In it’s third year Mr. Burns‘ Festivus For The Best Of Us continues to grow and evolve while keeping true to it’s original mission of camaraderie between Tulsa artists.
I was able to meet with Burns and his family to hear his mission first hand in the midst of his recovery from an assault that left him with serious injuries to his face and leg.
Over lunch and in between being the cutest dad, dropping plastic straw ordinance knowledge, postulating on the “soul survivors” of Tulsa’s past and their role in the present, and giving mad props to his life partner; Queenie; I learned more about the trajectory of the Festivus For The Best Of Us since its inception and the path Burns hopes to carve out for the Festivus in 2019 and beyond.
When the idea for the festival began it started with two friends and colleagues; Burns and Pade Wade; unknowingly holding simultaneous shows at the Yeti and Soundpony. Upon learning about the possible conflict Wade and Burns decided to overcome in the best fashion, by working together and turning the respective shows into a festival.
The name came from an episode of Seinfeld being watched by Wade during the planning stages of the initial Festivus.
In the beginning it was only rap and hip hop, but in year two the evolution was already evident with the expansion of the Festivus from a one day event to a three day event that included a variety of Tulsa musicians and musical styles.
The 2018 Festivus For The Best Of Us has morphed in form once again to include three venues and a showcase of visual artists, including No Parking Studios and BlackMoon Collective, At Fassler Hall on November 9th.
Festivities will kick off this evening for happy hour, November 8th, at Soundpony celebrating Burns’ birthday. A variety of DJs and performers will be present throughout the weekend including Vic Goes Hard, Fresh, D Pugh, Damion Shade, Push Gang, You.th, and GxThree on Thursday night hosted by Deez Got Steez. Saturday the 10th at Fassler Hall will showcase an art auction, a raffle, and performances by Higher Learning Academy, Oilhouse, Steph Simon , Ron Ron & Surron TheSeventh, Verse, #Bacanomics , Bezel 365 and will be hosted by Buddy Rodriguez, Written Quincey, Dezz Got Steez.
Sunday the 11th at the Buccaneer Bar off of 15th and Harvard will feature another group Burns is involved in, the Outsiders.
Burns hopes to continue cultivating the culture of Tulsa with the Festivus, especially in the time and space of growth that Tulsa currently inhabits. While envisioning next years fest, Burns opined on the phenomenon of the artist ability to grow and the intersectionality of the arts in our city. His hope is that local artists will not be left out of the scene they have spent their lifetime building as we are becoming the next American city. Verse, Chris Mantle, Written Quincy, and Ricco Wright are some of the names Burns hopes are written into Tulsa history for their contribution to the arts and for their ability to elevate the artistry of others in the Tulsa community.
As an artist will declare, the show must go on. In the face of the attack Burns suffered this weekend will also include a fundraiser to help recoup monies spent on medical bills and care as well as revenue lost by Burns and his family during this difficult time.
Show up this weekend, Tulsa, and show out! We might even be lucky enough to witness Queenie grace the stage with her superior flow.
Casey McLerran is the Literary Editor at the Black Wall Street Times. She is a Sooner State transplant from Forest Hills, NY. McLerran arrived in Oklahoma at the age of three shortly after gentrification displaced her and her family out of their home in New York. At first glance, many think they have McLerran figured out. To be frank, she’s a biracial American young woman that unapologetically embraces her half-African identity — a feminist-womanist she is. Her pen operates as her voice as well as her sword. Her accolades include the 2018 Rural Oklahoma Poetry Museum’s Oklahoma Poem Award, a business management degree, and her three beautiful children. Her objective with the Black Wall Street Times is to elevate and amplify the literary art of modern black American culture, pay tribute to African-American literary trailblazers, all while simultaneously linking and introducing children to the world of colorful American writers.