Monday, October 26, 2009

Ghouls Gone Wild-the Aftermath

We survived the terror of the Ghouls Gone Wild parade! Actually, the parade was a lot of fun and we had a great time putting together our float out of "repurposed" materials from the Exhibits Shop. On our float, we decided to portray a campy '50s sci-fi horror movie as directed by Ed Wood, in drag. Aliens crash landed their flying saucer into the old Wiley Post Historical Society building, turning all the humans into zombies. Not to fear, 3-D Debbie and her faithful robot, Bazark, were there to save the day with their laserbeams. I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking :-)

Ghouls Gone Wild,Oklahoma History Center,Exhibits Team
David and his scary alien eye.

Ghouls Gone Wild,Oklahoma History Center,Exhibits Team
Getting the float ready for the road!

Ghouls Gone Wild,Oklahoma History Center,Exhibits Team
Is it time to start yet?

Ghouls Gone Wild,Oklahoma History Center,Exhibits Team
We had offers of people who wanted to be abducted.

Ghouls Gone Wild,Oklahoma History Center,Exhibits Team,Bazark the Robot
Every float's better with a dancing robot.

Ghouls Gone Wild,Oklahoma History Center,Exhibits Team
And here we go down the street!

Ghouls Gone Wild,Oklahoma History Center,Exhibits Team
Great fun with creative people! Thanks OK Gazette for the Ghouls Gone Wild Parade!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ghouls Gone Wild!

The Oklahoma Gazette's 3rd Annual Ghouls Gone Wild parade is coming up on October 24th and the History Center is proud to be a part of it! Rockabilly legends The Collins Kids, who played for our Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Exhibit opening back in May, are returning to Oklahoma to serve as grand marshals for the parade.

The Exhibits Team, Collections Staff, and Research Division Staff have all come together to build a unique and creative float for this one-of-a-kind parade. Look for updates on our float, and an explanation of our theme, "It Came from the History Center," in subsequent posts.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Rockabilly Good Time!

On Friday, Oct. 23rd and Saturday, Oct. 24th, the Oklahoma History Center will be hosting a weekend celebrating Rockabilly culture past and present.

On Friday the 23rd, the History Center will be the venue for a rockin' good time with The Beltline, Clyde Stacy, and The Starkweather Boys, along with a special Rockabilly fashion show put on by the Velvet Monkey Salons here in Oklahoma City. Tickets are $10 in advance (available at the History Center 522-0765 and the Velvet Monkey Salons) and $15 at the door for an evening of great music and entertainment.

Saturday the 24th we will have a vintage car show and roundtable discussions at the History Center with Rockabilly pioneers like The Collins Kids, back in their native Oklahoma to be the grand marshals for the Oklahoma Gazette's Ghouls Gone Wild parade. They will also be performing Saturday night in conjunction with the parade. Everyone should come out to see the craziness and the History Center's float!

And, to get you ready for some great music, here's a video on Clyde Stacy and his performance coming up on the 23rd!

Monday, September 28, 2009

You Should Have Been Seen at The Scene!

The Scene

Well Ladies and Gents, The Scene here at the History Center earlier this month on September 4th was a huge smash! The building was bursting at the seams with folks enjoying great music from Uptown Syndicate, Jim Edgar and the Roadrunners, Brewer and Brewer, and the Five Americans while dancing the night away. I thought I'd give you a little taste of what we got to enjoy that night.

The Scene
The line of eager Scene-goers was long even before the doors were opened!

The Scene,Ronnie Kaye
It was Ronnie Kaye's birthday, so we made sure we had plenty of cake.

The Scene,Uptown Syndicate
Uptown Syndicate got the night started off right with some great funk.

The Scene,Jim Edgar and the Roadrunners
The crowd really loved Jim Edgar and the Roadrunners, who played the hits of the '50s and '60s.

The Scene
The crowd really got after it!

The Scene,Brewer and Brewer
Brewer and Brewer played "One Toke Over the Line."

And the Five Americans rocked their hit "Western Union."

It was a great evening to reminisce, see old friends, and to just get down and boogie. The History Center dance floor definitely got its workout that night! Thanks to everyone who came out to make The Scene such a great time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Scene!

Ever feel nostalgic for go-go boots, mini-skirts, and psychedelic music? On Friday night, September 4, 2009 the Oklahoma History Center, KOMA, and the Oklahoma Gazette are proud to present "The Scene," a recreation of the 1960s dance party television show hosted by Ronnie Kaye.

The party will feature special performances by The Five Americans, Jim Edgar and the Roadrunners, and Uptown Syndicate, as well as the famous Scene Dancers!

The doors open at 6:30pm on September 4th for this dance down memory lane. Tickets for this groovy shindig are only $15 and can be purchased at Thrifty Pharmacy locations (10904 N. May in OKC and inside Crest Foods at 15th and Santa Fe in Edmond) as well as at the Oklahoma History Center. Call (405)522-0765 for more information. Ronnie will see you there!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's Like a Grammy, But Different

Our spiffy and awesome website for Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Exhibit just won Best Website for the Oklahoma Museums Association Awards in the $100,000+ category! The History Center also won awards for its Education Programs and its exhibit on the art of the Houser/Haozous family entitled Unconquered: Allan Houser and the Legacy of One Apache Family.

You can read the full list of winners at the OMA website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pass Me the Comics!

As plans continue for a Museum of Music and Pop Culture in Tulsa, the Oklahoma Historical Society is acquiring collections from folks who want to see this awesome undertaking reach fruition. One of those individuals is cartoonist Michael Vance. Take a peek at his collection and the plans for Tulsa. They're both very exciting!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Update on the AAR Front

Fixing AAR
Director of Exhibits Jeff Moore fixing the AAR panel.

Just thought we'd show you that yes, history is being made every day! Remember our previous entry about the All-American Rejects on the Today Show? Well, later that day we updated their panel in the exhibit to show that "Gives You Hell" had indeed made it to #1.

Thanks Tyson, Nick, Mike, and Chris!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dfest 2009!

Well Rock and Rollers, Dfest in Tulsa has come and gone, and we here at the History Center were there to document every music-filled, jam-packed minute of it. While our crack team of videographers caught interviews with some of the industry’s shining stars and up-and-comers during the conference, we sold a few copies of Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Story and got out some information about the amazing exhibit that you still need to come see down here at 23rd and Lincoln. In the evenings, we videoed and photographed the local bands making good on the various stages and watched the crowds go wild (including yours truly!) for the headliners like Blue October, Cake, and the Black Crowes.

Dfest 2009
Colourmusic kicked off the festival Thursday night with a great performance at the IDL Ballroom.

Dfest 2009
During the day we talked to folks about the exhibit, sold the book, and conducted interviews for the upcoming documentary and for the oral history collections.

Dfest 2009
We took every opportunity to get our name out there, including the provided art wall!

Dfest 2009
Crocodile had a great show Friday night!

Dfest 2009
I found a cool, new-to-me band: Gogol Bordello.

Dfest 2009
The crowds were lovin' it! Here they are cheering on Blue October.

Dfest 2009
And there were lots of up-and-coming Oklahoma bands, like Head Over Hills from Claremore.

Dfest 2009
Great trip for research and some amazing music! Thank you, Dfest!

Dfest, founded by Tom and Angie Green, has become the largest music conference and festival in the Midwest. It is a place for new talent to learn the skills necessary to make it in the industry and a showcase for up-and-coming bands from across the country and right here in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sign It Like a Rock Star

On Thursday, July 16, the Oklahoma History Center launched Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Story, the companion book to the Center’s Rock and Roll exhibit. We celebrated with a book signing featuring the cover artist, several of the 16 authors, and even a couple of members of the early Punk band Debris, featured in the book, showed up and signed their pages. The Hosty Duo provided some great music, folks got a chance to go through the Artists Gallery of Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Exhibit, and a good time was had by all!

Overhead view
Overhead view of the book signing line.

Signing my first book!
Signing my first book!

Line for the Book Signing
Chatting with the friendly folks in line.

Hosty Duo
Hosty Duo providing some awesome tunes.

Get your copy of Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Story, great for your coffee table or, according to some radio DJs, for your bathroom ;-) Books are available at the Oklahoma History Center, and we’ll be out at Dfest this weekend in Tulsa with copies available!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oklahoma History Center on the TODAY Show!

This morning on the TODAY Show, Kathie Lee and Hoda took some time out to chat with the All-American Rejects, who will be featured in the Toyota Concert Series up in New York this weekend. In their chat, Nick made mention of his visit up to the Oklahoma History Center with his parents to see Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Exhibit and talked a bit about the band's reception in Oklahoma.

Thanks for the mention, guys! We'll be sure to update "Gives You Hell" to a Number 1 :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Make Your Own Rockstar!

Go to to make your own paper doll rockstar. As you can see here I've made a little punk rock dude that I can print out and make my office a little cooler. Just click on the rock fashion button on the website and make your own.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rock and Roll Exhibit Opening

Our boss Dan, the Museum Director, getting geared up for the opening.

As you can see, he is a pretty cool boss. He also keeps a stash of M&Ms on his desk for all of us. Apparently in the week before the exhibit opening we can go through approximately 13 pounds of them. Chocolate and caffeine is what keeps us going.

Benj and Jason, two of our education types, became bouncers for the Green Room for the evening. All it takes is a shirt, some muscle, and a lot of attitude. They are usually dressed up as military men, so they have the stance down. You might notice that Benj is a little sad we wouldn't let him carry any of his weapons.

Just some of the ladies of the museum staff trying out the photo op before the masses arrived. This set-up took me hours to perfect, so I am pretty glad we have had so many people take advantage of it. Especially with the costumes. Note the sweet sunglasses I am wearing...almost enough to make me want to become a Trekkie.

Wayne Coyne, Scott Booker and Dennis Coyne, the frontman of Stardeath and the White Dwarf, checking out the Flaming Lips panels for the first time. Wayne loved seeing his old Long John's uniform and Martian suit in a museum case, and I am sure the larger-than-life size pictures were pretty fun to see as well. Shortly after this I finally got a picture with Wayne in front of one of the cases I helped put together. I was just a tad giddy.

At the public opening on Saturday, 14 bands played on 2 stages (all the outdoor activities had to move inside because of the rain :( ) Th one cancellation ended up being filled by Chickasha's own Debris. I wrote about them earlier, but it was so cool to see some of the original punk rockers of Oklahoma jam out. And yes, part of their stage set is actually debris they have scavenged. Pretty cool guys. And loud, oh so very loud.

Some other highlights from the opening for me:
*Finishing the exhibit in time to get dressed for the opening
*The multitude of History Center staff in the women's bathroom getting into costume
*Sitting in the green room with Wanda Jackson stuffing Lorrie Collins' skirt under her belt
*Being a roadie and loading and unloading band equipment all day Saturday
*Temporary tattoos!
*Seeing the History Center transformed into an industry party

Thursday, April 30, 2009

If the History Center's A-Rockin'...

Everyone should come a-knockin'!

I know we keep saying "Everyone come out on May 2nd, it's going to be a blast!" But here's the lowdown:

14 Bands--John Moreland and the Black Gold Band, Crocodile, The City Lives, The Oh Johnny! Girls, Mike Black & the Stingrays, Ali Harter, Unmarked Cars, Camille Harp, Wes Reynolds, The Romantic Disaster, The Gunship, Rainbows are Free, The Undecided, All but 1

Rock and Roll fun for the whole family! Do-it-yourself tie dye, Rock Star Makeovers, Guitar Hero, Rock Star Photo Op, Costume Contests-'60s, '70s & '80s.

And of course, Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock and Roll Exhibit throughout the building. See great Rock and Roll artists from Oklahoma, see Rock's influence on fashion, walk into a venue experience, see '50s pop culture as it was an as we perceive it today, and remember what it used to be like to go to your favorite record store.

Oh, did I mention that it's all FREE!!

It will all happen, rain or shine, so don't let the weather get you down. Come on out to the Oklahoma History Center!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brushes with Fame

From an earlier post, you learned about our friend Fernando, the mascot of exhibit installation. Well, yesterday was a big day for little Fernando. At the signing of the Executive Order making "Do You Realize??" by the Flaming Lips the official Rock Song for the state of Oklahoma, Fernando decided it was time to meet some Rock stars. So he did.

Wayne, Michael, and Kliph from the Lips signed Fernando. I like to think that he is smiling as much as Wayne is.

Friday, April 24, 2009


So today the bean bags came in for our section on Ronnie Kaye's The Scene.

They may be the coolest, most comfortable part of the exhibit. Granted I am saying that after testing them out, just to make sure they weren't going to pop or bust a seam under pressure. I feel it is safe to say that they are safe, even for lengthy periods of time. They are also very cuddly. 'Nuf said

Take a look at what curators do on our lunch breaks when we are getting cool stuff into the exhibit. All for the sake of recreating the proper environment. Bet you want to come visit even more now. And yes, that is orange shag carpet.

6 days...

Do You Realize??

That on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Governor Brad Henry will sign an Executive Order naming "Do You Realize??" by the Flaming Lips the official Oklahoma Rock Song? Look here for the details, folks.

Keep on rockin', just about a week away from the opening!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can You Hear the Drums, Fernando?*

The curators are busily installing all kinds of great artifacts in the cases in Another Hot Oklahoma Night and it can be a really exciting process. Deciding how best to display objects, how to make album covers float and guitars look like they're being played is a task that tests the creative powers as well as a person's skills with power tools.

We here at the History Center have a lot of fun installing artifacts. So much fun, in fact, that when we installed the original exhibits, we adopted a mascot for installation. His name is Fernando, taken from the ABBA song so rudely left out of Mamma Mia!, and he is a short, rotund, stuffed alligator. He is currently dressed for the Rock and Roll exhibit and makes daily appearances in the galleries, checking up on the installation process and raising spirits in the process. Here we see Fernando and Wayne Coyne's Mars boot, which will be on display in the Gaylord Special Exhibit Gallery in the Artists section of Another Hot Oklahoma Night. Come by starting May 2nd and see it! Fernando would approve.

*Disclaimer: No, there is not a section dedicated to ABBA in the exhibit :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

In honor of National Record Store Day

Saturday is National Record Store Day. In honor of that, and my new haircut that makes me feel a bit like I am living in Empire Records, I am writing this entry.

To many of us, who get their music from iTunes, Limewire or bittorrent sites, record stores may seem obsolete. But if I have learned anything from working on this exhibit, it is that music just sounds so good and so real when it is coming from a scratchy vinyl album. And the experience of flipping through bins of albums, never quite knowing what treasures you might uncover cannot be matched by the sangfroid "current chart toppers" or "most played" lists.

With a vinyl record, you get an entire sensory experience. First, you walk into the record store that just smells like musty dust covers, to walls plastered with old band publicity shots and tour posters, flyers of bands seeking musicians or upcoming/long-past shows, to the faint smell of hemp and sweat, but mostly to the slightly charged atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. Walking the beat-up floors that have seen combat boots, bare feet and ballet flats alike, you find a section that seems intriguing, or is the only one not packed with other seekers, and start to flip through the bins. Albums of old bands you haven't thought of in years shuffle along with bands you have never heard of, enclosed in obscure, hilarious and maybe even slightly pornographic covers.

Some stores even still retain the listening station. It may be a sound-proofed booth with high-grade headphones and it may be just a player on a rickety TV table in the middle of the store, but it is all you need for a few blissful moments of rhapsody.

Eventually, with a teetering stack of beat-up albums, with maybe a few protected in plastic wrap, you march to the check-out counter so that you take your treasures home to enjoy.

If you want to check out an all-inclusive record store experience, with bands playing and the masses crowding the bins, look here for information of Guestroom Records' celebration of Record Store Day, 11 am-9 pm. They will have performances, special edition albums, and free food and drinks.

Our exhibit will include its own record store. From the postered walls to the listening station and even bins of Oklahoma-related albums to flip through (although ours will have bios and facts on the artists on the back) you will be able to feel a little bit of that paradise in the middle of the Inasmuch Foundation Gallery. Excited? You should be.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Days Grow Short...

Well Rock fans, it's getting closer and closer! The final details are falling into place, the galleries are starting to look AWE-some, and the videos, well, you can see for yourself.

The All-American Rejects and Shiny Toy Guns played recently up at the Brady in Tulsa and I got the opportunity to play concert photographer. So much fun! I've been to concerts, but never close enough to have a lead singer grab my camera and sing directly into it. Granted, he didn't do that to me, it was another photog there, but you get the point :-) The photo above is Mike Kennerty of the All-American Rejects rockin' out. Come see artifacts from the Rejects, learn about the current Rock scene in Oklahoma, and learn about the rockers that paved the way for today's rising stars in the Artists gallery of Another Hot Oklahoma Night.

Remember, the exhibit opens on May 2 with 14 bands playing on 3 stages around the History Center! Don't miss out!

-Elizabeth, one excited Assistant Curator of Exhibits and now aspiring concert photographer

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Place to Rock

Advertisement for a dance in the '60s at the Diamond Ballroom.

Elizabeth Baxter here, friendly neighborhood Assistant Curator of Exhibits, bringing you all that’s awesome in the world of Oklahoma rock venues. In the Samuel Roberts Noble Gallery upstairs in the Oklahoma History Center we’ll have an area highlighting some of Oklahoma’s most well-known music venues, from the small to the stadium-sized. I thought I’d give you a small preview and let you see a little bit of what I’ve learned about one of the Oklahoma City area’s oldest rock and roll venues, the Diamond Ballroom.

The stage at the Diamond Ballroom.

The Diamond Ballroom opened in the ‘60s, boasting the “Largest Dance Floor in the Southwest.” Although well known for country dances, the Diamond also brought in the likes of Fats Domino, Wanda Jackson, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The walls by the stage are filled with photos of past performers, showing the amazing history of the place. Today the Diamond Ballroom is a great place to see just about anything, from Tesla to Shiny Toy Guns and All-American Rejects.


One of the walls of photos at the Diamond.

The folks over at the Diamond donated one of the original light-up signs from the front of the DJ booth that reads “Diamond Ballroom Largest Dance Floor in the Southwest.” It will be featured in the Oklahoma Venues area of the exhibit. Come and see it, along with other pieces of Oklahoma’s rock history, when Another Hot Oklahoma Night opens on May 2, 2009. C’mon, you know you want to see it…


There it is, folks, the "Largest Dance Floor in the Southwest."

Friday, February 6, 2009


Everything has been a little hectic around here, which is part of the reason we are now going to have weekly meetings for everyone working on the exhibit to share what they are working on. Lots of different people working on lots of different parts--there is a lot of Rock and Roll history in Oklahoma to delve into.

We have divided the exhibit into many sections that will be in various places throughout the museum galleries. We will cover Rockabilly, Radio Stations and Recording Studios, The Scene, Fashion and hairstyles, Soul and Funk, Venues, and any number of Oklahoma Artists. The links are just a small teaser of what we will be covering.

Today we met with a graphic designer to create some edgy background graphics for all the panels. Our exhibit will be literally like nothing you have ever seen before. No boring panels that look all the same in our exhibit. Nope. We will have specially designed, pure rock energy pulsing from the boards. You just wait and see.

We are still looking for artifacts, so if you have tickets from rare shows, all access passes, band t-shirts or anything else that might be museum-worthy, please e-mail with a brief description. Who knows, you might end up with your own collection in our archives!!!

Also, I am still looking for pictures of you and your Oklahoma band or pics you took at rock venues and shows in Oklahoma. E-mail those to as well and they will be included in a slide-show in the exhibit itself. After all, fans and their experiences are a huge part of rock and roll!