Urban Tulsa Weekly: March 2007 Archives

Move City Hall?

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I've gotten really sloppy about posting blog links to my Urban Tulsa Weekly column. In case I forget, you can always go directly to the urbantulsa.com home page and find a link under Columns. Articles from the new edition are posted on the website Wednesday morning. I will be adding retroactive links to previous articles so that you'll be able to find a complete archive listing here.

In any case, this week I consider the idea of moving City Hall to the Williams Communications Group building, aka the Borg Cube, aka One Technology Center. Our existing City Hall is inadequate and, to say the least, homely:

A couple of years ago, I was giving a tour of the city to a friend from New York. Despite her love of '60s pop music and fashion, the poorly-executed '60s architecture of City Hall left her cold. When I pointed out the place that occupies so much of my attention, she declared, "That is the ugliest city hall I have ever seen."

As you'll read, even Weird Al dissed our City Hall when he filmed a movie here. (In the service of researching this article, I had to watch UHF again. In the commentary track, Weird Al misidentifies the ersatz City Hall as the Christian Science church at 10th and Boulder -- it's the First Christian Church across the street at 9th and Boulder.)

The real City Hall entrance is gloomy and subterranean, beneath the Civic Center Plaza. In place of grand steps, there is a curb cut leading up a few inches from the main driveway through the parking lot. A set of automated sliding glass doors are framed by white-painted cinder blocks, on which is mounted the words "CITY HALL" in original-series Star Trek block lettering.

Also in this week's issue, Brian Ervin has a story on the anti-illegal-immigration proposal currently before the Oklahoma Legislature. Ervin does an excellent job of setting out the details of the bill, how it differs from last session's bill, what influences shaped the bill, and how changes in the balance of power have changed the prospects for passage. He spoke to proponents Rep. Randy Terrill and Sen. Jim Williamson and opponents Victor Orta and Ed Martinez and is very fair in representing both perspectives. (UTW has a real gem in Mr. Ervin.)


This week's column in Urban Tulsa Weekly is a salute to the late great western swing band leader Bob Wills. This weekend is the annual Bob Wills birthday celebration at Cain's Ballroom, so it seemed like an opportune time to explain, to Tulsans unfamiliar with his legacy, his importance to American music and Tulsa history, what make western swing music so much fun, and why everyone needs to get out to Cain's Friday and Saturday night to listen and dance to Bob Wills's Texas Playboys, led by vocalist Leon Rausch and Tommy Allsup, both veterans of the Texas Playboys in the '50s and '60s.

The line-up this weekend includes many veterans of the Texas Playboys and Johnnie Lee Wills's band: steel guitarist Bobby Koefer, who blew us all away last year at the Playboys' performance at the Osage Casino, fiddlers Curly Lewis and Jimmy Young, and Curly Hollingsworth on piano -- not to slight the other great musicians who'll be on stage, including fiddler Bob Boatright, trumpeter Mike Bennett, and trombonist Steve Ham.

Something I didn't mention in the article: A new western swing band will be playing Saturday night's performance: Oklahoma Stomp, a collection of 12 to 16-year-old musicians organized by Tulsa fiddler Shelby Eicher, in connection with the National Fiddler Hall of Fame.


If you'd like to read something a bit more in-depth, but not book length, here's a good article about Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys from the Journal of Texas Music History.

Here's a BlogCritics review of the Legends of Country Music box set issued by Sony.

Here's a page about Leon Rausch with some of his solo recordings and recordings with Tommy Allsup and Bob Wills's Texas Playboys. And here's a page with the Texas Playboys upcoming tour dates. They're playing Lincoln Center in New York in June, part of the "Midsummer Night Swing" series of outdoor concerts and dances.

You'll find more links and some videos in BatesLine's Western Swing category.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Urban Tulsa Weekly category from March 2007.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: February 2007 is the previous archive.

Urban Tulsa Weekly: April 2007 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



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