While Jake Berthot might not be a household name, those who run in the same circles as those who put brush to canvas likely have at least heard of him, as he's quite a distinguished painter.
Oh, he's just been on the recipient of a little thing called the Guggenheim Fellowship and another pittance known as a National Endowment for the Arts grant. In case you didn't know, those are pretty big deals. And those are just the highlights.
Also, he's got works on display at places like the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Well, so now you have some idea of who Berthot is and why it's kind of awesome that he and his art are here in our little town.
Sponsored by the Ruth Mayo Distinguished Visiting Artist Endowment Fund, the Berthot exhibit is being held in the Alexandre Hogue Gallery in Phillips Hall on the University of Tulsa campus and runs through December 13.
Berthot is only the latest in a series of artists brought to town by the Mayo endowment, according to Mary Whitney, who works in TU's School of Art in the university's College of Arts and Sciences.
"We have a Mayo exhibit every year," she said. "And it's always a painter, and the painting professor goes to New York City once a year."
That professor, Mark Lewis, has an Ivy-league MFA, so he knows a couple of people here and there.
"He's a graduate of Yale, so just through his channels and connections, he knows this person," Whitney said. "It's not uncommon for our visiting artists to be faculty elsewhere, because sometimes they work with our students and maybe give them some feedback and talk about their own development process."
While that doesn't involve teaching any survey courses, it does involve lots of hands-on experience for the TU art students.
"What he's doing isn't exactly master classes," Whitney said. "He goes to the individual graduate students' studios and gives them some feedback."
If you're studying painting, having someone like Berthot kind of help you out is pretty freaking cool.
The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Winter Celebration, presented by Tulsa Ballet Theatre
This annual, one-night-only shindig is a favorite among TBT lovers. It's also a bit pricey, but it always makes for a terrific evening.
There's a bit of hanging out with the dancers, there's a reception before the show, and the pieces in the show itself have been chosen by the dancers themselves.
Those who think the ballet is boring will find themselves surprised by a night like this one, as it usually contains pieces that are genuinely funny, as well as those that are indescribably beautiful. Then again, "indescribably beautiful" nearly always sums up a TBT anything.
TBT's Winter Celebration will be held at 6pm on Thursday, Nov. 29 at Tulsa Ballet's Studio K, located at 1212 E. 45th Place. Tax-deductible ticket packages start at $75 and go up to $250 and can be obtained by phone at 918-392-5903 or through the company's web site at tulsaballet.org.A Blossom, Dearie!, presented by the Ok. Jazz Hall of Fame
Rebecca Ungerman's Spinning Plates Productions revives one of its SummerStage works this Sunday at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
A Blossom, Dearie! is a fictionalized account of the life of jazz singer Blossom Dearie. While many may not know her name, anyone who spent any time at all in front of Saturday morning cartoons heard her soprano voice in many of the "Schoolhouse Rock" pieces.
Annie Ellicott and Sarah Maud both play the chanteuse, with Ellicott playing the singing parts and Maud holding down the spoken portions of the somewhat biographical show. Why only somewhat? Because nobody knows much at all about Dearie's life off the stage. Why should that stop playwright Ungerman, though?
Fresh off the overseas premiere of another show of hers -- The Unwitting Wife, performed at Israel's Tiberias International Theatre Festival -- Ungerman returns to Tulsa with this piece as writer, if not actually appearing in it. By her own account, she needed to cast Ellicott because "I couldn't sing like [Dearie] if my life depended on it."
Billed as "a story of artistry, feminism, politics, and above all, music," A Blossom, Dearie! shows at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame for one night only. Tickets for the Saturday, Nov. 24 show are available through the Jazz Hall's website at okjazz.org and are $10. The show is at 8pm, and the Hall is located downtown at 111 E. 1st St.
Sweet and Hot Turkey Trot Swing Dance, presented by the Ok. Jazz Hall of Fame
Ungerman will appear onstage a day before A Blossom, Dearie!, and will do so on the same stage on Nov. 23.
She will perform with Cindy Cain and Pam Van Dyke, along with a live band, and the three will belt out dance tunes all freaking night.
A $10 ticket (from okjazz.org) gets you in for an event that starts at 7:30pm and runs until 10pm, which shouldn't be too late for you, even if you did participate in the horrific atrocity that is Black Friday.
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