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S E P TE MB E R 2 0 1 7 | vo lU M E 24 | ISSU E 09


momentum: FOSSE STYLE! F R I D AY, O C T. 2 0 J OS LY N A RT M U S E U M TICKETOMAHA.COM 402-345-0606 S U N D AY, O C T. 2 2 IOWA WESTERN ARTS CENTER ARTSCENTER.IWCC.EDU 712-388-7140 Premier Benefactor:

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Season Sponsor:

Additional Support:

Cindy & Scott Heider









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Politics: Omaha Public Schools


EAt: The scoop on local ice cream


coVER: Fall Arts, Theater and Classical Music


HEARtAND HEAliNG: Relaxation & float tanks


PicKs: Cool Things To Do in September


ARt FEAtURE: Auto focus

Last year’s Best Of Issue

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


Music: NEEDTOBREATHE, Backbeat column


HooDoo: September’s sweet sounds


FilM: Fall movie preview

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

40 2

cUttiNG RooM: Cutting September SEPTEMBER 2017


FilM FEAtURE: Tim Kasher’s Film



oVER tHE EDGE: North Korea crisis



WE’VE GOT A BLOCKBUSTER SEASON! Omaha Symphony concerts take place at the Holland Center or Joslyn Art Museum.



lachian Apapring



Beethoven’s 9th


Featuring 3 Full Length Movies with LIVE Orchestra! ™ & © Universal Studios and U-Drive Joint Venture


e e B v o th e e B en

TM & © Universal Studios

HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & TM Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. J.K. ROWLING`S WIZARDING WORLD TM J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s17)

Season Packages Are Still Available - starting at $39!







Omaha Jobs: Creative Economy T

hough parents often warn their creative kids to have a back-up plan when it comes to entering the creative economy, there are indeed professionals who make a nice living doing what they love. The creative economy refers to industries that use creativity as a product or service. Writers, artists, musicians and other creatives fall within this category. Show off your talent You can’t keep your talent a secret if you hope to enter and achieve success in the creative economy. Think

of artists who have impressive portfolios they can show off to prospective buyers or employers. Whatever opportunity you get to showcase your work and have it seen by the right people, do it. This doesn’t mean you should scramble to snatch up “opportunities” to work for “exposure,” as often this is merely a client’s way to get work for free. Instead, consider other opportunities for exposure. For example, offer your services as a volunteer to a cause for which you feel passionate. Say no to companies that ask you to create something specifically for them

Lunch & Learn Get Found On Google Search and Maps Want to get found on Google Search and Maps? This presentation which introduces Google My Business, a free tool to manage your business information across Google. Google My Business makes it easy to create and update your business listing—so you can stand out, and bring customers in. It’s the easiest way to help your business to be found online. Please come and get to know our Pioneer Publishing team.

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without compensation. Don’t let anyone take advantage of your need for exposure by persuading you to work for free. Don’t be pensive It takes some nerve to succeed in the creative economy. You have to be willing to put your talents on full display without fear of criticism. That can be a terrifying scenario for creatives not yet fully confident in their talents. Fear of rejection will only inhibit your eventual success within the creative economy. Keep in mind your work won’t be well-received by every

single person you encounter. But that’s OK. All it takes is the right person to recognize your talent, and your career can be off and running. Be aggressive in pursuing your passion. Make the phone calls, reach out to influencers and set up meetings to get your foot in the door. Hard work pays off It takes some nerve to succeed in the creative economy. You have to be willing to put your talents on full display without fear of criticism. That can be a terrifying scenario for creatives not yet fully confident in their talents.

Fear of rejection will only inhibit your eventual success within the creative economy. Keep in mind your work won’t be well-received by every single person you encounter. But that’s OK. All it takes is the right person to recognize your talent, and your career can be off and running. Be aggressive in pursuing your passion. Make the phone calls, reach out to influencers and set up meetings to get your foot in the door. Networking: not corporate types



If networking makes you think of stuffy events in boardrooms or conference centers, think again. Plenty of networking opportunities exist for creative people, from professional organizations to community groups. Within the creative economy, it helps to know the right people. Positions often go to someone based on a personal recommendation as opposed to an extensive search for qualified candidates. Don’t take this to mean that you should scramble to meet every hiring manager in town, but recognize real relationships can lead to real opportunities. Consider attending conferences to meet other professionals in your field. These conferences are usually designed to offer industry-specific information as well as opportunities to make new connections with people. Promote yourself You should have a website that showcases your talents. This doesn’t simply mean a social media profile with a strong following (although this doesn’t hurt), but a website you own and control, that allows potential clients to find and contact you easily. Your online presence should be strong and point toward your abilities as a creative professional. Explore all avenues There is no one right way to enter the creative economy. For some, it includes years of school and training before a career begins, while others are well on their way without ever stepping foot on a college campus. Some people work their way up into their eventual artistic position while others only ever do what they love. Every step you take should lead in the direction of your desired career – anything else is just a waste of your time. When you find yourself making a decision about which path to take, simply ask yourself, “Which will get me closer to where I want to be?”









hen the Omaha Public Schools board failed finding an effort to do that,” though she questions if they’ve learned to a new superintendent last spring, it marked the constructively disagree. continuation of internal conflicts and district dirty Evans, Snow and Merica agree the board’s performance will laundry being aired. be judged on how the school year proceeds and on the tenor of Between the suspended search and the start of this new school open meetings. They say since attending the training they note year, holdover superintendent Mark Evans, who earlier announced a discernible improvement in how they relate to each other and his retirement, agreed to stay on an extra year. Some board Evans. members have openly championed him. Others have been at odds Even with everything on the board’s plate, how members handle with him. In the wake of all this noise, Evans and board members the new search will be the most telling marker for where they’ve say they’re moving past their sometimes fractious past. arrived. A major order of business is reactivating the stalled search and “With as big an issue as it was, I think they (the board) really reaching consensus on Evans’ successor. That decision, along with have to get this right this time,” Donovan said. “They’re going to implementing a new student assignment plan, opening schools, a be under tremendous pressure.” pending bond issue and resuming focus on a strategic plan Evans In August, a subcommittee devoted to the quest voted to cut ties initiated, will be scrutinized by a wary community. with the previous search firm and to commission a new one. The Things got messy enough that over the summer all nine goal is to move on a fast track and to hire a new superintendent by board members participated in trainings conducted by Omaha- the end of December. based consultant Marj Plumb centered around interpersonal “We started the committee that will bring back recommendations communication and relationship building. More coaching sessions to the board for what is the next step, what the timeline looks like may follow. and how the community’s going to have input in that,” Merica said. Meanwhile, a Board Governance committee is forming to serve She said it’s key “we get that community buy-in” after complaints as a professional development-oversight body. OPS hasn’t been sufficiently transparent. Some history is necessary to understand how things got to this Evans and Co. downplayed any concerns that chaotic events of point. In January, the newly constituted board required 100-plus the past might dissuade qualified candidates from throwing their votes to elect a president – Lacey Merica. Many 5-4 decisions on names in the ring. district matters followed tense board meetings. When the search “I think the new search firm will tell whoever those candidates are dragged on amid sharp division, the final three candidates … that we learned from that experience, we’ve grown from that withdrew from the process, citing dysfunction. Heated criticism from experience,” he said. “Actually, it’s a great time to come because stakeholders peaked after the Omaha World-Herald published we wound up finding a way to work together in a collective fashion.” acrimonious emails between some board members. The sniping The board training provided insight into individual and caused some observers to question members’ professionalism and interpersonal dynamics member now apply in practice. focus. “We talked a little bit about ourselves and our personalities,” Rifts have erupted over student achievement – where despite Lacey Merica said. “It was really helpful to kind of get us all on the gains, gaps persist – response to disproportionate student same page of hey, look at your (fellow) board members as human suspensions and student transportation snafus. beings, too.” District leadership has come under fire for not seeking enough If Snow’s learned anything, he said, It’s to “compromise and educator-public input on instituting an extended school day, rolling understand where people are coming from, and no matter if I out a new sex ed curriculum and calling off the superintendent disagree with their decision, respect them . . . Our objective is to search. make a decision as a unified board, not one individual. Omaha Education Association president Bridget Donovan said Snow said the training was a lesson in swallowing pride. she wants leadership to invite principals, teachers and paras to “Everyone first has to acknowledge the fact that everyone has be more involved in the new search “because I think that helps room to improve. And the fact that we were able to get every board set up the success for the next superintendent.” Without more member to show up proved that. The downfall about our board transparency, she said, “We don’t even know as a public or an in the past and of most school boards across the country is they employee what criteria they (the board) are using.” (members) only meet at board meetings. They only get the chance With the new school year now underway, the clock’s ticking and to talk about issues in the board meeting when a decision’s made, the community’s watching to see how things are different this time and if I don’t know you personally, I might take that personally.” around. Mark Evans said the training wasn’t a mandate but a mutually “I’m feeling a little bit hopeful they’re going to actually engage agreed upon need. us in a meaningful way,” said Donovan, whose organization “It was a discussion we all had. We wanted to send a message represents OPS educators. “I do believe the board is making that we were going to try to live together and not have the



In search of new normal after discord



controversies and conflict of the past and to try and get a feel for what caused some of the breakdown in communication and trust. It was just a desire to turn the page.” “It’s going to be critical as we start the ‘sup’ search,” he said. “The student assignment plan is difficult, the busing issue is difficult. The bond issue – we’ve got board members that have different feelings there and that’s a big issue. “Three years ago I don’t think we could have compromised on some of those issues. Today, I think we can. I think that’s part of the evolution of the process.” Snow and Merica say there’s a new appreciation for the board speaking or acting as one. “We all need to be unified when we are talking about putting up another bond for this school district,” said Snow. “We all need to be unified when we’re talking about launching a new student assignment plan. We all need to be on the same page.” “I honestly think the Community Eligibility Provision is a good example,” Merica said of the free meal option for low income schools. “It was not a unanimous board vote to not expand the program and it’s something I and Amanda Ryan (fellow school board member) are really passionate about (expanding). Yeah, it’s upsetting, but it’s what’s best for the district. That was the board’s decision. So let’s keep working, let’s fix the problems identified, so that down the road we can expand it.” No one’s under the allusion there won’t be disagreements, but maintaining decorum is a new emphasis, as is making an effort to have more face-to-face exchanges outside board meetings. “If we disagree we’re going to sit down one-on-one and have that discussion,” Snow said. “We have to communicate more with each other and ask questions and talk about issues,” Merica said. “Chances are you’re going to have differences with different groups you come in contact with, but that doesn’t mean you stop the conversation,” OEA president Bridget Donovan said. “You have to be able to disagree appropriately with one another. It can’t become so personal when you disagree. It has to be worked out.” The crucible the board underwent was perhaps unavoidable given its inexperience. “I was hired in December 2012 by the 12-member board that in January, after I had been hired, got ousted,” said Evans. “So, these guys (current board) weren’t even a part of the selection committee for me.” A new nine member board came on with seven new members. “There was this whole sense of charge from the community at that point in time, and I think that was a part of the challenge, too,” Evans said. “Everybody had their own interpretation of the charge and I had my interpretation of what I was hired to do: to move student achievement in not only some schools but all schools, including schools that haven’t achieved in the past.” Then the board underwent another makeover after the 2016 election. For many, it was their first elected public service post. “I understood the dynamics of the political change,” Evans said. “That was tough on the board. There was not one board member that had a decade of service, for example. Usually when there’s a new board election there’s one or two that have been there a long time who can say to the new board member, ‘Well, this is why it’s this way.’ There wasn’t anyone that could do that. And I couldn’t do either because I was new, too, so I couldn’t give the whole history,” Added to the challenge is the district’s complex profile. “We are unique,” Merica said. “We are a large urban district. We have concentrations of poverty and not just poverty, it’s generational poverty, and that is different. We’ve got a large immigrantrefugee population. “But we also have a community that’s more supportive of its public schools than a lot of other communities.” Despite what Evans called “some bumps in the road,” he and the board say OPS remains a public education leader. “When you look at all the things from 10,000 feet ,we are still educating kids, teachers are still showing up and working hard. Over 60 percent of our teachers have a masters degree or above. There are other school districts not even close to that level.” Bridget Donovan is proud of the high caliber teachers and quality education found in OPS. She appreciates the difficult job the board has overseeing a large, diverse district. She doesn’t want a board that votes in lockstep since members represent different subdistricts and needs. But she also doesn’t want contention. “We want thoughtful school board members who are voting what they believe is in the best interest. The more they can work together and communicate with one another, the better off they’ll be. I do think they’re working on it.”

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Fall 2017 Theater Preview b y W i ll P atter s on

Following Mama Mia! is the Playhouse production of Stupid F@#%ing Bird. Under the direction of Suzanne Withem, this partial adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull takes on the complex issues that take place in art and life. Following the story of several young people trying to make a name in the entertainment industry, Stupid F@#%ing Bird explores art, romance, and change. The production aims to be a funny, modern reimagining of a classic play. Stupid F@#%ing Bird will be performed in the Howard Drew theatre from October 13 through November 12. As one may conclude from the play’s name, Stupid F@#%ing Bird contains adult language and themes.


or the past several years Omaha has had an impressive theater selection— and this year keeps up the tradition. The arrival of fall is bringing about an array of season announcements that is sure to please people of all tastes.

Omaha Community Playhouse The Omaha Community Playhouse is the largest community theater in the county, and it lives up to that title. The Playhouses’ fall season consists of a variety of performances spanning across several genres. First up is the Eminent Domain world premiere. Written by Omaha playwright Laura Leininger-Campbell, this production is



Laura Leininger-Campbell

touching on subjects that are close to home. Eminent Domain tells a story of a Nebraska family whose farm land is threatened by the construction of an oil pipeline. The plot illustrates a serious and grim battle being fought by Nebraska farmers today. If nothing else, this performance is a play written for the Nebraska audience. Eminent Domain will be performed in the Howard Drew theatre from August 25 through September 17. Audiences should be aware that adult language is used in Eminent Domain. Next on the Playhouse’s schedule is the well-known musical Mama Mia! featuring the pop group ABBA’s music. The story in Mama Mia! observes the complex situation of a bride-to-be trying to discover her true father. By luring three possible candidates, Sophie puts her mother face to face with past lovers. This audience favorite has experienced one of the longest runs on Broadway and has received a movie rendition since its release. Mama Mia! will be performed in the Hawks Mainstage theatre from September 15 through October 15.



The Omaha Community Playhouse will continue their yearly tradition by ending their fall season with A Christmas Carol. Each year Omaha residents are given a chance to follow Ebenezer Scrooge on his exciting and terrifying journey to become a better person. Originally written by Charles Dickens and adapted for stage by Charles Jones, this play’s timeless message still holds up. A Christmas Carol will be performed in the Hawks Mainstage theatre from November 17 to December 23.

emphasizing the important messages to take away and formatting the storyline to better hold the attention of young minds. All the classic characters and songs are included in this youth oriented reimagining of Cinderella. G2K Cinderella will be performed from September 22 through October 1. Finishing the Chanticleer fall theater season will be All My Sons. On a much more serious and darker note than the Chanticleer’s previous show, All My Sons is an Arthur Miller play that dives into the conflict struck lives of the Keller and Deever families. Two business partners go on to live very different lives after one is jailed and the other is let free following the failure of their product. The two families become intertwined in more ways than one leading to a dramatic climax. All My Sons will be performed from November 10 through November 19.

BLUEBARN Theatre The BLUEBARN Theatre will be giving the Omaha theater crowd a regional premier and a returning original cast during its fall season.

Chanticleer Community Theater Another community theater bringing opportunity and entertainment to public is the Chanticleer Community Theater. This Council Bluffs theater strives to provide entertainment and education to the greater Council Bluffs area. Chanticleer will be starting their fall season with G2K Cinderella, part of the Getting To Know series by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The Getting To Know series is aimed at helping recreate classic stories for younger audiences. This includes

The regional premier of Every Brilliant Thing will be performed at the BLUEBARN





NOVEMBER 3 & 5, 2017

FEBRUARY 9 & 11, 2018

APRIL 20 & 22, 2018

APRIL 13, 15, 19, 21, & 22, 2018






2017-18 SEASON

theater. Every Brilliant Thing confronts the difficult subject of suicide through the eyes of a person trying to comfort his suicidal mother. He does this by creating a list of everything that makes the world a wonderful place. This performance is a solo show that will be starring the BLUEBARN founder Hughston Walkinshaw. Every Brilliant Thing will be performed from Hughston September 21 through Walkinshaw October 15.

The second show of the BLUEBARN fall lineup is The 39 Steps. The BLUEBARN’s production of The 39 Steps will feature the returning original cast in this comedic journey. Much more lighthearted than the theater’s previous performance, this comedy is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film by the same name. The theatrical interpretation boasts creative stagecraft and a glut of characters played by only a handful of actors. The 39 Steps will be performed from November 24 through December 17.

SNAP! Productions & Shelterbelt Theatre SNAP! Productions and Shelterbelt Theatre are two unique theaters that operate in a shared space. The venue is a truly unique theater experience, with the audience watching from close quarters. Visitors can expect to see something new at any SNAP! Production or Shelterbelt performance. SNAP! Productions will begin its fall season by revisiting the first play ever performed by the theater, Bent. The plot follows the unexpected and forbidden love between two

male prisoners in Nazi Germany. Max, the main character, learns the importance of loving others throughout the course of the performance. Bent explores the often overlooked and brutal treatment of gay people under Nazi rule and occupation. As Omaha’s selfproclaimed diversity theater, Bent is certainly a fitting play. Bent will be performed from August 24 through September 17. Christmas with the Crawfords will serve as SNAP! Productions holiday themed performance. The play is a parody and tribute to the rise and popularity of 1940s Hollywood. This musical performance takes continued on page 10 y





places on Christmas Eve in Joan Crawford’s Brentwood mansion. An eagerly awaited broadcast does not go over well with Joan and the evening unfolds in its wake. This performance looks at the controversial and debated life of Joan Crawford, a Hollywood actress accused by her daughter of caring more for her career than her family. While fictitious, Christmas with the Crawfords uses real characters in this take of Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” Christmas with the Crawfords will be performed from November 16 through December 10.

Shelterbelt will bring back Shelterskelter with this year’s Resurrection: The Best of Shelterskelter. Previous Shelterskelter performances have included short plays that combine humor and horror. Back by popular demand, this year’s Shelterskelter will feature a retrospective look at the best of previous years. Guests are encouraged to come in costume and have their picture taken for the theater’s Facebook page. Whoever’s costume receives the most likes will score a Shelterbelt season ticket. Resurrection: The Best of Shelterskelter will be performed from October 6 through October 29.

Rose Theater Those who are seeking family friendly theater can find just that at Omaha’s Rose Theater, which specializes in entertainment for all ages. This year the Rose will be giving young theater fans several theatrical performances that will even hold a child’s attention. Babe the Sheep Pig is heading up the Rose’s lineup this fall. Based on the book that spawned the Oscar-winning movie, this play follows the story of Babe—a piglet that arrives on a farm. With advice from an old sheepherding dog and through his own innovation he develops his own methods for herding the farm’s sheep. This journey eventually leads the little pig to a sheep herding tournament where he is given the daunting task of proving himself as a sheepherding pig. The show is recommended for children ages 5 and up. Babe the Sheep Pig will be performed from September 8 through September 24. The Rose will follow up with Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, the musical stage adaptation of the DreamWorks’ film Madagascar. The musical will feature all the main




characters from the film, including Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melvin the Giraffe. Using the same premise as the film, a band of Central Park Zoo animals are found in unfamiliar territory after accidently ending up in Madagascar. Far from the familiarity of their old lives, the group of friends go on an adventure to return to their lives of comfort. Madagascar: A Musical Adventure will be performed from October 6 through October 22. Finishing off the Rose’s fall season will be finished off by the world premiere of Van Gogh & Me. Mathew Gutschick, the Rose’s artistic director, wrote the play specifically for the Rose’s stage. Van Gogh & Me is based on the actual friendship that existed between the artist Vincent Van Gogh and Adeline, a young girl living in small town. The real-life Adeline grew up as prominent voice in correcting the oftenfalse portrayal of Van Gogh. Van Gogh & Me’s on stage story dives into some of the complex issues that surround Van Gogh, such as bullying and the effect of mental illness. Given the heavier themes portrayed in Van Gogh & Me the performance is recommended for children ages 10 and up. Van Gogh & Me will be performed from November 3 through November 12.

Orpheum Theater This preview wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of the Orpheum, one of the most prominent venues in Omaha. Known for consistently reeling in national acts to the Omaha stage, the Orpheum’s fall season lives up to the theater’s legacy. Shows typically don’t stay long at the Orpheum so fans should be sure to make plans and purchase tickets in advance. Omaha Performing Arts will be starting the Orpheum’s Broadway series with Finding Neverland. The perspective of Finding Neverland is certainly a unique one, as the plot follows J.M. Barrie—the writer of Peter Pan. Finding Neverland is an adaptation of the 2004 film by the same name, which is based on the true events surrounding J.M. Barrie’s life as a writer and stepfather. The story is a family oriented journey into the changing life of a writer who has taken on four young boys as his own children. Finding Neverland will be performed from the October 11 through October 15. Next on the Broadway series is Disney’s The Little Mermaid, based on the popular children’s movie by the same name. Main character Ariel is curious about the world on dry land and the lives of humans. Through musical numbers, friends, and curiosity Ariel gets to experience another world and overcome the obstacles that stand in her way. The production will feature music from eight-time academy award winner Alan Menken. Disney’s The Little Mermaid will be performed from November 7 through November 12.


Finishing the Orpheum’s fall Broadway performances is Waitress. This final performance of the year is an uplifting musical about Jenna, a small-town waitress stuck in an unhappy marriage. An unexpected pregnancy and an affair take Jenna down a difficult path. After getting herself stuck in a complex situation, she finds a pie baking contest as her way out. Waitress is based on the 2007 movie by the same name and will be featuring music by Sara Bareilles. Waitress will be performed from December 12 through December 17. The 2018-2019 theater may be quite a way into the future, but it is worth noting that in April the Omaha Performing Arts announced that sometime during the 2018-2019 theater season Hamilton will be coming to the Orpheum. Omaha Performing Arts felt the announcement should be made a year early given the musical’s popularity. For those who don’t know, Hamilton was easily the most popular Broadway performance of the past year. The date hasn’t been set yet, but those set on getting tickets should stay alert as tickets are going to be bought up quick.

University of Nebraska at Omaha Those looking to watch aspiring thespians, directors, and crew members in action can support blossoming performers by attending university theaters. The University of Nebraska at Omaha has released their season lineup for the 2017-2018 school year. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is incorporating the theme of revolution in their theater season which is starting with Our Town. While Our Town may not focus on literally revolutionary matters, the play did change the face theater with its presentation. Our Town was originally performed in a theater that was stripped bare, with only seats for the audience. This decision, according to Professor Scott Glasser, forever changed how people would create theatrical performances. The plot of Our Town is carried by the Stage Manager who speaks directly with the audience throughout the course of the show. Our Town will be performed in Weber Fine Arts Building theater from September 27 through September 30 and again from October 4 through October 7. The next performance at the University of Nebraska at Omaha theater is Spring Awakening. While Our Town dealt with a theatrical revolution, Spring Awakening takes on the plot of a social revolution. It should be noted that UNO’s theater will be performing the 2006 musical recreation of the 1891 play of the same name. While the plots are similar, the 2006 version incorporates more contemporary themes and a rock score representative of Spring Awakening’s rebellious topics. The play follows the stories of adolescent boys who are taking their first steps into adulthood. Development and exploration of sexuality are prime topics of Spring Awakening. Spring Awakening will be performed in the Weber Fine Arts Building theater from November 15 through November 18, November 29 through November 30, and December 1 through December 2.

“Kinetic” at Kaneko ends October 14

Fall 2017 Arts Preview

Harvest of Plenty

Metro arts venues amp up this fall for fun & profit by M i c h a e l J . K r a i n a k


t happens every autumn. Just as the weather cools down, the Metro arts scene begins to heat up alongside Go Big Red and seasonal anticipation of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays. Key arts centers and galleries may not pull in the numbers similar to Memorial Stadium, but they make up for it in the quality of work they offer their patrons each fall, especially with contemporary art. 2017 promises to be no different. Once again, the non-profit venues will lead the way with major arts events including a few that double as fundraising opportunities. It is, after all, the season to give thanks…and to give back. Autumn is also a time when private galleries roll out their major players offering public viewing and a chance to add to one’s personal collection. But whether an arts collector or viewer only, galleries of all sizes, public and private, in all parts of the Metro are fine-tuning their exhibition schedules to offer their patrons value-added, alternative entertainment. What follows is a list of art event and exhibitions already on the books, primarily for October and November, except where noted. September exhibits are previewed elsewhere in or at and December is reserved for winter previews. Stay tuned online for updates, and best of all, many art exhibits are free to the public.

Special to this year’s event, the Bemis partners with Maha Music Festival to create an After Party Concert featuring Cults with Closeness, doors opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets for the Benefit Art Auction and After Party Concert go on sale September 20. Bemis Center members have the first opportunity to preview auction artwork at the Artist and Member Preview Reception on October 13 from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. The Benefit Art Auction Exhibition will be on view, October 14–27, during public hours, Wednesday–Saturday, 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. and until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays. All artwork is available for purchase prior to the Benefit Art Auction at “Buy it Now” prices. More information can be found at Yet, nearly a month earlier, Kaneko kicks-off the arts fundraising season in September with its annual Soiree featuring possibly the year’s most significant art exhibition thus far, Kinetic, which ends Oct. 14. The Kaneko Open Space Soiree, Friday, September 22, from 6 – 9 p.m. features not only a viewing of this visually stunning exhibition

But not all. Two of the most anticipated arts events each fall are major fundraisers for the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the Kaneko. The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts presents the Benefit Art Auction on Friday, October 27, 2017 from 5:30–9:30 p.m. The Benefit unites local and national artists in an effort to raise critical resources for the Bemis Center. Bemis Benefit

Marks of Genius

of interactive sculpture, but also a musical performance from the noteworthy electric string quartet, Urban Electra. For event details and ticket prices, go to Patrons of Joslyn Art Museum will also pay extra to see one of its two major October exhibitions, Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which opens Oct. 7 and closes Jan. 7, 2018. The exhibit includes drawings, watercolors, oil sketches and pastels dating from the Middle Ages to the present day from such artists as Guercino, Tiepolo, Delacroix, Degas, Kollwitz, Nolde, Hopper, and Ruscha, among others. Joslyn’s Riley Contemporary Artists Project (CAP) Gallery exhibition opening this fall, also from Oct. 7 to Jan. 7, 2018, features artist Svenja Deininger’s elegant, intimate canvases offering a unique brand of cool abstraction. Balancing bold hues with variations on white, her paintings contemplate the singular power of color. For show details, museum hours, admission and more, go to

Svenja Deininger





presentation at 7:00 on the South Omaha Campus of the Metro Community College. The exhibit features artist Mark Gilbert who returns with work similar to past shows in Omaha,

Midtown will open a two-month long survey of wellknown regional artist Bob Culver Oct 6. Culver’s multi-media exhibit includes automata and 3D and 2D relief with his own unique point of view and stylizations both personal and cultural. The nomadic Moving Gallery is hosting its next show from Oct 5 to December 3, featuring two Swiss artists Hendrikje Kuhne and Beat Klein who work in tandem on each piece. Kuhne/ Klein, former 2012 Emmy Gifford Fellows at the Bemis Center, are visual artists

But perhaps the most promising fine arts event this year for regional artists …and every other year to come…is organized and hosted by Gallery 1516; the return of the Nebraska Artist Biennial opening this Nov. 3. $10,000 in prize money for the 2017 version is offered in the following categories: best of show, drawing/printmaking, painting, photography, student artist, artist choice and people choice. A 3D category will be offered in 2019. Best of all for viewers, the Biennial is free and open to the public. For exhibit details, prize money, related events and gallery hours, go to

Additional non-profit venues have scheduled key exhibitions this fall including Union for Contemporary Arts, Metro Community College and the Fred Simon Gallery. The Union’s Wanda D. Ewing Gallery will host artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez and her exhibit Chapter 5: River, which explores the experience of living between cultures and languages. The show, curated by Risa Puleao, opens Sept. 8 and closes Oct. 14. Portraits of a Process: The Experience of Portraiture in a Clinical Setting opens Sept. 18, at 5:30 p.m., with an artist

Kuhne and Klein


Saving Faces and Portraits of Care. The work will hang at Metro for a year where it is hoped other curriculums will benefit from it as an educational tool.

Many private galleries promise significant fall exhibits but none more promising than from Modern Arts Midtown, the Moving Gallery in the Old Market and Darger HQ on Vinton Street. Modern Arts i


Bemis Art Auction

Kinetic show at Kaneko

• Gamaliel Rodriguez, 170205P, 2017, Graphite on paper, 22 x 26 inches, Courtesy the artist and David Castillo Gallery, FL and Nathalie Karg Gallery, NY

• Against the Grain by John Buck, Photo by Ben Semisch

• David Brooks, Marble Blocks - 21 lbs. - or Indri Lemur (Madagascar), 2015, 21 pounds of Verde Antique marble, stainless steel pins, wood crate, stencil paint, Tyvek, hardware, packing material, 22 x 20 x 18 inches



• Blumen Lumens by FoldHaus, Photo by Ben Semisch shows at Joslyn Arts Museum




• Svenja Deininger (born 1974, Vienna, Austria), Untitled, 2017, oil on canvas, 11 x 8 1/4 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York. © Svenja Deininger




• Svenja Deininger (born 1974, Vienna, Austria), Untitled, 2014, oil on canvas, 11 x 8 1/2 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York. © Svenja Deininger • Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri; Italian, Bologna, 1591–1666), Hercules, 1641–1642, pen and brown ink, 7-1/4 x 6-3/4 in., Minneapolis Institute of Arts • Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910), The Conch Divers, 1885,


Fragile Boundaries, opening Friday, September 8, at Darger HQ, will feature work by Camille Hawbaker (Omaha, Nebraska) and Julia Ibbini (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) and will be on view through November 5th. The opening reception will be 6 to 9 p.m., with an artist talk at 8 p.m. moderated by Alex Priest, Exhibition Manager, Bemis Center of Contemporary Art.

Bob Culver

The Marks of Genius:



whose work focuses on landscape ranging from sticker books, large installations, photographic works and videos. Their combined efforts will be on view at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery in the Old Market Passageway.

Fred Simon Gallery will feature Memento by Omaha artist Christina Narwicz from Sept. 1 - Oct. 20. Narwicz’s body of work continues to explore abstraction and its connection to the natural world. Her current interest lies in the Loess Hills looking at earth, sky, plants, water, trees and the surrounding vista.

watercolor, blotting, lifting, and scraping, over graphite, 13-13/16 x 20 in., Minneapolis Institute of Arts Biennial show at Gallery 1516 • Outside angle of Gallery 1516 • Gallery 1516 inside Christina Narwicz show at Fred Simon Gallery • hitchcock No by Christina Narwicz, 2017, 60x60 • nymphs by Christina Narwicz, 2017

Bob Culver show at Modern Arts Midtown • All of My Heroes Have Been Cowboys: Portrait of Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger”, 18 x 24, wood:oil:gold leaf_by Bob Culver Kuhne/Klein images at Garden of the Zodiac • “Composition III”, 2012, collage of art posters, Hendrikje Kuhne and Beat Klein

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Fall 2017 Music Preview


Four months of great choices

by G o r d o n S p e n c e r


ascinating, multi-hued musical performances await now through December. They’re offered by the Omaha Symphony (OS), Opera Omaha, the Vesper Concerts, Omaha Chamber Music Society (OCMS), and an astounding quantity from the UNO School of Music. Among Symphony events are two fresh concertos, one for violin and jazz trio, the other with the tuba out front. Forthcoming are famed symphonies by Dvořák, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, along with always popular works by Richard Strauss and Rachmaninoff. Two young conductors will be on the podiums and UNO School of Music Director Washington García makes his Symphony debut.

Schwartz-Moretti. Also on hand is her husband, Catingub’s regular drummer, Steve Moretti. On that same concert Thomas Wilkins wields his baton in Richard Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks,” a jolly romp depicting a rascal who got away with lots of things but couldn’t get away from the hangman. Dvořák’s sometime serious, sometimes folk-like Symphony No. 7 rounds out that September concert. In October Dr. García solos in Mozart’s 20th Piano Concerto, often described as Beethovenlike. No wonder Beethoven himself praised it. More Mozart in this Wilkins-led Symphony Joslyn concert: the good-humored “Jupiter” Symphony.

At Opera Omaha, much-acclaimed artists who’ve made Puccini’s works come alive return for more in “Tosca.” Musicians from the Symphony appear for a Vesper concert with concertmaster Susanna Perry Gilmore in a Vivaldi concerto. And the Saint Louis Brass resounds with American music in the same series. OS artists also turn up in an Omaha Chamber Music Society event at Gallery 1516. The number of events at the School of Music looks amazing: 36 through the end of December. Taking the spotlight are celebrated flutist Carol Wincenc. Also a chorus of students from Lithuania join local ones; and four visiting pianists in recital—a real plus, given that we have so few such recitals in Omaha.

Masterwork Series-wise that same month 29-year-old Teddy Abrams is on hand (“one of the bright lights of his podium generation” Chicago Tribune) to conduct Tchaikovsky’s joyful Symphony No. 2, nicknamed “The Little Russian”; Pyotr Ilyich incorporated Ukrainian (“Little Russia”) folk songs. On the same bill is Fabio Bedini, whose credits include being a finalist in Van Cliburn Piano Competitions. Guess what he’ll play!

Omaha Symphony



In November another youthful up and comer, 30-year-old Aram Demirjian (“he directed with a confident and expressive style” Kansas City Star) leads a Symphony Joslyn performance. Sharing stage front is the Orchestra’s principal tuba player Craig Fuller soloing in “Europa and The Bull” (2014) by Brit Robin Holloway. The title refers to fun-loving Jupiter wooing a young lady while disguised as a major piece of meat on the hoof. Sharing the bill is Prokofiev’s look back to more recent days in his “Classical” Symphony and holiday-priming excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker.”

Opera Omaha In November, there’s a production of one of Puccini’s major hits, “Tosca.” Lee Bissit (“thrilling tone,” Opera Magazine) has the title role; she glittered here in 2016 as “The Girl of the Golden West.” Also returning with Puccini credits is director Crystal Manich (“nuanced,” “imaginative” and “lively,” The New York Times, Wall Street Journal.) She directed “La Bohème” last fall. Plus the work of scene designer Julia Noulin-Mérat is visible anew,

having designed Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” in 2013.

Vesper Concerts The first performance of the series vivifies Vivaldi in September. From “La Stravaganza,” Susanna Perry Gilmore takes on the solo challenge in one those enduringly delightful concerti joined by five Symphony colleagues. And the redheaded Venetian’s well-known and stirring take on a wild folk dance, “La Folia,” swirls anew. Dancing in, too, are parts of a J.S. Bach cello suite, arranged for viola and played by Brian Sherwood. The following month, coming up river in the same spirit of joy in the same place is Saint Louis Brass. The five players offer, no surprise, a version of W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues.” More Americana: a suite by 27-year-old John Hobbs, a quintet by Anthony Plog based on Ogden Nash poems about animals, Wayne Scott’s “Divertimento for Neglected(?) Musical(?) Instruments(?)” and Joey Sellers’ medley of tunes made popular by Louis Armstrong. Dances come from by Renaissance composer Michael Pretorius plus a Piazzolla tango.

Omaha Chamber Music Society Members of our Orchestra play a pair of trios in an October Sunday brunch event at Gallery 1516, including serving up something by the composer whose name is on the menu at “Bagels and Beethoven.” That’s also the month for a percussion performance at Kaneko in the Eko Nova series. Then in November, there’s a midday OCMS appearance in the Music as Medicine performances in conjunction with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A time for patients, visitors and staff to experience healing harmonies in a comfort zone.

Jazz musician, conductor, arranger Matt Catingub hangs with the orchestra for a sixth time— now as composer as well as pianist in “Three Shades of Blue, Concerto for Violin and Jazz Trio.” He wrote it in 2014 to feature violinist Amy


Rachmaninoff’s Third, one of the two concertos that made Cliburn a star in the U.S.S.R. and everywhere else during Cold War days.


UNO School of Music The International Concert Series (ICS) was conceived to create a sense of community. Among those events renowned Grammy Award winner Carol Wincenc (“Queen of the Flute” New York Magazine) appears in September with Christi Zuniga, the Symphony’s principal keyboardist. Their repertoire certainly is international. The music is by two European women: France’s Cécile Chaminade and Sweden’s Amanda Maier, by two Americans, Aaron Copland and Paul Schoenfield and by one Austrian, Mozart. In October, for the same series, “Rising Stars” features the award-winning, internationally renowned mixed choral ensemble Studiam Chorus from Lithuania’s Šiauliai University School of Mu-

sic performing with members of the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra. Šiauliai is an Omaha sister city. Another evocation of communality. One month later, another Grammy winner arrives in the ICS. She is pianist Margo Garrett. She and soprano Kathleen Battle took the award as Best Classical Vocal Performance in a Carnegie Hall concert. Garrett is renowned for connections with music of our time, having premiered more than 30 works.

Then in October South Korean-born Jason Kwak, now on the Texas State University faculty, with major credits internationally, takes over the keyboard. The following month Italy’s Enrico Elisi (“remarkable sensitivity, imagination and polish,”

Baltimore Sun) is heard in a free Saturday afternoon recital. As for student performances, they’re non-stop across the calendar. Three each by Heartland Philharmonic and by the Symphonic Wind Ensembles. And there are four jazz group gatherings, as well as a visit in October by the Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band, the 19-member official touring band of U.S. Army. If you’re planning to get out your own calendar and fill in the dates for when and where you’d like to hear this live music, consult the below for further details. Given the scores of events and who’s performing where all over this city, you may not be able to tell the players without a scorecard.

Other pianists at UNO: In September Julian Martin performs. He’s the winner of a Collaborative Prize at The Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow; founder of Spain’s Gijón International Piano Festival; and a member of the Juilliard and Peabody Conservatory faculties.





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


small digs. Neither has a dedicated studio.

hances are, you don’t know Omaha has a public high school of performing arts, It may further surprise you that South High School is that Fame-style institution.

“We can’t grow music tech and film anymore.” With no permanent spaces for some classes, she said, “they’re constantly moving from place to place.” Even the dance studio is makeshift. The present black box theater lacks flexibility and accessibility.

South has been the Omaha Public Schools’ Visual & Performing Arts Magnet for two decades. But the architect for the arts emphasis there, retired South drama teacher Jim Eisenhardt, said “by the time we were named an arts magnet, we were already an arts magnet in all but name.”

She described conditions as “maxed out,” adding, “We need space that is appropriate to enhance learning.” Then there’s the battle for updated technology. She said it can be difficult getting district officials to accept why not just any computers or software programs will do for the high-end things students create in film, digital art and music tech.

Dramatic growth in student numbers has seen a corresponding growth in programs that finds South with the district’s most robust arts curriculum. Students can even elect to be an arts major. Seventy percent of all students take at least one arts class. Forty percent take at least two. Participation has exploded, especially in dance and guitar.

Asking for state-of-the-art gear and contracting professionals to teach dance takes some explaining. “It’s an ongoing kind of beating our heads with having them understand that it is a special thing and it is important, it’s not just a fluff thing. We don’t have students in here for fluff. We have them in here because there is a real, honest curriculum.”

Becky Noble, South curriculum specialist and a drts Magnet facilitator, said space is at such a premium that some labs and classrooms meet in cramped former “closets.” Film and music technology classes share the same


(pictured L to R) Kathy David, Toba Cohen-Dunning, Barbara Velazquez

“We are so unusual in the district that sometimes they almost don’t know what to do about us.”

The interest and activity have South facing serious space issues to accommodate it all. Thus, the school’s embarked on a $12 million private fundraising campaign for a planned Visual & Performing Arts addition.


Members of the OPS Foundation team involved in Omaha South High Magnet School Visual & Performing Arts Campaign


“Our basic philosophy to use art as a springboard to enhance problem-solving and abstract thought,” South theater director Kevin Barratt said. Noble said the fact teachers make-do and still net great results speaks to their commitment. “It is really a labor of love.” The 55,000 square foot addition would add seven general education classrooms, dedicated studio spaces, a new black box theater and an art gallery. Noble said South’s fortunate to have a strong advocate making its


case in Toba Cohen-Dunning, executive director of the Omaha Schools Foundation, the project’s fiscal agent. Administrators, such as former principal Cara Riggs, are arts advocates, too. “She put some additional money behind it and now our current principal Ruben Cano is doing a great job of listening,” Noble said. “The equity formula of the Omaha Public Schools allowed for dollars to follow students,” Riggs said. “As we received more dollars for our magnet students, we continued to find ways to strengthen our magnet programs, We found it important to create programs in the arts that students couldn’t get anywhere else in the metro: Dance taught by professional dance instructors; a piano lab and a guitar program; a film program and a computer gaming program. “Our school culture improved and enrollment rocketed, with successful programs and positive word-of-mouth.” South staffers, past and present, say they hoped the arts would catch fire but Eisenhardt said no one expected this.

ment of the magnet. By the time that was over, the magnet was in full swing.”

“We started a dance class with 12 kids and now it’s up above 400 (with five styles offered). There are over 300 kids in guitar and piano.”

Riggs said with those kinds of collaborations, “we were able to create extra-value in the school experience, beyond the many required academic courses.”

Alum Kate Myers Madsen, who was active in music and theater at South, theorizes why the arts flourish there.

Outside district and arts circles, South’s magnet identity is a bestkept-secret. The school’s inner-city location, working-class environment and low achievement scores may not fit some perceptions of what an arts magnet should look like.

“I think the reason it’s so wellreceived is that it’s so in the community of people who are incredibly talented but might not come from homes that have the means to put them in private voice or instrument lesson and dance classes. It’s providing huge value to students who normally would not be able to access it.” This arts infusion didn’t just happen, it was intentionally built by Eisenhardt and Co. from 1982 Joshua to his 2006 retirement. He cultivated relationships with community arts organizations that exposed students to professionals in many disciplines. Over time, South became the district’s arts epicenter and the magnet designation naturally followed. “My colleagues across the district knew what the arts program was at South,” he said. “No one ever asked me why we got it (magnet status) and not somebody else. There were great arts teachers already here like Toni Turnquist and Mary Lou Jackson and Josh Austin working hard to create something important.” Then-principal Joyce Christensen granted great autonomy and Eisenhardt ran with it. “She encouraged people to do things that were innovative and making sure the kids had the best experience they could in high school. I would just forge ahead and do something, not necessarily checking with her for permission first, but she supported it. She knew I would never do anything to embarrass South High. “Roni Huerta, my counterpart as the magnet coordinator for Information & Technology, was a big supporter of what we did in the arts. Because of her we got the dance classes to count as physical education credits.” Eisenhardt said Jerry Bartee, another former South principal, also lent great support. Many things make South an arts magnet. Start with the array of class options available and the fact these disciplines have different sections and levels. There are multiple music ensembles as well. Before coming to South, Eisenhardt was at Omaha Tech, where he formed relationships with Opera Omaha’s

Austin, Guitar and Music Technology teaches his students photo by Debra S. Kaplan

Jane Hill and the Omaha Community Playhouse’s Charles Jones. Opera rehearsals were held at Tech. The Nebraska Theatre Caravan rehearsed A Christmas Carol there. When Tech closed, Eisenhardt invited these rehearsals to travel to South. The ties were eventually formalized as Adopt-a-School partnerships. “Both of those had great impact on our success as a magnet school,” Eisenhardt said. Omaha music director Hal France worked with Opera Omaha then. “We had a home on the South High Auditorium stage rehearsing all our shows with international and national opera singers and directors. Despite putting on five shows a year of their own at South, Jim always made the schedule work for us. It was a dream. It was a relationship based on trust that emanated first and foremost from Jim, a magnificent, remarkable host.” Opera Omaha even collaborated with South on three productions with staff-students. The last of these, Bloodlines, was a 2004 original with a libretto by Jane Hill and Eisenhardt and a score by Deb Teason, “Jane and I worked with the kids to write a script based on their experiences as immigrants in Omaha,” Eisenhardt said. “The title came from the idea that these immigrants worked the bloodlines in the packinghouses and also the bloodlines of their families. “That year the Omaha World-Herald named it one of the top ten cultural events in Omaha. It was quite a production and really an important part of the develop-


“That’s all a big part of it,” Noble said. “It’s our challenge. One of the things we talk a lot about is that we have to continue to get more and more known in the community.”

diversity as an asset.

Noble hopes others see South’s

“When we go to some competitions, most of the other schools are all white, but our kids represent what the world looks like.” Senior arts major Jax Barkhouse, who lives in West Omaha and was expected to follow his friends to a suburban school, battled those perception issues. “It was especially hard for me because people were like, ‘Why are you going to South?’ They think bad things about it. But I only tell them good things about it.” South has traditionally been the main receiving school for immigrant, refugee and migrant populations. After a sharp enrollment decline, it’s experienced a renaissance. The rebirth has coincided with the boon of the South 24th business district it borders and the arrival of Latino and Sudanese families in the surrounding neighborhoods it serves. The school’s home to a dense demographic of Latinos, Africans, Asians, African-Americans and Caucasians. South’s vast arts program and additional magnets in Information & Technology and Dual Language have made it the school of choice for the overwhelming majority of students in its home attendance area. South also draws students from outside the area attracted to its focused offerings. Madsen, Barkhouse and junior Ori Parks bypassed their home schools for South due to its arts concentration. “It surpassed anything I had expected,” said Madsen. “I did a lot of things outside school.”




South funded most of her travel to Great Britain for a Playhouse-sponsored theater immersion. Since graduating in 2006, she’s performed at the Shelterbelt, The Rose and Iowa Western Community College. “The opportunities afforded me at South allowed me to really identify what it was I loved about the arts and which track I wanted to follow. I had been classically trained up until my freshman year in high school, so the opportunity to do musical theater really allowed me to see what it was that I loved about theater performing,” Barkhouse followed his heart to South. “I was supposed to go to Burke, but I chose to come down here because of the performing arts. I’m so glad that I chose South. I love it.” He plans majoring in musical theater in college. Parks, who lives closer to Benson, was sold on South because of its rich arts options. “I was like, whoa, they have all this stuff.” “Having easy access to the arts here at South is really a great benefit,” said Jennifer Au, among the 80 percent of arts majors on the honor roll. “I think being involved in the arts really helps me with my schoolwork.” Results like these help explain why there’s such energy and interest from students in going there. “When I left South, we averaged 1,300 students and now its 2,500,” said Eisenhardt, “and a lot of that’s because of the success the kids have found in the arts, the teachers there supporting the arts and the work the kids do outside the normal classroom.” It doesn’t hurt that South graduates are findings careers in the arts. Rachel McCutcheon stage managed The Book of Mormon on Broadway. Paul Coate performed with Nebraska Shakespeare, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Opera Omaha and the Omaha Symphony. Since moving to Minneapolis, he’s acted with the Guthrie Theatre and sung with the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. “My experiences at South were the foundation on which I built my career as a performing artist,” Coate said. “The arts programming and faculty leadership were very strong. I feel very lucky to have been in such a good place at such a pivotal time in my life. There’s real talent there, too. Just ask director Kevin Lawler, who’s helmed work nationally. He was at the Blue Barn when Hill asked him to direct Bloodlines. In his current post as Great Plains Theatre Conference artistic director, he’s made South an integral part of the annual Playfest series. Visiting L.A. playwright Michael John Garces wrote an original piece called South drawn in part from interviews with students that he and the show’s director, Scott Working, conducted.




“The staff work immensely hard to give the education, tools and positive creative channels to these, the next generation of great young creatives and artists of Omaha,” Lawler said. “There is so much talent and energy packed into South High each day that, with the proper support, the impact that it can have on our city in terms of our cultural life and our community will be immeasurable.”

2013 grad and University of Nebraska at Omaha senior Maria Fernanda Reyes performs with UNO’s prestigious Moving Company dance troupe. Noble said South instrumental music students get a firm foundation in music theory, ear training, sight reading, et cetera. Music tech grads are being prepared to enter audio engineering college studies and careers. “It’s a pretty amazing curriculum and we have kids going off to college to major in piano performance. Any of our teachers can tell you about the rigor they include in their program. Everyone here understands you meet them where they are and you move them up.

South, with students as the mainstay performers, premiered at the Retired OPS Theater Director conference in late May Jim Eisenhardt with David Weisser, “We want to equip them with to a warm reception. In David was a film student of Jim’s whatever they need to go on and be July, a joint South-SNAP! photo by Debra S. Kaplan successful at the next level. We want Productions mounting of them to be good. We want them to In the Heights elicited raves and kicked off the “Art in the have the right training.” Heart of South Omaha” campaign for the new addition. South theater students worked the show, including Aimee South’s collaborations with arts professionals continue. Perez-Valentin, who ran tech. Alums participated as well, Earlier this year vocal students performed in concert with including Kate Myers Madsen in the role of Vanessa and Grammy-recording artist Eric Church at Pinnacle Bank AreEsmeralda Moreno Villanueva stage managing. na and the CenturyLink Center. “Years ago our choir per“It was very interesting being on the other side of it this formed with Michael Buble. We have developed a nice retime in this more mature role,” Madsen said. “”For me, it lationship with the Grammy Foundation. We received their was very much coming home because that was my first Community Award for our wide-ranging arts programs. stage where I stepped out as a musical theater performer. They are the ones who recommended us for Eric Church, For a lot of these students, it was their first show. They were whose people seemed very pleased with our kids.” experiencing what I did the first time. I was blown away by their talent. “We have a lot of talent, not only in Omaha but at this school specifically.” Theater students have made the cut for the Playhouse’s apprentice program. Senior Jax Barkhouse earned a role in the Playhouse’s production of Mamma Mia! opening September 15. Grad Ja’Taun Markel Pratt is attending the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. South’s 2016 production of Check Please was selected to perform at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln. Three students recognized for Outstanding Performances over the last four years The Show Choir made it to nationals last year. “We have kids at the top levels of dance who are getting dual enrollment credit at UNO for dance and who are majoring in dance at UNL,” Noble said.


Noble knows talent when she sees it. “I’m obviously biased, but I’m also realistic, and if it wasn’t good, I’d know it.” Noble is among several staffers with still active careers in the local arts scene. She’s sung with professional ensembles, was the owner-executive director of the Dundee Dinner Theatre and is founder-director of Cabaret Theatre. South theater director Kevin Barratt is a veteran of Omaha stages. “We have a lot of people on our staff who do work as artists in the community and that’s important to us because that’s how our students learn.” Guest artists bring additional expertise. “That’s a big part of the reason why we did In the Heights and brought in some people from the community (including director Michael Simpson from SNAP!). The more people you work with and the more opportunities you have like that the better you get.

“I think a lot of our success has to do with people who are passionate about it and don’t back down. And we are fighters – we do fight for it.” Eisenhardt said it’s always been this way: “We provided the kids with more opportunities than any other school. The normal school did a couple (theater) shows a year. We did five a year at South (still do). We did things beyond school. We developed Neon Theatre, an improv troupe that provides entertainment for schools and civic groups. Our show choir performs 50 or more times a years. Those kinds of opportunities are important to the development of the magnet. “South continues to reach out and collaborate with the community. It’s not so insular that it just does its thing and that’s enough. It reaches out to theater groups and art groups and dance groups and music groups and allows the kids to see that there’s more than just school time that needs to be spent on creating great art.” South hosts a district-wide One-ActPlay Festival. Community professionals do staged readings and judging of the work. The Opera Omaha and Playhouse partnerships continue, though not as intense. “I think it’s just a shift in focus on the part of schools and organizations,” Noble said. “Partnerships develop because of a specific project as opposed to just a general partnership. Great Plains and SNAP! are not official partners but we do lots of work with those groups. We enjoy a great relationship with the Omaha Performing Arts education department. They are very supportive of our programs and when touring arts groups come into town, we often have the opportunity for performancesworkshops.” At South, David Weisser teaches the only filmmaking classes offered by an OPS school and he serves on the Film Streams education committee. His students and Josh Austin’s music tech students often collaborate, as do music, theater and dance students. Noble, who teaches vocal and choral, speaks for her colleagues in describing the

charge educators and visiting artists get when things click for students. “It’s exceptional to see their passion and how they realize that something is speaking to them. You can’t downplay what the arts teach you. You can’t downplay the creativity, the independent thinking, the ability to work together and collaborate and all those things that are the skills you need to succeed in life.” Esmeralda Moreno Villanueva, a graduate of the Playhouse apprenticeship program, said her intersection with the arts at South “changed my whole life.” She studied drama, stage craft, guitar, music tech, film, piano and dance all for the first time at South.




“I ended up falling in love with the theater. I had wanted to be a nurse or something and I ended up changing my whole career-life plan. I love where I am right now.”


She’s pursuing an associate’s degree and working shows – currently stage managing Bent for SNAP! at the Shelterbelt.


“I call it my life calling. Theater is my life and I want it to my career. There’s so many things that make this beautiful work of art and I want to help make that art. “It’s the perfect place for me. It’s my dream job.” Now, South just needs enhanced facilities to help make more students’ dreams a reality. “The addition is essential to provide adequate space for the school to develop legitimate “artists-of-the-theater,” Barratt said. “Coupled with our music, dance and visual arts departments, we need the space to help students prepare for the professional world.” For arts and campaign updates, visit


The German American Society invites everyone to celebrate our 133RD GERMAN DAY with the great tradition of Oktoberfest, authentic German dancers and traditional German singers, five live bands, games for kids, and plenty of food and beverage.

FRIDAY: Barry Boyce 5:30PM to 11:30PM (South Hall) and Alpensterne

7:00PM to 11:00PM (North Hall) Polka Police 6PM to 10PM (North Tent). There will also be short appearances of German Folk dancers as they prepare their full programs for Saturday afternoon. Great Food and Bier will be available in our large fest tent.

SATURDAY: Barry Boyce 12:30PM to 4:30PM (South Hall) Bobby Z and

Polka Joy 5:30PM to 10:30PM (South Hall) Festhaus-Musikanten 12PM to 6PM (North Hall) Alpensterne 7PM to 11PM (North Hall) Angie Kriz and the Polka Toons 6PM to 10PM (North Tent). The entire German-American Society complex will be open to admission. Doors open at noon and the Munich tradition of “tapping the keg” will be at 2PM.


Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at







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. .




he world is too much with us…” poet William Wordsworth wrote at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers,” Wordsworth continued in typical iambic pentameter. It was readily apparent to him that mankind was swooning to the glow of ease and physical abundance even in the relatively primitive times of 1802 when he penned those lines. My modern-day term for it is Consumeritis americanis since no culture has perfected the vice of worldly obsession better than Americans. We live in a time when our minds are busier than ever with what appears to our senses. We work way too hard to get little or nothing done. We can’t for the life of us put our smartphones down for a second. We have to be teasing our mind with data, info, speculative thought every waking moment. And it takes the toll even into our non-waking moments when our sleepless minds spin in the sweat lodge of turbulent dreams as we seek a scrap of solace in sleep. We live in permanent sensory overload. The Art of Abstraction. Abstraction is the natural state of the mind. Thoughtlessness is what the mind craves; at least some relief from the literal thoughts that race through our consciousness. Who doesn’t love the relaxing few moments of being aware yet being thoughtless just before we drift into slumber? Now, imagine extending that pleasurable peace of mind by relaxing the senses, depriving the brain and the mind of input. Neuroscientist John Lilly thought about that in the 1950s so he built a small enclosure, a sort of tank with a lid to keep out light and sound and sensory input. He made it even better by putting several inches of salty water in the tank so the body would float. Lilly called it a “sensory deprivation tank” and that idea has matured and evolved into what we now call floatation tanks and morphed into the hottest trend in mind/ body holistic therapy going today. Lilly’s goal was to study the effect of sensory deprivation on the function of the brain. Well, turns out there is more to it than that. The overall benefits of allowing the mind to completely relax and dispense with the dreary daily concerns of “What time do I have to make that speech tomorrow?” or “When is my dry cleaning done?” or “Is that mole on my forearm cancer?” or “The NBA playoffs start tomorrow. Am I ready?” (Most of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, including MVP Steph Curry, are addicted to “floating” to get their minds right and prep for games.) Multiple Benefits. There is a wealth of information on the web about the benefits of floatation; basically floating in about ten inches of salt water that uses about a half ton of magnesium sulfate. Omaha physician Dr. Shawn Schmidt emphasizes his belief that the passive absorption of magnesium itself is beneficial. “We live in a magnesium-deficient society. Our diet is horrendous. Mainstream medicine prescribes drugs that rob our bodies of nutrients and reclaiming a certain amount of magnesium from an hour’s float is a wonderful benefit,” Schmidt said. Mahalo. Hawaiians say “Mahalo” to show gratitude or thanks. Jordan Concannon grew up in Omaha but spent years in Hawaii gaining a degree in a double major and meanwhile absorbing Hawaiian culture.



She opened Blue Oceans Float in Omaha in June. To reach out to the community, she has instituted “Month of Mahalo” at Blue Oceans where the spa offers discounted floats to designated groups. “Each month we dedicate to a different industry. This month it’s teachers, next month it’s nurses. We have military appreciation offers every month,” Jordan said. “We’re trying to provide as much opportunity to people and the community to learn about the benefits of floating. “People use floatation for a variety of reasons. Athletes — any type of athlete from walkers, swimmers, golfers, football players and so on — will use it for sport performance, mental focus. Business persons will use it to relieve stress or because they’re focused on a project or presentation. A mother or expectant woman can use it for the physical effect of weightlessness to take the weight off their body for awhile. Construction workers, people who work hard physically or work hard mentally can benefit.” Blue Oceans has five floatation tanks, each in a private suite with showering facilities. They are more like a “pod” than a tank: spacious, inviting, smooth lines and soothing lighting. (I know. I’ve been in one and all I wanted to do was to stay in there for hours.) “People who float find benefits that range from pain relief of all sorts, including lower back, to overall stress, fibromyalgia. They find relief from insomnia, muscle soreness. The range is wide. People come in looking for one benefit and they may find many more,” Jordan said. When you think about it, to replicate that safe, warm, weightless, quiet, dark space where we didn’t have a care in the world sounds a lot like those too-brief nine months in the womb, before we found the “world is too much with us…” Be well. Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit and like us on Facebook.

if you come for

and end up having a

you’re welcome.


Old Market

Celebrating Over 25 Years Of Making Ice Cream The Old Fashioned Way Old Market Two Omaha Locations:

Downtown 1120 Jackston 402.341.5827



Benson 6023 Maple 402.551.4420





The Reader Tackles a Daunting Task: Locate the Sweetest Scoop in Town. BY SARA LOCKE PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEBRA S. KAPLAN



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





our humble Reader writers pride ourselves on our intense scrutiny and dedication to our craft. For some of us, [food writers, for instance] this includes experiencing way more than our fair share of delectable Omaha offerings to bring you what’s cutting edge, exceptional, or just plain delicious.This month, my daunting task was to bring you a list of the finest Ice Cream shops in the area. Guys. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.I couldn’t tackle this assignment alone, and so I enlisted the help of The Reader’s unpaid interns. Bam and Jack are connoisseurs of all things sweet, and at the ripe old ages of 4 1/2 and almost 3, they have a promising future in the field. Scout is a new trainee on staff, but at only 10 months old, her palate just can’t be trusted yet. She was tasked instead with determining just how sticky each candidate was. Each establishment’s offerings were found to measure at exactly 11 units of sticky. This is an impressive measurement, if you aren’t familiar with the scale by which stickiness is gauged. She’s our resident expert, so let’s not waste any time second guessing her assessment. Now that everyone has gotten to know each other, let’s commence with our list, shall we? Factors that were considered when choosing our establishments included responsible sourcing, quality of the ice cream base, and variety and creativity of flavor options. In no particular order, here is what we found:

Ted and Wally’s An Omaha staple that was born in an old garage in Lincoln, Ted and Wally’s has been an Old Market landmark for more than 31 years. The establishment was a wild success before it was sold in 2000 to the brothersister team of Joe Pittack and Jeanne Ohira. The two kept the family feel, the rich 18% butterfat base, and the made from scratch traditions in place, but added a few touches of their own. Ethical sourcing from family-owned dairies, sustainable practices and dealings with local farms and growers,



and an eye on dietary restrictions. The menu was expanded to include vegan, paleo, and even agave-sweetened options as a lower glycemic load for those sensitive to sugars.It’s hard not to comment specifically on the richness of the ice cream, especially when on a mission that had me consuming more than my fair share of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The stark contrast between a chain’s offerings and Ted and Wally’s buttery, creamy, fresh scoop truly underscored the eye on quality, which hasn’t faltered in more than 3 decades of serving our community.With over 2000 rotating flavors to sample, you don’t have time to take winters off. Ted and Wally’s isn’t a summer tradition, it’s an Old Market tradition. Bam’s pick: A paleo scoop, coconut milk with maple syrup, coconut flakes mixed in. Jack’s pick: Madagascar vanilla bean with Mochi.

ECreamery Featured on Shark Tank for their unique business model, ECreamery has a gift and a flavor for every favor. 16 rotating flavors are available daily, with a constantly updated menu on their Website, and with those flavors, a cause close to the owner’s hearts. Each month, ECreamery selects a worthy cause and donates a portion of proceeds from a select flavor. You’ve never felt quite so good about eating ice cream. Additionally, you can personalize the packaging of any of their delicious offerings, creating a unique gift delivered right to your door. Whether you’re trying to say “I’m sorry” or “congratulations!”, there is a gift option to suit your sweet tooth. Monthly subscriptions can be purchased, as well as one-time gifts. Custom flavors can be created using their easy DIY menu, and your personalized creation can be picked up in store or delivered to your door!Bam’s pick: S’mores. This is especially fun, as he can’t say it and it comes out sounding like “formores”Jack’s pick: Biscotti Gelato.


La Michoacana

The new kid on the block has done his due diligence. Owner Brian Langbehn knows his product, and the neighborhood he serves. A sweet spot in Blackstone, the unassuming Langbehn is just waiting for an opportunity to take you by surprise. He has spent years cultivating relationships with area growers and business owners, and his elevated ice cream is testament to the care with which he treats his customers and his friends.The base of his creation comes from local dairies Burbach and Branched Oak, while the mix ins come from places like Squeaky Greens Organic farm and Archetype coffee down the street. While my children happily chomp on a cone, I begin drowning Langbehn in praise, and he instantly deflects credit to pastry chef Katie Arant and assistant Eva Krammerer. The team is cohesive and caring, and the experience is elevated by the hands that create it just as much as by the intriguing and delicious flavors they have created.Bam recommends: Sweet Corn ConeJack recommends: Cherry Crumble.

If you didn’t know it was there, you’d never know it was there. Located at 4002 S 24th St, the South Omaha shop is known for their accessible atmosphere, family vibe, and utterly ridiculous tacos. Generous portions of fresh avocado, smoky, spicy meats, and portions that make you wish you could fit more into your stomach. But order one less taco than you think you can eat and save that space for a sweet treat. The chocolate ice cream with cinnamon is the perfect marriage of sweet and heat, but not always on the menu. Anything they have on hand is going to be rich and delicious, and worth the risk of overeating. You’ll notice a difference from the “Dairy Chain” quality instantly, and you will never be able to go back.

Modern Love Known for more than just being the only exclusively vegan restaurant in Omaha, Modern Love is notorious for their attention to quality and detail. Vegan dairy is a fickle beast, and your dish is either going to be “good, but not ice cream…” or “what on earth is this… cream of… nut? What?!” Modern Love found this standard unacceptable, and designed an exclusive line of dairy products, including the elusive perfect vegan ice cream. The boys shared a sundae, which featured chocolate and vanilla “ice cream”, salted maple caramel sauce, fudge, and peanuts.

Zesto’s The College World Series made Zesto’s part of generations of families’ summer tradition. No school field trip to the zoo was complete without a pocket full of sweaty quarters and a twisted cone to end the experience. For more than 60 years, Zesto’s served as a landmark, and a fun first summer job for countless teens. When the decision was made to move the World Series downtown, Zesto’s was in danger of slipping off into history books. The family owned shop resisted, and now operates establishments in Florence [8608 N. 30th] and Cherry Hills [7130 N. 102 Cir]. Bam opted for a chocolate cone while Jack grinned as a twist dripped off of his chin.

Experience Made from

Scratch Comfort Food

Goodrich The only true chain on our list, this shop has become an iconic name in ice cream since 1932. Originally just a midwestern treat, the brand now employs over 1,000 people, and Goodrich is a name known across America. While it is now mass-produced, it has maintained its old-fashioned feel, and the quality has never faltered. Bam enjoyed a butter pecan cone; Jack sampled everything before settling on cookie dough

Mahoney State Park [Ashland] The ultimate in stay-cationing, Mahoney State Park at 28500 West Park Hwy is Omaha’s choice for glamping. Cabins and primo camp sites are the perfect setting for a day of horseback riding, paddle boating, fishing, a trip to the Safari Park or Strategic Air Command, and cooling down at the wave pool. You haven’t finished your day until you’ve stopped into the on-site café and ordered a hand dipped cone or hand mixed sundae. Bam struggled with just how frozen the caramel was in his dish of snickers and chocolate, but Jack made quick work of it. Choosing an alternative mix-in for his next dish set the world right, and the little shop has quickly become part of our summer tradition. Honorable mention to the sweet spot, Christy Crème just over the bridge in Council Bluffs. Excellent service from a friendly, family owned place is always worth a mention, and a dish is worth the drive. Sweet, satisfying, and in authentic company. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with a few sticky coworkers, ice cream dripping off of their elbows, chocolate mustaches, smiling in the sun. Omaha is in the business of building memories. Those memories will always be sweet and delicious.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017 8 AM - 12 PM Old Market Farmers Market (10th/11th and Howard St.) Food Day brings us together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies. Enjoy interactive booths, kids’ activities, live music, the awards ceremony and more! Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies as we are united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it. Food Day is a day to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.

Awards Ceremony from 10:00 -10:30 AM Healthy food and healthy food policy is a growing movement in our community and to recognize the hard work and vision of those organizations and individuals leading the charge locally, we’ve created the Food Day Omaha Awards to celebrate our advocates in 6 areas: Producer of the Year ◆ Restaurant of the Year ◆ Retailer of the Year Nonprofit of the Year ◆ Food Day Champion ◆ Lifetime Achievement * For more information about sponsorship opportunities or reserving a booth, visit

Thank you to our sponsors!




September 1-28

Fall Forecast Warn, Roots: varying “degrees” of abstraction Modern Arts Midtown kicks off its fall season on September 1 with a focus on two perennial favorites: painters Graceann Warn and Larry R o o t s . Each has b e e n at work creating n e w paintings for this exhibition, stretching their personal explorations within the scales of abstraction. Warn, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be showing her encaustic paintings on panel as well as a range of small compositions arranged in a modular format. Roots, who is also MAM gallery owner/director, will exhibit new acrylic on canvas paintings, including several on a large scale. There is a delicate atmospheric

quality to Roots’ compositions in which calligraphic cyphers and painterly gestures dance and float across open fields of color. Roots is a master of diverse mark-making, often with a certain cool reserve, and his paintings in this show promise no less an exposition. Inquiry: New Work by Graceann Warn and Larry Roots opens on Friday, September 1 with a reception from 6-8pm at Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge Street. For further information, contact 402/502-8737 or visit ~ Janet L. Farber

September 2, 2 p.m.

Nebraska Hardcore Showcase 8 Milk Run, 2578 Harney In three waves of announcements in late June and early July, the Nebraska Hardcore Showcase (NEHC) revealed a 17-act lineup

featureing all things heavy in Nebraska music — from sludge metal to hardcore and riot grrrl to garage punk. Highlights include BIB, The Boner Killerz, No Thanks and the first Powerslop show in two years. For the first time in the NEHC Showcase’s eight-year history, Milk Run will host the festival, and music kicks off at 2 p.m. In true punk fashion, each set is scheduled to last just 20 minutes. Search “Nebraska Hardcore Showcase” on Facebook for the full lineup and more details. ~Sam Crisler

September 5

SZA The Bourbon, 1415 O Street, Lincoln

The struggle for identity and self-determination asks what it means to be a man? A wife? A head of household? A feminist? A black American? Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre Company brings back the first play on Broadway written by a black woman, peopled with almost all African American characters. “Never before,” commented James Baldwin, “has so much of the truth of black people’s lives been seen onstage.” ~Gordon Spencer

This year has been nothing short of hectic for New Jersey alternative R&B songstress SZA. Back in April, she signed a major record deal with RCA, dropped her debut LP, Ctrl, in June, and this month, her headlining tour stops in Lincoln for a show at The Bourbon. On Ctrl, SZA effortlessly blends genres like neo-soul, cloud rap and even indie rock into towering hooks with minimalist instrumentals. The record includes big-name collaborations from Travis Scott, James Fauntleroy and her Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates Kendrick Lamar and Isaiah Rashad. Tickets to the Lincoln show are sold out, but keep an eye on bourbontheatre. com for special offers.

et al., Harris-Fernandez’s approach to his work is similar: deconstructing and reorganizing to bring some order to a cluttered, confusing, and often contradictory world.

September 8

Wobbly Cubism

According to his artist’s statement, the works are intentionally ambiguous. “I invite the viewer to create their own meaning based on what they see and what they bring to the experience of seeing.” Harris-Fernandez has devoted most of his professional life to nonprofit administration, mostly as Director of the Sioux City Art Center, only recently beginning to exhibit a large body of work developed over many years. Gallery 72 hosts an artist’s reception on September 8th, from 5 PM to 9 PM. There will be a gallery talk and book-signing event on Wednesday, September 13th, at 7 PM. The gallery is located at 1806 Vinton Street.

~Sam Crisler

September 7 - October 1

A RAISIN IN THE SUN First Central Congregational Church, 421 South 36th Street Lorraine Hansberry’s famed play has been shining for almost sixty years since being declared the Best Play of 1959 by The New York Drama Critics’ Circle. A year ago a London production proved that the “power and craft of the writing make it today as moving as it was then,” The Guardian.

~ Kent Behrens

Gallery 72

September 8-24 A solo exhibit, Wobbly Cubism, featuring the paintings of Sioux City Art Center Director Al Harris-Fernandez, will open on September 8th at Omaha’s Gallery 72.

BABE, THE SHEEP PIG The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St.

Harris-Fernandez has kept his work out of the public eye for several years, devoting his energies to directing the Sioux City Art Center. A devoted artist himself, it is only recently that he has begun exhibiting his work on a wide basis. Like the original iterations of Cubism by creators Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque,





Who’d ever think that a pig could help a farmer round up sheep? Oh. Right. You know about that seven Oscar- nominated 1995 movie. But who thought of that charming idea first? Answer: Dick King Smith in 1983. Now, live on stage at The Rose Theater in a barnyard near you, Babe lives again to keep those furry wool-bearers in line. Smith and David Wood corralled this version a couple of years after the movie became such a hit. The script poses the question: can such a small rotund creature make it in a dog’s world especially when farmyard friends are in trouble? “This is real theatre, with an appeal to all, from infant to octogenarian, in whom a sense of wonder and a bright imagination are alive and well,” enthused Eastern Daily Press. That’ll do, pig. That’ll do. ~Gordon Spencer

September 14, 5-7:30 p.m.

Jim Krantz: Preview of The Way of the West Collection Allens Home, 7808 L Street

September 14-17

September 15, 5-7 p.m.

September 15

Do-It-Ourselves Fest

Art So Becoming

The Mountain Goats

The Bay, 2005 Y Street, Lincoln

Lied Education Center for the Arts Gallery, Creighton University

The Waiting Room It may not be the most visible scene in Nebraska music, but the state boasts a healthy DIY music and arts community. On Sept. 14, Do-It-Ourselves Fest celebrates that scene when it kicks off its four-day event at The Bay, where more than 20 bands will bring their DIY spirit. Locals like Bogusman and Histrionic and touring bands like California’s Bitch Please and Colorado’s Midwife, will all take The Bay’s stage. But Do-It-Ourselves Fest isn’t just a music festival. A number of DIY workshops will take place throughout the four days, focusing on anything from basic kickboxing training to crisis management education to composting. Stay tuned to for ongoing performance and workshop announcements. ~Sam Crisler F a m e d photographer Jim Krantz will preview his work on canvassed classic style fiberglass chairs at this special showcase, bringing together ex-Omahans Krantz and Modernica furniture owners the Novak brothers. The artist’s expression of cowboys and cattle herds help personify “The Way of the West” on 8 chairs designed by Modernica,. The photos are viewed in negative form, offering an abstract presentation of the westward way of life. Krantz’ work has inspired paintings with international recognition and one photo has been recorded as the most expensive photograph ever to be sold at an auction. Presented at his family’s business, Allens Home, Krantz will be in town with the limited edition signed chairs during this exhibition and artist talk. Light refreshments will be served.

September 14, 5:30-9 p.m.

Nebraska enVISION 2017: FOOD TRUCK WORLD TOUR Okada Sculpture Facility, Bemis Center, 724 S. 12th Street, Omaha

In support of Justice For Our Neighbors, witness the Food Truck World Tour, an annual fundraiser for the hosting organization. Guests can expect a night of art, music and fun featuring local food trucks to include Maria Bonita, Sweet Lime, Smokin’ Barrel BBQ/Omaha Steaks and Dante Pizzeria. The musicians of Marimba Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim will also perform and guests can enjoy a free tour of the nearby exhibition at KANEKO. More details on ticket prices and how to register can be found online.

~JoAnna LeFlore




~JoAnna LeFlore


Artist Hoover, poet Crisp entreat, Tell Me What You Are Going To Be in Lied Gallery exhibit. Creighton University’s Lied Arts Gallery will feature the combined talents of two Omahabased artists, Creighton alumnus and painter Bill Hoover, BA’93, and poet Devel Crisp in its first exhibition this academic year. Tell Me What You Are Going To Be will open Sept. 8 through Oct. 8 and feature paintings by Hoover, inspired by Crisp’s verse. Over the past 30 years in his inimitable oil-based crayon drawings, paintings and murals, Hoover has become a fixture of the local and national art scenes, his characteristic style marked by an almost childlike sense of color, form, texture and line, but with a complex and layered vocabulary lending itself to deeper narrative and symbolism.

In more than 25 years, California rock band The Mountain Goats have amassed one of the most eclectic and prolific discographies in indie music, bridging lo-fi and freak folk with hints of punk and baroque pop sprinkled throughout the band’s 16 LP-catalogue. For their latest record, Goths, frontman John Darnielle took a look back through his adolescence to the post-punk, and, yes, goth bands he listened to as a teenager, like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus and Joy Division. The result is The Mountain Goats’ first album without guitars, relying on reverb-laden keys and Devo-inspired grooves to create what is effectively the band’s first new wave record. The Mountain Goats stop at The Waiting Room in support of Goths with Atlanta experimental folk band Mothers. Tickets are $25 and are available online. ~Sam Crisler

September 16, 8 p.m.

Thundercat Slowdown

The artist reception is held at the Lied Education Center for the Arts gallery on Creighton’s campus at 5 p.m., Sept. 15, with Crisp’s poetry reading at 6 p.m. For show details and gallery hours call 402-280-2700.

Thundercat is the alter ego of bassist/singer Stephen Bruner. His mini-album from 2015, “The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam” is excellent. With a sound fusing trip-hop, funk, jazz, soul and a bluesy vibe, the album is addictive upon first listen. He is currently touring his album “Drunk”, which is even stronger. He is a collaborator with Kendrick Lamar and was a big part of what made Kendrick’s masterpiece, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, as good as it was. He has also worked with Flying Lotus, and the influence is apparent. Bruner had been playing music since he was as young as four years old. Ticket prices are eighteen dollars in advance, with twenty on the day of show. It’s twenty-five for the balcony and the pit-sides.

~ Mike Krainak

~Jeff Turner

Crisp, who will perform a reading of his poetry as part of the opening artist reception on Sept. 15, is an Omaha native and has been writing and performing his poetry for more than a decade. Hoover said collaborating with Crisp has awakened new ideas in his visual art and given him wider outlets to pursue stories on canvas.

September 16

New Generation Music Festival with Talib Kweli & RAKIM Stinson Park


In just its second year, New Generation Music Festival landed a pair of hip-hop legends in Talib Kweli and Rakim, who headline an impressive lineup of touring and local acts featuring Conny Franko, The Dilla Kids, Satchel Grande and more. Rakim makes his Omaha debut at the festival as part of the 30th anniversary tour for Paid in Full, his classic collaboration record with Eric B. Kweli’s appearance follows this year’s The Seven EP with Styles P. And if the stellar lineup wasn’t enough, admission to New Generation Music Festival is free. Check their Facebook link above for full lineup details and more information. ~Sam Crisler

Vivaldi sonata, best known as “La Folia” aka “madness,” is based on a wild folk dance swirling for centuries. Plus there’s a Vivaldi concerto from “La Stravaganza,” which, says Music Web, shook contemporaries with “harmonic daring and astonishing passage work for the solo violin.” Susanna Perry Gilmore, the Omaha Symphony’s concertmaster takes on the challenge Famed music by J.S. Bach features dances from his Cello Suite No. 5 with the intimate Sarabande, “the essence of the composer’s genius,” Mstislav Rostropovich noted. Violist Brian Sherwood performs. And a flute concerto by Georg Philipp Telemann spotlights Alyssa Griggs. These composers were simultaneously the essence of Baroque. These musicians, along Kevin Tompkins and Juliet Yoshida, violinists and cellist Tim Strang are some of the essence of the Symphony. Mark Kurtz joins them at the harpsichord; he’s Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church.

September 16

capacity for doing meaningful work in Omaha. The conference features breakout sessions on topics like career advancement, leadership development, networking, and strategic initiatives. In addition, headline speakers are also invited with this year’s Keynotes to include Allyson Byrd, Profit Accelerator and Jaylen Bledsoe, a teenage millionaire who started the company Bledsoe Technologies, LLC. Returning keynote speakers are George Fraser, Pamela Jolly, Shawn Dove and Dr. Randall Pinkett. Over a dozen local speakers and celebrated experts are set to lead breakout sessions. Their names can be found online. Past national speakers have included Journalist Soledad O’Brien, Simon T. Bailey (Former Disney Exec), Sondra Samuels, Eric Mahmoud and Denise Gilmore. Should you be interested in volunteering for this event, you can reach out to Aisha Conner at aconner@empoweromaha. com. ~JoAnna LeFlore

September 21-October 15

EVERY BRILLIANT THING Bluebarn Theatre, 1106 South 10th St.

September 21

Blackstone Business District


NeedtoBreathe The Blackstone Farnam Festival will feature a hodge-podge of local and national acts, craft beers and food. One of the acts is Tennis, an indie band touring their most recent album, “Yours Conditionally.” Another act that will play are Shannon and the Clams, an indie group based in Oakland. They combine R&B, doo-wop, garage psych and surf rock. Farnam Fest will be hosted by Timmy Williams from the Whitest Kids U Know. It starts at nine in the a.m. and goes on into eleven in the p.m. For a complete list of acts, visit the website above.

September 21-22

African American Leadership Conference Hilton Downtown, 1001 Cass Street One man stands at the center, looking back and forward trying to find meaning about life as it swiftly flies by. Looking at great loss and depression, he knows he needs strong inner force to determine why it’s worth going on.

~Jeff Turner

September 17


Baroque Sensations

Presbyterian Church of the Cross, 1517 South 114th St. Several works have been considered sensations since they were first heard. A

For the past 5 years, the Empowerment Network has hosted the African-American Leadership Conference, meant to encourage local residents to take their leadership and advocacy roles to the next level. As one of the organizations most popular events, the event has attracted over 300 seasoned and emerging leaders annually. The outcomes intended are to help attendees maximize their networks and

Bluebarn co-founder and former Artistic Director Hughston Walkinshaw becomes that man. ~Gordon Spencer

September 22 & 23

Omaha Symphony Masterworks Concert Kiewit Hall, Holland Center , 1200 Douglas Conductor, saxophonist, pianist, vocalist and arranger Matt Catingub returns to the Omaha Symphony for the sixth time in another dimension -- as a composer. The multiorchestra pops series star and much-lauded jazz performer will be at the keyboard, joined by regular sideman drummer Steve Moretti as well as by violinist Amy Schwartz-Moretti for whom Catingub in 2014 wrote “Three Shades of Blue, Concerto for Violin and Jazz Trio.” Multiples, uh-huh. Catingub has a knack “for turning an orchestra into the biggest of big bands,” said the World Herald about a performance last year playing “to the strengths” of Omaha musicians.

~Gordon Spencer

Farnam Fest

witness, within ourselves and to those people surrounding us inside the theatre walls and out into the world beyond. The story, she says, unfolds in surprising ways, through laughter, through tears.

As if reaching out to anyone within earshot, he ponders not only whomever may be there but also seeks insights in everyday objects, as if such seemingly trivial things have lives of their own and can reveal how they share connections with all human beings. Fragments suggest other fragments. In this 2016 play by Duncan MacMillan and Jonny Donahoe, director Susan ClementToberer sees connections to those of us who


On tap too are two more traditional compositions which may well link up with Catingub’s lively explorations of American idioms. Richard Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks,” celebrates and personifies the legendary tricky folk hero, full of fun And Dvořák’s 7th Symphony delights in Slavic inspirations paired with intimations of tragedy. Thomas Wilkins conducts. Catingub is the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Macon Pops in Macon, Georgia, and recently the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Glendale Pops In Los Angeles, the Hawaii Pops in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as the Festival Pops Conductor of the New Hampshire Music Festival. Catingub has guest conducted for some of the most significant Symphony Orchestras in the country and conducted for artists such as Diana Krall, Yes, Al Jarreau, Gladys Knight, and Kenny Rogers.


~Gordon Spencer



September 27-October 7

September 28-30

Our Town

Lincoln Calling Music Festival

Weber Fine Arts Building, 6001 Dodge, University of Nebraska, Omaha T h o r n t o n W i l d e r ’s 193 8 P u l i t ze r P r i ze winner comes to life at UNO Theatre. Despite being set in an innocent, small New England town more than 100 years ago, critics, scholars and audiences world-wide feel that it speaks to everyone, everywhere, any time. Artistic Director D. Scott Glasser believes so too, seeing it as truly international, touching souls across boundaries. He intends to emphasize those connections, which express “our globally shared humanity. All of existence is contained in our minds, creating magical imagining of space and time, the past and the future.” He plans to include performances by local a cappella choruses with varying cultural roots as well as cross-cultural casting, some possibly from the community, yet another dimension to the idea of that word. Our Town embraces us “where we live,” said The Guardian about a 2014 performance, showing “the warmth of affection for mundane, daily reality. A reminder of the evanescence of human existence.”

September 29

8 Downtown Lincoln venues

September 29

Imagine Our Youth with Ice-T

Lincoln Calling is back and better than ever this year, offering something for everyone with three nights of music, comedy, and skateboarding. For the festival, Hear Nebraska and The Bay teamed up to bring Charli XCX, Angel Olsen, Best Coast and more than 100 more acts to eight downtown Lincoln venues. For the first time, 14th Street between ‘O’ and ‘P’ streets will be closed off with a street stage and a night market of local merchants. Check out the full lineup, which also includes Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Frankie Cosmos and Cupcakke, and grab threeday passes for only $59. ~Sam Crisler

September 29

Fleet Foxes The Waiting Room Outdoors

~Gordon Spencer

September 27

The Weeknd Pinnacle Bank Arena

Embassy Suites, La Vista Hotel & Conference Center

~Sam Crisler

September 30

Intertribal Pow Wow

Seattle indie folk titans Fleet Foxes come to The Waiting Room’s outdoor stage on Military Ave. later this month with songs from their first new album in six years, Crack-Up. Since the album’s June release, it’s been heralded by Pitchfork and AllMusic as an experimental shift from 2011’s Helplessness Blues, favoring layered orchestral instrumentation over the acoustic guitars and banjos of their past work. It’s all the backdrop to frontman Robin Pecknold’s struggles with finding purpose. Nap Eyes, a band of Velvet Underground disciples from Halifax, Nova Scotia, open Fleet Foxes’ Omaha show. ~Sam Crisler

~Sam Crisler





Metro Community College, Fort Omaha Campus Serving youth for almost 100 years, the Omaha Home For Boys is bringing awareness to its mission to support and empower youth through its annual fundraiser Imagine Our Youth. This year’s event features Keynote Speaker Ice-T who was orphaned at a young age in LA and survived a life previously in gangs. His life progressed into becoming a successful artist as a hip-hop emcee and actor and more recently author of Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood. Remember his role as a detective on Law & Order? Or how about the song “99 Problems”? Jay Z was not the original song with its namesake. Ice T is indeed a cultural icon being recognized as a pioneer of the hip hop era which recently celebrated 44 years since its inception. If you want to witness this event, visit the website to register. ~JoAnna LeFlore

Between 2013 and 2015, The Weeknd went from a bubbling R&B artist and frequent Drake collaborator on 2013’s Kiss Land to full-blown pop star with hits like “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face” and “In The Night” on Beauty Behind The Madness. Just one year later, the Canadian singer released his third LP, Starboy, featuring a collaboration with Daft Punk that sent the title track to number one in eight countries. In support of that record, The Weeknd hits Pinnacle Bank Arena as part of his “Starboy World Tour.” Head over to pinnaclebankarena. com for more information on the show. Tickets range from $47 to $220.


1:00-7:30 p.m.




Ave. later this month for a night of post-rock and synthpop under the stars. Both bands will have new records in tow, too. EITS’s latest, The Wilderness, has been hailed as a return to form for the band, with Pitchfork calling it the band’s best LP since 2003’s The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. And Future Islands dropped The Far Field back in April, expanding on the band’s spacey indie pop sound with emotionally taxing songs about suicide and death. Make sure to catch this concert, because it’s one of only two shows the bands team up for. More information is available online.

September 30

Explosions in the Sky and Future Islands

The Waiting Room Outdoors Two indie rock staples in Explosions in the Sky and Future Islands come to The Waiting Room’s outdoor stage on Military

Now through October 8, 2017

Stephen Cornelius Roberts Saint Cecilia Cathedral Cultural Center, 3900 Weber Street

Omaha native and artist Stephen Cornelius Roberts has exhibited art between his hometown and New York City since the 80’s. His most celebrated art includes his mural contributions at the Nebraska State Capitol depicting imagery of the historical hardworking laborers, civic leaders and everyday community heroes. Most of Roberts’ work involves oil paintings on linen canvases in realistic life-like forms. His creative eye also spans to portraiture drawings and paintings celebrating the human body. This special exhibition is currently on view through October 8 to feature Roberts’ maquettes and studies for the Nebraska State Capitol. This is free to the public with gallery hours from Tuesday-Sunday, Noon to 4 p.m. ~JoAnna LeFlore

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International photographers share passion for all things cars in ‘DRIVE DROVE DRIVEN’ at Artists’ BY MICHAEL J. KRAINAK

Fortunately, there are those in and outside the industry who are still inspired by the automobile as a means of expression and creativity despite its contradictions. For these visionaries, the auto is more than a means of transportation; it has and will continue to be a lifestyle. Illustrating the paradoxes of this passion is the aptly titled art exhibition, DRIVE DROVE DRIVEN: Cars in Contemporary Photography, which is currently on display at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery in the Old Market in September. DRIVE DROVE DRIVEN is organized by Matthias Harder, curator of Berlin’s Helmut Newton Foundation devoted chiefly to its namesake, the late internationally famous photographer. This is Harder’s fourth such exhibit sponsored by Omaha’s Moving Gallery including Portrait: Berlin (2007), Time Death, Beauty (2010) and Wild: Animals in Contemporary Photography (2012). Besides their medium of choice, Harder’s exhibitions are also connected thematically by his interest in the diversity, complexity and paradoxes of world culture as seen in everyday objects such as flowers and animals, and now cars. “For more than a century, cars have had a decisive impact on our daily life,” Harder said in his exhibition catalogue, “and few other commonplace objects have so divided public opinion. Cars are both curse and blessing, design sensation and environmental killer.” He further explains that despite their indisputable and necessary role as a means of transport and transportation, cars are also an extension of “desires and aspirations, as tokens of flexibility and freedom, and status symbols connoting power, wealth, prestige, and sex.” As such, even as the automobile is responsible for air pollution, rising carbon emissions and traffic-related deaths, nevertheless, it has been the product of eyecatching design from the LaSalle and the Cadillac to the Citroën and the Chrysler Airflow, from the Mercedes and Ferrari to the Corvette and the Thunderbird. Not to mention influential concept cars that continue to forecast even as they highlight annual car shows in Detroit, Geneva, Paris and Los Angeles. Yet, as DRIVE DROVE DRIVEN clearly demonstrates, the automobile is also an inspiration for artists outside the industry, a motif in the work historically CHARLES JOHNSTONE LITTLE RED CAR CUBA 2006 of the likes of Andy Warhol, Sylvie Fleury and Gabriel Orozco. In addition, contemporary photographers worldwide have created “iconic images” that depict the auto in all of its cultural, political and social implications. merica’s love affair with the automobile is a passion shared with In this exhibition 23 international artists, including two from Omaha, offer arguably every industrialized nation in the world. Never mind that 136 diverse photographs of its subject on the road or at rest, neatly parked or cars threaten the environment as well as ourselves. Death by vehicle abandoned and rusting on the spot, as well as on display at car rallies or just is the ninth largest cause of such in the world, more than even heart sitting proudly at the curb. Nor does the exhibit shy away from the car’s rep as disease. a mode of wreck and ruin. Yet, like most love affairs, especially those involving technology, cars blind us Artists featured in this “car show” are: Clara Bahlsen (Berlin), Jürgen with promises of a better life while we ignore their pitfalls and contradictions. Baumann (Berlin), Xiomara Bender (Berlin), Beni Bischof (St. Gallen & Widnau, Whether it’s answering a vibrating smart phone, trusting a virtual assistant— Switzerland), Daniela Comani (Berlin), Stephan Erfurt (Berlin), Larry Ferguson think Alexa or Siri—or answering an auto’s self-parking device, lane departure (Omaha), Aris Georgiou (Thessaloniki, Greece), Oliver Godow (Berlin), warnings and blind spot commands, we respond like Pavlov’s dog and are James Hendrickson (Omaha), Charles Johnstone (New York), Martin Klimas rewarded for our good behavior. (Dusseldorf), Jens Liebchen (Berlin), Serge Marcel Martinot (Hamburg), Arwed Most of all, perhaps, the call of the open road cannot be ignored. Whether it’s Messner (Berlin), Ralf Meyer (Hamburg), Bernhard Moosbauer (Berlin), Melina a brand new SUV stateside or sport wagon across the Big Pond, cars represent Papageorgiou (Berlin), Philipp von Recklinghausen (Berlin), Christian Rothmann their own path to freedom and control…but change is on the horizon. (Berlin), Marc Volk (Berlin), Maurice Weiss (Berlin), and Michael Witte (Berlin). Intel reports that auto companies that don’t prepare for self-driving vehicles Drive Drove Driven continues Harder’s personal preference for cultural risk failure or extinction as early as 2035, missing out on a projected seven contradictions and vagaries, but as in his past exhibitions here in Omaha, the trillion dollar industry. As we ride along into this future of total “auto-nimity”, we most interesting, commanding images are those that not only run counter to may indeed wonder who really is in the driver’s seat. one’s expectations in theme and subject, but on closer inspection, reveal their







own point of view and aesthetic. For instance, Time, Death & Beauty, whose umbrella theme remained vanitas, included the sensual, yet equally detached black and white image by Omaha artist Vera Mercer featuring a single amaryllis and two majestic white roses. No single subject brings beauty, transience and death together better than a flower according to Harder, and as this critic wrote in 2010, “Eschewing the voluptuous hues of her color work, she (Mercer) relies here instead on a grainy resolution of many layered shades of gray and deep rich blacks to depict her flowers, painfully beautiful and painfully aware of their impending decline.” Likewise, in Wild Animals (2012), Harder surprised again by describing his exhibition in terms of “ugly beauty,” referring to the imagery’s edginess as individual works often ran against expectations not only of beauty but animal photography in general. Though the tone and POV varied from the ironic and satiric to the humorous and critical, the work seldom failed to meet his curatorial eye. Among others, Wild Animals included Carolina Linge’s “Dame with Katchninchen”(2008), which depicts a young woman petting a skinned rabbit. With its startling indifference and “ugly beauty,” the artist parodies glamour fashion photos and even Renaissance painting, i.e., Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with Ermine.” Similar surprises of counter-culture that fly against the social or artistic norm exist in Drive Drove Driven also, though most eschew the overt irony and edginess of the two above exhibits. Still, these images of automobiles are not run-of-the-mill portraits merely suitable for the pages of Auto & Design or Car and Driver magazines. Instead, the majority of car-centered photographs here must be viewed within their own purview and mise en scène. Their styles and tones are as varied as the vehicles they depict. For example, the work of the two Omaha photographers, Ferguson and Hendrickson, though both in black and white, are a study in contrast. In realistic fashion, Ferguson’s street-level view of a busy Hong Kong street, framed by a similar congestion of overhead signage, is a glossy study in gray and gray…and atmospheric fog. Cars of course responsible only for the former unlike in the very smoggy mainland Beijing. Hendrickson’s image of Nebraska’s Carhenge sculpture transcends the tourist perspective and manages instead an iconic, majestic black and white whose grainy visage references its Stonehenge source both in texture and prominence on an otherwise barren landscape. Given the incremental development of autonomous cars and beyond, the monumental Carhenge installation may be more portentous than pretentious. Artist Bischof manages to reference both past and future with his splendid, concept “Meta Cars.” Bischof’s “Untitled Handicapped Car,” seen above,

MARTIN KLIMAS UNTITLED CAR is one of his photo-manipulated retro-fits, this one resembling a hovercraft that would not seem out of place on the set of “Blade Runner,” just before lift off. Several photos in this exhibit pay homage not so much to cars in general but to specific brands and models. Virtually in all cases the setting serves as commentary or augmentation as does the artist’s aesthetic and point of view. Serge Marcel Martinot’s black-and-white image of a Citroën DS 23 driving in front of the Louvre could be described as poetry in motion despite its triptych structure. Shooting it in front of this bastion of beauty and art in such an elongated fashion only enhances the culture’s reverence for unique, classic design, still on the road as well as immortalized in this image. Whereas, in Ralf Meyer’s “Mercedes Museum”, the traditional, petrol racecar, threatened to be a museum piece itself, is rooted in the spotlight of history, never more meant for the open road or track. Meyer reinforces this inevitability by placing his subjects half off-frame and focusing on a dark impending blank space between them. Nevertheless, by doing so, the organic and graphic Mercedes design survives regardless. Less representational and an exercise in design abstraction is Jürgen Baumann’s kaleidoscopic image of old car headlights, “Speed Cadillac.” It’s an interesting geometric experiment but somewhat disorienting. A more pleasing example directly above is his “Blasen” or “Bubbles” whose overall impact is as ephemeral as its title. Klimas’ untitled Ferrari-Porsche, model car smash-up is also greater than the sum of its parts, which are frozen first in liquid nitrogen and then shot in hi-speed stop-motion photography, creating an abstract pattern of its own. The oddly pleasing dynamic perhaps parodies auto test crashes as well as car chase films. It may even mock the “who makes better sports cars?” rivalry itself.

Many photographers in this exhibit use the auto and its surroundings to tell a story or at least to suggest a possible scenario, some more suggestive than others, but all inviting interpretation based upon what is seen and not just imagined. Most effective is the expressionistic photo “CarStop Light Abu Dhabi” of Melina Papageorgiou, whose settings of sun, sand, trees, day and night reflections evoke an atmosphere bordering on surrealism. Everything in this mise en scène, from the silhouetted palms to the red ambient light emitted from its even redder taillight source, reinforces the exotic setting and aura of intrigue within the darkened backseat window, always part of a car’s mythos. A relic relegated to its own grave, due perhaps to abuse or at least, neglect, or perhaps an auto shrine of some sort? It remains a sublime oddity nonetheless; may it rest in peace. Equally intriguing is Johnstone’s “Little Red Car” in Havana, Cuba. Known for his typologies of empty spaces, such as NY basketball courts, pools, storefront churches and seemingly abandoned buildings, he extends his affection for place to cars, especially those iconic hybrids that have survived in a isolated country with limited resources “driven” to improvise. Working against type, two single images conjure up an entire movie in microcosm; so cinematic is their visual storytelling. Without added text, contrived allusions or symbolism, photo-shopping or special effects, each image “tells” its story with careful composition, natural lighting and deep focus photography. First, we have a deceptively simple black-andwhite photo from von Recklinghausen who is one of the founders of lux-fotografen in 1996. Mainly a freelance, event photographer, he has documented, among others, the Serbian Siege of Bosnia in 1992. In this untitled noirish setting a VW Polizei van has


made a roadside stop while on prostitute/pimp patrol under a garish overhead light. The viewer is drawn out of curiosity but careful to keep his distance. Same to with Witte’s somewhat elegiac, but equally forbidding “Somewhere in Oregon.” The viewer, while looking for a “No trespassing” or “Beware the dog” sign, is hypnotized by two abandoned Edsels in a rural setting that would do “Twin Peaks” proud. Proposed as Ford’s next Model T success, the failed Edsel experiment seems at home in its pasture rusting away. A much happier resting place is reserved for the time-honored Volkswagen (“people’s car”) panel van as seen in this untitled, bucolic image by Stephan Erfurt, founder of C/O Berlin, a foundation that exhibits emerging and world-renowned artists. His image, a paean to the beloved VW vehicle known globally as the Type 2, Transporter, Kombi, Hippie Bus, Camper and Vanagon, is virtually a title piece for this extraordinary exhibit. It can be argued that no vehicle in automobile history has been driven with more adventure, passion, devotion and diversity than the VW Bus. Here it sits behind a Volkswagen garage waiting to be lovingly restored or used as parts before it too finally rusts away in its garland setting. The very fate of the automobile itself is in question and it’s no coincidence that the title of this exhibit moves from the present (Drive) to the past (Drove) to the perfect or completed tense (Driven). Are cars then a done deal? Curator Harder, who will take this show “on the road” next in a world tour, has chosen his artists well. Yet, he wonders too about the sustainability and survival of their subject and its muse. “The selection (exhibition) offers a multifaceted view of society that reveals both a requiem for our car-driven civilization and an ode to our never-ending fascination with the car in its many incarnations,” said Harder who sees at least one stumbling block that may tip the balance to the former. “While this unique exhibition of contemporary photography dedicated to the car signals our shift into a high-tech mobile future,” he said, “the future of cars themselves is marked by uncertainty.” Especially in Europe where Harder says “the car has lost its topmost ranking among the possessions most desired by Europe’s millennial drivers.” Factor in too that England and Germany have already banned new internal combustion cars by 2040 and 2030. As the remaining industrialized nations follow suit, the car, as we know it, in all its “ugly beauty”, may be “on its last wheels.” DRIVE DROVE DRIVEN continues in the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th Street and continues into mid-September. For details and gallery hours go to or call 402-342-9617.










magine for a moment your typical lecture hall in college. A group of friends from South Carolina are listening to the story of The Desire of Air involving the famous philosopher Socrates. It just so happens the group of friends also play together in a band but are at a crossroads in their lives; unsure in which direction they want to take their music and sound. They continue to listen to the story about a student who asked Socrates what was his purpose in life. As the story goes, Socrates took the student into the nearby sea and started to push his head under the water, essentially drowning his pupil. Socrates then pulled him up from the water, the student desperately gasping for air but still trying to understand how his incidental drowning pertained to the original question about the purpose of life. Socrates explained that when you desire your true purpose as much as you desire for your NEED TO BREATHE was, there lies the true nature of your purpose in this life. The Desire of Air story is a famous lesson among philosophy professors. It resounded though with that particular group of friends who not only listened, but in essence digested their lesson and eventually named their band NEEDTOBREATHE. Fast forward to the present and NEEDTOBREATHE has come a long way from that lecture hall in South Carolina. Selling out big name venues across the country like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, San Francisco’s Fillmore, and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium the band has become a force in the music industry. The grammy-nominated rock band is comprised of brothers Bear Rinehart (vocals, guitar) and Bo Rinehart




(guitar, vocals), Seth Bolt (bass, vocals), and Josh Lovelace (keys, vocals). NEEDTOBREATHE has managed to not only top the Billboard charts with their past two albums but their latest album Hard Love debuted in July 2016 at #2 on the Billboard 200 just behind Drake’s Views. NEEDTOBREATHE’S music can be described as rootsy with a southern country/bluegrass feel. The band has also been categorized as a Christian rock band which might be a tribute to some of the band’s lyrics and background of the two Rinehart brothers who grew up singing gospel and whose father is a pastor. Although the spiritual message lingers and the roots of uplifting gospel melodies can be heard on some of the newer tracks, their latest album goes in a much different direction from the rest of their discography; musically speaking. “A lot of our sounds do have an acoustic or country feel since we grew up in the Appalachian mountain area, but we wanted to explore some more with the keyboard and synthesisers,” Seth Bolt says. “It kinda radically shifted the sound of the band but the songs of the Rinehart brothers are just as good as ever.” An anthemic funk can be found on the album with songs like “MONEY & FAME” and “NO EXCUSES.” “I do think one of things we were unable to unlock with some of these songs was a way to be soulful,” Bolt says. “It still resonates I guess, with some of the southern feelings we have explored in the past but add in some dirty, gritty and funky soul.” The band just recently released a new six-song EP labeled Hard Cuts which Bolt literally says were “hard to cut” from the original collection of

tracks on Hard Love and features two other artists on remakes of the band’s hit “HARD LOVE.” “After the release of Hard Cuts we actually just started working on a new batch of songs down in a studio in Texas,” Bolt says. When pressed about when the band would be releasing even more new music, (because we can’t get enough) Bolt jokes, “we have no idea. The pendulum might be shifting with some of our new music though still yet to come,” Bolt says. “There might be a similar sound to what our earlier albums were, like The Outsiders.” In conjunction with their album Hard Love the band announced an extensive three-leg ALL THE FEELS TOUR. The first leg of the tour will be performed in amphitheaters and feature special guest, grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw, with whom the band released their smash hit “BROTHER” in 2015. The second leg of the tour will be through notable rock clubs around the country, and the third leg is a stint through renowned theaters and music halls for what is labeled as “An Evening with NEEDTOBREATHE” – the band’s first ever acoustic tour. “For years we have always gotten a big reaction when we have performed acoustic songs at our past concerts,” Bolt says. “We have always been a loud rock band and when we have played acoustically, people appreciate that sound and they get to hear our harmonies and voices.” NEEDTOBREATHE is no stranger to the Omaha metro area and have been culminating fans and followers with their momentous popularity for a number of years. The band is set to perform for the third year in a row at the Harrah’s Stir Concert Cove on September 21st. The performance at Stir Concert Cove will be part of the band’s first leg of the tour and will feature singer, Gavin DeGraw. “We definitely have had a lot of fun every time we have performed in Council Bluffs,” Bolt says. “The last two times we have played in Council Bluffs we actually performed at the Red Rock’s venue two nights before. We are coming off this high of all highs, from Red Rocks, but there is just this cool thing that happens, to see the energy from the fans there.” As long ago as the philosophy lesson involving Socrates might seem, the band continues to stay true to their roots, humble to their fans and unwavering in their music. “People can count on us to sing songs that have substance, which are full of honesty no matter how vulnerable that honestly is,” Bolt says. “We made a promise to ourselves as singers and performers that we are just going to air it out and be our fans NEED-TOBREATHE hopefully throughout their lives. I think that’s what set us apart and makes us special.” For more information about tour dates and performances check out the NEEDTOBREATHE website




w/ special guest




OCTOBER 6, 2017









The Reader and Hear Nebraska are teaming up for a news column BY SAM CRISLER



This column is part of an ongoing collaboration between The Reader and Hear Nebraska, a music journalism and production nonprofit seeking to engage and cultivate Nebraska’s music scene. Here, we’ll break down the biggest Nebraska music news from the last month.



number of local festivals and concert series made big announcements in August, so we’ll start the column with a look at those. In early August, New Generation Music Festival announced its second-annual concert event which will take over Stinson Park on Saturday, Sept. 16. While last year’s fest showed promise with Omaha hard rock band Screaming for Silence headlining a slate full of blues, hip-hop and indie rock, the new lineup reveal is indicative of a determination to sustain and grow NGM well into the future. This year, NGM boasts another stacked lineup with two hip-hop visionaries — Rakim and Talib Kweli. And best of all, the festival is free to the public. Rakim makes his Omaha debut as part of his 30th anniversary tour for Eric B. & Rakim’s classic album, Paid in Full. Kweli will bring a slew of new tracks to Stinson Park from his new Styles P collaboration The Seven. With the inclusion of Kweli and Rakim, it might seem NGM is distancing itself from the community focus of last year’s event, but the festival hasn’t forgotten its roots. Nine of Nebraska’s hottest musicians fill out the rest of the lineup, with funk all stars Satchel Grande, indie pop singer-songwriter Jocelyn and conscious rapper Conny Franko all making appearances. The festival runs from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Speaking of Omaha music festival startups, organizers are bringing the inaugural Porchfest OMA to Midtown’s Gifford Park, where more than a dozen musicians, comedians and spoken word artists will perform on porches throughout the neighborhood. Porchfest began in Ithaca, N.Y., back in 2010, and the idea has since spread to more than 80 cities and counting. Lincoln hosted its first Porchfest last year with twenty bands, which drew hundreds to Goodhue Boulevard, just south of the Capitol. In our coverage of Porchfest LNK, we noted a music festival where people rode bikes from stage to stage rather than racing to a bar after a set. It’s likely that anti-music festival atmosphere will recreated at Porchfest OMA. Near the end of August, Porchfest OMA announced an Americana and folk-dominated fifteen-act lineup slated to include performances from McCarthy Trenching, Jack Hotel, The Shineys, The Bottle Tops and more. See the full lineup at Lincoln’s version of Porchfest won’t be back this year but there’s still plenty to do in the city this fall. Aug. 4 marked the reboot of Hear Lincoln, a weekly concert series coordinated by Hear Nebraska and 89.3 KZUM that showcases some of the best musical talent in the Capitol City’s. Hear Lincoln launched in 2011, and after a year off in 2016, the series is back with nine weeks of music. Each Friday evening at 5 p.m. until Sept. 29, two Lincoln bands blast through two hours of music in the downtown Tower Square Plaza on 13th and P streets. So far, the audiences have seen performances by Jack Hotel, I Forgot To Love My Father and the Lucas Kellison Duo. September’s lineup includes appearances from ska band Mad Dog and The 20/20s, post-rock quartet blét and singer-songwriter Mike Semrad. For a full lineup, visit Hear Lincoln 2017’s events page on Facebook.



As one HN-coordinated series begins, another one ends. The third annual Good Living Tour came to a close on Aug. 19 in Hastings after hosting live, original music in eight Greater Nebraska communities. The Good Living Tour featured dozens of Nebraska’s top musicians, with artists from folk rock duo The Talbott Brothers to rapper HAKIM performing over six weekends in cities like Red Cloud, Norfolk and Lyons. Read week-by-week Good Living Tour coverage at Over on the east side of the state, Aksarben Village put on the summer’s biggest party when Maha Music Festival flooded Stinson Park with thousands of music fans and some of indie music’s most prominent bands. Hip-hop duo Run The Jewels headlined the festival in Maha’s ninth year, burning through hits like “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” and “Legend Has It,” inspiring dance moves from 8,000 strong. Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian, dance rock two-piece Sleigh Bells and Omaha’s The Faint topped off Maha’s stellar lineup. Run The Jewels rapper El-P effectively summarized the festival a couple songs into his set: “Who knew Omaha was this lit?” The night before Maha, a classic Omaha songwriter made his return to the stage after a more than 10 year break. Stephen Sheehan, former frontman of new wave trailblazers Digital Sex assembled a band of Omaha music scene vets, with members of Ritual Device and Guerrilla Theater joining Sheehan to revisit an extensive catalogue of songs from his bands Digital Sex, The World and Between The Leaves. Sheehan said the idea for the show had bubbled in his head for years, but a guest appearance in Omaha cover band Bennie and the Gents gave him the push he needed to get back on stage. And it was worth the wait for Sheehan, who called the show “off the meters.” Back at March 2016’s Omaha Film Festival, Cursive and The Good Life frontman Tim Kasher debuted his first feature film No Resolution, which follows the story of a washed-up musician as his relationship with his pregnant wife devolves on New Year’s Eve. More than a year later, Kasher launched a run of screenings for the film in eight cities including Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles and Omaha. Prior to each screening, Kasher is performing live sets with music from his new album of the same name. Q&A sessions follow each screening. The Omaha date has passed, but four showings still remain this month: San Francisco (9/11), Kansas City (9/12), Dallas (9/13) and Austin (9/14). Tickets are available at Finally, Lincoln post-hardcore five-piece Better Friend dropped their debut full-length, Just Turn Green, at the end of August. The band has steadily built a following in Lincoln’s DIY music scene with their freeform songwriting and frontwoman Meghan Munyon’s vicious screaming on their self-titled debut EP and 2015’s Safe House. With Just Turn Green, Better Friend take the idea of an odd time signature and inject it with whatever improper fractions they could think of. The band released the record at an album release show at Lincoln’s 1867 Bar with indie rock bands Oketo and The Ambulanters. Of course, this isn’t all of what happened in Nebraska music over the last month. Head over to for our tri-weekly news column and keep up with music scene events and news all year round.


began as Nebraska Washer and Dryer Service and operated out of the owners’ home when it was founded in 1988 by Doug and Anne Carlson. Nearly 30 years later it’s a much larger business, a staple in the Omaha community with a reputation for providing fast and reliable appliance repair, maintenance and parts for all major brands through its team of trusted technicians. Services now extend to refrigerator repair and condenser cleaning, oven/stove and cooktop repair, and carry-in appliance repair for microwaves and air conditioners. And, of course, the company still services washers and dryers.

The company’s tagline “Your Hometown Hero” reflects the fact that Nebraska Home Appliance is still locally and family-owned today. In 2011 the business was acquired by a grandson of the original owners, Todd Daganaar, who also serves as president. Under Daganaar’s

leadership, the business has maintained a solid reputation with its customers throughout the Omaha community. “The commitment one feels to owning and operating a family business goes beyond 9 to 5,” Daganaar says. “Our customers and staff are treated as family, and my grandfather wouldn’t have it any other way.” Service areas include the Omaha metro area and surrounding communities. Nebraska Home Appliance is located at 310 S. 72nd Street (on the west side of 72nd Street between Jones and Farnam Streets in Cedarnole Plaza). Hours for carry-in service or parts pick-up are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The shop is closed Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit, look for nhaparts on Facebook, call 402-399-0202, or email Customers can also schedule a repair or service appointment online.




LIVE MUSIC SCHEDULE - SEPTEMBER, 2017. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 Dance - The Confidentials 9:00 to 1:00am

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 The Brits 6:30 to 9:30pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 Dance - The Six 9:00 to 1:00am

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 Prairie Cats 6:30 to 9:30pm

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 Labor Day Closed

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 Soul Dawg 9:00 to 1:00am

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 Billy Troy 6:30 to 9:30pm WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 Bozak & Morrissey 6:30 to 9:30pm THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 Finest Hour 6:30 to 9:30pm FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 Rough Cut 9:00 to 1:00am SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 Eckophonic 9:00 to 1:00am MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 Gooch And His Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30pm TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 Julie Baker 6:30 to 9:30pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 Banned 80’S Rock Tribute 9:00 to 1:00am MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 Gooch And His Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30pm TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 Billy Troy 6:30 to 9:30pm WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 Bill Chrastil 6:30 to 9:30pm THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 Mighty Jailbreakers 6:30 to 9:30pm FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 Peace Love Etc 9:00 to 1:00am

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 Gooch And His Big Las Vegas Band 6:30 to 9:30pm TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 Grace & Logan 6:30 to 9:30pm WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 Daybreak 6:30 to 9:30pm THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 Steve Raybine 6:30 to 9:30pm FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 Charm School Dropouts 9:00 to 1:00am SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 Avaricious 9:00 to 1:00am

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From swing and soul to deep blues, honky-tonk, a rockabilly pinup celebration, CD releases and more, September’s shows bring plenty of celebratory music to help us put a wrap on summer.




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



e’re swinging towards fall with plenty of excellent live the same night at 8:30 p.m. with openers Twin Peaks. Tennessee’s music choices. Speaking of swing, the 15th Annual Americana artists Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors play Cowtown Jamborama hosted by the Omaha Waiting Room Thursday, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. while the high-octane, bluesJitterbugs celebrates swing dance Sept. 8-10. There will be inflected Legendary Shack Shakers rock Reverb Lounge Sept. dance classes for all experience levels. Two social dance events featuring 14, 9 p.m. Local rockabilly-roots artists Lash LaRue & The Hired the swing and early American jazz stylings of Miss Jubilee and her Guns host a CD release party for their new, self-titled disc at Waiting band from St. Louis happen Friday and Saturday night at the Eagles Room Saturday, Sept.16, 9 p.m., with guests Township & Range Ballroom, 24th & Douglas. The schedule includes a “Lindy Hop Now” and The Willards. Memphis roots-rockers Lucero plays Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre class section for beginners who want a crash course on the signature swing dance. See for the schedule of dance classes, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 8 p.m. with Matthew Logan Vasquez. Austin’s Reckless Kelly is up at Waiting, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 8 costs and social dances. p.m. The glorious roots-revival sounds of Pokey LaFarge return to Waiting Room Thursday, Sept. 21. New Orleans’ folk-country band BSO Presents at Chrome The electrifying soul-blues, vocal-driven Laura Rain & The Esther Rose opens. LaFarge’s 2017 disc is Manic Revelations Caesars roll into Omaha Thursday, Sept. 7, for a CD release event (Rounder). One Percent also presents Wilco at Lincoln’s Pinewood for their brand new disc Walk With Me. Check for song Bowl Friday, Sept. 22. samples and more. Canadian guitarist-vocalist and songwriter J.W. The intriguing Evolfo bring their self-proclaimed “house shaking Jones returns with his crowd-pleasing sound Thursday, Sept 14. The mix of garage rock, psych soul, spiritual funk and ecstatic freakout” Delgado Brothers share the stage with Wicked Grin Thursday, with their “garage soul” back to town. The band plays Reverb Saturday, Sept. 21. Contemporary blues great Lucky Peterson is scheduled Sept. 23, with A Ferocious Jungle Cat opening, while over at for Thursday, Sept. 28. See for more information. All Waiting Room The Nadas are up Saturday, Sept. 23. Check all the shows are 6-9 p.m. at Chrome Lounge, 8552 Park Drive, southwest of details and other scheduled shows at 84th& Q. Anna Remembered Zoo Bar Blues Former BSO BluesEd band Dilemma lost one of their vocalists, Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar has a great roster of touring acts including Anna Jane Abbott, to fatal complications from an asthma attack last Laura Rain & The Caesars Wednesday, Sept. 6, and iconic honky- year. The remaining band members, Erin Mitchell, John Staples, tonk/country artist Dale Watson Thursday, Sept. 7. Other Zoo Bar Neil Osborn and Alex Holliger, stuck together and began writing shows of note include Canada’s J.W. Jones Wednesday, Sept. 13 ad new, original music. Now known as Daisy Distraction, they have K.C.’s Katy G & The Girls Wednesday, Sept. 20. Longtime Zoo Bar released a digital recording that they wrote, recorded and produced. favorite Lucky Peterson is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 27. All For Anna is available on Bandcamp, Apple Music and Spotify. Check these shows 6-9 p.m. the band and their music out at Remember the rotating, local all-star-studded Zoo Bar House Band hits the stage most Mondays 7-10 p.m. and Jazzocracy has the Blues Challenge 2017-2018 Tuesday residency at 9 p.m. Kris Lager Band is up Friday, Sept. 15, 9 The Blues Society of Omaha hosts preliminary rounds for the annual p.m. Popular guitar star Coco Montoya takes the early 5-7 slot Friday, Nebraska Blues Challenge in September at Chrome Lounge. Sept. 22. Check in with for calendar details and updates. Registration closed Aug. 27. Watch and facebook. com/BluesSocietyOfOmaha for final information on the band Retro A-Go-Go schedule for preliminary rounds. The finals are set for Sunday, Oct. Saturday, Sept. 9, 5 p.m. on, enjoy Daisy Jones’ Locker’s 8, at Chrome with details to come. The winner as selected by judges Summer Spectacular at Waiting Room with a pinup girl pageant will represent the BSO in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues looking for a woman who “exemplifies what it means to be a pin-up in Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., in January 2018. today’s modern world...who can not only carry herself in a crowd, but who shines within it.” Plus a car show and music from Huge F*cking Hot notes Waves, The Electroliners and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Check Buck’s Bar & Grill out in Venice, Nebr., continues to book a great for all the details. roster of up and coming country artists. Get hip at bucks.barandgrill. Back to Back at One Percent Phenomenal, Grammy-nominated blues vocalist Beth Hart Iconic punk band X hits Waiting Room Monday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m., performs at Lincoln’s Rococo Theatre Thursday, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. Skating Polly opens. Meanwhile Spoon is at Sokol Auditorium Advance tickets are recommended, see





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




e Americans agree on fewer and fewer things: (1) puppies are the best argument for divine creation, (2) The Rock is frustratingly endearing and (3) 2017 is a trash burger with extra-trash sauce and a side of fries—just kidding, those aren’t fries, that’s just more trash. Still, if there’s one single thing Americans can really get behind, it’s institutional racism. If there’s a second thing, it’s a good late-innings rally by an underdog. Our best hope for saving the year in film lies, as it usually does, in the last third. I realize that this preview technically fudges the start and end dates of fall. But we all know summer truly ends the first time you think “I can wear a hoodie today!” and winter begins when you finally murder someone in a “Christmas music” fit of rage. So just work with me here.

It (Sept 8) For many, many reasons, 2017 will go down as a year of sheer terror. From Jordan Peele’s singularly perfect Get Out to the terse It Comes at Night, spooky cinema is dominating because apparently everything has to be painfully “on the nose” now. If the previews and buzz surrounding this clown-centric Stephen King adaptation are to be believed, this remake may make many a year-end top 10. Although, it can’t feature the scariest thing



to appear in a film version of a King novel this year because of Matthew McConaughey’s hair dye in The Dark Tower.

mother! (Sept 15) Until he makes a bad movie, and even for a while after that, every Darren Aronofsky movie will be on my “most anticipated” list. The last thriller that he directed (Black Swan) made ballet terrifying, so the things he can do with a horror-tinted flick involving unwanted houseguests should be unspeakable. Personal foibles aside, Jennifer Lawrence is a hell of an actress, and bonkers Javier Bardem is the best Javier Bardem next to “seducing Daniel Craig’s James Bond” Javier Bardem.

Blade Runner 2049 (Oct 6) Hopefully, this long-gestating sequel is more Mad Max: Fury Road than Zoolander 2. Ryan Gosling brings his increasingly inexplicable Brooklyn accent/ Marlon Brando impression to a neo-noir world filled with androids who may or may not dream of electric sheeple. Harrison Ford revisits yet another role, and if his character dies here, it’s only a matter of time before we get Indiana Jones and the Light That’s Getting Closer and Closer and He’s in a Better Place Now. Also, Jared Leto is the bad guy, so you get to root against him in a movie too.

Geostorm (Oct 20) I think people assume I’m kidding when I talk about how excited I am for this inevitable piece of shit. The meta-awareness of postmodernism has all but killed the legitimate B-movie—thanks, Sharknado. But this seems to be taking itself blissfully seriously, as Gerard Butler appears to go to outer space in order to stop satellites that control the weather from destroying the earth with colossal hybrid natural disasters. Just typing that synopsis put me in a good mood. So long as it doesn’t wink-and-nod itself into whiplash, I’m gonna get guilty pleasure everywhere.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Nov 3) A psychological horror-thriller—are you seeing a theme?—from the director of The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos), this has been called a “revenge saga” about a surgeon’s bond with a “sinister teenage boy.” I hate myself for being incredibly interested in that combined description. The fact that it features Nicole Kidman, who is quietly doing some of the best work of her breathtaking career lately, makes up for having to look at Colin Farrell’s beard for two hours. Is this the year that horror breaks through at the Academy Awards? Sorry, I meant “Is this the year that horror breaks through at the Academy Awards in a way other than the ongoing mistreatment of creators of color and women?”

Thor: Ragnarok (Nov 3) Somehow the second Thor sequel is the most excited I’ve ever been for an upcoming comic book movie. Everything from Cate Blanchett as the ruler of the underworld to the fact that the film looks like “a fantasy butt-rock album cover airbrushed on the side of a van” come to life has accelerated my pulse. Have you seen what Jeff Goldblum looks like in this thing? Because Jeff Goldblum is dressed like an intergalactic prom queen. Director Taika Waititi has made damn-near perfect movies before (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows), and if this is half as good as it looks, I’m naming my next dog “Waititi.”

Lady Bird (Nov 10) On the one hand, it’s sad that Greta Gerwig doesn’t have more immediate name recognition. On the other, the soul-crushing fame game never chased her into projects that are beneath her. Case in point, we’re about to get her first solo directing gig, which features uber-talented vowel-enthusiast Saoirse Ronan as a teenager in California trying to escape her small town to attend a New York college. As generic as that sounds, knowing Gerwig wrote and helmed this is enough to “ger” my “wig.” The fact that the profoundly brilliant Laurie Metcalf is also involved is but icing on the awesome-cake.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dec 15) Insert jokes here about how this is a “small indie flick you’ve never heard about” or a desperate plea that Trump and Kim Jong-Un resist measuring nuclear missile girth until after we get to see Luke Skywalker again. New director Rian Johnson inherits a perfect cast, the best semi-sentient robot bowling ball and all of the impossible expectations that come along with taking the reins of the most popular film franchise in history. Rumors and gossip suggesting a twist on par with the Darth Vader “No, I am your father” reveal certainly isn’t lowering expectations. My prediction: BB-8 is pregnant with Chewbacca’s baby. Did I say “prediction?” I meant my fanfiction.


The Trip to Spain Ruth Sokolof Theater — Begins Friday, September 15, 2017


Downsizing (Dec 22) Of all the things to get impossibly excited about regarding writer/director Alexander Payne’s latest, the one that most has my blood a-pumpin’ is his reuniting with Laura Dern. This is neither the time nor the place to talk about how we profoundly need a sequel to Citizen Ruth, but we do dammit! For now, Payne is stepping out his box with this sci-fi-ish social satire about a man (Matt Damon) who gets physically shrunk down to miniature size. The stupidly stacked cast also includes Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis, Margo Martindale, Niecy Nash and Neil Patrick Harris. If you can’t find something exciting about this project, maybe the downsized thing here is your heart.


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Phantom Thread (Dec 25) A new Paul Thomas Anderson movie featuring what is allegedly the last film performance of Daniel Day-Lewis set in London’s fashion scene in the 1950s? Why, it’s everything I could have literally never known or suspected I always wanted. There’s a lot we don’t know about this movie, like if this is even the official title and whether or not it will actually come out this year. The only things that are certain is that it’s going to be perfectly constructed and that every indie-film outlet will go into cinema-induced anaphylactic shock praising it. Probably because it will deserve it.








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• In an effort to prove all news these days need Ridley Scott who made the racist bible movie not be hot, horrid garbage, Aksarben Cinema or the one where Cameron Diaz humps a car. is announcing free stuff! On Thursday, Aug. 24 I realize that most people think there’s only at 8 pm, the theater is hosting a free screening one Ridley Scott, but I will need proof that he of Austin Found, which stars Linda Cardellini, doesn’t have an evil twin capable of things like Kirsten Schaal, Jaime Pressley, Craig Robinson Robin Hood. Anyway, head to the Drafthouse and something called a “Skeet Ulrich.” There’s for a chance to win the 4K Blu-Ray of Blade a pre-party that begins at 7 pm with a post- Runner, which is a ton of Ks. party next door at Dudley’s Pizza & Tavern. Folks, that’s a party sandwich with movie meat. • I’ll let you decide: When Film Streams screens Register for the event online, because it will cost No Resolution from director Tim Kasher, who you no dollars, which is my favorite price point. fronts the bands Cursive and The Good Life Not enough free crap for you? Well howsabout and will play a brief musical performance, is another $0 movie experience?! Save the date for it a movie with some music or some music Sept. 18 because Aksarben Cinema is screening with a movie? Either way, on Aug. 31 at 7 pm, Inside You from writer/director Heather Fink. you can listen to Kasher’s tunes and watch his The film is about a couple who switch bodies movie, which is a relationship movie about a after an encounter with a magical object. That’s musician and his newly pregnant fiancee. So right, this is not a drill, people: We’ve got a this is a musician’s movie about a musician? Freaky Friday alert! I mean, to be clear, the If the musician in the movie makes a movie, screening and Q&A with Fink are on a Monday. this will be a screening of a musician’s movie It’s just feels like Freaky Friday, which is not to about a musician who made a movie where be confused with a “Manic Monday” or a WTF the musician who made the movie about the Wednesday, which is where you see that it’s only musician who made a movie will play music. Is this meta? Did I do it right? Wednesday and say “WTF?” • The Alamo Drafthouse is about to rectify an injustice, as Blade Runner: The Final Cut will finally be shown in theaters. You can pick up tickets here for a chance to see the sci-fi noir classic as director Ridley Scott wanted you to see it. And, for the record, this is the Ridley Scott who made Alien and Gladiator not the





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or the past thirteen years, Cursive and The Good Life frontman Tim Kasher hasn’t just been writing songs. He’s also been quietly writing full-length screenplays. Now, he’s debuting his first feature length film called No Resolution--the same name of his solo album released on 15 Passenger earlier this year, which also serves as a soundtrack to the film--this month. No Resolution--which was shot in entirely Chicago--follows an engaged couple, Cary and (newly pregnant) Jean, on New Year’s Eve. Tension between the couple begins before Cary even arrives home for dinner. Cary’s mother visits Jean as she cooks dinner. Jean informs her fiance’s mom of their wedding date in late August, but immediately, Cary’s mother insists the date must be changed because she has a free cruise voucher to Turks and Caicos she must redeem that weekend. His mother leaves moments later and soon enough, Cary comes home. Once Jean explains her frustration, Cary is dismissive of her concerns, and this is just the beginning of a long night ahead. The argument builds up the entire night as Cary escapes the apartment to snort cocaine, meet new friends at the apartment upstairs, and drink excessively, even though the couple had guests that evening.



The Reader discussed the movie with Kasher in a phone interview. Corcione: What came first, No Resolution the album or No Resolution the film? Kasher: I had an earlier, different script that was going into production that year. I was writing music for that. That production fell through and I switched over to what became No Resolution the script. By technicality, some of the songs were born before No Resolution [the screenplay] began. This was the year 2014. Corcione: What was the inspiration for the film that became No Resolution? Kasher: I write lots of scripts, but two ways I split them up are scripts that have no financial restrictions and the others, like No Resolution that I write more often, [that] don’t have too many financial obstacles, so I can manage make them on my own. It’s like writing a folk album versus writing a symphony. It’s like being creative within the parameters of what you’re able to pull off. Also, a lot of inspiration [came from] other low-budget filmmakers like Joe Swanberg.

Corcione: Where did you get the idea for the plot? Kasher: I can’t remember for sure, but [New Year’s Eve is] one of my favorite holidays along with Halloween. I wrote a short story a few years ago based around a couple of New Year’s Eve. I liked using New Year’s Eve as a backdrop with maturity because there’s a tendency to get wild and really messed up. I played with that as the main tension and imagined what a New Year’s Eve party building and building above their heads seemed like a good metaphor for their life. Corcione: What’s your relationship to film? How long have you been writing screenplays? Kasher: I’ve been writing [screenplays] for about thirteen years now. I’m 43 now. When I turned 30, I used that as a turning point for me. At a young age, I fell in love with movies a medium and that’s always been my favorite medium. Books and music are up there as well. I love movies because they mix books, visuals, and music altogether. As we all know, [movies are] cost prohibitive, but I was really fortunate I got into music and somehow music actually took off, which is beyond me. It’s difficult enough as it is. I never wanted to dismiss or drop my other passion I’ve always had, which is moviemaking. When I turned 30, I pledged that it’s now or never, you need to start settling into this. Corcione: Who are some of your favorite filmmakers you’ve looked up to over the years? Kasher: Especially for a movie like No Resolution, there are two directors in particular [who have inspired me]. Mike Lee has done a lot of movies especially once Netflix became a thing. I started going back and watching movies he made for BBC he made when he was younger in the 70s and 80s. Then there’s Happy Go Lucky [in the 00s] and Secrets & Lies in the 90s. It’s really dialogue-driven and dramatic stuff. I love Mike Nichols. The Graduate is my favorite film, [and I also like] Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Corcione: You hosted a screening of No Resolution at the 2016 Omaha Film Festival. How has the film changed since then? Kasher: The Omaha Film Festival was cool enough to take it on and do a screening of it. It was beneficial for me because I collected feedback. I was able to address flaws, such as finish and change the sound mix. I’ve learning a thousand things from this process of doing a first film. That was another thing I’ve learned: to get [your work] in front of people. It opened my eyes and gave me confidence to give edits I wasn’t sure about. Corcione: What’s one significant thing you’ve learned from making a film for the first time? Kasher: Everything was really guerilla. The crew I was working with was cool with it being guerilla, but now that it’s done and finished, I realize I should have been, could have been more of a leader and prepared for each scene more on the technical side. Because this was so low-budget, I ultimately felt intimidated pre-production work we could put into this. I was paying people daily and I only have so many days I could pay people before running out of money. There was never any major errors or complications, but there were panic moments of running to get a generator when that was overlooked. It was little things like that. Corcione: Songs by Beach Slang, Icky Blossoms, You Are Plural, and Birthmark appeared in No Resolution. How did you choose the music for the film that wasn’t written and performed by you? Kasher: They’re a lot of my favorite bands, but I have the luxury that a lot of my favorite bands are ones I’ve met over the years from touring, either touring with me or on the road. There were a few I put on there that I had to reach out; there’s always some kind of contact. The low-budget thing, everybody I reached out to was really supportive and just wanted to be helpful. Corcione: Are you working on any other projects at the moment? Kasher: I’ve written a couple more since I shot [No Resolution] and I’m working on other stuff as well. Nothing has taken off or gone into production just yet. I’m back into the same process of trying to figure out how much of this I should actually be doing on my own and how much of it I should be trying to get help for. Kasher will be hosting screenings of No Resolution in several cities over the next few weeks, including Omaha, Kansas City, Chicago, and others. Prior to the screening, he will perform a solo set; following the screening, he will answer a Q&A session. If you didn’t catch Kasher’s performance and the Omaha debut of No Resolutions at Film Streams on Thursday, August 31, look out for the film’s iTunes and Amazon rental release in late October or early November.






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



HELLO DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND… or: How I Can Never Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb BY TIM MCMAHAN


t was only a few days until Teresa and I were headed east to Cape live TV like an unfolding video game or movie-of-the-week. I remember thinking people were getting blown to bits somewhere far, far away Cod for a vacation. This trip wouldn’t be the first time we visited the cape. Teresa’s and that it was our fault. Eventually I got on a 9 p.m. flight, but never made it to Omaha. parents had lived in Dennis, MA, and we’d visited them a decade or so ago, eventually going back to Dennis years later with her mother. Instead the plane was rerouted to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, again The trips to New England are spent mostly walking on the the beach for reasons only TWA knew (and weren’t telling us). There, we were during low tide, wading in the August-warmed water from one tidal loaded onto coach buses for a three-hour road trip that acted as a pool to the next, sometimes getting in up past our bellies or higher and news blackout. Remember, this was years before smart phones. And though I didn’t know what was happening, I never felt anything like then hurrying back to shore as the tide comes rolling in. It was while pulling together last minute details for the trip and the dread I felt last month. As our Cape Cod trip got closer, I hung on every word about the clearing away chores at work that news broke that North Korea finally had leapt over the last hurdle in its efforts to develop a nuclear North Korea crisis, trying to shake this unbending feeling of fear. I warhead small enough to fit on top of a ballistic missile that could wasn’t alone, judging from social media. My Facebook feed was divided between jokes (“Might as well tell us how Game of Thrones strike the U.S. mainland. But what startled me even more was President Trump’s declaration ends since we won’t be around to see it”) to panic and dire worry that North Korea “best not make any more threats to the United States. mostly from people my age who lived during the Cold War (though They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” millennials have their own doomsday fear in the form of global Trump eventually would double down on his threat and then brag via warming). Somehow I convinced myself that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Twitter (erroneously, i.e., lie) that his “first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal” and that it was stronger Un would never try anything, and if he did, I’d be safer in New England because his missile wasn’t big enough to reach the East Coast. than ever before. A complete falsity. This news was being relayed in real time via news alerts to my Actually, the reality of situation took over the more I understood how iPhone, and with each new warning, a deep, growing dread grew everyone’s hands are tied near the Korean peninsula. Military options in the pit of my stomach, a dread I remembered from my childhood are limited without blowing up thousands (millions?) of civilians. growing up with Nixon and Reagan and a perennial Cold War and Before Trump would try anything, his circle of generals would have looming threat that someone, somewhere was going to slip up and let him properly fitted for a nice, tight straight jacket. Still, the day before we boarded the plane to Boston, North Korea the missiles fly. So dreadful was the reawakening of this old doomsday fear that announced it was targeting Guam, poor little Guam. A few days later while walking on Corporation Beach, Charlottesville the thought of cancelling the trip to Cape Cod crossed my mind. There is nothing as strange and surreal as being away from home when a happened and instead of focusing on doomsday, the national media shifted its attention to the inevitable race riot that was/is bound to tear war breaks out. I was fortunate enough to be safely in Nebraska when 9-11 the country apart. Bumbling Trump again was at the center of it all happened. It was comforting to know you can always go home, when he tried to “normalize” the behavior of White Nationalists. As an ex-military friend of mine said when I told him about my especially when a number of my co-workers had found themselves fear of the bomb: “I don’t dread ‘the bomb,’ and I never have. I don’t trapped and unable to fly back for days after the towers came down. On the other hand, I wasn’t home when the bombs began falling ‘dread’ anything, but I sure hope this Nazi piece of s*** doesn’t start a at the beginning of the first Gulf War on Jan. 17, 1991. I was in race war on my street in Vegas.” Then he added: “Stop worrying, Tim. If it happens you’re right near St. Louis on a business trip and wound up stranded at the dismal Lambert International Airport, at the time one of the worst airports in SAC HQ, and you won’t even see the blinding white flash before you’re incinerated.” the country. For reasons I never understood, my flight back to Omaha had been cancelled. For the next eight hours I cooled my heels in a terminal, Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing soaking in whatever news I could glean via CNN broadcast on the writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and lone television set in the terminal’s TGI Fridays. The screen showed the arts. Email Tim at the same footage over and over of thousands of rocket-trails blazing through the night sky like cheap fireworks, presumably headed to Baghdad. This was the first real combat I could remember being reported since Viet Nam (not counting Granada) and the first I’d seen broadcast on




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2200 RIVER ROAD COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA 712.328.8888 | AMERISTAR.COM Entertainment may be delayed due to special sporting events. Band lineup subject to change. Must be at least 21 to enter casino. Terms subject to change. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF. ©2017 Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

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