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Oklahoma City Pop Culture

If you’re looking to read up on Oklahoma before you visit, start with a classic: John Steinbeck’s "The Grapes of Wrath" follows one Okie family fleeing the Dust Bowl. Or pick up a copy of "I Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like" by Will Rogers, Oklahoma’s favorite son. For an insider’s history of the city, read Mark Singer’s "Funny Money," an account of the failure of local Penn Square Bank during the oil bust of the 1980s. Wonder what a tornado looks like? Rent "Twister," which won’t really tell you anything of use (most tornadoes do not pick up entire cows), but it features a cameo by local weather celebrity Gary England. And for a taste of what the Land Rush might have been like, check out the Tom Cruise classic "Far and Away." The film was shot mostly in Minnesota, but the scenes depicting the Land Run are still fairly accurate. TNT’s "Saving Grace," which went off the air in June of 2010, was set in Oklahoma City and included actual footage of some local spots, including the Oklahoma City National Memorial and downtown. And if you’re planning to eat at Mama E’s Waffles and Wings, be sure to catch the episode of Food Network’s "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" that features this local soul food institution. The Flaming Lips can provide the soundtrack for your Oklahoma City trip; the band hails from the metro area, and still comes back to town a couple of times a year to hang out.