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Mark About Town

The First Ward Salon Tulsa Interview Mark Perkins
The First Ward Salon Tulsa Interview Mark Perkins

If you live in the Tulsa area, you've probably seen this face around town. But what do any of us really know about Mark Perkins? He loves a good glass of wine, an impromptu trip anywhere in the world, and he cares deeply about our fair city.  We sat down with this local enigma to get to the bottom of the important issues. Like, what is his Bacon Number? And, does Jessica give accurate tarot readings?  


What does "hygge" mean to you?

The First Ward Salon Tulsa Interview Mark Perkins

One of the beautiful attributes of hygge, and what makes it tricky to define, is that it is a concept that means something a little different to everybody.  It is both personal and universal.  For me, it’s that moment in which you find yourself content.  It’s the sensation more than the fact of being physically and mentally comfortable and untroubled.  It is related to coziness, but it has an extra kick that makes it an understated, half-conscious half-subconscious joyful coziness inclusive of multiple senses.  

Imagine finding yourself cozy, lounging with your favorite person after a night full of laughter and solid conversation, looking into the fire but not focused on it, during one of those seven-minute silences (not an uncomfortable one…a reflective one with a half-grin), and, as the illumination in the room dances with familiar cadence, the fire crackles just right, both breaking and prolonging the silence as its done since the beginning of time, while the fragrance of burning wood comingles with the residual scent of that delicious meal you improvised earlier using the beautiful ingredients you picked up at the farmer’s market you stumbled upon while exploring that cool autumn morning.  Hygge.  Or, imagine lying in the cool grass, late in the afternoon, with the sun hitting everything at the right angle but your eyes, which are looking up at the uniquely-perfect-for-that-day clouds speckled across a big sky, while a breeze comes in waves, audibly (and visually in your periphery) rustling the leaves of the semi-distant trees, reminding you of when you were a kid, having the exact same sensation without a specific memory attached to it.  Hygge.

Everyone in Tulsa seems to know you.
Are you Tulsa’s Kevin Bacon?
Do you know Kevin Bacon?

I don’t know him, but my Bacon number is 3, which is pretty good.  I was in Bring It On with Kirsten Dunst, who was in Spider Man 3 with Theresa Russell, who was in Wild Things with Kevin Bacon. 

Oysters vs. Crawdads?

Well, I have a healthy obsession with crawfish.  My sister-in-law is from LA…she opened my eyes long ago.  It’s tough to beat a proper crawfish boil, or Cajun food in general for that matter. Frankly, the Dionysian outlook that permeates Cajun culture as I’ve seen it is something to be embraced and celebrated.  As a society, we probably need more of it, though not the caricaturization of it (if that’s a word).  And crawfish is the perfect representative of the culture that prepares it best.  

Crawfish has a latent, delicious beauty that needs to be teased out of it.  It needs spice, it craves attention, it likes to be complemented by other flavors without being overshadowed.  Ready to let loose and dance, it has a symbiotic relationship with the chef who prepares it.  In the hands of a good chef, crawfish reaches its apex, and is capable of doing so because it is ready to party.  Full of potential. Ready to burst forth in a flurry of bliss.  And the personality of the chef, and indeed the crowd gathered to enjoy it, emerges, uniquely, at every crawfish boil, and shines through in the flavor that is aroused.  Perfectly imperfect, ready to party, full of the emotion.  The yin to the yang. 

Oysters, on the other hand, don’t need any assistance.  The lucky ones are innately beautiful.  The last thing they need is encroachment, or some blowhard’s idea of what they should be.  Similar in their carefree attitude, but different in their state of contentment. They are what they are; a product of the environment from where they come.  And what they are shines through in their most natural state. The good ones were born with it, and are uninterested in being inspired to be anything else. Like Allen Iverson, they don’t give a fuck.  They are a product of their environment, they know with focused precision that the best thing they can offer the world is to be what they are not what someone else wants them to be.  When they have it, they have it, and nothing can make it better, especially not overbearing shit like horseradish.  Their flavor tells a story worth listening to, if you’re only willing to listen.  They taste like an experience worth experiencing.  They taste like the sea; they taste specifically like the sea from which they came.  If you give them the attention they deserve, they will take you to the particular stretch of the world they used to call home.  An oyster is a tour guide that will take you to a far away place you may not know, but that you can experience if you allow yourself to listen with all of your senses.  Oysters are like wine.  And, like wine, they should be the ones telling the story.

The First Ward Salon Tulsa Interview Mark Perkins

You have the hair of a Disney Prince. 
Which princess is your soulmate?
Who had the best hair? 

Well, my first love was Ariel, but I’ve grown up a little.  So I’ll go with Belle as my soul mate.  She’s adventurous, intelligent, curious, strong, and effortlessly beautiful.  She marches to the beat of her own drum, but is not self-centered.  She is in fact pretty selfless.  Her farthest adventure afield was for others. She is both picky and romantic, and obviously is open to trying new things.  She’s an idealist.  And finally, apparently, she will also soon be played by one of my celebrity crushes, Emma Watson. Icing on the cake.

Best hair?  They all have pretty great hair (except for Snow White, obviously).  Rapunzel…her hair is literally legendary.  But I can’t get past her name reminding me of a beastie boys lyric.  And, honestly, who wants their hair to be that long?  Nobody, that’s who.  Can you imagine all the hassles it would cause, even locked in a castle (pun intended)?  Belle has really great hair, but she’s my soul mate despite that not because of it.  She could do whatever she wanted with her hair and she’d still be elegant and gorgeous.  Jasmine is exotic and gorgeous, free spirited, curious, compassionate, beautiful, and strong.  She’s also innocent, stubborn, and can be a little sassy.  Adorable.  But I’ll go with Merida.  Can you believe those locks?  Get outta here!  I’d be that creepy guy at a party she didn’t really know who’d ask to touch her hair.  Men have died for less than a fistful of those locks! Curls for life!  Ride on, red hot mama, girl, you sure look good to me!

The First Ward Salon Tulsa Interview Mark Perkins

Where in the world is Mark Perkins going next (literally + figuratively)?

I have a few little trips planned, but I’m most excited about visiting the middle east in the fall.  A few weeks ago, I booked a round trip flight to Dubai for $671!  Dubai isn’t really my destination though…it’s just a transit hub on the other side of the world that I could get to on the cheap.  Aside from spending a few days in the UAE, I have a blank canvas for a couple weeks; I’m thinking some combination of Israel/Palestine/Jordan/Egypt.  Or maybe East Africa.  I’m not really sure yet, but it’ll be fun to plan.  I’m open to suggestions…

Figuratively, I have no idea.  Hopefully, it involves a whole lotta hygge.

Has anything in Jessica's tarot reading proven to be true?

Not really. I think the first card was off.  The Empress is always a part of who I am.  My future is what it is, and yet to be determined, but by definition cannot yet be proven true.  I hope to always be a spoke on the Wheel of Fortune, open to what comes, swept up in the momentum I create by conscientious decision-making. Destiny is the cocktail made of ingredients determined by good living.


As with any good mystery, we still have questions but feel once step closer to understanding Mr. Perkins. Thanks, Mark, for taking the time to chat with us. Now we're gonna go watch Bring It On in slow motion to see if he's telling the truth. 

- Team TFW

TFW in July, the Coolest Place Downtown

Are You Having a Great Summer? Don't July to Me!

The rain is gone, the swimsuits are out, and it's full blast summer funtimes. We are ready to kick back, so don't judge us when you see us at Magic Mike XXL. This month we have an interview with a special client, a shout out to our Tulsa Tough friends and a super early preview of a photo project we're working on. 


Meet Wendy Garrett, Creative Powerhouse

Wendy and Mr. Coppola. No big deal.

Wendy and Mr. Coppola. No big deal.

This month we would like to introduce you to a special client at The First Ward. When Wendy comes in for a haircut it always seems to end with us siting in a circle bouncing a thousand ideas around and feeling like we can take over the world. Wendy has worked on Broadway, in television and film production, and as a Walt Disney Imagineer (!) After a circuitous journey, Wendy now calls Tulsa home and we are so glad she does. Jessica did a quick interview with Wendy so that we can share with you some of the creative fuel that she gives when she comes to see us.

Jessica: When you're in for an appointment, I love that we talk about so many types of projects. How do you know if an Idea is any good?


Wendy: I like to bounce ideas off of a variety of people with different interests.  When an idea gets a positive response from a large percentage of folks… I feel better about it’s success to speak to enough of an audience to make it worth the effort.  I also like to talk about a variety of ideas in the hopes that those “mini brainstorms” might connect the ideas in ways that I can’t see on my own.  With all that said,  I do think it is equally important to fail, just fail small and early.  So if I’m really passionate about an idea,  I might put together a mini version to “play-test".  Play-testing is something we did at Imagineering quite a lot.  We would work on a project/new technology or creative idea for about 6 months to a year, then invite a limited audience to view it and give us honest feedback.  The honest feedback part is really important,  we didn't allow ourselves to “fall in love” with any idea.  We believed to be truly collaborative the idea must still be malleable,  it must be able to change and form into a better idea or you are wasting valuable collaboration time.

J: Where do you go in Oklahoma when you are looking for some inspiration?


W: I like to go to the coffee shops around town.  I feel a certain entrepreneurial energy there.  There are all these folks either meeting for the first time or working on a project… sipping coffee and sharing.  There is a certain excitement and optimism in the air.  I also, love my office area.  We have a co working environment in the Kendall Whittier area and the feeling there is very inspiring for me.  It reminds me of some small areas of New York before they got discovered.  Artists and Innovators can afford to be there, so some really cool stuff is being created behind those walls.  It’s a little forgotten and undiscovered… so the canvas is ours.

J: How is the creative process working here different than it was while working with Disney?


W: With Disney each of us was a specialist in our own area, so we had many people on projects and would work on many projects at the same time.  I would have up to 30 projects I was working on at one time.  On my own, I need to wear a lot more hats,  which I enjoy.  It has allowed me to be a student again and learn some new skills.  

I try to model my creative process off of what I learned at Disney and what Ed Catmull taught us from Pixar.  Couple of important points that I try and remind myself of when working are:  (1) It’s important to fail (2) Development and creative follow a process, but you can get out of order sometimes and that’s okay, just get back to the process as soon as possible to make it to the end.  But remember that getting the process right is not the goal, getting the idea or product right is.  (3) Address all problems and challenges when they come up,  don’t push them to the side or deal with them later.  (4) No one person on the team should have more authority than the rest,  I believe in a true collaboration that all folks must feel like their voice is heard and valued.  If someone or group of folks is controlling too much of the idea then the idea suffers.  (5) Do post mortems right away - 5 Good and 5 Bad. (6) Lastly, do the hard stuff first, then the rest of your day can be less stressful.

J: You know I'm a major Disney nerd. How can I get my other dream job as an Imagineer?

W: I would say, studying engineering in school and apply.  I am always encouraging students to pick Engineering…. I know so many smart folks with theater backgrounds and engineering educations that are doing amazing things at Disney…. Imagineering is always looking for smart folks… it’s never too late.   


Still the Best Weekend in Tulsa

The First Ward Hair Studio Tulsa Blog Tulsa Tough Cycling July 2015

Another Tulsa Tough bites the dust and still no one has fallen out a window. We want to give a huge shout out to everyone for helping us host our favorite party of the year.

Thank you to: our secret weapon Sarah Sullivan for the creation of our eternal bronze medal winning imaginary athletic team, May Yang for our new #firstwardwalls, Andrew Harmon for those lights that gave so many ptsd, Whiskey Business for getting us all drunk, Tanner and Sarah for not leaving when the ice ran out, Julian for keeping the weirdos out and everyone that played with us that night.


Can You Put a Price on Beauty?

The time has come for The First Ward stylists to get a raise! We are implementing a small price increase on September 1st. Recently, our product cost has risen. You'll also notice more support staff at the salon to better accommodate clients. The new prices will be posted on the website under 'Services'. If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call and ask. Now, let's get back to enjoying this summer!

We are Making Stuff!

The First Ward Hair Studio Tulsa Blog Photo Shoot July 2015

Recently, our good friend and rad photographer Adam Murphy approached us about collaborating on a lookbook. I think the best place to start on a project like this is ask yourself "what's the point of this?". Answering that was the easy part. We'd love to share our ideas about what makes a person beautiful and be able to express our philosophy about hair through a photo series.

Now, as we are heading into this process, we wanted to invite you to follow along. You can see where we're drawing inspiration from on our 1970s pinterest mood board and you will see our daily surrounding inspiration on instagram. Yes, the 70s are trending right now, but I assure you that James + Jessica have been have been pulling inspiration from that era since before they used to make out while listening to their favorite Heart album, Dreamboat Annie.