I lingered downtown tonight after attending the Project 180/ULI presentation (too many of you missed out on a pretty cool talk by the landscape architects behind the project). Kinda sad to see the Colcord sign not working right. But everything else was simply wonderful – and dozens of other folks were strolling the Myriad Gardens as I took it all in about 8 p.m.
MYRIAD GARDENS RENOVATION IS FOCUS OF FREE, PUBLIC TALK
AT OKLAHOMA CITY’S SKIRVIN HOTEL
OKLAHOMA CITY (March 7, 2012) — The new design of the Myriad Gardens, along with other improvements aimed at enhancing the pedestrian environment of downtown Oklahoma City, is the focus of a free, public lecture scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Skirvin Hotel, 1 Park Ave., in downtown Oklahoma City.
The lecture is being hosted by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Urban Land Institute. Featured speakers are the designers of Project 180, which provides a significant street and public space overhaul in downtown Oklahoma City. Both speakers, James Burnett and Jereck Boss, are principals at the landscape architecture firm the Office of James Burnett.
In addition to many other projects around the country, the Office of James Burnett is responsible for the designs known as Project 180, a four-year, $160 million effort to improve the pedestrian environment of downtown with landscaping, art, lighting, bike lanes, on-street parking, and renovated parks and plazas.
The registration cost for non-members is $10, with registration available online at oklahoma.uli.org.
The same presentation will be delivered at 4 p.m. that day in the Buskuhl Gallery of Gould Hall, 830 Van Vleet Oval, on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus. OU’s Institute for Quality Communities will serve as host for the afternoon presentation as part of its ongoing Streets for People lecture series. For accommodations on the basis of disability for the presentation at OU, please call (405) 445-4477.
For more information about the Institute for Quality Communities, visit http://iqc.ou.edu.
This story starts back in December, when it appeared as if a great little restaurant in MidTown was going to fail – not because the young couple who ran it were not likable, not because they didn’t serve great unique dishes, and not because of the location.
No, the imminent failure of the old little diner at 1220 N Hudson, which originally opened as “Foodies Express,” could only be attributed to a lack of marketing, branding and word of mouth.
It was only word of mouth – an urging by Marva Ellard, who owns the neighboring Sieber Hotel Apartments - that got me in the doors. Those who read this blog know I was already in love with this half century old diner and it didn’t take me long to take a liking to the food and the owners. Quyen Le and Bang Bui are truly “foodies.” Their diverse menu is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in Oklahoma. It’s not a Vietnamese restaurant, though that influence can be found in much of their menu. It’s not a Greek restaurant, though they have some of the most original gyros in town. It’s not a chicken wing place, though they have a diverse variety of wings that include a “suicide” batch made with ghost peppers. It’s not a burger place, though they do serve burgers and chili. It is, as summed up by people far smarter than I, an Asian American Diner.
I shared this discovery with Chad Huntington, who in turn became a regular customer himself. And it was on one night in December, just a few weeks after Foodies had opened, that Chad shared with me his fear the restaurant wouldn’t make it. He also went on Twitter and shared with the local social media world what they were missing.
Brian Winkeler, one of several people I’ve become acquainted with in the creative community who I truly respect and admire, gave his best smart ass response. He dismissed the restaurant, saying he’d be more likely to visit if they had a better looking sign, logo and overall presentation.
Bad move, Mr. Winkeler. I said just as much. Knowing he possessed the skills to address Bang and Quyen’s biggest shortcomings, and knowing Winkeler to be someone who cared about the neighborhood, and understood how a successful restaurant in this location could make a world of difference, I challenged him “pass it on.”
Winkeler, joined by his kids, met me at Foodies not long after. And he too discovered why Marva, Chad and I all wanted to see this young Vietnamese immigrant couple succeed. Winkeler, whose recent work included the rebranding of the Bricktown Brewery, accepted the challenge and drafted a fellow talent, Phillip Schroeder.
I’m happy to say that Bang and Quyen are doing well now – they’re getting great reviews on sites like Urban Spoon. And after working a few weeks with Bang and Quyen, Brian and Phillip amazed everyone by creating far more than a new logo and sign. They created new menus, and a new look for the diner itself. Bang is hoping the transformation will begin sometime this month. In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of what’s to come (and yes, Bang reports the bars are about to be removed from the windows!):
A lot of folks are cheering news that Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. is preparing to install a basketball court south of the Myriad Gardens. Over at OKC Talk, Pete Brzycki, the site’s host, recalls how three-on-three tournaments were once played with temporary goals in and around Kerr Park.
“Whatever happened to this?” Pete asks. “I remember it was very popular. Really easy way to bring people downtown.”
In November, I noted the very cool Kevin Durant Nike commercial that showed off outdoor basketball courts around Oklahoma City. I also made the following comment:
This whole commercial, however, makes me think back to a post I wrote earlier this year on the lack of any public courts downtown – and how relatively inexpensive additions like this could really add to the quality of life in our urban core. Maybe now that he’s getting set to be paid again ole’ KD could team up with the team and make that happen?
Indeed, it was not the first time I had written about such a possibility. But the November post was the first one to get the attention of Jane Jenkins, president of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. She contacted me soon after that post and promised she would take me up on the challenge. And guess what? On next week’s Downtown Design Review agenda, her organization has an application to create a real urban basketball court on the parking lot at Hudson and Reno, across from the Myriad Gardens.
Yes, today may very well be one of those days where I’m very, very much sitting back and admiring the crew at Downtown OKC Inc. This is very, very cool.
Read the application here basketball court application
Downtown Employee Appreciation Week
Downtown OKC, Inc. appreciates the hard work you do, so we’re dedicating a whole week to making sure you feel appreciated. It’s called (what else?)…Downtown Employee Appreciation Week!
Just so you know… if you’re a downtown employee, you’re automatically invited. And the best part is… everything is free!
Check out the schedule of events at DowntownOKC.com and remember to mark the dates on your calendar. See ya soon!
OKCMOA: celebrating a decade downtown
Mar. 16 – 18 will be a weekend for all to enjoy.
Ten years ago, on Mar. 16, 2002, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art opened in the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center. Visitors arrived long before the doors opened, lines wrapped around the block, and the new museum and its first exhibition, Dale Chihuly: An Inaugural Exhibition, received enthusiastic public support. Believe it or not, it’s already been a decade since the Oklahoma City Museum of Art welcomed its first guests to the downtown Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center, and the Museum is excited to say thank you to the community whose support paved the way for its many successes with events throughout the year.
The Museum’s 10th Anniversary Celebration culminates on its anniversary weekend, Mar. 16–18 with three days of free admission, films, and programs, with funds provided by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Oklahoma Natural Gas, a division of ONEOK.
The celebration will continue throughout 2012 with special events and exhibitions, including ILLUMINATIONS: Rediscovering the Art of Dale Chihuly, Chihuly: Northwest, and the Museum-organized, 10th anniversary exhibition, FUSION [A New Century of Glass]. On view June 14 through Sept. 9, 2012, FUSION will feature glass sculptures and installations from the twenty-first century that embrace the diversity and depth of the human experience. The exhibition is cocurated by the Museum’s Curator of Collections Alison Amick and Associate Curator Jennifer Klos.
For more information, visit the OKCMOA website.
Considering moving downtown? Come check out your options!
The OKC Downtown College will host another free ‘Tuesday Topics’ seminar, “Living Downtown: Expectations and Options” on Tuesday, Mar. 13, from 12 – 1 p.m. on the 4th Floor of the Downtown Library.
A panel of residents will share their thoughts on how exciting and convenient it can be to live downtown. Representatives from downtown apartment and housing options will be there to answer questions, share information and show what they have to offer. Downtown OKC, Inc. will also share their new Downtown Living video, in which real residents talk about what it’s like to live in the heart of the city.
The seminar includes a free lunch, compliments of Allegiance Credit Union, Downtown OKC Inc, and volunteer residential facilities.
Please RSVP to 232.3382 by noon on Mar. 12. This event is part of the ‘Tuesday Topic’ series sponsored by OKC Downtown College, Allegiance Credit Union, and Downtown OKC, Inc.
Devon is downtown proud
There are so many exciting changes happening in Downtown Oklahoma City. From Project 180 to the construction of the new Devon Tower, revitalization is happening everywhere you turn.
To celebrate the growth of the heart of the city, Devon Energy has teamed up with News 9 to present Downtown Proud – a video vignette series that highlights the exciting changes happening all around us.
Visit the Downtown Proud page on News9.com to hear the remarkable story of our downtown. New videos will be added throughout the year so check back often!
Canterbury presents a multi-sensory experience concert
Canterbury Choral Society presents Experiences with Sound, a multi-sensory experience concert that celebrates music and sound composed or performed by those who have experienced hearing loss.
Experiences with Sound provides attendees a unique, hands-on opportunity to experience music through the voices of Canterbury, along with Swiss-based hearing organization Phonak, Cory’s Audio and Visual, and guest artists that include the Oklahoma Philharmonic and world-renowned, Juilliard- trained pianist Valerie Zamora.
Special concert elements include a “lightscape” along with LED lighting and projection systems around the theater synchronized with the music, and coordinated by Cory’s AV, as well as a reading of Beethoven’s personal words about his hearing loss. Guests will also see testimonies presented by concert sponsor Phonak, which feature celebrities offering words of encouragement and understanding of hearing and the importance it plays in the world.
Additional concert activities include an interactive, hands-on Science Museum exhibit that will help attendees further visualize how sound works, along with information on the importance of hearing screenings and early detection and intervention for hearing loss.
Experiences with Sound will take place on Saturday, Mar. 10 at 8 p.m. at the Civic Center. For more information about Canterbury or to purchase tickets, visit canterburyokc.com or call 405.232.SING. Also, don’t forget to follow Canterbury Choral Society on Facebook!
Money Talks, Art Walks
Money Talks, Art Walks is almost here! This popular fundraising event happens Saturday, Mar. 10, from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the IAO Gallery located at 706 W. Sheridan, in Historic Film Row of downtown Oklahoma City.
With Money Talks, Art Walks, you see high energy coincide with an art sale. This exciting event gives people the opportunity to add affordable art to their collections in very fun fashion. A diverse array of two hundred works created by emerging, mid-career and established Oklahoma artists will grace the walls of the gallery. All the work will be available for $50 to $100!
Here’s the catch: all of the artworks will be hung with no title information and the artist of each piece will be identified only after that work has been sold; all the artwork is available for essentially the same price, and patrons can acquire work only through the ‘luck of the draw.’
Attendees will have the option to buy Money Talks tickets for three pools: $100, $75 or $50. Each collector can buy as many tickets as he or she wishes in any or all of the pools, but only 200 Money Talks tickets will be available to represent the 200 pieces of art available.
The ‘Mooster of Ceremony’ Craig ‘Moose-Ondaluce’ Alleman will begin the three groups of random drawings with the $100 pool, followed by the $75 pool and then the $50 pool. Each time a ticket is pulled, a name is called, and that person will have only 30 seconds to pick whichever piece of artwork remaining on the wall he or she chooses.
Money Talks will also include three-dimensional artwork. Two-dimensional work—drawings, monoprints, and photographs—will be 8.5″ x 11″ or smaller, on paper only, and presented unframed and unmatted. Three-dimensional work—sculptures, pottery, or craft—will be 8.5″ x 11″ (x 11″) or smaller, and can be cast, carved, modeled, or constructed.
Admission to the fundraising event is $10. Proceeds from the event support year round programming at Individual Artists of Oklahoma. Appetizers will be provided by Jazmo’z Bourbon Street and Joey’s Pizzeria.
For more information on the event or IAO, please visit iaogallery.org or call 405.232.6060.
Barons fans, mark your calendars!
Come downtown and support your Oklahoma City Barons this Friday and Saturday Mar. 9 and 10 as they host the Lake Erie Monsters.
Ask about the Barons special ticket offers like their Hat Trick Plan. 7 undated tickets and an official Barons Hat. Starting at just $89.
Get your tickets for these upcoming home games by calling 232.GOAL.
Mar. 10 vs. Lake Erie @ 7 p.m.
Mar. 13 vs. Lake Erie @ 7 p.m.
Mar. 23 vs. Texas Stars @ 7 p.m.
Mar. 24 vs. Grand Rapids @ 7 p.m.
Mar. 25 vs. Grand Rapids @ 4 p.m..
Thunder fans, mark your calendars. The Thunder are better than ever and you don’t wanna miss a second!
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 v
Apr. 1 vs Chicago 12:00 p.m.
Apr. 2 vs Memphis 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 4 @ Miami 7:00 p.m.
Will your company finish first at the Red Earth Run Challenge?
Enter your company to win the Red Earth Run Challenge Cup on Saturday, Mar. 10 at 8 a.m. The Red Earth Run features a 10k, 5k and 1-mile Fun Walk at Regatta Park on downtown Oklahoma City’s River Trails.
The 2012 race offers the first Red Earth Challenge Cup. The organization to get the best overall time will receive a prestigious traveling trophy.
To register your company or yourself or for more information, visit RedEarth.com.
100 turn-of-the-century photos on display at [Artspace] at Untitled
Currently on view at [Artspace] at Untitled is an unprecedented exhibition of nearly 100 photographic prints from the turn of the century to the present. Thematically inspired by the seminal exhibit The Family of Man, curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in 1955, Reconsidering The Family of Man draws upon the extensive archives of the Photographic Society of America (PSA) as well as that of the Oklahoma Arts Institute’s photographic collection, both of which are housed at the [Photographic Resource Center] at Untitled.
Like the original exhibit, the central theme for this show illustrates the commonalities that all human beings share such as love, family, birth, and death. We believe our approach also illustrates the development of photography, both technically and artistically, post 1955, the date of the original The Family of Man exhibition. It is the job of the audience to decide how earlier or later work may aesthetically compare.
As a complementary exhibition, Untitled has on view a selection of prints from photographer Todd Stewart’s series, The Garden. Comprised of large format digital pigment prints, this body of work represents what Stewart calls, “quiet instances of discovery and revelation.” Jon Burris, Executive Director at Untitled states, “Todd’s photographs are stunningly beautiful, exquisitely realized images of his children in a state of exploring the natural world. They also define the utmost achievement of a photographer utilizing state of the art digital processes in this constantly evolving medium.” Stewart is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History and has shown his work in numerous national and international exhibitions over the past ten years.
Rounding out the program is The 1940’s, the third exhibit in the continuing series Decade by Decade: Works from the PSA Collection.
Throughout the four months the exhibition is on view, Untitled will present lectures, workshops, and Saturday seminars on a wide range of photographic topics. View the [Artspace] at Untitled website for details.
March of Dimes hosts Annual Sports Headliner Awards Banquet
The late sportswriter Wally Wallis initiated the inaugural Sports Headliner Banquet back in 1966. After a brief hiatus in the mid 70’s, John Brooks resurrected the event as a March of Dimes benefit. Since then, the event has expanded into quite the affair, honoring all deserving athletes, coaches and teams.
The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency with the mission of improving the health of babies, by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
The March of Dimes benefit takes place tonight at the Cox Convention Center and combines honoring successful athletes who have well-represented Oklahoma, while enlightening guests on all the ways the organization changes lives each day.
For more information about the event, visit the March of Dimes website.
I’ve covered Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. since its inception a dozen years ago, and by far the effort and talent going into promoting downtown are the best I’ve seen to date. After making great inroads on social media this past year, the folks at DOKC created the following video about downtown living. Note, it contains only one outdated video or images of businesses or downtown street scenes as we see way too often in videos created for other organizations (darn that pesky decade-old image of BancOne!).
So many of us have to go through this ritual of death-defying traveling that it’s hard not to notice that a significant change is about to hit us with the construction underway from what was the NE 63 southbound ramp onto Broadway and the confusing lane changes and merges along westbound I-44 under Broadway Extension.
The purpose of this construction is clear: the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is committed to eliminating the traffic nightmares that occur on this junction everyday. But what will it all look like? I was pondering this very question when I recalled this very helpful graphic distributed by the transportation department a couple of years ago:
Now it’s all very, very clear. State highway engineers plan to scare us into never, ever, ever driving through this junction again. At first glance, I’m thinking a night spent with Freddy Kreuger, Jason Voorhees, the Toxic Avenger, Pennywise the Clown, the Kardashian sisters, Jack Torrance, Ghostface, Chucky, Lady Gaga, Norman Bates, Pinhead, the cast of Jersey Shore, Leatherface, Michael Myers and Tracey Zeeck would be an easier sell for most folks than making their way through this concrete spaghetti.
Of course, I could be entirely wrong. Tracey isn’t really that scary.