Rest of OKC 2016: Editorial Picks

OK Gazette 8-31-16 LR_Page_01Rest of OKC
Editorial Picks

By Gazette staff  | Photos and illustrations by Gazette staff, file, provided and bigstock.com 

 


Best Person to Avoid in a Public Restroom

Oklahoma Lawmakers

Back in the day, people used public restrooms to relieve themselves, wash their hands, check their teeth for food bits and maybe touch up their lipstick. It has always been illegal to assault someone in the restroom or snap creepy photos. However, those protective measures aside, some Oklahoma lawmakers pushed a national message of fear when it came to our transgender community members and public restrooms. Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, filed Senate Bill 1014 to force people to use the bathroom assigned to the gender they were at birth. The bill failed but resurfaced in the final week of session.

 


Best Friend of Oklahoma Women

Emily Virgin

When Norman’s District 44 voters elected law student Emily Virgin to the Oklahoma House, they upped the intelligence level at the state Capital. The passionate Democrat is a fighter standing against anti-LGBT legislation and looking out for Oklahoma women. In 2015, Rep. Chuck Strohm’s Religious Freedom Act called for business to refuse services to customers if it was against their religious beliefs. Opposed to such a law, Virgin penned an amendment stating businesses refusing customers on religious beliefs must post discrimination statements on the front door of their businesses and their websites. The bill failed to earn a floor vote. This past session, Virgin co-authored Senate Bill 1491, which lowered the number of domestic violence incidents from three to two for establishing a pattern. Also, Virgin advocated for equal pay for equal work legislation. We appreciate you, Emily Virgin!

 


Best OKC-Related Hashtag

#BLMOKC

Anyone who witnessed the thousands of marchers coming over G.E. Finley Bridge into Bricktown on July 10 instantly pulled out their cameras for a snap. Hashtags #BLMOKC and #BlackLivesMatterOKC allowed the world to watch as metro-area residents peacefully gathered for a protest, rally and memorial vigil in solidarity with the families and communities impacted by the hundreds of black Americans killed by police across the nation.

 


Best Worst OKC-Related Hashtag

#stayKD

Oklahoma’s message to Oklahoma City Thunder baller Kevin Durant as he entered free agency was simple. Hashtag #StayKD became social media lingo for “Please don’t ever leave Oklahoma, you basketball God.” The hashtag efforts were joined by T-shirts, billboards and a rally at The Bleu Garten. In the end, hashtag aside, the NBA star was ready to move on. However, #GoodbyeKD never caught on.

 


Best new resident of a state jail

Robert Bates

former Tulsa County volunteer reserve deputy

In June, Robert Bates arrived at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington to begin his four-year sentence. Bates was convicted of second-degree manslaughter by a Tulsa County jury in May. A year ago, Bates fatally shot an unarmed black suspect, Eric Harris, during a sting operation. The incident garnered national attention, as Bates was serving as a volunteer sheriff’s deputy at the time of the shooting. Bates maintains he mistook his handgun for his stun gun.


Best Attempt to Smuggle Something into a Courtroom

Person Who Placed Their Pet Carrier

through an X-ray machine

Pet carriers are great for transporting dogs, cats, hamsters and other animals. However, there are a few times when the animals should be removed from the carrier, like when going through courthouse security. In June, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office officials noticed an unusual image cross their X-Ray scanner screen. It wasn’t a weapon or drugs; it was a doggie. Deputies say there is no need to place a pet or a pet carrier through the machine. Approved four-legged guests just need to walk through the metal detector.


Most Admired Activists at City Hall

Indigenous Peoples’ Day OKC

The grassroots group Indigenous Peoples’ Day OKC made its debut at City Hall on Sept. 15. The council heard call after call from residents and fellow Oklahomans to rename the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day and shift recognition from sailor Christopher Columbus to the people he encountered and their descendants. A resolution was drafted. Members of the grassroots group sat through three long council meetings, awaiting their opportunity to speak in favor of the resolution. In the end, the resolution failed to gain enough votes, but Indigenous Peoples’ Day OKC leaders contend the group will be back.


Best Worst Item Forgotten in a Backpack

Smoke Bombs

at #BLMOKC event

If there is one thing to take away from the jail blotter report from the day of the July 9 Black Lives Matter Oklahoma City rally, it’s to remove smoke bombs from backpacks before attending. The peaceful protest and rally, which brought thousands to Bricktown, ended with a single arrest, officials said. According to the July 11 Oklahoma City Jail Blotter, Brandon Jesse Lara was booked on complaints of carrying a weapon, wearing a mask, public indecency and threats to use an explosive, incendiary device or simulated bomb to damage or injure people or property. As reported in The Gayly, Lara is a performer and fire-breather and he uses the smoke devices in his act. Witnesses told the newspaper that Lara was targeted because of his appearance. Despite the media coverage of the terrorism hoax arrest, a month after the incident, Lara had not been formally charged and American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has called for an independent investigation into the arrest.


Best Oklahoma Gazette Issue to Hide From Your Easily Offended Grandma

4/20 Pot Issue

Unless your grandma and her two roommates mistook marijuana for tea and later hosted a house party, the April 20 Oklahoma Gazette issue probably wasn’t your grandma’s cup of tea. Gazette joined reporters from University of Oklahoma student publication The Oklahoma Daily to report on marijuana issues in Oklahoma, including efforts to legalize medical marijuana, a family that calls themselves medical marijuana refugees and the general attitudes toward pot. Also, the best OKC area restaurants for munchies were featured in Gazedibles.


Best Town to Consider a Name Change or Relocation to California

Durant

There is no news story or social media posts that hint former Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star Kevin Durant ever stepped foot in Durant, Oklahoma. However, in the days that followed his announcement to play on the West Coast, Oklahomans cringed every time they heard about the Texoma city or saw road signs for it. Maybe it’s time Durant leaders consider a name change. It is just too painful, still. May we suggest Westbrookville or Kanter Town?


Best Horrible Law Defeated in the 2016 Legislative Session

Senate Bill 1552

Among the 149 House and Senate members, 92 voted in favor of a bill that would have made it a felony for physicians to perform abortions in the state. In fact, Senate Bill 1552 called for one- to three-year prison sentences for doctors who perform the medical procedure. Physicians also could be stripped of their medical licenses. Landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade must not have entered lawmakers’ minds as they casted votes on the Senate and House floors. Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed the legislation, pointing out the bill’s language was too vague.


Best Concerned Citizen

Mark Faulk

The Occupy movement arrived in OKC. Mark Faulk joined as one of the organizers. There was a proposal to drill near Lake Hefner. Faulk protested. There was a vacant House District 88 seat. Faulk filed his candidacy. A proposed median safety ordinance seemingly targeted the poor. Faulk spoke out at City Hall.   Every city needs a dedicated community activist, and Oklahoma City has Faulk, who also is a filmmaker, author and radio host. Catch Faulk on his program Red State Radio; he keeps listeners abreast of OKC issues.


Best Education Trend Everyone’s Excited About but Few Know Anything About

New Academic Standards

Remember when Oklahoma joined with many other states to adopt Common Core in 2010? Do you recall that four years later, Oklahoma lawmakers repealed Common Core, abandoned the new materials purchased and wasted thousands of dollars to educate teachers? With the repeal, state lawmakers promised to create new Oklahoma-specific standards. It’s a task that has kept the Oklahoma State Department of Education busy writing new academic standards in math, English, health and physical education over the past two years. Signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin, the new standards went into effect in August at schools across the state.


Best Bar Bacon

Broadway 10 Bar & Chophouse

1101 N. Broadway Ave.

The fact that there is competition in this category speaks volumes about the unquenchable thirst Oklahomans have for bacon. While some bars flavor liquor with hunks of seasoned, smoked pork, one broke away from the pack by just filling glasses with strips of crispy, chewy bacon for discerning patrons to munch on while they enjoy their cocktails. Broadway 10 said, “Nuts!” to nuts and went whole-hog with a bar snack so decadent, it’s usually served wrapped around filet mignon.

Runner up: The R&J Lounge and Supper Club. Kudos our runner-up, where the thick-cut bacon appetizer has the consistency of steak and the flavor of house-cured pork belly drizzled in truffle honey.


Best Swine-Infused Liquor that Landed Someone in Jail

The Pump Bar

2425 N. Walker Ave.

It’s a fair bet that no one in jail wants to be asked, “What are you in for?” and have to answer, “Maintaining a disorderly house.” Yet that was the charge The Pump Bar manager Colin Grizzle was arrested on in April when police found bacon-infused vodka in the restaurant. But like so many pioneers before him, Grizzle’s arrest sparked real change as the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission came back with a ruling that said businesses with mixed beverage licenses can make and sell infused liquors.


Best Beatles-Themed Drink Menu

Ludivine

805 N. Hudson Ave.

Every year, this category gets more cut-throat, but it’s hard to compete with the mixologist geniuses at Ludivine. Bar manager Chris Barrett and bartender Colby Poulin poured themselves into the classic 1966 Beatles’ album Revolver to create 14 seasonal cocktails — one for each track. Though the venue has since moved onto another seasonal drink menu, this one with a Western theme, customers can always order a Tomorrow Never Knows since that’s a cue for the bartender on duty to mix something new.


Best Convenience Store Ice

OnCue

several metro locations

There are a lot of things to recommend at OnCue, the Stillwater-based convenience store chain that established a foothold in Oklahoma City a few years ago. The Roller Grill, where hot dogs of various pedigrees lope along next to jumbo taquitos, for instance. But the best part might be that OnCue offers two kinds of ice for its massive fountain drinks. There’s cubed ice for the squares and “Sonic-style” crushed ice for people who like to live life to the fullest.


Best Restaurant Menu Item that Should be Deep-Fried and Served on a Stick

Pho

There are two things Oklahoma City loves: convenience and pho. This go-go-go city is regularly listed as one of the best places to do business. But it’s also a city that is in the midst of a decades-long love affair with Vietnamese beef noodle soup known as pho. Now, in 2016, it’s time to put Oklahoma’s best and brightest to work finding ways to make the soup into a solid so it can be served fried on a stick, finally making it an ideal food to eat while driving.


Best Worst Bar Name for a Randomly Chosen Tinder First Date

Hobo Tavern

3500 SW 29th St.

A trip through Tinder might seem interminable. How many lefts must one swipe before a righty come along? So when a pair finds something mutually appealing about each other on the app, it’s important to make the right first impression. Reviews of Hobo Tavern say it’s a place to find down-to-earth people who are like a second family and maybe a good spot to sing some karaoke. That sounds awesome to us! But, as names go, you know, it might send a different impression to a first date. Save it for the second date.


Best Classic Restaurant That’s Now Gone

Boulevard Cafeteria

formerly at 525 N.W. 11th St.

Shed a tear, Oklahoma City. The long-lived and long-loved Boulevard Cafeteria closed its doors late last year, scattering fans of the Midtown mainstay into the wind. Though fried chicken, jalapeño cornbread and pie are served throughout the greater metro, it’s harder to find restaurants that still make gelatin mold desserts and serve giant bowls of carrot and raisin salad. As the area continues to be a hotspot for growth, it likely won’t be long before Midtown sees something replace the old girl.


Best Bar Name That Totally isn’t Nasty at All

Your Mom’s Place

3201 N. May Ave.

Anyone with a friend who cannot help but reply with a, “Your mom does [fill in the blank]” needs to know about a little music club and bar called Your Mom’s Place. It’s a cozy, casual, cash-only establishment that does not take itself too seriously — unless you count the promise of “NO KARAOKE” posted on its Facebook page. (And hey, that’s a selling point for a whole lot of us.) More to the point, it’s the perfect place to take that friend when the response to, “You want to get a beer?” is “I’d get a beer at Your Mom’s Place!”


Best Place to Catch a Pokémon GO! Character

The Oklahoma City Zoo

2000 Remington Pl.

Let’s face it, just about any public space with a Pokémon lure set up is a good place to hunt virtual monsters. What sets Pokémon catching destinations apart is the potential for worthwhile screen captures. Catching Pokémon at the zoo is all the more enjoyable when you can get Pikachu on screen with the elephants or put Seel where he belongs — in the tank with the real-life seals and sea lions.


Best Place for a First Date

16th Street Plaza District

440 NW 11th St. Suite 100

This is perfect place to unleash that irresistible white polka-dotted shirt with its own special spot in the closet. Take in some music during LIVE! on the Plaza and follow it up with late-night grub at Empire Slice House. What’s that, dear? You haven’t heard of Plaza Walls? Well, let me impress you with my intimate knowledge of this city’s hidden art gems. Why yes, I am quite cultured. Thank you.


Best Place to be Murdered by a Ghost Clown

Gandini’s Circus

N. Kelly Ave. between Swan Lake Rd. and Pruett Dr. in Edmond

If death should come by Patches the Clown’s undead hand, it might as well happen in an appropriate setting. Gandini’s Circus, a scrappy heap of old-timey circus cages and infrastructure, has lived on in the whispers of Edmond high school and college students. The site rests on private property but can be partially seen through a fence. The big question is, Does the fence keep the public out or Patches in?


Funniest Funnyperson

Zach Smith

There’s a good reason to call comedian Zach Smith the funniest person in Oklahoma City: He literally won the right to that title in July, when he was named champion of OKC Comedy’s second annual Funniest Person in OKC competition. Do not let Smith tell you that he looks like an extra on Home Improvement’s Tool Time. A man of his status deserves at least a co-host spot.


Best Steve Lackmeyer-Approved Public Art Mural

Bricktown Santa Fe Railway Wall

For those who believe the only worthwhile public art is that which gives homage to local icons of the past, this is the magnum opus. Innumerable famous Oklahomans are packed into a train featured on the wall near the intersection of N. E.K. Gaylord Boulevard and Robert S. Kerr Avenue. It should be an appreciated fact that Flaming Lips rocker Wayne Coyne and former astronaut Shannon Lucid share space in the same mural, even for people who are not fans of the painting. We’re obviously guessing it’s Steve Lackmeyer’s favorite, because it includes, like, everything.


Best Mural to Take a Selfie in Front of

Steven Adams Mural

Film Row

In the mural selfie game, recency rules the roost. There is still time to get a picture with the portrait of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s New Zealander, unveiled in June at The Paramount building. Even if everyone and their dog gets a picture in front of the Big Kiwi’s likeness, there really is never a bad time to be photographed alongside Steven Adams.


Noisiest Swine at the State Fair

Donald Trump

No offense to Wilbur or Babe, but neither of them can draw a crowd like Donald Trump can draw a crowd. The candidate’s eventual rise to Republican presidential candidate was far from certain when he visited The Great State Fair of Oklahoma last September, but that did not stop throngs of supporters and curious onlookers to see the famed New York businessman firsthand. It is not known if Trump partook in any deep-fried Kool-Aid while he was here.


Best entertainment locale that’s filled with water

Riversport Adventures Oklahoma City

800 Riversport Dr.

Riversport is the obvious choice in this category, although a hypothetical Chesapeake Energy Arena filled to the brim with seawater and dolphins would be a worthy rival. Get on that, OKC! This is the city’s chance to get ahead of the inevitable indoor scuba trend. Until then, whitewater rafting, kayaking, tubing and a variety of on-land activities like ziplining and wall climbing Riversport the ruler of aquatic adventure.


Most Buzz-Worthy Performing Arts Production

In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)

Oklahoma City has seen few performances in the last year as electric or gratifying as Reduxion Theatre Company’s In the Next Room, also known as The Vibrator Play. The play, which ran in the city in June, is set in the Victorian era, in the 1880s, when doctors used the newly invented vibrator to cure “hysterical” women. Don’t have a partner? No problem!


Best Media Brawl

Aaron Tuttle vs The Lost Ogle

In the fight ring of media personalities, The Lost Ogle has made its reputation as the city’s own Floyd Mayweather, but without the infinite riches. Not too many people would be willing to pick a physical fight with outspoken online weatherman Aaron Tuttle, but The Lost Ogle has shown in recent years it often reigns not only the internet, but also in the courtroom.


Best Use of Curse Words in an A&E-Related Interview

Ben Folds

Suburbia’s poet laureate has been long been known for expertly deploying the English language’s choicest words. Readers of a March Gazette interview with the musician were treated to a clinic on the f-bomb. Folds used the word and its variants 17 times in the Q&A, most notably when he called David Bowie “the coolest motherfucker of all time” and when he described the “fucking penis gourds” worn by villagers in primitive times.


Funniest Song Title by a Local Band

‘Edith Bunker Was an Alien’ by Matt Addis

There is no way of proving Mr. Addis’ theory on the wife of iconic All in the Family character Archie Bunker, but try finding evidence proving she was not. The tune comes from the July release We’re All Doomed!, an eclectic blend of sounds and general lightheartedness that proves to be one of the state’s best guilty pleasures of 2016. This record also brought listeners the classic title “Fuck the Confederacy (And Fuck That Flag).” Bravo, Matt Addis!


Best Bible-Burning Satanic Metal in OKC

Daemon Rising

Oklahoma Gazette was the first to tell readers about Oklahoma City Luciferian black metal band Daemon Rising. In our January story, the act was a one-man effort backed by Kansas transplant Joseph Wrobel. Since then, Daemon Rising has grown into a three-piece with a good-sized following. It performs regularly at local venues like Your Mom’s Place, 3201 N. May Ave.


Small Local Town that Probably Shouldn’t Have a Music Festival

Prague

Sorry, Prague. While the idea of 3,000 festivalgoers gathered around the Infant Jesus of Prague stage sounds like a heavenly dream, this town is only big enough for one festival: Kolache Festival. That’s already a humongous event! Name one music festival that comes with warm, fruity sweet rolls. Besides, the name would confuse less-than-sober music fans who might think they’ve wandered into the Czech Republic.


Best Cosign by a Major Celebrity

Shaquille O’Neal and Chief Peace

Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2016 playoff run might not have led to a coveted franchise championship, but it did win local rapper and artist Chief Peace an unforgettable life memory. Shaq shared the stage with Peace at Hubbly Bubbly Hookah & Cafe after a postseason game against the San Antonio Spurs, and the rapper became a viral star after video of the performance was featured on gossip website TMZ.com.


 

Gazette Staff

This article was written by the Oklahoma Gazette staff. To reach an editor, please email jchancellor@okgazette.com with this story headline in your subject line.

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