Tulsa's Local Arts Scene

Our guest is the well-regarded Pennsylvania-based poet, Ron Silliman, who has written and edited over 30 books, and who is seen as one of the founders of the so-called Language Poetry movement in American literature. A 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, Silliman also received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010 (among many other honors). He'll be reading from and talking about his work tonight (the 11th) as part of the 2nd Annual TulsaLitFest.

Laid Time Table with Cycads (detail) by Beth Lipman

On this edition of ST, we speak with the noted contemporary artist, Beth Lipman, who is known for her intricate and even breathtaking glass work. Her show, "Beth Lipman: Accidental Vestiges," opens today (the 5th) at 108 Contemporary as part of the First Friday Art Crawl in downtown Tulsa. An artist who employs a craft-making process -- and a great deal of glass -- in order to emulate or evoke such traditional "still life" subjects as food, books, and table arrangements, Lipman uses crystal materials in new and thoughtful ways.

Photo by Bernie Guzik

Our guest is the locally based musician and photographer, Bernie Guzik. As a tuba player, the Ohio-born Guzik, who attended Julliard, has peformed with the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Tulsa Symphony, and so forth. Now retired from music, he devotes more and more time to his other longtime passion: photography. Guzik tells us about this passion, which has led him to travel all over the world, documenting vanishing cultures with his camera.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Rubén Rengel, the 22-year-old Venezuelan violinist who won the 2018 Sphinx Competition, which is held annually for talented Black and Latino string players. Rengel will appear in Tulsa on Saturday night, the 16th, with the Signature Symphony at TCC. (More info and details on tickets are here.) On the program, Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D major, op. 35, which is a feature for Rengel, as well as Amy Beach's Symphony in E minor (a/k/a "the Gaelic").

On this edition of ST, we learn about The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, which is scheduled to open on the campus of OSU in Stillwater in October of this year. And although it's not yet open, the McKnight Center will soon offer -- from February 25th through March 3rd, with performances in Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Dallas -- its second Chamber Music Festival. This festival will feature intimate soirée performances, a youth concert for area students, master classes for OSU student musicians, and a free community concert (happening in Stillwater on Saturday the 2nd).

On this edition of ST, we're discussing a new production being offered by the Tulsa-based American Theatre Company. It's "Sunday in the Park with George," the Stephen Sondheim masterpiece, which will run from tonight (Friday the 15th) through the 24th at the Tulsa PAC. Based on the familiar Seurat painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," this landmark musical -- which won a Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for ten Tony Awards -- blends the past and the present into a dreamy, beautiful meditation on life, love, and why human beings strive to create art.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we chat with artist Joel Daniel Phillips, who is currently a Tulsa Artist Fellow. A California native, he tells us about his new show, "It Felt Like the Future Was Now," which is on view at Philbrook Downtown through May 19th. Per the Philbrook Downtown website: "Phillips chooses images charged with history. The labor, both physical and emotional, needed to create his graphite drawings is part of what draws the viewer into the work.

Our guest is Catherine Whitney, the Chief Curator and Curator of American Art at Philbrook Musuem of Art here in Tulsa. She tells us about a just-opened, far-reaching exhibit at Philbrook, curated by herself, called "Making Modern America." Featuring 60+ paintings, photographs, design objects, and prints -- and on view through May 26th -- this show explores how U.S. artists working from 1910 to 1960 depicted the dramatic social and environmental changes of this pivotal era.

On this edition of ST, an in-depth chat with Scott Hurst, a longtime artist on the Tulsa scene who will soon present a new exhibition of his work at the Liggett Studio in downtown Tulsa (at 314 So. Kenosha). "Playtime > Discoveries" will feature paintings, collages, and prints that Hurst has created over the past 30 years or so -- many (but not all) of them in the abstract mode. The show opens on Friday the 8th and runs through March 2nd; more info is posted at LiggettStudio.com.

Mayfest -- the downtown Tulsa celebration that's been a spring highlight in our community since the 1970s -- is scheduled this year for May 17th, 18th,and 19th. And as we learn on today's ST, big changes are planned. Our guest is the executive director of Mayfest, Heather Pingry, who tells us that the festival is moving to the Tulsa Arts District (which is located a bit further north of its original location). Pingry adds that this move will also help to fill the gap left by the closure of the Blue Dome Arts Festival.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about "The Gun Show," a critically acclaimed one-person play by the Oregon-based playwright, E.M. Lewis. It's being staged at the Nightingale Theater (1416 East 4th Street) through January 26th by the Midwestern Theatre Troupe, and Ms. Lewis is our guest today. As she tells us, this play aims to candidly and sincerely present both sides of the gun-control issue through a series of distinct yet related scenes or vignettes. More about the play is posted here.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is the Music Director for the Signature Symphony at TCC, Andrés Franco, who also serves as the Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony. As the Signature Symphony continues to celebrate its 40th-anniversary season, Franco joins us to promote this organization's next concert. That concert -- titled "Bach & Sons, Inc." -- will happen on Saturday the 26th at the VanTrease PACE, beginning at 7:30pm, and it will feature works by C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach, and P.D.Q. Bach.

Our guest on StudioTulsa is Tamara Lebak, a Tulsa-based executive coach, organizational development consultant, and minister. She's also an accomplsihed singer-songwriter in the folk/roots/blues/alt-country manner, and she joins us to discuss her new album: "The Psalms Project: Volume 1." As Lebak has written of herself and her music online: "I'm a Universalist minister who believes that the Bible is ultimately about the relentless and persistent love of God.

In recent days, per our year-end custom, we've been offering The Best of StudioTulsa -- i.e., encore presentations of interviews from throughout 2018 across a range of topics and themes. Here's a guide (complete with on-demand audio links) regarding what we have re-aired of late, and when we've re-aired it. On 12/26/18, we offered our February 2018 chat with the author of "Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissan

On this edition of our program, we offer an engaging conversatiuon with Deborah Hunter, a Behavioral Health Rehab Specialist and Case Manager at Family & Children's Services here in Tulsa. She's been with F&CS since 2011, and she is also a longtime and award-winning poet. Interestingly, Hunter also works as a social worker for the Tulsa City-County Library, mainly at the TCCL's Central Branch (and 5th and Denver).

Our guest is Tim Sharp, who has for several years now served as both Artistic Director and Conductor of the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus. He tells us about the newest TOC concert, "Russian Choral Classics," which will happen on Friday night (the 14th) at 7:30pm in Holy Family Cathedral (in downtown Tulsa). The evening will offer a cappella choral works -- both sacred and secular -- by Chesnokov, Grechaninov, Rachmaninov, and others. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please go here.

Our guest on ST is the locally based photographer and writer, Rhys Martin, who joins us to discuss his new book: "Lost Restaurants of Tulsa." The book is just out, and it reveals the histories of dozens of restaurants from T-Town's past -- family sagas, culinary wonders, beloved diners, edge-of-town favorites, popular hang-outs, and more. It's a book that's sure to appeal to those who can lip-smackingly recall the likes of Pennington's, Shotgun Sam's, Villa Venice, The Golden Drumstick, The Razor Clam, St. Michael's Alley, The Louisiane, et al.

Photo by Steve Clem

The Sand Springs Cultural & Historical Museum is presenting the artwork of the late Louisiana Cajun painter, George Rodrigue. Rodrigue is best known for his "blue dog" paintings, which he created over the last two decades of his life, but throughout his career, he painted numerous images depicting the people and places of his south Louisiana home. 

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we get to know Ricco Wright, who owns and operates the nonprofit Black Wall Street Gallery, a recently created art space on Greenwood Avenue. After Wright graduated from Union High School, he studied mathematics as a Bill Gates Scholar at Langston University. Thereafter he earned a doctorate in math at Columbia University, after which he lived and worked in New York City for a decade. As Wright tells us, his own passion for the arts -- visual, musical, verbal, and otherwise -- flourished considerably while he was based in NYC.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're pleased to present another installment in our twice-monthly Museum Confidential podcast series (which is co-created by Jeff Martin of Philbrook Museum and Scott Gregory of Public Radio Tulsa). This time around, MC chats with Bob Dylan Archive curator Michael Chaiken, who's based in both Brooklyn and Tulsa. He tells us how they're pretty much trying NOT to make a museum with the forthcoming Bob Dylan Center (to open in downtown Tulsa in 2021). At least, not a "museum" in the traditional sense of the term.

Originally formed at The Juilliard School, Tesla Quartet won 2nd Prize at the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2016. And their very first CD is just being released this month. Chamber Music Tulsa is pleased to bring this special collective back to our community; they were last in town in 2013. Tesla will offer a pair of exciting concerts this weekend: tonight (the 12th) at the Renaissance Square Event Center on 11th Street, and then Sunday afternoon (the 14th) at the Williams Theatre in the Tulsa PAC.

On this installment of ST, we learn about a remarkable and newly launched exhibit at Gilcrease, "Americans All!" This show, which is ongoing, is (per the Gilcrease website) the museum's "latest exhibition drawn from [its] permanent collection...[and it] showcases the many positive contributions immigrants have made, and continue to make, to American life and culture.

On this edition of our show, we chat with Emily Zilber. A former curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and currently the editor of Metalsmith magazine, Zilber is now in Tulsa to serve as the curator for VisionMakers 2018 at 108 Contemporary. This show, which is the gallery's juried biennial exhibition, features the work of contemporary craft-based artists from a multi-state region, all of whom combine cutting-edge concepts with traditional skills in order to push the boundaries of art, craft, and design.

Tulsa Ballet will begin a new season tomorrow night (Friday the 14th) with the return of its long-running "Creations in Studio K" annual presentation. This time out, the three-part "Creations" evening includes a first-time-ever collaboration between Tulsa Ballet and Philbrook Museum of Art -- i.e., a work entitled "Pentaptych." Our guests today, choreographer Ma Cong and artist Eric Sall, tell us all about this special dance-meets-painting endeavor: how it came about, how it was developed and refined, and how it will unfold onstage.

Signature Symphony at Tulsa Community College is now celebrating, with the arrival of its 2018-19 season of concerts, forty years of entertaining Tulsa-area audiences. Our guest is Andres Franco, the Music Director for Signature Symphony, who also serves as Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of Caminos del Inka. As Mr.

Photo by Ivan Caro

On this installment of ST, we offer a far-reaching discussion with the recently named Director of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Carolyn Sickles. She's worked as an artist, independent curator, educator, and arts administrator in her career thus far, and prior to arriving in Tulsa (earlier this summer) she was the Director of Visual Arts and Engagement at Abrons Arts Center on New York City's Lower East Side.

Our two guests on ST are the architects who will design the forthcoming Bob Dylan Center, which will be the "public face" of the Tulsa-based Bob Dylan Archives -- and which is slated to open in 2021 at the corner of MLK Blvd. and Archer Street. After a far-reaching, international competition, architect Tom Kundig (of the well-regarded, Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig) was chosen by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to design this exciting new public venue. Along with Mr.

Our guest is Ken Tracy, the executive director of the non-profit Choregus Productions, which has been bringing world-class contemporary dance to Tulsa for several years now. Choregus will soon present its third annual Summer Heat International Dance Festival, beginning on Saturday night, the 28th, with a performance at the Tulsa PAC by Doug Varone and Dancers -- to be immediately followed by a gala opening reception. Then Beijing Dance Theater (shown above) will perform on Sunday afternoon, the 29th.

Photo by John Cohen / Bob Dylan in 1962

On this edition of ST, we speak once again with Michael Chaiken, the curator of the Tulsa-based Bob Dylan Archive, which is currently located at the University of Tulsa's Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum, and which houses some 6,000 items related to Dylan's life and career in music -- nearly six decades of writings, recordings, memorabilia, film, and more. This facility is meant for researchers and scholars; it is not open to the public.

The long-awaited Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (or OKPOP) is our topic on today's StudioTulsa. The design of the downtown Tulsa building that will house this museum has jus been announced. The structure will be on Main Street, across the street from the Cain's Ballroom, with construction to begin in the fall of this year.

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