A getaway day in Tulsa
We took a getaway day in Tulsa. The Dish and I and another couple had tickets to Phantom of the Opera on Saturday night, so we made a day of it. The girls went shopping at Utica Square, we drove around some cool old-Tulsa neighborhoods, we toured Oral Roberts University and we figured up ways to make money on Riverside Drive along the Arkansas River.
Tulsa is a cool town. I’ve always thought so, and just because it hasn’t been as progressive as Oklahoma City over the last 20 years is no reason to believe otherwise.
Downtown Tulsa has its charms, starting with its churches. I’ve never seen a downtown so marked by its churches. Boston Avenue Methodist, Christ the King Catholic, First Presbyterian, plus a half dozen more, the architecture and splendor the churches defines downtown Tulsa.
The BOK Center, which is scheduled to open in September, will be a superb addition to Tulsa, giving T-Town an elite arena. It’s a solid looking building but not a palace, not from the outside anyway. More opulent than the Ford Center, but not as plush as Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Stay tuned on the interior. Construction of the BOK Center has caused some of the downtown Tulsa streets to be turned upside down, so driving around is a mess.
Tulsa’s Performing Arts Center is not in the class of OKC’s Civic Center Music Hall, though it was quite adequate for “Phantom.” Walking into the lobby of the Performing Arts Center is like walking into the lobby of a nice college drama theater. Not the plushness you would expect.
Phantom was not my favorite musical. I haven’t seen them all, but I liked Les’ Miserables and Beauty & the Beast better. The Music Man, too. Probably some others I’m not thinking of. Phantom was better than Cats.
We had dinner at a cool Italian place in south Tulsa, Ti’Amos on Sheridan. Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World recommended it, and while Sittler isn’t the first person I would turn to for culinary expertise — he’s a room-service guy on the road — he steered us right on this one. I had seafood pasta, which I almost always order in an Italian joint, and it was big-time good.
I took my pal to ORU because he had never seen it, and most people find the campus stunning. I went to basketball camp at ORU in 1976, when I was 15, and I still remember thinking the campus looked like something out of Star Trek. All gold medal and new-age architecture. The City of Faith hospital, which no longer is connected to ORU and no longer is a hospital, stands 60 stories on its central tower. The tallest buildings in OKC are less than 40 stories. The shimmering gold skyscraper failed as an ORU hospital and stands as a monument to the evangelist’s outrageous visions.
The praying hands at the entrance to the campus are impressive, too, and frankly, so is every building on campus. Even the baseball stadium looks like something otherworldly. I first heard the word “aerobics” at ORU, during the 1976 camp. ORU’s student activity center — like OSU’s Colvin Center or OU’s Huffman Center – was called the Aerobics Center. That’s where we played our basketball during the camp.
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