Tulsa: February 2006 Archives

Helping Susan Cowsill

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This is going to be a departure from BatesLine's usual content, the sort of thing that Mister Snitch calls a long-tail post. Google seems to treat this blog pretty favorably, so I'm hopeful that this entry will be found by Cowsills fans as they search the net.

In the linkblog a few days ago, I made mention of the woes that have recently befallen The Cowsills, a the late '60s pop band that also happened to be a family. The band consisted of four brothers, their mom, and their little sister Susan.

(Hollywood saw the TV potential of the group, but after the fashion of the time that potential was translated into a situation comedy based on their story, featuring professional actors miming to music. Nowadays, the Cowsills would have been made the stars of their own reality series.)

The Cowsill family has lost a lot in the last few months, starting with Hurricane Katrina. Barry Cowsill, in New Orleans when the storm hit, was missing until January, when his body was identified.

Susan Cowsill and her husband made it out of New Orleans in time, but with nothing but their pets and the clothes on their back. Their priceless family archives were lost to the storm.

Then, a week ago, as family and friends gathered in the family's hometown of Newport, R.I., to remember Barry, they learned that oldest brother Billy had died at his home in Calgary.

Susan Cowsill has a connection to Tulsa. Susan sang backup and harmony vocals with Dwight Twilley's band, going back to the '80s, and she lived in Tulsa for a time. She was here last August performing with Twilley, not long before Katrina hit.

(YouTube has a music video, "Some Good Years," a song the regrouped Cowsills recorded in the early '90s. The video was part of a tribute to Barry, and it features clips from the Cowsills' American Dairy Association commercial, a 1967 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, and TV appearances with Dean Martin, Johnny Cash, Buddy Ebsen, and Mike Douglas. Even if you aren't a fan, if you fondly remember variety shows of the era, you'll enjoy the trip down Memory Lane. Hat tip to the Dawn Patrol.)

Susan Cowsill could use your help in a couple of ways. She and her husband lost everything to Katrina. Back in September Dwight and Jan Twilley began collecting funds to help with basic needs, and in an e-mail a couple of days ago, Jan Twilley confirmed to me that there is still a need and they are still accepting donations. You can send donations to:

Susan Cowsill
c/o Jan Twilley
4306 S. Peoria Suite 642
Tulsa, OK. 74105-3924

The Cowsill family also hopes to replace some of the memorabilia that was lost to the storm. Through the Cowsills Archive Project, the family is asking for fans to share their Cowsills memorabilia by uploading photos and scans. They would also welcome any memorabilia you can bear to part with to help rebuild the family's collection.

I only learned about The Cowsills in the last year or so, so I can't claim to be a longtime fan, but I was touched by this story of loss upon loss -- and its contrast to the happy innocence you'll see in that video -- and I wanted to let people know how they can help. I'm hopeful that Cowsills fans will come across this entry, spread the word, and help in any way they can.

According to La Semana del Sur, Casa Laredo is closing its long-time location at 41st and Peoria. From other sources I've heard the move is to make way for the expansion of Wild Oats Market. The cool news is that they plan to build a new location next to the Hotel Savoy near 6th and Peoria (recently redubbed the Pearl District), near the Village at Central Park. It's a real vote of confidence for the 6th Street corridor and could encourage more new businesses to spring up in the area. (I seem to recall that Chimi's original location on 15th Street -- where Kilkenny's is now -- was a catalyst for new business activity on Cherry Street in the early '90s.)

Iconic Tulsa

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One of my Urban Tulsa Weekly columns was about the idea of the new downtown sports arena as an "icon", and what it means for a building to be iconic:

An icon is a symbol. In the computer world, itís a small image that has enough detail to help you remember what program that will be launched when you click on it. In religious terms, itís an image of a saint, depicting details of the saintís ministry or martyrdom which identify the saint and remind the viewer of his or her story. For both meanings of the word, an icon is supposed to bring to mind the thing or person being iconified.

When you see an ďiconicĒ structure, you immediately know its location. Think of the U. S. Capitol; the domes of the Kremlin; Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament; the Colosseum; the Parthenon; the Statue of Liberty; the Eiffel Tower; the Gateway Arch; the Leaning Tower; the Pyramids.

Television shows and movies use iconic structures to set the scene without a single word. An iconic structure works because it is distinctive and it connects with a famous location. The less famous the place, the more distinctive the structure needs to be to work as an icon. Like it or not, Tulsaís most iconic structure is the Golden Driller. It works because people still associate Tulsa with oil. The American, if itís ever built, could be an icon for our state because people associate Oklahoma with American Indians.

Proving my point unintentionally, the Tulsa Whirled's website has been running an online poll, asking readers to pick their top four Tulsa scenes out of 16. The winning scene will be used on the box of a Monopoly-type game called Tulsa on Board, which is being developed by Leadership Tulsa. The text of the poll reads:

As a sponsor, the Tulsa World will provide artwork, but we need your help. The box should visually reflect what it means to live in Tulsa; and we thought who would know better than Tulsans themselves?

As I write this, the top vote-getter among the photos is the Golden Driller (816 votes), followed by the Cain's Ballroom (673 votes), an aerial photo of downtown, with the refineries, the river, and the setting sun in the background (619 votes), and Art Deco (529 votes -- the photo is of the Boston Avenue Church tower). The "iconic" arena is in 6th place, but well back of the leaders, with only 341 votes. (The Philtower was 5th, with 445 votes.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from February 2006.

Tulsa: January 2006 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: April 2006 is the next archive.

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