Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mary Kay's Place

Tulsa native Mary Kay Place is an accomplished actress, singer, writer and director.  You've seen her in movies like "Being John Malkovich" and "Sweet Home Alabama" as well as TV shows like "The West Wing" and "Big Love" but she first attained fame in the show "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman."

She played aspiring country music singer Loretta Haggers on the show and, as often happens, life imitated art and she was able to release a couple of country albums.  She wrote a few of the songs and even managed to snag a Grammy nomination.  Here's the iconic cover to one of her albums:

The outfit was inspired by popular retro pinup art and became a well known look for the performer.  A few years back she donated it to the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture and it is currently on display at the Oklahoma History Center:

It's a nice tribute to a local gal who made good so go check it out the next time you're at the Center.  They've got a ton of other great stuff from Oklahoma artists.  And if you happen to run into Mary Kay today, wish her a happy birthday!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Top 5 Things for Sale at Cloverleaf


Cloverleaf, in Ardmore, has a reputation as being hard to miss.  Its bright pink exterior is surrounded by as much weirdo, amusement park decor that the proprietors could find.  Inside you'll find one-of-a-kind gifts ranging from hand made decor to antique chotchkies.  So let's pick some seemingly arbitrary items and rank them in a you do...

5.  Giant Inflatable Pink Flamingo


It doesn't take visitors long to realize the store has a huge "pink" theme and a fun tone.  And nothing embodies these elements more than a giant inflatable pink flamingo.  It's both functional as a pool toy and works as a decorative conversation piece. 

4.  Oklahoma Hand Towels

At least I think these are hand towels.  What makes them stand out is the strong "Oklahoma" vibe and the retro design.  Like the flamingos (and a lot of other stuff in the store), they are as fun to look at as they are to use,

3.  Blue Whale Magnet Clip

There's probably a good chance that this item has absolutely nothing at all to do with the Big Blue Whale in Catoosa.  The Oklahoma icon isn't nearly as represented in the merchandise world as I'd like so I'm just going to imagine that this guy is our pal from Route 66.  If I'm wrong, don't tell me.

2.  "Oklahoma Curiosities"

I'm almost done with this book and I'll be sad when I'm finished.  It's got a ton of Oklahoma stories, information and facts that can help you find any number of interesting things in the Sooner state that are just a little off the beaten path.

1.  Fake Animal Heads

If you've ever wanted your place to feel like the den of a big game hunter but you just don't have the time to stalk and kill your own wild game then you're in luck!  The store has a several different heads to choose from and these don't have the creepy eyes that actual taxidermy usually has.

Not a bad haul for a roadside stop.  If your next trip to Ardmore lands around the holidays or a loved one's birthday, then now you know where to load up on flamingos, whales and wart hog heads.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Top 5 at the Banjo Museum


The American Banjo Museum in the Bricktown area of Oklahoma City is serious about banjos.  And they don't want to mislead you about what's inside.  This place is chock full of wall-to-wall banjos.  Everywhere you look, guess what?  Banjos!  So when it came time to give it the ol' Top 5 treatment, we got into full "banjo mode!"

It's worth mentioning that I don't know anything about banjos or banjo music so if/when I get some detail wrong please go easy on me.  And with that plea for mercy, here's the Top 5 Banjos at the American Banjo Museum:

5.  Hummingbird by Renee Karnes

If you don't think about banjos that much then you probably never think about how banjos are made.  But it's a unique art form and someone who is particularly good at it as Renee Karnes.  She was inducted into the Banjo Hall of Fame in the "Design & Manufacture" category in 2005.  This is one of her creations.

4.  Gibson Bass Banjo

I don't know if I've ever seen or heard of one of these but it seems like it would fill the same role as a standard upright bass in a musical group.  I don't think I've ever seen footage of it being played and I'm genuinely curious as to what it sounds like.

3.  Roy Clark's Banjo

You might remember (depending on your age) the legendary Roy Clark as one of the hosts of Hee Haw but he's also a very prolific musician, member of the Grand Ole Opry, and an inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame.  He also lived in Tulsa and sang at (fellow Oklahoman) Mickey Mantle's funeral.  This is one of his many banjos.

2.  Gilbrech Automatic Banjo Entertainer  

You're probably thinking to yourself, "That doesn't look like a banjo!?!"  And you're right it doesn't.  The museum describes it as "a one-of-a-kind banjo curiosity!"  It's essentially the equivalent of a player piano.  It was made to play on its own, no banjo player necessary.  That's the kind of banjo I could play.

1.  Smokey Montgomery's Banjo

 Whenever I try to fake my way through a banjo conversation (it happens more than you'd think), I play the "Smokey Montgomery card."  The reason is because he's one of the few banjo players I've actually heard of.  He was a member of the "Light Crust Doughboys" and I worked on a documentary project involving his work a few years back so I was pleased to see one of his banjos here.

So the next time you're in the mood for some pickin' and grinnin' you know just where to go to create you're own favorites list.