The spice of life

Tulsa has become a smorgasboard of cultures and ethnicities. Here, we offer a guide to the myriad ways to eat, meet and enjoy.



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How much of a worldview can you actually get living in Tulsa? For those willing to venture beyond their neighborhood boundaries, to open their pantries to new foods, to expose their taste buds to new sensations and to take part in activities outside the usual, Tulsa has plenty to offer. You just have to know where to look. And the more you explore, the more you’ll learn that people of different backgrounds are eager to share information about their cultures and to invite others to experience their customs.

*Also read extended profiles on some of the friendly faces behind these cultural places: Rî Lé; Alma Martinez; Margaret Rzepczynski; Guldeep Singh; and Taylor and Vincent LaTouche.

ASIAN

Many members of Tulsa’s Asian community have roots beyond the borders of China and Japan. One of the oldest local groups of Asian descent in Tulsa is Vietnamese, having come here following the Vietnam War, while some of the newest refugees fled Burma/Myanmar and Malaysia to escape religious persecution. Tulsa is host to a growing Hmong population, too, arriving from the mountainous regions of Laos.

Restaurants

Tulsa’s Asian restaurants go beyond the typical Chinese buffets and Japanese knife-wielding chefs at your table.
At Korean Garden (12773 E. 41st St.), diners choose yook-gae-jang (soup with spicy beef strips), L.A. kalbi (prime short ribs) and ohsam bul-go-gi (spicy marinated calamari and pork).

If you can find Ichiban Teryaki Japanese at 7982 E. 41st St. (there’s no sign, windows are papered over and the hours and days they’re open vary), you’ll enjoy the beef and chicken combo, miso soup and sashimi.

Routinely voted Tulsa’s best Thai restaurant, Lanna Thai (7227 S. Memorial Drive) offers such faves as tom kha gai (tart and spicy chicken soup) and Yum Yum salad. Binh-Le Vietnamese (5903 E. 31st St.) is known for its bun cha gio, but spring rolls and peanut sauce are also favorites.

Asahi (7831 E. 71st St.) claims to have the “Best Sushi with the Lowest Price,” but it takes a group of four to tackle the Titanic Special, which includes lots of sushi rolls, soup, edamame and tako salad (that’s no misspelling — here, “tako” means “octopus”).

Shopping

You’re sure to see people of Asian ethnicities and other cultures grocery shopping at Nam Hai Oriental Food Market (1924 S. Garnett Road).

Ducks hang on hooks near the entry, right by the mooncakes — pastries made for the moon holiday. But the big draws are the well-stocked produce department and fish market. Expect to find whole rabbitfish, mackerel, milkfish, bonito, smelts, belt fish and grouper. The lobster, tilapia and catfish are so fresh, they’re swimming in the tanks.

Rice and noodles fill one whole aisle, and there are plenty of Asian spices. This “super” market is also part department store, with jewelry, bamboo stalks, chopsticks, clothing, party decorations, kimonos, steamers and incense.

Top sellers at the Asian Mart (12919 E. 31st St.) are (No. 1) rice, either sweet, jasmine or brown; (No. 2) produce, including watercress, baby dill, ngo gai (cilantro), lemongrass, banana leaves, fresh mint, yellow ginger, bok choy, dragon fruit and aloe leaves; and (No. 3) shrimp. Plenty of choices at the fish case, too: pompano, Argentine squid, milkfish and tuna. Great supply of woks, industrial-size steamers and rice cookers, too.

The Korean Oriental Food and Gift Market (12771 E. 41st St.) stocks a selection of rice and noodles, plus red ginseng energy drinks (the Korean equivalent of Red Bull). Among the Korean ice creams are muskmelon frozen pops, which taste like fresh honeydew on a stick.

Cultural

For a novel Asian culinary experience, plan on dim sum at Keo (3524 S. Peoria Ave.) for Sunday brunch. You’ll like the small, individual portions of food, served in steamer baskets or on small plates.

Fuji Japanese Cuisine and Sushi Bar offers sushi classes at its 8226 E. 71st St. location. You can create rice, maki (rolled) sushi, nigiri (fish on rice) sushi and sashimi (fish by itself) sushi. Also at Fuji: sake and wine tastings. One price includes a special five-course meal, two wine parings and two sake parings.

Dillon International, based in Tulsa, is one of the most respected international adoption agencies in the country. The agency was founded to meet the needs of homeless Korean orphans, and helped establish a model foster care program in Korea. The organization also includes adoption programs in China, Korea, Haiti, India, Hong Kong, Nepal, Ethiopia, Honduras and Russia.

Beginning Chinese language courses are offered at Tulsa Community College (918-595-7068), as employers are recognizing the need for employees with Chinese language and cultural skills.


HISPANIC

Tulsa’s Hispanic immigrants came in two waves, both for economic reasons. The first group came after the Mexican Revolution in 1910 to work in the mines and on the railroads. They settled in West Tulsa in an area, bounded by two railroads, called “The Y.”

The second wave of Mexican immigration came in the 1980s, following the NAFTA free-trade agreement.

The last census puts Tulsa’s Hispanic population at approximately 28,000, 75 percent of which is Mexican, the rest split among Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American and South American residents.

Shopping

There are no official borders for “Little Mexico,” but most agree that it’s located around East 21st Street and South Garnett Road. The sign at Supermercado Morelos (2119 S. Garnett Road) says it all — “Grocery, Meat Market, Bakery, Tacos” — and the loud Latin music piped into the parking lot provides the soundtrack. Inside, the store sells a huge amount of carnitas (fried pork). Meat selections include goat, beef, pork, lamb and rabbit. Conchas, bolillos and Guatemalan breads are a few of the homemade bakery items. And the chicharron (fried pork skin) is beyond big, much closer to huge.

Across Garnett at 21st is the hub of Hispanic commerce in Tulsa: Plaza Santa Cecilia, part mall/part community center. There, Carapan (2160 S. Garnett Road) sells ceremonial clothing — togs for christenings, first communions and Quinceañeras. Restaurants include Las Tortas (2160 S. Garnett Road) and Michoacano’s (2160 S. Garnett Road). Other shops feature toys, gift baskets, clothing, athletic footwear, boots and hats. There’s even a shoe-shine stall. At that same intersection, you can find a butcher, herb store and tortilleria with fresh, hot tortillas coming off the machine, as well as a billiard hall, where “carambola” (pool) is played.

Food

Tulsa has a ton of Mexican restaurants, from franchises to free-standing, one-of-a-kind eateries.

At El Rio Verde (38 N. Trenton Ave.), forget Tex-Mex; this is true Mexican fare. The top choice is the wet burrito, soaked with salsa, covered with cheese and topped with sour cream and guacamole.

The new La Flama Mexican Grill (6746 S. Memorial Drive, Suite 2) serves classic, upscale Mexican dishes, including authentic tacos from scratch, and it’s the only place in town to feature grilled cactus.

The Cancun (705 S. Lewis Ave.) burrito is legendary, but you have to get there early to claim one of the few tables.
For a variety of South American dishes, Mi Tierra (6703 E. 81st St.) offers pabellon and empanadas, representing Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil.

Events/cultural

The Hispanic community has access to a weekly Spanish-language newspaper, Hispano de Tulsa, plus two radio stations (Que Buena KXTD, 1530 AM, and La Preciosa, 101.5 FM) and a Hispanic television station, KXAP, also known as TeleTul.

Tulsa Community College operates the TCC Education Outreach Center (2201 S. Garnett Road), offering English as a Second Language classes, as well as Spanish language, computer and general education classes.

Further down the road, the Martin Regional Library (2601 S. Garnett Road) houses the Hispanic Resource Center, which offers bilingual and Spanish story times and Spanish-language books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and newspapers. Computers have Spanish-language software and keyboards. The center is a key resource for recent immigrants and an inviting destination for Tulsans to learn more about the Hispanic community.

For something with a beat, Flamenco TULSA (info@reflejosflamencos.com) offers dance lessons, guitar lessons, percussion lessons and dance performances. Almost weekly, a Latin dance party is going on somewhere in Tulsa. Monthly, the Latin Cine Club meets at Circle Cinema (10 S. Lewis Ave.) for popcorn and a Spanish-language film.

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January 2019

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
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Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

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Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

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Hike the Garden’s 1.5 mile nature trail by the full moon to discover the night sights and sounds of the forest and prairie. Drinks and kits for making s’mores over fire pits will be...

Cost: $10 per person for members; $15 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: Lori Hutson

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Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

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So You Want to Make a Movie? Learn how to take your movie idea from conception to reality through hands-on guidance. The goal is to create a short digital video to be submitted to a local film...

Cost: $375

Where:
Ahha Tulsa
101 E. Archer St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

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Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

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FREE Speaking Event “Astronomy, God, and the Search for Elegance” Scientific theories must do more than merely satisfy the data; they must do so in a way that is (to use a term...

Cost: FREE

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Shawn Bender
Website »

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Theme Imitation Imitation is a form of flattery. Learn how writers mimic themes, voice and tone – with one-on-one mentoring - to create your own unique piece of poetry. Instructor: Clemonce...

Cost: $300

Where:
Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
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Sponsor: Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa
Website »

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Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
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Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Animal People: Lecture with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24, 9:30 - 10:45 am What does it mean to be an 'Animal person'? For that matter, what does it mean to be a person? Drawing upon his...

Cost: Free and 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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HumanNature: Photography Workshop with Dan Musgrave Thursday, January 24,  2 - 3:30 pm Think of the average American home: climate controlled, pest free, and human centric. Yet, as Jeff Goldblum...

Cost: Free and 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 »

More information

Ron Campbell, director of the 1960’s Saturday Morning Beatles Cartoon series and one of the animators of the Beatles film Yellow Submarine will make a rare personal appearance at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grant's Frames
8007-A S. Sheridan Rd
Square One Shopping Center
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Sponsor: Rock Art Show
Telephone: 610-389-1807
Contact Name: Scott Segelbaum
Website »

More information

Body/Mind Techniques for Managing Stress.   Trauma, fear, panic attacks, PTSD, diabetes, chronic pain, anxiety and phobias all have components related to emotional or physical...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Hardesty Regional Library
8316 E. 93rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

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Solo performance. Tulsa songwriter, vocalist, and guitar player originally from the OKC area. Drawing from co-songwriters and countless influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Willow's Family Ales
418 S. Peoria
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »

More information

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Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog 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: Lori Hutson

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Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

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Friday, January 25, 1 - 2 pm Chimpanzees in the Congo Basin exhibit some of the most complex tool behaviors documented outside of humans.  This talk will share recent discoveries on how young...

Cost: Free and open to the public

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

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Stand-up comedian Brian Regan brings his tour to our city! Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and...

Cost: $60.00

Where:
Brady Theater
105 West Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: SoundChronicle
Telephone: 802-255-1826
Contact Name: Emily Carter
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Beginning with an introduction into the origin and characteristics of coffee and ending in the myriad of ways we imbibe our black gold, this course is an aerial view of coffee’s journey from...

Cost: $50

Where:
Topeca Coffee
1229 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: OSU-Tulsa
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The annual Tulsa Eagle Day has been renamed to “Eagle Watch and Raptor Rally.” It will be on Jan. 26, 2019 from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Jenks High School, Building 6. There will be presentations...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jenks High School, Building 6
205 E. B St.
Jenks, OK
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Sponsor: Tulsa Audubon Society
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The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
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Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
Website »

More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Golf Oklahoma is bringing back the Oklahoma Golf Expo for 2019. And we’re tremendously excited to have a busy south Tulsa location as our new venue. The Tulsa Golf Expo will be Jan. 25-26...

Cost: TBA

Where:
Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills
1902 E 71st St
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Golf Oklahoma
Telephone: 918-280-0787
Contact Name: Chris Swafford
Website »

More information

Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

Come and Support ORU Women's Basketball as they jump into another exciting season. Join in on the fun and purchase your tickets today! All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will...

Cost: $7.00

Where:
MABEE CENTER
7777 S LEWIS AVE
TULSA, OK  74171
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Website »

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Evergreens are often overlooked and under-appreciated in the landscape, yet in the winter months they provide color, form and texture that their deciduous counterparts can’t provide. Take a...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 & under are free.

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

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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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We are thrilled to announce The Pencil Box's brand new event, Rock Paper Scissors, to be held at the historic Cain's Ballroom on Saturday, January 26, 2019, and we need you there! This event will...

Cost: $150.00

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 North Main Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918-442-2222
Contact Name: Nancy Bolzle
Website »

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Come see ORU Mens Basketball vs North Dakota State!

Cost: $10-$20

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 South Lewis Ave
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: https://mabeecenter.com/event/californiabaptist1819m/
Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center
Website »

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Living Arts of Tulsa is celebrating its 50th anniversary during its signature gala, Champagne & Chocolate. The event features a fashion show and auction and features the work of artist...

Cost: $100

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 E. MB Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Living Arts of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-585-1234
Contact Name: Jessica Borusky
Website »

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TULtalk


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Can soothing sounds help the healing process?

Amy Hamilton, a certified sound healing practitioner, offers a monthly SoundScapes class at Zen Body in Tulsa.

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