Leon: A triumphant return

In 1972, at the peak of his historic music career, Leon Russell surprised the country by moving back to the stomping grounds of his youth: Tulsa. In an exclusive interview, Russell shares his remembrances of that storied time, which locals hoped would make T-Town a rock ’n’ roll haven.



In summer 1972, Leon Russell returned to Tulsa, where he had lived in his teen years, buying a home in the Maple Ridge neighborhood, operating various recording studios and signing acts to his and Denny Cordell’s Shelter Records. Here, Russell is shown in a Shelter Records publicity photo taken in the early 1970s.

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It was a glorious return of epic proportions: In summer 1972, at the height of a rock career that is the stuff of legend, Leon Russell moved back to Tulsa.

He bought a place at Grand Lake, took up residence in a mansion in Maple Ridge and set up shop for his newly christened Shelter Records in the soon-to-be-famous Church Studio at East Third Street and South Trenton Avenue.

For a certain generation of Tulsans, the expectation was for a New Jerusalem, a rock ’n’ roll heaven on earth.

Tulsa was to be a land flowing with milk and honey for musicians great and small, a populist arts utopia where no genius was left undiscovered by the big, bad record companies on both coasts. And, surprisingly — if only for a few magical years — things seemed to be heading in that direction.

Confirmed guests at one or more of Russell’s digs included Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Elton John and a young upstart named Tom Petty.

Russell and British rock impresario Denny Cordell signed a slate of promising acts to their Shelter Records label. As the albums of Russell’s young protégés began rolling out, his own tours were among the largest-grossing events of the early ’70s.

Seemingly overnight, the entire city was energized by this notion that Tulsa would quickly overtake stuffy old Nashville as the fabled “Middle Coast” of the American music scene.

The extent of Russell’s influence on American and European culture by the early ’70s is difficult to overstate.

At a time when an entire generation was looking to music for political, philosophical and spiritual leaders, Russell was first a faithful lieutenant to many of the most influential figures of the day and then a powerful voice in his own right.

After providing some of the bright musical genius for a golden era that spanned from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Bob Dylan, Russell’s solo career as one of rock’s great troubadours emerged at a time of tumultuous change and earnest hope. With only the slightest hint of a humble sense of irony, he was known as the Master of Space and Time.

Meanwhile, back in Maple Ridge, Russell erected an 8-foot-tall brick wall around the McClintock Mansion on the hill at East 24th Place and Woodward Boulevard — once home to one of Tulsa’s first Jewish synagogues — and made a habit of cruising around town in one of two Rolls-Royce sedans. In a quaint show of civic-mindedness, he paid a $10 fee to join the Maple Ridge Neighborhood Association and even offered up the mansion for a fundraising event to help stop the ill-conceived expressway that would have doomed one of Tulsa’s most cherished residential districts, then Russell’s neighborhood.

Recording studios were added to the basement of the mansion and to the Grand Lake house. There were constant rumors of late-night performances in Tulsa clubs and weeklong recording sessions at Russell’s Grand Lake and Church studios.

With kids in blue jeans and flowered skirts humming the signature line of Russell’s “Home Sweet Oklahoma” — “Well, I’m going back to Tulsa one more time” — the boundaries between myth and reality became blurred and the legend of the “Shelter Era” during Russell’s Second Coming was born.

Says Emily Smith, Russell’s lifelong friend, muse and witness to the musical history being made, “Those were real prophetic years. … It was the best of times … the best we ever had.”

Here, Russell describes aspects of his time in Tulsa, as well as his continuing musical pursuits ...

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January 2017

Enjoy a story as you walk through the Garden! Every step will be a new page in a book and in your exploration of the garden. The Story Trail will take place on both Saturday, January 14th and...

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
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In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
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another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Cost: $18-$103

Where:
BOK Center
200 S Denver Ave
Tulsa
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Where:
The Beehive Lounge
2405 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK
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Cost: $15-$50

Where:
The Venue Shrine
112 E. 18th St.
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 949-1345
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Where:
Soundpony
409 N Main St
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 582-7669
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Where:
Mercury Lounge
1747 S Boston Ave
Tulsa
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Cost: $5

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 921-3535
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Where:
East Village Bohemian Pizzeria
818 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 895-6999
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Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-4208
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Hunt Club
224 N Main St
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 599-9200
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Protecting your children from predators that seek to exploit their vulnerabilities takes action and constant attention. The Demand Project’s Beyond Awareness summit partnering with...

Cost: See website

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 SOUTH LEWIS AVE
TULSA, OK  74171
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Website »

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Kaleidoscope is a view into the work of the students who attend The Tulsa Girls Art School. Students attend the program for ten years, developing their visual art skills to a professional...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
Website »

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2 Complimentary Showings of FREE Movie WAR ROOM for Tulsa Area Students and Leaders to Further the Dream of Good Community

Cost: FREE

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 SOUTH LEWIS AVE
TULSA, OK  74171
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another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Where:
Hodges Bend
823 E 3rd St
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 398-4470
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Where:
Yeti
417 N Main St
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 936-4994
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Where:
The Colony
2809 S Harvard Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Telephone: (918) 794-4208
Website »

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Kaleidoscope is a view into the work of the students who attend The Tulsa Girls Art School. Students attend the program for ten years, developing their visual art skills to a professional...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

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Tulsa Lead Exchange is a business networking group of professionals. We meet each week on Tuesday at noon to exchange business leads and help each other build our business contacts and sales....

Cost: $40.00

Where:
Marley's
6104 E. 71st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Telephone: 918-794-4000
Contact Name: Wes Phillips

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In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
Website »

More information

another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. Oklahoma Center for Humanities Lecture “Beethoven’s World: Society and Culture in a Changing Europe” Panel Discussion featuring Historian...

Cost: Free

Where:
University of Tulsa Tyrell Hall
2930 East 6th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104-9700
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: Chamber Music Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-3802
Contact Name: J.J Cody
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Cost: $10

Where:
Reynolds Center
3208 E 8th St
Tulsa, OK
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Where:
Yeti
417 N Main St
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 936-4994
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Where:
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
5 S Boston Ave
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 928-5299
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Where:
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - Riffs
777 W Cherokee Street
Catoosa, OK  74105
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Where:
Gypsy Coffee House
303 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Tulsa
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Telephone: (918) 295-2181
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Kaleidoscope is a view into the work of the students who attend The Tulsa Girls Art School. Students attend the program for ten years, developing their visual art skills to a professional...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

To celebrate the completion of its inaugural class, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship will be exhibiting, Syncretic, at 108|Contemporary. Comprised of 12 visual artists, this class...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Krystle Brewer

More information

In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
Website »

More information

another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

ALL KIDS 13 & UNDER – IT’S FREE! All children age 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in to all 2016-17 ORU Athletics ticketed sports for free. This is strictly a...

Cost: $22, $17, $12

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »

More information

You've seen it on TV now come play the Loony version at the Loony Bin Comedy Club.  Couples compete for prizes by answering questions about each other.  Our headliner Jersey will help...

Cost: $8

Where:
The Loony Bin Comedy Club
6808 S. Memorial Dr
Tulsa, OK  74133
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Sponsor: Loony Bin Comedy Club
Telephone: 918-392-5653
Contact Name: Bill
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Kaleidoscope is a view into the work of the students who attend The Tulsa Girls Art School. Students attend the program for ten years, developing their visual art skills to a professional...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

To celebrate the completion of its inaugural class, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship will be exhibiting, Syncretic, at 108|Contemporary. Comprised of 12 visual artists, this class...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Krystle Brewer

More information

In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
Website »

More information

another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kaleidoscope is a view into the work of the students who attend The Tulsa Girls Art School. Students attend the program for ten years, developing their visual art skills to a professional...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

To celebrate the completion of its inaugural class, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship will be exhibiting, Syncretic, at 108|Contemporary. Comprised of 12 visual artists, this class...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Krystle Brewer

More information

In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
Website »

More information

another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

BARBER Summer Music, op.31 SPOHR Nonet, op.31 Rossitza Goza, violin Kari Caldwell, cello Marc Facci, double bass Lyndon Meyer, piano In January, bask in the warmth of Samuel Barber's...

Cost: Various Ticket Prices

Where:
FlyLoft
117 North Boston Ave
Suite 201
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa Symphony
Telephone: 918-584-3645
Contact Name: Amy Roark
Website »

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HULLABALOO REVUE - the inimitable MUST SEE event you've heard about RETURNS in 2017 with TWO ASTOUNDING, SPECIAL JANUARY SHOWS. Come and see what all the hullabloo is about! 8 PM on Friday,...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Hullabaloo Theatricals
Telephone: 918-640-7170
Contact Name: Deric Davis
Website »

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Take a tour with a Garden staff member to see what’s providing color, texture and form in the Garden. Cure your cabin fever and recharge with nature for unique views that only winter has to...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 for ages 13+; $4 for ages 3–12; 2 and 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
Website »

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Join DVIS for Rooftop Rendezvous! The event will feature brunch menu items from some of your favorite dining hot spots, along with a mimosa bar provided by Mix Co, Bloody Mary bar provided by Inner...

Cost: 75

Where:
Sky Loft at First Place Tower
15 E. 5th Street
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Benefits Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS)
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Joan Anderson
Website »

More information

To celebrate the completion of its inaugural class, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship will be exhibiting, Syncretic, at 108|Contemporary. Comprised of 12 visual artists, this class...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew Brady St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: 108|Contemporary
Contact Name: Krystle Brewer

More information

In celebration of Tulsa Artist Fellowship’s first full year of existence, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is teaming up with 108 | Contemporary to host the first curated art exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
108|Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship
Website »

More information

In 1917, the Mistletoe Girl Scout Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies  and sold them in the high school cafeteria as a service project. Making the first known sale of cookies by Girl...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Three Rivers Museum
220 Elgin Street
Muskogee, OK
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Get ready for the 100th Anniversary of the VERY first Girl Scout cookie sold! That's right! The first Girl Scout cookie every sold was in Muskogee, OK and we are going to be hosting a big...

Where:
, OK  74136


Sponsor: Benefits Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma
Telephone: 1-800-707-9914
Contact Name: Susan Kenny
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This year is the 27th year for Toyland Ball! We will take a "Journey to Oz - There's No Place Like Home!" Toyland Ball, held every January, is The Parent Child Center’s...

Cost: $300 Individual tickets

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Parent Child Center
Telephone: 918-599-7999
Contact Name: Melody Hughes
Website »

More information

ALL KIDS 13 & UNDER – IT’S FREE! All children age 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in to all 2016-17 ORU Athletics ticketed sports for free. This is strictly a...

Cost: $22, $17, $12

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »

More information

Trivia Night

Cost: $300 for a Table for 10

Where:
Bishop Kelley High School
3905 S. Hudson Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Benefits Bishop Kelley High School
Website »

More information

Toyland Ball, held every January, is The Parent Child Center’s annual signature fundraising event. This black tie gala with a whimsical theme offers an elegant evening of dinner and dancing,...

Cost: $300 Individual tickets

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Parent Child Center
Telephone: 918-599-7999
Contact Name: Melody Hughes
Website »

More information

Toyland Ball, held every January, is The Parent Child CenterÕs annual signature fundraising event. This black tie gala with a whimsical theme offers an elegant evening of dinner and dancing, with...

Cost: $300 per person

Where:
Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Benefits The Parent Child Center
Telephone: 918-699-0501
Contact Name: Melody Hughes
Website »

More information

another art walk, another fantastic Oklahoma artist to celebrate.  this month we'll be featuring David Holland and his exhibit 'CLOUDOLOGY'! Weather affects and surrounds each...

Cost: free

Where:
MAINLINE ART BAR
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: mainline art bar
Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

Make Comedy Great Again! Tulsa’s longest-running improvisational comedy program in the state of Oklahoma, Laughing Matter, will be performing Saturday, January 21 at the PH Community...

Cost: $8.00

Where:
PH Community House
306 South Phoenix
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
Website »

More information

HULLABALOO REVUE - the inimitable MUST SEE event you've heard about RETURNS in 2017 with TWO ASTOUNDING, SPECIAL JANUARY SHOWS. Come and see what all the hullabloo is about! 8 PM on Friday,...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Comedy Parlor
328 E 1st St
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Hullabaloo Theatricals
Telephone: 918-640-7170
Contact Name: Deric Davis
Website »

More information

Tulsa's favorite multiple-distance race is back! Last year, the 5K, 10K, and 50K races all sold out - so you'll want to register early and claim your spot at the starting line. Distance...

Cost: $35 - $70

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 S Jackson Ave
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa | Broken Arrow
Telephone: 918-492-3338
Contact Name: Tim Dreiling
Website »

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