Tulsa Revealed

by Shantelle Jennings


Shantelle Jennings talks about seeing her father and mother in Larry Clark’s Tulsa:

He’s on the cover. A shirtless skinny young man sits crossed legged with his left knee drawn up toward his body and cradled in his left arm.

He is perched on an unmade bed with plain white sheets tousled in the background. With a subtle smirk on his face, he grips a 32/20 revolver in his right hand and loosely points it upward. There is a cool steadiness to his demeanor with an undertone of wild rebellion. The photo is reminiscent of James Dean’s bad boy in Rebel Without a Cause, but the man in the photo is no actor. I scour the picture with a magnifying glass, desperate for any detail that might reveal something about the man. He is wearing a wedding ring. The picture must have been taken before 1964, unless he continued to wear his wedding ring after the death of his wife, which is unlikely. If the photo were taken around 1964, it would make the man’s age close to 20. His name was Billy Joe Mann, born in 1943, the same year as his friend, Larry Clark. Billy Mann, iconic cover boy of Tulsa, was my father.

Larry Clark is a Tulsa native, and a controversial photographer, writer, film director, and producer. Drugs, teenage sex, and violence are reoccurring themes in his work. Some of his film titles include Kids (1995), Bully (2001), and Ken Park (2002). Clark’s first success, Tulsa (1971) is a black and white pictorial of the drug scene in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Larry photographed his friends shooting drugs over a period between 1962 and 1971, but Larry wasn’t just an innocent bystander, he indulged in shooting drugs too. The book was raw and disturbing, especially for the time. The pictorial exploits the recklessness of youth, the turning point of naivety, and the utter abandonment of self-respect. It inspired such films as Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976), Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish (1983), and Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy (1989). I haven’t seen these movies in years, but I remember a raw grittiness and undercurrent of desperation in some of the characters in those films, similar to the characters in Tulsa. However, the characters in Tulsa were real people— desperate, indulgent, and addicted. Some of those people, to this day, are friends of my family. And some of those people were my family.

In the spring of 2009, a gnawing feeling began to fester in my gut. It occurred to me that Larry Clark and the people who might be able to tell me something about my father were, like me, getting older. If they die, I thought, I’ll never know anything about my father and my roots. I searched the internet for information about Larry Clark, then posted a comment on his MySpace page and other blog sites with links to Larry and Tulsa. No one responded. One night in March of 2009, I ran across one particular website that had several postings about Larry and his work, but mostly his debut piece, Tulsa. There was a phone number, so I called. I knew it was a long shot but I didn’t have anything to lose. I told the site owner my story and he said that he would get my phone number to Clark. Soon after, Larry called me. He knew who I was and seemed sympathetic to my plight. He promised to look through old boxes located in his basement in New York as soon as he could; Clark was in LA at the time. Larry is a very busy man and we have been in sporadic communication, with long silences in between, ever since. I expressed my concern about his old gang of friends and their age.

“Larry, if you guys die, I don’t know how I’ll ever learn about my father,” I told him. “The things that I want to know, only you can tell me.”

Clark recalled that he had old 16mm footage of Billy and he had a reel-to-reel tape recording of an interview with him, as well. I think the year of the interview was around 1969 or 1970. My father died in October of 1970. The fact that the tape recording exists torments me. His words are so close, yet achingly out of reach. Does my father reveal any redeeming qualities in that interview? What did he say, feel, and believe about life? What was the purpose of the interview anyway? The thought of viewing images of my father alive and animated, and hearing his voice for the first time since I was an infant, caught me off guard. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I hushed a gasp under my breath and tried to keep my composure. I didn’t know that I had so many emotions about my father. I want to see his face, his eyes. I want to read his body language. I want to experience him living and breathing. I want to know him too. When I talked to Clark on the phone and asked him about my father, he didn’t share many personal details about Billy Mann, but I believe that his creative property can tell me volumes about my father. In early 2011, after his Paris showing of “Kiss the Past Hello,” Clark said that he had put together a book of pictures for me of my family: my father, mother, sister, and me, that he had taken back in the day. He said that we would get together, just he and I, to watch the film and listen to the reel-to-reel. That was over a year ago; I am still waiting. I believe that he is in France working on a new film. He is a very busy man. The photos are important to me because I don’t have any family pictures of me with my mother and father. Not one. After my mother’s death, Billy refused to give any of the photos that they had to my grandparents. After my father’s death, they were lost forever. It won’t change the past, but at least I’ll know.

I remember the first time that I laid eyes on Tulsa. Larry’s artistic portrayals of his friend, Billy Mann, are the only pictures that I have ever seen of my father. If it were not for Tulsa, I would not even know what my father looked like. It was 1972. I was living with relatives in California, and while they were at work, my sister had been rifling through their closet and found Tulsa hidden away in a box on the top shelf. From the second floor of our brand new two-story home, I heard urgent yelling beckoning me to come.

“Shaaan! Come quick! Hurry, it’s a picture of our father!” she bellowed.

“Huh? Whaaat?” I yelled as I raced up the stairs and into the master bedroom. “Let me see! Where?”

“Auh,” I gasped as I knelt down in front of the book.

“Look, it says, ‘Billy Mann.’ That’s our father’s name,” she said as she looked at me and then pointed to one of the only pictures in the book tagged with a name.

I sat on the royal blue shag carpet on the floor in the walk-in closet mesmerized by the photos in Clark’s book. There were clothes and boxes all around me, but the only thing that I saw were the dark images of Clark’s black and whites. I sat there staring, trying to make sense of a book that is not fit for a child’s gaze. I wanted the pictures to reveal something about this man that was supposed to be my father. Did I look like him? Was he famous? Why was he in a book? As I flipped through the pages, I saw nudity, people shooting drugs, and a dead baby in a casket. There was a photo of a man with a gunshot wound to his upper thigh, his face flushed with agony. Another picture showed a man gripping his knee and writhing in pain. I looked to see if he was shot too. He was, but it was with a needle, not a gun. The pictures scared me. I didn’t know what it meant. I wondered if I was the one on my father’s belly in the picture of him lying in bed smoking a cigarette while clumsily holding a baby. I wondered who took these pictures and why. Was the lady in the housecoat my mother? I didn’t understand. I was nine years old.

By the time my relatives returned home from work, our little minds were full of questions. We told them what we had found and asked them to explain what it meant. They scolded us for getting into their stuff and made their bedroom off limits. That night I learned a little about my father, and they confirmed that the picture of the woman in the housecoat was indeed my mother. I suspected it but wasn’t sure because there was no name to accompany the “dead” caption under her picture. They told me that my father was a drug addict and that he was not very nice to my mother. There wasn’t much more to tell a 9-year-old little girl. Even then, it was clear to me that they were trying to be diplomatic but there was definitely bad blood between them. I grew up knowing that my father was a drug addict who did bad things. I just didn’t know how bad. I remember asking if my mother did drugs too. They answered, “No.”

As a child, I labeled my father as bad and I didn’t want to have anything to do with anything bad. I was more interested in my mother and curious about how she died. I wanted to know what really happened to her. All my life I was told that I looked like my mother and that I acted like her too. I found comfort in those words.

I have researched and questioned my family history since as far back as I can remember; Tulsa lingers in the background. In the early eighties, and my early twenties, I found myself living in Tulsa, Oklahoma once again. Eager to know something about my mother, I looked up the man who found her dead on St. Patrick’s Day, 1964. The first time I met him, Roger Johns had nothing to say outside of the official story, which was not very pretty. 25 years later, I spoke to him again and asked him the same questions about my mother. It was 2011, he was nearing his 69th birthday, and his answers were very different.

Johns appears in Tulsa in one of the filmstrip segments. His back is to Clark’s lens so he is not easily identifiable, but in a phone conversation, he recalled the scene to me as if it were yesterday.

“They were wild times, man,” he reminisced.

Johns confessed that he is grateful that his identity was concealed. He’s not proud of the fact that he appeared in the book.

“My life is different now. Most of the people I know don’t even know that shit about me and I’d like to keep it that way,” he huffed.

He was a friend of my father’s; they met shortly after Johns was released from Granite in December of 1963. Four days prior to his release, he had his 21st birthday. He had been locked up since he was 16 years old.

“Your dad helped me out when I really needed it,” he added. “I never had a beef with Billy. He was a good friend to me.”

Because of their close friendship, my father asked Johns to check on my mother while he was out of town “working.” Mann didn’t have a regular job. Rumor has it that he was selling stolen goods to a fella down in Texas. According to a family source, it was three days before the police could question him about my mother’s death. He was out of town.

Johns described that horrible day my mother died in vivid detail. I’m sure that he thought my questions were odd.

“Where was the gun? Where were her hands? What was the position of her legs? It’s important,” I almost pleaded.

I wanted to know everything. I wanted the raw uncensored truth and nothing less. I wanted to see the scene as he saw it. Still, hearing his account was surreal. Johns said that he would never forget that day for as long as he lived.

He came over to the apartment after school, around 5 p.m., to see if my mother needed anything. He climbed the stairs to the second story apartment and knocked on the front door. There was an old quirky furnace in that apartment on 5th street. Often it would make loud banging noises until someone adjusted it. From the stairs, he heard the furnace clanging and babies crying, so he waited patiently for my mother, Deanna, to answer the door. The furnace kept clanging and Deanna never answered. He tried the doorknob—it was locked. He made his way around to the terrace to investigate. Johns climbed through the bedroom window of the tiny apartment. He noticed Deanna lying on the floor next to the bed. Her hands were above her head in a stick up position. Her legs were tangled; one was awkwardly bent backwards and squirreled underneath her, the other leg was bent with the knee facing away from her body. He reached for her hand, grabbed and shook it and said, “What are you doin’, sucker?” He had not yet realized what had happened. He thought she was kidding around. Johns sprang into full panic when the coldness of her hand registered and he looked at her face, visually taking in the bullet’s entrance wound—near the midline, just above her right eyebrow.

“Did you see the gun? Where was the gun?” I queried.

“Yeah, it was just above her hand on the floor,” Johns explained.

“Which hand? Do you remember?” I became more intense.

“I think it was her right hand, yeah, it was above her right hand. Boy you’re askin’ me to remember stuff that I haven’t thought about in years,” he confided. “Then I went into the other room to check on you kids and you were okay, just crying hard,” Johns continued. “I knew it was a bad deal and I had just gotten out of prison … Man, I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

I didn’t tell him that my mother was left handed, I just listened.

Adrenaline charged through his body as Johns raced out the front door, down the stairs and a couple of blocks to a phone booth on the corner. He dialed “O” for the operator (that was what we did before 9-1-1). He told the operator that a woman was dead, she’d been shot. When he hung up the phone and turned to exit the phone booth, the police pulled right up in front of him.

“I don’t know how they got there so fast. Man, I was scared! I couldn’t tell you how long I was on the phone with the operator, I just turned and they were right there,” he explained.

Back at the apartment, my sister and I were in a crib in the next room. My 19-year-old mother’s time of death was estimated between 8 a.m. and 12 noon. I was 17 months old, my sister was 6 months. According to Johns, the officers conducting the investigation found a closet full of stolen merchandise and credit cards. When the police were finally able to question Billy about the stolen property, he blamed it on Deanna, telling them that she had a problem. It was a lie.

On March 18, 1964, on the front page of the Tulsa Daily World, above the weather report, the story headline reads, “TULSA WOMAN FATALLY SHOT Victim’s Husband Hunted by Police.” The article went on to explain some of the details of the scene. “Police said a single bullet had been fired recently from the gun. The woman, clad in baby doll pajamas, was struck between the eyes. An autopsy was ordered.” The article also revealed, “…a piece of the gun handle had been broken off.”

I have a copy of my mother’s autopsy reports, newspaper articles, and death certificate. There are a few inconsistencies made about her death. In a document signed by the state medical examiner, there is a section at the bottom with the directions, “Please check MANNER” (short for manner of death), the six choices included Natural Cause, Suicide, Accident, Homicide, Other, and Undetermined. The examiner typed an “x” for Undetermined. On page one of the autopsy report, the “probable cause of death” states, “Bullet perforation of brain with basal skull fracture and massive blood aspiration into lungs.” On the “Comments And Interpretation” page of the autopsy, the second paragraph reads, “The direction of the shot is from front to back, in a horizontal level, and slightly from left to right. It is perfectly compatible with a bullet wound self-inflicted by a left hander (as the victim was).” On her death certificate, the “Cause of Death” section has the words, “Laceration of Brain … Gunshot” hand written into the space. Three boxes appear below that section: Accident, Suicide, and Homicide. Accident is checked.

The next day, March 19th, the same newspaper printed, “Police said Wednesday Mrs. Dianna Mann, 20, of 823 E. 5th Place, apparently fired the shot which took her life on Tuesday.” Her name was actually Deanna and she was 19 years old, not 20. The story continued, “Officers said a polygraph test supported her estranged husband’s story he was not home at the time of the shooting, and paraffin tests showed Mrs. Mann had recently fired a gun.”

In March of this year, I met with Dr. Michael Dobersen, the Arapahoe County Coroner, Medical Examiner, and Forensic Pathologist located just outside of Denver, Colorado. I wanted a professional opinion on my mother’s 1964 autopsy report. Dobersen was warm and welcoming. I braced myself for what he might tell me. I wanted the truth, a modern interpretation of the 48-year-old documents. I wanted to know if he thought that, scientifically, suicide was the only plausible interpretation.

“I’m impressed with the thoroughness of the report.” Dobersen commented.

I wondered if the scientific procedures had changed all that much. I imagine that they have. Dobersen pointed out the three conflicting comments, “accident,” “self-inflicted,” and “undetermined.” We spoke for almost an hour. He concluded that, all things considered, if it were him, he would have no choice but to characterize the death as undetermined. I agree that there are too many unknowns to sign off on suicide. Due to the question concerning my mother’s cause of death, the Catholic Church would not allow my grandparents to bury their daughter in the regular part of the cemetery. She was banished to the back row. I guess with the other perceived sinners.

There is one more thing that I need to tell you about my mother. When I heard it, I was grateful that it was not revealed to me 25 years earlier. Deanna entertained a guest the evening prior to her death. The young man was her lover. He was also a good friend of Billy Mann. He spent the evening with her well into the night, he told me it was probably between 12 and 1 a.m. when he left. His name was Roger Johns. He mentioned something very strange that happened the eve of my mother’s death.

“Your mom did not shoot drugs,” Johns insisted.

He did mention that once in a while she did barbiturates with the common street names of red birds and yellow jackets. That night she had taken a couple of red birds. There was a gun laying on top of a tall chest of drawers. Deanna picked up the gun and walked over to Johns, who was lying on the bed. She pointed the gun at his face.

Very calmly she said, “I ought to shoot you.”

Johns was adamant that he did not get angry about her behavior.

“Why would you want to do that? I haven’t done anything,” he replied to Deanna.

She paused as if thoughtfully considering his words. “You’re right,” she said and put the gun back on the chest of drawers.

Johns had never told a soul about his relationship with my mother in nearly 50 years. He told me that it felt good to get it off his chest. He was hesitant to tell me though, because he didn’t want me to think that my mother was the type of girl that ran around. He insists that she was not. Johns cared for my mother. He said that she was beautiful and that he was crazy about her. Johns also told me that Deanna was depressed about the situation with Billy. He said that my father used to run around on her a lot.

A family source remembers Billy bringing a girl over to the apartment where we lived to show his new lover his children. Of course, my mother was there caring for my sister and me. What kind of man has the audacity to do something like that?

“Billy was shooting dope and runnin’ around with that girl,” Johns informed me.

Johns wanted me to understand that my mother was a good person and that she loved my sister and me very much. She wasn’t like all the rest. She was different. Johns was concerned that I might lose respect for my mother.

“She was just in a bad situation. She was 19 years old and she had two kids. Her husband was a doper, a thief, and he ran around on her,” he preached.

Two weeks before she died, Deanna asked one of her sisters to take her family to California. Her sister said no because she didn’t have the money. My mother was trying to get away and make a new life for herself and her children, away from the destructiveness of her current life with Billy.

Around March 20th, my father made a phone call to the parents of his dead wife. My aunt answered the phone.

“If any of you black-ass Mexicans want a piece of me, you know where to find me!” he told her, then hung up the phone.

What motivates someone to be so cruel and insensitive to others? I don’t know how to justify that comment in my mind. I guess I can’t. People that knew Billy said he was a drug addict, an armed robber, a thief, and, at times, a pimp. Rumor has it that he trafficked stolen goods for associates that I can’t mention. It is hearsay that he was in the pocket of a disreputable attorney and may have been a snitch as well. He was cruel and abusive toward women. He didn’t seem to have any self-respect or respect for life. That is the way Billy Mann lived and died.

In order to try to piece together who my father was, I’ve had to poke around and ask a lot of questions. Around 1992, I met David Roper, a dominant figure in Tulsa, on the docks of a produce warehouse on North Trenton. Roper told me that my father was a good guy. I think it was the first time that I had ever heard the words “good guy” associated with my father. It gave me hope that maybe he wasn’t as bad as I had believed all my life. I pressed for details about what happened back in the ‘60s but he said that he didn’t know anything. I could tell that he didn’t want to rehash this part of his life, and who could blame him? Still, there’s a strange code of silence between the fellas that ran in that crowd. I wonder what they are protecting. I shifted the conversation to my father. I asked him to tell me about Billy Mann. Roper did share a memory of himself and my father sitting in a car in the ally across from where I lived when I was little. They parked, lit a cigarette and then watched me and my sister play in the front yard. Roper told me that my father loved me. My heart softened a little as I imagined that my father cared.

For most of my life, Billy Mann was just a story to me. I never felt any connection to him because I didn’t know anything about him or his side of the family. Over the years, I have spoken with several of his friends, two of his lovers, and some of his criminal associations. I still don’t feel a connection to him, but I’m beginning to understand the kind of man he was. He lived a terrible, addicted, lawless life. He used people and people used him. I’ve combed through public records and found that he was charged with armed robbery and numerous other crimes, but for some reason, the charges were often dropped.

In 2008, I sent away for Billy Mann’s military records. It took some time but I finally received them in April of 2009. When I read his History of Service and his Psych Eval, I cried. According to the records, my father stole his first car in 1956, at the age of 13. He did it again in September of 1960, while AWOL from the Marine Corp. Mann did not join the military out of duty or the desire to serve his country, he joined to avoid punishment for a crime committed in May of 1960—reckless driving and destruction of public property. He managed approximately one year of service, most of which was spent in military prison or AWOL. Mann was court martialed, May 22, 1961. The records reveal dimensions about his character and his family history that no one else has been able to tell me. The documents explain that Billy’s father died when he was about 9 years old. He was very close to his father. Billy had four older half- sisters; one committed suicide around November 2, 1960. Another sister attempted suicide by way of overdose of pills when Billy was 10. Billy confessed that prior to his enlistment with the Marines he had thoughts of suicide. At the age of 17, he said, “I would not mess around trying to cut my wrists, I would cut my throat.” In another section of the bulky file on my father, there is an evaluation made about his mental status. It states, “He is emotionally unstable, immature, insecure, resents authority, is suspicious and seclusive [sic], lacks the ability to exercise sound judgment…” It goes on, but you get the idea. There is a little girl inside of me that wants to look up to my Dad or to be proud of him in some way, but virtue is scarce by Billy Mann. From the military records, I did learn that my father had green eyes. I didn’t know that.

I located the woman that was the last person to look into his green eyes. We spoke on the phone a few times. I will call her Angelina. She told me that Billy admitted to beating up his wife, my mother, just for the fun of it. I have no way of knowing if that is true or not. She told me about her life with Billy, about their shady dealings and drug use. She said that Billy had punched her in the stomach once while she was pregnant with his child. They were together for a couple of years, right up until his death. She was his lover and the mother of his youngest child. She was also his niece.

Angelina recalled the events of October 7, 1970, in a phone conversation with me in February of this year. Billy and Angelina were staying in the country, at her grandfather’s house in Kellyville, a small town outside of Tulsa. They decided that they wanted to get clean, get completely off drugs. Billy wanted to marry her and try to get custody of his children, my sister and I. On that fall day, they planned to leave the state so they could get away from the local drug scene, which they knew all too well. Inconsistent with their plans, they took one final ride out into the woods to shoot up; that’s just what addicts do. They had moved from California in July in an attempt to kick heroin. Trying to get clean, they replaced heroin with Demerol that Mann stole from a drugstore. Billy tried to give his girlfriend her shot but her fragile veins wouldn’t take another hit. Billy took her shot. They drove back to the house and parked the car in the gravel driveway. Still hungry for a fix, Angelina slipped into the house to cook some drugs. Billy stayed outside to work on the car. From inside the house, she heard her grandpa yelling at Billy, “Hey, are you okay?! Hey!” She looked up and saw Billy still sitting in the driver’s seat with his head flopped backward over the headrest, his mouth agape. She ran. She ran as fast as she could and pulled Billy from the car. Once on the ground, Angelina began to beat on his chest, trying to do chest compressions. Frantically she called for someone to help her. People came, but no one in the crowd stirred to help the dying man and the frantic girl, they only watched.

Billy’s eye’s caught Angelina’s and he softly spoke his final words… “Not so hard.”

The young 18-year-old girl begged at the crowd for someone to go call an ambulance but no one responded to her pleas. Finally, she ran to borrow a neighbor’s truck. They put Billy in the back and her grandfather drove them to the hospital, which was located about 10 miles away. She did mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions all the way to the hospital.

“I was working on a dead man,” she recalled.

Billy Joe Mann died that day of a drug overdose; he would never see any of his children again. He was 27.

When I heard the news of my father’s death, I was eight years old. I was in Tulsa at the time, visiting sick relatives. My aunt came out to the front yard where I was playing with cousins and showed me the newspaper article. She told me that my father was dead. At that age, I didn’t know what to do with the information. Dead? Who was Billy Mann? He was my father but I didn’t know him. What was I supposed to do? I remember thinking it was creepy that he died two days after my birthday. I shrugged it off and continued playing with my cousins. I never shed a tear.

Larry Clark’s Tulsa has tormented some, and others have narrowly escaped its wrath. It nestles up to some of the worst parts of humanity. It’s difficult to look at lost souls squandering the potential of their precious lives and inadvertently the lives of others. It is even more difficult when they are your parents. I have spoken with several of the people that appear in the book. I listened to them tell their stories and remember a time in their lives that was caught on film, a time that most are not proud of. I listened to them tell me what they remembered about their relationship to my mother, but mostly my father. One woman from the book seemed shaken that I found her. We spoke only once, but I will never forget the shame that I heard in her voice. She was just a teenage girl when those pictures were taken and at 60-something, she still carries shame. A couple of the boys from the later photos revealed that police harassed them. They said it was because of Tulsa. I wonder what it must have been like for those that survived the inauspicious lifestyle of drugs and crime. What about their families? Those that lived, what did they grow up to become? How did they explain Tulsa to their kids?

I grew up but I did not walk in my father’s footsteps. I didn’t become a junkie or a criminal or a social outcast. I walked a different path. In the early ‘90s, I owned and operated a health food restaurant and juice bar in Tulsa, on the corner of 51st and Yale. It was a lot of hard work, but the reward of doing what I loved was worth it. My lease came up and I made a decision to close the restaurant while I looked for a new location. Things didn’t work out the way I planned and I was not able to get it up and running again. In 1996, I took a road trip to Colorado. 11 days later, I stuffed a U-Haul full and moved to the Rocky Mountains. I’ve been here ever since.

Some of my friends and family members don’t understand my interest in this early part of my life. They say things like, “It was so long ago … just let it go!” or “Don’t live in the past.” Last year, I went through a period of weeping and sobbing, but strangely, I didn’t even know the reason why. I was purging. I’ve felt anger toward my father and confusion about my mother. I have felt anger over the stupidity of it all. I dove deep into the dark abyss of my past and reaped what was there. I don’t fear it anymore, I just feel it.

Tulsa was the way my life began. I am still in the process of discovering who I am and learning about my roots, but I know so much more now than ever before. When I flip through the pages of the book, I don’t just see nameless faces anymore. I see real people, some who are alive and some who are not. I know many of their names and I hear their stories. The people that gave me life are on those pages. I have learned details about my mother and my father that have turned those flat one-dimensional photos into complex multi-faceted human beings. It is their humanity that compels me.

Like my mother, my father is also buried on the edge of a cemetery. Billy Mann’s grave lies in an open space and sits on top of a hill outside of Tulsa. The view is expansive. The sun was shining and it was unseasonably warm that day in January when I visited. His headstone reads “At Rest.” I wonder if that’s true. I knelt down beside my father’s grave just like I had my mother’s grave, earlier that day. With my fingertips, I swept the debris from the face of his headstone and stared into it as if it might respond. There was only silence.

Editor’s note: In the special May 1, 2012 issue of This Land, we offer the amazing stories of two acclaimed Tulsa photographers, Larry Clark and Gaylord Herron. Our iPad edition of this issue features exclusive additional content that takes you deep into the Tulsa photography experience. Hear Shantelle Jennings, author of the piece below, discuss her story and life, and get an exclusive glimpse into the worlds of Herron and Clark.