Dennis Spielman

The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Category: Real (Page 1 of 63)

Bowls at Gogi Go - photo by Dennis Spielman

Gogi Go

Gogi Go is a Korean fast casual concept located in Oklahoma City’s Midtown District that specializes in Korean BBQ rice bowls and burritos. In this interview, John Lee, Dan Johnson, and Danh Do talk about guests can expect, including the mural by Kris Kanaly.

I’m working on getting back on a regular schedule, trying to film interviews at least a week before they air. In the past few weeks, I’ve reached out to several people for interviews, but I have yet to hear back or get them scheduled. This includes interviews for Yes! Science!

Shout out to my supporters on Patreon! If you became a patron, you’ll get early access to the videos and bonus content. Thank you for watching!

Art Moves

Art Moves

In a mission to spread art to the public, the Arts Council OKC provides free arts events in Oklahoma City with the Art Moves initiative. Held on each workday from Noon to 1:00 pm, Art Moves events may include artist demonstrations or musical performances, and take place in various locations, primarily in the downtown area. The daily line-up features a wide range of artistic mediums such as live art demonstrations, musical performances of all genres, theatrical shows, poetry, short film selections, and more!

This week’s video is part a segment from my documentary, Inviting Art, which explores the impact of the arts in the city. This video does include some changes from the original version. On the subject of Inviting Art, I am excited to announce that Inviting Art will air on OETA HD on February 26 at 10 pm! It will be a special 30-minute version, highlighting the best and most important parts of my documentary.

Season 2 Thumbnail Grabs

Season 2 Collection of Quarter Minutes

This video is a recap collection of all of the stories we made for Quarter Minutes throughout the year. This collection contains Parallel Travels, Something On Your Face, Stranger Roommates, Afternoon Nap Killer, A Ricktastic Profit Idea, Don’t Touch the Elf, Future Elf on the Shelf, Happy Nutcracker, and Rascal of the Elf.

2017 Featured the Talents of:
Daniel Austin
Dennis Spielman
Kristy K. Boone
Michael Roberts
Robyn Wheelock

Plus music by Matt Harris and Kevin MacLeod.

To stay connect, follow Quarter Minutes on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If you love what we’re doing, want to see more, and before everyone else, became a patron. We have plans to do a third season so stay tuned!

Caterpillar photo by Dennis Spielman

Reflecting on 2017

Hello, everyone!

It’s now time for my annual End of the Year Reflection. Last year, 2016, was a big year for me. I wrote last year “was, by far, my most productive year.” In 2017, I stepped my game. Before I get into details, here are some numbers covering what I made.

Weekly Videos for Uncovering Oklahoma: 45
Artist Statement Minutes: 19
Music Videos: 1
Feature Films: 2 (Norman Music Festival and Inviting Art)
Quarter Minutes: 9
Yes! Science! Videos: 6

-Uncovering Oklahoma in 2017-
I’m going to review Uncovering Oklahoma first, but starting off with some stats. Keep in mind the for weekly videos, sometimes I would feature multiple places, such as when I did my Coffee of Norman episode. Some of my weekly videos focused on an event rather than a place, which I made more of this year because I had footage from 2016 to do that sort of thing.

Top 5 Most Viewed Uncovering Oklahoma Videos Made in 2017 on YouTube:
5. McClintock Saloon & Chop House [509 views]
4. Intro to The Food of Lindsey Street [860 views]
3. The Underground [2,046 views]
2. Poe Bouyz House – Sneak Peek Tour with Uncovering Oklahoma [8,229 views]
1. Beck’s Garage: Tuning up and Servicing Oklahoma City | #AmexAmbassador [36,180 views]

At this time, no other video of mine has more views than my Beck’s Garage video. The reason it’s so high is that the marketing company did a paid boost on it. The Poe Bouyz House Sneak Peek Tour video was something that went viral because so many people were curious about what that weird looking building on the highway was going to be. Back in 2009, the very first video I did for Uncovering Oklahoma was about the Underground, which I revisited this year to include as part of my series I was doing about art galleries and for Inviting Art. Downtown OKC was impressed enough with my video on The Underground that they embedded it on their site, which for me, is one of the highest praises.

Now, to mess up those numbers, here’s what was popular on Facebook because this year I started also uploading them directly to my page.

Top 5 Most Viewed on Facebook:
5. An Afternoon in Davis [5.6K]
4. Off The Hook Seafood and More [13.6K]
3. Oklahoma State Fair Food of 2017 [14.8K]
2. Davis Road Trip [17.8K]
1. Poe Bouyz House Sneak Peek Tour [407.3K]

Having the videos on Facebook did affect my YouTube views, however, they were getting watched and that’s what’s important.

The popularity of Uncovering Oklahoma has grown like crazy. On January 2, 2017, the Facebook page likes was at 1,969 and on December 31, 2017, it’s at 10,571! I can attribute a good chunk of that to my Poe Bouyz House coverage. As for Twitter followers, I can’t find out what I started with, but I’m ending the year with 2,959. Over at Uncovering Oklahoma, I wrote a recap there, which includes my top ten pages and videos.

-Books in 2017-
One thing I didn’t do this year – which I also didn’t do last year – was publish any books. Not for the lack of trying. Intertwined by Cracks has been going back-and-forth on the editing process. Granted, the book has been getting better and better with each revision my editor has sent back. I’ve also been working on a sequel to The Crashing of Heaven and Hell, which has an intertwined chapter with Intertwined by Cracks.

-Quarter Minutes in 2017-
This year, I didn’t do as many stories for Quarter Minutes, but on average, they were longer this time around. I’m a little bummed that they didn’t get many views because I felt we did a great job on them. Something for me to work on for next year. Shout out to Daniel Austin, Pallas, Robyn Wheelock, Michael Roberts, Finley, Justan, and Kristy K. Boone for their work this season!

-Yes! Science! in 2017-
Yes! Science! is my new series I started this year. The show had a rocky start, which involved some technical errors. I didn’t debut the series until October 3. However, it was well received! I took a mid-season break from it because it was getting harder to schedule interviews with the holidays and their end of the year project/research wrap-ups.

-Travel Adventures in 2017-
The other new thing I started doing was more personal travel videos, which would have me in it or not be related to Oklahoma. I figured, I had a personal channel on YouTube, which I wasn’t using, so I decided to do something with it. The most popular video I made this year on it was about the Oklahoma State Fair Foods of 2017.

Leslie and I didn’t travel out of state until December when we went to Seattle to visit her sister and then to see my parents in Georgia for Christmas. Our schedules and budgets didn’t allow for much travel.

Spotify 2017 Wrapped
-My Top 18 Most Played Songs in 2017-
These were my most played songs in 2017 according to Spotify, which is how I mostly listen to music. I enjoy sharing what I listened to this year. It’s fun to look back. Nothing from my top 15 this year matched anything from my top 15 of last year. Keep in mind I will often put a song (or playlist) on repeat when writing or for inspiration sessions.

Top 18 Songs Played in 2017

-Now for 2018-
Before I talk about 2018, I feel it’s important to talk about my failures of the year. Despite my growth, I can’t help but feel somewhat forgettable. I’m still figuring out what people are and aren’t interested in watching. Basically, what works and what doesn’t work. More than once I’ve had to tell myself not to compare myself to others – only compare yourself with yourself. I’ve also had some weight gain as I do most of my work in front of a computer. I’m at 220 pounds today and I’ve set a goal to lose weight in 2018.

As a business, I am not financially stable or profitable. I did sponsorships to make three videos: The Food of Lindsey Street, Inviting Art, and Beck’s Garage for American Express. I also did several freelance video projects. However, I had equipment and medical expenses eat up everything. While I am grateful for the paid work, it takes time. Time to court people. Time to work out deals. Time to get paid (for example, on Inviting Art, I was paid half up front and the other half upon completion, six months later). I’m working on building up patron support so I can focus more on making things.

It seemed like overall in 2017, I was doing a lot of learning and getting a grip on everything, which some people may say that’s what every year is like. In the month of October, I had released at least three videos a week – one from each of my shows. I am so proud of that turnout. I’ve had people tell me that they live through me and my adventures. I’ve had tons of people that described themselves to me as “not being good on camera” later tell me how good my video on them turned out. In other positive growth, I’ve done collaborative videos with other professionals, such as in my Davis, Uptown 23rd, and A Solo Day in OKC videos. I plan to do even more collaborations next year. I did get PAID to make videos this year, which is a first.

When I compare the me of today to the me of last year, I’ve progressed.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is that I can’t do everything by myself, but I can get things started by myself. Collaboration is going to be key for 2018. I just need to keep things rolling.

Now, I’m not keen on talking about future projects when they are in the pre-production stages hence why I’m going to be a little vague below.

I plan to release a new book from my 16th Phoenix Universe series of stories. As I mentioned before, Intertwined by Cracks is in the editing phase. Collecting Cassie’s Soul, which is the sequel I mentioned, I’m still writing it out, but it’s been fun to write. It’s told from the first person perspective and although it is a sequel, I’ve been writing it so that it stands on its own. I’ve also written a little on a third book.

Of course, I will continue making videos for Quarter Minutes and Yes! Science! The Quarter Minutes group had some great ideas we just didn’t get to film. In January, I’m going follow up with those who requested I check back then to be interviewed then for Yes! Science! Scheduling and juggling all of my shows has been a challenge.

I would like to attempt to do a non-documentary feature film this year. I have a few ideas I’m bouncing around, but nothing solid yet. As of I’m writing this post, I’m leaning toward a horror film.

For Uncovering Oklahoma in 2018, I plan to do behind-the-scenes kind of videos to show sides of places the public doesn’t get to see. Heidi and I plan to go more small towns and do similar videos to our Davis ones. On the subject of collaboration, that’s one of my key elements for 2018. I plan to do another pub crawl video and A Solo Day in OKC Summer Edition. If funding allows it, I plan to do more coverage outside of the Oklahoma City Metro.

I have an idea for a public art installation. I’ve been inspired by all of the artists I’ve interviewed. I’ve had the idea for some time now, but I’m just now making time to figure out how to build it because it will be an undertaking. Few people know what it is because I’m keeping it quiet until I’m sure I can actually build it. As Jack Fowler advised in an interview I did with, “you just got to do it.”

On the subject of ambitious, I have three words to share: National Travel Show. My goal is to film the pilot episode in the first quarter of the year. This has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

In 2016, I thought it would be fun to do a show involving a live studio audience. In 2017, I started trying to figure what that entails and how to make it happen. In 2018, I take steps to make it happen!

That’s it for my yearly reflection. I got a little personal this time, talked more than normal, and I’ve shared some rather lofty goals. Again, I’m sorry if for my vagueness on the future as I things can change at this point. In January, I’m going to be meeting with people to make things happen.

I want to thank you for your support and I hope you continue to adventure with me in 2018!

Have a Happy New Year!

A Winter Trip to Seattle

Hello, Adventurous!

Recently, my wife and I spent a few days in Seattle, Washington to visit her sister, Lessa, and for you, I’m going to recap what we did to give you ideas for your Seattle trip. I would recommend watching the video with this article first. I captured the experience through a combination of videos taken from both my iPhone 8 and Panasonic GH5, as well as photos with text hence why parts will look different. For this trip, we flew in on Thursday, December 7 and flew out early on the morning of Monday, December 11th. Since on Thursday we didn’t do anything other than eat dinner and stay at the hotel, let’s get started with breakfast on Friday morning.

Four Spoons Cafe - photo by Dennis Spielman
Friday morning we meet with Lessa and her roommate (and our friend too), Jordan, at their apartment. For breakfast, we went to one of their favorite places, Four Spoons Cafe, which was a short walk from their place (but we drove). Our breakfast was delicious! One thing they recommend is their potatoes, even if you’re not too big into potatoes, give them a try. I can see why Lessa and Jordan go there all the time.

Olympic Sculpture Park - photo by Dennis Spielman
After breakfast, Lessa, Leslie, and I went to went to the Olympic Sculpture Park (while Jordan had to work). It’s a free, public outdoor sculpture museum and beach. It has some pretty impressive pieces of art there. We also walked the beach there because beaches are bitching.

Pie at pie - photo by Dennis Spielman
We had scheduled a chocolate factory tour to go to in the afternoon, so went to the Fremont District after that. We had a few hours to spare before our tour, so we walked around the district, had some yummy pie from a place simply called pie. It was a tiny place, which I adore. There were a bunch of tiny hidden businesses throughout the district.

Leslie and Dennis at the Fremont Troll - photo by Lessa Keller-Kenton
Of course, we saw the Fremont Troll, which was on my list to check out. I learned that the Fremont Arts Council had launched an art competition in 1990 to help rehabilitate the area under the bridge, which was becoming a dumping ground and haven for drug dealers. By making a tourist attraction, people were always there and thus deterring negative behaviors. If you are interested in learning more about the power of public art, I suggest watching my documentary, Inviting Art.

A tour of Theo Chocolate - photo by Dennis Spielman
Next to the troll was a community garden, which that was pretty cool. We made our way to Theo Chocolate for our tour. I wasn’t allowed to take video of the tour, but pictures were okay. It wasn’t long or big. There were three areas; one was the waiting room, another a presentation area where they talked about chocolates, and a windowed room where we saw most of the equipment. One thing I do want to point out is that Theo Chocolate is a bean to bar factory and so that means they take the raw seeds to make their chocolate, which not very many places do. They’re also all organic and fair trade. Props to them on that!

Inside the Pike Place Market - photo by Dennis Spielman
After visiting the gift shop and buying some chocolates, we went to the famous Pike Place Market. The thing that surprised me about the Pike Place Market was how eclectic it was and that it had more of a flea market vibe and less of an upscale market I had envisioned. There were also a ton of hidden nooks and crannies, and that was fun to explore. And the surrounding area was pretty cool too. We found this alleyway covered in gum, making art with used gum. I liked it, but I know some people will find it gross.

When our parking meter ran out, we called it a day. Bonus Tip: You can’t trick the parking meter into letting you buy more time after your max time.

Aaron and Dennis at the Golden Gardens Park
On Saturday, we picked up Lessa and went to the Golden Gardens Park, where I met up with my friend, Aaron, who I’ve known since grade-school. We all walked around the beach for awhile, and then the guys and girls split up. Leslie and Lessa spent the afternoon at a bathhouse while Aaron and I went on our adventure to get a mystery soda.

One of the poems at the park - photo by Dennis Spielman
After getting a mystery soda, Aaron and I walked around Cal Anderson Park where we found two poems in a bottle. We didn’t keep the poems as I wanted to let someone else also have the joy of discovering them as we did.

Aaron and I then went to the Ballard District where we explored the game shop, Mox Boarding House. Then Aaron and I went our separate ways. Afterall, he did drive up to Seattle from Hoquiam with his family, and they wanted lunch and to do things in town as well. It was great seeing him, and I’m glad he was able to visit. (If you’re reading this Aaron, thank you again!)

With some time to spare waiting for the girls, I grabbed a slice of pizza from Ballard Pizza Company. But I wanted to try a bunch of things in the area, so I went to Li’l Woody’s for a small burger, then to Full Tilt Ice Cream, and a mocha from Caffe Umbria. All were tasty! Walking around the Ballard District reminded me of Downtown Norman, but bigger.

Cafe Turko - photo by Dennis Spielman
I reconnected with Leslie and Lessa after their relaxing bathhouse experience where we just drove around for a bit, picked up one of Lessa’s friends, and then we went to the Fremont District where we had dinner at Cafe Turko. I can’t remember the last time I had Turkish food, but I loved it. No one had any complaints, so I recommend giving them a try.

To cap off our Saturday night, we to Schilling Cider House where we ordered two flights of ciders and hung out. They had all kinds of games to play and if you wanted, you could have food delivered there because they didn’t serve anything. Again, that was a cool place to hang out and end the night.

Grumpy D's Coffee House - photo by Dennis Spielman
Sunday started with coffee, of course, at Grumpy D’s Coffee House with Lessa, Leslie, and myself. We had originally planned to go somewhere else, but there was a line out the door, so we doubled back on our route to Grumpy D’s that we had seen along the way. Lessa hadn’t been there yet, so it was new for all of us, and we liked it.

Discovery Park - photo by Dennis Spielman
With caffeine in our veins, we went to Discovery Park. Discovery Park is along the shores of Puget Sound in the Magnolia neighborhood. It’s the city’s largest public park and contains over 11 miles of walking trails! We were lucky enough to have a sunny winter day in the park. Even in December, there was lots of green.

Museum of Pop Culture - photo by Dennis Spielman
To allow Lessa time to do laundry and grocery shopping, we traded her for Jordan and Jordan brought us to The Museum of Pop Culture, where he had a membership pass. There was so much to see and interact with at the museum! We spent a good chunk of our time at the Jim Henson Exhibition. The thing that suprised me the most about Jim Henson was all of the other things he wanted to do, including a night club. We would’ve spent more time at the museum. However, we were getting hungry. We grabbed a bite to eat at the Armory in Seattle’s Center. We didn’t do much else there as it was cold.

We went back to the Pike Place Market, this time finding free parking, to pick up gifts. We didn’t spend too much time the second time around as it took us forever to find a parking spot. The goal was to get some flowers for my mom and a hoodie for my sister, which we achieved.

For our last dinner in Seattle, Leslie and I wanted fresh fish, so we traded Jordan for Lessa and went to Chinook’s At Salmon Bay. The restaurant was located Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal so we couldn’t get much more connected to the ocean than that.

To end the trip, the three of us got a wonderful massage at Elements Massage.

That’s it for our Seattle trip! Leslie and I would love to go back again in the summer. We’ve discussed maybe we would stay in the Downtown area next and focus on things to do in that area. We would definitely go back to the Pike Place Market again, explore more of Seattle Center, and perhaps take a longer hike through Discovery Park.

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