3415 S. Peoria
1990 - 1994

606 S. Elgin
1994 - 1997

216 N. Elgin


To all our supporters,

We as a group and as individuals wish to express our sincere sadness and disappointment for the closing of Ikon Downtown.  Like many of you, our hopes and aspirations for the club came to an abrupt halt this past June 2004.

  Since the original Ikon closed its doors in 1997, the “Ikon Spirit” lived on at Cain’s Ballroom with Retro Night, as well as many other dance and concert events.  Many people even referred to the historic venue as Ikain's during the period of 1997-1999.

  The idea or thought of bringing Ikon back to its own space never quite went away.  Potential rooms and warehouses were considered, and the club almost returned in 2000, however the elements required   for this endeavor were not quite in place.

  A few years later, and a few more rooms explored, all things seemed to come together in March of 2004, with the signing of a new lease for a new location back in downtown Tulsa.  This would mark the official third location for the club.

  One of the key ingredients to the success of Ikon has always been the stability of its core staff.  While other clubs changed personnel frequently, Ikon kept the same basic staff throughout its 7 ˝ year run and through the Ikain’s era as well.

  If Ikon were ever to return once again, the core staff had to be involved.  Some said yes right away, and others had to be convinced it was really happening this time.  There were one or two, due to logistics, who were not able to participate.  Two others, who are no longer with us, Nancy Souders, who customers and staff fondly called “Mom,” and Thomas Jimison, were there in spirit.  We honored them with a plaque at the front door. 

  With remodeling and painting underway, most of the original staff, plus new additions, bookings, a publicity and promotion campaign, the classic Ikon/Cain’s Retro Night returning, and much more,

Ikon Downtown version 3.0 was set for its grand opening Saturday May 1st.

  We knew the public would be excited; there had always been public excitement over rumors of the club returning through the years. Anytime word got out a room had been under consideration, there were those who drove around trying to find it.

  Ikon, in its original run from 1990-1997, was a nationally recognized music venue, both for concerts and for dance nights.

The list of artists who performed is staggering with some returning several times:  Thrill Kill Kult, Pavement, Dick Dale, Mudhoney, KMFDM, Filter, Medeski Martin&Wood, The Dead Milkmen, Rev. Horton Heat, Clutch, Goo Goo Dolls, Agent Orange, Pigface,

The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, Cake, Gravity Kills, and hundreds of others.

  The d.j. dance element of the club was also an important factor.  All three of Ikon’s original d.j.’s, 1) Michael Sanchez 2) Michael Eng (aka D.J. Snap) and 3) Mike Lee all represented three distinct eras for the club.  Each had their followings, and each made an impact.

  Ikon lived up to its name for many people.  Where else could you go in Tulsa, Oklahoma and see punks, Goths, ravers, hippies, and many other groups under one roof?  More than a few couples met at Ikon and are now married.  A couple of people have even named pets Noki (Ikon backwards).  The club's historical importance for the music and club scene in Tulsa is second only to Cain’s Ballroom.  The club had mentions in Spin Magazine, Details Magazine, and Alternative Press, all national and international magazines.

  The original Ikon nightclub officially opened its doors on December 14,1990 at 3415 S. Peoria in Tulsa’s Brookside area and operated there until the Spring of 1994.  Then in late Spring/early Summer, the club relocated to 606 S. Elgin in downtown Tulsa and became Ikon Downtown through the Spring of 1997.  A few months later, all Ikon activity was moved to Cain’s, ushering in the “Ikain’s” era from 1997-1999.

  So the pressure was on, not only to just be decent, but with such a rich history, we had to be great.  We were going to be under the scrutiny of the club’s real reputation and the reputation that has grown, as one Tulsa business owner put it, “to mythical proportions.”  The other area of concern was the important personal memories of our original regulars, and there were hundreds and hundreds of them.

  We knew we were dealing with those who used to go to the club, those who had heard all about it, and those who just knew a new club was opening.  We wanted to celebrate our history, but also look to the future.  In accomplishing that, the new venue would need a d.j., one who understood where we have been and guide our dance crowd to where we wanted to go.  That task fell to Jamison White, who became only the fourth resident d.j. in the club’s history.  For our retro night, long time Tulsa d.j., Sean Kibble returned to that position.  He was the person responsible for the over-whelming success of our Retro Nights at Cain’s Ballroom.

  So how does a venue like Ikon have an appropriate grand re-opening?  Elephants?  Skydivers?  A three ring circus?  Close.  How about flying in The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow?  We could have had a band or a dance night, but that would have been business as usual.  How about business as unusual?  Jim Rose and his cast of characters first graced the Ikon stage back in 1993.  Ikon’s promotion meets the P.T. Barnum of the alternative and his promotion.  Throw in belly dancers, and we might just have something.

  With all promotion in place, radio commercials and interviews, posters and fliers, articles and print ads, internet chatter and posts, and the cover of Tulsa World’s Spot Magazine, at 9pm May 1st,  2004, Ikon Downtown 216 N. Elgin officially opened its doors.

  A long line of well wishers, former regulars, the just curious, family, friends, some not so well wishers, and everyone else greeted us.

Almost everyone who came through the door that night received an Ikon button.  For those of us from the original club, it seemed as if time had stood still.  We did expect to see some of those faces from the “old days,” but nothing prepared us for this kind of turn out.  After the night was over, the attendance would climb to over 1,000 people.

  At around 10:15, The Desert Wind Belly Dancers entertained the crowd, then Jim Rose and company hit the stage and naturally put on an unforgettable performance.  For a better visual, check out our grand opening picture section.  After that, D.J. Jamison gave the crowd a taste of Ikon past and present.

  Throughout the evening, we heard nothing but compliments, thank yous, and thumbs up from those in attendance.  But did we live up to the hype, our past reputation, and most importantly, memories?  The census seemed to be a resounding yes.  The feedback would indicate that not only did we live up to that, (and that would have certainly been enough), but we even surpassed everyone's expectations.  Whew!

  For the former regulars, walking through our doors and seeing the same door staff, the same bar staff, and the same floor personnel, said they were home.

  Remember, it had been seven years since Ikon shut its doors, so to have that many original staff back was pure timing.  Had it happened a few years earlier, maybe we would not have been so lucky.

  On the first night, the staff was already a well-oiled machine; we expected a few glitches, but it did not feel like seven years had passed. 

  So, we were off and running, Retro Nights were doing very well with 250-350 in attendance and continuing to grow.  Our first concert on May 14th was Aqueduct, U.S.E., and The Red Stripes.  Over 400 attended and appeared to be quite happy.  On May 26, The Burden Brothers played the club, and the turnout was almost 500.  Did we have some slow nights?  Sure we did.  But with a full schedule of local and national acts booked for June and the rest of the Summer, with the promise of after hours dancing becoming legal again, the future looked damn bright.

  On June 7th, Sister Machine Gun who had played Ikon many times, returned to play along with Christ Analogue and Manufactura.  The bands were great, the Monday night turn out was so-so.  0n Friday, June 11, the local band, Maindrayn played a special, free outdoor acoustic set right outside the doors.  People brought lawn chairs, food, and drinks.  It was a blast.

  The elements of any epic story contain ups and downs, heroes and villains, love and hate, life and death, triumphs and tragedies.  Ikon's history is no different; we have certainly had our share, past and present.

  Many have claimed responsibility for our successes and our losses. One can easily recognize the importance of Ikon by the way people have loved it, and in the way some people have hated it.  If the venue were simply mediocre or insignificant, no one would care either way.  There have been attempts to copy it, and those have failed. Some have even claimed ownership to the name, have even stolen artwork, and claimed it to be theirs.  For the record, you too can have your own version of the name.  Just contact the Secretary of State.  Here are just a few suggestions:  Ikon Hall, Ikon Place, Ikon Burgers, Ikon Fried Chicken, Ikon Wannabe, Ikon But You Can’t, Ikon Hills Mall.  Just for the sake of creativity though, use your own artwork.

Plagiarism is serious business.

  The short-lived return of Ikon Downtown was not due to members of the staff in any shape, form, or fashion.  The staff, both original and new, accomplished what they set out to do.  What they said they were going to do in March is exactly what they did in May.

  In a perfect world Ikon would still be open today and continuing to accomplish all the plans and goals related to such a historic and respected music venue.

  Every successful individual, group, or organization that chooses to “step up” to any degree will always encounter opposition.  Ikon’s colorful history is no exception.  For every wonderful event that has taken place inside its walls from its original opening in 1990 to its closing in 1997 to it’s stay at Cain’s 1997-1999, and its brief re-emergence in 2004, there have always existed the “Not so well wishers.” Remember city councilperson vikki cleveland’s anti-afterhours campaign? Or neighbors on Brookside blaming the club for  all the trash that existed in the area or for incidents that happened on evenings the club was not open?

  Perhaps Albert Einstein said it best: “Great spirits encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

  We are proud of Ikon’s history and importance both locally and nationally and that can never be taken away.

  There is no music related venue, event, or group of individuals that can truly call themselves Ikon without the participation and endorsement of the majority of the names listed below.

  Among us, there was a desire to set the record straight.  We owed it to all who truly cared about what Ikon has meant.  With the amount of calls, inquires, and e-mails, we realized like never before just how much people cared and still do.  This is our reply.  Thanks for your interest.  Without you, Ikon would have never been just that, an icon.


Davit Souders Ray Ball Jon Morton
Corey Smith Ray Martinez  Robby Burleson
Kimberly Poplin Don Morgan Missy Rice-Smith
Tara Souders Jamison White Sean Kibble
Kirk Driver Scott Stillwell Mark Rice
Pamela Powlisz Heath Alves Jamie Davidson
Whitney Bender T.J. Kirkendall Steve Zuniga
Steve Ray Phil Welch

In our hearts forever:

Nancy “Mom” Souders

Thomas Jimison 

* IKON logo 1990 - 1994 created by Zack Matthews, IKON logo 1994 - 1997 created by Dave Fallis, IKON logo 2004 created by Todd Cooke/ Davit Souders.

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