Tulsa's Local Arts Scene

The 2017 Tulsa American Film Festival, or TAFF, showcasing indie features and shorts from across the United States -- with a focus on local, classic, student, Native American, and Okie-rooted films -- continues here in T-Town at several different venues. Tonight, the 13th, the TAFF will present the Oklahoma Premiere of a new documentary film about the life and work of Wilma Mankiller, who in 1985 was the first woman elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we learn about the work of Kay WalkingStick, a widely celebrated American landscape artist who once referred to herself as "a New York painter and a Cherokee woman." Now 82, and equally (and impressively) adept in both abstract and representational styles, WalkingStick is the subject of a newly opened retrospective exhibition at the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa.

On this edition of our show, we learn about "Eloquent Craftsman: Tom Manhart and His Students," a new exhibition focusing on the artwork and teaching career of Thomas A. Manhart, a thoughtful and influential sculptor who was a much-admired professor of art at TU from 1963 to 1993.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, an interesting chat with the locally based filmmaker James Payne. His new movie, a feature-length, award-winning documentary called "Far Western," will have its Tulsa debut screening at the Circle Cinema on Thursday the 5th at 7pm.

On this episode of ST, we welcome Jared Johnson to the show. He's an active drummer on the Tulsa-area music scene as well as a drumset instructor at Northeastern State University. Jared gigs widely on the local scene, playing in all sorts of bands and musical settings, and mainly works as a jazz drummer.

On this edition of ST, a discussion with the USSR-born writer Anna Badkhen, whose well-regarded books of nonfiction include "Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah," "The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village," and "Waiting for the Taliban: A Journey Through Northern Afghanistan." She's written about wars and warfare -- and about living with warfare -- in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Chechnya, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak once again with Scott Stulen, the President and Director of the Philbrook Museum of Art. At a press conference earlier today, Stulen announced a number of exciting changes in store for Philbrook, which will take effect very soon.

The "Oh, Tulsa!" Biennial -- a "best of" group show that aims to gather and present many outstanding works by Tulsa-based visual artists -- opened recently at the Living Arts Gallery in Tulsa's Brady Arts District. Our guest on ST is the guest curator for this show, Dr. Kirsten Olds, who is an Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Tulsa. "Oh, Tulsa!" will be on view through August 25th, and you can learn more about it at this link.

Beginning today, and running through August 6th, the nonprofit Choregus Productions will present its second-annual Summer Heat International Dance Festival. The Festival starts with a Gala Performance (happening tonight, the 28th, at the Tulsa PAC, beginning 8pm) that will spotlight guest artists from leading dance companies from the United States, Canada, and Europe -- and this opener will be followed by a solid week of performances by the celebrated Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Brian Brooks Moving Company.

Living Arts of Tulsa -- a vital part of the arts scene here in town, and a long-running locally-based nonprofit that seems to be increasingly popular -- now has, for the first time in decades, a new artistic director. Our guest on ST is that individual: Jessica Borusky, who's been on the job for only two or three weeks at this point.

Earlier this summer, the Tulsa-based theatre company, Clark Youth Theatre, was honored to perform at the very first YouthFest during the American Association of Community Theatre's 2017 National Festival. Only a handful of youth theatre companies from across the U.S. were invited to participate in the festival, which happened in Rochester, Minnesota. At this special gathering, Clark Youth Theatre staged "Snow Angel," by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, as our guest today tells us.

Our guest is Todd Cunningham, the Executive Director of Arts Alliance Tulsa, which is, per its website, "a United Arts Fund that strengthens and supports the arts for a greater Tulsa through fundraising, support services, audience development, and responsible investment and allocation of resources." Comprised of dozens of outstanding nonprofit arts groups from throughout the Tulsa area, Arts Alliance Tulsa has only been around for a couple of years now -- but its very presence highlights the important role that the arts play in our community'

On this edition of StudioTulsa, an equally fascinating and entertaining discussion with the one-and-only Rebecca Ungerman, the influential and diversely-talented and fan-tabulous singer/songwriter/performer who's been wowing Tulsa audiences for 20+ years. She's bringing not one but two different shows to the Tulsa PAC's SummerStage series this month: "Cats of Any Color" will be staged on the 17th and 18th, and "Oy, Gestalt!" will be presented on the 24th and 25th.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about "The Light Fantastic, or In the Wood," a new play that will be staged by the locally based Heller Theatre Company tonight (the 19th), tomorrow night (the 20th), and Sunday afternoon (the 21st) at the Nightingale Theatre in downtown Tulsa, which is located at 1416 East 4th St. Our guests are David Blakely, who wrote this play, and Susan Apker, who is the president of Heller Theatre Company (or HTC).

On this installment of ST, we learn about the Tulsa-based, volunteer-run, non-profit Horton Records, which began about five years ago, and which aims to -- as noted on its website -- "provide support and tools for band management, promotion, booking, merchandising, and distribution in order to help local and regional musicians fulfill their artistic goals and further promote local and regional music on a broader scale.