potato Salad Pork Tenderloin Sandwich w/ Potato Salad Smoke BBQ Rib Dinner w/ Potato Salad
$7.00 $7.00 $7.00 $6.00 $5.00
$9.00 $9.00 $9.00 $9.00
Dippin Dots Nonprofit partner: Metropolitan School of Dance Dippin’ Dots $4.00; $5.00; $8.00 Large Brownie Sundae $6.00
Guiltless Conessions Nonprofit partner: Harn Homestead Fancy Chicken Salad Croissant Ham & Cheddar Croissant Creamy Cran N Turkey Croissant Chocolate Suicide Sundae Chocolate Banana Royal Sundae Apple Pie ala mode Sundae Caramel Knowledge Sundae Cinn & Corruption Sundae Nana Berry Heaven Sundae
$7.00 $6.00 $7.00 $7.00 $7.00 $7.00 $7.00 $7.00 $7.00
Indian Tacos Nonprofit partner: Fine Arts Institute of Edmond Indian Taco $9.00 Vegetarian Indian Taco $9.00 Fry Bread & Honey $5.00 Interurban Nonprofit partner: Canterbury Choral Society Blackened Chicken Sandwich Honey Pepper Bacon Chicken Sandwich Tequila Bread Pudding Tequila Bread Pudding w/ Ice Cream
$7.00 $8.00 $5.00 $6.00
Just Nuts Nonprofit partner: Prairie Dance Theatre Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, Pecans, Cashews 4oz bag $4.00; or 2 for $7.00 8oz bag $7.00; or 2 for $12.00 Kona Ice Nonprofit partner: Norman Arts Council King Kona Regular Kona Kiddie Kona
$5.00 $4.00 $3.00
Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies Nonprofit partner: Aalim Dance Academy Fruit Smoothies 14 oz. $5.50 Fruit Smoothies 20 oz. $6.50 Nutworks Nonprofit partner: Paseo Arts Association Cinnamon Roasted Pecans, Almonds, Cashews $6.00 per bag or $5.00 per bag for 2 or more Chocolate Covered Nuts $5.00 each
CONTINUED FOOD VENDORS AND MENUS OKC Special Events Nonprofit partner: Red Earth, Inc. Bratwurst or Knackwurst Sandwich Polish or Italian Sausage Sandwich Spicy Chicken Bratwurst Sandwich Sausage Dinner Soft Serve Ice Cream (Vanilla, Chocolate, Swirl) Waffle Cone Cup Toppings Papaâ€™s Greek Foods/The Parthenon Nonprofit partner: Allied Arts Gyros & Chicken Gyros Hot and Spicy Gyro or Chicken Gyro Greek Salad Baklava Spanakopita
$6.00 $6.00 $6.00 $ 8.50 $5.00 $4.00 $1.00
$8.00 $9.00 $7.00 $3.00 $3.00
Rodney & Lisa, Ltd. Nonprofit partner: Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Homemade Hand-Spun Cotton Candy, 1oz. $4.00 Caramel Apple $5.00 Caramel Apple with Nut s $5.00 Old Fashioned Candy Apple $5.00 Fancy Candy Apple $6.00 16oz. Real Fruit Slushie $5.00
Smokestack BBQ Nonprofit partner: Not confirmed Pulled Pork Parfait $8.00 Moink Balls on a Stick $7.00 BBQ Nachos $8.00 BBQ Sandwich $7.00 BBQ Sandwich with 1 side $9.00 BBQ Sandwich with 2 sides $10.00
Rodney & Lisa- Pizza Nonprofit partner: Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Pizza Slice $5.00 Double Stuffed Pizza Slice $8.00 Calzones $8.00 Stromboli $8.00 Cheesy Breadsticks $5.00 Rocky Road Dessert Pizza $5.00
Strawberries Newport Nonprofit partner: Science Museum Oklahoma Strawberries Newport $7.00 Chocolate Dipped Strawberries $5.00
Scoops Italian Ice Nonprofit partner: Cimarron Opera Small (6oz) Medium (8oz) Large (12oz)
IGUANA G R I L L
COME TRY OUR NEW MIMOSA BRUNCH! SUNDAYS from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm
9 NW 9TH STREET OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73102 | 405.606.7172
$4.00 $5.00 $7.00
Sweet Corn Express Nonprofit partner: Oklahoma History Center Roasted Corn on the Cob Baked Potato Chopped Brisket Potato Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake on a Stick
$4.00 $7.00 $8.00 $5.00
Dos and Don ts
photos by Nick Aguilera
Ever wondered how to interact with a person experiencing homelessness? We asked homeless and formerly homeless men and women in Oklahoma City this question. Here is what they want you to know.
IF YOU LOST YOUR HOME TODAY, WHERE WOULD YOUR CHILDREN SLEEP TONIGHT? An unthinkable question. And a numbing, terrifying proposition. Yet it is the daily reality for many of our neighbors. Thatâ€™s why we proudly stand with the Curbside Chronicle in their noble mission to restore the lives and dignity of the most vulnerable among us.
O KLAH O M A CI TY
W I CHI TA
, by Kinsey Crocker photos courtesy of Verdigris
Like the deteriorating elastic in your mom’s vintage tube top, the use of the word “antique” keeps getting looser. As farmhouse style, industrial-chic, repurposed finds, and mid-century modern increase in popularity, the stock to choose from at local antique dealers is changing and the number of shops is growing in Oklahoma City. While there are some fabulous finds at long-standing staples like 23rd Street Antique Mall, there are plenty of lesser-known or long-forgotten outlets that should be on your radar if you are looking for unique décor or another treasure for your collection.
Architectural Salvage Supply Co. 4307 N. Meridian
If money weren’t an object, I’d fully furnish my house with the unique pieces at Architectural Salvage Supply Co. The store is brimming with works of art – repurposed items, industrial furniture, and architectural artifacts. Whether you are looking for a farmhouse table, a vintage metal dental cabinet, or an antique pharmacy counter, the pieces are truly inspirational. The store has a workshop in the back where their designer is always cranking out new pieces, and the staging in the store is top notch. But if you are looking for a project, the outdoor lot is where you will find the true “architectural salvage” pieces. The grounds are stockpiled with salvaged barn wood, old sinks, and other unfinished rusty, chippy items just waiting to be revived. While you are in the area, check out these other fabulous finds. Decades Revisited, Vintage 66 Antiques, Funk Shway, Crazy Grandpa’s, and ACME are just a few of the area hot spots ripe for pickin’.
Architectural Antiques & Dead People’s Stuff 7905 N.E. 23rd Street
For true architectural salvage, look no further than the aptly named Architectural Antiques and Dead People’s Stuff. While there are some antiques sprinkled throughout, the main staple of this location is true architectural salvage pieces. Doors, windows, hardware, and fireplace mantels are abundant. But you’re also likely to find a few vintage metal kitchen cabinets, a full blown staircase from an overseas Church, and wooden canoes. Be prepared to walk through a dark and dusty warehouse. This isn’t Home Depot.
Mary’s Swap Meet 7905 N.E. 23rd Street
Now as any true connoisseur of antiques and cool junk knows, sometimes you’ve got to dig (I mean really dig) to find treasure. This one is a bit of a stretch for an article about vintage stores, but I just couldn’t leave Mary’s Swap Meet off the list. Yes, there are booths selling live fowl. Yes, there are booths selling hygiene items. Yes, you might even see someone trying to sell VHS tapes. But if you are truly dedicated to finding a bargain and don’t mind putting in a little work, Mary’s is the place to go. I’ve found everything from a retro refrigerator that I converted to a cool teal cabinet to old wooden pulleys that could be repurposed into light fixtures. There’s always a bargain to be found, and it’s a great place to hone your negotiating skills with some pros. The swap meet runs on Saturdays and Sundays only. It’s outdoors and on the dirt (or sometimes mud), so dress accordingly.
415 N.W. 7th Street Verdigris never fails to inspire me. The vendors are carefully selected, and the store features a mix of industrial design, farmhouse finds, and reclaimed products. Each booth is staged to perfection and makes you want to pick up their vignettes and plop them down in your home. While some items might be considered a tad pricey, you can rest assured you’re getting a unique, one-ofa-kind treasure. In addition to their regular store hours, Verdigris is open late the last Friday of every month to coincide with H&8th events and even has their own flea market featuring additional vendors on the Saturday and Sunday following H&8th.
Farmers Public Market 311 S. Klein
The first time I stumbled into the Farmers Public Market Antique Mall, nestled just to the west of the main two-story building, it felt like I was walking into a page out of a history book. The mall opened its doors in 1971, so for some, this destination may be past its prime. While I’m sure it’s seen better days, and there are always store fronts inside that have gone dark, if you haven’t been, I’d say it’s worth the trip. Vendors carry everything from vintage magazines and signs to antique furniture and primitives. There’s always a bargain to be found in this mall, you just have to look for it.
Antique Co-Op 1227 N. May
If you are looking for a little variety, the Antique Co-Op is a great way to cover a lot of ground in one short trip. Vendors of all different styles and price points stock and re-stock their shelves, providing you with an assortment of treasurers. Whether you are looking for jewelry, fine China, antique furniture, even midcentury modern, this place has it all. The 25,000 square foot building boasts more than 70 dealers, so wear your walkin’ shoes. Other great antique malls that should be on your radar are Broadway Antiques and Market, the Feathered Nest Market, and the Rink Gallery.
Were you close to your parents? Yes, they was good to me. I miss ‘em. I had a kind mother, and I loved her to death ‘cause she took care of us kids. She made sure we had clothes on our backs and a home and food. She worked really hard to do that. My mom worked at a bowling alley off Penn and SW 44th for a while. Then she worked at a hospital. Then she started cleaning houses for people. She cleaned houses for doctors and stuff like that.
compiled and photographed by Ranya O’Connor
Gary, also known as Cowboy, is an avid Willie Nelson fan whose favorite TV show just happens to be Gunsmoke. You can find Gary selling magazines in his signature cowboy hat at NW 23rd and Broadway.
I remember one day when I was about 10 or 11, I was out mowing lawns in the neighborhood all day. When I got home, everybody was sittin’ at the table eatin’ supper. I walked in and my dad said, “Where you been?” He was fixing to get up and whoop me for being late, and my mom told him to leave me alone. I reached in my pockets and pulled all my money out, and it went all over the floor. I picked it up and gave it to my mother ‘cause my mother was always trying to do this and do that for us kids, so the money was for her.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a cowboy? When I was a kid. My dad always wore a cowboy hat, and I always wanted to be like him. My dad worked for Al Cook’s Office Supply Co. that used to be downtown. He refinished desks and chairs and everything. Just awhile back, I’d go to these thrift stores and buy old end tables and coffee tables and take them home and sand them down and redo them. I just wanted to be like my dad. There used to be a Dairy Queen nearby my house. I used to go over there every night and buy a gallon of ice cream, and then I’d go home and my dad would be waiting with a big bowl in the kitchen. That was a good time for us. Eating ice cream together.
What’s your favorite Cowboy pastime? I love cattle and horses. I spent a lot of time in Stockyards City as a kid. I used to do rodeos and ride horses and bulls when I was about 20 years old. It was fun. We traveled all around doing it on weekends. We went all over Oklahoma and even to Las Vegas. I rode bulls and broncos, but I preferred the broncos. It was scary though. I didn’t know what was gonna happen to me. You just have to take that chance. My family told me I was crazy for doing it. Thank God I never got hurt.
Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood? I’m from Oklahoma City; I grew up off SW 45th. When I was three years old, I got hit by a car. I was at my neighbor’s house across the street and his dad had a big ole 18-wheeler that he drove parked out in the street. I ran into the street and the car didn’t see me because the 18-wheeler blocked his view. The car struck me and knocked me unconscious. The doctors and the nurses told my parents they couldn’t do nothing for me. They told them to take everything out of my room because I was already gone. Then my mom called Oral Roberts in Tulsa, and he came up there and prayed over me. Christmas morning I opened my eyes... I had to wear braces and learn how to walk again. And I have pins in my knees.
What types of jobs have you worked? I went to 11 ½ grade. I didn’t graduate, but I wish I did. Instead, I got me a janitorial job. I did it for a long time. I used to work for The Oklahoman as a janitor with my brothers. I liked it. And I worked at the Will Rogers Airport too. I worked the 11pm-7am shift, but when they were short one person, I had to stay until 2pm or 4pm in the afternoon. I couldn’t handle those hours. I lived in Enid for a little bit and worked at Enid State School. I worked in the laundry room there and then got transferred to plumbing. Then I worked at a couple restaurants as a cook. I loved that. I like food and food likes me.
What’s your favorite dish to cook? I like to cook everything, but I make really good burritos.
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What are some of your hobbies? I love to fish. Catfish are my favorite to catch. I like to use a rod, but I’ve been noodling too. You just don’t know what you’re gonna grab in that hole though.
What’s been a difficult moment in your life? I’ve been married three times and that’s enough for me. Divorce is hard. What did you learn from divorce? It’s heartbreaking when you get divorced. I’m the kind of person that really likes to get deeply involved with people. It gets hard to love again. You get that feeling you can’t trust anybody because it’s not gonna last. I learned you gotta work together to make it last. It takes two people to make it work.
How did you become homeless? My stupidity. I was 61 at the time and now I’m 63. I just got tired of my landlords because they wasn’t fixing nothing. I thought I could save more money living on the street than in my place. But I thought wrong because I spent more money living on the street than I did in a place. I stayed in my truck while I was homeless. You’re always moving around and buying gas and buying this and buying that. I spent my money on food and gas and stayed in motels too sometimes. I regretted my decision. It was embarrassing.
What was it like living in your truck? I was crammed. You couldn’t hardly sleep. It’s pretty hard to get comfortable in a truck. I mean, I like to stretch out. I was living in it for a year. Sometimes you get kicked out of the places you park, so you move someplace else. It’s not a good life. I met a lot of people living in their cars too. Since I became homeless, I met about 200 people all around OKC living in their cars too.
What’s it like selling the magazine? I love it. Just being out there and doing something and meeting people. I like to be around people and meet new friends. There are some guys out there that says the wrong thing to me. They drive by and holler at me and say something rude. It don’t bother me though. I just don’t let things bother me. I’ve also had a lot of people come to me and say, “I’m glad you’re doing this.” It’s a lot of fun out there.
What’s it like being back in housing? It’s nice. You can go home when it’s cold and snowing and go in the house and light the furnace. I have a bed and a TV. You got your food and your coffee. Everything you need is all around you. I feel successful.
What do you want people to know about homelessness? I want people to know about the homeless. Just talk to them. There is hope for people. There’s a lot of places you can go and get help. People need to show the homeless that there are ways they can get off the streets. You can sell magazines and get you off the street. That’s how I pay my rent, selling magazines. I moved back into housing this February .
How do you feel about panhandling? Uh-uh. I don’t like that. Most people has signs that says, “I’ll work for food,” and that’s hogwash. That’s just a gimme. If you are capable to hold that sign, you are capable of work. Try selling the magazine.
What are your plans for the future? Just keep on selling magazines, paying my rent, and meeting new people on NW 23rd and Broadway. And I wanna get me a dog because I love dogs. I used to have a toy poodle named Gigi. I like them little Chihuahuas. They’re ankle biters. They love them ankles.
What’s something people might not know about you? I love coffee, especially from 7-11. Their French vanilla creamer is so good. I got to have coffee in the mornings. I usually drink about 3-4 cups. I used to buy three cups of coffee every morning when I was homeless, and that adds up. But now I can make it at home for real cheap. I drink Maxwell House.
Help us end panhandling in OKC! The Curbside Chronicle needs your help! Cut along the black lines and keep these cards in your car to hand out to panhandlers instead of cash. Together we can employ and empower OKCâ€™s homeless!
Hoboscope by Mystic Milly
Grilled cheese sandwiches will get you through this month. They will be a source of comfort unexplored since your days in elementary school. When you grew up, you thought you had to sophisticate your pallet. You threw all whole milk dairy products to the wayside. You exchanged your gluten for quinoa and kale. You thought grilled cheese was a childhood crutch. You didn’t believe it could be gourmet. Oh, how wrong you were. Stock up on various cheeses and multigrain bread, and get to cookin’.
The orbit of Saturn will make this month a little unpredictable. How can I predict the unpredictable, you ask? Honestly, it’s a miracle, but the stars have always been oversharers. Don’t get knocked off your feet when things get weird this month. Take every eccentricity the universe throws at you and use it to make you a stranger, more unconventional person.
This month, you may lose yourself in adventure. Literally. Your thirst for traipsing through nature is inspiring, but don’t forget why the art of cartography exists. If by the end of the week you have no recollection of where you are, my warning will have come too late. Buy a map, or save yourself the hassle and get a few dozen ferns to strew about the house.
This week, you will either get abducted by aliens or understand the meaning of sacrificial love. It’s a real toss up.
Boys only want love if it’s torture. Don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn ya.
Carnival rides have always made you nauseous. I don’t know why you persist on going on dates at Frontier City. Upholding your dateability is nearly impossible when you consistently put yourself in the position to lose your lunch on your shoes. You may think going to the movies is lame, but at least you won’t have to buy a new pair of sneakers when it’s all said and done. Economically, emotionally, and relationally, it makes sense. Stop riding roller coasters with lovers.
The tree of life is now a mere sapling in your neighbor’s backyard. I suggest that you find a way to watch it grow. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You must be assertive. Propose a weekly neighborhood barbecue perhaps. Be insistent that they host it. This may be off-putting, but if you agree to supply the rack of ribs and sausages, they should be more than happy to oblige.
GEMINI You have always stifled your secret desire to become a famous novelist. But with Jupiter ascending this month, it is time for you to use your abilities to write the next “Great American Novel.” Avoid simple stock characters riddled with clichés. No waitresses waiting for something more. No nerds trying to fit in. And certainly no teenagers who feel misunderstood. Instead, try a waitress who earnestly seeks to advance her career…as a waitress! Just a thought. You’re the novelist.
Autocorrect has screwed you over one too many times. Remember that one time you told Becca you’d be taking a jump in the pool, but your phone autocorrected to dump? Or your dead uncle Al, who was really your dear uncle Al? Autocorrect has played you all too often. The only way to avoid this continuation of textual humiliation is to adopt carrier pigeons as your main means of communication.
All Sagittarii will be able to grow beards this week due to the solar equinox. Waxing could be essential for all you women out there, but this could also be your chance to transcend gender and accessorize with the facial hair that societal norms have always robbed you of. The beard is not a sign of shame. It’s a sign of progress. MOVE FORWARD. #progressivebeard2k15
This month will be a great time for you to expand your trivia knowledge. Due to Pluto’s position, your retention of (what many might refer to as) useless facts will increase significantly. Seize this opportunity to learn as many obscure facts as possible. For example, what do you know about salmon? Did you know that salmon can swim to Japan and back? Did you know that their sense of smell is more keen than that of a dog or bear? Did you know that they pay attention to the moon? Well, now you do. Use this at the next McNellie’s trivia night you attend.
CAPRICORN Your affinity for capris and corn are a not all-together charming combination, but alas, these are the cards that have been dealt to you.