POSTED ON JULY 4, 2012:
Magic, Mischief and Goldmines
Air-conditioned culture in many forms sure to entertain while America celebrates
The exploration of central female characters from fairy tales is the theme of the July installment at the Tulsa Artist Coalition, featuring Tulsa born Ryan Pack's collection Metaphors of Magic.
"I've branched out recently and started working on literary figures as well as fairy tale figures," Pack said. "The main thread between all the figures is the elements of the fantastic and how they can apply to real life."
Graduating with a BFA in painting and printmaking, Pack completed a yearlong residence with figurative realism painters Shane and Sara Scribner.
"Like most young girls, I adored all the Disney princess movies -- The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast especially. As with most Disney movies, the actual fairy tales are much darker, though the movies arguably have their own warped messages," Pack said.
Pack's work has been displayed at Scribner's Gallery, the Plaza District Gallery, and the Individual Artist of Oklahoma Gallery in Oklahoma City.
"Then there are the stories that may have not been my favorites but certainly left the biggest impression on me as a kid like Hansel and Gretel and The Red Shoes. I still can't believe those stories were told to kids," she said.
Keeping ones heart in the right place was a common theme in the artist's intention of this current exhibit.
"I think it's learning to trust your own judgment and instincts," Pack said. "Most of us know whether or not what we're doing wrong. Doing the wrong thing can feel pretty good sometimes but there's still that nagging, rotten feeling that comes afterwards."
The exploration of one's own moral compass and choosing to listen in and make moral decisions or simply ignore it is another aspect of exploration Pack is interested in.
"Fairy tale figures may have to endure hardships as a result of making ethical decisions. I don't know that it always works that way in real life but still, it's something worthy of aspiring to," she said.
In creating her own fairy tale, Pack has a sure-fire rule for creating her own happy ending:
"Treat others the way we want to be treated. It seems like that's so easy for people, me included, to forget."
Opening night reception for Metaphors of Magic is July 6, from 6-9pm at the Tulsa Artist Coalition, 9 E. Brady St. The exhibition will be on display through July 28.
And also in the Brady District, don't forget the First Friday Art Crawl July 6, when the district's gallaries, studios and businesses will be open late to showcase the work of local artists.
An artistic death-match between father and son and the audience decides the winner? It might sound like a prime-time summer television guilty pleasure, but for the father-son team of Eli and Michael Wright, this contest of songs, poetry and random comments will be presented live as part of the SummerStage line up at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
"My father and I have always been writers, and because that's the biggest thing we have in common, that's what we've bonded over through the years. Up until now we never really talked about who was 'better' because, in a family, everybody is as equal as pie," Eli Wright said.
Michael Wright, the father in the contest, explains the idea came from a very non-literary source.
"The death-match notion came about through a friend who's involved in luchador competitions and it just seemed like a very funny idea to promote our show as a literary blood bath. Who'd want to miss that, right?" Wright said.
This leads one to ponder: How, exactly, does one train for a contest of this caliber?
"Well, when one is preparing to obliterate one's father with one's various talents, a well-practiced victory dance is in order, as well as a good assortment of 'Yo Mamma' jokes, just in case I lose. On top of that, I also may have bribed a few potential audience members with candy," Eli Wright said.
Michael, not to be out-shined, retorted with hot wiring audience member's seats to explode if they do not vote for him. Michael is also counting on his unique training method and has one sure-fire factoid on his side.
"As for training, I run a yard every day and build up my jaws by eating a unthawed bagel. I also practice the ancient Druid art of 'EEgonEEgon-gon,' which I can't discuss here or anywhere but trust me when the last minnow has been squished I will be unvanquishable. Senior citizens rule and if you don't believe that, take a look around: We're everywhere," Michael Wright said.
It's not all slings and arrows -- the audience will delight in the notion that audience participation is paramount to deciding the winner.
"The audience is going to do all sorts of things," Eli Wright said, "like flap their arms if they like me, or, screech like a chimpanzee if they like my father. There's going to be all sorts of on-the-spot nonsense. It should be really fun."
While Eli relies on the goodness of participating audience members, Michael is armed to the teeth in diversion tactics.
"What Eli has described is correct, though what he doesn't know (shhh) is that the audience, when it comes time to vote for him, will be instructed to vote with the sound of one hand clapping, or of a gentle breeze, where mine will be the screechy votes. I have to win somehow," Michael Wright said.
Don't miss this unique opportunity to cheer on your favorite Wright family member at The Wright Stuff 7:30pm July 7-8 at the LaFortune Studio of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $12; $15 for table seating. For mature audiences only.
Washington Gold Mine
A Colgate commercial, they are not.
Still, one cannot miss the opportunity to view George Washington's infamous dentures among the 100 original objects as the exhibit Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon is on display at Gilcrease Museum, just in time for the 4th of July holiday.
What is it like to be the caretakers of items for such an important American historical figure?
"It is a tremendous responsibility," said Mount Vernon Collections Manager Elizabeth Chambers. "We are a long legacy of women since 1858 and we realized that people come to Mount Vernon to see the real thing and they are one of a kind objects that cannot be replicated."
This exhibit, which includes videos, artifacts, three dimensional architectural models, and interactive displays explore Washington's life as a young land surveyor, farmer and entrepreneur, to his years as general and president.
It will run through Sept. 23, in all of its wonderfully educational and air-conditioned bliss at Gilcrease Museum, 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Rd.
What'll I Do?
Janet Rutland is one of those rare birds who contains a wonderful mix of talent, spunk and kindness.
This is her eighth year participating in the SummerStage festival, and she has chosen the music of the widely influential composer Irving Berlin.
"He wrote over 1,500 songs, and many of them have helped shape our culture," Rutland said. "The man gave us 'White Christmas' and 'God Bless America' for heaven's sake!" Neither of which she will be singing in her Cabaret performance July 13 and 14.
Rutland's influences include Top 40 and Country radio mixed with live jazz performance: everyone from Elvis and Hank Williams to Ella Fitzgerald.
"I would recommend all my young jazz singer friends listen to Rebecca Kilgore," she said. "If you're going to emulate someone, please let it be someone good."
While a life of performing might seem glamorous, she describes her Sunday mornings as an "old man routine." "Coffee, walk the neighborhood, Facebook, the World, CBS: Sunday Morning at 9, shower, then face whatever the day might bring," Rutland said.
Rutland may be most recognizable by her past role as Patsy Cline in Always ... Patsy Cline, The Full Monty, or most recently as part the TATE award winning Playhouse production of The Unmentionables.
When asked about the afterlife, Rutland exclaims she wants to be greeted with, "Your table's waiting. Jeff is your server. Will you be having cocktails?"
Your table is waiting for an evening of the celebration of the music of Irving Berlin, as presented by Janet Rutland at 7:30pm July 13-14 at the LaFortune Studio at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10; $16 for table seating.
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