Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art

In episode 248, we look at a new exhibition at Oklahoma Contemporary in downtown Oklahoma City showcasing video games as an art form runs through February 21st. The program includes many playable games and a look at their influence on contemporary art. Several events are planned over the next few months including GameFest OKC on November 13th, Video Game Trivia with the Lost Ogle on December 16th and Love is a Game featuring the Oklahoma Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra on February 13th. The exhibit is free to the public with donations welcomed at Oklahoma Contemporary's new location in Automobile Alley, 11 NW 11th Street. Open Wednesdays through Sundays 11AM to 6PM with special programming and evening hours on Thursdays. You can find out more on the Oklahoma Contemporary website as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Extra Life 24-Hour Gaming Event

An Oklahoma City favorite event is returning to in-person after COVID forced it online last year. The Extra Life 24-Hour gaming event at Game HQ on South Western begins Friday evening, November 5th and runs through Saturday the 6th. The celebration of gaming includes table top board games, role-playing games including Dungeons & Dragons, Starfinder and Pathfinder as well as other table top events like Battletech and Warhammer 40K. There will also be food from Dickey's, Charleston's, Dominoes and others. And, as always raffles at four different times throughout the event. This all goes to raise money for Extra Life and the Oklahoma Children's Hospital Foundation. Find out more on the event Facebook page and website.

Oklahoma City Collectors Convention

In episode 246, we are talking to Geoff Cupit with Great Plains Collectors Convention about the first ever Oklahoma City Collectors Convention at the Hobbies, Arts and Crafts Building on the State Fairgrounds. The event includes 40 vendors from several states taking up 120 tables, special guests from movies, comic books and anime as well as cosplay contest with a $250 grand prize. Tickets are just $10 for the convention running Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-4. You can find out more on the Oklahoma City Collectors Convention event Facebook page.

The Red Dirt DnD Halloween Special

It's episode 245 of the Okie Geek Podcast, and we are talking with Kyri Hester about this weekend's Halloween Special from Red Dirt DnD. Kyri is our dungeon master as in the past holiday specials, but this time we are helping out Extra Life for Kids is raising money for the Children's Hospital Foundation. The game begins at noon on Saturday on the Red Dirt DnD Twitch channel.

Theatre Crude Fringe Festival

It's episode 244 of the Okie Geek Podcast brought to you by Okie Comics, and this week we are talking about the Third Annual Theatre Crude Fringe Festival starting this Friday October First and running through October 10th at Factory Obscura in Oklahoma City. The event includes 55 different performances from several multidisciplinary artist groups from around the state, the country and the world. Joining us are organizers Jenny and Adam Brand along with artists Holly McNatt who created "The Kissing Booth" and Saige Cross who is presenting "Zona". The event includes different pricing levels to choose from on its website at TheatreCrude.org. You can also find out more information on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Uncanny Comic Expo

The Uncanny Comic Expo is coming to the Grand Casino and Hotel in Shawnee on August 28th. The celebration of pop culture includes more than 100 vendors along with cosplay, dungeons & dragons games and special guests. Tickets for the event are only $15 for participants 13 and up, with kids 12 and under getting in for free. Find out more information on the Uncanny Comic Expo website as well as Facebook and Instagram

New Star Comics

It's episode 242, of the Okie Geek Podcast and this week we are talking about a new comic book publishing house getting created right here in Oklahoma. Our friends from Okie Comics are spinning off "New Star Comics" with a Kickstarter planning to launch this Saturday. Our guests are Tanner Fuerborn, Jeff Provine and Tyler Tarleton. You can find out more about New Star Comics on Facebook.

New World Comic Con 6

It's Episode 241 of the Okie Geek Podcast and we are talking with our good friend Buck Berlin, owner of New World Comics about New World Comic Con 6 coming up July 24th from 9AM to 7PM in the Expo Hall on the OKC State Fairgrounds. Tickets are just $7 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and free for five years of age and younger. The event includes all local vendors and a wonderful celebration of comics and pop culture. You can find out more on the New World Comic Con website as well as Facebook and Instagram.

Ayakashi Con

It's Episode 20 and we are talking with Tanya Cox the organizer behind the all new Ayakashi Con in Blackwell to go along with ParaCon also up at the Blackwell Event Center. Just $40 gets you into both conventions running Saturday and Sunday, June 26th and 27th. You can find out more information on the website for Oklahoma Paranormal Association as well as Facebook

We Promised Utopia Preorders

This week on the Okie Geek Podcast we talk with our friends at Literati Press about preorders for "We Promised Utopia", the third instalment from the Oklahoma City comic book publishers. The comic expected to run for 12 issues has already been getting major attention from comic book shops, readers and distributors. Joining us are Project Lead Adrian Morales, Co-Artist John Eric Osborn (JEO Creations), Co-Artist Chloe Elimam (Website) and C-Artist Jonathan Koelsh (website). You can preorder at your favorite comic book shop, and get more information from Literati Press on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the web.

SoonerCon Fundraising

It's episode 238 of the Okie Geek Podcast. We are talking this week with friends of the show, Matt Cavanaugh, Amber Hanneken and Aislinn Burrows about Fundraising for Oklahoma's longest running pop culture convention, SoonerCon. Sadly, SoonerCon had to get delayed again for one more year, but it is coming back in 2022. To make that possible, organizers are holding a series of fundraisers to help keep the lights on and pay for much needed costs in preparation for the big part next year. From June 21st through the 27th there will be an online silent auction to raise money for the Future Society of Central Oklahoma. You can find out more about SoonerCon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on its website.

DeadCenter Film Festival 21

It's episode 237, and we are talking about the 21st year for one of the largest film festivals in the region, DeadCenter. Executive Director Alyx Picard-Davis talks about the quick shift the organization had to do last year in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic to move all of its viewings online. This year, the event includes a record number of films. While some of them will remain a virtual experience from June 10th through the 20th, there will also be in person events and viewings from the 10th through the 13th, along with a special screening during Pride Week on June 17th. This year's DeadCenter also includes more Indigenous films along with a Best Indigenous Film Award. Tickets vary depending on what you are wanting to do at the festival. You can see the schedule and more information at DeadCenterFilm.org. You can also fin it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Artist Adam Conklin

It's episode 236 of the Okie Geek Podcast, and we are talking with artist Adam Conklin about his experience with his art, playing D&D and going to conventions amid the Coronavirus Pandemic. You can find and commission work with Adam on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even TikTok. Plus, make sure and check out his daughter's work on Instagram.

OKC Pop Culture Convention

It's episode 235 of the Okie Geek Podcast brought to you by Okie Comics. This week we are talking with Rad Janloo about the OKC Pop Culture Convention coming to Oklahoma City May 8th and 9th at the Windham Garden OKC Airport on south Meridian. The show features Ray Park who you might remember as Darth Maul. It also includes celebrities from the Mighty Ducks, Cobra Kai, Power Rangers and more. There are also going to be many vendors, cosplay contests and movie screenings. Tickets right now are just $15 for Saturday, $10 for Sunday or $20 for the entire weekend, but tickets will go up $5 soon so pick up your preorders now and avoid the long line on convention day. You can find out more on the OKC Pop Culture Con website as well as Facebook and Instagram.

Extra Life United Tournament

Our friends at Extra Life are holding their United Tournament this Friday, April 23rd through Sunday. We get a chance to talk with streamer Ryan Ritter who will be taking part in the festivities to raise money for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Oklahoma. The special event to play games and save lives includes a variety of games as well as a special online cosplay competition. There will also be a special appearance by Jack Black who will be playing Among Us on Saturday. You can find out more on the Extra Life United Tournament Facebook Page and the Extra Life homepage as well as Twitch, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram. And make sure to follow Ryan Ritter on his Twitch channel along with Facebook and Twitter.

Guthrie Renaissance Faire

Grab your garb and head up to the Guthrie Renaissance Faire May 8th & 9th. In episode 233 of the Okie Geek Podcast, we talk with John Pagonis and Christie Lewis about the two day event to include jousting, birds of prey, belly dancing, a trebuchet and Viking battles. The faire off Highway 33 west of town at 308 N. 5th Street also includes a children's area, a mature manor with a beer bus, winery and mead, and a Dungeons & Dragons tent. The celebration is taking place on 80 acres of land with plenty of parking. The cost is just $5 a day online and $10 a day after May 3rd. Organizers are still looking for volunteers and sponsors. You can find out more on the Guthrie Renaissance Faire Facebook page where you can find postings of the myriad of entertainers and vendors coming to the event.

Medieval Fair of Norman 2021

It's episode 232 of the Okie Geek Podcast, and we are talking about the Medieval Fair of Norman 2021 taking place April 9th through the 11th. Coronavirus shut down festivities last year, but this year, organizers are bringing it back. Although, it will look different because of the ongoing pandemic. Reeves Park will still have all your favorite food vendors including turkey legs, but you are encouraged to take the food to go, because you can watch the performers from the comfort of your own house on the Internet. Find more information on the Medieval Fair of Norman Facebook page and on its website.

Okie Show Show Season Five

It's episode 231 of the Okie Geek Podcast and we are talking with Brian Gililland and Nicholas Szabo with local podcast favorite "Okie Show Show" kicking off its fifth season on April 5th. We talk about the impact the Coronavirus has had on the industry as well as the industry's boom in Oklahoma. And, of course we talk about the upcoming season. You can find the Okie Show Show wherever you get your podcast and they also have a presence on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and sometimes Twitter as well as the Okie Show Show website.

Tulkon

It's episode 230 of the Okie Geek Podcast brought to you by Okie Comics. Tulkon, an annual event focusing on science fiction and fantasy is coming to Tulsa on April 16th, 17th and 18th at the Doubletree Warren Place in Tulsa. Convention Chairman Scott Richardson says The celebration of literature event includes authors and voice actors from all over as well as a masquerade contest Saturday evening. Richardson says in its first year, the vendor and artist alley are already full, but he is still looking for volunteers. He says the convention has also made precautions to deal with the Coronavirus including checking temperatures at the doors and requiring masks. Tickets for the three-day event run from $15 to $35 with special offers on the Tulkon website and on its Facebook event page.

Glamorella's Daughter Issue 2

It's episode 229 of the Okie geek Podcast and we are talking with the one and only Jerry Bennett, artist for "Glamorella's Daughter". Our friends at Literati Press are starting a Kickstarter campaign for issue two of the amazing series. You can find Literati Press on the web as well as Twitter and Facebook. You can find Jerry Bennett also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Edmond Esports

In episode 228, we talk with Edmond Memorial High School Esports Coach Kate Swearingen about the teams playing against others across the state. You can find their games on Twitch. Transcript: og228 Michael: Greetings and salutations my fellow geeks and welcome to episode 228 of the Okie Geek Podcast brought to you by Okie Comics I'm Michael Cross. Students at Edmond Memorial high school are enjoying the ever-growing community of e-sports. Their coach is chemistry teacher, Kate Swearingen and she joins us now, Kate, welcome to the show. Kate: Hi, it's so great to be here. Michael: So just tell me first off e-sports at Edmond Memorial High. What's going on with that? Kate: Yeah, so we have a great program. We run three different games. We have Rocket League, League of Legends and Smash Brothers. A ton of kids are involved. So it ranges because we have a club and a class we have about 30 plus kids in the class, and then we have just extra kids in the club, but we're hoping to even grow more next year. But yeah, it's, it's really exciting stuff. Michael: What made you decide to start this thing? Kate: So I've always had a passion for making sure that kids have a space that they feel like they belong. And I used to work at a middle school where I started an animate club and I would DM, Dungeons and Dragons as well. For a group of kids there. And then when I moved to the high school, I knew I wanted to coach e-sports because I played a MOBA at that time called heroes of the storm, which isn't really around anymore. But then, well it's around, but it's just not the same as it used to be. But then a kid approached me cause I kind of let them know, you know, Hey, like I like this based on like this to a kid approached me. He's like, I really want to start a League of Legends team. And I knew about League of Legends because in the same genre that I played so I was like, yeah, this would be great. You know, like some of my stuff will transfer over. So it kind of took him the rest of the year to get the club going. And then last year we had our first team League of Legends team. And then this year we have it as an actual class. So we have even more e-sports now than we did last year. Cause each of each of the own games are their own e-sports so, Michael: , And there's a community like a whole competition going on. Correct. Kate: Right. , we participate in two different tournaments right now. We're a part of OBSL which is the whole global e-sports league. And there are several high schools in Oklahoma that participate in that one. And that's our state tournament. And our playoffs will be April 3rd, but we're, we're sort of finishing up the regular season. We have just a couple more games of that to go. And then we're a part of a nationwide tournament. That's called play BS. So we, we play in that as well. And those, those real games, we have pre-season games right now, but we're starting our real games for that. At the beginning of March. Michael: That's amazing. And so how are you guys doing so far? Kate: We're doing really, really well. We haven't started our real play yes games but for our ESL games right now, we're undefeated. So in all of our sports, Michael: That's amazing. , Who else is in this league, The major players that you would know would be maybe union or broken arrow, Jenks Okay, C grant and then there are some smaller schools too. Like we played Stillwell, not, Stillwater Stillwell, and then we were supposed to Salina today, but that got moved around. And so, yeah, there's, there's just a whole range of schools, depending on which e-sport, it is some S some of these sports are a little bit cheaper to get into than others. Kate: So they're a little bit more accessible. Michael: Right. Do you travel to these places too? Or do they come to you or do you just do it all online? Kate: Yeah, this year, we're all in line. Because it's, you know, it's, it's better that way for us this year. So they, they, we do play from a central location. We get together and they get together, but the matches played online. And when we, we played together, we're sitting apart from each other. And there, the replay vs games, we all played from home for those games because that's how play the us is structured this year. But for Oso, we tried to play it together. It's just, it helps the integrity of that match a little bit more. So has the COVID 19 impacted the, the games or, or the tournament's in any way? Yeah, it's made it a lot more difficult for some of the schools to get teams together. Just because. Schools in general are, have put so much energy into kind of the remote learning slash you know, trying to figure out AB schedule or whatever they're doing this year that a lot of coaches or teachers don't even have the ability to branch out into these kinds of things. So we had some schools that had dropped from ESL this year. Just because they didn't have the bandwidth, so to speak to really get in on that. Michael: Yeah. It's right now, schools are eating up a lot of bandwidth with their, at home education, with our distance learning. Right. So how do you, how do you move forward then if you're not having as much competition, does that, does that hurt with what you guys are trying to do? Kate: Yeah, it's, it's definitely caused, I mean, it's the kids that have really suffered this year as far as that's concerned, but that's why we became part of this year is so that we could have those extra games that we weren't getting out of ESL this particular year. And that, I think that's going to fill that and the other good news about play the us is that for ESL, I can only field one team, but we're pretty big school. So we have three league teams. We can have up to four rocket league teams of everybody's there. And then we can have like four or five smash teams. So I have a chance for my JV teams to really play. And that's what I want. I want each kid to have that chance, you know, like these kids, a lot of them. This is their thing. And so it's their chance to do that. And I really want them to have that opportunity. Michael: Yeah. I'm kind of jealous. I wish this was around when I was in high school. What would that, what does that mean to you to have something like this for these kids? Oh Kate: my gosh. It's so fantastic. I, I feel like I'm making so much more of a difference than, I mean, I make a difference as a pre AP chemistry teacher, and I understand that, but But to be able to be there for kids that don't necessarily have another spot. And aren't going to shine in all the same ways that my pre AP chemistry kids and some, some of them are the same kids to be there, but this allows them to have, I have that space, you know, and that, that means so much to me because I had, I had my spaces as a kid. I was in band and orchestra and I did all these things and that's really what. Helped me in school. I think the most I was in, I was at all pre AP or AP classes or whatever, too, but it was having that friend group and those extracurricular activities that really made the huge difference for me personally. And that's what I want for these kids. Michael: Right. And everybody talks about extracurriculars. And usually when they talk about extracurriculars or talking sports Ray, well, regular sports, football, baseball, basketball, but for some of these kids, that's just not something that they're into or that they really care about. Kate: Yeah. And from my kids, you know, this gives them that connection to the school culture. They really feel like they're winning for the school. And I have kids that would be failing if they, if they weren't some e-sports, they, the only reason some of them do their work is so that they can play on the team and to have that connection to the school is just huge. And the teachers feel that way too. The Eddie Memorial teachers are just fantastic. They have really jumped in on this and they've they're very encouraging to the kids as well. It's, it's fantastic to see if they'll talk to the kids about it, even if they don't quite understand everything, they really they're really trying. It's so it's so great to see what was Michael: the administration like when you first went to them and said, Hey, I want to start an e-sports group. Kate: So it depends on the administrator that I talked to, but they were very in general, they were very positive because e-sports had been growing as a group. And Oklahoma city university had started their own e-sports program at the time that I was kind of moving all my stuff through. So they got to see that. And if they, once they could see the scholarship opportunities and the way that it would help the kids connect. Then they were on board for the most part. They have, they have some reservations. And I think that education is a huge part of my job, you know, teaching other people what e-sports is about and helping the administration see the value in every single e-sport that we do is a huge part of my personal job as kind of our advocate within the school system. Right. But but they were, they've always been on board. They're always about whatever helps the kids. I think. So. How Michael: about, is there, is there an education opportunity in e-sports Kate: for sure. So O U H this year announced their varsity. They went varsity this year. OSU has stuff too. I don't think there's a scholarship yet, but it's going to get there. And then several of the local colleges do there's a whole Oklahoma college. I think it's called OAC, E O O S or something like that. I'm not exactly sure. Up on the college scene, but there's definitely collegiate opportunities I've actually had One of my students just this past week, actually yesterday he got a message from a collegiate coach asking if he could start if he was interested in joining their collegiate team, but he's only a junior. So the guy didn't know that quite yet. Yeah. But it gets Michael: them ready for it. I, if, if he's already being recruited, Yeah. Kate: And you know, he's not even my, my best out of all of the players that I have. He's the best at the sport that he's in, but then I have a fantastic other player. That's just a sophomore and he's extremely, extremely good. So I would expect him to also be very highly sought after, as far as for, for the collegiate teams. Michael: And also computers, video games. These are the future. And unlike, you know, in, in sports, even if you do go pro in sports, you've only got a few years of doing your career, but in video games, you could keep doing it for your entire life. Kate: Well pro gamers do retire before, usually before I would think even 30 years old just because reflexes and stuff slowed down, but they usually then transitioned to other roles. A lot of pro gamers will then either become coaches or they'll become analysts for teams or they'll become casters or they'll just stream after that. Right. So once you're done playing on an actual professional team, like maybe cloud dine or our own team in Oklahoma city called Equinox then they would go to. Being a coach for another team or yeah. Or just, they can just stream online to all the fans. They may, while they were a pro gamer. Michael: Right. And that's, I mean, it's it, it's not just, I mean, yes, you, you might not be pro the entire time, but there is a future that you can keep doing this for a living for further on in your Kate: life. Oh, yeah. And it's not just the gamers, right? Like there's so many other jobs that are associated with this. Someone has to organize the tournament's. Someone has to, you know, keep the equipment up to date. I mean, they have to have spectators shout casters. I mean, it's a whole, it's a whole organized event. So. Michael: Well, and even in the video game, Rita it's or video game companies themselves, they still need testers. They still need people to be running these games. And hopefully, maybe even some of the kids might even think about going on and being programmers. Kate: Yeah, I I've. I have kids in my program that are definitely looking at becoming programmers or they want to become video game designers or in this is kind of just the way they fill that niche right now is they want to play the games. And then oftentimes these same game developers, the same game companies that own the games are the ones that control the e-sport as well. So it ends up being where you're a part of the company that does the e-sport that you love so much. So, Michael: yeah. And it gives them an education into the kind of the business aspect of it as well. Kate: Right. And they learn kind of that language and that culture that is really critical to be a part of a company like that. Michael: And so for a lot of these kids that would just be playing these video games at home, they're actually maybe getting something a little bit more out of it. Kate: Yeah. I, I really think so. And we're not even right now touching on the idea of, you know, communication through the games and all the other aspects that you get from a traditional sport that are also present in e-sports. We'll talk a little bit about that. Yeah. So each game that we play other than smash smash is one V one, but other than that, they're all on teams. And so they're constantly having to communicate with each other on that level. Right. And especially in something like league of legends, there's a particular. Positions on the team that have to really be aware of everything that's going on the map and have to track the enemy movements, even when they can't see them. And they're constantly giving that communication to each other and you know, they're a team and they're all high schools, high schoolers. So they're, they're kind of sometimes. They'll they'll make mistakes. Right? And so one of the ideas is how can we kind of leave the mistakes in the past? How can we, not only they'll focus, not only on their own mistakes, but each other's mistakes as well. So how can we move past that? What can we do to not be so focused on the mistake we just made that it doesn't ruin the rest of our game. Right? And so communications are a huge part and, and team building is a huge part. So because each kid. Fills a different niche on the team and leads the team in a different way that it's just so critical. The company, the composition of the team is so important as well. So Michael: when you mentioned the smallest, a small town, like a Stillwell in Eastern Oklahoma, is I just amazing that some of these smaller schools are starting to pick up on the idea of e-sports? Kate: Yeah. You know, some of the e-sports can run on very limited computers and some of them can run on a, on a cell phone. So Some e-sports are pretty cheap to get into. Now, others are more expensive, but e-sports, isn't just limited to the best of the best. Now I want to play it the best, but but anyone, I don't, I'm not one of those people. That's like, you're only a gamer if you're playing X or Y games, you know? So Michael: it's just, it's about playing and especially about, I love the idea of the teamwork that goes on. Kate: Yeah, it's definitely true. And not every game is a team game, but you're still learning how to deal with your own mistakes, even when you're not playing as a part of a team. Right. And keeping that kind of information that they keep, even like my smash kids, they have so many different fighters that they can choose from. And then understanding that the enemy can also choose any one of those fighters. And then what's that magic gonna look like? Right. Like, so they have to know their fighters so well against every other fighter in the game. And then to just coming out with new fighters all the time. So they're having to constantly update that. It's just, it's something that they have to constantly be growing as a gamer. Michael: Well, and it just smashes w one a pro player V player, but it's still just like in traditional sports, there are sports out there. Try tennis, golf, et cetera, where you are one-on-one but it's still, you've still got to be part of a team and still be just as, as competitive as a team to go and play. As you are in football, baseball, basketball. Kate: That's right. So when we play our play the S games, we're going to be on teams of three on R and they have to do well. Each one of them has to carry their own weight. You know, like, like in swim, you know, you swim, but you make the, or tennis or whatever, you make it as a team, right. At least in our stuff. So so yeah, they rely on each other even then, and to be eligible to. So they're all relying on each other to, to keep invested in the sport and to keep invested in their grades and they keep each other accountable, which is great. How Michael: long have you guys been doing this?...

We Promised Utopia

In Episode 227. we talk with out friends with Literati Press getting ready to move forward with its biggest projects so far. On February 18th, they are starting the Kickstarter for the newest Comic Book "We Promised Utopia". The newest publication will join "Glamorella's Daughter" and "Black Jack Demon" as the newest titles for this growing organization. Our guests include the creator of the comic Adrian Morales, along with Literati Press Art Director John Eric Osborn and Creative Director Charles Martin. You can join the Kickstarter campaign for "We Promised Utopia" and you can find Literati Press on its website.

The Beast of Bridgedunon

It's episode 226 of the Okie Geek Podcast, the guys from Absurdist Production are holding a Kickstarter campaign for their newest Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons zine adventure "The Beast of Bridgedunon". Will Thompson and David Thomas join us to talk about this adventure as part of Kickstarter's Zine Quest. You can find the campaign on Kickstarter right now with the campaign running through February 19th. You can find Absurdist Productions on the web at: https://www.absurdistproductions.com/ as well as Twitter and Facebook.

One Shot at Love

In episode 225, we are talking with Red Dirt DnD's Kyri Hester who is running a one shot Dungeons & Dragons adventure on the Red Dirt DnD Twitch Channel at noon (Central Time) Saturday, February 13th. The Valentine's Day themed special was written by Kyri and marks her first time in writing an adventure for D&D. "One Shot at Love" includes all of your favorite Red Dirt DnD players in different roles. You can also check out an interview between Kyri and Johnnie Payne on the Red Dirt Twitch channel Wednesday night at 7pm. You can find Kyri on Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok. And make sure to check out the Red Dirt DnD website with new episodes every Wednesday.