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New Genre opened Thursday, with exhibitions at Living Arts, Liggett Studio and Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery. I talked about the Liggett Studio exhibition here, and it's worth reading again. Everything I thought/felt when I first saw the exhibit was there the second time 'round. You'll want to see that for yourself.

My only complaint about the New Genre opening was that I felt kind of rushed, hurrying to each gallery in order to have time to hear the artists speak. With only 30 minutes between artists' talks, exhibit goers weren't left with much time in between the talks to really absorb each exhibit. Luckily, the exhibits up at Liggett and Living Arts will hang until March 26, so you still have some time to get out and see them. And I highly suggest you do.

The exhibit at Living Arts is [::ART.net::] and is curated by local video artist, middle school teacher and rockabilly musician David McPherson. From releases: "Internet art (often called net art) is art that uses the Internet as its primary platform. Rather than simply online documentation of artworks, these pieces were created specifically for the Internet and take advantage of one or more of its technological characteristics."

In his artist's talk, McPherson made the point that technology and art have always sort of "bumped up against" one another. Whenever new technology has emerged, McPherson asserted, artists have always latched onto it to see what they can do with it, how they can use it to their gain, whether that new technology has been a sable brush or the Internet.

Living Arts right now sort of resembles a computer lab, with 17 artists' works displayed throughout the gallery, four on large projection screens (featured artistts) and 13 on tabletop PCs and Macs.

Featured artists
Mathwrath: Mathwrath's work draws mainly work draws mainly from the aesthetics and ideas of old technology and vaporware to deal with information "pollution" and the digital footprints we leave behind. One element of Mathwrath's site is a real-time Web performance of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman over forums of bot-created Web sites for pyramid schemes.

Gregory Chatonsky: Chatonsky's body of work includes interactive installations, networked urban devices, photographs and sculptures and attempts to create new forms of fiction. The work on display at Living Arts is "Etat du Monde (World State)" and shows a woman reacting to headlines pulled from the AP wire as though they are the narrative of her life.

Antoine Schmitt: In "Time Slip," Schmitt analyzes RSS news feeds, changing their tense from past to future, "provoking the motive energy of unpredictability and risk."
Patrick Cunningham: TelePorch is a cross-city artwork, projected live from Chicago. Via Skype, exhibit goers can sit and talk with Cunningham in real time. Inspiration for the exhibit comes from the Amish communities and their ability to improve the bonds of a community.

Other artists
Martijn Hendricks:
His "12 Glowing Men" is an enhanced fragment of Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men.

Britney Cluster: (Can't find the link. Will post later.) Artists Bob Paris, Deven Langston and Brian Glass compare Google hits for "cluster bombs" to Google hits for "Britney Spears" and then analyze public psychic toxivity.

Mrs. Cory Arcangel: (Can't find the link. Will post later.) Scarlet Electric's Web site devoted to renowned digital media media artist Cory Arcangel is part fansite, part cultural critique and part exercise in stalking.

Wave: (Can't find the link. Will post later.) James Schaeffer's site is a combination of generic HTML marquee code and memories of the family at the beach.

A is for Apple: David Clark's site is a complicated archive of links between network interconnectivity and the cultural, religious, cryptographic and agricultural purposes of apples.

Appended: Artist Edmond Salsali has created an interactive, digital exploration of the junction between figuration and abstraction.

Playdamage: Curt Cloninger has created a massive, dischordant, ongoing multimedia journal, with 70+ screens and growing.

World of Female Avatars: Evelin Stermitz's site is a survey project for expanded understanding of women and their relation to their bodies.

Spamology: Irad Lee's site is a live, rich audiovisual representation of word frequencies in spam e-mail messages.

Smoke, Mirrors: Chris Collins' "billowing" site is a display of regenerative clouds of smoke generated by HTML code.

One of the things McPherson pointed out about the works in this exhibit is that they are free and available to the public at any time. You don't have to pay admission (although entrance to Living Arts is free) or visit a gallery to see them. You can just open up your laptop and have a look whenever you like. And, you can get out there and search the Web for even more artists and works utilizing the Internet as their medium.


Miamians do it in the Coleman

I borrowed this from my friend Amanda at Have Spork Will Travel. That girl is livin' it up in Miami, Okla., cooking and eating and generally enjoying life.

Ahhh, I wish I had a fish eye lens......... huh, what? Oh, I'm back. These photos of the Historic Coleman Theater are from Visitmiamiok.com and, if you happen to be doing so this weekend, you can check out the latest play from Miami Little Theater, "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum." The play itself is pretty funny, telling the tale of this one dude that wants his freedom and this other guy that wants some girl and this other guy who wants money and this other guy who.... .oh just come see it. However, the grand event for me is a chance to enjoy this great theater, built in the 1920s as a vaudeville locale, featuring like likes of such no-names as Will Rogers, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby. It's also the home of the Mighty Wurliztzer organ and I just love to say that.

The show opens tonight at 7:30 with shows on Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 7:30 and a matinee on Sunday at 2:30. The theater is smack dab in the middle of Main Street. You can't miss it.

If you happen to notice the smooth flow of the curtain close or the impeccable timing of cast placement, give me a shout-out....I'm back stage support! (well, don't really shout, we frown on that sort of thing in theater.) I'll be looking for you! (Dun, DUN, Duuunnnn.)

Hey, you guys!

So, I have this friend Tasha, and she has an affinity for doing Tulsa. She even has a blog where she records her experiences doing Tulsa. She's pretty cool.

As it turns out, my friend Tasha also likes art. And since her blog is all about dispelling the myth that there's nothing to do in Tulsa (I am so on board with her mission), she decided to take on the arts in Tulsa. And she asked if I'd like to help. Because, believe it or not, there are still quite a few people who have no idea that this city is home to world-renowned ballet and opera companies, to exquisite art museums, to fantastically talented artists and to a plethora of active theatre companies. Well, if they didn't know all of that, they should now.

So Tasha and I decided to let people know about some of the art goings on this weekend, since this weekend happens to be chock full of art goings on. And, as a bonus, Whitson Hanna, director of Theatre Tulsa's production of Educating Rita, gave us two tickets to tonight's performance to give away on Tasha's blog. So, click here and enter to win. You have until 2 p.m. Do it.



That was the first word that came to mind when I stumbled onto "Domestic Arsenal" this afternoon. I stopped by Living Arts/Liggett Studio to pick up my New Genre festival pass, and Steve and a handful of volunteers were prepping the exhibit, which opens tomorrow night at Liggett.

Centered in the gallery space was a pile of regular, random household objects, each of them a possible weapon in a domestic violence situation. Even without the lights, the background noise, the ambiance that will be in full effect tomorrow night, the work is stunning. I circled the pile, perched atop a wooden bed frame, and noticed items like a small garden shovel, bars of soap, a hair dryer. Then there were the more grotesque things: a pick ax, a golf club, hockey sticks. But perhaps the most emotive of all of the objects were those that, apart from the exhibit's connotation, were the most innocent: child's toys, a baby doll, a wooden spoon. Looking at those items, especially the toys, and imagining a child playing with them, then to have them torn from their little hands and used to hurt them, left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. I stopped to pick up a piece of soap laying on the floor and had to put it back down almost as quickly as I touched it.

The toys are painted to appear rusty and old, and I'm not sure if, even without the varnish, their symbolism wouldn't have been as powerful. But, the dark, dirty paint applied to them left them with the appearance of being worn, weathered and gruesome.

On the walls surrounding the installation work are large sheets of paper on which are plastered news articles describing real cases of domestic abuse. I stopped to read a few of the stories, and I was most compelled by one in which a source asserted that, in order to understand and attempt to put a stop to the problem of domestic violence, we have to stop criticizing women who refuse to leave their abusers and rethink the society in which we live that somehow thinks it is OK or understandable for a man to hit a woman (or vice versa).

I'm not sure if Eileen Doktorski, the artist behind "Domestic Arsenal," has ever experienced domestic abuse firsthand. None of the articles or information I read about her made it clear one way or another. She certainly does have a morbid fascination with the thing, but, translated into a work like this, that fascination could quite possibly provoke a viewer of her exhibit to take action against what she's portraying. I'm pretty sure Domestic Violence Intervention Services has been alerted to the nature of her work and encouraged to be present at the exhibit, should someone need their services after seeing it.

New Genre in a nutshell

(As appeared in this week's issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)

This is just a general overview. I plan to keep you guys posted with more detailed previews, reviews and other need-to-know stuff. So keep reading, dudes.

Each new art gallery opened, theatre company instigated, seems to include in its mission statement the same core purpose: to be different. To bring something different to the arts in Tulsa, to fill a perceived gaping hole in what is offered.
And, generally, each of these new endeavors fulfills its purpose. A city like ours, with such broad and diverse artistic offerings, only exists because someone set out to do something different and did it.
And it doesn’t get much more different than the New Genre Festival.
Now in its 16th year, the festival, hosted by Living ArtSpace, seeks to explore new and cutting edge contemporary media and artists. In a matter of days, New Genre will presents 110 local, regional and national artists – all of them doing something very, very different – to Tulsa audiences.
This year, New Genre has something new in store for its audiences – a community residency program through the National Performance Network, a partnership with Choregus Productions and the inclusion of Web media in its offerings.
Some events are free, while others require an admission fee. For $65 ($55 for Living Arts members), event goers can gain admission to all of the events.
We’ll break down everything the festival has to offer, from Feb. 26 to March 10.

Galazi: Thursday, Feb. 26, 5-7pm
Eighteen-year-old Kelci Stansbury, who studied under Mark Wittig at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences and participated in the New Arts Camp at Living Arts, presents “Galazi,” an installation and performance at Chrysalis Spa, 7 E. Brady.
Stansbury will perform within her installation, in a work that so closely intertwines fantasy with reality that visitors will be challenged to distinguish one from the other. Stansbury encourages her viewers to “explore the depths of your inner conscious reality through installation of light, sound, glass and fabric.”
This event is free and open to the public.

[::ART.net::]: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 5-7pm; Saturday, Feb. 28, 1-7pm; and Sunday, March 1, 1-4pm
Local video artist and rockabilly musician Dave McPherson curated this exhibit, which includes work by Web and video artists.
Living ArtSpace, 308 S. Kenosha, will become a collage of computers, projectors, images and sounds as work by some of the country’s best artists are on display. Some of the work is interactive, while others are not.
This is the first year for New Genre to include Web artists on its bill, acknowledging the very talented and revolutionary artists utilizing this fairly new medium.
The exhibit will be on display through March 26 and is free and open to the public. McPherson will give an artist’s talk at 5:30pm on Thursday.

Domestic Arsenal: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 5-7pm; Saturday, Feb. 28, 1-7pm; and Sunday, March 1, 1-4pm
For “Domestic Arsenal,” Eileen Doktorski collected 365 objects that could be used in domestic violence situations. They include toys, furniture and shoes, have been painted to appear charred and iridescent and are piled in the center of Liggett Studio, 314 S. Kenosha, presenting a formidable sight to onlookers. The smell of smoke lingers in the background, and the walls of the gallery are papered with newspaper articles about tragic events involving domestic violence.
The installation is meant to be a tribute to victims of family violence. The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be on display through March 26. The artist will speak about her work at 6pm on Thursday.

Axis Mundi Archives: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 5-7pm; Saturday, Feb. 28, 1-7pm; and Sunday, March 1, 1-4pm
Okmulgee-based artist Cindy Zimmerman presents a light, whimsical installation/performance at Tulsa Artists’ Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady.
In it, Zimmerman takes time to deal with all of the “stuff” she’s accumulated over the years, “scanning the archives” of her life within a “bunker-like grotto,” constructed from old crates, panel paintings, snow fencing, shredded paper, crutches and clotheslines on which images hang.
The event is free and open to the public, and Zimmerman will speak on her work at 6:30pm on Thursday.

Sonatas and Interludes: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 8pm
Organized by Living Arts’ Artistic Director Steve Liggett, “Sonatas and Interludes” is a mixed media performance of work by the legendary John Cage. Adam Tendler will play Cage’s most notorious and demanding masterpiece for the prepared piano, which is played by the musician inserting random (but very specific) objects into the piano’s strings to create a sound very unlike that which is usually heard on such an instrument.
While Tendler plays (completely by heart), Charles Woodman, aka viDEO SAVANT, will perform a live video improvisation, projected around Tendler.
Tickets to the performance, at the Tulsa Little Theater, 1511 S. Delaware Ave., are $15, $10 for Living Arts members. On Friday at 2pm, Woodman will lead a free workshop on live video mixing and improvisation at the Little Theater.

New Genre Dance Oklahoma: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28, 8pm
Hartel Dance Group, Bell House Arts Inc. and Perpetual Motion/Modern Dance Oklahoma, all Oklahoma-based contemporary dance companies, will perform together at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. 2nd St., in the John H. Williams Theater.
Hartel is a company recently formed by Austin Hartel, who was a soloist for five years with Pilobolus Dance Theater, considered “gods” of contemporary dance; Bell House Arts is a new company spearheaded by Rachel Johnson, who also heads up the dance department at Oral Roberts University; and Perpetual Motion is a company that includes a lot of aerial work in its choreography and performed at the “Crazy Quilt Drive In” at New Genre XIV.
Tickets to the performance are $20, $15 for students.

The Cone of Uncertainty: New Orleans After Katrina: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28, 8pm
Jose Torres Toma is no stranger to New Genre, having presented work at the festival twice before. The artist, who lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina wreaked so much havoc on the city and helped evacuate residents using a stolen school bus, now presents an exhibit inspired by that disaster.
In “The Cone of Uncertainty,” Tama explores the “criminal negligence of the federal government and the apocalyptic abandonment of a people who were made to beg for help and water,” while also commenting on the larger, more universal issues of race and class in America.
Tama will perform the piece at the Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. 4th St. Tickets are $15, $10 for students, and reservations are suggested by calling 633-8666.
Additionally, Tama will offer guidance to artists who choose to participate in the first ever National Performance Network Community Residency program at New Genre. Funded in part by a grant from NPN, local performance artists may participate in a week-long residency, following New Genre, at Living Arts, which will enable them to study under Tama while developing their own performance artwork, free of charge. Stipulations apply, and artists may sign up by phoning Steve Liggett at Living Arts, 585-1234.
Following the residency, participants will perform their works at Nightingale Theater Saturday, March 7 at 8pm. Tickets to that event are $10, $7 for students.

New Genre Performance Cabaret: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28, 10pm
At the Nightingale Theater, the cabaret includes performances by installation artist Mark Wittig, the Monica Huggins Dance Theater and the theatrical electronic/robotic music group Recorder, all Tulsa-based.
Wittig’s “Breaking Labels” deals with his experiences with dyslexia and how the disability (for lack of a better word; Wittig asserts it is not) is perceived by mainstream culture.
Monica Huggins will present “Agree to Disagree,” a new collaborative work with Katie Feiock, Jennifer Alden and the dancers of Monica Huggins Dance Theater, and Recorder’s performance will include an appearance by the notorious shadow puppets wielded by Nightingale co-owner John Cruncleton.
Tickets to the cabaret are $10, $7 for students.

New Genre Video Matinee: Sunday, March 1, 2pm
Traditionally the closing event of the New Genre Festival (this year it is followed by the NPN residency and a collaborative event with Choregus Productions), the “New Genre Video Matinee,” screened at Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis, is a showing of new, experimental videos, including the winners of the recent 24 Hour Video Race.
The matinee includes nine videos chosen for their artistic and experimental merit by representatives from Living Arts and the Dallas Video Festival, and Liggett said this year’s video matinee will present the best videos he’s ever seen.
Tickets to the screening are $7, $5 for students.

The Merce Cunningham Dance Co.: Tuesday, March 10, 8pm
Ken Tracy began Choregus Productions two years ago as an effort to bring new, contemporary, exciting works to Tulsa, works seen often in larger cities like New York, Chicago and L.A.
His mission to bring such progressive works to Tulsa directly coincides with Living Arts’ mission, and so a partnership between the two organizations, Liggett said, was natural.
Together, they bring the Merce Cunningham Dance Co. to the Chapman Theater of the Tulsa PAC. The company and its namesake have been hailed as some of the most radical and influential forces in the world of contemporary dance. Tickets to the performance are $25-40 at tulsapac.com.



The deadline for entry is this Friday! Sorry, but I just found out about this! If this is sort of your thang anyway, and you didn't already know about it, submit! I would love for one of the galleries here in Tulsa to show a similar exhibit (hint, hint).

April 18 to May 8, 2009
Call For Entries

About: RETHINK: RECYCLE: REDESIGN is a juried art exhibit of Sustainable OKC created to promote and encourage green design and sustainability created to challenge artists and designers to RETHINK objects that have reached the end of their lifecycle. The idea is to RECYCLE and REDESIGN by repurposing and transforming objects into art—functional and non-functional.

Jurors: The jury will be a panel of professionals in the fields of art, design, and sustainability.

Submission guidelines: Work will be considered according to various criteria with emphasis on originality of transformation, effectiveness of repurposing, and aesthetics of design.

Media to be used: Each entry must contain predominantly manufactured materials that would otherwise be thrown away or recycled. For our purposes, materials from nature such as rocks, sticks, leaves, bones, dirt, water, etc. are not recycled. Materials that one might use are items normally considered junk, or that would have ended up in a landfill if not rescued for some new purpose—such as art.
Suggestions: Old toys, machine parts, used building materials, newspapers, magazines, fabric from old clothing,or CDs.
For inspiration or ideas, take a look at the book “Cool Green Stuff” by Dave Evans or visit a few of these Web sites:

Sales: All work will be offered for sale on the opening night, Saturday April 18, 2009, from 7 to 11 p.m. The artist will stipulate a price per piece. Fifty percent of the final sale price will be retained by Sustainable OKC. Artists will have the option to generously donate 100 percent of all proceeds to Sustainable OKC. Accepted artists will receive two complimentary tickets to the opening nigh

Delivery and pickup: All work accepted into the show must be delivered to:
IAO Gallery, 811 N Broadway
Before Friday, April 10, 2009, between 12 noon and 7pm.
If you are unable to deliver your piece during that time, please contact us to make other arrangements.
Unsold work must be picked up by May 10. The gallery will be locked during non-show hours. IAO and Sustainable OKC will not be held liable for any damage, theft or loss of work.

Application process: Artists may submit a maximum of 3 pieces. A representative sample of each submission in JPEG or TIF format must be delivered to IAO via mail or e-mail. Include an Artist’s Statement containing an explanation of your process and a detailed and comprehensive list of materials used. Please also include a short bio. Provide an e-mail address and phone number for contact purposes.

Individual Artists of Oklahoma
811 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK 73103


Deadline for Call for Entires submission is Friday, February 27, 2009.
Accepted entrants will be notified by March 6, 2009.
For more information, contact Jeff Stokes:
Phone: (404) 232-6060
E-mail: iaogallery@coxinet.net

The Man Behind the Baton: A conversation with Kostis Protopapas

In last week's Urban Tulsa Weekly, I wrote a preview of Tulsa Opera's Hansel and Gretel. I wanted to see the show last week so I could review it here, but I just did not have enough time. I will see it, though, this Friday at 7:30 in the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa PAC. I encourage you to do the same. The show closes with a final performance on Sunday.

Below is a transcribed copy of my interview with TO's artistic director and conductor for Hansel and Gretel, Kostis Protopapas. He is so much fun to talk to, and I thought you all should experience some of that. Below our interview is a cast list and brief synopsis of the show. Enjoy! See you in the theater!

Why did Tulsa Opera choose this particular interpretation of “Hansel and Gretel”?
This was designed by Maurice Sendak, a famous illustrator of children’s books and the creator of “Where the Wild Things Are.” He has also created several opera productions. This is one of his most famous ones; this is his trademark. He has a European background, so everything is very two-dimensional, as far as the color and atmosphere and mood. It’s a pretty unique production.

It also has some pretty whimsical effects, like the witch’s house has all kinds of moving parts. It has eyes that sort of follow the performers. The set has a life of its own, this sort of haunting personality that is sort of a trademark of the Maurice Sendak style. It’s very beautiful, but it’s a really huge set. There are a lot of pieces. And all of the scene changes happen a vista, which means the curtain doesn’t come down. All the transformations happen while the music is playing and the action is happening on stage.

It’s a very unique show. The story is, of course, the classic “Hansel and Gretel,” but there are some added fantasy elements. The story is one that people are very familiar with, but there are some new and unexpected elements.

Why did TO decide to perform the English version, rather than the original German?
“Hansel and Gretel” is one of the two or three operas of the European repertoire that, nowadays, is as often performed as English as in German. It’s something that provides that extra step of contact with the audience. And also, we hope that people will bring their children, and children cannot necessarily read (surtitles) as fast as adults, so it’s an element of immediacy.

Tell me why you chose “Hansel and Gretel” for TO’s 2008-2009 season.
We always want to have a balance in the repertoire, musically and thematically. We always have at least one or two very standard Italian operas, because they are the backbone of operatic repertoire, and this season we started with “La Boheme.” We’re going to close this season with “Elixir of Love (L’Elisir d’Amore),” which is also an Italian opera by Gaetano Donizetti, but it was composed a lot earlier than “La Boheme,” and it’s a light comedy. It’s a part of the bell canto style, so the music is sort of similar to something like the “Barber of Seville.” It’s a light, Italian, comic opera.

And in the middle, I thought, what can we put in the middle that is musically different from the other two yet still a classic and also might be appealing to people who want to bring their kids? Tulsa is a great town for kids, and we’re always looking for something to involve the kids in. And I think this will be a good opportunity for people to bring their kids to the opera, especially since the current generation of opera-goers, that was their first opera. It used to be very popular as a first opera. The Tulsa Opera did it a lot in the ‘60s, and a lot of our subscribers and board members and other people I talk to are all very excited because they remember going and seeing “Hansel and Gretel” early on. They remember loving it because the music is, of course, really beautiful. It’s late 19th century German romantic music.

Maureen mentioned the very unique relationship she must have with the conductor for this production. Tell me about that from the conductor’s point of view.
Our production is extremely active. There is no “stand and sing” at any point. And the way it has been directed has as much activity as you would expect because the performers, especially Maureen, not only have to sing nonstop, but she also has to dance, she has to sing on her back… Maureen is a great actress, and it’s amazing how much activity and acting she packs into her performance. So, in order to achieve that, I have to be very careful to make sure the tempo is right. Because not only does she have to sing, but she also has to dance in this tempo. And make sure that she has time to breathe and catch her breath because she never really stops singing.

Also, it’s very interesting to me because I’ve actually never conducted this opera before. Three of our principals have done it before: Maureen, who is our Gretel; Jennifer Roderer, who has done the Witch a lot; and Dana Beth Miller, who is the Mother, has done the Mother before. It’s been a learning experience for me because the performers who have done it before know what they need. I am the one shaping the overall musical performance, but it is good to have singers who know what works for them. And also of course, in this case, because we have a really big orchestra (55 musicians) in the pit, my responsibility is to make sure that the orchestra does not overpower the singers.

Again, the show is very active, and that’s the way it should be, because it should be exciting and entertaining. The singers are all over the stage, so we have to make sure that the orchestra does not cover them but that the music is still really alive.

Is there anything that you’ve learned, conducting this production, that you might do differently the next time you conduct “Hansel and Gretel”?
You always learn something. This is a different score because it’s in the German tradition, which means its very much through-composed and very much orchestral, in that the singers are sort of a member of the orchestra – one voice with the orchestra – and, of course, they are the most important voice. It’s sort of more composed like a symphony, and it has structure. And that’s not entirely new to me, but it’s sort of like going back a few years to when I was in school and I was studying a lot of symphonies.

It’s a completely different process because a lot of times, especially with Italian operas, you come from the vocal line. In this one, you go from the orchestral score when you start learning it. In that sense, it has been a different experience for me. I’m really enjoying it. I’m sort of using a different set of skills that I don’t use as much. Every opera has different elements, and you always learn something. You kind of go into it with a certain idea of how we expect things to work, but you always have to keep an open mind.

Is there anything else about this production that you’d like to share with our readers?
One thing that has impressed me during this is that we have a really great cast of performers. Not only are they great singers, but they are also real performers. So there is movement, and they have a lot of fun. And what’s surprising is how funny a lot of the show is. You don’t necessarily think of “Hansel and Gretel” as being a funny show, but Tara Faircloth directs it with a lot of humor. It’s an extremely entertaining show because of the way it’s directed and because these people can really do a lot of things other than sing, and they bring a lot to the show.

The Cast:
Maureen McKay

Blythe Gaissert

Jennifer Roderer

Dana Beth Miller

Robert Hyman

Kostis Protopapas

Tara Faircloth

Designed by Maurice Sendak
Original Production by Frank Corsaro

Designed by Maurice Sendak
Associate Set and Costume Designer, Peter Hauser

Synopsis, borrowed from The Metropolitan Opera
Composer: Engelbert Humperdinck

ACT I. Hansel and Gretel have been left at home alone by their parents. When Hansel complains to his sister that he is hungry, Gretel shows him some milk that a neighbor has given them for the family’s supper. To entertain them, she begins to teach her brother how to dance. Suddenly their mother returns. She scolds the children for playing and wants to know why they have gotten so little work done. When she accidentally spills the milk, she angrily chases the children out into the woods to pick strawberries.

Hansel and Gretel’s father returns home drunk. He is pleased because he was able to make a considerable amount of money that day. He brings out the food he has bought and asks his wife where the children have gone. She explains that she has sent them into the woods. Horrified, he tells her that the children are in danger because of the witch who lives there. They rush off into the woods to look for them.

ACT II. Gretel sings while Hansel picks strawberries. When they hear a cuckoo calling, they imitate the bird’s call, eating strawberries all the while, and soon there are none left. In the sudden silence of the woods, the children realize that they have lost their way and grow frightened. The Sandman comes to bring them sleep by sprinkling sand on their eyes. Hansel and Gretel say their evening prayer. In a dream, they see fourteen angels protecting them.

ACT III. The Dew Fairy appears to awaken the children. Gretel wakes Hansel, and the two find themselves in front of a gingerbread house. They do not notice the Witch, who decides to fatten Hansel up so she can eat him. She immobilizes him with a spell. The oven is hot, and the Witch is overjoyed at the thought of her banquet. Gretel has overheard the witch’s plan, and she breaks the spell on Hansel. When the Witch asks her to look in the oven, Gretel pretends she doesn’t know how: the Witch must show her. When she does, peering into the oven, the children shove her inside and shut the door. The oven explodes, and the many gingerbread children the Witch had enchanted come back to life. Hansel and Gretel’s parents appear and find their children. All express gratitude for their salvation.


Dealing with the media: We're not so bad

I've almost recovered from my very hectic, but very exciting, weekend. I saw two stellar theatre performances -- The Playhouse Theater's Romeo and Juliet and Theatre Tulsa's Educating Rita -- and I had the honor of being a presenter at Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's latest installment in its Artist Survival Kit workshops, called Stop the Press!

The workshop, which spanned about three and a half hours Saturday, involved a wonderfully informative presentation by Adrienne Nobles, communications director for the University of Central Oklahoma, on the basics of writing and releasing press releases, making and maintaining media contacts and otherwise connecting with the media. The information was intended for artists, but it would be valuable to any small business person who lacks the experience or know-how of working with the media.

Following her presentation, we lunched and listened to Kathy McRuiz update us on the progress of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa's Visual Arts Center, an exciting endeavor that that will bring even more cultural and arts appreciation to the Brady District and looks to be completed by fall 2010.

Then, Glenda Silvey and I talked on what to expect during a media interview. I had no idea that Silvey was an avid collector of Oklahoma art, and, after speaking with her, I appreciate so much the coverage she gave local arts endeavors while she was an anchor at KOTV. I didn't realize TV stations are so reluctant to cover arts and culture stories, and Silvey said the sparse attention given these kinds of stories is only going to get worse, as more and more stations become increasingly concerned with their bottom lines.

I'm totally in the dark when it comes to the ins and outs of broadcast media, and I appreciated Silvey's informative and insightful presentation. What I liked most about her, though, was her sincere interest in each and every artist who attended the seminar and her desire to help them in any way she could.

OVAC is doing a highly commendable thing by offering this series of workshops, which serve to teach artists the business of art, giving them access to the tools they need to be, not only creatively successful, but also financially successful in their work.

Briefly, here are some of the highlights of the seminar. Most of these are borrowed from Nobles' presentation.

*In writing a press release, highlight the aspect of your exhibit or event that makes it unique to your reader. What are you doing that is different, contemporary, exciting?

*Invest in an Associated Press style book (available at college bookstores and online) and write according to AP style. This makes it much easier for the media person you're contacting to translate your release directly to print.

*Also invest in an Oklahoma Media Guide, available at www.okpress.com, and get to know the media contacts in your area. Before you even have an event, make contact, let that person know who you are, offer to take him/her out to lunch. Nine times out of 10, you won't be turned down.

*Know the publication/station's deadlines, for stories and for calendar submissions, and get your stuff to them as early as possible.

*Have a Web site or a blog on which you display your art work. A Web site is the most important marketing tool you have.

*Have someone else read over anything you plan to send to the media before you send it. Make sure it is informative, well-written and clever, free of grammatical errors, misspellings and punctuation mistakes. Always include a link to a site to which someone can go to view and download images of your work. Make it as easy as possible for the media to use your words and images, and they will.

*If you have questions about writing news releases, try these links: Publicity Insider, Press Release Writing Tips, wikiHow

*Don't be nervous! We're people, too! That said, don't always expect your event/gallery/whatever to receive coverage. We try to cover everything we can, but there's no possible way to cover it all. Be patient, be persistent and don't give up. And, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!


Preview: Playhouse Theatre's "Romeo and Juliet"

A few years ago, while chatting with Julie Tattershall at Heller Theater (which should, btw, be close to completing its move to Henthorne Park), she mentioned she thought Tulsa had the potential to become a Midwestern theatre powerhouse, much like Kansas City or Minneapolis are considered.

I've never counted the number of theatre companies in the city and suburbs, and I'm not going to attempt to do so here for fear of leaving someone out, but there are quite a few, all of them boasting so much talent it's, well, awesome. The newest among those ranks is Playhouse Theatre, co-founded by Chris Crawford (perhaps most notorious for his riotous performances as Batboy in American Theatre Company's performances of Batboy: The Musical) and Courtneay Sanders, theatre director at Oral Roberts University. The company announced its arrival with a performance of David Schulner's An Infinite Ache last month.

Playhouse Theatre's first production of the season, Romeo and Juliet, opens Friday, Feb. 20 for a sold-out performance. Crawford directs the show, which takes an unusual approach to Shakespeare's work. Using the original text, Crawford plays with elements of space and time, pitting the actors against one another in a race to tell their stories.

They open the play as actors, he explained, and then slowly transform into their characters, "fighting time to tell their stories." While the elements of love and romance are there (it is Romeo and Juliet, after all) Crawford's artistic retelling of the tale also examines the ways in which hate and grudges are passed down to children through their families, perpetuating senseless animosity. It is a theme as old as Romeo and Juliet itself (the words "ancient grudge" ring a bell?) but also very, very current.

Hearing Crawford describe his interpretation of the play, I'm excited by his ambition and I look forward to watching the Playhouse crew pull it off. If they do, it'll be an exciting accomplishment of the company's goal to "fearlessly tell stories."

Crawford said he and Sanders, who are longtime pals, were inspired to start their own company after watching an annual production of A Christmas Carol by the Dallas Theater Center. They were moved, he said, by the fearlessness and vulnerability of the show's cast, and he hopes his company can aspire to quality of that caliber. Playhouse Theatre is a professional company, meaning all of its actors and crew are paid, which is rare in local theatre. The company is funded through private contributions and grants and hopes soon to gain some corporate backing.

I managed to snag a seat for Friday's show, but you'll have to settle for Saturday (at 8 p.m.) or Sunday (at 2 p.m.) performances in the Charles E. Norman Theatre of the Tulsa PAC. The show continues next weekend, Feb. 25-28. Click the link or call 596-7111 for tickets. And be sure to check UTW next Wednesday for a review.

"I'd like a sandwich, please, with a side of general disdain for others."

Yesterday, following a great interview with Steve Liggett about the coming New Genre Festival, I lunched with my good friend and fellow art-lover Ashley Heider at The Collective, 3148 E. 11th St. Not only does The Collective boast a menu chock full of delicious lunch fare named for local landmarks, it also opens its doors, walls and dance floor to local artists, musicians, authors and pretty much anyone else who has need for a space in which to do their thang.

While we munched on our sandwiches (the Zingo for me and the Atlas with turkey for Ashley), lounging on The Collective's comfy antique couches, we let our eyes wander to the wall on which an exhibit titled "The Dark Arts" by Meredith Fajardo and D.A. Boone hung. The exhibit, by two of The Collective's employees, attempts to give substance to the angst and anguish felt by sad, skinny suburban teenagers who take part in the "emo"culture.

My younger brother went through an "emo" phase when he was in high school, and, having witnessed his "pain" firsthand, I can't help but mock it and anyone else who describes himself as "emo." In its press materials, The Collective described the exhibit as an examination of the emo culture, in which the artists attempt to determine whether or not the "pain" felt by these black hoodie-wearing teenagers is real or imagined. I didn't meet the artists, so I don't know their history in emo and whether or not they think it's something serious or something at which to point and laugh. And the artwork didn't do much to answer my question, either.

The exhibit included more than one portrayal of a sullen-looking face with long, side-swept bangs covering one eye. I think Ashley's favorite piece was a framed mirror, on which were glued long strands of pink and blond hair so that the person looking at herself could see how emo she could be if she only tried. After taking her picture in the mirror, Ashley joked, "How emo is this?"

Other pieces included a defiled sock monkey attached to a vertigo-inspired background, an eyeless face and an ear, both complete with multiple piercings, and a plain black canvas titled "My Soul: Shades of Black."

Thinking back on the exhibit, it is very likely these two were also mocking the emo culture, but, if they were trying to treat it with some serious, then I apologize for mocking them. It just didn't come off. And I'm not sure, had these two not been employed by The Collective, if their work would be hanging there now.

As it stands, Colleen, who, along with her hubby, owns the cafe/coffeeshop, said her exhibit space is booked through December, which is exciting for her and for local artists. Kelsey Karper, in the most recent issue of OVAC's Art Focus Oklahoma, wrote a really nice story about the importance of having local art on display in local businesses. Check it out, and then head to The Collective, if not for "The Dark Arts," then at least to try the Zingo. Oh. My. God. Yum.


Get smart

Theatre Tulsa opens Educating Rita this Friday at the Liddy Doenges Theatre of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. 2nd St. Written by Willy Russell and directed by Whitson Hanna, the show will will run February 20-22 and 26-28.

A 26-year-old woman working as a hairdresser signs up for a university course because she is eager to learn and wants to discover what the educated lifestyle has to offer, She is met by an unsuccessful middle-aged academic with a drinking problem who has no experience in teaching working class students. What he sees in Rita is a perfect challenge.

The play features the talents of Will Carpenter and Leslie Long. The stage manager is Vickie Myrick and the producer is Sally Barnes. Lights are by Scott Heberling and Lone Wolf Audio.

This play is dedicated to the memory of Sue Woodruff. Sue was a long time supporter of Theatre Tulsa and she will be missed greatly.

Tickets range from $10-$17.50. Make reservations by calling 587-8402 or 596-7109, or visit www.myticketoffice.com.

Theatre Tulsa is a proud member of the Tulsa Area Community Theatre Alliance, the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association.

This production made possible by grants from the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, The George Kaiser Family Foundation, The Williams Companies, Urban Tulsa Weekly, Dale Gillman Antiques, Donna Simmons/Tulsa Tech Broken Arrow and all the proud sponsors of Theatre Tulsa.

(P.S. Look for a review in the Feb. 26 issue of UTW.)

Your weekend "To Do" list is getting longer...

Congratulations, video artists! Your day of fame has arrived! Bring your granny, your parents and friends to the screening of the fourth annual 24 Hour Video Race this Thursday, Feb. 19 at Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road.

Doors open at 5pm with a cash bar and the opportunity to view last year's winning entries and the current photography exhibit "Seeing Ourselves" at Philbrook. The official 2009 screening will start promptly at 6pm. Space in the auditorium is limited, but we have arranged for additional simulcast seating downstairs.
It is possible that the screening could last until 9pm.

After the screening, the judges will confer briefly while everyone heads to Living Arts, 308 S. Kenosha, for the afterparty and awards presentation! The 37 videos will be shown in the following order:
4 student videos
12 Videophile videos
2 Animation videos
4 Experimental videos
15 College videos


There's plenty more to keep you occupied, including productions of Romeo and Juliet, Educating Rita and Hansel and Gretel. Check this week's UTW column for more on all of those, and keep coming back for updates.

Next week, I'll have reviews of all three stage productions, as well of reviews of exhibits at Loose Leaf Co. and The Collective and tons of info on New Genre.


I Love You, I Lust You

One of the things I love (lust?) about Living ArtSpace is its commitment to exploring and promoting cutting edge contemporary art of all genres. When I started writing in high school poetry was my thing. Unlike fiction, poetry came very naturally to me. And while I haven't written poetry in quite some time, I'm still inspired when I read or hear some truly provocative poetry.

I love the freedom of spoken word, and it sort of reminds me of a company I belonged to in high school, called Playwrights in Players, in which, twice a year, we'd write, direct and perform our own original work, usually compilations of poetry, fiction and non-fiction loosely based on a very non-specific theme. Living Arts hosts a poetry/spoken word event that takes me back to a more prolific time in my life and inspires me to pick up the pen more often.

Tomorrow night, the spoken word event is centered around matters of the heart -- and the libido. Spoken word committee chair Tony B has curated an evening of spoken word artists whose work is likely to make you feel a little tingly all over as it explores the themes of love and lust.

The Wichita- and Tulsa-based poets of Love and Lust include Brook, Maid Mary, Mia, Tony Henley, Knowledge, Written, Claire Collins, Tracy Townsend, Debra Hunter, Miko, Bill Z, Phil Boswell, Dorea, Tony B, Anissia, Lauren, Confidence and Nan Payne.

"Love and Lust: Erotic Love Poetry" is tomorrow night at Living Arts, 308 S. Kenosha, at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $7, $5 for members.



I had every intention of mentioning this in the column this week, and I forgot. Mollie Grubb, I hope you'll forgive me.

Sunday, Feb. 15 at 7:30pm
Harwelden Mansion, 2210 S. Main St.
Light Opera Oklahoma's Valentine's Day Cabaret with Andrea Leap and Eric Gibson
Join Andrea as she celebrates all things romantic and reflects on the day after Valentine's Day. This light cabaret will feature Eric Gibson at the piano and light hor d'oeuvres by Just Catering By Orr. Tickets are $50 per person or $95 per couple and can be purchased by calling LOOK at 918-583-4267.

The perfect make-out spot...

Every second Saturday of the month marks free admission to Philbrook Museum of Art. That Saturday in February happens to be this Saturday, Feb. 14. Take your main squeeze for a free day at the museum and then make out in the oh-so-romantic Philbrook gardens. I'll be taking Isaac and not making out with anyone, but it should be fun anyway.


Call to artists

Review: Transcend

In an attempt to increase diversity and racial awareness in the arts in Oklahoma, OKC-based artist Nathan Lee has curated a series of exhibits that bring to the forefront of viewers' perception the work of black, Oklahoma-based artists. The latest of these exhibits, "Transcend," opened at Living ArtSpace, 308 S. Kenosha, last Friday.

The title of the exhibit, Lee explained during the artist's talk, comes from the artists' desires and attempts to transcend common stereotypes about black art--that it concerns only black subjects, that it is tribal in nature, that it all stems from the realism movement.

In fact, the work of the artists of "Transcend" -- Lee, Wendell Gorden, Skip Hill, Marjorie (GiGi) Bontemps, Suzanne Thomas, Brenna King, Rory Littleton and Cheri Ledbetter -- is all varied and individualistic.

Lee's sculptures, which blend the qualities of animal and human, and Gorden's prints, were some of my favorite elements of the show. I also admired Hill's mixed media pieces. (The work above is by Hill.)

After absorbing each piece of work on its own, I stood back and tried to take in the exhibit as a whole. I wondered, if I had come into the gallery without knowing anything about the show, would I be able to guess that it was an exhibit by black artists? Looking at the exhibit as a whole, I think so. From afar, it was easily noticeable that many of the works' subjects were, in fact, African Americans. But, when looking at the exhibit piece by piece, it is not necessarily clear the nationality of each artist whose work is represented.

Concerning its goal to dispel common myths about black artwork, the exhibit was a huge success. The work presented was so stunningly diverse, yet it came together beautifully for the exhibit. I think, though, any one of the artists of "Transcend" could easily carry his or her own show, and I hope we continue to see their work exhibited locally (though most of them are from the Oklahoma City area).

Lee's other goal for the exhibit, he told me, was to inform African American artists about how to market and show their work in local galleries. He founded Inclusion in Art to further provide minority artists with resources to educate and enable them about exhibiting their work. For more on that endeavor, e-mail inclusionart@hotmail.com.

"Transcend" will hang at Living Arts through Feb. 19. Gallery hours are Thursday and Saturday, 6-9pm, and by appointment.

Review: Maegan Kauffman

University of Oklahoma student Maegan Kauffman opened an exhibit of paintings, charcoal drawings and ceramics last Thursday at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center Gallery. I missed the opening, but I made it by the exhibit on Friday while I was out visiting other openings.

Kauffman draws/paints the human form, and her smaller works, rife with subtle detail, are quite stunning. The larger pieces, by comparison, seem to lack the painstaking detail that make the smaller works so riveting, and so they fall short.

Some of the standout pieces, in my opinion, include the charcoal drawings "At a Gaze," which I considered Kauffman's best portrait; "Lust" and "Wet," both of which were fine drawings of hands; and the painting "Grieving."

The larger silhouettes almost seemed hurried or rushed. I think, had Kauffman incorporated the detail that she did in her smaller works, the paintings would have been quite impressive. It also appeared as though Kauffman is more comfortable working with charcoal than she is oil or acrylic paint.

Her ceramic works, which include bowls, vases, cups and mugs, are also quite beautiful and so reasonably priced that, by the time I made it to the gallery, only a day after the show opened, most had already been purchased.

The exhibit runs through the month of February at 621 E. Fourth St. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, 3-9pm.


Review: Minors' Major Works

This exhibit, featuring work by Greeley, Grissom, Kendall-Whittier, Mark Twain, Patrick Henry and Zarrow International elementary students, opened at Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery Friday, Feb. 6. The exhibit includes selected works created in the classroom and is curated by local artist and teacher Steve Tomlin.

I'm not sure how you can criticize a kid's artwork. The exciting thing about the exhibit is that it proves that, though rare, there are a few schools left in the city that are still teaching the arts. The small gallery was crowded with kids and their families who were so excited to see their work hanging in an actual art gallery. The energy was palpable. It's the kind of experience that will (hopefully) stay with a kid for a long time and maybe even encourage him or her to continue to explore the arts as he/she grows older.

Some of the work, which consists of drawings, paintings, yarn work and other mixed-media projects, were obvious reproductions, but a lot of it was highly imaginative and creative. There's some definite talent among those kiddos.

The exhibit will hang through Saturday, Feb. 21. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, 6-9pm, or by appointment.


I'm talking to myself

I realize no one is reading this yet, but I wanted to go ahead and let everyone know, if and when people do start reading this, I'm working on making it much less boring, visually.

Plus, posting even when no one's reading gets me in the habit of posting, making it much more likely that I'll continue to do so after this blog goes public on Wednesday.

Tonight: stops at TAC, Living Arts and the Neill Equality Center for new openings. Neill's gallery opening was last night, but Little Man and I did not make it. And, in my last column, I incorrectly reported that The Collective's new exhibit would be up tomorrow. I just found out it actually opened yesterday and I missed it. So I'll make a stop by there at some point this weekend as well. Tomorrow I'll be at the Broken Arrow Community Playhouse to review it's show "Rumors" by Neil Simon. Look for the review on Wednesday.


Here I go again... I mean, "Welcome!"

It seems like every time I talk to Steve Liggett, I get the brilliant idea to somehow try to cover more than I already do in the way of local arts.

A couple of years ago, Steve's insistence that I review gallery openings combined with my discovery of a really good arts blog written by some guy writing for some alt weekly somewhere in America inspired me to start a blog about local arts. I had been writing Arts Experienced for Urban Tulsa Weekly for a year and a half or so, and I was frustrated by the constraints of paper and ink. I wanted to offer local arts organizations more coverage. If you read that blog, you know I didn't do too well. I think I posted once.

So, will this time be any different? I honestly have no idea. I obviously believe enough in the concept to give it another shot. To be honest, at the time I started "Walleye" (the clever name I gave my half-hearted attempt of a blog), I didn't know much about blogging. I still don't know a lot, but I have become sort of obsessed with it in the last year. I started a blog when I was pregnant with my son to keep family and friends updated with baby news, and I've since taken to posting every minute detail of my adorable nine-month-old's life. I've also attempted to start a community blog that would explore sustainability issues in Tulsa, but I haven't done very well with keeping that up. Thing is, I'm really interested in sustainability issues in Tulsa--I just don't know much about them. I think there's a need for a blog like the one I tried to initiate; I just don't think I'm the right woman for the job.

And while I don't know everything about arts in Tulsa, I have managed to build some really great relationships with many of the members of the local arts community. And I love covering the arts. I work full-time now for the Tulsa Business Journal, and while I love what I do there, I also appreciate that I still have the opportunity to cover the arts through UTW, Intermission magazine and OVAC's Art Focus (the latter two new gigs I'm super excited about). So, while I'm sure there are plenty of folks in the area who could cover the arts much better than I can, no one else is doing it. I am. So there.

The coverage I provide for print publications is limited by two very tangible factors: paper and ink. Which basically equal money. Unfortunately, there's just not enough space in any of the publications I write for to cover everything. So, what I can't cover there, I'll cover here. And what I can't cover, I'll get someone else to cover (btw, if you want to be one of those "someone elses," hit me up at tulsaartblog@yahoo.com). I am a single mom, and being so means that, in some instances, I won't make it to something because my kid is more important. In other cases, it'll mean my kid and I are crashing your party. Hope your gallery is all-ages.