The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Category: Real Page 1 of 110

Shop Contemporary

Get a tour of the new Shop Contemporary retail space with manager Garrett Colton in this video I did for Oklahoma Contemporary. As Garrett shares, “The premise behind the shop is a microcosm of what we’re doing as an arts organization.”

Until you’re able to visit Oklahoma Contemporary, you can shop online.

The Study

The Study is a wine pub with a coffeehouse vibe and no pretentious attitudes. In my interview with co-owner Ian Bennett, Ian provided an overview of the Film Row venue, what types of drinks they offer, how they’re able to provide over 60 wines, and their cozy design. Plus, Ian went over their COVID-19 policies and practices.

I took advantage of YouTube’s new chapter feature so you can skip around to the different sections. I’ll have to update some of my older videos to feature chapters.

When I was chatting with Ian while I was setting up for the interview, when he was talking about his wife, I was like, “I should interview your wife for my science show,” and said, “You have.” I didn’t realize that his was wife was Dr. Elaine Hamm. If you want to see Elaine’s Yes! Science! profile, click here.

If you want to check out The Study for yourself, you can visit their website at http://thestudyokc.com or in-person at 701 West Sheridan Avenue in Oklahoma City. 

Thank you to my supporters on Patreon for helping to make Uncovering Oklahoma possible, especially during these times! Supporters get awesome rewards, like early access to my episodes. Big thanks to superstar supporters: Lynn and Steve Keller-Kenton Family and Revolve Productions. You can join me and get exclusive access to the un-cut interview with Ian.

Me at Norman 1 Million Cups

Earlier this week I was honored to be a guest speaker at the Norman chapter of 1 Million Cups to speak about my business, The Show Starts Now Studios! After some introductions, I gave a short presentation about my studio project and the various shows I’m producing, followed by a Q&A session. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the monthly event was held online via Zoom. They were kind enough to record the meeting and post it online, which I’ve embedded above.

Thanks to the Norman 1 Million Cups for having me! I had a great time sharing my story with everyone.

Winchester Drive-In Theatre

Keeping the tradition alive started by the Shanbour brothers in 1968, The Winchester Drive-In in Oklahoma City brings families together for a night under the stars and a giant movie screen. Austin Edwards, Jeff Massad, and Erich Massad give advice for those that have never experienced a drive-in before, what to expect, and their food offerings.

In regards to COVID-19 precautions, the Winchester Drive-In is only showing one movie, requiring masks when visiting the concession, and partaking in social distancing and strict sanitary guidelines. For the latest guidelines, visit their website or Facebook page.

Pizza at the Winchester Drive-In Theatre - photo by Dennis Spielman

As for my “reopening” plans at Uncovering Oklahoma, I’m carefully easing back into filming new episodes. With all of the uncertainty, especially with businesses closing temporary or permanently, and with me taking on more freelance work, episodes will be less common for the time being. I plan to focus on outdoor places and retail shops, less on restaurants and bars (unless they have some strict COVID policies in place).

I am holding off on doing guest host videos, which sucks because I had so many great segments planned for this year. One of the guest host ideas I had planned was to start featuring in the Spring were places where English isn’t the owner’s first/best language. In addition to new collaborations, I had planned on doing more volumes of past collaborations throughout the summer. We’ll see how the fall looks.

On the topic of my other shows, Jeff and I recently recorded our first episode for Tales Unveiled since we stopped due to COVID. Still aiming for a fall release for the third season. I’m hesitant about starting the next seasons of Art & Victory and Yes! Science! We’ll see how the fall looks but those might be a next year thing.

While I haven’t been filming as much, I have shifted gears to write more. I’ll be dropping new beta versions of my books in July for those who support me on Patreon. I’m really excited about those!

With the importance of streaming and having videos, I’ve started to pick up more freelance work. I got a big project coming up that’s going to take up like half a month of my time doing a series of educational videos for various local arts organizations in OKC. I’ve also been live-streaming the Sunday Twilight Concerts series so check those out on the Arts Council OKC YouTube channel.

That’s all my news for you today. I wanted to loop you all in on my “reopening” plans with this new video. Thank you so much for your support!

Lunch Box Roberta Powell _ Birdie Shoemaker

Lunch Box

“In the time of a global pandemic, a community gathers online and starts sharing their memories of school lunches. The Good, the Bad, and the Leftovers. These memories of the past and a little bit of fantasy will help them get through the present.”

Instead of talking about how I got involved as an editor for this project, I thought it would be best to share this press release with the full story.


NAMRON Players Theatre announces the premiere of its new Oklahoma StoryWorks production, Lunch Box, on Depot TV on Facebook at 5 pm on June 4th.

Imagine, if you had spent nine months conducting workshops, seminars and over 50 interviews with individuals, families and groups to collect their stories of school lunch. Then you spend weeks distilling those stories down into a 90 minute script for public premiere in June by a company of Oklahoma professional actors.

The culmination of 11 months of work was on the horizon.

And then someone cancelled June.

This is what happened in mid-March to NAMRON Players Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence and Artistic Director Sheryl Martin.

Almost immediately, Sheryl announced on Facebook, “We are going to do it online.”

She set about doing a complete rewrite of the script, a script that was then rehearsed online and recorded independently from the homes and studios of the acting company, and, finally, is being edited into a video production for air on June 4 at 5pm.

Thanks to a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma professional actors Jane Gibbons, Terry Veal, Richard Lockett, Kathy Kelley Christos and Sue Ellen Reiman are featured in the production, with “cameo” appearances by local favorites Kym Bracken and Nicholas Bartell, and the debut of recent Norman North High graduate, Moira Mosely. A Norman Arts Council Arts Projects Grant, and private donors, covered the research and writing of the script for production.

Central to the creation of this new video is the work of Dennis Spielman of The Show Starts Now Studios, who volunteered his services to Norman arts organizations through the efforts of the Norman Arts Council and its Norman Arts & Humanities Roundtable. Dennis introduced the idea of producing the play as a series of vlogs, or video logs, recorded by the individual characters / actors. Local painter, sculptor, and scenic artist, Laura Sullivan, will provide some very special artwork for the production as well.

“I could not have wished for more talented, competent, and inspiring people to work with,” Sheryl says. “They took the script and brought it to life—everyone has made brilliant suggestions that have found their way into the show that you’ll see.”

Lunch Box, while a documentary play much like her first community-based script ,Potluck, differs from the earlier work in a fundamental way, Martin says.

“Changing the medium by which we delivered the play changed the way the play had to work.

“It went from being very presentational, with actors telling what are plainly other peoples’ stories, to being a show in which characters tell their own stories. But those stories are still the stories of folks in our community.”

The Depot has been a collaborative partner with Ms. Martin since the inception of the Oklahoma StoryWorks program in 2018. The Depot was scheduled to be the venue for Lunch Box, but that live premiere was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. For this reason, and many more, The Depot then offered to host the premiere of Lunch Box on its new enterprise, Depot TV, which airs on Facebook.

Lunch Box will remain on Depot TV for up to a week after the June 4 premiere. NAMRON Players Theatre also plans to stream the broadcast on its YouTube channel as well as other platforms.

“We had planned to offer a video element to our original theatrical productions,” Norman Hammon, Managing Director, “but, we had originally planned that to be a few seasons away. COVID-19 changed all of that.”

“It’s been too exciting a process to regret not doing it live,” Martin adds. “That said, I think we’ve created a show that will stand on its own, and that we can perform live, even after this crisis is past.”

NAMRON Players Theatre and the Oklahoma StoryWorks Project: Lunch Box are made possible through the generous support of the Norman Arts Council / Arts Projects Grant Program, the Oklahoma Arts Council Project Assistance Small Grant Program / National Endowment for the

Arts, the Kirkpatrick Foundation, Armstrong Bank, 2×4 Productions, The Depot, The Show Starts Now Studios, David Slemmons and the Friends of NAMRON.


The full film is now available to watch via YouTube and as well as a cast reaction video we made via Zoom.

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