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Scott Booker: The Art of Listening

The Flaming Lips, ACM@UCO and beyond



 


If you visited the historic Rainbow Records at 23rd and Classen in the 1980s, you may well have talked to a young Scott Booker. Thirty-five years later, he’s the CEO of Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO in Bricktown, a unique incubator of performing art talent. What happened between then and now is a story of constant curiosity, a willingness to pay close attention to the interests of others and a drive to achieve.

Mixed in that time from Rainbow Records to ACM@UCO have been many years as the manager of Oklahoma City’s enduring, Grammy-winning Flaming Lips.

But before he ever met Lips front man Wayne Coyne, he learned how to listen carefully to the desires and preferences of others.

Starting out prior to turning 15, he sold a national general-interest newspaper called Grit. Roaming through his neighborhood of Midwest City, he learned to engage potential customers in an easy conversation about what they liked and didn’t like. He calls it his “first job in the entertainment industry.”

But when Booker wasn’t going to school and selling Grit door to door, he hung out at his local Sound Warehouse, then a regional chain of record stores back when vinyl was the main method of listening to music other than a live performance.

In addition to the growing skills of selling entertainment, Booker says that his gig, “also gave me five dollars per week. In 1978, that was the price of an album. Every day I would go to Sound Warehouse and hang out, figure out what I would buy that week, and I would buy a record a week.”

And once he turned 15, he already knew so much about music and people that Sound Warehouse hired him. He worked there until his junior year in college, when he took his deep knowledge to Rainbow Records – and there honed his music curator skills even further.

Scott Booker


It was at Rainbow that he met Lips bassist Michael Ivins. And he got to know more members of the band as he started hanging out at the most intense music venues of the day, which included the Velvet Underground.

He brought his ability to connect people with music as he moved gradually into the role of manager for the Lips. He says there wasn’t any formal contract to be their manager … and there still isn’t. One day one of them just started referring to him as “our manager” and it stuck.

Today, Booker can be seen in a number of venues and milieus, including the Master Class for which he brings in seasoned artists such as Jackson Browne, Moby, Hall and Oates and other well-knowns to visit with ACM students and the public about how they navigated their own careers and brought their talent into full view.

He also teaches classes on how to manage the business of performing arts. Some of his students may move on to work for well-known large companies such as Warner Brothers, and others may use that knowledge to manage their own music careers.

Is he a musician himself? No. But that doesn’t stop him.

“I don’t think it’s been a hindrance in any way,” he says. “Maybe it’s almost the opposite. Maybe because I didn’t know theory, some music that would be discordant and annoying to people was actually still beautiful to me.”

And he continues to recognize the beauty of talent in others as he cultivates it through classes at ACM@UCO.

 

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

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Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
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Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
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Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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