Okcate’s Out and About: A City in Pictures… And a Big Announcement!

For many, Spring Break means relaxation, but for aquatics managers (like myself) it means kicking our certification season into high gear! Summer will be here waaayyy sooner than you think.

This past weekend, this week, and next weekend I was, am, and will be extremely busy teaching American Red Cross Lifeguard and Swim Instructor certifications at YWCA Tulsa (where I spend my usual weekday daytime hours managing the aquatics program at the Midtown location).

So, due to my current workload, I will not be putting a blog out this week. Instead, let me leave you with a few of the (recently photographed) sights of the city I’d like to share with you; this time, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

photo 3A late winter sunset over Downtown Tulsa. I captured this heavenly blaze on my way to a Blue Whale Comedy Festival meeting. A person could get used to that kinda view…

photo 5 (1)“Down the rabbit hole.”

My husband and I were recently spending a rare lazy Saturday strolling around the very much under construction (in the best way possible) Brady Arts District.

Renovations abound around these parts; I can’t wait to see what transformations will take place this year!

For something a little different, here we are at the corner of the BOK Center. It is a late winter day—warm sun, cool shadows. The Tulsa Oilers were playing and won that night!

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And this is one of my favorite coffee shops in town. The Phoenix is nestled in the Tulsa Pearl District and has been too good to my husband and me as we work on our publishing endeavors.

photoSpeaking of endeavors…

I am happy to say that The Astonishing Bobcat: Hero Worship is finally formatted and will be sent to the distributor within the next week!

I will have to share that journey sometime… What a road it’s been—and still is! Thanks for all the support, folks; it means the world.

And thanks for taking this short but sweet tour of (just a little bit of) T-Town with me; there is much excitement and growth on the brilliant horizon these days. I’ll write again soon and get you back to your regular programming next week!

Okcate’s Out and About: Mainline Art & Cocktails

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Ever since I can remember, I have loved and appreciated quality art, and I have my bohemian-souled parents to thank for that. I grew up in an arts community on the East Coast, and it was there that both my mom and dad encouraged my sister and I to investigate and pursue all things creative whenever we could.

Summer breaks, especially, were a time of freedom from traditional schedules, and our days were with filled creative projects and hours of outdoor (and inspiring, vista-filled) adventures. During these long, hot days, there was much crafting, singing, dancing, acting, reading, sketchbook-filling, art fest and gallery-attending, tree-climbing, bike-riding, beach-strolling (and nearly getting swept out by the tide-ing … buuut, that’s another story).

So when I moved to Tulsa, though I was excited about college and other things going on in the city, one of the things I missed was visiting art galleries and attending exhibit openings on a regular basis. Now, maybe there was just an over-abundance (if there can be such a thing) of these establishments where I come from, but I have trouble recalling times when there weren’t shows going on.

OceanSeriously, these things were straight up family and community events. Between the unveiling of new pieces and the ginormous Atlantic cocktail shrimp hors d’oeuvres the galleries served up, you did not want to be the poor soul who missed out. For the folks who live in the Golden Isles of Georgia, art is just a part of everyday life.

Unfortunately, in an industrial city, which was very much the type of city Tulsa was when I moved here, art seems to be something that is not particularly accessible or commonplace. But, I’m happy to report that much has changed in Tulsa over the past decade. The founders of Mainline, Kelly Knowlton and Katy Eagleston, are two of a number of business owners in the now flourishing Brady Arts District seeking to bring art to the community at large.

Kelly and Katy started their establishment with the idea of bringing art to a living-room type space to inspire people to accept it as something meant for everyone. And in my little ol’ opinion, they succeeded.

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This space is intimate, comfortable, filled with fun decor, and at each seating area sketchbooks and colored pencils sit, waiting to be used by someone who may get the hankering to doodle while they relax with the beverage of their choice. Fun tip: go there with friends and allow each person to draw one object, pass the sketchbook, and continue until the group deems the picture finished. You will certainly learn a lot about each other…

Also, the bar proper is a handsome black granite type structure, and showcases pretty much my favorite chandelier ever.

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This picture cannot even capture just how sparkly this fixture is—just another reason to pay this place a visit, whether it is on a quiet weeknight, or a hopping (but not crazy unbearable with noise) weekend evening.

I especially like to drop in during the monthly First Friday Art Crawl, when live music is often going on and new exhibits are revealed. As the website states, “Mainline … features two gallery spaces for monthly rotating exhibitions. One of these spaces highlights historic Oklahoma artists and the other serves to promote emerging local[s].” And it makes good on its promise. There is an ongoing call for artists, so if  you have pieces you would like featured, check this link out.

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The gallery’s current contemporary show is “pyrotechnic arboretum” by local artist Chris Wollard. It is the gallery’s first 3D exhibit, and is a unique and clean looking collection of tree sculptures crafted out of metal. Very cool to see in pictures, but even cooler when viewed in person. The lines are lovely, the display intriguing, and some of the sculptures are even illuminated.

And in case anyone is thinking of getting me any presents in the near future, I totally dig melty tree shelf in the upper left hand corner of the above photo, just sayin’…

Well, there you have it folks. Whether you are stopping in for a quiet moment to relax and admire the space while sitting on some living-room-comfortable furniture, going out with friends for a celebration or book club meeting (yep, I’m that person), or looking for a lovely date night place, Mainline’s got you covered.

photo (2)It is a beautiful space with a community-based mission and is part of the new Tulsa Renaissance; I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. The art is accessible, the drink prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is easy.

Okcate’s Out and About: The Circle + Calaveras = A Fine Pairing

Today, as I write this entry, my tummy is full and happy. It is full of delicious Mexican food from Calaveras Mexican Grill, a new restaurant that lies in the heart of the Kendall-Whittier district of Tulsa. This area of town has seen much renovation and development over the past few years—changes that have been nothing but beneficial to our community ‘round these parts.

Out in front and leading the charge, and adjacent to Calaveras, is the historic Circle CinemaAs I have mentioned before, I moved to Tulsa nearly ten years ago. At that time, The Circle, as us locals call it, was undergoing a new wave of renovation, one that I have been lucky to witness as it has expanded and brought in new theaters and screens.

It’s mission, “to foster understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the human experience, and create community among the viewers in the restored historic Circle Cinema”, is being realized as it grows with an ever-improving Tulsa.

Through its community events and involvement in the growth of the Kendall-Whittier area, it enhances the culture in this part of town. It hosts everything from movie events around social justice and activism, to workshops for young filmmakers, to the annual Academy Awards live broadcast event.

Which brings me to my happy and filled tummy. Okay, so maybe I didn’t eat this much, but here’s a visual of some of the goodness…

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With a business card like that, how can you go wrong?

My sister’s and my birthdays fall thirteen days apart in the shortest month of the year. It’s hard to celebrate her day with friends and family, my day with friends and family, and still manage to do something with just each other for some bonding time.

This squeeze usually results in many mini-celebrations with different folks throughout the month. There’s also our dad’s birthday, and those of a few cousins and friends, as well. If you see me out and about in February, it’s usually because someone I care about is getting older.

So, for our joint celebration this year, Tallulah (yep, her name is all kinds of unique too) and I decided on a girls’ night out at the Circle Cinema’s OSCAR® Experience. For just $15 ($10 for members), you could have access to the event, light eats, a cash bar, and a night of award show excitement.

Enter Calaveras Mexican Grill.

Now, usually, when I hear the phrase light eats, I don’t generally get all kinds of excited about it. However, the light eats they promised that night were so very tasty! And better yet, they didn’t leave you feeling heavy—but they were substantial enough to keep the hangry away during the three-hour-plus event that was filled with all the award excitement you would expect. Like opportunities for red carpet arrival pics, giveaways, and meeting your favorite (cardboard) celebrity…

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What a guy!

Attendees were encouraged to put their fanciest foot forward, and Tallulah and I love old-Hollywood glamour. She went all out, and I helped her get ready for the night by doing her makeup and hair. We even completed her look with a vintage fur I’d inherited from a friend of mine. 

I, however, had been up since 6:30am that morning and had been at work until noon. And as much as I love dressing up as much as the next lady, I was not feeling it much that night. Plus, the temperatures had dropped steadily throughout the day. Donning a dress was not my idea of staying warm and toasty—hence the casual look to my photo above. Still, I pulled on my best pink sweater and a nice pair of jeans (to my credit, I did put on lipstick and sparkly earrings) and happily played assistant to Ms. Silver Screen.

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Pictured above: My college degree at work, folks.

A fun time was had all around (shout out to the fabulous host Kristin Dickerson of KTUL), and best of all, the proceeds went to The Circle! And like I said, the food was phenomenal. I love that the two businesses partnered up for the event, in true community fashion.

So, this weekend, when the time came to pick a place for a birthday lunch with my in-laws today, I recalled that certain deliciousness I had experienced last week and chose Calaveras. You know, just to make sure I liked it. One can never be too careful when researching a good restaurant, you know.

Apparently, I chose wisely. The place was a hit with everyone. The menu is extensive, featuring a wide array of vegetarian and meat dishes. I chose the wet burrito (so filling and full of distinct flavors!), and my husband, who rates Mexican food restaurants on his personal tamale scale, said they were some of the best he’s had. And when I ate a slice of chocolate mousse pie for dessert (because, birthday lunch), I thought I may have heard angels singing, just a little bit. It’s flavors were complex, and though it was decidedly rich, it was not overwhelmingly sweet.

Bonus! The atmosphere is fun and artistic. The walls and ceiling feature artwork, much of it centering around sugar skulls and dancing skeletons—I really dig the look of the Dia de los Muertos decor in this space.

All in all, to make a long post short, the next time you want to support the artistic and socially relevant aspects of movie-making, check out the Circle Cinema. And because being a patron of the arts is hard work, get you some tastiness next door at Calaveras Mexican Grill. As a certain movie star might say, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful (and delicious) friendship.”