Brandy McDonnell
Features Entertainment Reporter

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1 million page views a year for the past two years. Raised on a crop and cattle farm near Lindsay, McDonnell started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school’s 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News and worked for the local weekly through high school. An Oklahoma State University graduate, she will celebrate her 10th anniversary at The Oklahoman in May 2012.

  • Poetic license: Oklahoma artist and poet Kerri Shadid expands her creativity as the Skirvin's new artist in residence

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    Through fall 2015, the airy studio in the northwest corner of the landmark Skirvan hotel’s first floor will be the permanent home for Edmond native Kerri Shadid’s popular Poetry Stand, for which she writes spontaneous custom poems on the spot, as well as a place for her to marbleize paper and fabric, host marbling workshops and explore other types of creative expression.

  • Oklahoma City's Reduxion Theatre tries something new with 'Jane Austen's Christmas Cracker!'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    The theater company’s first holiday production is an interactive ball that features performers portraying Jane Austen, her sister and niece as well as playing the author’s famous fictional characters.

  • Entertaining last-minute gift ideas with an Oklahoma flair

    By Brandy McDonnell | Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    Christmas is less than a week away, but if you want to give an entertainment or artsy present with an Oklahoma flair, you don’t have to go far to shop for out-of-the-gift-box options.

  • Look at him fly: Oklahoma red dirt music star Stoney LaRue soars to new career heights with “Aviator”

    By Brandy McDonnell, BAM | Published: Fri, Dec 12, 2014

    Oklahoma City-based singer-songwriter Stoney LaRue has allowed the third studio album of his 16-year music career to take him farther afield than ever before. The hard-touring musician has played New York City, Boston, Chicago and even Nashville’s hallowed Grand Ole Opry en route to Friday’s show at Tulsa’s historic Cain’s Ballroom.

  • Album review: Carrie Underwood 'Greatest Hits – Decade #1' (Sony Music Nashville)

    BY BRANDY MCDONNELL | Updated: Thu, Dec 11, 2014

    As unfathomable as it seems, it’s been almost 10 years since Carrie Underwood dominated the competition to win “American Idol.” In the past decade, the Checotah native has reached an unbelievable number of milestones – 18 No. 1 singles, 64 million album sales, 95 major awards, including six Grammys – while building a career as one of country music’s brightest and most reliable superstars.

  • Dancing off the drawing board: Oklahoma City Ballet's new “Nutcracker” comes to the Civic Center

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Sun, Dec 7, 2014

    On Saturday, Oklahoma City Ballet will deck the Civic Center stage with a new production of “The Nutcracker” with newly redesigned sets and costumes funded through a $500,000 gift from Devon Energy. The expanded 10-show run of the holiday classic continues through Dec. 22, with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic playing Tchaikovsky’s iconic score at each performance.

  • Oklahoma luminaries light up national music scene in 2014

    By Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    From Garth Brooks’ comeback and Kristin Chenoweth’s homecoming to Carrie Underwood’s 10-year retrospective and The Flaming Lips’ classic Beatles revisitation, its been a year of milestone’s for Oklahoma’s top national music stars.

  • Oklahoma musician Q&A: Levi Parham steers toward music with 'Avalon Drive' EP release

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    McAlester singer-songwriter Levi Parham, 30, shows off a soulful voice and Delta blues finger-picking style on the six-song EP “Avalon Drive, due out Tuesday. He will play an album release show Friday at the Blue Door.

  • 'Untamed' legacy: Daughter seeks to harness the legacy of late Oklahoma artist O. Gail Poole

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Thu, Dec 4, 2014

    Nicole Poole’s latest step in quest to ensure her father’s versatile art career isn’t forgotten is producing a sort of reintroductory retrospective titled “As Yet Untamed: The Art of O. Gail Poole” at Artspace at Untitled in Oklahoma City. A public opening event is planned from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the downtown gallery.

  • “The Polar Express” Train Ride makes Christmas magic in Oklahoma debut

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    For the first time, the Eastern Flyer is bringing its "The Polar Express" Train Ride, a one-hour round-trip journey based on Chris Van Allsburg 1985 children's book and the 2004 computer-animated musical movie version, to the Sooner State. The holiday train is chugging around Bristow through Dec. 28, but many outings are already sold out.

  • 'Patti Page: Once Upon a Dream' opens at Oklahoma History Center

    By Brandy McDonnell, BAM | Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    Ranging from dolls and dresses to gold records and her Grammy, the “Patti Page: Once Upon a Dream” exhibit marks the first public viewing of the Patti Page Estate Collection and pays homage to the late, great singer born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore. As part of “Oklahoma @ the Movies,” the exhibit is on view at the Oklahoma History Center until Dec. 31, when it will travel to other sites in Oklahoma.

  • Downtown in December launches Friday with tree lighting festival

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    Presented by Devon Energy, the monthlong extravaganza this year features an array of holiday activities ranging from ice skating in the Myriad Botanical Gardens and zip lining at the Oklahoma River to free Water Taxi rides on the Bricktown Canal and a costumed 5K run starting at Leadership Square, plus a new carousel and train.

  • Album review: Kristin Chenoweth, “Coming Home” (Concord Music Group)

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    The Broken Arrow native’s Concord Records debut was recorded during an August hometown stand that also was filmed for a concert special. “Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home” will make its TV premiere at 8 p.m. Friday on PBS, including Oklahoma’s OETA.

  • Movie review: 'The Theory of Everything'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    Already a Tony Award winner at age 32, Eddie Redmayne (“Les Miserables”) seems a lock for a best actor nomination for his nuanced portrayal of brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking in the biopic “The Theory of Everything.” Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) also gives a subtly powerful turn as Hawking’s first wife, Jane, who penned the memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen,” which inspired the film.

  • Movie review: 'Penguins of Madagascar'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    The super-spy wannabes seize the big-screen spotlight for the first time with the “Madagascar” spin-off, a funny, frenetic and ultimately forgettable romp.

  • 'PleasureTown' podcast revives the radio drama tradition

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    About a year ago, Oklahoma native Erin Kahoa and Texas native Keith Ecker, who are now both based in Chicago, started the “PleasureTown” podcast, which delves into the lives of colorful and conflicted characters living in a fictional lost Oklahoma community settled just after the land run as a haven for hedonism.

  • Earthy work: Former Oklahoma geologist hopes he's found second career as an artist

    By Brandy McDonnell,, Staff Writer, | Updated: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    After a series of oil-field injuries cut short his career as a consulting well-site geologist, Oklahoma City resident Joeallen Gibson Jr. has worked for the past four years to build a new career as an artist, albeit one with a particular affinity for dirt, salt and fossils. His first solo art exhibit, “Journey of a Self-Taught Artist,” opens Dec. 5 at the Paseo Art Space.

  • Movie review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1'

    BY BRANDY MCDONNELL | Published: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    Katniss Everdeen goes to war, but the games are still on in the grim yet enthralling third film in the blockbuster franchise. Although “Mockingjay – Part 1” occasionally feels too long on setup and too short on emotional payoff, it delves into intriguing political themes and boasts plenty of battle scenes.

  • Miyazaki means magic as three of the Japanese animation master's films debut on Blu-ray

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    This week, Disney released on Blu-ray English-dubbed versions of three of Miyazaki’s films — 1989’s “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” 1997’s “Princess Mononoke” and his directorial swan song, 2013’s “The Wind Rises” — that provide a fine cross-section of the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s deservedly celebrated filmography.

  • British-born K. Yoland has spent the past two years living in Texas and using art to explore issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Nov 16, 2014

    British-born photographer and video artist K. Yoland, who often explores issue of identity, power and control in her work, has an exhibit called “Border Land Other” on view through Dec. 19 at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.

Brandy McDonnell Today at 9:48 PM Video: New trailer for Ron Howard's "In the Heart of the Sea" LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 9:05 PM Video: Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert perform impromptu concert at her Ladysmith B&B in Tishomingo LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 8:25 PM Video: Garth Brooks sings with Justin Timberlake in Nashville, sells 90,000 tickets to Detroit shows LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 5:57 PM RT @bobfreelander: New titles added to @WarnerArchive Instant! LINK #streamingmovies LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 5:46 PM RT @mirandalambert: "Meet me underneath the Oklahoma sky" #nofilter #gypsyvanner #horsewalk #bondingtime LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 5:45 PM RT @okczoo: She's here! The wait is over. Here's our new little miss. #okczoobabyelephant #okczoo newLINK LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 5:28 PM RT @briOKC: Poor mama. MT The female calf weight 332 pounds.It's a girl! Elephant born at Oklahoma City Zoo LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 5:25 PM RT @JoeWalsh: God Bless Joe Cocker. So special. You don't listen to Joe Cocker records, you sing along with them. Thanks for the great musi…
Brandy McDonnell Today at 4:13 PM RT @CharlieDaniels: Who is that guy in the red suit hugging my wife LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 3:42 PM Monday Catchy Quote No. 345 LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 3:42 PM OKC Gridiron moving roast to June LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 3:12 PM RT @DarnellMayberry: Steven Adams averaging 8.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in 26.2 minutes over his last seven games.
Brandy McDonnell Today at 3:12 PM RT @adamchitwood: I wrote about 2014's best surprises, including Emily Blunt being our next great action star: LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 3:02 PM RT @OklaPOP: Not much time left to see #OklahomaATtheMovies exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. Goes down end of December. LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 2:18 PM RIP Joe Cocker #oneofthegreats LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 1:19 PM RT @sfas: What is that golden yellow orb of happiness in the sky surrounded by blue? Could it be....dare I say it....the sun?? #WeveMissed…
Brandy McDonnell Today at 1:13 PM RT @anthonyVslater: Kevin Durant (ankle) did not practice today. His status for the Portland game is still up in the air.
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:46 AM What to do in Oklahoma on Dec. 22, 2014: Catch the final performance of Oklahoma City Ballet's "The Nutcracker" LINK
Brandy McDonnell Sun, Dec. 21 2014 08:30:04 PM CST RT @ThunderObsessed: Westbrook's a ball hog. has 8 assists. Westbrook needs to step up.. has 29 points. Westbrook gets no respect. 9 FTA W…
Brandy McDonnell Sun, Dec. 21 2014 08:29:49 PM CST RT @anthonyVslater: Anthony Davis combined for 63 points and 22 rebounds in the two Thunder-Pelicans matchups this year. Serge Ibaka combin…