Following the reaction to “So Cool,” I asked the creative team behind the music video to share their thoughts about the project and what’s next for the city’s creative community:
Brian Winkeler, Creative Director
I have a confession to make. My first concept for the 2012 ADDY Awards creative wasn’t “Cool.”
It was “Cool $#!*.”
I volunteered to direct the show creative at essentially the last minute and my first thought was to do something cheeky and provocative to highlight all the “cool $#!* that the OKC advertising community produces each year. Because I am a one-man freelance band I assembled my pro-bono “Dream Team” of local creative superstars: producer/director Steve Jones, photographer Simon Hurst, designer Phillip Schroeder, audio engineer Matt Kemp and web guru James Harber. We were ready to go.
Alas, “Cool $#!* was rejected, so we simply cut the $#!* and quickly realized that maybe we had something that could be much, much more than simply a boastful faux-expletive.
I started exploring what “Cool” means in the context of OKC’s creative culture right now because I’m truly feeling energy and excitement from both my peers in the industry and, most importantly, the younger generation of students and professionals who are enthusiastically planting roots and making waves in town.
I’m both a huge fan of local music so I started thinking about how we could incorporate it into the production. I’d successfully licensed songs from local acts Penny Hill and Chrome Pony in 2011 and I thought that if we’re celebrating cool, local, creative culture, it would make sense to promote the idea of supporting artists from our thriving music scene to the other creative directors and producers in town.
I didn’t know Jabee but was aware of his videos (especially his powerful “V-Dub Sessions” performance) and the idea of exploring the soul of OKC through an original rap video seemed like a fresh, fun, and relevant creative solution.
The clock was ticking so I was hesitant to ask Jabee to commit to writing and producing an original song within such a short window for no money but with the promise of free studio time, a killer video and total creative autonomy. I wanted him to give us his take on what “Cool” means in the context of OKC 2012. And boy did he deliver.
Steve Jones, Director/Editor
Having produced the intro video to the ADDY awards in the past, I know the amount of blood, sweat, and (unbillable) man hours it takes. But, when Winkeler calls, you know it’s going to be a project that will challenge you creatively.
I knew we wanted to get out there and show the parts of OKC that make the city so cool. Brian and I took initial inspiration from the opening credits to HBO’s “How to Make it in America” and how it captures the essence of NYC. Not the tourist bits… but the real stuff. We wanted to take this idea and give it an OKC spin.
Then I got a text message from Brian after meeting with Jabee for the first time. I think it read something like “WE’RE GONNA MAKE A RAP VIDEO MUTHA*****!” This could be gold.
Upon meeting Jabee and co-writer Denver Duncan and discussing their thoughts about the project, my commitment level on the project became much deeper. I knew we were onto something bigger than just another ADDY intro.
I came across another source of inspiration for our shooting and post-production style: “Barbra Streisand” by Ducksauce. While showcasing NYC, this video energetically focuses on the people on the streets all around town. This approach really struck a chord in me and I shared the video with the team.
We all agreed that showing the people of OKC, from the professional to the impoverished, from kids from the Congo, Iraq, and Kenya to the upper crust private school elite … all these diverse cultures and demographics existing together is the essence of what makes OKC cool.
I needed to shoot Jabee performing his song in these areas, in the grit, on the streets. We shot guerilla style, showing up unannounced and quickly getting the shot. We even had Jabee walk down Commerce St. in the middle of the day without stopping traffic.
It was critical for me to show the real faces of the city, and hopefully inspire people to look around as they’re driving to work or the movies or to lunch. Look at the faces, places, and corners of OKC. We did… and I came away from the project with a renewed vision of this COOL city.
When I first got the call to meet with Brian, I was excited to do something new but did not know what to expect. When Brian let me know his vision and that he wanted to give me the freedom to write what I felt. I knew from jump I wanted to add Denver Duncan to the song. At the next meeting with Steve, Matt, Simon, and Brian I realized it was gonna be huge.
I still didn’t know what I wanted to write, I just knew I didn’t want it to come off corny or just like a bunch of name-dropping. I sent Denver about 10 beats to listen to and we went back and forth for about a week on hook ideas. We were still unsure on beats because we had so many ideas if we were to start from scratch. But time flew and we had to just go with what we had.
Then he finally called me with the hook. I only had the first few lines written on the first verse and no idea where to go after that. So I just told myself I wouldn’t force it and just let it come, and it did. Actually, I wrote the majority of the song at the studio on the spot.
I recorded the song and when I left the studio I was unsure about it. I didn’t think I did 100 percent. I didn’t listen to it again until the first day of shooting the video. I did such a horrible job none of that first footage made the cut because I didn’t know my words.
When I played it in the car on the way to the second scene we shot (where I’m walking in the middle of the street), I listened to it over and over and realized I really liked what I said and I enjoyed the picture we painted of our hometown. I felt so bad for not listening and being prepared to shoot so I learned it and had it down by the end of the shoot that day. When Steve showed me footage on the camera I knew that the video was gonna be major so I wanted to represent!
I’d like to point out a few things in the lyrics that really mean the most to me and I feel best represent OKC in its true essence.
“My feet touch the ground
I feel the city breathin’
Feel the heart beatin’
Write words to the sequence
Every day is different
Suburbs to the street kids”
That’s all I had written when I showed up to record. It’s a reference to the heart and soul of OKC. I also wanted it to be a metaphor for tornadoes (“city breathin’”) and for the recent earthquakes (“feel the heart beatin’”).
“Oklahoma Krush Groove”
One of my favorite movies is Krush Groove. For hip-hop, Krush Groove is a movie that holds true to the original essence of hip-hop. I like to think of my music as the “Oklahoma Krush Groove.”
One word to describe
Where my brother lived and died
On these streets we survive”
My brother was shot and killed in OKC on 09/10/01, the day before 9/11. He was killed on these same streets I walk everyday. There are many of us out here just trying to survive day to day. I put this in the song because it’s a reality that not everyone realizes exists in OKC. I want to share my brother’s story anytime I get the chance. Not just for him but for me, my family, my bros and my sis, my parents, and my friends who live this reality every day.
“And I feel it on a rise
Lost tribe 405
Felt the rain
Felt the pain
Then of course thunder came
That’s the game winners bring”
I feel our city is on the rise. We are setting the groundwork for 10 years from now when OKC will be the poppin’ spot!
We felt the pain refers to April 19th but I didn’t want to say it specifically because I didn’t feel the need, and I wanted to stay away from obvious name drops and try to keep it open. And Thunder, duh! We gonna win a championship! I can feel it!
“How they describe it
I’m laughin’ I ain’t never seen a wagon
I’ve been all over, east coast, west coast, and it never fails – people always ask if we drive covered wagons instead of cars! I ain’t never seen a wagon foo!!! If I have it was on TV just like how you seen it! I have seen lots of action though!
“Live and breathe passion
Live the dream, give action
People need compassion
Everything we ever dreamed”
And I’m out.
The question: How did a cosmetic makeover of the park take priority over the reconstruction of streets like E.K. Gaylord, the two-way conversion of Hudson Avenue — both streets deemed disaster zones for pedestrians?
Background before we get to the answer: When funding on Project 180 ran short, city staff created a new list of Project 180 priorities and projects. The list showed what was still funded, rather than what was no longer funded. Some of the projects proposed to be no longer funded – E.K. Gaylord Boulevard for example, did get noticed and was challenged by some of the council members. Other cuts, most notably the elimination of completing the two-way conversion of Hudson Avenue, apparently escaped notice according to at least some of the council members. I’ve heard from numerous business owners, workers and downtown visitors concerned about how all this will look when everything is said and done.
Here is the response by City Manager Jim Couch:
Steve – Project 180’s budget has been a concern for many months. We experienced some cost overruns on the Myriad Botanical Gardens and have seen some unexpected challenges on the streetscapes. On basements alone, we had hundreds of thousands of dollars in overruns.
As stated to City Council during the December 20 presentation modifying the Project 180 budget, there remain a number of unknowns. Among those are uncertainties regarding the total amount of construction sales and use tax collected, interest rate on the long term debt, the unknown of the final ad valorem assessment of the Devon headquarters, change orders and amendments, scope creep and the pricing of future bids. A number of expense modifications were recommended to Council that included the elimination of several streets, plaza improvements in front of the Chesapeake Arena, as well as the reduction of the budget of Bicentennial Park.
The fact of the matter is when the resolution was adopted on December 20, Bicentennial Park was included but several streets, including Hudson, were not included. If you recall, Council requested we add Gaylord from Reno to Sheridan back in the project and that was done prior to adoption in December.
As I recall, you were at the Devon Implementation Committee when this was originally presented on December 1. From there it went to the Economic Development Trust on December 13 and subsequently approved by Council on December 20.
The memo, resolution and presentation are on okc.gov.
In my OKC Central column today, I noted the ongoing struggle by two Oklahoma City Council members to get an answer to a question about Project 180 and the rush to complete a $3 million makeover of Civic Center park while other street projects have been pushed back or cut all together.
As the Oklahoma City Council sets out to decide whether to approve designs for a makeover of downtown’s Civic Center park, one question, most recently asked by Councilman Pete White, has gone unanswered.
How, he asked, did a cosmetic makeover of the park take priority over the reconstruction of streets like E.K. Gaylord, the two-way conversion of Hudson Avenue — both streets deemed disaster zones for pedestrians?
I continued the column with a history of this discussion.
The changed implementation of Project 180, as confirmed by City Engineer Eric Wenger and Assistant City Manager Dennis Clowers, boils down to this: the section of Hudson Avenue between Reno Avenue and Robert S. Kerr Avenue already being rebuilt will open as a two-way corridor.
The next section of Hudson Avenue between Robert S. Kerr Avenue and NW 6 will be a one-way street. North of NW 6 the street will then resume as a two-way corridor.
E.K. Gaylord Boulevard, meanwhile, will remain a six-lane-wide corridor separating the central business district from Bricktown and Deep Deuce, which are widely seen as downtown’s most pedestrian-friendly districts.
White’s question went unanswered at last week’s city council meeting. Will it continue to be greeted with silence as the council weighs whether to proceed with the makeover of Civic Center park?
We had a vote on the park. But did the question finally get a response?
White and Shadid did indeed try again to force an answer from city staff as to how a makeover of Civic Center park took priority over downtown street projects again went unanswered.
“Why is this a priority,” Shadid asked. “I know it’s not people’s elected officials making the decisions. And it needs to be.”
Shadid then went on to point out that Project 180 reports to the city council consisted of “fluff.” He quoted from the Devon Implementation agreement that showed the city has failed to meet most of the deadlines listed in the contract and that street projects, including E.K. Gaylord Boulevard and Hudson Avenue, were also required in the agreement.
Both White and Shadid noted the city council was never asked to determine whether the park should be given higher priority over the street projects that are now indefinitely delayed.
“I can’t have it unanswered anymore,” Shadid said. “I can’t be told we have a contractual obligation to Devon when we clearly have many other obligations.”
It was this at this time that Mayor Mick Cornett ended Shadid’s comments.
“Ed,” Cornett said, “I think it’s time to let other people talk.”
Councilman Pat Ryan then noted some people like Chevys and some people like Fords in summing up the disagreement over the park design. Cornett then noted that he believes all the projects are worthy of getting done and he believes all of the work will eventually be finished.
Then Meg Salyer spoke up as the only council member fully endorsing the park makeover design. After speaking in favor of the park project, Cornett cut off the debate, asking Salyer to make a motion for approval of the work.
Yesterday I posted some great photos taken by Will Hider while he and I toured “the lost city.” One building we discovered, one neither of us had ever noticed before, was the stunning Voss Building.
Thanks to Bradley Wynn, we also have some photos from the Oklahoma Historical Society to provide us with a glimpse of the building when it was home to Voss Truck Lines.
I’m always thrilled to get a new batch of photos from Will Hider. The frequent OKC Central contributor’s photography is incredible – he’s not just a guy driving around shooting photos from his car window – he’s truly an artist. Upcoming galleries this weekend will include shots of the skyline and Devon Energy Center.
I’ve long aspired to create a weekly list like this, even attempted it a few times. But time, folks, is scarce in this business. I’m so happy to see the good folks at Downtown OKC Inc. have taken on the challenge. I’ll be reposting their schedules as they become available.
Sugar Free Allstars present free, family-friendly concert on Sunday
The Children’s Museum of OKC is teaming up with rock group the Sugar Free Allstars to bring you a free, family-friendly afternoon in the Myriad Gardens on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 2-4 p.m.
In celebration of their recent Grammy award, the Sugar Free Allstars will perform a free concert at the Myriad Gardens Bandshell, which will include the song “Cooperate,” featured on the compilation “All About Bullies, Big and Small,” the winner of the Grammy for Best Children’s Album 2012.
Families are encouraged to come out and enjoy the free event, dance, play, laugh, and spend the afternoon together. No concessions will be made available, so families are encouraged to pack their own picnic. While you’re there, check out the proposed plans for Children’s Museum at Stage Center.
Get a sneak preview of the Sugar Free Allstars (performing “Cars and Trucks”) on YouTube!
Tony DeSare and Gabriel Iglesias perform downtown this weekend
Smooth and delicious…an apt description of chocolate, champagne, and Tony DeSare! Singer, pianist, and songwriter, DeSare has a sound that is romantic, swinging, and sesnual whether he’s performing classic standards or original material. After starring in “Our Sinatra” off-Broadway, DeSare has been called a Sinatra acolyte and belongs to a group of neo-traditional upstarts stretching from Harry Connick, Jr. to Michael Buble.
See him this week as he performs at the Civic Center Music Hall
with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic on Feb. 24 and 25. Tickets are available on the Civic Center Music Hall website.
Gabriel Iglesias has been described as unbelievably funny, electrifying, and a gifted performer who has the ability to consistently deliver a quality comedy experience in every venue he performs in. His high-octane show is a hilarious mixture of storytelling, parodies, characters and sound effects that bring all his personal issues to life. Gabe’s clean, animated comedy style has earned national crossover appeal. Ask anyone who has seen him in concert and you will probably hear the same thing: “he was so funny!”
Gabriel’s mass appeal opened the door to a rare opportunity to film a second one hour special and DVD. The new special entitled “I’m Not Fat… I’m Fluffy” Live from El Paso premiered on Comedy Central Nov. 8, 2009. The new show is packed with a perfect blend of impeccable voice skills and an uncanny knack for hilarious storytelling that Gabe is known for. His vast imitative skills re-create numerous sound effects from speeding cars to microwave ovens to a plethora of dead-on voices. The new special is destine to top his previous hugely successful Special/DVD “Hot & Fluffy”.
Gabriel’s credits include; “Last Comic Standing”, ABC’s “My Wife & Kids,” Showtime’s “Resurrection Boulevard,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Good Morning America,” “The Late Late Show,” FOX TV’s “The Family Guy,” “Showtime at the Apollo” and BET’s “Comic View.”
See him at the Civic Center on Feb. 26. Get your tickets online today at the Civic Center Music Hall website.
Drop-in Art: hands-on art making for families
Be a part of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s guest artists series on Saturdays from 1 – 4 p.m. as they help families to create extraordinary works of art inspired by the Museum’s collection, exhibitions, and special occasions throughout the year. No advance registration is required for you and your children to drop in and make and take a unique creation home with you! Drop-in Art is free with paid museum admission. Here’s the schedule:
25 Adventures in Architecture + Doodle 4 Google fun
3 Dr. Seuss Accordion Books
10 Paper Masks
17 No Drop-in Art; 10th Anniversary Celebration
24 Springtime Watercolors
31 Wacky Wire Sculpture
7 Princely Treasures
14 No Drop-in Art; KIDesign Event
21 Cool Kites
28 Monet Masterpieces
5 Cinco de Mayo Crafts
12 Spectacular Spectacles
19 Pop-up Butterflies
26 Clay Creatures
For more information, call 405.236.3100, ext. 231, or email@example.com.
Drop-in Art is presented with the support of Bank of America.
Ben Pendleton & Kevin Thomas exhibitions
This month, the Individual Artists of Oklahoma gallery exhibits the work of two emerging artists, Ben Pendleton and Kevin Thomas.
Ben Pendleton presents a body of mixed media work featuring photography entitled Beyond the Borders. Kevin Thomas exhibits a series of paintings which explore the concept of 3=1. The exhibitions will remain on display through Mar. 3rd. More information is available at iaogallery.com.
Travel back in time at the Park Avenue Grill
The Skirvin’s Park Avenue Grill is all about Mad Men and the Rat Pack on Friday, Mar. 9.
Join them as they present an old-fashioned supper club show and the song stylings of Wade Tower as he croons the memorable hits of Frank Sinatra and other favorites. Enjoy martinis and other classic cocktails as the Park Avenue Grill offers the following pre-fixe menu celebrating this iconic era of classic American culture:
amuse bouche | smoked salmon tartare salmon roe / purple potato
1st course | iceberg lettuce / raddicho / roma / pickled red onion / blue cheese crumbles / raspberry vinaigrette
(option 1) sea salt & pepper roasted organic chicken / portabella mushroom / asparagus / natural jus
(option 2) slow-roasted prime rib of beef / crushed potatoes / horseradish cream / au jus
(option 3) cedar plank roasted salmon / loaded mash
dessert | pot de crème / butterscotch / caramelized banana / cocoa nibs
Dancing is encouraged and attendees should dress to impress and get creative! Tickets are $50 per person (tax and gratuity not included) and complimentary valet parking is provided. Reservations for this timeless evening are required and tickets will sell out quickly, so call 702.8444 to reserve your spot today.
Learn how to save big on your grocery bill
The OKC Downtown College will host another free ‘Tuesday Topics’ seminar, “Couponing: Clip and Save” on Tuesday, Feb. 28th, from 12-1p.m. on the 4th floor of the Downtown Library.
The guest speaker, Terri Talley, will share the secrets of successful couponing. Whether you’re looking to save money on grocery bills, or just want to learn all the tricks, come join us during your lunch hour.
The seminar includes a free lunch, compliments of Allegiance Credit Union. Please RSVP to 232.3382 by noon on Feb. 27.
This event is part of the ‘Tuesday Topic’ series sponsored by OKC Downtown College, Allegiance Credit Union, and Downtown OKC, Inc.
Check out the Thunder schedule for the upcoming month.
Feb. 23 vs LA Lakers – 8:30 p.m.
Feb. 29 @ Philadelphia – 6:00 p.m.
Mar 1 @ Orlando – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 3 @ Atlanta – 6:00 p.m.
Mar 5 vs Dallas – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 7 vs Phoenix – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 9 vs Cleveland – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 10 vs Charlotte – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 13 vs Houston – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 15 @ Denver – 8:00 p.m.
Mar 16 vs San Antonio – 8:30 p.m.
Mar 18 vs Portland – 8:30 p.m.
Mar 20 @ Utah – 8:00 p.m.
Mar 21 vs LA Clippers – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 23 vs Minnesota – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 25 vs Miami – 7:00 p.m.
Mar 27 @ Portland – 9:00 p.m.
Mar 29 @ LA Lakers – 9:30 p.m.
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Don’t frown at the construction downtown… let us show you how to get around!
Visit the Project180 website or check them out on Facebook and Twitter
Be informed and prepared for traffic changes downtown by joining the Project180 mailing list
Get the Project180 weekly map here
Check out the Downtown Traffic Advisory updates
Connect with Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc.
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211 North Robinson
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
So cool indeed. This video was debuted tonight at the ADDYS. We’ve seen one effort after another by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and others at trying to come up with a song, a slogan, anything that might capture what makes Oklahoma City special. I’m hoping to get the creative minds behind this video to do a guest blog about the creation of this song and video, and how it might play into our future.
I can’t agree more with this song’s main theme – that we really are a big city with the soul of a small town. Jack Money and I ended our first book, “OKC Second Time Around” with this very same conclusion. And it’s OK that we’re not Dallas, or St. Louis, or Kansas City, or Denver, or Charlotte, or any other “major league city.” We’re Oklahoma City. We’ve got a lot of great momentum underway. But we’re still kind of gritty. It’s a grit that goes back to a gunshot fired on April 22, 1889 when some of the most desperate people in the country all raced in at once with big dreams and hopes of a fresh start. We are perhaps one of the only cities in the world where it started in one day where everybody was equal, where no one was above anybody else. So cool indeed.