The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

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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!

Interview Spoilers

A time traveler’s interview goes sideways when the interviewee accuses him of having met in the past.


The name on his fake press badge clipped to his unremarkable black suit identified him as “Hank Williams.” The name was phony, too, of course. However, Quis had grown accustomed to the alias, regularly using it for interviews. The audio recorder was real but was fake in the sense that Quis disguised it to match Earth’s technology in the 2010s.

For each interview, Quis carefully constructed a different identity, usually working for a local publication. Big names tended to be open to talking to local nobody journalists Quis had discovered. Plus, it helped with his forgettable persona so people wouldn’t follow up with someone who didn’t exist.

“Mr. Praevalens will see you now,” the secretary informed him.

From the photos on her desk, Hank bet she was a grandmother. She had that kind, grandmotherly vibe. She happily led the way to the office of John Praevalens, the CEO of Close Ground. The technology company dabbled in a variety of avenues, focusing on catering to security for governments and businesses. 

The golden doors to John’s office were a statement. They weren’t massive–they were standard size for French doors, but with a pocket design. The doors depicted a battle in an Aztec influenced art style. Quis made a note to ask John about the doors as the secretary separated them open. 

Upon entering, Quis felt a slight buzzing sensation. He almost didn’t notice it, but he recognized it.

Why would they have anti-teleportation security? Quis thought. This planet doesn’t have that at this time. It must be something else I’m sensing. 

“Hey, old sport,” John greeted with genuine kindness as he firmly shook hands with Quis.

The spry, 30-something John wore his trademark black pinstriped suit. Around his neck was a gold medallion that depicted the sun in the same style as his door. The flat medallion was palm-sized. Quis had read an article about John’s devotion to the family heirloom.

The secretary softly closed the doors behind her as she left the room.

John led Quis to a modernism lounge area with an artistic golden coffee table and curvy, white leather sofas.

“Feel free to set your equipment on the table,” John offered as he took a seat on the couch. “Anything I can get you? A drink?”

Quis sat his audio recorder on the table and took a seat in a matching armchair. “I’m good, thank you. We can get started right away. I know your time is valuable, so I appreciate you chatting with me.”

“You know, you remind me of someone. Have we met before, Hank?”

“No, I would remember you.”

John shifted around on his couch. “Odd. I’m pretty good at remembering people. Anyway, carry on.”

Quis pushed the record button. “I want to start by talking about your passions. What are some of the projects at Close Ground that excite you the most?”

“Starting deep, are we?”

“The best way to warm up is to jump in.”

John laughed. “You know, this one is going to surprise you, but I have to say, Exploring Earth.”

“The travel site?” Quis questioned.

“Yes, that’s the one.”

“Why?”

“I believe if people traveled more, spoke with people from around the world, so much of our animosity would be gone. We got some fantastic contributors too. Amber Way showcases places with such enthusiasm that I swear, I want to visit every place she writes about.”

“There are countless stories to be collected,” Quis commented.

“Are you certain we hadn’t met before?” John asked, almost accusing him of lying. 

“People tell me I have a familiar, but forgetting face,” Quis joked.

John didn’t laugh. He leaned forward. “Everything about you seems familiar.”

“This is my first time interviewing you, sir,” Quis calmly reaffirmed, trying not to be annoyed. 

“Yes, but I tend to remember everyone I’ve met. What are you?”

“I’m Hank,” Quis responded, unsure how to answer that.

“I asked, what are you? You haven’t aged since you saved my life.”

Quis was now confused. “I beg your pardon?”

“Command Blackout,” John shouted into the room.

The window blinds dropped close. The buzz Quis had first felt when he entered intensified. All the lights went out except for the lamp that stood beside John. Hank’s recorder was still on.

“Your recording device should’ve lost power, which means it’s not from this world. Care to explain?”

“I-I don’t know what to tell you,” Quis stumbled. “Maybe you can tell me who you think I am, and we can figure this out.”

John took a deep breath and relaxed back into the couch. “You saved my life a hundred years ago, Quis.”

Quis’ jaw dropped. “Wait. You know my real name and a hundred years ago?”

John revealed his fangs. “Vampire.” 

“Of course, that makes sense,” Quis said as he leaned back into his chair. “But how do we know each other?”

“You rescued me from that theatre fire in New Orleans and then helped me fake my death there. Don’t you remember?”

“I’m a time-traveler,” Quis confessed. “For me, I haven’t saved your life yet.” 

“Oh.” John was silent for a moment. “I hope I didn’t ruin anything by spoiling that for you.”

Quis chuckled. “It’s probably good that you told me because unlike my others, I don’t interfere with the past. I only interview people for prosperity and to understand the life of the universe.”

“Well, shall we continue with the interview?”

“I’d like that,” Quis replied. 

With the interview over, Quis returned to the alleyway where he left his time machine, a plain brown wooden door in a wood frame. Next to his door was a familiar green door and a familiar face inspecting a flame-thrower. 

“Gia!” Quis warmly called out to his fellow end-timer. “Good evening.”

Gia put away the flame-thrower in her black leather jacket pocket, which was much larger on the inside. She shouted his name and ran up to him with a big hug. Quis returned the hug.

“Who were you interviewing this time?” Gia asked as she let go.

“John Praevalens. Did you know he was a vampire?”

“I didn’t know that. Fascinating.”

“What was that device you were toying with?”

“Just a flame-thrower. I borrowed it from the labs at Close Ground. I need it for my play tonight. Want to come along and watch?”

Quis shrugged. “I’m up for a show. When and where?”

“New Orleans, 1919.”


This week’s short story was inspired by the following writing prompt: “You are the world’s only time-travelling journalist. You use carefully constructed false identities to secretly record your conversations with famous historical figures, and are sworn never to alter the past. However, when you meet with your latest unsuspecting interviewee, they recognise you.”

I took the basic premise of a time-traveling journalist and fitted it in my 16th Phoenix Universe, getting to introduce a new end-timer character, Quis. Quis (which is Latin for “who”) is one of a dozen people from the end of time, along with Gia, Slayer, Loki, Raven, and Kojack, who I’ve also written stories about. More to come as I explore and expand the universe. 

Thank you for reading! Be sure to join me on Patreon for early access to my short stories and listen to my exclusive podcast.

Illuminations with Leo Villareal

Until visitors to Oklahoma Contemporary are able to take the Star Ceiling trip for themselves, Leo Villareal shares the origins of his work, the importance of public art and his mission to facilitate unforgettable art experiences in the latest installment of their Illuminations video series.

I was commissioned by the gallery to film and edit the interviews for their Illuminations series. Proud to share this video!

Little Shop of Personalities

During her morning jog, Janelle comes across a mysterious new boutique selling personalities. 


Janelle halted her morning jog when she came across an intriguing new boutique as yesterday, the retail space was empty. Through the glass windows, Janelle would’ve for sure seen people installing the drawers that covered the walls from the floor to ceiling. The shop was part of her apartment complex in Film Row, and she couldn’t recall reading about it in the Oklahoma Gazette or her neighbors talking about it. As Janelle thought back, she could’ve sworn when she passed by during the start of her daily run there was a “For Lease” notice on the door instead of a cheerful “Open” sign.

With time to spare and her curiosity piqued, Janelle went inside. All three walls were covered in drawers of varying shapes and sizes but had a matching white, rustic farmhouse esthetic. The beach lavender aroma put her in a relaxed state of mind. Janelle walked over and inspected a label on a drawer. It read, “Brave.”

“Good morning!” a cheerful female voice called out, catching Janelle off guard. 

Standing in the center of the room was a young woman in a red satin dress holding a transparent tablet device. Next to her was a taller, slim man in a pink suit with bold, black outlines. Both had black hair and lanyards holding placards with their names, Raven and Loki, respectively.

“Welcome to Little Shop of Personalities,” Loki greeted with what Janelle thought was more energy than any average retail worker would have this early in the morning.

“Shop of Personalities?” Janelle repeated, confused.

“Yes. We sell a wide assortment of personalities that you can give yourself to change your life,” Raven explained. “If you want to be more likable, we can help.”

Janelle kept her skeptic tongue to herself. She figured this whole ordeal was some pop-up artistic expression or experience. She scanned the drawers and noticed they were all labeled with various personality traits, including negative ones.

“Why would anyone want something like an ‘obsessive’ or ‘creep’ personality?” Janelle inquired.

“You can give them to others,” Loki revealed.

“Including your enemies,” Raven added with a wink and a wave of her finger.

“Weaponize them to get rid of unpleasant coworkers,” Loki commented, and Raven nodded in agreement.

“Buy as many as you like.” Raven smiled. “But no returns.”

Janelle turned her attention to the drawer that caught her initial focus, the one labeled, “Brave.” She opened it up and pulled out a white index-sized card with the word written in a bold font fitting of the name. Even if the card didn’t magically give the trait, she thought it would make for a cute decoration for her desk.

Janelle showed the shopkeepers the card. “How much for this one?”

“Since you’re our first customer,” Loki started.

“Your first personality is free,” Raven finished.

Janelle closed the drawer. “So, how does this work?”

“Simply put the card on the forehead of the person you wish to give the personality trait,” Loki explained.

“I’ll take this one and try it out,” Janelle said, still skeptical. “Thank you.”

To keep the card from getting bent, Janelle held it until she returned to her apartment. Once inside, she tossed her keys on the kitchen counter. She looked at herself in her hallway mirror and put the card up to her forehead. The card faded like her body had fused with it. Instead causing her to freak out, the new personality had filled her with excitement.

Janelle went about her morning routine with vigor as she arrived, first as usual, to the law firm. She took one look at her desk, marched to the break room for a box, and pushed all of her belongings inside. Her boss, whose name was on the sign outside, found Janelle packing up.

“Everything okay?” Janelle’s boss asked her with concern.

“Never better. I’m going to start the yoga studio that I’ve always been too afraid to do.”

“Good for you, Janelle! If you ever do a beginner’s class, I’ll sign up.”

“Thank you. That means so much. Everyone here has been so great to me, but I must move forward.”

Janelle left the law firm with her box, her mind racing with a business plan. In the cleanup process, she decided to open her yoga studio in her apartment complex. There were several vacant spots. She knew one of them would be perfect.

As she walked back to her place, a dog ran across the street, chasing a squirrel. Janelle could see the bus hitting the dog. Without hesitation, she dropped her box and pushed the dog to safety and the bus hit her.

A few hours later, Janelle woke up in a hospital bed. Every part of her felt numb. She rolled her head and saw Raven and Loki standing over her.

While Raven wrote notes in her tablet, Loki held out a bouquet of spring flowers. “All sales are final.”


This short story was first published on the Oklahoma Gazette for their Writers of the Quarantine series. The Loki and Raven story was inspired by the following writing prompt: “A new shop shows up in town. Upon entering the walls are made entirely of drawers, each with a different personality trait written on them. The shopkeeper smiles – ‘Buy as many as you like, but no returns.'”

If you enjoy my story, please share it! I would love to have more readers. If you want to help me more, join me on Patreon and you’ll get beta access to my novella, Intertwined by Cracks. The urban sci-fi story follows Amber Way who can make doors lead to other doors as she deals with cracks leaking monsters from other planets in a plan from a stranded time traveler to harness her powers. 

Illuminations with Annie Chu

In this Illuminations video I did for Oklahoma Contemporary, LA-based architect and exhibition designer Annie Chu shares her thoughts on interior architecture and how the design of space connects with people for the Bright Golden Haze exhibit.

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