Part IV - Ticket to success?

How other cities have used new arenas to spur downtown development.



Tulsa isn’t the only city to invest in a new arena in hopes of revitalizing its downtown. Several other communities have done the same thing, with various degrees of success.

Oklahoma City built the 19,700-seat Ford Center in 2002 at a cost of $89 million as part of the larger Metropolitan Area Projects plan, a series of nine capital improvement projects funded by a temporary sales tax increase that eventually raised more than $309 million.

The opening of the Ford Center enabled Oklahoma City to attract the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets when Hurricane Katrina devastated the team’s home, the New Orleans Arena, shortly before the start of the 2005-06 season. The Hornets relocated to Oklahoma City for two seasons from 2005-2007.

That temporary arrangement proved so successful in terms of attendance and corporate support that Oklahoma City’s stock as a permanent NBA city skyrocketed.

When a group of Oklahoma City businessmen bought the struggling Seattle SuperSonics, it didn’t take long for the franchise to find its way from Puget Sound to the southern Great Plains — where it was renamed the Thunder shortly before beginning play at the Ford Center last fall.

That move was largely sealed when local voters approved a one-cent, 15-month sales tax in March 2008 to fund several upgrades to the building.

But that fast track to landing a major-league sports franchise has not been duplicated elsewhere.

Kansas City built the $276 million, 18,500-seat Sprint Center in 2007 partly in hopes of luring the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins. That effort apparently ended the same year when The Sports & Exhibition Authority for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County reached an agreement with the club to build a new $290 million arena.

On the plus side, the Sprint Center attracted 140 events and more than 1.3 million guests in its first year of operation, while Pollstar magazine, a concert trade publication, ranked the arena as No. 30 on its list of top concert venues worldwide. That included a U.S. ranking of No. 18. And according to city officials, Kansas City led the nation with more than $3 billion in downtown construction in 2007.

A few hundred miles down the Arkansas River from Tulsa sits the Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., an 18,000-seat, $83 million arena that opened in 1999 as part of a larger effort to refurbish that city’s waterfront.

The arena’s presence has allowed the city to attract many of the same music artists — Billy Joel, Elton John, the Eagles and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few — who have appeared or will appear in Tulsa. Paired with the new Clinton Presidential Library in nearby Little Rock, as well as a refurbished Old State Territorial Capitol Building, tourism in the area has been revitalized, city officials say.

In Wichita, Kan., a new arena is about nine months from opening, according to Bill Wilson, retail and real estate reporter with the Wichita Eagle. It’s part of a plan to connect an already renovated Old Town, the arena and the river to create an entertainment area.

Additionally, two developers from Minnesota are buying vacant office space and building upscale condos and apartments. Revitalization efforts had been stymied “because we were leaderless for quite a while,” Wilson says, referring to Wichita’s loss of its city manager and downtown development director.

“There was nowhere for developers to go,” he adds.

With the hiring of new individuals in those key positions, things began moving.

However, not much is happening in terms of arena-related development, he says.

“The economy is a negative,” he says. “ … Everybody’s on the sidelines.”

Farther north, the Grand Rapids, Mich., metro is somewhat smaller than Tulsa, about 200,000 people. The city has become a regionally competitive center with a lively downtown.

The Van Andel Arena, built in 1996, “created a monster domino effect, transforming the downtown into an entertainment district that has expanded its boundaries in every direction,” says Carole Valade, editor of Grand Rapids magazine, by e-mail.

“‘The Van’ is a multi-state draw to the city and is ranked by Billboard Magazine Venues Today as the fourth-highest-grossing mid-sized arena in the country,” she notes.

A recent survey taken by the city to assess the urban housing market — done in part to avoid overbuilding — actually showed that the city should prepare for 3,100 new households in downtown alone, up from a 2004 estimate of 2,500, Valade says. By comparison, a decade after the arena opened, there were 1,624 condo units downtown.

“Last year, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority expanded its tax base boundaries to two additional ‘neighborhoods’ south of the arena where a great deal of development continues, including an ‘Avenue of the Arts’ that includes galleries, college student lofts, apartments and condos,” Valade says.

A similar expansion five years ago has brought in bookstores, coffee shops, health food and grocery stores, fine dining and galleries.

Valade adds that development has been a two-decade effort in which city leaders created public/private partnerships to fund the stimulus for change and “paid it forward.” One was Jay Van Andel, co-founder of Amway Corp., whose “most remarkable contributions in my mind were both preservation and future-oriented,” she says.


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September 2019

ATTENTION ELEPHANT LOVERS! Have you ever wanted to spend the day with an elephant? Now you can! Due to a great deal of public interest, the Oklahoma Awesome Adventures is partnering with the...

Cost: $400

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Oklahoma Awesome Adventures
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Awesome Adventures
Telephone: 580-743-5849
Contact Name: Emily
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Cost: $30-40

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Uptown 23rd District
Uptown 23rd District
Oklahoma city, OK  73103
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Telephone: 405-200-5848
Contact Name: Riley Cole
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Cost: Free and open to the community

Where:
Woodland Hills Mall
7021 S Memorial Dr.
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Telephone: 713-224-9115
Contact Name: Woodland Hills Mall

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The Home Remodeling Showcase is the premier showcase of newly remodeled homes in Tulsa and the surrounding areas.  Presented by the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association of Greater...

Cost: 10

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Spread throughout Metro Tulsa
, OK


Sponsor: Pella Windows of Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-663-5820
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

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Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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Experience the sites, sounds and smells of Greece!  The best lil stop in OPA!homa - just off route 66. Live music, dancing, kids zone, Greek food and drink, delectable baked goods, Greek...

Cost: Adults $5/Kids Free

Where:
13th & Guthrie Ave
1222 S. Guthrie Ave

Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: Tulsa Greek Festival
Telephone: 918-583-2082
Contact Name: Tonya Boone
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The Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa invites the public to come celebrate its annual Buddy Walk on Sunday September 22nd, 2019. The Buddy Walk Event will be 1:30-4:00 PM at Holland Hall...

Cost: Free

Where:
Holland Hall School
5666 E. 81st St.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-804-3728
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Get moved with Tulsa Ballet! Experience incredible works from the most in-demand choreographers in the world at Creations in Studio K. Tickets start at $25. Read all about the exciting pieces...

Cost: $25 - above

Where:
Tulsa Ballet - Studio K
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Contact Name: Dan Meagher
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In our 4-week Beginning Fencing class, you'll learn about the history of Olympic fencing, the three fencing weapons – foil, saber and epee – and the general rules for each of the specific...

Cost: $75

Where:
Southminster Presbyterian Church Community Center
3500 S Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74106
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Sponsor: Tulsa Fencing Club
Telephone: 918-928-2663
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Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong
Website »

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In our 4-week Beginning Fencing class, you'll learn about the history of Olympic fencing, the three fencing weapons – foil, saber and epee – and the general rules for each of the specific...

Cost: $75

Where:
Southminster Presbyterian Church Community Center
3500 S Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Fencing Club
Telephone: 918-928-2663
Website »

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Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
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NSUBA RiverHawk Run 5K Tuesday, Sept. 24 – 6 p.m. $25 early signup, $35 after Aug 16, kids 12 & under free. 3100 E. New Orleans St., Broken Arrow, OK 74014 Invite your...

Cost: $25/$35 after Aug. 16

Where:
NSUBA Campus
3100 E New Orleans Ave
Broken Arrow, OK  74014
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Website »

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In our 4-week Beginning Fencing class, you'll learn about the history of Olympic fencing, the three fencing weapons – foil, saber and epee – and the general rules for each of the specific...

Cost: $75

Where:
Southminster Presbyterian Church Community Center
3500 S Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Fencing Club
Telephone: 918-928-2663
Website »

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Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
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DivorceCare is a faith based, 13-week support program to help you through the after-effects of divorce. The DVD teaching includes topics such as understanding the hurt, dealing with anger,...

Cost: $15

Where:
Asbury United Methodist Church
6767 S Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury LifeCare Ministry
Telephone: 918-392-1146
Contact Name: Ruth Winn
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Whether you are remarried or planning to remarry, discover the key steps to building a healthy stepfamily with expert Ron Deal, using his Smart Stepfamily book and participant guide. Through eight...

Cost: 0

Where:
Asbury United Methodist Church
6767 S Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury United Methodist Church
Telephone: 918-392-1146
Contact Name: Ruth Winn
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Why walk through grief alone when you can participate in GriefShare’s highly acclaimed 13-week video-based support group with others experiencing the same? This group offers a comfortable...

Cost: $15

Where:
Asbury United Methodist Church
6767 S Mingo Rd
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Asbury LifeCare Ministry
Telephone: 918-392-1146
Contact Name: Ruth Winn
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ONEOK Field
201 N Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: Free

Where:
Mother Road Market
1124 S. Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
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The Champions of Health Gala celebrates people and organizations that are making a positive impact on the health of our state through innovative programs. The proceeds from the evening benefit The...

Cost: $100/ticket

Where:
Cox Business Center
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: The Oklahoma Caring Foundation
Telephone: 918-551-2164
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux
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Organizations making a positive impact on the health of Oklahomans will be honored at the 2019 Champions of Health Gala at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Cox Business Center in Tulsa. To make a...

Cost: 100

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
Contact Name: Ellen Devereux

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Pop-acoustic worship group I AM THEY is announcing plans to headline The Trial & Triumph Tour this fall during the month of September with special guests Dan Bremnes and Elle Limebear....

Cost: (prices vary)

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center Marketing
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Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is Coming to Tulsa, OK, September 26 - 29 Bringing the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before TULSA, OK — Create unforgettable...

Cost: $15, $20, $30, $35, $40, $45

Where:
Expo Square Pavilion
4145 East 21st
Tulsa State Fair
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Feld Entertainment
Telephone: 918-798-3655
Contact Name: Kasey Littlefield

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Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

Get your wheels in motion and join us for our 6th Annual CF Cycle for Life NIGHT RIDE! Participants will start the evening at our Get Lit tent, getting their glow on, and gearing up to ride along...

Cost: $150 Fundraising Minimum

Where:
River Spirit Casino
, OK


Sponsor: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Telephone: 918-744-6354
Contact Name: April Mitchell

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Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
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Telephone: 918-813-6514
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The Tasting at Woodward Park is an elegant fundraising gala that matches upscale wines with delectable hors d’oeuvres to provide a stimulating culinary experience, all while enjoying leisurely...

Cost: $150 for members, $175 for non-members

Where:
Woodwark Park
2435 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Tulsa Garden Center
Telephone: 918-576-5155
Contact Name: Laura Chalus
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Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is Coming to Tulsa, OK, September 26 - 29 Bringing the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before TULSA, OK — Create unforgettable...

Cost: $15, $20, $30, $35, $40, $45

Where:
Expo Square Pavilion
4145 East 21st
Tulsa State Fair
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Feld Entertainment
Telephone: 918-798-3655
Contact Name: Kasey Littlefield

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A half-marathon, 5k, and one-mile fun run along Tulsa's scenic River Trails to raise funds and awareness to both celebrate cancer  survivors and help eradicate breast cancer.

Cost: Half: $70; 5k: $35

Where:
River Spirit Casino Resort
8330 Riverside Parkway
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: River Spirit Casino Resort
Telephone: 918-914-9039
Contact Name: Pamela Ballard
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A half-marathon, 5k, and one-mile fun run along Tulsa's scenic River Trails to raise funds and awareness to both celebrate cancer  survivors and help eradicate breast cancer.

Cost: Half: $70; 5k: $35

Where:
River Spirit Casino Resort
8330 Riverside Parkway
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Sponsor: River Spirit Casino Resort
Telephone: 918-914-9039
Contact Name: Pamela Ballard
Website »

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It's a 5k run or 1 mile walk with a twist. See all the historic churches in downtown Tulsa while participating in the Rosary! Children can listen to the Fatima story as parents participate in...

Cost: 30

Where:
Holy Family Cathedral
122 W 8th St
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: St. Michael Catholic Radio
Telephone: 918-260-3617
Contact Name: Tricia Schittler
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We’re excited to announce that New York Times best-selling author Amy Stewart will be our guest speaker for our fourth annual literary brunch on Saturday, September 28, starting at...

Cost: Cost is $65 for Garden members; $75 for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Website »

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Living Arts of Tulsa will present a multi-media exhibit of Jave Yoshimoto’s work. Intractable Chasm examines the refugee crisis in Greece, experienced firsthand by Yoshimoto when he...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

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The Drunken Botanist at OK Distilling Company. Amy Stewart’s New York Times best-seller, The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World's Great Drinks, is a favorite of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Oklahoma Distilling Company
1724 E 7th St.
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Website »

More information

Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

As the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally,   Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the romantic era’s finest composers. Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony...

Cost: $20-$42

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party is Coming to Tulsa, OK, September 26 - 29 Bringing the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before TULSA, OK — Create unforgettable...

Cost: $15, $20, $30, $35, $40, $45

Where:
Expo Square Pavilion
4145 East 21st
Tulsa State Fair
Tulsa, OK  74137
View map »


Sponsor: Feld Entertainment
Telephone: 918-798-3655
Contact Name: Kasey Littlefield

More information

Back by popular demand, we've found some more wild and crazy stories told by the funniest people in Tulsa! Blue Whale Comedy Fest and Story Club of Tulsa present "Offbeat: Crazy and...

Cost: 12.50

Where:
Duet Jazz Club
108 N. DETROIT AVENUE
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Story Club of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-596-2008
Contact Name: Ryan Howell
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