Retro Rockets Roll

There’s a new band in Tulsa whose roots stretch back to a famous local theatrical production. You can read my OKLAHOMA Magazine column about the Retro Rockets — whose schtick is doing a nostalgia show about a nostalgia show — here.

Denise Hoey, left, Gayle Wolfe and Anna Neal are some of the vocalists for Retro Rockets.
Photo by Anasandra Azlin

Mining for Solid Gold

Noted jazzman and educator Tommy Poole has put a Grammy-winning trombonist together with several of his most talented OSU students to create a brand-new CD. You can read all about it here.

The Sideman

Oklahoma musician Jay Lankford has played and toured with, among other recording acts, the late country star Johnny Duncan. He’s called upon those experiences with a years-in-the-making novel he’s just published. Jay is the subject of my latest OKLAHOMA Magazine column, and you can read it HERE.

A Jim-Dandy Comic Con

Pryor, Oklahoma may seem an odd location for a comic-book convention that drew hundreds of people last year, but a closer look reveals that it’s actually just right. Read all about how a couple of cousins, both named Jim Tramel, figure into the proceedings in my newest OKLAHOMA Magazine column, found here.

TRUCKING IN MEMORABILIA

The legendary country-music impresario Jim Halsey — with whom I have had the pleasure of co-authoring a couple of books — reflects on the holidays, some of his famous clients, and his one-of-a-kind collection of show-biz memorabilia in my OKLAHOMA Magazine column this month. You can read it here.

Pain is Part of the Process

Barron Ryan of Tulsa is a breathtakingly good piano player who just about ended his career trying to reproduce Art Tatum’s knuckle-busting 1933 version of “Tiger Rag.” You can read all about that, as well as learn his unorthodox approach to jazz music, in my OKLAHOMA Magazine column for November, available HERE.

 

THE ART OF THE PULPS

I’m very glad to be a part of what is, at this writing, Amazon’s No. 1 bestseller in the Antique & Collectible Magazines and Newspapers category: IDW’s THE ART OF THE PULPS: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY. Edited by my pals Doug Ellis and Ed Hulse, along with the late Robert Weinberg — all top-tier names in the pulp-magazine world — it’s getting some really enthusiastic reviews. I was happy and honored to be able to write the section on detective pulps, as well as to appear alongside such pulp-scholar notables as Michelle Nolan, Laurie Powers, Will Murray, David Saunders, Mike Ashley, Tom Roberts, and Doug, Ed, and Bob themselves. It would be a terrific book without my contributions, but I’m sure delighted I got to be in there.
If you’re at all interested in pulp literature, check out THE ART OF THE PULPS on amazon.com. And while you’re there, take a look at HARD-BOILED CHRISTMAS STORIES, the perfect seasonal reading, featuring classic stories of Yuletide homicide plus a new Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective story by yours truly.

BILL BOYCE: MONEY ACTOR

Back in 2007, my friend Leo Evans (HELL HIGH, CAFE PURGATORY) and I, along with a cast and crew that included my videographer son Jonathan and future FORGOTTEN HORRORS PODCAST producer Joey Hambrick, shot a documentary on the life of our friend, Bill Boyce — who, as the doc’s tagline notes, romanced Marilyn, played touch football with Elvis, shared cups of coffee with Clint, and starred in a science-fiction cult classic.
It may be a bit of a stretch to call 1963’s THE SLIME PEOPLE “a science-fiction cult classic,” but Bill sure enough starred in it, and he’s got plenty to say about making that 1963 picture in the documentary, which we dubbed BILL BOYCE: MONEY ACTOR.
Although it played to an enthusiastic preview audience in Tulsa, BILL BOYCE: MONEY ACTOR never landed an official release. Now, however, thanks to the work of Joey Hambrick, it is available to stream through Amazon Video.  
In BILL BOYCE: MONEY ACTOR, you’ll see Bill, an accomplished ballroom dancer, trip the light fantastic to one of his own unique compositions. (He recorded two CDs of original material that our friend, colleague, and originator of the FORGOTTEN HORRORS series of movie books called “absolutely sui generis.” ) You’ll also watch him school guys less than a third of his age on how to stage real-looking fights for the movies. And you’ll hear his tales of 1950s and ‘60s Hollywood and see him in character for one of his last performances, as doomed Oklahoma lawman J.B. Hamby on TV’s UNSOLVED MYSTERIES. 
There’s plenty more in BILL BOYCE: MONEY ACTOR, and the price is right. Check it out HERE

Out of a Mercedes Trunk and Deep Freeze

The story of how filmmaker Jeffery Haas brought the new Leon Russell DVD to life is as remarkable as the footage itself, which captures Leon at the height of his musical powers even as it shows the influence of TV and radio preachers on his stage patter. I’ve written about it in my latest OKLAHOMA Magazine column; you can read it here.

LIFE AFTER GIRL BANDS

Most of us know Bartlesville’s Becky Hobbs as a country-music recording artist, songwriter, and playwright. In my OKLAHOMA Magazine column this month, Becky tells us about a not-as-well-known facet of her early show-biz, career, when she organized the first all-girl rock ’n’ roll group in Oklahoma — which later figured into her friendship with one of Hollywood’s most notorious pop-music figures.
Read all about it here.