Omaha Magazine May 2024 Adventure Issue

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When negligence takes a life, let an experienced trial lawyer stand by your side, fighting for the justice your loved one deserves. Call for a Free Consultation 402.682.7556 WRONGFUL DEATH: a preventable death caused by another person or business’ carelessness. TRIAL LAWYER • RIGHTEOUS FOR JUSTICE • FREE CONSULTATIONS

yawning infinity of the universe, and he is sharing that adventure with visitors to the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in his role as the organization’s president and CEO.

Use this issue of Omaha Magazine to inspire your next adventure, whether it be skydiving or fine dining. Adventure is at your fingertips and right around the corner.

*Note: The hotel edition of Omaha Magazine has a different cover and does not include all of the editorial content included in the magazine’s full city edition. For more information on our city edition, visit

MAY // 1 // 2024
RealEstate Company RealEstate Company
FEATURES THE USUAL SUSPECTS 001 From the Editor 3, 2, 1—Blast Off To Adventure 004 Between the Lines 005 Calendar of Events 026 Adventure Worth A Shot 030 History Marking History 073 Obviously Omaha Recreational Escapes 090 Explore! 096 Not Funny Just Ask George ARTS + CULTURE 012 Music Tom Jorgensen 014 TV Taylor Johnson 018 Visual David Jenowe 022 Poetry Matt Mason PEOPLE 028 Gen O UNO Global Ambassador Oluwaseye Odanye 054 Profile Nebraska Passport Program 050 Sports Jave Yoshimoto GIVING 058 Calendar 062 Spotlight Bravo Zulu Adventure Group TABLE of CONTENTS 034 040 TO INFINITY AND NEBRASKA Astronaut Clayton Anderson A SKYWARD VISION Joslyn Art Museum Expansion and Grand Reopening 038 QR // 2 // MAY 2024


For this cover, Omaha Magazine worked with Nebraska astronaut Clayton Anderson to spoof the moon landing, which some circles claimed to have been faked on a Hollywood sound studio. Members of art department joined in the fun for this photo shoot at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. Joey Winton works the boom, Renee Ludwick commands the camera, and Rachel Birdsall directs while Anderson “pretends” to float in zero gravity. Cover photo by Bill Sitzmann assisted by Sarah Lemke. Cover designed by Rachel Birdsall.

60PLUS 066 Active Living Mary Maxwell 068 Nostalgia Zager & Evans 070 Profile Greenblatt & Seay DINING 074 Feature Tamayta 078 Profile Kate Anderson of Carter & Rye 080 Review Sand Point 084 Dining Guide SPECIAL SECTION 044 Omaha's Super Lawyers QR QR 014 read current and previous issues online at 074
on your smart device and hover over the QR code.
Listen to the entire issue here. Open the camera




Omaha Managing Editor and Strategist

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman came to Omaha 25 years ago after marrying the love of her life and graduating from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The former managing editor on the magazine side, she is now managing editor for Omaha Publications’ Content Studios Omaha producing books, custom magazines, marketing collateral, and more  and contributes regularly to the magazines. She is on the boards of Iowa Women’s Alumni Network and Public Relations Society of America’s Nebraska Chapter. When not writing, she can be found watching movies and attending film festivals with her husband, local sound recordist Jeremy Wade Rodman or reading novels.


Julius Fredrick wears many masks. One of his favorites is his “writer” mask, which he whittles tirelessly for effect. It’s so convincing, he won a Great Plains Journalism award in 2020 for his first published article, no less. He enjoys bleak Russian literature and purple English tomes, though that could just be the mask talking. In truth, Fredrick probably wouldn’t recognize himself unadorned. As the late David Bowie once confessed: “So I turned myself to face me/But I’ve never caught a glimpse/How the others must see the faker/I’m much too fast to take that test.” So too, Fredrick keeps his dreams in motion.

KIM CARPENTER Editor-in-Chief, Omaha Publications

This is Jasper Caddis. He had nothing to do with the production of the magazine, but he loves to eat….really, really loves to eat. It’s his favorite thing next to being bossy. He joins those two loves by yelling [aka barking] at his mom, Kim Carpenter, who fittingly enough wrote the food review for this issue. Kim spent several years living abroad with her husband, John. There she developed a fondness for fine cuisine and learned that sometimes it’s the small mom-and-pop establishments that offer the best authentic fare. Excuse her, while she jumps to Jasper’s command to feed him dinner on schedule.

MAY 2024 VOLUME 42 // ISSUE II EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief KIM CARPENTER Senior Writer JULIUS FREDRICK Associate Editor & Staff Writer NATALIE VELOSO Assignment Editor & Staff Writer CLAUDIA MOOMEY Contributing Writers LEO ADAM BIGA · TAMSEN BUTLER · DAISY HUTZELL-RODMAN CHRISTOPHER J. MCLUCAS · CAROL NIGRELLI VERONICA WORTMAN PLOETZ LISA LUKECART · HOLLY MCATEE DOUGLAS “OTIS TWELVE” WESSELMANN CREATIVE Creative Director RACHEL BIRDSALL Senior Graphic Designer RENEÉ LUDWICK Graphic Designer II NICKIE ROBINSON Graphic Designer I JOEY WINTON Photo Editor SARAH LEMKE SALES DEPARTMENT Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing GIL COHEN Branding & Digital Specialists DAWN DENNIS · GEORGE IDELMAN GREG BRUNS · TIM McCORMACK FRANCINE FLEGG Publisher’s Assistant & OmahaHome Contributing Editor SANDY MATSON Senior Sales Coordinator ALICIA HOLLINS Sales Coordinator SANDI M cCORMACK OPERATIONS Business Manager KYLE FISHER Ad Traffic Manager DAVID TROUBA Digital Manager LUIS DE LA TOBA Distribution Manager DAMIAN INGERSOLL EXECUTIVE Executive Publisher TODD LEMKE Associate Publisher BILL SITZMANN For Advertising & Subscription Information : 402.884.2000 Omaha Magazine Vol 42 Issue II, publishes monthly except February, April, August, December, totaling 8 issues by Omaha Magazine, LTD, 5921 S. 118 Circle, Omaha, NE 68137. Periodical postage at Omaha, NE, and additional offices and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Omaha Magazine, 5921 S. 118 Circle, Omaha, NE 68137 // 4 // MAY 2024


The metro is jam packed with tons do—art, concerts, theater, festivals—we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive list and highlighted picks!

Art Music Festival


Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

May 18–September 14

724 S 12th St.

Raven Halfmoon's artistic practice encompasses a range of stoneware sculptures. From torso-scaled to colossal-sized pieces, some reach heights of nine feet and weigh over 800 pounds. Drawing inspiration from a multitude of sources spanning centuries, including ancient Indigenous pottery, Moai statues, and Land Art, Halfmoon delves into the intricate interplay among tradition, history, gender, and personal narrative. Th is exhibition showcases a curated selection of both new and borrowed works spanning the past five years, offering a glimpse into Halfmoon's evolving creative exploration. Hailing from Norman, Oklahoma, Halfmoon became impassioned with ceramics during her teenage years under the guidance of a Caddo elder. Primarily focusing on portraiture, she employs a meticulous hand-building technique using coils, which results in pieces that exude a profound sense of physicality. Her surfaces, marked by deep fi nger impressions and striking dripping glazes, seamlessly blend Caddo pottery traditions—historically associated with women— with contemporary populist elements, such as tagging her work as a nod to Caddo tattooing practices. 402.341.7130


Steelhouse Omaha

May 5, 6:30 p.m

1100 Dodge St.

Asking Alexandria is set to ignite Steelhouse Omaha with their “All My Friends Tour,” joined by special guests Th e Word Alive and Nerv. Known for its dynamic evolution, the British metalcore band, led by founder and guitarist Ben Bruce, has crafted a career defi ned by transformation. Initially emerging in the late 2000s, the band surged to prominence in 2013 with the release of their third album, "From Death to Destiny." Their eighth off ering, "Where Do We Go From Here?," boasts the group's second No. 1 Active Rock radio single, "Psycho," underscoring their enduring appeal. With over 43 million streams and 5 million YouTube views for its music and lyric videos, the album is a testament to their enduring influence. Produced and mixed by Matt Good, known for his work with Hollywood Undead and From First To Last, the album seamlessly blends the band's signature sound with experimental electronic elements, marking a pinnacle in their musical journey. 402.345.0606


Waterloo, NE

May 3-5 & 10-12 1150 River Rd Dr.

Junkstock: Spring Edition returns for two consecutive May weekends. Hailed by USA Today as one of the "10 unforgettable festivals worth traveling for," this iconic event promises another season of excitement. As Omaha's original vintage festival, Junkstock off ers a treasure trove of vintage fi nds, unique antiques, artisanal delights, and repurposed relics. Featuring over 200 junk and vintage vendors and artisans from across the nation, along with live music, delectable food trucks, and a free Kids Village, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Held amidst the picturesque setting of the century-old Sycamore Farms in Waterloo, the festival celebrates all things rustic, antiquated, and timeless. Combining the charm of a music festival with the thrill of a flea market, Junkstock welcomes pets and off ers free admission for children 12 and under, making it a family-friendly aff air not to be missed. 402.819.9002

MAY 2024 // 5 //

» Exhibitions


rough July 27 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. Th is exhibition presents a selection of color photographs of the architecture and interior spaces of the Blue House created by Cristina Kahlo, as well as vintage black-and-white photographs taken by Diego Rivera, Antonio Kahlo, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Florence Arquín and Juan Guzmán. 402.731.1137 —


May 3–5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Discover the artistry and science of bonsai with the Nebraska Bonsai Society. Members will share their passion for the art of styling trees, off ering insight into this ancient practice. Dedicated to advancing the art of bonsai in Nebraska and beyond, the society fosters a vibrant community centered on practice, education, and camaraderie. Explore the beauty and discipline of bonsai alongside fellow enthusiasts, while simultaneously enriching your understanding and appreciation. 402.346.4002  —



May 3–5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, transcends mere decoration, embodying a disciplined fusion of nature and human expression. Rooted in a philosophy of deep reverence for nature, Ikebana views each arrangement as a living entity. Visit this exhibition to discover how materials like leaves, grasses, blossoms, and living branches are meticulously curated to convey harmony and balance. Th is annual showcase features Ikebana creations from classical to contemporary schools, off ering a glimpse into the rich tradition and evolving creativity of this revered art form. 402.346.4002  —


May 6–June 7 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Experience the artistic endeavors of students from Arts For ME! (AFM) at KANEKO art center. AFM advocates for adaptive art programs for alternative students, passionately sharing their teaching philosophy and approach. Collaborating with educators and artists globally, AFM harnesses diverse perspectives and expertise to enrich the programs. Step into a world of student creativity, and witness the transformative power of art in fostering inclusivity and self-expression. 402.341.3800 —


rough May 12 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Embark on a Jurassic adventure like never before with BRICKLIVE Brickosaurs, making its debut in the United States at Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens. Behold 30 stunning dinosaur sculptures crafted from over 1.5 million bricks. Get up close to these iconic creatures and encounter a herd of majestic reptiles surrounded by prehistoric plants from the garden's collection. Th is dino-mite brick sculpture exhibition is included with garden admission and free for garden members, promising an unforgettable experience for all ages. 402.346.4002  —


rough May 26 at e Durham Museum, 801 S 10th St. Step into the enchanting world of TOYTOPIA, developed by Stage 9 Exhibits, where cherished childhood memories come to life. Rediscover the magic of your favorite toys amidst larger-than-life exhibits, including the “World’s Largest Etch-A-Sketch,” a life-size Monopoly car and board, a retro arcade, and a life-size dollhouse. Delve into the origins of beloved toys, learn about the makers behind them, and uncover the enduring appeal of classics. Specialty exhibits from renowned toymakers like Hasbro®, Duncan Yo-Yo®, and Crayola® await, promising a nostalgic journey for visitors of all ages. 402.444.5071 —


rough May 27 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Inspired by the scientific tradition of botanical illustration, this exhibition's photographs off er a unique perspective on natural beauty. Buck Christensen employs a minimalist aesthetic to uncover the intricate architecture of botanical design, revealing the often-overlooked structures, patterns, colors, and textures throughout a plant's lifecycle. Delve into the mesmerizing world of botanical portraits, where every detail highlights all phases of a plant’s life cycle waiting to be explored. 402.346.4002


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May 1 at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. Experience an unforgettable musical journey spanning two decades of award-winning songwriting. Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors transform each performance into a vibrant celebration of community and contemporary American roots music. Produced by Cason Cooley, their ninth album, "Strangers No More,” embodies this spirit of togetherness. With a blend of timeless songwriting, modern folk, Americana, and heartland rock, the album off ers a panoramic view of the band's evolution and future direction. Each track invites listeners into the world of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, promising an immersive experience like no other. 402.345.7569 —


May 3, 6:30 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Amon Amarth is a renowned Swedish melodic death metal band known for their thunderous sound and Viking-inspired themes since their formation in 1992. With acclaimed albums like "Twilight of the Thunder God," they've solidified their status as genre icons. Arrive early to witness electrifying performances by Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, and Frozen Soul, ensuring an unforgettable metal experience from start to fi nish. 402.345.0606 —


May 7 at e Admiral eater, 2234 S 13th St. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Beth Hart is an acclaimed American musician whose rise to fame was propelled by her 1999 hit single "LA Song" from the album "Screamin' for My Supper." A Grammy-nominated artist, Hart's music seamlessly blends blues-rock with slow-burn jazz, soul, and blues influences, as evidenced in her recent albums. With her powerful vocals and emotive songwriting, Hart captivates audiences with a dynamic musical journey that resonates with listeners worldwide. 402.345.7569 —


May 10, 7:30 p.m., at Holland Center of Performing Arts, 1200 Douglas St. Experience the powerhouse vocals of lead singer Keith Roberts as the Young Dubliners, one of the world's premier Celtic Rock bands, take the stage at the Holland Music Club. With a solid lineup and a fresh set of songs, they continue to captivate audiences after 30 years in the industry. Currently working on their 10th studio album, the band, featuring Keith Roberts, Chas Waltz, Justin Pecot, Dave Ingraham, and Ethan Jones, is dedicated to bringing live music back into people’s lives with their signature blend of Celtic energy and rock fervor. 402.345.0202 —


May 7, 8 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Join multi-talented Lo-fi musician and artist Ty Segall on his U.S. tour alongside Sharpie Smile. Initially gaining recognition as the frontman of garage rock revivalists, the Epsilons, Segall's solo career has seen him explore diverse musical avenues. While the Epsilons embraced a raw rock sound, Segall's solo album "Lemons" showcases a more traditional approach, echoing '60s guitar tones with vintage reverb. With a penchant for experimentation and a knack for reimagining retro vibes, Segall transcends genre boundaries. 402.884.5353



May 11–12 at Holland Center of Performing Arts, 1200 Douglas St. Indulge in the timeless allure of Broadway classics as your Omaha Symphony, accompanied by a stellar cast of vocalists, brings Romantic Broadway back to the Holland. Maestro Ernest Richardson leads the orchestra in a journey through beloved love stories and classic favorites. Prepare to be enchanted as talented vocalists join forces with the orchestra, delivering unforgettable renditions of the Broadway tunes that hold a special place in your heart.




May 16, 6:15 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Prepare for an explosive night as Steelhouse Omaha hosts the “Machine Killer Tour” featuring Static-X and Sevendust, alongside DOPE and Lines of Loyalty. Th is epic reunion tour harks back to 1999 when Sevendust, Static-X, and DOPE burst onto the scene, creating waves with their unforgettable performances. Now, after over two decades, these powerhouse bands come together once more to reignite the energy and excitement of that iconic era. Don't miss this unforgettable journey through rock history as these legendary acts hit the stage together again after 25 years. 402.345.0606 —


May 16, 7:30 p.m., at Holland Center of Performing Arts, 1200 Douglas St. Emerging from a Southern Utah piano shop, The Piano Guys have evolved into an unstoppable musical force. Comprising Jon Schmidt (pianist, songwriter), Steven Sharp Nelson (cellist, songwriter), Paul Anderson (producer, videographer), and Al van der Beek (music producer, songwriter), this quartet has quickly risen to prominence with their boundary-breaking compositions. Seamlessly blending classical and pop, they redefi ne popular songs with stunning arrangements that appeal to audiences across genres. With bold creativity and unmatched talent, The Piano Guys continue to push the boundaries of musical expression. 402.345.0202



May 16, 7:30 p.m., at e Admiral eater, 2234 S 13th St. Formed in Orange County, California in 2012, Dayseeker is an American post-hardcore band. Led by vocalist Rory Rodriguez and featuring guitarist Gino Sgambelluri, bassist Ramone Valerio, and drummer Mike Karle, the group brings their signature sound to the stage. With fi ve studio albums under their belt, Dayseeker showcases their talent and energy, delivering a dynamic performance that's not to be missed. Signed to Spinefarm Records, they continue to enthrall audiences with their powerful music.



// 8 // MAY 2024


May 17 at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. X Ambassadors, a multi-platinum trio, was founded by brothers Sam Nelson Harris (vocals, guitar, saxophone, bass) and Casey Harris (piano, keys) during their high school years in Ithaca, New York. Upon relocating to Brooklyn, they welcomed Adam Levin (drums) into the fold. Since their inception in 2009, the band has left a mark on the alternative music scene. Their debut album, "VHS" (2015), achieved Platinum status, off ering a glimpse into Sam and Casey's upbringing. Featuring chart-topping singles like "Unsteady" and "Renegades," the album has amassed over 1.3 billion streams on Spotify, propelling the band on a three-year world tour. 402.345.7569 —


May 17, 8 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Duran Duran bring their musical legacy to Steelhouse Omaha to celebrate the venue’s one-year anniversary. Providing the ultimate soundtrack to a memorable night, enjoy live hits like “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World.” Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022, Duran Duran has sold over 100 million albums around the world and has earned two GRAMMY® Awards. 402.345.0606



May 21, 8 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Omaha welcomes Maddie Zahm, one of America’s newest pop sensations, presenting her debut album “Now Th at I’ve Been Honest.” Bursting onto the scene with the viral hit “Fat Funny Friend,” Zahm's music has resonated deeply, serving as an empowering anthem against fatphobia, societal pressures, and body dysmorphia. Her 2022 EP “You Might Not

Like Her,” chronicles her journey from leaving her hometown to coming out as queer in Los Angeles. With highly personal songwriting and a powerhouse voice, she has cultivated a dedicated following, selling out her North American tour in Spring 2023. Her presence on TikTok, boasting 175 million streams, a million fans, and 3 billion views with 250 thousand videos set to "Fat Funny Friend," has fostered a vibrant community of supporters. 402.884.5353 —


May 24, 7:30 p.m., at Holland Center of Performing Arts, 1200 Douglas St. Step into the extraordinary world of David Bowie's iconic journey, from space-aged rock idol to polished mainstream star. “Space Oddity: The Ultimate David Bowie Experience” off ers a multimedia spectacle, guiding you through Bowie's ever-evolving career. Backed by the Omaha Symphony, David Brighton and his band deliver a theatrical concert event, recreating Bowie's timeless classics with stunning precision. Experience the magic of Bowie's most exhilarating moments as this live performance transports you back in time to the pinnacle of rock music history. 402.345.0202 —


May 30, 7:30 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Don't miss Riley Green as he brings the “Ain't My Last Rodeo Tour” to Steelhouse Omaha. Th e American country music singer and songwriter, signed to BMLG Records since 2019, has made waves with albums like “Diff erent 'Round Here” (2019) and “Ain't My Last Rodeo” (2023). Hailing from Jacksonville, Alabama, Green's musical roots are deeply embedded in old traditional Country, Bluegrass, and Southern Gospel sounds. 402.345.0606 —


May 19, 2 p.m., at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Dr N. Experience the majestic sounds of the organ in Respighi’s “Suite for Organ and Strings” followed by a virtuosic performance of Lukas Foss’s “Th ree American Pieces for Violin and Orchestra” by Concertmaster Susanna Perry Gilmore at the Strauss Performing Arts Center. The afternoon begins with Respighi’s stirring "Suite for Organ and Strings," showcasing the glorious organ's resonance. Complementing this Joslyn Series concert is Respighi's "Trittico Botticelliano," which vividly depicts three famous paintings by Sandro Botticelli. Copland's haunting and atmospheric “Quiet City” then explores the solitude of urban life in New York City, featuring soloist debuts by Heather Baxter, Omaha Symphony’s Assistant Principal Oboe and English Horn, and Federico Montes, Omaha Symphony’s Associate Principal Trumpet. 402.554.3411



May 30, 8 p.m., at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, Wednesday is an American alternative rock band signed to Dead Oceans. The band lineup includes vocalist Karly Hartzman, guitarist Jake Lenderman, lap steel player Xandy Chelmis, drummer Alan Miller, and bassist Ethan Baechtold. Their music is akin to a collection of short stories, capturing the essence of the American South through vivid portraits and disparate moments that seamlessly coalesce into a cohesive whole. 402.345.7569 —


May 22, 7:30 p.m., at Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St. Hailing from New Jersey, Bleachers is the brainchild of songwriter and record producer Jack Antonoff. Th e band’s rock sound draws inspiration from the late '80s and early '90s, evoking the nostalgia of John Hughes' high school fi lms infused with modern production techniques. Blending elements of indie pop, New Wave, and alternative rock, Bleachers promises an electrifying performance. Don't miss the opportunity to catch Samia as the opening act!



MAY 2024 // 9 //


May 30, 8 p.m., at e Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The Waiting Room Lounge introduces VIOLENT VIRA, a powerhouse female rock vocalist and Mexican-American songwriter. Her singles “God Complex” and “I Don’t Care” have garnered millions of streams, catapulting her into the spotlight. Renowned for her exceptional vocal prowess, she draws comparisons to icons like Paramore’s Hailey Williams and Morgan Landers of Kittie. With a broody and dark sound that permeates her music, VIOLENT VIRA shines brightly in today's alt-rock landscape. Catch her alongside Alexis Munroe & Max Diaz for an unforgettable night of music. 402.884.5353



May 31 at Slowdown, 729 N 14th St. Experience the epitome of Southern Rock with Southern Nights. The seven-piece group based in Omaha delivers an authentic tribute to the sound of Southern Rock, captivating audiences with period-accurate instrumentation, impeccable musicianship, and electrifying energy. Led by Georgia native Brian Eckleberry, each member pays homage to legendary artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and The Allman Brothers Band. With sold-out shows and thousands entertained, Southern Nights transports listeners back in time, delivering performances that honor the essence of this iconic musical era. 402.345.7569 —


May 31–June 1 at Holland Performing Arts Center Performing Arts, 1200 Douglas St. Listen to the electrifying collaboration between Principal Percussionist of the San Francisco Symphony, Jacob Nissly, and Maestro Ankush Kumar Bahl as they present Adam Schoenberg's “Losing Earth” Percussion Concerto with the Omaha Symphony. Dedicated to Nissly, this powerful work delves into the urgency of climate change while showcasing his virtuosic skills. Prepare for an emotional journey with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique,” as its bold melodies and poignant themes resonate deeply. Th is musical masterpiece promises to leave a lasting impression, kicking off your summer with its timeless beauty and emotional depth. 402.345.0202




May 3 & 5 at Orpheum eater, 409 S 16th St. Opera Omaha presents an enthralling musical portrayal of iconic Mexican artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, in a collaboration between Grammy Award-winning composer Gabriela Lena Frank and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz. Set against the backdrop of a Día de los Muertos tradition, Rivera yearns to reunite with Kahlo one last time. Th rough candlelit scenes and the scent of marigolds, they traverse Kahlo's paintings and memories, reimagining their passionate yet tumultuous love story. Join them on a journey of blossoming relationships and profound self-discovery, capturing the essence of their lives and artistry. 402.661.8501 —


rough May 12 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Discover the unexpected hilarity in a funeral gathering turned uproarious in this heartwarming family comedy. As the Jenkins family reunites to honor their patriarch's life, hidden secrets emerge. Amidst the chaos, confl icting family members are pushed to embrace each other wholly—their virtues, fl aws, and comical quirks. “Chicken and Biscuits” showcases a journey of acceptance, emphasizing the enduring bonds and devotion within a family, proving that amidst the laughter, love remains the cornerstone of this tale. 402.553.0800 —


May 11–12 at Orpheum eater, 409 S 16th St. Embark on an enchanting journey with American Midwest Ballet as they present the world premiere of Cinderella, a magical full-length story ballet. Th is uplifting rendition of a beloved tale transcends generations and cultures, celebrating the timeless belief that good things happen when the time is right. Choreographer Erika Overturff weaves together the artistry of classical ballet, featuring brilliant dancing, spectacular settings, and rich costuming to guide the heroine through an intimate yet grand adventure. Prepare to be charmed, amused, and enchanted as Cinderella's story unfolds with humor and a sprinkle of magic. 402.661.8501 —


May 18 at Holland Center of Performing Arts, 1200 Douglas St. Explorer, talk show host, and author Josh Gates from the hit Discovery Channel series, “Expedition Unknown” and “Josh Gates Tonight,” brings an evening of adventure to an Omaha stage. Gates takes the audience on a global journey with off-the-map stories from his greatest expeditions, delving into some of the greatest mysteries of the world—and keeping you on the edge of your seat with tales of his most thrilling discoveries. 402.345.0202 —

// 10 // MAY 2024


May 28–June 9 at Orpheum eater, 409 S 16th St. Get ready to celebrate as “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” takes center stage in Omaha, triumphing with 10 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical. Step into a world of opulence, romance, and extravagant spectacle, where Bohemians and aristocrats mingle in a whirlwind of enchantment. Baz Luhrmann's iconic fi lm gets a vibrant new life on stage, remixed into a dazzling musical extravaganza. Directed by Tony Award® winner Alex Timbers, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” has an all-star creative team, including Tony Award® winners John Logan, Justin Levine, and Sonya Tayeh. 402.661.8501 —



May 4–5, 11–12, & 18–19 at Bellevue Berry Farm, 11001 S 48th St. Get ready for the return of Nebraska's Renaissance festival, happening over the fi rst three weekends in May! Indulge in a turkey leg and transport yourself to an era of royalty and chivalry. Experience thrilling full-contact equestrian jousting, enjoy performances on six unique stages showcasing local and national talent, and mingle with over a hundred costumed characters and skilled artisans. Each weekend off ers a diff erent adventure: “Bards and Blades” for Weekend 1, “Celts and Creatures” for Weekend 2, and “Minions of Misrule” for Weekend 3. Bring the whole family and immerse yourselves in a world where knights wore shining armor and royalty reigned supreme. 402.915.1575 —


May 6 & 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Join Lauritzen Gardens for a special event: the garden goes to the dogs! Bring your furry companions for a leisurely stroll through scenic grounds, embracing the great outdoors together. It's a relaxed and enjoyable opportunity for the whole family, including your four-legged friends, to explore 100 acres and miles of trails. Water and treats will be provided at various stations throughout the garden, ensuring a delightful experience for all. 402.346.4002  —


7 private party rooms

Seating up to 400 | Lots of parking

1620 S. 10th Street 402-345-8313


May 10–11 at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, 28500 W Park Hwy. Visit Mahoney State Park for the 11th annual Sip Nebraska Festival! Th is event is your passport to discovering and savoring the best wines, beers, and spirits from across the state. Indulge in unlimited tastings of wine, craft beer, hard cider, and more to fi nd your perfect pour. Whether you prefer a smooth wine or a crisp beer, there's something to delight every palate. Explore artisan vendors, sample delectable treats from food trucks, and enjoy live music while soaking in the springtime ambiance of Mahoney State Park. Sip Nebraska is a cherished tradition that unites local beverage enthusiasts and creators, celebrating Nebraska's vibrant beverage industry with every sip. 402.944.2523   —


May 10–12 at S 24th St. Experience the vibrancy of the Cinco de Mayo Omaha (CDMO) festival, presented by Casa de la Cultura. Nebraska's premier cultural event takes place along the historic South 24th Street, as the festival boasts live music, carnival rides, a parade, diverse food off erings, health fair, and engaging activities. Join Omaha's largest and most diverse parade on May 11 at 9 a.m. Over the three-day weekend, this dynamic festival draws over 200,000 visitors from six neighboring states, with approximately 65% of visitors celebrating their Latino heritage.  —


May 15, 7:30 p.m., at Holland Center of Performing Arts–Scott Recital Hall, 1200 Douglas St. Presented by Omaha Performing Arts’ Hip Hop Lab, the “Graffiti and Urban Art Culture Talk” is a free event, but registration is necessary. Stop by for the fi nal “Culture Talk” of the season, delving into the artistic intricacies of graffiti through canvas exhibits. Led by Hugo Zamorano, Alexander Houston, and other experts, this conversation off ers insight into the creative process behind urban art. Hip Hop Lab’s Culture Talks adopt a TEDx Style format, off ering engaging discussions to enlighten audiences about the rich history and culture of hip hop. 402.345.0202 —

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2023 Winner
Serving Omahafor 78Years MAY 2024 // 11 //

“A repeating thought came to me during the performance that I’ll never forget: ‘This is possibly the sweetest sounding audience I’ve ever heard’— the acoustics, the clarity, the sonic fullness of their cheers and applause took my breath away.”

-Tom Jorgensen

Drummer Tom Jorgensen Keeps Traveling Time FROM THE BIG O TO THE GREAT WHITE WAY

The smooth jazz interpretation of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” as performed by cover artists Postmodern Jukebox differs markedly from the calypso beat of Harry Belafonte’s “Day-o (Banana Boat Song)” in Broadway’s “Beetlejuice: The Musical,” but Omaha native Tom Jorgensen has kept time for these songs—and many more.

His drumming adventure began around age 3, when his maternal uncle gifted him a practice pad and sticks, but he began formally studying drums at 11 after receiving his uncle’s drum kit as a gift.

Th roughout Jorgensen’s youth in Omaha, Dana Murray (founder and executive director of North Omaha Music & Arts) was his primary teacher and a significant influence. He attended the arts magnet Beveridge Middle School, where Murray had created a satellite program for drumming, then he enrolled at Burke High, where Murray served as drumline instructor.

There, Jorgensen became tenor captain and was instrumental in pushing the drumline to become an award winner. He and his peers became the fi rst of several drumlines under Murray to win a state percussion title with Burke garnering that distinction three out of Jorgensen’s four years, according to the drumline instructor. Jorgensen also marched with Murray’s private drumline, Dojo Percussion, which won the 2010 Winter Guard International championship in Dayton, Ohio.

“I think the thing that sticks out most about Tom is his passion, I think a lot of people love something when actually they [just] like it a lot,” Murray said. “It was apparent that he just loved everything about drumming and music, and it was apparent in his work ethic… He grasped concepts really fast and seemed to be more intuitive than most of his peers… You never had to question his work ethic or how hard he was working on his skill sets. He was really self-motivated.”

After graduating from Burke, Jorgensen moved to New York City to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he furthered his music studies,

specifically jazz drumming. He comes by this interest naturally—his maternal grandfather, Wayne Scott, was a pianist and professor at University of Colorado Boulder, where he founded the CU jazz band.

At The New School, Jorgensen studied with former John Coltrane bassist Reggie Workman as a member of the school’s revered John Coltrane Ensemble, along with former Dizzy Gillespie drummer Charli Persip. The school’s faculty also included former Dizzy Gillespie and Alice Coltrane drummer Michael Carvin, whom Jorgensen still considers a mentor.

In 2014, after earning a degree in jazz and contemporary music, Jorgensen became the house drummer on a Holland America ship to Europe, marching to the beat of the world from oc ean waters.

The gig on cruise ships led to working with Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ), a rotating musical collective known for reworking popular modern music into vintage genres. In 2017, Jorgensen was in New York City when he received a phone call from a colleague at Holland America, saying Postmodern Jukebox was installing a speakeasy on the cruise line’s Eurodam ship.

As he researched PMJ, he thought, “Th is is an amalgamation of things I love doing,” Jorgensen said. “Th is is exactly what I love. It’s a month, it’s a trial run…I’m thankful I said yes.”

PMJ loved Jorgensen's work onboard Holland America so much that they called him back in November 2018 to perform in their seven-week European Tour, traveling from Bristol in the United Kingdom to Istanbul in Turkey. One year later, he again drummed for PMJ on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, which kept him traveling from one city to another through all the region’s states and territories. The tour's highlight involved playing to a sold-out crowd at the Sydney Opera House.

“I remember the night being one of my favorite, and most musically-satisfying performances I’ve personally given,” Jorgensen said. “A repeating thought came to me during the performance that I’ll never forget: ‘Th is is

possibly the sweetest sounding audience I’ve ever heard’—the acoustics, the clarity, the sonic fullness of their cheers and applause took my breath away.”

As the professional drummer traveled the southern hemisphere, another musical opportunity presented itself. He returned to the Big Apple to play drums on the fi rst national tour of “Waitress: The Musical,” eventually subbing as a drummer on Broadway.

It was fellow “Waitress” drummer, Phil Martin, who recommended that Jorgensen drum for another Braodway show.

“We stayed connected,” Jorgensen said about his friendship with Martin, who traveled to Omaha earlier this year as the drummer on the North American tour of another percussion-heavy production, “The Lion King.” “Our musical director on ‘Beetlejuice’ briefly subbed for ‘L ion King.’”

Th at musical director was simultaneously hiring for a new touring production of “Beetlejuice: The Musical.” Jorgensen shared, “[Martin] said, ‘I think Tom would be a good addition to your show.’”

Within fi ve days of sending the musical director his bio, Jorgensen was off ered the drumming job on the new touring production. Th e show played for a week in Omaha this past winter and is running at least through mid-August this year, at which time Tom and his drum kit hope to march off on a new adventure.

Visit for more information.

MAY 2024 // 13 //




// 14 // MAY 2024
"That's a lot of people's dream, you know, to make it to the network level. Even if it was just for one day, you know, I did it.”
—Taylor Johnson

Taylor Johnson instinctively reached out to a familiar place after 22 people were shot in Kansas City on February 14 KCTV5.

A broadcast reporter for 6 News WOWT, Johnson had worked previously at KCTV5, and when the Kansas City station contacted their sister station in Omaha asking for help covering the tragedy, the journalist didn’t hesitate to answer the call.

“They needed some help with coverage to give their staff a break,” Johnson explained. “They’d just spent the week in Vegas for the Super Bowl, followed by the parade and then the shooting.”

The high-profile shooting itself may have been somewhat unusual, but Johnson jumping into the thick of a story and connecting with people was completely on par for this young reporter.

Johnson started broadcasting news in middle school by reading the morning announcements, and eventually, she realized journalism would be an ideal job for her. With characteristic verve, she dove headlong into the idea, starting by attending the University of Maryland in College Park.

After graduating, the Baltimore native found a job in a communications department in Washington, D.C., but her passion for reporting stories was not satisfied nor would it be as a recent graduate in one of the top 10 news markets in the United States.

That’s how she decided to apply for digital content producer positions, thinking it would be a way to stay in D.C. Then, she received a phone call from Lynchburg, Virginia, and landed a job there as a web producer.

Although Johnson was excited to be in a newsroom, her real dream was to be on-air; however, she didn’t have a good newsreel highlighting her broadcasting skills. While in Lynchburg, she created stories from a friend’s unused raw footage, eventually applying for an open position within the company. She didn’t get that one, but the tenacious, vivacious young woman eventually landed in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 2020.

While there, she reported on community news like the outdoor dining event “Eat the Streets.” As she excelled at the station, she also filled in at the anchor and weather desks or produced segments. On January 14, 2021, she was asked to be a media witness to the execution of Corey Johnson, the twelfth in a string of 13 executions that happened in Terre Haute between 2020 and early 2021. Johnson reported on-scene calmly, giving details from the sides of both the inmate and victims’ families. The story was a testament to her professionalism.

“It was a little jarring, though, because, you know, they had the glass [for witnesses to see through to the execution room],” Johnson said. “And so when he died, the victims’ families, they were like cheering, and that's what really threw me off.”

Unsurprisingly, bigger markets called, and in May 2021, she was offered the job in Kansas City.

The City of Fountains gave Johnson the chance to continue her work in broadcast news, but with the larger market came fewer opportunities to advance into anchor positions.

As she was thinking what her next move might be, a major story gave Johnson the chance to show her reporting to national viewers.

In June 2022, an Amtrak train derailed near Mendon, Missouri, when it struck a dump truck and obstructed the crossing. CBS, of which KCTV is an affiliate, chose to use local reports for their national coverage, including one of Johnson’s that appeared on CBS Mornings.

// 16 // MAY 2024

Former NFL player and anchor Nate Burleson introduced the clip in which Johnson reported from the side of a crop field some distance away from the wreckage. She ended the report by saying, “Gayle,” as she sent the broadcast back to anchor Gayle King.

“It’s…bittersweet, because it was exciting for me, but it was a sad story,” Johnson said. “For once, my family and my friends could watch me on TV. That's a lot of people's dream, you know, to make it to the network level. Even if it was just for one day, you know, I did it.”

Encouraged by this prominent story, Johnson created a new reel and posted it to YouTube. Within a couple of days, she was contacted by 6 News WOWT News Director Dave Kaplar, who told Johnson he had an opening for a weekend anchor.

Serese Cole, 6 News Daybreak anchor at WOWT and Johnson’s co-worker, said, “She is extremely goal oriented and a go-getter. She knows what she wants to do, what kind of reporter she wants to be in Omaha, and is excellent when it comes to cultivating story ideas.”

As with Indiana and Kansas City, the outgoing reporter said “yes” to this new opportunity. Today, Johnson can be seen on-air as the weekend evening anchor and reporter, and she has dazzled many with her on-air presence, including Cole.

“I knew Taylor was talented because she was a weekend anchor in Kansas City,” Cole said. “But I was even more impressed after anchoring my first show with her at WOWT. She really is a natural. She's sharp, conversational, funny, and quick on her feet.”

While Omaha is home for the moment, Johnson is unsure where her next adventure will take her. One thing, however, is certain: she’s going to go big, or go to a new home.

For more information about Taylor Johnson, visit

“She is extremely goal oriented and a go-getter. She knows what she wants to do, what kind of reporter she wants to be in Omaha, and is excellent when it comes to cultivating story ideas.”
— Serese Cole
TV MAY 2024 // 17 //

Paintbrush in One Hand, Mailbag in the Other

artist’s house is never just a house. Framed paintings and collages decorate every wall of David Jenowe’s residence, winding up the staircase toward his master bedroom-turned studio. As his eyes sweep over his studio walls, they meet the gaze of a silent observer: a photograph of artist Peter Dean, a luminary of the Rhino Horn group in 1970s New York City. Dean’s watchful eyes serve as inspiration; a witness to the evolution of Jenowe’s style over time. In this house lives an artistic legacy, one inherited from his father, whose passion similarly adorned their chi ldhood home.

Jenowe passed this torch to his son, Jack, now 20. Together, they create the “Knalbtown Scroll”—a world of free-association cartoons spanning 110 feet of newsprint paper from the Omaha World-Herald. The scroll embodies years of shared laughter at the living room table. Jack’s childhood self-portrait hangs in the kitchen, while an enlarged doodle, painted and framed by Jenowe, hangs above the staircase—early tributes to his son’s talent and the artistic spirit nurtured within these walls.

With such a personal passion, Jenowe’s day job as a letter carrier with the US Postal Service seems worlds apart from his artistic endeavors. Yet, juxtaposing the routine of daily mail rounds in Omaha, his art often takes him to international showcases. Jenowe considers his letter carrier role completely separate from his art, fi nding it allows him to create without u ndue stress.


David Jenowe’s Global Artistry

// 18 // MAY 2024
MAY 2024 // 19 //
“...being an Omaha artist means I want to connect with others here and see what my community is doing.”
–David Jenowe

“When I get home, I don’t think about my job at all,” he laughed. “It allows me to pay my bills and make money for my paint and materials—it frees my mind up for creativity.”

Jenowe’s artistic journey fi rst brought him to Omaha in 1997, where his father’s Lakin Jones Gallery served as a platform for showcasing his work alongside the Rhino Horn group’s pieces.

Although the gallery closed its doors that same year, Jenowe remained in Omaha. A brief interlude in Delaware, where Jenowe welcomed the birth of his son, was also where he began working as a letter carrier—a role he has held since his return to Omaha in 2003. Primarily an oil and acrylic painter, Jenowe’s style today is rooted in abstract expressionism—a nod to the collection his father amassed from Rhino Horn.

“There’s a rhythm to it, like jazz music—each piece tells me what to do, and I try to listen to what it wants,” Jenowe said. “Sometimes I’ll start off with an idea and the piece will change as I’m working on it.”

While Jenowe resides in Omaha, his international presence stems from the Global Art Project (GAP) and the 10dence platform. Founded by Carl Heyward, GAP is a worldwide collective to unite mixed-media artists, allowing Jenowe to showcase works focusing on collages in countries like Belgium, France, Spain, and Argentina.

“I see collages as freeing, relatively fast exercises,” he explained. “The challenge with GAP is that the ideas for those collages are coming from them, so it’s a mental exercise of incorporating someone else into my work.”

“David’s engagement with GAP has been a story of shared growth and artistic vision, fostered through our connections on social media,” Christopher Padgett Hunnicutt, the fellow artist who fi rst introduced GAP to Jenowe, said. “His oeuvre is a testament to his ongoing commitment to pushing the boundaries of visual and thematic exploration.”

Jenowe’s affi liation with the 10dence platform, spearheaded by Dutch artist Ron Weijers, also gives him travel-exhibition projects that promote contemporary art. Jenowe and other international artists represented by Weijers participate in themed shows while maintaining their distinc tive styles.

Jenowe recently traveled to Ghent, Belgium, for “The Anatomy Lesson Revisited” show as part of CrossingBorders, a joint venture of GAP and 10dence. The Rembrandt-inspired exhibition took place at the Campo Santo, a Roman Catholic public burial ground in Sint-Amandsberg.

“David’s work is a journey across thematic and geographic frontiers,” Hunnicutt added. “His creations do not merely cross borders; they challenge and expand the boundaries of conventional and contemporary art.”

Abstract expressionism shapes Jenowe’s approach to each piece. Its openness to interpretation is a quality he also enjoys about the glitch art that he experiments with in between paintings and collages. Th is art focuses on using digital or analog errors, or the glitches, as an integral part of the work. To him, glitches hold a particular allure for their capacity to distort. His latest sleep paralysis-inspired painting embodies this passion, representing his interpretation of fantasy and mystery.

“The only way I direct someone’s vision in a work like this is with the title—there’s one reality, and behind it is another,” Jenowe explained. “‘I’m interested in where we’re going with AI and VR.”

Still, Jenowe values the organic process of painting, fi nding magic in the tangible creation of his pieces. In addition to his global endeavors, he remains connected to Omaha’s art scene, engaging in events like Friday2 on Vinton Street.

“Being an artist is mostly a solitary journey, but being an Omaha artist means I want to connect with others here and see what my community is doing,” Jenowe said. Running the Benson Art Gallery two years ago facilitated many of his connections with loc al artists.

He now looks forward to upcoming 10dence shows and to collaborating with Jack and his ex-wife, Julie, for “The Jenowe Show” exhibition at Ming Toy Gallery in November, all while continuing his mail rounds for stability.

“My mail rounds are a home base—literally—so that I can enjoy art,” Jenowe explained. “Some days I want to make cartoons and be silly, and some days, I want to be serious and dark. I can do anything, and nobody’s going to tell me I shouldn’t.

“You have to be willing to not make money on art—it shouldn’t be the driving factor, because the art will be compromised. Some people can do that, but I’ve never been happy that way.”

Follow Jenowe’s work on Instagram @davejenowe.

// 20 // MAY 2024
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“Writing a poem, you need a little pocket of solitude."
—Matt Mason
‘Iamb, Iamb, Iamb’:

Matt Mason and the Lyrical Heart of Nebraska Poetry

in italics

Story by Julius Fredrick Photography by Bill Sitzmann Design By Rachel Birdsall Note: Excerpts are from works by Matt Mason in order of appearance: “Notes from my Daughter Against Chasing Storms” (2013), “Between Meteors and Fireflies” (2020), and “At The Corner of New Orleans and Frontier - At Disneyland” (2022).
// 22 // MAY 2024

By all appearances, Matt Mason’s secluded Florence home is an ideal writer’s retreat.

The hum of vowels under familiar lamplight at dusk; in the morning, the crush of consonants and coffee grounds.

Poplars, pines, and unpaved roads.

The support and critical eye of wife Sarah, herself a distinguished poet. Two daughters, Sophia and Lucia the sisters a repartee of qualities inherited and new their parents’ most challenging, rewarding couplet of all.

Tornadoes swing through like a kid/playing hopscotch, rip one house to splinters […] And that my daughter, is how teenage boys/ approach love

A kitchen stocked with snacks, sips, and assorted smiles; alliterations of domestic life. Taken altogether, the setting is…in practice, actually a little distracting.

“I’m kind of better in weird places. When I had my daughters, you know, having my kids around, it’s hard to find any peace in the house,” Mason chuckled. “Writing a poem, you need a little pocket of solitude. So, I would write a lot in fast food restaurants because I’d be there by myself and have 20 minutes. Yeah, I can write almost anywhere.”

With an additional 77,000 square miles of "home" to inspire and draw inspiration from, that skill has served Mason well during his time as Nebraska’s State Poet. Town libraries, little red schoolhouses, and diner fare by the greasy spoonful convert miles of unremitting skyline into verse and stanza between meetups.

Mason leads the Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal program, an initiative supported by the Academy of American Poets and Humanities, that Nebraska designed to “start conversations between poets from different parts of the state with varied backgrounds.” His goal is straightforward enough: to organize at least one poetry event in each of Nebraska’s 93 contiguous counties.

“The green ones I’ve been to, the white ones I have nothing,” Mason explained, opening his laptop to a Nebraska county map veranda with progress. “And then the stripes mean I’m talking to somebody [in that county] but don’t have any dates set.”

Selected to serve as State Poet in 2019, Mason was eager to gather distant Nebraskans around his life’s passion. By March the following year, however, such plans had not only been complicated, they’d withered away.

In a drought year, corn stubble bends/ into headlines: “Farmers pray for rain.”/ Tumbleweeds take time to harmonize/ and choreograph, somewhere between”

“I was doing great, and then everything shut down for two-and-a-half years. But I have a pretty good shot to finish it,” Mason reflected. “I’ve got 13 counties left by the end of this year. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but these are counties I have no contacts for. It’s close…I think I’ll get it done, but we’ll see…”

Whether the final tally hits 80, 93, or somewhere in between, Mason’s tenure has been far from idle. Between publishing two books of poetry “I Have a Poem the Size of the Moon” in 2020, and “At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros” in 2022 the Pushcart Prizewinning poet rarely declines an invitation to teach, learn, and workshop.

“Alliance, Nebraska, has brought me out like five times, I just love it. It’s such a good drive,” Mason said. “Going out to Western Nebraska, there are many really wonderful writers. Folks like Deb Carpenter-Nolting, and her husband Tim Nolting, are amazing writers who have done a lot with cowboy poetry over the years.

“And a lot of times, I meet these students who are fantastic. I was up in Gordon with two other poets doing a kind of tour of Northern Nebraska. And there’s a poet there, Aliyah American Horse, who was kind of quiet, but when we started talking poetry, everyone goes, ‘Oh, that’s her!’ She’s like, the poet up there. And now, she’s the Youth Poet Laureate of Nebraska. It’s just so much fun.”

Inexperience and raw talent make for volatile creative fuel, and a young Mason was as combustible as any schoolyard poet; lines of verse ablaze with epiphany one day, ash heaps of self-doubt the next. Great teachers and idols a college instructor “very much like Robin Williams from ‘Dead Poets Society,’” a kind gesture from Pulitzer Prize-winner Galway Kinnell at an event, among others saw him through this pivotal phase, steering Mason toward something of a mantra:

“Some people will say that poetry is writing without rules, and I go the opposite,” he affirmed. “I say poetry has all the same rules as every other kind of writing, but that one additional it has is: Break the rules. Because that way, you know what the rules are, and you know what effect you get when you break them.”

start searching, at the popcorn cart and in your life,/for something more/than everything/ you’ve been settling/for

It’s a lesson the intentionality of breaking with convention and canon that Mason has advocated during workshops in Belarus, Romania, Nepal, the Nebraska panhandle, and most frequently, Omaha.

It’s also one Jen Schneider, Ph.D., a high-ability learner facilitator with Papillion La Vista school district, believes demystifies poetry for her middle schoolers.

“I really love it, because that is a big takeaway that a lot of my students have after the poetry workshop,” Schneider said. “I love that we get to learn about some of the things that have to do with poetry but then we get to break the rules. You can’t do that as much with an essay, but you can do that with poetry […] The stuff they come up with just from his prompting is just incredible.”

As reflected in his works, Mason isn’t one for the vagaries of the self-serious and doctrinaire. Nor is he blasé about expression. Inspiration doesn’t ‘flow’ during his workshops, but settles into a clear pool; ideas aren’t swept away, but visibly ripple from each pen.

After all, Mason is searching, too.

“I went to the Nebraska Gifted Conference, a whole bunch of high-ability learner teachers, and he had a class there and was reading a poem that he wrote,” Schneider recalled. “And he said, ‘Yeah, this little stanza here, I wrote this poem when I was with Jen’s class.’ And I think it’s just really cool that he takes a lot of what the kids bring to the workshops and creates from that and shares that […] it really gets the kids involved, and their voices are very important.”

Even if the intrepid poet doesn’t fill every corner of the map, it’s impossible to deny Mason’s positive impact on aspiring and established writers statewide. Besides, enjambment that continuation of a sentence without a pause at the end of a line is often half the story.

“It’s so much fun to have an idea in your head about what the feeling of a poem is and do that in words,” Mason said. “And also do it in shape, which is one of the real advantages poetry has as a form of writing where you can play with that much more.”

And in Nebraska, there’s no shortage of open space to play with.

“My advice? Reinvent poetry. Write poems in your own image,” Mason said. “Write the poems you want to see out there in the world.”

For books, news, and selected poems, visit Support Mason at

Standing At The Highet Poin

It’s a subtle rise of farmland and cities, cows, bison, rivers and hills,

and, here, if the whole state, if everyone turned this way on the clearest day,

they would all see your face like a new Nebraska moon; you bumped along interstate, boulevard, gravel, dirt road to the top of your state, you, now, stand higher

than that stone marker set on the precise pivot of a survey point, you luminary,

you look out at the old, tin windmill, face like a lion’s, alone in a field to one side,

a row of smooth, white turbines lined up to the other;

and it’s upright smooth how it’s hard to decipher the way this state slopes up to you:

green field, pasture, no crags or high rises, only one bluff like the horizon has a chip in it,

and, still, not as high up as you;

as if Nebraska was made like a quilt shaken out in the wind and set here

across sage and bright winter wheat; you lay back, think about work left to do,

but, for now, take in a book, line by line, the sun

making your face shine.

Matt Mason, "I Have a Poem the Size of the Moon" (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2020). Reproduced with permission by Matt Mason. For more information, visit,,, and

MAY // 24 // 2024
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High School Sweethearts Turned Empty Nesters Take Aim At a Mutual Passion

odd and Michelle Woitzel have done nearly everything together since they fi rst started dating at age 14. From moving out of their native North Dakota to raising four children, the pair have been inseparable from the start.

“Our youngest is 23 and is getting married this year. That’s it—last one is off the payroll!” Todd quipped, before continuing to brag about the family he and his wife have built. “We also have five grandchildren—newborn twins this year!”

The pair is rightfully proud of their brood, but with the entire team grown and gone, the Woitzels needed a new focus. Something to keep them young, strong , and…sharp.

“Michelle doesn’t like golf,” Todd said, by way of explanation. “So when an indoor gun club opened up near us back in 2016, we started casually shooting. We met some people who were doing a shooting class there, and they walked us through it and made sure we really knew what we were doing. Seven years later, we’re more into it than ever.”

The “it” in question are the two specific shooting disciplines Todd and Michelle practice. Their main events are a “Steel Challenge,” which is “Speed Shooting,” and “Action Shooting,” which has the competitor shooting around walls and obstacles on a closed course.

“We use 22 caliber pistols and rifles for ‘Speed Shooting’ and our own custom built 9mm pistols for ‘Action Shooting,’” Todd said before clarifying, “You don’t need custom guns or expensive equipment to be part of this sport. You can even borrow equipment if you’re not ready to buy. You don’t have to invest heavily to become proficient. The great thing about this sport is that it really is open to everyone.”

“Speed shooting is an especially great sport for beginners because the people are so friendly and welcoming,” Michelle added. “A lot of people, specifically women, are a little timid getting into the sport. They’re worried they won’t be good at it or that people will judge them. But even law enforcement and military personnel are coming in to practice. There isn’t any judgement, as long as you’re being safe, following the rules, and are ready to improve. We are always so excited to see new people coming in, especially when we have women and junior competitors helping open that door.”

The rules are concise, but rigidly adhered to by all pa rticipants.

“If you break the rules of the range, you sit out,” Todd said. “It doesn’t matter what license or permit you have. You don’t walk in

here with a loaded weapon. Loaded weapons are only allowed inside the shooting box. If you break a rule, you’re disqualified, and you sit out. Safety is the absolute number one priority.”

The pair do more than compete and promote the sport they’ve come to love so much; they’ve become Grand Masters, Match Officials, and event organizers in the area.

“Todd is President of the Eastern Nebraska Gun Club in Louisville, and runs the Cornhusker Steel Challenge every year,” Michelle said. “I do stats, and Todd is a match director now. We run and organize matches and put a lot of effort into creating really great events, because we are hosting really great people! There are events for absolutely everyone, like shooting skeet or trap if speed or action events aren’t for you.”

“We were both athletes in the past, but as you get older and the mind is still willing and eager, the body isn’t always able to keep up with some types of sports,” Todd added. “These days we are really in it for fun, and for the opportunity to meet and interact with the community. A lot of our best friends are people we met throug h shooting.”

One such friend is author, shooting coach, and host of the Shoot Fast Podcast, Joel Park.

“You really do meet the most incredible people in this practice,” Park said. “I’ve trained special forces and government officials from different branches. I’m a computer nerd teaching professional killers to improve their shooting. You’ll hear the most amazing life stories from people you wouldn’t have come in contact with outside of this club.

“I’ve known Todd and Michelle for probably 10 years through shooting matches at the gun club,” Park continued. “Th rough weekend practices, events, and shooting matches you start to see some of the same faces. You quickly become a community with these people who have similar specialties and interests. Todd is extremely brilliant at the logistics of it all— organizing matches, seeing potential issues before they even happen, arranging staffi ng. It’s a no-brainer to have Todd in charge of these events.”

The jovial pair may win awards for their deadly accuracy, but their real target has more to do with creating a warm, welcoming environment for their community to grow, learn, and connect.

For more information about the Eastern Nebraska Gun Club, visit

Story by Sara Locke Photography by Bill

Looking to Joy

UNO Global Ambassador Oluwaseye Odanye

“Experiences can make you empathic, or they will make you build walls. The most important thing is to be open minded.” - Oluwaseye Odanye

Names have power. In the email from my editor, the name Oluwaseye Odanye was laid in black, and the sentence next to his name read: “He goes by ‘Paul.’”

My heart sank. To be far away from home and not hear your name, let alone hear it mispronounced or people not willing to try, is a modicum of loneliness that Oluwaseye pronounced “Hol-Lu-Wa-Shea-Yay” is helping his peers manage and navigate as a Global Maverick Ambassador.

His wide, complex smile and sing-songy Nigerian accent lulled me, and I imagined this is how he makes international transplants to Omaha feel. Oluwaseye, 33, has a background in physical therapy and came to the University of Omaha to gain his masters, which he achieved in 2022. His passion to help people by creating practical interventions led him to shift his studies to biomechanics; he’s currently a second-year doctoral student. He studies a myriad of forces and how they impact humans and animals with the hopes of converting that data into creating advanced prosthetics and technologies for the people back home in Nigeria. The connection between Oluwaseye's biomechanical studies and his volunteer position as an ambassador isn’t lost on him. He seeks to make humans function better socially and physically.

“Experiences can make you empathic, or they will make you build walls,” he said. “The most important thing is to be openminded. The Unibuddy [student engagement] platform exposes you to different people. You can’t approach each person with the same mindset. You must let people be themselves and accept them for who they are, even if you don’t understand their experiences. They need to know that you are here to give them a helping hand. Not just from me, but UNO’s resource s as well.”

Recruitment Department at the University of Nebraska Omaha, has a passion for diversity that is similar to Oluwaseye’s own for supporting and connecting people. “I make sure that they are confident, creative, and safe in what they are doing,” she said. “We focus on growing our international population of degree-seeking students and families from all over the world. Our work isn’t just for UNO but for Omaha. This helps enrich our community and allows us to share what we all find great a bout Omaha.”

Global Partnerships started in August last year, and ambassadors, who are volunteers, attempt to share the experiences of all the people who work and volunteer within it. Ehrlich’s vigilance reminds them that their time is valuable and helps to create the community they wish they had when they arrived. “We want to have a platform to show our potential international students that they would have a community even before they get here, and Paul shows that. I hope that he will stay on as an alumni ambassador,” Ehrlich said. “He’s present in the physical meetings, attentive in Unibuddy he’s c onsistent."

Ehrlich paused and then joked, "I need to figure out when he’s graduating. I hope it’s not soon!”

Oluwaseye is keenly aware of his role as a Maverick Ambassador. “Being alone is a physical thing. The person is segregated,

and loneliness is a mindset,” he reflected. “You can feel alone but not feel lonely if you are comfortable with your own company. In Ibadan, Oyo State, where I come from, it’s easy to go over to a friend’s home unannounced. It’s a different world here, most people are by themselves.”

Global Maverick Ambassadorships aren’t as simple as placing similar nationalities together; they have to be like-minded. Our ignorance of Oluwaseye’s home of Ibadan is similar to his ignorance of our home of Omaha. We didn’t know of it before we read this story, and he didn’t know of Omaha until he sought more information about it. We must be open to our neighbors, not just locally but as cosmopolitans. Home is a place where people ask, “Where are you?” when you’r e not there.

Oluwaseye, Ehrlich, and the 13 other ambassadors do their best to make faculty, students, and business owners ask that question. The coffee kicked in, and Oluwaseye’s smile grew wider. We talked about his want of a Nigerian restaurant in the city, and he’s excited about his future.

“Happiness is circumstances, and it’s not easy. As a Christian, I look to joy, because it’s not based on your circumstances," Oluwaseye said. "This allows me to embrace everybody. We have different backgrounds and experiences, but we all have blood flowing through our veins, so help those you can and make people feel at home.”

For more information about UNO’s Global Maverick Partnership program, visit studies-andprograms/admissions/connect-w ith-currentst u dents.php.

// 28 // MAY 2024


We want communities to have power over their own history and drive what they want to see out there.”

// 30 // MAY 2024


A Statewide Odyssey to Set the Record Straight

We’ve all seen them as we travel around Omaha and the state: historical markers, those pithy plaques that provide a brief history lesson about the who, what, where, why, and when of something significant that occurred on that sp ecific site.

Those markers, though, don’t always tell the whole story.

“The history of Nebraska is so rich and so complex, and we’re not seeing all of it represented,” said Autumn Langemeier, Historical Marker Programs Coordinator for Histor y Nebraska.

She is righting that representation by traveling the state to update Nebraska’s historical marker signs. This undertaking is no small feat, as the organization currently has around 580 of them. The overarching goal is to represent Nebraska’s history better by encompassing lesser-recognized events and marginalized communities.

Spearheading History Nebraska’s Marker Equity Program, Langemeier has been busy with this project for a few years. “In December 2021, I did an informal audit of all the markers we have across the state,” she said. “I read through the text of every marker, and I gave categories to the topics that were discussed, like civil rights history, arts, sports, WWII history, and so on.”

Langemeier discovered that around 60% of the markers mention westward expansion as the main topic, while only 4% are related to the arts and 3% are related to sports. For Langemeier, this begged the question: “What are we not covering?”

David Bristow, Director of Interpretation at History Nebraska and Editor for Nebraska History Magazine, said, “The state Historical Marker Program has been going since the early 1960s, and it’s one of the most popular things that we do.”

“This is a pretty new project, so it’s still a work in progress,” Langemeier added. “We’re working on developing a couple markers for the Latino community and the Japanese community, for example. By excluding information about them, we’re missing huge swaths of Nebraska history. Not to say that the ones that exist already are not important, but we are missing some of that wonde rful depth.”

After Langemeier’s audit, the realization of large gaps in the markers came to light. “Some parts of central and western Nebraska aren’t as well represented,” Bristow commented. “It’s called the ‘Marker Equity Project,’ but ‘equity’ means a lot of different things in this case: groups, geography, time periods, and so on. The idea is that all Nebraskans will be able to look at these markers and find their own his tory there.”

One new marker that will be added, for example, will tell the story of Charles Jackson French, a name unknown to a lot of Nebraskans. A Black man who lived in Omaha, French joined the United States Navy shortly after the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. Assigned to the USS Gregory destroyer, French served as a mess attendant, one of the only positions available to Black men at the time, since the military still enforced racial segregation. Japanese destroyers attacked the Gregory, and in an unexpected heroic feat, French saved the lives of over a dozen Navy soldiers by swimming through dark, shark-infested waters, pulling a raft of injured men through the de ad of night.

This story tells a multifaceted tale that includes both military history and civil rights history, deftly merging the two. The marker dedicated to Charles French will be placed close to the Benson post office located near 62nd and Maple streets, which was renamed in his honor in September 2022. The timing for this marker is apt. In January, the U.S. Navy also announced that an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named after French. The ship’s construction will commence in 2026, with a 2031 de livery date.


The program also aims to update existing markers to improve readability and ensure accuracy. One example includes a marker currently titled “TONWANTONGA,” regarding a village of the native Omaha Tribe who lived in the area in the late 1700s. History Nebraska recently posted a photo of this marker on its website and social media as part of its “Marker Mondays” initiative. The post grabbed the attention of representatives of the Native American community, because the village name is incorrectly spelled and does not feature the superscript in the native language. The marker will accordingly be updated to include the correct spelling: “Tonwongthon Tonga.”

This is just one meaningful representation of a revision that Langemeier is making. “There are several [markers] related to Native American history without interpretation from the respective tribes; we’re just allowing those communities to share their own history from their perspectives ,” she said.

In terms of how History Nebraska determines adding new markers, Langemeier said of the process: “I’ve been taking a community-guided approach. I put together a FAQ packet that can be found on our website, where people can apply for a marker. For each application round, I pick four or five categories from my list of themes [that] we didn’t see a lot of, and I ask for stories specifically in those categories. We want communities to have power over their own history and drive what they want to see out there.”

For his part, Bristow ensures the new markers will be shared on History Nebraska’s social media platforms and their website to keep the public up-todate as the project moves forward.

Langemeier encourages Nebraskans to get involved with this project and the Historical Marker Program in general. A great opportunity to learn more about the state’s history is through The Nebraska History Museum, which will host a summer workshop that runs June 1 through August 31. Called “Mystery in the Museum: Historic Markers,” the breakout box challenge invites participants to answer questions and solve puzzles related to historical markers.

To learn more about Nebraska’s Marker Equity Program and History Nebraska, visit history.n

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FEATURE STORY BY LEO ADAM BIGA WITH KIM CARPENTER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BILL SITZMANN | DESIGN BY RACHEL BIRDSALL The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum’s “Ordinary Astronaut” Clayton Anderson To Infinity and Nebraska MAY 2024 // 34 // For expanded content, open the camera on your smart device and hover over the QR code above.

Aeros pace Museum. Astronaut.

These are titles a young boy growing up in 1960s Ashland, Nebraska, hardly could have envisioned as his life’s trajectory.

But they are everything that Clayton “Clay” Anderson ended up becomi ng and more.

As a child, the bright, ever inquisitive boy often went adventuring to Crystal Creek, climbing a nearby hill to enjoy its high vantage point overlooking the Platte River Valley. He could also see a long way from atop that rise via a backyard telescope aimed at the winking constellations millions of light years beyond Ashland.

America’s space program was at its peak during this era, dubbed the “Space Race,” during which the United States and the Soviet Union competed to establish supremacy among the stars. Young Clay told anyone who would listen he was destined to be a n astronaut.

Anderson made good on that promise, but he bucked long odds in becoming the state’s first and still only person to claim

would never have experienced light years, zero gravity, and G-force. Anderson is especially grateful to his mother and father, Alice and John, a school speech pathologist and state department of roads worker, respectively.

“My parents were very good at knowing when history was being made and putting their kids in front of the TV for those historical world events,” Anderson explained.

One of those televised events was the famed Apollo 8 spacecraft, the first crewed spaceflight of astronauts to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and reach the Moon, orbiting it eight times before returning to t erra firma

That historic moment was particularly vivid for Anderson, just 9 years old a t the time.

“The key one for me was Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve in ’68 [and] watching the manned capsule go by the Moon for the first time,” he shared. “I was pretty fascinat ed by that.”

A little over a year and a half later, he sat enthralled when on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 became the first spaceflight to land humans on the surface of the Moon, courtesy of the lunar module. He watched as Neil

of Scie nce in 1981.

When Maynard Ray Huntley, a NASA employee, native Nebraskan, and Hastings alumnus, visited his alma mater, a counselor familiar with Anderson’s interest in space made sure the two met. Encouraged to apply to NASA’s summer internship program, Anderson took his own first step before making the ult imate leap.

“That [the internship] allowed me to go down to Houston in 1981 to work for a summer at the Johnson Space Center,” he said. The time was also an adventure in another respect; while there, he met his wife, Susan Jane Harreld. They have a son, Clayton “Cole,” and a daughter, Sutton Marie, together.

“How fortuitous I’m a believer in God,” he shared. “I think He puts things in a place for you to find them, but you have to do what’s required to achieve them. If a door opens, you have to be smart enough to realize that and step through the door. Had that door not opened, who knows? I probably would have ended up coaching high school basketball or something. I just don’t know.”

“I cried. There I was flying over my home where the people I know and love and who raised me live. I was in space above them. It just kind of tugged at my heart. It was one of the most emotional experiences of my entire time in space.”
—Clayton Anderson

times before succeeding on his 15th in June 1998. As he likes to quip: “It’s easy to apply to be an astronaut and very difficult to b e selected.”

Anderson launched aboard the Shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist in June 2008 to become a member of the Expedition 15 and 16 crews, spending 152 days on the International Space Station in 2007. He returned to Earth aboard Discovery in November. He was a mission specialist on STS-131 in 2010.

He made the most of his time among the stars. Knowing he would see Ashland from 240 miles above, Anderson calibrated sophisticated photographic equipment to capture the panorama of the blue planet beneath him. When the moment came, however, he was too overwhelmed to activate the cameras.

“I cried,” he shared. “No pictures were taken that time…There I was flying over my home where the people I know and love and who raised me live. I was in space above them. It just kind of tugged at my heart. It was one of the most emotional experiences of my entire tim e in space.”

ity, underscoring his firm belief that he is just an ordinary man with an extraordinary life, a life that, per the American Dream, is possible for other ordi nary people.

Anderson has also applied this message to his series of children’s books: “A is for Astronaut: Blasting Through the Alphabet” (2015), “Letters from Space” (2020), and “So You Want to Be an Astronaut” (2023). The first page of the latter answered the question posed in the title with:

“It’s a job that’s super cool.

To ultimately become one, you must work quite har d in school. It’s not a job that’s easy.

You’ll need many skills to co nquer space.

But if you read through this great book, In no time, you’ll be an ace!”

The book goes on to describe all aspects of being an astronaut from needing to know how to fix a toilet in space to understanding the importance of teamwork.

NASA we worked with complex teams. A museum is a complex team as well…I’ve [also] played and coached sports, I’ve refereed basketball, [and] I’ve umpired baseball. I think it’s contributed a lot to my mindset and my leadership and those sort s of things.

“I spent 30 years of having ‘plan, train, and fly’ drilled into me,” Anderson added. “It works for everything. If you’re going to succeed at any mission [or] any project, you plan for it, train for it, or prep for it. And then execute it. As you build mission objectives whose execution requires a team, leadership has to figure out how you do that with that team. That’s what makes it complex.”

That complexity meant restructuring. “We lost a ton of people either through them walking out the door or me having them walk out the door,” he admitted.

Now with a committed team in place, Anderson pivoted to his ultimate mission: “The goal is to make this a destination, and to do that, I’m trying to turn the museum to the future, which is outer space, while standing on the shoulders of the past and the innovations of the Strategic Air Command that won the Cold War. We


The ultimate goal, Anderson said, is similar to reproducing what captured his attention as a child watching the Moon landing. “We want to entertain, and through entertainment, educate, and with both of those

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When it opened its doors to the Omaha public for the first time in 1931, the Joslyn Art Museum drew quite a crowd. Hailed as one of the nation’s finest examples of Art Deco architecture, the three-level interior included 38 types of marble from around the world, while its gleaming exterior featured Georgia Pink marble, creating the museum’s iconic rosy-hued façade. Close to a century ago, this structure was perfectly suited to the museum’s early vision but Omaha's art scene has evolved since then.

Soon to emerge revitalized, expanded, and reimagined, the Joslyn is on the verge of reconnecting with the public after its $100-million expansion and renovation that broke ground in 2021. With a grand reopening scheduled for September 10, the museum's renewed commitment to engaging the public and redefining the visitor experience promises to dazzle patrons anew after years of anticipation.

Rising against the expansive Nebraska sky, the museum's newest addition, the 42,000-square-foot Rhonda & Howard Hawks Pavilion, was meticulously designed in collaboration with Snøhetta and Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture (APMA). The pavilion serves as the latest piece in the museum's architectural narrative; its striking exterior features precast panels embedded with pink aggregate a detail that reflects the familiar blush-colored exterior of the existing buildings. With its cantilevered design reminiscent of Nebraska's iconic shape, the Hawks Pavilion serves as a testament to the surrounding landscape, offering protection from the unpredictable elements.

Drawing inspiration from the Great Plains, the new building's aesthetic pays homage to local terrain. The original Joslyn buildings are grounded in their design, with the 1931 structure rising from the earth like Chimney Rock and the 1994 Walter & Suzanne Scott Pavilion resting squarely on the ground. In contrast, the new pavilion appears to float above granite garden walls, akin to the Midwest's striking cloud formations the museum's trajectory is poised for unprecedented heights.

MAY 2024 // 41 //


The need for expansion became evident with the surge in visitor numbers after reimplementing free general admission in 2013, aligning with the museum's founder's vision. In 2019, the Joslyn welcomed over 190,000 museum visitors. Additionally, its diverse programming engaged over 113,000 people that same year a number expected to rise further with the forthcoming developments and program expansions.

Selected by the Joslyn to spearhead the project in 2018, the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta embraced a transformative vision while honoring the institution's esteemed legacy. Jack Becker, Executive Director and CEO of the Joslyn, emphasized Snøhetta's commitment to executing the project with the utmost care and respect for the museum's cherishe d buildings.

“We selected a firm that worked with us to understand the project in the context of Omaha, as well as in our own history,” Becker said. “The architects thought very creatively about how to stitch together these three buildings and create an architectural conversation be tween them.”

Founded in Oslo, Snøhetta was selected for its acclaimed track record, evident in projects like the SFMOMA extension and the Times Square transformation. Omaha's APMA, renowned for its work in the Millwork Commons area, partnered with Snøhetta to execute the vision. The museum prioritized the selection of the best firms for all aspects of the project, overseen by the Board.

“This extended to Snøhetta, the design architect, to Alley Poyner Macchietto, the local architect, to the general contractor, Kiewit, and to all the major consultants and subcontractors,” Paul Smith, Joslyn Board member and Chair of the Evolve Joslyn Campaign Committee, said. “This was accomplished by having expert advice and by optimizing selection based on bidding and qualification evaluation.”

The expansion addresses the spatial needs of its growing audience while also enhancing community spaces, upgrading the museum shop and cafe, and renovating classrooms and facilities. These efforts aim to expand community initiatives and art-based educational activities, such as studio classes (the project doubles the number of studio spaces at the museum). Renovations to the lecture hall focus on accessibility and comfort, further augmenting the museum's capacity to accommodate a broad audience and broaden its range of offerings.

“The expansion is much more than additional square footage for the museum it includes substantial programming additions related to learning and engagement,” Smith added.

Yet, the focal point of the museum's redesign lies in the Hawks Pavilion building, which expands gallery space by more than 40%.

“This is a building that speaks of our time, just as the 1994 building spoke of its time and the 1931 spoke of its time,” Becker said of the new Hawks Pavilion. “This is a new part of an institution that's been around for nearly a century; it will be around for another century and will be just as beloved in Omaha as the others.”

The Hawks Pavilion seamlessly extends from the Joslyn's existing buildings, forming a curving volume that emerges from the glass atrium connecting the original 1931 structure to the 1994 addition. Visitors are welcomed by its transparent first floor, featuring a vibrant new museum shop and a flexible community space. In the upper levels, expansive galleries bathed in natural light showcase the museum's esteemed collection alongside rotating exhibitions.

The upgraded Joslyn experience will be immediately noticeable to returning visitors as the primary access point now resides on the northern edge of the Hawks Pavilion, off James Fous Avenue, with an enhanced entry sequence more inviting and accessible than ever before. The surrounding glass windows foster increased connectivity between museumgoers and the outdoor landscape, providing visitors with a direct view of the reimagined sculpture garden and the existing buildings. Visitors can enjoy glimpses of the natural world while surrounded by art, regardless of the season.

The museum’s redesign will also offer more casual seating and lounge areas throughout the premises for visitors to relax and unwind. The addition of both formal and informal gathering spaces will create a more welcoming atmosphere, Taylor J. Acosta, PhD, Chief Curator and Willis A. Strauss Curator of European Art, said.

“People will really see the museum as their own, a place to linger and connect, like a second home, Acosta explained. With this sentiment in mind, determining the placement of art throughout the museum was an early discussion within the curatorial department.

“We did space studies to determine where it made sense for each particular collection to be housed and displayed, but there were also conversations across the whole institution about how we can enhance the beauty of these architectural spaces,” Acosta explained. “Much of it had to do with history and showcasing the art of today in this beautiful ne w building.”

Upon reopening, the 1931 Joslyn building will exhibit ancient to early 20th-century art, encompassing ancient Mediterranean, European, American, Native American, Asian, and decorative arts. The 1994 Scott Pavilion will host a permanent collection of 20th-century art, along with the Riley Contemporary Artists Project (CAP) Gallery featuring new pieces by Eva LeWitt, and temporary exhibitions, including new works by Ke hinde Wiley.

Within the new Hawks Pavilion galleries, visitors are invited to delve into contemporary art selections and dedicated spaces for video works and works on paper, alongside the inaugural installation from the esteemed Philip G. Schrager Collection. This remarkable gift comprises 52 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and drawings spanning five decades, exemplifying the Omaha business leader’s lifelong dedication to art collecting.

“It's a transformative gift of art, perhaps the most significant gift in the Museum's history, encompassing some of the most important developments in post war and contemporary art,” Acosta said of the Schrager collection. “We're really excited to introduce this collection to the community; it will also be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalog that the museum is publishing this year.”

The inaugural exhibition in the Works on Paper gallery will feature a selection of works from Ed Ruscha's recent gift to the museum. "Les Indes Galantes" (2017), a film by French artist Clément Cogitore, will be showcased in the Media Gallery. Additionally, the pavilion will house "Wopila," a 2024 beaded painting by Dyani White Hawk composed of nearly half a million glass bugle beads, while the sculpture garden will host “Little Big Sister” (2024), a commissioned sculpture by Alison Saar.

Notably, the museum's reopening also marks the first complete reinstallation of the Joslyn's historic permanent collection since the unveiling of the 1931 building. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, the museum's collection reflects over 5,000 years of human creativity and global culture. Modern pieces will engage in a compelling dialogue with these historical artworks, A costa added.

“We often say that artwork has the ability to both clarify and complicate the world in which we live, and that's something we've seen as a guiding impulse in thinking about this,” Acosta said.

More Native American art will be on view than ever before, with the American galleries now integrating works by Indigenous artists with works by American artists of European background for a more cohesive presentation.

// 42 // MAY 2024

“Our goals for the reinstallation are to showcase the museum's renowned collections, assert the relevance of historical art and objects to contemporary issues, and place an emphasis on diversifying the experiences that are represented in the galleries,” Acosta added. “For curators, it’s really a once-in-acareer opportunity to reimagine the way that we display and interpret these c ollections.”

Alongside plans for community outreach, educational initiatives, and interactive exhibits, the museum aims to keep igniting curiosity and fostering meaningful connections with art and culture. This expansion is the first step toward the museum's future direction and potential programming developments, Becker said, aligning with their long-term goal of continually enhancing the Joslyn’s role in the community.

“I would love for the Joslyn to be as closely connected to different communities in Omaha as we can be,” Becker said. “We are a place for people to go to make memories, to explore, to tap into their own creativity, and to understand the past, present, and future. We want to be a place that is welcoming and accessible to all, and a place you want to come back to, again and again.”

In addition to the physical changes, the museum introduced a fresh graphic identity and website designed by Pentagram in April, encompassing every aspect of the Joslyn's brand and providing a solid foundation for the museum's future. The upgrades promise a modern and user-friendly experience.

“This is such a unique moment to be part of this museum; there is tremendous growth, excitement, and energy in Omaha,” Acosta said. “We hope that people encounter the art they love that reminds them why they've been connected to the Joslyn in the past, while discovering new things that will delight and sur prise them.”

As it reopens its doors, the Joslyn reaffirms its commitment to serving as a cultural cornerstone for Omaha and beyond. Reflecting founder Sarah Joslyn's enduring vision of art accessibility for all, the museum remains dedicated to fostering creativity for generations to come.

“The expanded museum will have a higher capability to engage people through programming that connects art to history and to current events; it will play host to a multitude of events and will welcome all members of our community,” Smith said.

“It will be a place to see art, but also so much more.”

For more information, visit

“People will really see the museum as their own, a place to linger and connect, like a second home or living room.”
—Taylor Acosta


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Sarah leverages her courtroom experience and training in alternative dispute resolution methods to provide a holistic approach to child custody, considering the underlying needs and security of the children. “Each family has a unique dynamic, which requires innovative solutions to ensure the children are safe and thriving,” Sarah says.

Still, not every case may be resolved through negotiation. Sarah has extensive experience litigating issues through the

courts when there is no alternative, with a particular focus on cases involving domestic abuse. She provides compassionate representation to individuals in all stages of family law cases.

Sarah R. Barnhill Selected to Rising Stars

319 S. 17th St., Suite 420 Omaha, NE 68102 (402) 509-9222 |



For almost 50 years, McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp (MGWL) has represented closely held businesses and their visionary owners. The attorneys at MGWL are known for their innovative, pragmatic and battle-tested solutions to even the most formidable legal challenges.

The legal minds at MGWL don’t just act as counsel; they become integral members of their clients’ teams, synergizing their efforts to deliver unparalleled legal services aimed at amplifying their clients’ triumphs.

L-R: J.D. Johnson**, Gary M. Gotsdiner*

Not Pictured: Robert L. Lepp*, Richard D. Myers*

*Selected to Super Lawyers **Selected to Rising Stars

11404 W. Dodge Road, Suite 500 Omaha, NE 68154 (402) 492-9200 |


Scan the code to view the digital edition with links to the attorneys’ websites featured in this section

MAY 2024 // 49 //

The Art of


On T get w h Ja Yoshimo

Jave Yoshimoto, or “Yoshi” as friends and fans call him, is chasing an ever-moving target. He is a lesson in the art of loving life, and it doesn’t take a trained eye to see the masterpiece that’s unfolding.

Born in Japan to Chinese parents, Yoshimoto’s love of travel has been built into nearly every aspect of his identity. Like his roaming art education—earning his Bachelor’s in Studio Art at the Univerity of California, Samta Barbara, his post-baccalaureate in the same subject as well as a Masters in Art Therapy at the Art Institute of Chicago, and his Masters in Painting at Syracuse University—his art career and latest hobby keep his odometer spinning.

“Back in 2014, I was teaching at Northwest State University and saw a posting for a job at UNO [the University of Nebraska Omaha]. Out of 150 applicants, I was offered the job,” Yoshimoto recalled. “It felt like a great opportunity to get involved in the community and inspire these great, young, artistic minds.”

Since relocating to Omaha in 2015, Yoshimoto has served as associate professor of art at UNO and continues to create on his own time. His works have been shown at the Mariani Gallery at the University of Northern Colorado, at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, and recently at the Decatur Area Arts Council in Decatur, Illinois.

“I spent some time doing a residency in Tulsa while working remotely at UNO. In 2018, toward the end of my residency, I discovered throwing,” Yoshimoto said. “I was hanging out with friends in their backyard, having a few drinks. They had a makeshift target set up, and when I took my fi rst throw, the hatchet flew over the fence and into the neighbor’s backyard. I kept trying while my friends were teasing me that maybe this wasn’t the hobby for

me. No matter how hard I threw, I over rotated or under rotated. It just bounced right off. Nothing I did was getting the hatchet to sink into the target.”

Returning to Omaha, Yoshimoto was determined to continue pursuing his new hyper fi xation and found Craft Axe in Lincoln to be the ideal outlet.

“I loved it there, and then I found out they were opening a location in Omaha. I was there the fi rst day waiting in the parking lot,” he shared. “The grand opening was at noon, and I was their fi rst customer in the door at 11:59.

“It started as just me pursuing this weird new hobby,” Yoshimoto continued. “But it became a continuation of my art. I want every brush stroke, every line to be absolutely perfect. So now, every throw has to be perfect. Motion matters. Breathing matters. How I hold the axe matters. The concentration exposes my strengths and weaknesses, physically and mentally. And if I miss, I get so frustrated and beat myself up a little. Similar to when I’m painting, I’ll come back and control my breathing and my strokes. The meditation of it translates directly in my creative and competitive practices.”

A e
MAY 2024 // 51 //

Yoshimoto soon began joining tournaments and marathon leagues, quickly becoming one of the sport’s fi rst ambassadors. “In a typical league, you’ve got eight weeks of competition. In a marathon league, all eight weeks are condensed into one day—10 throws against your opponent. I started traveling to different states for competition, and it was very reminiscent of traveling for my art career, always meeting people I wouldn’t have the privilege of knowing without this medium [and] making friends with people from different cultures and religions and backgrounds. I get to connect with these fascinating individuals, and I always walk away with a sense of c amaraderie.”

One such individual Yoshimoto has connected with is Sara Gerke, whose 12-year-old daughter, Ella, has been throwing for five years.

“We met Yoshi at the fi rst National Tournament that Ella was throwing at in Des Moines,” Gerke said. “He was fascinated by Ella’s performance, which we hear a lot. At four feet tall, she was throwing against someone who was over six feet. Yoshi used an image from that match to create a layered woodwork for Ella. He’s such an incredibly talented artist!

“Yoshi was so easy to make friends with, and so easy to root for as a person and as a thrower,” Gerke continued. “We were really lucky to connect with him. He’s such a giving, caring person and he just wants to love life and to help everyone around him love life, too.”

You might attribute Yoshimoto’s easy friendships with those he throws against to the fact that he doesn’t see them as competition.

“The real opponent is in your head,” he insisted. “You can get so tough on yourself that it really affects how you throw. Champion throwers can shake off that over-thinking and let muscle memory take over. But it’s so mental. Th at’s why I haven’t done very well in tournaments. Th ird place is the best I’ve ever placed, but I’ve been working hard toward breaking through.”

If you want to know how Yoshi’s work has paid off at 2024’s World Axe and Knife Throwing Championships in Tulsa in April, or to see the exquisite trophies he has carved (for the third year in a row), follow him at @Javethrows on Instagram or online at

“The real opponent is in your head. You can get so tough on yourself that it really affects how you throw. Champion throwers can shake off that over-thinking and let muscle memory take over. But it’s so mental."
-Jave Yoshimoto
// 52 // MAY 2024
OMAHA’S OMAHAMAGAZINE.COM/PAGES/SUBSCRIBE FUTURE OF BUSINESS THE MAY 2024 // 53 // WATCH THURSDAYS 7 pm CT April-September Send us your questions! This television series is a co-production of Nebraska Public Media and Nebraska Extension. 70 YEARS and STILL GROWING! Get a Jump on Your Summer Body Now! Visit for more information. 402-855-5480 105 N Washington St. Papillion NE 68046 Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri. mornings from 6 to 10 am

Dates Across the State Nebraska Passport Program

// 54 // MAY 2024



MAY 2024 // 55 // PROFILE //

Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries, museums not all Nebraskans know that a treasure trove of travel destinations exists within their own state. Sara Howard and Doug Schroder, however, know them well, having visited all the stops on the Nebraska Passport program’s itinerary for sev eral years.

Together, Howard and Schroder have traveled to every corner of the state, experiencing people and places they otherwise may never have encountered. Howard documents their adventures on her Facebook profile, while Schroder is always amazed they make it to all 70 stops every year. The married couple has visited every stop since 2014, save for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Howard, a former two-time Nebraska State Senator and current policy advisor for First Five Nebraska Policy Leadership Academy, immediately formed a bond with Schroder, a ceramist and visual art teacher at Duchesne Academy, when a mutual acquaintance connected them in 2012. It was somewhat difficult, however, for the couple to get to know each other quickly, as Howard had recently been elected a Nebraska State Senator. “It was possibly a bit strange for him because we met, went on a couple of dates, and then I was sworn into the legislature,” Howard recalled. “All he has ever known of me is this political career, a career of service.” Being an integral part of the Nebraska Legislature meant dedicating a significant amount of her time to her political career, although Fate would soon present a solution.

“Someone from the tourism board left two [Nebraska] passports in my office at the Capitol. I remember coming back to Omaha and asking Doug if he wanted to go do this with me,” Howa rd recalled.

The Nebraska Passport program, which runs May 1 through September 30, aims to help travelers discover Nebraska’s hidden gems, including museums, parks, restaurants, wineries, and retail stores, among other locations. Each year the Nebraska Passport program selects 70 attractions across the state to serve as Passport stops where participants can have their passport booklets stamped. The stops feature different attractions every year, and the program continues to involve more sophisticated directions and way-finding en hancements.

“There were a few times where we were not lost, but had to do some driving around to find the stop. But that’s all part of the fun, right?” Howard said. “Now you can click a button on your smartphone and get very clear directions.”

A transplant from Missouri Valley, Iowa, Schroder saw the program as an opportunity to trek across his new state, which was largely unknown to him, and to spend more quality time w ith Howard.

“Our first ever Nebraska Passport stop was the (now closed) Higgins Hardware Store on Main Street in Plattsmouth,” Howard said. “We went there, took a photo, and then went to the River House across the street for a soda pop and ice cream.” The couple chose to visit passport stops within a few hours driving distance from Omaha as day trips to escape the city and spend time together. The stops provided opportunities for trips they didn’t have to plan and long car rides to connect through deep conversations.

“The Nebraska Passport program is truly how we got to know each other,” Howard said. “I think a lot about how the Passport and the journey within the Passport that year was very much what convinced me that I needed to keep this guy around for a very long time.” (The couple married in 2015.)

The Passport Program would take them beyond the towns along Interstate 80, well off the beaten path. The long drives down back highways provide tranquility to the trips. “It's kind of more fun because it's a little bit more relaxing when you're not driving 80 miles an hour on the interstate,” Howard reflected. “And they kind of become your favorite spots, because maybe you wouldn’t have seen them if it weren’t for the Passport. It has changed the way we travel. Now we consider the places we want to stop along the way, the places we want to revisit and check in on, like the Circle C Market, a grocery store in Cody, Nebraska, constructed entirely of hay bales and run by high scho ol students.

“Cody is so cool. It’s just a little grocery store. When the town had lost its post office and bar, the kids decided they would open up a market,” Howard said. “Every time we go there, we buy whatever non-perishables we can. I just want them to stay in business, and it's always kids who a re working.”

Another hot spot on the couple’s list is McCook, Nebraska, where they go out of their way to make repeated trips to the area, visiting the Senator George Norris State Historic Site, which pays homage to the father of the Nebraska Unicameral. Next, they always stop for a James Beard award-winning Bieroc sandwich at the Sehnert's Bakery before stopping by the only home in the state designed by Frank L loyd Wright.

A few of Howard’s favorite places to visit regularly now were once passport stops. “I never knew about The Next Chapter bookstore until it was listed as a passport stop one year. Now I go there regularly, I am in three book clubs, and know the owner personally,” she said. “We stop in just to say hello, and going there makes me really happy.” When she’s out and about, she makes a point to visit Terrace Books in Columbus and Postscript in Ashland. “The [Postscript] owner, Laura, is so nice. She knows me by name now I have a stationery problem. Ashland as a town, and experience, just keeps getting better,” she affirmed.

There’s no need to pack snacks on these road trips, as there are many bakeries, coffee shops, and places to eat, like The Vault Coffee in Bayard, the Gering Bakery in Gering, Master’s Hand Boutique and Bakery in Tekemah, and The Speakeasy in Holdrege.

Schroder has an affinity for a very specific menu item often found in small-town ice cream shops, drive-ins, and diners: the Pizza Burger. “It’s a sausage hamburger patty that's breaded with a slice of cheese on top of it. They put it in the deep fryer, warm it up and put it on a bun, and you eat it like a sandwich,” he said. As the two make their way across Nebraska, he manages to find pizza burgers at places like the TK-Starlite Drive-In in Neligh, or Staabs Drive Inn in Crawford. “That’s my kind of thing, even if we've just had lunch, if I find one, I have to get it,” Schroder said. “It has been a fun little s ide quest.”

// 56 // MAY 2024

Deena Hannum, owner of Hay Jay Coffee in Omaha, participated in the Nebraska Passport program for the first time in 2023. She digitally stamped 2,374 passports and hand stamped nearly 2,000 books, includ ing Howard and Schroder’s. Hannum and her staff recall an influx of patrons from Nebraska’s panhandle. “I loved hearing some of the stories of those that do it con tinually. I worked in the store during a lot of May and that was the majority of our customers, so I got to know them a bit,” she said. “For the most part, the Passport customers were fun and tried to spend a little something to support us as a small business.” The store owner has plans to apply again to the Passport program after she gets a café up and running.

Now an annual tradition, the Nebraska Passport program has not only fostered the couple’s romantic relationship, but it has also been invaluable to Howard’s professional relationships. “Some of the work I do is state-wide, and it has been healthy for me to see how policy and law is applied in all areas of the state,” she explained. “It was also meaningful for me to visit colleagues in their district. One of my favorite health departments in the state is out in the panhan dle…I’ve fallen in love with my husband and with my state through the Nebraska Passport program.”

To learn more about the Nebraska Passport program, request a booklet, download the app, and view 20 visit nebraskapa s

It has changed the way we travel.
Now we consider the places we want to stop along the way, the places we want to revisit and check in on, like the Circle C Market, a grocery store in Cody, Nebraska, constructed entirely of hay bales and run by high school students.
–Sara Howard

MAY 2024


May 2


Benefits: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

Location: Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts —

May 2


Benefits: Kids Can Community Center

Location: Scott Conference Center —

May 2


Benefits: The Set Me Free Project

Location: A View on State —

May 2


Benefits: Educare of Omaha

Location: Cardinal Point Counseling, Early Learning Center at Kennedy, MilkWorks, and Virtual —

May 3



Benefits: Prairie STEM

Location: 1111 N 13th St. —

May 3


2024 Greater Omaha Heart & Stroke Walk


Location: Miller’s Landing —

We're all tied to heart disease and stroke in some way, and the American Heart Association aims to change that. Join friends, family, and co-workers to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. By registering for the Heart & Stroke Walk, you are taking the first step to save lives. Every walker who joins and every dollar donated mean more research, more people trained in lifesaving CPR, more medical breakthroughs, and more champions for equitable health. To register or donate, visit

May 11

May 3


Benefits: Memories For Kids

Location: Champions Run —

May 3


Benefits: Omaha Mobile Stage

Location: Benson Creative District — events/soundspark

May 4


Benefits: Everyday Science and Science


Location: Everyday Science and Science Support —

May 4


Benefits: Papillion Community Foundation

Location: Venues at the Granary —

May 4


Benefits: Micah House

Location: Mid-America Center —

May 7

May 5


Benefits: Scatter Joy Acres

Location: Scatter Joy Acres —

May 5


Benefits: Vesper Concerts

Location: Presbyterian Church of the Cross — vesper-legacy-concert/

May 7


Benefits: Salvation Army

Location: CHI Health Center Omaha —

May 7


Benefits: A Time to Heal Cancer Foundation

Location: Embassy Suites La Vista Conference Center —

May 7


Benefits: Nebraska Poetry Society

Location: Virtual event —

// 58 // MAY 2024

May 8


Benefits: Nebraska Cures

Location: Happy Hollow Club —

May 9


Benefits: Children’s Square USA

Location: Top Golf Omaha —

May 11


Benefits: Omaha Sports Commission and Omaha Corgi Crew

Location: Tom Hamadan Rover’s Edge Park —

May 12


Benefits: Lauritzen Gardens

Location: Lauritzen Gardens —

May 13


Benefits: Bio Nebraska

Location: Iron Horse Golf Club in Ashland —bionebraska. org/2024-life-sciences-on-the-links

May 15


Benefits: Institute for Career Advancement


Location: CHI Health Center —

May 15


Benefits: Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue

Location: Fig —

May 16


Benefits: Make-A-Wish Foundation

Location: Champions Run —winewhiskeywishes.ticket.

May 15—19



Benefits: Special Olympics


Location: Omaha venues —

May 17-26


May 15-19

Benefits: Union for Contemporary Art

Location: Union for Contemporary Art —

// GIVING CALENDAR // MAY 2024 // 59 // 2024 First Place Caterer


Salina Anderson, APRN

Geraldine Alexis, LIMHP, PLADC

Julie Bierman, LCSW, LMHP

Chantel Bruha, LIMHP, LADC

Korrie Conners, LMHP, CSAT

Kirby Davis, LMHP

Peggy Deaver, LIMHP, CPC

Davin Dickerson, APRN

Beth Farrell, LCSW, LIMHP

Dumayi Gutierrez, PhD, LMHP

Lucy Hancock, MA

Charlene Hills, LCSW, LIMHP

KG Langdon, APRN

Mary Loftis, LMHP, CPC

Kim Mueller, LIMHP, CPC

Nicole Obrecht, LIMHP

Kara Schneider, BA

Marty Stoltenberg, APRN-BC

Kristi Tackett-Newburg, PhD, LIMHP

Greg Tvrdik, LIMHP, CPC

Sarah Wenzl, LMHP, CPC

Michele Yanney-Wehbi, LIMHP, CPC

May 18



Benefits: American Legion Riders

Location: Lake Ridge Golf Course — organizer/dave-erhart-2/

May 18


Benefits: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Location: Werner Park —

May 18


Benefits: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Location: Holmes Lake Park

Open Shelter #3 —

May 19


Benefits: Lauritzen Gardens

Location: Lauritzen Gardens —

May 24


May 18

Benefits: Benson American Legion Family

May 25


Benefits: Greater Omaha chapter of AFCEA

Location: Golf Coast Road and S. 96th St. —

May 26


Benefits: Omaha Mobile Stage

Location: Gene Leahy Mall —

May 28


Benefits: Food Bank of Lincoln

Location: Embassy Suites Lincoln —

May 30


Benefits: Omaha Sports Commission

Location: The Relevant Center —

May 30


Benefits: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands

Location: Tiburon Golf Club —

May 31


Benefits: American Cancer Society

Location: Ta-Ha-Zouka Park —

May 26

// 60 //
Dr. Kristi Tackett-Newburg Founder/Owner 2024 First Place Counseling Services
* Counseling * Psychotherapy *
Online Therapy * Performance / Leadership / Emotional
* Addiction Treatment * Substance
Evaluations *
9802 Nicholas Street, Unit
Omaha, NE 68114 402-932-2296 | |
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Couples Therapy
#1 Couples Counseling #1 Counseling Services 4701 SOUTH 25TH STREET • OMAHA, NE 68107 • • (402) 731-1137
2024 First Place Couples Counseling

May 31


Benefits: Ronald

McDonald House Location: 1766 W Kearney Ave —


May 31

Benefits: Go Beyond Leadership Through Nature Location: Pacific Springs Golf Course —

Event times and details are correct
are subject
Omaha Magazine encourages
visit venues' websites and/or
before attending an event or visiting a
MAY 2024 // 61 // 402.558.3500 Corner of 50th & South Saddlecreek 402-502-8757 Southwest Corner of 144th & Industrial Rd 402.502.5511 Southwest corner of 120th & Maple 402.933.9400 Corner of Washington & Lincoln, Papillion SETTING THE STANDARD IN COLLISION REPAIR MECHANICAL REPAIR 2024 First Place Auto Body Repair 2024 First Place Auto Body Repair 402.991.2848 / Southwest Corner of 120th & Maple 1ST PLACE 19 STRAIGHT YEARS! Corner of 50th & South Saddlecreek Southwest Corner of 144th & Industrial Rd Southwest corner of 120th & Maple Corner of Washington & Lincoln, Papillion 1ST PLACE 18 STRAIGHT YEARS! MECHANICAL REPAIR 2023 First Place Auto Body Repair 2023 First Place Auto Body Repair “We’d Rather Be The Best Than Apologize for Anything Less.” “Need an estimate? Visit to schedule your estimate today.” 402.991.2848 / Southwest Corner of 120th & Maple
presstime, but
to change.
readers to
calling ahead
“Well Done”

he view from behind the sights of a gun-mounted Humvee, atop the surging bow of a warship, or beneath the thumping blades of an attack helicopter are graciously distant from the civilian eye. For those brave enough to look, their perspectives are invariably changed shaped by duty, valor, and of course, untold sacrifice.

Much the same can be said of first responders and healthcare workers; meetings with gunshots, contagions, and columns of fire are all in a day’s work. Running late isn’t a matter of promotions and performance reports, but rather, lif e and death.

For those willing and able to meet catastrophe with composure, finding healthy outlets for stress and perhaps even more importantly, a sense of community is key to maintainin g wellness.

To this end, a trio of area servicemen has hoisted an invitation beneath the Stars and Stripes a familiar sight on U.S. Navy bases, and an affirming one at that: BRAVO ZULU, or, “ Well Done.”

“In 2022 we founded the Bravo Zulu Adventure Group, really as an opportunity to honor those who serve others,” said cofounder Shaun Burdess, a veteran of the Marine Corps who’s counted four deployments over 12 years of service. “We honor first responders, veterans, healthcare workers, and their families through outdoor adventures and soc ial events.”

While Burdess is known for his fiery enthusiasm, Nebraska National Guardsman and former Army Sniper and Gunner, David Munoz, takes a long view of the 501(c)(3)’s potential even if some goals are presently out of range.

“We get very easily excitable, so managing expectations was probably our biggest hurdle [early on],” explained Munoz with a knowing grin. “My wife’s a nurse, and I’ve got healthcare worker and first responder friends […] so, I shot for the moon. I mean, I could promise: ‘We’ll take a ride on a rocket ship. I’ll make it happe n somehow!’”

Despite being the youngest of Bravo Zulu’s cofounders, 26-year-old National Guard Infantryman and Parachute Rigger Dylan Andelt is, as Burdess and Munoz freely admit, the most grounded of the Group leaders, often serving as a mediator betwe en the two.

“We challenge each other in different ways, and I think that makes us better as a group and as an organization,” Andelt said.

While each of Bravo Zulu’s cofounders take pride in their military backgrounds, it’s their shared passion for skydiving that ultimately generated lift for Bravo Zulu. With various instructor credentials between them, their most frequented jump-site is above Weeping Water, Nebraska, the hallowed grounds of the Lincoln Sport Parachute Club.

“That drop actually has a lot of history. It’s the longest continuous running drop zone in the U.S.,” Munoz noted. “The guy that started it is a Medal of Honor recipient. There’s not a corner in this world you can crawl to and not find a connection to Lincoln’s community.”

Organizing skydiving excursions is Bravo Zulu’s go-to for thrill-seeking participants. Though not explicitly focused on ‘adventure therapy,’ Burdess, Munoz, and Andelt gladly promote the 14,000 feet of headspace that forms between a Cessna 182 cockpit, the jolt of an unfurling canopy, and the fast approach of te rra firma.

“When you are going skydiving, people are like, ‘Man, I’m going to jump off a plane this weekend,’ and it’s like you’re hyper-focused on that, which inadvertently takes you away from what you’re hyper-focused on the rest of the time,” Burdess said. “I mean, you’re literally being thrown out of a plane. And you can kick and scream, but if it’s tandem, we’re not going to hear you anyway. And the parachute is going to open, and you’re going to get down…but gravity is inevitable, and you want to st ay focused.”

“When you get done with it, whatever you’re worried about kind of seems small at that point,” A ndelt added.

Last year, Munoz discovered Elkhorn’s Bottles and Barrels, a novel liquor store boasting self-serve drafts and an extensive list of wines and spirits. He immediately observed a large, yawning field behind the shop and approached proprietor Jimmy Ellsworth with an idea: a raffle for a tandem skydive during the latter’s Oktoberfest celebration. Incidentally, cold feet stalled the winner a week later. With FAA regulations in mind, the Bravo

Zulu crew had penciled Ellsworth in as a backup. He took the plunge, and they’ve been regular partners and fast friends ever since.

Still, among the memorable connections made since founding Bravo Zulu, one dive in particular resonates with Munoz and company.

“It’s veterans, healthcare workers, first responders, and their families,” Munoz emphasized. “We took a veteran’s daughter skydiving, and that was so powerful; he wasn’t doing the skydive [himself], but I’ve never seen a dad so proud to watch his daughter. I mean, when I say he told everybody…he’s still telling people. Every time I seem him, he’s like, ‘Can you believe that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I w as there!’”

Additionally, Bravo Zulu has dipped their toes into scuba-diving retreats, popular among those seeking a more soothing, meditative experience. The group has also leaned heavily into community-oriented philanthropy including high-flying demos, Bourbon raffles, and ‘dine-to-donate’ fundraisers with an emphasis on hyp er-locality.

“One of the big pushes that we talked about […] was all of these big, huge nonprofits that are supposed to help communities, right? Folds of Honor raised $2 million two years ago, but they didn’t do anything for our local community. Sure, they’re doing great things for veterans [nationally],” Munoz conceded. “Wounded Warrior Project…they do a few things here. But what change is really affecting our community? We want to give back locally. So how are we going to do that?”

As far as nonprofits go, The Bravo Zulu Adventure Group is young. Burdess, however, provides an answer reflecting hard-won insight and decades of steeled camaraderie:

“Honestly, that’s why we created this,” he said. “It’s because people have given up time to serve other people. That’s why we’re honoring those who serve it doesn’t matter how much money you have, it doesn’t matter how much ‘pull’ you have , whatever.

“It’s time that’s invaluable.”

For more information, vis it

“In 2022 we founded the Bravo Zulu Adventure Group, really as an opportunity to honor those who serve others.”
—Shaun Burdess
MAY 2024 // 63 //


plan nothing and experience it all with MCC Traveling Classrooms

ob and Joanne Hicks went on their first Metropolitan Community College Traveling Classroom tour in 2015, and they have been on more than 30 since. The immersive, educational excursions sometimes lasting a few hours, a complete day or a full weekend explore the marvels and hidden treasures of t he Midwest. Each quarter, MCC Traveling Classrooms take guests on leisurely learning adventures for people of all ages with wide-ranging interests. From arts and culture to sports experiences, local history and much more, no tour is exactl y the same.

And the best part MCC handles all the planning, including transportation via deluxe motorcoach, meals (depending on length of trip) and reservations. For frequent MCC travelers like Joanne Hicks, it’s the best kind of lifelon g learning.

“My husband and I are both over the age of 70. There’s nothing that says, ‘Oh well, education stops now,’” she said. “It’s fun learning that gives you the local experience, seeing things you probably wouldn’t have gone to on your own because you wouldn’t have known about it.”

Upcoming MC C Traveling Classroo ms include:

Kansas City BBQ, Wine and Weston, Missouri

The barbeque craze in Kansas City dates to the 1920s. This KC trip kicks off with a savory meal in the heart of where barbecue started. Afterwards, take in history at the

National WWI Museum and Memorial followed by a walk through the historic Union Station. A shopping stop for unique, artistic and collectible items in Weston, Missouri, follows. The day concludes by sampling wines at Pir tle Winery.

A Taste of Europe (Manning, Iowa)

Northwestern Iowa is home to German and Dutch culture galore. Enjoy guided tours of the authentic 1660s Manning Hausbarn, which was shipped from Germany and carefully reassembled, and the beautifully preserved Trinity Lutheran Church. A catered, German-style luncheon at the Konferenze Centre on the Heritage Park grounds will follow. The Dutch portion of the itinerary starts with viewing a full-sized replica of “The Little Mermaid” statue of Copenhagen Harbor. Tour the Museum of Danish America and the Bedstemor’s House in Elk Horn before a relaxing finish to the day at Danish Countryside Vines and Wines in Exira.

Mississippi River Cruise (Le Claire, Iowa, and Galena, Illinois)

Three-day tour pric e includes:

• Two nights at a three-star hotel in Moline, Illinois, including two breakfasts

• Mississippi riverboat cru ise luncheon

• All guid ed-tour fees

Daily planned activities for this tour are list ed at right.

Mississippi River Cruise Itinerary:

Day 1:

• Explore Le Claire, Iowa, home of the History C hannel show

“American Pickers”

• Buffalo Bill Museum

• Group dinner

Day 2:

• Botanical Gardens (Dubuque, Iowa)

• Visit Galena, Illinois, one of the toprated small towns in America with more than 125 indep endent shops

• Tour President Ulysses S. Grant’s home and the Dowling House (bui lt in 1857)

• “On-your-own” shopping time

• Thunde r Bay Falls

• Olathea Creek Vineya rd & Winery

Day 3:

• Guided tour of Quad Cities

• Luncheon cruise on the Mighty Mississippi River, served on the 750-passenger Celebration Belle

• Guided tour of the Deere-Heiman House (Moline , Illinois)

• Front Street Brewery in (Davenport, Iowa)

No refunds are available within 14 days of the trips. Moderate walking is required fo r all trips.

Visit for a complete listing of MCC Traveling Classroom offerings, descriptions and importa nt details.

// 64 // MAY 2024 SPONSORED PROFILE //
Day 3 of the Mississippi River Cruise Traveling Classroom features a luncheon served on the 750-passenger riverboat, Celebration Belle.
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Mary Maxwell Delivers THERE’S SOMETHING

Sincerity with Hilarity

The invocation begins solemnly enough at an aging conference sponsored by Home Instead, the Omaha-based home care service f or seniors.

“God our Father, you know all that Home Instead believes in and strives for, and we ask you r blessing…”

Maybe it’s her sweet and innocent face, aged to perfection. Or maybe it’s her soft voice in the alto register, so pleasing to the ear. It might also be the way she keeps her head down and eyelids fluttering demurely that lulls the audience into thinking, “Oh, she is a dear litt le thing.”

Then the invocation starts to veer into a more s ecular tone.

“You see, Lord, this is the first time I’ve ever been old. And it just sort of crept up on me.”

That’s when Mary Maxwell launches her fi rst zinger.

“There were signs…like random hair growth. That’s special. Particularly the first time you go and brush a hair off your lapel and discover it’s attached to your chin.”

After a brief “Wait, what?” moment, the smattering of giggles erupts into full-blown laughter, as the audience realizes Maxwell is actually a standup comic and a real pro at that.

“It’s how she delivers things, her timing, that’s perfect and part of her charm,” said longtime friend Dr. Amy Haddad, a retired professor in health sciences at Creighton University. Haddad’s husband, retired Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska CEO Steve Martin, added, “She knows how to wait for it. That’s a natural tale nt of hers.”

Maxwell inherited her wit and poise from the father she adored, banking executive J. Francis McDermott. He was a frequent keynote speaker and emcee at various

Omaha events. From the time she was little, Maxwell watched a nd learned.

Born in 1936 as one of six children, she boasts a lofty Omaha lineage. “I’m a Creighton!” she said with pride. “My name is Mary Creighton McDermott Maxwell. My maternal grandmother was a Creighton.”

The McDermott family lived in the shadow of St. Cecilia’s Cathedral, where she attended both grade and high school. As a fifth grader, she met a boy named Chuck Maxwell, who was a year older. Like her father, Chuck Maxwell would loom large in her life.

After graduating from Rosary College, now Dominican University, in Illinois with a double major in philosophy and Latin, Maxwell returned to Omaha with a singu lar purpose.

“My husband didn’t realize he was going to marry me as early as I did. He was a little slower on that,” she deadpanned. “He was the draw to lure me back home.”

Chuck and Mary Maxwell raised four sons and one daughter in the same Cathedral neighborhood where they had grown up. After a career at Mutual of Omaha, Chuck became alumni director at his alma mater, Creighton University.

“For my vacation every year, Chuck took the five kids to Kansas City for a week and let me stay home alone. It was heaven,” she said with a str aight face.

The couple enjoyed a wide circle of friends from the business and civic arenas, and Maxwell became involved in many women’s organizations. By her late 40s, she had developed a reputation as a good speaker, someone who wasn’t too shy to stand up and start talking. Word started to spread about her ability to draw laughs. Soon her audiences shifted from small women’s groups to gatherings of the Chamber of Commerce

and other large events. Her jangled nerves necessitated her deadp an persona.

“I do (the routines) with a straight face, and I never laugh at myself and rarely smile because I was so nervous at the beginning,” she explained. “I was afraid if I smiled, my mouth would star t to shake.”

Forty years later, audiences still shake with laughter. Her schticks about needing Bourbon or feeling slighted over never being crowned Queen of Aksarben at the annual philanthropic ball never fall flat.

Her relationship with Home Instead catapulted her to national attention. Her invocation routine has garnered over 25 million views on YouTube. “When it first hit the Internet, I had no idea what viral meant. No clue. I thought it meant you were ill,” she admitted.

A favorite at aging conferences, Maxwell has traveled across the country, including several trips to Florida, as a guest speaker. At the height of her speaking career she averaged 52 engagement s per year.

As she defiantly approaches her 88th birthday in November, Maxwell concedes a bothersome right leg and bum knee have slowed her down physically, but the quips never stop, and she laughs easily and often. A widow since 2013, Maxwell basks in the wake of her five successful children and her 17 gra ndchildren.

She may not have been crowned Queen of Aksarben, as her mother once was, but she is as close to royalty as Omaha will ever have.

“She’s Miss…and Mrs. Omaha,” proclaimed Martin. “She is our t reasure.”

A seclection of Mary Maxwell’s comedic videos can be viewed via the Careg iver Stress channel on YouTube.

60PLUS // 66 // MAY 2024

For an audio version of this story, open the camera on your smart device and hover over the QR code above.

The years 1968-1969 saw multiple historically important events occur, including the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam war, and the Apollo 11 moon landing. In the midst of the chaos of emotions resulting from these events arose a hit song that reached the top of the charts for six weeks: “In the Year 2525 (Exortium & Terminus).”

Denny Zager and Rick Evans, the two men who wrote and recorded the song as the band “Zager and Evans,” hail from Lincoln, Nebraska, where they met at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Truth Records originally released the song in 1968, with a second release followed by RCA Records in 1969. Its success prompted a feature on the cover of TIME Magazine in 1969. A photo of Zager and Evans was captioned: “Even the Beatles would b e jealous!”

Zager and Evans, however, did not come close to the Beatles’ fame. The duo, who split in 1971, would go down in history as the only artists ever to have simultaneous Number One hits in both the United States and the United Kingdom without any others to follow a true “one-hit wonder.”

“We had a lot of ‘end of the world’ songs in ’69,” remarked Dave Wingert, morning show host and account executive at Boomer Radio. “It was a different time, and I think it’s looked at as a novelty now.”

Although what makes this song special enough to have been covered at least 60 times in seven languages?

“In the Year 2525” is classified as a dystopian sci-fi tune, the lyrics expressing a prediction of the state of humanity and the earth in future years. Beginning with the year 2525, “if man is still alive,” the song takes listeners through thousands of years of societal deterioration through the advancement of technology. In 3535, “everything you think, do, and say is in the pill you took today;” in 4545, we won’t even need to eat and “nobody’s gonna look at you;” in 5555, our limbs will become obsolete, as “some machine’s doing that for you;” in 6565, “test tube babies” will dissolve the institute of marriage.

When we finally reach the year 8510, God will intervene “He’ll either say, ‘I’m pleased where man has been,’ or tear it down and start again.” This reference to Genesis (the first book of the Bible, in which God sends a flood to wipe out all life on Earth) adds an even more pessimistic flavor to the song, heavily implying that this Biblical story will inevitably re peat itself.

By 9595, man has exhausted Earth and its resources with an air of nonchalance, mindlessly moving on to the next planet or universe across the stars, no doubt to repeat the process of the last 10,000 years over again.

This iconic song has garnered both positive and negative attention over the years, and many people have taken to online forums and blogs to explain why they think it either eerily prophetic or underserving of fame. Most agree on the latter, however, Wingert included. “It’s inelegant and musically boring,” he explained. “The song has been used in futuristic TV shows and used for a hook, but I think that’s because it’s theatrical, not because it’s melodic.”

Even Zager admitted it wasn’t a psychic vision of the future. In a 2020 interview with Forbes, he remarked, “Rick (Evans) said he wrote the lyrics in 10 minutes in the back of a Volkswagen van after a night of partying and a lot of Mary Jane.” (Today, Zager builds custom guitars at Zager Guitars in Lincoln, Nebraska. He could not be reached for comment on this story. Evans died in 2018.)

The song was significant enough, though, to be affected by later historical events. The attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 brought grief and terror to the United States. Though it was recorded over 30 years prior, “In The Year 2525” was one of 165 songs on the memorandum distributed to radio stations by Clear Channel Communications (the largest owner of radio stations at the time) considered to be “lyrically questionable” to play over the air in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy.

“Apparently this dependence on our technologies really struck a chord with millions of people in the ‘60s,” Wingert said. “But now, when people really want to hear something from that time, it’s usually Lionel Ritchie, Barry White, the Bee Gees, the Beatles something that’s musically brilliant.”

Whether an important warning to be heeded or just another briefly popular tune to be lost to time, there’s no denying “In The Year 2525” was one of the biggest music releases of the era and a significant blip in the timeline of music history.

To listen to songs from the “In the Year 2525 (Exortium & Terminus)” era, visit myboom

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Beginning and End When Nebraska Musicians Topped the Charts
over the QR code
For an audio version of this story, open the camera on your smart device and hover



I Schoolhouse Blues

n the small, sleepy town of Avoca, Nebraska, a soprano recorder crooned a clear note that drifted out the firstfloor window of a schoolhouse. A jeep, painted like a school bus, was perched in the yard. Children bicycled past the old brick building and tapped their brakes, pausing to listen, possibly wondering at the oddity of not hearing the shrill tone of a bell. The bravest boy rode to the tall window, peeking inside to watch a woman breathe into the wooden body to produce flute-like sw eet sounds.

“Oh, we thought it was the ice cream man,” the boy said, wheeling back to his friends and leaving a puff of dust behind.

“I thought they came to hear me play,” Debby Greenblatt said, laughing at the memory.

Chalk’s dusty perfume hangs heavy in a room inside the schoolhouse where Greenblatt lives with her husband, David Seay. A cornucopia of instruments leans against the blackboard, waiting to make music. Some, like the banjo and fiddle, bear worn marks of continuous play while the Swedish 16-string nyckelharpa and Ukrainian 56-string bandura shine with the promise of future fingers roaming over the guts and metal.

Greenblatt, 72, and Seay, 71, amassed dozens of different instruments, honed their craft, and bonded over their lov e of music.

“We’ve been playing since the night we met,” Seay said.

Music brought the two together that auspicious night 46 years ago. Seay, a property evaluator from Alabama, saw a listing for banjo lessons while in Omaha, Nebraska. He started a new-blue grass band called Whole Wheat with a few others, but the trio needed addition al strings.

Seay found the woman who answered an advertisement to join their band immediately i nteresting.

“Well, it was a violin, but I called it a fiddle so they didn’t think I was stuck up,” Greenblatt explained.

Greenblatt fiddled her way into Seay’s heart with an Alabamian tune, not knowing his home state, and landed the gig. No one wanted a rocky relationship to develop like Fleetwood Mac’s singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham that ultimately broke up the band, so the two resisted romance. Greenblatt started to fall for Seay after hearing his siren song “Okie Dokie,” but didn’t believe he wrote it at first. The poetic words of the 1930s swing tune moved her, and the fact that Seay also had a hot new “Dixie car,” a 1977 Ford Futura, made him irresistible. Just months later, the whirlwind relationship spurred a proposal in Mar ch of 1978.

MAY 2024 60 PLUS // 71 //

“Let me think about it,” Greenblatt replied, knowing they just met and how rushed it sounded.

The player pulled Seay aside between the third and fourth set, accepting his proposal in an alley during a concert at a bar in Columbus, Nebraska, on June 27th. Seay calls it the “night we got married” since the rest just meant paperwork. The couple officially exchanged vows in their living room in front of 17 people a month later. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon entertaining prisoners with a show at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln th at weekend.

“I have shocked my parents before, so it’s not the first time,” she said.

Greenblatt stunned her Massachusetts family after telling them she wanted to major in music at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. The aspiring musician promised her mother she would teach instead if she couldn’t find a paying career after graduation. Luckily, the violinist landed several orchestra opportunities in several states, eventually landing in Nebraska to join the Omaha Symphony as principal second for a few years and 20 years with the Metropolitan String Quartet. After putting away the classical gigs, Greenblatt became the first woman to win the Nebraska State Fiddling Championship in 1978, plus the Mid-America Fiddle Championship in 1979. Greenblatt would later be inducted into the Mid-America Old-Time Fiddler’s Hall of Fa me in 1995.

Seay reached into an overall jean pocket, produced a harmonica, and pushed his thick lips onto the silver instrument. He closed his blue eyes behind black-rimmed glasses, sliding the instrument back and forth, inhaling and exhaling to vibrate the reeds inside to produce a twangy note. His full salt-and-pepper beard swayed with the tempo. Seay’s childlike enthusiasm makes him want to explain how it all works with patience and kindness.

The passion translated to Seay quitting his computer programming job to pursue music full-time with his wife. The duo showcased their craft as artists to students through the Nebraska Arts Council Touring Program and Artists in the Schools/Communities Program. In the earlier years, Greenblatt and Seay homeschooled their boys, Wilson and Django, teaching them guitar, mandolin, and violin mixed in with the regular curriculum in a small house in North Omaha.

Greenblatt, dressed in a plum long-sleeved thermal under her blue-jean overalls with a colorful knitted stocking hat over her gray frizzy locks, sat down to pluck at a dark-stained mandolin. The distinct metallic melody “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” drifted into the room on a silent, cloud y afternoon.

“I’m still in love,” Seay said in a voice thick with emotion when discussing his wife.

When not singing upbeat harmonies at performances, developing over 100 original tunes in different traditions, or teaching private lessons and workshops, the multiinstrumental duet publishes purchasable collect ible books.

“They developed quite a following, generations of people that have learned music with them,” said Mike Markey, the executive director of the Nebraska Arts Council. “I appreciate the grassroots music that we associate with our history and historical b ackground.”

“They are just great people, too, wonderful educators and ambassadors for the arts. We are so lucky t o have them.“
-Mike Markey

Seay’s musical journey, meanwhile, took longer, first dabbling in the fi fth grade.

“I was the worst trumpet player ever,” Se ay recalled.

But when the 21-year-old picked up a harmonica, he couldn’t put it down and played every day for three and a h alf years.

“The doctor said to get rid of my chapped lips, I had to stop for two or three weeks,” Seay said. “I guess you could say I was ‘dr awn’ to it.”

Seay laughed at the pun while Greenblatt rolled her hazel eyes.

“The jokes are terrible. He did not do this when we dated,” s he quipped.

Greenblatt realized the need for a bigger space, and it took nine months to convince her husband that an old schoolhouse in Avoca would fit the bill as a birthday gift in 1990. Seay brought his “mouth organ” to check out the acoustics, realizing any instrument sounded phenomenal with the warm woods and chalkboards. He demonstrated with his 10-hole diatonic harmonica in the tiny gymnasium where the 1934 Avoca basketball team defeated Syracuse 100-0, earning a “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” mention. His blue-stockinged foot tapped along to the rhythm of the folksy bluesy beat in the cold arena, professionally hitting the straight harp followed by the cross harp. The couple only heats certain rooms due to cost, so winter mornings mean walking through icy hallways to practice, while summer days cook certain areas to a balmy temperature. Seay prefers the banjo, guitar, or ukulele, and his wife picks up the fivestring viola most days. But both continue to add unique instruments to their repertoire.

Markey recalled watching them at the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival in front of an audience of thousands and providing a folky background ambiance throughout the night.

Seay and Greenblatt’s commitment to shaping the cultural and artistic landscape earned them the 2023 Heritage Award at the biennial State Arts Awards (formerly known as the Governor’s Arts Awards), receiving an art piece by Amy Haney titled “The Heartland.”

“They are just great people, too, wonderful educators and ambassadors for the arts. We are so lucky to have them,” Ma rkey added.

The married couple believes music is like air or water. They need it to live.

Greenblatt lifted a 1976 Martin D18 guitar, her unpainted nails strumming expertly over the strings, while Seay’s cross harp, on a Lee Oskar in the key of C major, drifted into the rhythm. She glanced up, her face devoid of makeup, and sang in a G major cadence: “If your dog locks you out/if your soul is cold and empty/then you know without a doubt…You’ve got ta wade in the waters of Bit c h Creek.”

For lesson information, both remotely and in person, publication information, and performances, visit greenblatt

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Adventure Awaits in Omaha: Six Thrilling Recreational Escapes Worth Exploring O

maha's varied recreational activities promise to suit every preference for a local adventure—rain, shine, or otherwise. From physical challenges to more leisurely pursuits, the Big O has it, whether you prefer the thrill of outdoor paddle boarding or the calm of indoor rock climbing. When it comes to getting out, having fun, and even pushing your limits, the metro’s recreational scene truly has it all. Discover these six experiences and add some excitement to your day.

TreeRush Adventures

1111 Bellevue Blvd N Ste A, Bellevue, NE |

Embark on an exhilarating outdoor adventure at Bellevue’s Fontenelle Forest with the TreeRush experience. Participants explore the forest canopy, navigating zip lines, suspended bridges, and rope ladders amidst the ancient trees. Catering to thrill-seekers aged four and above, TreeRush Adventures offers two attractions: TreeRush Adventure Park and KidRush Adventure Park. The former spans over six acres, featuring eight trails with varying difficulty levels, while the latter provides scaled-down excitement for younger climbers aged four to six. With supervision and safety ensured, adventurers can delight in a three-hour journey through the treetops, discovering the joy of natural beauty.


Blue Sky Patio & Pickleball

10730 Pacific St Suite 180, Omaha, NE

Experience the thrill of pickleball—America’s fastest-growing sport—at Blue Sky Patio & Pickleball in Omaha, where players of all skill levels can gather for exhilarating matches. Combining elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball offers straightforward rules for beginners and intense competition for seasoned players. Located within the Regency Landing development, the venue boasts insulated courts housed in a heated tent for year-round play. Whether reserving a court or walking in, players can enjoy the convenience of paddle and ball rentals at the Pro Shop. With a spacious patio and dining options like Noli’s Pizzeria and Cheeseburgers–A Take-Out Joint, Blue Sky Patio & Pickleball ensures a memorable and energizing experience.


Tubing & Adventures

25205 Harrison St, Waterloo, NE

Immerse yourself in an outdoor adventure with Tubing & Adventures (T&A), Omaha’s first tubing outfitter located along the Elkhorn River. T&A offers a one-stop shop for tubing, kayaking, tent camping, and RV camping, prioritizing safety in collaboration with Waterloo Fire & Rescue and the Papio-NRD. With The Neighborhood Offshore, they now provide stand-up paddleboards and yoga classes to enhance the river experience. Explore the scenic 7-mile float down the Elkhorn River, where towering cliffs, serene rock walls, and abundant wildlife await. With expert equipment and transportation services, T&A ensures a memorable and safe journey.


Flying Timber

1507 Farnam St, Omaha, NE |

Discover the thrill of landing a blade in a target at Flying Timber Axe Throwing, Omaha's award-winning venue with cutting-edge targets and unparalleled service. Voted Best of Omaha for multiple years and the winner of the 2020 Omaha Choice Award for Date Night, Flying Timber ensures a top-notch experience for all. With a focus on safety and comfort, each lane features tables and chairs where guests can enjoy craft brews or try their hand at throwing ninja stars. Conveniently located near the historic Old Market, it's the perfect spot to unwind with friends, family, or colleagues.


Skate Ribbon At Heartland Of America Park

S 8th & Farnam St, Omaha, NE |

Omaha's Skate Ribbon, nestled in Omaha's revitalized Heartland of America Park downtown, invites year-round enjoyment for the whole family. Located at 8th and Farnam streets, it's a lively destination for both ice skating during winter and roller skating when temperatures rise. Admission is free for those with their own equipment, and skates are available for rent. Before hitting the rink, guests are required to fill out an online waiver and check in at the Skate Kiosk. Enjoy the riverfront's additional attractions while you’re there, including the picturesque lakeside amphitheater and the Farnam Pier.


Approach Climbing Gym

4923 S 72nd St, Omaha, NE |

Enjoy the thrill of indoor rock climbing at Approach Climbing Gym, boasting a sprawling 6,000-square-foot climbing wall area and a dedicated 1,600-square-foot training zone. Newcomers are guided through a comprehensive safety orientation, which includes a day pass. Climbing enthusiasts aged 14 and above can partake in educational courses and training sessions. Members enjoy 24/7  access to climbing walls, a fully-equipped weight room, and specialized training gear, ensuring a fulfilling climbing experience for all skill levels.

MAY 2024 // 75 // The Spice Road Stops in Lincoln
STORY tamsen butler PHOTOGRAPHY sarah lemke DESIGN rachel birdsall

housands of years ago, spice merchants traveled hundreds of miles via donkeys and camels to acquire the flavorful commodities native to distant lands. Today, all it takes is a quick trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, to visit Tamayta, the most popular spice shop in the area.

Opened in 2017 by Mat Myers, Tamayta’s origin story began as “Myers Sharpening Service,” a knife honing business that Myers ran out of his garage. After a couple years of sharpening blades out of a non-climatecontrolled environment, Myers figured it was time to start thinking about finding a more permanent place for his business.

Drawing on his trade experience, Myers was helping to judge a knife skills competition when he mentioned to the other judges (who were mostly chefs and other industry professionals) that he was thinking of opening a knife sharpening shop. His announcement received a lukewarm reaction until he mentioned that he might also sell bulk spices.

That’s when the judges took notice and showed excitement.

“Their heads popped up, and they said, ‘If that happens, you let us know.’ That told me there was a niche; there was a need for it,” Myers said.

When Myers first moved to the area to attend college, he wanted to impress a date by cooking her a homemade meal. One of the ingredients in the recipe called for garam masala, an Indian spice blend. “I went all over town and couldn’t find garam masala, and once I finally found it, it was $15 a jar. This was in the ‘90s, and I was in college,” he recalled.

He had to decide between the spice and a bottle of wine; Myers chose the spice.

Years later, he was cleaning out some kitchen drawers and found the long-forgotten bottle of garam masala, long since expired. It was during that moment when Myers seriously considered opening his own spice shop. He figured that he could purchase spices in bulk so that customers in turn would only buy what they needed instead of a full jar of a spice they inevitably wouldn’t use.

He also determined to create his own spice blends with the first being taco seasoning. “I’d make a bunch of these, take them with me to work, give them to the guys at the store, and tell them, ‘This is enough to make one pound of ground beef,’ and to come back and tell me what you think,” Myers recounted. “They’d come back later and say, ‘So, I used all that stuff—can I get more?’ I’d tell them to meet me out by the bleachers after school,” he said with a laugh.

Today, Tamayta customers are known to visit the shop to ask for only small amounts of spices they need for a specific recipe. They also stop by to buy culinary knives or to check out the various gifts for sale, which are created by local artists. When kids visit with their parents, Myers encourages them to rearrange a wall of magnets so parents can shop. He’s created a space that isn’t just about spices–it’s also about community. Tamayta is a collection point for local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes and often hosts pop-ups for local artists during the holiday season.

The tradition of pop-ups started during the pandemic, when local artists and bakers weren’t able to sell their creations at farmers markets or other typical venues. With unknown foresight, Myers had installed a crowd control system in Tamayta by which he could control the number of people allowed into the space. Originally, he installed the system so he could easily buzz delivery people in while he was sharpening knives in the back, but during the pandemic, it allowed him to stay open because he could control the number of people allowed in the shop at any given time. Offering the space to local artisans as a place to sell their creations just made sense from a community perspective.

“It feels so neighborhoody. They know who’s here, we see the same people week to week, it makes you feel like you belong in the neighborhood. They’re over at the farmer’s market all the time. They just benefit the neighborhood.”
—Jentry Barrett
MAY // 76 // 2024

Sarah Ferdico, who owns Twin Springs Pecans in Bennet, Nebraska, said that she gets all her spices from Tamayta and has frequently leaned on Myers’ expertise as a spice purveyor. “When we were first trying to find our Cajun spice, we were having the hardest time getting the ingredients to stick to our pecans and give them that kick,” she said. “Mat knew exactly what we needed—a spice called the African Bird Pepper that only he sells. He said, 'If you pair that with a cayenne, you’ll get that kick you need.' And it just works! We have customers who rave about it, and we have Mat to thank for that.”

Customer Jentry Barrett visits the shop weekly to pick up her CSA box. “There’s such a sense of place; Mat knows me. He knows my husband, and he knows my kids. We’re here often,” she said. She delights in telling people she “has a spice guy” and said Myers makes a special blend that her husband puts in his coffee. “It feels so neighborhoody,” she added. “They know who’s here, we see the same people week to week, it makes you feel like you belong in the neighborhood. They’re over at the farmer’s market all the time. They just benefit the neighborhood.”

Myers gets his spices from seven different importers, with the main one, based in Chicago, serving as a supplier for most of the major restaurants in the Midwest. The importer has a USDA inspector on site, which is important to Myers to ensure quality ingredients and to guarantee that the ingredients are actually what they’re supposed to be. “That was super important to me because you’ll hear stories about sawdust or lead in products, and having that, it gives me reassurance that I can tell customers there’s nothing funky in their stuff.”

Medical professionals often refer patients to Myers’ shop after they receive a diagnosis such as high blood pressure, because Myers creates flavorful blends devoid of salt for people who need to avoid it.

This is part of his thoughtful approach to spices in general. Asafoetida, for example, imitates the flavor and aroma of onion and garlic, oft-used staples. “It’s used in Ayurvedic cooking to replace [them],” the spice purveyor explained. “A lot of companies that produce it, mix it with wheat flour; people who are trying to stay away from garlic and onion, who are on the ‘FODMAP Diet’ [designed for people with irritiable bowel syndrome], they’re also concerned with celiac or gluten. If you’re mixing with wheat flour, then it defeats the purpose. You want to provide a product that is most universally acceptable for people who do have IBS problems,” Myers explained.

That’s just what he knows about one spice—one of out the 310 spices and blends that he currently stocks on Tamayta’s shelves at any given time.

As his spice shop continues to grow, Myers makes certain that it grows thoughtfully. “As a business owner, you can be as big or as small as you want to be,” he said.

To learn more, visit

Teaching Omaha TO The

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ChefProfile Carter & Rye’s Kate Carter Anderson
“Every culture has a hand pie or something like it. Kolaches, pockets, and even dumplings are a type of hand pie.”
–Kate Carter Anderson

ate Carter Anderson is aware that most people assume her hand pie recipe was something she inherited, passed down through the generations. “I wish it was!” she laughed, explaining that her “non-fussy” pies were born from her own go-to recipe—one that she developed after graduating from the culinary program at Metro Community College and working as a culinary instructor at No More Empty Pots. A veteran of The Boiler Room and Archetype Coffee, Anderson was no stranger to creating food that people want to eat.

“Every culture has a hand pie or something like it,” she said. “Kolaches, pockets, and even dumplings are a type of hand pie.”

The business started as a project at the Omaha Farmers Market in 2019 when Anderson and Sarah “Rye” Ryan, a friend with whom she worked at No More Empty Pots, sold hand pies. The project quickly morphed into something more as the duo frequently sold out their offerings. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the women began taking orders remotely and dropping them off at customers’ front doors, which allowed the business to grow despite restrictions. They tried doing some pop-ups before eventually deciding to procure a dedicated location, which they named Carter & Rye, a riff on both their names.

Nowadays, Anderson has a brick-and-mortar store on 35th and Center streets. Despite limited hours, the shop typically has customers lined up to get their hands on the next interesting flavor Anderson introduces. “People are willing to try new flavors,” shop employee Missy Nissen said. “They've learned to trust the crust.”

That’s because Anderson doesn’t shy away from bold, unusual flavors. Her kimchee sausage hand pies, for example, delighted customers, even those at the farmers market who exclaimed, “What is that?” to which Anderson always replied, “Trust me, if you like stuff that’s a little spicy, you’ll like this.”

“Now kimchee sausage pies are one of our best sellers,” Anderson marveled. She personally prefers savory hand pies, using ingredients like pot roast, sweet potatoes, and squash in the winter. Her biscuits and gravy hand pie is

one of her favorites to bake. “I feel like a lunch lady!” she said, adding, “It’s fun to make, and people get excited.”

The best hand pie Anderson ever ate was on a road trip to California. She stopped in a mining town in Nevada and ate a ground beef, potatoes, and rutabaga hand pie from a restaurant that had the motto, “One’s a Meal!” She said that hand pies were commonplace in mining towns because the pie is “delicious, not fussy, and approachable.” Miners would pack a hand pie and eat it as a quick meal before returning to work.

But Anderson’s love for savory hand pies doesn’t stop her from offering some sweet treats, like peach hand pies during summer, for which her customers clamor. She also enjoys playing with sweet and savory combinations, like blackberry jam and sausage.

“Kate kind of flies by the seat of her pants,” Nissen said. “She chooses the flavors each week by inspiration. We have the trust and confidence in her to know that she knows what she’s doing.”

Anderson and her team of four revel in not only creating hand pies that the community covets, but also for offering a friendly, welcoming shop for customers. “Everyone is just so happy to be there,” Nissen said. “We've created a little safe haven of joy in the community. This is a little safe spot to come and interact with people. We have this little pie shop, and it’s the place where everyone who walks through the door feels welcome. Our pies fill you with the best childhood memories wrapped in a buttery crust.”

Anderson and her team still sell at the Omaha Farmers Market in Aksarben Village during the summer months, largely because they enjoy the experience. Anderson has been known to wander off to peruse the offerings from the other merchants and frequently returns with ingredients for the next week’s hand pies.

She’s been approached by coffee shops that want to source her hand pies, to which she has thus far declined. Her plan for Carter & Rye’s future is to “establish deeper roots in Omaha.” For now, though, she is enjoying her spot among successful female business owners in Omaha.

For more information about Kate Carter Anderson’s hand pies, visit

MAY 2024 // 79 //



New England to Nebraska Sand Point Serves Up Solid New England Fare

rowing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s coal and cow country, it was always the height of summer adventure to visit New England, where relatives had a modest summer beach home on Cape Cod. Sandy beaches, tidal pools, and salty waves were a world apart from coal slags, dirt roads, and dairy farms, and indulging in fresh seafood like crab, scallops, and best of all, lobster, felt like the height of indulgence and inculcated a lifelong appreciation for New England seafood.

Jon Taylor had similar childhood experiences of visiting family on both Cape Cod and in Bar Harbor, Maine. His memories are part of every dish he presents at Th ree Kids Lobster food truck, which is renowned for its lobster rolls, and now Sand Point, the restaurant he opened last fall in the Miracle Hills retail plaza off 114th and Dodge streets.

The interior achieves something somewhat miraculous—a beach-themed restaurant that isn’t cheesy. There are no hanging seafood nets, distressed lobster crates, or other such fi shing boat paraphernalia on display. Instead, the light and airy interior mimics a beach with neutrals and terra cotta upholstery on the booths and bar stools, a color that subtly mimics shifting sand. The feel is decidedly upscale, but approachable. The only detraction was the number of big-screen TVs. Call me old-fashioned, but when dining out at a nice establishment, I prefer not to be distracted by revolving images of menu items or sporting events, the latter of which will presumably be broadcast during Husker season.

MARCH/APRIL // 23 // 2024
DINING REVIEW MAY 2024 // 81 //

For my starter, I opted for the whole belly clams, which include the entire clam—the belly, neck, and strip. An iconic New England staple if ever there were one, the mollusks’ diet consists primarily of plankton and algae, which makes them both briny and sweet—and perfect for frying. My order arrived, and I had to chuckle. I selected an appetizer that I assumed would be adequate for one person with enough to share. Instead I received a platter that could best be tucked into by a table of four. The portion, shall we say, was more than generous. At $20, this was the most expensive appetizer on the menu, but given the amount of people it can feed, it felt like a t rue bargain.

Fried to a delicate crunchiness, the clams had a full, round fl avor and were meltingly tender. Accompanied by a lemon wedge (a gentle squeeze provided just enough acidic hint of citrus), the clams were well balanced with Sand Point’s zippy red pepper aioli and tangy tartar sauce. My one quibble was that the clams were “salted like the ocean,” which, in this case, was far too salty. A less robust hand with the salt shaker would certainly be recommended for this dish as well as a good, crisp beer to accompany it rather than the nice, slightly sweet Prosecco I had chosen.

My dining companion settled on a cup of the house-made lobster bisque. Th is felt like a bit of misnomer, but for the best of reasons. Th is $5 cup was actually a bowl, another generous portion that more than exceeded what was expected. It arrived with an elegant swirl of cream on top and a shot glass of sherry off to the side—all the better for simultaneously elevating and leveling the creamy richness of the bisque. A proper crustacean stock is made by using the shells—that’s where the fullness of fl avor steeps from—and that was abundantly evident in every well-coated spoonful.

For his “Maine Course,” as the menu phrased it, my guest settled on the glazed Atlantic salmon. Sautéed with a rosemary-maple glaze, the large serving size was done to a perfect pink. It fl aked easily with a light prod of the fork, but was moist with just enough spring to the touch. The glaze complemented the salmon well, allowing the rosemary, maple, and salmon to play well together, with no flavor overpowering the others. Heaping portions of vegetable risotto and haricots verts, or French green beans, rounded out the dish. The risotto had a nice “bite” texture-wise, while the haricots had just the proper bit of crunch.

For my entree, I couldn’t resist the lobster risotto, easily one of the star standouts on the menu. Creamy and cheesy, the risotto with parmesan comes plated as a squat, fl at tower over a ladling of lobster bisque. Topped with a jaunty lobster claw, the tower was studded with peas and mushrooms and fi lled with a more than generous helping of sweet lobster. I’ve dined at other establishments where lobster servings are somewhat skimpy, so I couldn’t help but be impressed at the sheer quantity included in this mouth-melting melange. The richness of the dish made this a challenge to fi nish, but I happily conceded defeat and opted to take the remainder home—but it wasn’t for lack of trying to polish off the entire plate.

For dessert, we went for New England staples: my dining companion chose the blueberry pie, whereas I decided on the Boston cream pie. The fi rst dessert had a lovely crust—buttery, fl aky, delicate, and reminiscent of a French pastry. Since we dined here in March, blueberries weren’t in peak season, so the fruit was a little lackluster. Th at’s no fault of the kitchen, and I suspect come summer, blueberry pie will be the most ordered dessert on the menu. My Boston cream pie was sinful—subtly sweet cream was sandwiched between moist cake and topped with dark chocolate and a dollop of Chantilly cream.

Service was friendly and brisk—perhaps a tad too fast for our liking. As soon as we fi nished one dish, the next appeared automatically. We’re the sort who enjoys to wait a beat or two between courses, so a little slower pace would have been appreciated. We like to linger—it helps make a meal more memorable and provides a chance for food to settle before the next plateful of food arrives.

If you can’t make it to New England’s beaches this summer, opt for the next best thing. Sand Point will satisfy any hankering you might have for clams, lobster et al. Most marvelously, this is a bang-for-your-buck type of establishment, where the food is reasonably priced and the serving sizes are impressively substantial. You can even bring your own wine (stop in the Omaha Wine Company next door beforehand), and for a $15 corkage fee, you can curate what you quaff according to your budget.

We might not have the beaches, waves, and seafood of New England in Nebraska, but we have Sand Point, a “Maine” restaurant for a taste of the Cape.

To view Sand Point’s menu, visit HouseMade Lobster Bisque

DINING REVIEW // 82 // MAY 2024

This is a bangfor-yourbuck type of establishment, where the food is reasonably priced and the serving sizes are impressively substantial.


FARE 655 N 114TH ST, I 531.466.1008



Seven Metro Area Locations:

Bellevue - 10308 S. 23rd St.

- 402.292.9096

Miracle Hills - 777 N. 114th St.

- 402.498.8855

Downtown - 1003 Capitol Ave.

- 402.763.9974

Aksarben - 2102 S. 67th St.

- 402.933.3533

Millard - 17666 Welch Plaza

- 402.933.8844

Elkhorn - 19020 Evans St.

- 402.315.1985

Plattsmouth - 2405 Oak Hill Rd.

- 402.298.4166

Voted Omaha’s #1 Sports Bar, DJ’s Dugout is locally and Vietnam Veteran owned. DJ’s Dugout features delicious burgers, wings, wraps, salads, sandwiches and an impressive drink menu. Plus, DJ’s has huge media walls full of HD TVs and projector screens. Catch all the action at DJ’s seven Omaha-area locations. Dig In... At The Dugout! —

JAMS- $$

7814 Dodge St. - 402.399.8300

17070 Wright Plz, Ste. 100 - 402.810.9600

1101 Harney St. in the OldMarket - 402.614.9333

Jams is an Omaha restaurant legacy, an “American Grill” that offers a melting pot of different styles and varieties. The dishes are made with high-quality ingredients that pair well with award-winning wines or creative cocktails. —


69th & Pacific - 402.933.2776

177th and Center St. - 402.934.9914

156th St. & W. Dodge Rd. - 402.408.1728

120th and Blondo St. - 402.991.8222

Le Peep puts a wholesome perspective on your favorite neighborhood breakfast and lunch spot. Fresh. Simple. Elegant. Inviting. We put the emphasis on people, both patrons and staff. We focus on providing each of our guests the fresh food and friendly service that they have come to expect. Open daily 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. — m


1080 Capitol Ave. - 402.504.1082

Let It Fly West: 1311 S. 203rd St.

Let It Fly Sports Bar is your elevated sports bar experience! Voted Best of Omaha with two locations downtown and in west Omaha. Guests experience a unique brand of hospitality with multiple bars, expansive outdoor patios, hundreds of seats, 80 plus TVs, a 50-foot LED screen, and in-house podcast studio. The best place to watch a game and enjoy incredible food and hand-crafted cocktails! —


655 North 114th Street Omaha, NE 68154 —531-466-1008

Sand Point ‘New England Fare’ brings their favorite and unique dishes from New England to the Omaha food community. Freshest seafood, from seared crab cakes, lobster arancini, whole belly clams, New England clam chowder, lobster bisque to charcuterie boards and Angus beef tips and steak burgers, to be topped off with Boston cream pie, blueberry pie or Lemon canna cotta. Full bar to include, specialty cocktails, extensive wine lists, as well as beer and non-alcoholic drinks. –


106 S. Galvin Road, Bellevue - 402.291.6088

Since 1936, we’ve been making our world-famous Stella’s hamburgers the same way. The family secrets have been handed down to each owner, ensuring that your burger is the same as the one you fell in love with the first time you tried Stella’s. And if it’s your first time, we know you’ll be back! Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Sunday. —


1120 Jackson St. - 402.341.5827

Come experience the true taste of homemade ice cream in the Old Market. Since 1986, we’ve created gourmet ice cream flavors in small batches using rock salt and ice. We offer your favorites, plus unique flavors like margarita, green tea, Guinness, and French toast. Special orders available. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.- Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday. Noon-10 p.m. —


1130 Sterling Ridge Dr. - 531.999.3777

We have developed our menu inspired by all that touches the Pacific Ocean. Starting with fresh fish flown from Honolulu, locally sourced steaks and natural chicken with an Asian flare and pairing our dishes with tiki libations and Pacific coast wines. —


248 Olson Dr., Papillion - 531.999.3777

We opened in March of 2023 to bring a family owned bistro to the community, serving local steaks and fresh seafood. We offer a wide variety of Pacific Northwest wines, local beers, and craft cocktails. Pinot Noir translates to Pine & Black, our name originates from our love of wine. —

// 84 // MAY 2024
- Sponsored Content -
Omaha DINING GUIDE LEGEND $=$ 1-10 • $$=$ 10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$ 30+ 7 METRO AREA LOCATIONS | DJSDUGOUT.COM | 2023 1 t Place 2022 W NNER 3 VOTED OMAHA'S #1 SPORTS BAR! 2024 F rst Place Sports Bar


Ralston - 9735 Q St. - 402.339.1944

Bellevue - 3504 Samson Way

- 402.932.1944

Millard - 14529 F St. - 402.505.6660

Ralston, Bellevue and Millard. We are truly grateful to have been welcomed into each of these communities and welcome you in for good food, a cold drink and a comfy seat to enjoy the sport of your choosing! Determined to bring only the freshest ingredients, homemade dough and our specialty sauces to the table, we have worked hard to perfect our craft for you. Our goal is to bring the best food service to the area and show the best sports events that you want to see. Pick up and Delivery availalble. Please check website for hours of operation. —


S PEZIA - $$$

3125 S. 72nd St. - 402.391.2950

Choose Spezia for lunch or dinner, where you’ll find a casual elegance that’s perfect for business guests, get-togethers, or any special occasion. Exceptional food, wine, and service, with a delectable menu: fresh seafood, certified Angus steaks, innovative pasta, risotto, gnocchi, cioppino, lamb, entrée salads, Mediterranean chicken, flatbreads, and fresh salmon daily. Enjoy a full bar, Italian and California wines, Anniversary/Lovers’ Booth (call to reserve), private dining rooms, and wood-fired grill. Open Monday-Sunday. Cocktail hour 4-6 p.m., when all cocktails, glasses of wine, and beers are half price. Evening reservations recommended. —



7555 Pacific St. - 402.339.8006.

380 N. 114th St. - 402.330.5707

Featuring Sonoran-style cooking made fresh daily. Catering and party rooms also available.

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.- 11 p.m., Sunday 4-9 p.m.


MAY 2024 // 85 // DINING GUIDE Omaha thanks to our customers for voting us the BEST BURGER IN OMAHA “ServingWorldFamousHamburgersSince1936” 106 GALVIN RD., BELLEVUE, NE • 402-291-6088 • OPEN MONDAY - SATURDAY, 11 AM - 9 PM 2024 First Place Hamburger DINING GUIDE LEGEND $=$ 1-10 • $$=$ 10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$ 30+

First & Third Generation 1950

Our founder Alessandro Rotella, is pictured cherishing a moment with his grandson, Louis Rotella Jr., in front of the very bakery he founded in 1921 at 2117 Pierce Street.

In 1949, Alessandro’s son, Louis Rotella Sr., alongside his brother Ameado, took over day-to day operations of the bakery, allowing their father to savor a well-deserved retirement. Their dedication laid the foundation for a tradition that has stood the test of time.

In 2009, Alessandro’s grandson, Louis Jr. became President and CEO, carrying forward the family’s passion and commitment to excellence. Their story is one of heritage, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of baking high quality breads and rolls.

private party rooms Seating up to
Lots of parking 1620 S. 10th Street 402-345-8313 2023 Winner Steakhouse Serving Omaha for 78 Years 2024 First Place Ice Cream ROTELLA
Since 1921 Celebrating over 100 Years of Baking Excellence!
Alessandro Rotella & Louis Rotella Jr. 1950 Historical
400 Seats, 80+ TVs, 2 patios Elevating the Sports bar Experience! 1080 Capitol Ave • 402.504.1082 Let it fly West • 1311 S. 203rd St. 2024 Winner NewBar-Winter 2022toFall2023

Voted Omaha’s Best Breakfast 17 years in a row!

Locally owned and operated since 2001!

Open 7 days a week

• 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

156th & Dodge | 402-408-1728

• 177th & Center | 402-934-9914

120th & Blondo | 402-991-8222

• 69th & Pacific | 402-933-2776

• @LePeepOmaha


LA MESA - $$

158th St. and W. Maple Rd. - 402.557.6130

156th and Q streets

- 402.763.2555

110th St. and W. Maple Rd. - 402.496.1101

Fort Crook Rd. and Hwy 370 - 402.733.8754

84th St. and Tara Plaza - 402.593.0983

Lake Manawa Exit - 712.256.2762

Enjoy awesome appetizers, excellent enchilada’s, fabulous fajitas, seafood specialties, mouthwatering margaritas and much more at La Mesa! Come see why La Mesa has been voted Best of Omaha’s 20 Years in a Row! Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday-Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. — m


5914 Center St., Omaha, NE

- 402.322.8141

930 5th Ave., Council Bluffs, IA - 712.256.5200

Family owned and operated since 2010, Primo’s Modern Mexican utilizes the freshest ingredients to bring both authentic Mexican and Southwest-style dishes to life with flare and unrivaled flavor. With recipes passed down over four generations, a familyfriendly atmosphere, and plates to satisfy cravings at every hour—with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus offering a variety of Mexican staples—Primo’s Mexican Restaurant is proud to serve the people of Omaha and Council Bluffs no matter the occasion. —



3821 Center St. - 402.346.1528

Greek cuisine with specials every day at reasonable prices. We are well-known for our gyro sandwiches and salads. We cater and can accommodate a party for 65 guests. Carry-out and delivery available.


11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday

11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.


MAY 2024 // 87 //
1-10 • $$=$ 10-20 • $$$=$20-30 • $$$$=$ 30+
2023 F rs Place W itSt & Se vice


West - 132nd and Center

Downtown - 25th and Farnam

One Pacific Place

- Drive Thru Kiosk next to Trader Joes

Zen features over 50 popular drink options including Butter Beer, Honey Bee, Lavender Lady and Sunshine Daydream. Choose from hot or iced lattes, blenders, fruit smoothies and teas! Grab a flight or double cup to try the seasonal features! Delicious pastries and toasts made in house daily. —



1620 S. 10th St. - 402-345-8313

Cascio’s is Omaha’s No. 1 steakhouse. We have been serving Omaha for 69 years. We feature steaks, chops, seafood, and Italian specialties. We have seven private party rooms, seating for up to 400 people, and plenty of parking. —


2121 S. 73rd St. - 402-391-7440

Famous for the original Whiskey Steak. Truly a oneof-a-kind Midwestern experience. Excellent food, wine, service, and value. Rare...and very well done.

LUNCH: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., DINNER: Monday-Friday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.,

Saturday 4:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.,

Sunday 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m., LOUNGE: Monday-Friday Cocktails only 2 p.m.-5 p.m. —

TWISTED CORK BISTRO - $$ 10370 Pacific St. - 531.999.3777

We arrived in Nebraska from Washington intent on purchasing from farmers, ranchers & fishmongers who share our commitment for wholesome, sustainable fare. Our recipes use the Earth’s bounty the way it is intended ~ Wild and Natural ~ We compliment our dishes, pairing them with exquisite Pacific Northwest wines. –



Both locations are open for BREAKFAST AT 7 A.M.

// 88 // MAY 2024
Find the best food in Omaha! PRIMO’S OMAHA 5914 Center Street
Omaha, NE 68106 402-322-8141
PRIMO’S COUNCIL BLUFFS 930 5th Ave. | Council Bluffs, IA 51501 712-256-5200
2024 First Place Steakhouse
Drover Restaurant & Lounge | Gift Cards Available 2121 S. 73
391-7440 Lunch M-F 11am-2pm | Dinner M-F 5pm-10 PM Sat 4:30pm-10:30pm • Sun 4:30pm-9pm | Lounge M-F Cocktails Only 2-5pm
St. | (402)
2023 First Place Greek Dining
DINING GUIDE Omaha Family Owned Since 1983 CATERING / PARTY ROOM AVAILABLE HOMEMADE, FRESH FOOD, ALWAYS. 3821 Center St. / 402.346.1528
MAY 2024 // 89 // Charlie’s on the Lake 4150 South 144th St. Omaha NE 68137 402-894-9411 248 Olson Drive | Papillion 1130 Sterling Ridge Drive | Omaha 655 N 114th St, Omaha NE 68154 531.466.1008

come and





WHOSE LIVE ANYWAY? May 2 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln Experience this knee-slapping live tour featuring the improv comedians you know and love from the hit TV show, “Whose Line is it Anyway?”



May 5 in Lincoln

This marathon is a great running experience through the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Our event offers something for runners of all ages and abilities, from elite runners to everyday athletes looking to accomplish a fitness goal. —


SEETHER May 5–6 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln Staind was formed in 1995 in their hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. Over the course of their career, the band has released seven studio albums and eight top 10 singles, selling over 15 million albums worldwide, including the 2023 “Confessions of the Fallen.”

— detail/staind-with-seether

May 2


May 9 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln GRAMMY® Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and renowned soprano Larisa Martinez are joined by celebrated pianist Peter Dugan for “Voice and the Violin,” an evening of beloved romantic arias and modern classics, featuring music Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Puccini, Bernstein, and more. Don’t miss this unique collaboration celebrating Bell’s return to the Lied Center stage. — joshua-bell-and-larisa-martínez


May 10 at Mahoney State Park in Ashland Enjoy unlimited tastings of wine, craft beer, and spirits while you enjoy the beautiful outdoors of Mahoney State Park. Live music, artisan vendors, food trucks, lawn games, and much more await! — spring-sip-nebraska-2558559


May 15 at the Pinewood Bowl Theater in Lincoln With a seven-decade career, Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. 402.904.4444 — willienelsonandfamily2024/


May 18–19 at Sandhills Global Event Center in Lincoln

The all-breed dog show includes three benched coonhound shows, nine open shows and concurrent specialities shows. —


TOUR May 21 at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln For over 20 years, more than three million people in 31 countries have been enchanted by Gregorian’s live performances. These eight classically trained English vocalists have never failed to bring audiences to their feet multiple times at every show. —


FESTIVAL May 31 at Pals Brewing Company in North Platte Shop craft vendors among blues and country music at this weekend of fun in North Platte.



TULIP TIME 2024 May 2—4 at The Cellar Peanut Pub in Pella Discover the best beer festivals in Pella and enjoy a variety of craft beers from local and international breweries. Learn about the history and culture of beer making and listen to live music at this festival.


MAIFEST AT MILLSTREAM BREWING CO. May 3–5 at Millstream Brewing Co. in Amana Celebrate Maifest & spring all weekend long at Millstream Brewing Co. with a Rock 108 Mai Bock in your hand! Live music and food fill this weekend of fun.

— event/maifest-at-millstreambrewing-co-3/

HOGBACK GRVL May 4 at Kinship Brewery in Waukee Goldpacked limestone gravel roads, lush valleys, and a Midwest racing experience you’ll look forward to each weekend until it arrives— Hogback GRVL offers 70-mile and 40-mile courses to bike. Whether you’re trying to push yourself or take a leisurely ride on a scenic route, this event caters to you.

— hogback-grvl

// 90 // MAY 2024

MJ: THE MUSICAL May 5 at the Des Moines Civic Center in Des Moines He is one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Now, Michael Jackson’s unique and unparalleled artistry comes to cities across the United States as “MJ,” the multi-Tony Awardwinning new musical centered around the making of the 1992 "Dangerous World Tour,” begins a tour of its own. “MJ” goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of the star, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted Michael Jackson into legendary status.

— shows/iowa-theater/ mj-the-musical_1718177/

ARCHITECTURE ON THE MOVE: GUIDED WALKING TOURS OF DOWNTOWN DES MOINES May 10 at Capital Square in Des Moines The Iowa Architectural Foundation is offering architect-led sidewalk tours of Downtown Des Moines. The tours provide an opportunity for local residents and visitors to appreciate the architectural treasures of Iowa's capital city. With four route options (north, south, east, west), this educational opportunity offers insight into the whole city and its beautiful buildings.

— architecture-on-the-moveguided-walking-tours-ofdowntown-des-moinestickets-778418439507


17–8 at Horizon Events Center in Clive The Greenbelt Music Festival is a two day outdoor music festival featuring national and local live entertainment and activities for all ages.

— greenbelt-music-festivaltickets-764536498247


TASTING May 18 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport Join hundreds of wine enthusiasts in an outdoor setting under the Ambrosian Oaks. Sip your way through a spectacular assortment of 150 wines from around the world and try culinary highlights from Quad Cities Restaurants.

— 200025441090945?ref=eventlist-cat

CHICAGO May 18–19 at Vibrant Music Hall in Waukee One of the giants of American rock, Chicago is still going strong after half a century. The selfproclaimed “Rock & Roll band with horns" produced hit after hit in the '70s and '80s, including the iconic ballad “If You Leave Me Now,” as well as “Baby, What A Big Surprise” and “Old Days.” Don't miss them live in 2024 as they hit the road! — vibrant-music-hall/chicago-theband.php

May 30


May 30 at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville Chip in for the kids during the 2024 Iowa Children’s Open, presented by Advantage and United Iowa Financial. Beyond having fun on the links, you will help raise essential funds to further the Iowa Children’s Museum’s mission and fuel their many community programs.

— iowa-childrens-open-2024


CARMINA BURANA May 18–19 at the University of Iowa School of Music, Voxman Building, in Iowa City Paired with Barber’s Symphony No. 1, featuring cycling themes that wax and wane through darkness and light, this concert will be a riveting experience you won’t soon forget! —


May 25 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames Country fans won’t want to miss this legendary concert featuring three of the biggest names in the genre. —

May 25

JOSH SNEED May 25 at Funny Bone in Des Moines Josh Sneed is a nationally touring comedian who’s had appearances on Comedy Central, including his own comedy special. He’s been seen on Last Comic Standing and has shared the stage with big names in comedy like Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Jim Gaffigan, Ron White, and Kevin Hart. 515.270.2100 —


May 25–27 at the Amana Soccer Fields in Amana Come experience a weekend of live entertainment featuring comedy, swordplay, music, magic, and even horseback jousting. Explore a marketplace full of unique merchandise from around the land. Enjoy tasty treats and drinks in the royal food court (including adult libations like honey mead). The village awaits your visit! —

May 31—June 2 at 2201 George Flagg Pkwy in Des Moines Proceeds from this car show will go to Blank Children’s Hospital.




May 3 at Ernie Miller Park & Nature Center in Olathe "May the Forest be with You" is an exciting outdoor/indoor event for families that combines the wonder of nature and space science with the magic of Star Wars®. Families will attend a Jedi academy and explore outer space in a state-of-the-art planetarium. Meet your favorite Star Wars® characters and immerse yourself in a faraway galaxy. This event is perfect for families with children ages 5–15. Costumes are encouraged!


MILLFEST 2024 May 4 at Lindsborg Old Mill and Swedish Heritage Museum in Lindsborg This family event celebrating the history of the mill and the pioneer heritage of the region features guided tours of the mill in operation. Professional millers run the mill and tours are available for visitors age 13 and older. Other activities include a traditional arts fair, including a quilt show, live musical entertainment, and great food.

— millfest-2024-featuring-120thanniversary-of-the-swedishpavilion/200025108023819

SIP & SHOP May 11 at KC Wine Co in Olathe This unique shopping experience combines the best of both worlds–delicious wine and fantastic local products.

— upcoming-events/sip-shop-051124

MAY 2024 // 91 //

CAKE MAY 16 at WAVE in Wichita

American alternative rock band Cake is coming to Wichita, Kansas this May! Don’t miss their famous classics like “Short Skirt, Long Jacket,” “Frank Sinatra,” “Comfort Eagle,” and “The Distance.” —


May 17—19 at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg The Four State Farm Show is an annual event that brings together agricultural production and agribusiness. The first show was held in March 1975 at the National Guard Armory in Pittsburg, Kansas, and has since grown to become a large-scale event with over 60 exhibits. — four-state-farm-show-2024


May 24—26 at Downtown Lawrence Inc. in Lawrence “A celebration of street performing,” this festival lights up downtown Lawrence this May in its 16th year. From circusstyle performers to magicians to live comedy, the streets will be filled with an abundance of entertainment for the whole family. —

WORDS & MUSIC SERIES: “STAYIN’ ALIVE” May 25–26 at the Forum Theatre in Wichita Get ready for some “Jive Talkin’” with Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibbs, the trio of brothers who ushered in the era of disco. With over 220 million records sold worldwide, the Bee Gees are among the best-selling music artists of all time, as well as the most successful trio in the history of contemporary music. You’ll need your disco shoes for this one!

— stayin-alive-the-bee-gees/


May 31—June 8 along the Arkansas River in Wichita As Kansas’ largest community event, Riverfest is the perfect place to promote your business, sell food, perform as talent, support, and volunteer. —

since1963 North Platte's Premier Roadside Attraction! I-80 & Hwy 83 Interchange • 221 Halligan Drive • North Platte • (308) 532-8081
Clay County,
NOW is the best time to VisitClayMO! Located Just North of the River in Kansas City and Beyond!
Farm Tulip Festival
Whether you ’ re hitting the links at the beautiful Paradise Point Golf Course, taking the family out to Worlds of
shopping local or snapping the perfect pics,
Shops at the Village of Briarcliff Paradise Point Golf Course at Smithville Lake Worlds of Fun


GRETA VAN FLEET May 2 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City Greta Van Fleet is a blues-rock band from Frankenmuth, Michigan, featuring Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka, Sam Kiszka, and Danny Wagner. — greta-van-fleet-tickets/kansas-city

AN EVENING WITH YO-YO MA May 3 at the Stifel Theatre in St. Louis

Any appearance by Yo-Yo Ma is an extraordinary event. Edward Elgar’s popular concerto is the perfect vehicle for Ma’s blend of keen intelligence and a firmly beating heart. And Stéphane Denève is on home soil for the delicate, multi-layered textures of Claude Debussy’s portrait of the ocean, La Mer. —


FESTIVAL May 4 at St. Louis Muny Theater in Forest Park in St. Louis

This St. Louis annual premiere craft beer tasting festival features beers from dozens of North American craft breweries and international beers, as well as great food from area restaurants. This event will feature over 80 craft beers and 50 international beers along with live music, a home-brew competition, and more.

— st-louis-microfest

CINCO DE MAYO FESTIVAL May 4 at Nebula in St. Louis A celebration of the rich Hispanic culture within the Cherokee neighborhood and surrounding south St. Louis area. This annual festival features live music on three separate stages, an assortment of authentic Mexican refreshments and other ethnic food and drinks. There will also be live art demonstrations, street performers, a People's Joy Parade at 1:11 pm, Lucha Libre Wrestling, and Mechanical Bull Rides. — cinco-de-mayo


How much fun can you pack into a trip to Lincoln? A relaxing and stress-free vacation is waiting for you. Trek around town at your leisure and discover a surprise around every corner.

play all day long in a world of big toys and big fun!

MAY 2024 // 93 //
Lincoln Children’s Zoo LINCOLN.ORG/ OMAHAMAG

What else?

What else? How about tanking, canoeing, golf, horseback riding, the world’s largest railyard and a tower to view it, locomotives, preserved settler’s houses, Buffalo Bill’s ranch, Nebraska’s best rodeo, breweries, a winery, the Sandhill Crane migration, the National Avocado Launching Championship, the best tourist trap on I-80, lakes, fishing, camping and a Qdoba because some people need queso.

That’s quite the list, but it’s not everything you’ll find in North Platte. For that, go to


| DISCOVER MORE AT Fake Cowboy World’s Largest Railyard Unexpected Good Time


So, last week while I was approaching the Hillary Step on my third attempt to summit Mount Everest, I began to ask myself if all the effort was worth it. As I looked up ahead of me at the mob scrambling up the ropes set into the rocky face and then below me at the long line of adventurers sucking on their frost-flecked O2 masks. They had joined me there in the Death Zone 28,838 feet up in the thin Nepalese air, where I could see the idiocy of the entire endeavor. Billionaires, socialites, trust-fund babies, retired optometrists, bloggers, vloggers, YouTubers, and a hedge fund manager fleeing an indictment in American Samoa all strung out on the knife edge ridge that leads to this, the final barrier between these so called “adventurers” and the literal top of the world.

I felt myself growing dizzy. Dizzy with the idiocy of the enterprise. Dizzy as my vision narrowed into a black and white tunnel of approaching unconsciousness. Dizzy as Tommy Roe on a Tilt-a-Whirl…Wait…What?

I shook my head to clear away the mental fog…The voice came out of the void…

“Paper or plastic, sir?”

At long last, I had made it to the front of the queue.

“Paper…and double sack everything. Thanks,” I said.

Hazel–that’s what her smiley face name tag said–started scanning my yogurt while Mary Lou vainly wrestled with the paper sacks trying to insert one into the other. Back in my teenage years I had once been a grocery sacker–yes, back in the Golden Age of sacking. I had mastered the art of double sacking, and as I watched her struggle, I had to consciously hold myself back. I mean, I was sympathetic, but in the end,

thought it best that she learned for herself, don’t you think? I believe that true Art emerges from the struggle. Mary Lou was on her own.

As Hazel progressed to my orange juice (extra pulp), my frozen chipped beef (for my favorite dish of S.O.S.)., and the rest of my curated purchases… Note: I prefer to “curate” my groceries as opposed to “shopping” for them… It’s classier. Anyway, as Hazel scanned and Mary Lou sacked, I looked over at the self-checkout area.

There is no adventure there, no thrill, none of the danger involved in letting random people handle your food, or potentially place your eggs under your cantaloupes. The only slight bit of excitement involved is when you are forced to face the dreaded “Look Up Item” prompt, and you have to swipe through endless pictures of green leafy vegetables, none that match your organic Slow Bolt Arugula. No one can help you then.

Day-to-day life can be so mundane. But in the midst of our routines, there are so many adventures to be had. Skip the self-checkout. Brave the congestion at Lane Number 9 where Hazel is spraying disinfectant on the stuttering black conveyor flecked with beads of 2% milk and a suspicious blueish stain that keeps reappearing as the belt repeats, repeats, repeats…

Why brave Lane Number 9?

Why? Well, as George Mallory said on the slopes of Everest in 1923: “Because it’s there.”

Listen to Otis Twelve host “Morning Classics,” Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 6AM—10AM, on KVNO, Omaha Classical Radio, 90.7 or

MAY // 96 // 2024

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