If there’s anything TTV editors love, it’s reading and day-drinking. Here’s your carefully curated guide for an afternoon of escapism: legendary Okie reads paired with classic Tulsa patios.
“Beam Spasms” and Tequila Sunrise at The Eagle
“Bean Spasms” by Ted Berrigan and Ron Padgett, illustrated by Joe Brainard
Like The Eagle’s patio, “Bean Spasms” is lush, inviting, and not too serious. Tulsa native Ron Padgett described “Bean Spasms” as a collaborative collection of “plays, a fictitious correspondence, a picaresque novel, goofy interviews and poems of various types … as well as mistranslations and parodies of each other’s work and the work of others.” Plus, it’s filled with the whimsically absurd illustrations of Joe Brainard, who also grew up in Tulsa.
Classic rum daiquiri
“Simple Pleasures,” by A.W. Marshall
Some of the short stories in “Simple Pleasures,” will last you exactly the time it takes to drink a simple rum daiquiri. (Not the frozen kind.) Marshall’s debut collection is weird, funny, occasionally dark, and always unexpected.
Rum and Coke
“That Was Then, This Is Now” by S.E. Hinton
Set in the same universe at “The Outsiders,” “That Was Then, This Is Now” is another S. E. Hinton Okie bildungsroman.
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
“Head Cases” by Michael Paul Mason
Spend an afternoon reading about the strange and true world of traumatic brain injuries by Tulsa’s own “anti-Oliver Sacks.” Then, use your newfound cursory knowledge to recklessly diagnose your bar-mates.
Penthouse Rooftop Lounge, Mayo Hotel
Vodka soda with lemon
“The Dream Songs” by John Berryman
This collection of 385 poems by John Berryman (born in McAlester in 1914) recounts the dreams of the psuedo-autobiographical Henry as he navigates through variant internal and external troubles.
Whiskey on the rocks
“Dubliners” by James Joyce
(TU publishes the James Joyce Quarterly)
Shot of vodka in a Stiegl Radler
“Vagabond” by Gaylord Oscar Herron
Aid your journey through this visual poem with vodka in grapefruit-flavored beer. Sip as you turn the pages of the 1975 Tulsa classic created by the man many refer to as G., also the owner of G. Oscar Bicycles.
“What I Learned at the War” by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish
(Oklahoma’s 2017 Poet Laureate)
Gin and tonic
“Jubilee City: A Memoir at Full Speed” by Joe Andoe
Joe Andoe’s Palahniukian perverse memoir recalls his early years in Tulsa and emergence as an artist. Like his art, Andoe’s writing feels “psychedelic but real … like the stillness at twilight when animals come out into the open.”
Crane Tea Weiss
“Collected Poems” by Ron Padgett
Tobacco Old Fashioned
“Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
We can’t think of a better place to read the first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples than Hodges Bend, which sits on land once owned by the wealthy
Creek Hodge family.
Blackbird on Pearl
“Bob Dylan, the Essential Interviews”
Thirty-one Dylan interviews including his 1966 Playboy interview, Studs Terkel’s 1963 radio interview on WFMT in Chicago, a 1965 interview with director Nora Ephron, and an interview Sam Shepard turned into a one-act play for Esquire.
(TU is home to Dylan’s archives.)
Blue Rose Café
The Tulsa Voice
This drink—like us—is light, refreshing, cheap, and easy. Blue Rose Café also won TTV’s 2017 Best of Tulsa award for Best Patio.
“Crazy Brave” by Joy Harjo
Blood Orange Gose
“Mean Spirit” by Linda Hogan
Hogan’s debut novel, set in Osage Indian Territory during the 1920s oilboom, has enough murder and greed to justify an extra gose to calm your nerves.
A shot and a beer
“Way Down Yonder in the Indian Nation” by Michael Wallis
East Village Bohemian Pizzeria
“Living with Music” by Ralph Ellison
East Village’s whiskey, Averna, absinthe, orange bitters, and lemon concoction will have you tapping your toes as you take in one of Ellison’s lesser-known works.
Put Me in Kolsch
“Right Down the Middle: The Ralph Terry Story” by John Wooley
Drink Elgin Park’s yeasty, fruity Western German Kolsch-style beer as you read the as-told-to biography of Ralph Terry, a star pitcher for the 1960s New York Yankees who was from Chelsea, Oklahoma,
50 miles northeast of Tulsa.
“Robopocalypse” by Daniel H. Wilson
Lefty’s on Greenwood
Tallgrass Prairie Raspberry Jam
“Fire in Beulah” by Rilla Askew
Every Tulsan should read this. Set in Tulsa leading up to the 1921 massacre, Rilla Askew’s parallel narratives explore the lives of Althea Whiteside and her maid, Graceful. The sensory details you’ll find familiar—the way Askew describes the wind, for example—are even more vivid against the backdrop of midtown and downtown.
“The Unraveling of Mercy Louis” by Keija Parssinen
Pair the old Southern classic with this modern Southern gothic on Doc’s corner patio for a transportive experience.
Bloody Maria made with Vida mezcal and Baby D’s Bee Sting Original
“Hot Sauce Nation: America’s Burning Obsession” by Denver Nicks
Sunburn your skin on Soundpony’s patio while simultaneously burning your tongue and brain. Tulsa’s own hot sauce correspondent Denver Nicks teaches you everything you wanted to know about the spicy stuff.
Death in the Afternoon (champagne and absinthe)
“Don’t Die Before You’re Dead” by Yevgeny Yevtushenko (RIP)
Soviet and Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko called Tulsa home for the last 30 years of his life. He died in April. Yevtushenko leaves behind a legacy of work that exemplifies art as dissent and vital to life. He was one of the first in the Soviet Union to publicy decry Stalinism. We hope the poet would laugh at this pairing, and not think it in too poor of taste.