Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Friday in the Brady Arts District

This post is republished with permission from Tulsa Art Blog. Visit TAB with Urban Tulsa Weekly's arts columnist Holly Wall anytime and every time you're looking to get your art on in T-Town. Thanks, Holly!

I just called Janice McCormick at the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery to get information about TAC's presence at the Brady Arts District's First Friday Art Crawl for the May 7 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.

"Um, isn't May 1 the first Friday of the month?" she politely asked me, while probably silently reeling at my idiocy.

That's what I would have done, anyway.

So, since I, for some reason, though that May 8 was the first Friday of the month, I didn't include information about the First Friday Art Crawl or about the Visual Arts Center's Baywalk in this week's UTW column.

I apologize.

For about a year now, galleries in the Brady Arts District have been joining forces to collectively open their doors on the first Friday of each month. Greg Gray, owner of Club 209, organizes the event, which involves the Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, Club 209, CFC Chocolatier, the Tulsa Glassblowing Studio and Donna Prigmore's pottery gallery holding exhibit openings and other art-related events all on the same night, at the same time.

In addition, at the May and June events, the Visual Arts Center will host a Baywalk, wherein artists will set up shop just inside the garage doors of the Mathews Warehouse, the future site of the center at Brady and Boston. About 20 or so artists will be there with wine and work, exhibiting and selling to passersby.

The entire event is free and open to the public, and it's a great time. I took Isaac last month and he was fascinated by the glassblowing at the Glassblowing Studio. I mean, really. He stared at it forever. I think he sensed that he could break it, and that intrigued him.

And I love seeing so many bodies in downtown Tulsa at once, all gathered for the purpose of celebrating and supporting local artists. Awesome.

First Friday starts at about 5:30 or so on Friday, May 1. At each gallery there will be a sheet of paper with information on participating galleries, their addresses and the times of their openings. Because TAC won't open until Tuesday, May 5 (its annual 5x5 show; read more about that later), the gallery won't be open, but they'll have a table at the Baywalk with a sneak preview of a couple of the 5x5 pieces and some info about coming attractions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bare Necessities

Eight years ago, father-of-four Gerald Buckley froze outside his local grocery store. The trip to stock up on diapers and baby food had been an expensive one. He swooned at the dollar amount printed at the bottom of his receipt.

He's not the only dad in the U.S. to have the breath knocked out of him by a long strip of white paper from the grocery store. The average American family-of-four spends about $8,500 per year on food and groceries--that's about $700 per month. The kicker is that food prices rose four percent last year, and they're expected to do the same this year.

Read the rest of this story in Consumer Watchdog on

Opera for the Rest of Us (Especially Michelle)

I opened a giveaway here over the past couple of days. At stake were two tickets to the Friday evening edition of the last show in the 2008-2009 season for Tulsa Opera, L'Elisir D'Amore.

I got a few heartfelt entries this time, which about did me in since some computer in the ether got the choose the winner rather than me. And choose it did (click to enlarge).

And the winner is...

Congrats, Michelle! E-mail me at tashadoestulsa at gmail dot com to collect your winnings.

Thanks to all for playing. I hope at least a few of you made recordings of yourselves practicing your opera voices, just for fun.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Take YOU Out to the Ballgame

I've done my fair share of crazy things:
  • I eloped with my husband after knowing him for just two months (also the most exciting thing I've ever done);
  • I showed up in a local newspaper office one day, completely unqualified, unsolicited and a little sweaty, asked for a job and was, against all logic and reason, hired;
  • I stayed at a convent for a week, where I ate peanut butter and jelly for days on end, used up all their chocolate soap and got chased by a snake;
  • I even let my husband eat Cheez Whiz off my toes once. That was only because we played Truth or Dare with the wrong people that night, but still.
What I'm trying to say is, I'm a maniac. But, what I did on a sunny day earlier this month topped them all.

I auditioned to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a Tulsa Drillers game. In public. And it was really, really loud and really, really embarrassing.

From what I've heard, these auditions are an annual tradition for fairgrounds-area residents. Many of them pull up a chair on the front porch, put on a Paula Abdul wig and judge the singers, who get on a microphone hooked up to the stadium's sound system that's cranked up loud enough for everyone from Big Splash to the Reasor's at 21st and Yale to the Quiktrip at 21st and Harvard to hear every vulnerable note.

I'm sure this little hootenanny will be sorely missed once the Drillers move to their new stadium in downtown Tulsa.

I was notified my audition time was 3:50 p.m. I was to remain flexible, however, because auditions were scheduled every five minutes and when that many people are showing up to try their hand at one of the most range-challenging songs ever written in sight of the glaring public eye, well, time slots can go straight to h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

Learning that they scheduled someone to sing every five minutes from noon until 6 p.m. pretty well freaked me out. I thought, "In front of exactly how many people am I about to make a fool of myself?" Then I did the math - up to 72 contestants, plus their friends and family and curious onlookers. But, since I'll do just about anything to give my TDT readers a good show while supporting local sports teams, I shook my nerves, slammed a shot of whiskey and took the field.

Or, I should have slammed a shot of whiskey. You guys, I totally bombed. When it was my turn, I started the song on this note I've never even heard before. Plus, it was about a half-octave too high - "o'er the land of the freeeeee" would have no place to go but my hiney, which felt like I'd sat on a porcupine I was so nervous.

I started over and gave it the old college try, but in the end, I handed the microphone over and ran from the stadium, in a fit of screaming and gnashing of teeth as everyone in the stadium pointed and laughed. One day, I'll recover. I'm just glad our health insurance covers prolonged stays at a mental hospital.

Anyway. I know it's late notice, but I have six tickets to tonight's Drillers game. Problem is, I can't use them. I have a party to crash. You'll be glad, because I'll be way, way too far away for you to hear me singing our nation's anthem.

The seats are great: Section 36, Row D, Seats 5-10. You wouldn't want to get much closer to the action than that.

Since it's such short notice, and since six tickets is a lot to give away, the first commenter on this post gets 'em.

Play ball! And stomp on my heart and spit in my eye.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Opera for the Rest of Us

This post is thanks to the multi-talented, super-friendly, overall arts genius Holly Wall, blogger at Tulsa Art Blog and arts writer at Urban Tulsa Weekly. Take it away, Holly!

Every time I attend a Tulsa Opera production, I forget for a little while that I’m in Tulsa. TO presents magnanimous works, attracting the best singers, directors and conductors that the industry has to offer. And as I watch (and hear) these amazing voices, performing in front of such elaborate sets and in such exquisite costumes, I imagine that I’m in someplace much larger and more cosmopolitan than the 49th largest city in the U.S.

For those who are opera fans, Tulsa Opera never disappoints, and its final production of the 2008-2009 season is no exception. For those who’ve never attended an opera before, this weekend is a perfect time to start, as Gaetano Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore is a wonderful first-time opera.

In it, Nemorino (Gregory Schmidt) is a shy, naive peasant living in the Italian countryside. He's in love with Adina (Mari Moriya), a stubborn landowner who toys with his emotions and mocks his affection. 

Desperate to win her heart, Nemorino purchases an elixir of love from a traveling doctor (read: quack) named Dulcamara (Terry Hodges). The elixir is nothing but wine, but it fills Nemorino with a confidence he's never known. He's able to act aloof and unconcerned around Adina, sure that she will fall in love with him soon. 

Adina, insulted that Nemorino has taken his attention from her, agrees to marry the sargeant of a military regimen that's made a stop in their town. Belcore (Christopher Feigum) is a conceited, philandering fool, but Adina agrees to the wedding only to get a reaction out of Nemorino. 

It works. 

Nemorino, deperate for money and more elixir, joins Belcore's army for a stipend, which he quickly spends on a bottle of elixir the size of his torso. 

Meanwhile, the ladies of the village get word that Nemorino's rich uncle has died and left him a millionaire. The ladies flock after Nemorino, leaving him and Dulcamara to believe that the love potion has worked. 

In the end, Adina buys back Nemorino's contract with the military, saving him from war, and declares her love for him. The two marry, and everything ends happily ever after - which is so unlike an opera. 

But, that's why it's a fantastic show for those ambivelent about opera. L'Elisir d'Amore is a comedy, written in the bel canto ("beautiful singing") style, and it is sweet, sincere and amusing. 

The music and the singing are absolutely beautiful, and the singers can not only belt out a tune, but they're also wonderful actors. The show is rife with nuanced comedy, with every expression and gesture perfectly timed for a genuine laugh. At the same time, the show is sincere and poignant. 

It's also fast-paced and, for an opera, really short. The two hours you spend in the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center fly by. 

L'Elisir d'Amore is a feel-good opera. It could serve as a light-hearted centerpiece for any date night. 

Sounds like a good time, right? If you said yes, then you're in luck. TO will present two more showings L'Elisir D'Amore; one is this Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m., and the other is Sunday, May 3, at 2:30 p.m.

Tulsa Opera is not only a world-class company, renowned from coast to coast, but it's also generous. TO gave me two tickets to Friday evening's performance to give away to one lucky Tasha Does Tulsa reader. 

Here's how you enter:
1. Record yourself singing the highest note you possibly can, for as long as you possibly can. 
2. Send me the recording, along with a photo of you striking a pose in a Viking helmet, to tashadoestulsa at gmail  dot com. 

Good luck, and happy vocalizing! Best vibrato wins. 

I kid. Here are the real instructions: 
1. In the comments, tell me who you would take to the show and why. 
2. Tell a friend to enter, too. 
3. For good luck, practice your favorite opera in the shower. The acoustics will surprise you, as well as any household pets or human co-habitants.
4. Tell someone they smell nice. Just because.

The winner will be decided by the trusty site at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Happy commenting!

Local Nurseries See Spike In Sales

A trip to the local garden supply center or a peep over the neighbors’ fences will show that there’s been an old-fashioned, recession-time resurgence of vegetable gardening.

The recent interest in growing food at home isn’t just your garden-variety fad leading to flash-in-the-pan profits. Seed conglomerates are showing boosts in sales as much as 80 percent so far this year, and Tulsa’s nurseries are some of the few local businesses not bleeding red ink.

Read the rest of this story on Food at

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Apparently, I'm not supposed to start my garden from seed this year
Not only do I have to contend with seedling-eating, feline-type creatures, but I'm also up against this: 
A force (and a half) to be reckoned with. 
Save me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Winning Grace

Yesterday I wrote that I could use a date to tomorrow's Taste of Grace event , a 9-course meal, fashion show and silent auction that will get started at noon tomorrow at Tulsa Historical Society. I thought it'd be fun to open the invitation to my blog readers, since I love all of you so. Of course, I made a contest out of it because I'm narcissistic and should probably be seeing someone good, very good, about that.

And now, the winner! To enter, readers could either Twitter about Tasha Does Tulsa or leave a comment on yesterday's post about the giveaway. There were several entries - dozens, I assure you - and I had a pretty hard time choosing the best one. Ultimately, this was my favorite:

Anonymous treygar said...

top five awkward reasons tasha shouldn't go stag and should take trey

1) both of their names start with a 'T'.
2) trey is new to Tulsa and needs friends to write home about and ease his aging parents worries that their firstborn is a loner.
3) trey will chronicle the experience, in poem, and read the poem aloud next time he goes to open mic night at the Gypsy.
4) trey likes food.
5) trey likes free food.

Thanks for being willing to spend your Sunday afternoon with me, Trey! And thanks for making me laugh. E-mail me at tashadoestulsa dot  com and we'll take care of logistics.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I love you forever for being willing to become one of those people who have met someone from the Internet to hang out with me. Not that that's bad - the first time I "met" my husband was via e-mail, and my best friend and I met face-to-face only after a few months of messaging back and forth on Facebook - so, who knows. Maybe one of you will deliver my second child or is obscurely related to me or will be sent to the same mental hospital as me. You never can tell.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Need A Date

Guess what? I get to go to this really cool thing on Sunday afternoon. Noon marks the beginning of the inaugural Taste of Grace event, to benefit Grace Hospice Foundation . Chefs from nine Tulsa restaurants will set up shop at Tulsa Historical Society and do their best to work their foodie magic around me and several other members of the media who may or may not know how to turn on a stove.

Problem is, as of right now, I'm going stag. I don't like going stag. I look funny when I'm alone - like the redhead the world forgot, or maybe a lost puppy in a blogger's body, minus the cute, weepy eyes. Not that I don't have eyes, because I do.

Anyway. I'd love to share this exciting event, a ticket to which is valued at $50, with one of my readers.

If you're available Sunday and would like to come hang out with me at the Taste of Grace event at Tulsa Historical Society and stuff yourself with food from nearly a dozen local chefs and gander at luxurious silent auction items and have a generally uproarious time, do the following:

  • Go to
  • If you already have an account, sign in; if you don't already have an account, make one!
  • Follow @tashadoestulsa.
  • Tweet anything you want about - preferably, something nice. If you win you will, after all, have to spend an entire afternoon with me. 
  • Leave a comment, any comment, on this post.

My favorite tweet/comment by 5 p.m. Saturday is the winner. I'll announce my accomplice by 6 p.m., as long as I don't fall asleep for 13 hours .

A Kiss in the park

When we don't have much time to get out and about as a family before one of my husband's classes at OSU-Tulsa or before I need to get to work on a blog post or freelance piece or counting the little brown moles on my arms (48 - much more on the right arm than the left, for some reason - and now if I'm ever a fugitive from the law, that will be in the description Cindy will have to give on the news), we head to a nearby park.

There are nearly a dozen city parks within a few miles' drive of our house, and that's the case for most Tulsans I know. We T-Towners are wealthy in beautiful parks - the City of Tulsa manages 125 of them, totaling about 6,000 acres, including nature centers, golf courses, Tulsa Zoo, Tulsa Garden Center, 21 swimming pools, 197 sports centers, 83 playgrounds, 109 tennis courts, 28 water playgrounds, The River Skatepark, 69 picnic shelters, 11 community centers, trails and more.

And boy, are we thankful. Because sometimes, there's nothing better for the soul than a good, long sit in the grass, a short walk on a wooded trail, a half-hour in the sun...
...or a baby kiss that, thanks to the wide-open spaces of a park near our humble abode, I get to look forward to for several yards of toddling. 
See that look of determination and focus? That means: Get ready, baby, because here I come!
Just imagine the sound we all instinctively make at the doctor's office when s/he asks us to open wide. That's what my little boy's kisses sound like. Sort of a combination of the motor of an old duster plane and the sound my husband makes in the back of his throat when the alarm goes off in the morning. 
There. Mission accomplished. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

T-Town's Zoo-per Zoo

Yesterday I was looking at my kid, who was all bored and fussy and cabin feverish on a 73-degree, lightly breezy day, and I realized something: We could go to the Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum, right at that moment. There was nothing hold us back. He'd just had lunch and a nap, and I'd had my daily half-pot of coffee and (gasp!) a shower.

There was only one thing to do: Slather our translucent skin with SPF 50, head to QT for snacks and hit the trail to Tulsa's Mohawk Park, home of Tulsa Zoo. The zoo is easily accessible from the Sheridan Road exists off of Highway 11 and I-244. It's in Mohawk Park, just east of Sheridan Road on 36th Street North.

Many of the Tulsans I know consider this area "way out there," but even from south Tulsa, the drive to the zoo is just 15-20 minutes. Promise - I timed it myself.

Going to the Tulsa Zoo is a nostalgic thing for me. It was the setting for so many of my childhood experiences: the first time I saw a naked mole rat, the first time I threw up from eating too many shoestring potato thingies, the place where I chased boys into the cave in one of the Living Museum buildings and, much to their chagrin, kissed them on the ear, which was the best I could do considering they were running and screaming mid-kiss.

Ah, memories.

My grandmother spent many days of her girlhood at Tulsa Zoo. When my mom was a girl, my grandmother took her to the Zoo. When I was pint-sized, my mom took me to the Zoo. Yesterday, I took my little polywog to the Zoo for the first time. For us, it's a family tradition that goes way back - not quite to the founding of the Zoo in the 1920s, but still.

Needless to say, there's lots of kid-friendly stuff to do at the Tulsa Zoo. This carousel is just one of them. Don't forget to ride the train, too. Then there's the Nature Exchange, which I especially love because you can trade common rocks and fossils you find around town (we have a garage-full, thanks to the fact that I'm bound in matrimony to a geologist-wannabe-paleontologist) for something like skulls, skeletons or maybe even petrified brains. And did I mention the Tulsa Zoo features almost 1,500 animals of nearly 450 species? Kids like variety, and it's definitely available at America's Favorite Zoo, right here in Tulsa.

Can I tell you something? I hate looking at other people's zoo animal photos. It's nothing I haven't seen 10,000 times better in National Geographic or on bookmarks at the checkout at Barnes & Noble. I'm sure a lot of you feel the same way. But, this is my blog, and you're going to look at my zoo animal pictures, by golly!

I'm sorry.
I'm really, really sorry.

Each of the above animals was declared by my son to be, of course, "doggie." I bet I've heard that word 5,932 times since he learned to say it a few weeks ago.

I love this photo. This is exactly how my kid looks when he's playing with his blocks or my good measuring spoons or power tools covered in shards of glass with his back turned.

The elephants are my favorite. Have I mentioned I unwittingly collect elephant stuff? Apparently I come across as an elephant lover. One day, my friends and family spontaneously began showering me with elephant paraphernalia like magnets, wall hangings, candle holders and notepads made of recycled elephant poop. Go figure.

I very much dislike birds, and I wouldn't mind if I never saw one again. Except female cardinals - those can stay. To me, they represent all that is mother and ladylike-ness. I'd know ladylike-ness when I see it, I think, maybe.

Here's a shot of the Children's Zoo, located within the Tulsa Zoo. Kids are free to pet goats and lambs and the like, which is great fun for everyone, as long as no one gets grabby.

See that goat on the pedestal? That's me. See all the little groundling goats? Those are my future army, I mean, children. This was the story I made up in my head as I edited this photo, as if I don't have better things to think about than my plans for world domination.

There's more to see at the Tulsa Zoo than just lots and lots and lots of animals. Take note of the plants growing there, too. The plant displays are just as thoughtful as the animal exhibits. Plus, there are dozens of lovely vignettes to enjoy.

Ooo! A barn! I just love barns. I think anyone who half-way likes to take pictures likes barns.

After a few hours, we'd had our fill of plants and animals for the day. We stopped off at one of the several playgrounds for a snack and to let the little guy stretch his legs.

On our way out we stopped at the rainforest exhibit, an entire building of anything and everything about those 80-degree, 80-percent humidity hotbeds of colorful frogs, birds and cute little monkeys.

This is what I look like in the morning, with no makeup and before my half-pot of coffee. In case you wondered.

The otters wished us a final farewell.

They're such show-offs. Go for the jugular!

By the end of the day I'd decided we were in need of a Zoo membership. For just $45 - the same price of admission for my little fam to go to the zoo 2.8 times - we got free admission for two adults ("Free until Three" is the motto on kiddo admission at the T-Town Zoo) for 14 months, a packet of zoo-lovers' goodies, free parking anywhere in Mohawk Park, Member Mornings, special, members-only invitations to events and promotions and reduced admission to more than 100 U.S. zoos and aquariums, year-round.

For my money, that's a good deal.

For more information about Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum, check out their Web site and the TZ Wikipedia page. Anyone making a trip to Tulsa this summer needs to put Tulsa Zoo on the list of stops. There's nothing else like it anywhere else, and it's just too good to miss.

Monday, April 20, 2009


This is what we saw on our way in to the 20th annual Sand Springs Herbal Affair yesterday afternoon: every street within a few blocks of the festival was lined with cars.

My initial thought was, "Aw. I'm so glad this little festival is getting a good turn out this year, considering the rain and the crappy economy and all."

Then we hit the festival proper.

And I didn't have a little-festival-that-could to feel overprotective of anymore. 

At least a thousand people showed up at the same time we did to show their enthusiasm for anything and everything gardening at this small-town festival that covered nearly three acres. 

In case you didn't read my article in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly, or you haven't been adequately spying on the neighbors, vegetable gardening is the hottest thing going this spring. Odds are you know at least someone, especially if you're in with the 25-40 set, who is growing their own veggies and herbs this year. 

Regular readers of this blog know my little family has a vegetable garden going, despite my mischievous feline pet's efforts. Since we're going organic and will need a natural way to control pests, and since they're my favorite flower ever, we'll be planting some of these: 

I hear marigolds are good to plant around tomato plants. I'm sure these people would know a thing or two about that: 

Yummy salsa. So yummy. 

The best soap makers in the universe. I'm serious, y'all. A few years ago I snagged a few bars at the Tulsa State Fair, and after I used them up, I almost shed tears when I realized I hadn't saved the tags that told the name of the maker. I about fell off my rocker when I realized I had found this soap again at Herbal Affair and had to restrain myself from relieving the Clear Creek folks of their entire stock. This soap is the only bar soap that doesn't dry my skin to alligator state, and it smells divine. By divine I mean that I want everything in my little world to smell like this soap, including my eyeballs. 

If I could use one soap for the rest of my life, this would be it.  

And...I'm done talking about soap. You're welcome. 

And now, some shots of the massive, herb-lovin' crowd: 

Here's one of my favorite herb vendors, The Peppermint Dragon, headed by Donna Vogelpohl of my old stomping grounds, Sapulpa. She spearheaded the effort to get a farmers market to Williams Green in downtown Tulsa. Donna helped me to fulfill my urgent preggie cravings for homegrown cherry tomatoes during the summer before last when I was trying to walk from the Beep-N-Creep at Third and Cincinnati to my office at Fifth and Boston without tossing everything I had ever eaten in my entire life. There were times when those tomatoes were the only things that helped. And I am forever grateful and writing run-on sentences about them.

Here's Sand Springs Museum, a.k.a. Page Memorial Library. My Brownie meetings were in the basement of this building. That was, until I quit because, as a girl, I was really out of touch with reality and so sometimes had a much more difficult time making friends than I did making a fool of myself acting like a princess or a unicorn all the time. I'm better now, though. On my good days.

We Okies love our funnel cakes. I mean, we really love our funnel cakes. This photo tells the truth so vividly, mostly because we Okies hate lines - or, really, any situation that means we have to get within a few inches of each other. We like our space. Otherwise, we would live with all the other sardines in New York City or somewheres else. 

I have no idea what I'm talking about. I don't even eat sardines.

Just look at the crowds. 

But, let's not forget about the plants...

And the herbs. Italian parsley and sweet basil, the two herbs I could eat on virtually anything. 

Mmm, Cherokee Purple tomatoes. My favorite heirloom variety. 

And peppers. Oh, peppers. 

I have a thing for spoons, okay? Actually, I have a thing for just about any kitchen utensil. Spoons are just part of a much larger obsession. 

I'm glad I get to be obsessed with something else besides cooking trinkets. 

Is this little boy ever going to return the heart he has stolen from me? No? He'll just jump on it and stomp on it and call it names by running away with some girl in 20 years? 

He's already quite the ladies' man, as you can see. I should prepare myself now.

The only thing I have going for me at this point is that I can whip up a sippy cup of chocolate milk a heck of a lot faster than some elfin chick made of concrete. I don't look cute in pigtails, however, so she has that going for her.  

Don't think the goods brought around by the Sand Springs Herbal Affair vendors are once-a-year opportunities. Odds are they're available at one or more of the farmers markets in the Tulsa area or that you get snag them directly from the vendor via the Web or pick-up. A quick Googling should put you in the know. 

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