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Red Carpet in Comanche County

77 Counties



Photo by M.J. Alexander

I Am Alone In A Hotel Room With Johnny Depp, And He Is Calling Me Darlin’.

The electronic billboard outside the Best Western Plus Lawton Hotel & Convention Center flashes updates for vehicles coming off the turnpike, announcing Military Appreciation Mondays … Comanche Nation Casino Idol … Summer Ladies Night Tuesdays … No Ante Is Back!

There is no hint of the real news: Johnny Depp is in the building.

He had arrived in Oklahoma to preview “The Lone Ranger” to the Comanche Nation, two weeks before its national unveiling. His five-hour appearance was so secretive that incredulous friends of many of those invited did not find out he was in Lawton until pictures of him walking the red carpet between banks of bleachers outside the Carmike Cinemas started showing up on Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Before the premiere, he is booked for one sit-down interview at the Best Western. It is with Mandalit del Barco, Los Angeles-based correspondent for National Public Radio. I am to be the photographer.

As he enters the room, I wait against the far window. He circles his way around, eventually making it to me: “I’m the NPR photographer. A radio photographer – hard to believe, I know. Yet here I am.”

He laughs and clasps both hands around mine. He is both tousled and tailored, dressed all in black, with tinted shades and gleaming Elvis hair. He smells ever-so-faintly of French cologne.

As we chat, a liaison for the Comanche Nation approaches, tentatively extending her cell phone. Could I take a picture of them together? Johnny Depp smiles and she scoots next to him, star struck. I coax them to the corner, between the radiator and the end table, and snap them against the wall. She is about to peel away, but I keep clicking. “Always gotta take two ... OK, now look at each other.” They do, and I take another, then pull off a fast fourth. “There you go. That’ll be your screensaver.”

Johnny Depp comes up to whisper conspiratorially amid the din of the room. “That was so nice. Thank you for doing that.”

He takes my hand again and starts to talk. He seems more musician than actor, maybe a good-hearted guitarist who cleans up nice. You just know you’d be friends with him, if he only lived a little closer. The kind of guy who is underwhelmed that a publication like, say, People magazine twice crowned him Sexiest Man Alive and breathlessly called him Hollywood’s most irresistible iconoclast, a three-time Oscar nominee “as one-of-a-kind as his beloved 15-year-old boots and as smoldering as his favorite Cuban cigars.”

The room was deemed too crowded and noisy, so everyone retreated into the hall. Out went the director, Gore Verbinski. The producer, Jerry Bruckheimer. And then Johnny Depp with Wallace Coffey, chairman of the Comanche Nation.

They file back in pairs for their interviews. The room is kept completely quiet for the broadcast, so my camera is set aside. I sit on the floor at Johnny Depp’s feet, studying him as he talks from the couch.

He thinks carefully about his words, which have become measured and vaguely British. He is earnest about his portrayal of Tonto; humbled by his adoption into the Comanche Nation, an honor beyond all honors; deferential in his conversation with Wallace Coffey; touched by the gift from the tribe of a new beaded bolo with his character’s bird-bedecked silhouette from the movie.

I search his face, his eyes, his gestures for remnants of his cinematic self. There is not a glimmer of Edward Scissorhands, no hint of the kabuki-faced Mad Hatter, no crazed Sweeney Todd, no kohl-eyed Captain Jack. Maybe, in fact, he is more actor than musician after all.

As the interview proceeds, the handlers become anxious. Everything is way behind schedule. The air conditioner and fan have been turned off to establish radio quiet, and the room is getting warm.
No one dares interrupt, for fear of marring a key phrase.

As the questions wind down, I take some quick shots. The entourage begins to file out of the room. Wallace Coffey rejoins his wife, and Johnny Depp hangs behind for a couple of photos by himself.

We are done, and I sling the camera over my shoulder. He again reaches for my hand, clasping it tight. That would be three times in all, in case anyone was counting.

With everyone else gone, we chat and move toward the door. He pauses at the long mirror on the wall near the dresser, admiring his new beaded bolo.

It occurs to me that I am alone in a hotel room with Johnny Depp, and that he is calling me darlin’. The fact that he calls most everybody darlin’ does not matter. He speaks now not in the measured mid-Atlantic accent of the interview, but in a sort of honeyed, tobacco-tinged, Kentucky-smoked drawl.

His right hand – the one with four silver pirate rings and the crow tattoo peeking out beneath the cuff of his silk tux jacket – works to straighten his bolo.

As he aligns his regalia, I tell him I hope he will be able to enjoy himself, maybe even have a little fun – or a lot.

“I think I will!” He looks over his shoulder with an impish, unguarded smile that turns gleeful and then joyous, a quicksilver flash of unadulterated happiness. He pauses for just a second, and beckons me to follow.

We step into the second-floor hallway outside Room 210. He is engulfed by yellow lanyard-bedecked Disney handlers, police security and tribal officials ready to whisk him down Cache Road to the red carpet where he will brave Lawton’s shadeless heat and humidity in the 90s to greet the waiting crowd, shaking every outstretched hand within reach, autographing every picture thrust his way, signing several forearms, a pair of shoes and a long-haired girl’s hand-lettered poster with his Comanche name: Mah-Woo-Meh, the shapeshifter.

On the way out, the motorcade passes the Best Western sign as it keeps its vigil, flashing announcements to traffic off Exit 37. But for now, ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Depp has left the building.


Editor’s Note: This is the 13th installment in a continuing series as author and photographer M.J. Alexander chronicles her travels across the state of Oklahoma.

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Dr. Thomas Dickey
Website »

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is giving back to the local neighborhood with Feed Your Smile, a fundraiser supporting Concordia Life Care Community.  Show this flyer on your smartphone or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Telephone: 405-792-5112
Contact Name: Katy Fabrie
Website »

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

"Deliberately silencing the internal chatter and not overthinking. Conscious, but not over-trying. With this approach, things just seem to happen—it’s where all the substance is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

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Shop over 200 vendors at this indoor event with everything from vintage furniture, retro and mid-century decor to handmade goods, antiques, industrial finds and architectural salvage!

Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

Where:
Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
Contact Name: Kristen Grandi
Website »

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A Sporting Chance will host the 25th annual Track and Field Meet at Branson Junior High in Branson, Missouri. A Sporting Chance provides year-round sports and recreation programs designed for those...

Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

This one-day festival is rooted in the printing of large-scale woodblocks carved by local Oklahoma artists. We bring in a 5-ton steamroller and print pre-carved blocks throughout the day on Tyvek...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

Cost: Teachers receive a FREE All-Day Pass; family members get $5 off

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

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Get a sample of the nightlife of Spain at Tulsa Botanic Garden's "Viva La Vida." The Garden is bringing star chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro restaurants in Boston, NYC, Bangkok and...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

2nd annual gathering of "The Big Lebowksi" fans at The Dude Abides OKC All Oklahoma City Urban Achievers, Abiders and Coen Brothers fans are invited to join us at Fassler Hall OKC and...

Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
Website »

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