December kicks off with a bevy of holiday-themed (and not holiday-themed) arts events.
Two of our local community theaters continue their annual offerings of holiday classics, with two traditional Christmas productions opening this weekend.
The Broken Arrow Community Playhouse, 1800 S. Main St. in Broken Arrow, opens its production of A Christmas Story this weekend, December 5-6. The show's second run is next weekend, December 11-14.
A Christmas Story, like other holiday productions such as The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol, has become a classic of sorts. The low-budget 1983 film was a sleeper until about 1997, when, all of a sudden, it took on an almost cult following. Now, it's nearly reached "classic" status.
The film and, in return, the play, is based on short stories and autobiographical anecdotes by Jean Shepherd. So the story goes, it's 1940, it's Christmas, and 9-year-old Ralphie Parker wants nothing more than an official Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot BB gun with a compass in the stock.
You know the line.
So he spends the entire season trying to get someone to get him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, always getting the same, wary, one-line response. Finally, the day arrives and he gets his Christmas wish.
Of course, it's the subplots and side stories that give this show its humor, charisma and heart. And, if you're just going to rent the movie again, you might as well make the trip to BA and see it live.
The show starts at 8pm every day except Sun., Dec. 14, when it starts at 2pm. For tickets and other information, visit www.bacptheatre.com.
Young and Old
The other cult classic/holiday favorite you can count on year after year is Clark Theatre's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which opens this weekend, December 5-7, at 11440 E. Admiral and continues next weekend, December 12-14.
Originally a book written by Barbara Robinson in 1972, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the misbehaved Herdman children who somehow end up with starring roles in the church's Christmas play. The book was also made into a movie in 1983.
The Herdman kids lie, smoke cigars and steal. One Sunday, the kids go to church to take advantage of the free snacks the minister gives out and find themselves cajoled into auditioning for the Christmas pageant.
Disaster happens as expected, but, of course, the children also manage to learn the meaning of Christmas. Growing up, this was my favorite Christmas story.
Clark Theatre's productions cast children and teenagers under the age of 18.
All performances begin at 7:30pm except for the Sunday matinees, which begin at 2pm. For tickets and other information, www.clarktheatre.com
'Ol Blue Eyes is Back
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame presents Jeff Shadley and his big band's "Ring a Ding Ding" on Sun., Dec. 7 at 5pm in the Jazz Depot, upper level of 111 E. 1st St.
Shadley and his band perform classic hits by Sinatra as well as newer, original material. Call 596-1001 for more.
On December 5 and 6, the TCC Signature Symphony presents "Oklahoma Christmas with Larry Dalton." Another annual favorite, concert pianist Larry Dalton plays original arrangements of holiday tunes, from international carols to jazzy melodies to familiar holiday favorites.
As always, Dalton uses part of the evening to take requests from the audience. Shows begin at 8pm both nights in the TCC VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education, 10300 E. 81st St. For tickets and other info, www.signaturesymphony.org.
The Four Freshman, Brian Eichenberger, Curtis Calderon, Vince Johnson and Bob Ferreira, make their way to Broken Arrow for a performance Thurs., Dec. 4, sponsored by the Broken Arrow Arts and Humanities Council.
The Four Freshmen are a vocal jazz quartet that began in 1948 with four students at Butler University in Indianapolis: Hal Kratzsch, brothers Ross and Don Barbour, and their cousin Bob Flanigan.
According to the Broken Arrow Arts and Humanities Council, "Working without written music and choosing notes by ear... and they imitated the phrasing and aggressive feel of a big band brass section."
"After we heard ourselves make the sound, we never wanted to sing any other way," said Flanigan.
The performance begins at 7pm in the North Intermediate High auditorium, 808 E. College, in Broken Arrow. Tickets are $15. For more, go to www.artsba.org.
Feast Your Eyes
The Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady, unveils a new exhibit on Fri., Dec. 5, from 6-9pm--"Industrial Landscapes: Photographs by Tim Bailey."
Bailey's photographs "explore the modern industrial landscape with emotive detail."
"As a photographer and visual artist in general, I have always gravitated towards industrial themes," said Bailey in his artist's statement. "In my four years as a resident of Oklahoma, the structures of oil refining, zinc mining and other industries, both extant and abandoned, have inspired me to record industrial scenes that beautify what most would consider 'ugly.' These pieces display a synergy between the artificial and the natural, making use of ominous clouds, soot, darkness, and black silhouettes to portray an uninhabited, desolate world that seems to work around the clock, on its own, without human involvement."
Bailey takes his photographs digitally or with large format film and then manipulates them with Photoshop to create montages that do not actually exist but seem real.
The exhibit hangs through December 27. For more, visit www.tacgallery.org.
The M.A. Doran Gallery, 3509 S. Peoria, opens its annual small works show through the month of December. A variety of media is represented, and original holiday ornaments by local artists will be available. For more, go to madorangallery.com.
And finally, our own Jeremy Charles displays his photographs at Shades of Brown Coffee and Art, 3302 S. Peoria Ave., beginning Fri., Dec. 5.
"Rock City" is a collection of Charles' portraits of various local musicians. Charles has been shooting for Urban Tulsa Weekly for three years, taking some of our publication's best photographs.
His specialty for the past couple of years has been musician portraits, many of which have appeared on the cover of this newspaper.
Tulsa bands featured in "Rock City" include Callupsie, Fiawna Forte, The Red Alert, Annie Ellicott, The Doldrums, Jesse Aycock, Ghosts, Congress of a Crow, Admiral Twin, David Cook, Blackswan, Straight Lines, Cecada, Congratulations!, My Solstice and Crooked X.
Join Charles, the UTW staff and friends at Shades of Brown for an opening reception Fri., Dec. 5 at 6pm. For more information and to see the artist's work, visit www.jeremycharles.com.
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