Thursday, September 29, 2011

The kayaking author on the Oklahoma River, with Dragon Boats in the foreground.
Photo taken by Leslie Berger.
By Nancy Condit

At a media event held Wednesday by Oklahoma City University, I went out in a recreational kayak from the Chesapeake Boathouse, with the help of Charles Langley getting into it from the floating dock.  My findings -- there is actually water in the North Canadian - Oklahoma River --  enough that I found myself thinking of the river in terms of distance across it.  The kayak was so light that it was no trouble to paddle for half an hour on a calm day.  I've body surfed in both oceans, canoed on lakes and the Illinois, and white water rafted in Colorado, but I've rarely been so happy being on the water in Oklahoma.  It actually is possible for a not well-muscled writer to have a wonderful time.

Should you wish to watch the more in shape athletes, and some amateurs in great races in the Oklahoma Regatta this weekend, here's the info:

The Dragon Boat USA National Championships is the new event this year.  The Chinese sport began centuries ago with Chinese fishing vessels.  The highly decorated boats, including a dragon's head on the bow, resemble canoes.  A drummer at the front of the boat sets the rhythm for the paddlers, usually about 20.  This writer was unable to confirm whether these races would be Friday or Saturday night, but the press release lists them as Saturday night, at 6 P.M. or after.

Dragon Boat USA will host a CLINIC from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M. FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30 at the Chesapeake Boathouse.  Cost is $100 per person.  TRYOUTS for the national team are $20 per person and will take place at the Chesapeake Boathouse from 9 A.M. to noon SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2.
Participants for each event must be at least 15 years old and previous dragon boat experience is required.

For more info or to register for events, visit

The Oklahoma Regatta Festival is a four-day event featuring rowing, kayaking, stand-up paddle board and dragon boat racing on the Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District. The 2011 festival includes family activities, the Oklahoma City University Head of the Oklahoma Regatta, OGE NightSprints, blu VIP Party, USA Rowing World Challenge, USA Dragon Boat National Championships, and Corporate Racing. Learn more at

Friday, September 30
11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — USA Rowing World Challenge Heats (2000m); Kayak Relays (4x200m)


6-10 p.m. — Festival activities
7-10 p.m. — USA Rowing World Challenge Night Racing Finals (500m) and Corporate Night Racing

Saturday, October 1
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — Festival activities
9 a.m. — USA Rowing World Challenge Finals (2000m)
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Head of the Oklahoma racing
5:30 p.m. — Kayak Youth Racing (2,000m)
6-10 p.m. — OGE NightSprints ( Stand Up Paddle Board Relay Races (100m), Head of the Oklahoma, kayak, USA Rowing World Challenge and Dragon Boat USA National Chapionship finals)

Sunday, October 2
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.  — Head of the Oklahoma finishes
Noon — Awards ceremony


Joey Brown reads at the Opening Night of the Neustadt Festival 2011 at the Train Depot in Norman.
Continuing left to right are Carol Hamilton, Ken Hada, Dorothy Alexander, Benjamin Myers, and Nathan Brown.  Photo c. by Nancy Condit

By Nancy Condit

Six Oklahoma poets opened the Neustadt Festival 2011, sponsored by World Literature Today and the University of  Oklahoma, with a terrific evening of poetry readings Tuesday night.  People who have never attended en evening of professional poetry might be interested in hearing an event of exciting ideas expressed in poetic and narrative form.

Musician, photographer and award winning Norman poet Nathan Brown was master of ceremonies at the event at the Train Depot in Norman.  He also speaks on the need for  people not to give up on poetry.  He is the author of Letters to the One-Armed Poet: A Memoir of Friendship, Loss and Butternut Squash Ravioli, which came out this spring.  One Table Over won the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award.

Dorothy Alexander, with her distinctive red hat, is a poet, storyteller, and publisher from Cheyenne, Oklahoma.   Her book Lesson from an Oklahoma Girlhood combines striking perspectives of rural life and the visual art of twenty Oklahoma women artists (from the program).

Joey Brown's works, including poetry, fiction and essays, are filled with the details she has seen traveling to southern Oklahoma towns, including farmer's tans, yards of weeds, oil field workers, scrub oaks, drill bits, wheat fields, cafes, cowboys and wind-bent trees.  Oklahomaography, her collection of poetry, was published in 2010.

Ken Hada is a fourth-generation Oklahoman, descendant of Danish and Hungarian immigrants; Gypsy poets, barn dance aficionados, art lovers, amateur philosophers, wheat farmers, preachers, teachers, and common-sense craftsmen -- the program or Mr. Hada's phrasing.  He has published two books of poetry -- The Way of the Wind and Spare Parts.

Adding another dimension to her love of words, Carol Hamilton also translates at a clinic for women and children and medical teams to Latino countries. The glasses' holders are because she is a grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of six. Photo c. by Nancy Condit

Carol Hamilton spoke at the short mike, having lost her bid for the tall mike used by Hada. The former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma has won an Oklahoma Book Award, and taught elementary school through college.  She has published sixteen books of poetry, children's novels and legends.

Benjamin Myers' first book, Elegy for Trains, won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry.  His work has also been published in the anthologies Ain't Nobody that Can Sing Like Me: New Oklahoma Writing, and America at War.

This year's winner of the Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature goes to Virginia Euwer Wolff.  Since this is an uneven numbered year, the prize for goes to a living writer "with significant achievement, either over a lifetime or in a particular publication.  The essential criterion... is that the writer's work is having a positive impact on the quality of children literature," (from the brochure).

For more information about the Neustadt Prize, go to  For more details about World Literature Today the website is

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FROM 4:30 P.M. UNTIL 7:00 P.M.

                                                                                   Photo provided

 Oklahoma City University will host the fifth annual Pinwheels for Peace festival beginning at 4:30 p.m. and running until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21. The event is free to the public and will be held in the McDaniel University Center near N.W. 25th Street and Florida Avenue.
The festival is organized by the United Nations Association of Greater Oklahoma City. It will include pinwheel creations by students from the Oklahoma City metro area, live music, multicultural performances, information booths and other activities.
Students around the metro area are creating pinwheels representing peace and harmony as part of the Pinwheels for Peace project. The idea of two Florida art teachers in 2005, the project has become an international celebration as well as a way for art students to show their contribution to the United Nations’ International Day of Peace. As students create pinwheels, they are asked to reflect on the idea of peace — a state of calm and tranquility, with no anxiety or violence. Some of their artworks will be on display during the festival at OCU.
Musician and artist Steve McLinn of Ojas Music will lead a multicultural celebration of dance and music beginning with a drum circle. Participants are invited to bring a drum and take part in the festival-opening activity.
The festival will also feature St. Andrew’s Dung Lac Lion Dance Team, Little Dove Peace Dancers, the Mayan School of Dance, Dove Science Academy Folkloric Dancers, Linwood Elementary Honor Choir, dancers from Capitol Hill High School, American Indian dancers and a traditional Japanese communal dance presented by Mari Leslie from the Japan-American Society of Oklahoma.
Display and activity tables will provide information from sponsor groups about promoting peace and participants can make a pinwheel of peace.
For more information about the event, visit, or call Mikel Ibarra at (405) 924-6036 or e-mail
To learn more about Pinwheels for Peace projects throughout the world, visit

Tenth Annual Fairy Ball On Paseo
By Theatre Upon a Star DanceSwan
Rescheduled to This
Saturday, 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.
                                                                                             Photo provided

How shall we beguile the lazy Summer if not with some delight? Paseo’s Annual Fairy Ball is offering a response to this question with an event full of musical wonder and dance on Saturday, September 24 from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M.  This eagerly awaited evening has been a favorite with children of all ages for ten years.  Parents, Grandparents, and friends are welcome; everyone enjoys spending this delightful Summer whimsy together with children.
The Fairy Ball is a dress up event engaging children in a favorite pastime, that of making believe. Children are invited to come to the Ball dressed as a character from an enchanted garden.  The fun for families begins at home before the Fairy Ball as children and their parents create costumes to wear to the Ball.  At past Fairy Balls, children have dressed up as bugs, blossoms, elves, gremlins, fairies and magical characters of their imaginations.
"Children fully participate in bringing this Summer evening to life," says, Lorrie Keller director of Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan who is the designers of this event.  "Young active imaginations are the true ingredient that lights up the Ball.  Right now, as StarDanceSwan is preparing for the Ball, we are creating a time and place where children can capture the magic of color, music and dance, "
Once children arrive at the Fairy Ball they can add finishing touches to their costumes with flowers and things that fly in the wind as they dance.  At dusk shimmering music by Steve McLinn, OJAS, and the StarDanceSwan Fairies invite children to dance in their own creative ways.  McLinn describes his concert as, "electrical acoustical fusion magical music. "  He is including songs he has composed for StarDanceSwan from past years and new works created just for this Fairy Ball.  StarDanceSwan fancies a surprise for the ball that encourages everyone to spin in dreamy light and listen to the sounds of summer.
The location of this year’s Fairy Ball is in the Fairy Green at Dewey and 28th, just west of the Paseo Grill.  The Fairy Ball begins at 7:00 PM with Flower Magic. At 8:00 PM the dance begins with a performance by StarDanceSwan.  Following the performance children, parents and friends join the dancing until 9:00 PM.  Free to the public, this event is supported by the Paseo Arts Association and Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan. An adult must accompany children.  For information contact the Paseo Arts Association at 525-2688,

Saturday, September 17, 2011


The dance is Scherazade.  Photo provided.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a celebrated contemporary ballet company guided by its uniquely global artistic vision.  With noted composers, musicians, and visual artists, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential.  King’s visionary choreography is renowned for its ability to connect audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity—of vulnerability and tenderness, but also of furious abandon and exhilarating freedom.  The extraordinary quality of the company’s dancers continues to receive glowing reviews in the US and abroad.  The program for the company’s first Oklahoma appearance will feature Scheherazade with a new score by tabla master Zakir Hussain who re-interprets the original music by Rimsky-Korsakov, incorporating traditional Persian as well as Western instruments.  Also on the program will be Dust and Light, set to the rich variations of Arcangelo Corelli’s Baroque music and Francis Poulenc’s otherworldly sacred choral odes.   Williams Theatre, Tulsa Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are $40 for adults, $36 at the door, and $15 for student rush.  There are plenty of tickets available at the door.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

By Nancy Condit

Gymnasts Sarah and Pamela Grigsby have their picture taken with Cathy Rigsby, Peter Pan in Wednesday
          night's production of Peter Pan, presented by Celebrity Attractions.  Photo by Nancy Condit

The musical Peter Pan was a hit at the Civic Center Music Hall Wednesday night. The childhood classic was led by former gymnast and actress Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan as she flew through the windows of the Darling children’s nursery.  All the familiar parts of the childhood classic were in place as Peter and the children flew off into a starry night to Never Never land.
The original Broadway performances were a musical production of the play by Sir James Barrie, and based on the original Broadway  production conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins. Lyrics were by Carolyn Leigh, additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Moose Charlap, and additional music by Jule Styne.

Cathy Rigby, the highest scoring American gymnast at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, is as flexible as ever, and entranced the Darling children and the audience with great flying.  Her acting was well supported by Tom Hewitt as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook.  Kim Crosby was a good Mrs. Darling and adult Wendy.  The Darling children were played by Krista Buccellato, Cade Canon Ball, and Julia Massey /Jordyn Davis}.  The British accent could have been down played at the play’s beginning.  No Peter Pan would have been complete without the very maternal Nana (Clark Roberts) and the Crocodile (Clark Roberts) with his gleaming red eyes.

The dancing, choreographed by Patti Colombo, was great, especially the inclusion of a percussive dance using metal and bass drums, and drumsticks on the floor by the troupe on the stage floor.  The pirates’ tango on the ship’s deck was wonderful, especially between Smee (James Leo Ryan) and Hook.  Earlier, the Indians’ dance included ballet, jazz, and an aerial dance on the silks.

The great sets by John Iacovelli were traditional 1950’s – 1960’s.  The orchestration by Jules Levinson was good, as was the tour orchestra, but was over-miced in the first part of the play, even over-powering the actors. It was lowered as the play went on. The sound by Julie Ferrin had too much timbre and needed more bass throughout the play.

Peter Pan is the opening show of Celebrity Attractions’ season, and will be followed by Memphis on November 8 through 13.

Peter Pan continues at Friday and Saturday night, at Sunday night, and at Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Tickets run from $25 plus fees to $60 plus fees. To buy tickets on line, visit



Join director Jon Burris on Saturday, September 24 from 1:00 - 4:00pm for our first Saturday Seminar on photography. This seminar, inspired by the Can You See Me Now: Photos Made on Phones exhibition currently at Untitled, will introduce participants to the many possibilities of iPhonography.

This seminar is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring their iPhones.

"The camera phone has become the device of choice to catch an intimate moment or an unexpected event because it is the camera you always have with you. With improving camera resolution and the availability of creative applications, iPhonography has become more artistic and the photographers more experimental," Burris wrote in his email. In this seminar, he will explain how to get started with iPhonography, addressing questions regarding the use of apps, image transfer and management, printing images, and applications for some other smart phones.

For more information, please or call 815.9995 or
From the email

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Taken by the Oklahoma River, this photograph illustrates the backward facing lift of two women
lifting two other women.  Photo by Austin Hartel

By Nancy Condit

Hartel Dance Group played to a full house last night at the Plaza Theater as choreographer Austin Hartel and the company of ten dancers brought a good evening of modern dance to two awe-inspiring points.

In an exquisite beginning to “Group” in “3 Part Suite,” four of the dancers, almost silhouetted against a blue backdrop, reached the emotional depth of composer Lamb’s lyric “If I could fly,” as they slowly sat up and reached forward with arms out-stretched.  In “On the Eighth Day” Hartel’s musicality was particularly notable in the dance’s first section of the exploration of creation stories. Eight dancers rose and stirred slowly from the stage, combining, reaching out, and recombining to ultimately  reach up in a silhouetted rough pyramid of beings to the music of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”  The choreography and the dancing were so engrossing that after the first recognition of the work it was integrated into the music.

What was wonderful to see during the evening were partners and lifts – partners in “Group” forming squares with one partner on the floor and the other above – a tremendously strong move, and, at the end of “On the Eighth Day,” dancers rising to stand on their partners’ lower backs, and partners in “Group” lifting partners on their shoulders facing backwards.  The rising partners were lowered to form split Ts with their legs and their standing partners’ outstretched arms. In “Group” the first pair of dancers mirroring each other were perfect.

In modern dance, partners can be men lifting women, women lifting women, women lifting men, or, if there had been another man last night, men lifting men.  Some of these lifts are still extremely impressive.

The lovely “Solo,” under “3 Part Suite,” was beautifully danced by a light dappled Samantha Kropp, with running flowing lyricism and leaping splits. Nicolette Battle’s “Solo” was strong, with gymnastic moves incorporated into expectant tension even in moments of stillness. The funny “Encounters by Light,” spot lighted legs and feet with flashlights, as dancers on chairs with castors met, were rejected, run after, chased each other, and got together, with a cigarette spot lit at the end.  The sound of the castors was an integral part of the 50’s feel style silliness.

The excellent lighting was by Brad Criswell.  Appropriately simple costumes, mostly leotards, were by Zonda P’Dumm. Hartel did the effective set for the dance “On the Eighth Day” -- air filled cut out plastic that framed the sides and top of the proscenium, and the backdrop.

The performances were Friday and Saturday night, September 8 and 9.

c Nancy Condit, photo c Austin Hartel 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Photograph by Austin Hartel

Hartel modern Dance Group will perform On the Eighth Day this weekend at the Plaza. 1727 N.W. 16th Street.  Performance times are 8 p.m., with LIVE at the Plaza on Friday starting at 7 p.m.  It's suggested that dance goers arrive early for a drink to find a place to park. 

"On the Eighth Day is a 40 minute dance inspired by different creation myths," Thyrsa Austin wrote in an email.

"This is a visually stimulating evening," Austin Hartel, artistic director and choreographer said.  "It should be fun."
Also on the program are "Encounters by Light," and "Three Part Suite" with two new solos and a group work -- unrelated to each other."

Tickets are available at  Adults are $l8 in advance and $20 at the door.  Students are $13 in advance, and $15 at the door.