A few years ago, I interviewed the artist Debby Kaspari of Drawing the Motmot for Oklahoma Today. Ever since, I’ve been enchanted with the notion of field sketching in remote and maybe not so remote locations. I can’t draw to save my life, so the next best thing for me in terms of capturing the wonderful things I see is my Nikon. It is my constant companion.
I take dozens of pictures every week, but rarely do they go anywhere except in the cloud, on a disk or on the hard drive. I thought I’d begin sharing more of them with you here on my blog, which will soon undergo a complete re-branding. So, here’s the best from my own photo-field journal from the 46th Week of the Year. Click to enlarge photos.
Yesterday morning, I noticed the Gold Dome geodesic bank was painted. It looks like primer so maybe a new layer of gold paint will be added soon. Let’s hope they chop down all the ugly Bradford Pear trees that surround the northwest corner. They block the view of Buckminster Fuller’s brilliant creation. He’s the architect we can thank for the monstrosity.
You know you’re committed to historic preservation when you value the uber ugly.
Speaking of preservation, last night, the children were bouncing off the walls. Using their beds as trampolines, actually. It has been a very stressful week, so I took my future heart attack for a drive. By. My. Self. TYVM. I passed this cool neon sign at the Pawn Shark on SW 59th. I took a picture and posted it to Instagram. You can see more of that stuff here.
I rounded my way back home down Shields Boulevard. That’s when I noticed the hot pink neon Catalina Motel sign was gone. It’s been replaced with a back-lit sign.
And, so we rocket a little further into back-lit hell.
So, there’s some cool neon on Shields, but it’s all bars, and since I didn’t want to die while escaping the squeals, bumps and bangs of my children I decided not to take any pictures. If you care about this stuff, however, you should know that there are a few mid-century modern motels along Shields. Totally scuzzy with names like Swank Motel, but they’re there for you if you want to go see them. Shields has got to be the oddest street in Oklahoma City, but I digress.
Here is another picture of the primed geodesic dome. How cool that Greg Lorson and Teemco are preserving this thing. Serious hero stuff in my book.
This is kind of awful, but I have to say it. The geodesic dome reminds me of the clarifiers at wastewater treatment plants. I wrote about them one time in a commentary for KOSU, The Best People Ever. But, I think bright days are ahead for this place. Finally.
I have no idea about this place. I thought it was another bar, but I did some checking and the Drum Room actually serves fried chicken and waffles. They have one of the coolest neon signs in Oklahoma City. It’s located on Western Avenue between NW 36th and NW 50th Streets.
50th Anniversary of JFK Assassination
I took this picture while standing in line at the grocery store. The same grocery store where I purchased the Dallas Morning News commemorative reprint of November 23, 1963.
I’ve been watching all the TV specials leading up to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and they’ve started to really get me down. There are so many things about the story that rocks me to my core. For starters, that Jackie remained composed enough to stand beside Johnson as he was sworn into office; that she wore the pink, blood-stained suit back to Washington (“I want them to see what they did to him.”) and that while still in the emergency room she slipped her wedding ring on the President after he died.
This anniversary is a serious gut-check for the contemplative American. We have completely gone off course. There is no discourse anymore, only blame born out of fear, which is the stock and trade of FOX NEWS. But, I have hope. I have hope because money alone can no longer win elections. You can significantly outspend your opponent and still lose.
House of a Different Color
Years ago, I had a post series called House of a Different Color. This highlighted my interest in both color and historic preservation, but it was before I had much practice with my camera. So, I cropped the ka-rap out of most the pictures, and for that I’m truly sorry. Ha!
The house above is on my favorite street in Mesta Park, a beautiful historic neighborhood in Oklahoma City. I remember when it was tan and lit up every year like a Territorial Christmas carol. Now, it’s mint green with an interesting selection of trim colors: peach and burgundy with a cranberry-colored front door.
The Color Purple
I have nothing special to say about this. It’s just me noticing color a little out of place. Here’s a bunch more things that are purple.
Mason Jar Chandelier
This is one of my favorite pictures from the week. I spotted this Mason jar chandelier in Mesta Park, too. I love the play between the glass, the autumn colors and the overcast morning. To get the depth of field I wanted I had to stand in the homeowner’s flowerbed. I really most sincerely apologize, sir. Your outdoor chandelier is now going to be famous on Pinterest.
I’ll leave you with this poem, said to be one of JFK’s favorites: I Have A Rendezvous With Death by Alan Seeger.
I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air-
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.