Friday, May 20, 2011

Paseo Arts Festival Music and WAKARUSA!

I've been working on the music for the south stage at the Paseo Arts Festival the past few months and it's been a great learning experience. I've loved getting to talk with and schedule bands, dancers, poets and more. Plus, everyone on the committee has been so patient while I've learned how to do this. I feel more than lucky to have found a community of people that I will be working with that accepts us and treats us with so much respect.  Plus they're fun! Here are some pics from one of our meetings to prove it! :)

Gayle Brought Us All Butterfly Ears :)

Even Royce Joined in the Fun

I was glad my "ears" coordinated with my outfit. Ha! 

Jo and Nikki Always Make Me Giggle! 

But I've had a lot on my plate...just like everyone else I know.  I'm not complaining because everything I've done, I've chosen to do.  Nobody made me do this and I'm honestly grateful for the experience. I know that when the festival is over I will be happy that it all went well and that it was great people who made it all happen, but the truth is that I've been a little stressed out.  Between final papers, developing sixtwelve, the music at the festival, an event James has been planning on our lot for during the festival, and trying to have a life with some downtime, I can honestly say that I took on too much.

So what changes do I need to make?  I need to slow down.  I need to rest.  I need to say "no" more often. I need to be fine with just being still.  Which believe me, now I am. :)

So how am I going to do these things?  Well, the first thing I'm going to do after the festival is take a little trip.  A group of wonderful girls have invited me to go with them to a music festival, Wakarusa, and some of my other friends are going too.  I'm looking forward to this because I'm not taking my computer and I might not even get phone service out there.  I'm going to totally disconnect from technology for almost a whole week. Yes!

Did I mention that we're camping out? I'm so excited.  I know it's not going to be a peaceful, "camping by the stream" kind of experience. It will be loud and crazy! But it won't be like my life here; always on the go and pushing myself to make things happen.  I'm going to go with the flow and just soak up the music.  Plus, I never went to a multi-day, camp out music festival when I was in my 20s or 30s so now is the time! I might not want to go when I'm 50.  (Who knows? Maybe I will.  Haha!)  I just keep thinking about the fact that we only have this moment that we're in. Who knows what tomorrow holds?  In fact, there's a group that thinks the world is going to end tomorrow.  Here's a picture I took in March of their vans in the mall parking lot!

Sooooo, in the spirit of living in the moment and grabbing life by the horns and doing as much as you can with it, I think I'll go have some ice cream.  The carbs and sugar won't matter if I'm not going to be around tomorrow anyway.  :)

But if for some reason, we get to see another day, I'm going to slow down, exercise more and say no. I've got too much to be grateful for to let stress dictate the quality of my life.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Awnings, Part 2 - Oklahoma City History

I'm working on my second paper right now.  It's about the influence of Italian architecture on that of the Palace of Versailles.  It's been a very interesting topic to research and I'll write more about it in a future blog entry, but for now I wanted to share some things that I learned while researching for my paper on the awning in my neighborhood.  Because my topic was something located in my own community, I found information about Oklahoma City and Crown Heights that I didn't know.

It's been interesting to think about the growth and changes this city has seen over the last century.  I think about what James and I want to accomplish here and it's somewhat comforting to know that so many people have felt exactly what we've felt...and to know that they DID  reach their goals.  It's inspiring! So here's a sampling of some facts I thought were intriguing.

  1. The house house to which the awning is attached was designed in 1938 by the architecture firm, Sorey, Hill and Sorey.  This is the same firm that designed the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, the library/Student Union on OSU's campus and many important buildings here in Oklahoma and outside of the state.  They also designed Crown Heights Christian Church's sanctuary and some of the Sorey, Hill and Sorey families lived in Crown Heights themselves.
  2. Tom Sorey Sr. helped start the architecture program at the University of Oklahoma.  
  3. Crown Heights used to be the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club, until it moved to the Nichols Hills area.  G.A. Nichols developed Nichols Hills, Crown Heights, the Paseo neighborhood and had a hand in Hertiage Hills as well.  He really had a huge vision for our city.  It reminds me of people like Aubry McClendon and others who hold the same ideas of growth and enrichment for OKC today. 
  4. Crown Heights used to be called "Pill Hill" because so many prominent physicians lived in the neighborhood. In fact, the man Sorey, Hill and Sorey built the house for was named Dr. James H. Robinson, a surgeon and obstetrician at the Oklahoma City Clinic. It was the last house he and his wife, Beatrice, would live in as they stayed for almost 35 years.  
  5. The development of Crown Heights was only slowed by the Great Depression for a few years. By 1934 the lots were selling again and development continued.  However, while these buyers' American Dreams were being realized, there were still many people living in migrant camps along the North Canadian River and on May Avenue.  The contrast in these images and circumstances caused me to question the strength of the government programs instituted during the 30s to help the economy. 
  6. Good things did come out of those programs, though. Many artists, musicians, writers, and actors were given work. A huge number of buildings and roads were also built because of the WPA. Check out the structures around Oklahoma lakes and the old armories in your towns. You'll see what I'm talking about.
  7. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art is a grandchild of sorts of the Federal Art Project and The Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra derived from the Federal Music Program. The current Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra is a different organization, but it was created after the former orchestra met its demise in October of 1988 and held many of the same members as the original orchestra. 
  8. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art will be hosting an exhibit of works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum this summer titled, "1934: A New Deal for Artists," and I have to say I'm really excited to see it.  I knew it was coming when I left the museum last summer and was sad that I wouldn't get to work on it.  I can't wait to see it!
  9. The plaque on the wall outside by my front door says that it was built in 1931.  After my research, I realized it's more likely that it was 1934. I don't even think my street had lots for sale until 1933.  I might need a new plaque! :)

I have realized from living in and renovating my house over the last four years that one of the things I like to do is think about the people who lived here before me and what they might have thought or felt while they were here. Did they plan, dream, fear and love here? Of course they did. They were human. Did they experience loss as I have? Of course. Did they experience success? Did they see dreams realized? I hope so.  It helps to know that I'm not the first person to feel what I'm feeling, whatever it is, in the very place that I live. It gives me hope. 

I love my house and have worked hard to make it my own.  Most of the people in this neighborhood have done the same.  It's a love for history, architecture and preservation that keeps us working on our houses. It's a project that is never over because they need so much love and attention.  I guess my house is a lot like me. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011


Last year I was walking around New York City with James, taking pictures and soaking in all of the sites.  When I got home and reviewed all of the images I captured, I realized I took a lot of shots of awnings.  I love them for some reason, especially the older or more elaborate ones.  This semester I took a Material Culture class and everyone in the class had to choose one item over which we would write our final paper, so I chose an awning in my neighborhood that I thought was the most beautiful.

I loved this class.  Mainly I love the teaching style of my professor.  I think I'd probably love any class he taught because he's so patient and encouraging.  In fact, right now, I should be finishing my paper and really it should have been turned in a couple of days ago but he's continuing the theme of patience because he wants me to take my time and to write with quality.  I do too! But I've hit a block so I thought that writing about it would help loosen up my mind a little.

When I first chose the awning  that I wanted to write about, I thought that my paper would focus on the theme of protection, because that's what an awning does while you're waiting to enter or leaving a house.  It protects you from the weather.  But after thinking and thinking (and some great suggestions from my professor and classmates) I realized that it's really more about an "in between" space.  It's a liminal state where you're not really inside and you're not really out.

So I decided to do some research and found some wonderful ideas, writings, theories, etc. based on liminality and it's had me thinking about my own life quite a bit. Aren't we all consistently in a liminal space?  We aren't who we were and we aren't who we will be.  I'm not where I used to be, but I'm also not where I will be a year from now emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and maybe even physically. Who knows?  And that's a good thing.  I want to continue to learn and grow the rest of my life and that requires being open to change.

It seems that with every new step or every new experience I have, I am fortunate enough to make new friends and I'm very grateful. I think I'm one of the luckiest people in the world for all of the friends I have. But because we all can get so caught up in our own lives and move at such a fast pace it's easy for us to lose track of each other sometimes. I begin to feel like I fit everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. It's as if I'm in a place where I'm not an insider or an outsider.  I'm sure that I'm pondering these things because I'm on the verge of a new phase and I can't even imagine the new experiences I'm going to have or the friends I will make after we open sixtwelve.

I'm just grateful that I have the consistency of my good friend and partner James and some really great friends and family who have been understanding of my crazy life.

Who knew an awning could bring all of that to mind??? :)

Friday, May 6, 2011


James and Kyle have been hard at work on film, windows, the event at sixtwelve for the Paseo Arts Festival and lots of other things, but one of the most exciting things that they've recently done is creating a logo for us! It was very interesting, going through all of the different fonts and trying to pick what we thought would best represent what we were all about.  There is psychology associated with every curve or point in letters.  I want to make sure that we put out the image of kindness, generosity and encouragement with every tiny detail of what we are doing.  Plus I want it to be welcoming to kids as well as adults, so this is what we narrowed our choice down to, after James poured over hundreds of fonts and brought me about 40 or so to look at.  I love it and I'm so proud to work with such talented, creative and brilliant guys.  Thanks James and Kyle!

Last Day of School

Today was my last day of going to classes at OU.  I have some independent study and a French exam that I have to take this summer. I also have my thesis to write over the next two semesters, but if all goes according to plans, I am no longer going to attend a regularly meeting class.  It's a weird feeling.  I've been going to school at OU off and on since 1988.  I told my classmates that I really appreciated how great the classes I took this semester were and that I really loved how supportive we were of each other. When I was saying it, I felt a lump in my throat. I could also feel some tears.  I'm not worried about the learning coming to an end.  That will continue the rest of my life.  And I still have so much work to do to finish this degree, so I'm not feeling like anything has come to a close.

But what a blessing, honor and luxury to get to go to school and to have someone who knows so much more than you help guide you through all of the relevant information, issues and concepts.  I can't number how many times I stopped this semester and just enjoyed being in class. The discussions have been my favorite part.

One day, recently, my Material Culture course had class outside.  We studied a sculpture just east of the library by Allan Houser.  We were all sitting around on the grass, discussing the sculpture and all of it's possible meanings, purely by looking at the object.  The weather was perfect, the conversation was rich and enlightening and I'll never forget being right in the moment.  I didn't want to be anywhere else.  That alone is a blessing, but when you combine it with such a great learning experience, it just doesn't get much better than that.

Allan Houser, Homeward Bound, 1988, Bronze

I love learning.  I love learning with and from other people.  It's fun! It's also stressful sometimes (like right now because I still have my two papers I'm working on that I will turn in next week.) but it's worth it.  I am so grateful for all of the time over the past 22 years that I have been able to either be the student or the teacher.

I'm pretty sure that's why I want to start a school. I don't ever want these experiences to end!