Dennis Spielman

The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

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District Up! movie still

District Up! – Final Trailer

The Plaza District, Film Row, and Western Avenue. Each of these Oklahoma City districts may have a unique history and aesthetic, but they also have something in common: over the past few years they all have experienced a revival with the creation of regular events that bring businesses, neighbors, and “outsiders” together. This feature-length documentary shares stories and advice on district revitalization throughout Oklahoma City from the people who helped create positive change in their communities and want to inspire others to do the same.

After over a year of work, District Up! will be released on Friday, November 18th. When Uncovering Oklahoma was started, the main mission was to show people that there were interesting and fun things to do in Oklahoma. However, there has always been a secondary mission to make Oklahoma more interesting. District Up! is the first major project to not only help make Oklahoma more lively but other communities as well with stories and advice from those who helped create positive change.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be releasing a district themed holiday gift guides on Uncovering Oklahoma along with a new article series to further improvements in the state.

Talimena Scenic drive - photo by Dennis Spielman

Weekly Recap Nov. 7

Celebrity Sing
Friday was United Way of Norman’s big Celebrity Sign fundraiser event, which my wife had been working hard on. Celebrity Sign is United Way’s can’t miss event at Riverwind Casino, and features a show produced by Sooner Theatre and stars incredibly talented professional and amateur performers. In addition to some the entertainment, attendees enjoy a delicious dinner and bid on unique auction items. I recommend going to it.

Throughout the week, I’ve been doing whatever I could to help make her life less stressful, including helping out a bit on the night of the event.

Breakfast at @HatchOKC in @AutoAlleyOKC. Love their take on hash browns. #UncoveringOklahoma #okc #okcfood

A photo posted by Dennis Spielman (@dennisspielman) on

Autombile Alley
With Celebrity Sing over, Leslie and I went visited Automobile Alley, and we had breakfast at Hatch. It’s fun breakfast joint. We both loved their take on hashbrowns.

After breakfast, we walked around the area visiting shops, getting ideas for gifts.

Talimena Scenic Drive
Leslie and I took our yearly road trip to the Talimena National Scenic Byway on Sunday to see the fall foliage. This year, we took a nice hike on one of the trails. We crossed into Arkansas and saw the Queen Wilhelmina Inn. We would love to stay in the area and make a weekend exploring and hiking the byway area.

The above are some of my favorite photos from the trip, which you can buy over at 500px.

Kids play with science

Weekly Recap Nov. 1st

The final closing reception for @theprojectboxok #UncoveringOklahoma #OKC #PaseoOKC

A photo posted by Dennis Spielman (@dennisspielman) on

The Last Closing Reception
Thursday, October 27th marked the last closing art reception for The Project Box. The Project Box has been one of my regularly featured galleries for my Artist Statement Minute series on Uncovering Oklahoma so I went there to say goodbye. I’ll miss working with them.

Norman Fall Fest
Friday morning started with the release of my new 10-minute documentary on the Paseo Arts District. After that was published, I worked on getting ready for the Norman Fall Fest. The event closed down Main Street in Downtown Norman make for a safe environment for trick-or-treating, performances, and activities with an emphasis on inflatables. I was invited to have a booth this year. My wife suggested doing bubbles and having a “boobubble” station because it would be simple, easy, and kids would love. She was right about everything.

I had a table set up where one of us would hand out the treats while there were two big buckets that either my friend Michael Roberts, Leslie or I would make giant bubbles, along with two small bubble making machines. People loved the bubbles. Everyone was taking pictures of Michael making big bubbles. For the event, I also supported and brought awareness to the Teal Pumpkin Project by giving out bubbles, stickers, and stamps instead of candy. We had several parents tell us how much they appreciated us giving out treats because of their child’s food allergies and that we were the only booth doing the Teal Pumpkin Project.

We all had fun at the Fall Fest. The event was packed. I didn’t get a chance to walk around and see whatever else was doing at the time, and consequently, I didn’t get to eat either. This was my first doing such an event and so I have notes for improvements for next time.

OU Homecoming
I went to my first sportsball homecoming festival on Saturday for the Oklahoma Sooners football. It was fun walking around OU and Campus Corner to see all the businesses and the collage celebrating homecoming, people tailgating, and the vendors. I loved the movie themed parade floats this year. Overall, it was kind of strange being there as I felt a bit like an outside looking inside a whole different culture.

Happening Now: Dead of the Dead celebration in the @plazadistrict. #UncoveringOklahoma #okc #deadofthedead #plazadistrict

A photo posted by Dennis Spielman (@dennisspielman) on

Day of the Dead
Sunday, Leslie and I visited the Plaza District for their Day of the Dead celebration. I took pictures and video for Uncovering Oklahoma and District Up. I loved how this year the festival became more of a community event. For example, Pie Junkie, which is normally closed on Sundays, opened up because of the festival.


15 Second Horror Film Challenge
Four of the Quarter Minute stories were accepted into the 15 Second Horror Film Challenge! With 450 entries from hundreds of filmmakers worldwide who only had 15 seconds to be new voices of horror, the above video features all of Season 2’s entries. The 15 Second Horror Film Challenge is a not-for-profit international contest which celebrity judges rank Top 20, share their personal Top 5 picks, and award films in a variety of categories to be announced through November. The stories I submitted were Fall Ritual, Float Like A Bee, Un-Synced, and Last Days.

Halloween
For the Halloween tradition, friends and family would gather at Leah and John’s house to do a big shindig. We don’t simply just pass out candy but have interactive displays, games, and performances with every year revolving around a theme. This year’s theme was Ghostbusters and the story had the Ghostbusters parked in front of a haunted house they were investigating. Lessa and Jessi had a science show for kids. Leah would run around and capture ghosts and monsters. Jay was a trapped ghost. Everyone had a role. Leslie and I were dancing skeletons and I would also scare people. As with every year, it was a blast.

paseo-arts-district-still

The Paseo Arts District

Home to a vibrant group of artists, the Paseo Arts District is flourished with art galleries, all within walking distance, and interwoven with restaurants and retail establishments. My new 10-minute documentary explores life in the Paseo, its history, and what makes it unique from the views of artists, board members, and gallery owners. Interviewed for this story was Amanda Bleakley, Betsy King, Charles Martin, Lisa Jean Allswede, Dustin Oswald, Amy Young, Trina Morrison, and Joy Reed Belt.

The video features local Oklahoma music with “Blue Fox Drive” by The So Help Me’s, “As You Are” by Jarvix, “My New Love” by Wicked Shimmies, and “Entity” by Speak, Memory. Also, there is closed caption support in English.

I’ve been working on this documentary for a couple of months and I hope you enjoy it!

The Search for the Tree with Hands - photo by Dennis Spielman

The Search for the Tree with Hands

The Search for the Tree with Hands - photo by Dennis Spielman
A brand new photo from my Self-Shot Series. The foggy weather this morning inspired me to make this today.

Deeper Artistic Meaning:
Searching for some mysteries will require us to look away from our cell phones.

Behind the Photo:
For this image, I took over a dozen photos, one for each hand, and not every photo ended up being used because of placement overlaps. I did manage to get 10 hands coming out from the tree.

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