Cover Band Correction
OK. You know I love the UTW. I appreciate all of the support it has given the music scene over the years. I love the new slick look. Heck, I even think I might be in love with your cover model. Wait for it...
BUT, I have to comment on the way our band, The Plumbers, was described in the ABOT (July 17-23, 2008) issue this week. Contrary to the blurb, we haven't played "Brick House" in several years. We've never played anything by Lenny Kravitz, and I'm pretty sure our bass player, John, couldn't even tell you the name of a song by Rage Against the Machine. Hey, the UT writers can't be everywhere, but if they ever want to check out what songs The Plumbers are really screwing up, have them e-mail us, and we'll make them our guests at a show.
Get Outta Tulsa County
Tulsa voters will have another one of those "critical" election votes on Tuesday, July 29, 2008. This will be the time for Tulsa's voters who are members of the Republican party to restore integrity to the Tulsa County Commissioner's office (District 2). It's long past time for County Commissioner Randi Miller to be retired, forcibly unfortunately, by her constituents.
Tulsa voters have been faced with multiple instances of critical, local elections since about the 2000 to 2002 time frame. First the city of Tulsa desperately needed a change in the Mayor's office, after nearly ten years of former Mayor Susan Savage. Tulsans let it be known that a change was needed, and Ms. Savage heard the whispers of a needed retirement, and left office.
Then, once again our city desperately needed some changes to the Tulsa City Council. Tulsa voters wisely took appropriate action, and today, the face of the City Council reflects a positive, but independently thinking group working together, not, simply against each other. Those councilors who craved fight, after fight, are now gone, along with a couple who wanted our city to remain a sanctuary city, where those who crossed our borders illegally, found a welcome mat. It seems Tulsa voters always do the right thing.
Now, the fairgrounds needs a thorough cleaning of possible crookedness, marked by devious deals that somehow always seem to have the name Jerry Murphy come up. Every single time I drive by the Tulsa fairgrounds, I'm sickened by the fact that children are no longer laughing and having the time of their lives at former Tulsa landmark, Bell's Park. The debris from the tear down of Bell's is long gone, the salvageable having been hauled off to Robbie Bells warehouse, and some to a landfill, but the stench of the closed door dealing to run Bell's Park off, still reeks from the fairgrounds. Why the Tulsa District Attorney failed to convene a grand jury in the matter, still escapes me. And if the local DA lacked the courage and backbone to investigate the possible corruption, the State's Attorney General should have stepped in. Those two important law officers will likewise face Tulsa voters, and can explain their actions at that time, should they choose to run for re-election.
The voters will step in, and take the important next step. Randi Miller must be retired. Then, Tulsans need a robust debate by the Republican nominee, and Democratic nominee candiate for Dist. 2 County Commissioner, with both stating how they will clean up the fairgrounds (i.e Jerry Murphy's no-bid midway concession contract, along with the despicable mess at Big Splash Water Park). The two candidates will decide if Jerry Murphy's time has come to leave the Tulsa fairgrounds. The voters will not stand for any Commissioner who is intimidated by Murphy's choice of attorney, no matter how famous they are. Whatever the financial cost in the short run, the fairgrounds must be cleaned up, once and for all, where every singed contract can withstand the illumination of daylight.
To Ms. Miller, I honestly wish you the best, but you must go. May the Lord direct you in the right direction, in the future.
Eye of the Beholder... and the Taxpayer
Dear Park Board, Tulsa Arts Commission members and fellow Tulsans:
I am outraged at the fact that this so-called "pole art" is on display to begin with. For the several years that I have lived across from the park, I honestly thought those ugly poles were to be climbed much like the exercise equipment throughout the riverpark.
Now we are going to use more city resources to relocate these eyesores to Newblock Park? (Sorry Mr. Pershall, tying 3 telephone poles together with rope is NOT art.)
I find it amusing that the new location is the less-travelled Newblock Park. Something tells me that this has to do with the recent renovations of the riverpark. If I had privately funded that much money to revamp the paths, I, too, would have asked that those poles be removed had I known they were being passed off as sculpture. But this isn't about renovations or the sculpture park. It's about taking a less-than-desirable piece of "art" and shifting the burden to a less-than-desirable location where fewer people will be forced to look at it.
If you want to put in some nice, bronze sculptures, fine! But telephone poles?!?!!?
I think it's great that the Arts Commission wants to improve a park. But it seems at every turn, Tulsans are asked for more money for something or another. If this is the best use of our tax dollars then we desperately need to lower taxes or reconsider who we elect to make these kinds of decisions.
Do we really NEED to relocate those ugly poles? Is this the best use of our city's tax money? My advice: give them back and kindly thank Mr. Pershall. If the telephone poles are of ANY artistic merit, he won't have any problem finding a new home for them....elsewhere!
-A Concerned Tulsan
Goals, not Gimmicks
State School Superintendent Sandy Garrett recently announced in her annual Oklahoma State of Education address three goals for Oklahoma's schools; these goals include decreasing classroom interruptions, hiring graduation coaches, and integrating new technologies into the classroom. We need real goals to improve the failure of public education not these three gimmicks.
Oklahoma spends over half its budget on education resulting in almost one third of all Oklahomans being functionally illiterate and nearly half of all urban minorities dropping out of school. It is amazing that we continue to accept this Superintendent's ideas for our public schools when her ideas demonstrate such failure and lack of ingenuity. Real improvement will occur when Oklahomans breakup the public education monopoly through competition.
Each parent must have access to a school voucher or education tax credit, empowering them to choose the school that meets the needs of their children the best. Vouchers and/or credits must be universal, giving all parents choice between both public and private schools. School choice would meet the three goals of competition, accountability, and innovation thus bringing about needed reform and true results. The time has come to take the education of our children away from politicians and their gimmicks and give educational choice to parents. Universal school choice is the one and only needed goal!
-Phillip W. Smith
High Price of Art
I guess it is just another sign of the times. This year, for the first time, those in charge of the Utica Square "Art In The Square" show have decided to charge the artists, craftsmen and artisans a non-refundable entry fee for displaying and selling their art work. Charging an application or entry fee is not unheard of. This year the Jenks Art Walk has decided to charge a $25 fee for artists who will exhibit their work. What is surprising, however, is the amount of the Utica Square application fee: One hundred dollars. Whoops! Is that correct? From no charge to $100 all in one fell swoop.
One hundred dollars for an art show that lasts only seven hours! Even the Blue Dome Arts Festival decided this year to charge a fee but their fee was $80 and it was for 3 long days during Mayfest. That is, at least, very reasonable.
Perhaps, the Utica Square Merchants Association does not realize that many, probably most, of the artists who participate do not make their living selling their art but try to supplement their income during these difficult economic times. It is sad enough that art must take a back seat to other more pressing purchases these days, like gasoline and food, housing and clothing, etc.
I personally find it unconscionable in these troubling times that artists must pay to show their art outside at Utica Square when, for that day surely, it is the artists who bring so many customers to the Square. When artists cause hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to visit Utica Square that day it benefits all of the businesses located there. Why should the artists be singled out to foot the bill for this one day art show?
I can not speak for any of the other artists who have done the show in the past but I will not be participating in the Utica Square show this year because of the ridiculous fee they hope to charge us artists when it is the artists who make the show what it has been in the past....one of the best outside art venues in the state. I do believe that such a reputation has been placed in jeopardy.
If there are other artists who feel as I do that we are not only being taken advantage of but that we are being asked to foot the bill for this show in the toughest of times, then I hope that others will join me in expressing their distaste for this change by Utica Square. Perhaps, if enough artists decide that the show is not worth $100 (non-refundable even if it is rained out), then maybe those in charge will lower their fee or lose many more artists than just myself. As I mentioned before, I can only speak for myself but I find it disgusting, disappointing and a damn shame that such a wonderful event has been hijacked and a ransom fee of $100 is being charged to all artists who wish to participate.
I leave it to other artists to make their own decisions about this situation but I will not be among however many (or few) artists decide that it is okay to put the cost of this show on the backs of already burdened artists. I would like to know what other artists feel about this situation and the citizens of Tulsa as well.
-Dennis R. Scott
Tulsa, OK 74104
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