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JA N UARY 2 0 1 8 | volUM E 25 | ISSU E 01

A R T : R e s o l v e A rt E A T : F o o d T r e n d s a n d P r e d i c t i o n s F IL M : 2 0 1 7 Y e ar i n R e v i e w H OODOO : P a u s e . R e fr e s h . H E A LIN G : P a s t L i v e s M USIC : M u s i c V i s i o n s f o r 2 0 1 8 T H e at e r : F r e s h T h e at e r Start s






THeATeR: Fresh Theatre Starts


DIsH: Food Trends and Predictions

bAcksTAge: Making On Stage Artists Shine



ART: 2017 ‘A’ for Effort, 2018 Resolve Art

MUsIc: 2017 Music Year in Review

Last year’s Year In Review/Preview Issue

Publisher/Editor John Heaston Graphic Designer Ken Guthrie, Sebastian Molina Assistant Editor JoAnna LeFlore Rock Star Intern Cheyenne Alexis


MUsIc: Music Visions for 2018


HeAlIng: Past Lives? No, One Life to Live


PIcks: Cool Things to do in January

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS heartland healing: Michael Braunstein arts/visual: Mike Krainak eat: Sara Locke film: Ryan Syrek hoodoo: B.J. Huchtemann music: James Walmsley over the edge: Tim McMahan theater: SALES & MARKETING Kati Falk DISTRIBUTION/DIGITAL Clay Seaman OFFICE ASSISTANT Salvador Robles PHOTOGRAPHY Debra S. Kaplan

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HOODOO: Pause. Refresh. JANUARY 2018


FIlM: 3 that Sucked in 2017 3 that Won’t in 2018.




FIlM: Cutting Room for January




For the first time, this multiple Grammy award-winning artist presents his fusion hip hop hits live with orchestra!

Gone Till November Hips Don’t Lie Killing Me Softly Borrowed Time and more! From his time with the chart-topping band The Fugees to his long solo career, Wyclef Jean is one of the top hip hop artists of his generation.





Pre-concert performances by Omaha musicians begin at 7 pm in the lobby.




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s e e e s d s r g

y k e t t e s d e g

d m t e

Town Halls & Second Chances


ast month’s job licensing town hall placed a big focus on the various hurdles both employers and employees must face when it comes to licensing requirements within the state. Cutting red tape and making it easier to enter certain industries was the focus for November’s town hall by The Platte Institute and the ACLU. Licensing restrictions based on criminal records was a primary concern for the town hall. In a letter to Nebraska state senators sent earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission stated, “Recent studies strongly suggest that the burdens of excessive occupational licensing fall disproportionately on the most economically disadvantaged citizens.” Nebraska is one of 29 states where a criminal record can disqualify a worker from earning a professional license, making it harder for those leaving the criminal justice system to return to a productive life. This is not a new topic for Nebraska; in 2016, the ACLU released statistics revealing 1 in 10 Nebraskan children have an incarcerated parent. When that parent can’t successfully reenter the workforce, they can’t provide adequately for their family. The children suffer, as does the Nebraskan economy as a whole. In 2014, Nebraska passed LB 907, which prohibits employers from requiring criminal history in initial employment applications. Yet once the applicant is deemed qualified for the position, employers are allowed to inquire about criminal history. In some instances, a criminal conviction can prohibit a Nebraskan from obtaining required licensing for certain licensed occupations.

Licensed occupations with criminal history prohibitions

The ACLU lists a wide variety of licensed occupations that prohibit convicted felons from obtaining licenses; these occupations range from professional to entrepreneurial. The ACLU further stresses the importance of realizing that



criminal convictions don’t necessarily affect an individual’s ability to do a job.


Not all licensing requirements specifically ban convicted felons, yet have requirements demanding something along the lines of “high moral character.” This subjective requirement opens up the possibility of discrimination practices where people with criminal records are denied licenses needed for desired occupations within Nebraska.

Second chances

benefit to the people with criminal histories or the employers who need people to fill vacant slots. So while employers can’t necessarily do anything about licensing requirements, they can actively work to not otherwise discriminate against people with criminal records. Remember that the population of people with criminal histories is growing at a rapid rate, and excluding these people from consideration for any role within your company means excluding a lot of potential talent.

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How can employers help? Though employers must follow the various licensing requirements without fail, interpreting subjective language to not allow discrimination against people with criminal records is key. Hiring ex-felons may result in substantial tax credits for employers. The Nebraska Workforce Development – Department of Labor provides information regarding potential tax benefits or giving people with criminal histories a second chance. Further, a federal bonding program is designed to cover the cost of bonding individuals with criminal histories who would otherwise not be able to afford the bonding process.

Hiring Ex-Felons

The Huffington Post lists reasons why employers will benefit from hiring people with criminal histories. The financial incentives are the primary reason, followed by retainability; with fewer job options open to them, ex-felons are more likely to stay at their jobs. The sheer number of ex-felons available means the applicant pool is enormous. The larger scale benefit of helping the economy as a whole is a consideration, as is the idea that providing employment can help keep people with criminal records out of jail. People looking for a second chance may be ready to prove themselves, and as a result, are willing to work hard to do so. Excluding this entire population from employment is not of any



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Lead Oracle Database Administrator in Omaha, NE

Responsible for leading a team of administrators in strategic database dsgn, planning & execution. Participate in team meetings & work w/ dvlpmnt teams to dsgn & implement complex database layouts & strategies. Performance monitoring & tuning skills, as well as a keen ability to identify tasks that req automation. Also, responsible for managing large implementation & mngmnt tasks, breaking down the task into smaller tasks, disseminating to other DBAs on the team. Min. Req. Master’s degree in Comp Sci, MIS., Electronics Eng’g, or reltd or frgn equiv. Alternatively, will accept Bach’s degree in Comp Sci, MIS, Electronics Eng’g, or reltd or frgn equiv together w/ 5 yrs’ exp. Req proficiency in Linux & Windows operating systems & PL/SQL programming & Shell Scripting. Understanding of advanced features such as RAC & Recovery Manager. Demonstrated ability w/ Oracle OLAP & data warehousing. Strong knwldge of Oracle 11g Data Guard, Data Masking & OEM grid Control. Knwldge of performing Oracle software new installs, upgrades, & patch application as well as third-party tool installation & configuration. Knwldge of troubleshooting skills & debugging Oracle problems. Knwldge of leading in database mngmnt. Gallup is an EEO/AAP Employer-Minorities/Women/ Disabled/Veterans. Please apply online at: com or mail resumes to: Lisa Kiichler, 1001 Gallup Drive, Omaha, NE 68102.

Lead Mobile Application Developer – iOS in Omaha, NE

Lead a team of mobile application dvlprs-iOS in the dsgn, dvlpmnt & implementation of iOS mobile apps. Responsible for managing large dvlpmnt tasks, breaking down to smaller tasks to be disseminated to other dvlprs. Participate & lead team meetings & lead code reviews. Min. req. Master’s degree in Comp Sci, MIS, Comp Eng’g, or reltd field or frgn equiv together w/ 2 yrs of exp using peripheral SDKs for iOS. Use of RESTful APIs to integrate mobile apps to server side systems. Demonstrated knwldge of major frameworks (Cocoa Touch, Core Services &/or Core OS) & Apple’s publishing process. Understanding & exp using GIT; XML, JSON, Web Services & Objective C/Swift. Gallup is an EEO/AAP Employer-Minorities/Women/ Disabled/Veterans. Please apply online at: com or mail resumes to: Lisa Kiichler, 1001 Gallup Drive, Omaha, NE 68102.

Gallup, Inc. seeks Lead .Net Application Developer in Omaha, NE

Lead team of .Net Application Dvlprs in the dsgn, dvlpmnt & implementation of sftwre apps,

write application code in the Microsoft .Net envrnmnt according to functional specifications defined, dvlp unit testing around said code, & participate in team meetings discussing the architecture of the system. Responsible for managing large dvlpmnt tasks, disseminating to other programmers on the team, & participating in & leading code reviews.

Looking for a business you can trust?

Min. req. Master’s degree in Comp Sci, MIS, Eng’g or reltd or frgn equiv together w/ skills req’d in C#, ASP.NET, MVC & the .NET framework & SQL programming. Gallup is an EEO/AAP Employer-Minorities/Women/ Disabled/Veterans. Please apply online at: com or mail resumes to: Lisa Kiichler, 1001 Gallup Drive, Omaha, NE 68102.

Lead Oracle PL/SQL Developer in Omaha, NE

Extend complex application modules to modify functionality. Gather reqrmnts & be the primary lead to dsgn, implement, & test solutions. Analyze existing sftwre dsgn & extend it so that changes are well-integrated w/ the core system are maintainable. Work w/ dvlprs of other Oracle modules, to piece functions within the larger system. Interact w/ Oracle support to resolve issues & dvlp external interfaces w/ other Gallup systems. Min. req. Master’s degree in Comp Sci, MIS or reltd field or frgn equiv. Ability to formulate reqrmnts & dsgn specifications & code dvlpmnt reviews. Skills req’d in Oracle PL/ SQL and MySQL, knwldge of database admin. Gallup is an EEO/AAP Employer-Minorities/ Women/Disabled/Veterans. Please apply online at: com or mail resumes to: Lisa Kiichler, 1001 Gallup Drive, Omaha, NE 68102.

Gallup, Inc. seeks Lead Java Developers in Omaha, NE Lead team in dsgn’g, dvlp’g, unit testing & maintaining web-based apps w/ a focus on Java. Work w/ data warehouse or analytical processing & OLTP envrnmnts. Participate in team meetings to discuss architecture of webbased apps. Min. req. Master’s degree in Comp Sci, MIS, Eng’g or reltd or frgn equiv together w/ 1 yr work exp. Demonstrated ability in XML, SQL, HTML, Core Java w/ Java web technologies, Restful API design skills, continuous integration using Maven & deployment using Jenkins. Knwldge of multithreading processing & Service Oriented Architecture & Unit Testing using Junit & Mockito frameworks. Gallup is an EEO/AAP Employer Minorities/Women/ Disabled/Veterans.

Please apply online at: com or mail resumes to: Lisa Kiichler, 1001 Gallup Drive, Omaha, NE 68102.

ProKarma Jobs

Engagement Manager #EA1217

ProKarma, Inc. has multiple openings for Engagement Manager in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated locations. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may change based on client & business demands. No travel requirement; performing daily job duties doesn’t require travel. S/he will be organizing and managing all phases of the project to ensure on-time completion, guiding and performing strategic analysis for the project. S/he will manage teams that design, develop, code, test, debug, implement and troubleshoot high availability multiple user enterprise grade applications. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, CA, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + 1 yr exp in job offrd or IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Emplyr also accept bachelor’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, CA, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + 5 yr prgrssv post-bachelor’s exp in job offrd or IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Requires 5 year prof. exp with: Client management, including managing projects with project teams in multiple locations; Java, J2EE, JMS, SOA, Web Services, Scrum process, TIBCO; Weblogic, WebSphere, App server or JBoss; Oracle or SQL Server; DevOps or Agile methodologies; and One of the following API Management Platforms: Apigee, Mulesoft or IBM API Management. Suitable comb. of edu/ training/exp accptble. To apply, send Resumes to: ProKarma, Attn: Jobs, 222 S 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102, Or email: w/Job Ref# in subject line.


ProKarma, Attn: Jobs

222 S 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102 Or email: w/Job Ref# in subject line.







ood is always fun to talk about. From nostalgic and traditional dishes, to the literal flash in the pan, food connects us. Through the years, in feast or famine, humans have found ways to stretch a meal, overindulge, and create art and health with a plate. Here are a few of the food trends we saw in 2017, what I expect to stick around, and what I predict for 2018.

A Look Back at What Was Hot in 2017, and What to Expect in The New Year BY SARA LOCKE

Asian Indulgences Our experience of Asian food is typically small bites and light meals, but 2017 was all about embracing Asian comfort foods. Shareable plates of hearty “dude food”, richer sauces, and ramen found a solid home in Omaha. Poke Bowls became an artform. This trend has only wetted the appetite for more, and I see more indulgent ethnic on the horizon.


Detroit Style Pizza – Dead in the water. Pizza being my first true love, I find it difficult to ever talk smack. Instead, I’ll talk trash. This slice never found relevance Omaha. It’s possible that with competition like the authentic New York crusts at Noli, the gluttonous depth of Pudgy’s deep dish, Virtuoso’s family of followers, and the local sourcing and ethical practices celebrated by Omaha’s finest parlors Motor City didn’t have a slice to stand on.


2017 saw the birth, and merciful death, of Unicorn everything. Pink, purple, blue and green layered foods from donuts to drinks left a toosweet taste in our mouth. While everyone was excited to post photos of their Unicorn Starbucks Frap, one sip and this trend went down the drain.

Alternative Oils – Not Going Anywhere Housewives have happily deep fried dinner in Canola oil for generations, but with the food revolution taking a closer look at harvesting practices, sustainability, and the effects of certain fats on the health of the human heart, “vegetable” oils are out. While this generation has learned well that fat is not a four-letter word, they are careful to find sustainable and healthy sources. Avocado, coconut, and hemp oils are becoming the go-to for fats. From frying to facials, healthy oils are running the market.

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.


Pastel Palate

Smooth Move The smoothie bowl became a “clean eater” favorite this year. Rather than drinking your meal replacement smoothie, why not spoon it like a cold soup? Mimic the act of actually eating. Breakfasts of blended kale, berries, and chia seeds dominated Instagram, and while they are a bit gimmicky and I expect smoothies to return to glasses soon, it was a reasonable compromise.



Everything But Pasta Grain is so 3 years ago. You can no longer just expect your pasta to be made of wheat. Lentils, quinoa, spirulina, or spirulized vegetables have taken the place of standard pasta. With the rise in gluten-sensitive immune disorder diagnoses like Hashimoto’s and Celiac, gluten free isn’t going away. That means that bigger names are embracing the issue and making wheat free more delicious every day. Your favorite restaurants are already offering pastas made of almond, coconut, or rice flours. Expect recipes to become more inventive, and pasta dishes to become more delicious and less inflammatory. That sounded sexier in my head.

consumer to determine whether the lower prices of unsafe practices are worth the cost.Butchers beware, more informed clients mean that you will be having more conversations over that counter in 2018. The Live Meat Market, though quiet, appears to be moving forward. Ethical consumption. It’s a thing. Dining In(trovert) The unexpected is on the menu at Umami. The surprise darling of 2017, anticipate a wait, or make a reservation. Located in Bellevue, the establishment is owned by Keen Dheng, who studied sushi in New York for 13 years before bringing his vision home. Turmeric

Ethical Sourcing If humane practices and sustainable sourcing are not your favorite, 2018 is going to suck for you. Over the last several years, Farm to Fork has become less of a fashionable thing to do, and more standard practice. Expect more protests at both Hormel and Tyson this year, as the treatment of both animals and factory workers are abysmal. Both have been making political moves to appear as though they are cleaning up their act, but pressure is on the


While older than Methuselah, turmeric has only just been discovered by Millennials. Turmeric fries, omelets, and straight capsules are being consumed in massive quantities. The health benefits of the inexpensive spice are practically uncountable, and the flavor lends itself to all manner of recipes. From Turmeric and honey milk to suppress a cough, to brightening up your favorite Mediterranean dish, turmeric should have a home in your kitchen.

Waste is Out There was a time when abundance meant having more than you need. A new generation is viewing abundance as “plenty for everyone”. Waste is a turn off. Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue is one of many local organizations seeing to it that abundance is reaching further. Collecting food from restaurants, grocery stores, and farms before it adds to the devastation in landfills, and sending it to food banks, soup kitchens, and places like Table Grace Cafe is one important step in treating both the hunger and the waste that have run rampant in our community for far too long. Look for more opportunities in the new year. Volunteer with food rescues, buy less and buy local. Write your policy makers. The price of food will continue to rise, even while food comprises 20% of the waste in landfills. This makes pulling yourself out of poverty an increasingly unreachable dream for many, and one in five children in our community go to bed hungry. 2018 will see big moves by a lot of little voices. Make yours heard.

foods are starting to gain a good amount of traction. Insect based proteins have been around for centuries, but are beginning to find a market among millennials.2017 was huge for shining a light on cultural appropriation, which is opening the conversation and the door to more traditional foods. Tex Mex will always have a place at the table, but now authentic ethnic will be taking the lead. Molecular gastronomy was really hot for a while, but I see trends moving back toward simpler times. Instead of multiple ingredient dishes, powders, and liquid nitrogen, expect to actually taste your meal. I anticipate egg yolk on everything. Did we leave any out? Tell us your favorite 2017 trends and your 2018 predictions by emailing Sara@TheReader.Com.

Trend Prediction I see a lot of space opening up in the Flexitarian style of eating. Plant based proteins and faux

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‘A’ FOR EFFORT Public art, pop ups and performance share spotlight with traditional venues on “A-list”, the best in Metro art in 2017








o two years of art exhibitions in the Metro are ever alike, and consequently the 11th annual A-list reflects those differences both in quantity and quality. Thus, for 2017 the list below recognizes a greater number of exhibits than the previous year and includes a special category of such that succeeded outside the box. Out of nearly 125 exhibits, the A-list includes 10 solo shows, six two-person exhibits, four group exhibitions and seven best overall, regardless of category. Once again, solo exhibits dominated in sheer numbers in 2017, and the A-list recognizes the following 11 that excelled above the ordinary. The Moving Gallery had three of these; the best of which perhaps was the original visual narrative of Berliner Brigitte Waldach and her inscribed prints of ambiguous human behavior: but local artists Joe Broghammer and Watie White also contributed fine solos featuring their familiar aesthetic, the former’s pastel domestic menagerie and the latter’s “triple play” of “absurdist narrative portraits,” his Omval series of urban woodcut prints and black and white linocuts from travel abroad. Artists Bob Bosco and Richard Chung also offered mostly signature work in their solos at Gallery 1516 and RNG Gallery. Bosco’s exhibit, A Painter’s Yoga Journey, was a Herculean effort of 48 paintings focusing on a different Yoga posture. Chung filled RNG with his ceramic tactile figures and busts that all seem part of the same family “relative” to style and mood. Two solo exhibits took a more socio-political POV. In Part to Part at the Wanda Ewing Gallery, Angie Seykora’s experimental organic sculpture in synthetic materials calls out industry’s impact on society and culture. L.A. architect Mike Nesbit also created a conversation about our “collective culture” with his site-specific installation called Flood in the Standard Oil Building downtown that commented on how and where we display art.



“A WINTER ROAD” BY SWISS ARTISTS HENDRIKJE KUHNE AND BEAT KLEIN Two very different experiments with their mediums occurred at Project Project. In Rut, more a collaborative/solo exhibit, interdisciplinary artist Heidi Bartlett created a series of animal prosthetics worn by performers who interpreted mating rituals to question human sexual rites and gender roles. Less concerned with social practice and more interested in concepts, design and data transmutation is artist Alex Meyers whose exhibit This is Fine featured his mixed format digital works that lived up to his love of the surreal and seeming contradictions. Maybe the biggest surprise in this category has been the emergence of artist Camille Hawbaker in the Metro who enjoyed two fine solo efforts this year, Veils of Voids, Lied Art Gallery and currently at the Fred Simon Gallery, Love is a Rippling Circle. In either case, Hawbaker, who made her mark most prominently first in Joslyn’s Nebraska Seen group exhibit in 2016 and recently in Gallery 1516’s Nebraska Artists Biennial, continues her reconstruction of text and graphic design to create the most delicate and positive embroidery on paper, fiber and fabric one can imagine. Two person exhibits are a popular format because of the opportunity for interplay and no one does this better than Darger HQ on Vinton Street. Last year they had three of the very best: Wedes featured artists Sarah Rowe and Angela Simione who interpreted the titled “mourning garment” to comment on self-identity within the current political environment; in Together Forever Peter Fankhauser and Jaimie Warren effectively created a multimedia experience to pay homage to the act of remembering and vagaries of immortality; and Ying Zhu and Angie Seykora form a more conceptual and visually powerful statement in Lines Forming about the vary notion of art, proportion, space and cultural identity. Swiss artists Hendrikje Kuhne and Beat Klein collaborated at Garden of the Zodiac with reimagined landscapes created from postcards. Runners-

if you come for

“IMMIGRATION” BY ARTIST JOHN BUCK FEATURED IN THE KINETIC EXHIBITION AT KANEKO up in the two-person category included Matthew Kluber and Colin Smith’s “moving” artwork at Modern Arts Midtown and Sarah Kolar and Brian Wetjen’s abstract Interwoven at the Michael Phipps Gallery. The best group exhibits each year are those with the strongest curatorial vision. Aside from those listed below in the best overall category, these four were among the best: Chimeras at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts featured work by Leah DeVun, Miriam Simun, Rashayla Marie Brown, Julia Oldham, Lucie Strecker and Klaus Spiess and Kate Clark; and Rivers, an interesting collaboration among artists Lori ElliotBartle, Marcia Joffe-Bouska and Tom Quest. Two runners-up included Summer Stock at Gallery 1516 that recognized emerging or less familiar artists Brian Wetjen, Angie Seykora, Bridget O’Donnell, and David Patterson and Seven Lenses at Petshop which focused on photographers Joe Addison, Alex Jochim, Anthony Licari, Tony Lonergan, Zora Murff, Laura Simpson, & Rana Young. As fine as all of the above were in meeting their objectives, there were seven exhibitions in 2017 that were especially significant and memorable for reasons of their own, but most especially unity, originality and overall creativity. In no particular order, if you missed these seven, you missed the best in contemporary art in the Metro in 2017. Far and away, the most outrageous and poignant piece of performance art took place in the Bemis Center and its neighborhood, an audience interactive work by Cassils titled Phantom Revenant and curated by Alex Priest on behalf of LGTBQI+ people in Nebraska. The most satisfying, polished and sophisticated solo exhibit took place at Modern Arts Midtown when the “Nebraska Kid,” artist Bob Culver, rode again into town and brought with him clever, witty new Stories: Mine, Theirs, Ours via his mixed media scenarios and portraits. A close second to the above just opened at Gallery 72, the equally creative survey of the late national artist Roy De Forest in Of Dogs and Men. And like the Culver show, De Forest’s sampling of

Nut and Funk Art is just as entertaining. Yet, the most significant exhibits in 2017 were group efforts, wonderfully curated, organized and/or juried. There were four that stood out. A fifth, Monarchs at Bemis, has yet to be reviewed and is eligible then in 2018. Kinetic at Kaneko continued this venue’s creative collaboration of art and science on behalf of energy and the perception of movement, but what stood out were the popular, intricate and interactive sculptures of John Buck that comment on and celebrate history and culture. Also with a view toward history and culture was the international group show curated by Berliner Matthias Harder who exhibited Drive Drove Driven at the Artists’ Co-Op in the Old Market. Futuristic at times, elegiac at others, this exotic photo expose examined the world’s love affair with the automobile as a symbol of power, wealth, freedom and desire. Arguably the two most significant group exhibits in 2017, the Nebraska Artist Biennial at Gallery 1516 and the DIY pop-up Bear Hug couldn’t have been at more opposite ends of the pole. The NAB gets props just for resurrecting a regional exhibit that showcased mostly postemerged and established artists in a polished well-organized juried exhibition. The latest edition bodes well for its future. But Bear Hug, organized by Joel Damon and Josh Powell, was a one-of-a-kind, balls out, audacious and counter-intuitive answer to art on the ivory walls. In two empty, dusty and dirty buildings mid-renovation, just west of downtown, a mixed bag of artists let it all hang out, on the floor, walls and ceiling with abandon. The results were also mixed but it mattered not, because it was an unfettered breath of stale air and fresh art. Bear Hug was yin to NAB’s yang. Together, they made the Metro art scene greater than the sum of its parts in 2017.

and end up having a

you’re welcome.


Old Market



(Note: For a more complete version of this story, including major arts events and coverage of exhibits deserving Honorable Mentions, please go online at






Metro venues plan to add new exhibits to your viewing pleasure in 2018 B Y J A N E T L . FA R B E R






h, the New Year. Time to make resolutions to take in a variety of winter/spring offerings from the Metro’s visual arts venues. Not all schedules are set yet; what follows are highlights from the ready-for-press exhibition programs of many area galleries. Joslyn Art Museum will, at last, celebrate the work of Ed Ruscha, the Omaha-born, LA-dwelling, tremendously talented artist considered among the pioneers of conceptual art. In Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha (Feb. 3-May 6), audiences will be treated to his sublime and wry brand of turning the written word into a platform for visual expression. Collaborators at Kaneko will challenge Reality (May 25-Sept. 28) in another of its multifaceted expositions. The show will feature the moody, surreal photography of Misha Gordin, a Google Tilt Brush VR project with Alex Myers and CB schools, and UNMC’s iEXCEL virtual learning program. Perhaps Reality’s most anticipated component is the timely re-incarnation of Tim Guthrie’s Museum of Alternative History. Motivated by his outrage against the tide of scientific mistrust and #fakenews, Guthrie asked a number of artists and writers to reimagine the past by creating imaginative antiquities and specimens along with “credible” backstories. Proving everyone old is new again, Gallery 1516 is hosting the 65+ exhibition (Jan. 20-Mar. 17). The contemporary art world has a habit of putting premiums on emerging artists, while moving on from the “expected” work of mature ones. Anticipate lively contributions from 30 artists



FROM THE KANEKO EXHIBITION REALITY, MISHA GORDIN including organizers Pat Lontor and John C. Miller, the late Dan Boylan, plus Les Bruning, John Dennison, Catherine Ferguson, Linda Garcia, Susan McGilvrey, Stephen Cornelius Roberts, Dorothy Tuma, Peter Walkley and others. The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts will host the traveling midcareer survey Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism (June 28-Sept. 15). Pepe is a Brooklyn-based installation artist who works with industrial and domestic materials in order to upend imbedded ideas about appropriate formats for artmaking while also playing on craft traditions to address gender hierarchies in the art world. The Moving Gallery continues to provide some international flavor this season. In February, the gallery will introduce the cinematic landscapes of Parisian photographer Nicolas Dhervillers. And favorite Berliner Christian Rothmann returns with Circles on the Move (May 3-July 8), new botanically inspired abstractions in round formats. On the university scene, you can expect to find the annual round of student shows plus a few surprises thrown in. Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery is partnering with student scholars and Joslyn to feature Aesop’s tales from the Carlson Fable Collection (Jan. 12-Feb. 11). Recent paintings by Kenny Adkins follows (Feb. 23-Mar. 27). If you ever wondered what became of its former studio art students, UNO will round some up in Reconnect: A Juried Alumni Exhibition (Jan. 12Feb. 15). And MCC Elkhorn campus will host photos by Chicagoan Krista

Wortendyke, whose Heat series confronts gun violence in her home city. Vinton Street is busy as usual with new things to view. Project Project will open February with the abstract paintings of Brett Witters; March brings Jess Latch, followed by Larry Buller’s ceramics in April. Darger HQ continues its pairings menu with UNL prof Matthew Sontheimer and Viennese artist Sophie Dvorak; they share a mutual interest in the ways text and pictures convey meaning (Mar. 9-May 6). Opening simultaneously is Sontheimer’s solo at the Union for Contemporary Art. Following this duo will be the dark symbolism of Lincoln photographer Sheila Talbitzer plus Berkeley

painter Freya Prowe in full Rorschach mode. Gallery 72 will open a show of new work by Steve Joy on February 9 in conjunction with a solo feature at the Sioux City Arts Center. Joy’s protégé and artist-in-residence Belinda Smith will have an abstract painting show downstairs. Shawn Ballarin’s new paintings opens March 1. Several artists will reprise their works in upcoming solo and duo shows. Connect Gallery is honoring the late Nick Chiburis with a memorial exhibition running the month of February. That same month, Modern Arts Midtown will focus on Brian Gennardo’s street-inflected expressionism, followed in March by the panoramic landscapes of veteran photographer John Spence.

RNG Gallery will reunite with some of its favorites, including new works by Lakota artists Paul High Horse and Steve Tamayo, whose paintings and sculptures display a balance of both traditional and contemporary relevance. In April, Watie White and New Orleanian Brent Houzenga will reprise some of the graphic kismet they created in 2010. Be sure to “check out” the library’s spring schedule at its Michael Phipps Gallery. Portraits by Eddith Buis will kick off Groundhog’s Day, followed by a group show displaying the trio of Erin Blaney, Kimberly Glass and Larisson Seidle in May. In Petshop’s February-March slot is Missed Connections: Maneuvering love, heartbreak &

hooking-up in the digital millennium. Organized by Christopher Vaughn Couse, it will feature Ella Weber, BZZY LPS, Kelsea Brunner, Nathan Gurnon, Granny Oopsy and promises the introduction of @bffmissedconnect. Further, Petshop and Benson First Friday are teaming up on the first ever Omaha Bug Symposium, a science, lecture, art and live music event (Apr. 6). This conservation-themed day organized by Dave Crane and Andy Matz should be abuzz with excitement; Petshop’s related exhibition continues through May 25. Resolve to see these shows and others in 2018! Note: for a more complete version of this story, please visit us online.













Fresh Theatre Starts BY GORDON SPENCER

he New Year is here. And the seven-month second part of the 2017-2018 theatre shines with fresh offerings. Call them new too, or certainly so little familiar that they may seem new. Among 19 such, there are two world premieres, depictions of real people, five musicals including a multi-Tony Award winner, comic takes on Shakespeare and the French Revolution. Bluebarn, Chanticleer, Nebraska Shakespeare, the Playhouse, The Rose, and UNO Theatre are where it’s happening as well Shelterbelt and SNAP in what could be their final seasons at their long-famed California Street venue. This month, the world premieres are at Shelterbelt and The Rose. Across Rhodes, “a play with song” by Omaha’s Amy Elizabeth Schweid debuts at Shelterbelt while The Rose’s The Meaning of Maggie addresses the reality of a family coping with serious illness. That script is by Iowa’s Victoria Stewart based on Megan Jean Sovern’ s novel. Another look at family life emerges in a generic community called Middletown, created by Will Eno and offered by Chanticleer in January. Plus two elderly lady inhabitants of a different kind of community, an assisted living facility, get nasty during the Playhouse’s Ripcord. David Lindsay-Abaire, noted for off-the-wall scripts, created that. Bluebarn kicks off a three-play sequence of two-actor scripts, running from February through June, first with David Ives’ Venus in Fur. There a theatre producer aims to mount his adaptation of the similarly-named novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Things get steamy between him and an auditioning actress when they break the boundaries between fantasy and real life. Likewise in February, a playwright is a character in UNO’s production of The Revolutionists. She is among three other women during guillotine-times; also present for the Lauren Gunderson comedy are Marie Antoinette and Charlotte Corday. Clearly a deliberate preamble to April’s Marat/Sade on campus. At the Playhouse the same month is darkly stirring Parade with beautiful and dynamic songs by Jason Robert Brown and a powerful script by Alfred Uhry. Brown won a 1999 Tony for this. So did Uhry, whose focus has often included Jewish people in Atlanta (e. g., Pulitzer Prize-winning Driving Miss Daisy.) Here he deals with a true story from 1913 about Jewish New York transplant Leo Frank in the Deep South being accused, tried and lynched for murdering a young girl. Frank was innocent. Real people are also the characters of David Rush’s Nureyev’s Eyes about a friendship that could have emerged when the legendary dancer sat for a portrait by painter Jamie Wyeth. It takes shape in March at Bluebarn. There are also three musicals that month. SNAP re-introduces the songcycle Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens by Bill Russell and Janet Hood, seen there almost 20 years ago. It celebrates the lives of real AIDS victims, a preamble to the June production of Bruce Ward’s fictional The Lazarus Syndrome. Dark but also deliberately comic is the March visit to



Urinetown: The Musical by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis. Chanticleer offers this free-flowing satire which pisses on municipal politics, corporations, capitalism and more while parodying The Threepenny Opera and Les Miz. Contemporary but in a much more lighthearted way, Wonderland: Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure takes over The Rose’s stage. Yep. This is plucked from Lewis Carroll and punked up by Rachel Rockwell and Michael Mahler (no relation to Gus). Sure, it’s groovy for kids, as is that month’s James and The Giant Peach coming to fruition at the Playhouse sprouting from Roald Dahl’s story. The songs are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul who won Oscars for La La Land’s lyrics. Shelterbelt’s April offering is Don Nguyen’s Three to Beam Up. Uh-huh. Viz a U.S. starship. This one on collision course with 2018. Traveling further back in time, Nguyen re-wrote this 1999 adventure which debuted at this quadrant of the planet. A Shakespeare trip takes off in May when Brigit Saint Brigit offers a spin on the bard in The Shakespeare Revue, a romp with song and dance and scattered send-ups created of yore for England’s Royal Shakespeare Company. Brit-based laughs are anticipated at Bellevue Little Theater that same month when Robin Hawdon’s farcical Perfect Wedding starts to unravel on the morning of a nuptial day. I say! Maytime, two women perform in Bluebarn’s The City in the City in the City by Matthew Capodicasa. Multiples abound including the roles. No surprise, given the title. Evidently there are levels within levels below levels in this adventure which was revealed not long ago at The Great Plains Theatre Conference. Katori Hall wrote about a mysterious woman in The Mountaintop, explored in May at the Playhouse. Dr. Martin Luther King is portrayed in this historical fiction which evidently examines destiny and mortality. A different King is at the center of Shakespeare’s rarely seen King John taking the stage On The Green late in June. Hanging around in his court is ever-fractious mother Eleanor of Aquitaine whose other son Richard Lionheart is evoked but not seen. Nothing here about the Magna Carta. And as the summer sun portends sweltering so too does the July production of Dairy Maid-Right by Omaha’s Ellen Struve. Compassion for a child migrant is at the center of what may be the final Shelterbelt production in its 25-year history in the Gifford Park neighborhood. Of course, in the new year, there are new productions of the familiar. Musicals such as The Fantastiks in Bellevue, Sondheim’s Company at Chanticleer, George M. Cohan-based Give My Regards to Broadway staged by Circle Theatre, Singin’ In The Rain sung and danced at the Playhouse and Disney’s Newsies offered by The Rose. No crystal ball is needed to discover more about these and other stage adventures. Just peer at websites. They tell all.

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nseen artists enriched our lives last year in the first four months of this theatre season, especially directors, scenic and costume designers. A collaboration among many made Patrick Barlow’s The 39 Steps at Bluebarn a delightfully wild and crazy circus, ring-mastered by inventive Susan Clement-Toberer. The wigs and costumes from Kendra Newby became a show in themselves amid Martin Marchitto’s deliberately minimal scenic delights and Shea Saladee’s oldtime lighting, while the cast tumbled and flipped Amy Reiner’s goofy props and a handful of puppets. Backstage, a great team did wonders with the non-stop changes of all that and more, including rapid light and sound cues. Steven L. Williams’ glowing projections enriched director D. Scott Glasser’s impressive staging of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town at UNO in an interpretation which made it live again. Glasser’s use of choral groups with international roots movingly underscored the play’s universality. Williams scenic designs significantly loomed in UNO’s production of Spring Awakening by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik. It pulsed with truth, thanks to co-directors Doran Schmidt and Wai Yim. They evoked personality and soul from the student cast portraying German ones with

kinship to today. Choreographer Yim filled the space with meaningful movement. Director Joshua Mullady compellingly evoked other tortured German lives in Martin Sherman’s Bent at SNAP. The relentless piling on of concentration camp stones in the second act could weigh us all down. Mullady got his excellent cast to gives us an experience seething with harrowing truth. At the Playhouse, directors Suzanne Withem and Amy Lane likewise assembled and motivated superb ensembles in Eminent Domain and Stupid Fucking Bird. In Aaron’s Posner’s Bird, a flight of fancy taking off from Chekhov’s The Seagull, Withem made it both genuinely serious and wonderfully amusing whenever the fourth wall came down. The world-premiering script for Domain is by Laura Leinenger-Campbell. She displayed insights and ways to express them equal to produced writers with much more extensive experience. Lane made real the sense of community which pervades this story, taking place in our time and state. Wherever we turned in those final months of last year, we found theatre vibrantly alive and well. A great foretaste of the new year now begun.

Feb. 9 – March 11, 2018

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2017 MUSIC YEAR IN REVIEW The annual recap of the people and places that impacted Omaha’s indie music scene.









t’s been a turbulent year for local indie music, a year marked by highs, lows and everything in between. We’ll get to all that, but first we can’t overlook the obvious: It’s been another great year for new music. While whispers of a dying music industry have been echoing around us for over a decade, more remarkable music was produced last year than in recent memory. So much that it’s impossible to keep up with it all. In the old days, if you were an indie music fan like me, all you had to do to keep up with the good stuff was know your record labels; but these days I’m starting to wonder if labels are going the way of the dinosaur. Case in point, open your Spotify app on your phone or your desktop and pull up a playlist. You’ll find a list of band names, a list of titles, but you’ve really gotta dig to figure out which record label an artist is signed to. To folks who consume music via streaming services, record labels don’t matter and probably never did. But for others, record labels meant everything. Before streaming, serious indie fans purchased music based on record label alone. If the artist was on, for examples, Matador or Sub Pop or 4AD or Rhymesayers or Saddle Creek, a purchase was made with nary a note heard, because you trusted the labels’ taste in artists. And sometimes you blew it but most times you got your money’s worth. Streaming is changing everything. I mean, does anyone even buy music anymore? Midway through 2017, the American music industry boasted revenue growth of 17 percent, with retail income at $4 billion. The numbers were fueled not by records sales, but by more than 30 million subscriptions to streaming services that now comprise 62 percent of the total music market, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Physical sales of vinyl and CDs only comprised 16 percent of music industry revenue through mid-year. “More than any other creative industry, music is a digital business, with approximately 80% of our revenues coming from a wide array of digital



services,” said the RIAA in its mid-year press release. And yet, labels are still very much with us. Case in point: Our own Saddle Creek Records enjoyed a robust year, signing new acts Stef Chura and Young Jesus while basking in the glow of the continued success of new-hires Hop Along and especially Big Thief, whose release, Capacity, is on every prominent music journal’s “best of” list, from Rolling Stone to Pitchfork. With a just-opened office in Los Angeles, what does Saddle Creek Records have up its sleeve for 2018? Saddle Creek’s resurgence wasn’t the only local headline last year. Among the other noteworthy stories in 2017: — In September DIY music club Milk Run was shut down, apparently for good. According to a Hear Nebraska report, cops showed up during the Nebraska Hardcore Showcase and locked down the cavernous show space, located in the basement of Midtown Art Supply at 2578 Harney. The building’s landlord said no more, and while the remaining schedule of Milk Run shows were performed in venues around mid-town, a new location has yet to be identified. Is this the end of Milk Run? — Local musicians Orenda Fink, Simon Joyner and Noah Sterba were ensconced in controversy over their music and their performances, driven in part by outspoken critics organized in Facebook. The issues involved race, accusations of cultural approbation and artistic freedom, and the impacts are likely to be felt well into the future, unfortunately. — Nebraska music non-profit Hear Nebraska joined forces with Lincoln non-profit The Bay to form a new umbrella organization called Rabble Mill, which launched this month. Rabble Mill’s goal is to enable kids to “discover their passion and build valuable life and professional skills.” Hear Nebraska, which was formed in 2010, will continue as part of Rabble Mill, but expect to see a lot of changes. — After operating for more than a year as a hush-hush private club, the Hi-Fi House finally went public in September. The spacious high-end music listening room, located at 3724 Farnam St. in the Blackstone District, offers

access to its ever-growing, massive private vinyl Those Far Out Arrows at Slowdown collection as well as other special programming. Jr., Aug. 8 — I knew they were getting to Founder Kate Dussault said the Omaha Hi-Fi this very young crowd (who, btw, likely never House is merely the first of what she hopes will be heard of TFOAs prior to this show) when the a nationwide network of private listening rooms. pack in front of the stage naturally erupted into — Speaking of indie labels, in January, the a pseudo-mosh pit, pushing and shoving and guys from Cursive — Tim Kasher, Matt Maginn jumping along with one of the band’s mid-set and Ted Stevens — launched their own label, songs. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that at a 15 Passenger Records. Their first release was garage-rock show. Kasher’s third solo album, No Resolution, while Stephen Sheehan at Reverb Lounge, the label closed out the year by reissuing Aug. 18 — The frontman to ’80s-’90s postCursive’s first two albums with promises of new punk bands Digital Sex and The World, Sheehan Cursive material in the near future. surrounded himself with a talented group of — And finally, Omaha’s two best music musicians who brought his musical past to life. venues — The Waiting Room and The Slowdown Fans heard the best of Digital Sex, including “In — celebrated their 10 year anniversaries this Her Smile,” “Roses on Wednesday,” “The Days summer. Both venues have been stalwarts of the Go” and “Red Girl,” but the most daring and local music scene as well as conduits that brought provocative moments were The World songs that the nation’s best indie music to Omaha for the showcased guitarist Ben Sieff at his revved-up past decade. best. Which brings us to the “list’ part of the Year Maha Music Festival at Stinson Park, in Review. Aug. 19 — Another banner year for Omaha’s As mentioned above, last year was as strong best music festival, highlights included Belle & a year as I can remember for indie releases (see Sebastian, Downtown Boys, local heroes High my Over the Edge column in the December issue Up and The Faint, while headliner Run the Jewels for my year-end albums list); Still, last year I went had its set cut short by the weather. How will to fewer rock shows than any year since the ‘90s, Maha top it for its 10th anniversary? when indie music was underground (literally). I Beck at Stir Cove, Sept. 9 — Highlights likely missed more shows than I saw, but that said, of his flawless performance included “Qué Onda here are my favorite shows from 2017: Güero,” which turned the place into a dance Umm at Reverb Lounge, April 13 — party, and a smoking version of “Dreams.”And Umm is a new project by Stef Drootin and Chris then there was “Loser,” a shopping-mall anthem Sensensey that sounds nothing like their other for the dad-rock set that got the crowd singing band, Big Harp. The rock style, the blistering along with gusto. pace, the guitar/bass tones, even Senseney’s Sextile at Meatball, Sept. 16 — A voice — now cool and easy — was a big contrast raging electronic No Wave sound barrage, to the grave-pit vocals heard on Big Harp albums. chaotic and fierce, they reminded me of the very Jon Langford & Friends at O’Leaver’s, early days of The Faint, though the venue made it May 29 — Langford of The Mekons performed feel (and look) like an in-store. a cracking set that included songs from his Tears of Silver at Hi-Fi House, Oct. 2 — upcoming album as well as some Mekons’ gold Fronted by Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and Mercury and songs from his Waco Brothers project. I was Rev’s Jonathan Donahue, the band played a expecting a C&W set, but Langford’s style was set that included covers of songs by Neil Young, more of a rootsy British folk-meets-rock mix. Flaming Lips and Al Kooper, as well as favorites David Nance at The Sydney, July by the members’ respective bands: Posies, 10 — His guitar work was already respected Mercury Rev and Midlake, closing the night with — ranging from big riffs to lead fills to walls of a Big Star cover. Sublime. feedback — now his voice is taking center stage. Zola Jesus at The Waiting Room, Oct. The only comparison in my mind is early Jon 11 — This goth-tinged dance party was fueled Spencer, and Nance does have a similar stage by dark pop songs with big beats, thick bass appeal, albeit hidden behind that huge head of and Rosa Danilova’s amazing voice that (to me) hair. recalled early Sinead O’Connor. Tobin Sprout at Reverb Lounge, Minneapolis Uranium Club at Pet July 21 — What I love about his and Guided Shop Gallery, Dec. 9 — This is what would By Voices’ songs, beyond the riffs and bright, happen if a computer scientist digitally combined energetic melodies, is their brevity. Sprout songs Devo, The Dismemberment Plan and Wall of rarely last longer than three minutes. Get in, get Voodoo into one diabolic sound file — quirky, out, move on. And though the crowd was small, jittery, precise (and fast) post-punk guitar rock it was lively, comprised mostly of old-time fans combined with smart, ironic observations about who weren’t afraid to pump their fists or pogo or our devolving society and the world around us. cheer when one of their favorites began. And they freakin’ rocked.

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What will happen next year in the Omaha music scene (and beyond)? BY TIM MCMAHAN

Reality: On Oct. 4 Matchbox Twenty broadcasted a concert from Denver billed as the “first fan-controlled virtual reality experience” in 360 VR. 2017 Prediction: This will be the year we see a sort of “singularity” with streaming, when so many people will be listening to streaming services that record labels and artists will finally begin to see real income from having their music hosted online, not unlike how film studios make money from HBO and Netflix. Reality: Streaming service subscriptions now comprise 62 percent of total music revenue in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Labels are seeing some of the money and so are the big artists, but the little guys are still left with pennies.




he year 2018 is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac, but something tells me the music of 2018 will be anything but doggy! But wait, before we get to the predictions for next year, let’s see how well I did with my 2017 predictions…

2017 Prediction: With the inauguration of Donald Trump, most indie artists will write at least one controversial track this year, but don’t look for these protest songs on the pop charts. Reality: Downtown Boys lit the fuse with their take on “The Wall” between U.S. and Mexico; Fiona Apple went after a certain someone with “Tiny Hands,” and Priests sang about a “Pink White House,” but for the most part, we’re still waiting for the anger to come out. Come on, rock stars.


2017 Prediction: A system will emerge that will give starving musicians some sort of subsidy that will allow them to perform their craft. Reality: Wishful (and some would say deluded) thinking in the Trump Era.



2017 Prediction: Hear Nebraska will emerge in 2017 bigger and stronger than ever, with programs that are even more artist-focused than in the past. Reality: Nebraska’s music non-profit merged with Lincoln’s The Bay to form super non-profit Rabble Mill that will be bigger and stronger than its parts. 2017 Prediction: More quasi-independent booking agents will emerge to help finance and organize the booking of touring indie shows at local clubs. Reality: It’s happening, though you may not notice it, yet. To keep up, check out “Nebraska DIY” on Facebook. 2017 Prediction: Watch as Virtual Reality (VR) integrates into live performances, allowing people to feel like they’re at live rock shows while standing in their underwear in their bedrooms.



2017 Prediction: After reaching a 28-year high, vinyl sales finally will reach its ceiling, either leveling off or falling compared to the last couple years’ numbers. Reality: Year-end numbers weren’t out at press-time, but as of mid-year 2017 vinyl album sales were up 3 percent, to $182 million in revenue. 2017 Prediction: You’ve heard of mix tapes, mix CDs and, of course, Spotify playlists? This year someone will offer the ability to create your own mix vinyl album. Reality: Uh, no. 2017 Prediction: Too many legends died in 2016. This year no one leaves this earthly plane. Reality: Unfortunately, we lost a legend in Tom Petty this past October. 2017 Predictions: Bands we’ll be talking about this time next year: Black Keys, Algiers, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Beck, Father John Misty, Monsters of Folk, Jenny Lewis, St. Vincent, Matt Whipkey, Spoon, Courtney Barnett, High Up, Nine Inch Nails, Little Brazil, and friggin’ U2. Bands we won’t be talking about: Kanye, Bright Eyes, Lady Ga Ga, The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, Metallica, Morrissey, Beyonce and R.E.M. Reality: Pretty dead on, actually, except for Black Keys and Morrissey. 2017 Prediction: While no local act will make his or her way onto a national television broadcast for a live performance, one local band will hit pay dirt in 2017 with a licensing deal that results in hearing their song in heavy rotation… via a TV commercial. Reality: If there was one, I didn’t hear it. Final score: 7 for 11, not bad. Now onto the Year of the Dog… 2018 Prediction: With Milk Run gone another DIY venue will emerge to try to fill the void in booking up-and-coming touring indie artists. The hook: It’s a venue you already know about. 2018 Prediction: Saddle Creek Records has been on a roll the last couple years, signing two new artists last year and hitting it out of the park with Big Thief and Hop Along. With new California offices, expect as many as three or four new bands added to the Creek roster in 2018, including at least one veteran indie band looking for a new home. 2018 Prediction: With its numerous world-class venues and recording studios, Omaha always has attracted national musicians to adopt it as their

new home, but this year watch as some rather big names leave NYC and LA behind for the cheap digs and central location only Omaha can provide. 2018 Prediction: Those who freaked out when vinyl returned will be doubly shocked when cassette tapes begin to make a comeback this year. Cassettes provide a low-price alternative to music fans looking for a tangible fix who can’t afford to buy vinyl, and for musicians who can’t afford to press it. 2018 Predictions: Speaking of vinyl, as albums sales begin to flatten this year, watch as prices for new vinyl finally begin to drop. Can the $9.99 album be far behind? 2018 Prediction: Fed up with facing a crowd of people holding up smart phones during concerts, artists will implement new technology that will block smart phone cameras from operating inside venues. Now what are we gonna do between acts? 2018 Prediction: With Hi-Fi House going public last summer and Hear Nebraska merging with Lincoln’s The Bay, look for yet another musicrelated organization to emerge, this time as a non-profit performance venue. 2018 Prediction: In an effort to avoid suffering a sophomore (or junior) slump, more and more bands will change their names after their first of second release. Same band, different name, all to keep their music in front of the ever-fickle music public always looking for the next big thing. 2018 Prediction: With the opening of the new Capitol District we will see even more live original music somewhere downtown other than at No-Do. When was the last time you went to an indie show in the Old Market? 2018 Prediction: As the Maha Music Festival turns 10 this year, expect a megaspectacular headliner and possibly the festival’s expansion to a two-day event. The time has come. 2018 Prediction: You thought Prince’s and Bowie’s deaths were earth shakers, someone even bigger will be knocking on heaven’s door this year. 2018 Predictions: Bands we’ll be talking about this time next year: LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Monsters of Folk, High Up, Little Brazil, David Nance, Low, Stephen Malkmus, Cursive, Car Seat Headrest, Whitney, Navy Gangs, Bib, Hop Along. Bands we won’t be talking about: Eminem, St. Vincent, U2, Kendrick, Lorde, The National, Fleet Foxes, The xx. 2018 Prediction: Director Alexander Payne, who is about to move back to Omaha, will be so bowled over by the area’s music scene that he not only will try to integrate Omaha music into one of his upcoming films, he’ll begin work on a movie based loosely on the Omaha music scene circa 2003. I know where you can find a screenwriter, Mr. Payne… .






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HEARTLAND HEALING 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 and like us on Facebook. .




The Hundred BB Theory will clear it up for you BY MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN


he seed of this metaphor germinated back in the days when a daze was part of my day. Candles were the preferred lighting in the third-floor apartment at the Clarinda I shared with two fellow Creighton students. And those candles were as much entertainment as they were lighting when enjoying a bowl of Moroccan blonde hash or some tarry Nepalese. We would gaze into those candles like people today stare at their smartphones. Those days are long past, along with the smoking material. But the memory of playing with fire stayed with me. Follow along. I used to blow out a candle and immediately place a lighted match in the column of smoke rising from the wick. The candle was dead for all intents and purposes but if the lighted match connected with the column of smoke before it dissipated too much, even inches above the wick, the flame would leap down the column and reignite the candle, bringing it back to life. In my mesmerized state, I would repeat the phenomena over and over, seeing just how far up the column of smoke from the wick I could place the match and still “reanimate” the candle. If I waited just a tad too long, if the smoke particles dispersed too far into the atmosphere, they were irretrievably lost and the candle would not leap back to life. The candle was not only merely dead, really most sincerely dead. Without a much more direct application of new energy, it would stay dead. Picking up the torch. Many years later, long after setting aside the hookah and the doobies, the image of fire-play stayed with me. Meeting and learning from Manly P. Hall, reading Madame Blavatsky, CW Leadbeater and other Theosophical giants prepared me for an enhanced realization of what that candle-play mimicked. I found myself in my Burbank house playing with fire again. I had just read a chapter in Leadbeater about orgone, a concept of life-force that is similar to prana or élan vital and other concepts representing a mass-less energy force that can coalesce to form physical manifestations. Orgone was described as sort of “energy globules” that, when coordinated closely would impart a sense of “life” to a being. So one sunny morning, with a candle on the passthrough, I played the match/smoke game. And the thought occurred, “What if that metaphor is what happens when someone has a ‘near death’ experience or even dies? What if some consciousness reapplies the life force to the dispersing energy molecules before they get too far apart? Would the wick (person) reanimate? Not all the little energy bubbles, molecules return to use by the person. Some are lost to the noosphere and other ones take their place. But most of them re-coalesce and the person comes “back to life” though usually feeling “different,” somehow changed, because of those new globules. That accounts for a near death experience. Extrapolating from there, if no life force igniter (match) is applied or it is applied too late, there is no return. The energy globules, bubbles, continue to disperse. They aren’t held together by anything but slowly lose entropy and remain at least close to each other as they mix in with other energy globules from other “people.” Are ya with me so far? Hey, and by the way, this concept travels. It’s good with the life of beings, relationships or projects.



Of BBs and Boxcars We’ve been using a metaphor of a candlewick and its flame as being like a human. If the flame burns, the human is alive. If the flame’s out the smoke molecules (orgone energy globules) begin to dissipate and if re-energized quickly enough, the “human” returns to animation. At this point, it’s convenient to switch elements in the metaphor because from here out we’re going to call this the “Hundred BB Theory.” C’mon, you can handle it. So now, instead of thinking of a candle wick as a human being, think of a human being made up of 100 metal BBs, like you have in a kid’s Daisy BB gun. Make them magnetic, in the shape of a human like the guy on google maps and imagine that a “life force magnet” is attached at the head, holding our little human together as a being. And… our BB-man is sort of floating near the top of a train boxcar traveling through the railroad line of “time.” Now, if that life force magnet is somehow removed from the BBs, it’s the same as the flame of the candle being removed from the wick. If the magnetic life force drops down and is reapplied in time, the BBs can reassemble, maybe missing a few but gaining some strangers out of the Universal supply, and you have your near-death scenario. But what if that magnetic force doesn’t reappear? Or reappears too late? Well, the BBs tumble down to the bottom of the boxcar to await the reapplication of that magical magnetic force known as “life.” The train travels on through the years. The BBs get more and more jumbled, some from the 1800s, the 1900s or the 1200 B.C. years. We’ll get to completion in the next episode. Stay tuned. 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 and like us on Facebook.

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THURSDAY, JANUARY 11 Finest Hour 6:30 to 9:30 pm

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23 Billy Troy 6:30 to 9:30 pm

FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 Peace, Love Etc 9:00 to 1:00 am

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24 Pat “0” Show 6:30 to 9:30 pm

SATURDAY, JANUARY 13 Soul Dawg 9:00 to 1:00 am

THURSDAY, JANUARY 25 Matt Wallace Birthday Party 6:30 to 9:30 pm

THURSDAY, JANUARY 4 Fucinaro Group 6:30 to 9:30 pm

MONDAY, JANUARY 15 Gooch and His Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm

FRIDAY, JANUARY 26 Live Wire 9:00 to 1:00 am

FRIDAY, JANUARY 5 Dance Joystick 9:00 to 1:00 am

TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 Joe McCarthy 6:30 to 9:30 pm

SATURDAY, JANUARY 6 The Con�identials 9:00 to 1:00 am

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17 Daddy Mac & The Flak 6:30 to 9:30 pm

MONDAY, JANUARY 8 Gooch and His Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm

THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 Mighty Jailbreakers 6:30 to 9:30 pm

New Year’s Day

Closed 6:30 to 9:30 pm TUESDAY, JANUARY 2 Closed 6:30 to 9:30 pm WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3 Persuaders 6:30 to 9:30 pm

TUESDAY, JANUARY 9 Johnny Gomez & Johnny Jr 6:30 to 9:30 pm WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10 Bozak & Morrissey 6:30 to 9:30 pm

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19 Lemon Fresh Day 9:00 to 1:00 am SATURDAY, JANUARY 20 Hi-Fi Hangover 9:00 to 1:00 am

SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 Eckophonic 9:00 to 1:00 am MONDAY, JANUARY 29 Gooch and His Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm TUESDAY, JANUARY 30 Scott Evans 6:30 to 9:30 pm WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31 Generations 6:30 to 9:30 pm

Come In Early And Enjoy Dinner And Drinks!!

MONDAY, JANUARY 22 Gooch and His Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm


No Cover Charge

“Happy Hour “ Mon., Wed., Thurs. and Friday 3:30 To 6:30pm Tuesday All Day 3:30 Until Close

January 11, 2018 7:00PM View the story of Frank Schaeffer and his fascinating exodus from the world of extreme political and Christian conservatism. Join us afterwards for a question and answer session with Frank and Filmmaker, Scott Griessel

Tickets: $10

J� Countryside

�� Community Church

Child care available, please RSVP 48

hours in advance by contacting us at

402.391.0350 ext 119 or





AT THE NIFTY Enjoy our Drink Specials Every Night and Karaoke on Friday SATURDAY, January 6th, 9PM Greatfull Dead Cover Band Pranksters $5 cover charge

4721 Northwest Radial Highway Omaha, NE 68104 (402) 933-9300

Hours of Operations: Mon-Fri: 2pm - 2am j Sat-Sun: noon - 2am

� Cl

GROUNDHOG PROM AN AUTHORITARIAN COSTUME BALL WEAR SOMETHING THAT DEFIES AUTHORITY TACKY FORMAL--BIZARRE--IRREVERENT Flatter the Knights of the Groundhog as they collude to crown a defiant Queen that flaunts freedom.

Sat., Feb. 3, 2018 Sokol Auditorium

2234 S. 13th St., Omaha 7:30 PM--1:AM

Advance Tickets $8



at the door

• 21 and over • Cash Bar

Satchel Grande and MonKey Funk Upstairs: Downstairs: The Bishops 20



January 5

Pkew Pkew Pkew Lookout Lounge

Artist INC, brings together 25 Omaha-area artists for eight weeks each year to share skills, evaluate work, and build communities of peers. Each cycle ends with a curated group exhibition that underscores the diversity and conceptual preoccupations of emerging artists living and working in Omaha.

January 5-29

Creative Risk Takers Michael Phipps Gallery (215 S. 15th) W. Dale Clark Main Library No pain, no ‘Variable Gain’ as 25 artists open their self-curated OCI exhibit at Michael Phipps Gallery Omaha Creative Institute’s Artist INC program continues its artist-run exhibition series when Variable Gain opens Friday, Jan. 5, 4-7 p.m. in the Michael Phipps Gallery at the W. Dale Clark Main Library downtown.

For this year’s exhibition, Variable Gain, chance will be the conceptual point of departure for the 25 participating artists who will build an exhibition that assesses the generative qualities of experimentation, failure and self-reflection. Each individual work will “speak to the process of reexamining, reformatting, and recontextualizing when taking creative rolling risks, the dice, and letting them land where they may” according to the stateshow ment. The 2017 Artist INC collaboration includes Jeremy G. Bell, Emily Jordan, Howard Paine, Paul Hanson Clark, Kevin McClay, Maggie Heusinkvelt, Dominique Morgan, BJ Cary, Susan Woodford, Geraldine Dobo, Hugo Zamorano, Sarah Parys, Kate Humphreys,J.R. Dawson, Sarah Kolar, Reagan Pufall, Ashley Laverty, Jens Rasmussen, Nadia Shinkunas, Brian Wetjen, Kristae Peterson, Christopher Vaughn Course, Charlene Potter, Tasha Abourzek and Ruby Rose Kelley. ~Mike Krainak

Toronto based, SideOneDummy-signed band Pkew Pkew Pkew might be one of the best modern testaments for staying power of earnest but energetic punk rock. Like labelmates PUP and Jeff Rosenstock, Pkewx3 stay within the constraints of two-minute songs and revel in the mundanities of growing through their 20s, singing the glories of skating, falling down and drinking to relieve the pain on hit song “Mid 20’s Skateboarder.” Gang vocals and four-chord progressions dominate the band’s 2016 self-titled debut, which, with twelve songs, clocks in at just longer than 20 minutes. Catch the band for their second time in Omaha in less than a year, when they hit Lookout Lounge with locals Waking the Neighbors, Hosting Monsters and Blandford. Tickets are $7, and more information is available at

recreate the music they’re covering but also don ‘70s-style glam garb with bell bottoms, unbuttoned silk shirts and plenty of glitter. Omaha punk band The Beat Seekers — whose frontman Keith Fertwagner doubles as Bennie’s lead guitarist — open the show. Make sure to get there with some time to spare because previous Bennie Does Bowie shows have drawn near capacity crowds. The all-ages show is $10, and find more information at waitingroomlounge. com. ~Sam Crisler

~Sam Crisler

January 7

January 6

Bennie Does Bowie The Waiting Room


Rautavaara, Britten, Schumann Joslyn Art Museum’s Witherspoon Hall

For the third year in a row since rock icon David Bowie’s death, Omaha cover band allstars Bennie and the Gents will convene at The Waiting Room to honor Ziggy Stardust with a set full of classic songs like “Under Pressure,” “Changes” and “Heroes.” As is custom at Bennie and the Gents shows, the band will not only


Arctic birds are soloists in a 1972 concerto “Cantus Articus” by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. He recorded them in his native land, sometimes modifying the songs, sometimes having orchestra winds imitate the sounds. Rautavaara has a major reputation in




his country and, early in his career, was encouraged by Jean Sibelius. There is kinship. Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony was propelled by witnessing swans in flight and the third part of this concerto features those real sounds. Benjamin Britten found kinship himself with a predecessor, late Renaissance English composer John Dowland. And was moved to reflect on and incorporate some of such songs of sadness and turn some into a viola concerto Lachrymae. Brian Sherwood is the soloist. One hundred years before, Robert Schumann was inspired by his new life along the Rhine. Thus his “Rhenish” Symphony, often praised for a mixture of joy and power. Some of it comes from being much stirred by a cathedral procession.

Tennis stopped in Omaha in September at the Blackstone Farnam Festival and return to Omaha this month with New York soul-pop duo Overcoats. Tickets are $16, and more information can be found at waitingroomlounge. com.

20/20s and White Wolf T Shirt. Tickets are $5, and head over to O’Leaver’s’ Facebook page for more information. ~Sam Crisler

January 12

~Sam Crisler

American Dream

January 12

Friedmann-Sanchez’ pursues her version in a bi-cultural, multi-media exhibit at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam, lower level

‘ReConnect’ Weber Fine Arts Building UNO Gallery UNO’s School of the Arts opens its “Juried Alumni Exhibition” featuring 26 artists

New Zealand-born Gemma New conducts. She’s been presenting much-lauded multimedia concerts as music director of Ontario’s Hamilton Philharmonic and may feel right at home here.

sculpture, and ceramics. Today the School of the Arts is ranked in the top 15% of art programs nationally. Twenty-six artists were chosen from the submittals, and two artists, Angela Drakeford and Richard Saxton will present lectures on January 31st, and February 14th, respectively. There will be an associated fundraiser, Music and Masters, on January 21st, featuring two of the exhibiting artists, Andrew Acker and Jordan Acker Anderson.

~Gordon Spencer

January 10


ReConnect opens in the UNO Gallery in the Weber Fine Arts Building Jan. 12, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and runs through through February 16th, 2018.

The Waiting Room

~Kent Behrens

January 12

Wherever Denver husband-and-wife duo Tennis go, they bring a modern take on the sounds of the 1980s with them. Combining modern synthetic instrumentation with surf-y, beach-ready vibes and Stevie Nicks-esque vocals, the duo finds itself fiddling with a distinct style indebted to the twee harmonies and buzzing synths of ‘80s pop. Nine years after the couple met in philosophy class at the University of Colorado Denver and started the band, they dropped their fourth full-length, Yours Conditionally, which, like most of their output, refrains from experimenting with unconventional song structures, but pushes forward the strict pop focus the band has always leaned on.



In celebration of the programs and graduates of the studio art programs, the School of the Arts at the University of Nebraska at Omaha presents ReConnect: a Juried Alumni Exhibition opening Jan. 12. Working with students, faculty, and the UNO Alumni Association, the exhibit is presented in conjunction with the 25th Anniversary of the Weber Fine Arts Building. Teliza Rodriguez, curator of the Museum of Nebraska Art, served as juror. The call for submissions was open to all University of Nebraska at Omaha artist-alumni. Graduate/artists selected go back to 1964. Though the art department was established in 1911, the art degree programs at UNO started in 1933. Various programs were added over the years, resulting in the current art program, offering studio instruction in painting, drawing, printmaking, papermaking, book arts, electronic imaging, art education, graphic arts,



Two Houses O’Leaver’s On Chicago indie rock band Two Houses’ 2017 EP Unfriend, there’s no shortage of calls for pity, as lyrics on songs like “Paradise by the Macbook Light” depict the trials of finding love but conceding and returning to watching porn instead. But there’s still a sense of liberation that comes across when the whole band jumps in for crowd vocals on Unfriend’s closing track “Total Eclipse of the Uber Driver,” all shouting repeatedly “Every now and then I fall apart.” It’s what the band calls “Triumphant sad bastard music” on its Bandcamp page, stemming from moody punk influences like The Replacements and Archers of Loaf. And even 25-plus years after those bands’ primes, Two Houses bring a sincere spirit that transcends time. The band plays O’Leaver’s this month with local acts Uh Oh, Mad Dog and the

Fred Simon Gallery kicks off the New Year with an exhibit of works by Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez, opening Jan. 12 and closing March 8. A former resident of Omaha’s Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Friedemann-Sanchez has won numerous national and international residencies, grants, and awards, and has been exhibiting since 1989. Her work is held in numerous museum and individual collections. The artist often creates site-specific installations of constructed sculptures and found objects, designed to transform the viewer’s perceptions of the work and the space, and to bring “dialogues, passages, punctuations, silences about hybridity and cultural ownership.” Much of her more recent work has been in the form of a “visual novel” rooted in concepts of feminism and gender, identity and migration. Her large-scale drawings and paintings are delicate, and sourced deeply in her Latin heritage, knitting imagery from history together with a contemporary aesthetic of political and cultural critique. “I sketch the threshold in flux that signifies living with history, and in between cultures and languages.” The Nebraska Arts Council will host an opening reception for the artist on Friday, January 12th, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. For details and gallery hours go to www.artscouncil. or call (402) 595-2122. ~Kent Behrens

January 13

Every year a weeklong celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is hosted by Creighton University. This week provides the opportunity to network with community activists and educators or possibly build new relationships around important social issues. To kick off the week, a lecture on the Civil Rights Movement with Fred Gray at the Harper Center at 4 p.m. On Tuesday in the same location is the annual awards ceremony honoring individuals in the categories of Student Leadership, Diversity (Innovation and Advancement), “Drum Major” (Moral/Spiritual Recognition), and Legacy Award (living a life that reflects the ideals of MLK). On Wednesday and Thursday, enjoy the Unity Prayer Luncheon followed by Cake and Choir both at 11:30 a.m.

St. Vincent Holland Performing Arts Center

For years now, Annie Clark, the songwriter extraordinaire behind rock outfit St. Vincent, has been on the cutting edge of forging a new definition for art rock. She traversed pop in all its forms on albums like Actor (2009), touched on punk with Strange Mercy (2011) and worked with the great experimenter David Byrne on the 2012 collaborative LP Love This Giant. Three years after dropping her Grammy Award-winning, self-titled LP, St. Vincent came back in 2017 with the Jack Antonoff-produced Masseduction and a new focus, distancing herself from the sporadic, often-glitchy indie rock she’d become best known for in favor a renewed, forward-thinking approach to ’80 pop and rock. With guest appearances and additional production from Kamasi Washington, Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis and Top Dawg Entertainment beatmaker Sounwave, Masseduction is one of the most acclaimed albums of the year, earning spots in the top halves of year-end lists from Pitchfork, Stereogum and NME. Omaha Performing Arts brings Clark and the Masseduction songs to the Holland Center this month as part of the artist’s “Fear The Future” tour. Tickets range from $3242, and more information is available at ~Sam Crisler

January 13-January 27

Artist Expo - OEAA Visual Artist Nominees Petshop Gallery (2727 N 62nd Street) As Omaha prepares to honor outstanding work in music, performing arts and visual awards at February’s Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards, the work of visual arts nominees will be

impressive achievement is how it balances epic sweep with intimate sensibility.” ~Gordon Spencer

January 19-29

Middletown Chanticleer Community Theater (830 Franklin Avenue, 
Council Bluffs)

~ Staff Pick

January 16-21

THE KING AND I showcased at an exhibition opening at Petshop Gallery in Benson on January 13.

Slosburg Hall, Orpheum Theater

The annual showcase unites 2D, 3D and New Media artists to highlight the past year’s best solo, 2-person and group exhibitions as well as individual artistic achievements. The showcase will include nearly 75 works ranging from paintings to installation. A complete list of nominees can be found at current-nominees. The showcase is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome to help support the Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards’ (OEAA) mission. Tickets to the February 18 award show will be available for purchase on January 1 at The OEAA Visual Arts Showcase will open with a reception on Saturday, January 13 and will run through January 27. For more information visit ~Melinda Kozel

January 15-18

Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution Creighton University

A 55 year old four-Tony-winning musical marches on. This Rodgers and Hammerstein classic still has a lot to offer, including enduring wonderful songs such as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” and “Shall We Dance.” Plus a timeless and a fascinating, pointed story based on real events. Surely the essentials are familiar. It looks back on a strong-willed and intelligent English woman’s struggling attempts to modernize life confronting a fierce monarch’s power in the late 19th Century. What may not be remembered is Hammerstein’s impetus to bring this to the stage: slavery. He calls attention to that in the imperiled life of slave Tuptim and with the symbolic narrated dance “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.” As is often the case, Hammerstein created substantial drama. This 2015 production directed by Bartlett Sher “sheds a light that isn’t harsh or misty but clarifying,” said The New York Times, “its most


You might conclude that a play with such a title would be a cousin to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Not so. Reviewers, praising it, see kinship with Samuel Beckett. In this community, though, no one waits for some version of God, although residents speculate about what should happen between birth and death, as well as what there might be at either end. Sometimes these folks are neighborly. Sometimes they ain’t. Sometimes they break the fourth wall between their homes and you sitting out there watching them. They stay “stable” along Main Street where there’s a monument to a monument, finding themselves between other towns, even if they can’t remember the towns’ names. Without geography, you’ve just crossed over into an indeterminate philosophical zone. A lot in the play in a play “seems quirky,” commented Chicago Tribune,“ but actually is profoundly wise.” Plus this from The Boston Globe: “The doors by which actors enter and leave are marked ‘Exit,’ as if to suggest that everything we do is a kind of goodbye. Still, (it) says ‘hello’ in a way that will make you glad you came.”


~Gordon Spencer



January 19-February 11


Hawks Mainstage Theatre, Omaha Community Playhouse

With such a title you might wonder if there’s a parachute jump or if someone is tearing up something. In this case, it looks as if both ideas apply. Assisted living roommates Abby and Marilyn constantly slash at each other. A duel of wits ensues which has as much to do with the vicissitudes of aging life as it does with what happens to their living space. You may find kinship with The Golden Girls and The Odd Couple as family estrangement and the hovering of death cross paths with a wacky skydiving scene and a strange clown. Doesn’t sound like a lot of laughs, does it? However the script is by David Lindsay-Abaire, called “sublimely daffy” by Variety. Note too Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer for Rabbit Hole. Families are his thing. Pray that this one isn’t yours.

team of Lincoln and Omaha scene veterans to join either his “loud band” or his “quiet band,” including bassist Aaron Lee (ex-Better Friend), Marina Kushner (I Forgot To Love My Father) on violin and Dave McInnis (Magu, Timecat) on drums. Both groups play the same songs but with the quiet band emphasizing baroque instrumentation and country-influenced harmonies, and the loud band leaning on the tender verses and Big Muff-distorted hooks of bands like Starflyer 59. JJW drops its second EP, the first with a full band, this month at Omaha house show venue Lucy’s Pub. It remains to be determined if the loud band or the quiet band does the heavy lifting on the EP, but it’s not unlikely that both will make appearances at the release show. Empty Bag of Ears, Death Cow and CJ Clydesdale Band open the show. Search “Jacob James Wilton Release Show” on Facebook for more information. ~Sam Crisler

January 26

No Thanks

Album Release Show Outrspaces (528 S. 24th Street)

Lucy’s Pub (89th and Blondo St.)

Before the April 2017 demise of his former band Super Ghost, Omaha singer-songwriter Jake Newbold made sure he wasted no time between projects, preemptively starting the acoustic project Jacob James Wilton — Newbold’s birth name — last winter and releasing the self-recorded debut EP, Watazoa, SC, in February. Newbold has since assembled a



January 26-February 18

Across Rhodes Shelterbelt Theatre (3225 California St.) This is the world premiere of this first-ever produced play with music by Omaha’s Amy Elizabeth Schweid. Shelterbelt says she deals with “a grave young musician trailed by the phantom of her past…a hauntingly beautiful girl who can no longer share her music…in a small lonely town.” Sounds sort of spooky, huh? What lies buried in such words? And these: “A story of life, death, and the fear of sharing who you are with the world.” ? Crossroads? Perhaps. The setting is Rhodes Bar. You may want to know who is Rhodes. Know, in any case, that three people carry guitars in theirs. Off this stage, Schweid has performed on others: UNO and the Playhouse and also has her own band, The Ragabonds. It looks as if she has the chops to traverse this territory.

January 26 and 27

Omaha Symphony Masterworks Concert:

January 20

Album Release Show

~Sam Crisler

~Gordon Spencer

~Gordon Spencer

Jacob James Wilton

Cow and Jocko. Search “No Thanks Album Release” on Facebook for more information.

A No Thanks show can best be encapsulated by frontman Brendan Leahy’s bizarre onstage antics, which typically see him careening through the crowd shirtless, shouting lyrics directed right at the corporate fat cats on Wall Street. Such has been the norm at No Thanks shows since the Omaha-based political punk act got its start in 2013. The band has been on a bit of a hot streak for the past year or two, releasing its post-punk-leaning EP Position in June 2016 and gearing up to drop its debut full-length The Trial this month. The first hint at the album came with the October-released single “The Harvest,” which leads with plodding drums and water-y bass until blasting into a fullon attack of jagged guitars and Leahy ranting about foreign government spending and finding it a trillion-dollar casket. The Trial comes out at a release show at Outrspaces with Death



Copland, Ellington, Bernstein With Dance Kaleidoscope Kiewit Hall, Holland Center

A year-long Leonard Bernstein celebration begins this month, his centennial year, and kicks off with his dance music and that of Aaron Copland in a fresh take on the legendary “Appalachian Spring.” Performing the ballet with the Orchestra is Indianapolis-based Dance Kaleidoscope. In its 46th season, it reaches back in time to 1943 and the debut using Martha Graham’s original choreography, dressed in the original costumes on

the original set. The score is one of the first ever heard restorations of Copland’s original one as played by a full orchestra. Ground-breaking. The spirit of dance also permeates Duke Ellington’s “Harlem,” a 1951 suite evoking the spirit of black American life in that pulsing place in Manhattan. Expect the blues. Expect much more. The full Orchestra takes it on. As for Bernstein’s dynamic element, music jumps, floats and swirls in a reworking of some of the famed 1957 musical in “Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story.” These are full orchestrations by Irwin Kostal and Sid Ramin as heard in 1961’s multi-Oscar-winning film. With Thomas Wilkins on the stand, experience the soul of America. ~Gordon Spencer

January 26-February 11

The Meaning Of Maggie The Rose Theater (2001 Farnam St.) 12 year old Maggie is still trying to learn about life. And, no surprise, that’s complicated. She does know why her dad is in a wheelchair; he has MS. She also thinks he’s pretty cool, especially because he made her an official shareholder of Coca-Cola stock. As a regular Student of the Month she’s doing kind of OK. But she also realizes that she, like anyone else, has no control over everything that happens in life, hers or anyone’s This is some of her life in Victoria Stewart’s world-premiering play based on a 2014 novel by Megan Jean Sovern. “Sovern successfully illustrates that illness doesn’t necessarily define or splinter a family;” says The Children’s Book Review, “it can bring one together. Her narrative voice is smart, funny and clever, which makes her a highly entertaining, endearing, complex, triple threat.” Stewart has major stage credits. Her scripts have been performed anywhere including Actors Theater of Louisville, Cleveland Playhouse, New York’s Urban Stages and Caravan Theatre. Maggie hopes that year number 12 is the beginning of everything. ~Gordon Spencer




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 and on

A look back at 2017’s top live shows and a peek into January. BY B.J. HUCHTEMANN

ohnny Boyd at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 16 – Irresistible swing, jazz, American songbook, classics and originals, with Boyd surrounded by a world-class band that can do it all. The Reverb show was a perfect collision of artistry, musicianship and showmanship. Stellar! Jon Dee Graham at Byron’s in Pomeroy, Iowa, July 16 – There is no more life-changing songwriter or searing guitarist than Jon Dee Graham. He played a remarkable show with young Austin singer songwriter Bonnie Whitmore opening and playing bass with Graham in a trio formation. Well worth seven total hours in the car. Byron’s. Look it up. Alejandro Escovedo at Waiting Room, June 9 – Escovedo needs no introduction to serious roots music fans.The expected electric throwdown and a stripped down acoustic interlude. Soulful and stirring. James McMurtry at Waiting Room, Nov. 15 – Fierce and enigmatic, another of Austin’s finest songwriters. A tremendous show. Seth Walker at 21st Saloon, Jan. 19 – Walker can swing, strut a second line rhythm or jump the blues while laying down great vocals on his original tunes delivered with an easy-going charisma. Brilliant. Hoyer also has two local appearances with his band Soul Colossal. Catch them in Omaha Wednesday, Dec. 27, at Slowdown and Friday, Dec. 29, at the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal at April 23, Rococo Theatre – Hoyer’s homecoming show at Lincoln’s Rococo Theatre, fresh from a stint on The Voice TV show and a largely sold-out 30-day European tour with his band was tremendous. A delight to hear Hoyer’s distinctive vocals and his top-flight band on a big sound system in the elegant theatre setting. Samantha Fish at Bourbon Saloon, June 9 – Hailing from nearby K.C., it’s been a joy to watch this vocalist, guitarist and songwriter come into her own fierce identity. She’s one to watch in the years ahead. Did you know Chris Isaak played Omaha July 30? It was a sadly under-attended show at Ralston arena where Isaak and his band still gave their all for a rapt audience of about 800. Isaak still has the wow factor to match his fine songs and boy-next-door-who-just-happens-tobe-onstage demeanor. Here are the best of the rest. Davina & The Vagabonds with Gracie Curran opening featuring Hector Anchondo on guitar. Laura Rain & The Caesars. Nick Moss Band with Dennis Gruenling and Andrew Duncanson. Guitarists Toronzo Cannon and Davy Knowles also wowed. All Chrome shows. The legendary Cate Brothers, May 28 in a BSO show on the grounds of the River City Star. Always world-class fabulous. Lincoln’s Zoo Bar’s annual July anniversary festival this year included a great club show from guitar star Duke Robillard. The annual street fest boasted Scottie Miller performing with the radiant Ruthie Foster, longtime favorite the Hadden Sayers Band, the always incendiary Paladins, the legendary Charlie Musselwhite, groove masters The Bel Airs and Lincoln’s own Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal. Jeff Davis’ annual Playing With Fire concert played back-toback shows at Midtown Crossing in July with an international talent

roster that included guitarists Tommy Castro, Aynsly Lister and Ben Poole. Hector Anchondo’s In the Market for Blues Festival continues to grow with a record number of venues and local-regional bands participating to truly bring blues back to the Old Market. Seven Oaks’ inaugural Blues Festival brought Brazil’s guitar star Igor Prado and his band to town, featuring Houston vocalist Annika Chambers. The festival featured Tommy Castro & The Painkillers tearing it up like only they do. Steve Earle with openers The Mastersons at Slowdown were also an incredibly memorable show. And that’s the short list. 2018 Gigs Remember the BSO Presents Thursday early shows at Chrome Lounge, 8552 Park Dr. in Ralston, continue with the send-off party for Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck Thursday, Jan. 4. The Tony Meza Band featuring Billy Bacon & The Linkin’ Logs also perform. Granite and Benck are the BSO’s International Blues Challenge representatives for 2018 and will participate in the IBCs hosted by the Blues Foundation in Memphis Jan. 18-20. Members of the BSO’s BluesEd program will also perform in the Youth Showcase and present a workshop on the BluesEd program. The BSO and BluesEd are honored with a Keeping the Blues Alive Award that will be presented at a luncheon on Friday, Jan. 19. See The rest of the Thursday schedule includes Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls Thursday, Jan. 11, Hamilton Loomis Thursday, Jan. 18 and guitarist James Armstrong Thursday, Jan. 25. All shows are 6-9 p.m. See In the Groove New venues have opened including The B. Bar below Castle Barrett at 43rd & Leavenworth. Search for The B. Bar on Facebook. You can catch the Tony Meza Band featuring Billy Bacon & His Linkin’ Logs at The B. Bar Friday, Jan. 5, 5-7:30 p.m. Don’t confuse The B. Bar with the newly opened B Side in Benson in the former P.S. Collective space, still under the leadership of Amy Ryan from the Benson Theatre renovation project. Expect a mix of community events, Benson Theatre events and entertainment bookings. See Hot notes Omaha-based guitarist Sebastian Lane has been turning heads with his local projects. Now he’s fronting the Sebastian Lane Band. Hear them Friday, Jan. 12, 9 p.m., at Reverb Lounge. Lane is the grandson of the acclaimed Jimmy Rogers, Muddy Waters’ former guitarist and a Blues Hall of Famer. See SebastianLaneMusic. The Slowdown hosts JJ Grey & Mofro with The Commonheart Wednesday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m. See Catch up with January bookings at Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar at






Film Thing That Sucked in 2017: Fans





the biggest news: the amorphous blob of entertainment that is Disney slurping up 21st-Century Fox portends everything wrong with America’s commodification-over-common-sense mantra. I love the bulk of what Disney has been doing; I also love my father. I want neither of those to control an entire segment of our existence. Playful reports of how xenomorphs from Alien are now technically Disney princesses, since they are born of a Queen owned by Fox and now Disney, are fun but only mask crucial issues. For example, Disney blacklisted the LA Times because of an important, very newsworthy bit of reporting. What will the gestapo-mouse do now that they have even more influence on our collective consciousness in terms of both entertainment and news reporting? Beyond that mega-acquisition, major studios have had a banner year of idiocy. They refuse to consider how theaters must change to survive, demonstrating opposition to things like the Movie Pass. They screwed up the one thing big Hollywood has to get right, summer movies. And they have continued to embrace whitewashing (see Death Note and Ghost in the Shell) and to devalue the contributions of people of color (see Girls Trip not getting a Golden Globes nomination, despite being the funniest movie of the year). Really, nothing screams “2017!” more than major corporations treating America as their gold-plated toilet.



And 3 Film Things That Won’t Suck in 2018

ood eve or morrow, you brilliantly informed and—dare I say— stunningly good-looking reader. We have two brief matters of business that we must attend to before whipping our head back and forth in an attempt to reflect on 2017 and brace for 2018. First, the oppressive constraints of publishing once more conspired to delay my annual Top 10/Worst 5 Movies of the Year list. To strip myself naked, down to the deadlines, I confess that this is being written in early December; this means that many, many of the best 2017 movies have yet to screen. Next month, that list will appear here for your cheers and jeers— more jeers than cheers, to be clear. Our second bit of business is this: 2017 sucked. Beyond the oligarchical hellscape of negligent and wilfully evil governmental policies, this whole spin around the sun has been marred by a seemingly nonstop barrage of bad news, bad people and bad film-related stuff. I am not a huge fan of our collective embrace of this negativity and general surrendering to the suck. I’m pessimistic about our perpetual pessimism, is what I’m trying to say. But it’s not fair to put a pretty bow on an ugly calendar. So let’s recap three of the worst things that made 2017 caca-poopoo-peepee before forcing ourselves to briefly believe in the potential of the new year. I wear my rosecolored glasses at night, so I can see 2018. Film Thing That Sucked in 2017: Studios I realize that this suck nugget is always in the soup, year after year. But studios really sucked hard this year, y’all. Look no further than



The Internet is Popeye’s spinach to entitled, single-brain-celled jerky jerkwads who still gallingly call themselves “fans.” Although it started early in the year, with the way fans of the Alien franchise screamed and piddled about how Alien: Covenant wasn’t the specific thing they had requested, the end of 2017 has featured two of the grandest tantrums any fanbase has ever messed diapers about. Justice League, a sloppily made shit sandwich that didn’t have the decency to at least remove the crust, was met with widespread shouldershrugging from audiences and finger-wagging from critics. That didn’t stop the DC army from launching a full-blown assault on what it legitimately believes is a conspiracy born of Disney payoffs to movie reviewers. That scenario is so insane, Alex Jones would like to see peer-reviewed evidence. On social media, Rotten Tomatoes and everywhere I was when I just wanted a few quiet minutes, DC “fans” pushed nonsense claims and a manbaby agenda. But that was nothing compared to the backlash against The Last Jedi by Star Wars fans who are sadder than the opening of Up and more depressing than most of WALL-E. Man, Pixar was going through some stuff… Most complaints, which resulted in a gloriously mockable petition to remove The Last Jedi from the Star Wars canon, reflect little more than an inability to accept women and people of color as fully engaged, important characters in their space violence orgy. You are bad fans who are bad. Not liking a movie is fine. Attempting to rewrite facts we all know are true in order to preserve your disgusting, archaic way of thinking about the world is, well, presidential now, I guess…

Film Thing That Sucked in 2017: Men The reason everyone is including #MeToo in their annual roundups is that it may well prove to be—please, please, please—a defining moment of reckoning in America. In an ideal reality, which we have no reason to presume this is, the grotesque process of discovering how pervasive this problem is and forcing women everywhere to either publicly or privately flashback to their own awful experiences will result in a world where the contributions of women thrive. Just as the Dark Ages preceded the Enlightenment, let us dream of a society made brighter by women able to create and change this world without fear. Until then, we have to figure out how to collectively deal with men who suck. From Matt Damon opening his idiot hole to barf out repeated nonsense like how we aren’t talking about how many men don’t violate women in Hollywood to the scores of producers, directors, writers and actors who populate our favorite fictions standing revealed as monstrous perverts, we have a responsibility to more actively consider who we support and how. A complete blackout on all entertainment tainted by shitty dudes is understandable and admirable. But those of us who can’t, especially the male-dominated field of criticism, need to do some personal inventory on how we are going to change because of this year. Not doing so is not an option. Film Thing That Won’t Suck in 2018: Indies From Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other sites snapping up or producing smaller films, mega-studios will decreasingly be the endall/be-all of our entertainment options. Why, the Sundance Film Festival, which is fast approaching, already holds so much promise. Consider the following: • Lizzie – Starring Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart in a retelling of Lizzie Borden’s legend • The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Starring Chloë Grace Moretz as a woman forced into gay conversion therapy after getting caught doinking the prom queen • Monsters and Men – A triptych of stories exploring the murder of a black man by police • Sorry to Bother You – Starring Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson in an alternate present-day version of Oakland • The Tale – Starring Laura Dern in an exploration of the stories women tell themselves about their sexual histories to survive

Those are screening in January, yo. January. If that is a portent of the year in film to come, it will be the best thing to happen involving movies and the word “Indie” since the day before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out. Film Thing That Won’t Suck in 2018: Audiences Every year that passes now, audiences are going to have increasing control. This isn’t in terms of content, because lord knows we do not want Reddit and 4Chan users having a say in anything ever; no words for you! The audience control is in terms of how content is screened and consumed. If you hadn’t noticed, theaters and studios are panicking about attendance and are willing to do anything to get you in the door. From giveaways of commemorative glasses and popcorn tins to unique screenings of movies (like the women’s only Wonder Woman showings at the Alamo Drafthouse), now is the time for audiences to speak up and explain what would get them to buy tickets more often. Considering they will do anything to get us in the door, I am leading a campaign to have eject buttons installed that are activated by the hubris and selfishness people demonstrate by showing up after the trailers because they have reserved seats. Knowing you are guaranteed a seat doesn’t mean you should show up 20 minutes late to a movie, Gary, I will send you into the ceiling!


Alexander Payne’s


Dundee Theater — Begins Thur, Dec 21, 2017

Film Thing That Won’t Suck in 2018: Women Not that women owe it to us to, once again, attempt to clean up the gross mess we’ve made. They do, however, deserve a chance to show us what a world where artists who aren’t men are treated as creative equals. Patty Jenkins destroyed expectations with Wonder Woman, and Ava DuVernay is about to do it again with A Wrinkle in Time and Niki Caro’s Mulan is another likely colossal hit. Greta Gerwig may well have a very good awards season in early 2018, and scores of women are headlining or head-honchoing a wide range of features that should benefit from the ongoing purge of douchebags in key industry roles. Our job, insightful and—dare I say—luminous reader, is to make sure we do more than just support these women when they recount atrocities they have faced. It’s not just the #MeToo moment that matters, it is that we continue to listen after the #MeToo. As crucial as it is that we stop and listen to incidents of misogyny, getting excited when women tell the stories they actually want to be talking about is just as important. Let’s make 2018 about that, too.



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CRUISEMAG • Forget the Steele Dossier, Omaha’s Alamo • The Dundee Theater is also doing something Drafthouse ( is far less wholesome than family-friendly singing putting P with T and A in a more watchable and dancing—at least I hope they are. The last way. One of the greatest American directors, Friday of every month (with some exceptions), Paul Thomas Anderson, has officially made Midnight Movies are back! Starting with enough bonkers-good movies that he gets Creepshow (Jan 26), the films announced his own mini-festival. This Is PTA starts include Groundhog Day (Feb 2), The Fly (Feb Jan 4 with Boogie Nights and continues 23) and Streets of Fire (Mar 30). That last one throughout the whole month, with Magnolia I’m assuming is the Walter Hill movie with Rick (Jan 11), Punch-Drunk Love (Jan 16), There Moranis and not just a description of what we Will Be Blood (Jan 23), Inherent Vice (Jan 29) anticipate life in America to be like by March. and The Master (Jan 31). His latest, Phantom Meanwhile, Film Streams will be offering their Thread, will also be scheduled as soon as winter Sights on Sounds series, which includes that opening date becomes available. Why Urgh! A Music War (Jan 14), Don’t Break Down: do I see a thousand quizzes asking which A Film About Jawbreaker (Feb 11) and D.O.A.: Disney movie sidekick I am or which overly- A Rite of Passage (Mar 11). I admit that I didn’t sexualized-teenager-played-by-a-grown-ass- know much about that first movie, which is adult-in-Riverdale I am but never any “which a compilation of live punk and New Wave PTA movie are you?” quizzes? I want to be performances, but strongly identified with the Magnolia, but all my friends say I’m a Boogie title. Urgh indeed, y’all. Urgh indeed. Nights. • Finally, Omaha Steaks really loves French New • I’m not saying that Film Streams Wave, which you can really taste in every fillet ( doesn’t trust Santa Claus, mignon. At least, that’s what I’m inferring from but they brought Omaha an impossibly the fact that they support the Great Directors perfect gift by reopening the Dundee Theater series at Film Streams, and the next installment and scheduled enough post-holiday joy to features Agnès Varda, a founding French make up for whatever Santa didn’t bring member of the New Wave movement. Films you because he had access to your browser include Clèo From 5 to 7, Black Panthers, Mur history. And not your desktop browser Murs, The Gleaners & I and Beaches of Agnès. history, but your phone’s… From now until Considering that I’d fully believe Black Panthers Mar 29, the winter Forever Young Family & and the Mur Murs was the sequel to Marvel’s Children’s Series will have you toe-tapping upcoming Black Panther, I think there’s a high and humming, and not just rudely in public chance Agnès’ series could be a hit. A victory for places because we have all forgotten how to France! Shh, let them have this. respect each other! On Saturdays, Sundays and Thursdays, the Dundee Theater will have Cutting Room provides breaking local and matinee screenings of musicals, including national movie news … complete with added The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Fiddler sarcasm. Send any relevant information to on the Roof, Grease, West Side Story and Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly podcast, catch him on the Singin’ in the Rain, a musical so beloved, it radio on CD 105.9 on Fridays at around 7:40 needs only one G. They ate the other one. It a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays was lean times back then… and follow him on Twitter.


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