For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. What goes up, must come down.
What works in the realm of physics doesn't necessarily apply in the realm of human endeavor, but the above are four truths that apply to our situation in Tulsa entering 2008.
The first applies to all the city's unsung heroes. Some get credit, some don't. Some are maligned, some ridiculed. Some praised for more than they are worth. We include them all. You know who you are. Our reaction to them is proportionate.
The second, Tulsa is what it is and is not going to change in the near future. Those on this list are part of the establishment we consider worth keeping. Others are those "tweakers" who can work within the system for good. Still other are the outsiders (by choice or circumstance) who nonetheless fight the good fight to make Tulsa a better place.
Third, those on this list got there by setting their careers in motion through sheer force of will. Sure, a little talent and timing come into play, some connections and dues paid, to be sure, but we appreciate free thinking around here. We have many repeat honors to bestow upon those whose energy continues to flow.
Finally, those whose ideas and momentum we have celebrated, be advised: the fall is imminent. Keep up the good work, don't let up or it could all come crashing down. Look at the proposed Wal-Mart downtown.
Our Hot 100 are the sparks, the catalysts, the nuclear fission, that drives Tulsa. Some are self-made, some inherited their positions, some just found themselves in the right place at the right time with the right idea and passion to carry it out.
And for Tulsa, these are the people and organizations who make it happen 365/24/7.
Their passion is growth and development, righting wrongs, seeking truth and justice, usually, the American Way. Super women and men and corporate citizens who see things in black and white, shades of gray, and all the colors of the rainbow.
We chose business and government leaders, local pop culture icons, artists, musicians, teachers and developers. We tried to choose individuals who have flown under the radar most of or all year, those whose influence on our city can be felt but isn't always recognized publicly.
And, as we do every year, we've retired individuals who have made the list year after year, whose power and persuasion in Tulsa are old news by now and who will continue to carry weight in town year after year. We don't appreciate them any less; we've just come to expect their influence. And while we will always recognize it in other areas of the paper, we're saving their spot on this list for someone new.
Of course, we can't recognize everyone. And thus we receive multiple letters after the publications of this issue telling us what moronic bastards we are for leaving "So-and-so" off the list. Most often, we know who isn't on the list. We've recognized their work with other stories and features and, once again, have decided to reserve the list for those we believe to be the Hot 100 of 2008.
But still, send your letters, and we'll read them. Maybe we'll laugh, maybe we'll agree and maybe we'll have someone new to consider for 2009's list.
And no, they are not in any particular order--unless you want to think so.
1. George Kaiser, The Kaiser Family Foundation. We retired this oilman last year after numerous runs on our Hot 100 list but decided to bring him back again for his commitment to Arkansas River development earlier this year. Kaiser, who is notoriously media shy, spent a rare moment out of his shell in an attempt to drum up some support for the Our River Yes campaign. Though voters didn't approve the tax increase that came with the plan, we encourage Kaiser to come back with an even better river development plan with totally private development money.
2. Barbara Santee. Get on this lady's mailing list if you want to know everything there is to know about progressive politics in Tulsa. She gathers and dissimilates information on an almost daily basis and can round up a group of activists at any given moment.
3. Jerry Gordon, Jenks Riverwalk developer. Tulsa wishes it had a Jerry Gordon of its own.
4. Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, also known as PSO, also known at AEP. Often maligned for cutting down trees, trying to bury lines in the neighborhoods of hoity toity Tulsans and accused of raking in the dough for electrical services. Thanks for responding so quickly to bring us back out of the Dark Ages after Ice Storm 2007 hit. Hopefully, if there is a next time (which we hope there isn't), the work you've done now will leave us more prepared--and more aware of the city's needy neighborhoods.
5. John Eagleton, City Councilor for District 7. This guy's shown himself to be a voice of sense and reason in city government. For the most part.
6. Heather Savage, mother extraordinaire. As reported in our 1-7 November edition, this single mother adopted six children from the Department of Human Services. And she's only 26.
7. Oklahoma's Indian tribes and their leaders.
8. Michael Johnson, Vice President of Williams. Suggested by a reader for the potential he has to be a "great political leader for our city." He has an unshakeable optimism and vision for the city of Tulsa. He's been on our list for a few years now, and we are waiting for him to hit his stride.
9. Aurora Ramirez Hilton, Founder of the Greater Tulsa Hispanic Affairs Commission. She serves on the boards of the Citizens Crime Commission and the Community Action Project and is a translator in the Hispanic community, striving to improve race relations in Tulsa from the inside out. And, she's 82.
10. Tom Kivisto. It's probably time to retire this one, too, but we'll give him another year, though we're sure (and we hope) he'll remain active in the community for many years to come.
11. Crooked X. Sure, they're only kids, but they've already toured with the likes of Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper. With Doc McGhee directing their path and Donnie Frizzell managing, a record deal reportedly in the works and talk of a possible reality show on MTV, the future looks bright for these 14-year-old rockers. We just hope they don't peak too soon.
12. Elliot Nelson, entrepreneur. We'll take him off the list as soon as he stops opening and maintaining successful businesses.
13. Eye Candy Burlesque. They take their clothes off, but in a classy way. We love it.
14. Andrew Rice, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. We hope you give Inhofe a run for all his monied connections.
15. Tulsa Now. Helps us keep hand on the indigenous pulse as tulsanow.org. It has an agenda, but it's genuine.
16. Twenty-somethings who are taking the lead and starting their own businesses to make Tulsa better. There are a lot of them, and we're glad they're doing it.
17. Kostis Protopapas, Interim Artistic Director for Tulsa Opera. It's going to take some big, talented feet to fill Carol Crawford's shoes, and we think Protopapas is just the man for the job. He's been TO's chorusmaster since 2001, and whether or not he takes the head honcho position, we know he'll remain steadfastly dedicated to the betterment of Tulsa's opera company.
18. Cason Carter, District 9 City Councilor. Moving straight from the womb to local politics, we hope this young councilor will use his youth and fresh outlook to make positive changes, not only in his district, but also in the city. And, we hope he'll inspire other young professionals to do the same.
19. Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma Sustainability Network. Being on this lists means knowing everything there is to know about sustainability in Oklahoma and the U.S.
20. Zuri Louis and Steve Cluck, owners and designers of the famed Louis & Cluck t-shirts. These two made the list last year for inspiring pride in the city through colorful t-shirts with catchy logos. We're keeping them on the list this year because, after a year in business with no signs of stopping, they've proved their designs are more than a fleeting fad.
21. PDA, Tulsa's own hip hop star. With a national tour already under his belt and plans for touring well into 2008, PDA may be the next act to put Tulsa back on the musical map.
22. Chloe Brown, Chloe's House. Through a program called Fitting Back In, Brown wants to offer women recently freed from incarceration a place to live and get their lives back in order. But that's not without plenty of opposition from her north Tulsa neighbors. Still, she seems determined to offer these women the means to change their lives. Seems like some of her neighbors would do well to follow her lead instead of fighting her all the way.
23. Community Action Project of Tulsa. "Making self-sufficiency a reality for low-income children and families." Sure it's a slogan, but they actually do it--with free tax preparation, affordable housing, financial education, early childhood education and more.
24. Charlene Thomas-Swinson, TU Women's Basketball Coach. First ever NCAA Tournament appearance? Check. First postseason win? Check.
25. The Pride of Broken Arrow Marching Band. They were national champions in 2006. That's a big deal. We wish them the best of luck in 2007.
26. The Child Abuse Network. Is there anything more important?
27. Ken Tracy, founder of Choregus Productions. This guy saw a lot of national and international performers who weren't making it to Tulsa, to Oklahoma or to the Midwest at all. So he decided to form a brand new production company and bring them here himself. With its first full season launched in 2007, Choregus has been responsible for bringing first class acts to town whom Tulsans otherwise wouldn't have had a chance to see here.
28. Jeff Martinson and David Peagarden, musician operators of the Blannk Slate Complex. These two have taken a three-club property at 1st and Detroit and turned it into a musician and audience-friendly venue, hosting some of the best local and national gigs in town in only a few short months of life.
29. Dave Simpson, UTW cartoonist. And probably one of the keenest senses of humor in the city.
30. Phat Phillies. Little restaurant downtown that could rival any local fast food establishment in spite of obscure location and lack of branding.
31. Mother Tucker Ministry Distribution Center. Catering to the city's so-called outcasts. We need more of you.
32. Native American Casinos: Cherokee, Creek Nation, Osage Million Dollar Elm. Why go to Vegas when we can get it all right here?
33. Todd Stephens, founder of Tulsa Biofuels. Along with Robert Stephens and Randy Kimberlin, this guy is doing his part to create biodiesel in Tulsa by turning old cooking oil into fuel. Sounds kinda gross, but it's pretty damn cool.
34. Stephan Egerton, owner and producer of Armstrong Recording. This guy provides an affordable and accessible place for hard rock and punk bands to record. Even MxPx has stopped in and laid down tracks.
35. Eric Marshall, Marshall Brewing Company. Though his business isn't totally off the ground yet, we're excited about the prospect of a local brewery.
36. Reuben Gant, President of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and major force behind the North Tulsa Memorial.
37. Msgr. Gregory Gier, rector, Holy Family Cathedral Parish-for keeping the city's oldest elementary and middle schools thriving as one of downtown's greatest hidden assets. And, for embarking upon an aggressive renovation of the city's oldest, historic basilica at 8th St. and Boudler Ave.
38. Dr. Barry Epperley, Tulsa Signature Symphony. Still goin' strong, we see and hear.
39. The power behind the Preserve Midtown campaign: Patty Southmayd, Barbara Van Hanken, and Melissa Waller. Thanks for trying to save one of our favorite parts of the city.
40. My Solstice, hot young band on the rise. Not content to be just another hard rock group, the guys in My Solstice aren't afraid to tap into pop and progressive rock to change or expectations of local music.
41. Marcello Angelini, Artistic Director of Tulsa Ballet. For someone who was discouraged from dancing because he suffered from scoliosis as a child, he's done some pretty amazing things with the Tulsa company.
42. Kent Morlan. Keeping the city and Downtown Tulsa Unlimited accountable for every decision they make regarding downtown Tulsa.
43. Ken Busby, Oklahoma Arts and Humanities Council. This year, he and the rest of the team are on the list because of the creative center they will unveil in the Mathews Building in 2009.
44. Recycle Tulsa. It ain't easy being green.
45. Bart Ford, owner of Under the Mooch. This local record store aims to provide discerning listeners with all the music they can never hear on the radio. The place also welcomes audiences to some of the coolest free concerts in the city.
46. Paul Nosak, Nosak Tree Service. This guy probably made a killing after the ice storm hit, but you have to appreciate his timing for starting his own reality show, Nosak Raw--weeks before the storm hit. Not that we're sure who would want to watch 30 minutes of men taking down trees, but there's gotta be someone, right? We're setting the DVR to record if only for this statement by the Tree Man himself: "This show documents us tackling the deadliest vegetation on the planet. I try to live my life without regrets and I'm not afraid of failure." Damn straight.
47. Coffeehouse on Cherry Street owner Cheri Asher. It may not look like much from the outside, but with a cool patio, plenty of art within and some of the best coffee in town (locally owned and operated Topeca), it's one of our favorite places to hang out, get work done or catch up with old friends. Here, you almost always run into someone you know.
48. Chuck Lamson, Tulsa Drillers baseball. If we put you on the list, will you build a ballpark downtown?
49. Matt Moffett and Mona Pittenger, founders of the Tulsa Girls Art School Project. This new project gives underprivileged elementary-age girls an opportunity to learn about and explore the visual arts, an opportunity most of them wouldn't otherwise have.
50. The nutty folks at Nightingale Theater for all they do and could do for the community in original and eye-opening dramatic productions.
51. Wilma Palmer, Tulsa County's first female African American judge. Took some work, but you did it.
52. Keith Skrzypczak, founder, editor and publisher of Urban Tulsa Weekly. He gets his name on the list for making keeping all you other guys accountable. Plus, if it weren't for him, we couldn't publish this list.
53. Ra$pberry Grunt. Cool girls making cool clothes. In Tulsa.
54. Chet Cadieux, President/CEO of QuickTrip, chairman of Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce board of directors. A next generation leader who's daddy started the business and prepped him to keep his corporation based in Tulsa and continues to help our city thrive.
55. John Brooks Walton, author, 100 Historic Tulsa Homes and others. With this Tulsa-based series, he's reminded us to appreciate the history of the architecture we see around us.
56. Linda Collier, owner of the Cave House on Charles Page Blvd. She bought the house because she wanted to see what was inside, and now she's giving other curious onlookers the same opportunity by giving tours of the historical place she's renovating.
57. Annie Ellicott. The young siren is proving to be a voice to be reckoned with in Tulsa's jazz community.
58. Coney Island, downtown's original fast food since the roaring twenties.
59. State Representative Jabar Shumate, District 73. We see this guy going places. Big places.
60. The folks at Circle Cinema. Until they give us a reason to take them off the list.
61. Daniel Gulick, founder, Cough Syrup Green and the creator of "Nude," Tulsa's only juried erotic art show.
62. Tara Mason and Christine Crowe, initiators of the Tulsa Craft Mafia and organizers of October's Indie Emporium in downtown Tulsa. For two days, the Mathews Warehouse was occupied by crafty creators and shoppers, bartering for Tulsa-made goods. We'd love to see more events of this kind around Tulsa. If you can do it once, ladies, there's no reason you can't do it again. Tomorrow.
63. Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism. Reminding us to be respectful of all cultures.
64. Micha Alexander, real estate developer. One of the first to jump on the downtown dwelling bandwagon. We're glad the idea caught on.
65. Robby Bell, owner, Bell's Amusement Park. Thanks for all the years of fun. Hope you rebuild soon.
66. Dave Percefull, record producer, musician and owner of Yellow Dog Studios. Some of Tulsa and the country's best acts have come through these studios.
67. Julie Tattershall, Artistic Director, Heller and Clark Theatres. This woman has been a driving force in community theatre for more than 20 years and shows no signs (that we've seen--and we hope not to see any) of quitting.
68. LIFE Senior Services. As the city's population gets older and more readers have to begin dealing with the joys and sorrows of aging grandparents and parents, this group, formerly Tulsa Senior Services, is ensuring that our aging relatives have access to quality care and services and that their caregivers have the support that is needed.
69. Starr Hardgrove, founder of Evandrake Productions and Tulsa Creative Network. He's doing all he can to promote and encourage thespians and creative types, uniting them all through a networking website that will allow them to foster relationships and find work.
70. Michael Bates. Love him or hate him, whether or not you agree with him, this guy knows his stuff and doesn't hesitate to keep city and government leaders accountable and on their toes.
71. The anonymous writers and publishers of Tulsa Crime Monthly. Even TPD officers turn to this short paper, if not for news, then at least for a good laugh.
72. Educators in the Tulsa Public School system.
73. Tom and Susan Wallace, renovating yet another downtown building.
74. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. The local chapter was ahead of its time when it was conceived in the mid-'80s--the 20th chapter established in the U.S.--and has been offering support to the friends and families of homosexuals ever since.
75. Deborah Hunter, poet extraordinaire.
76. GHOSTS. Tulsa's own avant-pop idiot savants aren't afraid to marry Elton John with Flaming Lips or Queen with Queens of the Stone Age, keeping our local indie scene form taking itself too seriously.
77. All of Oklahoma's service men and women and vets.
78. Todd Graham, TU Football Coach. Oklahoma loves football, and Tulsa loves Todd Graham. Great first season. Hope the feeling is mutual as the major programs come a-knockin'.
79. KRSU Radio. For giving us an outlet for all styles of music in one place and supporting local musicians for more than an hour a week.
80. Aida Aydinyan, Barthelmes Conservatory. Making classical music training available to the city's most musically gifted.
81. TJ and Angie Green, founders of Diversafest. It just gets better every year.
82. Peace House Tulsa. It changed locations and leadership, but it's still working to promote peace in Tulsa.
83. Radio Tulsa (NPR). Where those in the know go for local broadcast news.
84. South Tulsa Citizens Coalition for opposing a city-built bridge linking Jenks to Tulsa via Yale Ave. and Yale Place in the best interest of its citizens.
85. On the other hand, Bill Bacon, Infrastructures Inc., the company proposing to build the bridge, for its unbridled entrepreneurship.
86. Dewey Bartlett, Jr. Keener Oil and Gas. Taking what his father gave him even further.
87. Nedra Babcock, founder of the Dustin Babcock Foundation in memory of her grandson, who lost his life to drugs and alcohol.
88. Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform. Seriously, it's time.
89. Davit Sauders. His podcasts are picked up by people around the world, exposing international listeners to Oklahoma music. Shouldn't we be more famous than we are by now?
90. Ken Draper and Tim Gillean, Openarms Youth Project. Addressing and solving the problem of homelessness among Tulsa's youth.
91. Sarah Coburn, rising opera star. She's making a name for herself on national opera stages and debuted with the Tulsa Opera this year as Lakme in Lakme. Fun fact? She's Senator Tom Coburn's daughter.
92. C.D. Ward, editor, The Star, a monthly magazine dedicated to LGBT issues in Oklahoma and the surrounding area.
93. Tim Baker, chef, The Brasserie. Mmm, mmm good.
94. Linda Gray Murphy. The woman is actively involved in nearly every progressive movement and organization in the city.
95. Mike Case, University of Tulsa's very own Boone Pickens. Seems to be helping, as TU's sports are finally garnering an audience of their own. But what are they going to do about getting a respectable crowd in that basketball arena?
96. Linda Beale, Arts Enriching Kids. Another worthy organization offering a creative voice to less-than-privileged children.
97. TU's art program and the Alexandre Hogue Gallery. Bringing world-class exhibits, lectures and instruction to not only TU students, but also the city at large.
98. Rocketplane XP. Who knew that the cutting edge of space travel was being built in Oklahoma? That should keep the other states off our backs for a while.
99. La Semana. Thanks for putting certain city and government issues into perspective.
100. Mayor Kathy Taylor. In between all of the photo ops, guest appearances and press conferences, she's also managed to do her job and get a few things done for the city. We suppose that's all we can ask.
People we hope will make the list in 2008: You're still a little new to Tulsa, but that's not to say we don't have hope for your future.
Ron Palmer. Maybe he'll be a better Police Chief than north Tulsa residents and leaders are expecting.
Dr. Michael Zolkoski, TPS Superintendent. We put you on the list last year because we had high hopes that your influence would be remarkable and instantaneous, but we're holding off in 2007 until we see a little more.
Retirees. These guys and gals have been on our list for years, but, if we don't mention them, someone writes to us freaking out.
Peggy, Walt and every other Helmerich, living or dead
The Arkansas River
Sharon King Davis
Anyone with the last name LaFortune, Chapman, Reynolds or Seigfried.
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