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January 23, 2015

Lee Lyles

by Sheilah Bright

Lee Lyles of Sulphur, Oklahoma, forged a love for heavy metal as a kid and…
Director Sterlin Harjo heard a story hundreds of times growing up: the story of his…

by Abby Wendle

S terlin Harjo is the director and producer of a new documentary called “This May…
Own This May Be The Last Time on DVD! Tracing a heartfelt journey, award-winning filmmaker…

01/22/2015 | Okiecentric

The Murder on Turkey Creek

By Martha Buntin

In November 1876, two men met in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, and discussed their desires to cross the Indian Territory into Texas. Richard Wannamaker was preparing to drive a herd of 30 ponies into Texas, where he was possibly preparing to open a dental office. Frank Kilborn had a wagon, but was unable to secure any horses to pull his equipment into the country whe…

01/20/2015 | Okiecentric

We Extend our Condolences

By Brian Ted Jones

On February 27, 2014, 18-year-old William Rush entered Judge Tom Gillert’s Tulsa County courtroom. He was in sheriff’s custody, and had been since late October the year before, when he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the shooting of Tiras Johnson. Rush entered a plea of no contest to an amended charge of second-degree murder. Fir…

01/16/2015 | Artist at Work

A Life Illustrated

By Molly Evans

I cracked the book’s spine and turned its surprisingly crisp pages, inhaling the damp attic smell that wafted up to my nostrils. My mom’s voice echoed in my ears. I recalled her high-pitched squeal animating three little pigs, and her silly, grumbly growl of a big, bad wolf defending himself. In this 1989 classic tale by Jon Scieszka, The True Story of the…

01/14/2015 | Okiecentric

Dowsing for Cartoonists

By Jonathan Gaboury

The Dick Tracy Headquarters occupies a small corner of the Pawnee County Historical Museum, and the exhibit looks as particular as a little boy’s bedroom. Shiny chrome cars and ugly Al Pacino dolls sit stock-still and untouched. Lonely objects across the room from each other are actually in cahoots: the yellow of Tracy’s trench coat, the packaging of o…

01/12/2015 | Poetry

Today I Covet the Light

By Walt Kosty

  today i covet the light the undefined grey white cloak of the sky holding the remains of night tightly   until the corners unravel as the yellow luminous globes silently falling silently to sleep allow shadows to wander past   the wet stone waits quietly an abandoned nest clings to the bare brown limbs of the tree shedding   to begin to sa…

01/07/2015 | Okiecentric

Honky-Tonk University

By Richard Higgs

One morning in 1974, not long after his father’s death, Mike Day was sitting in his parents’ Okmulgee living room contemplating his murky future and idly watching the John Chick Variety Show on Channel 8, out of Tulsa. Mike’s father, Red Day, was a weekend bass player from Okmulgee who had worked Oklahoma’s honky-tonk circuit in the ‘60s. Mike’…

12/30/2014 | Okiecentric

Oklahomans in the Spanish-American War

By John Alley

Many of us retain a vivid memory of the stirring days from the sinking of the battleship Maine, February 15, to the declaration of war with Spain, April 19. In the year of our Lord, 1898, nations still respected the laws of war and common decency. The first blow of that war fell a week after the declaration of war, instead of before it. Interestingly enough this bl…

12/30/2014 | Okiecentric

Pushing the Sky

By Steve Gerkin

James “Robbie” Risner started life in rural Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, in the 1920s. His destitute family left the Ozarks for a forested hill east of Muskogee, Oklahoma: Pumpkin Center, where Grover Risner toiled as a share-cropper and bartered horses and cattle on their oil-lease patch of dirt. His two-year-old son loved the horses. Settling in Tul…

12/29/2014 | Okiecentric

Bean There, Done That

By Mark Brown

A Transportation Security Administration officer we’ll call Pat told me very politely, even gently: “Sir, you’re not going to be able to carry this vanilla on the plane with you.” She cradled it in her hands as if it might start crying soon. The jar was securely bound in the bubble-wrap manner of breakable duty-free, though you could still see the lit…

12/29/2014 | Poetry

The French Horn and the Fire Escape

By Bill Turley

(Written while listening to the Andrew Hill Quintet) The French horn strays, then joins with upside-down notes, the trumpet, a grain of felt under a fly-away 3rd valve stem and hard silver jumpin’ reed-pad, high in sax hole. Down in six bars out in eight… & 2 3 and 4. Vibraphone: Open air over mallet columns of air. Bop dwee doo, and in along curl of p…

12/22/2014 | Original Okie

Irena Kendrick

By Shane Brown

Irena Kendrick was born February 5, 1976, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She immigrated to Oklahoma, by way of Germany, as a war refugee when she was 22. After slogging away as a pre-legal subrogation specialist for a decade, Irena cashed in her 401K and opened a restaurant, Joey’s Pizzeria, in Oklahoma City in 2007. She broke her own rule about not dating c…

12/22/2014 | Okiecentric

Letter from Ferguson

By Derek Dyson

By sundown Monday evening, November 24, the scene in front of the Ferguson Police Department was nothing short of dystopian. A metal barricade that stretched nearly a block was flanked on one side by citizens, protesters, and journalists and on the other by scores of police officers outfitted head to toe in riot gear—all awaiting the grand jury decision.…

12/19/2014 | Okiecentric

A Pentecost of Bicycles

By David McGlynn

The attraction between a boy and his bike, as William Maxwell writes about the attraction between boys and dogs, can be taken for granted. One Sunday morning, I felt a moist hand touch my cheek. When I opened my eyes, the light through the window was gray and I could only see the shadow of a kid standing above me. The clock on the nightstand said 5:47. “Dad,” Ha…

12/18/2014 | Okiecentric

The Disappearance of Ford Beckman

By Michael Mason

Editor’s note: On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, Ford Beckman, the subject of this story, died at his home in Tulsa. He was 62 years old. This article was originally published in November/December 2009 in The Believer magazine. It is included in the new anthology of essays, Read Harder, published by McSweeney’s Books, September 2014. When the econom…

12/17/2014 | Okiecentric

Icee Dates, Evangelical Games, and Missional Positions

By Jamie Birdwell-Branson

I remember the crying. Girls with mascara smeared across their faces, racing down the aisles of the tabernacle toward the preacher. Some went in pairs, clutching each other and whispering. The boys typically walked alone, proud and sure of themselves as they went down to inform a Falls Creek counselor of their decisions, whether it be to accept Jesus Christ…