Edit ModuleShow Tags

Voice’s choices

Staff picks for the best and worst of 2017

Come on down—TTV staff names the highs, lows, and most cathartic moments of the past year. Let’s reflect before we ride on into the mystique and promise of 2018.

Liz Blood, editor

BEST BOOK: I enjoyed “Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place” by Rilla Askew (University of Oklahoma Press, June 2017). Askew writes: “From the Trail of Tears to The Grapes of Wrath, our most iconic narratives have been about how this land, this Oklahoma, is a place so many have come to in pain and anticipation and sorrow, and it is a place others have left in the same way.”

BEST TV SHOW: I can’t ever get enough of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Larry David is the patron saint of anxiety and cringe—and I love him for it. The 2017 season was a fun escape.

BEST LIVE SHOW: Horton Records Rock ‘n Folk ‘n Chili Cookoff 4. Chris Blevins grounded us, Mike Dee & Stone Trio shook us, and John Fullbright saved us. Plus, all-you-can-eat chili.

BEST MOMENT FOR TULSA: Former Tulsa Police Officer Shannon Kepler convicted of first degree manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison for shooting and killing Jeremy Lake.

BEST INSTANCE OF JUSTICE SERVED: The long overdue downfall of Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent comeuppance for all of those other sexual assaulters and harassers.

BEST NEWS STORY: Tulsa Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman’s victory by 31 votes in November over Republican Brian O’Hara for Senate District 37. Ikley-Freeman is young, a woman, lesbian, and a mental health counselor. She doesn’t fit the profile of most Oklahoma politicians—and that’s why I’m glad to see her in office.

WHAT NEEDS WORK IN 2018: More women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals running for public office and making art.

Greg Bollinger, photographer

BEST ALBUM: As You Were, Liam Gallagher  

BEST SONG: “Rainbows & Waterfalls” by Pretty Lights—their first studio-released music in over four years, and it was absolutely worth the wait.

BEST TV SHOW: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Informative.  Effective. Hilarious.

BEST LIVE SHOW: John Moreland at Cain’s Ballroom. It was pretty awesome to see John cap off his amazing year at the historic, hometown venue.

BEST NEW FOOD OR DRINK: Mr. Nice Guys at Guthrie Green. I was gonna give it an A+, but I forgot there was an A++.

BEST MOMENT FOR TULSA: The downtown development going on makes me one proud Tulsan. 

Georgia Brooks, graphic designer


BEST TV SHOW: “The Crown”

BEST LIVE SHOW: “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at the Tulsa PAC. I went in humming the “Gilmore Girls” theme song to myself, and came out in a daze. This lady wrote so many freaking songs—I had no idea.

BEST NEW FOOD OR DRINK: I love going to Maryn’s Taphouse & Raw Bar in Jenks. Quality pub food and being on the Riverwalk feels like being on vacation.


WORST NEWS STORY: Researchers find that 83 percent of the world’s drinking water is contaminated with microplastics.

Madeline Crawford, Art Director

BEST TV SHOW: It’s a tie: “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Bob’s Burgers.”

BEST ART INSTALLATION OR SHOW: “Streets: Mark Lewis” at 108 Contemporary (Oct. 6–Nov. 19, 2017). Large-scale and made up of paper layers, the pieces showed dynamic and magical looks at city landscapes. With their massive size and intricate details, they stopped you in your tracks. 

BEST NEW FOOD OR DRINK: Heirloom Rustic Ales—great beer, great interior. 

BEST MOMENT FOR TULSA: The Women’s March in downtown Tulsa in January. To march with my loved ones and so many Tulsans I didn’t know was an uplifting way to start an intimidating 2017. I’ve used that day as a moment of strength for our community and nation when things have been difficult throughout the year.

WORST NEWS STORY: Scott Pruitt confirmed as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

WHAT NEEDS WORK IN 2018: We could all stand to be a lot less self-obsessed and watch out for each other better. 

Amanda Hall, distribution coordinator

BEST BOOK: “NOS4A2” by Joe Hill. It isn’t a new book, but one I discovered this year, and is the only book I’ve ever read that gave me nightmares. “NOS4A2” could do for Christmas music what “IT” did for clowns. The story is a supernatural thriller featuring a 1932 Rolls Royce Wraith, a woman able to travel from location to location by folding space, a serial killer named Charlie Manx who kidnaps children, and his henchman, Bing.

BEST ALBUM: Kesha, Rainbow. After the awful past few years she’s had, Kesha deserves a huge win. And holy wow, does she get one with this album. You can really hear how her experiences have changed both her lyrics and style. I challenge any female to listen to “Woman” and not belt/sing/yell along with it. 

BEST LIVE SHOW: Horton Records Rock ‘n Folk ‘n Chili Cookoff. Tulsa has an absurdly high concentration of talented musicians, and this show made it so much more apparent.

BEST EVENT: Tulsa Zoo’s fundraiser Waltz on the Wild Side. The entertainment was top-notch, the food was ridiculously good, the take-home gifts were adorable (I’m still holding onto my Waltz-branded sunglasses).

BEST MOMENT FOR TULSA: G. T. Bynum’s first year as mayor. Bynum’s ambition for Tulsa is fantastic. I love that he thinks big for the city, and I can’t wait to see what plans he has for the future. His humor and accessibility is something that I don’t remember ever seeing in a mayor before.

John Langdon, digital editor

BEST BOOK: I likely would have read more had it not been for “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

BEST LIVE SHOW: Roger Waters: Us + Them at BOK Center

BEST EVENT: Steve Martin and Martin Short at Paradise Cove followed immediately by the greatest Halloween house party I’ve ever attended.

BEST ART INSTALLATION OR SHOW: The Internet Cat Video Festival on the lawn at Philbrook Museum of Art (Sept. 29, 2017). Something about watching silly videos with hundreds of people out in the open made it feel as if we had all become a kind of post-postmodernist installation about physical connection in the age of the digital echo chamber. Plus, cats.

BEST NEW FOOD OR DRINK: Smoked Tangerine Pulled Pork Tamales from Sauce Boss. (The hot sauce is [two fire emojis])

BEST NEWS STORY: Each development in Mueller’s investigation

BEST MOMENT FOR TULSA: Every impassioned Facebook thread of arguments on the best Mexican food in town. This is how we grow.

WHAT NEEDS WORK IN 2018: Reality

Cassidy McCants, assistant editor

BEST BOOK: Carmen Maria Machado’s “Her Body and Other Parties” (Graywolf Press, Oct. 2017). It’s a bizarre, fantastic collection—the stories show how our bodies remember what we’ve been through, how the body endures everything the
mind does.

BEST TV SHOW: I can’t help it. “Stranger Things 2.” I’m a kid again when I watch it.

BEST LIVE SHOW: Most recently, John Moreland at Cain’s. It was fun to welcome him home—and to hear him play on a guitar made from the venue’s original floor.

BEST NEW FOOD OR DRINK: Prairie Fire Pie’s Yukon Gold potato pizza.

BEST NEWS STORY: There was a handful of good ones, among them “A Bill Funding Arts and Humanities Endowments Passes House Committee.” (And it ended up being a great year in Oklahoma for NEA funding—the best in nearly a decade.)

WORST MOMENT FOR TULSA: We didn’t see #justice4crutch this summer.

WHAT NEEDS WORK IN 2018: I think we’re headed this direction, but I hope we’ll all work on listening to one another. There’s a lot of yelling and blaming happening in our community and in our nation. And there’s a refusal to really engage when it’s challenging. When I give in to the yelling I feel like I’m drowning out my own empathy. It’s dangerous.

Juley Roffers, president of Langdon Publishing

BEST BOOK: “Killers of the Flower Moon”(Doubleday, April 2017)—a depressing story of how corrupt the government and law enforcement in Oklahoma were (not that long ago) and perhaps a glimpse into why Okla. seems so backwards in many ways today.

BEST ART INSTALLATION OR SHOW: I can’t think of best this year, but I know the worst I saw: The opening of the New Whitney Museum in NYC featured its 2017 biennial. Most of it was awful.

BEST INSTANCE OF JUSTICE SERVED: Roy Moore was defeated in Alabama.

BEST NEWS STORY: The many #METOO stories

WORST NEWS STORY: The many #METOO stories

BEST MOMENT FOR TULSA: Tulsans continue to protest whatever may be wrong in a peaceful manner.

WORST MOMENT FOR TULSA: TPD Officer Betty Shelby, who shot the motorist Terence Crutcher—who simply had car trouble—wasn’t convicted.

Morgan Welch, graphic designer

BEST ALBUM: After Laughter by Paramore. Veering in a very new direction from their past discography, but in a good way. Paramore was able to give some of my anxieties and depression a pair of dancing shoes.

BEST LIVE SHOW: Seeing The Starting Line for the first time, then two more times, all while being on a cruise ship with tons of other bands.

BEST ART INSTALLATION: The Oklahoma state wildflower mural, done by Decopolis owner William Franklin, at the Harvard Square Shopping Center.

BEST NEW FOOD: Poke Bowl Love has struck the deepest of chords in my heart. I love hand-rolled sushi, but man do I love build-your-own sushi bowls.

WORST NEWS STORY: The acquittal of TPD Officer Betty Shelby, who unjustly shot and killed Terence Crutcher.

WHAT NEEDS WORK IN 2018: People need to be more respectful and kind with what they say online. Being positive warrants better results than being negative.