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Ukulele music featured at Bethany coffeehouse

Bill O'Brien / Red Dirt Report
Well Now Margery at the Java 39 Coffee Shop in Bethany, Oklahoma.
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BETHANY, Okla. – Last Saturday, an evening of ukulele playing was held at the Java 39 Coffee Shop and  Studio on 39th Street here in Bethany.

The event was covered by the  Discover Oklahoma  television series and their film crew and a  large camera were prominently present, with it capturing images of the varied art that is on display on the red walls of the establishment as the crew waited for the performances to begin.

The main entertainment was provided by a pair of Stillwater-based ukulele artists who are known as “Well Now Margery”  who played a variety of melancholy songs.

One of the artists played a green violin  during some songs that harmonized with the Pacific Islands-linked string instrument. 

The second act was performed Janis Frances Smith, an African American ukulele artists who sang in a spirited manner and pointed out that the person who made her ukulele was in the audience.

She told of how the audience at the place was receptive to new songs and thanked them for that. She was followed by Jeff Howard, a veteran performer who sang several Beatles songs and other rock and roll tunes   from that era with his  ukulele sounded very much like a guitar.

An updated version of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” was done with a ukulele by  an older artist named James Collins who closed with a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Your Land” that included the controversial verse that is often omitted  and   much of the audience  sang  with him.

A  preteen girl named Kennedy Fine closed the night with her version of “You Are Going To Miss Me When I’m Gone”, which was a surprising song for such a young person.

A ukulele was also brought on stage by a young  man known only as “Jarvix”  who sang in a manner similar to the early Bob Dylan and with a similar message of subtle  protest and social criticism.

A large screen told the attendees with print and vivid images of the refreshments that were available, and they included cupcakes with large swirls of whipped  cream and berries on them, donuts, and other pastries, and many of them devoured those items with gusto.

Java 39 boasts that it  also dispenses  gumbo  that is said to be of the same type that is found in the  narrow thoroughfares of New Orleans, and periodically the pungent smell  of that concoction would fill the air when members of the wait staff brought steaming bowls of it to patrons.

The eclectic menu now includes Korean kimchi soup  and something called “Hawaiian chicken sliders’  which may be indicative of the increasing culinary sophistication that is found in the suburbs of Oklahoma City. 

That screen also detailed the many performance  artists who will be performing  there in the near future, and they appeared to be as varied as the food offered, and included  folk singers, ukulele artists, and African rappers and guitarists.

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Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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