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J U LY 2 0 1 8 | volUME 25 | ISSU E 07

ART: Reality Culture: Dis Poem Wordz & Agro Fest Dish: Remembering Anthony Bourdain Film: Best Movie Cocktails Heartland Healing: Summer Remedies, Some Are Not HooDoo: World Class Music on Local Stages Music: Backbeat Column Theater: Gender Parity


MOMENTUM: RHAPSODY IN BLUE OCTOBER 19 | JOSLYN ART MUSEUM OCTOBER 21 | IOWA WESTERN ARTS CENTER THE NUTCRACKER NOVEMBER 18 | IOWA WESTERN ARTS CENTER DECEMBER 8 & 9 | ORPHEUM WORLD PREMIERE: THE WIZARD OF OZ MAY 4 | ORPHEUM

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publisher/editor........John Heaston john@thereader.com graphic designer........... Ken Guthrie, Sebastian Molina assistant editor.....JoAnna LeFlore joanna@thereader.com rock star intern......................................Cheyenne Alexis

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

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COVER: The Dish on Downtown Dining

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CULTURE: Jamaican Culture, Dub Poetry and Food Security

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DISH: Let’s Do the Damn Thing. A Tribute to a Foul-Mouthed Friend

healing.........Michael Braunstein info@heartlandhealing.com arts/visual..........Mike Krainak mixedmedia@thereader.com eat....................................Sara Locke crumbs@thereader.com film...........................Ryan Syrek cuttingroom@thereader.com hoodoo.............. B.J. Huchtemann bjhuchtemann@gmail.com music...................James Walmsley backbeat@thereader.com over the edge........Tim McMahan tim.mcmahan@gmail.com theater............................................ coldcream@thereader.com

SALES & MARKETING

................................................ Kati Falk kati@thereader.com

DISTRIBUTION/DIGITAL

......................................... Clay Seaman clay@thereader.com

OFFICE ASSISTANT

...................................... Salvador Robles sal@el-perico.com

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HEARTLAND HEALING: Summer Remedies, Some Art Not

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PICKS: Cool Things to do in July

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ART: Fact or Fiction?

PHOTOGRAPHY

................................. Debra S. Kaplan debra@thereader.com

OUR SISTER MEDIA CHANNELS

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Theater: If the play’s the thing, then what about gender?

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HooDoo: World Class Music on Local Stages

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BACKBEAT: Saddlecreek news, Centerpiece, Dirt House, Sleep Sinatra

OUR DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES

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FILM: No-Boos Booze, Top 10 Movie Cocktails JULY 2018

27 | THE READER |

FILM: It’s a Stall World After All, Jurassic World CONTENTS

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OVER THE EDGE: Fable of the Reconstruction


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Omaha Jobs: Careers in Food Service Food service careers extend far beyond the servers and chefs you see bustling about an eatery. Plenty of thought goes into the food sold and served to the public, and there are many people behind the scenes who assure everything runs smoothly. Omaha offerings If you’re interested in a food service career, the Omaha metro is a good place to be. As quite a “foodie” city, it’s where food service is hopping. Whether for seasoned food service pros or newcomers, there are always jobs available. That’s not just because of Omaha’s low overall unemployment rate, but because new restaurants frequently debut while existing eateries expand and evolve. Omaha residents and visitors flock to restaurants to, keep the demand for capable food service workers strong. From delivery drivers to entrepreneurs in their own food trucks, food service careers are on the move. The U.S. Department of Labor says food & beverage server jobs have fasterthan-average growth. Get started One benefit is entry-level positions usually require little formal education. New workers are typically provided on- the- job training. And while such entry-level jobs are not known for high pay, some specialized positions provide a nice living.

For example, a regional chef -responsible for creating menu items and training other chefs – can earn six figures annually. Restaurant servers, however, average about $20,000 a year, according to the Labor Department. Specialized roles If you’re interested in a specialized food service role, find out what training and education is necessary beforehand. For example, a sommelier should have server experience along with vast wine knowledge and perhaps certification or a degree. It’s not the type of job a person walks into without experience or education, – and for good reason. Master sommeliers can earn around $150,000 annually because of their extensive knowledge and experience with wines. Where to work Aspiring food service workers should consider what work environment most appeals to them. Does the rapid pace of a packed restaurant sound great or does serving food to grateful seniors sound better? Do you want to prepare foods in a state-of-the-art facility or craft meals in a cultural landmark? Restaurants are an obvious location for food service jobs, but the career field extends far beyond them. Hospitals, schools, jails, residential care facilities, grocery stores and hotel kitchens are just a few other places that need food service.

Some caterers and specialty chefs or bakers work out of their own homes. Some taste testers work in laboratories. Others drive menu-specific food trucks to parking lots or set up in corporate lobbies. The answer to where food service workers work is simply – wherever there’ is food. Local resources A valuable resource for food service workers in the Omaha area is the Omaha Restaurant Association. This non-profit organization, in existence since 1944, looks out for those in the area food service industry while it promotes Omaha eateries. The association provides scholarships to aspiring food service workers in partnership with the Institute for the Culinary Arts Institute of Omaha’s Metropolitan Community College. The institute has a well-earned reputation for its handson curriculum and the success of its graduates.

Corporate options The abundance of Omaha area restaurants makes eateries an obvious choice, but the large number of area medical centers also provides jobs for servers, preparers, cooks and nutritionists. Many corporations also need food service workers. PayPal, Mutual of Omaha and Gallup, for example, provide cafeterias for their employees. Cultural institutions like the Holland Center offer everything from bar service and appetizers to complete suppers before performances. Once you know what you want to do and where you want to work in food service, figure out what you need to do to get there. That may mean you enroll in courses or snag training elsewhere, but whatever it takes, pursue your choice with vigor.

ProKarma Jobs

Business Systems Analyst #BSA2018 ProKarma, Inc. has multiple openings for Business Systems Analyst in Omaha, NE; may also work at unanticipated locations. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may change based on client & business demands. No travel requirement; performing daily job duties doesn’t req travel. Will analyze user requirements & functional specifi cations & conduct IT System requirements gathering & high-level design. Responsible for defi ning solutions, test planning, & coordinating system rollouts using comp skill sets, such as: Use cases, Test cases, SQL Queries, Sequence Diagrams, UML diagrams. Req’s master’s, or for. equivalent, in CIS, IT, CS, Business Administration, E-Com, Engineering (any), or relt’d tech/analytical fi eld + 1 year exp in job off ered or IT/Comp-relt’d position. Employer also accpt bachelor’s, or foreign equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Business Admin, E-Com, Engineering (any), or relt’d tech/analytical fi eld + 5 yr progressive post-bachelor’s exp in job off rd or IT/ Comp-relt’d pstn. Req’s 1 year prof. exp conducting SW application development projects (including Use cases, Test cases, SQL Queries, Sequence Diagrams, UML diagrams) using Java/J2EE/Tibco, RDBMS/SQL Server/Oracle. Suitable combo of edu/training/exp acceptable. To apply, send resumes to: ProKarma, Attn: Jobs, 222 S 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102 Or email: postings@prokarma.com

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OMAHA JOBS

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COVER ILLUSTRATION BY JEFF DREW

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maha is a sprawling foodtropolis. The city that carved its restaurant chops on USDA prime cuts of cattle has developed a range of dining options as broad as the shoulders and as expansive as the view of the lonely cow that tops Anthony’s Steakhouse. An impressive breadth of new restaurant expressions have entered Omaha’s ever-expanding culinary orbit into emerging food precincts like the Blackstone District and other budding neighborhoods, but the downtown dining scene remains at the center of this bountiful food universe.

same place -- M’s Pub on 11th between Harney and Howard. Established in 1972, M’s became the elder statesman with the closing of the French Café. It reopened in November 2017 after a fire devastated one of the Old Market’s most iconic streetscapes, indiscriminately taking out one of downtown diners’ most-cherished places while also burning down one of the top-rated new restaurants in America at the time, Market House. And it’s from the scorched bricks of the same building that two very different Old Market regeneration stories begin.

“It’s a very welcoming restaurant. It makes me happy every time I go there,” said Mellen, who said she doesn’t dwell about the fire as the resolution waits to be decided in the court system. Mellen said she didn’t want to wait for a decision as it would have no bearing on reopening.

While it’s far from a large area, Omaha’s Old Market and its surrounding streets can present casual diners with overwhelming options. More than 30 wellestablished restaurants rule the cobblestone roadways. They astound cosmopolitan travelers who come with low expectations and board flights home with cravings that linger from last night’s dinner. In a town often characterized by “Midwestern modesty,” local restaurants have provided more prideful Omahans with a reason to thump the chest.

M’s Pub was first opened by world traveler Mary Vogel who had an affinity for English pubs and restaurants in Washington, D.C., said its current owner, Ann Mellen. Vogel merged the concepts and Mellen has strived to stay true to its original pub atmosphere vision.

Bartholomew still waits to reopen Market House with no date on the horizon, “held hostage” by remediation proceedings with insurance companies and the building’s landlord, he said.

Choosing where to begin a downtown food tour is a difficult proposition, but in this case, selecting by the longest- or shortest-running restaurant leads to the

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It still offers its “black menu” of all-day, made-from-scratch offerings. And then at 5, the dinner menu is rolled out with entrees that change every two weeks pushed by the creations chef Bobby Mekiney and other kitchen chefs. The restaurant’s interior has high ceilings, simple yet artful white walls and mirrors that give it a bigger feel than the space affords.

| THE READER |

COVER

“It was so ugly down here for a year and a half at least that a lot of other places suffered, so by bringing us back, it’s a very lively place again,” Mellen said. “People are very happy that it’s back, and not just for M’s, but for the whole Old Market. Myself included. I missed it terribly.”

Bartholomew said one of the greatest difficulties to overcome was the restaurant’s buzz and all the hard work that went into creating it being extinguished by external factors. “It was kind of like being at the oneyard line and fumbling the football, only we didn’t fumble it. The lights went out before we could call the play,” Bartholomew said. “We’re just waiting for the lights to come back on.”

And when that time comes, Bartholomew said he’ll need a completely new playbook. The three chefs he recruited to develop Market House have since moved on to open three successful restaurants outside of downtown – Matt Moser’s Stirnella in Blackstone, Benjamin Maides’ Au Courant Regional Kitchen in Benson and Chase Thomsen’s Saddle Creek Breakfast Club near 50th and North Saddle Creek Rd. “I’ll have to create something from scratch again because as far as I’m concerned, all-in-all Market House is dead as it was,” Bartholomew said. “We’ll have to resurrect it in a new design, in a new way, and in a new style.” The lack of a storefront hasn’t stopped Bartholomew from making a contribution in the food community. In the absence of Market House, the Dandelion Pop-Up has sprouted. As Creative Director of the outdoor food counter, one Friday at a time, he’s bringing top culinary talent from all reaches of the city to the northwest corner of 13th and Howard to cook street food. Bartholomew said one of his favorite aspects about the rotating chef concept is that it unchains cooks from the menus of their restaurants to tap into the menus of


pioneers for north downtown dining. Blatt Beer and Table, which peeks into TD Ameritrade Park, introduced the rooftop beer garden experience to the city in 2015. The location has matured from CWS Central into a popular event space for rehearsal dinners and graduation parties.

their minds. Paul Kulik, who established The Boiler Room as executive chef before becoming the owner of Le Bouillon, has experimented on this sidewalk. And on the opening weekend of the College World Series, Monarch Prime & Bar chef Patrick Micheels’ spicy wagyu Philly sold out in half the time it was allotted to be served. “Dandelion allows them to do whatever they want, so a classically trained French chef can come in and do German food, or hot dogs,” Bartholomew said. “We don’t put a limit on them, so it’s just their creative output, and the city has really embraced that.” Spaghetti Works has enjoyed a 44year embrace on “one of Omaha’s most photographed corners,” said president Shelly Stokes, who is helping the Omaha tradition prepare for its biggest rush of the year courtesy of one of the biggest Little League baseball tournaments in the country that overlaps the CWS. “Little League is right up our alley – kids and family is what we strive for,” said Stokes, who operates from an interior space that is hard to come by in the area.

DANDELION POP-UP DANDELION POP-UP rotates chefs at 13th and howard

and boundless bowl of spaghetti “served all day, every day.”

locally sourced, constantly changing lineup of moderately priced specials.

“You would think with 35 restaurants, we would all start to chew at each other for business, but we all have our little quirks,” Stokes said, who has been with the restaurant for 30 years. “I can’t speak for everyone, but we all seem to be relatively successful to have restaurants that have lasted. Anything that lasts for over five years in the restaurant business -- you’ve pretty well nailed it.”

“When we first moved into that neighborhood, we were the only restaurant, so I’d say we added a level of comfort into that area because a lot of really cool places have opened since we’ve been there,” he said. “It wasn’t always a desirable location for people to come down and eat. It’s been a dream come true to even get our foot in the door down here, and then to help shape a neighborhood -- it’s been great.”

Restaurant dreamers who weren’t able to get in on the ground floor of the Old Market, or underground floor in the case of V Mertz in the Passageway, have spaghetti works, omaha fixture since 1974 had to carve out their own space. In 2010, food renegades Paul and Jessica Spaghetti Works opened in 1974 and has seen a statistically significant Urban gained entry downtown, ending amount of Omaha’s prom dates and family a seven-year search for an affordable celebrations since creating its postcard lease. They ditched dreams of opening view on the southwest corner of 11th and a fine dining gastropub in favor of Block Howard. Several reinventions have ushered 16, which brought highly creative, farm-toit through decades of industry changes table, street food to a sliver of downtown and local challenges like when the casinos that lacked options before it opened. brought their low-priced buffets across the river.

Stokes said the key to keeping the affordability for families it is known for is done by managing costs, which can be a challenge with an all-you-can-eat salad bar

Flagship Restaurant Group’s rapid growth didn’t come without learning experiences, which Gentile was up for when he moved here from Texas as a 24-year-old who “didn’t know anything about [Omaha] and didn’t have the threshold to gauge what the risk was.”

Their successful fast-casual transformation of the space formerly occupied by New York Chicken and Gyro encouraged similar pursuits along on the Old Market’s outer edge. Just east on Farnam, Kitchen Table was opened by Colin and Jessica Duggan, which features a

“We moved up here and we were learning kind of as we [went]. We had all these ideas in our head that constantly needed retooling,” Gentile said. “Between Blue and Roja, we were constantly evolving those menus and focusing on service and sourcing. I think Plank is the only one that resonated really well with people from Omaha from the beginning.” Anthony Hitchcock, who is responsible for the restaurant group’s management and operations, and also convinced Gentile to come with him to Omaha to run Blue’s

A highly rated fine dining option is also available nearby on the ground floor of Hotel Deco on 15th and Harney. Monarch Prime & Bar has broadened Omaha’s already vast steak experience with the introduction of Blue Sushi Sake Grill high-end, dry-aged wagyu beef. The restaurant opened in October last year in kitchen, said he’s seen a lot of new concepts a partnership between restauranteur Ethan succeed in the time they’ve been here. Bondelid and the Aparium Hotel Group. “Omaha has really evolved and It provides a modern dining experience become a food city and developed its food (music included) in the setting of a historic scene. I’d like to humbly think that we’ve hotel. been a part of that, but I think there’s really In 2002, two Texans and three locals helped sushi establish a foothold in Omaha with Blue Sushi Sake Grill. Blue now operates as part of Flagship Restaurant Group, with corporate chef Tony Gentile providing menu engineering for casual genres that also include Roja Mexican Grill and Plank Seafood Provisions. The restaurant group also was one of the

COVER

been a really nice influx of culinary talent,” Hitchcock said. “Paul Kulik has done a tremendous job, Nick Stawhecker has done fabulous things, Ben Maides, too. There’s just a lot of good local produce and meat to work with that these chefs have taken into their kitchens, and they’ve really taken off with it. ”

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July 2018

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DIS POEM WORDZ & AGRO FESTIVAL FROM JAMAICA TO OMAHA A Tribute to Jamaican Culture, Dub Poetry and Food Security BY JOANNA LEFLORE P H O T O S B Y D AV I E G R A M S

CULTURE

SPEAKING WITH VENDOR MAMA DON

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MUTABARUKA SPEAKS TO LARGE AUDIENCE AT DIS POEM FESTIVAL

Editor’s Note: This article is a reflection of travels made possible by the Andy Award for International Journalism through the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Both the writer and photographer won the award and visited Jamaica in April this year to attend the Dis Poem Wordz and Agro Festival. Efforts are now in progress to bring the festival to Omaha to be hosted at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation this Summer.

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here are words recited by Mutabaruka, a cherished Jamaican Dub Poet and Activist, a sage if you will, that recite in part about the inadequacies and triumphs of societal warfare. It speaks of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the influence of power structures and the authenticity of humane struggles who at times are combatting a desire to be consumers rather than creators. It speaks of the ongoing truth about injustice for people of color, yet celebrates the compassion and activism of cultural leaders over time. Titled “Dis Poem,” it can be found recited publicly by Mutabaruka online via Def Poetry (the longtime HBO series hosted by Mos Def). With Mutabaruka becoming a respected leader during the ‘80s through his radio shows and events, it was no surprise to find out that he was a close mentor to Poet and Food Activist RasTakura. What one poet wrote could not be

| THE READER |

CULTURE

RASTAKURA PERFORMS TITLES FROM “FOOD WAR” ALBUM

ignored, but instead carried over, generating a new level of responsibility to bring awareness to the world. “Dis Poem” served as a catalyst to the now eight years young gathering “Dis Poem Wordz and Agro Fest” born by the laboring hands of RasTakura, the next generation of Dub Poetry Social Activism. This year, it brought out 700 visitors to engage with 25 performing artists and 32 vendors to celebrate the heritage of food and poetry. Soon, the festival will come to Omaha, hosted by both RasTakura and Wakanda One band members Shomari Huggins and Coleman Hunter, who traveled to Jamaica with myself and photographer Alisha Davis to attend the festival. “The motivation to start DisPoem Wordz & Agro Festival comes out of the need to create an international stage for contemporary writers like myself who need such medium of expression, for the development of the Poetic environment in Jamaica and the world at large,” RasTakura explained. Ras began his career as a Dub Poet while attending the College of Agriculture Science and Education in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He began writing and producing Dub Poetry during his studies to create his first album entitled “Food War,” which was recorded in Trenchtown. Throughout the album, RasTakura mentions the importance of how agriculture helps to sustain nations and help them become self-sufficient.

Naturally, the education from life experiences led him to feel a sense of urgency about advocating for food security across Jamaica. Although Jamaica is flourishing with organic produce, it still faces a mountain of hurdles in regards to farming and building the agricultural economy. There are grocery stores that exist, but the farmers locally have been pressured to comply with economic regulations initiated by the government through the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 1993, this agreement and others claimed to foster aid to caribbean countries but required them to discontinue any efforts to ship goods overseas without financial backing through the International Monetary Fund . Jamaica Connects to Omaha While on tour, RasTakura has been to Omaha a few times in hopes to garner international awareness of the festival and its social justice efforts. His initial appearance encouraged local artists and activists to speak up about food insecurities right here in North Omaha. Among those artists were Egypt McKizia and Wakanda One. Egypt was the initiator for bringing RasTakura to visit the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation in 2016. There he performed singles from “Food War” which inspired Wakanda One to host local health and wellness events around food across the city.


WAKANDA ONE (SHOMARI HUGGINS, LEFT AND COLEMAN HUNTER, RIGHT)

EGYPT MCKIZIA

HEARTY SANDWICH FROM MI HUNGRY

CHILD HOLDS A POD OF ANNATTO SEEDS(BIXA ORELLANA) AT THE SEED EXCHANGE BOOTH

“To me, both food and art are important especially when they are made with love,” Egypt said. “Both provide a deep comfort for me as an artist due to how they stimulate the senses on different levels. Food stimulates taste, smell and emotions; whereas, art stimulates the mind, the ears, the eyes and the emotions as well. Both are profound ways and mechanisms for healing.” This passion brewed over the next couple of years fostering a mentorship between RasTakura and Wakanda One member Shomari Huggins, who is the lead vocalist of the band. He encouraged the idea to travel to Jamaica and capture the work being done around food and social justice. He knew that it only made sense to bring the inspiration back to North Omaha where its food desert is a common frustration facing the community. “Omaha has shown the desire for a festival where culture, creativity, and community meet. The Malcolm X Sol Food + Music festival was born as a community celebration that will certainly fill that void. At this festival people will be able to enjoy homegrown cuisine, artistic expression from locally residing and international artists, all while on the grounds of the historic Malcolm X Memorial Foundation,” Shomari said. “The organization of this festival intentionally centers around security of nutritious options in the North Omaha community and encouraging positive artistic outlets for our communities youth.

We hope it will sharpen the focus of our community around holistic wellness for years to come.” Exploring Jamaican Cuisine That passion was definitely evident back in Jamaica. As Wakanda One and the group traveled around Jamaica, with RasTakura as our guide, we got to witness plenty of enthusiasm behind healthy eating and living a lifestyle of wellness throughout the community. We were present for five days both helping to prepare for the Dis Poem fest and, of course, to enjoy Jamaican cuisine. After flying into Montego Bay, we traveled to Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio before laying to rest in Kingston. All efforts were to grab banners and supplies, while RasTakura did radio interviews via phone to promote the event. The ride was bumpy and fervent. But there was plenty of discovery happening on the streets. From food vendors to beach ports, we all got a taste of Jamaica’s vibrancy on day one simply from the ride to town. We ate organic fruit for breakfast daily: coconuts, passion fruit, Jamaican mountain apples oranges, papaya, mangos and cantaloupe. It fueled us for the legwork that was needed to help promote and set up for the festival days before. For lunch we had menu options from Mi Hungry Whol’ Some Food, a vegan eatery chain that harnesses dishes from live food only. For dinner we had vegan dishes comprised of hearty beans, leafy green stews and

curry flavored roasted vegetables. If you wanted the stage in addition to a motivational message a snack, you could simply look for a banana or by Mutabaruka himself. Other featured artists mango tree, Or you could walk a few blocks to find included Bob Andy, Richi Innocent, Delroy Dycr, a bite from a local vendor. Sometimes the best food Dr. Jean Breeze (Recognized as the first female was right there on the side of the road. Dub Poet), Steppa, Wakanda One and Tehut-9 In Jamaica, it is cheap to eat healthy, while in (Philadelphia based). America it is a commonly harsh reality to admit that healthy eating is not always affordable, in Bringing Festival Vibes to Omaha fact stressful to maintain for people who live at “I feel the festival will give the people of Omaha or below the poverty line. Such circumstances a chance to expand their horizons when it comes make it necessary to consider events like a seed to art and their appreciation of art,” Egypt said. exchange to help others grow their own produce. “It will provide a chance for them to see more of Natalee Hutchings, a Jamaican poet and the world right in their own backyard!” geologist, was recruited by RasTakura to help with Egypt has since been to Jamaica multiple times the seed exchange booth in Port Antonio, a new to record music and will share some of those initiative at the festival. Its intent was to encourage works at the Malcolm X Sol Food + Music Fest on visitors to learn about and exchange seeds that August 25, 2018. may not otherwise be available to them. Among other performers Egypt will join include “This is the biggest event to get poets together local poets and activists who may not have from all over the country and even international. performed on the historic grounds of the Malcolm It’s needed definitely once a year if not more than X Memorial Foundation before. The lineup is still that,” Natalee said. “I think it’s important to keep being decided on but more details will be made poetry alive and the culture as well. It goes hand- available online at MalcolmXFoundation.org. in-hand with the heirloom seed exchange. In this Just as poetry and music can feed the soul, so day and age, with GMO’s and other foods that will the food. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve never are not healthy for us, we have to ensure that had vegan food before. The fest is anticipated these things survive. People came here to trade to have food vendors on site both of Caribbean their seeds which is a great thing.” and local origins. Aspiring poets, activists and While Natalee and I were at the seed anyone with a healthy appetite of all ages are exchange booth, other Jamaican artists excited definitely welcome.

CULTURE

| THE READER |

JULY 2018

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LET’S DO THE DAMN THING A Tribute to a Foul-Mouthed Friend

BY SARA LOCKE

EAT

C

SARA LOCKE is the Contributing Editor for The Reader’s Food section. She is fluent in both sarcasm and pig Latin, and is definitely going to eat the contents of her to-go box in her car on her way home. Follow her restaurant reviews and weekly what-todos online at http://thereader. com/dining/crumbs . Follow @ TheReaderOmahaDish on Instagram to find out what else she’s sinking her teeth into.

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heck in with your strong friend. It’s the mantra you see going around right now. It’s the wrong message. A phone call wouldn’t have cured him. Your strong friend doesn’t need you to make sure they’re not dead, they need authentic human connection. Celebrities become a friend in common, someone we all know who connects us. If we have nothing else in common, we talk about the love lives and careers of the famous people we all know.When we see one spiraling into depression, it’s usually pretty obvious. Erratic behavior, drug abuse, nonsensical tweeting and an eventual nose dive into some rehab facility. Losing Anthony Bourdain was a kick in the gut to his fans, and those who felt we had gone on some existential journey with him. You saw him realizing his passions, living his own adventure, and chasing everything that made him feel alive. And when he chased death, he found that, too. Suicide isn’t about having enough friends, enough money, or enough love for living. Watch him climb a mountain just to sit at someone’s table and eat a casserole and tell me he wasn’t strong. Watch him wade through alligator infested swamp land or cross heavily armed borders to sit with a local and tell me he wasn’t brave. He had money, adventure, freedom, love, and one other thing. Depression. You can’t bury it in your perfect life, you can’t treat it with cash, and you can’t cure it with a call from a friend asking if you’re some mythical “Ok”. What are we going to do then? I see tributes being made to the man. People creating posts and columns explaining how he changed their life. But did he? Because if he did, the only words on paper you would use as tribute would be your updated passport. Did you learn what he was trying to teach, or did you just watch? Did you live vicariously through his travels? Because that is the opposite of his message. You can’t live life by watching it, you have to do the damn thing. Breaking Bread and Borders

If you pay attention, you’ll see that his many shows, books, articles, and tirades were only a little bit about food, and a little bit about travel. They were about learning.The way to combat hate is to combat fear. The way to combat fear is to combat ignorance. The way to combat ignorance is to learn about the people we don’t understand. He did that the best way he could, by sharing a meal with a stranger. Yes, he smoked and drank and said fuck a lot, but the truly outlandish thing he did was make friends with people on opposite sides of every conversation. Somehow both nihilistic and childlike, his curiosity and hope softened the edges burned and battered by years of hard living. It wasn’t that he thought the world was a perfect place, but he saw what makes it suck and he saw the power in each human to make it suck just a little less. He wanted you to look at what you have and what you can do with it to bring people a little closer together. He had deep appreciation for people, their battles, and the love they brought to the table. He wasn’t fond of Rachel Ray, Applebees, or anyone who profited off of the bastardization of nourishment. He searched for authenticity in more than just the meals he traveled the world to sample, he was sampling humans. Tasting life from every perspective.

| THE READER |

EAT

ANTHONY BOURDAIN If you claim his death as a personal loss, if you want to truly honor him, try to understand what he was trying to show you. You can’t win a war by having dinner with your enemy, but you just might be able to learn something from who you’ve been fighting. You might learn more about why. You might learn that you don’t have nearly as many enemies as you imagined. Projects like the recent performance art installation Everybody Eats Lunch are an organized attempt to do what Bourdain did every day. To leave your comfort zone and your echo chamber for an hour and learn how to have a conversation with the other side of the table. Eat a meal you couldn’t cook yourself and respect the culture and tradition that put it on your plate. To respect the journey. If you want to honor him, cross the world or the country or the city and sit in a place you’ve been hesitant to wander. Introduce yourself and open yourself for the experience. Pay attention, respect, and live. One hour at a time. In a million miles of travel, he learned that you can’t run from your demons – But you can invite them to sit with you, and for just a little while, they won’t be chasing you anymore. It was a long journey, sir. Rest well.


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CELEBRATE GOLF’S GOLD STANDARD July 16-22 • The Club at Indian Creek Free Parking & Shuttles Metro Community College – Elkhorn Valley Campus

Nebraska Section PGA Youth Day Tuesday , July 17th– FREE ADMISSION Golf demos and autographs from Web.com Tour Players Championship Play Thursday – Sunday, July 19th – 22nd Tickets available online

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| THE READER |

JULY 2018

11


SUMMER REMEDIES,

HEARTLAND HEALING

Some are Not

HEARTLAND HEALING is a metaphysically-based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet by MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com and like us on Facebook. .

12

JULY 2018

BY MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN

T

ypical of Nebraska, we’ve jumped right from winter into summer. Ah, yes. I’m old enough to remember when we used to have a season in between called nostalgically Spring. Now it’s just a mysterious calculation on the calendar. Now that we’re into the hot, radiant season of summer there are new challenges to experience. Humans, in the never-ending pursuit of lucre, keep coming up with fancy ideas we can sell with the promise of helping us meet those summer challenges. Most of them don’t work or are worse than the challenge itself. So let’s review a few more holistic remedies for summertime stumbles. Sunburn solutions. Sunburn can be a real problem when intense solar radiation sears the skin. It’s not only uncomfortable but can leave lasting damage. The best solution, of course, is avoiding the radiation. But no one wants to spend the summer entirely indoors. Keeping the skin covered is an excellent solution. It’s not some perverse love of fashion that keeps Bedouins and other native Saharans covered in layered robes head to toe. It protects the skin and keeps them cool. Covering in light clothing can help prevent sunburn. Wide-brimmed hats are sensible solutions, too. Sunscreen chemicals are problematic. Questionable chemicals found in sunscreens led the Environmental Working Group to point out many dangers. Plus, most wash off or sweat off, leaving no protection. It’s better to cover with cloth than cover with chemicals. If it’s too late and you’ve already gone from “healthy glow” to painful blister, there is still salvation in nature. The all-purpose salve of the aloe vera plant is nothing short of miraculous for soothing sunburn and even healing the damage. Best and easiest way is to keep an aloe plant or two growing in pots around the home. They are easy to grow and nearly impossible to kill. Just cut off one of the spiny, succulent leaves and lightly rub the gelatinous sap on the skin. Or you can buy some at any health food store. Make sure it’s organic and pure aloe. You can also take a tepid bath in cool water, adding one of the following: vinegar, oatmeal, small amount of peppermint oil. They all have both cooling and healing properties. A solution of cool, green tea works well as a topical application. Same with diluted white vinegar. Soak paper towels then layer on the burn. Bug out. Summer insects can be an annoyance and even a deadly danger. Itchy bites are one thing. West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease are more serious. In this case especially, since American medicine has no cures, avoidance is again the best solution. The “go-to” insect repellent is DEET. Unfortunately, it’s a questionable chemical, linked to major problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, “DEET is especially dangerous for small children. Seizures may occur…” For a natural and safer solution, experts recommend neem oil. It’s from an evergreen plant native to India. The great thing about neem is that when used in proper dilutions, it is effective against many different insects, from mosquitoes to squash beetles. It’s a favorite of organic gardeners because it can be sprayed directly on food plants and is easily washed off. Citronella is another natural mosquito deterrent. It’s not as effective as neem oil. Long sleeves and covered skin work best,

| THE READER |

HEARTLAND HEALING

once again. Keeping a mosquito population down is important, too. They can hatch eggs in the smallest amount of standing water on your porch or patio. Check for ticks often. Lyme disease is transmitted in the later stages of a tick bite so early removal helps. Season of the Itch. Poison ivy, sumac and oak are nasty stuff. The itch comes from urushiol in the sap. Urushiol is one of the most toxic substances on the planet. As little as one-billionth of a gram can cause a skin reaction. Brush up against one of the three plants and you can expect a reaction within hours or even minutes. A red, linear rash, accompanied by extreme itching or burning will appear. (Oddly, poison ivy does not grow in California. But they have their own problems.) A few people and most animals are unaffected by the toxin, but about 85 percent of all humans learn the real meaning of itch. A first exposure may bring no reaction or may take a week to show up. Successive contact increases the likelihood of a rash developing. Though Fido may be immune, take care when he returns from a romp. If he brushed the plant, you’ll pay for it when you pet him. Sap of the jewelweed plant, often found nearby poison ivy and oak, can counteract the toxin. A paste of baking soda or oatmeal also lessens the itch. The buckthorn, also known as plantain, carries a thick, green sap that soothes for up to 24 hours. Aloe vera works, too. A cool bath with cornstarch can help. Unfortunately, only time (about two weeks) will make the blisters and rash go away. Scratching won’t cause the rash to spread but it doesn’t help it heal and may cause a systemic infection. Knowledge of holistic ways to avoid summer problems can help one avoid the side effects of man-made solutions. The overall best defense against summer challenges is a healthy immune system. Be well. Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com. and like us on Facebook.


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| THE READER |

JULY 2018

13


MANY VOICES – ONE PEOPLE

7th Omaha Peace & Justice Expo Sat July 21 1-5 pm

(doors open at 12:30)

UNO Milo Bail Student Center KEYNOTE – Speakers from local communities:

Black, Native American, Immigrant, LGBTQIA+ & Student Women

SPEAK with local peace & justice organizations PARTICIPATE issue room discussions

FIND YOUR VOICE! Free-Will Donation - $5 suggested

PeaceExpo.org

@PeaceExpo

Facebook Event

Co-sponsor -- UNO's Grace Abbott School of Social Work Media Sponsor -- The Reader

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JULY 2018

| THE READER |


“This show is maybe contrary to current sentiments surrounding us today,” he said. “Sentiments of anxiety, dissenting opinions and conflict need a boost with the simple idea of what color, humor and just plain fun can do for our spirits.” To that end, Sumnik offers 50 wall-hung 3D ceramic “Jellybeans” to set the mood with every color and pattern “for the selective sweet tooth.” Culver returns with 3D cutouts remembering light hearted heroes and icons of witty delight. Think Rocky and Bullwinkle and the cherry Mustang convertible Roots said.

July 6 - July 27

Eye Candy

‘Jellybean Show’ Modern Arts Midtown (3615 Dodge St.) modernartsmidtown.com

“Something aesthetic, something frenetic, Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!” Playwright/lyricist Stephen Sondheim had it right. When it all seems like the world’s going to hell in a hand basket, laughter is still the best medicine, even if only temporary. Apparently artist Larry Roots, director of Modern Arts Midtown, got the message as his prescription for the latest wave of global bad news and blues is the venue’s July exhibit, The Jellybean Show, offering three specialists who know how to dispense a creative chuckle or two. The Jellybean Show, which opens Friday, July 6, features mainly 3D work from Iggy Sumnik ably assisted by Bob Culver and Jamie Burmeister, each of whom a renowned practitioner in restoring our “humoral response” to whatever ails us. Roots thinks it couldn’t come at a better time.

Meanwhile Burmeister invades the gallery with his mini-guys affectionately known as “Vermin”. These bronze and clay figures appear in installations on and off the wall that actively involve them in humorous scenarios. If the above sounds light and airy or merely suitable summer fare, know that much of the trios’ work has an edge or is cleverly disarming, often fitting their persona, character and personality. Humor not only unites all three artists here, along with color and more than a little fantasy, it allows for a little role playing and manipulation, even social commentary, all in a very entertaining and engaging fashion. They are artists after all, and since comedy often requires a mask…think clowns and mimes… each enjoys their well-crafted persona.

Koenig, Josh Audiss, J Barnett and Tobias Caballero in Artisans and Oddities opening July 6. Koenig, a painter and tattoo artist, works with a wide range of mediums ranging from watercolor to package design. Inspired by Japanism and Art Nouveau his work maintains a controlled looseness of line work and delicate treatment of color. Art Nouveau finds a home in Audiss’ paintings with motifs of nature, iconography and the mystical. With a biomorphic, organic style, his work tells a story through a graphic allegory.

Artisans and Oddities opens with a reception on Friday, July 6 from 7-10 p.m. and is on display through August 31. Free and open to the public. ~Melinda Kozel

July 6

Shadow Play

Michael Phipps Gallery (Downtown Omaha Public Library) amather@omahalibrary.org

Collectively, Sumnik, Culver and Burmeister are tricksters, first tickling a funny bone before giving “a wink and a nod” or at least a double take. Not that their social commentary or satire is heavy-handed. Yet even more relevant than their general humanism are their muse and aesthetic. As if to summarize this exhibit of all things “Jellybeans,” Burmeister adds, “art that makes people laugh has a basic truth about it. My hope is that humor draws people into my work. Once in they may find something that changes the way they look at things.” ~ Mike Krainak

July 6

Artisans & Oddities

Petshop Gallery (2727 N. 62nd St.) bensonfirstfriday.com Petshop’s next exhibit celebrates the artist’s touch with illustrations from Dave

As a tattoo artist, Barnett uses dynamic movement and bold color in rich vignettes of the natural world. Though presented with a more color-field, graphic quality Caballero offers up portrait work full of detail. Looking closely, he’s taken care to add wrinkles, hairs and background gradients to offer complex versions of tattoo work.

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Multimedia exhibit at Michael Phipps Gallery focuses on memory, perception in shades of light and dark A new group exhibition opening July 6, at the Michael Phipps Gallery will feature works of Joe Addison, Jamie Hardy and Nadia Shinkunas. The show, which runs through September 3rd, uses film negatives, video projection and painting to dabble with themes of light and shadow, memory and perception.

| THE READER |

July 2018

15


Omaha photographer Addison works in the dark room pairing film negatives with musical notes. By manipulating film, color and light, he creates chromogenic prints for his latest series, “Nocturnes.” He says he does this to convey the connection between the feeling of reminiscence and to consider personal memories overlaid with classical music. Hardy is an Omaha-based installation artist. Her work explores memories, shared experience and a sense of place. Her flickering videos and video projections illuminate the concept of memory, the intricacies and depth within each fleeting moment. Shinkunas, a multidimensional artist based in Council Bluffs, explores shadows, negative space and perception. She focuses on the minuscule variables like light, shadow and location to challenge viewers’ thoughts of the seemingly small changes happening in the world without notice. Together, this trio will exhibit a body of work in a show that opens on Friday, July 6, from 4-6 p.m. at the Michael Phipps Gallery and continues until September 3, 2018. ~Gerard Pefung

Thru July 8th

King John and Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare Park (411½ N Elmwood Rd) NebraskaShakespeare.com

Since 1987, Nebraska Shakespeare has been bringing The Bard’s work to life in

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July 2018

Omaha. For it’s 31st year, they will be showing Much Ado About nothing, a witty comedy of romantic misunderstandings, gossip and rumors, as well as King John, a history full of battles and deception. Much Ado will run June 21-24, as well as July 2, 5, 7. King John will run June 28-30, and July 1, 6, 8. All shows are free and open to the public with a variety of pre show events starting at 6:30 and leading up the the 8pm start of the main event. Bring a blanket, some snacks, and some friends and enjoy Shakespeare like you’ve never seen him before. All shows are free to the public and begin at 8 p.m.

nor was it infinitely or quickly editable.

July 11 - July 28

Fast forward to today’s penchant for point, shoot and send. The digital revolution has been great for most of us, but not for Isa Marcelli, whose recent love affair with plate-to-print photography can be seen in her first Moving Gallery exhibition, opening at the Garden of the Zodiac on July 12.

Less is More

Connect Gallery (3901 Leavenworth St.) connectgallery.net

~Amy Schweid

July 7

Punk Rock BBQ with Jeff Rosenstock and Remo Drive Lookout Lounge Lookoutomaha.com

For its third annual installment, Lookout Lounge and Black Heart Booking’s Punk Rock BBQ cooked up its most stacked lineup yet. The daylong event — which includes everything its name implies — is headlined by New York pop punk all-star Jeff Rosenstock, who grew in notoriety in the 2000s with his supremely anticapitalist band Bomb the Music Industry! He went solo in 2014 and dropped the critically acclaimed LP’s We Cool? and Worry in 2015 and 2016, respectively. He’s only been on an upward trajectory since, scoring a record deal with Polyvinyl in 2017 and releasing his third solo record POST- on New Year’s Day this year. Minneapolis dance-punk band Remo Drive, who went from DIY torchbearers to Epitaph Records signees in the span of a year, round out the top of the bill. Canada pop punk band Pseudo, Death Cow, Hand Painted Police Car and Dummy Head Torpedo are among the other eight bands playing. Tickets are $15, and music kicks off at 4 p.m. Find more information at lookoutomaha.com.

| THE READER |

~Sam Crisler

pickS

Wigton, Sitzman approach their minimalism with ‘different strokes’ at Connect Gallery Two artists from opposite ends of the spectrum are on display for Connect Gallery’s July exhibits opening July 11. Dr. Bob Wigton is featured in the Front Gallery. A watercolorist working in Pleine Aire style, Wigton captures scenes of nature with a soft, dappled brush stroke. While Wigton’s two-dimensional works hang in the front gallery, Connect owner Tom Sitzman’s three-dimensional sculptures and furniture can be found in the Tiny Art Gallery (TAG) space. Reducing his work down its essence and leaving out detail, Sitzman’s pieces do well in the equally minimal new TAG space. Inspired by Swedish Functionalism and Art Deco, his Funkis Furniture does not sacrifice design for function but is intensified by the even, efficient lines and structure. ~Gerard Pefung

France-based Marcelli is fascinated with the possibilities of historical techniques of photography, including cyanotypes, tintypes, collodion processes, pinhole cameras and platinum-palladium printing. Her portraits and landscapes are soft and lush, full of mystery, melancholy and poetry. They vary between degrees of romantic pictorialism and intriguing surrealism that will keep viewers engaged in inventing their own narratives. The Moving Gallery’s Isa Marcelli is on view at the Garden of the Zodiac beginning Thursday, July 12 from 7-9pm and runs through September 2. The gallery, located at 1042 Howard Street in the Old Market Passageway, is open Tues-Sat from noon-8pm and on Sun from noon-6pm. ~Janet L. Farber

July 13

The Fey EP Release Show Slowdown Theslowdown.com

July 12

Camera Obscura

Garden of the Zodiac fb.com/TheGardenOfTheZodiac/ Artist Marcelli focuses on photography’s past with romantic, surreal imagery It used to be that photography was not for the faint of heart. Back in the 19th century, it required big, clunky equipment and an array of dangerous chemicals. It involved acceptance of trial and error, and what was fixed by light onto a negative was not discovered instantly,

Six years of playing Nebraska shows and touring the Midwest finally seem to by paying dividends for Lincoln’s The Fey (formerly known as AZP), who mix blues rock, hip-hop and soul to build a sound equal parts Alabama Shakes and Outkast. Now with record label support from Kansas City-based The Record Machine, they’re releasing a new three-track EP, Strawberry Lemonade, this month. In late June, the band served up the first taste


of the EP, “Contender,” which takes The Fey’s formula — fuzzed-out blues riffs, Zach Watkins’ soulful croon and a verse of spitfire lyrics from MC Ishma Valenti — and gives it the most oomph of any of the band’s released songs yet. The band is celebrating the EP with a show at The Slowdown, featuring rapper J. Crum and Kansas City experimental pop band Pink Royal. Tickets are $6, and more info can be found at theslowdown.com. If you happen to be in Lincoln the next day, catch The Fey at their Lincoln release show at The Zoo Bar, where tickets are $8. ~Sam Crisler

Omaha Jitterbugs presents the Third Annual RHYTHM WEEKEND: Omaha Jazz & Tap Dance Festival, a community dance event featuring workshops for all ages and levels plus dance battles, showcases, history, and more. Experience master tap and jazz dancers from around the world share what they love with an emphasis on community growth & empowerment. Workshops of all levels, as well as community activities throughout the weekend.

newcomers who want to share their stuff at the open mic. Come prepared to laugh, to cry, and to snap your fingers off ~Amy Schweid

July 14

A$AP Ferg

Sokol Auditorium Sokolauditorium.com

~Amy Schweid

July 13th

Mom’s Night Out Variety Show

July 13

The Dairy Maid-Right

The Shelterbelt Theatre (3223 California St.) www.shelterbelt.org

The newest script by local playwright Ellen Struve is hitting the Shelterbelt Stage in July. It is summer at the Dairy Maid-Right when co-workers and recent high school graduates, Courtney and David, encounter a child migrant. They have to work with and against each other to confront the meaning of citizenship, duty to family, and the challenge of compassion in America’s Heartland. Directed by Amy Lane ~Amy Schweid

~Amy Schweid

July 14

July 20th Since the release of his debut Trap Lord in 2013 and his rise along with Harlembased collective A$AP Mob, A$AP Ferg has solidified himself as one of the preeminent names in today’s hip-hop/trap-rap landscape. Ferg most recently dropped his third LP Still Striving in August 2017, which is loaded with bangers and high-profile features from rappers like Meek Mill, Busta Rhymes and A$AP Mob cohort A$AP Rocky. An Omaha stop was planned on Ferg’s “Mad Man Tour” back in March, but the rapper canceled the concert and a number of others due to illness, promising the shows would be rescheduled. True to his word, Ferg returns to the road this month and hits Sokol Auditorium with Des Moines rapper Arthvr. Advanced tickets are $29.50, and more information is available at sokolauditorium.com.

OutrSpaces (1258 S 13th St.) Outrspaces.org

The Holland Performing Arts Center TicketOmaha.com

Fresh off their successful touring schedules, three superstar comedians have taken a break from their own touring schedules to bring you an intimate night of all star comedy. With an extensive multi-city tour on the horizon, DC Young Fly, Kountry Wayne and Lil Duval are headed to Omaha for the first stop of the tour at the Holland Performing Arts Center Friday, July 20! ~Amy Schweid

July 23 July 15

African Culture Fest

Rhythm Weekend:

All Star Comedy Jam 2018

~Sam Crisler

Omaha Poetry Slam

July 13-15

Citizen

The Waiting Room Waitingroomlounge.com

Stinson Park | Afromaha.com

Omaha Jazz & Tap Dance Festival Eagles Ballroom (201 S 24TH ST) Jitterbugs.org

~Staff Pick

Apollon Art Space (1801 Vinton St.) Apollonomaha.com

Come see some of Omaha’s best actors (who happen to moonlight as mothers) take over the Apollon Art Space with the variety show of a lifetime. Some of them are stage regulars, some you haven’t seen in a while, either way be prepared to be dazzled as they sing, act and dance their way through this amazing night. Spanx welcome. Leave the kiddos at home--it’s mom’s time.

This inaugural fest kicks off with a strong mission. Created by the team behind AFROMAHA, it’s goal is “to provide a long lasting platform that celebrates African culture, fosters unity, and that promotes understanding and acceptance of the growing rich cultural tapestry in Omaha and beyond.” It’s first initiation through the African Culture Fest which plans to feature headliners like Edem Soul Music, Bibiana, Samo Ray G and plenty of vendors. Expect to experience live music, fashion, food and of course, dancing! Free and open to the public, join the celebration Sunday, July 15, 2018, from 12pm8pm at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.

Join the Omaha Slam team as they face off against the College Union Poetry Slam team from from Lincoln in a head to head battle...kind of. The Omaha team, who has seen many of their members go on to national slams will be giving you a night of amazing work by established local talent, as well as any

pickS

| THE READER |

July 2018

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In the early 2010s, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia were fertile ground for bands heavily indebted to ‘90s indie rock and Midwest emo bands like Mineral and American Football, and Boston-based Run For Cover Records took many such acts under its wing. Among labelmates like Turnover, Tigers Jaw and Title Fight, Toledo’s Citizen rose to the top of the ranks, blending hardcore and grunge with frontman Mat Kerekes’ bleakly angst-filled lyrics. Now, as many of the emo revival’s principal bands either break up or evolve, Citizen has more or less transcended the emo tag, and on the band’s 2017 LPAs You Please, Mat Kerekes and Co. simultaneously tamed down their sound while writing their most adventurous songs yet. Beefy production from longtime emo revival producer Will Yip keeps the songs leveled out but still allows the band room to experiment. Nowhere is the experimentation more profound than on the album’s second track, “In the Middle of It All,” which sees Kerekes repeatedly harmonizing the song’s title in his falsetto, later giving way to a rager hook that could have found its way onto Brand New’s last record. Citizen hits The Waiting Room this month with Oso Oso, Teenage Wrist and Queen of Jeans in support. Tickets are $16, and more information is available at waitingroomlounge.com.

The festival will span seven different venues, featuring artists from 10 different cities around the world. There will be a variety of performances, including live music, a staged opera, spoken word poetry, dance, and theatre. A full festival pass is $40. Ticket holders of $75 VIP passes “will be invited to special events with festival artists, and will have reserved seating at limited seating events.” Tickets for most individual events are $10, and the events at Hifi House, the Joslyn Art Museum, and KANEKO are free of charge. A full list of events can be found at undertheradaromaha.com. ~ Kayleigh Ryan

July 27

Caught in the Current Fred Simon Gallery artscouncilnebraska.gov

~Sam Crisler

July 25-28

Omaha Under the Radar Festival Multiple Venues undertheradaromaha.com

Kalk’s abstractions at Fred Simon Gallery reveal her respect for nature, Sawiyano heritage

When the Omaha Under the Radar Festival began, its creators set out with a mission to build a platform for talented live performing artists. It is safe to say that that mission has been accomplished, as its fifth anniversary festival will run from July 25-28.

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July 2018

East meets West at the Fred Simon Gallery when Bethany Kalk opens with Caught in the Current: Recent Abstractions on Friday, July 27th. Kalk, who also goes by “Betni,” spent much of her childhood raised with the Sawiyano tribe of Papua, New Guinea. Born in Canada, she moved to the island at an early age with her missionary parents. Life in the rainforests of New Guinea instilled in this artist a deep appreciation for the

| THE READER |

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visual resources offered up by the natural environment, both of water and land. The area where she grew up has a close connection with the Sepik River, one of the largest freshwater river ecosystems in the Asian-Pacific region. There is a long tradition with the Sepik people, the various tribes that live along and near the river, of art and craft that includes pottery, intricate woodcarving, and elaborate drums. Her training in both graphic design and painting provide palettes of bold graphic structure and delicate, transparent pattern and line from which to choose. Her work is influenced by oceanic tattoo art as well as a riverbank in Minnesota or “rust formations and broken electronics and wiring.” Her methods are not limited to one medium, and she is active in all forms of visual art and design, from video and photography to encaustics, painting, sculpture and installations. Found objects and discarded manu fac ture d objects often figure into her work. This exhibit will feature several large paintings, a few laser carved wall sculptures, and four encaustic (a hot wax process) paintings. K a l k , originally from Canada, currently lives in Omaha, and has shown extensively across the US, including Lexington, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Omaha and San Francisco. Currently she teaches art and design at Creighton University. Caught in the Current: Recent Abstractions opens with an artist’s reception on July 27th at the Fred Simon Gallery. The exhibit runs through September 21, 2018. Further information and hours of operation by contacting jared.kennedy@nebraska.gov. ~Kent Behrens

July 27

Drive-By Truckers The Waiting Room Waitingroomlounge.com

When one thinks of southern rock, 1970s conservative-leaning bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers come to mind — not bands who use the style as a vehicle to reject the Trump Administration, and especially not bands who condemn the Second Amendment and the guns that Skynyrd holds so dear. On 2016 LP American Band and a string of new singles from Georgia rockers Drive-By Truckers, the five-piece holds no punches expressing their disgust with America’s current political state and its obsession with firearms. Almost half of the record’s 11 songs deal in gun violence, directly referencing Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and NRA leader Harlon Carter. Juxtaposed with sunburnt guitars and Americana melodies, the lyrics almost feel out of place, but they work together in the same way that the Dixie Chicks stormed the country landscape with their anti-Bush lyrics in the early 2000s. Drive-By Truckers current tour brings them through Omaha this month, and tickets are $30. Head to waitingroomlounge. com for more info. ~Sam Crisler

Thru Sept. 15

Hot Mess Formalism

Bemis Center for Contemporary Art bemiscenter.org Pepe multi-media exhibit at Bemis tests orthodox views of class and gender Artist and educator Sheila Pepe is widely known for her intricate, delicate, and often sizable, web-like installations and sculpture made from domestic and industrial materials. Her work tests perceived and persistent notions of class and gender, and questions


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the orthodox; the creation, presentation and often rote acceptance of patriarchal works and institutions. Described as immersive and spontaneous, her sculptural assemblages and other works offer a broad examination of the conventions of museum display, cultural, economic status, and often challenges accepted ideas of the process of craft and art. Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism, a traveling exhibit currently at the Bemis Center, is described by organizers from the Phoenix Art Museum as the “first mid-career survey of Pepe’s work.” The exhibit includes more than 70 works and features the premiere of a site-specific piece created exclusively for The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Visitors will encounter not only Pepe’s grand fibrous structures for which she is so well known, but also a variety of sculptural assemblages, drawings, and other works, all of which challenge traditions in museum display and presentation, cultural and sexual identity, and craft. Her work, conceptually associated with with feminism, queer theory, and economic class, begs substantially wider and varied associations and analyses. Pepe, who has won several awards and residencies, came to notoriety in the Mid1990’s, and has shown both nationally and internationally, in solo and group venues as well as collaborative projects. Hot Mess Formalism was organized by the Phoenix Art Museum and will travel to several venues. Hot Mess Formalism opened Friday, June 28th and runs through September 15th. The opening reception for the artist is from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. An ARTalk is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. Check bemiscenter.org for further information. ~Kent Behrens

7300 Q ST | RALSTONARENA.COM pickS

| THE READER |

July 2018

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FACT OR FICTION?

Multimedia exhibit at Kaneko challenges one’s view of ‘Reality’

B Y J A N E T L . FA R B E R

JAR SCHEPERS, ANCIENT SPLICE

MUSEUM OF ALTERNATIVE HISTORY INSTALLATION VIEW

ART

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t seems like all we talk about any more. Reality. What is true and what is fabulist. Are we getting the facts—are they clear, nuanced, embroidered, biased or fabricated? Is the truth fixed and knowable? Touching on this trenchant topic is that latest seasonal offering from Kaneko, Reality, which opened to the public on June 1 and runs through September 26. Typical of this venue’s offerings, the exhibition provides multiple entries to the topic’s broad implications, primarily through the avenues of art, science and technology. The first section of the exhibition presents forms of virtual reality. A room devoted to tech-tools for learning features an array of dimensional visualization techniques from the iEXCEL program at UNMC. Its use of holograms and simulations educate medical practitioners by engaging them in a more sensory way with human anatomy and enable them to practice techniques in the lab before applying them to living subjects. Kaneko also invites visitors to indulge in a little nostalgia by playing in a forest of Viewmasters, those mid-century toys whose film reels transported you to faraway places. At the same time, if offers the latest gadgetry, as virtual reality goggles send you inside a kaleidoscope, on a tour of the as-yet unbuilt Kaneko collection building or soar like a bird above Omaha. In the Bow Truss gallery is a near-retrospective of Misha Gordin’s conceptual, black-and-white photographs of the human figure. Whether alone in a disquieting landscape or a face in a sea of undifferentiated heads, his subjects are not portraits, but emanations of humanity. Their faces and postures seem to indicate a painful desire for recognition, identity and purpose; the gripping formal and emotional tension in the work is enhanced by Gordin’s marriage of cinematic aesthetic and methodical approach to darkroom montage techniques. In many ways, the seamless manipulation of image and dark humanism of Gordin’s art is a setup for the visitor’s experience upstairs in the Museum of Alternative History, which is the amazing centerpiece of the Reality show.

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ART

In this expansive gallery, a forest of vitrines house professional displays of specimens, fossils and artifacts presented with helpfully informative didactics. Yet, nothing is as it seems. As the introductory panel explains, this is no museum of natural history. Rather, it is a highly creative, bold and at times unflinchingly critical take on the slipperiness of truth in the current cultural environment. MOAH is the brain child of Tim Guthrie, an Omaha artist, activist and Creighton professor of graphic design. Guthrie began this project in the early 2010s in response to attacks on education, particularly those efforts by special interests in Texas to demand that textbooks devote significant space to Intelligent Design and climate change skepticism. To that end, Guthrie began making unusual objects that had the look and feel of archaeological finds, familiar yet odd in some way, like mutated human skulls, dinosaur dung specimens and cuneiform tablets for which fabulist backstories might be imagined. He invited other artists to create curious objects and writers to invent credible sounding histories for them. In 2013, MOAH debuted at RNG Gallery, the beginning of an ongoing, evolving collection of relics with intriguing and possibly provocative pasts. For its iteration at Kaneko, MOAH is greatly expanded to include more than 30 artists/groups (including Guthrie as lead artist) making work for the show, with a team of 7 writers headed by Davis Schneiderman, and the aid of editors and a graphic designer to give the presentation a structured and unified tone. The inclusion of a museum shop lends an additional patina of authenticity. Some of MOAH’s displays are decidedly satiric. A didactic label describing the wall of colorful jellyfish constructed from plastic shopping bags (by Andrea Henkels Heidinger and other community participants) tells the origin story of the Snorkel Rider of the Anthropocene. Tongue firmly in cheek, it explains how this figure became the mascot of a


Looking for a business you can trust? REAGAN PUFALL, PRESERVED SPECIMENS floating island of garbage inhabited by the effigies of former Trump administration officials. It weaves a fanciful narrative based on the existence of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and a range of present-day political policies. Similarly, Ben McQuillan’s toilet porcelain and plastic toy “archaeological finds” reconstruct implements of a fictive Neolithic peoples, whose weapons are cunning antecedents of today’s sports equipment. Darker in tone but just as amusing are Tim Guthrie’s mix of actual and created butterfly specimens, which posit that novelist Vladimir Nabokov’s real-life obsession with butterflies was inspiration for certain Koch industry-funded gene editing techniques. Displayed are many varieties sporting corporate branding; this assortment of flying ads elicits a smile as you recognize Adidas, Snapchat and Pringles logos on their wings. In contrast to such humorous objects are the authentic artifacts enshrined in this museum. A variety of intricate Victorian-era hair wreaths and jewelry items are included. Seen by audiences today as variously morbid and curious, such mourning items reflect a popular custom of memorializing the dead by incorporating their hair into wearable or displayable items. Even Reagan Pufall’s stacked bottles and 3D models of praying mantises are based in this artist’s fascination with insect’s perceived anthropomorphic qualities. The artist raises mantises and uses them as subjects of his photography and 3D printed sculpture; as well, he collects their molted skins and remains with the fervor of an entomologist. All of which makes it difficult to separate the fact from fiction that is part of the intended friction of MOAH. Museums of natural history are often cabinets of curiosities, presenting the rare and unusual; in this, MOAH does not disappoint. Consider Guthrie’s mutants, including the “’Mickey’ OwlMonkey Symbiote Specimen #8”, which posits that Disney’s beloved character was inspired by an African archaeological find.

TIM GUTHRIE, BETTER BUTTERFLIES Or Andi Olsen’s haunting “Hanged ArcAngel”, presented as a talisman from a medieval rivalry for Papal supremacy between competing factions in Rome and Avignon. This schism did exist; was this an artifact from it? The truth is stranger than fiction, as the saying goes. In fact, many of the alternative histories are too close for comfort. Brian Wetjen’s geodes filled with plastics instead of crystals make you wonder what geological formations of the future will look like. KayCee Wise’s Audubon-like watercolor studies of birds in nature give pause, as they perch on barbed wire fences and stroll on oil-stained shorelines. Launa Bacon’s “Acts of Faith” is likewise discomfiting and one of a few works in MOAH that deal with religious belief. A pedestal is arrayed with the charred remains of Bibles, a crucifix, gun parts and shell casings; above them hang melted remnants of stained glass windows. While the artist’s intent is not explained, the viewer might easily relate it to any number of recent horrific events committed in the name of religion. Believe what you will, at all costs, it seems to say. In all, Guthrie’s MOAH proposition is conceived of and executed masterfully. It taps into the current zeitgeist, which supports the twisting of fact, skewing of science, and values opinion and belief over data and truth. MOAH uses the mechanisms and methodology of museums to provide a credible foundation for its fictions, not dissimilar to the way in which the Creation Museum explains to its visitors that humans may have ridden dinosaurs. MOAH enlightens, amuses and puts us on notice with its creative vivisection of confirmation bias. Really. Reality continues at Kaneko through September 26, 2018. The museum, located at 1111 Jones Street, is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 12pm-8pm and on Saturdays from 11am-5pm. Information on numerous programs held in conjunction with the exhibition may be found on their website at www.kaneko.org. There is no admission fee.

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JULY 2018

21


IF THE PLAY’S THE THING, THEN WHAT ABOUT GENDER? BY LEO ADAM BIGA PHOTOS BY DEBRA S. KAPLAN

THEATER

ELLEN STRUVE

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CINDY MELBY

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heater offers windows on the world, yet only a fraction of plays produced anywhere are written by women. This arts parity issue has urgency with national initiatives extending to Omaha, where theater artists variously discuss the problem and implement remedies. “The initiatives have been around for about a decade now,” said Creighton University theater professor Amy Lane. “The most well-known, 50/50 by 2020, started in response to a study that revealed women’s voices grossly underrepresented in theaters.” In 2006, 17 percent of plays professionally produced nationwide (12 percent on Broadway) were written by women. “Surprising,” Lane said, given that “60 percent of the theater audience is women.” She wonders if “there will be true gender equity by 2020” and what “progress” has been made thus far. UNO theater professor Cindy Melby Phaneuf echoes many when she says, “My opinion is we are moving in the right direction, but still have a long way to go.” She heads the National Theatre Conference, whose Women Playwright Initiative has produced 500 plays by women since 2011 and expects to reach 1,000 by 2020. “I am encouraged by the energy and interest in gender parity, but am most interested in taking action.” “I support these initiatives and applaud the theaters implementing them,” said Omaha playwright Ellen Struve.

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Struve’s had plays mounted at the Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) and Shelterbelt Theatre and across the nation. “When I began writing plays, I didn’t know many other women getting produced on a regular basis. This past year I was able to invite more than a dozen Omaha-based women playwrights to participate in the 365 Women A Year project. It was so exhilarating to look at that list of writers. Even better was to see a few of the plays fully-produced by Denise Chapman at the Union for Contemporary Art.” 2017 panels hosted by the Blue Barn Theater and the University of Nebraska at Omaha dialogued about the social-economic context behind exclusion and why plays written by women would enrich any season. “Panels are great for raising awareness. Representation matters: for women and female-identifying playwrights, directors, actors, designers, crews, administrators. Discussions are fine, but action is what is needed,” said Lane. She created the 21 & Over series at OCP “to introduce Omaha to new works and new voices.” 21 & Over seasons were 50/50 by 2020 compliant, she said.. OCP’s ongoing Alternative Programming series continues to be diverse. Creighton and UNO are devoting their respective theater departments’ entire 2018-2019 performance seasons to works by women playwrights. Lane said Creighton’s “made a commitment to continue with the 50/50 by 2020 Movement” beyond this season.


Phaneuf and colleagues want to move things Shelterbelt’s won recognition from the forward. International Centre for Women Playwrights for “UNO and Creighton have agreed to shine a reaching equity goals. light on what our greater Omaha community is “To look just at playwrights is only scratching doing already and look to the future to provide the surface,” Wach adds. “We’ve got to start more opportunities to revel in women’s voices. valuing the work women bring to all areas of The goal is gender parity on a permanent basis theater production and the great value in having as an ordinary way of programming our seasons different points of view.” representing diverse voices. With parity also Omaha’s largest footprint on the national comes a desire to produce plays by writers of theater scene, the Great Plains Theatre color. We are constantly on the lookout for plays Conference (GPTC), uses a 100 percent blind that represent a variety of cultures and heritages.” reading process selecting plays. Outside the academic setting, Omaha presents “We are one of the few major development a mixed bag in theater gender parity. programs that do this,” producing artistic Phaneuf said despite some gains, many director Kevin Lawler said. “We have had many Omaha theaters present seasons with only one long debates about whether we should change or two works by women. Sometimes, none. to have predetermined selection percentages “Those making artistic decisions at Omaha to include gender, race, identity, but the theaters either care about this issue or they overwhelming consensus by our staff and don’t. If they care, then it is not a difficult task to those who attend the conference is to keep the make sure a theater’s season includes works by selections blind. women,” Lane said. “There are plenty of terrific “Even with a blind selection we have always plays out there and plenty of resources to find been close to parity. This year was a clean 50them. If this is not an issue that matters to them, 50 split. Our women playwrights often appear then they shouldn’t be surprised if they get called on the Kilroys List (of most recommended out. I think more of us who do care should speak unproduced or underproduced plays).” out more when we see gender parity ignored.” UNO’s new Connections series is being OCP artistic director Kimberly Hickman curated from GPTC works by underrepresented said “more opportunities for female artists is playwrights. among her programming guidelines.” This past GPTC playwright Sara Farrington terms parity season several OCP playwrights and composers “a triggery question” and initiatives to date “a identified as women as did all its guest directors baby step.” and many designers. “Many people simply don’t and won’t trust “Those priorities remain in place for 2018-2019.” plays by women. It is astonishing people still “Parity in theater is a complex issue that can’t assume women can or will only write about being be simplified to only gender,” Hickman said. imprisoned by their bodies or men. That idea has A session on female leadership she attended been beaten into a mass theater-going audience at a recent conference for regional theaters by over-produced, overrated, wildly misogynistic brought this home. male playwrights and producers and by artistic “While the room of women had many things directors financing and programming plays in common, our experiences were very different with reductive and fearful depictions of female due to ethnicity, sexuality, economic status, characters. academic background, location. All these factors “Women playwrights have a deep, refined, need to be taken into consideration. I believe the 200-proof rage. Rage makes for badass and best way to make progress is to look at who is at innovative storytelling. Women playwrights tell the table making decisions. If the people all look stories backwards, sideways, in a spiral, upside the same, that is a problem and steps need to down, from angles you’d never expect. They are be taken to evolve. I also think accountability is utterly complex, psychologically profound and important. I have intentionally surrounded myself contemporary.” with people I know will hold me accountable.” Fellow GPTC playwright Shayne Kennedy, a The Shelterbelt has a demonstrated “strong Creighton grad, calls for systemic change. commitment to gender parity, not only for “I believe men and women tell stories playwrights, but for all production positions,” said differently and because the creative industries executive director Roxanne Wach. “We do try to have long been dominated by male voices, include at least 50 percent women playwrights we as a culture have become conditioned in a season, while still creating a balance in to hear in those voices. I think to correct the storytelling and genres. It’s a conscious choice by imbalance we are going to need some riskour reading committee and a shared vision of takers, visionaries and deliberately opened our board. minds.” “I personally feel if we don’t start with parity in the small theaters, it will never happen in larger Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at theaters.” leoadambiga.com.

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THEATER

| THE READER |

JULY 2018

23


WORLD CLASS MUSIC ON LOCAL STAGES

There is a whole lotta world-class music to revel in from the Zoo Bar’s 45th Anniversary shows to The BSO’s 20th Anniversary to Playing With Fire, In the Market for Blues and the return of Jon Dee Graham & the Fighting Cocks.

HOODOO

BY B.J. HUCHTEMANN

HOODOO focuses on blues, roots, Americana and occasional other music styles with an emphasis on live music performances. Hoodoo columnist B.J. Huchtemann is a senior contributing writer and veteran music journalist who received the Blues Foundation’s 2015 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Journalism. Follow her blog at hoodoorootsblues.blogspot.com and on www.thereader.com.

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he annual Zoo Fest’s outdoor shows July 6 and 7 celebrate Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar’s 45th Anniversary. The street fest kicks off Friday, July 6, with Evan Bartels (5 p.m.) followed by Zoo favorites Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials (7 p.m.). Friday night’s headliner, Tex-Mex roots-rock stars Los Lobos, plays their highly anticipated set at 9 p.m. followed by Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal (11 p.m.). Saturday, July 6, the Blues Society of Omaha’s Omaha and Lincoln BluesEd bands showcase (1 p.m.). Then it’s International Blues Challenge 2016 finalists the Hector Anchondo Band (3 p.m.), followed by the rockabilly polka partiers Igor & The Red Elvises (5 p.m.). Dale Watson & His Lone Stars bring their classic honky-tonk to the stage (7 p.m.) followed by Tommy Castro & The Painkillers (9 p.m.). Nikki Hill closes out the night with her scorching rockabilly and old-school R&B (11 p.m.). The Zoo Bar is two years older than Antone’s in Austin and is considered the oldest blues bar continuously running in the same location. The 45th Anniversary is a real milestone worthy of recognition. BSO’s 20th Anniversary The Blues Society of Omaha marks its 20th Anniversary with special events including a show Thursday, July 19, 5:30 p.m. with the legendary Jimmie Vaughan and his band Tilt-a-Whirl. A new version of the Blues Society All-Stars opens the show. Vaughan was one of the leaders of the blues resurgence in Austin, a co-founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and, of course, big brother to and a major influence on Stevie Ray Vaughan. Check the listing at omahablues.com for advance tickets. Thursday, Aug. 2, the BSO partners with Jazz on the Green to present vocalist Shaun Murphy in a free show at Midtown Crossing. Murphy is an Omaha-born roots music veteran who has toured with Bob Seger, Eric Clapton and was one of the vocalists with Little Feat from 1993-2009 when she left to start working under her own name. See shaunmurphyband.com. Jon Dee Graham at B Side Another Austin mainstay, Jon Dee Graham, makes a special appearance at the B Side of the Benson Theatre, Tuesday, July 10, 6 p.m. Graham only tours with the trio version of his electric Austin band, The Fighting Cocks, once a year, so it’s a rare treat to have them back in Omaha. Graham is the only Austin musician to be inducted three times into the Austin Music Hall of Fame: once for his solo work, once for his membership in influential band The True Believers with Alejandro Escovedo and also as part of Austin punk band The Skunks. Graham also holds down a legendary residency at Austin’s Continental Club, performing every Wednesday night that he is in town for over 17 years, alongside James McMurtry who takes the late set following Graham’s. Find out more at jondeegraham.com. For fans of incendiary electric guitar or fans of luminous songwriting, there is no one better than Jon Dee Graham.

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HOODOO

Chrome Lounge The rest of the BSO Presents at Chrome Lounge schedule includes The Taylor Scott Band Thursday, July 5. I have it on good authority that Steve Berlin of Los Lobos will be sitting in with the band at Chrome. Berlin produced Scott’s latest record. Thursday, July 12, Wayne Baker Brooks plugs in. Thursday, July 19, is the previously mentioned BSO 20th Anniversary celebration show with the great Jimmie Vaughan. Thursday, July 26, Chubby Carrier is back with some hot zydeco. All the July shows will be kicked off by a BluesEd Band starting at 5:30 p.m. In the Market for Blues The 4th Annual In the Market for Blues is Saturday, Aug. 4. Presented by Hector Anchondo and E3 Music Management, the event offers over 30 bands, ranging from local to international. A $10 wristband gets you into eight venues with music from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Highlights from the artist roster include the Andy T Band featuring Alabama Mike & Anson Funderburgh, Angel Forrest, IBC 2018 solo-duo winner the amazing Kevin “B.F.” Burt from Iowa, Dustin Arbuckle & The Damnations along with local artists including Matt Cox, Tim Budig Band and Hector Anchondo Band. Find the full lineup, venues and details at InTheMarketForBlues.com. Hot Notes The first Playing With Fire free concert at Midtown Crossing is Saturday, July 14. Music starts at 4:30. Performers include Heather Newman Band, Monkey Junk and Jack de Keyzer. Find all the info at PlayingWithFireOmaha.net. Nashville Row Omaha is a new effort to bring “Nashville-based under-the-radar and unsigned talent to Omaha.” Their first show presents The Young Fables at The Side Room at Ralston Arena, Friday, July 13, 8 p.m. For more info see nashvillerowomaha.com. The Side Room also presents blue artist Omar Cunningham Friday, July 6, 8 p.m. For info see ralstonarena.com/events. Chris Robinson Brotherhood plugs in July 17 at Waiting Room. Robinson was one of the creative forces behind The Black Crowes and his work with this band started in 2011. Their sound has been described as “shimmering acid-Americana” and “psychedelic roots torch.” Toy Drive for Pine Ridge has a show and poker run to benefit the propane fund July 21. Lash LaRue & The Hired Guns, Levi William Band and Big Daddy Mac & the Flak play at Chrome Lounge in the evening. See Facebook.com/ToyDriveForPineRidge for details. The Sunday Roadhouse hosts the Kim Richey Trio Wednesday, Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m. at Reverb Lounge. See sundayroadhouse.com.


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NO-BOOS BOOZE An Arbitrary Ranking of On-Screen Cocktails

B Y R YA N S Y R E K

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For better or worse, depending on who you ask, senior contributing writer RYAN SYREK has been reviewing movies and writing about popular culture for more than 15 years. In print, on social media (twitter.com/thereaderfilm), on the radio (CD1059.com) and on his podcast, Movieha! (movieha.biz), Ryan tries to critically engage pop content while not boring anybody. Send him hate, love or local movie news items at film@thereader.com. .

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hen it comes to The Reader’s food issue, I have already licked my plate clean. Last year, I chose the best and worst in gloriously nonsensical categories, such as Best Movie With People as Food (thereader.com/film/ FilmFoodIssue/). The year prior, I put spaghetti in the bathtub with the top food-related movie moments (thereader.com/film/ill_have_what_ hes_having/). Therefore and thusly, it’s time to get thirsty up in this here film section! Before I get to my top 10 movie cocktails that don’t involve Tom Cruise in a Hawaiian shirt chucking up things to make you upchuck, I have two recommendations. First, cinemasips. com is a delightful blog that humbly recommends drink recipes to pair with movies. For example, “The Smilex Surprise” combines grape vodka, grape Kool-Aid, lime juice and club soda for a perfectly purple complement to the Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman. Second, cocktailsofthemovies. com not only has drink recipes inspired by movie mentions, it also has gorgeous art prints. Nothing says “I love movies as much as I hate my liver” like art that has beautiful actors and actresses with cocktail names splashed on their faces. Top 10 Movie Cocktails 10 – White Russian (The Big Lebowski) Let’s just get this one out of the way, shall we? You can’t do a list like this and not put these first two entries on it. It should probably be higher up on this list but (A) Russia is a naughty land of election-interfering homophobes and (B) milk makes some people gassy. 9 – Martini (James Bond) A list like this is kinda invalid if you don’t at least mention what is probably the most famous movie cocktail of all time. 007’s insistence that his martini be shaken and not stirred sounds cool but is actually kind of douchey, right? “Shaken” is 100% the standard. So this is like saying “I’ll take a water. In a glass, not thrown on the ground.” Thanks for clarifying, bro? Be sure to order something for your disposable plot device. Sorry, I meant “girlfriend.” 8 – Screwdriver (Jackie Brown) Quentin Tarantino’s career has somehow survived a detailed report of the time he almost

| THE READER |

FILM

JACKIE BROWN killed Uma Thurman, his repeated use of the N-word like he has KKK Tourette syndrome and the fact that he made The Hateful Eight on purpose. QT’s behaviors may leave a bad taste in one’s mouth, but watching Samuel L. Jackson’s Ordell Robbie consume his cocktail of choice in one of the actor’s most underrated and oftforgotten performances does not.

4 - Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks with a Twist (Groundhog Day) Technically, this is the most-ordered drink in film history, as Phil (Bill Murray) sees the same cocktail every day for no less than 8 years and no more than 10,000 years, depending on if you go by the script or nerds who calculated how long he’s stuck in a time loop.

7 – Orange Whips (Blues Brothers) Fun fact: I had no idea what an orange whip actually was until like 10 minutes ago. All I knew of it was that watching John Candy’s detective Burton Mercer order “Three orange whips!” in Blues Brothers is hysterical for no concrete reason. Turns out, Candy improved that moment because of course he did. Drink one in honor of a fallen funny man, but be sure to pour some out and yell “This one’s for Candy!” first.

3 – Chianti (Silence of the Lambs) Mentioned but blissfully not shown, Anthony Hopkins became the first cannibal sommelier, pairing a particular internal organ with this nowinfamous wine. To this day, if I hear someone order a chianti, I try to make myself look as unappetizing as possible around them.

6 – French 75 (Casablanca) Not-so-fun fact: This cocktail is the only item on this list named after an artillery gun! Featuring gin, lemon juice and champagne, this is the drink Rick (Humphrey Bogart) orders after his former lover shows up on the arm of a Nazi. I’m just saying, if it’s a drink you order to help you cope with Nazis, 2018 is about to see a resurgence of the French 75. 5 – Butterbeer (Harry Potter) Honestly, if you had to deal with a noseless Ralph Fiennes and creepy fanboys lusting after Hermione, who they were introduced to as a literal child, you’d drink a lot too. That’s why seeing wizards slurpin’ suds in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince made more sense than the amount of quidditch that comprised the runtime.

2 – Cranberry Juice (The Departed) Technically not a cocktail, but ordered in a bar in place of one, this drink leads to one of my favorite scenes in a Scorsese movie ever. Yes, it’s filled with gross toxic masculinity that presumes anything womanly is an insult, but it also shows Leonardo DiCaprio trying to look tough and a great punchline by Ray Winstone. Also, The Departed is Scorsese’s best film. Byeeee! 1 – Beer (Tons of Movies) Just as all movie phone numbers start 555, in films you can walk up to a bartender and say “I’ll have a beer,” and they will pour you one. Nevermind that there’s obviously a full row of beers on tap and in bottles displayed behind them, a follow-up question like “What kind?” would earn an extra a SAG card and prevent future advertising sponsorships. So here’s to generic, non-label, nonspecific “beer,” the unsung hero of movie cocktails.


IT’S A STALL WORLD AFTER ALL Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Is Nothing but Setup B Y R YA N S Y R E K

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obody has spent the three years since Jurassic World considering what was next in the lives of Squinty McOneliner (Chris Pratt) and HighHeel Controversy (Bryce Dallas Howard), including the writers of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This is a sequel that exists only to move parts around for what will either be the most unhinged, gleefully weird installment or the most violently disappointing end for dinosaurs that’s not an asteroid. Although it spends two-plus hours running around and making loud noises as a distraction, this is one of those films that unravels faster than Weezer’s sweater once you tug on a single plot point. Still, that ending tho… Years after the Jurassic World park briefly bumped Seaworld from the bottom of the rankings, High-Heel Controversy now works with Glasses von Science-lady (Daniella Pineda) and IT Crowd (Justice Smith) as an activist raising money to save the abandoned dinosaurs from a volcano. This, despite Jeff Goldblum’s very serious beard and glasses telling congress to let them go extinct again. Elderly Bajillionaire (James Cromwell), who has never been mentioned before but was apparently and conveniently a partner in bringing dinos back to life since the very beginning, offers to fund the rescue mission. Obvious Evildude (Rafe Spall), who manages Elderly Bajillionaire’s money, says that they need Squinty McOneliner and High-Heels Controversy to go back to the island for valid, scientific, understandable reasons that you should totally

just trust him about. Turns out his motives, which are the only motives any human character seems to have in the entire film, are uber-ulterior. This leads to a third act that is too ashamed of itself to embrace its abject lunacy but does include a profoundly satisfying sight gag about Trump’s hair. There’s no challenge quite like remaining doggedly spoiler-free while discussing a movie where the end is legitimately the only interesting part. This awful, fractured world so desperately needs Jurassic World 3: Oh Yeah, We Went There to fully embrace every insane implication of Fallen Kingdom’s super-weird “reveal” involving Doe-eyed Child (Isabella Sermon). It also must aspire to the craziest permutations and full madness of the final shots. If we don’t get a demented sci-fi dystopia that makes the art available online from John Sayles’ aborted Jurassic Park 4 seem tame and practical, what has all human progress really been about? Assessing Fallen Kingdom as an isolated entry is like critiquing only the ramp when assessing Evel Knievel’s jump across a canyon. The movie legit forgets it has human actors in it for oddly long stretches and often seems terribly ashamed of itself. Ideally, this is a bridge movie between the quasi-family-friendly summer spectacles of past entries and the nutso light-horror sciencefiction gibberish of the future. Were it more confidently silly, it could have been endearingly brave. As it stands, Fallen Kingdom is just a dopey introduction to a trilogy-ending entry that is almost guaranteed to not go the very places it should most assuredly visit.

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OVER THE EDGE OVER THE EDGE

is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Tim has been writing about Omaha and the local indie music scene for more than two decades. Catch his daily music reporting at Lazy-i.com, the city’s longest-running blog. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

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FABLE OF THE RECONSTRUCTION

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Preparing for the post-Trump years... BY TIM MCMAHAN

ome days I still wake up and can’t believe Donald Trump was president. I remember feeling the same shock the morning after the election; that the whole thing had been a strange dream, that it couldn’t have happened. The feeling never left for all the years Trump was in office. While it’s true that I’m a Democrat and would be described as a liberal by folks who know my political leanings, I never held a feeling of disbelief or dread or disgust when Bush 41 or Bush 43 was president. I may not have agreed with how they handled the country or the economy, but I respected their position as the elected leader of the free world. That never was the case during the Trump years. I could be at work or out shopping or walking the dogs when out of the blue I would remember ‘Trump is president’ and shake my head in disbelief. But now he’s gone. We waited him out, watched as the wreckage continued to pile up around us, knowing all we had to do was just get In fact, on Day One, the new president announced that the through those four years. And now we have. The old notion about politics is that it’s like an imaginary pendulum that swings from left United States had rejoined the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to right and back again. But after the Trump years, the pendulum is and would begin re-enacting measures designed to reverse global warming, something Trump said was a hoax created by the Chinese, forever broken. It has swung so far left it will never “right” itself. Not only is Trump gone, but both houses of Congress have switched a “hoax” that is now slowly covering our coastlines in rising oceans. All of this healing isn’t cheap. Taxes are going up, up, up. Trump’s longtheir majorities. The new president has the biggest mandate of any president in history, and she’ll need it. Just as Trump had spent his promised infrastructure spending that never happened can no longer be first two years doing everything in his power to erase all that President avoided as our roads, bridges, power and utility systems crumble around Obama had accomplished, the new president is quickly and decisively us. We’ll all have to pay dearly if we want to make America great again. In the end, the one thing Trump did accomplish was to bring people doing whatever it takes to repair the destruction caused during the together in a unified voice raised against him. Republicans who had tied Trump years. One of the first steps was a series of presidential directives that their kites to the mad king eventually pulled themselves away, convinced righted all the wrongs done in order to “protect our borders” — they needed to reinvent a party that once stood for fiscal responsibility. Rich and powerful business leaders who supported Trump knowing reversing the Muslim bans, releasing incarcerated immigrants and reuniting immigrant children taken from their parents. We now, once they’d benefit from his insane tax cuts quickly changed their allegiances again, welcome your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning when the tariffs kicked in. Besides, joining the new winning side was just good business. After any war or disaster, there always are riches to breathe free. Next came the economy. Back in 2016, we knew whoever won the to be made during the reconstruction. By the end of the fourth year and after one last scandal, fundamentalist election — be it Clinton or Trump — would get credit for the Obama Economy that would follow. Sure enough, Trump pounded his chest leaders no longer could turn a blind eye to Trump’s moral peccadilloes about the country’s record unemployment and skyrocketing stock without themselves being accused of being hypocrites by their flocks. But not everyone joined the chorus. market, all the while doing his damnedest to reverse the progress by Trump’s biggest supporters and the core of his rock-solid base — the signing short-sighted, deficit-ballooning tax breaks, breaking longstanding trade agreements and enacting trade-war tariffs against racists — never turned their backs on their leader. After his reelection defeat, they stoked the flames of conspiracy ignited by Trump’s everevery country, friend or foe. Our new president no doubt will be blamed for the inflation and present Tweets. Clearly the landslide was the result of a successful rising unemployment that has resulted from Trump’s protectionist trade deep state program, the same one that is now covered around the clock on the newly minted Trump TV Network. policies — policies that will take years to reverse. The racists were there before Trump and will be there long after he’s Her strategy to do so — a return to a pre-Trump era of diplomacy starting with beefing up the country’s depleted diplomatic corps. In gone. They were the ones who hated President Obama for reasons addition, the new president is restaffing the countless agencies Trump that were never quite clear, but that became vividly obvious. They went desperately tried to shutter, from the Department of Education to the from being losers to being winners to being losers once again. They Environmental Protection Agency to HUD to the National Endowment truly are this country’s forgotten people who we can’t afford to forget — or worse, ignore — or else we’re doomed to relive past failures once for the Arts. By restaffing the EPA and beefing up investment in science- they find a new messiah. focused agencies after years of actively dismantling science-based health and safety protections, the new president hopes to reverse the Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing enormous damage done to policies designed to protect our parks, our writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com environment, our workplace, our everyday lives.

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July 2018 the reader  

It's the Food Issue!

July 2018 the reader  

It's the Food Issue!

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