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Who’s Going To Pay? BEfoRE & AftER tHE AffoRdABlE


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MARCH 2017


Building Trade Careers Growing

Growth is on the horizon for the building trades. It’s a good time to be in the industry – particularly for those with experience in sustainable construction. ConstructConnect predicts a substantial construction increase in 2017 over 2016. The website further predicts the growth will carry over into 2018. Office buildings, healthcare facilities and lodging are expected to be at the forefront. Infrastructure construction is also expected to increase, especially as such repairs and replacements take a front seat in political discussions. . Building trades in the Omaha Metro area are also expected to grow, so this is a good time for you to enter the field.

Tech-savvy workers needed Unmanned vehicles and drones will be more prevalent as technology continues to permeate construction worksites. Tech-savvy professionals will be needed to operate, repair and maintain the equipment. It also means building site jobs will be created for those versed in government regulations of unmanned vehicles. For example, FAA rules may affect flying drones to survey building sites. Sustainable practices increase Sustainable building practices are on the rise, as homeowners and companies strive to function in a greener way. Experts in sustainable practices will be sought, whether it’s in building design, construction, renovation or maintenance. Also, federal and state regulations dictate when a project can claim to be “green.” So it’s important to have professionals who are wellversed in sustainable construction requirements. Accessibility needs grow As the U.S. population ages, building professionals are needed to create accessible structures for people who use wheelchairs, walkers and other assistive devices.

Wider doorframes, in-home elevators and reduced step heights will become more common to make it easier for seniors to get around. Older residents who opt to remain in their homes will need building professionals for renovations, while healthcare structures will be renovated or built to accommodate accessibility options. Construction incomes grow The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says construction and extraction occupations are expected to grow at a faster than average rate during the next 10 years. The BLS cites population growth as a catalyst for more construction needs. The bureau also says the average annual income is higher for all cumulative occupations. Formal education less significant In general, building trades typically require only a high school diploma or its equivalent. On-the-job training is common. That lets people with no experience to eventually become skilled trades people without formal schooling. Apprenticeship programs pair novices with skilled workers to learn on the job from someone with experience. Local labor unions are a good place to find out how to enroll into an apprenticeship program. Degree programs available Though a degree may not be essential, you can get such formal degrees as Construction Management, Construction Administration or Construction & Building Science from community colleges or four-year universities. Most such programs offer some form of job placement assistance or advice for graduates. With such a degree, you’re poised for a leadership role. But practical, hands-on knowledge can’t be beat and experience is often the

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best way to get a hiring manager’s attention. Experience always a plus With the building trades on an upward trajectory, it’s no surprise qualified and experienced workers are in high demand, particularly among workers who specialize in currently popular fields like green construction and accessibility. But general builders will still find work because their skill sets easily translate to in-

demand field. The look of the world constantly changes. In the building trades, you have a direct impact on the world around you. It can be rewarding and potentially lucrative. And it’s especially satisfying if you enjoy hands-on work. With its predicted growth, it’s a career path with a potentially bright future.

ProKarma Jobs

Senior Software Engineer #SRENG0217

ProKarma, Inc. has mult opnings for Sr Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated lctns. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may chnge based on clnt & bsnss dmnds. No trvl rqurmnt; prfrmng daily job duties doesn't require trvl. S/he will be responsible for project lifecycle, including analysis, design, development, implementation, support and enhancement. S/he will partner with business teams to ensure alignment of technical solutions to business objectives and priorities. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Mechanical Eng, 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, Mechanical Eng, 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: Sales & Distribution (SD), Materials Management (MM), Finance & Controlling (FI&CO), Real Estate (RE), Supplier Life Cycle (SLC), Master Data Governance (MDG), SAP Business Suite on HANA. Suitable comb. of edu/training/exp accptble.


ProKarma, Inc. Attn: Jobs

222 S. 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102 or email: 4

MARCH 2017


with Job Ref# in the subject line.


ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma, Inc. has mult opnings for Sr Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated lctns. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may chnge based on clnt & bsnss dmnds. No trvl rqurmnt; prfrmng daily job duties doesn't require trvl. Anlyz user needs & modify/develop SW using cmptr skill sets; dvlp & drct SW system tstng & validation prcdrs, prgrmmng, & dcmntatn. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Electronic Eng, Electronics and Communication Eng, 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, Electronic Eng, Electronics and Communication Eng, 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: iOS, XCODE, iPhone SDK, Objective C, Xamarin, Cocoa Touch, TFS, SQLite, C#, SVN, JSON. Suitable comb. of edu/training/exp accptble.

ProKarma, Inc. has mult opnings for Sr Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated lctns. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may chnge based on clnt & bsnss dmnds. No trvl rqurmnt; prfrmng daily job duties doesn't require trvl. Anlyz user needs & modify/develop SW using cmptr skill sets; dvlp & drct SW system tstng & validation prcdrs, prgrmmng, & dcmntatn. Requires master’s, or for. equiv, in CIS, IT, CS, Computer Eng, 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, Computer Eng, 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: C, C++, Unix/Linux, Shell/Bash Scripts, IPC, multithreading, network programming. Suitable comb. of edu/training/exp accptble.



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

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

Senior Software Engineer #IOS0217

ProKarma, Inc. Attn: Jobs with Job Ref# in the subject line.

Senior Software Engineer #SRCC0217

ProKarma, Inc. Attn: Jobs with Job Ref# in the subject line.

ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma Jobs

ProKarma, Inc. has mult opnings for Sr Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated lctns. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may chnge based on clnt & bsnss dmnds. No trvl rqurmnt; prfrmng daily job duties doesn’t require trvl. Anlyz user needs & modify/develop SW using cmptr skill sets; dvlp & drct SW system tstng & validation prcdrs, prgrmmng, & dcmntatn. 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: Informatica Power Center 9.x/8.x/7.x., Hadoop Stack, Oracle, Teradata, Pl/SQL, Quality Center. Suitable comb. of edu/training/exp accptble.

ProKarma, Inc. has mult opnings for Quality Assurance Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated lctns. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may chnge based on clnt & bsnss dmnds. No trvl rqurmnt; prfrmng daily job duties doesn’t require trvl. S/he will design, implement test automation, modify, evaluate existing software applications, analyze user needs and apply testing procedures to improve software application performance. 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: Core Java, Selenium, Junit, Jenkins, Soup UI/Rest Webservice testing. Suitable comb. of edu/training/exp accptble.



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

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

Senior Software Engineer #SRSE0117

ProKarma, Inc. Attn: Jobs with Job Ref# in subject line

Quality Assurance Engineer #QAA0117

ProKarma, Inc. Attn: Jobs with Job Ref# in subject line



MARCH 2017


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MARCH 2017


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MARCH 2017


Who’s Going To Pay?






ne accident, one illness could be catastrophic. Not just medically, but also financially. Families stood to lose almost everything in medical bankruptcies when health insurance companies rejected those with pre-existing conditions and capped their policies with lifetime limits. Uncovered costs helped health care expenditures soar, more than tripling in the last 20 years according to the federal National Health Spending Report. In 2015, the federal government was the largest payer of health care, covering 37% of the total cost through its two programs Medicaid and Medicare. The curve was starting to bend. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health insurance costs increased 63% from 2001 to 2006 and 31% from 2006 to 2011. That number dropped to 20% from 2011 to 2016. Part of the reason was the Affordable Care Act and a landmark shift in how health care was being offered. Through a series of tax increases targeting high-income earners, the ACA was able to fund experiments in innovation while subsidizing the cost of bringing almost 30 million Americans into the health insurance system. With the end of Obamacare at the top of the national conversation, The Reader talked to the major stakeholders about life before and potentially after the Affordable Care Act. It’s not just the $2 billion in federal revenues Nebraska passed up for health insurance, or the 275,000 Nebraskans with pre-existing conditions that could be denied health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. It’s not even the estimated 165,000 Nebraskans


MARCH 2017


that would lose health insurance, an increase of 111% of the uninsured, according to the Economic Policy Institute, leading to almost 3,000 jobs lost and $400 million in federal health care dollars gone that we subsidize. It’s also about the way we take care of each other.

The calculus of people not being able to afford care translates into real life implications. Untreated chronic diseases worsen without treatment. Early diagnoses are missed absent annual physicals or wellness checks. Championed by President We could expand Barack Obama, who promised Quality of Health Care reform in his campaign, the Medicaid and take Over Quantity ACA’s enacted consumer protecadvantage of the roughly tions and measures holding proAmerica treating healthcare as a commodity helps explain its high accountable for delivering $2 to $2.5 billion that’s viders delivery and coverage expense. value. Characterized by historic lack of Nebraska Methodist Health failed to come into the incentives to drive prices down, proSystem CFO Jeff Francis said state. It would have paid organizations like his have “conviders and insurers dictate terms to consumers. Subsidies to assist low and monies at risk for hitsalaries for more people tracts income patients who can’t pay out ting certain quality items, not just of pocket get passed along to other in physicians offices and with Medicare, but with some of consumers. But affording care and our commercial insurers as well, a variety of things that its coverage is a burden even for the Five or ten years from now,” he middle classes. would be taxed and bring added, “we’ll probably have Amid runaway costs and covermore at risk financially from age gaps, America’s clunkily moving a quality and outcome standin more revenue.” from a volume to a value-based syspoint. Recent federal legislation tem as part of long overdue healthchanged the way physicians get care reform. The Affordable Care Act was passed in paid by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Ser2010 after contentious bipartisan debate. The statute’s vices). Starting in 2019 they’re having potential penalfull roll-out began in 2014. ties depending on whether they’re hitting certain quality Nebraska Medicine CEO Daniel DeBehnke said, “The metrics or not.” tipping point that brought the ACA forward is really the He said the stick of such punitive measures works. unsustainable growth in our country’s healthcare costs.”


A New Standard in American Health Care Aspects of Obamacare, such as the individual mandate and public health exchanges, have detractors. Federal lawsuits challenging it have failed. But its intact survival is in jeopardy today. A chief critic is President Donald Trump, who with the Republican controlled Congress vowed to repeal and replace, though that’s proving more daunting in reality than rhetoric. On February 16, GOP leaders shared a replacement plan with tax credits for buying insurance and incentives for opening healthcare savings accounts, but no details for funding the plan or its projected impact on the insured and uninsured. Debehnke said, “I don’t think there’s any question, regardless of where you land politically, there are components of the current ACA that require tweaking. Even Democrats will tell you it wasn’t exactly perfect – nobody said it was going to be perfect. It was understood there were going to need to be changes as things move along.” There’s widespread consensus about the benefits accruing from the ACA. New subsidies allowed millions more people nationwide and tens of thousands more in Nebraska to be insured, in some cases getting care they deferred or delayed. Insurers cannot deny coverage for preexisting conditions or cancel coverage when someone gets sick. Plans must cover essential care and wellness visits. Adult children can remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Francis said, “A lot of good things have come out of this. We’re focusing on wellness, we have fewer uninsured, we’re having better outcomes for patients. I think there’s satisfaction with the improvements. I just think there’s disagreement with how it’s occurring or being done.” “You can’t believe the difference it’s made by setting minimum standards for health insurance,” said One World Community Health Chief Medical Officer Kristine McVea, “so that things like child immunizations and mammograms are covered.” Since the ACA’s adoption, uninsured 18-to 24-year-olds in Nebraska dropped from 25.5 percent in 2009 to 12.4 per-

cent in 2015, according to the Kids Count in Nebraska Report. McVea said, “At One World people get assistance in enrolling for health insurance. Counselors guide them through the marketplace. People are really becoming more savvy shoppers. Improved health literacy has been a result of this process. You can really compare for the very first time apples to apples in terms of different plans. That has been a tremendous boon to clients.” Not Everyone Included – Nebraska Drops the Kickback Healthcare disparities still exist though. In Omaha 24% of adults living below the poverty line lack health coverage while 3% of adults with medium to high income are uninsured. Some 36% of Hispanic adults, 15% of black adults and 5% of white adults are uninsured in the metro, according to numbers reported by The Landscape, a project of the Omaha Community Foundation. McVea said, “The poorest of the poor are not eligible for the marketplace at all because that part of the Affordable Care Act carved them out thinking states would cover them with Medicaid. Well, Nebraska’s elected not to expand Medicaid, so there’s this whole gap of people not insured. Then there’s probably another tier who do get assistance through the marketplace, but considering the economic pressures they’re under, even with the assistance, it still falls outside their reach to get good healthcare.” The Kids Count Report found 64 percent of uninsured Nebraska children are low-income — likely eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP). Past Nebraska Medical Association president Rowen Zettermen said, “In Nebraska we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000 to 90,000 uninsured people that would have otherwise been eligible for Medicaid expansion. You find the highest percentage uninsured rates in rural counties. We still have 20-some million uninsured in this country. A number may have insurance but they’re underinsured for their various conditions. Ideally, everybody should be able to establish a healthcare proposition with their physi-

Kristine McVea, MD – One World Chief Medical Officer cian, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to access care whenever they need it.” Then there are federal DSH monies to fund Medicaid expansion the state foregoes because the legislature’s voted against expansion. Gov. Pete Ricketts opposes it as well. Disproportionate Share Hospital payments are subsidies paid by the federal government to hospitals serving a high percentage of uninsured patients. Nebraska hospitals write off uncompensated care cost while getting no money back for it. Zetterman said, “We could expand Medicaid and take advantage of the roughly $2 to $2.5 billion that’s failed to come into the state. It would have paid salaries for more people in physicians offices and a variety of things that would be taxed and bring in more revenue.” DeBehnke of Nebraska Medicine said, “Being a large hospital health system that takes all comers, we have a Medicaid percentage of our business. We would be better off in a Medicaid expanded state. We would like to see more coverage for the working poor. That’s what Medicaid expansion is – providing coverage to the working poor. Those who don’t currently qualify for it would under an expansion.”

Proposed federal community block grants could expand coverage. DeBehnke cautioned, “We just have to be sure there’s good control around how those dollars are used and they actually go for healthcare coverage. Expanding coverage to all people is really the key.” Nebraska State Senator Adam Morfield is the sponsor of LB 441, which would expand Medicaid in Nebraska. The bill is scheduled for a March 8 Health and Human Services Committee hearing. The care-coverage-income gap may be more widespread than thought. Kids Count Report findings estimate 18.5 percent of Nebraskans are one emergency away from financial crisis. Preventative Care is Long-Term Savings Having coverage when you need it is a relief. Insurance also motivates people to get check-ups that can catch things before they turn into a crisis. “A woman having symptoms for some time didn’t have any insurance and she waited before she sought care,” McVea said. “By the time she came to us for diagnosis she already had a fairly advanced stage of colon cancer. She’s undergone chemotherapy and surgery and is now livcontinued on page 10 y



MARCH 2017


continued from page 9 y

ing with a colostomy. That didn’t have to happen. We see things like that every day – people who’ve let their diabetes and other things go to where they have coronary artery disease, and that’s not reversible. We’re trying to get them back to the path of health with treatments, but they’ve lost that opportunity to maintain a high quality of health.” Zetterman said, “There’s good data to show patients with cancer who don’t have insurance tend to arrive with more advanced disease at the time of initial discovery because they come late to seek care.” That pent-up need is expressed more often, McVea said, as “people have insurance for the first time or for the first time in a long time.” “We’ve seen a lot of people come in as new patients saying, ‘I know I should have come in a long time ago, and I’ve just been putting it off.’ Many are middleaged. They’ve been putting off chronic health conditions or screening tests or other things for years. We see people come in with diabetes or high blood pressure that’s out of control and within three months we get them to a point where everything’s in control, they’re feeling better, they have more energy, they’re feeling good about their health. We’ve maybe given them advice about diet and exercise and ways they can keep themselves healthy.” More positive outcomes are prevalent across the healthcare spectrum. “I would say overall the average patient is having a better experience and outcome now than they were five years ago,” Nebraska Methodist’s Jeff Francis said. One World’s CEO, Andrea Skolkin, said, “We’ve been able to reach more people living on limited income so our services have been able to expand both in terms of numbers of patients we care for as well as types of services and locations.” One World opened two new satellite clinics with help from ACA generated monies. “As we’ve opened new clinics we’ve seen a number of people that had never been seen or delayed being seen with very complex medical and sometimes mental health issues – and it’s more costly. We grew from about nine or ten percent of patients with insurance to close to 15 percent. For newly


MARCH 2017

insured patients it’s meant some peace of mind.” Fewer Insured People, Higher Costs She and her community health center peers favor more affordable coverage to increase the numbers of those insured. Zetterman said high premiums and co-pays present obstacles that would be lessened if everybody got covered. “The financial burden on the individual patient and family for healthcare right now is too high.” DeBehnke said, “A lot of the burdens of those premiums in terms of high deductibles and other things have been shifted to families. There has to be Rowen Zetterman, MD - Past President some degree of subsidization if we’re going to make this all work. Regardless of where we the questions where are we spending our land with this, the financial burden on the money and why are we spending it in individual patient and family for health- those areas. Then we have a chance to care right now is too high.” control the growth of healthcare costs.” For the poor, the last resort for care Skolkin said, “A lot of hands in the continues to be the ER. pot helps add to the cost. There’s a lot of “If you’re uninsured the one place you system inefficiencies, particularly in billing can go in this country is to the emergency and credentialing, that could be made a room of a hospital because the laws say lot of easier. That would save resources.” you cannot turn anyone away from there,” DeBhenke said, “As the healthcare insaid Zetterman. “As a consequence the dustry, we have not been engaged to the uninsured make use of the ER because it degree we need to be to actually decrease guarantees they’ll get cared for – at least overall cost of care because frankly from at that moment. The ER is the most expen- a pure financial standpoint it’s not been sive place to go for things that could oth- in our best interest. The health systems, erwise be handled in a healthcare office.” providers and other organizations have to Zetterman said America’s handling of really get behind this whole idea of proits social contract and safety net means viding value, of decreasing overall total “we cost shift in the healthcare environment cost of care while improving outcomes for to pay for things.” “In Nebraska, where patients. That’s got to work in parallel with we didn’t expand Medicaid,” he said, legislative and subsidization levels at the “we cost shift from private insurance and federal level.” healthcare providers to people who have He said until there’s more buy-in from private insurance. They help pay for the “young invincibles” – 20-somethings in uninsured-underinsured. We’ve estimated good health – to broaden or balance the that to be well over a billion dollars. We risk pool and thus reduce payouts, costs can’t control costs reliably until everybody will be a problem. is in the system with some kind of a paid “Certainly the pricing needs to be athealthcare benefit. That can include all the tractive to those individuals to broaden the current federal and state programs as well pool. And frankly the benefits associated as commercial insurance that’s out there. with products on the exchange need to be “Once we no longer cost shift to pay attractive so those individuals feel comfortfor healthcare we can begin to address able and actually want to have coverage.



Nebraska Medical Association Those least likely to go to the marketplace and buy individual health insurance plans are exactly the people we want to do that to broaden the pool. Healthy individuals that don’t utilize healthcare much soften the financial blow.” Repeal Without Replace Is A Mess, Why Not Repair? The ACA’s meant adjustments from all healthcare stakeholders. Opponents have resisted it from the start and that fight continues. In early January the Republican-led Senate began reviewing ACA to try and garner enough votes to repeal it through the budgetary reconciliation legislative process. “Unfortunately President Trump has focused on what he’s going to take away without have a plan in place,” said Kristine McVea, “I think that’s been harmful. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty among our patients. These are people who struggled without health insurance who finally got a chance at taking care of their health and are now very afraid of the possibility that’s all going to be taken away. We hear this every day from people coming into the marketplace and coming into see us for care, I think the capricious statements made by this administration have fueled that.” continued on page 12 y


MARCH 2017


continued from page 10 y

I think it’s extremely confusing because it’s complicated. It’s like a ballon -- you poke in one area and something bulges out in another

One World

Community Health Center Located in the Live Stock Exchange

More recently, talk of flat-out repeal has given way to amend or modify in acknowledgment of the gains made under ACA and the difficulty of dismantling its far-reaching, interrelated tentacles, absent a ready-to-implement replacement. The political fallout of taking away or weakening protection people have come to rely on would be severe. “Once leadership has really started to dig into what it would mean to repeal this outright and try to replace it they’re finding it is not a simple thing to do and the health and coverage of millions of people are at stake,” said James Goddard, an attorney with the public advocacy group Nebraska Appleseed. “So things are slowing down with the recognition they need to be careful with this, and of course they do. “I think the change in the way it’s being discussed is a reflection of the reality that this is a dramatic thing you’re discussing altering and they need to do it the right way. Much of the ACA hangs together and one thing relies on another and if you start pulling pieces of it apart, you have the potential for the whole thing to fall down.” Zetterman said he and fellow physicians favor a cautionary approach. “Most of us would say the Affordable Care Act should be maintained and improved. There are dangers in taking it away and replacing it because it’s now in so many different places.” Nebraska Appleseed attorney Molly McCleery said total repeal would affect many. “Initial Congressional Budget Office projections show 18 million people would lose coverage, and then in the out years, 32 million would lose coverage – both private and public. The Urban Institute’s stateby-state impact study found 200,000-plus Nebraskans with a pre-existing condition would be impacted if that consumer protection would be taken away.” Jeff Francis said, “The new ‘r’ word I’m hearing is repair. The consensus seems to be to keep what’s popular and working and change what’s not.” EDITOR’S NOTE: Details of the recently proposed GOP replacement had not been released as of this printing.


MARCH 2017



Daniel DeBehnke said of the current climate, “I think it’s extremely confusing because it’s complicated. It’s like a balloon – you poke in one area and something bulges out in another. I think people are frustrated, and rightly so, they pay a lot for healthcare. It’s not just as simple as I-paya-lot-for-my-healthcare, ACA is bad, let’s get rid of it.’ There are layers of complexity. We may not like exactly how things are funded or how some components are dealt with. We may not agree totally with all the tactics to get there, but at the end of the day we’ve got more people covered. I don’t think anybody has the appetite to change that back. “We just have to figure out how to incrementally lessen the financial burden while maintaining the real goal – more people covered and providing value for the money being spent.” He said the best course of action now for providers is to “just take really good care of patents and decrease unnecessary utilization and duplication of services,” adding, “It’s what everybody wants anyway.” Fixing the Marketplace Meanwhile, on the insurers’ side, some carriers have left public health exchanges after incurring major losses. This state’s largest healthcare insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, opted out of the volatile marketplace. “Since we started selling on the ACA marketplace we’ve lost approximately $140 million,” executive vice president Steve Grandfield said. “We have a responsibility to all our members to remain stable and secure, and that responsibility was at risk if we had continued to sustain losses. The public marketplace is unstable, which has driven increased costs and decreased competition and consumer choice. The higher premiums go, the more likely people, especially healthy people, drop their coverage. That means the majority of people remaining on ACA plans are sick, with increasingly higher claims, which drives premiums up even further.” He cited instances of people gaming the system by buying plans when they need care, then dropping them when they no longer need it.

Granfield said Blue Cross supports a well modulated ACA overhaul. “It’s important to put in place a smooth transition. We would like to see regulatory authority for insurance returned to the states, including rate review and benefit design and closing the coverage loopholes that lead to higher consumer costs.” He has a long wish-list of other changes he wants made. The leaders of two major Nebraska health provider systems say they haven’t seen any impact from the BCBS defection because there are many other insurers and products on the market. The executives were not surprised by the move given the fluid healthcare field. Nebraska Methodist’s Jeff Francis said, “There were a lot of unknowns. I think it takes several years through the insurance cycle to be able to correct those kinds of unknowns, especially the way the federal government handles the bidding and setting of rates That’s why you won’t see craziness or changes in the rates in the years to come because they now have several years of experience with this new population and they’re then able to price accordingly.” Daniel DeBehnke of Nebraska Medicine said, “Regardless of what happens in Washington, if the exchanges are kept in place there will be some changes made either in the pricing or pool that will help organizations like Blue Cross perhaps get back in that business.” Quality Health Care Starts with Collaboration Collaboration is key for containing costs in a system of competing interests. More U.S. healthcare decisions are happening outside silos. Francis said, “A big change in the last 10 years is opportunities to work more collaboratively. In the past it would have been much more stand-alone. Now the hospitals and physicians are working more closely. Nebraska Methodist is part of an accountable care organization – Nebraska Health Network, along with Nebraska Medicine and Fremont Health. We recognize the importance of learning better practices from each other so we can pass that along to make healthcare better for the community

and for employers paying for their employees insurance.” One result, he said, is “less antibiotics prescribed by our family doctors at Nebraska Medicine and Methodist Physicians Clinic.” Over time, he added, “we will find newer areas to collaborate in focusing on coming up with standardized approaches for protocols that will likely then improve the outcome for our patients.” DeBehnke, who came came to Omaha from a health system in Wisconsin, said, “I see a real positive in this market with the willingness for collaboration at the thirdparty payer level, specifically Blue Cross. There are real opportunities to start to talk about how we do things together as opposed to being on opposite sides of a negotiating table – with really the patient and the value at the center of that equation. “We’ve got opportunities to test in some areas like alternative payment models and it’s nice to be able to do that in partnership.”

He said, “In an ideal world the healthcare industry should hold itself accountable but that’s probably not happened to the degree it should. There are some ACA components that actually have driven innovation and this move toward value. The Center for Medicare Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) looks at unique payment models that direct health systems to actually do those things to decrease total cost of care.” He said bundled payments and payments around episodes of care “move away from the fee for service environment in which we’ve classically been paid.” “Fee for service,” he said, “means you get paid more for doing more, so there’s not a lot of incentive to actually do less. The new accountable care organization models are things we’ve got to be careful aren’t done away with as Congress tinkers with the ACA because those are the things actually causing contemporary health systems towards paying attention to that value proposition.”

He said “accountability lies with payers, the largest payer being the federal government, to experiment with alternative payment models that drive value. And it lies with individual health systems to participate in those innovative models to help that flywheel start to move.” Stakeholders wonder what influence new U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price may have on the healthcare matrix. An orthopedic surgeon by training, Price is a former Georgia congressman who voted to repeal the ACA several times. Francis said, “It will be interesting to see a physician in that role and what changes that will mean. There were changes when Dr. Donald Berwick was over CMS and a lot of that went into the Affordable Care Act, including positive measures focusing on quality and lower cost.” DeBehnke said colleagues are anxious drastic changes may result from the GOP replacement plan but predicts a moderate response.

“I keep saying we’re not going to see draconian changes here. We’re going to see changes that probably needed to happen anyway. But if we really focus on providing value to our patients and value really being quality, safety and service excellence at a reasonable cost, we’ll win, no matter what happens.” As a watchdog, James Goddard will closely follow what transpires and study the mechanics of the GOP plan. He calls for a transparent, thorough process, saying, “If there are better ideas than they should be forth, they should be vetted and they should be voted on. There is broad public agreement we cannot return to the healthcare system we had before … when people with preexisting conditions could not get coverage, when people lost coverage right when they needed it most, and when nearly 50 million Americans were uninsured.” Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at

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MARCH 2017




he primary election for the City of Omaha will be held Tuesday, April 4, 2017. City elections are nonpartisan with the top two vote-getters moving on to the May 9 general election. Here’s a summary of the Council seats with competitive races during the primary.

District 2 - Northeast Omaha


Five candidates are expected to run for Omaha’s District 2 City Council seat, current Council Member Ben Gray, Krystal Gabel, Bradley Whitmore, Gwen Easter, and Dennis Womack. Ben Gray was elected to the Omaha City Council in June of 2009 and reelected in 2013. He is currently the president of the City Council. Gray, a Democrat, has fought for a more level playing field for small contractors and secured funding to create the “Step Up” summer jobs programs. He pushed for a master plan for North Omaha, fought for the civil rights of the LGBT community and worked to DISTRICT 2 - DENNIS WOMACK help those chronically unemployed. Gray pushed for the “Good Neighbor” ordinance that addresses problem liquor establishments and championed the newly formed Land Bank to address problem properties and the numerous empty lots across the city. Before being elected to the Omaha City Council, Gray was a photo-journalist for KETV Channel 7. He produced and hosted “Kaleidoscope” which was on the air for 30 years. He is married to Freddie Gray, his wife of nearly twenty-five years. They have a blended family of seven children, twelve grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Krystal Gabel is a technical writer for ACI Worldwide, Inc. Gabel earned a bachelor’s degree in writing from Briar Cliff University in 2005. She wants to be the voice for the working class and the working poor. Gabel believes Nebraskans want jobs and education, not handouts and incarceration. She is Co-chair & Volunteer Coordinator for Legal Marijuana Now Nebraska. She believes the legalization of marijuana and hemp would bring industry and freedom to the citizens of Omaha and Nebraska. Gabel, an independent, ran unsuccessfully for the Metropolitan Utilities District Board of Directors and the Omaha Public School Board during the 2016 election.


MARCH 2017



New Challengers and An Open Seat BY JIM ESCH, BALLOTHERO.COM

Bradley Whitmore was born and raised in the Minne Lusa area of North Omaha. Whitmore is new to politics but has no plans to make a career out of it. He feels career politicians are a major part of the problem we face today. He believes it is important to give others a chance to serve and bring in fresh ideas. Recruiting new business to District 2, is a top priority for Whitmore. He wants to combat the unfair, negative stigma attached to North Omaha due to stereotypes and prejudices. Whitmore is a licensed EMT. He and his wife, Megan, have three children. Gwen Easter, a registered Democrat, is the founder of Safe Haven Community Center and an advocate for those with Dyslexia. Safe Haven is a nonprofit providing resources as well as referral, advocacy, and social services. Its mission is to ensure that all its clients receive education and housing services needed to have a healthy, stable home environment and become productive citizens. Easter was a vocal opponent to the Omaha Public Schools’ changes to the sex education curriculum. This is her first time running for office. Dennis Womack, a workforce development professional, has not yet filed but is expected to run. Womack’s background includes work for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Chief Deputy Election Commissioner, Douglas County, State of Nebraska-HHS, Omaha Small Business Network and the Urban League of Nebraska Inc. Womack’s priorities are to increase access to city services, expansion of workforce programs with an emphasis on programs for those 19 years and older, confiscating illegal guns, and job creation.

District 3 - Downtown and Midtown Three people have filed for the District 3 City Council seat, incumbent Chris Jerram, Gilbert Ayala, and JR Jasso. Chris Jerram was elected to the City Council in 2009 and again in 2013. Jerram, a Democrat, serves as Chair of the City Council’s Public Works Committee and sits on the Law and Finance Committees. Jerram has practiced law in Omaha for the last twenty years. He has served as President of the Morton Meadows Neighborhood Association, Board of Directors of the Governor’s Council to Keep Nebraska Beautiful, and the Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals. Jerram says he is committed to growing the heart of Omaha through continued economic development. His priorities are making Omaha a safe, affordable and welcoming place to live, work and play.

DISTRICT 3 - CHRIS JERRAM Chris and his wife, Jennifer, have been married for over 20 years and have two children, Katie and Shannon. Gilbert Ayala, a grocery store and restaurant worker, is a Republican and considers himself a strong conservative. Ayala believes in smaller government, lower taxes, and a strong police force. His Catholic faith informs many of his political beliefs. Ayala is fervently anti-abortion and against same-sex marriage. Ayala is married with two children. JR Jasso is a media producer at Creighton University. Jasso, a Republican, voted as a registered Democrat in 2008 and 2009. But during President Barack Obama’s first term he had a change of heart. Jasso became disillusioned with the Democratic Party feeling too many things were being given away. He believes people need to pick themselves up by the bootstraps. He wants to cut taxes, reduce crime, and overhaul the fire union contract, which he believes is too generous. Jasso ran against Jerram in 2013, garnering 31% of the vote to Jerram’s 69%.

District 4 - Southeast Omaha Three Democrats, Jim Rogers, Vinny Palermo, and Kimara Snipe are vying to replace retiring City Council member Garry Gernandt. Jim Rogers is a South Omaha native and sees the cultural diversity and mix of heritages of the district as continued on page 17 y

Building the

BELOVED COMMUNITY: Repairing What Race Broke March 24-26, 2017 Racial justice advocate,

Lisa Sharon Harper

with Sojourners, has a vision of HOPE FOR A BROKEN WORLD. Harper will lead our communities in ways to address injustice as an outward demonstration of personal faith.

7020 Cass Street • Omaha NE 68132 402.556.6262 •


MARCH 2017


2017 St. PATRICK’S ACTIVITIES OICC Banquet Friday, Mar 10, 6 PM

Paxton Ballroom • 14th & Farnam

St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday, Mar 11, 10 AM Omaha’s Oldest Parade. Bands, Floats, Irish Costumes, Cash Prizes


t” w t a M “The e to/from shuttl Parade the y b d e d provi TAXI. LAOH Hooley CITY Sunday, Mar 5th Firefighters Union Hall 60th & Grover


MARCH 2017


Join us after the parade upstairs at the Old Mattress Factory for some good craic’. Parade Awards • Lots of Raffle Prizes • Irish Dancing Live Music with Connor Dowling Corned Beef Sliders by Just Good Meats & Rotellas $5 Suggested Donation. Every entry receives raffle ticket, $5 for each additional entry. All proceeds benefit the Irish Charities of Nebraska. Sponsored By:


DISTRICT 2 - KRYSTAL GABEL continued from page 14 y

enormous assets. Rogers is running to ensure the citizens of South Omaha receive their fair share of essential city services, neighborhood development, and grant projects. He believes it is critical to train the city’s workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. Rogers wants the city to have a more robust economy and create tourist destinations to compliment attractions such as the Zoo and College World Series. Rogers was the Outreach Director for Congressman Brad Ashford and a former Executive Director of the Nebraska Democratic Party. Vinny Palermo is a member of Omaha Public School Board representing Subdistrict nine. Palermo was elected to the board in November and will have to give up that position if elected to Omaha’s City Council.

Palermo is the owner of a tree trimming and removal service. He was born and raised in South Omaha and is a veteran of the United States Navy. He has one daughter. Kimara Snipe is president of the Highland South-Indian Hill Neighborhood Association and secretary of the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance. Snipe, a business consultant for Heartland Workforce Solutions, hopes to be a strong liaison between South Omaha residents and city government. She believes all too often people feel disconnected from public service and the governmental process. She sees several issues facing South Omaha including affordable housing, transportation, and safer neighborhoods as well as the need to strengthen the relationship between the community and the police department.






State Senators introduce bills to boost solar development




MARCH 2017



he legislature has a lot they’re trying to as well as smaller businesses that are doing electrical accomplish in the next few months. Amongst the contracting work in rural areas,” Blood explained. mix of other bills they are working on, Senator She said the current net metering level is outdated Carol Blood and Senator Tony Vargas both and discriminates against some of the rural midhave pieces of legislation that are meant to encourage sized businesses that would like to participate in solar energy efficiency. development but really can’t afford the cost to the Senator Blood’s bill LB 87 would, “Redefine a benefit right now because it’s capped. qualified facility and authorize local distribution utilities “So we want to increase the cap from 25 kilowatts to to waive certain requirements relating to net metering,” 100 kilowatts,” said Blood. according to the Nebraska Legislature’s website. Though it’s a good first step, Blood admits it’s not the Blood said this bill would help update an old net end all, be all solution to addressing the problem. metering law, allowing for larger solar installations. She said what it will do is allow for the aggregation “The size increase will help our middle to larger-sized of electrical meters, so if you’re a corn or soy bean businesses, like a big family farm or a working farm, farmer and the conditions aren’t such that you can put



a solar development in the middle of your field, you could develop a larger solar system on your farm and use some of that energy to offset other costs, using the excess energy to run things like pivot irrigation systems. “Using the extra electrical load to run other systems would help them justify the cost. But if we don’t raise the cap, farmers cannot justify solar development financially,” she said. Net metering refers to the net difference between the power people generate from their solar arrays and what electricity they actually use. In some cases, you can lower your utility bills or receive a negative power bill, where the utility company would pay you for the excess energy you generated.

“And that is one of the reasons we want to raise the net cap. Regardless of the rate utilities pay for power generated by your solar units, net metering will make the solar costs more affordable and offset the costs of your rooftop panels. You have to be able to justify what you’re doing and being able to generate that electricity and use it on your farm in a way that offsets the large cost of solar energy,” said Blood. That’s because it’s certainly not cheap to put in solar panels. Blood explained that being capped at 25 kilowatts means if you generate more kilowatts than that through your solar array, currently you cannot sell that excess energy generated back to the utility. “They’re trying to prevent you from utilizing the full potential of the energy you’re generating,” Blood said. She said Nebraska utilities are starting to step up to the plate but there’s a long way to go, “If you think about it, it is supportive of what Governor Ricketts wants to do, make our state friendlier to new businesses and that’s one of the things this bill does do.” For his part, Senator Vargas would like to hasten the funding process for those who would like to undertake energy efficiency projects. He’s doing that through his bill, LB 352. “Essentially, at a really high level, we are trying to speed up processes for certain tax credit programs that are in effect so people that are applying for financing aren’t being hampered by timelines. We want the Department of Revenue to be able to speed up processes and get them the funding they need,” he said. Vargas would like to see people be able execute and work on energy efficiency projects in a meaningful timeline. He explained that this directly relates to these people’s livelihoods and their jobs. “I’m trying to make the processes quicker so they can get their projects going,” he said. Anyone that qualifies for the specific tax credit for solar energy is eligible to apply for funding. Vargas thinks it’s great that bills are being introduced that are trying to provide tax credits to opportunities that are going to help Nebraska. Some of them talking about clean energy and some of them solar energy specifically. The issue is that those who are investing in those areas, that are trying to do the work, and trying to make Nebraska more sustainable, aren’t able to finance the work. He feels the government is slowing down progress, “We know that’s jobs for small businesses and that the longer timeline is also hard on people waiting on the products.” Vargas said the state has to keep up with the times and realize there are unintended

consequences that come out of the new things that are introduced and that includes efficiency. “And that’s what this bill is about. We want to improve efficiency so we can make sure people are able to finance great projects,” he said. Vargas cares about the environment and said he used to be a biology teacher so he believes that climate change is very real. “As far as our state goes, agriculture is a very big piece of industry. So it’s really important to find ways to take care of our land. If we aren’t preserving it for future generations, then we are really doing a disservice to Nebraskans,” he said. One way to do that is to ensure that projects that are trying to create energy sustainability across the state keep moving forward. He said the sooner they are completed and working properly, the sooner we can have proof points across the state that are showing people this is the way we can actually create good economic development while also taking care of our state and environment. Blood said next session she will likely be bringing a bill forward that addresses the condition of our waterways. She said for now, there is an interim study underway to help educate individuals and build support for the bill. “We have a huge issue when it comes to chemicals in our waterways. And even though the problem starts in central Nebraska, the pollution ends up in eastern Nebraska. I encourage people to look at water reports from places like MUD. If you do, you will find scary high rates of things like nitrates in our water,” she said. She said if we are bringing big businesses into the state that are located next to our waterways, then it’s important to figure out what we can do environmentally to filter the waters to prevent these kinds of chemicals from getting into the water we drink, bathe with and wash our clothes in. “In Kansas, they have had some success using indigenous plants and trees by those types of companies that act as natural filters to keep their waterways clean. And that’s what this interim study is in reference to,” she said.


On view through March 26, 2017

The legislative session ends on June 2nd. Status of bills is available online at NebraskaLegislature. gov


1516 Leavenworth, Omaha • 402-305-1510 • Hours: Friday Saturday Sunday 11 am - 5 pm • Private tours by appointment (detail): Herman Heyn, Little Wound, Chief Ogallala Sioux (Oglala) handcolored photograph, c. 1899 Museum Purchase made possible by MONA Bison Society GREEN SCENE


MARCH 2017



MARCH 2017




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. .

Working on the level of reality BY MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN


he year was 1956. Barely a decade before, “matter” that is left breaks down into the word “atom” leapt across the headlines even smaller particles, into things we on that horrible day in August. Prior to 1945, now know as quarks and gluons and most people other than scientists and physicists leptons and mesons — subatomic had no interest and little care about things like atoms particles. The body is even more empty and electrons and nuclear energy. With the abrupt than those 1950s-era scientists thought. eruption of the Atomic Age, the mysterious world of But stopping to think about it for a quantum physics and the reality of what the world is moment, that empty space isn’t really really made of became common knowledge. empty. It is filled with something very In 1956, one of the most famous entertainment powerful: energy. The “Aha” moment moguls of all time published a book and released a comes with the realization that I am not movie that would help people understand the world a a “body,” I am energy. little better. The book, The Walt Disney Story of Our Friend the Atom, appeared in the children’s department Ancient principles of the old downtown Omaha Public Library. In a 165-page hardbound book with beautiful and Quantum physicists, mathematicians and scientists Energy healing in the West. colorful illustrations — after all, it was a Disney book of the late 20th Century were not the first to realize — Our Friend the Atom explained to the public, and that the entire world, including of course the human One of the areas of alternative therapies gaining the especially the younger generation, the nature of atomic body, is made of energy. In fact, modern scientists greatest acceptance in the United States is acupuncture. As a discipline of the larger field known as Traditional structure and from that, the atomic structure of nature. were some of the last to figure it out. I have never forgotten reading that book in 1957. The scientists of ancient India, rishi as they are Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture definitely is Learning about the great minds throughout history known, described the energetic makeup of the universe, associated with working in the energy realm. The who theorized and developed possible explanations including bodies, in great detail. To the ayurvedic National Institute of Health recognizes acupuncture as for the relationship between energy and matter was physician of 4000 years ago, as well as the ones of an effective medical intervention and it is described at interesting enough. But the most life-changing bit today, that energy is known as prana. All cultures TCM and acupuncture are based on the was the “Aha!” moment I had when I realized from have some word that describes the essential, intangible reading that book, that the world is not as it appears. energy of life. That energy is a flow that connects all understanding that we are indeed energy beings. In Solving riddles that great classical minds had things in the universe. It is the cause and defining factor TCM, the goal is to enhance, balance and stabilize labored with for centuries, that simple Disney book of physical life. The Japanese call it ki. The Chinese and the flow of energy through the body. That energy quite correctly made it clear: we, and all the world others call it chi. In Hebrew it is ruah, in the Philippines is known in TCM as “chi,” sometimes described as around us, everything, are made up of atoms. And mana. The ¡kung bushmen of the Kalahari call it num “qi.” In the Japanese culture and Korean culture that those atoms are not made of matter but of energy. and the ancient Greeks called it pneuma. In most cases, essential energy of life is called “ki.” With acupuncture, the practitioner uses fine needles to balance the Solid matter, it taught me, is an illusion. the concepts of life force are closely aligned with the energy flowing through channels in the body known breath and breathing because breath is the symbol of as “meridians.” Taking a closer look life as we perceive it with our physical eyes. The energy Other healing arts based on the knowledge of chi goes much deeper than that, however. It goes beyond and ki have become accessible to Americans. Reiki, tai By page 114, author Heinz Haber, Ph.D., describes and within the molecular level. chi and qi gong are examples. Even the increasingly how an atom is really mostly empty space. In an atom, As such a simple book as Our Friend the Atom popular practice of yoga has the healing energy of as tiny as it is, nuclei and electrons are even tinier and can explain, it’s almost intuitive to understand that to prana as a basic component. they are in turn very, very far apart. If the nucleus and affect the big picture, healing has to operate on the As we become more aware of the modern the electron of a hydrogen atom were each the size level where change must be made, the level of energy. of a tiny marble, and you placed the marble-sized Most conventional medicine is focused on matter, understanding of energy we can see how working nucleus at the 50 yard line, the marble-sized electron not energy. As one physician friend described, “Our on the energetic level is crucial to healing. Learning would have to be placed at the goal line. answer to most diseases can be summed up as cut, about the tiny atom can help us see the big picture. As the book puts it, “All things around us — the burn or poison.” What he meant was that the arsenal Be well. solid chair you are sitting in, your house, the entire of conventional medical remedies is often limited to earth — everything is virtually empty space… surgery, radiation therapies or chemical interventions Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based “If all the empty space could be removed from a in the way of pharmaceutical drugs. All of those work polemic describing alternatives to conventional human body — if all its nuclei and electrons could on the gross physical level. (Even though radiation be crowded together into a solid mass — the body can be considered a form of energy, it is used as a methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly would shrink to the size of a tiny grain of sand that can “weapon” against the physical entities of “cells.”) barely be felt between the fingers.” However, healers who recognize the importance of not medical advice. Important to remember and pass What the author of Disney’s book and the other energy as the essential component of nature, work on on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit and like us on Facebook. scientists of that era didn’t realize was that the a subtler level, seeking balance where it is needed.



MARCH 2017


The Down Under


















7300 Q St, Ralston, NE | 402.934.9966 | | 22

MARCH 2017


photo by dana damewood

THE UNAPOLOGETICALLY WOMAN: Wanda Ewing and Patty Talbert Thru April 7 Tues-Fri., 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. | Sat., 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Loves Jazz and Arts Center, 2510 N 24th Street This current exhibition envelopes nothing but empowerment and discovery through the perspectives of two featured artists, Patty Talbert and the late Wanda Ewing. The mission of this exhibition proclaims its focus on, “Showcasing women’s essence as powerful, bold, unapologetic and a gift to all the world.” Artworks by Ewing are presented through humor painted on canvas to evoke a desire for reconstructing the lens with which to view the black woman. Typically influenced by folk-art, Ewing demonstrates her expertise in fiber arts and mixed media through a rather comedic point of view. Titles of works include pieces from the “Bougie” collection, which displays hypothetical magazine pieces that give insight on a perceived essence of the African-American woman; Additional works include a jewelry series and the “Day and Night” wallpaper collection. Talbert’s artworks, a collection titled, “I Like Ur Face - Positive Affirmations,” intend to invite those who view her work into a moment of reflection with her mixed media acrylic paintings. She is also an excellent cook. If you are able to come on a Saturday afternoon, you can enjoy these displays and have a talk with Talbert over a delicious slice of pie. A series of workshops are also being hosted, free of charge for all ages including sessions led by Patty Talbert (March 4), Katie Raine (March 15 and 18), Sharon Reed (March 14 and 21), a luncheon panel hosted by the City of Omaha Human Relations Department (March 25) and a final red carpet dance serving as the closing exhibition celebration on April 4. To see the exhibition, it only costs $10 for adults and $7 for student admissions. Call 402-502-5291 for tours. —JoAnna LeFlore



MARCH 2017



Every Third Thursday, 7 - 11 p.m. Omaha Rockets Kanteen, 2401 Lake Street If you’re in love with soulfood and poetry, you’ll find your next favorite weekday getaway at Verbal Gumbo. Recently housed at House of Loom for over 4 years, this monthly event has moved to Omaha Rockets Kanteen, one of the newest soulfood restaurants in the historic arts district at 24th and Lake Street. You can expect to be fed from not only talented spoken word artists but also literally as they offer specials on entrees and sweets. Created and hosted by local artists Michelle Troxclair and Felicia Webster, this event is a true staple experience for exploring creativity and a gateway to the local artist communities of Omaha. – JoAnna LeFlore

her teaching job to help with the farm and raise seven children. “My grandma was more reserved and seemed to be the one who stayed out of the spotlight.” Pritchard said. About 10 years ago, the roles began to change; Grace has become the head of the household. She has had to take over everything, most importantly the care of her husband of 66 years, who is suffering from the long and debilitating decline of dementia. Their granddaughter, photographer Pritchard, started documenting their trek in 2014. This fall, Carl was admitted to a care facility. Erika Pritchard grew up in rural Pleasanton, Nebraska. She is a photographer, writer and the Regional Editor of the Kearny Hub. Her photography was included in the juried group exhibition Nebraska, at the Prescott Gallery in Lincoln in 2015. Grace, a photo documentary of a family dealing with dementia. – Kent Behrens


March 3 Through April 21 Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam


The Nebraska Arts Council will host an opening reception for Grace, a photo documentary by artist Erika Pritchard based on her grandmother, on Friday, March 3rd, in the Fred Simon Gallery. The show runs through April 21st, and is free and open to the public. The approximately 20 photographs tell a story of devotion, love, strength, and resolve. It’s a story many can relate to. Carl and the show’s titular subject Grace Kucera are an elderly couple from rural Sherman County, Nebraska. Carl is a traditional man; head of household, father, farmer, community leader. The family structure is also traditional. After they married in 1951, Grace quit


MARCH 2017

Friday, March 3 Gallery 72, 1806 Vinton St

Bring some order to your chaotic life and organize a visit to the Vinton Street Commercial Historic District, as Gallery 72 presents a reception for painter Robert Allan. Allan’s first solo exhibit in Omaha, Order out of Chaos, opens Friday from 5-9 p.m. and the venue will host a gallery talk Wednesday, Mar. 8 at 7 p.m. The Ohioborn and raised Allan brings together an extensively varied personal history of occupations and life challenges in an exhibition of his bold and colorful Abstract paintings.



His aesthetic features a mosaic of color field and subject, often with a strong hint of spatial perspective, begging a viewer’s personal translation. Although he starts with a plan, he says, he has learned with experience to let his paintings become what they need to. Allan’s palette delves deep into the soul and the chaos of life and brings forth a schematic of shape, pattern and color, often taking new direction from what the work had just become. “My artwork simply evolves, taking on a mind of its own and changes during the creative process and becomes better than I planned.” His award-winning work has been in exhibits both domestically and abroad and is in many galleries and collections. – Kent Behrens

always commented on the human condition from his everyman “” project to his animated objects made of humble materials in everyday situations. Yet, social commentary aside, perhaps the greatest takeaway is an appreciation of his clever merging of digital and mechanical technologies to create both grins and “aha” moments. Jamie Burmeister’s artworks have been exhibited in galleries, museums and public places throughout the world. His “” project has resulted in over 520 installations of small ceramic figures in public places on several continents, 20 countries and 22 US states. – Michael Krainak


Friday, March 3 Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge Popular multi-media artist Jamie Burmeister will bring his latest variation on a theme of “” and automata to Modern Arts Midtown when his new month-long exhibit opens March 3 from 6-8 p.m. Burmeister’s experiments with sculpture, new media, installation, mechanics and electronics, computers and the Internet have created a diverse body of work that has never failed to amaze and entertain his audience. All of these works have elements of humor, absurdity and the mundane. Many of the pieces are interactive, creating situations where the viewer becomes a part of the piece, and he promises this new exhibit will continue that expectation with some extra-added attractions. “There will be some ceramic and bronze vermin doing their thing,” Burmeister said. “I am experimenting with the scale of some of the figurative work. Most of the pieces involve the human form in some way. I have been using myself as the subject for many of the new pieces. The new approaches involve kinetic and interactive pieces. I have been interested in automata for a long time.” Without being didactic, Burmeister and his art have


Saturday, March 4, 7 p.m. Hotel RL: Living Stage, 3321 S 72nd Street Anyone who loves a great live performance might be amazed to witness the soulful songstress Edem Kegey on stage. During sets with Edem, she is known for surprising the audience with her ability to play up to half a dozen instruments in one showcase. Her favorites are the harp, ukele and djembe. But while you enjoy, be prepared to learn about West African heritage. With an upbringing based in Ghanaian traditions, Edem has a charming way of inserting cultural influences into her meditative ballads. In addition to her soulful lyrics, she speaks Ga, a native tongue of Ghana, while sharing insightful perspective throughout. Once you leave this event, you just might be encouraged to change the world. – JoAnna LeFlore


Sunday, March 5 Slowdown, 729 N 14th St, Joanne Levesque, also known as JoJo, has come a long way since her appearance on America’s Most Talented Kids in 2003. Famous for her soulful pop and R&B songs, JoJo has been making music for over a decade now and she’s only 26. Though there was a long period where she didn’t put out a new studio album due to disputes with her label at the time, she never stopped working. And now we’re rewarded with a new album and a tour, both titled Mad Love. Keep an ear out for her collaborations with Wiz Khalifa, Alessia Cara, and Remy Ma. While they probably won’t be appearing with her at this show, I still recommend checking out the all-grown-up-now JoJo. Her voice has only gotten better. – Tara Spencer

when 32 year old pianist Aaron Diehl applies his digits to such old-time gems. Plus pianist Adam Birnbaum will have his hands on hand too. Furthermore, they delve into George Gershwin’s brilliant talents, spinners-off from what Jelly and his successors did. You’ll hear the new-time results when the keyboarders are joined by Grammy Award-winning 26 year old singer Cécile McLorin Salvant plus five other band members. Your ears may also perk up on some less familiar numbers, revelations in rhythm and melody. The three performers have major credits with 11 CDs among them. No one has reached 40 yet but their reaching back into the past is now. – Gordon Spencer

DOPE AND COMBICHRIST Monday, March 6 Sokol Underground

If winter has you feeling down and a little unmotivated, this show might be just the boost you need. It’s a mix of metal, industrial, and aggrotech with some EDM thrown in for good measure. Omaha is the fifth stop on Dope and Combichrist’s Blood, Lust, Death tour and the bands promise to have some surprises in store. Both groups will be playing new stuff from their latest albums, Dope’s “Blood Money Part 1” and Combichrist’s “This Is Where Death Begins.” So, if your life has been a little “blah” lately, head to this show to get things kick-started. – Tara Spencer

AARON DIEHL PRESENTS JELLY & GEORGE Sunday, March 5, 7p.m. Kiewit Hall, Holland Center, 1200 Douglas Street

No one invented jazz. It just growed. Jelly Roll Morton claimed he started the ball rolling; y’all know that ain’t so. Jelly, though, sure did come up with rompin,’ stompin’ rags and blues. You could check them out

see this Omaha hip-hop duo in an intimate setting. They’ve already been playing festivals throughout the Midwest, and since they may just blow up soon, you’ll want to be able to say, “I got to see them up close, back in the day.” Scky Rei (Skylar Reed) and INFNTLP (Nate Asad) continue to work on their craft and release singles for their fans to enjoy until their next big project comes out, hopefully soon! – Tara Spencer


Tuesday, March 7 Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave If you’re wondering what last year’s OEAA’s Artist of the Year has been up to, you’ll be able to catch up with them this month in Benson. Don’t miss the chance to


March 9, 8 p.m. Performances through March 31 SNAP! Productions 3225 California Street


In 1967’s Detroit, Motown music’s got a party started in a basement after-hours joint. But a mysterious woman causes much more than a stir. As pent-up feelings erupt, so too do the streets outside with burning storefronts and police in riot gear. This time of explosive racial tension and economic uncertainty takes center stage as such themes are explored by Dominique Morisseau. Her roots are in that town. This play won the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. A “poetic play of fire-fueled dreams and frustrated love,” said Detroit StarTribune, “(drawing) revelatory meaning from the ordinary.” Morisseau is an artist who, she says, “believes wholeheartedly in the power and strength of community.” FYI: Her work has also been published in a New York Times bestseller- Chicken Soup for the African American Soul. Music from those Detroit days punctuates the story. – Gordon Spencer

SYMPHONY JOSLYN Sunday, March 12 Joslyn Art Museum’s Witherspoon Hall


Young upcoming cello star Joshua Roman is back again with the Omaha Symphony. Shortly after making Tchaikovsky live again, Roman now immerses us in new music, “Dreamsongs” by Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis whose style has been described as full of exuberant neo-romantic intensity with influences from Debussy to hiphop. This 2003 piece is inspired by world dance music and rock. More music of our time is heard, Cindy McTee’s “Adagio for Strings, moved by the events of 9/11 and written one year thereafter, incorporating her own “Agnus Dei” for organ and a melody from Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Polish Requiem.” Added to such modern sounds is the Stravinsky-like neoclassicism which characterizes Czech composer Bohuslav Martin’s 1932 “Serenade for Chamber Orchestra.” Imagine all of that plus a Haydn symphony, the 102nd, known for its joy and serenity. Multiple moods crossing time. Thomas Wilkins conducts. – Gordon Spencer

Sunday, March 12 Sokol Auditorium 2234 S 13th St Though it doesn’t come out until April 7th, Cold War Kids are already touring in anticipation of the release of their sixth studio album, “L.A. Divine.” While the rest of the album isn’t available yet, the first single, Love Is Mystical, gives us a taste of what the band’s been up to, and it tastes (okay, sounds) good! Whether you’re a fan, a hater, or a potential convert, I challenge you not to enjoy the hard-hitting beats they bring to this anthemic love song. I also recommend checking out the video and the band’s contribution to the 30 Days, 50 Songs Project, (formerly 30 Days, 30 Songs.) – Tara Spencer

COREY FELDMAN Saturday, March 18 Maloney’s Pub, 1830 North 72nd St

While many people may have been surprised by Corey Feldman’s performance on The Today Show last September, those of us who are a little older should remember continued on page 26 y


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that Feldman has often tried his hand at music. His first solo album was released in 1994, but before that, he sang Something In Your Eyes for the iconic “Dream a Little Dream” soundtrack. Basically what I’m saying is, this could be a fun show, despite his now infamous Today Show performance. If nothing else, you get to see one of the Lost Boys up close and in person. And if you’re at all like me, that alone will be enough to get you out of the house and down to check out this show. – Tara Spencer

crazy, heavy, psychedelic pop songs that tore their way into critic’s bitter hearts. Also, after several years of anticipation and speculation about their next studio album, well, fans can keep anticipating and speculating. There’s still no set date, but rumor has it they’ve been playing some of the songs during their recent shows. They have also released a video for the single Noise Pollution that I just can’t stop watching. – Tara Spencer

days are the simplest ones.” Not that each animal spells out what it may signify or reveals itself easily to the viewer. In the past, Broghammer’s flock or herd have mostly been personal Cairns on his own quest for meaning. A rather unique blend of mark making and marking one’s trail. “It’s a journey in life we all have to discover about ourselves,” he said. Make what you will of it. Joseph Broghammer’s solo exhibition opens Thursday, Mar. 23 from 7-9 p.m. at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery in the Old Market Passageway. For more details and gallery hours, call 402.341.1877. – Michael Krainak

If photography is the “art of fixing the shadow,” then Virginia Beahan’s photographic series Portraits from Home represents her approach to freezing those poetic and fleeting moments of family life. Selections from this “album” are on view in the recentlyopened Riley CAP Gallery exhibition at Joslyn Art Museum. Beahan is recognized primarily for her large format land and urbanscape photographs in such far-flung locales as Iceland, Cuba and Sri Lanka. Her images, generally devoid of people, nonetheless communicate the impact of human presence on the environment or how a city manifests a culture’s distinctive history and values.


Thursday, March 23 through May 21 Garden of the Zodiac, 1042½ Howard St.


Saturday, March 18 CenturyLink Even if you don’t like country music, chances are you know who Blake Shelton is from his role as a judge on The Voice. Or maybe you know him because of his rather adorable (formerly somewhat scandalous) relationship with pop/punk singer Gwen Stefani. But if you’re a country fan, the important thing here is that he’s coming to Omaha this month. Even if you’re not a country fan, you might still want to check it out. Just in case his girl Gwen decides to make a surprise appearance, which she recently did at a performance in Inglewood, California. Either way, you should probably check him out while he’s in this neck of the woods. Who knows when you’ll get another chance? – Tara Spencer

PORTUGAL. THE MAN Tuesday, March 21 Slowdown, 729 N 14th St

Portugal. The Man have come a long way from Wasilla, Alaska. I’m not talking about miles, though. The group’s last album, Evil Friends, was one of their best yet, with


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Joseph Broghammer, who may be best known for his signature “Flock of Joe,” edgy pastel drawings of birds with an attitude, will return to the Garden of the Zodiac in March, this time with more current work, from down on the farm, pasture or prairie. Works in this solo exhibit are drawings with chalk pastel and pencil on paper from 22” by 24” to 42” by 43” in size. Although Brogrammer’s imagery is more domestic of late, a mix of bovine, bison, sheep, pigs and horses, his aesthetic of an engaging palette, delidate precise detail and offbeat point of view make his animals both familiar and individual. Which is to say that each of his “pets’ have a personality. Broghammer’s to be exact. But each piece remains true to its own nature as well. “I want to show the true personality of each animal,” he said. “I am not trying to make them something they aren’t. Some of the animals are drawn with a story embellishment overlay and some or just the beast. “It depended on my day and how I was feeling. If I wanted to be talkative or if I just wanted the day to stop or I felt mad or just content. The content



KRIS KRISTOFFERSON Thursday, March 30 Rococo Theatre 140 N 13th St, Lincoln

You may not even realize you’ve heard Kris Kristofferson before, but trust me you have. Even if you’ve never actually heard his voice, (which is pretty unlikely,) you’ve definitely heard his songs, which have been sung by music legends like by Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and the notorious Janis Joplin, (“Me and Bobby McGee”). Do not miss out on the chance to see the legendary singer/songwriter in the large, yet somehow still intimate, setting of the Rococo Theatre. I promise it will be a pleasure! – Tara Spencer


Through May 7 Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Riley Cap Gallery temporary-exhibitions

In 2002, Beahan’s elderly mother, Jeanne Cadwallader, came to live with her daughter and her family in rural New Hampshire after the memory losses and functional impairments associated with dementia became a threat to her independence. Her travels curtailed by her new role as caregiver, Beahan returned for the next five years to an informed version of the casual family photographs she took in her youth. Images range from intimate portraits of her mother enjoying the warming rays of the sun to shots of Beahan’s flower and vegetable gardens. The resulting series is not a portrait of dementia and the toll it can take on an individual, family or community. It is, like much of the artist’s work, about how a moment fixed by light can bring hidden resonances from the shadows. On March 30, Beahan will visit Joslyn to join chief curator Toby Jurovics in a conversation about her work. This free program takes place at 6:30pm in the Abbott Lecture Hall. There is no admission fee for this show. – Janet L. Farber


First Friday Old Market

FRI MARCH 3rd 6-9 PM

First Friday is a free event celebrating local creativity in Omaha's most historic neighborhood.


(402) 341-4000 18+

Visit galleries to explore fresh perspectives and meet the artists. Ride Ollie The Trolley No Charge!

For event information, go to or email:


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Area Chefs Bring Budget Friendly Recipes to Our Readers BY SARA LOCKE PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEBRA S. KAPLAN


ou are a lucky individual. Before you start listing reasons to the contrary, let’s just focus on the facts. You are currently residing in America. Better, still – You find yourself in Omaha. We are a city rich in culture, connection, and cuisine. How, then, are so many of our citizens struggling to feed their families? We visited topics like Food Waste and Hunger Battling Programs in recent months, but when we get down to it, food is still costly. The average family receiving SNAP benefits is budgeted about $10 per meal for a family of 6. In other words, a nutritious dinner for the price of a Venti mocha Frappuccino with an extra shot of espresso and a slice of banana bread. This dilemma has many families resorting to chemicalladen hot dogs and a side of something-aroni. Ramen has been getting some bad press lately for, ya know – possibly causing cancer. The more affordable and convenient a meal is, the less likely it’s fit for human consumption. I’ve seen a meme going around that states “instead of asking why healthy food is so expensive, ask why unhealthy food is so cheap”, but even unhealthy food is a big setback. Order a pizza for delivery and you’re out $25. Unnamed drivethrough taco place will cost a family upward of $20 for a nutritionally bankrupt pile of mystery meat on gmo corn shells with “cheese product” topping. So how does a family find a healthy balance? The Reader sat down with a few local chefs to get their take on a healthy family meal on a budget. Each meal feeds 6, and the ingredients can be purchased for less than $10.

Polenta with crispy chicken thighs & caramelized onion gravy. Chef: Tim Maides How You Know Him: Sous Chef at Omaha Country Club; Benson Soap Mill


Tim Maides has already had a storied career in the Omaha food scene. He has served as Chef at Twisted Cork Bistro, Le Quartier, and Over Easy. He is also the brains behind Tacos Rule Everything Around Me, which popped up a few times in 2016, You should keep your eyes open for what’s in store this coming season!


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• 6 bone-in chicken thighs • 1 small yellow onion • 1 cup of Polenta (I like Bob’s Red Mill) • 2 cups of chicken stock • ¼ cup of cheese of choice, I prefer gruyere • 5 cups of water • salt and pepper to taste • Cooking oil • 1 TBSP corn starch (optional)




Add thinly sliced yellow onion to a small pot and cook on low for about 20 minutes with 2 teaspoons of cooking oil. Allow the onions to brown without frying. Generously season chicken thighs with salt and black pepper. Sear chicken in a very hot pan with a bit of cooking oil. When chicken is golden brown on both sides, roast in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes. While that’s going, bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Salt the water with a large pinch of salt. Have 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Polenta ready to add when boiling. When boiling, whisk in the ground corn and lower heat to medium-low. Stir every few minutes so it doesn’t scorch. When the onions are brown & soft add 2 cups of chicken stock and start to reduce. If you want a thicker gravy-like consistency, add 1 Tablespoon corn starch mixed with 3/4 cup water into a slurry. When the polenta is soft to the bite and has thickened to your liking (about 20min) you can mix in 1/4 cup of whatever cheese you like. I prefer Gruyere. When everything is ready, about 30 min total, you can plate a couple spoonfuls of polenta per plate, then a sliced/ shredded/or whole chicken thigh, followed by the onion gravy. Top with freshly sliced chives and eat while still hot. Extra polenta can be used endless ways for breakfast or dinner the following day.

Shepherd’s Pie Chef: Michael Kult How You Know Him: Owner of Tomato Tomato, the indoor year-round Farmer’s Market

Kult is passionate about sustainability. Tomato Tomato offers CSA shares for half price to SNAP participants in an effort to provide locally sourced, nutritious food to struggling families. • 4 diced russet potatoes • 1/2 Head Cauliflower - roughly chopped • 1 Tbsp butter or oil • 1 lb ground beef or 1 can kidney beans

St. Patricks Day beer garden open at 7am IRISH WHISKY, BEER, MUSIC AND SERVING IRISH STEW ALL DAY Come join us at The Nifty Bar where we are Irish all year round or you are Irish for one day a year.

CHEF MICHAEL ANDERSON • 2 Carrots – chopped • 1 Onion – chopped • 2 Celery Stalks – chopped • (other optional vegetables include corn, peas, zucchini) • 1 can Diced Tomato • Salt and Pepper • Parmesan Cheese (if available) • Dried Oregano, Thyme (if available) Heat oven to 400F. Boil potatoes and cauliflower until soft, drain (reserve 1 cup of water from pot) and mash. Add reserved water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oven-proof skillet to medium high, add butter or oil and cook carrots, onion, celery until softened (give the carrots a couple minute head start). Add ground beef and cook until browned. If using beans add instead of beef and continue to next step. Pour in canned diced tomatoes and simmer. Add water if necessary, you don’t want the mixture to dry out. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs if available. Top with mashed potatoes and cauliflower (add cheese if available) and bake for 30 minutes. If serving later everything can be prepped ahead of time, allowed to cool, and put in the refrigerator. Increase cooking time to 50-60 minutes.

The Nifty Bar Emerald Isle of Benson 4721 NW Radial HWY WWW.THENIFTYBAR.COM (402)993-9300

Sausage Hash Chef: Michael Anderson How You Know Him: Mastermind behind Normandie Nights

Chef Anderson brings artistry and a deep love of creating food stories to his monthly supper club. Respect for his ingredients and his guests are apparent with every bite. • 14 oz smoked sausage (store will have many options- kielbasa works well)• 1/2 Head Cauliflower - roughly chopped • 4 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced • 1 sliced yellow onion • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped • salt and pepper to taste • 1 tbsp cooking oil Heat skillet over medium/high heat. Add cooking oil and potatoes, but do not crowd your pan. If you need two skillets, use them! It’s very important that your potatoes have enough room to caramelize. Add onion, salt and pepper, and cook until slightly brown. Slice your sausage on a bias and add to the pan. Cook until sausage is hot and serve topped with chopped green onion. This is a quick, convenient dish that can be prepared ahead of time and baked just before serving. Serves 6 For more budget-friendly recipes, head to TheReader.Com/Dining



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21 photographers ‘tell’ 150-year Nebraska narrative in MONA2Omaha exhibit at Gallery 1516 BY CAROL DENNISON



hoto Stories: Selections from the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) isn’t a “talkie,” but it speaks volumes. Over sixty photos from 1866 through 2006 spin tales of Nebraska history and culture, American icons, and, for photo buffs, a back story of photography representing nearly 150 years of changing technology and style. On display through March 26, Photo Stories, one in an ongoing series known as MONA2Omaha, brings the museum’s extensive collection of Nebraska art and artists to Omaha. This museum-gallery collaboration seeks to focus on the work of artists who are connected with Nebraska as a result of their birth, residency, education, or work in the state, or through their focus on Nebraska culture. MONA ArtReach Curator Russ Erpelding selected works from the museum’s archives to coincide with Nebraska’s Sesquicentennial celebration creating an exhibit that will make local viewers “shutter” with pride over the talent of their native sons. The works of photographers Bill Ray, Wright Morris, Solomon Butcher, Andrew Moore, William Henry Jackson, Herman Heyn, Charles Guildner and Charlotte Ingram, plus 13 more hold their own in Gallery 1516’s high-ceilinged, 10,000 square-foot-space. Arranged chronologically, the photos are grouped into smaller display galleries that allow even the smallest images a chance for close examination. Born in 1936 in Shelby, Nebraska, Bill Ray is known for his celebrity portraits featured in Life, Time, Smithsonian and many other publications. His oversized black and white “Marilyn Monroe” print captures Monroe’s sultry mystique from a unique angle the night she sang “Happy Birthday” to JFK in Madison Square Garden. In glaring contrast to Marilyn’s sophistication is “Coven of Old Ladies,” a peek into a group of Hell’s Angels “old ladies,” or girlfriends, most of who voluntarily attached themselves to the gang. Lounging in a café booth, one young blonde sports hair curlers and a bandaged broken nose suggesting the risk of gang association. Bill Ray captured these photos and other documentary images as he and writer Joe Bride rode with the gang in 1965. Another of Ray’s photos, “JoJo Goldwater,” depicts an 89-year-old woman smoking from a stubby cigarette holder. Her leathered skin and rheumy-eyes testify to her life as an Arizona pioneer and the mother to Barry Goldwater. Ironically, her son Barry became fascinated with photography himself, donating 15,000 images to Arizona institutions, including one of John F. Kennedy that bears Kennedy’s autograph and a tongue-in-cheek comment to Goldwater “to follow the career for which he has shown so much talent--photography!” Wright Morris, a Nebraska native from Central City, contributes one-third of the works in Photo Stories, many of which were included in his photo-texts, The Inhabitants


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(1946) or The Home Place (1948). With the help of a Guggenheim fellowship, Morris completed The Inhabitants, an experiment in documentary fiction. These black and white photos taken in the 1930s and ‘40s recount the destructive effects of the Dustbowl and the Great Depression on Nebraska . “Cracked Earth” mirrors Nebraska’s dry counties west of the 100th meridian and will resonate with dry-land farmers and residents. While many photos reflect bleak and abandoned life, others portray Nebraska’s traditions and culture. “Farm House, Near McCook” beckons a viewer to feel the light pouring into the house, to note juxtaposing patterns in the linoleum, the carpets, the wallpaper and the upholstery of a bygone era. In Morris’s texts, photos like “Basket of Cobs,” “Clothing on Hooks,” and “Dresser Drawer, Ed’s Place” functioned as artifacts documenting a way of life that speaks for itself. Like Morris, Andrew Moore, a New York photographer recently featured in Joslyn’s Dirt Meridians, is known for his narrative approach to documenting societies in transition. From 2005 to 2014 he undertook the task of documenting Nebraska’s land and inhabitants often from a crop-dusting plane, but in this case, in the arena of cattle to market. His use of time-lapse photography in “Auction, Bassett, Nebraska,” keeps the auction attendees in clear focus while blurring the circling cattle to a smudged black swirl. Charles Guildner, a former anesthesiologist from UNMC who built a second career as a photographer after retirement, has tipped his hat to Nebraska with the four photos in “Lives of Tradition.” One photo “Tribute to Wright Morris” imitates Wright Morris’s “Uncle Henry, Entering Barn, The Home Place, Near Norfolk,” complete with barn door, a vintage farmer in overalls and a well-worn seed cap. “Bullet through King” features a speeding bullet as it rips through a King of Diamonds playing card. This photo gives a nod to Harold Edgerton, a Fremont native and MIT scientist, who in 1931 developed strobe light technology, which facilitated the photography of moving objects. While he did not seek to create art through photography, this technique resulted in Coronet, a famous milk-drop photo that was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s first photography exhibit in 1937. Charlotte Ingram’s “High C,” a photo collage that features a calf in the foreground seemingly mooing to the dark above, backed by brick silos and floating eggshells provides a welcome touch of surrealism to the show. “Farm Hand,” a metal shed that walks on human hands over a field of soybeans shares a playful view of the crucial human factor in feeding the world. Ingram, an art therapist in Scottsbluff, strives for humor in her manipulated works, finding it underappreciated in the realm of art photography. Historians will vastly appreciate the 19th century photos that originated as stereoviews, Carte de visites or albumen

CHARLOTTE INGRAHAM - “HIGH C” prints attached to a thicker card stock. William Henry Jackson, whose photographic expedition to Yellowstone in 1870 helped establish the country’s first national park, worked in Omaha for a time as a missionary to Native Americans. He built his first studio on the site of the downtown Omaha Library. His photos of Pawnee subjects from 1865-68 represent a mere fraction of over 40,000 of his negatives now housed in the national archives. Both the black and white and handcolored photographs of Native Americans were taken by Frank Rinehart and Herman Heyn with the intent to provide souvenirs for the 1898 TransMississippi Exhibition. The standout of these portraits is Heyn’s “Eddy Plenty Holes.” This close-up of an Ogallala Sioux with his sideways gaze and long hair sans headdress, creates mystery and respect for these Great Plains natives. Another who captured the character and lives of early Nebraskans, Solomon Butcher, Nebraska homesteader in 1880, contributed “the most important chronicle of the saga of homesteading in America.” More than 1,000 negatives of sod houses, mostly in and around Custer County still exist. One will want to get in-depth looks at these lineups of families, livestock and personal possessions. To help, Gallery Director, Pat Drickey, has provided a magnifying glass on a nearby pedestal for better views. Beyond a helpful magnifying glass, Drickey, a professional photographer known for his panoramic images of world-class golf courses, has put his camera eye to art and architecture and many other subjects. While visiting this exhibit, a chat with Drickey is a must. His knowledge of the craft, plus his lively retelling of anecdotes related to the exhibit are well worth the time. Besides, everybody loves a good story. The exhibition runs February 3, 2017- March 26, 2017. Gallery hours are Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., First Fridays, 11a.m.-8 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.



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Photography by Debra Kaplan

2017 OMAHA ENTERTAINMENT & ARTS AWARDS WINNERS MUSIC WINNERS Best Rock: FREAKABOUT Best Hard Rock: Bloodcow Best Alternative/Indie: See Through Dresses Best Singer-Songwriter: CJ Mills Best DJ: Spencelove Best Americana/Folk: Jack Hotel Best Country: Belles & Whistles Best R&B/Soul: Rothsteen Best Hip Hop/Rap: Conchance Best Blues: The Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck Best Jazz: Mitch Towne Best Progressive Rock/Experimental/EDM: Chemicals Best World: The Bishops Best Cover Band: Secret Weapon Album of the Year: Jack Hotel – Voices from the Moon Artist of the Year: CJ Mills Best New Artist: A Ferocious Jungle Cat Best Recording Studio: ARC Studios Best Live Music Sound Engineer: Dan Brennan PERFORMING ARTS WINNERS Best Director (Play): Noah Diaz “The Feast” Shelterbelt Theatre Best Director (Musical): Susie Baer Collins “Caroline, or Change” Omaha Community Playhouse Best Leading Actor (Play): Michal Simpson “The Quality of Life” SNAP! Productions Best Leading Actor (Musical): Steve Krambeck “The Producers” Omaha Community Playhouse Best Leading Actress (Play): Mary Kelly “The Feast” Shelterbelt Theatre Best Leading Actress (Musical): Echelle Childers “Caroline, or Change” Omaha Community Playhouse Best Supporting Actor (Play): Nils Haaland “The Grown-Up” Blue Barn Theatre Best Supporting Actor (Musical): Nik Whitcomb “Caroline, or Change” Omaha Community Playhouse Best Supporting Actress (Play): Kaitlyn McClincy “The Christians” Blue Barn Theatre Best Supporting Actress (Musical): Aguel Lual “Caroline, or Change” Omaha Community Playhouse Performance by a Youth Performer: Danny Denenberg “Caroline, or Change” Omaha Community Playhouse Best Dramatic Play: “The Feast” Shelterbelt Theatre Best Comedic Play: “Untitled Series #7” Shelterbelt Theatre Best Premier of a New, Original, Local Script: “Untitled Series #7” by Ellen Struve, Shelterbelt Theatre Best Musical: “Caroline, or Change” Omaha Community Playhouse Best Dance Production: “Cleopatra” Ballet Nebraska Best Performance Poet: Devel Crisp Best Comedian: David Burdge Best Comedy Ensemble: Badland Girls Technical: Outstanding Lighting Design: Carol Wisner “Heathers” Blue Barn Theatre Technical: Outstanding Prop Design: Darin Kuehler “The Producers” Omaha Community Playhouse Technical: Outstanding Scenic Design: Sharon Diaz “The Feast” Shelterbelt Theatre Technical: Outstanding Costume Design: Georgiann Regan “Man of La Mancha” Omaha Community Playhouse Technical: Outstanding Sound Design: Hannah Mayer and Shannon Smay “The Feast” Shelterbelt Theatre Technical: Outstanding Choreographer: Julian Adair “Man of La Mancha” Omaha Community Playhouse Technical: Outstanding Music Direction: Doran Schmidt “Caroline, or Change” Omaha Community Playhouse VISUAL ARTS WINNERS Best Visual Artist: Susan Knight Best Emerging Visual Artist: Hugo Zamarano Best 2-D Artist: Joseph Broghammer Best 3-D Artist: Phil Hawkins Best New Media Artist: Susan Knight Best Group Show: “Nebraska Rising” at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art Best Solo Show: Phil Hawkins “Paradox” at Sunderland Gallery





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he Hottman Sisters credit much of their music ability to their roots. It’s one of the reasons why Heather, 26, and Jessica, 24, decided to launch their indie-alternative project out of Omaha two years ago. “We talked about moving to Nashville or New York to start,” Heather explained, “but there’s no better place than our home where people know us and we have resources.” Now the four-piece band — including drummer John Evan and bassist Jon Ochsner — is primed to embark on their second national tour of the year. This month, they have shows in Denver, Madison and New York City. Although the band formed in recent years, the sisters have been singing since they were kids. They were never formally trained, but their mother, Bridget Hottman, inspired their vocal chords. Alongside their sister, Tiffany Hottman, the young women grew up splitting four-part harmonies at home. They also took on instruments during their childhood and adolescence. For instance, the West Omaha natives took piano lessons growing up. Jessica started learning the acoustic guitar at Elkhorn High School, but only picked up the electric two years ago to broaden the band’s sound. Their creative energy didn’t stop in the classroom. At church, the sisters played lead roles in Christmas musicals, participated in choir and even lead worship music for Sunday services. Occasionally, they performed at weddings and in downtown


MARCH 2017



Omaha, too. Altogether, these routine performances helped create a foundation for the sisters’ music today. Despite her passion for singing, Heather said she grew up fairly shy; performing in front of a crowd was terrifying for her. Fortunately, she said her bubbly mom — who still plays the drums in church today — influenced her to perform on stage. Over time, this exposure undoubtedly replaced fright with confidence. “I performed one solo a year in our sanctuary, which was scary when I started out, but am so glad I did it,” Heather said. “Those solos helped me maintain the stage presence and comfort I have now where I’m excited to be at the front.” Heather’s enthusiasm likely contributed to her big move to Nashville shortly after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Omaha with a degree in business management. “The Nashville scene is saturated with music, which can be difficult for people starting out,” Heather added. “I was blown away by the ridiculous talent. It doesn’t matter what night, the shows and their genres are endless.” While her sister was in Tennessee, Jessica was finishing up her bachelor’s degree in education at UNO, but of course wouldn’t dare let music slip away. After all, she had been writing songs since she was 10 years old. “In college, I documented all the songs I wrote and dreamed up what I hoped for in a future project,” Jessica said. “By graduation, I had a clear idea of what Heather and I should do.” continued on page 36 y

LIVE MUSIC SCHEDULE - MARCH 2017 WEDNESDAY MARCH 1 Nostalgia Bozak & Morrissey 6:30 to 9:30 pm

SATURDAY MARCH 11 Charm School Dropouts 9:00 to 1:00 am

THURSDAY MARCH 2 Jazz Fusion Daddy Mac and The Flak 6:30 to 9:30 pm

MONDAY MARCH 13 Gooch and his Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm

FRIDAY MARCH 3 Dance Lemon Fresh Day 9:00 to 1:00 am

TUESDAY MARCH 14 Billy Troy 6:30 to 9:30 pm

SATURDAY MARCH 4 Dance The Six 9:00 to 1:00 am

WEDNESDAY MARCH 15 Pam & The Pearls 6:30 to 9:30 pm

MONDAY MARCH 6 Gooch and his Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm

THURSDAY MARCH 16 Working Man’s Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm

TUESDAY MARCH 7 Scott Evans 6:30 to 9:30 pm

FRIDAY MARCH 17 St. Patrick’s Day Taxi Driver 9:00 to 1:00 am

WEDNESDAY MARCH 8 The 70’S Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm

SATURDAY MARCH 18 Envy 9:00 to 1:00 am

THURSDAY MARCH 9 Mighty Jailbreakers 6:30 to 9:30 pm

MONDAY MARCH 20 Gooch and his Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30 pm

FRIDAY MARCH 10 Hi-Fi Hangover 9:00 to 1:00 am

WEDNESDAY MARCH 22 The Persuaders 6:30 to 9:30 pm THURSDAY MARCH 23 Finest Hour 6:30 to 9:30 pm FRIDAY MARCH 24 Soul Dawg 9:00 to 1:00 am



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MARCH 2017 2/17/17


5:26 PM

continued from page 34 y

Fortunately, this revelation hit the sisters at the same time, especially since Heather was already reconsidering her move. In a single phone conversation, she said, they decided to team up once again and start their current project. “We try to build a foundation in this area and play music to a lot of different types of people,” Jessica said. Now they frequently perform in venues such as O’Leaver’s, Pageturner’s, Slowdown, The Sydney and The Barley Street Tavern. The sisters’ sound has quickly matured since forming. The band embraces its uniqueness, admitting that it doesn’t easily fit into traditional indie rock, alternative, pop, country and folk genres. “We started off with mainly vocals,” Jessica elaborated. “We started adding full-throttled guitar hooks and a spacey synth for a rock feel, but the tight sister harmonies are still at the center.” Last summer, the band released its freshman EP This Two to celebrate its official emergence into the local scene. The album starts off with “My War,” an ode to both hope and perseverance. At the climax of the song, less than two minutes in, we’re introduced to how the sisters’ harmonies are able to weave in and out of defining instrumental breakdowns, dividing verses from choruses. “Who I Was,” which the sisters performed for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert contest last year, reminisces on their journey as musicians. The chorus repeats, “I am far away from home / Back turned from everyone I’ve known,” indicative of Heather’s experience in Nashville. The song exemplifies how Jessica strums guitar hooks while Heather plays an inspiring Novation synthesizer, accompanied by Evan’s subtle yet striking drum work in the background. “Our Home” begins boldly with a harmony that lasts the entire song. Lyrically, the track reflects the album’s nostalgia, especially since the album’s artwork features a childhood photo of the sisters. The record was well received, leading to a nomination for the Best Indie/Alternative Band by the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards last year. The band is currently recording its first fulllength album. The record is expected to drop in late 2017 or early 2018. “We’ve gotten stage experience from a variety of crowds ever since we can remember,” Heather said. “It’s great to keep the musical parts of our childhood alive in our music now.”


MARCH 2017



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MARCH 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



MARCH 2017



ig news in the local blues community happened after the February Reader went to print. Omaha’s 21st Saloon closed abruptly Jan. 30. The venue was under Scott Kirks’ ownership. Since 2013, Kirk had run the venue in the tradition previous longtimeowner Terry O’Halloran had established at the 96th & L address. The 21st Saloon presented touring blues shows on Thursdays, as well as other nights of the week, and provided a welcome home for national blues artists and local blues fans. The initial announcement about the closing came from the Blues Society of Omaha, penned by O’Halloran, who is a board member of the BSO and is back in Omaha. The buzz was felt nationally, with many artists from Gracie Curran to Jim Suhler reacting on Facebook with praise for Kirk and his staff. “Heart-felt appreciation goes out to Scott Kirk and his team for their support of BSO, BluesEd, and blues music,” O’Halloran wrote in the BSO press release. “Unfortunately, while blues shows were generally well-attended, it was not enough to pay the bills.” The BSO leadership team quickly set wheels in motion to find a new home for the popular Thursday blues series, which has landed at Chrome Lounge, 8552 Park Dr., at least through the month of March. At present, the BSO is also taking the financial risk on booking and paying the bands, so it is more critical now than ever for fans to support these shows. Weekly Blues Series The Thursday “BSO Presents” blues series at the Chrome Lounge for March features harmonica virtuoso Jason Ricci Thursday, March 2. The Claudettes hit the stage Thursday, March 9. This band is generating a buzz for their self-described, piano-fueled “fanatical fusion of blues and souljazz—like Ray Charles on a punk kick” paired with a vocalist who sings often in French, reminding me a bit of the Austin band 8 ½ Souvenirs. Thursday, March 16, Curtis Salgado Band hits Chrome, with Brad Cordle Band opening with a 5 p.m. set. (See below.) Big-voiced K.C. vocalist/bassist Danielle Nicole plugs in Saturday, March 18, 5 p.m. Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory mixes roots music from Southern fried rock to hill country blues Thursday, March 23. See ayhmusic. com. Guitar star Coco Montoya rounds out the month on Thursday, March 30. Thursday shows are 6-9 p.m. Please see Facebook. com/BluesSocietyOfOmaha and

for updates and for any breaking news about future shows. Salgado Soars This month sees the return of treasured Portland, Ore., soul-blues vocalist Curtis Salgado. Salgado’s latest disc burns hot with plenty of funk and soul. The Beautiful Lowdown (Alligator), showcases the vocalist at his fieriest and delivers not only soulful muscle but also some forays into swampy blues and reggae. The disc is up for three Blues Music Awards this year including Song of the Year for “Walk a Mile in My Blues,” written by Salgado, David Duncan and Mike Finnigan. Get your soul-blues dance grooves on with Salgado and his superlativeinducing band Wednesday, March 15, at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar and Thursday, March 16, at Omaha’s Chrome Lounge. Both shows 6-9 p.m. Zoo Bar Blues Other shows of note at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar include Danielle Nicole Wednesday, March 8, 6-9 p.m. Webb Wilder is up Sunday, March 12, 5 p.m. Billy Bacon is back Thursday, March 16, 6 p.m., Friday, March 17, 5 p.m., and Saturday, March 18, 9 p.m., after an early 6 p.m. show by Denver-based keyboardist Andy Sydow. Sydow, influenced by New Orleans music and Mississippi blues, is well worth catching. The Bel Airs play Wednesday, March 22, 6-9 p.m., Kris Lager Band has a CD release party Friday, March 24, 9 p.m. and Coco Montoya plugs in Wednesday, March 29, 6-9 p.m. Earl & Them are back Friday, March 31, 5 p.m., and Saturday, April 1, 6-9 p.m. Hot Notes The Sunday Roadhouse series is back Tuesday, March 7, 8 p.m., with the vocal-driven Lake Street Dive at Slowdown. Chuck Prophet is scheduled Tuesday, March 14, 8 p.m., at Waiting Room. See Austin’s Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears are up at Waiting Room Tuesday, March 7, 9 p.m., with Dams of the West. Lewis’ soul-blues rock with a punk edge is front and center with his new disc Backlash. See Iconic Texas singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver is at Waiting Room Sun., March 26, 7 p.m. Lincoln’s Rococo offers a couple of notable shows. Rickie Lee Jones and Madeleine Peyrouz

perform Friday, March 24.The legendary Kris Kristofferson plays Thursday, March 30. See for details.

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MARCH 2017



Come to Omaha And The Return of Omaha Zine Fest B Y J A M E S WA L M S L E Y



JAMES WALMSLEY is The Reader’s contributing music editor and a longtime touring musician. The Michigander-turnedNebraskan came to Omaha by accident on an aimless road trip. He lives in Benson with his wife and daughter and runs a vegan restaurant (another accident) in his spare time.


MARCH 2017

ormer child actor turned musician Corey Feldman is descending upon Omaha later this month and the only thing that might be more unusual than his EDMish bro-goth act, Corey’s Angels, is the location he’ll be blessing with his presence. But if you’d never heard of Maloney’s Irish Pub before Feldman’s January show announcement, owner Wendy Bettin, 35, gets it: Hers is a neighborhood “everybar,” not a rock venue. It doesn’t pander to the craft beer and cocktail crowds that light up Instagram screens, and its location — near the SW corner of N. 72nd and Blondo — is too far outside the reaches of Benson to profit from its ironic touch. So how did Bettin land the controversial Goonie, Feldman, who also starred in’80s favorites The Lost Boys and Stand by Me? Simple. She asked. The Iowa native, who opened Maloney’s in 2008, said she was considering a road trip to Tremont, Ill. to watch Feldman’s band when she realized she’d already have her St. Patrick’s Day tent — which is heated and can shelter a couple hundred patrons — set up and available March 18, if she could just somehow convince the recent Celebrity Wife Swap star to stop by on his way east. Before negotiations were settled, she said, Feldman listed the show on his website. Opening is Digital Leather, Thick Paint and Glow in the Dark. “I guess we’re doing this now,” Bettin (formerly Maloney) said she remembered thinking, “there’s no going back.” Feldman describes Corey’s Angels as a “management, development and production entity,” which is intended to help down-and-out aspiring Hollywood entertainers. The “360-degree interactive experience” has been criticized for being modeled after Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Bunnies, and it’s been accused of being a sex cult that preys on vulnerable women. But Feldman maintains his intentions are pure. The band itself comes off mostly as performance art, reminding one of Joaquin Phoenix’s mock rap career. Only, in Corey’s Angels, Feldman seems to be channeling his inner (and outer) Michael Jackson, who he dedicated his double album Angelic 2 the Core to last June. Still, there’s enough David Icke and his lizard people permeating throughout the whole ordeal to keep Bettin guessing as to how Feldman’s Maloney’s show will eventually turn out:



COREY FELDMAN AND HIS BAND ARE SET TO PERFORM OUTDOORS AT MALONEY’S IRISH PUB “It’s going to be weird,” she said with a slight hesitation. “I can guarantee that.” Omaha Zine Fest Omaha Zine Fest is pasting together another DIY festival for a second go at the pamphlet-trading expo. Only, this year’s March 11 gathering of artists, musicians and thinkers will not be an exact Xerox of the inaugural event. For starters, co-founders Andrea Kszystyniak, 27, Daphne Calhoun, 22, and Kaitlan McDermott, 25, are bringing their festival to the brand new Union for Contemporary Art space in North O. The event will also focus its workshops almost strictly on social justice: “We want everyone to feel welcome and enjoy their time at our event, no matter what their identity of background,” Kszystyniak said last month. “Our

biggest priority is making sure our events are comfortable, safe and accessible for everyone.” Zines — short for magazines or fanzines — have been the preferred supplemental literature to countercultures and fringe movements since individuals have had the ability to mass-produce pamphlets in a DIY fashion. In recent decades, the zine has belonged to the photocopying punk, with its fast and loud aesthetic, but it has since become an eclectic canvas for just about anything. Kszystyniak said she’s hoping to use zines to show off Omaha to the rest of the country. “We had such a positive response last year,” she said. “It’s funny because we had so many people come from out of state who were surprised by what Omaha had to offer. We want to keep sharing our amazing city and its awesome artists with others.”

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No Guilty Pleasures in Self-Care B Y R YA N S Y R E K




n the 32nd of Never, at 25 o’clock, a canvas made of centaur skin (covered with ink scribbled using a unicorn horn) that describes the GOP’s “alternative to Obamacare” will be unveiled. Since, even in our wildest pixie fever dreams, this fictional legislation still won’t ding the pharmaceutical industry by covering any exorbitant drug prices, we can at least hope it covers movie tickets. I’m kidding! But only about having hope, not about the vital role that movies play in the increasingly important and violently undervalued role of self-care. From the National Alliance on Mental Illness to tens of thousands of peer-reviewed scientific health journals, selfcare isn’t just something vegans and bloggers yip about. Whether it’s a variation on Tom and Donna yelling “Treat yo self” on “Parks and Rec” or a heavily structured personal plan, the core of self-care is finding ways to make like Gandalf tellin’ the Balrog to “talk to the staff” and declare to the demons of stress “You shall not pass!” Movies work as empathy machines, as I’ve talked about before, and they have a responsibility to inspire and educate. But they can also protect, empower and distract, all of which are hella vital during what appears to be the very worst possible timeline, in which we are currently living. So let’s talk a bit about how film can operate as key component


MARCH 2017



of self-care and, more importantly, why you should punch dinguses who call any movie a “guilty pleasure.”

Worry About Yourself Up in Canada, where the elected leader of their government is a sane dreamboat who probably knits pink pussy hats and has Vladimir Putin’s face on a dartboard, The Globe and Mail published a great piece on the selfsoothing nature of cinematic escapism. Anne T. Donahue describes how she’s coping with the era of Dirty Donald by watching disaster movies, which I admit sounds a little bit like trying to get over a fear of whiny manbabies by attending a Men’s Rights Activist Convention. She explains that, for her, watching a movie in which everyone is freaking the frak out mirrors a real world in which a dude took a selfie with a guy holding the “nuclear football.” But, as she explains, “In fictional hell, there’s a way out.” Donahue’s self-care skews a little grim, but the idea is solid. Her fear of the rabid nationalism and neo-fascism coming from the White House is compressed and warped into erupting volcanoes from which Pierce Brosnan Britishes his way to safety. She is reassured, however briefly, by making her totally legit worries transform into the bombastic and feeling comfort in the heroic efforts of

those escaping. For some, watching Keanu There’s No Such Thing Reeves deposit bullets into the brain banks of as Guilty Pleasures thugs in suits sates the anger inspired by tiewearing millionaires barfing nonsense. You get The centerpiece of the “Treat yo self” the idea, right? We’ll call this method of self- philosophical approach is the absence of care via film “soothing by simulacra,” which is guilt. When Tom and Donna dive into the to say, it’s a healthy way to channel frustrations capitalistic orgy of conspicuous consumption into metaphorical cinematic situations. on “Parks and Rec,” their mantra is used as Others prefer what The Atlantic calls “the a whip to keep the lion of spending remorse existential therapy of nostalgia.” Derek at bay. The use of movies in self-care may Thompson, the author of that piece, digs deep not seem like it should inspire regret, but into the philosophical and scientific nuances it almost certainly does. With everyone of re-watching familiar movies. Much of it is admonishing those resisting the lunacy of fascinating and worth reading, but the salient President Babyhands to “not get distracted,” point for this discussion comes in what he calls the simple act of taking time to do something “The Therapeutic Reason” for nostalgic repeated as “unimportant” as enjoy a movie can feel consumption of the same film. He cites a study like shirking civic duty. that found returning to familiar entertainment But that’s not all. So many people are quick is “emotional regulation.” In an era when to judge the movies that others seek for comfort. reading a Twitter feed feels like playing Donahue’s whole article feels like it was written emotional roulette, the emotional regulation after somebody asked her why the hell she was of watching something you’ve already seen watching San Andreas for the fourth time. The replaces tension and surprises with familiarity movies we use to emotionally regulate, the ones and proven expectations. We’ll call this method that carry the nostalgic power in that Atlantic of film self-care “soothing by wubbie,” which article, are often, you know, objectively pretty is to say, returning to the comforts of the past flipping bad. As a critic, my job is to pass temporarily alleviates the uncertainty of the judgment on whether something is crap or not. present and a fear of the future. A lot of it is. But guess what? At no point do I’m sure there’s more, but the last major I or would I ever pass judgment on someone category to discuss is flat-out escapism or for liking something I think is crap. Except for “what can be wrong when I’m watching The Big people who want to keep giving La La Land Lebowski?” The outlandish suggestion that you awards. No. Bad. Stop that. can “shut your brain off” while imbibing any Dave Grohl once said “I don’t believe in entertainment is as ludicrous as a man who once guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, called for the elimination of the Department of like it.” He went on to say something about Energy running the Department of Energy or “our generation,” but I prefer to pretend he the Department of Education spewing typos abruptly stopped talking after saying the one and historical brain farts on Twitter. Okay, bad cool thing. Just, as a rule, pulling off a good, examples. The point is, while we must retain important statement that involves the phrase awareness of the messages embedded within “our generation” is like making tie-dye sexy and the pop culture we consume, finding pleasant fashionable; I’m sure somebody can do it, but distractions is vital. you can’t. The core of what Grohl said before I’m not talking about “background noise,” losing the plot in his sometimes-terrifying that practice that conservatively counts for mustache is a key to film as self-care. Guilt 99.99% of my Netflix viewing. I am talking about can’t enter in. No more “guilty pleasures” from intentionally “unplugging” from cognitive labor here on out. They are now “self-care movies.” by “plugging” into something that stimulates Watching movies can be therapy. A film without stressing. If you aren’t truly engaged can be emotional salve. Cinema can be a safe in something, the lingering monsters of anxiety space. You choose what works for you and will craw from the basement subconsciousness don’t make any apologies about it, okay? In and slink onto your brain’s center stage. What fact, let’s do this together. Hit me up at film@ you need is something that lights up neurons with some of your favorite selfwithout lighting up a neon sign that says care movies, and I’ll share them in a piece “Worry!” Let’s call this cinematic self-care online later. I’ll get us started, and Donahue approach “soothing by conscious snoozing,” should approve: When life sucks, I self-sooth which is to say, there’s a way to think without by watching Jake Gyllenhaal punch wolves in having to think too much. The Day After Tomorrow. Now you go. No guilt. Just emotional regulation. I promise.

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MARCH 2017


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THE LAST WORD This month, Cutting Room goes OFF! That is to say, let’s dive into the Omaha Film Festival, which will be held at Village Pointe Cinema March 7-12. • The OFF will soon hate its parents and run away from home, as it is fast approaching its teen years. The 12th annual festival kicks off at 6:30 pm on March 7 with The Last Word from director Mark Pellington. Featuring Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried and Anne Heche, the film looks to be a quirky tale about the bond between two very different but connected women. • Interspersed between full-length narratives and documentaries are short film blocks, one of which features Nebraska documentaries and another features Nebraska high-school student shorts. I’m very thankful the OFF wasn’t in existence when I was in high-school, or who knows what Crow-inspired garbage I would have birthed into the world and declared “my art.” • The closing night film is from writer/director Olivier Assayas and features Kristen Stewart as a high-fashion personal shopper to the stars who is also a spiritual medium. Okay, right now, I’m only slightly mad that nobody told me that was a career option. I have a Ouija board, a color wheel and boatloads of poor taste that could have revolutionized the formalwear of the ghosts of Hollywood. • What’s great about the OFF is that, in addition to flicks with high-profile folks and shorts that don’t get their due outside of festival circuits,


MARCH 2017



they offer opportunities to see movies like Dave Made a Maze, which is described as a reimagining of classic 80s stuff with modern comedy and puppetry. The synopsis has a Minotaur, you guys! One of the folks behind the film reached out to us and shared how the bond between the creators and producers resulted in this screening here in Omaha. The passion behind the project is clear, and name-checking Jim Henson and a gosh-durn Minotaur definitely means this one is a fuzzy must see. • I’m always thankful for the OFF and proud that it continues to expand its legacy. With thousands and thousands of dollars in prizes, some educational opportunities for aspiring filmmakers and boatloads of quality films we’d otherwise miss out on, the OFF deserves a sloppy wet kiss. I’m not necessarily the one offering, unless the OFF is into that… All I know is, I’m into the OFF and you should be too. Get thee to for the interactive schedule and tickets. Tell them about the kissing and let me know what they say. Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to 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. --Ryan Syrek

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MARCH 2017

It’s been a rough decade for journalists BY TIM MCMAHAN

s we enter the “fake news” era, here is my first run-in with journalistic deception. The year was 1994. I had been writing about local music for a monthly regional magazine called The Note as a freelancer for two years, in charge of covering Omaha’s indie and punk music scene. The publication’s editor asked me to write a cover story about an Omaha punk band that recently had been signed by a national record label and was about to hit the road for an East Coast tour. At the time, Nebraska bands rarely performed outside of the state. In fact, the idea that a local band could grab the attention of a national audience, let alone go on tour, was very much a novelty. For the story, I came up with the idea of asking the band to call me from the road with tour updates. This was years before cell phones, so the calls would come long-distance via pay phones with reverse charges. Every day for a week, someone from the band — usually the frontman — would call from a remote East Coast location and recap road story after road story dripping with unbridled debauchery, kinky depravity and everything else that makes rock ‘n’ roll what it is. A side note: I knew these guys well, or at least I thought I did. I had interviewed them before, and had watched them perform on Omaha stages numerous times. I trusted them. Well, I wrote the story and it was published and distributed throughout college towns in Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. A few days after it hit the streets, I walked in to local record store/ music Mecca The Antiquarium, and there was proprietor/guru Dave Sink behind the counter holding a copy of the article. “Great piece,” he said. “I really loved the writing, but you know all those road stories were completely made up, right?” I felt my stomach drop. I knew the guys in the band, but Dave really knew them. It never entered my mind that they could be lying, could be making up everything. Needless to say, the interviews were accurate — what they were quoted as saying was what the band members had said. I didn’t bother fact-checking their statements or their stories. I don’t know how I would have if I had wanted to. What I did know for a fact was that the guys had indeed gone on a tour and called from the road — the operator indicated the location of the long-distance calls when I accepted the charges. But could the band members have been lying about everything else? As a naive journalist, I assumed whenever I interviewed anyone, they were telling the truth, or at least the truth as they knew it; that no one would outright lie to me, lie to “the press.” What would be the point? Today, 23 years later, lying has become an accepted part of how our country is run. We have a president who lies with a straight face, looking directly into a television camera, lying to an entire globe, lies so preposterous, so outlandish, everyone — including his staff, including his supporters — knows he’s lying. And, as a matter of course, we’ve all come to simply accept it for what it is.



Recent statements by President Trump:

The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years. Lie. Terrorism and terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe have gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. Lie. Serious voter fraud has occurred in Virginia, in New Hampshire, in California. Lie, lie, lie. And so on. There are pages of documented lies by Trump online at For some reason, it now seems necessary to define what a lie is. My definition: Knowingly and with intent saying something that is false. Die-hard Trump supporters — and we all know them — either ignore these lies or don’t care. And I guess if everyone knows his lies are lies, it doesn’t really matter, until Trump gets us into a war and then purposely misstates what’s happening as our troops risk their lives on foreign soil. That’s when shit gets real. That’s when people start to care. In the meantime, to counter his lying, Trump is waging his own war with the above-ground press, saying traditional sources of news — such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, the major broadcast networks and CNN — are FAKE NEWS (his caps) and are “the enemy of the American People!” We all know it’s bullshit. Even Fox News’ Chris Wallace said Trump went too far attacking the press, telling White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus “We don’t have a state-run media in this country. That’s what they have in dictatorships,” which made me recall that scene in the movie Die Hard when a cop car is getting shot up by terrorists and a bloodied Bruce Willis yells out a broken window of Nakatomi Plaza, “Welcome to the party, pal.” It’s been a rough decade for journalists, who have watched their salaries get cut, their pensions disappear and the number of respected news outlets dwindle with the rise of the Internet. Journalism always has been a thankless, low-paying career, and now we’ve got the President of the United States calling journalists fake and dishonest and the enemy of the people. And yet, they continue to put their heads down, pick up their pens and microphones and cameras and laptops, and do what they do. When Trump is finally gone and the smoke clears, it’ll be journalists who will emerge from the wreckage with the most dignity in tact. People will view journalists the same way we view teachers and social workers and other professionals who do what they do not for money, but because they want to make a difference the only way they know how. In journalists’ case, it’s by telling the truth. By the way, I ended up tracking down that punk band shortly after I spoke to Dave Sink, and they swore what they said was the absolute truth, that Dave simply couldn’t believe what they’d been through. And though I believed them, I walked away from that incident ever wary. After all, anyone can lie, even a president. Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at






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