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JU N E 2 0 1 9 | volUME 26 | ISSU E 04

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ANNUAL MUSIC ISSUE

A Rising

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Omaha Singer-Songwriter Jocelyn is Making a Name for Herself on the National Stage by Leo Adam Biga

PLUS:

• Top Local Bands • Omaha’s Hip Hop History • Local Roots Run Deep ART: Mind Games Together Dish: Staying Lean, Mean in 2019 Film: Pain in the End Heartland Healing: Thrill of the Grill: Here’s the Beef Backbeat: Pulling Out All the Stops: Coheed and Cambria HooDoo: Swing into Summer Theater: Omaha native finds success on Broadway Over The Edge: Lasting Impressions


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publisher/editor....................John Heaston john@thereader.com graphic designers.....................Ken Guthrie, Sebastian Molina copy chief...................Michael Newgren mike@pioneermedia.me associate publisher.............Sal S. Robles sal@pioneermedia.me

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COVER: A Rising Star Omaha Singer-Songwriter Jocelyn

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MUSIC ISSUE: Omaha’s Hip Hop History – A-List – Local Roots

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25th: Wild & Wooly: A Look Back at The Reader After 25 Years

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS healing................Michael Braunstein info@heartlandhealing.com arts/visual.................Mike Krainak mixedmedia@thereader.com eat........................................... Sara Locke crumbs@thereader.com film..................................Ryan Syrek cuttingroom@thereader.com hoodoo..................... B.J. Huchtemann bjhuchtemann@gmail.com music..........................Houston Wiltsey backbeat@thereader.com over the edge...............Tim McMahan tim.mcmahan@gmail.com theater....................... Beaufield Berry coldcream@thereader.com

SALES & MARKETING ............................................Kati Falk kati@pioneermedia.me

DISTRIBUTION/DIGITAL ......................................... Clay Seaman clay@thereader.com

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DISH: Staying Lean, Mean in 2019

ART: Mind Games Together, ‘Tempos’ Exhibit at Bemis Center

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PICKS: Cool Things To Do in June

ACCOUNT MANAGER ......................................... Tim Stokes tim@pioneermedia.me

OUR SISTER MEDIA CHANNELS

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THEATER: Omaha Native Finds Success on Broadway

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HOODOO: Swing into Summer: Festivals, Outdoor Shows...

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BACKBEAT: Pulling Out All the Stops: Coheed and Cambria

OUR DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES

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Film: Literally Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting – Pain in the End JUNE 2019

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heartland healing: Thrill of the Grill: Here’s the Beef CONTENTS

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OVER THE EDGE: Lasting Impressions Proud to be Carbon Neutral


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September 19

October 24 November 14

1pm – 4pm For more info or booth rates contact: ClaySeaman@OmahaJobs.com

7300 Q Street • Ralston, NE

Omaha Jobs: Is Employee Privacy a Thing of the Past?

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ersonal privacy is increasingly valued. But one aspect remains gray – the privacy employees have from their employers.

How do employees know employers don’t review their emails or social media activity when it occurs on a workplace device? How do employees know their phone conversations aren’t monitored? How do they keep their private lives private? You may not be able to if company policy says monitoring occurs. If you sign a document to acknowledge you understand company policies, you often waive your privacy rights.

Nebraska Workplace Privacy Act The Nebraska Workplace Privacy Act of 2016 grants some privacy protections to employees. Not every state has a comparable law, so these rules may not apply elsewhere: •

Employers cannot make you log into your private social media accounts or email accounts so they can scroll through the contents. Job applicants also are protected. Employers cannot request login information (username and password) for your or applicant’s personal social media profiles. Employers cannot require you to add a workplace representative access as an admin or editor to your social media accounts.

The Privacy Act also grants protections to employers when it comes to the Internet and electronic communications: •

Employers can have policies that dictate the use of business devices for personal Internet use. For example, Instagram or Facebook may be banned from workplace devices if they distract employees, but this ban must become policy.

Employers can prohibit the downloading of financial or proprietary data from workplace devices and databases onto your personal devices or accounts.

Employers can request access to your electronic devices if they furnished them.

Employers can access any information about their employees online in the public domain. If the information can be accessed by a simple Internet search or from a social media profile, your privacy rights aren’t violated. So don’t make anything you don’t want your employer to see viewable by the public.

What about phone calls? Employers can listen to any work-related phone calls, even if they don’t tell you. But they can’t listen in on personal calls, even if they occur over employer-supplied phone lines. If an employer is monitoring your calls and a personal one occurs, they’re supposed to disconnect the moment they realize it’s personal.

The problem, of course, is if you aren’t supposed to take personal calls and try to hide it from an employer who already knows you do because of monitoring.

Recording conversations It’s not legal to record employee conversations without their knowledge and consent. In most instances, this is another well-buried provision in employee handbooks or job offer documents. It states employees consent to occasional monitoring. Once signed, an employer can record conversations without first alerting you. The exception is in restrooms or changing rooms, where privacy is reasonably assumed. Employers are also prohibited from trying to record union activity or conversations about unionization. It’s probably best to avoid workplace conversations that disparage your employer or threaten the labor status quo.

Staying private in the workplace Assume your usage is monitored whenever you use an employer-provided device, even if the employer only partially paid for it. Save your personal online activities for outside business hours and from your own device. Review and understand your workplace’s employee-monitoring policies. If your employer states they may occasionally listen in, believe them. — Get to work!

JOBS

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ProKarma Jobs

Senior Account Manager #042019

ProKarma has opening for Sr. Account Manager based out of Co. HQ in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated locations throughout U.S. Roving position whereby employee’s worksite & residence may regularly change based on client/business demands. Will sell SAP solutions to customers looking for near shore & bilingual capabilities; develop viable market prospects for services & sales, creating brand awareness in assigned territories; & identify prospective customers & create go to market plan for identified territory. Approx. 20% travel, to ProKarma offices & clients in U.S., with occasional travel to ProKarma’s office in Argentina. Requires Master’s in CIS, IT, CS, Eng’g (any), Bus. Admin. or relt’d field + 2 yrs exp in IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos., OR Bach. + 5 yrs exp. Also must have exp with: overseeing sales & delivery processes; serving as primary sales contact for IT solutions clients; conducting business development activities; CDPs, GDF & software delivery within SAP landscape. Suitable comb. of edu/ training/exp acceptable. TO APPLY, SEND RESUMES TO:

ProKarma, Attn: Jobs 222 S 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102 Or email: postings@prokarma.com w/Job Ref# in subject line

ProKarma Jobs

Senior Software Engineer #SRJAVA0419

ProKarma, Inc. has mult opnings for Sr Software Engineer in Omaha, NE; may also work at various unanticipated lctns. Roving position-employee’s worksite & residence may chnge based on bsnss dmnds, but daily job duties don’t require trvl. Anlyz user needs & modify/develop SW using cmptr skill sets; dvlp & drct SW system tstng & validation prcdrs, prgrmmng, & dcmntatn. Requires master’s in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + 1 yr exp in IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Will also accept bachelor’s in CIS, IT, CS, Eng (any), or relt’d tech/anlytcl field + 5 yrs exp in IT/Cmptr-relt’d pos. Requires 1 yr of exp with: Java, J2EE, JMS, SOA, Web Services, Maven, HTML, and either Weblogic, Websphere, App Server, or JBOSS, and either Oracle or SQL Server. Any suitable comb. of edu/training/exp accptble.

TO APPLY, SEND RESUMES TO:

ProKarma, Attn: Jobs 222 S 15th St., Ste 505N, Omaha, NE 68102 Or email: postings@prokarma.com w/Job Ref# in subject line

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A Rising Star Omaha Singer-Songwriter Jocelyn Is Making a Name for Herself on the National Stage by Leo Adam Biga

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eloved Omaha singer-songwriter Jocelyn, who’s just turning 22, has been a star-in-the-making since playing street corners and open mics as an old-soul teen prophet. Her winsome presence, yearning voice, melodic guitar licks and heartfelt lyrics about personal empowerment can move even jaded listeners. In early 2018 she won over the suits of major record label BMG with an intimate acoustic set in their L.A. offices. Guided by her management, Omaha-based Midlands Music Group, she signed with BMG and joined an artist roster that includes Bruno Mars. Armed with creative control, Jocelyn has worked with producers and session players in L.A. and Nashville studios for her debut feature album releasing this summer. A tour is in the works. “I genuinely just want to have a good time making this music,” Jocelyn said, “and that’s really who BMG is. That’s why we went with them. I could have chosen different record labels, but I didn’t. I went with BMG because the vibe was right.” She doesn’t worry about losing her authentic self in the grip of a corporate music machine.

just pushing each other to do better, giving out suggestions, ideas. That’s really the process.” The single tracks “Speak Up” and “Never Change” from the album feature Jocelyn in full affirmation mode. The recurring theme in her work is “positivity.” “I feel like the music I put out helps balance whatever is going on in people’s minds. That’s what I have to do in order to balance out my own mind. Hey, this is how I do therapy to get through my problems. I’m sharing with the rest of the world the love that I have and that I give myself.” Her material counters “the negativity people want to push on you,” she said.

“The overall look and sound and feel is all coming from me,” she said, “and the people at the label are all nurturing it and helping me grow into the best version of myself. I’ve always had a say in everything. Always. It’s been a great ride.

“Speak Up” is her anti-bullying anthem. “Never Change,” co-written with Nelly Joy Reeves and Eric Arjes, is her plea to “don’t change who you are.” Both come out of her own experiences being bullied and marginalized.

“I’m just hanging out with these people and telling them my life story. I’ve always been an open person and it’s really just about connecting. I’ve made a lot of connections and good friends. Everybody’s

“There’s noise everywhere in how people think of you, how they judge you,” she said. “I’ve had so many people tell me that I’m doing things wrong in their eyes, and I’m like, you have no idea what I’m experiencing.

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“There’s all these moments you have to stay positive – and that’s what the record’s about.” Her solid chops and loyal fans have earned her Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards recognition as Best Pop Artist and Artist of the Year. Her charisma carries far beyond these borders. Live or streaming, she captures people everywhere with her energy and sincerity. Even her tattoo that reads Unchain Me (the title of one of her original songs) fits her bohemian free spirit to a T. In 2016, an online video of Jocelyn performing her song “Just Like Everybody Else” went viral – one of many events giving her a national following.

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guitar out in the sun. Onstage, she tried tuning her warped instrument to no avail. She handled the frustration with an aplomb that belied her 19 years.

stage by that notoriously tough crowd, she got a warm response with her righteous cover of Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney’s “FourFiveSeconds.”

In the immediate aftermath, though, she felt a failure.

“I blacked out. No, straight up. The emotions were so intense in my body that I couldn’t feel anything.”

“I pouted on it, I cried about it. But it was a great learning experience. It’s like make sure that shit doesn’t happen again.” Her manager gave her a different perspective. “I was watching a star being born on that stage,” McClain said. “Even though

Her poise and command are what Jocelyn champion Aly Peeler saw in her at 15. “She played for me, and at that moment I was like, this girl’s a star,” said Peeler, an Omaha musician with her own following. “At such a young age she was so composed

Most importantly, she’s attracted music industry veterans who believe in her potential. Since entering the MMG mentoring program at 16, she’s scored several high-profile opportunities, including a 2017 “Celebrity Undercover Boss” episode at The Speakeasy in Austin, Texas. A disguised Darius Rucker, aka Jackie Middleton, praised her talent. Rucker also pledged his support.

She said Rucker is “someone I look up to,” adding, “I aspire to the goals he’s attained.” In 2017, Jocelyn opened for Rucker at a Stir Cove concert before 5,000 hometown fans. It proved a defining moment. Before her set on that baking-hot day, she left her

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MMG shows promising young artists the ropes on the condition they do well in school. Only Jocelyn was failing. “Well, we’re not working with you, I told her,” McClain said. “I was like, ‘Aw, damn,’” Jocelyn said. “The exact same work ethic you use to get the As, you use to get the Gold Record,” McClain said. “If you want to be in this industry, as hard as it is, you have to do the work. She did and she’s kept it going ever since.” “I always loved learning, but I did not grow up with the discipline, the work ethic, so when Jeff gave me that challenge,” Jocelyn said, “I was like, I want to do that. It just felt right.”

Nothing that’s happened since has been an accident. “Jocelyn is where she’s at because of a lot of hard work, but also support and encouragement,” Peeler said. “I have nothing but love and respect for all she’s done.”

“The show made her look great,” said her MMG manager, Jeff McClain.

“It was really cool,” she said. “It was a little intimidating at first, but you learn to speak your mind. It’s a different process because you’re writing for Darius. It’s a lot of conversations among songwriters.”

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“If you make it several months in the program things are probably going to happen for you,” McClain said. “Then we start to discuss actual management, which we did with her. We signed her in 2014. At that point we started making calls and opening doors.”

“It was the first poppy song I’ve ever written. It was one of those breakthrough moments.”

Rucker continues serving as a mentor. At his invitation, Jocelyn recently flew to South Carolina to co-write songs with him and his crew for a new project.

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That’s not saying there weren’t bumps in the road.

it was all going wrong, what she did was amazing at her age. She was in front of a home crowd of 5,000 people and she kept it together. She was professional, she went through with the show. I told her you will never in your entire career be under more pressure than you just were there. If you can handle that, you can handle anything.” Jocelyn came to appreciate her own resilience. “I played that show, I kept going, I didn’t stop.” Her confidence radiated through her 2018 “Showtime at the Apollo” appearance. Not only did she not get booed off

and expressed such complicated ideas. She knew who she was. That’s what I thought was so beautiful.” As Jocelyn got more polished, Peeler said, she proved she could “own a room” – quieting even the most boisterous crowd with her musical poetry. “She captivates an audience. She gets people to listen.” Those qualities are what sold MMG in 2013. “She was just absolutely wonderful to watch. She had so much raw talent. It was just obvious. You sensed it,” McClain said.

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“One time we had written a song and I didn’t want a certain lyric to be a certain way,” Jocelyn recalled. “Mind you, I’m 16 at the time and stubborn. If I didn’t get my way, I’d freak out. I said no to a lot of things in the beginning. “Aly (Peeler) and I went on a walk. She was trying to cool down the fire within me. She said a song is like a child. It goes off into the world and it influences other people and it gets influenced. It is constantly growing. I liked that.” “We’ve had some real conversations,” Peeler said. Of her journey, Jocelyn said, “There’s only growth, patience, teaching, learning going on in this process.”

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She counts McClain and Peeler among “older friends who have been really there for me when I needed them and that have affected my life in a positive way.” Following her team’s advice, she puts herself out there. Connections she’s made at Fox and Paramount offer “great potential we’ll capitalize on later,” McClain said. Even with mega fame a real possibility, Jocelyn’s committed to Omaha. “Home is where the heart is, and my heart is in a lot of people here. I’m at home anywhere I go in the city. I feel love. This is the stomping grounds.” What’s come her way already could be a real head trip, but Jocelyn’s being chill. “It’s as simple as simple can be,” she said. Everyone around her believes she’s grounded enough to handle whatever comes next. Meanwhile, she and McClain are leveraging her success to explore the creation of mentoring programs with the Millard Public Schools (she’s a Millard South grad) and Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. The goal is “teaching what it really takes to

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make it in whatever you want to do,” she said. The messaging of Jocelyn’s album “is spot-on” with initiatives around young professionals and creatives reaching their dreams, McClain said. Her self-love, anti-hate messages also plug into the MeToo, LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter movements. Jocelyn encourages fellow Generation Zers to realize their dreams right here. “One of my friends said she didn’t like it here because it doesn’t have this and that, and I said, ‘Well, then, create it here. Be the first person to bring it here.’ Why leave? “If you do, come back when you’re done. Help build.” Should breakout success happen the way it’s expected to for her, she hopes “Omaha’s the next city” everyone wants to be in. Visit www.jocelynmusic.com. Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at leoadambiga.com


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Omaha’s Hip Hop History Unpacking Our Past: Colorful Stories, Passionate People by Mikala Harden

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ip hop culture has been a part of Omaha for almost 40 years, and while we may not be a nationally recognized hub, we do have a colorful collage of stories and passionate people who have helped the music thrive in its own way.

parkers. That’s what we’d see in these films.”

You could say that our scene is our story, the pages of which start to fill in the 1980s when songs like “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang hit the airwaves, and films like Wild Style, Beat Street, Krush Groove, and Breakin’ debuted.

Zachariah Hennings, stage name Surreal the MC, remembers experiencing hip hop for the first time in 1983.

Michael Dunham Jr., known as DJ Rip, remembers this period. “We would all wear parachute pants, hoodies,” says Dunham. “Adidas and Puma sweatsuits, Kangol hats, and

Everything you think of that was happening in New York was happening in Omaha. There were concerts, talent shows, b-boy battles, and rivals from each project putting out mixtapes.

“I was in the Old Market and the bboys and b-girls used to put the cardboard out and breakdance,” Hennings says. “I was walking with my dad, and this was when dads who played softball would wear these really tight bike shorts. This guy was freestyling, making fun of the shorts my dad was wearing, Houston Alexander administering some culture shock

and I just fell in love with it right then. I said, ‘I want to do that.’” Buzzing with hungry youth who wanted to be a part of this new cultural wave, hip hop was alive and well in Omaha throughout the ’80s, but by the time the movie Colors came out in ’88, drugs and gang life heated up and hip hop culture started diminishing because it wasn’t “cool” anymore. When crack came into play, it was like time stopped. “Stop the Violence” and “Crack Is Whack” campaigns started sprouting up because it was killing the community and the scene. “I have vivid memories of gang shoot-outs at incredible events,” recalls Dunham. DJ Houston Alexander was side by side with Dunham in the thick of it all. Members of the Scribble Crew: Ray Alexander, Houston Alexander, and Ray Jefferson

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“I was there when President (George H.W.) Bush came to North Omaha and gave the Points of Light Award to the Mad Dads,” recalls Alexander. The award was handed out for Mad Dads’ anti-violence work. The organization was founded in Omaha by African American fathers who were fed up with the gangs and drugs. Although the hip hop scene saw a short dip, it persevered, and at the heart of it were the people and businesses that helped it flourish. Youth would frequent places like Signals, the Power Landing, The Warehouse, and the Boys & Girls Club. There were even big talent shows at high schools. One of the big places to party and battle was at the Civic Auditorium on the weekends.

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M “I remember going there and hearing about a rap group called The Young Rebels,” says Dunham. “They were like the Run DMC of Omaha.” KNOS and KBWH would play rap and local TV show Video Diversity would air videos before MTV started playing them. Go-Ahead magazine used to do big rap shows and contests and people could win studio time, trophies, and money. The Omaha Star would write about the scene.

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Rapper Big Bear’s Doin Thangs was released in ’98 and its album art was included on Complex’s list of the 25 Most Ridiculous Pen & Pixel Album Covers of All Time. King Iso grew up in Omaha, was initially signed to Twisted Insane’s Brainsick Muzik, and now is a frequent collaborator with Tech N9ne. In 2017, The Source magazine published a list honoring how Omahaborn Malcolm X influenced hip hop.

In the ’90s, the Omaha World-Herald and The Reader would cover what was happening, and Planet O on The River would have talent shows.

Recognition aside, what makes Omaha’s hip hop roots truly special are the people who helped cultivate a vibrant culture.

Then there are the small pockets of celebrity that Omaha has seen with rap.

Early leaders Full Clip, DJ Mario Scratch, Brian B and DJ Suicide helped pave the way.

While 311, which rose to prominence in the ’90s, isn’t a rap group, Doug “SA” Martinez’s rap verses allowed the band to enter rap-rock territory.

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So did Flow EZ, who owns Get N Go on 24th and used to be called “the corn hustler.” He would sell mixtapes

A blues festival in Omaha's Old Market SATU RDAY, AUG UST 3 R D • 2019

The Houston Alexander Foundation’s Culture Shock School Tour has been teaching youth the history of hip hop through music, dance, and art since 2003.

and a hodgepodge of other items and was a prominent figure in the scene.

Foundation, which teaches hip hop to kids in schools.

Hennings recalls where his local influence began.

Businesses were eager to be involved in the culture as well. There were retail stores like New World Gear and Things on Maple. The skate shops and head shops played their roles. Record stores were big. There was Hip Stop and Leola’s Records on Ames. Homer’s would let hip hop acts consign music. People would go to Kanesville Kollectibles to dig through the crates for beats to sample.

“I started going to house parties, and DJ Pace (Mark Ware) was actually the first DJ I stood next to that scratched records.” And DJs have always been the backbone of hip hop.

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“You can tell who enjoys DJing,” says Alexander. “Mista Soull DJs like it’s his last day on earth!” Of course, the impact made by Dunham and Alexander is undeniable. Dunham is tour manager for hip hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash and was recently listed as a consultant on the 40th anniversary release of a Sugarhill Gang LP set featuring the iconic “Rapper’s Delight.”

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In addition to being a member of the Scribble Crew graffiti group in the ’80s, Alexander is a well-known DJ -- on and off the air -- and had a show on Power 106.9 that promoted local rap. More recently he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, and today serves as chairman of the Houston Alexander

“That’s where I met a lot of touring hip hop artists and that’s where I first met E Babbs, who introduced me to Jamazz and Mars Black,” Hennings recalls. Black is signed to Conor Oberst’s Team Love label. Then there were the venues that came and went. Some were iconic and some are still standing. There were hip hop clubs like Cleopatra’s. Rappers could freestyle at places like the Cog Factory on Leavenworth. Of course, there was the Ranch Bowl, where Hennings remembers seeing Body Count in ’92. It was during the rise of bands like Rage Against the Machine, The Deftones, and Public Enemy.


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There was a fusion of punk rock, metal, industrial, and hip hop. During this era, Hennings got his first mixer and turntable, a little Gemini, and started DJing. “I would skateboard and give people mixtapes and we’d freestyle.” His popular rap group Noizewave formed in ’97, when ska and groups like Grasshopper Takeover were big, so it was a whole party vibe. Some of Hennings’ best memories are going to the studio. “We’d be listening to our music being professionally mastered and going back to trying it in the car with the subs and actually hearing your own beats,” he says. “Putting your art out there is the coolest thing to me. And sharing ideas. “We truly loved it,” he adds. “We had to dub tapes on boomboxes and had to burn our CDs in real time and it took an hour. We really loved making fly-

C ers and doing shows and taking somebody’s instrumental and freestyling over it at a basement party.” Noizewave was selling out venues like the Ranch Bowl when it released the anti-cop track, “Say Hi to Jimmy” in 2000, which became national news for referencing fallen Omaha police officer Jimmy Wilson Jr. “Obviously, years later I regret it. It kind of snowballed. We were banned from all these venues.” Fast forward to the next year when the group released “Lunchbox Benny,” a song named for the Ranch Bowl icon that paid homage to the local scene and a lot of the popular bands at the time. When 89.7 The River picked it up, all was forgiven and the group was accepted back into the circuit. That’s when producers from Queen Latifah’s show found Hennings via the

I Associated Press and he joined an episode about white rappers. “I sat next to Fat Joe and Slick Rick and the cast of Whiteboyz, which is a movie about a white rapper from the Midwest. The tie in is they wanted to see if they could find a white rapper from there. So they flew me out.” Later, Hennings would book shows at the Ranch Bowl until its closing in 2005. “I would reach out to the other hip hop acts and have shows. We would do a lot of mixed-genre shows like Breathless and Buck Bowen. Houston had Fresh Fest.” Fresh Fest took place at the turn of the millennium, co-produced by Alexander and Dunham. It had it all: DJs, rappers, break-dancers, graffiti artists … everyone in the hip hop community congregated in one place to celebrate the culture.

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Events like this played a pivotal role because that’s when people could get together and be hip hop. “I love hip hop because of the togetherness,” says Hennings. “Everybody has a voice.” The hope is that with time, Omaha will find its own voice among the other hip hop meccas while still honoring its past. Being in the middle of America, the scene has always been a melting pot of influence. Not just because we receive it from all directions, but also because from within we had the support of organizations, businesses, political leaders, community activists, and even the president. And what’s the most important thing to know about hip hop culture in Omaha? Dunham sums it up well. “Making the world know it ever even existed.”

StrAngemen tHeAtre compAny’S

by James Ortiz

music by edward w. Hardy and lyrics by Jen lOring

may 16 – June 16, 2019 www.bluebarn.org Generously sponsored by

2016 Obie Award Winner

Amy HAddAd And Steve mArtin Kerry dobSon And bruce reneAud Anne tHorne WeAver

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The Musical A-List The Reader Takes a Look at the Top 20 Area Bands by Tim McMahan

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his is about as unscientific as it gets. For this year’s Top 20 list we’re submitting our teams, ur … bands, and letting you sort it out. The criteria? For me, the band has to be either: 1) actively recording music, 2) actively touring, and/or 3) actively playing gigs in the Omaha/Lincoln area. If asked at gunpoint, I’d guestimate there are somewhere north of 100 bands in the Omaha/Lincoln area that fit the above criteria, and I’ve seen and/or heard from only half. And that half plays indie and/ or garage rock, because that’s the genre I most closely cover in my blog at lazy-i.com. So, no pop-punk bands, no metal/death metal, no hip-hop, no country and western. That’s a long-winded way of saying this ain’t a “best bands in Omaha” list. It’s a list of my favorite bands in Omaha. Your mileage may vary. So, in no particular order: Lodgings — The five-piece indie rock act just released Water Works, an eight-song LP recorded and mixed by the legendary Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago. Gritty indie punk. David Nance Group — Playing a unique blend of psychedelic, garage and heavy rock, the band released Peaced and Slightly Pulverized last fall on Chicago label Trouble in Mind Records and has been on the road off and on since.

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Thick Paint — Fronted by Graham Patrick Ulicny (of Reptar fame), their trippy, proggy sound hinges on his eccentrically high voice and inventive song structures. Their first formal album, A Perennial Approach to Free Time, was released in April. Cursive — One of the original Saddle Creek Records’ crown jewels, the band (centered on Tim Kasher, Matt Maginn and Ted Stevens) released its latest album, Vitriola, on its own 15 Passenger label. Conor Oberst — The former frontman of Bright Eyes, which is another of the Saddle Creek crown jewels, joined forces with indie wunderkind Phoebe Bridgers to form Better Oblivion Community Center, whose self-titled debut was released on Dead Oceans Records this year. The Faint — Last of the three Saddle Creek crown jewels, the No Wave New Wave electro-rock act returned to the Creek fold this year with the release of Egowerk and then hit the road (in Todd Fink’s case, permanently). Those Far Out Arrows — The Nuggetsflavored psych-garage act broke out last year with Part Time Lizards, its full-length debut on Kansas City’s High Dive Records. See Through Dresses — Omaha’s shoegaze darlings recently re-emerged after a brief performance hiatus that begun after touring na-

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Jason Steady

Clarence Tilton

tionally in support of their 2017 release Horse of the Other World (Tiny Engines Records).

to record the formal follow-up to 2014’s Funeral Guns, and it should see a release later this year.

Matt Whipkey — One of the area’s most prolific singer/songwriters self-released his Driver LP last year and then switched genres, forming punk-protest act Unexplained Death, whose debut LP is slated for later this year.

Matthew Sweet — The nationally recognized indie rocker followed his 2017 return, Tomorrow Forever, last year with Tomorrow’s Daughter, released on his own Honeycomb Hideout Records.

Domestica — The trio of former Mercy Rule members Heidi & Jon Ore and Sideshow drummer Pawl Tisdale continues to blaze new paths of anthemic punk rock on Lincoln and Omaha stages.

Josh Hoyer — After the 2017 season of The Voice, Hoyer and his band, Soul Colossal, recorded the 10-song LP Do It Now, released this year on Silver Street Records.

Wagon Blasters — Fronted by former Frontier Trust and Monroes band leader Gary Dean Davis, with William Thornton, Jesse Render and Kate Williams, the Omaha tractor punk powerhouse released the four-song Pandemonium Paradise EP last year on Speed! Nebraska Records. The Lupines — This soaring garage-rock four-piece is working on a follow-up to 2017’s Mountain of Love LP, which you can hear portions of as they burn down one Omaha stage after another with their incendiary live show. Twinsmith — One of the only Omahabased Saddle Creek Records bands in recent years, the indie-pop act released a new single, “Feels,” in April. Brad Hoshaw — The singer/songwriter headed to Redwood Studio in Denton, Texas,

Jason Steady — Omaha’s most lovable singer/songwriter rejoined forces with former colleague in The Cuterthans and Talking Mountain — Chris Twist of Nobunny — to record and release The Return of the Paisley Angels, and then they hit the road on tour. Simon Joyner — One of Omaha’s longestrunning singer/songwriters continued touring last year in support of his 2017 album Step into the Earthquake, released on Shrimper Records. Clarence Tilton — The Americana/altcountry act released the six-song EP World Rolled In last year and continued to be a staple on Omaha stages. Little Brazil — The long-running and hardest-rocking indie act last year saw the release of Send The Wolves on Max Trax Records — its first new LP in nine years.


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Local Roots Run Deep

A Half-Dozen Bands Worth Checking Out by B.J. Huchtemann

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n conjunction with The Reader’s annual music issue, I was asked to come up with some top local roots bands. In no particular order, here are six local bands that I return to again and again for solid, heartfelt, original roots music.

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal I think the first time I heard Josh Hoyer was on a CD from one of his early projects, Electric Soul Method, which was on rotation at Michael Campbell’s old Benson bar, Mick’s. I was instantly impressed. Since then, Hoyer has worked through a couple of band formations and I’ve remained a fan. Even when compared with national and international acts, Hoyer has a distinctive quality and soulful grit to his voice that is unmistakable. As a songwriter, he continues to grow with every album release. As a bandleader, he puts together artists who are dedicated to the heart and soul of making great music. Guitarist Benjamin Kushner has been with Hoyer since the start of the current project, Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers. That band had to make a name change for legal reasons and has seen personnel changes, but the sound they put down is real-deal soul-blues. He had two performance opportunities on the TV show “The Voice,” singing in front of a national audience on the program in the spring of 2017. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal has been invited to tour Europe the past two years by established promoter Teenage Head Music. The band has four studio CDs to its credit, all on Ashland, Nebraska’s Silver Street Records. The band headed to Denver at the end of May to record its next studio project. Eddie Roberts, the guitarist for veteran UK soulfunk band The New Mastersounds, is producing. Hoyer recently released a track showcasing a new collaboration with Roberts and his latest project, The Macy Sounds, on Roberts’ label Color Red. Find out more at color-red.co and joshhoyer.com.

Matt Cox One of Omaha’s brightest roots singersongwriters and guitarists. Cox always delivers the goods whether playing a solo set or fronting his electric band. Original songs. Check. Rich, weathered vocals. Check. Cox translates his in-

MATT COX fluences, including Greg Brown, Neil Young and John Prine (all of whom he occasionally covers) into his own musical vision. His sound is his own and he’s continued to be at the top of his game as a songwriter and performer. His music straddles the divide between folk, blues and Americana, appealing to listeners who are fans of these roots genres. Cox has a tremendous ability to maintain a raw, front-porch, spontaneous jam sound while obviously having worked hard to refine his craft as a songwriter and player. Since 2007, Cox has released six albums of mostly original material, partnering in recent years with Lincoln’s Sower Records. A 2009 live, full-band recording from a Waiting Room show was made available in a special release for this year’s Record Store Day and became available for digital purchase May 25. In January 2019, Cox represented the Blues Society of Omaha in the solo/duo category in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. See mattcoxmusic.net.

Kris Lager Band Kris Lager has carved out a sustainable niche for himself making original blues-based, groove-laden rock music. Playing guitar since he was a teenager, he’s grown into a mature guitarist, band leader and songwriter. For a while, Lager and his full band became the backing band for Mato Nanji and toured as part of Indigenous. Lager’s guitar playing caught the attention of Tab Benoit when the two shared a stage at the Slowdown, leading to Benoit producing a studio recording for KLB in 2012 in his Louisiana studio. The sessions became the release Platte River Runaway. The two continue to occasionally share double bills around the country. Lager and his band also spent time backing up Andy Frasco. Lager at one point aptly described his music as “thrift-store funk,” which still seems like

a good comparison. A lot of roots music influences have come to a boil with Lager’s years as a guitarist and the evolution of his band. For years, Lager has made his mantra “Celebrate Life,” and he reaffirmed that in a recent mission statement on his website. He chooses to play sparingly around Omaha and Lincoln, making local shows an event, and spends a lot of time on the road with his band. With four studio CDs still in print, Lager’s earlier catalog of releases may be hard to find. There is also a 2013 live recording. His most recent disc is Love Songs & Life Lines. See krislagerband.com.

Hector Anchondo Band Hector Anchondo seems to have found his place in the music world since he transitioned from the popular rock band Anchondo to pursuing the blues. Even as his band lineup has evolved, Anchondo has grown his music. His band represented the Blues Society of Omaha in 2015 at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. In 2016, Hector Anchondo Band was again the BSO representative and made it from more than 250 bands to the eight finalists. That recognition opened more doors and Anchondo has continued to tour nationally and build on that momentum. His 2017 self-produced disc, Roll the Dice, received national attention, landing on the Top 25 of the Living Blues magazine charts and spending many weeks on the Roots Music Report Blues and Blues-Rock charts. Anchondo’s grit-tinged vocals, fiery guitar playing and original songwriting make him one to watch, whether he’s touring with his band or playing solo gigs around the area. See hectoranchondo.com.

Sebastian Lane Band A relative newcomer to the Omaha blues scene, Sebastian Lane has a blues lineage that not many can match. And one that is unusual for Nebraska. His father is Jimmy D. Lane, an established, veteran Chicago blues guitarist. His grandfather was the seminal and influential Chicago bluesman Jimmy Rogers, whose career included working in Muddy Waters’ band. Rogers was a guitarist, vocalist and harmonica player. Sebastian Lane, who arrived in Omaha to pursue a medical degree, has somehow man-

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Sebastian Lane aged to balance the demands of medical school with late nights gigging in bars. His 2018 disc, Walkin’ By Myself, and his many local appearances have proven he is the real deal. He’s got vocal chops, songwriting ability and a power on the guitar that is fueled as much by Jimi Hendrix as by his famous connection to the Chicago blues sound. Lane may not stick around Omaha once he finishes his medical studies, so see him while you can. More at sebastianlaneband.com.

Mezcal Brothers The Mezcal Brothers have been a favorite in Nebraska and beyond since 1998. Fronted by Gerardo Meza, with Benjamin Kushner on guitar, Charlie Johnson on bass and Shaun Theye on drums, the band was inducted into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame in 2016. This band has been Nebraska’s top purveyor of hard-driving rockabilly, with performances that have included national rockabilly festivals and European dates. Their largely original material fits seamlessly into the retro rockabilly sound. Goldmine Magazine recognized the Mezcals as one of the top Rockabilly bands in the country during their heyday. The band has released several full-length recordings. Recently they’ve started showing up regularly on Lincoln’s Zoo Bar schedule and they’re still cookin’, with a high-octane sound that is irresistibly danceable. See fb.com/mezcalbro.

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‘Wild & Woolier Time’

A Look Back at The Reader After 25 Years by Thomas Gunning

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rom my perch in the office loft on Harney Street up from the Old Market, I looked down at the pages of that week’s edition. They were carefully ranked across the first floor. Most of those with fullpage ads were done, while half- and quarter-pagers awaited their assigned stories, columns or calendar items. Sales reps hurried in with late images and ad copy. Local musicians dropped off CDs in hopes of a mention. Late stories were edited on the fly like a poetry slam. It was a big “book” – 84 pages, and it featured writers and journalists who knew they were part of something new. The Reader, hatched a few years earlier, had grown as an alternative newsweekly with the community it served. For a time in the mid-1990s, I was its managing editor. Publisher John Heaston said it wasn’t until The Reader was “thrown all over the city” that he realized an editorial vision was needed. “We saw there was a range of stories without a home in the daily newspaper and other media.” The shift from publishing news “stuff” into something more solid was done in baby steps. “As we attracted more writing and reporting talent, our editorial growth accelerated,” Heaston said. The arrival of two early contributors – Leo Biga and B.J. Huchtemann – helped speed the growth. “Leo found us, but we reached out to B.J.”

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Bold Style & Content At long last, each page “hole” is filled. That week’s edition of The Reader is dispatched to one of several printers, depending on cost and press availability. As editors, our priority was to establish an “immersive” style of journalism. We asked our writers and reviewers for “word paintings,” to provide details about the atmosphere and settings and people they covered.

“We wanted to give our readers ‘detailed context.’ Our stories, particularly the longer features, would be as colorful as the people we wrote for and about.”

We wanted to give our readers “detailed context.” Our stories, particularly the longer features, would be as colorful as the people we wrote for and about.

“You want the writers to see and hear and smell, and then to share that with our readers,” said Michael “Spike” Newgren, who later became managing editor and returned in 2018 to edit this magazine. “The Omaha World-Herald covered ‘what happened,’ but we covered ‘why it mattered.’ We wanted two reactions from readers – ‘Wow, I didn’t know that,’ and ‘Gee, that’s interesting.’”

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This approach required us to trust our writers. After all, it was their personal experiences that enlightened our readers. One of the first to win complete trust was Leo Biga, who still writes for The Reader.

25th anniversary

“This liberal editorial philosophy went hand in hand with the paper’s mission to offer a distinctly alternative voice,” Biga said. “Where the vast majority of mainstream media was viewed as up-tight, conser vative and decidedly not hip or cool, The Reader was the antithesis of those things.”

The demand for thorough sensory records freed the more-experienced writers. “I felt I could write in a freer, less constrained way than I could for other publications,” Biga said. “It wasn’t an ‘anything goes’ policy – more of a space where good writing was appreciated and expected.”

Free to the People Once trucked back to Omaha, the resulting 25,000 copies needed to be widely distributed. That responsibility rested with

Geoff Wertheim, sales rep, distribution manager and activist. His route drivers slipped out of the dark through the back door. They waited for the truck and its bundles with books, naps and quiet conversation. They couldn’t focus on cell phones and other devices that were just arriving in Omaha. Some were down on their luck and others just needed extra income. Wertheim, in his trademark woolen rainbow hat, recruited housewives, retirees, aspiring musicians and even family – Lori Wertheim, his sister, ran a route. “You could make $20 to $30 an hour on a Reader route,” Geoff Wertheim said. “Sometimes they’d team up – one drove while the other lifted and ran. A few took just a one-hour route to earn $30. Maybe it was all they needed.” This wasn’t a fleet of manicured delivery vans. That $30 an hour they earned also paid for a route driver’s gas and vehicle wear and tear. “We had a few with newer vans, but a lot of them had old beaters,” he said. “They’d load up their trunks with bundles and take off with axles almost dragging on the street.” Wertheim was proud of the hustle and efficiency of his route drivers. “Professionalism is all about attitude, not appearance,” he said. “A few of them have died, a couple are the scourge of the earth. But some of them still work with me on different projects.”


And despite the passing of 25 years, he said little has changed in the distribution of print products. “They still deliver the magazine’s 21,000 copies the same way – drivers hustling out of South Omaha on routes across the city.”

Promote or Criticize? Our calendar of events was popular. It was comprehensive and sometimes, like that week, filled half of the space in the “book.” It was accompanied by commentary. Warren Franke wrote about the theater. Kyle Tonniges had a column. And, of course, Bix Pix the Flix. Michael Braunstein wrote about alternative health options, and still does. B.J. Huchtemann is another columnist who stuck around. Her focus was and is on the local blues scene. “I remember writers bringing their stories in on floppy discs. Many of our current readers won’t even know what those are,” said Huchtemann, who still trumpets the blues. “We weren’t a tabloid; we did quality journalism.” She said a music columnist plays a different editorial role. “The niche I really fill is to let people know what’s going on musically and get them out to hear it live,” Huchtemann said. “I want them to put down their damn devices and get into their cars.” She writes for The Reader after 25 years because of the editorial freedom she has. “Once you prove yourself, you just go do it. I’m never assigned things that make me squirm.” She said one editor pushed her to become more critical – to review rather than promote. “I tried to editorialize a few times, but I’d rather focus on the acts people should go see,” she said. “It’s the difference between looking back or looking forward.”

She said to write bad reviews does make her squirm.

rial team discussed expectations and planned changes.

The Reader for almost a quarter of a century.

“I can’t ever forget there are humans on the other end. Even the worst bands have their fans and work really hard,” Huchtemann said. “I guess if I don’t mention you, maybe you have more work to do.”

Workshop speakers included such local luminaries as screenwriter and essayist Craig Pugh. We even sneaked in Jim Flanery, the legendary World-Herald reporter, who wasn’t keen for his bosses to know he consorted with that pesky newsweekly.

“Its publisher, John Heaston, has been at the helm for almost my entire working relationship with The Reader,” he said. “And I’ve always had the opportunity to write across all sections.”

Coaching Writers Whenever you edit a story, you must believe to your core that you’ll make it better. Some victims call it editorial arrogance. I can accept that. Journalists treat each phrase or image they write like it’s their child. Occasionally, they create art. Editors, on the other hand, should be clinical. Sometimes, you must rip and shred to produce a better story for the readers.

The better a writer became, the easier our jobs as editors became. Despite, or maybe because of, his proven skills, Leo Biga welcomed our coaching efforts. “I felt I could be bolder in my use of language and narrative, and perhaps even experiment a little,” he said. “It invited and encouraged me to push myself as a writer and reporter.”

“We covered ‘why it mattered.’ We wanted two reactions from readers – ‘Wow, I didn’t know that,’ and ‘Gee, that’s interesting.’”

Editing is never an art, and no reader ever congratulated me for my work. But as a craft, it’s a harsh mistress, to paraphrase science fiction novelist Robert A. Heinlein.

The “immersive” writing style wasn’t easy to achieve. We were tough editors. Sometimes, a thousand-word story shrunk to 500 words, much to its writer’s dismay. Feelings were bruised. Coaching writers became an important part of my job. We reviewed edited stories with their writers, sometimes before they were published. We explained why certain changes, additions and deletions were made. We tried to educate. We also gathered like a tribe of wordsmiths. Our workshops ranged widely. We invited good writers and journalists to present their thoughts and detail their approaches. The edito-

He said The Reader gave him the opportunity to focus on several topics he’s passionate about and wants to cover.

“There are several reporting areas I’m closely identified with, including Alexander Payne’s films, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, the AfricanAmerican community and social justice issues,” he said. Biga said the opportunities The Reader gives him have diversified his writing style. “I’m vaguely conscious I write in a certain style for The Reader that’s different for other publications,” Biga said. “It probably relates back to my view of it as a more open-minded space. That quality’s undoubtedly why it remains a must read for so many people.”

Biga said The Reader was and remains many things to many people, whether they’re longtime readers or not. “For some, it’s a reliable source of arts and entertainment reviews and listings. For others, a champion of progressive causes,” he said. “As for me, it provides a vehicle to express my thoughts about things I’m passionate about.”

Inevitable Changes The Reader was the first Omaha newsweekly to be accepted for membership in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Since the mid-1990s, The Reader’s parent company, Pioneer Publishing, grew into six media channels — two in print, The Reader and El Perico, the Spanish-written newspaper, and four online. The Reader team also became a local leader in digital marketing services under the brand PioneerMedia.Me. An estimated audience of more than 100,000 adults makes Pioneer the only non-traditional media company in Omaha’s top 10 by audience size, demonstrating proven growth since 1992. “Yet as a man getting on in years,” Biga said, “I assert my right to be nostalgic for that wild and woolier time of the mid-1990s.” I share his nostalgia. It was a time when we believed we could grow our culture and change our society. After all, it’s now a brave, new world. Thomas Gunning is Content Marketing Editor for PioneerMedia.ME.

Biga said it is the publication’s consistency that resulted in him writing for 25th anniversary

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Staying Lean, Mean in 2019 Halfway to the New Year, Don’t Give Up on Your Resolutions by Naviere Walkewicz

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t seems like yesterday that we were setting this year’s New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and be more active. Is it possible that summer is practically here and we’re still “preparing” to act on our 2019 resolutions? Fear not. You don’t have to hang up the idea of wearing a bikini or plan to give up everything that makes your palate smile. Read on to discover tips and tricks to start right away to make healthier choices that support social outings and your wellness goals.

1. Don’t be that person. That person is the guy or gal who says nay to every place that’s offered as a dining option because it doesn’t meet a healthy eating plan. That person soon receives fewer social invitations. Instead, get excited to try that new restaurant because you’re going to discover how to balance the art of social dining with healthy choices.

and it’s not as weird as you may think). Instead, utilize the art of visual portions. One tool is using your hand. Your hand can help portion foods and set you up for success as you box the remainder for a later snack or meal. Let’s start with your palm. The thickness and size of one’s palm serves as a protein portion. Now look at your open hand. An open hand (looking at the amount that fits in your palm and extended fingers) accounts for the vegetable portion. Finally, a tightly closed fist represents the grain, bread or fruit portion. While these aren’t perfect, they are extremely helpful in managing portions. Another tool is to re-portion your meal on a salad plate. Protein and carbohydrates should each occupy one-fourth of the salad-sized plate.

The vegetables can take the remaining half. Extras beyond the plate should immediately be boxed to go before you eat to eliminate the temptation of eating beyond an individual portion.

3. Yes, you can have adult drinks. Choose the alcoholic beverage that will least sabotage your healthy nutritional journey while offering you the chance to still be social in an alcoholic setting. If you’re watching sugar, skip the wine and sweet mixed drinks; instead, carry a sugar-free drink enhancer (things like Mio or Crystal Light mixes) and infuse it in a glass of ice water with a shot of hard liquor. Voila! Can you say guilt-free alcoholic drink? My two favorites are lemon-

lime mix, ice water and a shot of tequila, or fruit punch mix, ice water and a shot of vodka!

4. Step out of the comfort zone and explore. We choose to eat at the places we always go (or the select few we always choose from). We eat the things we always eat. Get adventurous and seek new restaurants that really focus on niche, healthy eats. A few local areas that jump to mind are Freshii, Modern Love, First Watch and Kitchen Table.

5. Get some fresh air. There’s nothing better than eating quality foods — unless they are quality foods from our local farmers! Yes, visit our local farmers markets and get the juiciest fruits, vibrantly colored vegetables and friendliest local fare from our friends and neighbors. There’s something incredibly heart-warming about sipping ice-cold lemonade squeezed fresh before your eyes.

Some easy tricks include looking ahead at the menu for healthy options, knowing you can request preparation accommodations (most places are willing to do so without issue) and planning what you’re going to order before you get there.

6. Self-control happens at the store, not in the kitchen It’s easier to make the decision to bring only healthy foods into your home while you’re at the grocery store or farmers market. Once your favorite treat is in the home, you’re one weak moment away from sabotage.

If a restaurant offers a hearty chicken pasta with a heavy cream sauce, consider asking for a grilled chicken breast with the pasta and sauce on the side. Also, check with the restaurant on a healthy option menu. You may be surprised to learn that some restaurants offer specific healthy menus or highlight a section in their regular menu for healthier options.

2. Focus on portion control, menu. You don’t have to whip out a food scale (though many do it

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7. And don’t forget to move. Pack a picnic and hit the trail for a perfect pairing of food and activity. Not up for walking? Take a blanket to a park and be a kid again. When’s the last time you worked out some energy on a swing before sitting down to eat lunch?

Not sure how much to eat? Use your own hand to figure your meal Portion sizes from these food groups: protein = palm • Vegitable = FIST • Friuts = handful • Nuts = thumb

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Whatever you do, it’s great to know you don’t have to go


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D far to get the very best for your happiness, heart, and health. These are tips I use as a fitness studio owner and personal trainer, a mom trying to instill healthy habits in her three boys, and a bodybuilding competitor. Below are some restaurants I frequent while working toward my fitness goals. The bottom line is you can truly find healthy options or ways to be healthy anywhere.

Bellevue: First Watch – Try an egg-white omelet with a lean protein, like turkey, loaded with vegetable. Umami – Steamed shrimp or grilled chicken and broccoli with steamed rice will hit the spot without hitting your caloric budget too hard. Sushi is a surprisingly healthy option. Try to avoid fried rolls and leave out anything containing mayo or cream cheese.

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Papillion: Spin! Pizza – Opt for a cauliflower crust for an added dose of veggies and to significantly cut the carb load of your slice. Ollie and Hobbes – The grilled proteins on the menu offer the flavor without the butters, oils, and fats of other preparations. Add them to a salad with a side of light balsamic for a meal that satisfies your mouth and your macros.

Omaha: Modern Love and Kitchen Table go above and beyond to offer locally sourced, healthful menu items that feed your soul as much as they feed your body.

Freshii – With nutrition clearly listed for each menu item, there’s no need to second guess yourself.

Naviere Walkewicz is a writer, certified nutritionist and fitness professional, owner of Fitssentials Fitness Studio, veteran, and Ms. Veteran America. Walkewicz hopes to highlight opportunities to feed your healthy social life while maintaining fitness and nutrition goals.

Saigon Bowl – Light and delicious bowls mean that your meal plan is anything but monotonous.

Follower her on Facebook at www. facebook.com/Naviere4MVA2019/ and on Instagram at @MsBossL8ee.

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Naviere Walkewicz certified nutritionist and fitness professional

THE WORLD’S BEST GOLFERS ARE DRIVING GOOD IN OMAHA. There’ll be family fun, great golf and lots and lots of good. Since 2017, the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Chevrolet has drawn the best Web.com Tour professionals to Omaha and has donated more than $143,000 to local charities. And you can be part of the action! NEBRASKA SECTION PGA YOUTH DAY Tuesday, July 16: Free Admission and Parking, Golf Demo and Autographs from Web.com Tour Players

CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY Thursday–Sunday, July 18–21

FREE PARKING AND SHUTTLES Metro Community College at the Elkhorn Valley Campus

INFORMATION AND TICKETS Visit ThePinnacleBankChampionship.com

– Buy tickets at ThePinnacleBankChampionship.com – | 1THE READER | JUNE 2019 20PIN-1841_PBC_TicketsAd_TheReader_v3.indd

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Mind Games Together Lui Shtini’s ‘Tempos’ exhibit at Bemis Center a ‘mental stretch’ for both artist, viewers by Carol Dennison

Lui Shtini, “Handling Stock,” 2019,

Oil and enamel on Dibond, Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Colin Conces.

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nreal, yet real. Surreal, yet familiar. But ultimately, beyond real. “Tempos,” a solo show of 26 paintings, is all the above, and it’s on display at the Bemis Center through June 15. A virtual storyboard of Lui Shtini’s artistic growth spanning the past five years, the exhibit documents the path of conceptual and technical changes in his work. Shtini’s forms, anthropomorphic and sensual, globular and curving, colorful and black and white, softened with shadows and spatters, swirls and layers, elicit smiles, ahhs, raised brows, some embarrassed side looks and, always, prolonged gazes. Three galleries of work reveal his tangential and changing relationships with reality. Gallery 1, the small room behind the front desk, contains a selection of oil paint-

ings on board from 2015-16 that resemble small portraits of unidentifiable shapes that hint of body parts, or facial approximations. They mimic portraiture, which focuses on a central figure set on a noncompeting background. “Piegato” poses a cobalt, flexible pillow over what simulates a black, wooly nose. “Morboso” alludes to a morbid or unhealthy aspect whose flesh-colored, swollenbean shape emits a thin-lined smile. Others from this series allude to blackened lungs, textured skin surfaces, slit openings, and mirror image-shapes that evoke a living presence but never rest on the fact of one. Together, they attract with intriguing colors: mauve, azure and cobalt, yellow and purple, black and white all the while asking to play, “Who am I?”

Painting titles in this room hint at the white form sprouting through the center. sense of texture that Shtini is going for. Also in this gallery, “One on Each Side” apOne series named “Skin” reflects the depth- pears as a basic black form with an ear? a building texture that Shtini uses throughout knob? on each side of the monolithic cenhis works. In “Skin IX” he paints a thick layer ter, but what of the squiggles of armpit hair of mauve, deeply grooved, then outlined in under each? Again, Shtini engages viewers subliminally, eliciting connections. a darker purple. Entering Gallery 3 one notices a sharp Another, “Skin III,” a study in black and white, builds up texture that is later carved tick up in energy and motion, from languishaway in hatch marks to reveal an under layer ing to pulsing. Large in scale, roughly four of white. The works in this series have a sym- by five feet, these works from 2017-19, are metry akin to a Rorschach inkblot test, though exercises using oil and enamel on dibond, a surface that bonds plastic between thin aluthe images are not perfectly mirrored. Gallery 2 gives way to eight larger minum sheets. The artist’s challenge entails quick work works, mostly done in 2017-18 that portray a sensual subtlety through charcoal, pastels laying down the enamel layer because it and graphite. “Tangle” shows some skin in dries rapidly. Enamel swirls, wiggles and the game as white and brown limbs entwine. worms over surfaces, suggesting microbial Stipple on light limb and streak of dark limb close-ups, while thick oil-stroked figures produce a contrast of steady vs. flowing, a build up the surface. beautiful, rhythmic piece. Shtini’s sense of For example, “Firestarter” seems to use humor is evident in “Meat Buzzer,” a hairy- a combination hockey stick/ice skate scoop stubbed form, strangely wired to some un- to toss a flaming mass backward. As mounds known place. “A Passage” conjures female, of brown and gray move off the canvas left erotic, and voyeuristic with its box-camera and below, one wonders of the implications. eye, while “Apparition of the Bounty” hints Does it rue the absurdity of massive forest at the fate of large mammals on the planet. fires and the hurried exodus? Is it a new kind Born in Kavaje, Albania, Shtini splits of Meerschaum pipe? time between his Brooklyn, New York, studio and Sardinia, where he paints in the summers. Maybe it’s just a sense of the Mediterranean Sea and sun and color that influence these pieces, but the pace in this second well-lit gallery seems to slow and expand in its sensuous details. “Hide,” painted in 2018, presents a form basking in warm pastels of burnt orange, fading to white, with a “Fire Starter,” 2018, Oil and enamel on Dibond, Courtesy of the artist contrasting gray and and Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY. Photo: Colin Conces.

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“Conveyer,” 2019,

Oil and enamel on Dibond, Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Colin Conces.

May 31 – June 30 Tickets on sale now! Written by Terrence McNally Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow

Four-time Tony Award®winning musical with soaring ballads and a stunning score

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JUNE 2019

| THE READER |

ART

“West Coast” resisting categofeatures cascading rization. Furtherred blooms and a more, it carries a single, gray acorn broad emotional that shoot from the charge that covleft canvas edge ers more ground across a white backin a fluid way. ground. Gray and On a visit blue forms stand through the exsteady to interrupt hibit, a viewer their course to the can experience right.  the growth and Both color and grapple with the “Meat Buzzer,” 2019, Charcoal & graphite on paper motion create ap- Courtesy of the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, IL, mystery inherpeal, making this ent in the work, and Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY piece feel a smidbut as the Lithugeon like landscape. Here again, highly tex- anian translation of tempos implies, they’ll tured oil paint gives these works a depth that need a “stretch” of the mind to take it all in. also carries motion and direction. Shtini exhibits in galleries in New York, Most disturbing of these recent works, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Mi“Conveyor” and “Handling Stock” picture lan, among other cities. He studied at the loose approximations of sheep, both in help- Academy of Arts in Tirana, Albania, from less positions. “Conveyor” suggests cobalt 1997-2000 and attended the Skowhegan blue sheep in a mechanized processing en- School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. vironment, carried by black robotic appendOn June 6, 6-7 p.m., Rachel Adams, ages across the canvas to their fate. A watery, chief curator and director of programs at Bered background of worm-like shapes adds to mis, will lead a tour of “Tempos,” providing the surreal scene. an opportunity to delve into its themes. Ad“Handling Stock,” lighter in tone, plac- ams will also provide insight into the curatoes irregular-shaped, pink blots across the rial process. surface of what again appears as a lamb’s “Lui Shtini: Tempos” runs through June hindquarter clenched by a gray mechanical 15 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, vise. Brown taping in the background hints 724 S. 12th St. Hours are Wednesday-Saturat broken corrals. day from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 9p.m. on Throughout “Tempos,” Shtini invites Thursdays. For more information, call (402) his audience to think openly. He describes 341-7130 or visit www.bemiscenter.org. his works as open-ended and overlapping,


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of Vivian’s short life and the timeless magnitude of her death. This gripping historical drama, directed by Denise Chapman and set in North Omaha, commemorates the 50th anniversary of a tragic moment that had an impact on a community for years.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sundays, May 26, June 2 & 9, at 6 p.m., Sundays, June 2, 9 & 16, at 2 pm. General Admission $35. Seniors $30.

braska at Omaha. For more information, visit cfam.unomaha.edu/sensory/art.

Call the Bluebarn box office at (402) 3451576 between 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays or order tickets at bluebarn.org

Through June 30

— Beaufield Berry

Through June 21

Sensory 3.0

— Melinda Kozel

Ragtime

Omaha Community Playhouse Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre

UNO Art Galleries

Thursdays–Saturdays at 7 p.m. Sunday at 4 p.m. Seating begins 20 minutes before showtime. No late seating will be allowed. All shows are free. — Beaufield Berry

Through June 16 Strangeman Theatre Presents

The Woodsman Bluebarn Theatre 10th and Pacific

Through June 16 Great Plains Theatre Conference and the Union for Contemporary Art’s Performing Arts Collective Presents

The Blues of Knowing Why

On June 26th, 1969, 14-year-old Vivian Strong was killed by an Omaha police officer. Her death divided a community and created a fracture that has never been resolved. In The Blues of Knowing Why, Christopher Maly conducted interviews with friends and family of Vivian Strong, members of the media, and members of social resistance organizations to provide a community’s account

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June 2019

Returning for its third iteration in two UNO art galleries is Sensory: Please Touch the Art, on view until June 21. The very popular Sensory: Please Touch the Art 3.0 encourages viewers to engage with the work through touch, illuminating the realities of interacting with art for those who are blind or visually impaired. This exhibit is part of an international movement to increase accessibility in museums, galleries and classrooms and features artists who are committed to creating pieces that promote multi-sensory experiences.

Based on the forgotten writings of L. Frank Baum, The Woodsman tells the origin story of the Tin Man from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This hauntingly beautiful love story is told through original music, physical storytelling, and innovative puppetry. Members of Strangemen Theatre Company re-create their Obie Award-winning experience with an ensemble of Omaha professionals. Follow ‘Nick Chopper’ on a magical adventure filled with dangers and wonders that are breathtaking to behold.

| THE READER |

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More than 80 pieces are included in the show, including work by Tom Flott, Katie Larson, Rachna Keshwani, Cindy White, Nadirah Johnson, Lisa Johnson, Pamela Hinson, Heather Schulte, Jeannie McCarthy, Lila Ferber, Sarah Parys and Naoko Morisawa. Ranging from paintings to sculpture, each piece uses tactile mediums and methods to provoke an interactive, sensational experience. Sensory: Please Touch the Art 3.0 is on view through June 21 in the Weber Fine Arts Building Art Gallery and the Osborne Gallery at Criss Library at the University of Ne-

A tragic yet hopeful tale, four-time Tony Award-winning Ragtime explores the pursuit of the American dream and the meaning of family. Set in the melting pot of New York City at the turn of the last century, the lives of a wealthy white couple, a determined Jewish immigrant and an African American ragtime musician intertwine, creating a rich tapestry of American life. With soaring ballads and a stunning score, these characters are connected by their compassion, belief and resolution that they, too, will find their place in the world. Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow. Wednesday–Saturday 7:30 p.m. Sunday 2 p.m. Adults $24-$50. Purchase tickets at (402) 553-0800 or at TicketOmaha. Disclaimer: Contains violence and racial tension. — Beaufield Berry

Through September 8

Jay Heikes Solo Joslyn Art Museum

The Joslyn Art Museum’s Riley CAP Gallery, dedicated exclusively to living, con-


temporary artists, is exhibiting the work of Jay Heikes. The Minneapolis-based Heikes is most recognized by his installations and sculptures that combine traditional materials – paint, plaster, graphite and bronze – with non-traditional materials and found objects. His work is considered both ironic and mysterious, often juxtaposing elements in peculiar and unexpected ways. According to the show statement, Heikes is fascinated by alchemy — the medieval precursor to modern chemistry — and goes on to state this new work is his “response to the social and political turmoil that is gripping the United States. Rather than directly addressing current events playing out on Earth, however, Heikes has diverted his attention toward the sky.” Although he is mostly known as a sculptor and installation artist, he recently has turned to painting. Further information is available at www. joslyn.org. — Kent Behrens

Through September 8

The Art of Seating Joslyn Art Museum

The Joslyn Art Museum gives chair its due with the exhibit “The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design.’’ Though Plato demanded we stand up straight as possible to establish our intellectual separation from the baser desires of ap-

petite and reproduction, he no doubt said it, like all good philosophers, while sitting down. Much to the dismay of many a chiropractor, Americans spend about nine hours a day sitting. No mystery then that we take our chairs seriously, but we don’t often think of them as works of art. Artists of all kinds do, and the Joslyn Art Museum is featuring a grand exhibition of 40 of the ultimate in sitting/seating on display until Sept. 8. The exhibit is from the Jacobsen Collection of American Art and was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida. The exhibit treats the chair not only as an everyday item but as functional sculpture; each of the 40 chairs in the exhibition reflects important artistic, social, economic, political and cultural influences.

member is bassist Eric Wilson, meaning the group essentially functions as a glorified cover band. Expect all your favorites from 40oz. to Freedom and Sublime as well as new material from the Rome-driven Blessings, released last month. Grab a Juul and your cargo shorts and get excited! — Houston Wiltsey

June 6

Light Laid Asleep/Light Awoken

June 6

L7 with

Garden of the Zodiac Gallery 1042 Howard Street

Le Butcherettes Slowdown

The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design is a ticketed show; there is an entry fee for non-Museum members. Please check the museum website for ticket prices at joslyn.org or call (402) 342-3300. — Kent Behrens

Sublime with Rome

Sumtur Amphitheater

Hanns Zischler, Light Laid Asleep/Light Awoken: Pinhole Color Photographs 20102018 runs through August 4 in the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery, 1042 Howard Street. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. For further information, call (402) 341-1877, email gardenofthezodiac@ gmail.com, or visit the Garden of the Zodiac on Facebook. — Janet L. Farber

The show features from the functional and modest to the creative and futuristic, from early 19th century to contemporary. Chair designers include Noguchi and Saarinen, Eames and Bertoia, just to drop a few names. Examples vary from Asian influences to Mid-century Modern, often mimicking associated architectural trends.

June 6

describes his works as illuminating his experience of the shape of time and amplifying awareness of his surroundings.

It is no surprise to find photography exhibited at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery and, more recently, it has featured works by those revitalizing such heritage processes as tintype, cyanotype and platinum/palladium printing. The latest show, Light Laid Asleep/Light Awoken, which opens June 6, sheds light on recent work by Berlin author, actor and photographer Hanns Zischler in one of the oldest techniques of all — pinhole photography.

Throw on your acid-washed jeans, braid your goatee, and put on a T-shirt that’s two sizes too big because Sublime is back in the Heartland — or Sublime with Rome, we should say.

Zischler’s camera is essentially a wooden box with a small hole with a removable cover; light-sensitive material sits inside the box to collect the image during the necessary long time of an exposure. The rest of his equipment is more modern, as the negatives are scanned in his digital darkroom and rendered as chromatically sumptuous color prints.

The California ska band reformed in 2009, 13 years after the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell, with singer/guitarist, and admitted Sublime super-fan, Rome Ramirez. These days, the only original remaining

The long exposures of pinhole photography often result in a degree of haze or blur from objects in motion and changes in light, lending a suffused and hypnotic sensibility to his scenes taken in nature. Zischler

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Never the most complex grunge-rock songwriters, L7 was busier berating listeners with down-tuned, palm-muted riffs that were as similar to Sabbath as the riot grrrl crowd they were lumped with. They rose to moderate fame in 1992 when Bricks are Heavy and the anthemic “Pretend We’re Dead” dropped as a soundtrack to a pissedoff ’90s Sunset Strip and eventually scored them tours with The Smashing Pumpkins and The Breeders. Today, L7 is looked on as deserving poster-children of early ’90s punk apathy. Not much has changed sonically on Scatter the Rats (Blackheart Records), the band’s first LP since 1999 and its 2014 reformation. But what’s impressive is that — aside from a few out-of-touch lyrical takes on the social media generation — the band’s sardonic slacker schtick is as fresh as ever, aided most by the onslaught of grungevariant guitar effects and hooky songwriting throughout the album. It’s music that’s more fitting for a dingy basement filled with bikers and punks than a North Downtown club, but L7 will sound just as heavy when it stops in Omaha at the Slowdown this month. Mexican sparkplug punks Le Butcherettes open the show. More information: theslowdown.com. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 day of the show.

| THE READER |

— Sam Crisler

June 2019

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June 7-8

painting and 3-D work, he “squeezes” feelings and thoughts into visual conversations about society.

Latino Lives

Flora refers to the plants of a particular region. The title Oma-flora combines the German word for grandmother (Oma) and flora, which gives a connection to Mother Nature.

The Bay, 2005 Y St

As part of the immersive experience, Bullard will be creating a public art piece in Benson, coinciding with the exhibition.

At least since launching her Lincolnbased punk band Histrionic a few years ago, Aramara Quintos Tapia has proudly proclaimed her Hispanic heritage, and it was a prominent theme in Histrionic’s debut EP, Diary Party, which dropped in January. Last year saw the first iteration of Latino Lives, Quintos Tapia’s music festival at The Bourbon Theatre showcasing eight Nebraska bands and artists with Latinx members. And in year two, Latino Lives moves to The Bay for two nights with double the acts, highlighted by Omaha hardcore band Jocko, Omaha rapper Conny Franko, Lincoln folk songwriter Gerardo Meza and, of course, Histrionic. Regional bands Free Truman (Fargo, North Dakota), Los Gold Fires (Chicago), Division Point (Chicago) and Oftener (Minneapolis) are also on the bill. Tickets are $7 for one night, $10 for both nights. Check out the full, 16-act lineup by searching Latino Lives on Facebook. — Sam Crisler

June 7

Oma-flora Petshop Gallery Benson

If Spring is a field of flowers for you, head over to the Petshop Gallery in Benson on June 7 for the opening of Oma-flora from 7-10 p.m. Oma-flora is an immersive installation by artist Brandon Bullard. Using the organization and materiality of fabric and weaving,

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June 2019

Oma-flora opens June 7 and is up until July 26 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N 62nd St. Gallery hours are 11 a.m-2 p.m. Fridays, or by appointment. For more information, contact bensonfirstfriday.com/petshop. — Hugo Zamorano

pletely identifiable” and instrumental in meaning of each piece. As part of the show, Swanson requests that the public post on the event’s Facebook page in response to the question “What does America mean to me?” That will add a “layer of engagement” and extend the question beyond what is present in the show. America opens June 7 and continues through June 27 at The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple Street. Gallery hours are TuesdayFriday 3-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and by appointment. For additional information call (402) 996-1092. — Hugo Zamorano

June 7

braska via a circuitous route through Buxton, Ontario, Canada – the terminus of the Underground Railroad. The nonprofit Descendants of DeWitty LLC has erected a historical marker and created a documentary. A proposed archaeological project awaits funding. Visit descendantsofdewitty.org. Exhibit hours are 3-7 p.m. There is no charge. — Leo Adam Biga

June 7

Horizon Lines Anderson O’Brien Fine Art’s Farnam Gallery

First Friday Open House:

June 7

America The Little Gallery Benson

Descendants of DeWitty Photo Exhibit Metro Gallery 1316 N Street, Suite 191 Lincoln, Nebraska

Celebrating four years of art in Benson, The Little Gallery opens the exhibit America, featuring artist Trudy Swanson. America opens June 7 from 6-9 p.m. during Benson First Friday. Swanson will be re-purposing recognizable items in American culture. The context in which the materials are placed redirects the interpretation toward addressing from lighthearted interpretation of American phrases to heavier issues such as the ongoing battle for women’s rights. For instance, in a collaborative piece with artist Shaun Ilahi, the artist says that it juxtaposes homelessness with other “throwaways” in American society. Although often re-purposing materials is not new in Swanson’s work, it is the first time they are “com-

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The horizon line is a constant. It’s a point of focus. It’s the setting for beginnings and ends. It stays with its viewer while everything around it moves. John Dennison and Paula Wallace celebrate this phenomenon in their upcoming exhibit Horizon Lines, opening June 7 at Anderson O’Brien Fine Art’s Farnam Gallery.

See images and learn stories of DeWitty (Cherry County), the longest-lasting black settlement in Nebraska history (1904-1936), in this exhibition running through June. On June 7, historical archaeologist William Hunt will provide a curated tour with descendants re-enacting the DeWitty story. Historian Joyceann Gray, a descendant of a DeWitty homesteader, said, “What is so important about this community is the bond between African-American homesteaders of DeWitty and their white counterparts in Brownlee. The two communities were very isolated and despite differences of heritage and beginnings, they enjoyed a civil and caring relationship.” The black settlers came after passage of the Kinkaid Act that opened non-irrigable Sandhills land for settlement. Unlike other black colonies on the Plains, most of the settlers arrived in western Ne-

Wallace eschews the adage that the horizon is an anchor and sees it instead as a hinge. This line balances Wallace’s impulses for illustration and painting and serves as the platform from which light, color and rhythm emit. Dennison uses this dynamic from the horizon as his morning inspiration. Knowing that moment is fleeting, he finds a grounding force in his ceramic masks. They take the place of a constant for him, his own horizon line. Behind and in front of the masks the world keeps changing and the mask becomes the means for confronting it. Horizon Lines opens June 7 with a reception from 5-8 p.m. and runs through June 30 at Anderson O’Brien Fine Art Farnam Street Gallery, 3201 Farnam Street. For more information, visit aobfineart.com, dennisonpottery.com or paulawallacefineart.com. — Melinda Kozel


June 7

June 7-23

We are Different

The Rose Theater Presents Roald Dahl’s

B Side of Benson Theatre Gallery bensontheatre.org/calendar-of-events/

Emerging artist Shawnequa Linder continues to step up her game with the solo exhibit We are Different (Portraits), opening June 7 at B Side of Benson Theatre Gallery during Benson First Fridays. Known for her minimalist take on abstract landscape and figures, she applies a similar organic style to portraiture. Every portrait is unique less because of its origin and more because of Linder’s use of movement, color and texture, which she says is her true subject matter. “The color of choice reflects the emotional state and the texture is the chaos within the subject matter,” she says in her show statement. Consequently, her work may appear less personal and more conceptual as she explores the larger relationships between pop culture and fine art. Yet she remains connected to her work, sometimes using her fingers to paint beguiling, intimate and even forlorn figures and faces that leave a mark on both artist and viewer. There may not be a self-portrait in this promising exhibit, but the pronoun “We” in its title reveals that her subjects are near and dear to the artist while reflecting a talent both different and worthy of review. We are Different (Portraits) will open with a reception June 7 from 6-10 p.m. at B Side of Benson Theatre, 6058 Maple Street. For more information, go to bensontheatre. org/calendar-of-events/ or call (402) 9914333. — Michael J. Krainak

Matilda:

The Musical

Matilda is an exceptional child with an extraordinary imagination who learns to claim her destiny. A brilliant girl born into a less brilliant family, Matilda gets sent away to school at the terrible Crunchem Hall, which is led by the mean former hammerthrowing champion Miss Trunchbull. Armed with good friends and a mentor named Miss Honey, Matilda starts a revolution to help herself and others “change their story.” Time magazine’s Best Show of the Year Tony Award winner features the hit songs “Naughty” and “When I Grow Up.” The production is filled with high-energy dance numbers and showcases Omaha’s talented youth. Fridays at 7 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays at 2 p.m. The 2 p.m. show Saturday, June 15, provides ASL interpretation for the deaf and hard of hearing and audio description services for the blind. Tickets are $27 for main floor and $22 for balcony. Members of The Rose receive discounted tickets. Reservations required. Call 402-3454849 or go to www.rosetheater.org/shows/ matilda/ — Beaufield Berry

June 8-9

Leslie Odom Jr. Holland Performing Arts Center

Leslie Odom Jr. is a renaissance man in an almost literal sense. He played Aaron Burr in the original production of Hamilton on Broadway (I know the Revolutionary War didn’t take place during that time, but it’s close, so sue me), appeared as the spokesman for a Nationwide Mutual Insurance ad campaign, had a recurring role on CSI: Miami, released two jazz vocal albums, and most recently, a book. For his two nights at the Holland, expect a setlist that’s equally scattered. Hamilton hits will be placed alongside Cab Calloway covers. Original tunes saddle up next to the work of Bob Dylan. Odom even takes it back to his roots when he made his Broadway debut at the age of 17 playing Paul in Rent. — Houston Wiltsey

June 11

Of the Bird Fred Simon Gallery 10th and Farnam

on innovative ways to use materials left over from mass consumption of goods Re-Purpose is an interactive and visual arts experience that considers principles and practices related the waste incurred in any human activity on this planet. “What matters is not the physical finite limitations of this planet, but the freedom and creativity to reimagine the use of its resources,’” according to Kaneko’s show statement. A wide roster of artists is slated to be a part of the exhibition, with work from Tony Berlant, Chakaia Booker, Jamie Burmiester, Ted Larsen, Ken Little, and Bart Vargas as well as a long list of collaborators. The Re-Purpose exhibition runs from June 11th, 2019 through August 24th, 2019 at Kaneko 1111 Jones St, Omaha NE 68102. Admission is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 11am to 5 pm. For more information check out thekaneko.org. — Jeff King

Nebraska native Carol Thompson has a new exhibition opening at the Fred Simon Gallery on June 11, a collection of still-life paintings, called Of the Bird. The aesthetic of the paintings is minimal, yet focused with attention to details in each object, with a realistic, stylized method of representing each bird and its relationship to the others. The story and focus of these works are a life-long interest of Thompson, from childhood to the present.

June 13

Mastodon and Coheed and Cambria Stir Concert Cove

As Thompson says, ‘Painting images of nests delights me, probably because for a brief time, I feel an even greater affinity for the bird.’ Of the Bird runs from June 11, with a formal reception June 21, until August 2 at the Nebraska Arts Council Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam Street. Hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, go to artscouncil.nebraska.gov. — Jeff King

June 11

Re-Purpose The Kaneko, 1111 Jones St

Kaneko opens Re-Purpose beginning June 11, a large group exhibition focused

Mastodon is a great starter band for those looking to get into metal. I don’t mean to say their music is rudimentary, just that it mixes bits of metal’s sub-genres into a streamlined package. Throughout its discography, the band has used elements of thrash, prog, and stoner metal all performed with incredible technical proficiency and condensed into three- to five-minute tunes. The Atlanta band is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its prog-metal masterpiece Crack the Skye with a co-headlining tour with Coheed and Cambria. During the Unheavenly Skye Tour, the band will play the album in full every night along with hits such as “Blood and Thunder” and “March of the Fire Ants.” — Houston Wiltsey

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| THE READER |

June 2019

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June 14

Marty Stuart

and His Fabulous Superlatives Scottish Rite Hall 202 S 20th Street

dent Evil franchise, All About the Benjamins and the remake of Sparkle. He’s reportedly to play Richard Pryor in an announced Lee Daniels biopic about the comedy icon. Having proven his dramatic chops, Epps may show a deeper side to his comedy these days or, more likely, stick with the raw humor that put him on the map. Not sure who the “Friends” are joining him for his threeday Ralston run, but they’ll be hard-pressed to outdo his mega wattage. Shows June 14-15 are at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Shows June 16, are at 7 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets: popup.seatengine.com. — Leo Adam Biga

June 15 Even as a part of country music’s history, Marty Stuart continues to add to his diverse body of work. “Way Out West” is his 18th album celebrating the history of country music while imparting wisdom upon the genre’s future. If you can’t afford a summer vacation to California, Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, can transport you there with their “psychedelic” and “twangified” tunes. Journey through the American West with the country legend at the historic Scottish Rite Hall. — Addie Costello

June 14-16 Pop Up Comedy Series Presents

Mike Epps

North Omaha Summer Arts Presents

This summer outdoor concert tradition resumes after taking a break last year. Music of the soul and spirit takes center stage as some of Omaha’s finest performers gather for this grassroots, no-frills gospel concert in the park. Whether you get comfy on a blanket or a lawn chair, sit back and let the sounds of praise and inspiration wash over you. And if the spirit so moves, then raise your hands or get up and dance. Somebody, though, remember to say amen. Hot dogs and refreshments (or bring your own picnic dinner) will feed the body along with the soul.

June 19 Nebraska Shakespeare on the Green Presents

Much-A-Brew:

A Craft Beer Event and Sneak Peek of Shakespeare on the Green

June 2019

— Beaufield Berry

June 20-23 Elkhorn Community Theatre Presents

Seussical: The Musical

| THE READER |

June 21 at 6 p.m. June 22 at 5:30 p.m. June 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 via Eventbrite

June 23 I Be Black Girl Presents One of the most performed shows in America, Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent to military school for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant. Thursday-Saturday at 7 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m. The production will be at the Elkhorn High School, 1401 Veterans Drive. Online tickets $12 at www.elkhorncommunitytheatre.org. At the door, $15. — Beaufield Berry

June 21-23

The Living Room at Mastercraft 1111 North 13th St. Afromaha presents the second edition of African Fashion Week in Omaha. Experience rich, diverse African culture through fash-

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ion. A melange of extras centered on African fabric and Ankara print. Raw, traditional, modern. Reclaimed from around the world but mainly sourced from Africa. Featured designers: Alexis Amina, Anna and Ruth Mock, Leila De Aliel, Teley Foley, M.J. Queen Beauty & Fashion and a surprise designer.

— Leo Adam Biga

African Fashion Week in Omaha

Def Jam Comedy veteran Mike Epps follows a long tradition of leveraging standup fame and fan base for a film-television acting career. His screen presence grows larger by the year. But if his busy comedy touring is any indication, he’s not leaving the standup scene anytime soon. Aside from Def Jam, you may know him from his roles in the Friday sequels (Last Friday is in the works), the Resi-

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This is a rain-or-shine event beginning at 6:30 p.m. June 19. Cost is $35 per person. RSVP by June 12. Use the online form here or call (402) 280-2391

Miller Park (southeast section)

— Leo Adam Biga

The Side Room at Ralston Arena

This VIP, 21-and-over event is limited to 200 attendees.

A Gospel Concert

The event is from 5-7:30 p.m. There is no charge.

& Friends

The event includes craft beers, dinner and a sneak peek of the Shakespeare On the Green production of All’s Well That Ends Well.

Ain’t I A Woman Celebration The Venue, Highlander Accelerator 2112 North 30th Street

In remarkably short time I Be Black Girl has put its startup vision of coalescing African American concerns into action through holding networking and empowerment events and funding programs that support black girls and women. The A’int I A Woman event will highlight the work of IBBG over the past year, including the mad success of its giving circle. Hear from the leadership of IBBG as well as award recipients of the inaugural giving circle grant program. Those grants went to Curls on the Block, Empower ME, Alyssa’s Piano Studio, LIIT Ladies in IT, Peace of Mine Young Women’s Self-Care Retreat, My Sister’s Keeper and The Keys Foundation/Confidentially Me Mentorship Program. It’s an opportunity to celebrate black sisterhood and network with community entrepreneurs and resources. The event runs from 3-5 p.m. Tickets are $10 via Eventbrite — Leo Adam Biga


June 27

Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram

tarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band, will be performing with his own band, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul. Joining Little Steven, and the 14 musicians who make up the Disciples of Soul, is Chris Isaak. Along with nine albums and two Grammy nominations, Isaak has an abundance of rock fans who enjoy his signature, classic style.

Chrome Lounge 8552 Park Drive

The concert will be kicked off by The Firm, a local cover band. To end a night spent rockin’ there will be a fireworks show beginning around 10.

and Sebastian Lane

— Addie Costello

Through June 29

Tempestuous Microcosm Union’s Wanda D. Ewing Gallery 2423 N. 24th Street Young blues artists are a rarity, and young musicians, of any genre, with the ability of Christone “Kingfish” Ingram are even scarcer. Kingfish honed his guitar and songwriting skills in a major blues capitol, his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi. For this concert he will be teaming with an Omaha resident and blues legacy, Sebastian Lane. As the grandson of Jimmy Lane and son of Jimmy Rodgers, Lane carries some high expectations in the blues community. Luckily for listeners, he lives up to them.

The themes of Yoshimoto’s work arise from his cultural connection with the 2011 tsunami in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, from his volunteerism in Greece assisting Syrian refugees, and with 2015 earthquake recovery efforts in Nepal. Yoshimoto’s approach is to consider these events in microcosm by merging cellphone journalism with iconography drawn from art history, manga and social media to create Technicolor, graphic images memorializing real human drama. His images are often aggregates of moments seen, described to or researched by the artist. By incorporating into these contemporary events a variety of classical motifs drawn from Japanese, Greek and European art, Yoshimoto raises them to the level of history painting, long considered the most important, enduring genre in academic art. Tempestuous Microcosm: Jave Yoshimoto runs through June 29 at the Union’s Wanda D. Ewing Gallery, 2423 N. 24th Street, with free public hours on Tuesday from 2-6 p.m., Wednesdays-Friday from noon-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Additional information may be found at www.u-ca.org. — Janet L. Farber

June 30

Grapetooth The Slowdown theslowdown.com

— Addie Costello

June 28

Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul and Chris Isaak Memorial Park

Natural disasters, lethal epidemics, political upheavals, suicide bombings, refugee crises — any one of these waves of human catastrophe screams in international headlines nearly every day. Yet, how many do we absorb before reaching our emotional limits, before moving our thoughts and prayers to the next disaster? How can we slow the onslaught of devastation illuminated in our news cycles to make empathy more sticky and powerful?

An anonymous donor is keeping the flame of the Memorial Park Concert fireworks alive. This year Steven Van Zandt, gui-

These are the questions that stir artist Jave Yoshimoto, an assistant professor at UNO whose exhibition of paintings and sculpture, Tempestuous Microcosm, opened at the Wanda D. Ewing Gallery at the Union for Contemporary Arts on May 16.

under an hour, it won’t leave you with too much of a hangover. — Houston Wiltsey

June 30 YBI Omaha Awards Presents

We Are the Movement

The Living Room at Mastercraft 1111 North 13th St.

Young Black & Influential celebrates emerging and established influencers in the community. Individuals are recognized for making positive changes through social entrepreneurship and other activities. Meet and greet this year’s award recipients in different age brackets. Youth influencers: Nadia Spurlock (Advocacy), Riaunna Preston (Creativity) and Kelsay Combs Brown (Innovation). 20s influencers: Camron Hairston (Advocacy), Kennan Tomlinson, Cameron Terrell (Creativity) and Tyvon Merritt (Innovation). 30s Influencers: Andrew Aleman and Lindsey Williams (Advocacy), Folly Teko (Creativity) and Luper Akough (Innovation). 40s Influencers: Alisa Palmer (Advocacy) Judy Kiagiri (Creativity) and Denise Chapman (Innovation). Mentor of the Year: Erica McGruder. Event runs from 2-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 via Eventbrite. — Leo Adam Biga

Grapetooth is stupid fun. The duo comprised of Twin Peaks guitarist Clay Frankel and producer Chris Bailoni came up with the name to describe someone who enjoys wine a little too much. It’s a fitting title because the duo’s self-titled debut album shares many of the same characteristics as a cheap bottle – easily digestible, over-sugary fun that can lead to a headache after you’ve consumed too much. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend picking up the album, the band has been putting on some truly riotous concerts involving folks pin-balling themselves headlong into one another. And clocking in at just

pickS

July Picks

Deerhunter ......7/10 The Beths...........7/15 Ben Kweller......7/21 Baroness.............7/26

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— Sam Crisler

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Omaha Native Finds Success on Broadway Phil Kenny is a player among co-producers, investors on the ‘Great White Way’ by Leo Adam Biga Meanwhile, the 42nd Club coproduction Be More Chill enjoyed breakout off-Broadway success that’s transitioned into a Broadway run going strong. The show led all nominees for the 2019 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards nominations.

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hil Kenny resembles the starstruck dentist with songwriting ambitions in the stage classic The Bells are Ringing. Growing up in Omaha, Kenny played the lead in a high school production of Oklahoma! and appeared in a Ralston Community Theater production of Fiddler on the Roof. Listening to the Les Miserables cast album became a ritual. He wrote plays through college with the ambition of penning a Broadway musical. The technology law attorney still pursues that dream. He and collaborator Reston Williams, formerly of The Blue Man group, hope to get their four-years-in-the-making musical on its legs in New York. Far from a frustrated wannabe, Kenny’s made himself a theater insider co-producing major musicals through his 42nd Club investors group. As unlikely as it sounds, this married, devout Mormon father of seven living in Utah has co-produced some of Broadway’s most successful musicals the past few years, including Anastasia and Sunset Boulevard. In 2018 he even copped a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical with Once on This Island. On a side note, one of its stars, Merle Dandridge, shares a hometown connection: Both she and Kenny are Papillion LaVista High School graduates, though not classmates. Odds are Kenny will take home another statuette at the June 7 Tonys because three of the five Best Musical nominees are 42nd Club co-produced shows: Hadestown, Tootsie and Beetlejuice. Kenny and Co. also co-produced King Kong – nominated for three Tonys and receiving a special Tony for puppetry.

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For Kenny, crashing the Broadway world as a producer never occurred to him as a thing until two people suggested he try it. “A number of friends and I have been able to participate in Broadway musicals by investing in and co-producing, which we didn’t even know was an available option,” Kenny said. The investing opportunity was first broached by Greg Franklin, a veteran investor and co-producer. Then again by Jay Kuo, an attorney who ended up co-writing the Broadway musical Allegiance. “I told them both no initially,” Kenny said. “They didn’t pressure me at all. But after I called Greg (Franklin) to grab lunch and get answers to my questions, I decided to get into it. I found out Broadway investing is less like throwing money away and a donation, and more like a high-risk investment where there actually is the potential to make money – and possibly a lot of money if you pick the right shows. That excited and interested me because I feel like I have my finger on the pulse of what people like in a Broadway show.

tickets and aftershow party passes,” he said. “Those parties are filled with other people who invest $25,000 or more in shows. I made it my business to meet everybody I could.” With Franklin, he said, “I came up with the idea that if we all grouped together we could then co-produce a musical rather than just be an investor. By co-producing we get a bigger say and might be invited at the table when lead

That’s Phil and his wife Claire on stage at the Tonys (circled).

“My first investment was a play called Living on Love starring opera star Renee Fleming. It ended up closing early and didn’t return any of our investment. We didn’t have nearly the same type of access to the best shows then as we do now. We were just excited lead producers were talking to us.” Then Kenny got more connected. “When you invest in a Broadway show you frequently get opening-night

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And a picture of them with their seven children.


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producers are talking about various marketing initiatives or having creative discussions.” This let’s-put-on-a-show economic model has paid off well enough that the club’s grown to 100 members. “Most of our investors tend to be outside of New York. “The interesting thing about what we do is that we have the opportunity to invest in the very best and highest-level of commercial theater – shows like Waitress, Matilda and An American in Paris – where the buy-in to invest in big Hollywood projects is cost prohibitive. “Our members are all accredited investors who’ve invested in Broadway shows in the past. We are very selective about the shows we invest in.” Scripts are read. Staged readings and workshops viewed. At a minimum, Kenny said, there must be “a great story and memorable music.” “And this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule,” he added, “but I do like to have some sort of commercial hook in the plot or title.” He often bets on proven track records, such as an adaptation of a popular movie or a project featuring music that already has a built-in following. His metrics also include analyzing the slated budget and calculating how many seats must be filled weekly to turn a profit. He prefers shows play in smaller houses of about 1,000 seats where demand exceeds supply, thereby creating extra urgency and buzz. “Because we’re now at the co-producer level,” he said, “a lot of opportunities now come to us rather than us having to seek them out. Hadestown is one of them. Tootsie is another. A co-producer credit means the lead producer shares producing billing with you if you help with a variety of things, chief among them fundraising by bringing in an investment amount of a certain level – perhaps a half-million or a million dollars.” Among the perks that go with getting your name above the title is being eligible to win a Tony Award “Our first nomination was when we coproduced a new musical called The Visit by (John) Kander and (Fred) Ebb – the same composers of Chicago and Cabaret – with a book by Terrence McNally. Our second nominated show was Waitress – a huge commercial success. It’s been the most profitable investment we’ve been a part of. That show was nominated in the same year as Hamilton, so we knew we had zero chance of winning.” Then came Once on This Island’s upset win. The odds-on favorite was My Fair Lady, which swept all the pre-Tony awards shows.

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“Our winning was really a surprise to a lot of people, including us producing partners. I was in the back of the house pacing back and forth with my wife when they read Once on This Island as the winner. That single moment was probably the most exciting of my life – and I’ve had some pretty exciting moments. I looked at my wife and took her by the hand and we ran down the aisle with our other partners and we got to be up on stage for something we have such great passion for. “It was just a thrill beyond explanation.” Another perk: “Each of us was able to bring home our own Tony statuette.” Kenny’s already joined a select list of Tony winners from Nebraska in Henry Fonda, Sandy Dennis, Swoosie Kurtz and John Lloyd Young. A second win would put Kenny and Kurtz in select company as multiple winners. Kenny shares the ride with wife Claire. “We’re both huge musical theater fans,” he said. “Our whole family’s really into it.”

4923 Center - Est. 1945

The couple met when he saw her in the chorus of a Utah community theater production of, you guessed it, a musical, and he complimented her backstage. Two weeks later he got her phone number and asked her out. Ten months later, they were married.

Monday-Friday 3 - 7pm Omaha's Best Happy Hour!!!

Even though Kenny’s met such stars as Matthew Broderick and Lin-Manuel Miranda, he said, “A lot of the people I look up to in the Broadway world are people most folks haven’t heard of. They’re lead producers like Hunter Arnold and Tom Kirdahy. They’re bringing incredible art to the stage and taking huge risks. To me, they’re just as much heroes as the people dedicating their lives to the performance aspect of it.”

402-932-5116

God Loves ALL People... So Do We!

Kenny concedes he’s “not the normal, everyday co-producer” but added, “I’ve found the Broadway community very accepting of me and my faith and our big family.” He said he doesn’t currently aspire to be a lead producer. “Part of the reason I don’t have that on my bucket list is the fact that I live in Utah. It would be really difficult to launch a whole production from beginning to end not living in New York.” Among the shows 42nd Club is backing next season is Jagged Little Pill. The musical opens on Broadway in December. It features music from Alanis Morissette’s best-selling album of the same name. To date, only one show he’s co-produced has made it to Omaha on tour – Waitress – but Anastasia arrives in June 2020. Visit 42nd.club.

Come visit our booth at the Pride Festival on June 29 at Baxter Arena! Connect with us! @FUMCOmaha 7020 Cass Street • 402.556.6262 • www.fumcomaha.org

Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at leoadambiga.com.

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Swing into Summer Festivals and Outdoor Shows Add to Stellar Music in the Clubs by B.J. huChteMAnn

Soul Blues Album of the Year for his release I’m Still Around. Also performing are Stan & The Chain Gang and Juke Butter featuring Allison Nash. Tickets are $15 at the gate. For details see facebook.com/ljac.org. The anonymous donor who stepped up to help the city maintain the tradition of the Fourth of July concert and fireworks show resulted in one of the best lineups in recent memory. Co-headliners Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul and Chris Isaak will take the stage for the free show at Memorial Park on Friday, June 28. The Firm opens the night.

BSO Presents Thursdays

Austin’s legendary songwriter, guitarist and bandleader Jon Dee Graham brings his electric trio to the B Side of the Benson Theatre Monday, July 1, 6 p.m. Austin songwriter and musician Bonnie Whitmore opens with a solo set and joins Jon Dee Graham & The Fighting Cocks on bass. PHOTO courtesy Jon Dee Graham

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ummer music gets into full swing, starting with Summer Arts Festival on June 7-9 featuring some great roots and blues talents, including San Francisco’s The Lucky Losers on Saturday, June 8, at 3 p.m., and Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band at 9 p.m. See summerarts.org/music for details. This year’s event moves to Mike Fahey Street between 10th and 14th streets in north downtown by the baseball park. The Nebraska Folk and Roots Festival moves to Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl Saturday, June 15, with its best lineup to date on two stages, including 2019 Grammy Award-winning artist (Best Bluegrass Album of the Year) The Travelin’ McCourys, the old-timey swing and roots sounds of Pokey LaFarge, acclaimed songwriter Greg Brown, plus The Suitcase Junket, Rainbow Girls, Joshua Hedley, Kris Lager Band, Matt Cox Band, Jock Hotel, Clarence Tilton, Hope Dunbar, Andrea Von Kampen and

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Will Hutchinson. Food vendors will be on site, along with workshops, music for kids and more. See nebraskafolkandroots.com for schedule and tickets. The fifth annual free Zydeco Festival at Midtown Crossing is up Saturday, June 22, 3-10p.m. The lineup has downsized a bit but still offers great entertainers with Omaha’s own Prairie Gators opening the show followed by the funky zydeco of Terry & The Zydeco Bad Boys, hailing from Duson, La., plus headliner C.J. Chenier. Chenier is the son of Clifton Chenier. Clifton is known as the originator of zydeco music, and C.J. carries on the tradition of danceable beats and impeccable musicianship. Meanwhile, the inaugural Back Alley Blues Festival happens at Love’s Jazz & Art Center, 2510 N 24th Street and the nearby Elks Lodge on Saturday, June 22, 3-8 p.m. Headlining is the great Johnny Rawls, who is a multiple Blues Music Award nominee and last month took home his second BMA for

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The BSO Presents Thursday series of early shows offers some powerhouse guitarists in June, from soulful, rising guitar star Jarekus Singleton on Thursday, June 6, to the great slide sounds of veteran Chicago bluesman Studebaker John on June 13. Popular contemporary blues-rocker Mike Zito is back June 20. Acclaimed 20-year-old newcomer Christone “Kingfish” Ingram makes his Omaha debut Thursday, June 27. Omaha-based blues-rock artist Sebastian Lane Band opens. Ingram is from Clarksdale, Miss., and his debut disc, Kingfish, dropped on Alligator Records in May. Rolling Stone says Ingram is “One of the most exciting young guitarists in years, with a sound that encompasses B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and Prince.” Follow the Chrome schedule and a curated list of metro blues-related shows at OmahaBlues. com.

Zoo Bar Blues Tony Meza’s back with Los Gattos, joined by Jom Van Gelder, Jeff Boehmer, Jeremiah Weir and Tim Budig. Catch their debut show at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar on Friday, June 14, 5-7 p.m. Alligator Record’s fiery blues-rock guitar star Jarekus Singleton returns Friday, June 7, 5-7 p.m. Mike Zito plugs in Tuesday, June 18, So-

Cal’s roots-rockers The 44s are up Wednesday, June 19, and Tinsley Ellis is back Thursday, June 20. All three shows are 6-9 p.m. Zydeco master C.J. Chenier takes the stage Friday, June 21, 5-7 p.m. Keep up with late-breaking additions to the calendar at zoobar.com.

More Big Shows An artist who put on one of the best shows of 2018, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, returns to Omaha on Friday, June 14, 8 p.m., for a One Percent Productions show at Scottish Rite Hall. Stuart is truly a master of song, guitar and showmanship, and his band is phenomenal. Southern California punk-rock legend X performs at Waiting Room on Sunday, June 23, 8 p.m. Speaking of legends and masters, early warning that Austin’s iconic songwriter, guitarist and bandleader Jon Dee Graham is back Monday, July 1, 6 p.m. at the B Side of Benson Theatre with an electric trio version of his Austin band The Fighting Cocks. Opening the show and laying down the bass lines in the trio is acclaimed Austin singer-songwriter Bonnie Whitmore. Graham’s band has held down a Wednesday night residency at Austin’s Continental Club for more than 20 years. On Tuesday, July 2, at 8 p.m., Waiting Room hosts the return of Phil Alvin’s The Blasters in a quadruple-bill with Wayne Hancock, The Supersuckers and Clownvis Presley.

Hot Notes The alt-country twang and grit of Texas roots group The Vandoliers is on tap at the Bourbon Theatre on Saturday, June 8. Doors open at 10 p.m., music at 11 p.m. Grammynominated trio The Record Company is on the rise with its second disc, All of This Life, and a slew of touring, including Europe and festivals. Catch the band at Waiting Room on Tuesday, June 11, 8 p.m. Arizona folk artists Matt and Rebekah Rolland play Lincoln’s Crescent Moon Coffee on Wednesday, June 19, 7-9 p.m. See rebekahrolland.com.


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Pulling Out All the Stops Coheed and Cambria offers synth rock, acoustic balladry, guitar pyrotechnics by Houston Wiltsey

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osh Eppard likes the Mets. Scratch that, Josh Eppard loves the Mets. In fact, when I ask the Coheed and Cambria drummer about the team’s chances of making the playoffs this season, he takes more time to answer than he has for any other question during our interview. The bullpen, the strength of their schedule, the weakness of their division -- there’s a level of passion there that you see only in a select few sports fans. Yet it’s the level that he uses to talk about everything -- baseball or otherwise.

I just really believe in his vision and what he’s doing.” That belief and passion for the band also carries over to touring, which starts again for the band this month. “This is pretty much the beginning,” says Eppard. “After this, I hop in my car to go do some radio stuff and then I’m off to rehearsals for about a week.” He seems particularly pleased about the prospect of rehearsals. “It’s crazy! When we’re doing full-scale rehearsals, we practice at this compound that’s for artists only. We get to see how the big boys do it. There’s a hotel on site and a plaza for the artists and you see bands like Flaming Lips or Miley Cyrus just wandering around.” He says that he still gets starstruck by some of the bands he sees there. “Radiohead was literally on the stage next door and it’s like ‘Oh, my god, holy shit.’”

“You can’t get me to shut the fuck up,” he jokes midway through our conversation. And he’s right. However, when you’re talking about a band like Coheed and Cambria, you need that level of depth. The progressive New York rock band has been one of the genre’s most popular acts since releasing The Second Stage Turbine Blade in 2002. It’s dense music -- almost every record plays out like a rock opera -- that’s built on the mythology of The Amory Wars, a comic book series written by the band’s frontman, Claudio Sanchez. Set over three volumes in the fictional Heaven’s Fence -- a collection of 78 planets held in place by interconnecting beams of energy, known as the Keywork -- The Amory Wars is as complicated as it sounds. The band’s most recent album, Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures, continues the story in an even bigger and bolder fashion than any of their previous records. Clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, it has everything from synth rock (“Toys”) to acoustic balladry (“Lucky Stars”) nestled alongside the band’s typical guitar pyrotechnics and pop-punk singles. There’s even a monologue to kick things off. “Fifteen years ago if you were to say that we were going to start the record with a monologue, I would have thrown a fit,” says Eppard in a joking-but-not-really kind of manner. “But now I really like having an album with that much going on. In fact, I was the one that was fighting for some of the songs that we were on the fence about. It’s

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funny, once you put it out there and everyone reacts to them, then you say to yourself, ‘Of course these had to have been on here. What were we thinking?’” “I think it’s just great to be working on this sort of record again. In 2015 we put out this record called A Color Before the Sun, with no backstory. While that was all well and good, I just thought for this record ‘let’s go back to being Coheed and Cambria.’” According to Eppard, though, most of the creative control in the group lies in Sanchez’s hands. “It’s so different. Back in the day I could walk into a Coheed and Cambria record and work without Claudio. Now, nobody makes a move … without Claudio there.” Eppard says that he really noticed the change when he returned to the group after leaving (i.e. being fired) in 2006 due to personal issues he was battling at the time.

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“Beyond just the cliché things that people talk about there’s just a lot of stuff you have to get used to. Most of it’s administrative and business stuff. I mean, when you’re on these big tours you’re talking millions of dollars and you’re just kids getting used to that,” he says. “I almost really fucked it up,” he says before pausing. “I fucked it up, but I got a second chance.” And it’s a chance he’s incredibly thankful for despite what might be perceived as creative restrictions from the band’s leader. “As he [Sanchez] centered in as his role as a leader, it kind of took us some time -- and not in a bad way -- to get in line and say we’re gonna follow you this way. “I just believe in him,” he says. “I played sports bars and basements because I believed in him. I keep playing with this group because

Plenty of people will have the same reaction when they see the band playing alongside Mastodon on the Unheavenly Skye Tour this summer. Though the former will be playing Crack the Skye from front to back every evening, Coheed plans on playing a much more varied setlist. Even with rehearsals around the corner, the group has yet to come to a consensus on what to play. “I’ve never in my life with Coheed and Cambria seen the setlist go unchanged from the preliminary rehearsals to the stage without any changes,” says Eppard. “It’s hard when you have this deep of a catalog. We’ll go through an entire evening and we’ll still have fans come up to us and say, ‘You didn’t play something from this record,’ and we’ll look back and say ‘Oh, shit. I guess we didn’t.” That’s just the level of fandom that the band inspires -- what other band that you know of requires outside reading? Most of the fans are as passionate about Coheed as Eppard is about the Mets. Unlike Mets fans, they won’t have to worry about leaving the arena feeling disappointed.


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Literally Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting Sadly, the Script for ‘John Wick 3’ Is Not as Fast as Lightning by Ryan Syrek

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n the positive side, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) shoots a horse at someone. Twice. On the negative side, nobody pays to watch John Wick slowly walk through the desert. What, is he gonna slap-fight a cactus? Despite a glowing aggregate critical response, John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum has some real issues. First, that title is a nonsensical mess filled with multiple grammatical symbols and a word no one will remember. Second, John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabola is a narrative nightmare largely saved by the fact that it remains the most gorgeously choreographed American action franchise in history.

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Pair of Bell Ends picks up the instant the previous, reasonably titled film ended. John Wick, whose first and last name are lovers that must never be split apart, has been kicked out of the Happy Fun-time Assassin Academy and has mere minutes to escape the city. While he flees, an Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) from the Guild of Calamitous Intent arrives in town to punish anyone who helped John Wick in the last movie. This means Winston (Ian McShane), who runs the Murder Motel 8, and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), who emails by pigeon, are in big doo-doo. The first hour of John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Pears and Bell Peppers is a violent delight, as our stabby hero puts all kinds of knives into all kinds of bad-guy body parts. At this point, the script betrays itself a bit. All we know about John Wick is that he wanted to get out of the killin’ business because he loved his now-dead wife so much. Watching him walk through a desert to basically re-apply for work at Murder Inc. and voluntarily hand over a symbol of that relationship makes no sense. Especially when the plot then pretzels itself to get him from a desert oasis to the city he just left to kill the people he was just there killing.

Before buying tickets online for the CWS, do your research!

John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parallelogram forgets that the writing for an action movie should be like ideal restaurant service: it is great if it is surprisingly fun but should be wholly invisible at the very worst. How hard is it to not act in opposition to a character that has exactly one motivation? And yet, all is pretty much forgiven because every single combat sequence is a glorious display of imaginative, impossible violence. We’ve gotten to the point where characters within the John Wickiverse outright talk about how great the fight they just had was. The promise of John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parachute Pants was that he would square off against literally every professional murderer in the world. He pretty much does! However, the end is a wholly unsatisfying, cheap trick that substitutes repetition for a creative and clever expansion of the series. Anyone who has liked a John Wick movie is down to watch one every other year ad infinitum. It just shouldn’t feel like an obligation. Less punctuation and more creative assassin shenanigans, and we Wickians swear our fealty forever.

Synopsis: It’s John Wick (Keanu Reeves) versus every assassin ever! Despite a script that betrays the one thing we know about our stabby antihero, the action remains unfathomably well-choreographed. Just don’t expect a trilogy-ending finale, as this is simply the third of an apparently infinite number of murder ballets we can expect every other year.

#AskBBB at bbb.org FILM

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Pain in the End

How to Cope With Botched Final Acts by Ryan Syrek

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n estimated 13.5 million Americans watched the finale of Lost. I am one of the literally tens of those Americans who loved it. It’s not just that decades of Chicago sports fandom and poor relationship choices had taught me to associate loving something with disappointment; I loved it because it resolved the characters. Sure, abandoned plot tendrils hung over the affair like Cthulhu’s pinata, but the make-believe people I had come to love found a deeply satisfying conclusion. Fifty points to your Hogwarts house if you figured out I’m about to talk Game of Thrones (without spoilers). Well, not just GoT but about ending fictional narratives of all kinds. Social media has made discussing and dissecting things infinitely easier and, thus, infinitely worse. We have accessible platforms for meaningful discussion, which we use mostly for memes and sexual harassment. Although, to be fair, the GoT memes for the final season were vastly superior to the actual show. When a major piece of pop culture ends now, the whole of the Internet gets embroiled in often embarrassing fisticuffs. So let’s try to cut through the noise and talk about what makes for a satisfying narrative conclusion, what fans are owed, and how to cope when things don’t go great.

Plotters vs. Pantsers A really smart dude on Twitter (twitter. com/DSilvermint) had easily the smartest, most understandable thread for what went wrong with the final few seasons of GoT. He divides writers into two camps: plotters, or those who work from a detailed outline of all events that will happen, and pantsers, who “fly by the seat of their pants” and let the characters they create dictate where the action goes.

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You deal with it. I don’t traffic in the meanspirited, dismissive nonsense that suggests the millennial generation is too quick to outrage. Old people killed your fucking planet. You get to be mad about stuff. The anger people have about pop culture that disappointed them is multigenerational and totally OK. But you do have to get over it, and you shouldn’t demand that the creative artists who made the thing that you loved before you hated it redo that thing in the way that you prefer.

George RR Martin is either the Godzilla of pantsers or a pathological liar. His Song of Fire and Ice series has been expanded, delayed, and changed more frequently than a major congressional investigation. The showrunners of GoT decided they wanted to quit working on one of the most popular, significant television programs in history in order to pitch HBO confederacy pornography. This meant that a show that was a byproduct of pantsing switched to being heavily plotted. So it started to suck. It’s really that simple. There were a billion ways to fix this and smooth the transition. These range from slowing things down a bit to actually hiring women to write and direct, not just get naked and commit murder on screen. I truly believe that every single plot development, if considered in isolation, was totally and completely fine. Hell, I’d argue that most were fantastic. It was just how these events occurred that made it feel like gargling with expired pickled herring. I’d also argue that this is the final proof that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are horrible hacks who got lucky by attaching themselves to a well-cast project based on amazing source material. Not that it should

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be a stretch to dismiss guys who pitched “What if we imagined having slaves again?” and wrote X-Men Origins: Wolverine and an upcoming movie in which Will Smith fights a clone of himself. Anyhoodle, the point is that for a conclusion to be fully, deeply satisfying, it must not only resolve the plot but the characters. It’s not complicated … Oh, and if you do choose to sacrifice one or the other, you’d damn well better choose your characters. Just look at Avengers: Endgame. Do any of you think that time-travel shit makes sense? It does not. It does not at all. Yet, because the Russo boys made us cry about Iron Man and Captain America, we gave them well more than two billion of our moneys. Your plot can be a mild disaster, so long as you hit us right in the feels about the fake people we love.

They Invented Fan Fiction for a Reason So what do you do when the thing you love crosses the finish line looking and smelling like the most popular Wookie at a Kashyyyk orgy? Stay with me now:

It is insanely shitty when showrunners, producers, directors, writers, or anyone flagrantly disregards the desires and opinions of the very people who enable them to make stuff. But it’s totally their right to mess it up. It’s their thing. They made it, they get to publicly euthanize it and take enormous, heaping amounts of shit for it. Beyond common-sense rules like “don’t send death threats to other human beings,” the guidelines for how to behave after GoT broke your heart are simple. Grieve with your fellow fans. Show how smart you are by talking about how you would have done things if you had created a worldwide blockbuster adored by millions of people. Pledge to never again watch content from the people who did you wrong, until you go back on that pledge and do anyway. I don’t know, maybe write fan fiction until you heal. Just don’t attack people who did like it, don’t assume that other people’s art and work should be bent to your designs (even if you’re right), and please don’t demand anyone remake something. They won’t, and it makes you look stupid. Look, I hated how GoT went down. But somewhere, Bizzaro Ryan who hated the Lost ending maybe loved this garbage. As maddening as it can be when the thing that you loved doesn’t love you back, you can turn it into a cathartic experience. Hug someone named Danerys today.


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CUTTING ROOM by Ryan Syrek

If you have a deep yearning for German submarine thrillers, maybe don’t lead with that in your dating profile. Also, I have good news for you. Apparently, Hulu has made a sequel to Das Boot, which is, of course, German for “kinky boots.” Starring Lizzy Caplan, the claustrophobic World War II series debuts June 17 and picks up nine months after the events of the renowned film, nearly 40 years after the movie was released. I legitimately did not see this one coming, but I guess that’s kind of the point behind German submarines.

Fresh off the rotten response to the conclusion to Game of Thrones, it was revealed that the showrunners will be responsible for the next Star Wars trilogy, starting in 2022. Sane people with good taste were hoping that writer/director Rian Johnson’s trilogy would be next in line. Nope. Instead of Johnson continuing his aspirational, franchise-redefining work in The Last Jedi, we get to hope that D. B. Weiss and David Benioff are at least too busy in a galaxy far, far away to make the “Hey, let’s spend time with some slave owners!” show they pitched to HBO.

In some of his first comments about Guardians of the Galaxy since being fired and rehired by Disney, James Gunn spoke about what he would have regretted most in not finishing his trilogy. If you guessed he would have most regretted not having the opportunity to correct what

many have argued are sexist and even abusive depictions of women in his first two films, you are surprisingly optimistic about the state of self-reflection by famous people. No, he would have been sad because he wouldn’t have redeemed the talking raccoon enough. He wants to finish taking him from petty criminal to full-fledged hero. Maybe Mantis will get to be more than a disturbing and damaging Asian stereotype after Gunn is done with the trash panda.

They’re going to apparently keep adding actresses and actors to the Avatar sequels that are allegedly coming until you break down and get excited. With the latest addition of Jermaine Clement, things have officially gotten curious. In addition to everyone returning, new stars added include Vin Diesel, Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Cliff Curtis, CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, David Thewlis, Michelle Yeoh and Oona Chaplin. I like a lot of those people! Do I want to see an Avatar sequel, let alone four more? I do not! Will knowing that a good, eclectic cast will be involved make me feel better about watching these until at least 2027? Who cares, as we’ll probably all be dead by then!

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Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@thereader.com. Check out Ryan on KVNO 90.7 on Wednesdays and follow him on Twitter.

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| THE READER |

JUNE 2019

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Thrill of the Grill:

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Here’s the Beef by Michael Braunstein

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f you’re like most folks in America, you’re still a carnivore, and this time of year nothing excites you more than the thrill of the grill. The temperate weather and the longer days serve well to whet the appetite for sizzling steaks, bountiful burgers and yummy yardbirds over the hot coals of the barbie. For me, meat must be sensibly sourced and rationally raised or it’s not on my menu.

Now, think about how many people from across the world may have handled your burger. Getting the picture? Tree-hugger? Dig it. If you’re a radical, Prius-driving, push-mowing, Save the Whaler and still a carnivore, eating grass-fed should top your “to do” list. Here’s the short story from no less than the Environmental Working Group at EWG.org: “Why Go Organic, GrassFed and Pasture-Raised?” (www.ewg. org/meateatersguide/a-meat-eatersguide-to-climate-change-health-whatyou-eat-matters/why-go-organic-grassfed-and-pasture-raised/).

I get wrangled into a discussion about meat — beef especially — about three times a week. It’s a discussion I love, mostly because I know a lot about it and from many angles. Those include the origin of the infamous E. coli HO157, the diet cows are really supposed to eat, the craziness of multi-sourcing hamburger and the infamous “pink slime,” food-chain safety, nutritional profile of beef, environmental impact and, of course, flavor. Toward the end of my years in Los Angeles, I was happily vegetarian. I believe humans should not have to kill anything, plant or animal, in order to eat and survive well. I believe that. I’m just not that evolved yet. But that’s a column unto itself. Be it said, I did return to carnivore country and thankfully, learned the right kind of meat to eat. And that’s the topic of this column. Grass Only. Let’s start with this: Eat less meat but eat better meat. In a nutshell, that means eat only beef from animals that have dined on only grass for their entire lives, never on corn, grain or grain byproducts. And to do that, you will probably have to make friends with a farmer or two and learn to trust their ranching methods if not go see their farms for yourself, something I’ve done on many occasions. Note this: rare is the grocery store that touts grass-fed beef that provides anywhere near the advantage that a small, local, “boutique beef” operation (as I call them) can. There are way more than a dozen reasons to choose only grass-fed, and let’s start with nutritional profile. We won’t detail here but look it up yourself. You can start

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Oh, did I mention Modified Atmosphere Packaging? Oh, well, guess not. Look it up. It’s disgusting.

with the National Institute of Health Research at this link: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC2846864. And that tells only a small part of the story. Grass-fed beef has more important nutrients, a better “good fat” to “bad fat” ratio, lower overall fat and – surprise -- better taste. Grass-only beef is safer from the standpoint of that pathogenic scourge, E. coli HO157. Notice I named it specifically. That’s because there are scores of strains of E. coli. Billions of E. coli live in your gut and are, in fact, beneficial. But that HO157 strain and its brothers can make you very sick and even kill. There’s a long and complex story behind how HO157 evolved but the fact is, we never saw the HO157 strain that kills until 1982. Now, you may be asking why that is. Well, it’s just theory but knowing me, I’m likely correct. It wasn’t until the federal government under Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz blew up the corn industry by telling farmers to plant it “fencerow to fencerow” that we started feeding cheap, fattening corn to critters. Currently, livestock feed (and ethanol) account for about 75 to 80 percent of our

| THE READER |

HEARTLAND HEALING

corn. (Hello!) Now the punchline. A diet of corn causes E. coli HO157. It’s a detailed story but know this: cows are not supposed to eat corn. They are four-stomach ruminants. They are designed to eat grass, not corn. (Remember the nursery rhyme, “Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn. The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn.” Why the alarm? Because, if left to their own devices and appetites, cows will eat corn until they get sick and die. Fact.) Ruminate on that. A shorter food chain is a safer food chain. That’s just common sense. That industrial hamburger in a supermarket cooler likely contains parts of hundreds of different cows, from several different countries, processed in several states, then combined into that one package. The burger I’m cooking today is from one cow, processed in a small, USDA-inspected facility in Table Rock, Nebraska. One cow goes in. The hamburger (and steaks, roasts, etc.) comes out. The meat is handled by maybe three or four people from the time the farmer (1) loaded it onto his truck, processed (2 & 3) to the time I open the package (4). That’s not an exaggeration.

Finally, cost and cooking. I find the cost of local, grass-fed to be competitive with what I would buy in the supermarket. I don’t buy the Tube of Whatever version of burger, anyway. Plus, as nutrient-dense as grass-fed is, you’ll eat less and feel sated from the nutrition. I cook it rare, use a little olive oil rub and just salt and pepper. Okay, enough already. Here’s a little help from your friend. I consider three sources as my “go to” for grass-fed beef, with Pawnee Pride as my main one. PawneePride.com, RangeWestBeef.com, and Marlowe Family Farm (fb.com/marlowefamilyfarms). All three make arrangements for local purchase or drop-off. There, you have no excuse. Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.


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Lasting Impressions

A Look Back to 2008 Shows the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same by Tim McMahan

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s I was putting together my top 20 list of favorite local bands for this, the annual Music Issue of The Reader, it dawned on me that many of the names looked, um … familiar. I did a little research and discovered we began putting together top 20 lists way back in the October 2006 issue of The Reader. It was a novel idea that, if memory serves me, came about after bouncing concepts back and forth between myself and then-Reader music editor Andy Norman (who these days heads stellar nonprofit Rabble Mill, including remnants of Hear Nebraska, which I’m told will rise again, but that’s another story …).

Germany called The Kiez with Hamburg native Lucas Kochbeck. The Faint — Also on the 2019 list. Filter Kings — Omaha’s favorite (and only?) outlaw-country band disappeared a few years after making this list, but occasionally makes a stage appearance fronted by the legendary Gerald Lee Jr. Flowers Forever — Led by Derek Pressnall, who also was a member of Tilly and the Wall. Pressnall now fronts Saddle Creek Records band Icky Blossoms, which hasn’t produced new music since 2015’s Mask.

Frontier Trust. The Monroes folded, and Davis re-emerged in The Wagon Blasters, who are on the 2019 list. Neva Divona — The project of frontman Jake Bellows appears to be on permanent hiatus. Bellows now lives in Los Angeles and plays in Supermoon with Morgan Nagler of Whispertown. The Show Is the Rainbow a.k.a. Darren Keen is living and working in Lincoln again after spending years in Brooklyn. Son, Ambulance is still alive and kicking and, rumor has it, working on a new set of songs.

Despite digging through my closet of yellowed Reader back issues, I couldn’t find that 2006 issue or that first top 20 list. I did find in my archives my 2008 top 20 and “Next 15” lists, and to my surprise discovered many of the same acts are on my 2019 list.

For Against — The ‘80s-era Lincoln dream pop band re-emerged in 2008 and 2009 with new records, and then submerged itself once again. Indie labels Captured Tracks and Saint Marie Records reissued a number of their early recordings in recent years.

Thunder Power continued to play and record music through 2012 before disbanding.

How did those 2008 top 20 bands fare a decade later? Let’s take a look:

The Good Life — The other project of Cursive’s Tim Kasher currently is on hiatus while Cursive barnstorms the country supporting its new album, Vitriola. Cursive is on the 2019 list.

UUVVWWZ — The Lincoln-based art-rock project followed its self-titled Saddle Creek Records debut with 2013’s The Trusted Language. Last I heard frontwoman Teal Gardner was living and making art in Boise, Idaho. Guitarist Jim Schroeder is in a number of Omaha projects, including The David Nance Group, which is on the 2019 list.

Brad Hoshaw — Hoshaw, who’s on the 2019 list, is putting the finishing touches on an album recorded in Redwood Studio in Denton, Texas. Brimstone Howl — Fronted by John Ziegler, the band evolved into The Lupines, who are on the 2019 list. Conor Oberst remains Conor Oberst, and is on the 2019 list. Eagle*Seagull — Fronted by singer/ songwriter Eli Mardock, at the time the band was thought to be Nebraska’s “next big thing,” but broke up in 2010. Mardock and his wife, Carrie, also a former member of Eagle*Seagull, now run the Royal Grove in Lincoln. Eli just released a new project on Warner Music

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Malpais — Whatever happened to frontman Greg Loftis? Check the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. McCarthy Trenching — Dan McCarthy remains Omaha’s favorite troubadour, recently having one of his songs covered by none other than Phoebe Bridgers and Jackson Browne. Midwest Dilemma — The folk-rock project by singer/songwriter Justin Lamoureux has yet to follow up the release of 2008 album Timelines & Tragedies. The Monroes — One of the many musical projects of Gary Dean Davis, former frontman of ‘90s tractor-punk legends

| THE READER |

OVER THE EDGE

Tilly and the Wall — The tap-dance powered phenoms haven’t released an album since 2012’s Heavy Mood (Team Love Records).

don’t matter,” written (I suppose) to appease those who weren’t on it. A decade later, I can tell you that lists do matter if only to provide a guidepost in an era when we’re surrounded by too many paths. Beyond the fundamental arguments we’re all familiar with about streaming music — that the sound quality is sub-par, that it cheats artists who could have made money by selling physical copies (which is bogus for young acts. How many bands do you know with unopened cases of their albums moldering in their basement?) — the biggest conundrum is there’s just too much of it. Anyone can release an album on Bandcamp or one of the streaming services, but few can get people to actually listen to it. Lists like the top 20 point people to the good stuff, at least as it’s perceived by the publication or critic. It cuts through a mighty dense fog, and you can either follow the light or move on to the next lighthouse. The fact that 12 of the Top 20 artists this year were on the 2008 list can be viewed as evidence of the lethargy of our scene, of how little things have changed in a decade.

The Whipkey Three — Matt Whipkey is on the 2019 list.

But it also can be viewed as proof of that old list’s accuracy. These artists are still around, they’re still creating high-quality music, they’re still making a difference -- if not with their own creations, then by influencing others on the list who have joined them.

From 2008’s “The Next 15” list, Simon Joyner, Little Brazil and Talkin’ Mountain’s Jason Steady all made the 2019 list.

*****

That makes 12 artists from 2008 with connections to this year’s top 20 list. Back then, I introduced these lists with an essay that said, to paraphrase myself, “Lists

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com


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