Flaming Lips lead singer, creative class pied piper Wayne Coyne posted the following photo today on Twitter, showing the upcoming repainting of an old blank neon sign that is displayed prominently along NW 9 just east of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and amidst some of downtown’s trendiest shops and restaurants. The sign is located outside The Womb, an art gallery Coyne started with local artists. This, my friends, ought to get interesting…
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat ranks Devon Energy Center as the 82nd tallest office tower or the 157th tallest building in the world. It is ranked as the 41st tallest building in North America and the 38th tallest building in the United States.
I believe I’ve passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage, I’ve found that just surviving was a noble fight. I once believed in causes too, had my pointless point of view Life went on no matter who was wrong or right.
All of life’s biggest issues, questions and problems are answered by Billy Joel.
City Hall faces another big loss today with the departure of Paul Ryckbost, a rare example of someone who started in public works as an engineer and ended up as a key planner in the city’s planning department. Ryckbost is one of the smartest, well spoken and thoughtful folks I know at City Hall, and his departing thoughts posted today on his blog are well worth reading.
Here is an excerpt I urge everyone (including our city council) to carefully consider:
Among my biggest accomplishments in Public Works was determining, estimating and mapping the 2007 GO Bond Election projects. I spent a lot of 5:00 am – 8:00 am sessions working on the 2007 GOB before my regular workday, going so far to as to mapping the 1989, 1995 and 2000 GOB projects as well. As a planner, I believe some of the projects (widening streets at the fringe, widening streets without high traffic count, building fire stations in rural areas) will only exacerbate problems with funding future operations and maintenance, but as a young staff member, I was excited to assist in passing the program package and helping the City overall.
Two of the streetscape projects I managed, the Asian District and NE 23rd Street, turned out well, but I worry about their longevity if the adjacent property owners and businesses don’t step up to maintain them. The City is moving forward on this type of issue with the Meridian Avenue corridor, and I hope it goes well and moves other districts that way.
(thanks to the Oklahoma Historical Society for posting these online!)
Mayor Mick Cornett and Oklahoma City SkyDance Bridge architects Stan Carroll and Hans Butzer will be available for interviews at Oklahoma City SkyDance Bridge as the sculpture begins to glow around dusk this evening.
The 380-foot-long pedestrian bridge and sculpture spans Interstate 40 near Robinson Avenue. The bridge’s soaring architecture was inspired by Oklahoma’s state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher. It is located at the heart of the future MAPS 3 downtown park, which is expected to begin construction next year. (The ribbon cutting for the bridge is at 2 p.m. today)
Come and go: 8:30-9 p.m. on Monday, April 23
To the east of Union Station, SW 7 between Harvey and Robinson
It’s on weekends like this – perfect weather, so many great community events underway or being planned – that I reflect on how far we’ve come as a city. Yesterday’s tribute to Ray Ackerman reminded me of just how bad things had gotten 20 years ago. If you were in college (I graduated in 1990), odds were more of your friends than not were planning to exit Oklahoma City as soon as possible. They were even being encouraged and urged to do so by professors.
Sure, we had a few good things still tying us all together – most notably the Spring Festival of Arts. But the festival wasn’t enough to keep folks rooted to Oklahoma City. It seemed as if we were going no where fast.
As thousands gather this weekend at the Oklahoma River, it’s easy to get caught up on how big huge events have helped make Oklahoma City an exciting place to call home. But sometimes its the smaller efforts that can be just as effective in changing hearts and minds.
One of the latest reminders of this was nothing less than a really, really bad movie; Zardoz.
Now, before you think I’ve lost my mind, keep in mind, this moment in time was not about the movie. Zardoz was without a doubt a low point in the career of Sean Connery. It has a Charles Manson hippie vibe mixed with bad sci-fi, naked chicks, effeminate violent bad guys, and a homicidal talking diamond. It’s the very sort of bad movie that would have been fodder for the classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys (see the You Tube clip above if you never watched this show).
Debuting as “The Movie Clubbed,” the roles of Joel and bots were filled by Greg Elwell (former co-worker at The Oklahoman and a true artiste with all the pastel colors of sarcasm), Rod Lott, Richard York and Brian Winkeler.
The guys were brilliantly funny and provided yet another original, wonderful cause for community to come together. For a couple hundred people, including myself, it was a night not to be forgotten (though my friend Andrew Black, a Jamaican raised with a different sense of humor was more bewildered and worried about my mental health in choosing this as an outing). In other cities, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema provides such entertainment on an ongoing basis. Could the the Movie Clubbed turn into a greater venture and valued part of our city’s quality of life? I’d vote for it. And there’s a certain unappreciated old MidTown theater I hear may soon be losing its tenant (a church)…
All the guys involved with The Movie Clubbed have day jobs of course. For now, we can look forward to a couple of occasional performances a year. But I can dream, can’t I?
In the meantime, for those who really care to know more about the movie itself, enjoy this trailer (or don’t):
Free SoundBites concert series coming next month
Downtown OKC Inc., SandRidge Energy and Bank of Oklahoma have invited some of Oklahoma City’s most talented artists to fill the downtown air during the 2012 SoundBites concert series. SoundBites concerts are scheduled every Thursday in May from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in Bank of Oklahoma Plaza (201 Robert S. Kerr) in downtown OKC. Here’s the lineup:
May 3 Smilin’ Vic & the Soul Monkeys
May 10 Cami Stinson & the Riot
May 17 Born in November (see them featured on the Bricktown Chevy Showcase)
May 24 Kylie Morgan
May 31 Matt Stansberry
If you have questions about SoundBites, call 235-3500 for more info. See you there!
Spokies – coming to a corner near you!
Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. and the Oklahoma City Office of Sustainability are proud to introduce Spokies – a fun, healthy and affordable way to get around downtown OKC. This new bike share program launches officially on May 18 and will place 6 solar-powered bike kiosks at various downtown locations. Users may rent their Spokies bike simply by swiping their card.
The Spokies bike share program has three goals: to offer a convenient and accessible transportation option in the downtown area, to promote active transportation and healthy lifestyles and to offer bicycles as an alternative to vehicles to improve air quality.
We’ll post announcements about the program launch in future issues of What’s Up Downtown. To keep up with Spokies visit SpokiesOKC.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
OKC celebrates spring at the Festival of the Arts
Since 1967, the Festival of the Arts has been Oklahoma City’s rite of spring. The Festival is a community celebration of the visual arts, performing arts and culinary arts.
The 2012 Festival of the Arts will take place April 24-29 in Downtown Oklahoma City at the Festival Plaza and the Myriad Botanical Gardens. The festival runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
The Visual Arts includes 144 Plaza Artists from across the nation that exhibit on Hudson Avenue, a large-scale Sculpture Park exhibit and a variety of specialty exhibits throughout the grounds.
The Culinary Arts consists of the International Food Row. Each food vendor is partnered with an area non-profit organization.
The Performing Arts includes four stages of non-stop performing arts and entertainment representing all genres and world renowned street performers roaming the grounds.
A variety of children’s activities are featured in the Youth Plaza and around Festival grounds. Arts for children and families include hands-on activities in the Children’s Art Field for just $2. The Young-at-Art Mart is the children-only shopping venue with all artwork affordably priced for $5 or less. Families can also visit Face Painting, Pottery Place and Creation Station for more fun! For more information call (405) 270-4848.
For more details, including a full schedule of events, artists and vendors, visit artscouncilokc.com.
OKC hosts the Memorial Marathon
The Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum will host the Memorial Marathon on April 29.
The Memorial Marathon provides an appropriate way for us to honor the victims and survivors, while at the same time celebrating the miracle of life. People from all over Oklahoma, the country and even the world will join together in giving this gift to the victims’ families, the survivors, the Memorial, and our community.
For more information, visit the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon website.
You’re Invited to POP!
Just in time for a season of celebrations, St. Anthony Foundation and Byron’s Liquor Warehouse are teaming up to bring a fun, new event to Midtown- POP! A Champagne Tasting Event.
The event is set for today, Apr. 20, from 5:30-8:00 p.m. in the beautiful Rapp Foundation Conference Center on St. Anthony’s campus.
POP! will include samplings of champagnes and sparkling wines from more than 20 vineyards, delicious appetizers and live music in an upscale setting. The Rapp Center’s panoramic views of downtown OKC and Midtown, spacious outdoor patio and modern design provide the perfect place for a party!
General admission tickets are $50 and a limited number of VIP tickets are available for $100. Reservations are required and guests must be at least 21 years of age. Funds raised at POP! will support the outstanding medical programs and patient care that distinguish St. Anthony as one of the premier hospitals in Oklahoma.
To purchase tickets, visit GiveToSaints.com or call the St. Anthony Foundation at 405.272.7070.
OKC Downtown College hosts free home buying seminar
The OKC Downtown College will host another free ‘Tuesday Topics’ seminar, “Smart Home Buying and Mortgages” on Tuesday, April 24 from 12-1 p.m. on the 4th Floor of the Downtown Library.
Whether you’re a first time home buyer or looking to expand your real estate, come learn the many factors involved with home buying, including cost, types of mortgages, location and more.
Participants will find out how to shop for and apply for a home loan, and learn more about the closing process, related costs and sources for home buyer assistance programs.
Please RSVP to 232.3382 by noon on April 23. This event is part of the ‘Tuesday Topic’ series sponsored by OKC Downtown College, Allegiance Credit Union, and Downtown OKC, Inc.
Watch the Olympic Team Trials on the Oklahoma River this weekend
Oklahoma City will host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Canoe/Kayak on the Oklahoma River, April 20-21. today’s event includes the 200m and 500m Finals from 5-7 p.m. and Saturday’s event will take place from, 9 a.m.-noon with racing, an autograph session and a Paddle Now! Youth activity.
Join us for this exciting event and watch as the fastest kayakers from our nation race to realize their Olympic dreams. Two-time Olympian Carrie Johnson (San Diego, CA) and 2011 Pan Am Games Bronze Medalist Ryan Dolan (Kailua, HI,) can each earn a berth to the Olympic Games in London with victories in the Women’s Single Kayak 500-meter event and the Men’s Single Kayak 200-meter event, respectively.
USA Canoe/Kayak will also hold its National Team Trials for the 2012 ICF World Cup and ICF Paracanoe World Championships during the event. The sport of Paracanoe has been recently selected to debut at the 2016 Paralympics.
Admission is free and food vendors will be on site. For more information, visit OklahomaRiverEvents.org.
Thunder fans, mark your calendars. The Thunder are better than ever and you don’t wanna miss a second.
Apr. 20 @ Sacramento 9:00 p.m.
Apr. 22 @ LA Lakers 2:30 p.m.
Apr. 24 vs Sacramento 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 25 vs Denver 7:00 p.m.
Barons fans, mark your calendars!
Your Oklahoma City Barons made the playoffs! They’ll take on the Houston Aeros in the first round and start games 1 and 2 on the road. The Barons will return home for game 3 this Sunday, April 22 at 7 p.m. Games 4 & 5 be on Tuesday, April 24 and Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. if necessary.
Don’t miss out on great playoff hockey! Call 232.GOAL to get your tickets today.
Support your OKC RedHawks
Baseball is back in OKC in the newly-named Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Apr. 20 @ Nashville Sounds
Apr. 21-24 vs. Albuquerque Isotopes
Apr. 26-29 vs. Round Rock Express
Apr. 30 @ Albuquerque Isotopes
Purchase your tickets online at MILB.com.
It’s not often I’ll copy and paste a unsolicited press release, but in this case, I’ll make the exception. Besides, it coincides with my having to shell out money today for a Project 180-related parking ticket.
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Contrary to public opinion, the goal of nearly every municipal parking authority is not to see how many tickets their officers can write. The goal is to provide parking availability through space turnover, and to create safety for pedestrians and drivers. Unfortunately parking tickets are needed to ensure this happens. The International Parking Institute, the largest trade association of the parking industry, offers this advice to avoid parking citations:
1. Pay the Meter. This one is simple: just pay. Don’t think you can flip on the flashers to avoid a ticket because you are only going to be gone for one minute. In the eyes of a parking enforcement officer, flashers translate to “Ticket me!”
2. Pay by Phone. Many municipalities offer meters or pay stations that allow you to pay by credit card, with a smart phone, or with rechargeable parking smartcards. Go online or download the mobile app of the pay-by-phone provider in your area and create an account. Most pay-by-phone apps will even send a text reminder when your meter is about to expire.
3. Stash Quarters. Though many cities are adopting high-tech ways to make finding and paying for parking easier, keeping a roll of quarters in your glove compartment is a good idea.
4. Garage It. Parking garages are designed for long-term parking while meters and on-street spaces are designed for short-term parking. If you are staying longer than several hours, parking in a garage is less expensive than getting a ticket.
5. Use Public Transportation. Walking, taking the bus, or train is an easy way to avoid tickets. People tend to complain about gasoline prices and parking availability, yet 88 percent of all trips in the U.S. are made in a car. Using mass transit is good for the planet, too.
6. Look around. Before leaving your vehicle, check for No Parking signs. Also, be sure you are not blocking a fire hydrant, illegally occupying a handicapped spot, or parked on a pedestrian cross-walk.
7. Appeal. Most municipal parking authorities have a process that allows citizens to appeal parking tickets. The likelihood of winning your appeal is low, but ticket writers make mistakes and first-time parking tickets are sometimes voided.
8. Reform. If you are a habitual violator, take measures to reform. As a last resort, check whether your city plans a parking ticket amnesty program which allows citizens with multiple citations to come clean by paying off their tickets at a discount, or with late fees removed.
Free parking and no tickets sounds appealing, but as Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, General Manager, Republic Parking System, a contributor to the Parking Matters® Blog, explains: “Ticketing isn’t designed to be punitive. It’s about fairness and turnover. Successful downtowns depend on available parking to allow customers to patronize shops and restaurants and get where they want to go.”
If it’s any consolation, revenues generated by parking ticket fines usually get re-invested in community maintenance, beautification and safety programs.
# # #
The International Parking Institute (IPI) is based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. www.parking.org. Each year, thousands of parking professionals attend the world’s largest parking event, the IPI Conference & Expo, this year in Phoenix, Ariz. June 10-13, 2012.