From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
No Justice “America’s Son” (Smith Entertainment)
Red dirt rockers No Justice return to a more country sound on “America’s Son,” a 10-track collection that splits the difference between revisiting familiar favorites and delving into new material.
The Stillwater band’s fourth studio album recently debuted on the Billboard charts, bowing at No. 36 on the Heat Seeker chart and No. 4 on the Heat Seeker-South Central Regional list.
Album opener “Never Gonna Be Enough” quickly proves that the Stillwater band may be retracing its country roots but isn’t completely abandoning the rock sound that charged up its 2010 release “Second Avenue.” Jason Isbell’s stellar slide guitar work, coupled with lead singer Steve Rice’s strong but world-weary vocals, gives the new single a jolt of rock electricity.
The album follows up with “Life’s Too Short,” a raise-your-glass party song that toasts the band’s country leanings as well as its rock tendencies. But the title track, a wistful road anthem, comes down firmly in the country camp, with distinctive Americana overtones added for good measure.
The romantic ballad “Run Away with Me” showcases the butter-melting warmth of Rice’s voice, which matches well with Elizabeth Cook’s lilting croon on the twangy traveling tune “Songs on the Radio.”
Don’t be alarmed if some of the tracks sound familiar. The album features two songs – “Let’s Not Say Goodbye Again” and “Give You a Ring” – that Rice penned with Texas country singer-songwriter Casey Donahew, who included them on his band’s 2011 record “Double-Wide Dream.” Folks who think red dirt and Texas country is all the same might change their minds after comparing the divergent interpretations of the two songs. The Stillwater group brings a distinctly rootsier and less polished sound to its versions.
No Justice also revisits a couple of its popular songs on “American’s Son,” which features an extended and more plaintive reading of its Texas country radio hit “Red Dress.” The song sets up the album’s first single, the raucous come-on “A Shot in the Dark,’ which recently reached the top 10 on the Texas Music Chart.
To close the album, the fan favorite “Don’t Walk Away” gets made over into a pleading piano duet, courtesy the angel-voiced Rebecca Lynn Howard.
No Justice will play an Oklahoma City show Jan. 25 at the Wormy Dog Saloon. For tickets and information, go to www.wormydog.com.
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“The Odd Life of Timothy Green”
Writer-director Peter Hedges sprouts an unapologetically sentimental story of family, love and acceptance with “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.”
The “Dan in Real Life” filmmaker may unhesitatingly play the heartstrings but he blessedly avoids any of the cynicism so common in modern movies in his tale of a childless couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) who desperately want a baby. After they bury a box containing all their wishes for a child in the garden, Cindy and Jim Green are shocked when a muddy 10-year-old boy named Timothy (CJ Adams) appears in their nursery and calls them Mom and Dad.
The Greens determinedly pass off Timothy as their newly adopted son, but the boy is indeed odd. Both innocent and knowing, he has a strange habit of basking in the sunlight and a spray of snip-proof leaves on each ankle.
As they experience the long-awaited joys and trials of parenthood, Jim and Cindy are astonished at how the child’s bright spirit not only changes their lives but also alters the attitudes of others in their economically troubled small town.
Working from a story by Ahmet Zappa (yes, the son of Frank), Hedges germinates an earnest, somewhat bittersweet fable that will be too cloying for some movie lovers. But for film fans seeking an uplifting family tale, there’s magic here.
The Blu-ray includes an audio commentary, five deleted scenes and two making-of featurettes, but the best extra is the music video for the end-credits theme “The Gift,” by Oscar-winning “Once” star Glen Hansard.
Today’s featured event:
Take a complimentary Water Taxi ride on the Bricktown Canal as part of Downtown in December.
Water Taxi rides are free from 6 to 9:30 p.m. today-Sunday. All ages are welcome to take a fun-filled float down the beautifully-adorned Bricktown Canal free of charge, courtesy of the Downtown Business Improvement District.
OneMain Financial’s Bricktown Canal Lights will brighten your jaunt.
Guests can board the boats on Mickey Mantle Drive across from the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, just west of the third-base entrance.
For more information, go to www.downtownindecember.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Oklahoma native and Broadway star Kelli O’Hara will be among the performers featured in the “Live from Lincoln Center” New Year’s Eve special “One Singular Sensation: Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch” on PBS.
In the Oklahoma City area, the special will air at 7 p.m. Monday on OETA.
A four-time Tony Award nominee, O’Hara was born in Elk City and raised in Edmond. She graduated from Deer Creeks schools and Oklahoma City University. She is currently co-starring with Matthew Broaderick in the Broadway musical “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” which premiered earlier this year.
Here is a synopsis for the PBS special:
The New York Philharmonic rings in 2013 with one singularly sensational night celebrating the life and work of Marvin Hamlisch including appearances by violinist Joshua Bell, Raul Esparza (“Company”) , Michael Feinstein, Maria Friedman (“The Woman In White,: :Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”), Josh Groban, Megan Hilty (NBC’s “Smash”), Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara (“South Pacific” and “Light in the Piazza:) and Frederica Von Stade.
As composer, Hamlisch, who died in August, won virtually every major award that exists: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards.
For Broadway he wrote the music for his groundbreaking show, “A Chorus Line,” which received the Pulitzer Prize as well as “They’re Playing Our Song,” “The Goodbye Girl” and “Sweet Smell of Success.”
He was the composer of more than 40 motion picture scores including his Oscar-winning score and song for “The Way We Were” and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for “The Sting,” for which he received a third Oscar. His prolific output of scores for films include original compositions and/or musical adaptations for “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People,” “The Swimmer,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Ice Castles,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Bananas,” “Save the Tiger,” and his last effort, “The Informant!,” starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Paseo District gallery JRB at the Elms is kicking off 2013 with its annual New Year’s Day luncheon and an art opening from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.
This year’s event will launch an exhibit of paintings by Ford Beckham.
Beckman’s work is in several notable private and public collections, including the Panza Collection, Italy; Saatchi Collection, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Israeli Museum, Jerusalem; Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover; Stadi Museum, Frankfurt; Essl Collection, Vienna; Denver Art Museum; and the Armand Hammer Foundation.
Beckman first rose to prominence amid the wave of Post Neo-Expressionist artists in the late 1980’s that came to define “New Art” in New York. His instant popularity thrust him into the limelight of the early ’90s art scene. His work was shown at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and in galleries throughout Europe. His paintings were often hung beside those of Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly. Beckman has been exhibited and collected by some of the best of his generation worldwide.
The Whitney Museum recently acquired three of Beckman’s POP Clown Paintings for its permanent collection, and the Armand Hammer Foundation has commissioned Beckman, who attended Oral Roberts University in the 1970’s, to create the art for the new Armand Hammer building on the ORU campus which will be completed in 2013.
JRB Art at the Elms also will celebrate Beckman’s new exhibit during the First Friday Gallery Walk from 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 4.
The exhibit will be on view through Jan. 27. For more information, go to http://jrbartgallery.com.
OKC Improv is starting a new run of improvised comedy right before the New Year.
On Saturday, OKC Improv kicks off its winter run of shows at the Broadway Theater, 1613 N. Broadway Ave. Shows are at 8 and 10 p.m.
Saturday’s 8 p.m. show features OKC’s longest standing troupe, Everybody and Their Dog, the improvised Broadway-worthy ballads of Off Book: Musical Morsels and the delightful audience interrogating duo of Good Cop/Nice Cop.
At the 10 p.m. show, get ready for the zany Whose Line Is It Anyway?-style games from Take One Productions and the acclaimed silent comedy masterminds of ZOOM!. Headlining the 10 p.m. set is the nationally renowned, freestyle rapping duo Twinprov, real-life twins Buck and Clint Vrazel.
Show prices are $15 for the 8 p.m. show and $12 for the 10 p.m. An OKC Improv show is always free the week of your birthday (with ID). Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.okcimprov.com. Shows regularly sell out, so advance ticket purchases are encouraged. Performances continue every Saturday night through January 26.
In addition to performances, OKC Improv also offers classes, so everyone can learn the fun! Three levels of classes begin Saturday and run six weeks. Visit http://www.okcimprov.com for information on each level and how to register.
Since 2009, OKC Improv has been entertaining and delighting local audiences with dynamic improvisation and sketch comedy shows. Oklahoma’s improv scene has exploded in growth, from five performing groups in 2009 to more than 40 today.
Local improv troupes create original, never-before-seen comedy shows based on audience suggestions. It’s never the same spectacle twice, which led The Oklahoman to rave that OKC Improv “puts Oklahoma City on the map for comedy.”
OKC Improv is a nonprofit community arts organization dedicated to building a thriving and sustainable improv scene by providing performance opportunities for area improvisers and by working to raise awareness and understanding of improv as an art form through publicity, outreach and education.For more information on the OKC Improv show schedules, performer information and classes, visit http://www.okcimprov.com.
Today’s featured event:
Hear up-and-coming Oklahoma-born and bred singer-songwriter Audra Mae play a return engagement at 8 tonight at the Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Putnam City High School graduate played a terrific one-woman show back in July at the Blue Door. To read my rave review of the show, click here.
The sassy redhead adopted a full band and a boot-stomping rock sound on her sophomore LP, “Audra Mae and the Almighty Sound,” which is sure to be high on my top 10 albums of 2012 list when I reveal it in the coming days.
Released on Valentine’s Day, the album opens with the rollicking anthem “The Real Thing,” with the sultry-voiced songstress declaring “Baby I’m coming/better ready yourself/be looking for me ‘cause I’m the real thing.”
Mae boasts more than enough vocal power and electric attitude to make listeners unquestioningly believe it, plus her backing band — stand-up bassist Joe Ginsberg, guitarist Jarrad Kritzstein, pianist Frank Pedano, drummer Kiel Feher, backup vocalist Brent Kyle and her sister/harmony singer Chelsea Butts — more than lives up to its almighty billing.
“It just happened really naturally. I didn’t like set out to build a band, but then once they were there, it just felt really good. And I really wanted it to last and be real, but they all have their own bands. So it was just sort of a fleeting moment, but thank goodness we captured it,” Mae told me in a summer interview.
“It basically just happened really organically. “It’s all my friends, they were coming and playing with me at this residency that I was doing (at Barre Vermont in L.A.). We’d been playing together and really liking it, and since we’re all friends and all songwriters, we started writing together. And before you knew it, we had enough to make a whole record.
“The label wasn’t really ready for a record, but I always say it’s like trying to stop a baby from being born. You know, if it’s ready to happen, it’s ready to happen.”
For more information on tonight’s show, go to www.bluedoorokc.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Kennedy Center Honors, lauding Led Zeppelin, Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, David Letterman and Natalia Makarova, airing tonight
Watch bluesman Buddy Guy, actor Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova and rock band Led Zeppelin be lauded on the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, broadcasting at 8 tonight on the CBS Television Network. The special has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut.
In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 2012 honorees were saluted earlier this month by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with President and Mrs. Obama, the honorees accepted the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes, according to a news release.
“With their extraordinary talent, creativity and tenacity, the seven 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees have contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein in the release. “Buddy Guy is a titan of the blues and has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century; Dustin Hoffman’s unyielding commitment to the wide variety of roles he plays has made him one of the most versatile and iconoclastic actors of this or any other generation; David Letterman is one of the most influential personalities in the history of television, entertaining an entire generation of late-night viewers with his unconventional wit and charm; Natalia Makarova’s profound artistry has ignited the stages of the world’s greatest ballet companies and continues to pass the torch to the next generation of dancers; and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant transformed the sound of rock and roll with their lyricism and innovative song structures, infusing blues into the sound of rock and roll and laying the foundation for countless rock bands.”
The President and Mrs. Obama received the honorees, as well as members of the artists committee who nominate them and the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, at the White House prior to the gala performance on Dec. 2.
The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts – whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television – and are selected by the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.
Wednesday Video Spotlight: Psy’s “Gangnam Style” becomes first YouTube video to pass 1 billion views
Like it or hate, one of the biggest entertainment stories of 2012 was the runaway global success of the viral video “Gangnam Style.”
Not only did South Korean pop star Psy’s “Gangnam Style” – featuring that now-familiar ride-the-horsey dance – supplant Justin Bieber’s “Baby” as the most-viewed clip of all time on YouTube, it also recently became the first YouTube video ever to reach 1 billion views.
That’s right: ONE BILLION.
Of course, anything that big is just begging to be imitated, mocked and parodied, and “Gangnam Style” spun off spoofs in spades. In this Wednesday Video Spotlight, we’re showcasing “Gangnam Style” along with some of its imitators.
What to do in Oklahoma on Dec. 26, 2012: See Gayle Curry’s “Color the Way” exhibit at the state Capitol
Today’s featured event:
Check out “Color the Way,” Oklahoma City artist Gayle Curry’s new exhibit, on view in the Governor’s Gallery of the state Capitol.
The exhibit is on view through Feb. 17.
Located on the second floor of the Capitol, adjacent to the Governor’s Blue Room, the Governor’s Gallery features paintings and mixed-media works by current Oklahoma artists. It is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Throughout Curry’s art career, she has worked with various media and subject matter.
Recently, the medium of encaustic wax has taken her down a new path of discovery. “Exploring the character and individuality of wax opens up the abstract nature of this media,” says the artist.
Curry is particularly drawn to abstraction because of its meditative qualities.
“One of the benefits of painting is insight into myself,” she says in a news release. “Sometimes I find that the painting guides me into a different direction and then it becomes collaboration of heart and mind.”
This attraction to insight is what led to the creation of the works in this exhibit, titled “Color the Way.” In the exhibit, Curry has interpreted many of the 81 verses of the ancient Chinese text Tao Te Ching, authored by Lao Tzu, a Chinese prophet.
“I achieved personal revelations, which I translated into each painting,” says Curry. “I employed a technique of applying layers of pigments and encaustic wax to capture the essence of each verse.”
Painting with encaustics (wax) is an ancient art form, which has benefited from a resurgence in recent years. The wax, made up of beeswax and dammar resin crystals melted together, is colored with dry pigment or oil paint. It must be kept hot (about 200 degrees) during the painting process. It is applied with bristle brushes in layers to an absorbent surface, such as birch wood panels. The layers are fused with a heat gun or propane torch.
The word encaustic comes from the ancient Greek, meaning to burn in. Encaustic painting was practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C. Legend recalls that the Greeks applied coatings of wax and resin to waterproof their ships and that this led to pigmenting the wax for decoration.
This glazing process allows a depth and richness of color.
“I love the extraordinary effects of depth and luminosity that can be achieved, the wonderful sense of transparency that you can play with, and the richness of textural possibilities,” says Curry. “What I enjoy most is the involvement with the process itself; the sheer love of beautiful, natural materials, the completion of the process by sealing it with fire.”
Curry says the purpose of her work is to find a way to express a vision without being literal.
“I explore form, shape, and color and work them on a surface until I evoke emotion,” she explains. Color is a significant component of her art. “I thrive on the challenge of its subtleties and possibilities, limitless in articulating a message. Creating tension is also part of my goal. It stirs surface and deep emotion in viewers and myself. I strive to combine calm and crazy, light and dark in order to construct an unexpected reaction.”
Curry grew up in Cromwell and has lived in and around Oklahoma City since 1983. She studied commercial art at Oklahoma State University and owns and operates a commercial art studio. She currently exhibits her art at In Your Eye Studio and Gallery in the Historic Paseo Arts District where she serves as Vice President of the Paseo Arts Association. She also volunteers her time with the Oklahoma Art Guild, helping with workshops and marketing. Her artwork has earned numerous awards from statewide associations.
For more information, go to http://www.arts.ok.gov/Art_at_the_Capitol/Governors_Gallery.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.