Dennis Spielman

The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Yes! I Can Roger!

Inspired by Dire Straits’s Skateaway music video and Roger Miller’s You Can’t Roller Skate With a Buffalo Herd, Gregg Standridge’s art exhibition at MAINSITE Contemporary Art says you can skate with a buffalo herd.

I’ll release a more comprehensive interview on Archiving Contemporary Art in the future. Enjoy this summary profile before seeing this in person before Friday, June 9, 2023

The Launch of The Show Starts Now

I am thrilled to finally launch The Show Starts Now! Dive headfirst into a world of curated experiences designed to shatter your humdrum routine with The Show Starts Now. The unique, Oklahoma-based streaming service is more than just entertainment—it’s a passport to electrifying adventures. We celebrate the extraordinary in the everyday, bringing you closer to inspiring individuals, captivating locales, mesmerizing skills, and unforgettable journeys. 

Today’s official launch is a far cry from the beta preview I shared back in October. For the first time, this feels complete, like I’m proud to share what I’ve made. I closed the beta access a few months after being released because the platform wasn’t getting any traction, only having one subscriber. A few months ago, I met with a brand consultant, Jenn Easley-Maynord of Artio Services, who gave me some much-needed insight and direction. One was a slight name, dropping “Studio.” I was advised that the word could be confusing with people thinking I’m a studio facility, like Parire Surf Studios. I went with the .tv domain to help with branding, too. The price was lowered from $7.99 to $5.99, matching other indie OTTs like and Rooster Teeth.

Another central pivot from the beta version, I kept the location focus broad, and now I’ve leaned into the Oklahoma focus. This includes adding Uncovering Oklahoma, which was not my original plan. I dug through my archives, re-editing all of my old stories back from 2017, improving the image and sound quality, changing some music with better tracks, updating graphics, and other adjustments. Not everything was uploaded to The Show Starts Now, as I didn’t bother with closed businesses, episodes that got shuttered to another series, or places I have on my shortlist to revisit for an updated story. On a related note, the complete Tales Unveiled podcast series was added to the service with audio improvements as my skills have grown.

While older Uncovering Oklahoma episodes were improved, they were not as dramatic as the first season of Yes! Science! Initially released in 2019, Pallas the Librarian interviewed people in various STEM-related careers about their work, performed fun science experiments, and discussed books that have inspired our guests. The enhanced season includes some newly filmed Science Fact segments with Exhale and The Museum of Osteology. Pallas and I plan to work on season two, with our first episode being filmed in partnership with Sooner Con!

Also first released in 2019 was Art & Victory. This was a monthly panel discussion series for creative entrepreneurs. Again, the pandemic stopped me from continuing the series. For The Show Starts Now, I took the brand and spun the concept into three series: Discussions, Lessons, and Sessions. Discussions feature live audience panel chats, while sessions are one-off artistic creation videos, and lessons are multi-part guides. The Arts Council of Oklahoma City and I worked together to create the initial Lessons and Sessions on the service, which in trade, they also get a copy branded for their platform.

Take A Bite with Phi and Visiting Haunts are brand new series I created exclusively for The Show Starts Now. The entire first season of Take A Bite with Phi is available, while Jeff and I plan to film the reason for Visiting Haunts this summer. I’m just hoping to get subscribers so we can afford to travel, as we would love to feature out-of-state places like Eureka Springs. I also want to go to Texas for Creative Burgers.

The entire first season of Archiving Contemporary Art is available, with the first season consisting of stories from Uncovering Oklahoma. The series gets inside the minds of artists and art collectives about their creative works. Episodes from season two will be released soon, which are brand new. I have several episodes worth of content that needs to be edited, but my goal was to get the first season complete for the streaming service.

I have first to thank my wonderful wife, Leslie, who none of this wouldn’t be possible without her support. Seriously, I wouldn’t be able to take on as many creative projects without here because, let’s be honest, none of these shows are paying the bills. I do hope that changes soon with the launch of The Show Starts Now and that I’ll be able to pay other people’s bills. Continuing the special thanks to Jeff Provine, Lessa Keller-Kenton, Pallas, Phi Nguyen, Sherl Martin, Vicki Langford, Christian Pearson, Kristy Boone, Apollo Woods, Justin Coleman, and Undrell Maholmes for working with me to create many of these videos. Thanks to everyone I ever interviewed for all of my shows. Thanks to everyone who supported or still supports me on Patreon. Thanks to everyone who shared one of my works. Honestly, thank you, everyone!

I hope you take a moment to subscribe, watch a few videos, and enjoy The Show Starts Now. I’m open to feedback and suggestions for what you want to see in the future. If you can’t subscribe now, follow The Show Starts Now on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Happy Adventures!

People gathered around for gaming night in a D&D lounge

The Kobold Lounge

The Kobold Lounge in Oklahoma City is a unique community hub designed for tabletop gaming enthusiasts. Originating from a private Dungeons & Dragons group, the lounge has evolved over the past five years into an all-inclusive venue for various tabletop games, including Magic the Gathering, Monsters vs. Heroes, and board games such as Monopoly and Risk.

One of the lounge’s distinguishing features is its wealth of resources available for players. These include books and materials for crafting game maps, fostering an environment conducive to creativity and communal play. The lounge also boasts state-of-the-art technology with its virtual tabletops, allowing players to utilize digital, moving maps for an immersive gaming experience.

The Kobold Lounge also offers classes that teach newcomers the basics of playing D&D – from character creation to combat and group interaction – making it a welcoming space for both beginners and veteran gamers. The owner invites everyone to come to The Kobold Lounge and experience the joy of tabletop gaming in a warm, inclusive environment.

Watch The Walker Arts District Branching Narrative Extravaganza!

Now available to all! You can watch my interactive short film, The Walker Arts District Branching Narrative Extravaganza, over at The Show Starts Now YouTube channel. Follow Jordan and Avery on their date throughout Downtown Norman as two time-travelers spark mayhem in their choices in this whimsical comedy film. You can pick what happens next at the end of each scene from the comfort of your home (or work, I won’t tell). When you’re done watching the movie, come to Norman to see the locations for yourself.

Lessons Learned

I want to start this post by saying I had fun making this interactive short film where people could experience the story by visiting the actual places of the scenes. I would also be lying if I didn’t share my moments of depression and frustration. In the three weeks of being available for people to play, less than a dozen did. With all of the work put into this project, I hope you can understand my sadness.

There is a classic entrepreneurial piece of advice to “fail fast.” With the low participation and during my status check of the posters, seeing more than half of them taken down, I pivoted to bring the experience online. Granted, this was a phase I planned on doing–just not so soon.

Despite getting knocked down, I’m getting back up to try again. The Norman Narrative was an experiment, and data was collected. I’m taking what I learned to create something new and better. Instead of pitching the project as an interactive short film, this one will be a game. The game will be limited, creating a sense of urgency to play. I’ll time the release so the game gets special attention. Business owners of featured locations will be involved on a deeper level instead of just having their place featured in a scene. There will be more interactive elements, like puzzles to solve, elements to find, and people to question.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Guthrie to meet with people interested in creating a unique experience for the downtown. The concept for this game will put players in the role of a detective as they solve a heist and series of murders.

I’m also spreading the word the Norman Narrative is now online, and I hope that with the film being online, the experience of the story will be better for people. The feature film version, which ties all of the branching points into a single narrative structure, will be available with the launch of The Show Starts Now. I’ve set Tuesday, May 16th, as the official launch for the streaming platform!

Stay tuned and happy adventures!

Apple Tree Chocolate

Uncover the sweet world of Apple Tree Chocolate in this interview with owner Scotty Jackson. Born from a desire to fill a gap in the market for quality desserts and chocolates, Apple Tree Chocolate has grown into a beloved local business on Main Street. Crafting their products in-house, they offer various treats guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. Indulge in their popular turtle caramel apples, made with a perfected recipe that represents 15% of Granny Smith apples sold in Oklahoma, or savor their mouthwatering fudge made in small batches. Apple Tree Chocolate is more than just a candy store – it’s a unique experience that invites you to taste test and interact with their knowledgeable staff. Join them all year long for a fun, sweet experience you won’t forget.

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