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JU LY 2 0 1 7 | vo lUME 24 | ISSU E 07

Fighting Food Insecurity Catching Up With Culinary by Leo Adam Biga


A R T : A B o n e ( C r e e k ) t o P i c k F I L M : F e e d M e , S e e M o r e M U S I C : T H E S i mpl e P l e asur e o f T w i n sm i th C U L T U R E : A Nat i v e Omaha H o m e c o m i n g H E A L ING : L i f e i n th e F ats L a n e M U S I C : T h e P w F P art y















O.A.R. 11.9 | ANTHEM




Must be 21 or older to attend events at Anthem. Events held at Battery Park are open to all ages. No carry-in food or beverages allowed. Management reserves all rights. If you or someone you know needs gambling treatment call 800.BETS OFF.


JULY 2017



COVER: Cooking with Fire MCC’s Culinary Institute


HEARTAND HEALING: Life in the Fats Lane


COVER: Fighting Food Insecurity (Food Deserts)


CULTURE: Native Omaha Days


PICKS: Cool Things To Do in the Month of July


ARTS: A Bone (Creek) to Pick, Agrarian Art

Last year’s Food Issue

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


MUSIC: The Simple Pleasure of Twinsmith



MUSIC: Playing with Fire

HOODOO: July is Jumpin’

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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FILM: A Buffet of Strange Movie/Food Opinions JULY 2017


CUTTING ROOM: Local and National Movie News




OVER THE EDGE: The Real Divide












JULY 7 & 8




JULY 14 & 15




JULY 21 & 22




















AUGUST 11 & 12

THE 402





AUGUST 25 & 26


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JULY 2017


Omaha Jobs: Best Employers O

maha’s a pretty great place to live, says Forbes, especially if you raise a family. The cost of living is low, houses are affordable and there are jobs here in a wide variety of fields. It’s among the top tech cities in the Midwest according to Tech Midwest. Forbes included Omaha among the top cities in America for young professionals. So whether you want to work in a location where your family is happy or you’re a young professional just starting out, Omaha ranks among the best options. Even if you’re already sold on living and working in Omaha, you may still wonder who the best employers are in the metro area.

Of course, what makes an employer a good one depends on your needs. While some may think solely about salary, others may seek employers that offer flexible hours and a creative, diverse work environment. Baird Holm survey results Baird Holm, LLP annually surveys employees to find the best Omaha employers based on worker feedback and engagement. The annual Baird Holm, LLP survey of Best Places to Work in Omaha is a joint project with the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. The annual survey is respected as an authority on local employers that manage to keep their employees happy and engaged.

Unleash Your Potential with a Career at Cox Communications!

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Cox is an Equal Opportunity Female/Minority/Disabled/Veteran Employer. Learn more at :


JULY 2017


2. RTG Medical Another medical staffing and recruitment agency, RGT Medical finds positions throughout the U.S. for medical professionals. Like Prime Time Healthcare LLC, it boasts numerous awards as a top employer. 3. One Staff Medical Yet another medical staffing agency, One Staff Medical earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Health Care Staffing Services. It also has earned many awards for both client and employee satisfaction. 4. Object Partners Object Partners is a software and technology company that hires software development consultants to provide software solutions for businesses. It also has branches in Minneapolis and Chicago. 5. Lutz With four locations in Nebraska, Lutz provides accounting and business solutions. In addition to its designation as a best place to work in Omaha, Lutz also received a “Millennials Best Places to Work” award. More Than 200 Employees The smaller businesses on the Baird Holm, LLP survey list are mostly firms with consultants and contracted medical professionals. For companies with more than 200 employees, the list is more varied.

Benefits of working at Cox include:

• • • • • • • •

The survey has two categories: firms with 25 to 200 employees and companies with more than 200. In the first category, there’s a top five list: 1. Prime Time Healthcare LLC Prime Time Healthcare LLC is a medical staffing agency that specializes in traveling nurse positions. It boasts a variety of local and national awards for being among the best places to work.


Yahoo There are two Yahoo locations in the Omaha metro area. Both offices are quite active in the community and also received the 2017 “Best Places for Work

in the Advancement of Women” award at the ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference. QLI Focused on post-injury rehabilitation, QLI frequently appears on lists featuring best employers. In fact, QLI has been voted as a best place to work in Omaha seven times. QLI hires rehabilitation specialists to work with patients who have brain and spinal cord injuries. Medical Solutions LLC One of the largest medical staffing firms in the U.S., Medical Solutions appears on both the Forbes and Inc. lists of best places to work. It also has an Integrity Award from the Better Business Bureau and has appeared on the list of best places to work in Omaha many times. C&A Industries C&A Industries, a staffing agency, has appeared on the list of best places to work in Omaha seven times. Its awards are numerous, including one for workplace learning in 2013 and a Distinguished Center of Influence award in 2008. Thrasher Inc. Another BBB Integrity Award winner, Thrasher appears on the list of Omaha’s best places to work. It offers myriad employee benefits including health coverage and earned time off. Accuracy of results The annual survey isn’t based on public perception. Instead, its results reflect feedback from active employees in participating companies. This makes it a good representation of how happy employees are at their work – and happiness is a vital factor when you select a company for which to work.

ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma, Inc. has multiple openings for Sr Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated locations. Roving positionemployee’s worksite & residence may change based on client & business demands. No travel requirement; performing daily job duties doesn’t require travel. Create & maintain web applications; develop functionalities; develop & direct SW system testing & validation procedures, programming, & documentation. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or related tech/analytical field + at least 1 yr exp in job offered or IT/Computerrelated position. Employer also accept bachelor’s, or foreign equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or related tech/analytical field + at least 5 yr progressive post-bachelor’s exp in job offered or IT/Computer-related position. Requires prof. exp with: PHP, MYSQL, Javascript, Angular JS, HTML, CSS, Drupal. Suitable combination of edu/training/exp acceptable.

ProKarma, Inc. has multiple openings for Sr Software Engineer 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. Analyze user needs & modify/develop SW using computer skill sets; develop & direct SW system testing & validation procedures, programming, & documentation. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or related tech/ analytical field + at least 1 yr exp in job offered or IT/Computer-related position. Employer also accept bachelor’s, or foreign equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or related tech/analytical field + at least 5 yr progressive post-bachelor’s exp in job offered or IT/Computer-related position. Requires prof. exp with: Java, J2EE, JMS, SOA, Web Services, Weblogic/WebSphere/App server/JBoss, Oracle/SQL Server, Maven, HTML. Suitable combination of edu/training/exp acceptable.

Senior Software Engineer #SRSE062017


ProKarma, Attn: Jobs

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

Senior Software Engineer #SRJAVA0617


ProKarma, Attn: Jobs

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

ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma, Inc. has multiple openings for Quality Assurance Test Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated locations. Roving positionemployee’s worksite & residence may change based on client & business demands. No travel requirement; performing daily job duties doesn’t require travel. S/he will prepare Test Plans, Test Strategy, Test Estimations, Design and develop Test Automation Framework for SAP and Web application. S/he will perform testing tools analysis, design test solutions for manual and automation testing. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, CE, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + at least 1 yr exp in job offrd or IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Emplyr also accept bachelor’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, CE, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + at least 5 yr prgrssv post-bachelor’s exp in job offrd or IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Requires prof. exp with: HP Quality Center, HP QTP, UFT, SAP Solution Manager, SAP Test Acceleration and Optimization, SAP Business Process Change Analyzer. Suitbl combo of edu/training/exp accptbl.

ProKarma, Inc. has multiple openings for Sr Software Engineer 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. Analyze user needs & modify/develop SW using computer skill sets develop & direct SW system testing & validation procedures, programming, & documentation. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + at least 1 yr exp in job offrd or IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Emplyr also accept bachelor’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + at least 5 yr prgrssv post-bachelor’s exp in job offrd or IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Requires prof. exp with: Object oriented analysis and design, Microsoft.Net Technologies, C#,,, XML, Web Services, Oracle / SQL Server. Suitable comb. of edu/training/exp accptble.

Quality Assurance Test Engineer #QATE062017

Senior Software Engineer #SRNET0617



222 S 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102 Or email:

222 S 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102 Or email:

ProKarma, Attn: Jobs w/Job Ref# in subject line.

ProKarma, Attn: Jobs w/Job Ref# in subject line. | THE READER |

JULY 2017


Cooking With Fire

Metro’s Culinary Arts Program Teaches Passionate Students to Harness the Fire That Drives Them by S A R A L O C K E


ore legs, back aching, exhausted from a day in front of an inhumanely hot cook top, chef takes off his black soled shoes and peels out of clothes that have nearly fused with his being. Some combination of sweat and rendered animal and vegetable coats his skin, hair, and nasal passageways so that all he can smell is some stale amalgamation of the day’s ingredients. Even if he could smell, he couldn’t taste anything. 14 solid hours of sampling has left half of his taste buds chemically burned off by spice and the rest by moving too quickly with a hot spoonful. In all of this, he may or may not have actually eaten a meal himself. He pours over the day in his mind, in his notebook, maybe with another exhausted member of the industry. Why aren’t the numbers working out? Why won’t this dish come together? Where did the meal go wrong?And when he finally sets it to the side of his mind, never to the backburner, he might make time for his friends. Friends are the people at work, the people who know why you don’t hang


JULY 2017


ph o t o g raphy D e b ra S . K a p la n

out. The people who know why you don’t date. There is too much to this life to explain to someone who isn’t in it. You date someone at work, and if it goes wrong, you hate one another silently. You date someone at work and if it goes right, you still hate one another silently.

handling of overwhelmed support staff in high pressure situations is a life lesson that serves beyond a 5-star establish-

The Sage Student Bistro is a fully functioning restaurant run by the students. This offers a real-life lesson in every aspect of kitchen management. From mise en place [everything in its place] to Sous Chefery, menu development and service, students are learning in an established eatery that seats 90.

Who would seek a life so thankless and exhausting? And what’s more, who would spend years attending classes to learn how it’s done?

Cutting Class There is no limit to what a chef can learn, but a finite amount that can be taught. Now when I say “finite”, remember that the oceans are finite, as well. The Culinary Arts Program at Metro is vast and growing, and aims to arm aspiring chefs with so much more than knife skills. Management classes provide new insight into the workings of the industry. Regardless of a chef’s aspirations, one does not need to own his own restaurant to take control of his kitchen. Delicate



and an artistic touch. Patience is not sold with your tuition, so remember to bring plenty from home.

ment. The one with the calm earns the command, and a 200° kitchen is a literal trial by fire. Baking and Pastry classes teach you the exact science involved in the art. Most dishes can get away with using measurements like “a pinch” or “a dash”. You’ll often catch a chef using “some” wine in a recipe. Pastry is not a casserole, and requires precise calculations, consideration for elevation and humidity,

There are 2 stages of student service in the Bistro, the first stage is post 1st-year completion and still green. First stage students prep and serve lunch, lighter fare and snacks. These aren’t your standard sandwiches. A recent lunch menu offered rainbow trout with tomato caper vinaigrette, or chicken Marrakesh. The second stage students are approaching graduation, and are responsible for a more elegant menu, dinners, and more extravagant pastries. Recent dinner op-

tions in the Bistro consisted of hazelnut corvina or a port wine beef and polenta. You can make a reservation [highly recommended] by going to the Sage Bistro’s website.

days. It took her understanding for me to fully understand it myself. That’s what drove me to this.” Maybe it’s just a passion for food. Maybe you didn’t get enough love as a child. Maybe you find the method of it all soothing, but until you name it, you’re chasing a dragon. And it’s when chefs fail to find and name their driving force that O’Malley sees them fall into bad habits, or fall away completely.

Lights, Camera, Cooking A kitchen theater is established to demonstrate techniques, with a state of the art video system for a chef’s eye view of the action. The Food Network has turned chefery into a voyeuristic pleasure, but has stopped shy of actually sharing knowledge with its viewership. The program picks up where your favorite foodie feature leaves off, providing the simmering visual stimulation of cuisine curation with the kinesthetic art of hands-on learning. The campus films “Local Flavor” from the theater, and sources ingredients from the nearby horticulture department. You can subscribe to Local Flavor on YouTube, or catch episodes that have recently included grilled pizza and roasted piglet.

Eat Dirt [Or What Grows in it, Anyway] The Horticulture program supplies the produce for much of the culinary class and the Sage Student Bistro. Program directors know that the localvore movement is more than a passing egofeeding fad, and teaches the art of responsible sourcing. Manure, composting, seed saving, and pest control are all ingredients in your favorite dish, assuming it doesn’t come from a box. Chefs are walked through the life of each ingredient, developing a deep respect for each component of their eventual success. The Culinary Arts and Management program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEF). It’s mission statement: Metro’s mission statement: We create, design and deliver educational experiences in Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Horticulture in order to develop

Chef Instructor Brian O’Malley, Metro’s Institute for Culinary Arts knowledge from basic skills to artistic mastery for employment and enrichment.

Privilege of Passion In a state of the art facility on the Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha Campus, budding chefs cut their teeth on more than the standard slab of meat. The course load at Metro’s Institute for Culinary Arts opens a world of creativity, chaos, and cuisine to those who are willing to dedicate themselves to the grueling hours and intense scrutiny of the craft. Chef Instructor Brian O’Malley has seen food fads come and go. He has also watched promising chefs burn out and walk away. “You see these kids come in here with this passion, this desire to be part of the creation process. And then you see them slip away, get distracted, or just buckle. It’s not enough to just have passion. You have to know what feeds it. Are you doing it so you can put your name on a restaurant? Are you doing it for the money? You’re not going to make Emeril Lagasse money doing this. Just know that. You’re not. A few chefs got famous and suddenly people think we all roll up to our very own restaurant in our $250,000 cars and make a meal in a pristine kitchen, then have time to walk around slapping everyone on the back. That’s not what a chef’s life looks like. Even at really successful levels.”

O’Malley thoughtfully relayed to me the moment he was finally able to understand and articulate what drives him. “I was missing another Mother’s Day. I love my mom, but it had gotten to this point where I dreaded heading over there on the night of Mother’s Day because I knew what was coming. She was heartbroken that I was at work instead of spending the day with her. It’s not like I didn’t know the day was coming, why didn’t I take it off? And I didn’t want to have that conversation again. Years of this, and I didn’t even know what to say to her. I love her. Of course I want to be there, but I’m just not.” “In this last effort to be part of her Mother’s Day, I invited her to where I was working for brunch. Obviously, I was cooking and couldn’t come sit with her, but I was able to come out for a little bit and give her a hug, say hi. She was quiet, but seemed to be enjoying herself, so I went back to my work. That night when I finally headed over, she smiled and told me – I get it.” “After years of supporting a passion that she didn’t understand, she was able to look around and see that I was celebrating Mother’s Day all along. That I was giving this gift to these women, offering this meal and this event. Allowing them to spend this time with their families. She was really proud of me, even though it meant accepting that sometimes I wasn’t going to be there for holiCOVER

“There is only so much that can be taught. Something has to come from inside. Something has to just be you deciding to get up every day and do this. To reach. We have these amazing chefs now in Omaha who are at the pinnacle of what you can do to be better.” I press him for a bit, as a few pop instantly to mind. He names several, before landing on one of his most solid examples. “Ben Maides. He’s at Au Courant right now and you can see him in all of those dishes. The amount of work he has put into getting where he is, that’s it. That’s not the end of learning food, but that’s the end of that dish. It is where it needs to be. His food is at a point right now where he would have to spend years studying the product and changing and trying just to become negligibly better than it is. This fraction of a degree more delicious that a perfect palate couldn’t detect, and he could kill himself doing it. And we have so many chefs in Omaha now working at that level. They have studied their craft, but it wasn’t the books that got them there. It was the passion.” And O’Malley knows that he is privileged to be a witness to all of this passion. He remembers when the tide began to shift.” There was a time when getting a TGIFridays meant we were finally on the map. It sounds terrible, but that’s where it starts. Omaha was enough of a ‘place’ to merit this chain that was doing so well all over America.” “So we started getting these chains in, and then it happened. Really, the first place that really put their cards on the


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JULY 2017


to eat it, who cares? They really do it and they take the time to do it right.”

table in this big way was Upstream. Here was this big parcel, this big space, and the urge was to put something like a TgIF in there. Something that was known, that would do well. Instead, they built it into Upstream, and it was something omaha hadn’t seen before. It was such a gamble, and look at it. The way it succeeds, the way it thrives. They’re still doing most of that menu from scratch. And it’s good. Anyone can say ‘well, we made this ourselves’, but if nobody wants

“obviously at this point, it’s streamlined, ya know. They know their process. They could do it with their eyes closed, but they’re still doing it every damn day. And they were the first, and it was the first taste of what a real appreciation for food could look like. Upstream was the start of omaha realizing just how much more there was to culinary art, and wondering how much further the idea could be taken. This helped ignite a cultural shift, where diners were not only interested in seeing better menus, they were interested in seeing better ingredients, and getting to know the people making their food. This helped to remind people how much more food could really be.” Cooking shows have done a lot to convince us that an amazing food is

Experience Made from

Scratch Comfort Food

within our power, but they do little to actually educate laymen on just how one might be able to achieve such a magnificent meal.

Haute Cuisine at Home Food as an expression of love is more than a tradition, it’s an instinct. My 4 year old likes to prepare me a meal before he leaves for his dad’s for the weekend. He knows that I would rather be eating with him, and so he feels that the next best thing is a meal he made for me. That’s instinct. The fact that what he makes me is usually something like a banana peel with a cracked egg and a dash of turmeric is where Metro comes in. Passion without education will consume you. Knowledge without passion will burn you out. Metro has expanded on its professional cooking agenda to offer noncredit open Kitchen classes and workshops to anyone interested. Courses on

DELICIOUS WOOD-FIRED COMFORT FOOD. • Wood Oven Baked Sourdough Bread • Pissaladere French Style Pizza • House Made Rigatoni With Roasted Vegetables • Cedar Planked Steelhead Salmon

CLASSIC AMERICAN DINING EXPERIENCE. • House smoked ribs with cherry BBQ sauce • Succulant Prime Rib • House Baked apple pie with rich vanilla ice cream


1/2 price kids meals Sunday and Monday nights

Once you have dined with us we promise you’ll travel back for more! 1814 N 144th St. • 402-493-4743 •

All delivered in warm cozy atmospheres | THE READER | | THE READER |

To learn more about these programs, check out College for Kids and College for Teens programs through Metro Community College.


1/2 price kids meals Sunday and Monday nights

All made from scratch and served with care by our experienced staff 8702 Pacific St. • 402-964-2227 • JULY 2017 JULY 2017

Learning how to prepare a delicious, healthy meal should be a tradition we hold on to. Metro and Family Fare are working together to help make this a reality for omaha families.

Thank You for Voting us Best of the Best!


8 8

technique, sauces, casseroles, baking, and more are offered to anyone who wants to learn more about putting on an incredible meal. A summer culinary camp is available for kids aged 8 to 18, with a different focus each week from nutrition to knife skills. When o’Malley was first offering the class, he was concerned with making it affordable for everyone. Family Fare stepped in and, seeing the good o’Malley and his team were able to do in the community, offered to sponsor the program, cutting the cost per member in half.

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Classic rock tunes with a big band twist; big band standards with a rock and roll twist.

Now We’re Cooking Food has become a battleground in recent decades. generations of passing recipes through families seated around the same table have given way to 2 parents each working 2 jobs, kids with more extracurricular and social obligations than they have time, and everyone’s face buried in an app as they grab their dinner and go. Mindless munching on nutritionally bankrupt foods have burdened us with obesity and guilt over the act of eating, which either forbids or fetishizes enjoying a meal. A revolution in dining has taken place in the last several years, and families are becoming more aware of the options and abundance available to them. Local sourcing and mindful practices have renewed heirloom foods nearly gone extinct, and o’Malley and the team at Metro are seeing interest in the art of the meal beginning to really take root. “People are remembering this skill. So many people in the last generation were going to college and off into the world not really knowing how to make even the most basic meals. We’re seeing now, people want to be able to wield this again. They’re becoming more aware of what’s in their food,

they’re enjoying it more and they’re wanting to be able to go home and make it themselves. They’re engaging again, and what we’re seeing is that it’s not only making them better home cooks, it’s making them better diners. They’re understanding food, which isn’t as simple as ‘this tastes good’ or ‘there’s something wrong with this,’ There is so much more to enjoying your food than just ‘liking’ it. And the hope isn’t some pipe dream of perfect diners eating perfect food in perfect restaurants. The end game is a return to appreciation, presence, and enjoyment.

world premiere

Does it Consume You?

July 12 – 23, 2017

However strong the fire is burning inside you, Metropolitan Community College has a program to stoke your passion for cooking. Workshops make a great date night, interactive, fun, and delicious. Non-Credit classes are excellent for the casual chef, picking up skills and tips to run a home centered around the love-language of food. And if you have sampled some of the finest food in omaha and thought “this is my future,” the fully accredited culinary arts degree program has all but one of the tools you need to count yourself among omaha’s chef royalty. The passion, well, you’ll have to bring that one on your own.

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A Systems Approach To Addressing Food Insecurity by L e o A d a m B i g a Food insecurity in northeast Omaha is a question of access, education and poverty. Nancy Williams has designed her nonprofit No More Empty Pots around “equitable access to local, fresh, affordable food” via a holistic approach. It offers the Community Market Basket CSA (community supported agriculture) as well as shared commercial kitchens, a training kitchen and classes. Its Food Hub in Florence is adding a business incubator,


P H O T O G R A P H Y D e b r a S . K a p la n an d K e v i n L y t l e

community cafe, kids kitchen and rooftop garden. “We could just do one thing and satisfy a symptom, but we’re trying to address the root cause issue of poverty – of which hunger is a symptom. The

Nancy Williams, Standing in front of the entrance to the Food Hub, No More Empty Pots

food hub concept is a systems approach to not just deal with hunger but to get people trained and hired and to support startup businesses. So we have a multi-pronged approach to supporting local food and supporting people who

need access to food and the people providing that food. “Poverty is not just about food deserts and hunger. it’s about livable wages, adequate education, meaningful connections. It’s about being able to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. It’s about people engaging. You see, it’s one thing to get people to food because they’re hungry or they don’t have access to it. It’s even something more if they have access to living continued on page 12 y

Chef Sarah Bleich, Food Hub Manager (left) Chef Jessica Schultes, Kitchen Manager (right) COVER


JULY 2017


produce food and get food to people, the way people consume it and how we value it. The different ways intersect. It takes all of it. But there needs to be some calibration, hole-plugging and shifting. “We can get there, but it has to be done collaboratively so we’re not working in silos.” Nancy Williams speaking with food hub director Sarah Bleich

wage jobs where they can then choose their food.” Pots is based in North Omaha, she said, in recognition of its “rich cultural heritage of food and community” and concurrent “disparities in health, healthy food access, equity and economics.” “So, we wanted to make a difference there first, then catalyze a ripple effect in urban, suburban and rural spaces. We believe in the reciprocity of local food.” An effective food system involves a social contract of public-private players. In Omaha it includes United Way, Together, the Food Bank, Saving Grace Perishable Food Re s c u e , v e n dors, producers, schools, churches. “It’s not a simple thing to talk about food access and deser ts,” Williams said. “It’s a whole system of the way we

On the access-educationemployment side are community gardens and urban farms like those at City Sprouts, which also offers classes and internships. A farmers market is held there, too. Charles Drew Health Center and Florence Mill also host farmers markets. Minne Lusa House is a neighborhood engagement-sustainability activator.. Some churches, including Shepherd of the Hills and New Life Presbyterian, provide free monthly community meals. New Life also provides food to participants in its youth summer enrichment program. “There are food insecure kids that come,” pastor Dwight Williams said. “There is a lot more need than we are able to access.”

Eric Crawford,

Executive Director, Heart Ministry Center

Community organizations serving seniors, youth and the homeless have a free meals component to meet food insecurity needs.

The Omaha Public Schools provides free and reduced lunches to the majority of its students. Private institutions rely on donations to fill the gap. Local farmer Brian Vencil recently directed a $2,500 donation from the America’s Fa r m e r s G r o w Communities program to help feed kids at Holy Name School. Nanc y Williams said everything has its place. “C o m m u n i t y gardens make food accessib l e, he lp p e opl e b e come more self-sufficient and engage. It’s about community building. You can’t have fo o d wit hout community. At Terry Sanders, farmers markets At the entrance of the Fair Deal Grocery cust omers l e arn about where the on pace to give away more than 3 milfood comes from, talk to growers about lion pounds of food this year.” production practices and how to use Heart case management services products. It develops relationships. The more food customers get from farmers strive to get clients to self-sufficiency. markets the more likely they’ll continue Project Hope director Lori Lindberg shopping there and expand their pal- said its pantry serves mostly one-time, ette, which gives growers the opportuni- emergency needs recipients. ty to grow and sell more and put more Church of the Resurrection is trying money into the local economy.” a mobile food pantry starting July 15. Pantries play a role, too. Then there are the aquaponics sys“On average we have about 600 tems Greg Fripp and his Whispering clients come through our food pantry Roots team build, often with students in weekly,” Heart Ministry Center execu- schools, that grow vegetables and fish. tive director Eric Crawford said. “We’ve “Aquaponics has its place in that been seeing more clients come. We’re next level of production,” Williams said. continued on page 14 y


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Terry Sanders inspecting fresh foods at Fair Deal Grocery

“There’s education, job training, entrepreneurship. There’s an opportunity to do institutional supply because you can scale it.” The new Fair Deal Grocery was located on North 24th Street to fill fresh food scarcity in the area. “Whenever you can put food where people are, it’s better than trying to find transportation or other means of getting people to it,” Williams said. Fair Deal Village Marketplace manager Terri Sanders said it’s challenging getting people to try it. “Sometimes it takes more education in some places than others,” Williams said. “If you’ve never been exposed to it, just because it’s plopped down in front of you doesn’t mean you’re going to go to it. You need somebody to help you make that transition. Sometimes you don’t even know you need it until somebody points out the benefits and then you take advantage of it.”

Economic Development Cooperation, which sponsors the Collective. “Education is a big gap for people,” Coore said. “Residents say it’s something the community needs. They often don’t know how to shop for healthy foods or don’t know some of the foods or don’t know how to cook them so they are tasty and appealing to the palette.” Partnerships with local organizations help built food literacy. Still, getting residents’ buy-in takes time. “It’s a neighborhood difficult to engage because they’re so used to being told what to do and not asked how to solve those issues. But we’ve seen prog-

ress. Resident committee members are taking part in the planning. We’re working on getting more residents involved. The beautiful thing is that each has personal networks they can tap into, so it’s pretty much radiating out.”

“You provide solutions tailored for that specific community because every community’s different. Everybody needs food, but the way you implement these techniques, policies or systems needs to fit within that community.”

Greg Fripp’s sustainable practices dream is taking shape at Highlander Village on North 30th Street. The world headquarters for his Whispering Roots will include a greenhouse, education center and production center. Steelhead trout and vegetables will be grown there. He partners with farmers markets, Hy-Vee stores and others to get food to market. Roots teaches youth and adults how to build food systems and grow food.

He sees more inclusivity happening. “We’re getting more organizations that want to spend time with community and collaborating.”

“Highlander’s goal is about community development- engagement, and that’s exactly what Whispering Roots does. We say, ‘we grow, we feed, we educate.’ We need to draw more attention to North Omaha. it’s not that students in underserved communities can’t learn and don’t want to learn, they just need access to support, materials and resources. And then they can compete.” Fripp said he’s learned “you have to meet people where they are and understand that community in order to deliver them a solution that actually works.”


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Fripp sees a need to bridge a disconnect between policymakers and “people implementing change on the ground.” “When that happens,” he said. “we’re going to see an acceleration of change in terms of how some of this stuff gets delivered. You still have some people who make decisions not really connected to the community.” “We’ve made progress getting access to lots,” said Fripp, who also does community gardens and urban farms. “That was something that didn’t happen in the past. We put together a team to write new policies to allow people to use city lots to grow food.” Similarly, he’s seen acceptance of aquaponics grow. “We’re not as advanced as other cities, but we’re coming along. People are starting to see the power of what we do – from growing food to educating children to engaging public. They’re starting to see it really works and at whatever scale you want to do it.”

The Creatives Collective works with north side residents on education-advocacy through classes, events and activities, including culture fairs. Jody-Ann Coore is community engagement coordinator for the Omaha

“I am a fan of any model that works in a community with the community that produces what the community needs in the way the community needs and that values people in that process,” Nancy Williams said. “It’s not going to look the same everywhere and frankly most things shouldn’t look the way they’ve always looked because those things aren’t working.”


Greg Fripp, Standing in front of the greenhouse development COVER


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by L e o A d a m B i g a


it happening again and why isn’t it every year because it’s such a great time bringing the community together with family and old friends. People look forward to it.

he African-American diaspora migration from the South helped populate Omaha in the 20th century. Railroad and packing house jobs were the lure. From the late 1960s on, a reverse trend has seen African-Americans leave here en mass for more progressive climes. A variant to these patterns finds thousands returning each odd-numbered August for a biennial community reunion known as Native Omaha Days. This 21st reunion happens July 31 through August 7. Featured events range from gospel and jazz concerts to talks, vendor displays, a parade and a ball. Nobody’s quite sure how many native Omahans living outside the state head home for it to rekindle relationships and visit old haunts.

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Even Omaha residents keep their calendars open for it.

Viv Ewing and John Ewing photo courtesy of the Ewing family

vented it. She hopes to free up her schedule for this year’s fest. “I’m trying to. I usually plan a year ahead to come back.”

Thomas Warren, president-CEO of the Urban League of Nebraska, which this year hosts its 90year anniversary gala during Native Omaha Days, may put it best:

She said she brought her children for it when they were young because “that’s pretty much where our roots are from.” She’s delighted her now grown kids are “planning to come back this year.”

“People make it a purpose to come back.”

Serial nonprofit executive Viv Ewing said Native Omaha Days touches deep currents.

Former resident Reshon Dixon left Omaha for Atlanta 24 years ago and she’s been coming back ever since, except when military commitments pre-


“There are people who have moved away who plan their vacations so that they come back to Omaha during this particular time, and that says a lot about what this event means to many people across the country.”



“People look at this event very fondly. In the off-year it’s not being held, people ask when is

“I’ve cut business trips as well as vacations short in order to make sure I was at home during this biennial celebration,” Warren said. Sheila Jackson, vice president of the nonprofit that organizes it, said, “It’s one big reunion, one big family all coming together.” Juanita Johnson, an Omaha transplant from Chicago, is impressed by the intentionality with which “people come together to embrace their commonality and their love of North Omaha.” She added, “It instills pride. It has a lot of excitement, high spirits, energy and enthusiasm.” As president of the Long School Neighborhood Association and 24th Street Corridor Alliance, Johnson feels Native Omaha Days could play a

Likewise for Paul Bryant, who also left Omaha for Atlanta, there’s no doubt where his allegiance lies. “Omaha will always be home. I’m fifth generation. I’m proud of my family, I’m proud of Omaha. Native Omaha Days gives people another reason to come back.” ther.

Sheila Jackson helps organize Native Omahans Days

greater role in community activation and empowerment. “I think there’s an opportunity for unity to develop from it if it’s nurtured beyond just every two years.” Empowerment Network Director of Operations Vicki Quaites-Ferris hopes it can contribute to a more cohesive community. “We don’t want the unity to just be for seven days. We want that to overflow so that when people leave we still feel that sense of pride coming from a community that really is seeing a rebirth.” Ewing said even though it only happens every two years, the celebration is by now an Omaha tradition. “It’s been around for four decades. It’s a huge thing.” No one imagined it would endure. “I never would have dreamt it’d be this big,” co-founder Bettie McDonald said. “I feel good knowing it got started, it’s still going and people are still excited about it.” She said it’s little wonder though so many return given how powerful the draw of home is. “They get emotional when they come back and see their people. It’s fun to see them greet each other. They hug and kiss and go on, hollering and screaming. It’s just a joyous thing to see.” Dixon said even though she’s lived nearly as long in Atlanta as she did in Omaha, “I’m a Cornhusker first and a Peach second.”

A little extra enticement doesn’t hurt ei-

“We really plan things for them to make them want to come back home,” said McDonald. She drew from the fabled reunion her large family – the Bryant-Fishers – has held since 1917 as the model for Native Omaha Days. Thus, when her family convenes its centennial reunion picnic on Sunday, August 13, it will cap a week’s worth of events, including a parade and gala dinner-dance. Bryant, a nephew of McDonald, is coming back for the family’s centennial. He’s done Native Omaha Days plenty of times before. He feels both Native Omaha Days and reunions like his family’s are ways “we pass on the legacies to the next generation.” He laments “some of the younger generations don’t understand it” and therefore “don’t respect the celebratory nature of what goes on – the passing of the torch, the knowing who-youare, where-you-come-from. They just haven’t been taught.” Sheila Jackson said it takes maturity to get it. “You don’t really appreciate Native Omaha Days until you get to be like in your 40s. That’s when you really get the hang of it. When you’re younger, it’s not a big thing to you. But when you get older, it seems to mean more.” Sometime during the week, most celebrants end up at 24th and Lake Streets – the historic hub for the Black community. There’s even a stroll down memory lane and tours. The crowd swells after hours. “It’s almost Omaha’s equivalent of Mardi Gras, where you’ll have thousands people just converge on the intersection of 24th and Lake, with no real plans or organized activities,” Warren said. “But you know you can go to that area and see old friends, many of whom you may not have seen for several years. It gives you that real sense of community.” Fair Deal Village Marketplace manager Terri Sanders, who said she’s bound to run into old Central High classmates, called it “a multigenerational celebration.”

Touchstone places abound, but that intersection is what Warren termed “the epicenter.” “I’m always on 24th and Lake when I’m home,” said homegrown media mogul Cathy Hughes, who will be the grand marshall for this year’s parade. “I love standing there seeing who’s coming by and people saying, ‘Cathy, is that you?’ I always park at the Omaha Star and walk down to 24th and Lake.”

Paul Bryant with his family

“I do end up at 24th and Lake where everybody else is,” Dixon said. “You just bump into so many people. I mean, people you went to kindergarten with. It’s so hilarious. So, yes, 24th and Lake, 24th Street period, is definitely iconic for North Omahans.” That emerging arts and culture district will be hopping between the Elks Club, Love’s Jazz & Arts Center, the Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha Rockets Kanteen, Jesse’s Place, the Fair Deal Cafe and, a bit southwest of there, the Stage II Lounge. Native Omaha Days’ multi-faceted celebration is organized by the Native Omahans Club, which “promotes social and general welfare, common good, scholarships, cultural, social and recreational activities for the inner city and North Omaha community.” Native Omaha Days is its every-other-year vehicle for welcoming back those who left and for igniting reunions. The week includes several big gatherings. One of the biggest, the Homecoming Parade on Saturday, August 6, on North 30th Street, will feature drill teams, floats and star entrepreneur Cathy Hughes, the founderowner of two major networks – Radio One and TV One. She recently produced her first film, the aptly titled, Media. Hughes is the latest in a long line of native and guest celebrities who’ve served as parade grand marshall: Terence Crawford, Dick Gregory, Gabrielle Union. During the celebration, Hughes will be honored at a Thursday, August 3 ceremony renaming a section of Paxton Blvd., where she grew up, after her. She finds it a bit surreal that signs will read Cathy Hughes Boulevard.

“I grew up in a time when Black folks had to live in North Omaha. Never would I have assumed that as conservative as Omaha, Neb. is they would ever consider naming a street after a Black woman who happened to grow up there. And not just a Black woman, but a woman, period. When I was young. Omaha was totally male-dominated. So I’m just truly honored.” “Native Omaha Days does not forget people that are from Omaha,” Reshon Dixon said. “They acknowledge them, and I think that’s great.” During the Urban League’s Friday, August 4 gala concert featuring national recording artist Brian McKnight at the Holland Performing Arts Center, two community recognition awards will be presented. The Whitney M. Young Jr. Legacy Award will go to Omaha Economic Development Corporation president Michael Maroney. The Charles B. Washington Community Service Award will go to Empowerment Network president Willie Barney. Maroney and Barney are key players in North Omaha redevelopment-revitalization. Warren said it’s fitting they’re being honored during Native Omaha Days, when so many gathering in North O will have “the opportunity to see some of those improvements.” Quaites-Ferris said Native Omaha Days is a great platform. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate North Omaha and also the people who came out of North Omaha. There are people who were born in North Omaha, grew up in North Omaha and have gone on to do some wonderful things locally and on a national level. We want to celebrate those individuals and we want to celebrate individuals who are engaged in community. continued on page 18 y



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“It’s a really good time to celebrate our culture,” Quaites-Ferris said. “It’s a chance to catch up on what’s going in everybody’s life.” “I really admire the families who are so highly accomplished but have never left, who have shared their talents and expertise with Omaha,” said Hughes. She echoes many when she expresses how much it means returning for Native Omaha Days. “Every time I come, I feel renewed,” she said. “I feel the love, the kindred spirit I shared with so many of my classmates, friends, neighbors. I always leave feeling recharged. I can’t wait.”

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The celebration evokes strong feelings. “What’s most important to me about Native Omaha Days is reuniting with old friends, getting to see their progression in life, and getting to see my city and how it’s rebuilt and changed since I left,” Dixon said. “you do get to share with people you went to school with your success.” Juanita Johnson considers it, among other things, “a networking opportunity.” Paul bryant likes the positive, carefree vibe. “There we are talking about old times, laughing at each other, who got fat and how many kids we have. It’s 1:30-2 o’clock in the morning in a street crowded with people.” “by being native, many of these individuals you know your entire life, and so there’s no pretense,” Warren said. Outside 24th and Lake, natives flock to other places special to them. “When I come back,” Dixon said, “my major goal is to go to Joe Tess, get down to the Old Market, the zoo, go through Carter Lake and visit Salem baptist Church, where I was raised. My absolute favorite is going to church on Sunday and seeing my Salem family.” Some pay respects at local cemeteries. Dixon will visit Forest Lawn, where the majority of her family’s buried.

The Club at Indian Creek July 17-23, 2017

Native Omaha Days is also an activator for family reunions that blend right into the larger event. yards, porches and streets are filled with people barbecuing, chilling, dancing. It’s one contiguous party. “It’s almost like how these beach communities function, where you can just go from house to house,” Hughes said. The Afro-centric nature of Native Omaha Days is undeniable. but participants want it understood it’s not exclusive.


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“It just happens to be embedded in the African-American community, where it started,” Dixon said. “Anyone can come, anyone can participate. It has become a little bit of a multicultural thing – still primarily AfricanAmerican.” Some believe it needs to be a citywide event. “It’s not like it’s part of the city,” bryant said. “It’s like something that’s going on in North Omaha. but it’s really not city-accepted. And why not?” Douglas Country Treasurer John Ewing agrees. “Throughout its history it’s been viewed as an African-American event when it really could be something for the whole community to embrace.” His wife, Viv Ewing, proposes a bigger vision. “I would like to see it grow into a citywide attraction where people from all parts come and participate the way they do for Cinco de Mayo. I’d like to see this event grow to that level of involvement from the community.” Terri Sanders and others want to see this heritage event marketed by the city, with banners and ads, the way it does River City Roundup or the Summer Arts Festival. “It’s not as big as the College World Series but it’s significant because people return home and people return that are notable,” Sanders said. Her daughter Symone Sanders, who rose to fame as bernie Sanders’ press secretary during his Democratic presidential bid, may return. So may Gabrielle Union. Vicki Quaites-Ferris sees it as an opportunity “for people who don’t live in North Omaha to come down and see and experience North Omaha.” She said, “Sometimes you only get one peripheral view of North Omaha. For me, it’s an opportunity to showcase North Omaha. Eat great food, listen to some wonderful music, have great conversation and enjoy the arts, culture, business and great things that may be overlooked.” John Ewing values the picture if offers to native returnees. “It’s a great opportunity for people who live in other places to come back and see some of the progress happening in their hometown.” Recently completed and in-progress North O redevelopment will present celebrants more tangible progress than at anytime since the event’s mid-1970s start. On

24th Street, there’s the new Fair Deal Village Marketplace, the renovated blue Lion Center and the Omaha Rockets Kanteen. On 30th street, three new buildings on the Metro Fort Omaha campus, the new mixed-use of the former Mister C’s site and the nearly finished Highlander Village development. For some, like Paul bryant, while the long awaited build-out is welcome, there are less tangible, yet no less concerning missing pieces. “I think the development is good. but I truly wish in Omaha there was more opportunity for African-American people to be involved in the decision-making process and leadership process. but that takes a conscious decision,” bryant said. “What I’ve learned from Atlanta is that unlike other cities that wanted to start the integration process with children, where school kids were the guinea pigs, Atlanta started with the professions – they started integrating the jobs. Their slogan became “We’re a city too busy to hate.” So they started from the top down and that just doesn’t happen in Omaha.”

tive Omaha Days visits to stay abreast of happenings in her beloved North O. She and John Ewing suggest the celebration could play other roles, too. “I think it’s a good way to lure some natives back home,” Hughes said. “As they come back and see the progress, as they feel the hometown pride, it can help give them the thought of, ‘Maybe I should retire back home in Omaha.’” “I think Omaha could do a better job of actually recruiting some of those people who left, who are talented and have a lot to offer, to come back to Omaha,” Ewing said, “and if they’re a business owner to expand or invest in Omaha. So there’s some economic opportunities we’ve missed by not embracing it more and making it bigger.” Ewing, Sanders and others believe Native Omaha Days infuses major dollars in hotels, restaurants, bars and other venues. The Omaha Convention and Visitors bureau does not track the celebration’s ripple effect, thus no hard data exists.

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“I don’t think it’s accurately measured He worked in nor reflected in terms Omaha’s for-profit of the amount of and non-profit secrevenue generated tors, before moving based on out-of-town Terry Sanders, to Atlanta. visitors,” Warren Fair Deal Village Marketplace manager said. “I suspect it has “A lot of things a huge impact on commerce and activity.” happen in Omaha that are not inclusive. This isn’t new. Growing up, I can remember CharSome speculate Native Omaha Days lie Washington, Mildred brown, Al Goodwin, could activate or inspire homegrown busibob Armstrong, Rodney S. Wead, talking nesses that plug into this migration, about it. The story remains the same. We’re “I think it can certainly be a spark or on the outside running nonprofits and we’ve a catalyst,” Warren said. “you would like to got to do what we have to do to keep afloat. see the momentum sustained. you hope this but leadership, ownership, equity opportuniseries of events may stimulate an idea where ties to get involved with projects are few and a potential entrepreneur or small business far between. If you’re not able to share in the owner sees an opportunity based on the capital, if your piece of the equation is to activity that occurs during that time frame. be the person looking for a contribution, it’s Someone could launch a business venture. hard to determine your own future.” Certainly, I think there’s that potential.” Perhaps Native Omaha Days could be For Native Omaha Days history and a gateway for African-American self-deterevent details, visit mination. It’s indisputably a means by which natives stay connected or get reconnected.

“I think its’ critical,” said Cathy Hughes, who relies on the Omaha Star and her Na-


Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at,



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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. .


JULY 2017



eartland Healing has previously noted the value and importance of healthful fat in the diet. When we did, we received a scathing rant of a letter from a cretin university medical school student. In his ad hominem attack and screed, he scolded me for promoting fat; wrote that fat was bad, causes heart disease and on and on. He cursed me and damned me with, “If Mr. Braunstein wants to eat Big Macs and die at an early age of clogged arteries (Note: too late for that, pal.) then let him.” Though the column in question made it clear there is “good” fat and “bad” fat, our friendly student critic missed that part. Apparently comprehensive reading skills are no longer a requisite for acceptance to medical school. Then again, one must recall that doctors are hardly the arbiters of good diet. Doctors have endorsed cigarette smoking as innocuous pleasure and in the ‘60s, cardiologists pimped trans fat margarine as “heart healthy.” But we’re here to claim, “Fear not the fat.” Good fat and bad fat can very generally be discerned by a simple criterion: If human meddling is involved with the fat, then it is likely “bad” fat. If the fat is pretty much in its natural state, then it stands a good chance of being “good” fat. But like eggs, cholesterol and butter, fat has been skewered as a sinister element in the diet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fat is necessary for life. Without it, our cells would fall apart. We’d be a horrible mess. Fat occurs in nature in many differing forms. Even with natural fats, we could experience health problems if we eat too much of the wrong kind. Let’s review the basic kinds of fat. Saturated fats These are typically associated with fat from animal sources such as meat, cheese or milk. We have long been told that there is a connection between animal fats and disease, notably heart disease, which ranks just behind conventional medicine as the leading cause of death in the United States. Many speculate that the prejudice against animal fat was actually initiated by the food industry to make chemically-produced trans fats more appealing to consumers. Saturated fats, accused of association with atherosclerosis or heart disease, do instead have their own set of health benefits. We are learning more about the important balance between the different fatty acids contained in animal sources. Unsaturated fats These are usually fats derived from plant sources. They also are in the form of mono-unsaturated (olive oil, for example) and poly-


unsaturated fats (such as canola, soy or corn). Some scientists believe these fats actually improve heart health by increasing the level of so-called good cholesterol in the blood. Other researchers, notably Mary Enig, Ph.D., believe vegetable fats are not the health panacea they are made out to be. Trans fats Artificially created trans fats are deadly. Known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats on labeling, a Harvard review in 1994 suggested trans fats cause 30,000 deaths a year in the United States by contributing to heart disease. They are also associated with cancers. At first, consumer advocates thought trans fats were a good idea. The selling point was that by using them, we would potentially cut back on animal fats. When trans fats were just coming into their own, we were not fully aware how absolutely toxic they were. Fats domino effect The current trend evaluates healthfulness of fats based more on composite elements rather than general category of saturated or unsaturated. It’s more important to understand the balance and presence of fatty acids that make up the fat. For example, it’s clear that industrial beef has an inferior nutritional profile than grass fed beef. Quoting directly from research published in the journal Nutrition: “Research spanning three decades supports the argument that grass-fed beef…has a more desirable [fat] profile as compared to grain-fed beef. Grass-finished beef is also higher in total [antioxidants].


This results in a better [omega fatty acid] ratio that is preferred by the nutritional community. Grass-fed beef is also higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and cancer fighting antioxidants such as GT and SOD activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries.” Just eat it. So we’re inundated with data, research, propaganda and advertising that take us one way then the other. Should you spend all your time sifting through the numbers in order to eat the right way? It makes more sense to keep it simple when it comes to fats. I move away from the American meat-centric diet. Too much of a thing is a bad thing. Then, when eating meat, choose the non-industrial type from a rancher you know. Probably the worst place (after fast food) to buy meat is a supermarket of any type. Next, seek out foods that are minimally processed or perverted by mankind’s helping hand. Nature does it best when it comes to fats. By now that med school student is selling statins to the masses. Have a burger, buddy. 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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July 4-August 7

Native Omaha Days Pg. 16-18 July 5-8

Omaha Under the Radar Full festival pass $40, single event pass $10, VIP festival pass $75 In its 3rd year, Omaha Under the Radar celebrates cultural innovators. More than 200 artists from all over the United States have participated in this annual event since 2014. The performances will be held at several venues: project project, Joslyn Art Museum, OutrSpaces, KANEKO and Reverb Lounge. Some performers include Warp Trio, Karma Lilola, Departure Duo and David Smooke. ~Cheyenne Alexis

Friday, July 7, 4 to 6 p.m.

‘Work for Change’ Courtney exhibition at Michael Phipps Gallery displays plight of working man, woman

Mark your calendars for the first Friday in July, when The Mike Phipps Gallery opens with new works by Derek Courtney. Originally from West Virginia, Courtney may be known to some locally from several showings in the Benson area, at venues such as Sweat Shop and Petshop. Others may remember him from the cover of the premier issue of Flyover Magazine, the beautifully designed, but now quiet Omaha cultural and art quarterly from Omaha’s Bryce Bridges. A regular at the Bemis Center fundraising auctions, Courtney has also been a part of group shows at the Lux in Lincoln and galleries in Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio, just to name a few. His previous work involved altering old paper documents like blueprints and maps by painting imagery on top, allowing the original document to provide a paper ground as well as a guiding element of the piece. Courtney operates the Caesium studio and gallery, in south Omaha, with two other Omaha artists. A primary theme through Courtney’s new work is the plight of working man and woman. From corporate mistreatment to misguided dreams to unrealized promises, his work examines the emotional, financial and physical toll our vocations take, often for little, nothing, or even negative return.

Courtney’s mixed media pieces will be showing at the Phipps, in Omaha’s W. Dale Clarke Library, through August 25th. The Michael Phipps Gallery, in the southeast corner of the first floor of the downtown branch of the Omaha Public Library. It is free and open to the public during Library hours. An opening reception for the artist will be held Friday, July 7th, from 4 to 6 PM. ~Kent Behrens work since his relocation to Florida and fellow geometric abstractionist Michael Tegland. Opening July 7 from 6-8 p.m., this show is supported with current work by Marjorie Mikasen and Matthew Kluber and more.

Thursdays, July 6 - Aug. 10

Jazz on the Green Turner Park | 5 p.m., FREE

Day will exhibit archival prints with watercolor for his larger works and smaller archival digital prints. The addition of watercolor is a newer medium for Day.

Jazz on the Green is back at Turner Park for six Thursday nights of free music. The park opens at 5 p.m., a pre-show begins at 6:30 and the concert starts at 7:30. The lineup consists of The Potash Twins on July 6, Hector Rosado on July 13, The Sugar Thieves on July 20, Bayou City Brass Band on July 27, Ron E. Beck Soul Revue on Aug. 3 and Sammy Miller & the Congregation finishing off on Aug. 10. ~Cheyenne Alexis

Friday, July 7, 6-8 p.m.

Gary Day and Michael Tegland Modern Arts Midtown Modern Arts Midtown’s July exhibition features former UNO faculty member Gary Day’s newest



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BFF Femme Fest Fundraiser: CJ Mills, Muscle Cousins, Dominique Morgan & The Exxperience O’Leavers Pub (1322 S. Saddlecreek Rd.)

Summer is a time when galleries often provide a lighter visual buffet, offering tasty samplings in the form of group shows. Following in this tradition, Gallery 1516 opens its own Summer Stock 4-artist show on July 7, featuring current work by Omaha’s Angie Seykora, Brian Wetjen, David Patterson and Bridget O’Donnell.

As for Tegland, his medium is listed as graphite on birch panel. Known primarily for his strikingly deceptive black on black drawings, as with Day, he too experiments here with a more colorful palette.

where he taught printmaking, computer animation, and game design. He is the former Director of the UNO Print Workshop, a center that prints and publishes limited edition fine art prints by visiting artists.

Though cool, geometric abstraction is a common bond in this exhibit, the two main contributors display some key differences in their process and aesthetic despite any similarity in their imagery. Another significant motif is artful deception as Day’s digital prints resemble paintings and Tegland’s meticulous mark making suggests etchings.

Tegland’s academic training began in the 70s at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, particularly under the mentorship of artist/ professor Peter Hill whom he credits for his developing aesthetic of geometric and organic shapes and patterns. Though he has benefited from a state academic connection, UNO, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (Sheldon) and the University of Nebraska at Kearney (MONA), equally influential was Tegland’s 30-year stint as Chief Preparator at Joslyn Art Museum.

What they share is a fondness for precise, highly organized pattern and design with the occasional paean to an organic, gestural flourish. So too, does each artist follow his own particular muse…these are not random drawings or prints in either case. For Day, his work is motivated by “eccentric bodies of knowledge, modes of information display, and recent developments in visual perception and neuroscience.” Tegland believes his graphite drawings to be a combination of “my wondering mind and my hand connecting to a thought and then scribing it.” His sense of wonder is deeply rooted in several cultural influences, especially his own Norse and Germanic past. Day is retired and was a Clark Diamond Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska Omaha


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Gary Day and Michael Tegland open at Modern Arts Midtown Friday, July 7, from 6-8 p.m. and continue until July 28. For more details and gallery hours, go to or phone (402) 502-8737. ~Mike Krainak

Friday, July 7-August 27

Angie Seykora/Brian Wetjen/David Patterson/ Bridget O’Donnell:

Summer Stock

Gallery 1516 (1516 Leavenworth St. )



While all share an interest in the tactile and textural possibilities of their chosen media, there is a distinct aesthetic and conceptual variety at play. Patterson is a painter, whose acrylic and mixed media paintings on canvas reflect his bright-hued impressionistic bent toward landscapes both wild and cultivated. Conversely, delicacy is Wetjen’s modality, as his biomorphic watercolors and charcoals call to mind nature’s repetitions of shapes and shadows. O’Donnell’s highly worked prints and paintings contain the measure of her expressionistic interest in the beauty of collapse and decay. Trading in a different way on the phenomenal within the prosaic, Seykora creates large, laborintensive sculptures and wall hangings from repurposed commercial materials. The resulting show promises to bring a cool breeze of young talent to 1516’s offerings. Angie Seykora/Brian Wetjen/David Patterson/ Bridget O’Donnell: Summer Stock opens Friday, July 7 at Gallery 1516 and runs through August 27. The gallery is open Friday — Sunday from 11am to 5pm, and on First Fridays until 8pm. ~Janet L. Farber

Sunday. July 9

A collective of performers are showcasing their talents in a fundraiser for the annual BFF Femme Fest with headlining artist CJ Mills, along with Muscle Cousins and Dominique Morgan and The Exxperience. The organization started in 2015 by Rebecca Lowry to “celebrate the growth of the Omaha music community and it’s sudden boom in musicians who were women and non-binary” as it states on its website. The fest definitely owns up to that reputation. 44 bands performed the first year and 56 on the second. Now in its third year, the group hopes to expand its reach by hosting this fundraiser and all of the proceeds go towards paying the bands that perform for the expanded two-day annual fest which will happen this year in September. Expect a mix of acoustic soul, R&B and Dirty sib rock to mash up on the stage. You have to be 21 to enjoy this goodness, but it’s only $10 to attend. Take part in what will soon become another Omaha “mustsee” in regards to the music legacy of this city. ~JoAnna LeFlore

Wednesday, July 12

Rock Twist Omaha Community


funniest videos in 1995. The video was 270 dollars and the song turned into an unlikely hit. They have won the battle and have become influential without becoming mainstream. ~Jeff Turner

like “Grocery List” (Leaves album, 2014), they also have the power to bring a strong emotional awareness to social injustice issues like the song “A Suite for Black Lives” which sheds light on violence toward Black people. If you’re bold enough to have a good time, visitors can also experience a live dance performance by tap dancer Jumaane Taylor, also a Chicago native studying at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre. Mesonjinxx is opening. Also opening up for them is Nebraskabased singer and songwriter Mesonjinxx. Expect to create great memories on this Saturday night in the heart of North Omaha. ~JoAnna LeFlore

~Jeff Turner

Friday, July 16 July 14-15

Playing With Fire Pg. 32

Twinsmith Pg. 30 Wednesday, July 19

Friday, July 15, 8 p.m.

Sidewalk Chalk Loves Jazz and Arts Center


$15 for Members, $20 for General Admission

Blondie and Garbage

Sat (7/22, 7/29): 7 p.m. - Sun (7/23, 7/30): 2 p.m. - Fri (7/28): 7 p.m. - Tickets: $25 “Boob.” What does that word say to you? “Dope” ? A female appendage? So what do you make of the title of a world-premiering show from Circle Theatre The Boob Girls, The Musical? Turns BOOB means Burned Out Old Broads.

The Stir Cove Concert Series will continue with Blondie and Garbage. Starting first as an underground band, Blondie, formed by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in the 70s, has put a large impact on the punk and new wave genres with hits such as “Heart of Glass” and “Call Me.” After breaking up in 1982, the group reunited in 1997, and has been touring and performing worldwide since then. American-Scottish alternative rock band Garbage formed in 1993. Their career skyrocketed from the beginning with their debut album “Garbage.” The group has six studio albums, the most recent one, “Strange Little Birds,” was released in 2016.

Re Sexism or ageism for idiots? YBBI (you better believe it.) Omaha’s Joy Johnson, who wrote the book on which this is based, says

~Cheyenne Alexis

Friday, July 21

that’s where it points, embracing that “overlooked demographic” older ladies. Circle Theatre’s youthful Fran Sillau has co-written this off-the page, off- the -wall item along with composer/lyricist   Mark Kurtz who tunes up Résonance and is hands on music-wise at First United Methodist Church.

Goo Goo Dolls Harrah’s Stir Concert Cove, Council Bluffs 7 p.m., $47 |

“Unsane” are a New York experimental noise rock group that have been playing since the late 80’s. They mix touches of elements of hardcore punk and metal. The money they spend on music videos is incredible, with one video, for their song “Scrape”, which was just footage of skateboard accidents intercut with them playing, got named one of MTV’s ten

The Boob Girls THE MUSICAL Chicago based Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul and Funk band Sidewalk Chalk will return to Omaha during their tour of latest music An Orchid is Born. The seven-person band consists of a dynamic live sound including Rico Sisney (MC), Maggie Vagle (Vocals), Charlie Coffeen (Keys), Josh Rosen (Bass), Jerrel Johnson (Drums), Sam Trump (Trumpet), and David Ben-Porat (Trombone). What’s unique about this group is that they don’t conform to just one genre of music and often bounce back and forth between tempos during a song. It’s only right that you have to dance to keep up. While they lift your spirits with songs

July 22-30

Jewish Community Center 333 S. 132nd St


w/Fashion Week, Ocean Black

~Cheyenne Alexis

Wednesday, July 19 Harrah’s Stir Concert Cove, Council Bluffs 7 p.m., $47 | Billy McGuigan’s live show “Rock Twist” combines elements of big band, jazz, rock, and swing. This is a requests show and McGuigan is a remarkable talent, during one of his shows, “Yesterday and Today”, he had himself and his band memorize the entire Beatles anthology to the point where they could play it on a second’s notice. Whenever someone requests a song, Billy engages with them and asks why that is, allowing the show to become more interactive and adding to the experience. McGuigan performed to a packed house on Jazz on the Green last year and promises to repeat when he comes to the Omaha Community Playhouse on July 12th.

continue making music and touring. Their most recent album, “Boxes,” was released in 2016.

The Goo Goo Dolls formed in 1985 with three members under the name the Sex Maggots. The American rock group has released many hit songs such as “Name,” “Slide” and their Grammynominated single “Iris,” which spent 18 weeks on the Billboard’s number one spot. Two remaining members, Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac,


Four such ladies pursue wild adventures intersecting with ten other characters personified by six cast members. A five piece music group plays. Joy, full of joy, six times a grandma, and hubby Ted plan adventures themselves: full-time life in a RV come fall.    ~ Gordon Spencer

Friday. July 28


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The Dilla Kids perform at Turner Park Night Market Midtown Crossing, 30th and Farnam After releasing their newest mixtape, Like…, a compilation that includes recent

Common and plenty more. While the performance with The Dilla Kids is only for one night during this outdoor food, music and art mash-up style festival, you can still enjoy their music via iTunes which will surely make any joy ride feel like a flight to the moon. ~JoAnna LeFlore

Saturday, July 29

150 for Nebraska’s 150 Exhibition - Bone Creek Pg. 28

website to sign up. If you’ve lived in Omaha most of your life and haven’t been to Benson Days yet, you should get your life together and spend the afternoon soaking up what Benson has to offer.

riety band Pink Kadillac, The Innocence, and country and folk songs with Breakaway. A full listing of dates and performers is found on their website.

~JoAnna LeFlore

~Cheyenne Alexis

Fridays, Through August 18

Friday, Aug. 4

Shadow Lake Sounds of Summer

Cracker and Clarence Tilton

Shadow Lake Towne Center, 72nd Street & Hwy 370 Papillion, Nebraska

The Slowdown, 729 North 14th Street

6:30-8:30 p.m., free

Saturday. July 29, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. songs “Angry” (pushing 800 views on YouTube and counting) and “On the Bounce” which has a music video showing off some of Omaha’s coolest blocks and artist cameos. The performers include two lyricists, Marcey Yates and Xoboi with the added drumming expertise of DRMHD. Together, the trio surprises you with their passion for lyrical hip hop and jazz. They have performed at various venues across the city whose buzz has led to the creation of the New Generation Music Festival which launched in 2016 at Aksarben

Village. Their sound is a constant tribute to one of the original hip hop producing sounds of J. Dilla (worth the google search) who was famous for creating beats for the likes of Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes,


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Benson Days, Celebtrates 130 Years Maple Street, 59th-63rd Street This street festival is bound to bring out the kid in you. Whether its a bike ride, going roller skating, learning a drill team step, petting bunnies or jumping in a huge bounce house; you can pretty much count on acting childish (in a good way) at this momentous neighborhood celebration. While there are adult things to do too, Benson Days is meant to invoke a spirit of joy for the whole family. As an official event of Nebraska 150, a yearlong celebration of the state’s long history, Benson Days is definitely a staple for the Omaha communit y. The entire strip of the Benson business district will participate having various vendors, art, live entertainment and food. Experience the Pancake Breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by the parade at 10 a.m. The street festival starts immediately following the parade and a long list of stage performances will continue throughout. If you’re interested in anything like volunteering or setting up a booth, visit their



Sponsored by 96.1 Kiss Online, the summer-long Sounds of Summer is bringing exciting artists to the Nebraska Medicine Amphitheater at Shadow Lake Towne Center. From country to classics, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Thirteen artists are performing during this summer series including a few local favorites with sounds from the va-

7 p.m., $29 The alternative rock band Cracker has been around since the early 90s. Led by David Lowery on vocals and Johnny Hickman on guitar, the band is known for their 1993 album “Kerosene Hat,” which reached no. 1 on Billboard. The band has 10 studio albums and many charting singles that gained them widespread attention. Cracker will be coming to Omaha at the all-ages show at Slowdown. Tickets are $29 in advance, $32 the day of the show. Performing with Cracker is alternative country band Clarence Tilton, Omaha natives. ~Cheyenne Alexis

It’s never too early to put on your Christmas Shopping Hat!

Ernest Richardson, Principal Pops Conductor


Offer good on the following shows at the Holland Center Sunday, Dec. 10 at 6 pm Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 pm Friday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 pm Sunday, Dec. 17 at 6 pm (Price Levels 1-4)

Use discount code: JOLLY at 402.345.0606 | THE READER |

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uggest an art museum visit and most likely the traditional venues, Joslyn and Sheldon will enter the conversation first. For the more adventurous, an overnighter to Kansas City and the Kemper might be mentioned too. But for day-trippers anxious to get out of Dodge, the region offers an interesting array of art appreciation within a 100 or so mile radius. Des Moines and Sioux City are logical targets, but for a more comprehensive list of unlikely, unknown options, stay tuned as the Reader begins a series of articles that highlight several for your viewing exploration.



Nation’s only museum of agrarian art can be found in David City, NE BY KENT BEHRENS

Just 66 miles due west of Omaha via NE-92 and 15, the simple storefront that houses the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art can be found just off the square in David City, Nebraska. Bone Creek is one of Nebraska’s hidden gems, nationally recognized as the only museum of agrarian art in the country and often included in any list of the four top museums in Nebraska. In addition, the museum is known nationally for its collection of works by native son Dale Nichols. Nichols name is often mentioned along with Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry as America’s four most influential and notable regionalist/agrarian artists. The museum is the national center for Nichol’s Studies, and they house information, letters and drawings and other Nichols memorabilia. But sweetening the deal and making the one and half hour trek even more rewarding is a chance to see Bone Creek’s major exhibition, 150 for Nebraska’s 150th, that, as its title suggests, honors the state’s anniversary while recognizing an equal number of its artists. The prodigious exhibit continues until July 30 as it easily falls within the museum’s mission, Nebraska style. Our relationship to the land (and it to us) has motivated and affected art for thousands of years. The earth, the land, water, and ice, the flora and fauna, have inspired and infected people’s minds across the world, since the first cave paintings. Agricultural themes can be found in the art and craft of virtually any people of any time period. Agrarianism as a movement in this country was at first a social and political philosophy that put the values of rural society, environmentalism, and farming, above or superior to that of urban society, with the independent farmer being superior to the common worker. Many of the more famous artists associated with the early Agrarian art movement were active or former farmers, or had a direct association with rural or agricultural life or the processing of agricultural products. Artist such as Benton, N.C. Wyeth, son Andrew and his son Jamie, Clifford Still and Diego Rivera to just name a few. Today, Agrarian art has come to mean any art that is inspired by, or is about, our relationship with the land and all things associated; from native prairies to rivers and pristine wilderness, to farming and cultivation, husbandry, mining, land use issues and wildlife. 150 for Nebraska’s 150 has been a huge success for the museum as well as the artists. Over 50 pieces have sold at the time of this writing, a testament to the quality and accessible pricing of these smaller works. The unpretentious exhibit is a collection of works from around the country, put together by Curator Amanda Mobley

Guenther and Collections Manager Gabrielle Comte. The museum, divided into two galleries, is arranged comfortably and well lit. A few groupings felt slightly crowded, but the logistics of arranging, in a small gallery space, 150 works of varying size and media, must have been daunting. Give kudos to the staff for making it work without too much viewer discomfort. Submittals for the show were required to be 11 x 14 inches or less. With 150 works to be displayed, this was an obvious necessity. Much of the work includes the ubiquitous fields, barns, cows, and roosters; but that is an obvious outcome from an agrarian-themed show, and most of the art is of superior quality. Quite a few of the works made an impression, too many to mention here. Some of the standouts, however: • “Pivot,” by glass artist Steven Ramsey, head of Glass and Sculpture at University of Nebraska at Kearney, is a delightful and elegant optical illusion sculpture of the circle pattern left by pivot style irrigators. • Nancy Teague’s “Over Yonder,” an acrylic abstract on canvas that takes the essence of that archaic, grey phrase and brings it into our current colorful lexicon. •Dennis Wattier’s “East to West,” a turned-wood bowl, handsomely captures the sinuous contours of the rolling land, without becoming overly decorative. • Ruth Philiben’s “The Silo,” is a sketchy, gestural watercolor and ink drawing that at first comes off as a study for a future detailed painting, but is simple and honest and stands as a final piece. A large kiosk in the front gallery displayed work from younger, student artists. Three of the pieces of note: a watercolor by Michael Bristol entitled “Reflections of an Ageing Giant,” a detailed and iconic rendering of a grain silo and elevator, evidence of a talented illustrator with a keen eye for depth and composition. Also, look for a graphite drawing from Astrid Mejia, a highly detailed, if somewhat disturbing portrait of a man/cow/pig chimera that might just be a statement about the possible dangers of GMO’s. Lastly, a glass mosaic from Austin Povlika entitled “Big Green Combine.” This interesting, somewhat abstract work was one of only a couple of mosaics, a notably less popular medium. Bone Creek Museum operates with a very small staff, and a large contingent of volunteers. They have won numerous awards and grants, most recently the Rising Star Award from the NEBRASKALand Foundation. The award recognizes outstanding tourism attractions exhibiting successful efforts economic and social fronts. Although their main focus has been on artist Dale Nichols, the Bone Creek Museum does house other collections of note. They have a sizeable collection of works by Luigi Lucioni (1900-1988), a painter and print maker who emigrated to the US as a young boy, and who’s detailed etchings depict laconic, natural settings. Lucioni, known also for his detailed still life and realistic portraiture, is purported to be the first and youngest contemporary artist to sell a work to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other collections housed at the Museum include works by Edward Glannon(1911-1992), a painter and printmaker from Pennsylvania, who’s work is in many private and public collections; and Beth Van Hoesen(1926-2010), an eminent artist known for her poignant animal portraits who’s work is in more than 150 museums across the country.


INTERIOR OF BONE CREEK MUSEUM IN DAVID CITY, NE. PHOTO BY KENT BEHRENS The Museum also has an extensive collection of cover art from Fortune magazine. From about 1930 to 1950, the magazine featured illustration by various artists depicting agrarian and rural imagery of the highest quality. Actually, Bone Creek needs bodies. No, not a trailer for a horror film; it is a plea to get more people out to David City Nebraska to visit the Bone Creek Museum and to support it by volunteering, joining, purchasing or bequeathing or all three. In the introductory brochure for The Ballad of the Farm exhibit, it states that their mission is to make “David City a destination for experiencing great art. Expanded facilities are part of this vision.” Their one real albatross is the size of their facility. This is not to say they haven’t done a superb job with the space they have. The exhibition areas, though small, are quite


comfortable, beautifully finished, and well lit. The state-of-theart art vault and workspace, required for accreditation with the American Association of Museums, is a testament to what you can do in confined areas. The museum offers a summer art camp for kids, has regular workshops (upcoming is a Raku firing workshop scheduled for July 8th,) and artist talks and receptions, museum tours for schools and other groups and an art library. A nicely designed newsletter comes with the basic membership to the Museum. Other membership levels are available and offer more perks. The website, is designed well and easy to navigate. The current exhibit, 150 for Nebraska’s 150th, runs through July 30th. There will be a closing reception on Saturday, July 29th. Several artists are planning to attend.


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THE SIMPLE PLEASURE The Omaha trio delivers on the promise of Alligator Years and releases their best album to date. OF TWINSMITH BY


make this album, was their any piece of gear that you really gravitated toward? A lot of the distinct drum sounds were coming from a Roland 707 drum machine. We kept a lot of the guitar work pretty minimum. Since we weren’t in the studio we didn’t have access to an unlimited amount of gear so we just limited ourselves to what we had personally which in the end works out best for your live setting. You said that with this record the band wanted to make something where the listener could hear “the small, distinct sounds that we were working on.” When you boil it down, the songs don’t have a lot of elements but they still sound sonically rich. Was it kind of a self-imposed challenge for you guys to focus on working with only a few components, or were there any limitations you set out for yourself before making this record?




winsmith will release their third album, Stay Cool, on July 16. Full of gossamer pop jams, it’s an intricate, joyous record perfect for sound tracking a day at the lake or the late night house party afterward. It’s a record that feels quintessentially summer, even if the band didn’t plan for it to be like that. In the lead up to the record’s release, I got a chance to ask singer and guitarist Jordan Smith about the band’s streamlined approach to crafting the record, the vintage equipment that inspired them, and tapping another great Omaha artist to produce.


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The Reader: More than any other time of year, people associate summer with having a certain sound. It usually involves a catchy bass line, jangly guitars, and synths that are really bright and bubbly. A lot of these elements appear on Stay Cool and I was wondering if, given the release date of the record, it was your intention to make a collection of great summer songs? Jordan Smith: I wouldn’t say our main intention was to make a collection of great summer songs. But given the nature of our music it definitely fits the “summer playlist” vibe. I think, like Alligator Years, this record gives you flecks of a lot of the great artists, particularly from the 80s. Who was influencing you guys when making this record, past or present? Fleetwood mac, Prefab Sprouts, Paul Simon, The Boss. Those artists influence [us] just in general. Going off that, the press release for this record mentions you guys used a lot of old drum machines and synths to



We had limitations from the get go. First one being is that we recorded the album in our dining room. We wanted to get out of the studio and just focus on these songs ourselves with little to no distractions. We hadn’t played any of these songs live or tested them out so it was fun to challenge ourselves to make these songs we had in our head a reality. It was totally different approach from the last record since the last one and it’s always fun to try something new. Going back to having “distinct sounds,” I think the album does have some really interesting sonic flourishes like the warped percussion section near the end of “Only You” or the vocal effects on “Forever Young,” was this stuff you guys knew you wanted to incorporate from the get go, or was this something you just stumbled across by fooling around while recording? [Using] the Rototoms percussion bridge was something we had talked about doing in a song before recording but didn’t know exactly where it would land. While working on “Only You” we tried about three different bridge parts to work in but kept finding ourselves flustered or overthinking the part in general. I think someone just said “how about we smash some Rotos for about a minute and call it good.” So when it doubt, bring out the Rotos. “Forever Old” is probably one of my favorites on the album. The vocals were scratch vocals (performed to give the sound engineer a timing reference) I did months before actually tracking the album. We used autotune as a stylistic character for the song, which I think fits in really well. I mean, I would say 90% percent of the recording process is a lot of fooling around. You start to go to some pretty crazy places and it’s hard to tell when to stop. I saw that Graham Ulicny of Reptar produced the record as opposed to Envy Corps who worked on Alligator Years,

was it important for you to have someone from the Omaha scene produce for you? Graham is a close friend of ours and we have always been a big fan of the material he puts out. We brought up the idea of working together just a couple months after Alligator Years was released. We would just send demos back and forth to each other, and get together here and there to piece our ideas together. It was important to be working with someone who had the same idea in mind for these songs and Graham was that person for us. Lyrically, the record talks about these wistful romances in a way that seems just personal enough. Was it important for you guys to find the sweet spot between being intimate and being accessible? I always like to hear what people will piece together behind the meaning of my lyrics to a song. It’s open to interpretation. Being accessible is real easy when you are writing pop music. I will say that this record lyrically was some of the most personal content I have written, but I’ll have to leave it at that. We live in the age where people are getting used to longer, more bloated records as a way to garner more listens in the age of streaming. You guys opted for a record that was only eight tracks which was really refreshing to see. Was it a conscious choice to put out a shorter or just a matter of quality control? I think we definitely had the mindset of making a shorter record. To me, I would rather see artists put out a collection of music out every 5 to 6 months than this 2 year process of recording a long record. With streaming and just how music works in general, you have a very small window to capture an audience and keep yourself relevant. I like the idea of being able to release a song every 2 months and then move on. Maybe that’s what we will do from now on. What are the plans for the rest of the year, more touring, more recording? No plans of any upcoming tours right now, but that can always change. Right now we are enjoying the writing process again and looking forward to doing some collaborations in the future with other artists.


JULY 2017



Playing With Fire Promoter Jeff Davis Reflects on 14 years of Celebrating Music & Community BY B.J. HUCHTEMANN



or Jeff Davis, booking Lasting Friendships Built Through Music and staging the annual Playing With Fire Davis has brought Watson to Omaha to perform several times. The concerts is all about the friendships he builds with some of his favorite artists are part of the fun music and the community. and the reward for him. Davis has also booked Walter Trout for repeat “I was spending a lot of time and performances. His friendship with Trout allowed him to provide some money traveling to other cities to support to Trout and his wife, Marie, when they arrived here hoping for see the artists that interested me,” a liver transplant for Walter in 2014. Davis said. “I kept saying that I “Walter was near death when he arrived in Omaha to await a wished someone would create transplant,” Davis remembered. “He had lost over 100 pounds. I offered a series of events in Omaha that my home as well as a car to his wife, Marie, for the 5 months they were would play the artists I enjoy. I in Omaha. Not a big deal. It’s just what friends do!” finally realized that that someone Walter Trout underwent a successful liver transplant at the Lied could be me. Transplant Center on Memorial Day, 2014. “Secondarily, my business had “I remember exactly where I was when we got the news that there was been successful in Omaha and I a donor,” Davis recalled. “I burst into tears of relief. Five months later thought I should give something when we all hugged and said goodbye at the airport, we all cried tears back to the city. Why not give of joy. Maybe this was the most important outcome of PwF.” something that I enjoy? We wanted to build community and A Fan at Heart use music as the vehicle. If it’s free, then everyone could attend. We When it’s showtime, Davis is among the first on the scene dealing are all here. We are all neighbors. with logistics and set up. He’ll also be found right in front of the stage Let’s have a party!” during the performances, joining the crowd to rock out to his favorite In 2017, Davis’ Playing With acts. Fire series celebrates its 14th year “I think fans would be surprised at the amount of work and money of presenting free blues concerts it takes to produce a show, especially to bring in international artists. in Omaha. The free shows now Enormously complex and detailed paperwork, plus lots of money for take place at Midtown Crossing. visas and airfare,” Davis said. This year the events happen over “This could never be accomplished without volunteers,” he continued. TOMMY CASTRO & THE PAINKILLERS PHOTO BY VICTORIA SMITH two consecutive nights, Friday, “And I would bet that few people would know that The Kris Lager Band July 14, and Saturday, July 15. has performed at PwF more than any other artist. Pretty sure it’s nine Visiting artists include Canada’s Dawn Tyler Watson, UK guitarists Aynsley times!” Lister and Ben Poole plus popular American blues-rocker Tommy Castro. The late, legendary guitarist Johnny Winter drew one of the biggest See for all the details. crowds ever for a Playing With Fire show. When asked what audiences can expect this year, Davis replied, “Filling “His agent said at signing that he would perform only 70 minutes and out some of the bucket list. Finally scoring Aynsley Lister. Two nights of there would be no encore,” Davis said. “It was in the contract. So we intensity. It’s the only North American show for Ben and Aynsley in 2017. structured the timing of the show based on that info. We had a massive I’m pretty sure they will give it their best. And Tommy Castro. There are only crowd. Johnny really got into it and just kept playing. At 120 minutes a few who can write a song, sing a song, and play a song. These artists he finished and then came back for an encore. His band and the crowd are adept at all three. Even though they are all great guitarists, they use the loved it. We burned the curfew but...” guitar to accentuate, not overpower, the vocals or the lyrics. I’m psyched He trails off, indicating it was worth blowing the curfew. Another about Domestic Blend [from Omaha]. They are really fun. I booked them memorable moment came when The Yardbirds played the series in while they are still affordable. Dawn Tyler Watson is bringing a big band. 2007. “My friend Chris Hotz and I took the Yardbirds to dinner at Three horns. A big, dynamic sound. Sullivan’s Steakhouse,” Davis said. “We had their private room. Talked “Dawn Tyler Watson is my Queen of the Blues,” Davis added. “Engaging. for hours with them about Clapton, Page, Beck. Great gigs they did, Empowering. Dynamic. Loves Omaha.” etc. I spent a couple months of house payments, but then how many Based in Montreal, Watson is a multiple-award winner on the Canadian times would you ever have the chance to hang out with icons of the blues scene. Watson had heart surgery in November, achieved a full industry? They were fun once they relaxed. Their comment was that recovery and went on to win the prestigious 2017 International Blues they spend 22 hours preparing to work just two. Leads to all kinds of Challenge in Memphis. issues.”


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6:30 to 9:30pm FRIDAY, FEB 3 MONDAY, JULY 3 Taxi Driver TUESDAY, MAY 2 We Are Closed Today

JOSH HOYER “’Goes to show how jaded a musician can become in this business. After investigating and asking 100 questions, I realized they were legit and it would be a great opportunity for us to grow in the European market. They are great guys and are very professional. They have over 400 requests for tours a year, and only book around 20, so it was an honor to work with them. We look forward to returning in August/September of 2018.” It was Hoyer’s first trip outside the U.S. “I went into it hearing that European music lovers are some of the best in the world. That they love American music and that they treat musicians and artists in general with more respect than most U.S. crowds do. “The reality of the tour was all that, and more. I was amazed at how music transcended almost all the language and cultural barriers between us and every new city we visited. Often times in America, TOMMY CASTRO & THE PAINKILLERS PHOTO BY VICTORIA SMITH it is very difficult for a band to go to a new city or market and have a crowd willing to listen and experience new, original music. You often feel a need, or are even required by promoters or venues, to Free & Always Be songs to keep the crowd happy. You also often play for four hours and play a certain amountWill of cover rarely get dinner or lodging. In Europe, the listeners came to experience what you create. The venues Davis is fed retired afterhealthy 33 years working as the lodging. owner ofThe Davis Erection, an wanted Omahatosteel by and large us nice, meals and provided people genuinely dig structure erection company. He could do something else with his time. But he continues to into something new and really allowed themselves to participate in a live music event. It was incredible START YOUR invest his energy in presenting the annual concerts, hinting SPRING at plans forOFF 2018.RIGHT! and very validating for me as a writer and performer. “Anyone who has ever put on events knows addictive,” Davis replied. “It is so Visit they with are hundreds of vendors in all areas “In Northern Spain,” Hoyer continues, “Every show we played was capped of by multiple encores, rewarding to see people having fun. I really enjoy the process and the logistics as well as from landscape to siding and windows. requested by the entire crowd boldly singing their soccer chant. It was super-intense and humbling. working with the production people. Added value is I love to travel. I combine showcasing Those folks know how to live!” talent [in other cities and countries] and my travel. I really love Omaha and enjoy bringing Other highlights included enjoying strong European coffee and sampling fresh octopus in A Coruña, artists here for the first time. They have become great emissaries for both PwF and Omaha. Spain. “Gazing out over the Mediterranean Sea was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It Both have a great reputation around the world. I live part-time in Toronto. All the blues guys was spectacular!” here know about Omaha.” Davis points to another notable memory. The Power of Music “2004,” he remembered, morning Daily drawing for gift cards“Sunday along with daily during clean up after one of the shows, I “One gentleman came and saw us in three different cities. He is an architect who has had difficulty chatted with a young married couple and their three children. They had been to the show seminars the50s, Iowa State finding work featuring in his field speakers and now infrom his late is still roofing houses. He said our music gave him a the night before, had a great time and just wanted back…to re-experience what Extension’s Master Gardeners, NP Dodge, Blacktotoseecome fresh feeling of strength to keep living and that he wanted us job as many times as he could before they could of the show. He said he didn’t have the greatest and his wife was a full-time Energy & more! Visit withexchange Zebediah T. Camel weHills went home. That kind of genuine of spirit and soul is what music is all They about for me. We homemaker, so, with three kids, having free entertainment was a big deal. and play in the our all-new Kidslaughed. Area with Home Depot, face-painting & more! just couldn’t hugged. We raised fists. We And said we’d see each other soon. afford ticketed shows. They both gave me a hug. So it’s free and always will be!” “At“We mosthave of these shows, multiple people came up to us, brokenDavis English, told us how“Nearly special the managed to keep the series free forand 14 in years,” continued. 70 FREE PARKING! experience was for them and how it made them happy. Every place we played enthusiastically asked shows, 350 bands, over 1000 musicians performing for 750,000 fans. The PwF fans are general kids 10love & 750,000 under free us$5 to come back.admission, I soaked all nearly that and took it home with was incredible.” phenomenal. We haveup had fans come to me. ourItshows. We have never had a Military and Seniors receive a $1 off discount theVoice” door. Hoyerorhopes the exposure andwood. interest generated byat “The willthehelp him we landhave major artist fight an arrest. Knock on And the artists. Every one of artists booked Show yourthe Disney onbooking Ice tickets/stub getall $1have off! management and a solid agent. He’s and working on new songs to release the band’s has loved way they have been treated and askedand forexpects another show [here]. Tickets available Eventbrite or thru the Mid America Centerdreams box office next albumneed in 2018. “You to beonline carefulatwhat you dream,” Davis concluded, “because come true. If theredid!” was a downside to the time in California with “The Voice” or the European tour, Hoyer Mine confides, “it was heartbreaking” from his wife, Sarah, his daughters, Avalee, age FRIDAY, March 17th being - first away 200 people in door getand FREE St. Patrick’s Day eight, and Clara, agebeef three,sandwiches for so long. Hoyer his wife and parents as his biggest personal beads. Corned andcites green beer onhistap! inspirations. In “The Voice” video that introduced him to the world, he brushed away a tear, concluding, “I wanna c b h o m es h ow. c o m show my girls that if you believe in yourself and you work hard enough, good things can happen.”


6:30 to 9:30pm

TUESDAY, JULY SATURDAY, FEB443 WEDNESDAY, Happy 4th OfMAY July!! Red Delicious 9:30pm We6:30 Areto Closed Today

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FEB WEDNESDAY, Envy MONDAY, MAY 8 8 TheGooch Grease Band 9:00 toAnd 1:00am His Big Las Vegas Band


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Gooch And His Big 15 WEDNESDAY, FEB TUESDAY, APRIL 16 Las Vegas Band Daddy Grace &Mac Logan 6:30 to 9:30pm 6:30 to 9:30pm & the Flak TUESDAY, JULY 18 WEDNESDAY, MAY 17

Scott Evans THURSDAY, FEB 16 Bozak & Morrissey 6:30 to 9:30pm 9:30pm 6:30 to Bob Fields and WEDNESDAY, JULY18 19 Swingtime THURSDAY, MAY Chrastil The Bill Hottman Sisters 6:30 to 9:30pm FRIDAY, FEB 17 THURSDAY, JULY1920 Hi-Fi Hangover FRIDAY, MAY

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FEBRUARY 2017 JULY 2017 MAY MAY 2017 2017

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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



uly’s highlights include the Zoo Bar’s anniversary celebration and street festival plus the two-night double-header of Playing With Fire this year. The Zoo Bar’s weeklong 44th Anniversary celebration will be well under way by the time you read this. The Lincoln bar again takes over 14th Street in front of the club to stage ZooFest, a street festival featuring top regional and national artists. Friday, July 7, The Bel Airs kick things off, 5 p.m., followed by The Paladins, 7 p.m., Grammy-winning Ruthie Foster Family Band, 9 p.m., and Chicago’s Sidewalk Chalk, 11 p.m. Saturday, July 8, a BluesEd youth band showcase happens 12-2:30 p.m., then the Mezcal Brothers hit, 3 p.m., followed by the excellent original blues-rock of Hadden Sayers Band, 5 p.m., the jump and swing of Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, 7 p.m., then Zoo Bar favorite and legendary blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, 9 p.m. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal close out the weekend with an 11 p.m. set. Advance tickets are available at and tickets can be purchased at the gate. Other Zoo Bar highlights include Chris Meck & The Guilty Birds from K.C. Friday, July 14, 9 p.m. Zydeco with Chubby Carrier takes center stage Thursday, July 26, 6-9 p.m. The Norman Jackson Band, a 2016 IBC Finalist, performs Friday, July 28, 5 p.m., with roots artists The Black Lillies following, 9 p.m. James Armstrong is scheduled for Saturday, July 29, 6 p.m. Catch schedule updates at Playing With Fire The Playing With Fire Concert series hits Midtown Crossing for two consecutive nights of free, world-class blues. Friday, July 14, gates open at 4:30 p.m. and music begins at 5:30 p.m. with BluesEd band Us & Them followed by Omaha’s own Domestic Blend and headliner Dawn Tyler Watson from Montreal. Watson is a returning artist at PWF and is the 2017 International Blues Challenge winner. Saturday, July 15, gates open at 3 p.m. and music starts at 4:30 p.m. Get there on time to catch Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, who will perform immediately after BluesEd band five minute drive. Then it’s the return of the Ben Poole Band. Multiple British Blues Award winner Aynsley Lister headlines Saturday’s show. Poole is a rising star on the UK scene and Lister is an acclaimed player who promoter Jeff Davis is excited to bring to the U.S. for his only stateside performance. See for details. See the profile on Davis in this issue for a look inside the PWF series. BSO Presents The BSO Presents series at Chrome Lounge continues with Little Mike & The Tornadoes Thursday, July 6. Coco Montoya performs a special Monday show July 10, Polly O’Keary & Rhythm Method take the stage Thursday, July 13. The Andy T Band with special guest Alabama Mike play a CD release show Thursday, July 20. Another special show happens Wednesday, July 26, with the Walter Trout Band. K.C.’s Brandon Miller Band opens. Advance tickets for the Trout show are available at All these shows are 6-9 p.m.




Hot Notes Sunday Roadhouse presents acoustic bluesman Ray Bonneville Sunday, July 23, 5 p.m. at Reverb Lounge. Bonneville is an awardwinning songwriter, singer and guitarist. He is the 2012 IBC solo/duo winner. See The Corner Bar in Fremont offers lots of great touring acts and early shows. Check out their event postings and find other calendar listings on the BSO’s page at 2016 IBC band finalists the Norman Jackson Band have an Omaha show at Ozone Thursday, July 27. Singer-songwriter Esmé Patterson plays Reverb Lounge Wednesday, July 12, 9 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for Steve Earle & The Dukes with openers The Mastersons Tuesday, Aug. 8 at Slowdown. Acclaimed duo The Mastersons also perform as part of Earle’s band and are touring in support of their new disc, Transient Lullaby (Red House Records). Mark your calendar now for Hector Anchondo, E3 Management and the Blues Society of Omaha’s third annual In the Market for Blues festival Saturday, Aug. 5, 3 p.m.-2 a.m. The event presents local and regional acts in multiple Old Market locations. Bookmark for the final announcement of artists and venues.






2017 8PM

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JULY 2017



A Buffet of Strange Movie/Food Opinions B Y R YA N S Y R E K




JULY 2017


Best Food-based Documentary

Worst Meal in a Film

Worst Chef-centric Movie

People eat a lot of disgusting shit in movies. And not just John Waters movies. From Indiana Jones to the guy who exploded in Se7en, choosing one stand-out, truly awful, big-screen meal is difficult to do. My solution? Choose a meal that’s bad in two different ways! Writer/director Taika Watiti’s What We Do in the Shadows is a brilliant bit of mockumentarying that should appear on far more “favorite comedies” lists than it currently does. And I check often. There’s a great scene where vampires use their lowlevel telepathy to screw with soon-to-be blood donors, convincing the meatand-juice puppets that they are eating worms and not spaghetti. Here’s the

Like everyone who ever saw a single moment of Buffy, we know that Sarah Michelle Geller is part divine. The part of her that isn’t made Simply Irresistible, the worst chef-centric movie ever, which is insane considering that Bradley “You Should Really Kick My Nuts” Cooper did one too. If you haven’t seen Simply Irresistible, it’s a special kind of 1990s terrible that we legally don’t let people do anymore. Geller plays some kind of food witch who gets one of the Boondock Saints fall in love with her. Do not watch this hoping “it’s so bad it’s good.” Sometimes it’s not chocolate ice cream in the cup.

ood and movies go together like Mike and Ike or HPV and unprotected sexual intercourse, all four of which may actually go together if you remember certain ad campaigns. You know that any obnoxious hack who is desperate for clicks can put together a top 10 list of food-related movie moments because I did that last year. So this year, just like last month’s collection of weird music-in-movies categories, I have decided to explore the stranger aspects of the collision between cinema and cuisine, movies and meals, flicks and food. Feel free to share your picks in these offbeat areas on Facebook (facebook. com/thereaderomaha/), Twitter ( or email (film@ I offer you no prizes or fame, but I will probably read them without wearing any pants, if that does anything for you. And now, here are some weird categories I made up!



thing, imagining worm slurping is gross. But seeing the canned noodles they’re actually eating isn’t much better. It’s a double-whammy of “not in my mouth.”

Most nonfiction films about food are designed to make you sad, angry or sangry, which is the feeling of wanting to drink sangria until you feel better about the state of the world. Jiro Dreams of Sushi doesn’t make you feel any of those things. Maybe the sangria thing, but that could just be a permanent state of mind. Director David Gelb’s short little ditty is a pensive, fascinating exploration of a man and the cuisine that has consumed his entire existence. Meditative and engrossing, this is the rare food documentary that will have you contemplating more than what’s for dinner.

Best Specific Meal From a Movie Millions of people still believe that Ratatouille is the name of the rodent in the film. While Key & Peele had good fun with that, a better time is had by actually eating ratatouille. Again, just to be clear, I mean consuming the French dish with stewed vegetables and not nibbling on rat tails. Unless you’re nibbling on Shia LaBeouf’s rat-tail, in which case, bon appétit. I’ve tried cooking up several variations of the dish and actually prefer and highly recommend ones that include meat. Again, I don’t mean rat meat, but if you want to include Shia LaBeouf, bon appétit.

Best Movie With People as Food I legitimately did not see a smooth segue for this one, but here we are. From Snowpiercer to zombie movies, there are a not inconsequential number of movies in which people are on the menu. Soylent Green may get all the press, but for my money, Titus is the best people-eatin’ movie to ever serve the most Swift-ianly succulent meats. Directed by Julie Taymor before Spider-Man turned off her dark, this Shakespearean adaptation features Anthony Hopkins back before he sold his soul for Transformers: The Last Knight money. Visually sumptuous and still pointedly applicable, this is one of my favorite bard-to-big-screen flicks and the best where people get eated up.

Movie Restaurant I Wish Was Real I know that somewhere out there is a nerd or nerd-assembled site that will tell me if Mos Eisley Cantina served food. I care not for facts, as I wish instead to dream of a menu for the Star Wars bar entirely on my own. Would there be Ewok Bites? There would. You could also find Jabba Juice, Yoda Yogurt Parfaits and Boba Fetta Cheese Salad, which tastes fantastic but only in small portions. Although I’m certain someone has tried to replicate the experience of actually being in this intergalactic watering hole, if I could click my Sith high heels three times and wish for any place to be truly real, it’d be this wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Best Fast Food Movie Tie-in Oh man do I want you all to tell me your favorite bullshit fast-food movie tie-ins from your youth. I want to share stories of exasperated parents destroying their gastrointestinal systems in service of the quest to acquire cheap superhero/Disney/inappropriately-non-kid-friendly movie toys at burger franchises. For me, it’s a tie between the Great Muppet Caper glasses from McDonald’s and the Lord of the Rings goblets from Burger King. Please do not do the math on the years between those releases to determine how sad it is that one man wanted to acquire full sets of both. Just know that, at some point, alcohol was in all of them.

Clunkiest Food-Related Promotional Placement While we’re talking about tie-ins, let’s talk about stupendously abhorrent product placement that, for some unknown reason, only served to delight me. As one of the few defenders of Power Rangers who didn’t star in or produce Power Rangers, I can tell you that I have no problem with the fact that the film’s climax hinges on a Krispy Kreme donut shop. Maybe it’s the look on Elizabeth Banks’ face—presumably the same one she has when her white feminism erases The Color Purple from her memory—when her villainess pronounces the location. Maybe it’s just that the film is chock full of the kind of good silliness that disarms any substantive critique. Who knows? I just know it was clunky AF, and I don’t care.

Monterey Pop 1968

Sights on Sounds Summer 2017

For fans of great music and great story. Monterey Pop 1968

Mad Tiger 2015

I Called Him Morgan 2016

Turn it Around: The Story of East Bay Punk 2017

Sunday, July 9, 7 pm

Sunday, Aug 13, 7 pm

Sunday, July 16, 7 pm

Sunday, Aug 20, 7 pm


Contemporary Color 2016 Stop Making Sense 1984

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World 2017

Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 2017

Chuck Berry: Hail, Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll 1987 (PG)

Sunday, Aug 27, 7 pm

Sunday, July 23, 7 pm

Sunday, Sept 3, 7 pm

Sunday, July 30, 7 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains 1982 (R) Sunday, Aug 6, 7 pm

All showings at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater. Info & tickets at

Underrated Snack in the Theater I am one of the few staunch holdouts that generally detests the fancy cuisine served at far too many movie theaters these days. I mostly get popcorn. Because you eat popcorn at the movies like a person. That’s what you do. But if I were forced to choose another thing to put in my mouth while watching a movie in public, it’d be pretzels. Nachos sometimes get love, and everyone squawks about this candy or that, but a hot, salty pretzel has more hot twists and turns than a Chuck Tingle adaptation. I’m wildly against elaborate food consumption while watching a first-run film, but I’m radically in support of more pretzel choices in theaters.


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Most Memorable Sexy Food Scene Before the internet ruined everything imaginative about sexual fantasies forever, movies would routinely include weirdly suggestive stuff with food. I don’t miss it. My first thought was almost always “Well, now that it’s been in there, can they even safely eat it?” That’s not a thought you have during Sausage Party, the conclusion of which features one of the funniest and unholiest scenes to ever get its raunch on. Few scenes have ever made me feel so weird while laughing as the things that those sentient food stuffs are stuffing in an orgy that is, in a literal sense, undeniably delicious.



JULY 2017




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HELLO HOLIDAY • I spend more time at Aksarben Cinema than I do at any family member’s home. Honestly, I may be common-law married to the theater at this point, it’s hard to know. And speaking of family and Aksarben Cinema, their Family Fun Series is back! On Monday and Wednesday mornings at the crack of dawn (that’s 10 am, right?), the theater will show all-ages-friendly flicks for just $4, which includes a Junior Combo. They’ll be showing Trolls, The Secret Life of Pets, Rio 2, Penguins of Madagascar, The Peanuts Movie, Home, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Sing. This is a great way to get the family out of the house during the summer months, so that your dogs can go back to gossiping about what they saw you Googling and your cats can resume advancing humanity’s final downfall. • Here’s a thing: Just because I’m not interested in a thing or don’t like a thing, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate that other people like a thing. Not that this has anything to do with the good folks at The Alamo Drafthouse hosting a screening of two Rob Zombie movies (House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects). There are two theaters screening the event on July 29 (head to for more details), but the big news is that character actor Bill Moseley will be there for a meet-and-greet and Q-&-A and presumably other things with hyphens. If you love horror, you’ve seen Moseley a few times, and he’s the kind of actor likely to share some bonkers stories. So even if I find the cinema of Sir Robert Zombie Esquire to be, shall we say, a wee bit “total garbage,” the event is already massively popular, Moseley will be a blast and I hope those of you who like this thing have fun at the thing. Enjoy! • For all youse smarty pantses who like to make with the learnin’, Film Streams is currently holding

a 5-week seminar on The Hollywood Musical. As the genre typically makes me get both the heebies and the jeebies, I will not be attending. However, the idea of a deep dive into tropes and themes of a particular cinematic form is vastly intriguing. This is why I want to personally call your attention to the next seminar from the lovely smarty pantses, which will focus on Sirens of Cinema. That starts in September and is set to explore the women who helped shape the world of film in cinema’s early era. For information on both, hit up the website ( or send me a postcard. I’ll probably just redirect you to the website, but I like postcards. • The jury for Film Streams’ 2017 Local Filmmakers Showcase would like to say “Hello.” That is to say that the folks at Hello Holiday!, a bad-ass feminist fashion boutique, has been announced as the showcase jury this time out. These rad AF individuals include Megan Hunt (currently running for state legislature), Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik, Anna Rosenlof, Stephanie Diaz, Justine Ward and Jessica Mizaur. The submission deadline isn’t until July 21, so you still have time to impress this cadre of cool women. Details for submission are on the website (filmstreams. org/). I’m not saying fashion-based puns will help your chances with these judges... For real, I’m not saying that, nobody likes puns. Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@ Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly podcast, catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 on Fridays at around 7:40 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter. 38

JULY 2017




JULY 2017


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JULY 2017



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


JULY 2017



In an age of haves and have nots, the real dividing line starts where dreams end. BY TIM MCMAHAN

ne of the first things that crossed my mind when the when they are exposed to music, it’s the usual bland blend of Freedom Affordable Care Act — a.k.a. ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare Rock or “the all-’80s weekend.” The new stuff, they say, is “kid’s stuff.” Along those same lines, they can’t stand any art that touches on the — finally passed and was signed all those years ago was abstract. They discard any art that isn’t “realistic” in form as merely how the legislation could impact artists and musicians. In the back of my mind, I thought Obamacare would liberate a child’s drawing or hoodlum graffiti or pornography or “heck, even the creative set, for the first time offering artists and musicians an I could do that.” With Obamacare, there is at least a path to health care, even if opportunity to finally attain health insurance. Up until then, most musicians I’d met who had grown beyond the age where they could artists or musicians can’t afford it. Without Obamacare, the only still be on their parents’ health insurance policies simply didn’t carry answer to the health care question for artists and musicians will be health insurance. Even if they could afford it, they didn’t know how this: If you want health insurance, get a real job. Grow up. It’s time to or where to buy it. In the words of a certain wizened old politician, let go of your silly hobbies, your infantile dreams. Buckle down and do real work. nobody knew health care could be so complicated. But underneath those dictums lies a layer of unspoken jealousy and Then along came Obamacare, and suddenly there was… a plan, a way, an answer. Or at least an outline of a plan. And there was envy toward those who didn’t give up on their dreams. “You think we didn’t have dreams, too? You think we like working in a website (as shitty as it was) where (once you figured out how to navigate it) a person could actually purchase health insurance. This is cubicles, going to meetings, wearing khakis and long-sleeved buttonit, I thought. All those artists and musicians who have been forced to down shirts? You think this was our first choice? Look, we did what we take day jobs simply to qualify for company health insurance — or all had to do, for our families, for our children. We did The Right Thing. those who gave up their dreams of making their living as artists who And if you want health insurance — if you want health care — you’ll are squandering their talent behind a cubical wall — could now give do The Right Thing, too.” Or, at least get a “real job,” and do your “art” in your spare time. it a shot and do what they were meant to do without fear of dying due That is America in 2017. Maybe that’s the way it’s always been. to lack of affordable healthcare. They say we’re divided by our politics — liberal and conservative. I honestly thought Obamacare could signal the rise of a massive I think we’re divided between those who held onto their dreams and new creative class. But in the end, it didn’t turn out that way. Instead, many — if not most — of the musicians and artists I know those who did what they thought they had to do. And the ones who made their sacrifices will be god damned still couldn’t afford even the most bare bones of catastrophic health care coverage. In fact, many decided to take on the penalty for not if they’re going to pay more in taxes to subsidize those who are having insurance coverage — the so-called individual mandate unwilling to make their own sacrifices. They have problems of their penalty — rather than lay out the necessary cash to cover premiums own to deal with. Despite the inevitable death of Obamacare and the endless cuts to because it was the cheapest option. So they not only didn’t have health insurance, they also were out hundred bucks per year to cover the arts and art education programs, art and music will go on. It always has. It’ll just be harder for those who are making it. penalty under Obamacare. The terms “starving artist” and “struggling musician” have been Now along comes President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress dead-set on repealing and replacing Obamacare with… around as long as I can remember, and they’re not headed to the what? No one’s quite sure. The only thing anyone can be certain of is scrap heap of outdated words any time soon. that fewer people will be covered under a new plan, and very likely Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing that individual mandate penalty will go away, for better or worse. People again would have the right to not purchase health insurance writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and without penalty. But let’s face it, everyone wants health insurance — the arts. Email Tim at everyone wants access to health care — they simply can’t afford it. I know a lot of people will be impacted by the new Republican legislation — poor people mostly — but my heart goes out to musicians and artists, a class of people who simply will never be recognized as serious contributors to society by the rich, the entitled, the middle-ofthe-road workers, that mass of people who gave up on their dreams a long time ago when they decided to do “the responsible thing” and get regular jobs. There has always been a portion of the American conservative class who view the arts and music as little more than frivolous hobbies and those seeking careers in art or music as self-deluded nitwits wasting their time. In my experience, those same conservatives also do not buy art. They do not purchase music. They don’t even listen to music, preferring to spend their time entrenched in sports or television. And





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The Reader July 2017  
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