Busy weekends: Mayfest, music, moms -- and an eclipse

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It was a fun but busy weekend with no time for posting here. Friday night involved ferrying my oldest son from playing in Barthelmes Conservatory's spring open concert to singing with the Augustine Christian Academy show choir at the school's high school graduation. While he was busy with that, I met up with a friend, a Tulsan now sojourning in Texas, back in town to celebrate his birthday at In the Raw South, enjoying sushi, good conversation, and one of the best views in Tulsa. (And now I think of it -- too late -- it would have been a great spot to view Sunday night's sunset eclipse.)

Saturday was focused on Mayfest. Several Barthelmes Conservatory students performed on the 4th & Boston stage. While the temperatures were pleasant, the gusty winds were a challenge, and at one point several students and I were chasing several pages of piano music down 4th Street. I thought my son and his ensemble partner played as well in the open air as they had for the previous night's indoor concert, but he said that several times a gust lifted his bow off the strings. Not the ideal conditions for performing.

After a young female singer performed, we thought we were going to have a few minutes of quiet before the Barthelmes performance began, but instead the sound system was cranked up to a deafening volume. It turned out they were playing music on the 4th and Boston sound system for a "flash mob" at 4th and Main. Now, downtown Tulsa blocks are 300' by 300' from lot line (usually the building face) to lot line, plus 60' between lot lines for streets and sidewalks. So that means we were sitting within 20' or so of music cranked loud enough to be heard by dancers the length of a football field away. If you want music at 4th and Main, kindly put the speakers at 4th and Main.

We spent a little while exploring the art booths on Main Street. I was especially impressed by Douglas Fulks' pen and ink drawings of football stadiums, baseball parks, and musical instruments and Christopher Westfall's romantic paintings of Tulsa cityscapes. A Westfall print would be a great gift for a homesick Tulsan, and our convention and visitors bureau would do well to license some of his images to promote the city. I particularly liked his painting of Shades of Brown coffeehouse in Brookside.

We wound up on Boston Ave. south of 5th Street, next to the Philcade Building, one of Tulsa's Art Deco treasures. Big band music was playing on a PA system and dozens of young people (and a few older) were swing dancing in the street. This was part of the first-ever Greenwood Swingout and also part of Chalkfest, an event sponsored by Kanbar Properties, separate but alongside Mayfest, to bring people over to Boston Ave. At one point, the whole crowd lined up to do the Shim Sham, a swing line dance, to a recording of "Stompin' at the Savoy" with the late Lindy Hop legend Frankie Manning calling out the steps. Many of the folks dancing are regulars at The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate's Saturday night dances at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Brookside.

Inside the Philcade, the Tulsa Art Deco Museum held the grand opening of its preview space and gift shop, a taste of what the organizers hope to develop on a larger scale. The preview space includes displays of Deco-inspired small appliances, such as toasters and radios, and consumer product packaging -- typewriter ribbon cases, potato chip cans, and ice cream boxes. A three-seat theater in the center ran a sequence of Betty Boop cartoons which had my kids cackling. (The Deco Ball is coming up on Saturday, June 9, 2012, in the Philcade's penthouse, once home to Waite and Genevieve Phillips.

Sunday night we tried to see something of the solar eclipse just before sunset but could find only one small spot in our yard where sunlight struck our fence. The sun went behind the clouds -- no good for eclipse spotting but the sunset was beautiful, with sunbeams streaming through holes in the clouds.

The previous weekend was no less busy: Friday evening we journeyed to Fayetteville for a reception -- the University of Arkansas School of Education honored my mother-in-law, Marjorie Marugg-Wolfe, as an outstanding alumna for her work establishing single parent scholarship funds in Benton County and across Arkansas and now across the country through Aspire, a nationwide network of single parent scholarship programs. Saturday was the Oklahoma Republican State Convention in Norman. Sunday night was Mother's Day -- a relaxing celebration with extended family on a beautiful afternoon, followed by the final performance of Fiddler on the Roof at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. ("Sunrise, Sunset" and "Sabbath Prayer" get me choked up every time.)

May has been a month of end-of-school activities, too. Final exams and final projects for the oldest son. Our daughter achieved the Classical Conversations Memory Master milestone for the second year in a row. Our youngest son finished the first book for Awana Sparks -- that involves memorizing about two dozen Bible verses and the books of the New Testament. Closing ceremonies for Classical Conversations featured a skit entirely in Latin, written and performed by the high school (rhetoric) students, and a skit set for all of the grammar and dialectic students set in pioneer days, incorporating in a creative way some of their memory work, such as history sentences, states, capitals, and geographical features, principal parts of irregular verbs, times tables, and presidents.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 21, 2012 12:58 AM.

Greenwood Swingout begins tonight was the previous entry in this blog.

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