Stay gold, Ponyboy… stay gold

More Tulsa stuff? OK!
SE Hinton, author of Tex, Rumblefish and The Outsiders is a lifelong Tulsa resident, she wrote The Outsiders when she was 15/16 and got it published when she was 17.
Her conditions for signing included that a film be made, shot only in Tulsa and that if the film did well another film be made for her next book (at the time unwritten) also be made, utilizing a major director (Francis Ford Coppola eventually directed her second book, Rumblefish).
When I stepped out into the bright sunlight
from the darkness of the movie house….
– Ponyboy Curtis
When Ponyboy says this at the start of the book this is the theatre he is talking about, it is the same in the movie.
After Ponyboy and Johnny fall asleep…
 You’d better get home. I think I’ll stay all night out here.” Johnny’s parents didn’t care if he came home or not.
“Okay.” I yawned. Gosh, but it was cold. “If you get cold or something come on
over to our house.”
This house!
And the boys meet Cherry at the drive-in…
Then we went across the street and down Sutton a little way to The Dingo. There
are lots of drive-ins in town— the Socs go to The Way Out and to Rusty’s, and the
greasers go to The Dingo and to Jay’s. 
The Dingo Drive-In…
It was Randy and Bob and three other Socs, and they recognized us. I knew
Johnny recognized them; he was watching the moonlight glint off Bob’s rings with huge
This is the park where the Socs find Ponyboy and Johnny and you know who gets you know whated

Loving Tulsa

Tell me something bad about Tulsa
So I won’t have to go back
Believing I belong there
– George Strait
Slept in another Walmart parking lot last night, in a massive 8 hour thunderstorm, luckily I listened to the advice of my ever so smart friend Alec and picked up a better blanket, made all the difference.
Had to wait an hour for fog to clear before I could drive, went off the highway along the oldest part of Route 66 and pulled off randomly in a small, small, small town to see about breakfast.
Found Josephine’s, a tiny diner in the tiny town and met these two ladies, extremely friendly, extremely curious, by a landslide the nicest people I have met so far. Every place so far brings the cheque with the meal, I love this, no need to call them back again and wait for the bill.
They would like me and all my friends to watch for a new Children of the Corn movie coming to Netflix, which used the cafe as a set and one of the ladies 6 year old sons got to murder a guy!
I was only twenty four hours from Tulsa
Only one day away from your arms.
– Dusty Springfield
Got to Tulsa early in the day and stopped in at the highly recommended art gallery…
The building and the ground were staggeringly gorgeous but the art was not really anything special for the most part.
That was on my last trip to Tulsa
Just before the snow.
If you ever need a ride there,
Be sure to let me know.
– Neil Young
I notice old mansion after mansion after mansion while driving around, turns out there was once oil money here and almost the entire city was built in a 20 year period from 1905 to 1925, I headed downtown and nearly every single building downtown is gorgeous Art Deco, there is even a Tulsa Art Deco museum. Was not expecting that at all.

I want to ride
Like a Tulsa Queen
Calling out to you
As she calls to me.
– Emmylou Harris
Take me back to Tulsa
I’m too young to marry
– Merle Haggard
When I left Tulsa Jamie was an innocent young lady
God only knows why she gave herself to a guy like you.
– Waylon Jennings
Grabbed a hot dog for supper, they call them Coney Islands here, same as in Detroit, weird.
My nights have been lonely since I’ve been in Tulsa
And I really don’t know what I’m gonna do.
– The Byrds
Found this today, perfect…….
You’ll know I been through it
When I set my watch back to it
Living on Tulsa Time.
– Don Williams
I’m tired now and not sure where I am sleeping yet so I am off to find a welcoming Walmart.
And I owe it all to Tulsa, Oklahoma
This is just a reminder of the antique shop that I want to go back to and visit when it’s open
In Tulsa, Oklahoma.
– Rufus Wainwright

Pulled into Tulsa this morning…… The Tulsa Sound

Well now, they call me the breeze
I keep blowin’ down the road
I ain’t got me nobody
I don’t carry me no load
There’s a handful of states that have a city that is their music city, the place where their music scene happened or happens. Seattle for Washington, Nashville & Memphis for Tennessee, New Orleans for Lousiana, etc, for Oklahoma that city is Tulsa.
The “Tulsa sound” is the sort of thing you get in a crossroads city, the local folk & country music got blending with jazz and soul beats, rock guitar and lots of blues.
Tulsa is not a big place at all, probably 350,000 but the number of acts from here and the influence is so vast and so cool. The music scene here generated Leon Russell, Cargoe, The Tractors, David Gates, The Gap Band, a bunch of Tulsa players ended up going to Los Angeles and forming the Wrecking Crew, the house band for all the Phil Spector recordings…honestly about a dozen more bands that I like but most importantly of all, the king of the Tulsa sound… JJ Cale.
JJ is one of my all-time favourite musicians, I can list off 20-30 crazy good songs of his off the top of my head.
JJ took what was a fairly local scene and started expanding it outwards, getting wider distribution for local artists and scoring a few small radio hits himself. When his record made it into the hands of Eric Clapton in the early 70’s they became friends and JJ convinced Eric and a handful of other English guitarists (inc Jeff Beck) to move to Tulsa for a while and learn the sound. 
This friendship culminated in Eric recording a ton of JJ’s songs, scoring major hits with After Midnight, and Cocaine.
Clapton’s hit versions of JJ’s songs led to other artists coming to Tulsa to record their own JJ tracks, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nazareth, Kansas, Dr. Hook, Waylon Jennings, The Band, Johnny Cash all tracked JJ down and either covered his songs, wrote new songs with him or had him produce their albums.
JJ was also an electronics wizard, inventing tons of studio equipment and getting so far into this side of things that eventually Clapton had to pull him back reminding him that every hour spent building his own vacuum tubes was an hour not spent on music.
I could write pages and pages, really, easily, on JJ Cale, I will stop here. It’s awesome that this one guy and the music scene in Tulsa can be heard in everything from the Eagles (big time) to Tom Petty, Beck, Spiritualized, The Wallflowers, Phish, Dire Straits (a ton!), dozens more.
“He was my hero.”
– Eric Clapton

Oklahoma City Music I Love – Part 2

Do you realize that happiness makes you cry

There are few better things in life than introducing a friend to the Flaming Lips. Certainly the biggest thing to come out of Oklahoma City and totally homers too, they still live here, in a very modest part of town and are extremely active in the local arts scene.
Stars usually get a street named after them but a completely nondescript alley is so much cooler.
I spent a loooong time today sitting on the curb outside of Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne’s house, respecting the ‘Please Be Respectful’ sign, listening to all of ‘Yoshimi’. Also long enough to chat with the mailman when he came by and left a package for the Coynes too!
Afterwards I headed downtown to see an art gallery that band manages, it’s only open on holidays unfortunately but the outside is awesome.
Apparently I hung around too long however or took too many pictures because when I came back around the building from the alley a police car was waiting. Somebody reported the weirdo sitting in front of a closed art gallery! The officer was extremely unconcerned.
The Lips are for sure a band to be experienced live, preferably outdoors (and I really dislike outdoor shows). I used to have some wonderful pictures from the crowd of a Lips show at Malkin Bowl but at some point they disappeared.
But she don’t use butter
And she don’t use cheese

Oklahoma City Music I Love – Part 1

When you talk about me, 
say that I’m mean

Wanda Jackson IS Oklahoma City, she is a legend here , the Queen of Rockabilly, sometimes called the Lady Chuck Berry. 
A self-professed hard-headed woman, hard-living and hard-drinking, writing and playing her own songs, a guitar wizard, doing exactly what she wants and forget anyone else, in 1955, unbelievable. I cannot imagine anyone listening to her and not at the very least being impressed with Wanda’s force of spirit, I’ve also heard her referred to as “The Party”.
Mean Mean Man was the first song of her’s I heard, thanks to this version by Vancouver’s Maow, featuring (at the time Emily Carr student) Neko Case on drums and vocals, it’s still my favourite Wanda song.
Wanda is also one of the last of the first generation Rock and Roll stars who are still around, 80 years old and still recording and touring, this is her latest, a kickass cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Thunder on the Mountain’ recorded with Jack White in Nashville. Wanda has the awesome audacity to change Bob’s lyrics too, switching the verse about chasing Alicia Keys all over Tennessee to chasing Jerry Lee Lewis all over Tennessee.
I’m wondering where in the world could Jerry Lee be
I been looking for him, clear through Tennessee

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

It always feels weird to me to post stuff about somber sites that I visit, memorials and places of remembrance, maybe that’s silly, who knows.
There is one iron chair for each victim, they are arranged where each person would have sat on the building’s nine floors when it stood in that spot.

This is the Survivor Tree, it survived the explosion despite losing all its leaves and most branches and having its trunk embedded with glass and metal. Thanks Candise for teaching me about this before I left.

The attached museum is stunning, heart-wrenching. You are placed in a recreation of a government office, you hear a recording of a water board meeting that took place that morning, you hear the explosion on the tape and everyone starts screaming, the tape loops to the beginning and you move to the next room to avoid hearing it again.

Dallas Subway

You didn’t think I would pass up a chance to ride the subway did you!?
The Dallas subway gets instant points for having the best name ever… 
Ride the Dart… Dallas Area Rapid Transit!
Ok, so it’s not exactly a subway, it’s light rail that runs partially underground, closer to Skytrain than to a traditional subway, the city of Dallas has actually just approved a plan for a full subway system under the city with construction to begin next year (interesting to see major American cities finally clueing in to the need for underground transit, at least half a dozen are currently frantically digging to try to catch up to what they should have had in the first place)
I rode around for a few hours on the Red Line, the Blue Line and the Green Line. Outside of some downtown underground stations most of the lines are road-level, overhead powered trolly-style electric rollers. The cars are big, Texas-sized even, and cheap, a full day pass for the entire system is $5.
I was not familiar at all with the style of the train cars so did some Googling, turns out the DART is all Kinki Sharyo stock, very fancy, the same Japanese concern that builds the Shinkansen bullet trains in Japan, the Cadillac of Light Rail Transit.
The underground stations are an interesting mashup of Brutalist bricks and Soviet styles that would probably surprise a lot of Texans to learn of.

I seen some of the worst storms roll in
I pick up my pieces and I move on again
Day 3
I started the day with Dallas singer-songwriter Stacey Earle playing in the hotel room and she is closing out the day now in the van as well, with a thunderstorm pounding down on me and lighting filling the sky. The van is my home for the next month and a bit, I have dubbed him Supervan.

I left Dallas fairly puzzled, you know that feeling when you are on the freeway and see the place you want to go passing beside you and there is nothing you can do about it? Dallas is that feeling writ gigantic.
Stopped at a Waffle House on my way out of the city, met wonderful Doris.
This is the mostly abandoned town of Telephone, Texas, named over a century ago because that was where the telephone was.

I took a little side trip to Boswell, Oklahoma as the greatest road movie of all time, Two Lane Blacktop, spends a good bit of the movie there.
Two characters known only as The Driver and The Mechanic drive their muscle car across America, rarely talking, rarely smiling.. it’s a hard movie to explain but amazing. At Dixie’s Cafe in Boswell they meet The Girl.

From the movie:
There wasn’t much to Boswell in 1972 and there is far less today, hours from an interstate and offering little it’s clear why the filmmakers picked it. You can see Supervan in this picture, and no other cars on main street,
I actually did a lot more today and saw a lot more today but one bar of cell reception near Boswell is making posting this a marathon task, signing off for tonight, more Oklahoma tomorrow.