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OPD to Learn Fate Police accreditation on the line this Saturday



his Saturday, Nov. 16, is judgment day for the Omaha Police Department. That is when Omaha police officials will sit before a team of commissioners from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) to answer questions and learn the Police Department’s fate in its quest to achieve a fifth consecutive CALEA accreditation award. The hearing, which will take place at CALEA’s fall conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, will provide the team of three commissioners with an opportunity to question Omaha police officials about any concerns they have regarding Omaha police operations. Questions asked during the hearing will likely relate to any issues raised in a report authored by an accreditation onsite assessment team that visited Omaha from August 11th through 16th. During past hearings, commissioners’ questions have also stemmed from issues the Police Department self-reported in mandatory annual progress reports. The Police Department has reported numerous high-profile incidents to CALEA since its 2010 accreditation assessment. Those incidents included allegations of an evidence-planting scheme reported in 2010, excessive force accusations in 2011 following an incident in which police officers used force against Robert Wagoner at Creighton University Medical Center, and a March 2013 incident at 33rd and Seward that resulted in four police officers being fired and two officers being criminally charged. The Commission has indicated that it may also have concerns over the high rate of turnover experienced in Omaha Police Department command positions in recent years. At the conclusion of the hearing, the three CALEA commissioners will make a recommendation to the full 21-member Commission advocating approval or denial of Omaha’s reaccreditation bid. The full Commission will then vote to approve or deny that recommendation. If awarded, Omaha’s accredited status will be valid for three years, from 2013 to 2016. The CALEA accreditation process, which costs the Police Department $5,765 annually in addition to significant numbers of man hours needed to compile documents and draft reports, was created in 1979 through the collaborative efforts of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the National Sheriff ’s Association (NSA) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). According to CALEA, the organization was created to institute a set of professional law enforcement standards and to produce an accreditation process that examines agencies’ adherence to those standards.

The Omaha Police Department first achieved accredited status in 2001 at the urging of then-Mayor Hal Daub, and under the direction of then-Chief of Police Donald Carey. Omaha achieved reaccreditation in 2004, 2007 and 2010. Shortly after the department’s initial accreditation award was granted in March of 2001, Chief of Police Carey, who had led two other departments to initial accreditation before he arrived in Omaha, explained the benefits of accreditation. “In one agency,” he wrote, “accreditation…led to increased diversity in the police workforce…In another, auditing and inspection requirements prevented major disruptions in the property and evidence function. In my current position (Omaha Police Department), police pursuit evaluations have led to a dramatic reduction of the number of vehicular pursuits and the savings of untold thousands of dollars in police cruiser repairs or replacement.” According to CALEA, law enforcement accreditation provides “greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, staunch support from government officials, and increased community advocacy.” Omaha police employees began working toward the current reaccreditation bid shortly after returning from the agency’s last accreditation award hearing in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2010. The agency’s research and planning unit, managed by Captain Diana Kelly, maintained the agency’s compliance with CALEA standards and kept up-to-date documentation to prove agency compliance with those standards. To gauge the Police Department’s progress toward reaccreditation, the agency held a mock accreditation onsite assessment in late 2012. Employees from the Lincoln Police Department, Papillion Police Department and Douglas County Sheriff ’s Office visited Omaha’s downtown police headquarters over three days, where they reviewed files and interviewed police employees. They then reported their findings to Omaha’s accreditation team and the chief of police. The official CALEA onsite assessment was originally scheduled to take place in April of this year, but the department requested and CALEA granted a hardship extension due to a serious illness experienced by a key member of the agency’s accreditation team. At the conclusion of the hardship extension, CALEA sent an onsite assessment team – which included Chief of Police Paul Verrecchia from the College of Charleston (SC) Police Department and Lieutenant Chad Gann from the Arlington (TX) Police Department – to Omaha on August 11th to gauge the Department’s compliance with applicable standards. Over the next four days, the assessors reviewed files, toured agency facilities, interviewed employees, explored the city from above in a police helicopter, and held a public hearing and public phone-in session. Their final report was due to the full Commission in October. ,

VISIONS FROM FIVE MINUTES INTO THE FUTURE • NOVEMBER 14, 2013 • As genetic testing becomes increasingly common, there will be an unexpected side-effect: Many Americans who believe they are white will discover a significant portion of their genetic make-up comes from non-white ancestors. The subject of


race, which is often as easily ignored by the majority of Americans, will become unavoidable as so many people realize they are, in fact, multiracial. While this won't bring around the end of racism, it will deal it a devastating blow.


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heartlandhealing N E W A G E H E A LT H A N D W E L L N E S S B Y M I C H A E L B R AU N S T E I N

Stay Thirsty My Friends

Water in winter. In some ways, it’s more important to drink plenty of water in winter than summer. The harsh t gave Frank Zappa a chuckle. Frank’s bodyguard temperatures and drier air make it hard on the body to at the time was John Smothers, a very cool black maintain that hydrostatic balance. One of the first signs guy with a unique way of looking at things. He was of dehydration is fatigue. As little as a 2 percent drop in the master of malapropisms, a hoot to listen to. One the body’s water volume can trigger dizziness, muscle morning in the studio, struggling to fit a ring on his cramps, fatigue and mental acuity. Feeling foggy? You finger, Smothers looked up and informed Frank, “My could be dehydrated. A mammalian survival response to cold temperabody contains water.” We laughed, knowing Smothers meant “retains water.” Like many of his misstatements, tures is to constrict blood vessels to conserve heat. this one continued to be quoted ad nauseam in totally Unfortunately, that pushes water out, raises blood presinappropriate and divergent ways. “My body contains sure and elevates risk of stroke if we stay dehydrated. water,” became the explanation for nearly every ques- Drinking water can retain the fluids necessary to counterbalance that. tionable note played, action Even minor dehydration or function for the rest of the can cause headaches, dizziproject. ness, darker urine color, conSmothers was right, of stipation, dry eyes and make course. Humans are water the skin lose elasticity. Amazcreatures. Up to 70 percent ingly, one of the sensations we of the human body is water. rely on most to remind us to (Funny how that ratio mimics drink water — thirst — is one the composition of the planet. of the most unreliable. By the Adds to the Gaia theory.) Intime we’re thirsty, we probfants have high ratios. Older JOHN SMOTHERS ably have become dehydrated people not so much. But bottom line is that we need to stay hydrated for health. It already. One trainer writes that there are three times a may be more difficult to remember that now that we’re person should drink water: when you’re thirsty, when you’re not thirsty and anytime in between. in the colder months. Another important reason to stay hydrated in winter Royal flush. Water is the elixir of life. It is elemental in detoxification. Our bodies can’t help but accumulate is to protect against colds and flu. Viruses do very well chemicals and byproducts that do us no good. And wa- in dry conditions. ter is crucial in cleansing the body on the inside, just as Drink a shot. Numbers don’t lie and the numbers say it’s essential to cleanse the outside. So drinking enough that the flu shot is ineffective, as much as Big Pharma water on a daily basis is important. We should drink and its conspirators want to paint a different picture. Staying healthy is pretty much up to you, not some shot enough to maintain that youthful 70 percentile. In the summer, we seem to be more conscious of in the arm. We know now that viruses, and the flu virus staying hydrated. Heat is a hair trigger that prompts us in particular, survive best in very low humidity. They to replenish fluids. We may find the need to force fluids do well in extremely high (100 percent) humidity, also. in the cooler months of winter. And that may be when Wintertime is flu season in general and staying hydrated can be key to avoiding colds, respiratory infections we need to drink water the most. During the summer months, the normal moisture and influenza. There is no substitute for water when it comes in the atmosphere helps to keep us hydrated to some extent. Relative humidity is high. Though the cooler to hydration. And warm or room-temperature outdoor air of winter is able to maintain a decent rela- water is better than cold or iced. Consider with tive humidity, it’s when that air comes indoors and is common sense: Body temperature is regulated to heated that it becomes dangerously dry. Outdoors in 98 degrees or so. That is an indication that the the cold air of winter, the humidity may hover around things we put into our bodies have to end up at 55%. Once heated, that air loses the ability to hold as that temperature sooner or later. Cold foods and much water and indoor humidity may drop to as low as liquids are especially hard on the body. We have 10 percent or even less. The body can dry out in a hurry. to raise the temperature to body temperature to In the summer we lose a lot of moisture through begin with. That takes calories and energy from sweat. But in the winter, we lose even more through the body, neither of which you want to spare in breathing in the cold air. It takes moisture and ener- the cold winter. So, thirsty or not, remember to drink up. Smothers gy to warm each breath. Because of the temperature differential, we lose more water in the vapor from is watching. Be well. , our breath.


HEARTLAND HEALING is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit for more information.


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


heartland healing

Political Sites When you are looking for information on the Affordable Care Act, there are plenty of websites from which to choose. But unless you are looking for a particular political agenda to flavor the details of your search, you may want to keep in mind that some websites put a little more opinion in their content than others.

Fox News is well known for having a heavily conservative slant to their reporting. Their ObamaCare News and Video page lists no less than a dozen stories about all of the ways Obamacare is not working. Clearly, the folks at are not big fans of the new system.

On the other end of things, another site you may stumble across when searching Google for information on Obamacare is ThanksObamacare. org. This particular website is run by Progress Now, an organization that is aligned with the Democratic Party. The information they provide on their website has an upbeat feel and does not provide delve critically into the aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

Other Sites:

n is run by the American Center for Law and Justice, which is doing business as the Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism. n also contains many articles that focus on the GOP’s anti-Obamacare stance. Other websites that offer information that could be viewed as slanted to a particular agenda include: n The Wall Street Journal Online n (particularly opinion pieces) The information on these sites leans toward a particular political agenda. You may find it time consuming to wade through these websites and pages to find the information you really need. The following is a list of some reputable and non-partisan websites with valid and useful information on the Affordable Care Act: n (opinion pieces not included) n (opinion pieces not included) n n Kaiser Family Foundation nThe Nebraska Department of Insurance No matter your personal thoughts on the Affordable Health Care Law, you are bound to find a website somewhere that agrees and reinforces your point of view. The problem is if you are looking for assistance in choosing the right plan for you, your family or your business, you need facts, not opinions. As astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei once said, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”


s an employee of any organization, you have probably been bombarded with information regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As you see facts and figures from the news media and the Federal Government you may think it’s a lot of information to process. If you’re insured by your employer, said Tom Gilsdorf, director of product development for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, you are likely in a good position. “If people have questions, we strongly urge employees to talk to their employers about their coverage,” said Gilsdorf. “We encourage people to pay attention to their company’s open enrollment time. Research it. Typically if you have coverage offered to you from your employers, you are usually better off staying with that than going out to the marketplace.”

erage, discovered they would have no out-of-pocket cost for the premium. That’s pretty cool, Gilsdorf said, even though that certainly won’t happen to many who shop for coverage.

INCOME LEVEL CONSIDERATIONS The extent to which you are eligible for assistance depends on your income level, he said. “If you make below $46,000 a year as an individual, you are eligible for some assistance,” Gilsdorf said. “These individuals need to go to the marketplace to get a determination based on their income for assistance.” Gilsdorf’s main point of advice for someone looking to purchase coverage for themselves on the marketplace is to sit down with someone who knows the system. “What we’re finding is if they have a trusted advisor, you tend to have a higher success rate - they know how to navigate the process as quick as possible,” he said. Blue Cross’ various health plans are the same on the marketplace as off it, so you could consider calling the company or visiting with an agent and discussing your various options before visiting Blue Cross agents can be reached via phone at 877-4442583 or the company’s website, If you’re a Nebraskan without health insurance coverage, the marketplace available from the Federal Government may be the place you find the affordable coverage you’ve been missing.

Insurance options for typical restaurant worker/retail clerk

MAKE YOUR FIRST MOVE So, if you are one of thousands of Nebraskans who are parttime employees with no benefits, you may be trying to chart your first move. Gilsdorf said you should utilize the tool developed by the Federal Government, the marketplace, and shop for coverage. You never know what you’ll find. Gilsdorf said he’s heard of Nebraskans who visited the marketplace, on either the website or by visiting a broker, and after determining how much assistance they qualify for and the total monthly premium for their cov-


NOV. 14 -20, 2013



et’s get serious, people. Pumpkin drinks are everywhere right about now, and since this only happens once a year, we need to be very meticulous in our drink selections. Don’t waste the fall season drinking sub-par beverages when you can delight your pumpkin-deprived taste buds with utter deliciousness. If you like pumpkin as much as I do, you recognize that is serious business indeed. The key to finding the best pumpkin drinks is to find a place where they use fresh ingredients and don’t rely on ten thousand pounds of sugar to give the beverage its flavor. I humbly suggest that you head to a locally owned place if you really want the best options. I’m not necessarily saying that the huge chains that are peppered all over the United States (and beyond) can’t deliver an

Dundee Double Shot’s Pumpkin Spice Chai

excellent pumpkin drink, but I guess what I’m saying is that – pause while I phrase this in a delicate way – in my experience, it’s the locally owned places that will really delight you. If you’re ready to get serious about finding the best pumpkin drinks, consider my three favorite places to visit during the fall months to get my pumpkin drink fix.

drive-thru or stop inside to stare at the fish tank for a while, Dundee Double Shot is a good place to indulge in some pumpkin beverage goodness.

Scooter’s Pumpkin Smoothie

Various Omaha Metro Locations There are some people I know who wait all year long for Scooter’s pumpkin smoothie. Sure, they’ll tide themselves over with other smoothies, but it isn’t until fall begins and the pumpkin smoothie is again available that these folks feel as though they’re truly living. The pumpkin smoothie tastes a lot like sucking a pumpkin pie through a straw. That may not sound like the most elegant way to enjoy pumpkin, but my goodness, it’s amazing. Just pace yourself so you don’t wind up with a brain freeze. I would give you the address to Scooter’s, but seriously, they’re everywhere. Just get in your car and start driving; you’ll find one, even if you leave the state. And that’s a good thing for this business that started in Bellevue.

n Small scale farming something that interests you? Then you may want to attend the UNL Extension’s Small Spaces, Big Potential: a Small Scale Farming Workshop” Saturday, Nov. 23, at Kimmel Education and Research Center, 5985 G Road, Nebraska City. For more information or to register for the class, contact the Nemaha County UNL Extension office at 402.274.4755. n The much anticipated Storz Brewing Company is getting closer to opening their doors. On Friday,


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013

118 N. 50th St. I like chai and I like pumpkin. So the gods must have been smiling upon me when they whispered into the ear of whoever comes up with drink ideas at Dundee Double Shot because as far as I’m concerned, combining chai and pumpkin into one beverage is perfection. This is a good one for those of you who like to add chai spices upon your pumpkin spices. While that may seem like an awful lot of spices, you’ll likely discover that the flavor is quite nice. Whether you go through the

Tripointe Coffeehouse’s Albino Pumpkin Latte

138 N. Washington St., Papillion Tripointe Coffeehouse in downtown Papillion is my go-to coffeehouse when I’m on deadline for a couple reasons. First off, the conversations that take place there are always really interesting to listen to, and secondly, the coffee is quite good. I have to wonder what my face looked like when the barista told me that they’re offering an albino pumpkin latte for the fall season. I imagine my eyes bugged out and perhaps my jaw dropped a little. Did I mention I really like pumpkin? Like most of the other coffeehouses I’ve mentioned, Tripointe offers a bunch of different pumpkin drinks, so if a pumpkin latte isn’t your thing (although it really should be), ask the barista to make you a smoothie or whatever you have a hankering for. What comes after fall and pumpkin drinks? Winter, of course, and for me that means chocolate mint drinks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the consolations of enduring sub-zero temperatures and piles of snow. ,

Nov. 15, the brewing company will host an opening press conference then the 19,000 square foot riverfront restaurant, formally known as Rick’s Boatyard, will open for business Monday, Nov. 18. n Ragazzi’s Pizza has found their second home on the northeast corner of 156th and Maple. Shortly after opening their first location on 72nd Street across from the Ralston Arena, Ragazzi’s Pizza has been searching for their next spot. They plan on opening Nov. 18 at their new location, which will also include a bakery with plans to expand their cupcakes and desserts. For more information on



Ragazzi’s, go to n The Cordial Cherry located at 1223 S. 180th St. has made it onto Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Holiday Things List for 2013. Listing the Cordial Cherry’s chocolate nativity scene as one of her favorite things. Proclaimed Winfrey: “Even Mr. Hanukkah, Adam Glassman, is in love with this endearingly simple nativity scene. In a delicious twist, each hand-decorated figure is edible, with a chocolatecovered cherry cordial at the center.” n Celebrate the grand opening of Infusion Brewery, 6115 Maple Street, Saturday, Nov. 16, from

noon to 2 a.m. They will be tapping new beers for the event as well as offering free brewery tours. You can take a turn spinning the beer wheel for a plethora of prizes, including a grand prize giveaway. In addition, Stoysich will offer $2 brats while supplies last. Check out infusionbrewing. com for more information. — Krista O’Malley

Crumbs is about indulging in food and celebrating its many forms. Send information about area food and drink businesses to

Masterworks series sponsor

November 22 & 23 at 8 pm Holland Center Teresa Wakim soprano

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Holiday season sponsor

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ocal color, of the achingly human variety, is where Alexander Payne’s new black and white film Nebraska most deeply comes to life. After fall festival premieres abroad and across the U.S., Payne’s coming home to show off the film named for his native state and primarily shot and set here. Nebraska had an exclusive limited run at Film Streams. On Nov. 24, Payne joins stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte at the Holland Performing Arts Center for the sold-out Film Streams fundraiser, Feature V, that will find the troika interviewed on stage by “Studio 360” host and novelist Kurt Andersen. The following day Payne and Dern travel to Norfolk, Neb., the production’s base camp last fall while the project filmed in nearby Hartington, Plainview and environs, to premiere the picture there. Oscar-winner Payne is a stickler for the truth and with the by-turns elegiac and silly Nebraska he went to extreme lengths finding the people and places that ring true to his and screenwriter Bob Nelson’s vision of Midwest America. “This is the most authentically Nebraska feature film I’ve released to date,” says Payne, who previously made Citizen Ruth, Election and About Schmidt in-state. Casting director John Jackson and Payne searched long and hard for the right players to animate the oddball yet familiar characters Nelson created on the page. In a rare star turn winning him much acclaim Bruce Dern so fully inhabits his old codger of a character, Woody Grant, that despite the actor’s well-known face and voice he disappears into the part to become just another of the story’s small town denizens. Dern plays Woody as written: a taciturn man of stoic roots and repressed pain long alienated from everyone around him. Feeling a failure near the end of his life, he’s desperate for some validation and so gets it in his head that he’s a sweepstakes winner. His son David, played by Will Forte, takes him on an epic journey to claim the prize. Amid the missteps and detours comes discovery, empathy and closure. As their strained relationship warms the son gives his father a gift born of understanding, forgiveness and love. One of the reasons Payne says Dern leapt to mind when he originally read the script a decade ago is that like the actor’s actress daughter Laura Dern, who starred in Payne’s feature debut Citizen Ruth, he doesn’t worry about what he looks like on screen. To convincingly play the gone-to-seed Woody the actor inhabiting the role had to look a wreck. “Those Derns don’t have vanity,” Payne says admiringly. “They’ll do anything, they want to do anything. When working they’re more interested in hitting a certain level of truth, an often ugly truth or pathetic truth, and now you’re talking my language.” About what made Dern the right fit, Payne says, “Bruce is a handsome guy when he’s cleaned up and obviously as you can see in the film when he’s not cleaned up he can really look like a coot and a weirdo. If you took many other actors and tried to do the same thing they’d look fake. The guy would have to portray someone cut off from others and lost in his own world. Woody’s probably been like that somewhat his whole life but as a young man they just thought he was reticent. Now he’s a coot and ornery and pissed off at himself that he hasn’t done anything with his life and now he’s about to start taking a dirt nap. I


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013

think that’s certainly what’s driving Woody’s crazy mission in some part. “When I thought about who could communicate that I thought of Bruce.” Payne felt Dern could express the two sides of Woody as both prick and pushover who can’t refuse doing favors, even if it means being taken advantage of. He also detected “a certain childlike nature” in Dern that aligned with Woody’s fragility. “I think within Woody’s ornery crust there is something of a child – of a very disillusioned and disappointed child.” Indeed, we first meet Woody as he’s running away from home. “There’s also a sweetness about Woody and Bruce is a sweet guy. He hasn’t often played that.” Dern acknowledges it’s a departure for him. “Throughout my career I’ve been flamboyant in a lot of roles, especially flamboyantly evil, and there’s a certain style that goes with that.” Nebraska called for him to be a dull, muted, passive presence. “What the role demanded was a character who appeared to not be touched too much or too little,” he says, “and probably not touched at all. And if he touches other people it’s without planning to do it. He’s just who he is and he’s always going to be that way. I think he’s a fair man, Woody, and that’s another thing I based the character on a lot. Because he’s fair he believes what people tell him because he doesn’t know why anybody would want to lie to him about anything.” The tangibles and intangibles of a character go into any casting decision. “When you cast someone in a lead you’re not casting just his or her ability to act,”


cover story

says Payne. “you’re casting the substance or essence of their person. There’s two things going on simultaneously seemingly contradictory but not. One is you want them to become that person in the script yet at the same time not act.” Dern says Payne has an uncanny way of communicating what he wants, variously tapping “your strengths and weaknesses and sometimes invading your privacy” to extract the emotion or tone he’s after. Actor’s Studio veteran Dern believes he achieved a progressive in-the-moment reality in Nebraska he’d never accomplished before on a film. “I’ve always wanted to be a human being and just kind of acting-wise leave myself alone and not perform and I don’t think there’s really a moment in the movie where I perform – in other words take it above the context of what it really is. The first day of the movie Alexander said to me, ‘I’d like you to let Mr. Papamichael (cinematographer) and I do our jobs,’ meaning don’t show me anything, let me find it with the camera, and that’s what he did and that’s what you see. “That doesn’t mean I wasn’t acting. It was as hard a role as I’ve had to take on but I feel I owed it to the material and to my career for just once in my life to try and have as many consecutive moment-to-moment pure moments of behavior. That’s what I began when I worked with Mr. Kazan and Mr. Strasberg in the Actor’s Studio – how much moment-to-moment real behavior can you have? And I think in Nebraska I’ve done far and away the most I’ve had in an entire film.” Forte, a relative newcomer to acting after years writing for television, says he learned a lot from his co-star. “Bruce would always say, ‘Just be truthful,’

and that always sounded like acting mumbo jumbo to me coming in but for some reason the way he would explain it and describe it it made sense. There’s such an honesty that comes from his performance and all the performances that it really taught me a lot to watch everyone work.” Dern says Payne lived up to what his daughter Laura and his old acting chum Jack Nicholson, who starred in the director’s About Schmidt, told him about the filmmaker: “They both said in separate conversations he’ll be the best teammate you’ve ever had. They were right. I feel it’s the best team, overall, I’ve ever had.” Payne, whose sets are famously relaxed, says he also casts with an eye to who will “be nice to work with” and contribute to the playfulness he believes essential to good filmmaking. “I want to be there to play. I don’t know exactly how it (any scene) should be, I’m there to sort of say, ‘Oh, well, let’s try this and let’s try that, nudging the machine toward a certain direction. It’s not all preconceived, you’re discovering it day by day, so I think you want actors who are willing to have a sense of, Let’s be playful and free. It’s all about having fun, and that will create something none of us have thought of exactly.” Dern says he’s glad it took nearly a decade to get the film made – the project came to Payne as the filmmaker was setting up Sideways – because “I wasn’t ready to play this role a few years ago.” The passage of time put some more natural wear and tear on Dern, both physically and emotionally. The limp he walks with in the film is real, if exaggerated, and the way Woody leaves things unsaid is something Dern says he’s been guilty of himself and regrets. Similarly, Payne’s personal life caught up with the experience of David in Nebraska as an adult child dealing with aging parents. Payne’s father is in a nursing home and his mother recently survived a serious health scare. “I was able to make it quite personal in certain details related to David taking care of his older folks,” Payne says. “Everyone I know of my generation at that age has parents that are getting on and need a little special attention. We love them to death and they drive us crazy. How we take care of them and accommodate them and all those things, and how far do we extend ourselves to be dutiful and at what point do we cut it off, all those questions. It wound up being because of the time in my life when I was making it quite personal. The fact that I had that much more life experience for this film with respect to my parents, I think helps the film. It always helps a film if you can put some of yourself in there.” Payne says the bottomed-out economy also enhanced the austere shooting style and stark look of the film, adding, “Those winds blew their way into the film as well and it becomes more of a Depression-era film.” Undoubtedly some will take umbrage at the film’s portrayals of quirky. salt-of-the-earth types. But if the strong reception the picture’s received at the Cannes, Telluride and New York film festivals, among others, is any indication, than most audiences realize Payne and his collaborators sought archetype, not caricature in bringing to life small town inhabitants and the dysfunctional Grant family. continued on page 10 y

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NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


y continued from page 8 “I hope what people take away from this movie is his genuine love for Nebraska, because he really does love Nebraska,” says Forte Dern calls the film “a love poem” to Nebraska from Payne. Payne, Nelson, Jackson, Papamichael, editor Kevin Tent assorted other crew and the ensemble cast all committed to realizing authentic portraits of this comic-dramatic Midwest Gothic tale. As Payne is both a writer and a director he made his own pass on the Nelson script. He’s particularly proud of the simple yet sublime and nearly wordless ending he hit upon that may just go down as one of the most memorable and moving conclusions in the annals of American cinema. A series of telling looks are exchanged that say more than any words can, He’s pleased too by his handling of the film’s black and white and wide screen that help make Nebraska an expressionistic experience for the way he and Papamichael evoke mood from light, shadow, landscape and framing. The juxtaposition of persons and places carries meaning. But what Payne’s most eager to talk about is how Nebraska lives and breathes on the strength of its casting and melding of actors and extras. “Whatever achievements this film Nebraska may or may not have for me its greatest achievement is its most significant marriage of professional and nonprofessional actors and nonreactors because to create that world it’s dependent equally on production design and casting. That’s what suggests that world is

that flesh. We spent over a year doing it so that they all seem like they’re in the same movie. Finding those vivid nonactors takes time. “Official preproduction is going to start maybe 15 weeks out but I need casting and location scouting to start many, many weeks before that and I do a lot of the scouting way in advance of a greenlight. Whenever I’d have three free days I’d just take off in my car around the state.” He’s come to know rural Nebraska quite well. It’s why he’s confident he cast not only the right locales but the right faces and voices. He goes so far as to say, “Casting is the most important thing” and “The best thing I do as a director is cast. You can’t f___ up casting. You’ve got to get the right people in every part and of course the leads and the secondary, tertiary parts have to be exactly right. It’s creating a world.” It’s why he says his movie is as much “anthropological” as anything. Prepping the movie, he says, “I looked at a number of small town American films. One of them in particular is an excellent film and it has professional actors but also people cast from that small town. But there’s a great chasm between the acting styles of the two. It’s like the faces of the real people lend what they’re supposed to lend which is authenticity, verisimilitude and all that but they’re not acting properly, even as versions of themselves. “So I knew we had to spend time getting local people who could act as vividly as possible as versions as themselves but also to have the professional actors act flatter. They both had to meet in between. I like when

professional actors act more flatly like people do in real life. People don’t gesticulate, go into histrionics in real life, not Midwesterners anyway.” Truth is always the litmus test for Payne. “When I’m in a casting session it’s no different from how I am on the set, which is the moment they start acting I pretend in my mind that we’re not making a movie, that I’m just there invisible watching something. Do I believe it? That’s the trick. Do I buy it? Do I think these are real people?” Payne’s likely to return to Nebraska again to make films. It’s only natural. “Other directors continue to make films in the cities where they grew up. Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino shoot in L.A. Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese and so many others in New York. Kurosawa would never leave Tokyo. Pedro Almodovar hasn’t made a movie outside of Spain. Fellini never made a movie outside of Italy. They were courted and invited a lot. ‘No, no, this is where I feel comfortable, where I feel like I know the people and where I can get the details right.’” It’s the same reasoning Payne uses for making movies here. Then there’s the fact that by tackling subjects so close to home he can show a segment of America too often missing from today’s cinema. “I think in general we Americans need to see Americans in our films but we kind of don’t, we see cartoons largely. As Americans we make cartoons easily digestible for the rest of the world but we’re not showing ourselves to ourselves. I like when art is a mirror somehow to represent or reflect or distort or refract,

just to see ourselves like our film in the ‘70s, showing common people doing every day things....” He says a recurring comment he hears about Nebraska is that “we haven’t seen these Americans in a long time. It’s as though they’re forgotten, we never see them in the cinema. I thought that was interesting that people really feel they’re seeing Americans they’ve never seen before. Of course, I really appreciate that.” As one of only a handful of Neb. feature filmmakers who’s cultivated the state on screen, he says, “I think I’m lucky I’m from Neb. and that I have a virgin territory to show in movies. Maybe the fact I’ve seen so many movies informs the fact that I can know even unconsciously what would be new. I don’t want to make derivative films, I want to do something new.” By the same token, Payne, who reveres classic cinema, says, “People have said of Nebraska, ‘This is a film like they used to make,’ and that makes me feel good because I’m trying to make films like how they used to make. I’m trying to make the films I myself would like to see, which is film from the ‘70s and before.” In truth, Payne’s made a timeless film that plays like a loony requiem set to its own internal rhythm and logic. It unfolds slowly but surely and from the mix of somber, sweet and surreal emerges a lyrical comic-drama unlike any other. Because of this cinematic prairie poem the state will surely never be looked at the same again. , NOTE: Leo Adam Biga is the author of “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film.” Read more of his work at

Alexander Payne, Bruce Dern & Will Forte in conversation with Kurt Andersen

Sunday, November 24 Holland Performing Arts Center | 13th and Douglas streets Honorary Chairs: Susan & Mike Lebens

For tickets, call 402-993-0259 or visit


Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater 14th & Mike Fahey Street (formerly Webster Street) More info & showtimes 402.933.0259 · Facebook & Twitter: @filmstreams


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013

This week! Nebraska First-Run (R) Dir. Alexander Payne.

Starts Friday, November 15 Special Engagement!

The latest from Omaha’s own Alexander Payne is showing exclusively at Film Streams! Six showtimes every day this week, starting Friday: 10a, 12:30p, 3p, 5:30p, 8p, 10:30p


Blue is the Warmest Color First-Run (NC-17) Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche. Through Thursday, November 21 This epic coming-of-age lesbian love story is both intimate and universal. Winner of the Palm d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Forever Young Family & Children’s Series

All is Lost First-Run (PG-13) Dir. J.C. Chandor. Through Thursday, November 14 Last chance! In this sea adventure, Robert Redford proves he’s one of our gratest actors.

Dir. Carroll Ballard.

Coming Soon Inside Llewyn Davis First-Run (R) Let the Fire Burn First-Run (R)

cover story

Admission 2.50 for kids 12 and under!

The Black Stallion 1979 Thursday, November 14 Last chance! Free Willy 1993

Dir. Simon Wincer.

November 16, 17, 21

The classic story about a boy and his orca. For fans of BLACKFISH.


TOPTV “Almost Human”

Mondays, 7 p.m. (Fox)

In 2048, law enforcement devises a new crime-fighting strategy: partnering each human detective with an android. The strategy didn’t work so well for Det. John Kennex (Karl Urban), whose android let him down during an ambush that left him in a coma for two years. John returns to the force with psychological damage and a deep distrust of androids. His sympathetic supervisor (Lili Taylor) pairs him with an older-model android named Dorian (Michael Ealy), who, unlike the newfangled hyper-logical ones, has emotions and intuition. These qualities make Dorian unpredictable and even dangerous. Not unlike John himself. “Almost Human” is a wild ride of a cop series. It boasts cool gadgets and thrilling action, not to mention poignancy in the human/almost-human bond. Initially John scorns Dorian as “a piece of silicon and carbon fiber,” but he comes to appreciate his new partner’s soulfulness. “I was made to feel,” Dorian says during one of their arguments. “And I do. As much as you.” Of course, with “feeling” come problems. “There may be some bugs,” warns the department’s android technician right before turning Dorian over to John.It’s these “bugs” that make “Almost Human” such an affectingly human drama. — Dean Robbins

T H E R E A D E R ’ S E N T E RTA I N M E N T P I C K S N O V. 14 - 2 0 , 2 01 3



Nov. 14

Nov. 15

ALL YOUNG GIRLS ARE MACHINE GUNS W/ FIELD CLUB AND THE BENSON SOUL SOCIETY The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. 9 p.m., $7, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns will play their first full-band show since June. The band will unveil a host of new songs, while sharing the stage with Field Club and a special appearance of the Benson Soul Society. All Young Girls frontwoman Rebecca Lowry recommends bringing your dancing shoes to this one. Nov. 14


– Chris Aponick

BRAD PAISLEY W/ DANIELLE BRADBERY AND CHRIS YOUNG CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St., 7:30 p.m., $32.50-60.00,

Born in West Virginia, country music singer-songwriter Brad Paisley was heavily influenced by his maternal grandfather, who taught him how to play the guitar at 8-years-old. Since then, his love of music directed his path in life. He went on to pursue his passion and attended school at Nashville’s Belmont University. In 1999, armed with a Bachelor’s degree in music business, he took his first job at EMI Music Publishing and the rest is history. Paisley has released 10 studio albums and earned countless awards—from Grammys to American Music Awards. His tenth studio album, Wheelhouse, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and sold over 100,000 copies in its first week. Paisley makes a stop in Omaha this Thursday. – Kyle Eustice

GRIEVES W/ SWEATSHOP UNION The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. 9 p.m., $12,

I once asked Grieves if he was the “McLovin’ of Hip-Hop” at a show in Albuquerque, New Mexico around 2008. This was before I knew that the outfit he was wearing was a joke. Dressed in a button-up shirt, tight pants and nerdy glasses, I wasn’t sure what to make of him. Once he grabbed the microphone, there was nothing funny about it. Rapping is serious business for the Seattle resident. Since signing with Rhymesayers Entertainment in 2010, he teamed up with producer Budo, released his debut album, 88 Keys and Counting then followed up with 2010’s Confessions of Mr. Modest. In 2011, he released Together/Apart, which is his most personal record to date. It touches on the topics of addiction, loss of trust and self-discovery. Grieves is currently on the road with Sweatshop Union and hits the Waiting Room stage Friday. – Kyle Eustice

Barinholtz and Brad Morris. Brother to comedic genius, John Belushi, Jim Belushi followed in his older brother’s footsteps, which led him to a very successful career in television and film. In fact, he’s appeared in nearly 100 films over the course of nearly four decades. Belushi also joined the Blues Brothers with fellow actor Dan Aykroyd in 1988, six years after original member, his brother John, passed away. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see a Belushi brother in person. – Kyle Eustice

SUNDAY17 Nov. 17


Nov. 15


Lied Performing Arts Center, 301 N 12th St, Lincoln, 7:30 p.m., $25-45, An alumnus of Saturday Night Live and Chicago’s famed Second City, Jim Belushi lands in Lincoln Friday night with his improvised comedy sketch show featuring Chicago Board of Comedy members Larry Joe Campbell, Jon BRAD PAISLEY


Dramatic, theatrical monologues and vignettes by Omaha’s best thespians and spoken word artists! Original works by OEA Best Actress winner Denise Chapman and Wordsmiths Devel Crisp & Michelle Troxclair as well as renditions of Shakespeare’s Othello by the incomparable D. Kevin Williams! A tribute to Malcolm X as well! Hosted by Symone Sanders! Don’t miss it! Proceeds will benefit the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation. –Nebraska Cultural Endowment




NOV.14 - 20, 2013


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Friday, December 6

The OEAAs Winter Showcase

teams up with Benson First Friday Tickets to hit up all participating venues are $10 at any of the showcase bars. Musical performers include: The Electroliners, Conchance, Matt Cox Band, Steve Raybine, The Whipkey Three , Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers, John Klemmensen & the Party, Edem, John Larsen, Michael Wunder, Island Alumni, the SubVectors, Travelling Mercies, the Hector Anchondo Band, A Wasted Effort, Black On High,


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


The Decatures, Rock Paper Dynamite, Moses Prey, The Bishops, Artillery Funk, Brett Vovk , Plaque Blague, Jimmy Hooligan, The End In Red, Narcotic Self, Belles & Whistles, The 9s, DJ ShorT, Field Club, Kaitlyn Hova, Mojo Bag, eNVy, Dominique Morgan and Vago

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Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to



n It was a week to remember in the Omaha theater community. Last Monday, Lara Marsh, artistic coordinator for the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, received the news that she was finally going to get new lungs. Marsh had been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis since age 4 and has been on the national lung transplant list since March of 2012. By that time, her lung capacity was a fraction of that of a normal person. But Lara is no normal person. Through all of the hospitalizations, all of the ups and downs, Marsh has cemented herself as one of the hardest working and most loved individuals in the Omaha theater community. Her support was so large that when the call came in for the double lung transplant, “Lara Marsh” was trending in the Nebraska region of Twitter. Throughout the past week, updates of Lara’s status have been placed on the Facebook page of Places Please: Effort to Support Lara Marsh. After more than 10 hours of surgery, it didn’t take long for Marsh to want to “stage manage” her own recovery process. In the few days after the surgery, she was already breathing on her own and walking hundreds of feet at a time. Marsh and her husband Craig will stay in Denver, where the surgery was performed, as she regains her strength and prepares for the next chapter in her life. One thing’s for certain: It’s wonderful to see that Lara has two new lungs, but the same big heart. A website has been set up to assist in the medical costs of the major surgery. For more information, visit n Omaha Performing Arts’ newly created Nebraska High School Theatre Awards announced the addition of two new individual awards to go along with their full production awards. The Triple Threat Award will recognize individuals who not only can sing, dance, and act, but also “encompass the spirit of the Nebraska High School Theatre Awards”. The other individual award is for Outstanding Achievement in Technical Theatre, given to the backstage individual who shows leadership as well as artistic excellence. Triple Threat audition applications are due Jan. 31, 2014. Technical Theatre applications are due March 7, 2014. In its inaugural year, students from 21 schools around the Omaha area will be participating in the awards program. For more information visit www. —Bill Grennan


nyone involved with the local fashion scene knows Meghann Schense. And not because of her killer wardrobe and infectious personality – she is the spearhead, creative grit, founder and owner of locally-based design consultant company Esoteric Velvet. Specializing in art, fashion and retail, as well as strategy, production and design, and operations, Esoteric Velvet serves as one of the city’s front-runners when it comes to cultivating creativity and fashion, yet isn’t limited to just this market. The company’s reach is far beyond the cornfields of the Midwest, as more recently, Schense made the trip from the Big O to the Big Apple. One week after Omaha Fashion Week, Schense jet-setted to New York City. Her trip brought her to attend the nation’s most sought-after fashion event, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, as well as Coterie, a bi-annual international fashion market in NYC showcasing traditional to contemporary women’s ready-to-wear. While there, she attended nine shows and presentations, including Nanette Lepore, Charlotte Ronson and Y-3. “It was amazing to see the industry seize the city in all its glory,” Schense said. On her trip to NYC, Schense worked with Omaha’s Design Parliament in representing three designers: Toronto-based women’s ready-to-wear designer, Dennis Merotto; jewelry designer Moliabal Milano and denim designer JHaus. Design Parliament invests and represents in emerging designers all over the country and internationally, Schense said. Schense had been on buying trips before, but had never been involved with repping a designer. “It was really interesting to meet with some of the large retailers, like Saks … I have a girlfriend who works at Bloomingdales, so hearing their interpretation of the line and the collection of this emerging designer who is really, really talented – it’s just a matter of getting them [the designer] in the right places and meeting the right people,” she said. Schense also seemed to be in the right places and meeting with the right people. She spent time with some seasoned designers, sat a few rows behind Justin Bieber at

one of the shows and attended a digital conference put on by Motorola. “I hung out with a designer while out there. Her name is Monica Byren – she does Bon Vivat,” Schense said. “She used to design for Vera Wang … I went to the Y-3 show with her, which was pretty amazing.” During their time together Byren discussed with Schense the importance of celebrities and their influence on a designer’s brand. “That [celebrity influence] is really important to getting their name out there … then celebrity stylists come around, then Vogue comes around, and things like that … it’s the process of how it [a brand] gets there,” Schense added. At the show, celebrity influence was apparent. “It was funny because we were talking about the celebrity instance and at the Y-3 show I’m looking up a few rows ahead of me and was like, ‘Who is that?’ It was Justin Bieber and I knew it was him,” Schense said. “But, you know, after the show is over, you look up all the press and he was tied to every single story.” As new brands and designers continue to try and break the barrier of celebrity recognition and influence, technology continues to smash through seemingly impossible barriers – even when it comes to producing apparel. At the digital conference, Schense said 3D printing was huge and “pretty soon we’ll be able to print out shoes and garments.” She said, “They actually had shoes they printed out, that were rubbery. They were great.” Now back in Omaha, Schense continues to do what she does best: helping advance the local fashion community. With every project she touches, her passion for the fashion industry remains obvious, especially through her active involvement with Omaha Fashion Week. “We’re definitely taking it [Omaha Fashion Week] in a different direction and trying to make the whole idea of the event, the designers and everyone involved a sustainable lifestyle and industry here,” Schense said. ,



NOV. 14 - 20, 2013






ve never been a NASCAR fan. The idea of watching cars drive around in circles for three hours wasting gas while listening to guys with severe southern drawls describe someone changing a tire just never appealed to me. But way back in 2001, after reading an article about how technology had been integrated into racing coverage (presumably making it more interesting) — and with a few minutes to kill before heading to lunch — I switched on the TV to catch the end of the Daytona 500. Literally seconds after I turned on the set, Dale Earnhardt crashed his No. 3 car into the wall. It didn’t look like much of a crash, not the least bit alarming. Michael Waltrip won the race. I didn’t stick around to see what happened with the wreck. Later, I found out that Earnhardt had died in that accident. The only 30 seconds that I watched NASCAR in years and I see a guy die on the track. There are people who watch auto racing for one reason only: To see the crashes. In most cases, they get what they came for. There’s always at least one spin-out during every race, but almost always the drivers walk away unharmed. The last time someone died during a NASCAR event was Carlos Pardo on June 14, 2009, somewhere in Mexico. When you think about auto racing, death just seems to come with the territory, though it rarely happens. So what’s this have to do with football? Like auto racing, you expect to see (though you certainly don’t want to) at least one or two players either limp off the field every game or get carried off by his comrades or driven off in “the cart,” hopefully giving the crowd a thumb’s up. In too many cases, the injury you’ve just seen was a season-ender or a career-ender. They get the player off the field; they resume play as if nothing happened, despite the fact that somewhere


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013

in a locker room or ambulance a guy is writhing in pain being jabbed with hypodermic needles, wondering what he’s going to do with the rest of his life. But that’s not the worst of it. Last week former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett said during an ESPN report that his memory is going and he’s losing control of his temper more and more. “My daughters say

limp — or worse — when they reach their late 40s, but now they have to deal with the specter of perhaps suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy — or CTE — as the result of “getting their bell rung” all those years. And the worst part — no one seems to give a shit. As much as we love to watch it — and I watch pro football just as much as any of you (Go Giants! Go

they’re scared of me,” he said with dull, dead eyes. He said he’s had thoughts of suicide. Then there’s Brett Favre. A few weeks ago the former Green Bay Packers quarterback mentioned off-hand during a radio interview that he couldn’t remember seeing his daughter play youth soccer, though he knows he went to a number of her games. “That put a little fear in me.” I bet it did. It’s bad enough most of these guys who played football won’t be able to walk without a severe

Chiefs!) — you have to admit football is not a normal and/or healthy activity. No sport where you have to wear a helmet is probably good for you. Imagine taking a bowling ball and slamming it with all your might against your knee or your shoulder or your head. Even wearing padding you wouldn’t try it, even once. Now think about doing it continuously until you don’t feel it anymore, until bits of bone or tendon or cartilage begin to pull away from your flesh. Until blood spots begin to appear throughout the material in your brain.


over the edge

That’s what we’re talking about when it comes to football. Every one of those guys you see on the field will suffer some sort of physical aftermath from playing the game. Every time you see the lines crash against each other, you’re witnessing what will be the ultimate source of physical agony in those players’ golden years. We all know this. And god help us, we could care less. No one put a gun up to anyone’s head and told him to strap on the pads and helmet, or else. In fact, these guys do it because they love it. A few years ago I was having drinks at O’Leaver’s with a pal of mine who played college ball at Iowa. He talked about the brutality of the game and the injuries, including the ones he suffered and is still suffering from today. I said if I had a son I’d never let him play football. He looked at me like I was out of my mind. “You got to let them play,” he said. Why? “Because it’s fun. How could you deprive your son of having fun?” Maybe he’s right, but isn’t there a way to make the game safer? The only way that comes to mind is to take away helmets — literally play the game without helmets on. Players would be forced to slow down, to hit without such violent contact. They’d have no choice lest they kill each other. And no one wants that, right? But we’re never going to see football played without helmets. It wouldn’t be the same game. America would not stand for it, despite the fact that we’re killing our kids, right in front of our eyes. It’s like watching Dale Earnhardt crash into that wall again and again and again. , Over The Edge is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, the media and the arts. Email Tim at


hen you think of Pretty Lights, maybe images of Aurora Borealis, a Christmas tree or New York City at night pop up in your head. These days, those words take on a whole new meaning. Fort Collins, Colo., native Derek Smith, better known as Pretty Lights, started making beats in high school then continually progressed until he made it to the pinnacle of the electronic dance music scene where he sits today. His first album, 2006’s Taking Up Your Precious Time, 2008’s Passing Up the City Skies and 2009’s Passing by Behind Your Eyes revealed Smith’s ability to seamlessly sew together a blanket of sonic textures, but 2013’s A Color Map of the Sun uncovered his penchant for actually composing every single musical note of a composition. Fresh on the heels of its release, Smith is on tour promoting the new album and took some time to discuss the severity of drug use at EDM festivals, the recording process and his outlandish height. The Reader: At 6’9,” are people surprised how tall you are when they meet you? Derek Smith: Definitely. That’s a very common response to meeting me in person. I always joke and tell them I try to hide my height while I’m on stage with everybody. It’s funny; I’ve been in that situation before. I remember I would see Michael Franti and I could never tell how tall he was and I thought, ‘he looks like a big dude,’ but he wasn’t behind a set of turntables. Then I met him offstage. I actu-

n Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards nominees as well as some of the area’s other top talent will be on stage at various Benson neighborhood venues Friday, Dec. 6. The OEAAs Winter Showcase will once again team up with Benson First Friday for an all-inclusive trip through Omaha’s music, arts and comedy scenes. Tickets to hit up all participating venues are $10 at any of the showcase bars. Musical performers include The Electroliners, Conchance,

ally ran into him in a security line at an airport and he’s almost as tall as me. That’s kind of weird for musicians who are that tall to meet someone taller than them. I was like, ‘Michael Franti, you’re so tall!’ And that was weird to him hearing that from someone who was taller than him. You went a much different route on A Color Map of the Sun. Any particular reason for this? I’m always trying to just keep things different and fresh, and evolve; purposely and consciously evolve at a pace that is sonically digestible by my fan base and listeners. I think about it and I’m like ‘yeah, the concept of forming a rock band and writing the lyrics, getting a singer and having a four-piece, yeah, that would be cool, but I’m not just going to change to that overnight. I have to retain an element of what this project is, sonically what is and what it’s grown to be and what my initial vision was. So I’ve slowly evolved my starting vision. With this one, and the records just previous to this, I had really been focusing on pushing vinyl sample collaging. The most challenging, artistically and musically difficult thing I could think of was to go write every note and go write every piece of music that emulated genres from the last 80-100 years; not only emulate those genres and play those styles, but recreate the recording techniques. How did the recording process change then? I had to work with an engineer in a studio who really knew his chops with that. I knew with my ears, but I

had to collaborate with Joel Hamilton to really be able to take what I wanted in my ears and successfully get that; whether it be with the drums or with the violin, using a trumpet violin that sounds frail and like it’s coming from an AM radio in the 1920’s. To get that sound, we had to do special things. To use odd and bizarre instruments, we had to have special connections and things like that, so yeah, I wanted to one, prove to myself I wasn’t only good at finding things that sounded fresh and mashing them together to make new tracks, but I could also make the music myself. I started as a musician so I knew that, but my fan base didn’t know that. It was just something I really wanted to do. I wanted to write music and work with really good musicians and have them play the compositions that I wrote in the style that I wanted and then make it sound like it was 40-50 years old, put it on vinyl and chop it up. Just do something crazy. How long did this process take? It sounds very time consuming. I went in the studio and started in February 2011 and finished the record up, turned it in March 2013. Then we got the record all set up. After the record came out, I thought I’d be able to chill out, but there was so much into making sure this record could be heard and get out on a larger scale. I’ve been giving my music away for free for different reasons for every album. I did that with this record, but I was also asking for people to purchase it if they could. My girlfriend, who was with me for the whole process and also works for Pretty Lights Music, filmed the whole thing and then we made a documentary about the process. Then we ended up teaming up with Vice and Thump and editing the documentary and getting that out there. We were getting all the music videos done, getting the artwork done and we’re still working on getting the remix version done. I’m sure you get this all the time, but I talked to Bassnectar about this and he had a lot of poignant things to say. Are you concerned at all about the drug use at EDM shows and all the kids OD’ing? I am insanely concerned about it. Not every night, but once in awhile, I will when it feels right I will get off stage and go in the pit and I’ll say what’s up and sign autographs, hug people and tell them how much I appreciate them. Most recently, when I did it, someone handed me something to sign and his hand was shaking so badly that I couldn’t sign it. This dude was just really, really high

off something. I’ve had a show cancelled in Mass. Due to some scares with Molly at similar shows. I’ve tried. I haven’t been touring as long as Bassnectar or as immersed in the scene as much as him. I’ve tried to keep my head in the music, art and presentation of it. But I’ve really realized that kids are looking at me like a role model or something. Now when I do go out and talk to these kids, I try to fully express my feelings about it and whatnot. I’ve been donating to charities that I think express that. I think it’s time for me to go public with my feelings. I don’t judge people for what they do. If people want to have fun, get high, I don’t judge people, but I don’t think, I push for my fans to come to my shows because they appreciate beauty, art and the manifestation of art in the live environment and the experience that can emerge from that. Not because they scored 20 Molly tabs and are going to go with all their friends and get dangerously high. So you take it seriously? Yes, it’s something that I take very seriously. I don’t judge people, but the time is approaching very soon when I’m going to have to make a statement on my website about how I really feel and write a piece. Frankly, that kind of stuff keeps me away from shows like yours now. For example, I walked into a Skrillex show literally for five seconds and walked right back out because of the audience. I don’t want to have to do that. I want to go to a show, feel comfortable and not get bombarded by hundreds of teenage kids all messed up. I totally agree with you. I think it’s something that needs to be dealt with. We have the PL family. We collaborated with the fan base to create a network to at least hydrate people, give free water out, make people comfortable and make sure people have room. But as an older person, at least someone older than my fans, I’m 31, I’m not trying to go to shows and get that vibe either. I look at my fan base and I see that it’s not my demographic, but I feel like my demographic would enjoy my shows, but don’t want to come because of this. That’s a very good point. I’d be interested to know your website and potentially get involved because I’d like a solution myself. ,

Matt Cox Band, Steve Raybine, The Whipkey Three, Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers, John Klemmensen & the Party, Edem, John Larsen, Michael Wunder, Island Alumni, the Sub-Vectors, Travelling Mercies, the Hector Anchondo Band, A Wasted Effort, Black On High, The Decatures, Rock Paper Dynamite, Moses Prey, The Bishops, Artillery Funk, Brett Vovk , Plaque Blague, Jimmy Hooligan, The End In Red, Narcotic Self, Belles & Whistles, The 9s, DJ Shor-T, Field Club, Kaitlyn Hova, Mojo Bag, eNVy, Dominique Morgan and Vago.

n Eyeball Promotions have teamed up with O’Leaver’s Pub, 1322 South Saddle Creek Road, to put together a semi-secret bill Friday, Nov. 29. The Black Friday/Day After Thanksgiving Show will feature M34N STREET, Talking Mountain and a third secret guest that has yet to be revealed. n Stephen Bartolomei may call New York home these days but the revered singer-songwriter still connects with his closest Omaha friends to make music. The latest from the Mal Madrigal mastermind is All the Ghosts, which is billed as by

Stephen Bartolomei and His Comrades. Those comrades include Ben Brodin, Ryan Fox, Michael Saklar, Dan McCarthy and John Kotchian. The LP comes out in December, which should line up with Omaha area shows once the holiday season beckons Bartolomei back west. — Chris Aponick


Pretty Lights with Blood Diamonds and Purveyors of the Conscious Sound, Nov. 15, at Pershing Center, Lincoln, 8 p.m. Tickets are $33. Visit

The Reader’s Backbeat column seeks to cover the local music scene from all corners of the sound spectrum. Whether it’s news of new bands, farewell shows, album releases or special events, the Reader’s music team wants to hear from you. Got a tip? Email it to


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013



SEND CALENDAR INFORMATION — including addresses, dates, times, costs and phone numbers — to The Reader’s calendar editor. Mail to or drop off information at P.O. Box 7360 Omaha, NE 68107; email to; fax to (402) 341.6967. Deadline is 5 p.m. the Thursday prior to issue date.


THE BEL AIRS, (Blues) 5:30 pm, 21st Saloon, $8. DURTY THURSDAY - E BROWN, 9 pm, Bar 415, Free.

READER RECOMMENDS DANIEL CHRISTIAN W/ JOSH HOYER, ROB MEANY AND TARA VAUGHAN, 9 pm, Barley Street Tavern, $5. RED CITY RADIO W/ THE RIDGEWAYS, (Punk) 9 pm, Brothers Lounge, $5. NEW MOON SONGWRITERS NIGHT, (Folk/Singer-Song writer) 7 pm, Crescent Moon Coffee, FREE. A NIGHT IN TREME, (Jazz) 7:30 pm, Holland Performing Arts Center, $30 - $70. MUSICIANS TO SHOWCASE NEW ORLEANS’ FAMOUS NEIGH BORHOOD IN “NIGHT IN TREME”, (Jazz) 7:30 pm, Holland Performing Arts Center, Tickets start at $30. TIM KOEHN PERFORMS, (Blues) 7 pm, Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, Free. MC TEACH, SWIFF SHIFF, 9 pm, Knickerbockers, Contact Knickerbockers for cover charge. GORDON W/ THE NEW TRUST, THOSE FAR OUT ARROWS, 9:30 pm, O’Leaver’s Pub, $5. LEGRAND & COMPANY, (Cover Band) 8 pm, OzoNE Lounge at Anthony’s Steakhouse, Free. ACOUSTIC MUSIC THURSDAYS!, 8 pm, Two Fine Irishmen, Contact Two Fine Irishmen for cover charge.




3D IN YOUR FACE, 9 pm, 21st Saloon, $5. ON THE FRITZ, 9 pm, Arena Bar & Grill, Free. GONZO & STEPHEN BILLS, 9 pm, Bar 415, Free. SKYMAN W/ ADDICTION 13, JOHN KLEMMENSEN & THE PARTY, ISLAND ALUMNI AND GHOSTS OF RUIN, (Rock) 9 pm, Barley Street Tavern, $5.

READER RECOMMENDS UNOFFICIAL PRETTY LIGHTS AFTER-PARTY W/ LINEAR SYMMETRY, 11 pm, Bourbon Theater, 21 and up: Free / 18 and up: $5. TALBOTT BROTHERS, 8 pm, Bourbon Theater, $5: 21 and up / $7: 18 and up. CACTUS FLATS, (Country) 9 pm, Coyote Willy’s, $5. HARDER ROCK RETURNS W/ THE DEVIL BESIDE YOU, PORKBELLY & OPPOSING THE APPARITION, (Rock) 9 pm, Duggan’s Pub, $5. PEACE, LOVE, ETC., (Cover Band) 9 pm, Firewater Grille, Contact the Firewater Grill for cover charge. KARAOKE THEATRE, 8:30 pm, House Of Loom, Free. STREET RAILWAY COMPANY PERFORMS, 7 pm, Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, Free. ALL AGES: ACADEMY OF ROCK, (Rock) 6 pm, Knickerbock ers, contact Knickerbockers for cover charge. SUNDAY LETTER, BLACK LIGHTHOUSES, HOMEADE CRAZY, 9 pm, Knickerbockers, Contact Knickerbockers for cover charge. AMERICAN HITMEN, (Rock) 8 pm, Louis Bar and Grill, $6. THRIFT SHOP RADIO, (Blues) 8 pm, McKenna’s Booze, Blues & BBQ, Free.



NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


music listings

TAXI DRIVER, (Cover Band) 8 pm, OzoNE Lounge at Anthony’s Steakhouse, Free.

READER RECOMMENDS PRETTY LIGHTS ANALOG FUTURE TOUR 2013, 8 pm, Pershing Center, $30 Limited First Tier / $35 remaining (subject to additional fees). PLEASURE ADAPTER W/ PRO-MAGNUM, THE BRIGADIERS, 8 pm, Slowdown, $5. BLACK TIE “DRESS TO IMPRESS” EVENT FEATURING DJ JPEG & DJ MX, (DJ/Electronic) 9 pm, The Grove, $10. CHARM SCHOOL DROPOUTS!, (Cover Band) 9 pm, Two Fine Irishmen, Contact Two Fine Irishmen for cover charge. JULIANNA BARWICK, 8 pm, Vega, $8 ADV / $10 DOS.

READER RECOMMENDS 4020 WITH THE FILTER KINGS & THE WILLARDS, (Country) 9 pm, Waiting Room, $8. HONEY BOY TURNER, (Blues) 5 pm, Zoo Bar, Contact the Zoo Bar for cover charge. THE BELAIRS, 9 pm, Zoo Bar, $8.


DOC THROTTLE, (Cover Band) 9 pm, Arena Bar & Grill, Free. LJ & CICIO, 9 pm, Bar 415, Free. THE SMOKING BRODIES W/ THE PLASTIC HIPPIES, 9 pm, Barley Street Tavern, $5.

READER RECOMMENDS HLN9: WOOKIEFOOT & THAT1GUY, 7 pm, Bourbon Theater, $20: ADV / $25: DOS. NATHAN DEAN, (Country) 9 pm, Coyote Willy’s, $5. KARAOKE, 8 pm, Firewater Grille, Contact Firewater Grille for cover charges. THE BRAD CORDLE BAND, (Jazz) 9 pm, Havana Garage, Free. THE CONFIDENTIALS, (Jazz) 11 am, Loose Moose, Contact The Loose Moose Moose for cover charges. AUTUMN FORMAL 1968, (DJ/Electronic) 9 pm, O’Leaver’s Pub, Free. HUNTER HAYES, (Country) 7:30 pm, Orpheum Theater, $32.50-$39.50. ECKOPHONIC, (Cover Band) 8 pm, OzoNE Lounge at Anthony’s Steakhouse, Free. SING YOUR LUNGS OUT FUNDRAISER, 8 pm, Pizza Shoppe Collective, $20. LEMON FRESH DAY, (Cover Band) 9 pm, Red9, Contact Red9 for cover charge. BIG NATE, 7 pm, Rose Theater, $18 / Discount ticket vouchers are available at all area Hy-Vee stores for $14 each. R STYLE, 9 pm, Shamrock’s Pub & Grill, Contact Shamrock’s for cover charge.

READER RECOMMENDS SIMON JOYNER W/ EROS AND THE ESCHATON, FORT WILSON RIOT, (Folk/Singer-Songwriter) 8 pm, Slowdown, $8. OMARION IN CONCERT, 8:30 pm, The Grove, $25 ADV / $30 DOS. O’PHIL (WICHITA, KS SKA), THE BISHOPS (SKA/REGGAE) & FADED (REGGAE ROCK), 9 pm, The Hideout Lounge, $5. SOUL NIGHT, 9 pm, The Sydney, Contact the Sydney for cover charge. COVER ME BADD!, (Cover Band) 9 pm, Two Fine Irishmen, Contact Two Fine Irishmen for cover charge.


SUNDAY 17 READER RECOMMENDS LEFTOVER SALMON, 7 pm, Bourbon Theater, $20 Adv / $25 DOS. SALSA SUNDAY, 7 pm, House Of Loom, $5. MORAN WOODWIND QUINTET, (Classical) 3 pm, Kimball Recital Hall, G.A. $5; Students/Seniors $3. O’LEAVER’S OPEN MIC NIGHT, 9 pm, O’Leaver’s Pub, Free. HEAR NEBRASKA PRESENTS OMAHA GIRLS ROCK COMPILATION RELEASE, 5 pm, Slowdown, $7. STEPHEN MONROE, (Blues) 2 pm, Soaring Wings Vineyard, Free. THE SUNDAY ROADHOUSE PRESENTS - BILL KIRCHEN “SEEDS & STEMS” TOUR, (Blues) 5 pm, Waiting Room, $20 ADV / $25 DOS.


OPEN MIC & SONGWRITER SHOWCASE, (Folk/Singer-Song writer) 9 pm, Barley Street Tavern, FREE. FIRST CUT INDUSTRY NIGHT W/DJ DRDRIGGS, (DJ/Electronic) 9 pm, House Of Loom, Contact House of Loom for cover charge. OQUOA W/ LAST GOOD TOOTH, SHE KEEPS BEES, 9:30 pm, O’Leaver’s Pub, $5. GOOCH AND HIS LAS VEGAS LAB BAND, (Cover Band) 8 pm, OzoNE Lounge at Anthony’s Steakhouse, Free. OPEN MIC NIGHT, 8 pm, Red9, Free.

READER RECOMMENDS RITTZ W/ SNOW THA PRODUCT, JARREN BENTON, & DISORDERLY CONDUCT MUSIC, 8 pm, Waiting Room, $15 ADV / $20 DOS. PIANO HOUR W/ EMILY BASS, 5 pm, Zoo Bar, contact the Zoo Bar for cover charge. ZOO BAR HOUSE BAND, 7 pm, Zoo Bar, $3.


VIC NASTY, 9 pm, Bar 415, Contact Bar 415 for cover charges. A MAN AMONGST MEN W/ MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRLS, THE CRAYONS AND BRUJA, 9 pm, Barley Street Tavern, $5. JEFF TIMMONS/98 DEGREES: MEN OF THE STRIP, 9 pm, Knickerbockers, $15 ADV / $20 DOS.

READER RECOMMENDS JOSH HOYER, (Blues) 8 pm, OzoNE Lounge at Anthony’s Steakhouse, Free. TURQUOISE JEEP, (Hip-Hop/Rap) 9 pm, Waiting Room, $12 ADV / $15 DOS. JAZZOCRACY, (Jazz) 6 pm, Zoo Bar, Free. MY BROTHER W/ THE WIND-UP, 9 pm, Zoo Bar, $5.


DANIEL YANOV & DESTRO, 9 pm, Bar 415, Free. CRASH & BURN BLUES JAM, (Blues) 6 pm, Barley Street Tavern, Free .

READER RECOMMENDS NEW FOUND GLORY & ALKALINE TRIO, (Rock) 7 pm, Bourbon Theater, $25.50: ADV / $30: DOS. DICEY RILEYS, 7 pm, Brazen Head Irish Pub, Free. ACCIDENTAL THERAPY PRESENTS: AGRIMONIA, TAKE OVER AND DESTROY, SCAPHE, VICKERS, (Rock) 9 pm, Duffy’s Tavern, $10. CHRIS SHELTON, (Rock) 9 pm, Firewater Grille, Free. CRATE & CRAFT CLUB | JAZZ VINYL W/ANDREW MONSON, (Jazz) 8 pm, House Of Loom, Free. WARPED WAX W/TURNTABLIST CMB, (DJ/Electronic) 8 pm, House Of Loom, Free. THE BRITS, 8 pm, OzoNE Lounge at Anthony’s Steakhouse, Free. SWITCHFOOT W/ AN EVENING WITH THE BAND AND THE PREMIERE OF THEIR NEW FILM “FADING WEST”, (Rock) 7 pm, Slowdown, $25.

READER RECOMMENDS IN THIS MOMENT W/ MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, KYNG, AND ALL HAIL THE YETI, 6 pm, Sokol Hall & Auditorium, $22 ADV / $25 DOS. DANCE CONTEST WITH DJ NICK THE QUICK, (DJ/Electronic) 8:30 pm, The Grove, $5 Adults, $10 Minors. HARPER, 6 pm, Zoo Bar, $8. DJ RELIC, (DJ/Electronic) 9 pm, Zoo Bar, Free.


Hot Rod Rock & New Orleans


elebrated guitarist Bill Kirchen and his band perform at the next Sunday Roadhouse at the Waiting Room, this Sunday, Nov 18, 5 p.m. His mix of rockabilly, rock and country has been dubbed dieselbilly and won him a Grammy nomination. In a 2010 interview with NPR, Kirchen shared how he began his musical career on classical trombone and hitchhiked his way to one of the 1960s Newport Folk Festival events. “I saw all the great bluesmen, like Skip James and Son House, and all the youngsters playing music like the Kweskin Jug Band and Maria Muldaur. That was the music [that got me going]. I didn’t really start playing rock ‘n’ roll and electric until years later.” And when he did get into electric guitars and rock ‘n’ roll, Kirchen joined an outfit called Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. The band played rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly and drew from 1940s boogie-woogie and 1950s traditional country. His guitar work propelled Commander Cody’s “Hot Rod Lincoln” into a Billboard Top Ten hit in the early 70s. Kirchen and his distinctive guitar wielding has led him to being called the King of Dieselbilly, the Titan of the Telecaster (courtesy of Guitar Player magazine) and the Hammer of the Honky-Tonk


Gods. Kirchen is touring in support of his new CD Seeds & Stems (Proper Records US). The disc is a new recording of many of Kirchen’s classics including “Hot Rod Lincoln.” See and A Night in Treme: The Holland Performing Arts Center hosts “A Night in Treme: The Musical Majesty of New Orleans” Thursday, Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m. Performing are the Soul Rebels Brass Band with Mardi Gras Indian Chief and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr., plus trumpeter James Andrews and acclaimed funk guitarist Leo Nocentelli. See Hot Notes: The Bel Airs bring their rave-up mix of Delta blues, New Orleans R&B and vintage rock to The 21st Saloon Thursday, Nov. 14, 6-9 p.m. They hit Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16, 9 p.m. Honeyboy Turner Band plays the Zoo 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. The Zoo also has Chicago bluesman John Primer Thursday, Nov. 14, 6-9 p.m. Australian Harper is at the Zoo next Wednesday, Nov 20, and at the 21st Saloon Thursday, Nov. 21, 6-9 p.m. Self-proclaimed cowbilly band 4020 is at the Waiting Room Friday, Nov. 14, with The Filter Kings and The Williards. Brad Cordle Band plays Havana Garage Saturday, Nov. 15, 9 p.m.,

HOODOO is a weekly column focusing on blues, roots, Americana and occasional other music styles with an emphasis on live music performances. Hoodoo columnist B.J. Huchtemann is a Reader senior contributing writer and veteran music journalist who has covered the local music scene for nearly 20 years. Follow her blog at

hoodoo blues


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


n If you grew up wearing (or still wear) Yoda footie pajamas, there’s a date more important than Christmas in December of 2015. For the first time in the history of ever, a Star Wars film will open in a season other than summer, as Disney announced that Episode VII will open on December 18, 2015. Here’s hoping that date is remembered years from now as the day on which the once great franchise rose like a phoenix from the ashes and not a second day in December marked for infamy. n Not content with releasing two blockbuster movies annually and having a highly rated show on network television, Marvel Studios wants more of the global entertainment pie. So now they are all up in your interwebs: Netflix will have four different 13-episode superhero series that will culminate in an epic miniseries…basically, it’s the streaming video version of The Avengers. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage will all get solo series before the quartet unites as “The Defenders.” Lost in all of these announcements is this: Marvel will have a liveaction property with a female lead and a separate one with a black male lead while DC Comics is busy trying to figure out how to shoehorn Wonder Woman as a supporting character in the brotastic and uber-white Batman vs Superman. Gee, seems like Marvel is ahead of DC in more ways than just revenue.


here is a second Thor movie. Let that sink

in for a second. The comic book series is so niche and crazy that there’s actually a supporting character named Throg, who is a frog version of Thor. And that comic book has now spawned two big-budget movies…and they’re both pretty darn good. So, if you were looking to assess how latched we are to the teat of Marvel Studios entertainment, remember Throg. Sadly, Thor: The Dark World is 100% Throg free. This isn’t to say it isn’t filled with gleefully absurd oddities, including “dark elves,” magic spells and a climax that is whacko bonkers. Picking up shortly after the events of The Avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has transported his adopted brother and general prick Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to space jail. The Norse Fabio then immediately sets out quashing problems on a whole bunch of planets using his magic hammer. But little does he know, an ancient evil is returning. Back on earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her significantly-less-irritating-this-time-out friend Darcy (Kat Dennings) stumble upon a dark energy that infects Jane. When Heimdall (Idris Elba) notices this, he tells Thor, and goldilocks immediately retrieves his semi-girlfriend from earth, bringing her to Asgard to meet his mom, Frigga (Renee Russo), and dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Meanwhile, the

n It’s early, but I feel safe in saying SEAL Team 666 is going to be the pinnacle of humanity’s artistic endeavors. The Rock will star as a part of an elite military unit that fights supernatural demons and stuff. So, it will now go (from worst to first) Sistine Chapel, Mona Lisa, Shakespeare’s words and SEAL Team 666. —Ryan Syrek Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@ Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (, catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 ( on Fridays around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 ( at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter. com/thereaderfilm).


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013



Captain Phillips C A fake-feeling real-life story that’s fine but unnecessary. The Counselor F Diaz does sex things to inanimate objects. It’s best if you don’t ask. Blue is the Warmest Color C Half the film is sincere, the other half is exploitation. Maybe keep one eye closed? Ender’s Game C This is one tame, lame video game.




Gravity A Thrilling and thoughtful: Two great tastes that taste great in space. ON DVD

White House Down DIt’s not even the best “terrorists in the White House” movie in the last 4 months. Man of Steel AEpic, action-packed and so serious Superman ditches his visible underpants!

evil elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) is busy trying to pull that bad juju from Jane so he can use it to destroy everything. Because that’s what comic book supervillains do. They don’t have sophisticated and nuanced motivation: they want to destroy everything that ever existed…because…evil? Director Alan Taylor (“Game of Thrones”) ditches the wacky Dutch angles from the first Thor in favor of standard, epic-flavored fare. And it works, as the action is actually decipherable, even when people are falling in and out of invisible teleportation wormholes, which can be tricky. The fact that five different writers worked on the flick is an indication that the story feels a little stitched together. The tone abruptly changes from whimsical and light to dour and Shakespearean and then to slapstick comedy in which you see Stellan Skarsgård in his tightie whities. But in a way, this mess works to the film’s advantage, as it doesn’t follow any preordained superhero movie formula. Comparing it to the first film, Thor: The Dark World offers two major improvements. The first is that the Jane/ Thor relationship isn’t contrived hokum. The second is that the film actually gives its female characters things to do besides squeal and get kidnapped. Hell, it passes the Bechdel test, which may be a Marvel movie first. Whether it’s Sif (Jaimie Alexander) kicking warrior booty, Jane and Darcy barking orders to Thor and his posse or Frigga fighting like a friggin’ badass, there’s no “gentle gender” treatment here. Overall, the script may be sloppy and the tone may fluctuate but darn if Thor: The Dark World ain’t the fantasy/sci-fi, slapstick, action-packed, bizarre romp you never knew you kinda wanted. , GRADE: B+


Accepting the Challenge

chip goes here

SG ROI Tobacconist

Michigan State defense

In large part because of that drive, Armstrong was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week, the awaits Huskers, Armstrong second time in as many weeks that a Husker has been so honored. Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp earned BY MIKE BABCOCK that recognition after catching the Hail Mary pass ichigan State is next up for the Nebraska thrown by Ron Kellogg III with no time remaining in football team. And the task is daunting. the 27-24 victory against Northwestern. The Spartans are a “tough team,” said That dramatic finish followed an Armstrong inTommy Armstrong Jr. terception that set up a go-ahead field goal, forced How tough? They rank first in the nation in total by Nebraska’s markedly improving defense. The dradefense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense. matic finish at Michigan followed the sure-handed And they rank third nationally in scoring defense Westerkamp’s fumbled punt, which the Wolverines and pass defense. “Tough” hardly recovered at the Husker 26-yard describes their defense. Really, no line. Again, Nebraska’s defense word does. forced a field goal. Armstrong must deal with After the fumble, Armstrong it on Saturday afternoon, and it went to Westerkamp. “I just tried would be daunting for a veteran to find Jordan as fast as I could,” quarterback, much less a redshirt said Armstrong. “I told him, freshman such as Armstrong. ‘Keep your head up. Mistakes But he “is not going to be inare made, and it’s just how we timidated,” coach Bo Pelini said respond.’” on Monday. “That much I know.” Armstrong is a leader. He Armstrong is 5-0 as the “says the right things when they Huskers’ starter, stepping in for need to be said,” Abdullah said. senior Taylor Martinez, who is “He leads by example. He has AMEER ABDULLAH still dealing with a foot injury. everything you want from a good The fourth-year starter wasn’t included on the travel quarterback, and more.” roster to Michigan last weekend, and he has played Yes, Armstrong’s confidence was reinforced by in only one game since mid-September, a 34-23 loss the touchdown drive at Michigan. “I’m sure it can at Minnesota. do wonders for his confidence,” said Abdullah. But Armstrong has dealt with adversity in his first “I don’t see him as a young guy anymore. He’s been season. He’s thrown one more interception than playing all season.” touchdown passes, including the interception that led That’s why he’s not intimidated by the prospect to a Northwestern field goal preceding the dramatic of playing Michigan State. He has learned to treat Hail Mary finish two weeks ago at Memorial Stadium. every opponent the same, “no matter who I come But he’s also been resilient, as evidenced in the up against, who our team comes up against,” Armfourth quarter at Michigan last Saturday. strong said. “We gotta make sure we play every week The Wolverines took a 13-10 lead with 8:08 like it’s a big ball game. Michigan, that was a big remaining, only to see Armstrong direct a 14-play, ball game, Northwestern, big ball game; Michigan 75-yard touchdown drive that used 6:05 on the clock State’s going to be a big ball game.” and gave Nebraska the victory. The Spartans are undefeated in Big Ten play – Armstrong completed five-of-seven passes for they’ve lost only once this season, in fact, 17-13 at 59 yards on the drive, the last a left-handed, forward, Notre Dame in late September. So Nebraska has to option pitch to Ameer Abdullah for the final 5 yards. win for a realistic chance to win the Legends Division Offensive coordinator Tim Beck “puts us in the and play in the Big Ten championship game. right position to run an option,” Armstrong said. “I’m looking forward to it,” said Abdullah. “But at the same time, it just comes down to instinct “Every time we play Michigan State it’s a fist-fight. with me and Ameer.” Those guys are tough. They’re a great defensive Such was the case on third-and-goal at the Mich- bunch. They’re very sound and talented. We’ve gotigan 5-yard line. “I had to be patient with that one,” ten the best of them the last two years. We need to said Armstrong. watch film, find their weaknesses.” If it hadn’t worked, the Huskers probably would The weaknesses certainly don’t appear to be on have settled for a field goal and the prospect of over- defense. There’s not much to exploit. “We gotta take time. But Armstrong’s patience paid off. “Ameer, he care of the football, less turnovers, and try to capitalwas sitting there, waiting,” Armstrong said. ize as much as we can,” Armstrong said. ,

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antasy sports” are hugely popular, but when fans “draft” players for their teams, they “own” only the players’ statistics. Recently, Wall Street and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs created Fantex Holdings, which will allow investors to buy actual pieces of real players -- namely, rights to 20 percent of the player’s lifetime earnings (including licensing and product endorsement deals). The firm told The New York Times in October that it will soon stage an “IPO” for budding NFL star Arian Foster and hopes to sign up many more athletes, plus singers and actors similarly early in their careers. (On the other hand, Fantex’s lawyers drew up a 37-page list of potential investment risks, such as injuries, slumps and scandals -- and the fact that the stock will trade only on Fantex’s private exchange.) Cultural Diversity “For Japanese boys, the train driver sits alongside footballer, doctor and policeman as a dream job,” according to a September Agence France-Presse dispatch, and consequently, the system for the Tokyo metro area (covering 35 million people) runs with the “precision of a finely crafted Swiss watch,” where delays, even for as long as a minute, seldom occur. (When they do occur, operators repeatedly apologize and hand out “notes from home” to commuters to present to their bosses to excuse the tardiness.) Among the system’s drawbacks is the still-irksome groping of females on packed rush-hour trains, when operators routinely shove as many as 300 riders into cars designed for 150. Among the surprising legacies of the oppressions of communist East Germany is modern-day Germany’s commonplace “clothing-optional” lifestyle (FKK, or “Freikoerperkultur” -- free body culture). A September Global Post dispatch counted “hundreds” of FKK beaches across the country and referenced a turned-up snapshot (not yet authenticated) of a young Angela Merkel frolicking nude in the 1960s or 1970s. Foreigners occasionally undergo culture shock at German hotels’ saunas and


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


weird news

swimming pools, at which swimsuits are discouraged (as “unhygienic”). In December China joined only a handful of countries (and 29 U.S. states) by strengthening the rights of elderly parents to demand support from their adult children -- not only financially (which has been the law for more than a decade) but now allowing lawsuits by parents who feel emotionally ignored, as well. An October Associated Press feature on one rural extended family dramatized China’s cultural shift away from its proverbial “first virtue” of family honor. Zhang Zefang, 94, said she did not even understand the concept of “lawsuit” when a local official explained it, but only that she deserved better from the children she had raised and who now allegedly resent her neediness. (A village court promptly ordered several family members to contribute support for Zhang.) Latest Religious Messages Recent separate testings in 21 springs in Austria and 18 fonts in Vienna yielded a conclusion that 86 percent of the holy water in the country’s churches was not safe to drink -- most commonly infected with diarrhea-causing E.coli and Campylobacter. University of Vienna researchers found samples with up to 62 million bacteria per milliliter of water, and the busier the church, the higher the count. Various studies show “churchgoers” to be happier, more optimistic and healthier than other people, leading some atheists and agnostics to wonder whether the church experience could be fruitfully replicated but minus the belief in God. Hence, the “Sunday Assembly” was created in London, and has now spread to New York City and Melbourne, Australia, with 18 other hoped-for openings by year’s end, according to a September report in The Week. Founders seek such benefits as “a sense of community,” “a thought-provoking (secular) sermon,” “group singing” and an “ethos of self-improvement,” exemplified by the motto “live better, help often, wonder more,” and they hope that eventually Sunday Assembly will organize Sunday school, weddings, funerals and “nonreligious baptisms.” First Things First: An alleged drug ring in the Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay was busted in September after police cracked a stream of Internet

COPYRIGHT 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD. Visit Chuck Shepherd daily at NewsoftheWeird. or Send Weird News to or P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679. Illustrations by Tom Briscoe (

messages offering heroin (called “DOB”) and cocaine (“white girl”). Among the messages was one sent at 6:45 one Friday evening advising customers that they had “45 minutes” to get their orders in for the weekend because the sellers would obediently shut down at 7:30 (i.e., sundown) for the Jewish sabbath. Questionable Judgments Los Angeles Animal Services has proposed that the city be established as a Sanctuary City of Feral Cats and that cats should be an exception to property owners’ right to evict animals causing damage. Under the L.A. City Feral Cat Program, reported, felines “will gain an inherent right” to be on residential or commercial property. Animal Services believes that an enhanced spaying program will eliminate most feral-cat problems, including somehow their toileting excesses and their killing of neighborhood songbirds. “You hired a convicted prostitute and thief to handle state money?” asked an incredulous Connecticut state legislator in September when he learned that Suki Handly had been employed from 2008 to 2012 passing out welfare benefits in the state’s Manchester distribution center and that $44,000 was missing. Furthermore, Handly and two others had been found guilty of theft in Connecticut in 2010, yet word of her prostitution and 2010 convictions were not known to state investigators until a chance audit in 2012. (State hiring offices of course promised to strengthen background checks.) People With Worse Sex Lives Than Yours (1) Optometrist Robert Deck III, 48, was arraigned in Oakland County, Mich., in October on an indecent exposure charge after an August incident in which he allegedly began to masturbate in his office while fitting a female patient with contact lenses. (2) Edward Falcone, 57, a retired woodshop teacher at Brooklyn High School of the Arts, was arrested for public lewdness in October after students on a school bus reported a motorist masturbating as he followed the bus. (3) Leslie Bailey, 28, was convicted of misdemeanor lewd conduct in San Francisco in October after being spotted by a BART train operator on sepa-

rate occasions, incompletely clothed, thrusting his hips against an empty seat. Least Competent Criminals Ariel Sinclair, 23, an assistant manager at a Rite Aid drugstore in Virginia Beach, Va., was charged in October with stealing $6,000 from the store’s Virginia State Lottery machine. According to police, access to the machine requires an authorized fingerprint, which she supplied, apparently failing to think ahead that this would eventually be difficult to explain. “We work a lot of different cases,” said a police spokesman, and “some are (easier) than others.”

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Readers’ Choice (1) Among the things responders mentioned in Public Policy Polling’s October release as being viewed more favorably than the U.S. Congress were hermorrhoids, the DMV and toenail fungus. The same firm’s polling earlier in the year showed Congress less likable than root canals, head lice, colonoscopies and Donald Trump, but back then, Congress did beat out telemarketers, ebola virus and meth labs. (2) Among the reported personal-residence expenditures provoking Pope Francis in October to remove Limburg, Germany, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst: his bathtub (equivalent of about $20,000), cupboards and carpentry ($550,000) and artwork ($690,000). (Days later, the Vatican announced that the church would open a soup kitchen at the bishop’s mansion.) A News of the Weird Classic (May 2008) People With Too Much Money: In April (2008) the Swiss watchmaker Romain Jerome (which the year before created a watch made from remnants of the Titanic) introduced the “Day&Night” watch, which unfortunately does not provide a reading of the hour or the minute. Though it retails for about $300,000, it only tells whether it is “day” or “night” (using a complex measurement of the Earth’s gravity). CEO Yvan Arpa said studies show that two-thirds of rich people “don’t (use) their watch to tell what time it is,” anyway. Anyone can buy a watch that tells time, he told a Reuters reporter, but only a “truly discerning customer” will buy one that doesn’t. ,

Winter quarter begins Dec. 2

weird news


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


planetpower W E E K L Y



his issue marks my 17th year here at The “READER.” Thanks to John, Eric, my beloved Carrie, et al., for all your help, encouragement and understanding. I owe you all more than I could ever pay back! Since the passing of Sue Moon, you’ve not only made me Nebraska’s best known astrologer — you’ve made me Nebraska’s only known astrologer. From MOJOPO, Servant of the Sun, High Priest of Nature and Guardian of the Twilight Well. “May you never thirst.” — h SCORPIO (10.22-11.20) What a trip! You’ve got one week to pull/put yourself together for your winter program/agenda, and then the spotlight turns to other things…and nobody cares anymore. Decide whom you love by — or on — the Full Moon in Taurus on Sunday, and then do something about it — before nobody cares anymore! (Ever notice how phallic an exclamation point seems…or am I just being a Scorpio? Well then, what does a question mark remind you of? A side view, lying down?) i SAGITTARIUS (11.21-12.20) Take a break ’til March. I’m just talking about your interaction with others. It’s time for you to hole up and start figuring out your spring thing. Jupiter just retrograded in Cancer. You expand by staying at home, having babies and becoming a mother, taking/making time with/ for your mother, redesigning your pad (for spring) and searching your innermost being for your cause of/for creation. j CAPRICORN (12.21-1.18) You’ve got ’til sunset on November 25th, when Mercury re-conjuncts your ruler Saturn for the 3rd time, to make good on last month’s contracts, deals and/or promises relating to any activities (and/or trials) which occurred on October 8th and resurfaced on the 29th. Show up with the goods for/by Thanksgiving. They’ll be waiting to see if you’re a/the turkey. Gobble, gobble… k AQUARIUS (1.19-2.17) Uranians: Just another short month to keep it in your pants. Saturnians: You haven’t got a chance — of keeping it in your pants! You just meet ’em…and you already want to pet/let ’em — and I ain’t just talkin’ ’bout yer kitty cat! It’s a good, time-honored way of staying warm. And as I always say, “when it comes to a choice between duty and honor — I’d rather be on ’er.” l PISCES (2.18-3.19) Neptunians: Your mystical ruler Neptune just turned direct at 2° Pisces. The gears for your fears started disengaging during the first week of last June. You’ve got ’til your birthday to redirect some very nebulous, long-lasting aspects. Jupiterians: Please read Sagittarius. a ARIES (3.20-4.18) Read Aquarius — and then get back to work. Your ruler Mars is in your 6th House of Virgo, in the sign of Virgo, reminding you


NOV. 14 - 20, 2013


planet power



of the details, details, details! Reminding you twice to get back to work! b TAURUS (4.19-5.19) One more week in the barrel, Matey! The Fool Moon is in your sign on the mo(u)rning of November 17th. It’s been a rough 3 to 4 weeks. How does the MOJO know? Mercury, which just went direct, is about to conjunct Saturn, “the taskmaster,” in your opposite sign of Scorpio. It ain’t over, Rover, but now you’ve got a chance. Who’s your master? Who came to mind? Welcome the down time that your current loneliness can/will bring. (How does the MOJO know?) Wait a week, and then you’ll sing! Welcome the change on Friday morning. c GEMINI (5.20-6.19) I hear you’re a little “light in the loafers…” Oh well, with your ruler Mercury blowing through the mysteries of life and death (Scorpio), you’ve just been through hell, and you’re out of breath. Since October, it’s been too heavy for you. We create our heaven and/or our hell at every moment. There’s no “Big Guy” in the sky, no judge and no jury. Not necessary. You are the/your only witness. As a Gemini, you are the “breath of spring.” Relax. Take a deep breath and see what the next one will bring. d CANCER (6.20-7.21) Happy Full Moon in Taurus this Sunday, on the morning of November 17th. Your appetites are being stirred! Jupiter just retrograded ’til just before spring at 20° Cancer, potentializing your winter’s preparation (menu?) schedule. Your concerns are/will be for your inner world, your family, your mother and your belly. When in doubt, you’re gonna munch a bunch. I figure you’re due to accrue an extra 8 to 15 lbs. before spring. Wanna bet? e LEO (7.22-8.21) Kings: Sunday’s Full Moon square signals a/your day off. Your reputation is in the process of suffering, and there’s really nothing you can do about it ’til the bearer of the bad news and the teller of tales bails and starts to lobby for a new hobby. I’d suggest that you gobble all day and meditate as you vegetate before the (TV) “Church of the NFL,” and let all “them dirty, rotten liars” rot in hell. Queens: Cook for the schnook and pretend you’re interested. f VIRGO (8.22-9.21) Wear red to get ahead and green to remain serene, Dean. Mars resides in Virgo ’til December 7th. Watch out for too mu(n)ch hot food, a rude dude, and an(y) opportunity leading to a fight, Dwight! In addition, it’s time to winterize your ride, Clyde. g LIBRA (9.22-10.21) With your ruler Venus in Capricorn ’til March, we’ll have plenty of time (ruled by $aturn, the ruler of Capricorn) to discu$$ whether it’$ your money or your love that you’re thinking of. And $peaking of… The Full Moon on $unday i$ in your theoretical 8th Hou$e of other people’$ money, in oppo$ition to the $un, $aturn and a recently-gonedirect Mercury in your 2nd Hou$e of per$onal finance. Any clue$? ,


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