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Oil Boom / Blog

50 Penn Place - The Tao of Bland

This Friday night, I will be returning to my beloved hometown, which next to Paradise City and Funkytown, just may be my favorite spot in the universe. All of my important developmental milestones occurred there; first steps, first broken nose, first grammar rodeo, first candy cigarette and first Oklahoma City Cavalry t-shirt giveaway night. And while those reasons alone are enough to merit a return trip, it’s also the home of many truly unique and distinctly Okie landmarks. Take, for instance, 50 Penn Place, which just so happens to contain the venue of Oil Boom’s show on Friday (clever segue I know). 50 Penn Place is a bizarre building that defies description really. First off, the parking lot just might be the windiest place in the Northern Hemisphere. I once saw a bass drum skip across the pavement at 50mph, while I stood helplessly shrieking in horror like a 7 year old girl. But Neptune strength wind speeds aside, even the name itself sounds like an unfortunate cross between a failed British miniseries and the site of the world’s most poorly named pen manufacturer. Wikipedia “claims” the “site” was “constructed” in “1973””.” I wonder if the original development group could have imagined the hilarious/heartbreaking retail disasters that have ensued since. I’m surprised Sony Betamax and Crystal Pepsi never took up residence there. Part of it stems, I think, from the pretentious air the place gives off. I always feel like an overalls clad corncob smoking slack-jawed yokel as soon as I enter the doors. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I need a top hat and monocle just to stroll the aisles. That probably dates back to the disdain I felt when entering Old School/Harold’s clothing stores, both of which have long since abandoned ship. I used to pass the mannequins there in the pink Izod shirts (collars up of course), purple plaid shorts, and Navy blue Top-Siders and wonder aloud, “Who the fuck shops here?!!” Then inevitably, for Christmas I’d open up a present and find said outfit cleverly placed next to a Sound Warehouse gift certificate to lessen the blow. Damnit Mom! But 50 Penn Place does have a few things to recommend it. Full Circle Bookstore is pretty awesome. Seems like yesterday, I was nervously looking over my shoulder while stealing quick and embarrassing glances at the store’s lone copy of the Kama Sutra. In case you’re wondering, “suspended congress” is not what you think it is. It’s also the place I started reading J.D. Salinger and calling every a phony. I’m still doing that by the way. And if an independent bookstore complete with fireplace and coffee bar isn’t enough to entice you to 50 Penn Place, then there’s also Belle Isle Brewery. While it’s not the most hallowed of music halls in the city, I’ve had some excellent times on and off stage there, highlights of which include watching a middle-aged man attempt to do “the Caterpillar,” listening to two Eastern Europeans talk about “ze college footsball,” and being told politely to leave when trying to soundcheck at 2:00 in the afternoon (it was our first show, we didn’t know any better). So if you’re not in charge of the well being of small children or performing endoscopic surgery, come watch Oil Boom open for our BFFs Glister. Together we can make 50 Penn Place the coolest spot in the city. Ok. That was a lie. We could totally make it mediocre though. Ryan

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