Dennis Spielman

The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Tag: Adventure (Page 1 of 5)

Red Earth Parade - photo by Dennis Spielman

deadCenter and Red Earth Adventure Vlog

Here’s a brief recap adventure vlog of my busy weekend, focusing on June 7 and 8, 2018, where I went to the deadCenter opening night parties, spoke to the team behind Dessert Island, watched the Red Earth Parade, got a preview of the Winnie the Pooh Festival before it opened, and enjoyed even more deadCenter activities.

Downtown Norman during the Norman Music Festival - photo by Dennis Spielman

Festival Recaps

Two of the area’s biggest festival, the Festival of the Arts and the Norman Music Festival, have passed. Actually, last week was jammed packed with stuff. For the festivals, this year, the weather was amazing. The Festival of the Arts only got rained out on one day, while last year the weather was just awful. I even got a little sunburnt at the music festival.

I had a great time at both festivals. For the arts festival, I filmed several local artist shout-outs. I even volunteered for a few hours there on Sunday. Then for the Norman Music Festival, I filmed b-roll on Thursday and Saturday. Thursday was interesting because it was the first time they did an outdoor stage that day, so it was busier than past years. On Friday, we had a date night at the arts festival, but on Saturday I was back at the music festival from Noon to 11 pm doing my press thing. I filmed the entirety of Jarvix’s main stage set for him, which you can watch below.

Before I went to the festival on Saturday, I was taking a shower when I was like, “I should I film interviews where bands interview bands. I got the technology to do that now.” When I did my Deep Deuce Pub Crawl video, I had this sound setup that worked well in the noisy environments and it worked great at the festival, even with a stage playing in the background. Because it was a last minute idea and I was doing a man-on-the-street on the spot thing, there wasn’t as much diversity as I would’ve liked to showcase, but the interviews were still great. Watch that video on Uncovering Oklahoma. I’ve also released the uncut interviews here on Patreon.

Me (Dennis Spielman) selfie with Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond  at the Norman Music Festival

I want to wrap this story up by talking about My Brightest Diamond, who was one of the headliners at the Norman Music Festival. She was a major source of inspiration to my first fictional book I published a few years ago, The Crashing of Heaven and Hell. She was such an inspiration, I even dedicated the book to her. So of course, I wanted to give her a copy and personally thank her. I was lucky enough to meet her and talk to her for a bit. She was so nice and I’m so thankful she took the time to hang out with me. She said she would read it while on tour, so I hope she does like it.

On the subject of meeting your heroes, my friend, Jarvix, also got to meet Tune-Yards, who was was a major inspiration for him. You can read this article in the Oklahoma Gazette about his journey.

A final shoutout to my superstar supporter, Revolve Productions over on Patreon.

Support The First Season of Colorful Escapes

Colorful Escapes is a travel series where art is the destination I’m producing with host, Heide Brandes. The series highlights art galleries, art museums, public art, and artist studios, as well as restaurants and hotels with an emphasis on art. Basically, if it’s creative and artistic, we’ll visit it. The show will be filmed with a road trip styling, documenting colorful sights along the way.

Art has become a huge factor for economic development with small towns being relativized because of their creativity. In a study led by Americans for the Arts, nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity during 2015. Despite the power of the arts, there aren’t many travel shows dedicated to the subject and we want to change that.

With your support, we’re going to show you that art isn’t just for some museum in New York City or Paris, but sometimes, you can find art in an alley or in nature. Become a backer on Kickstarter and help us make this show a reality.

-The Test Pilot-

While Heide and I have experience with travel shows and writing, we filmed a test pilot of the show to give you an idea what Colorful Escapes will be like and for us to test some things out. Above is the 4K version of the Norman, Oklahoma episode, minus our Kickstarter pitch. We’ve definitely taken notes and plan to amp up our game when we hit the road.

However, as we mentioned in our Kickstarter video, this isn’t the first project Heide and Dennis have worked on together. Below are our videos on Davis, Oklahoma done for Uncovering Oklahoma.

-Goals & Rewards-

For our first season, we’re keeping our plans realistic and simple. We want to film between 6 and 15 episodes for the first season, with each episode running under 30-minutes. The initial goal of $5,000 will allow us to film three cities in Texas – Dallas, Austin, and Marfa. If this is the only goal we hit, we’ll include Oklahoma City and Tulsa on our own time/dime and with our Norman episode, we’ll at least have six episodes.

Additional stretch goals will allow us to include more states, typically covering two large cities and a small town in each state.

Stretch Goal #1 $9,000 – New Mexico
Coming from Marfa, Texas we’ll visit Rosewell, head up to Santa Fe, then Taos.

Stretch Goal #2 $14,000 – Oklahoma and Arkansas
If we reach our ultimate stretch goal, we’ll visit Denver, Colorado and then we’ll visit Arkansas for Bentonville and Eureka Springs.

Executive Producer Reward Locations
We have four Executive Producer rewards where this person gets to pick a city for us to highlight in the continental U.S. There is also a chance for bonus episodes depending on connections with Convention & Visitors Bureaus.

By becoming a backer on Kickstarter, you can get one of the following rewards.

  • $1 Project Updates
  • $5 Early Access to Weekly Update Video
  • $15 Digital Download of Season 1
  • $25 Bonus Content
  • $50 Thank You Credit
  • $100 Autographed Blu-Ray (Limited to 100)
  • $500 Story Time
  • $1,000 A Colorful Party
  • $1,500 Dinner with Us
  • $2,000 Postcard Collector
  • $2,500 Guest Speaker
  • $3,000 Executive Producer

    Details can be found here.

    -How You Can Help-

    The best way you can help us make Colorful Escapes a reality is by becoming a backer on Kickstarter and encouring your friends to do the same. The next best thing you can do is to follow us on all of our social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. We’ll be sharing our adventures as we have them.

    -FAQ-

    When/where will the series premiere?
    Our goal is to give our supporters download access by September 2018. As for when and where it will air for the public, we don’t know. Ideally, after the season is complete, we would love to sell it as an exclusive original series to the likes of Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix. We’re funding this season via Kickstarter to have complete control of the production.

    When do you plan to start filming?
    Filming will begin in late May, after our campaign ends on Sunday, May 6 at 9:30 am! We’ll be working on our travel plans in conjunction with how well the campaign goes.

    What will happen to Uncovering Oklahoma?
    Dennis will still continue to update Uncovering Oklahoma while on the road. While there won’t be any videos from him during the filming of this project, he’ll feature guest videos. When he returns home, he’ll resume filming local stories.

    Visit Colorful Escapes on Kickstarter for more information and to support a new travel show!

  • Red Rock Canyon State Park

    Red Rock Canyon State Park

    Red Rock Canyon is a popular place for rock climbers, but this Oklahoma State Park has more to offer including hiking trails and camping spots. Plus, it’s about an hour drive from Oklahoma City. My wife and I went there for a day trip and in this video, I share some of the sights we saw there.

    Red Rock Canyon State Park - photo by Dennis Spielman

    Red Rock Canyon State Park - photo by Dennis Spielman

    Red Rock Canyon State Park - photo by Dennis Spielman

    Red Rock Canyon State Park - photo by Dennis Spielman

    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
    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
    SATURDAY
    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
    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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