The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

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Visual Poetry and Water and Land at MAINSITE 2021

I was commissioned again by the Norman Arts Council to create a 20-minute video to promote their new exhibitions for January 2021. This video originally premiered during the Virtual 2nd Friday Art Work and the above YouTube is a slightly shorter but timeless version. I liked how well this video turned out and I was able to keep the pace interesting by switching between the artists on different topics. For the artist answers, I pulled quotes from different questions to summarize some of the topics too as each interview was 20 minutes, so I ended up cutting everything in half.

In this video, Executive Director, Erinn Gavaghan, shares an overview of Katherine Liontas-Warren’s “Water and Land” and “Visual Poetry on the Page: With, Within, and Without the Word,” which was curated by Crag Hill. Both Katherine and Crag also share their thoughts on the exhibitions.

Water and Land is a collection of recent works by Liontas-Warren centered on the passages, time and motion, and the symbolism water and land have come to represent in those concepts.

Visual Poetry on the Page: With, Within and Without the Word explores a movement that asks viewers to read the works as visual art. Unlike concrete, written poems, a visual poem “typically includes many other elements than alphabetic text,” including any number of mediums or artist manipulation, including painting, photos, digital manipulation or any other means to “obliterate the boundary between visual arts and literature.”

These exhibitions are open to in-person viewings from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday until Saturday, February 13, 2021.

Thank you to the Norman Arts Council for commissioning this video! 

Healthy Living Series

I got something different to share with you today. I was commissioned by Therapy in Motion and the Norman YMCA to do a series of instructional videos to help people live healthier lives at home. The first video premiered on Saturday with the rest scheduled to be released over time.

In the introduction episode, Cindy Merrick and Justin Noel discuss how the idea for the series came about and what you can expect in future episodes. Topics include posture, healthy eating habits, stretching, core stability, strength training overview, simplifying self-care, better balance, basic yoga, and meditation.

In the first episode that premiered alongside the introduction, Cindy Merrick, Founder of Therapy in Motion, talks about the secret of a healthy body. Spoiler: It’s your posture.

Stay tuned for more episodes! Be sure to leave a comment on the Norman YMCA YouTube channel on what you think so far and what you want to see in the future. Depending on well these are received and budgets, we’ll make a second volume.

I hope you learn something helpful with this series! 😀

Artful Inlets

The Artful Inlets program started in 2019 as a cooperative effort between the city of Norman Stormwater Division, Norman Arts Council, and the Public Arts Board to bring attention to sometimes hidden stormwater infrastructure around the city. Norman’s Stormwater Program Manager, Carrie Evenson, the Norman Arts Council’s Public Art Manager, Debby Williams, provides an overview of the project in this episode. The 2020 artists, Kris Wilson, Kody Haskins, Laura Nelsen, Ken Hall, Michael Wilson, and Bonnie Amspacher, add their thoughts on the program and the message behind their works.

Visit the Artful Inlets for yourself throughout Downtown Norman.

My Artful Inlets story debuted during the Virtual 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk! You catch my story at around the 10:50 mark or watch the embedded YouTube video above in 4K HDR with closed captions. Then at the 1:09:00 mark, is the City of Norman’s version of the story, which focuses more on the environmental aspects. The video is followed up by videos from the artists talking more about their work that the artists filmed themselves.

Thank you to my supporters on Patreon for their continued support of making Uncovering Oklahoma possible! Supporters get awesome rewards, like early access to my episodes. Big thanks to my superstar supporters: Revolve Productions and the Keller-Kenton Family. Join today!

3×06 The Wilderness of Sutton

The Professor invites Sam for a walk through Sutton Wilderness in Norman to share his research on the area. Stories include the Sutton Goatman, spirits still working at the Griffin Memorial, and a disaster. 

Subscribe to new episodes of Tales Unveiled via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher, or anywhere you enjoy podcasts. New episodes on Fridays!

Tales Unveiled is a production of The Show Starts Now Studios and is produced by me, Dennis Spielman. The voice of Sam Saxton is Dennis Spielman. The voice of Professor Geoff DeRoot is Jeff Provine.

If you love what we’re doing, want us to keep being artist owned and patron supported, click here. In return, you can get bonus content, including early access to my other projects.

Behind the Scenes Commentary

This episode only featured myself and Jeff talking about history and ghost stories of Griffin and Sutton area of Norman. As described in the episode, we found ourselves a nice chunk of concrete to set up. The Sam narration about getting the date wrong was prompted by an error Jeff caught when reviewing the edited episode. Jeff also suggested adding a bit about describing the park to make it spookier.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode about Fort Washita! We got some jaw-dropping stories from our interviews there.

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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