Tooleing Around: Day 37

Found some good obscure museums today .A museum and a half atleast.
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Decided to book a second night in Oklahoma City and see it properly.
Another slow kick off, but I had a list of destinations.
Minutes from the hotel I noticed a line outside The Criterion. I started a chat with Alanna, the sweetest bouncer I have ever met. She explained the people waiting there at 10.30am were ticket holders waiting to get in for tonight’s Artic Monkeys show. The doors opened at 7pm.
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Alanna works the shows at the sturdy stone Criterion regularly, a medium sized event hall. I warned her I’d seen Artic Monkeys in Forest Hills in August and it was a big drinking crowd. She said she had it covered, that the floors are a sea of cans after the C&W shows. She’s psyched because she scored a Metallica ticket for Little Rock and suggested I come back for the Rockahoma music festival, if just for people watching.
As the name suggests, Bricktown is indeed an area of low slung, historic, red brick buildings, all spotless and attractive.
I stopped in AllAbout Coffee and got an inedible, partially frozen muffin. It looked a nicer venue than the disappointing  product it delivered. But they did have Gorillaz on play, Feel Good Inc. – a fave.
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Then on to my true destination, The Banjo Museum of America. It’s got a vibrant, colorful collection and I learned quite a bit about banjos.

Kermit is featured in pose with the banjo he played on his Oscar Nominated song, The Rainbow Collection.

Encased alone in one display, is the only Double Scroll Peghead on public exhibit, made pre Civil War! An original Double Scroll Peghead! Made me want to pluck some strings.
The exhibit includes a broad Jim Henson section. This iteration of the museum opened in 2009, houses 400 banjos, the board having purchased a big inventory from a private German collector back then, for just under $2m.
My favorite banjo piece is Duelling Banjos from Deliverance, which I mentioned to the lovely ladies that performed front desk duties and the historical overviews. I was told they never play that number in the museum. “Suuuuuuuuuuuueeeeeeee”.
Interestingly, I also learned where the term Mummers originated. That’s what we called Trick or Treaters back in Ireland. Though our Mummers were not as creepy and flamboyant as these guys.
It really is an upbeat and fun exhibit.
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Riley & Tanner shared the banjo journey with me. We figure the next Black Mirror episode should be called Banjo Museum. Riley is a nurse and Tanner is in retail. They recommend North West Arkansas and to visit the Jones Assembly in town. They were fellow movie and music fact heads, always good .
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I took a walk to the Jones Assembly and it’s one of the best music venues I’ve seen. When they take out the tables and booths, all designed to break down easily, the place hosts 1,700 and has a great outdoor patio with full stage view. They had Willie Nelson recently and Father John Misty tomorrow.

Alex, one of the bartenders, was also photographing for the menu today, gave me the full rundown. The place opened in the last couple of years and is trying to build a reputation as a concert destination. It’s one of the best looking I’ve seen.

Took a quick impatient walk around the Botanical Gardens, I’ve bigger birds to fry.

BF80229C-AB9D-4E6D-9540-CE2BE9433848Much of the wall space around downtown and Bricktown is decorated with elaborate grafitti art, of a professional standard. No Kiljoy was Here rubbish.

Kolton in Stitch coffee, knew what a euphonium was. The first time in my years in the states I was able to have an informed conversation about Brass Bands. He studied music in college, specializing on trumpet, with saxophone as a second instrument.  He’s been to Ireland once and did get to Galway. We had a great discussion on the role of soloists in a band  and my dislike of jazz. Fun chatting music. The cappuccino at Stitch was excellent as well as the company.
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I walked back to the hotel, got the truck and headed , excitedly to my dream destination.
Unfortunately my dream destination was closed today. Seems The American Pigeon Museum only opens weekends, the staff had flown the coop. My movie references for pigeon people , Terry Malloy – On The Waterfront and there are pigeons in 24 Hour Party People, though they don’t fare well.
Running against the clock, I got to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, a Museum and Art Gallery, with a concentration of Western and Native American Art. This is a real gallery, it dwarves the others I’ve seen on my happy trails.
On entry you are greeted by the immense and moving sculpture, The End of the Trail.
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The Duke still towers over this part of the country.
The institute has a strong John Wayne association, he was on the Museum board, rode lead  on horseback in the opening parade in 1965 and contributed a lot of pieces to the Museum. His granddaughter is now a board member.
With just an hour to take in the whole place, I zipped around , saw the guns, gardens and art .
Out in the gardens, I visited the cemetery for rodeo animals, and laid a rose on the last resting place of Baldy, a Great Cow Pony. I couldn’t leave without paying my respects to Tornado, the half braham, half hereford, bucking legend, the best that ever lived, if you want my opinion.
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Wednesday’s at the Museum are free entry and they also host old Cowboy movie screenings, for the public, in the afternoon .
I’m liking this Oklahoma City. People are so nice and I got the most perfect walk around weather.
I scored a face value ticket for the Artic Monkeys tonight on Stubhub. Sweet! I dropped off an iced coffee to my buddy Alanna as I passed the venue earlier, on the way to my car. I’m such an arse kiss.

Free buffet at the hotel tonight. I had a bratwurst and water. Then, showered, walked to Bricktown and had bar tacos at Fuel in Bricktown, before the concert. Long, long line to get in to The Criterion so got coffee and waited it out.

The Criterion is a great venue and had excellent concert shirts, more importantly. Long sleeved Artic Monkeys in the Blade Runner font – bonus! I’m so easily pleased.
The hall reminds me of a bigger version of Brooklyn Steel. Artic Monkeys were very good again.
People are much more civilized at concerts here. Even the venue bar staff were nice and polite.
The Tab:
Hotel: $159
Dinner: $18
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