The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Tag: Uncovering Oklahoma Page 1 of 63

Love in Film Row, Afro-Violet, Cafe 420

Premieres Thursday, February 2, 2021 at 7:30 pm CST!

It’s a new year and new season for my travel series, Uncovering Oklahoma.

For February 2021 episode, I visited several businesses in the Film Row area of Oklahoma City’s Arts District and asked them what they had for romance. Then I visited artist Tiffany McKnight in the Plaza District as she talked about her Plaza Walls mural, Afro-Violet. Wrapping up the episode, Apollo Woods guest hosts in Dinner Time with OKC Black Eats as he goes in the kitchen at Café 420 The Alkaline Plant-Based Stop to make some MushWings.

For 2021, I’m going to do videos differently by releasing them as monthly episodes with a variety of content. The main reason is it’s tough for me to get out with the COVID pandemic and with the busyness of my own work. I’m hoping that the bigger monthly episodes will give more publicity to all of the people and places featured with everyone sharing a single video.

While this is a different format, it’s not entirely new for me. When I first started Uncovering Oklahoma back in 2009, I did themed episodes that had three to five places. Then when I started pursuing the show full-time, I started out with weekly episodes that had two or three places. I switched away to individual videos because it was easier to share and maintain archives. Though, when I did guest-host episodes where we went to multiple places, those performed well.

The 2021 episodes are going to have a bigger variety compared to what I’ve done in the past. For starters in the February episode, there’s an artist interview and the behind the scenes kitchen segment, which previously would’ve been their own videos. Basically, I’m combining what I would’ve done in the month into one episode. The type of segments will vary going forward. For example, I’ll have musical guests talking about their music and performing one of their songs.

Eventually, I’ll feature more places outside the Oklahoma City metro area when the pandemic settles. Tulsa is just a hotspot and I don’t need to be traveling far. Some of the things I planned to last year, I hope I get to do this year. I want to get some multilingual guest hosts and feature business owners whose English isn’t their first language. I want to spend a few days in Hochatown. I also want to do more volumes with past guest hosts.

With the new season, I thought it would be fitting to have a new logo designed. Thank you to the folks at Design Pickle for the new logo! As you’ll see in the February episode, my episode branding (lower-third, colors, font, and credits), has been updated too.

I’m committed to releasing episodes in 4K (4096×2304) with English closed captions, though I’m switching away from HDR because the colors come out weird depending on the YouTube player and none of the social platforms support it. Moving forward, I’m making the first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm to be my release schedule. Thursdays are a bit crowded with local streaming content, but I did Thursday this month as I was filming Tuesday and editing all day on Wednesday.

On the subject of businesses in Film Row, I managed to feature all most everyone for the segment. The places I didn’t get this time around, Wild Mother, FlashBack Retro Pub, and 21c Hotel, I’ll get in future segments. I already have Wild Mother slated for the March episode as part of a spring theme.

That about concludes my commentary and news for the 2021 season. Thank you for watching this episode of Uncovering Oklahoma! If you enjoyed this video, be sure to like it and share it. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll be notified when the next episode is released in March. Shoutout to my superstar supporters, the Keller-Kenton Family and thank you to all of my supporters on Patreon. If you love what I’m doing, be sure to join me on Patreon for extra content like a bonus interview with Tim King at OK Cider and the uncut session at Cafe 420.

Happy Adventures!

Fieldworks: Beyond Measure

In this video I did for Oklahoma Contemporary, Robert Bailey and Todd Stewart discuss the new exhibition, Fieldworks: Beyond Measure. Fieldworks, an interdisciplinary residency, invites artists, scholars and students to artistically respond to the presence of humans in the American Southwest. Beyond Measure presents a selection from the OU Fieldworks project’s diverse archive of objects, photographs, texts, videos and more.

Thank you to Oklahoma Contemporary for commissioning me on this project! This video first premiered on Oklahoma Contemporary’s New Light blog and I’m sharing it with you today as it’s worth a visit.

Fieldworks: Beyond Measure is on display in the third-floor Mary LeFlore Clements Oklahoma Gallery at Oklahoma Contemporary through April 19, 2021. Reserve your limited access, timed tickets here.

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! 

Reflecting on 2020

Well…

Hello, Adventurers! Typically, I write my end of the year reflection on New Year’s Eve, but I was working with the Oklahoma City Arts Council on a big live-streaming Opening Night event. This reflection is going to be a little different, but last year was a different kind of year.

This is the part where I share numbers on how much I created, but the statistic that matters the most, I’m reminding myself, is that I made it through the year. Also, I made more videos for other people than myself. I’ve been able to help many organizations connect with their audiences through video content and live-streaming shows. I’m proud of that fact.

In the summer, I live-streamed a concert every week for the Arts Council OKC and then again in the fall, but every other week. For Oklahoma Contemporary, I made them about two videos a month. I helped take a live play Namron Players Theatre had planned and turned it into a movie for them. I worked with Therapy in Motion and the Norman YMCA to do a Healthy Living Series. I got to do a big New Year’s Eve show, which was a goal I noted in my previous reflection. Plus, I helped other businesses with some internal videos too.

To thank my clients for this year, I worked with Design Pickle and they made me this thank you card that I sent (and still sending out) to all of my major clients for the year.

The 2020 Client Thank You Card

Overall, I am grateful and proud of what I did create in the year, regardless of who it was for.

Uncovering Oklahoma in 2020

At the beginning of 2020, I raised the bar by producing videos in 4K HDR and closed captions on every episode. Pre-pandemic, I started strong with stories in Tulsa and Guthrie. I released 27 weekly episodes along with three art and event pieces.

With my growing library of content, videos I made in previous years picked up in popularity. Even though I didn’t make many new videos, the watch time in hours for the YouTube channel was 2,542.3, which was about what I got in 2019. Subscribers grew by 365, putting me over 1,000! According to my YouTube channel, these were the Top 5 watched videos in 2020.

5. Gathering Place in Tulsa
4. Magnetic Hill in Springer 
3. Black-Owned BBQ Restaurants Vol. 1
2. Press Waffle Co at The Collective
1. Great Salt Plains State Park

The title for the most-watched 2020 story goes to The Study in Oklahoma City, which was the second episode I did when the lockdowns lifted. The first story I eased myself back into filming was on the Winchester Drive-In Theatre in Oklahoma City, which was my second most popular 2020 video and most-watched via Facebook. Sergio’s Italian Bistro, Pink Elephant Coffee, Re: Earth, and The Study were the most-viewed via Facebook.

Tales Unveiled in 2020

Jeff and I got three episodes recorded before the pandemic hit. We picked up recording later in the summer and released a total of 11 episodes for our third season. Our episode on Bartlesville was our most popular. Despite the shorter season, we had quality episodes. Great stories from guests all around!

Quarter Minutes in 2020

We made one episode! Go us!

Yes! Science! and Art & Victory in 2020

Due to the audience nature of these shows, I felt it was best to postpone them until the time was right.

The 16th Phoenix Universe in 2020

What’s this? A new category? One of my personal goals was to release a new short story every week for the year. With the exception of A Killer Among the Spaceship Game Show, which was released in two parts and the first part took two weeks, I kept up with my goal. I wrote 48 short stories!

Still, no new books. They were looking good in the first half of the year, but when client work picked up, writing time got spent on short stories.

Make sure to follow the 16th Phoenix Facebook page and Reddit account for more updates.

Top Songs of 2020

According to Spotify, which is how I mostly listen to music, this was my 2020 soundtrack. As always, keep in mind I will often put a song (or playlist) on repeat when writing or for inspiration sessions. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite song?

Plans for 2021

Although it’s a new year and I’m optimistic, but I’m going to be careful with my plans as we’re still dealing with a pandemic.

For Uncovering Oklahoma, with COVID cases rising, I’m playing things safe. It’s annoying when I’m filming a restaurant and someone walks past me to go to the bathroom without a mask. On top of all that, businesses are going out left and right. I’m going to focus on retail businesses and concepts where I can control the environment to be safe. I don’t foresee me making as many episodes as I did in 2019. I hope to get back to doing collaboration episodes soon.

For Tales Unveiled, Jeff and I did leave the show open for more episodes. I would love to travel out of Oklahoma this season or next. We plan to start recording season four in the spring with a fall release. (There’s a Friday the 13th in August.)

For the studio audience shows, I honestly don’t know when I’ll start those up again. I might do them without an audience or I might do something entirely different.

For the 16th Phoenix Universe, instead of a weekly short story, they will be monthly. Writing every week has helped me build my fictional universe. I want to take some time on the stories and maybe release longer stories. I want to build upon other stories I’ve written in 2020 for 2021 and allocate writing time to other works. I plan to revisit all the 2020 stories, send them to an editor, and publish a book collection.

Also during the weekly short story creation, I’ve started two new books. One is based on A Question for the Writers and the other is from Upgrade Cave. I want to finish my other books before I get too involved in those stories.

Now, for new projects! Last year, I did start writing a feature film script although my writing time got spent on short stories. I would like to get that written out at least this year.

One of the first major projects I have in the works for the first half of the year is an interactive branching narrative that takes place in Downtown Norman. More about this later as we’re planning an April or May release.

Finally, I’m researching a project that might be a huge move I’ll make to get closer to the studio goal. Way too early for me to say anything about this publicly yet.

Thank you for following me throughout this year! You can join me on Patreon to help support these projects and get special rewards.

Here’s to happy adventures in 2021!

Miracle on Boulevard

For Uncovering Oklahoma, I visited the holiday pop-up bar, Miracle on Boulevard, where people can enjoy food and cocktails in a festive setting.

For reservations and more information, visit their website at www.miracleonboulevard.com and visit them inside Jack Rabbit Slims at 3325 South Boulevard, Suite 175, in Edmond.

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