POSTED ON JULY 2, 2008:
Looking Forward to 2009
Young love and a little "Momentum" stir up excitement for year five
Where Art Thou? I had visions of a night with even better music and a sea of art-loving folks. Sadly, neither materialized. My first "Momentum Tulsa" came down on the wrong side of my aspirations.
Last week my girlfriend and I celebrated our fourth anniversary. Two together and two apart (geographically). I prefer the former. That's why I'm in Tulsa.
I'll spare you many of the details, but I will say the anniversary was during the week. I planned a special dinner at KEO on Brookside and then a walk to KoKoa Chocolatier. My partner is a borderline chocoholic. She'd referenced the chocolatier several times previously, so I thought this would be a nice way to show her I'd been listening and reward her sweet tooth. I'd also get something chocolate-y out of it. Win. Win.
The dinner was delicious. The chocolate--"even better." But, most importantly, we had the opportunity to enjoy one another's company. A fine evening, really. This was my way of honoring our relationship.
My girlfriend, Cristi, and I have a way of extending events so that they don't just last one day. It's more of an anniversary week. So, I ask you, what would be the perfect weekend conclusion to our anniversary week? Are you thinking candles? How about a day at the spa? Not a bad idea, huh?
Cristi decided that the best way to express her adoration for me was to volunteer me for a shift at the "Momentum Tulsa" art show and event on June 21. "Tearing tickets?" you ask. "Hanging art," you assume. Surely you jest!
Garbage duty. Trash. Yes, she signed me up to haul rubbish. Happy anniversary, honey!
In all seriousness we had discussed it for weeks and I was okay with it. If the opening party for "Momentum Tulsa" needed some help, I was happy to lend a hand or a set of arms. After all, I'm an experienced volunteer.
Also, Cristi put a great deal of thought into planning a day just for us. It was somewhat of a treasure hunt that led me around Tulsa to all our favorite places. A game of Cribbage at Coffee House on Cherry Street with my favorite person is never frowned upon. The day culminated with quite a surprise gift. Concert tickets. Thank you, sweetheart.
Thus, I wasn't too torn about having to "work" at "Momentum." I planned to attend anyway and this just meant I could give a little back, even if that only meant moving three aluminum cans from the trash to the recycle bin. I gave my little back!
Cristi signed us up for the first shift, which was the shift with the least amount of trash. Smart. I did a lot more talking than I did trash collecting, but I was prepared. If that counts. It should. It does.
With the cans moved into the proper bin, I was ready to enjoy the art. This was the fifth year of "Momentum Tulsa," so I had big expectations. I was looking forward to packed streets outside of Liggett and Living Arts Studios (3rd and Kenosha). The streets--or so-called block-party--were slowly filling with people and the pleasant sounds of Guardant. This was my first time seeing the local electro-pop band and, while they're youngsters and have room for growth (who doesn't?), I liked them. They pulled off a Devo cover. Not everyone can do that.
I had visions of a night with even better music and a sea of art-loving folks. Sadly, neither materialized.
My first "Momentum Tulsa" came down on the wrong side of my aspirations.
Maybe the cost of a ticket ($7 advance, $10 door) was too much of a deterrent for some. I talked to several worthy of speculation and adopted their stance. I understand the conjecture.
I enjoyed several pieces by Oklahoma artists under the age of 30, but I wasn't dazzled. I like to be dazzled. I will mention three artists that received my vote for best artist (as voted by those in attendance). Someone mentioned only voting once, but I often think I should be allowed more than one vote, so I stuffed the ballot box. No one stopped me.
Grace Grothaus, Jason Lockhart and the eventual winner of the Viewer's Choice award, Aaron Hauck. If making it into the show and receiving compliments and votes from hundreds of strangers wasn't enough, I, an art novice, appreciate your work.
But, where were all the performance pieces? I saw only one and unfortunately it was plagued by a faulty sound system. Disappointment. I've always enjoyed a performance piece.
Although Kenosha Avenue, Liggett and Living Arts Studios, and the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center gallery, which was also displaying "Momentum" artists, were never jam-packed, the after party at Tiny Lounge was not so tiny. I couldn't get in the door without throwing an elbow.
Typically, I thoroughly enjoy art events in Tulsa because I have no expectations. "Momentum Tulsa" displayed fine work from many young Oklahomans. The sky was the limit.
Maybe I consider it a bust because I had to work. Maybe it's because the turnout didn't meet my projections (made me look foolish). Maybe there was no way it could compare with the rest of the week's events.
One last bone worth picking: this is easy for me to say, but what about some bigger, flashier awards for the artists. This is supposed to be a big deal! Can't Tulsa's awards improve so they're not laughable in comparison with Oklahoma City's "Momentum" awards? If Oklahoma City's winner gets a trip to Paris then Tulsa's should at least get a trip to Winnipeg. Come on!
I'll give you another chance next year, "Momentum Tulsa," but it might help if you don't schedule during my anniversary week. Drop me a line when you start planning. I'll let you know. If there is no conflict, pencil me in for the first shift of trash duty.
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