Wild Brew 2017 and the Sutton Avian Research Center

Welcome back. I find it hard to believe that Wild Brew is celebrating its 19th year. For those of you who don’t know this is the big annual fundraiser benefiting the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research which is just a few miles outside of Bartlesville. Among its many achievements, the Sutton Center was responsible for the reintroduction of bald eagles to this region and now it is common to see these majestic birds flying overhead.
When the event started in 1999 it was housed in a private airport hangar at the Tulsa Airport with only fans to beat back the August heat. Fortunately, now you can enjoy a wide variety of craft beers and delicious food in the spacious and air-conditioned Cox Center. Put August 12th, Tulsa and the Sutton Center on your calendar for a party where I can guarantee you’ll have fun.

I heard the Fabulous Midlife Crisis Band for the first time at Wild brew years back and they have become one of my all-time favorite groups. Just recently they performed for a huge crowd in the streets of Bartlesville and they will playing at various venues in the area throughout the summer with a show that brings out the ‘60s and ‘70s in everyone.

There’s another date to save for an event I’m starting to get excited about and that takes place a few miles north where Tom Mix lived for a while. September 23rd and 24th are the dates not only for Western Heritage Days but also for the Dewey High School all class reunion which is held every two years. Since somehow I’ve made it this long (47 years), I’m inviting everyone to downtown Dewey for a big party on Saturday. The streets will be closed and there will be food vendors, live bands, a parade, clowns and horses all in celebration of Tom Mix and the town of Dewey. Not from Dewey? Well no matter, all will be welcome at this gathering.

The Cow Thieves and Outlaws Reunion committee is also geared up for another big gig at Woolaroc on September 30th. It is always a worth the trip to Frank Phillips country home as he called Woolaroc and at night when the birds and animals come to life with hoots and howls it is a very special place.
We are fortunate to have these great events and a dozen more at least all happening in the northeast corner of Oklahoma. Every once and awhile I try to mention the folks who make all these things happen and without whom many worthwhile causes, especially museums, would suffer. Merriam’s dictionary defines a volunteer as “a person who willingly renders a service without compensation.” Friends, make sure to thank ‘em the next time you attend one of these fundraisers.

For me and for you the reader, starting next week and beyond it’s the place called Casa de Sol in Spanish and because of security it’s seldom seen. Guarded 24 hours a day by cameras and foot patrol, for many people around the world the ground I’ll be walking on is sacred.
Till next time from what I would say is the “house of the sun”, I’ll see ya down the road.

Heaven on Earth

Welcome back. Somewhere between the sun and a man’s last breath lies a stretch of land in north central New Mexico that many think is enchanted and many others consider to be heaven on earth.

Traveling from Cimarron up into the Sangre de Christo mountain range you first come to towns with names like Angel Fire, Taos and Red River. This area is called the “enchanted circle” where the mountains contain lush valleys filled with trees and green grass. As you pass over the mountains going west the landscape on the other side slowly changes to a desert terrain and big rocks replace the trees. These are huge rocks hundreds of feet tall, shaped by thousands of years of wind and rain and colored in shades of purple, pink and bronze. Santa Fee is 100 or so miles to the south of this area and Pagosa Springs, Colorado is 105 miles away on the north border.

Famous in the early years before statehood as a hideout for bandits, another place in this region that is supposedly haunted is known by locals in Spanish as “El Rancho de los Brujos” or in English as “ranch of the witches.”
From the earliest days of settlement to the present this area has drawn film stars, artists and writers, both rich and poor. Known for its beauty and peaceful setting, nowadays visitors to the ranch routinely find relics of the past not only from early human inhabitants but also from the dinosaurs who roamed here in big numbers.

The beauty and mystical quality of the area was best captured by one of America’s most famous painters, Georgia O’Keefe who lived and worked here from the 1920s until her death in the 1980s. O’Keefe came to the area to visit other artists who were already living in Taos and Santa Fe and when she discovered this place she found her spiritual home. The remoteness and the rugged grandeur of the landscape gave her an endless source of subject matter for her paintings and also suited her need for seclusion.

When she first came to New Mexico O’Keefe had been living in New York with her husband, the famous photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. Together they had been building a name for her work but at the time she was not as well-known as he was. After discovering New Mexico O’Keefe began spending more and more time there and after Stieglitz’s death in 1946 she moved there permanently.

O’Keefe learned about Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico in 1934 when Arthur Newton Pack was running a dude ranch on the property. For the next few years she was a guest there every summer until in 1937 by a fluke she found “El Rancho de los Brujos” where Pack owned a small adobe house. She convinced him to sell her the property and it eventually became her fulltime home in the spring, summer and fall. During the harshest winter months when Ghost Ranch became inaccessible, O’Keefe moved to a second home in the village of Abiquiu which she had purchased from the Catholic Church and rebuilt into an eight room home with a large studio and gardens.

Over time O’Keefe’s many paintings of this particular New Mexican landscape, ranging from the gently rolling red hills to the imposing jagged mountaintops made her beloved Ghost Ranch famous around the world. Today there is a museum dedicated to her work in Santa Fe and her home on the ranch is open to the public by reservation only. I’ve been here many times before and I can tell you it takes some work to get to but it is well worth the effort.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road….

Annie and the Goodspeed Opera House

Welcome back. Friends on July 20-23 the play that broke all the records at the Neil Simon Theater on Broadway back in 1977, winning a Tony Award for Best Musical along the way, will be playing here at the Bartlesville Community Center. This show has been produced overseas in just about any country you can name including Germany, Ireland and Russia. Based on a comic strip that was popular from 1924 through the 1960s, the story starts in an orphanage in 1933 when a little girl who runs away meets millionaire Oliver Warbucks. She also meets a President named Roosevelt and many other prominent figures in a drama that is still a big hit today when between 700 to 900 productions of this musical are staged every year across the globe.
This year we will all have the opportunity to enjoy the show ourselves in a theater that was made for this type of legendary production. I’m sure most of you have guessed by now that I’m talking about Annie which back in 1977 starred Andrea McArdle as Annie and Reid Shelton as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks.

The show premiered at the historic Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT before moving to Broadway and was directed by Michael Price. I have been to the Goodspeed several times and I can tell you it is a truly beautiful small theater on the banks of the Connecticut River.

The Goodspeed opened in 1963 with a mission to produce new or little known musicals and bring them to a wider audience. With the leadership of Michael Price from 1968-2014 the theater produced over 250 musicals including 70 world premieres and 24 of these shows went to Broadway, including Annie. The Goodspeed itself has been recognized with two special Tony Awards and continues its dedication to musical theater including this summer when they are showcasing a production of Oklahoma!

I also know some McArdles back in Connecticut who were involved in the theater but that is a story for another day. I’ve got the scoop from the backstage personnel that this production is very professionally staged and that the backdrops are top of the line, guaranteed to make you feel just like you’re sitting in the Neil Simon Theater in New York. I also know from some of the parents and grandparents whose kids are involved in the production just how hard these young actors worked perfecting their skills to put on a show I’m predicting no one there will ever forget. Annie. Don’t miss it. For tickets contact Children’s Musical Theatre or the Bartlesville Community Center Box Office.

As for me, this week the road lies north up I-35 out of Oklahoma to Kansas where many a cattle drive ended. Kansas was also the state where wagons pulled by oxen loaded up with supplies headed for Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m checking out this old trail for a historical story I’m working on and should have more for you on that next time when I see ya down the road…..

Epigrams to Live By from Waite Phillips

A few sayings from one of my role models…

Welcome back. Until the day he died in 1964 Waite Phillips carried a small booklet tucked away in his jacket pocket everywhere he went and he opened it often. Was it some kind of financial statement? After all, for most of his life Waite Phillips was one of the richest men in America. You might guess it was a report from one of the many companies he owned or perhaps a letter from his loving wife Genevieve that he was reading. Well friends these would be good guesses but the truth is that little booklet contained a couple hundred epigrams, some he had written himself and some which were written by other people whom he may have liked or admired.
Because we just celebrated Independence Day over the past few weeks I have been writing about Americans who all had their own driving force to succeed which led them to move mountains in their fields, becoming leaders not only in business but also as examples to their fellow men and women. This week I may just be bringing you the secret to Waite Phillips’ great success.
According to my Webster’s dictionary an epigram is a saying or remark that expresses an idea in a clever or amusing way. According to his son Elliot “Chope” Phillips his dad read daily out of that little book which he said contained good rules for a successful and useful life. These are just a few of his favorite sayings:

Real philanthropy consists of helping others, outside of our own family circle, from whom no thanks is expected or required. Waite Phillips

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them-that’s the essence of inhumanity. George Bernard Shaw

No one should boast of being honest, dependable, courteous and considerate for these are fundamental qualities essential to good character that everyone should develop and use. Waite Phillips

Often, we allow ourselves to be upset by things we should forget. Perhaps some man we helped has proved ungrateful, some person we believed to be a friend has spoken ill of us, some reward we thought we deserved has been denied us. We feel some disappointments strongly but isn’t that absurd? Here we are on this earth with only a few more decades to live and we lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievances that in a year’s time will be forgotten by us and by everybody. Let us devote our lives to worthwhile actions and feelings, to great thoughts, real affections and enduring undertakings. Life is too short to be over sensitive. Andre Maurois

To become competent in governing we must first learn to govern ourselves. Waite Phillips

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot keep out of financial trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away initiative and independence. Abraham Lincoln

Of course, there are many more epigrams in Wade’s book but unfortunately mine didn’t make it.

The only way to slow down time is to get a job you don’t like. Dale Lewis

If you have an epigram you especially like I’d love to read it. You can email it to me at buffalodale @netzero.com.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….