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S E P TE MB E R 2 0 1 9 | vo lU M E 26 | ISSU E 07

J a z z : K A R R IN A L L Y S O N | A R T : J IL L IA N M A Y ER | THEATER: ROCKY HORROR CLASSICAL MUSIC: MADAMA

U N O J AZZ E N S E M B LE | M ATT W IL SON VA N E SSA G E R M A N | J OE L SARTORE | R ED S U M M E R | THE L ION KING B U T T ER F L Y | M A N N HE IM | ARX DUO

25th: Reader memories ART: Edge of Your Seat Dish: Eat, Learn, Love FEATURE: dramatizing history Film: Fall Preview Heartland Healing: But Is It Food? HooDoo: Funky Soul to Western Swing BACKBEAT: Sheer Mag is Here to Stay Theater: Lifting the unheard voice The Buzz: Tiny House Over The Edge: Success Hasn’t Spoiled Maha (Yet?)


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PARTY ANIMALS At Joslyn Art Museum: Friday, October 11, 7:30 pm www.TicketOmaha.com or call 402-345-0606 Add a post-performance reception with professional dancers in attendance for only $25 per person.

At the Iowa Western Arts Center: Sunday, October 13, 2 pm artscenter.iwcc.edu or call 712-388-7140 t h e

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FALL ARTS ISSUE: Theater, Jazz, Classical Music & Art

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Cover Installation by

Vanessa German

“sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies”

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

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS healing................Michael Braunstein info@heartlandhealing.com

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FEATURE: The Legacy of William Brown

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25th: Reader Memories

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DISH: Eat, Learn, Love

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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THE BUZZ: Tiny Drinks, Tiny House

PICKS: Cool Things To Do in September

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ART: Edge of Your Seat

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

OUR SISTER MEDIA CHANNELS

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THEATER: Lifting the Unheard Voice

HOODOO: Funky Soul to Western Swing

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BACKBEAT: Big, Bold and Powerful: Sheer Mag is Here to Stay

OUR DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES

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Film: Fall Movie Preview / Cutting Room: Russian Doll

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heartland healing: But... Is It Food? CONTENTS

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OVER THE EDGE: Success Hasn’t Spoiled Maha (Yet?) Proud to be Carbon Neutral


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September 2019

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eaving your job can be stressful. It’s even more difficult if you’re not sure it’s really time to go. It’s a decision you can’t make hastily, but it’s made easier when everything signals it’s departure time. Forbes says employees who are miserable should consider resignation. But is misery enough to merit quitting? A lot depends on your definition of “miserable.” It’s one thing if you’re so stressed that your health is affected. But it’s another thing if “miserable” means you’d much rather lounge on a beach than work.

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Is It Time to Leave?

Leaving a job is stressful enough; try not to add to that stress by not having another job lined up first.

There’s no future there Imagine you get promoted to the position right above your current one. Does the idea make you excited or fill you with dread? If your next career move is one you can’t imagine making – or if there isn’t a next step at all – it’s smart to look elsewhere.

Here are some considerations for when you’re teetering.

But if you limit your potential by not pursuing more training or education, you might consider a change in your goals instead of your workplace.

You line up another job

Workplace becomes toxic

This seems like a no-brainer, but plenty of people abruptly quit even when they have no place to go.

“Toxic” is subjective, but you’ll know you work in a toxic work environment when you feel bullied or

SEPTEMBER 2019

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belittled by coworkers or, worse, by those in charge. If you realize that if someone else took your job for a day, they’d be horrified by how they’re treated, moving on is probably a good idea.

Better benefits elsewhere Maybe you actually enjoy your job, but recently you learn people doing the same job elsewhere are paid significantly more, earn better benefits or work in a company culture that appeals to you more. Of course, pay shouldn’t be your only concern when it comes to what your workplace offers you, but if your current employer isn’t willing to pay you what you’re worth, you can either demand comparable pay and benefits or you can move on to another employer.

All signs point to departure If you list the pros and cons for leaving your job and the “leaves” far outweigh the “stays,” all signs point to a job change. When it comes down to it, even if you’re loyal and uncomfortable leaving, you must do what’s best for you and your family.

An elegant goodbye Although leaving in a blaze of glory may feel satisfying, don’t forget your current employer may one day be asked for a reference about you. In the Omaha metro, word travels fast, especially within industries. You don’t want to get the reputation as unreliable. Instead, give ample notice of your departure and help train the people who’ll do your work once you leave.


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Book Your Seat This Fall by Beaufield Berry

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t’s that time of year again! Our local theaters are busy putting up their new and exciting seasons and wanting all of you to show up. As always, there is something for everyone. From kids to parents to grandparents, you can find the perfect seat at the perfect performance, just for you. If you have yet to venture into the world of performing arts, but have been intrigued or interested by it, just know that we want you there, and we’re excited to see you. If you don’t know where to start, check out our monthly picks. The theater picks will keep you informed on what’s happening and where and let you know how to get there and what you’ll pay. TicketOmaha also lists every largescale show you may be interested in. From touring productions of plays, concerts, special evenings out and more, TicketOmaha can show you how to spend your Saturday evenings in a fun, new way. If you’re looking for something to do with your boo, take in some of the spooky scheduled programming coming

our way just in time for Halloween. Florence Community Theater is bringing back its popular whodunit HINT! after six years away. With new characters and a fresh script, Tracie Mauk, Eric Green and Derek Kowal have created an evening of laughs and, of course, murder. Out at The Lofte Community Theatre in Manley, Nebraska, they are bringing a Hitchcockesque thriller meets Monty Python spectacle to life with Barlow and Buchan’s The 39 Steps. An incredibly fast-paced show with four actors covering 150 characters in 90 minutes, this side-splitting performance will keep you guessing and and Rocky are special to me because it’s fringe and counterculture and stories and margins that can be overlooked by mainstream media and society,” says director, Kaitlyn McClincy. “It’s about exposing and shining a light on stories and different walks of life and perspectives.”

laughing until the final scene. Closer to home, Omaha Community Playhouse is taking on a cult-classic with The Rocky Horror Show. “Alternative programming

If walks are what you’re after, then check out the Nebraska Tour Company and its ghost tours of haunted downtown Omaha. They sell out fast, so be sure to reserve your spot. You can also head back in time to the swingin’ 60s and the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. with Catch Me If You Can at Bellevue Little Theater, marking BLT’s 51st season. The musical, based on Aba-

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gnale’s real-life antics, is a fun, upbeat time as he continually outwits, outruns and outsmarts the relentless FBI agent, Carl Hanratty. The theater will follow that up with the beloved classic, Our Town, Thornton Wilder’s timeless take on life itself in early 1900s Grover’s Corners. We can’t mention theater and history without talking about A Christmas Carol’s historic turn at the Omaha Community Playhouse; this family favorite will return this season for its 44th run. Speaking of family favorites, The Rose Theater, Omaha’s premier theater for youth, has exciting shows slated for its season. This fall, The Rose’s mainstage


FALL ART S — THEATER remounts fan favorite Dr. Suess’s The Cat in the Hat, a wacky and wonderful play suitable for all ages. A Bucket of Blessings is The Rose’s First Stage offering. Specifically designed for preschool-age children and children with sensory or special needs, First Stage is a gentle way to introduce our littlest humans to the stage. ELF, which has quickly become a holiday favorite, also returns this year. But, and I may be biased, the most exciting event on the horizon at The Rose is the world premiere of Howie D’s (yes, the Backstreet Boys) new musical, Back in the Day. Developed at the theater with Howie’s writing partners, Tor Hyams and Lisa St. Lou, Back in the Day introduces us to a middle-school-aged Howie and his struggles with bullies, friendships and identity. It is going to be a huge hit, and Howie himself will be here to perform! It’s a do-not-miss event coming this winter. If musicals are your thing, then look no further than the lineup at Omaha Performing Arts, which kicks off this season with the world-changing, electrifying Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s instant classic is finally gracing the Omaha stage, and tickets are already flying. One of my favorite events throughout the year is the OPA season reveal, which offers a first look at every touring show making its way to Omaha. This year’s shows include a four-week run of The Lion King, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, London’s West End revival of Jesus Christ Superstar and multi-Tony-award-winning Dear Evan Hansen. At the reveal, I saw multiple teenagers freak out when that show was announced, so if you’re need-

2019 -20 SEASON

ing to connect with the teen in your life, that may be a great ticket for them. For alternatives to the traditional stage, take in a staged-reading at the Union for Contemporary Art’s Performing Arts Collective. Its Plays Out Loud! series showcases work from some of yesterday and today’s greatest African-American writers. The theater always feels like home and showcases some of Omaha’s best talent. Or try the alt-programming series at the Omaha Community Playhouse (see this month’s pick for Mary Jane). This series features an exciting list of scripts, directors and actors for you to check out in a casual and free environment.

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For a night of laughs, get to The Backline for one of its many hilarious offerings. The Backline is Omaha’s front line for comedy, improv and classes. If you’d rather be on stage, this is the perfect place to start. If branching out into the many genres of burlesque is your thing, both Queerniverse and Hot Tail Honeys are where it’s at. Queerniverse will be continuing its Seven Deadly Sins series with Greed on September 21 and Wrath on October 24, which also marks its second anniversary.

STARTING AT $19 Rhapsody in Blue & Rachmaninoff

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back In Concert Rodgers & Hammerstein Celebration Bugs Bunny at the Symphony

Editor’s note: An award-winning playwright, Beaufield Berry has a new play, Red Summer, which opens September 26 at the Bluebarn Theater. Directed by Susan Clement-Toberer, Red Summer commemorates one of Omaha’s most notorious events, the lynching of Will Brown, which scarred the city 100 years ago. See Picks for more.

Physicians Mutual Omaha Symphony Christmas Celebration Chopin & Swan Lake Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™ In Concert The Soul of Motown with Matt Catingub Sinatra & Beyond

Celtic Journey: Magic of the Emerald Isle

with Tony DeSare

Holiday Brass with Canadian Brass Beethoven with the Junction Trio Mozart with Condoleezza Rice Programs, dates, artists, times, and pricing subject to change.

See our full lineup at OMAHASYMPHONY.ORG FALL ARTS

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Karrin Allyson at The Jewell Among Artists and Venues Offering Jazz Fans a Full Slate This Fall-Winter by Leo Adam Biga

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maha’s old-line jazz clubs are gone, but well-placed music connections and well-outfitted venues are expanding today’s metro jazz offerings. In addition to Omaha Performing Arts’ jazz series of headliners at the Holland Performing Arts Center, whose grand Kiewit Concert Hall and intimate Scott Recital Hall boast stellar amenities and acoustics, newly opened venue The Jewell is making waves with its own refined acoustics and ambience.

Local musicians also draw well at his club, McKenna said. Sunday night vocalist regulars Susie Thorne and Camille Metoyer Moten pack the place. Well-traveled guitarist Mitch Towne recruits Kansas City cats to come play. Wellconnected percussionist Curly Martin taps his network to bring back top players originally from here for concerts and seminars. Curly Martin will play the Holland’s Scott Recital Hall during the next 1200 Club season (date TBA).

The Capitol District supper club is owned by Brian McKenna, a former Sony Music executive, who leverages industry contacts to bring top-flight talent. Case in point: Omaha native Grammy-nominated vocalist and pianist Karrin Allyson will perform October 18-19 at The Jewell.

Jazz fans can also look forward to these Holland downbeats in 2020:

Allyson will lead a quartet with some of her favorite sidemen: Miro Sprague on piano, Rod Fleeman on guitar and Gerald Spaits on bass. They’ll perform selections from her 2018 album, Some of that Sunshine, with all original music by Allyson, along with Brazilian tunes, blues, standards and songs from her latest project, Shoulder to Shoulder: Centennial Tribute to Women’s Suffrage. Releasing late this summer, Shoulder to Shoulder features an all-women cast of musicians and readings of speeches by Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglas and other early 20th century progressives. The New York City-based Allyson says she’s excited to play at The Jewell and perhaps drop in on colleagues at her alma mater, the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She also plans to return in 2020 for an April 9 concert with the UNO Jazz

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February 11 Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribbean Jazz Sextet presents a fusion of Puerto Rican influence and the sounds of jazz greats Thelonius Monk and Herbie Hancock.

Karrin Allyson will perform at The Jewell October 18-19. Credit: Jim O’Keefe jpophotovideo.com. Ensemble (UNO Big Band) as part of the school’s International Concert Series. “They’re going to be doing all big band versions of my original songs, which is very exciting,” Allyson said. Darren Pettit, professor of music theory and composition at UNO, “is arranging them for big band.” Allyson will also teach a master class.  Allyson said a sustainable jazz scene “takes a village,” and that includes schools. McKenna agrees. Thus, The Jewell hosts the UNO Jazz Combo and

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UNO Big Band on October 30 and the Metropolitan Area Youth Jazz Orchestra with the UNO Big Band and L.A. trombonist Andy Martin on November 13. (Year-round, big band fans get their fix Monday nights at the jumping Ozone Lounge.) McKenna’s booking two national jazz acts per month at The Jewell. Noted drummer Matt Wilson joins saxophonist Adam Larson on October 25-26. Several big names are in the works for the fall and winter.

March 13 The Yellowjackets, who blend funk, R&B and upbeat jazz, will perform with Luciana Souza, a Grammy-winning Brazilian singer.

April 9 ARTEMIS, an all-female ensemble, features top performers from around the world. Visit omahaperformingarts.org and jewellomaha.com. Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at leoadambiga.com.


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It’s a Classic Season East Meets West in First MasterWorks Concert

The artists explain the work “celebrates the art of creation, exploring sonic spaces with a sense of wonder about the universe, the spaces we inhabit within it, and the spaces we might someday traverse.”

by CHERIL LEE

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he Omaha Symphony’s MasterWorks series kicks off in September with Dvorák’s “New World” Symphony, being performed September 20 and 21 at The Holland. This masterpiece from the West is paired with a new composition from the East, “Transcend,” written by Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian. The work is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Tian spent time researching the railroad for this piece at both the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs and the Durham Museum in Omaha. In fact, a conversation with a docent at the Durham inspired Tian’s final movement in the composition. Concertgoers will enjoy a pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m. that will guide them step-by-step through the evening’s program.

Art + Classical Music = An Afternoon to Remember Symphony Joslyn begins with a performance featuring the Omaha Symphony’s brass and percussion sections on September 29 at the Joslyn Art Museum. Works on the program include Tomasi’s “Fanfares Liturgiques,” based on the  Don Juan  mythology and Schoenberg’s lush, hyper-romantic  “Transfig-

Presbyterian Church of the Cross. “Atlas” was composed in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the moon landing (1969).

All About that Bass, that Tenor and that Baritone Cantus kicks off the International Concert Series at UNO’s Strauss Performing Arts Center on September 12. The Minnesota-based men’s vocal ensemble is known for its wide-ranging vocal repertoire. The group sings music from the Renaissance to the 21st century. Cantus works without a conductor. And as a full-time chorus, they have the time to devote to the artistic process when creating music.

ured Night.” The program ends with Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin.” Joslyn curators offer gallery talks at 1:00 and 1:25 p.m. prior to the concert. George Copeland Ault’s “August Night at Russell’s Corners,” 1948, oil on canvas, is September’s featured work of art.

The opera returns to the Orpheum Theatre for performances November 1 and 3, with artist Jun Kaneko’s original design. The San Francisco Opera is now a joint owner of the production with Kaneko. So guests who saw the production the last time it was here in 2011 will notice changes in both the costumes and scenery.

Madama Butterfly Returns to the Percussion and Orpheum Piano: To the Like most operas, Madama Butterfly Moon and Back is a tragic story of love, betrayal and loss. Well-known for its beautifully heartbreaking melodies, Puccini’s opera has a reputation as one of the most popular operas of all time. In fact, it shows up on numerous top 10 lists online.

An Omaha Tradition Returns In December, Mannheim Steamroller presents the 35th anniversary of its Christmas show on December 21 and 22 at the Orpheum Theatre. This year’s program features the original classic Christmas hits from the first Mannheim Steamroller Christmas.

Vesper Concerts will bring Arx Duo, percussion artists, with acclaimed pianists Qing Jiang and Sean Chen for a Midwest premiere of composer Nick DiBerardino’s “Atlas” on November 18 at

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Cantus has collaborated with many other performing arts organizations, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops and Chanticleer.

Chip Davis, founder and creator of Mannheim Steamroller and longtime Omaha resident, will direct the performance which, according to the website, will include, “multimedia effects in an intimate setting.”

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A Bounty of Autumn Arts by THE READER Art Staff

For the complete version of this story, please go to thereader.com.

E “sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies,” installation by Vanessa German

very autumn the visual arts in the metro offer a new harvest or peak of their own. This year is no exception. Venues of all sorts and sizes citywide are ramping up with an aesthetic as varied and colorful as the great outdoors...indoors. The annual fall arts preview below will highlight many exhibits patrons can anticipate, and there is a lot to look forward to — especially if you’re willing to explore outside your comfort zone

“Found Notebook 1-34,” paper, glue, wall installation by Bill Hoover or bubble. Below is a sampling of fall’s bounty waiting for your appreciation, particularly in the months of October and November. Connect Gallery: Featured artist Rachel Droppers’ New Directions in Fiber Design opens October 2 and closes October 26, with artist reception  Friday, October 11, from 5:30-9 p.m. UNO Art Gallery: Witness: The Art of Samuel Bak opens Tuesday, September 3, in the  UNO School of the Arts’ Art

“Untitled,” painting by Samuel Bak

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Gallery, housed in the Weber Fine Arts Building. The collection, which features work over five decades, includes pieces that have been shown in major museums across the world, in cities such as Tel Aviv, New York, Paris and Rome. The art will be on display through Thursday, November 14. Creighton University’s Lied Art Gallery: Opening September 6 and running through October 6, a solo exhibit of work by Lydia Thompson. The artist says her work investigates the ideas of migration and residual ancestral memories that impact culture and social practices in surrounding communities. The exhibition will include Thompson’s stoic ceramic figures, cats and wall tiles. Gallery 1516: The annual MONA2Omaha exhibition features work from the Photo Ark project by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. A Nebraska native, Sartore’s intimate animal photographs archive the world’s biodiversity. Many of these animals are endangered due to poaching, habitat loss and other threats. Photo Ark opens at Gallery 1516 on October 25 and runs through January 5. B e m i s Center for Contemporary Arts: The Bemis Benefit Art Auction and Concert will climax October 25 after a twoweek exhibit of all the works up for bid. In addi- “Untitled,” ceramic by Tom Hubbell tion, a new mul-


6915 Cass St. | Omaha, NE | 68132 (402) 553-0800 | (888) 782-4338 O M A H A P L AY H O U S E .CO M

Aug. 16 – Sept. 15, 2019

Sept. 13 – O ct. 13, 2019

Oct. 4 – Nov. 10, 2019

Nov. 15 – Dec. 23, 2019

Nov. 22 – D ec. 31, 2019

Jan. 17 – Feb. 9, 2020

Feb. 14 – M arch 15, 2020

Feb. 28 – March 22, 2020

April 17  – M ay 10, 2020

May 1 – 3 1, 2020

May 29 – June 28, 2020

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“Beach Real Estate, fine by me (still),” digital video by Jillian Mayer

“Intimate Arrangements,” acrylic on canvas by Rein Vanderhill

explores the timedia installaresults of livtion by Canadian ing and colartists Richard laborating Ibghy and Marwithin a creative ilou Lemmens, environment, curated by Sylshowcasing the vie Fortin, Beshared history mis curator-inof the creative residence, will community open November and KANEKO in 21 after being “Coyote Puppies,” by photographer Omaha with an developed this Joel Sartore eye to the fusummer in colture. laboration with members of Omaha’s birding commuAmplify Arts: GRAVE 2: Back from nity. Also on November 21, Bemis will the Grave, Friday, October 18, 2019, open Jillian Mayer: TIMESHARE, curated at 6 p.m., an annual fundraising event by Rachel Adams, Bemis chief curator featuring installation work by Ian Treadand director of programs. way and Ghost, a costume contest with Joslyn Art Museum: Paul Anthony Smith opens October 5 in the Riley CAP Gallery. Drawing on the historical artistic traditions of pointilism and geometric abstraction, Paul Anthony Smith creates “picotages,” named for a pattern-printing technique that entails pressing textured blocks onto fabric.

“Untitled,” ceramic figure by Jun Kaneko

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KANEKO: This multidisciplinary gallery in the Old Market will exhibit Influence,  opening October 1 and coinciding with its major fundraiser, Open Space Soirée, September 27. Influence

original, artist-designed creations by Bart Vargas, Sarah Kolar, Angie Seykora, Kaitlin McDermott and Celeste Butler. Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour: More is better this year. Set for October 5-6, tour organizers have added Crescent Moon Pottery, with Wes Galusha as host and local potters Peter Scherr, Kathryn Schroeder and John Cohorst, recently from Carbondale, Colorado. With more than 20 clay artists and five stops, ONHPT continues to showcase quality ceramic art. Find a map and


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“Emerging Joy 01,” mixed media on paper by Rachel Droppers artist information at www.omahanorthhillspotterytour.com. The Little Gallery: This Benson gallery will feature the folk-inspired works on paper of Bill Hoover in Lost and Found and Lost opening November 1 to coincide with Benson First Friday. Project Project: This alt gallery on Vinton Street will exhibit ceramicist Lauren Scheele in October, opening the second Friday of the month, October 11. Michael Phipps Gallery, W. Dale Clark Library: A two-person exhibit of Jaim Hackbart and Albert Rhea will

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“Beauty Mark,” ceramic figure by Lauren Scheele open November 1, from 4-6 p.m., and continue through December. Hackbart describes her paintings as “contemplative abstractions,” nonetheless inspired by what is seen, sensed and heard. Rhea’s mixed media 3D work is based upon cosmology and the study of galaxies, alternative universes, black holes and stars. Fred Simon Gallery: An Etymology solo exhibit of Reagan Pufall opens October 11, from 5-7 p.m., in this Nebraska Arts Council venue and continues until December 6. In this series, Pufall’s imagery deconstructs the visual language of science fiction while maintaining a distinct air of the future or other worlds. Anderson O’Brien: Paintings by Rein Vanderhill (working title) opens October 4, from 5-8 p.m., and continues until October 31. According to the show statement, Vanderhill’s “monumental flowers...grab your attention with their painterly realism,” but it is really about the artist’s use of dramatic light and shadow.

“Untitled,” picotage inkjet print w/ oil stick on board by Paul Anthony Smith

The Union for Contemporary Art: Pittsburgh-based artist Vanessa German’s exhibit, sometimes. we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies, continues until November 30. This is a multimedia installation addressing violence against people of color, particularly members of the LGBTQ+ community. See Picks for more.

“The Past of Someone Else,” ceramic figure by Lydia Thompson FALL ARTS

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Documenting, Dramatizing History That Reverberates Today by Leo Adam Biga

Two blights on Omaha’s history mark anniversaries this year.

that followed expressed building anger over second-class citizenship. “Violence has been an incredibly potent tool for social control and social change,” said Ashley Howard, author of Prairie Fires: Class, Gender, and Regional Intersections in the 1960s Urban Rebellions and an associate professor at the University of Iowa. The same oppression blacks rebelled against in the ‘60s drove Black Lives Matter protests five decades later. Urban “rebellions are not necessarily about overturning America as we know it,” Howard said, “but drawing attention to grave disparities.”

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century ago, a riot resulted in the brutalization, lynching and desecration of Will Brown. His bulletridden body was dragged and lit afire on September 28, 1919. A half-century later, a cop shot and killed an unarmed girl, Vivian Strong, on June 24, 1969. In both incidents, the perpetrators went unpunished, and the fallout left Omaha more racially divided than before. To mark the anniversaries, several organizations are staging commemorative exhibits and convening racial dialogues. Among these is the Great Plains Black History Museum, whose executive director, Eric Ewing, describes the incident as “an Omaha tragedy and a black eye on the city of Omaha.” In addition, two writers have dramatically interpreted the tragedies in new plays, and the Omaha Community Council for Racial Justice and Reconciliation, in partnership with the national Equal Justice Initiative, is planning September events and erecting historical markers. Omaha playwright and The Reader’s theater editor, Beaufield Berry, gives voice to Brown in a new play, Red Summer, that opens the Bluebarn Theatre’s season on September 26 and runs through October 20. The name, Red Summer, refers to the rash of terror

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into reality,” Berry said. “A lot of Will’s personality is imagined.”

1919’s reign of terror was rooted in insecurity as white male World War I vets found jobs and housing taken by black migrants. Nativist-stoked riots raged liked wildfires as mobs staged unprovoked attacks, sometimes aided and abetted by authorities.

In the carnage’s aftermath, the powersthat-be entrenched racial segregation lines in Omaha. The structural racism that has marked Omaha ever since is explored in the interactive exhibit Undesign the Redline currently showing at the Union for Contemporary Art (UCA).

“I didn’t want to tell the story behind that picture,” Berry said. “I wanted to tell the story of the man this happened to.”

The flashpoint that ignited things here was sensational reporting by the Omaha Bee newspaper of purported black-onwhite crime. In league with Tom Dennison’s political-criminal machine, the Bee incited a climate of fear that fanned the flames of hate and hysteria.

“It’s easier for all of us to see why Omaha is the way it is after we have a frank discussion about 1919,” said Omaha author Ted Wheeler, whose novel Kings of Broken Things considered the Brown lynching.

Then and now, said Howard, “Media is central to consolidating narratives around violence.”

Little is known about Brown other than he was a single, 41-year-old laborer hampered by rheumatoid arthritis. He lived in a boardinghouse owned by a reputed madam. He and the victim he was accused of raping, Agnes Loebeck, reportedly knew each other.

Fifty years after Brown’s murder, the Strong killing was the last straw for a black community whose eruption left North 24th Street – fragile from ‘66 and ‘68 uprisings – a shell. The unrest echoed that in Watts, Newark and Detroit as blacks exercised civil disobedience to protest unjust conditions. North 24th has yet to recover.

The infamous photo of Will Brown’s mutilated body being burned by a mob in Omaha in 1919. Photo credit: Library of Congress. that took place around the country during that time. Blacks were scapegoated for socioeconomic woes; in Omaha, the violence was fueled by scarce packing jobs. Berry humanizes her black protagonist to make Brown more than a symbol or victim defined only by the infamous photo of his charred body.

Little is known of Will Brown’s LIFE, but he will be portrayed in the play Red Summer this fall. Photo credit: Historic Omaha. | THE READER |

“I’m using historical clues to build this person

FEATURE

Lincoln public schools educator Christopher Maly’s play, The Blues of Knowing Why, staged in July, framed Strong’s death as a reckless, yet inevitable, consequence of unchecked police misconduct. The unrest

A mob lay siege to the downtown Douglas County Courthouse where Brown was held. After setting the structure afire, the rioters had their way with Brown. The city’s reform mayor was nearly lynched himself. Other blacks were assaulted and suffered injuries. At least two rioters were killed and many police injured in the melee. Brown was buried in an unmarked grave. It took nearly a century before an inscribed headstone was erected. The depth of inhumanity, Berry said, “made me wonder, where does that evil go?”


F “It doesn’t just disappear with that generation,” she said. “That lets me know it’s still here among us. Lying dormant maybe. Recently, I don’t know how dormant it is or will remain.” For Berry, recent mass shootings of minorities, harsh border measures and xenophobic manifestos are modern-day lynch mobs. “I don’t think the parallels can be ignored unless you want to ignore them,” she said. Howard said there is a long history of “white people taking extra legal action to reinforce social norms in the community.”  “While we have progressed in so many ways,” Howard said, “often times we revert back to those old trends to make sure people know their place in society.”  

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Wheeler feels such examinations promise “great progress in expanding awareness,” adding, “What we do with that awareness is yet to be seen.” Howard said these stories need to be told. “A more complex story helps us all face our history,” she said. But, she added, an open, honest exploration must be followed by remedies addressing systemic injustices. From 1919 to 1969 to 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, she said “something that consistently comes up in these grievances are police brutality, inferior housing conditions, substandard schools.” A panel discussion follows each Friday night staging of Red Summer at the Bluebarn Theatre.

Berry, who believes in “generational trauma,” is confident her play will cast light on this darkness.

Other Will Brown-related events include:

“I think there’s going to be a lot of conversations and hopefully reflection. I hope a lot of people look in mirrors to see where their implicit bias lies. It’s frustrating that the people I believe really need to know it, never will.”

Opening September 20 • Will Brown and the Lynchings Throughout the Great Plains of America exhibit at the Great Plains Black History Museum (GPBHM)

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September 28 • A 100th Year Commemoration of the Lynching of Will Brown – Downtown Courthouse Soil Collection on the grounds of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center

September 29 • Community workshop at GPBHM

September 27 and 30 • Historical symposium at the OmahaDouglas Civic Center. Panelists: historian Gary Kastrick; Douglas County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh; Neb. State Senator Ernie Chambers; playwright Beaufield Berry Visit GPBlackHistoryMuseum.org and bluebarn.org. Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at leoadambiga.com.

Beaufield Berry’s play, Red Summer, opens at The BlueBarn September 26. Photo credit: Nate Gasaway.

Historian Ashley Howard says the stories of Omaha’s history must be told. “A more complex story helps us all face our history.”

SUNDAY, OCT. 7, 2018 Baxter Arena | 9 a.m. 3-mile & 1-mile walk komengreatplains.org

BE BOLD. BE FEARLESS.

BE MORE THAN PINK. FEATURE

| THE READER |

SEPTEMBER 2019

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Late-Night Chair Races and the Best Summer of My Life

Stretched Thin, Poor and Having a Ball

by David Duckworth

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he summer of 1996 was fast approaching, and I had an incurable case of Senioritis. Summer meant a summer job; however, that summer I was looking to do something other than sling boxes at the Mannheim Steamroller warehouse. After three years and countless late nights working on my high school’s newspaper, I felt ready to apply those skills in the professional world.  At the time, options were somewhat limited. The fledgling internet was barely crawling out of the America Online era and had yet to become the behemoth we know today. At the same time, I imagined the Omaha World-Herald full of career men wearing white, short-sleeved, button-up shirts with skinny, black ties, chain smoking while they cut up layouts for the next edition. There was, however, a new, independent weekly quickly gaining traction with audiences all over town: The Reader.  So how does a high school student go about landing a job at an up-and-coming publication? There was no LinkedIn, no job websites. Email wasn’t really a thing. So I opened up a copy of The Reader and got the address from the masthead. With no expectations, I psyched myself up and walked in the front door asking the first person I could find if they were hiring designers. Eventually, I found myself sitting in front of a curly-haired guy with glasses who introduced himself as John Heaston, editor-inchief and co-founder of the The Reader.

kinds of paranoid thoughts raced through my mind. “Did I blow it?” “Did they know what I’d been doing all afternoon?” I pulled my self together and headed downtown. John was waiting when I arrived and pulled me in his office. “David, the art director resigned today, and we need to know if you can take over his job. Oh, and he took all the disks and source files with him.” I responded instantly, “Yes. No problem.” There was a problem though. We were just under two weeks out from our next print date. We had no source files. Essentially, I needed to recreate the entire publication from scratch. This was my quintessential “fake it ‘til you make it” moment. I set about recreating the paper ad by ad and page by page. Re-scanning source images, re-drawing logos, re-laying out pages. Despite pulling un-godly hours, things were looking pretty grim as the deadline approached. With just a couple days left, I decided it was time to face reality. When I got in the office, I planned to let John know we just weren’t going to make it. I dreaded letting everyone down and potentially impacting the paper financially. Yet, when I arrived, John was waiting with a smile. “Duckworth! We found the source files!” I couldn’t have been more relieved. We turned around the issue in record time, no one the wiser. 

John’s desk was piled high with papers and publications. He definitely looked the part. He was serious, but warm and friendly at the same time. We discussed my interests, skills, qualifications and the possibility of joining the team. I met some of the other team members, including the art director. In the end, we shook hands and John said he’d be in touch. Just as I entered, I left with no expectations. What followed was easily the best summer of Even if he never called, I chalked it up to experi- my life. We had late-night chair races down a deence. serted Harney Street. I attended several festivals Amazingly, he did call and offered me a part- and concerts with a press pass or comp tickets. time gig while I finished high school. We agreed We all caravaned deep in the Ozarks for the largest on terms, and I started almost immediately working camp out I’ve ever seen. Beyond all that, I was getafter school a few days a week.  ting paid to do what I loved and working with some A couple weeks after I started came the time- of the most genuine, amazing people I’ve ever met. honored tradition of Senior Skip Day. As my friends That experience still sticks with me today, and I lounged around, doing things we weren’t and I am grateful for the opportunity I had supposed to be doing, I realized the day had got- to be part of The Reader. ten away from me, and it was almost time to head to The Reader. I called the office to let them know I might be a bit late. I was caught off guard by John, who, in a very serious tone, asked, “Can you please get down to the office as soon as possible?” All

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| THE READER |

— David Duckworth is now Lead UI Designer at Treyarch, a major developer in the Call of Duty video game series.

25th Anniversary

by Jason Malmberg Kitchen crews are often described like pirate ships; and having worked in a few of those as well, I can absolutely say that this applied to The Reader team, with all that implies and in all the best ways. We all bunked together (in an office sense), and we all supported each other. Each other’s bands, each other’s plays, each other’s art openings. We he great thing about were down for each other. youth (and to a considCompany “culture” erable extent the backwasn’t really a common buzzward lens of nostalgia) is that word in 1999, but we had you’re so drunk on possibility that alchemy locked down. that it tends to forgive all other Can you imagine working in details. We were stressed, we a cramped room for 16 hours were stretched thin, we were straight to the point of daffy poor and we were having a exhaustion and then STILL ball. deciding to stick around after I’m someone who natu- close to have a LAN party for rally gravitates to startup a couple more hours? Magic culture; and in the 20 years days. since I worked at The Reader, Creatively, I was given I’ve worked for quite a few: massive latitude to turn what software, web, app, countless had been a pet interest in depublications. And while they sign into a job. Like a Job job. A all share certain commonjob that has become a career. alities in the old timey “let’s It was all at such a breakneck make some costumes and put pace at the time that it’s only on a show in the barn” kind of through the backward longway, one of the most personview that I’m able to see how ally fulfilling aspects of that wonderfully insane that is. culture is when you get that I owe The Reader and my perfect mix of people and opportunity. The triumph of The time there more than I will Reader is that I got both, and probably ever be able to propthe tragedy is that since it was erly quantify or appreciate. The my first I just assumed that’s Reader gave me my life. And I’m sure I wasn’t the way things always are. the only one. The decades since have — Jason Malmberg helped shown me that mix is delicate art direct The Reader in its and often rare. What we had early days, moving on to during my time at The Reader become art director at the was exactly the runway I needSacramento News & Review, ed into adulthood at precisely Sactown magazine and his the right time. If you had an own design brand, Decabet, idea, even an idea outside, even far outside, your job de- where you’ll see his work on rock and festival posters across the scription, you were given the country. space and agency to explore it.

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Prepare to turn your thinking upside down as 15 inspiring speakers and performers take the TEDx stage on topics ranging from viruses to violins; maps to forced marriage; music to violence. The program will be a feast for the eyes, ears, and minds. Tickets on sale now!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9 Creighton University’s Heider College of Business www.tedxomaha.com | THE READER |

September 2019

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Eat, Learn, Love by Sara Locke

To find out more about this twist on culinary exploration, I invited Nebraska Tour Company’s chief experience officer, Alan Rust, for a cup of coffee. The Reader: Alan, you’re not from here. Can you tell me a little about the journey that brought you to Nebraska? Chief Experience Officer Alan Rust is proud of the work his team does to promote awareness of Omaha culture and history. Photo credit: Nebraska Tour Company.

At The Reader, we are always considering new ways to engage with you, our readers. At a meeting some time ago, we talked about organizing a tour of Omaha that combined culinary stops and history lessons. It was a fun idea, but I was excited to find that such an offering already exists in Omaha.

Alan Rust: I worked in corporate retail for years, which meant a lot of traveling, a lot of moving. It became a passion to find and explore interesting spots and learn about the history of the places I was traveling to. I found myself in Omaha quite a bit, and something about it was really attractive. There were so many neighborhoods, each with their own culture. You had the Bohemians, Little Italy, your sprawling farms and the Old Market. It was like visiting several cities, and it’s only grown since then.

Nebraska Tour Company’s historical and culinary tours are conducted through I’d always been a many of Omaha’s nomad, but when I left most notable neighcorporate retail, I knew borhoods and offer a I wanted to stay in the taste of the cultures Omaha area. I had that make each neighCommunity leader and North spent a lot of time in borhood home. From Omaha history tour guide Texas, where I originally Preston Love Jr. Photo credit: h u n d r e d - ye a r- o l d , Nebraska Tour Company met [Nebraska Tour family-owned estabCompany board memlishments to burgeonber] Dakotah Smith. Somehow, we both ing cuisine from Omaha’s young, upended up here, and the rest is Nebraska and-coming talents, Nebraska Tour history! Company takes the best of the past and the most enticing of current TR: How long have you been trends to build a tour that tantalizes operating in Omaha? your sense of adventure.

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| THE READER |

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AR: We initially launched a culinary tour company called Discover Omaha. We worked exclusively with local bar owners, chefs and restaurants. I had a conversation with a woman who was running Nebraska History Tours, who I thought we could partner with, and she was hoping to retire.

Guided tours offer locals a new perspective on the city they are excited to finally know. Photo credit: Nebraska Tour Company.

She had this great team already on board, and she suggested that we take it on and run with it. Six months after starting our own tour company, we had acquired a second. That would have been in June of 2017. As of this year, we’ve launched Iowa Tour Company as well, and we’re really happy to be expanding.

made it his mission to learn everything and try everything in the Omaha food culture. He really went after it, and he ended up being the first culinary guide we brought on. He loves talking about restaurants, and just on his own, he managed to make these great connections in the industry and to build these relationships with restaurants and owners and chefs. He knows everything, and he’s learning along while things change, which they always do.

“There were so many neighborhoods, each with their own culture. You had the Bohemians, Little Italy, your sprawling farms and the Old Market. It was like visiting several cities.”

TR: Tell me a little about your team and what they bring to the experience. AR: You know, at some point most jobs become a little less exciting, but not this one. When we match a tour to a guide, I get really excited about it, no matter which guide they’re going to get. Each one brings such personal knowledge, and they each bring something so unique to their tours. We’ve got this guy, Aaron. He transplanted here in 2013 and immediately

We’ve just brought on Preston Love Jr. He was raised in North Omaha and has been an advocate and community leader there, and he brings so much knowledge about North Omaha, about the heritage, how the neighborhood was perceived as almost a separate entity. Even people who grew up here don’t know most of the story. That’s why you still see so much separation.


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Having the whole story is so important to creating a connected community and to preserving the true history, not the North Omaha version and the South Omaha version. We have eight tour hosts at the moment, and they all have their own expertise they bring to the table. We have history teachers, a whiskey expert, culinary experts and researchers. They are all incredibly passionate about what they do and what we can do for the community.

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The other 90% of what we do are custom tours. The client calls and tells us what kind of tour they want: history, culinary, art. Do they want to be chauffeured, walk or are they interested in a self-guided tour? From there we choose a guide who puts together a theme. TR:

“There are amazing stories, cultures and foods everywhere you go in Omaha.”

TR: Who are your clients? Who books a Nebraska history and dining tour? AR: It really varies! 44% of our tours are corporate events. We get the odd outof-town guests, family is in town for a wedding and you’re finding them things to do and see. Holidays are always really busy, so our turnaround time isn’t as responsive, but we can usually make something happen with a few days’ notice. About 10% of our business comes from pre-planned tour events. For our Artisan tour series, we got to go out and tour the farm and attend a chef’s event with Au Courant. The tour got to see just how the food was grown, harvested and brought to the restaurant to be served. We’re planning the same kind of tour with Boiler Room, and we’re currently putting together a cocktail tour — whiskey, scotch, gin — and a barbeque tour. I’ve spent plenty of time in Kansas City and Texas — I know good barbeque — and I was under the impression I wasn’t going to find anything here. I was pleasantly proven wrong. I really can’t wait to share it with everyone.

What do people find surprising about the area?

AR: The city is very segmented, and everyone knows it, but not everyone knows why. Through the process of my own research, and what I’ve learned from our history experts, Omaha has a very strong, powerful, sometimes really sordid history. And when you understand the history, you get a better idea of where the lines were drawn and why people have such preconceived notions about the rest of the city. It’s interesting to see what people gravitate toward and how they react to learning about a place where they live. And it’s really exciting to get to open those gates for them and show them more of their own home. There are amazing stories, cultures and foods everywhere you go in Omaha. While Omaha is a relatively young city, the history of who we are and how we all came to be here can help us learn how to overcome the invisible lines that somehow continue to divide our communities. With Rust’s team of passionate experts, crossing those lines becomes an adventure in food, culture and community. To learn more about Nebraska Tour Company and to schedule your own tour, visit www.nebraskatourcompany.com.

FALL FESTIVAL share the season with friends and family treats for kids fall market scavenger hunt Sunday Funday photo booth

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I don’t consider myself to be a mixologist or one of those people who knows the complete backstory of a preProhibition cocktail that you happened to order at your neighborhood bar (kudos to mixologists and bar aficionados who can retain that much knowledge; we need them in this

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world). But I’ve realized over the past couple of years that I love talking about late-night happenings and discovering new places in our city. I’m excited for you to explore with me Omaha’s growing nightlife and everything it has to offer. Welcome to The Buzz! 

Tiny Drinks, Tiny House by Salvador S. Robles

pers through the ether about the revitalization of this historic corridor. Being a 20-something, I was excited to hear new restaurants and bars would be opening literally down the street from where I lived (and still do). That won’t be an expensive Lyft/Uber ride home! Fast forward to 2019, and the increasingly chic corridor and its surrounds, the newly dubbed Little Bohemia district, is home to several exciting establishments, including a little treasure nestled right in the middle: Tiny House.

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rowing up in South Omaha, I can’t tell you how many times I drove down the 13th Street corridor that connects to downtown. Of course, I’d pass a handful of interesting restaurants: Howard’s Charro and Bohemian Café, to name a couple. But 13th Street was unremarkable to me at the time. However, after the resurrection of “Little Bohemia” began in 2017, I started hearing whis-

Tiny House is, in fact, a bar. But in the building’s long history on 13th Street, it was at one time a house — it just happened to be tiny. Owner Megan Malone opened Tiny House in late March with the goal of showcasing forward-thinking cocktails. If it’s your first time in the area, Tiny House could be easy to miss. It’s dark grey and burrowed between two other buildings; but with its new patio set and lighting on the front deck, it’s pretty easy to spot at night. The first thing I noticed as I stepped through the front door was Tiny House is nothing short of a work of art. An assortment of velvet plush-looking furniture is scattered in small pockets for groups of people to sit comfortably together in the main bar area. A huge painting of what looks like a Godzilla apocalypse scenario, which is entertaining and impressive to look at, is plastered on the opposite side of the bar. A relaxed boho-esque aura, accompanied by random pieces of art, dimly lit light fixtures and funky side tables, sets the ambience. There are three separate but open concept rooms toward the back of the building, which offer some privacy. The entire design of Tiny House reminds me of a 2010’s art-pop video, which you wouldn’t think could

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| THE READER |

THE BUZZ

work for a bar in Omaha, but it really does. The decor is so artsy it might actually distract you from what brought you to Tiny House: the drinks. Tiny House’s menu is organized into basic liquor categories. Depending on what you order, the drinks may be tiny, but they pack a punch! No matter how high your tolerance, these tiny cocktails can be life-altering. The menu is enticing, in part for the laugh-out-loud descriptions of each cocktail. Popular drinks include “It’s a Britney, Bitch” and “Honey Boo Boo,” which have a vodka base and are most requested, and “Ellis Island,” a spin on an elevated cosmo, and “The Last Unicorn,” a creamy drink dusted with cinnamon. I have been on a Manhattan craze this year, and the bourbon/whiskey/scotch/rye cocktail category is a superb exploration. The bartenders at Tiny House will genuinely try to help you find the right cocktail. They are patient and try to appease your taste buds, even if you say, “I like sweet drinks.” (So vague and innocent. No worries, so many of us have said those exact words to some bartender somewhere.)

Other libations that you might want to try include “Passion Fruit Margarita,” which, I swear, is the nectar of the gods (mortals should tread lightly), and the “Negronito,” which pleasantly balances mezcal and campari in a way I wouldn’t think was possible. Fitting with the Tiny House’s tiny theme, many of the cocktails offered can be made in miniature, which allows the average customer looking to experiment the ability to function the following day. Think half-price cocktails at half-price size equal tiny drinks in a tiny house. Summer hours for the bar are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tiny House is also open on Sundays from noon to 10 p.m., and it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Fall hours may change, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Bottom’s Up:

Tiny House might not be the best bar for the average millenial or college student who’s living with their parents and pinchFor this particular field ing pennies. But it’s still trip to Tiny House, I was well worth a visit because, sad to see one of my favorthrough and through, Tiny ite cocktails, the “Cognac Negronito & The Tiny House is not just a bar, it’s Martinez,” had been taken Passionfruit Margarita an experience. Wherever off the menu. The bartendyou live in the Omaha metro area, you’re misser assured me they can still make it on request ing out if you don’t visit Tiny House. and are willing to attempt any other cocktails a customer desires, even if they’re not on the Remember to have fun, drink menu. responsibly and tip your bartenders.


| THE READER |

SEPTEMBER 2019

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AUGUST 2019 AUGUST 2019

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Now through October 13

September 6

Garden of the Zodiac gardenofthezodiacgallery.com

bffomaha.org/petshop

Moments Within Unite Us One Petshop Gallery a Moment

Currently on display at the Garden of the Zodiac till mid-October is Moments Within a Moment, an exhibit by Jim Krantz, originally from Omaha. Krantz, who now works out of Los Angeles, is a well-respected advertising photographer. True to its title, the exhibit dissects the well-understood photographic potential of “capturing the moment.” From one simple view-camera photograph of the climax of a Mexican bullfight, the artist pulls the elegance and brutality of the frozen-in-time final moment. Individual portraits of the crowd are enlarged from the original and placed around the gallery, gleaning a variety of expressions, all synchronized to the exact moment portrayed in the original photo. The expressions are widely varied — some fascinated or appalled, others oblivious or otherwise involved. The 40-plus photos are printed on translucent Japanese gampi paper, then treated with encaustic wax to enhance the transparency and add additional texture. Moments Within a Moment runs through October 13 at The Garden of the Zodiac located in the Passageway in the Old Market, 1042 Howard Street. For more info and gallery hours, contact the gallery at 402-3411877. — Kent Behrens

For his upcoming solo exhibit, Unite Us One at Petshop Gallery, interdisciplinary artist Barber extends his practice of articulating the testimonies of Black America to offer the viewer a more connected experience in his mixed-media art. Barber’s imagery portrays identity in a fluid, abstract way so that the viewer projects their own perspective and avoids social constructs. Additionally, he attempts to translate authenticity in the narrative, building on a highly localized experience of the places and people he encounters. For the viewer, then, this allows even more of a connection between them and the subject — an almost one-on-one conversation. Barber cites Grace Lee Boggs, an American revolutionary as an inspiration to his work. She defined true wealth as the ability to relate to other human beings. Unite Us One opens with a reception on Friday, September 6, at Petshop Gallery in Benson and runs through October 25. For more information, visit barberpaintspeople.com or bffomaha.org/petshop.html. — Melinda Kozel

September 6

ing a memorial exhibition of paintings opening on Friday, September 6, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Engler’s colorful canvases display his array of interests, from naïve paintings to Native American art, and show a special affinity for the modern abstraction of Picasso, Miro and the like. As described in The Reader by Kent Behrens, Engler was “not one to shy from controversial subjects, his abstract work touched on a wide range of topics from politics to sex and landscapes and cityscapes to the spiritual.”

The exhibition continues through September 28. Proceeds from sales of artworks will benefit St. Mary Magdalene Church’s stained glass window maintenance program, which Engler helped initiate. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call 402-681-1901. — Janet L. Farber

Robert Klein September 6 Engler Memorial Defiant Line Exhibition Modern Arts Midtown The Little Gallery 5901 Maple Street fb.com/thelittlegallerybenson

Marking nearly a year since the passing of longtime artist and writer Robert Klein Engler, the Little Gallery in Benson is host-

modernartsmidtown.com Modern Arts Midtown’s two-month exhibit in September and October includes eight artists who, though varied in subject and medium, have a similar shared aesthetic. Defiant Line, a drawing-driven exhi-

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bition, illustrates a group that defies “traditional means in reaching their destination… to evoke abstraction in energetic line and color.” Utilizing drawing, painting and steel, this unique group of “mark makers” features Teresa Schmidt, Catherine Ferguson, Michael Tegland, David McLeod, Jean Gaudaire-Thor, Joe Ruffo, Thomas JewellVitale, Littleton Alston and Gordon Powell. Defiant Line will open with a reception, September 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Modern Arts Midtown. For more information, go to modernartsmidtown.com or call 402-5028737. — Michael J. Krainak

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September 6

So the Stories Go Michael Phipps Gallery, W. Dale Clark Main Library omahalibrary.org/michaelphipps-gallery

Omaha Public Libraries. Further information is available at omahalibrary.org/michael-phipps-gallery. — Kent Behrens

September 2019

Stir Cove

Blink-182 has had a strange last 12 months. First, they canceled a string of tour dates, including a stop at Stir Cove, due to drummer Travis Scott’s battle with blood clots in his arms. Then there was the ill-fated tour with Lil’ Wayne that was hampered by shortened sets and constant speculation that the rapper would be dropping off the bill. Now, a few months removed from all the drama, Blink finally appear to be enjoying themselves. The band is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their pop-punk classic Enema of the State. Expect the band to run through the full album and then follow that up with a second set of classics that span the rest of their discography. — Houston Wiltsey

September 8

Steely Dan Anderson O’Brien Gallery will exhibit Christina Narwicz: Drawings from the Mind of the Artist September 6-30 with an opening reception Friday, September 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. Narwicz, a gestural, organic abstractionist will feature drawings from the 1990s to the present that visually interpret her connection to the natural world, according to AOB’s show statement: “These drawings either come from her mind or through direct observation. As an amateur naturalist, avid gardener and swimmer her observations of plants, water and the landscape are explored not only in a Romantic sense but to understand her subjects viscerally and experientially.” Narwicz has exhibited nationally and internationally in both solo and group shows at venues such as Artemesia Gallery (Chicago, Ill.), Galerie Shulgasse (Wurzburg, Germany), Garden of the Zodiac Gallery (Omaha, Neb.), among others. For more info, go to aobfineart.com. — Michael J. Krainak

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September 9

Mannequin Pussy The Slowdown

Christina Narwicz:

Anderson O’Brien Gallery www.aobfineart.com

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Blink-182

September 6

Drawings from the Mind of the Artist

A trio of Omaha artists is featured in So the Stories Go, an exhibit opening on September 6 with an artists’ talk at 5 p.m. at the Michael Phipps Gallery in downtown Omaha. The show features the work of Casey Callahan, Ilaamen Pelshaw and Tyler Swain. Each of the three examines where and how memories originate, how they are recalled and how they are affected by time and event. This results in three very different takes on the personal narrative. Pelshaw’s boldly graphic acrylics combine realistic and often humorous illustrations with complementary geometric abstracts, creating a vibrant diptych that derives inspiration from classic fairy tales and folk tales from her native Guatemala. Casey Callahan examines the many layers of memory that combine and overlap, affecting each other to alter the final story. The resulting mixed-media works are an assemblage of expressive storytelling that is both real and fantastic. Tyler Swain creates mixed-media artworks and installations, often using creative game tactics as a guide. Through the aesthetics of found objects and place, Swain creates installations and objects with deeply personal histories and narratives. So the Stories Go is on display through October 26. The Michael Phipps Gallery is located in the downtown branch of the

September 7

Pinewood Bowl, Lincoln

Almost two years to the day after founding guitarist Walter Becker passed away due to complications from esophageal cancer, the legendary ‘70s jazz-rock outfit will make its way to Lincoln. Similar to the Eagles’ tour after the passing of Glenn Frey, the rapid return to touring may seem like a perverse cash-grab to some, but the early reviews have indicated that the shows are anything but. Seventy-year-old lead singer, and sole remaining member, Donald Fagen appears to be using these shows as an opportunity to both honor his lost compatriot and show off that he is able to carry the load by himself. — Houston Wiltsey

Of all the current underground rock bands with ridiculous names (think Diarrhea Planet, Tacocat), Mannequin Pussy is probably the band that takes itself the most seriously. Many of the human emotions are on display in their music, although it’s mostly the dark and angry ones — the self-loathing ones, the pissed off ones and the mentally defeated ones. But their music is also simultaneously fun, energetic and youthful. Their 2016 breakout LP Romantic feels like a hardcore punk record stuck in a love triangle with twee power pop and melancholic beach rock. If that sounds kooky, the album does seem somewhat jumbled, but with an exciting unpredictability. When the band teased their 2019 Epitaph debut Patience with the wistful singles “Drunk II” and “Who You Are,” it suggested Mannequin Pussy had decided to officially follow the power-pop path. But the third single, “Cream,” shattered those expectations in a two-minute hardcore barnburner. Mannequin Pussy can’t commit, and that’s OK. With songwriting as solid as that present on Patience and Romantic, the band might as well throw a country tune into the mix. They play at Slowdown September 9. Tickets are $12, and more information is available at theslowdown.com. — Sam Crisler

September 10

Sheer Mag The Slowdown Sheer Mag is making the jump. Last time they stopped in Omaha, they played a ferocious set to roughly 75 people at the Reverb. Now, they are moving on up to the main room at The Slowdown. The extra space should give the songs from their new album, A Distant Call, plenty of space to breathe. Where their last album, 2017’s  Need to Feel Your Love, drew


from peak disco, A Distant Call  looks forward a few years to mid-’80s jangle-pop with tracks such as “Unfound Manifest” and “Silver Line.” This being Sheer Mag, your love for the album will hinge primarily on how much you enjoy crunchy riffs and guitar heroics that split the difference between prime AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the record, this is one show that is not to be missed. Check out Backbeat for an interview with Sheer Mag frontwoman Tina Halladay. — Houston Wiltsey

petition. The inaugural Other Fest — organized by independent artists and musicians — takes place at ChezSoDo (440 S. 11th St.) a week before Lincoln Calling, just blocks from the big festival’s epicenter. Unlike Lincoln Calling, though, Other Fest’s music portion features exclusively local bands, 18 of them. Its lineup is topped by rapper Conny Franko, ska ensemble Mad Dog & The 20/20s, post-punk band No Thanks and garage rock band Death Cow. The festival also includes panels, workshops and local art, and more details will be released as the two-day event gets closer. Find more information by searching “Other Fest” on Facebook. Single-day passes are $10, and two-day passes are $15. — Sam Crisler

September 13-October 13

Annie

Omaha Community Playhouse

September 12

Kristin Hersh Electric Trio with Fred Abong

September 14

September 13-14

Other Fest ChezSoDo, Lincoln

The sun will come out September 13 as Little Orphan Annie and her friends grace the main stage at Omaha Community Playhouse in this family favorite. Annie, based on a popular comic strip of yesteryear, is a spunky, no-nonsense New York kid on a quest to find her parents who left her on the steps of an orphanage as a baby. The bitter and hilarious Mrs. Hannigan runs the orphanage with an iron fist and a drink in her hand but is regularly foiled by Annie’s quick thinking. This show is filled with family-friendly adventures as Annie befriends President Roosevelt, finds a new, loving home and dreams of a brighter future. With an all-star cast, including OCP favorites, such as Stella Clark-Kaczmarek as Annie, this is a show you don’t want to miss! For tickets visit TicketOmaha.com or call 402-345-0606. — Beaufield Berry

September 14 For years, Lincoln Calling has had a monopoly on September festivals in the capital city, but this year it’s got some com-

Matt Wilson

and his Orchestra The Sydney, Benson

September 14

STRFKR Waiting Room

Vanessa German:

The Slowdown Ready or not here they come. Kristin Hersh Electric Trio is bringing their latest album, Possible Dust Clouds, to life on the big stage. New England artist Kristin Hersh is a prolific indie rocker, and the record has been described as a “strikingly raw and powerful album that takes her music back to its more grungy roots.” Join them, along with bass player Fred Abong, as they take you on a wonderfully wild, head-banging journey through the albums of these two killer performers. Tickets are $15 advance and $18 at the door. — Brisa Colaizzi

Self-proclaimed “banjo-harp-gentlerockin’-happy machine,” Matt Wilson and his Orchestra are coming to Omaha, and I don’t know about you, but they had me at “happy machine.” This incredibly unique, multi-instrument extravaganza of a band will be playing at The Sydney in Benson on September 14 at 9 p.m., and we recommend you snag your tickets now. They will be playing a little bit of everything, from iconic classics to some of their own creations that they say represent the band’s character and core. Tickets are $15. — Brisa Colaizzi

Debuted at the Mattress Factory in 2017 and reimagined for the Union, sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies is a colorful, immersive installation described by German as “a dimensional living reckoning” that addresses the disruptive systems of oppression and violence against marginalized communities. German is a visual and performance artist, whose creativity extends to poetry, sculpture, photography, design and acting. Her work as a “citizen artist” extends to dynamic community arts initiatives with the goal of infusing the power of art and love as transformative, positive forces. Vanessa German: sometimes. we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies runs from September 14 to November 30 at the Union for Contemporary Art’s Wanda D. Ewing Gallery, with free public hours on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m., WednesdaysFridays from noon-6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Janet L. Farber

sometimes. we.cannot. be.with.our. bodies Union for Contemporary Art Wanda D. Ewing Gallery

Pittsburgh-based artist Vanessa German brings her recent installation sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies to the Union for Contemporary Art, with an opening day public performance on September 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.

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Five chords on guitar, six notes on the bass and a grand total of 14 different words are used on STRFKR’s “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second.” Even if you are not familiar with the Portland pop three-piece, you know this song. You can hear it in Target commercials, on Weeds, your college radio station or standing in line at Qdoba trying to decide if you want black or pinto beans. It’s the group’s only notable song and the main reason 95 percent of those planning to go are making the trip.  While I am not here to argue that STRFKR is an under-appreciated gem, I will say those going for that song might be pleasantly surprised by a few other tunes in their set list. In particular, the psychedelic, funky cuts off of 2016’s Being No One, Going Nowhere make for some intoxicatingly fun dance jams. — Houston Wiltsey

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September 14

er and wife Nicole Wheeler are reviving this free literary fête with their own imprint and theme: “Give a Damn: The Difference Literature Makes.” The diverse guest writers, many of color, include: Kwame Dawes, Angel Garcia, Amina Gautier, Jennine Capo Crucet, Aisha Sharif and Saddiq Dzukogi. Joining them are local favorites Sara McKinstry-Brown, new Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason, Todd Robinson, Timothy Schaffert and Lydia Kang. There’s an opening night party and celebration of books by Nebraska authors at Wilson & Washburn on September 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. Lit Fest at The Venue (Highlander) on September 14 features panels, readings and talks, plus a community fair, food trucks and signings from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An after party with author and mixologist Sam Slaughter throws down at Pageturners Lounge from 7 to 11 p.m. – Leo Adam Biga

Destino Dinner Scott Conference Center Itching for a night full of rich culture, heavenly food and amazing music? Best mark your calendars for Saturday, September 14, from 5:30 to 10 p.m., for the Destino Dinner that will benefit the Latino Center of the Midlands. Complete with a cocktail hour and silent auction, the event will include a salsa bar (yum) along with other appetizers and entertainment from 6 to 7 p.m. and a speaking program with dinner from 7 to 8:30 p.m. It will conclude with an after party, complete with dancing, beverages and, most importantly, networking! To learn more about the event and donate to the Latino Center of the Midlands, visit latinocenter.org. — Brisa Colaizzi

September 14

The Lowest Pair

September 14

African Cultural Festival Stinson Park www.afromaha.com

Reverb Lounge SundayRoadhouse.com Folk-Americana duo The Lowest Pair makes a return to the Sunday Roadhouse concert series. The group has been garnering praise for their fresh impressions of traditional folk. They’ve landed enthusiastic reviews in publications ranging from No Depression to Paste, which notes the group “might be one of the best under-the-radar Americana duos today.” Admission is $17 in advance or $20 at the door. — B.J. Huchtemann

September 14 Whether Africa is your ancestral motherland or an immense cultural canvas that piques your curiosity, any celebration of its rich sounds, colors, textures and flavors is bound to be diverse. Presenter Afromaha is an organization created by Africans living in Nebraska in order to connect people, foster creativity and engage the African diaspora in the local community. Another goal is nurturing a sense of belonging and identity in Africans’ cultural heritage. The result is this free showcase of live music, dance, arts, crafts, cuisine, garb, languages and traditions from more than 20 nations. Marvel at the tapestry weaved by artists, activists, creatives and entrepreneurs. Come join the party. Africa is calling you. — Leo Adam Biga

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September 2019

Omaha Lit Fest The Venue at Highlander 2120 N. 30th St. omaha-lit-fest.com

Omaha Lit Fest is back with new leadership and more diversity. Timothy Schaffert started the event in 2005, and it enjoyed a decade-long run. Now novelist Ted Wheel-

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September 15

Interpol The Holland

September 15

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys Waiting Room SundayRoadhouse.com Southern California’s iconic purveyors of original Western Swing, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys have two local shows. Catch them at The Sunday Roadhouse at Waiting Room Sunday, September 15, 5 p.m. and also at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, September 25, 6 p.m. Find out more in Hoodoo, p. 38. — B.J. Huchtemann

September 16

Amy Herzog’s Mary Jane: A Staged Reading Omaha Community Playhouse Interpol might be the most consistent band from the early 2000s New York rock scene. Sure, they never reached the heights of the Strokes or LCD Soundsystem, never released a single as catchy as “House of Jealous Lovers” like the Rapture or had critics drooling over their every release like TV on the Radio. No, Interpol has just released a steady stream of decent-to-great records since bursting onto the scene with their 2002 masterpiece Turn on the Bright Lights. Their latest release, 2018’s Marauder, is one of their strongest efforts to date. It’s a rough concept album focused on lead singer Paul Bank’s increasing paranoia about the role technology plays in everyday life. Don’t expect much in the way of glitchy electronics or synth drones, the band recorded the album in a mostly unadorned fashion in hopes of giving it a rough, live feeling. That being the case, it should translate well to their set at The Holland. — Houston Wiltsey

Omaha Community Playhouse’s alternate programming has gone from a fringe event to its own unique brand. This season’s offerings run the theatrical gamut in terms of genre, subject and emotion, but the one thing they all share is great writing and terrific entertainment. Director of AltProgramming Kaitlyn McClincy took time to pick scripts that not only stood out as works of art, but also offer Omaha’s female actresses roles they can sink their teeth into. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Amy Herzog’s Mary Jane does just that. The story of a medical mom wading through the reali-


ties of raising her chronically ill young son, Alex, and the village she forms as she does, this powerful play will find a place in your heart. Directed by the brilliant Kathy Tyree and featuring a talented cast of some of Omaha’s finest actors, Mary Jane is a mustsee. If you haven’t been to an alternative program at OCP yet, make this one your first, and it won’t be your last. Reservations not required, and the event is free. — Beaufield Berry

September 17

Pinegrove The Waiting Room

renowned recording artist James Brown, these guys are killing the soul game, and we cannot wait to see them steal the show live at O’Leavers. Bring your friends, mom, dad, brothers, sisters or neighbors to this totally chill, soulful, and artistic display of musical genius complete with good food, tasty beverages and, of course, killer tunes. Tickets are $15. Show is at 9 p.m. — Brisa Colaizzi

September 17-28

Art & Literary Festival: The Life and Works of Mark Twain Joslyn Castle

Hailing from Montclair, New Jersey, Pinegrove is an indie-rock/emo band whose earnest sound inspired a cult-like following. After a self-imposed hiatus following sexual coercion allegations against lyricist Evan Stephens Hall, the band is back on tour. They perform September 17 at 8 p.m. at The Waiting Room. Tickets are $21.00 in advance and $25 at the door. — Reader Staff

September 17

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears O’Leaver’s

If their band name did not intrigue you enough, how about the fact that Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears have absolutely nailed the blues, funk and soul genre? Formed in Austin, Texas, in 2007 with a heavy influence and inspiration from the iconic blues band Howlin’ Wolf and world-

Autumn is the perfect season to see and experience new and innovative art and culture in Omaha. An integral part of that culture is the art and literary festival now in its 10th year, presented by Metropolitan Community College in partnership with Joslyn Castle. In past years, the venture has covered writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, and this year they celebrate the controversial and poignant works of Mark Twain with An Evening with Mark Twain: A Dramatized Selection of Works. The evening consists of readings, live performances and a presentation of short pieces, including: “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and “A Curious Pleasure Excursion.” MCC English instructor Kimberly Armstrong and David Peterson, Ph.D, will present special lectures discussing Twain’s life September 19 and 26 at 6 p.m. The MCC English program will host the Funny Flash Fiction Contest on September 21, featuring humorous submissions from various writers. Reservations are required. Tickets run from $15-$25. Go to joslyncastle.com or call 402-595-2199 for more. — Beaufield Berry

September 18-22

Lincoln Calling Various venues

September 20

Glow in the Garden Joslyn Art Museum Sculpture Garden It’s Lincoln’s biggest music festival, and it’s back with another stacked lineup. Lincoln Calling has always had a mini-SXSW vibe about it, spread out in five main music venues near the 14th and ‘O’ intersection in downtown Lincoln and bringing in top-notch talent while letting newer acts cut their teeth in front of festival audiences. This year’s festival is one of the biggest yet, headlined by Lee Fields & The Expressions, Soccer Mommy, Charly Bliss and A Tribe Called Red. Like SXSW, Lincoln Calling again makes sure every kind of music fan has a seat at the festival table. There’s punk (Skating Polly, Bogusman), hip-hop (TT The Artist, Fat Tony), psychedelic rock (Couch Jackets, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets), electronic (Pixel Grip, CBN), etc. Find something you like at lincolncalling.com. Tickets start at $40. — Sam Crisler

September 19

Guy King Chrome Lounge OmahaBlues.com

Relax your inhibitions and let your freak flag fly at this masquerade event. Sponsoring group, Joslyn Young Art Patrons, encourages partygoers to “lose” themselves beneath classic or creative cocktail attire and, what else, masks. Don’t rule out the provocative. An open mind and a sense of adventure should go a long way to enjoying this adult dress-up and make-believe playtime. You must be age 21 or older to indulge your whimsical or slightly wicked ways. Besides guessing who’s hiding under what mask, other diversions include music, yard games, cocktails and food trucks. Event runs 7 to 11 p.m. Advance tickets: $25 YAP members; $40 general public. All tickets at the door $50. Group discounts available. – Leo Adam Biga

September 23

Fruit Bats

with Sun June The Slowdown

Guy King is an Israeli-born blues guitarist who has grown from a blues-loving teenager to a working artist soaking up the music in Memphis and New Orleans before settling in Chicago. Signed by one of the staples of traditional Chicago Blues, the Delmark Records label, King was recognized as a 2017 Blues Music Award nominee for Best Emerging Artist. King was recently named “Chicago’s latest royalty” by Vintage Guitar Magazine, which went on to say “Whether covering his heroes or playing originals...King makes this music fresh and vibrant.” — B.J. Huchtemann

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Indie rock band Fruit Bats with special guest Sun June have packed up their things, jumped in their van and headed out on tour, with Omaha as one of the lucky stops along the way. With the release of their latest album, Gold Past Life, and the conclusion of an epic trilogy of albums, the Fruit Bats are finally ready to get on the road again.

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They are undeniable storytellers that have the ability to captivate the audience with the strum of a guitar string. This is the kind of show you will get lost in, forgetting where one song ended and the other began. Check them out at The Slowdown on September 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. — Brisa Colaizzi

September 23

September 25

The Melvins

The Mynabirds

The Waiting Room

Reverb Lounge Have you ever wanted to listen to several different types of music without having to make your way to a music festival? Well, you’re in luck because The Mynabirds are coming to the Reverb Lounge in Benson this month. Singersongwriter Laura Burhenn has been known to change up her style, and we mean really change up her style, from album to album. Since 2010, Burhenn has been keeping her fans on their toes with all different types of sounds, each better than the last. With four albums of seemingly completely different genres, we guarantee that you will not be bored when you see The Mynabirds live. Go to reverblounge.com for more. Tickets are $13 in advance or $15 at the door. — Brisa Colaizzi

The Melvins might be the most underrated metal band of all time. Since forming in the early ‘80s, the band, led by Buzz Osborne with his mad scientist haircut, has been vital to the development of hard rock subgenres like stoner rock, sludge metal and grunge. If distinguishing among those styles sounds like playing a musical guessing game, simply put, bands like Mastodon, Isis, High on Fire, Slipknot and Nirvana probably wouldn’t exist without The Melvins (Osborne and drummer Dale Crover played in Kurt Cobain’s first band, Fecal Matter). Some may see the band’s trajectory post-2000 as quantity over quality — they have literal dozens of releases behind them packing a nearly endless and impossible-to-navigate back catalog. Even so, who the hell cares? The sonic ground frontman King Buzzo and co. have covered since their 1987 debut is paralleled by none in metal except maybe Buckethead. They’re bona fide metal gods. See them live when they’re in Omaha this month at The Waiting Room. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at waitingroomlounge.com. — Sam Crisler

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September 2019

NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg exemplifies why public radio is the antithesis of its commercial cousin. The popular and much-acclaimed radio personality is helping Omaha’s KIOS 91.5 FM celebrate 50 years of broadcasting. She’ll share nuggets from an eventful career that extends back to nearly the start of National Public Radio. The stalwart news anchor, shrewd reporter-interviewer and sharp social-cultural observer made All Things Considered a must-listen and opened the door for female colleagues. “As one of NPR’s original founding member stations, we are delighted Susan Stamberg has agreed to join us as part of our 50th anniversary festivities,” said KIOS Station Manager Ken Dudzik. “We know the evening will be a celebration of the rich history of public broadcasting viewed from the unique perspective of one of NPR’s ‘founding mothers.’” Tickets are $25 or $50 (includes VIP reception following event and VIP seating). – Leo Adam Biga

September 26-October 20

Red Summer Bluebarn Theatre bluebarn.org

September 25

An Evening with Susan Stamberg Joslyn Art Museum kios.org

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September 26 – one night only!

Shakespeare Shaken and Stirred Lauritzen Gardens

Nebraska Shakespeare loves to push the boundaries of traditional Shakespearean theater and engage new audiences. From their all-female troupe, Juno’s Swans, to their well-organized and summertimemust Shakespeare in the Park, they are making sure Omaha stays both wellcultured and entertained. This season’s big event serves as a fundraiser for all of the educational events Nebraska Shakespeare hosts throughout the year across the state. Not only can you eat, drink and be merry amongst the Shakespeare crew, you can meet and mingle with Tina Packer, author of Women of Will, founder of the prestigious Shakespeare and Company and foremost Will expert. It is sure to be a fantastic night full of great food, conversation and history. Event runs 6 to 9 p.m. with a special preevent reception for sponsors and patrons at 5:30. For tickets, visit Eventbrite.com. — Beaufield Berry

September 29 The Bluebarn Theatre presents the premiere of Beaufield Berry’s Red Summer, a moving account of one of Omaha’s darkest hours, which took place 100 years ago this month — the lynching and desecration of Will Brown. Brown, who was falsely accused of attacking a white woman, was a migrant from the South fleeing Jim Crow laws and searching for a better life. In the midst of political upheaval, Brown became a symbol of the violent legacy of racism that exists even north of the Mason-Dixon line. (Read more about Will Brown’s legacy in the Feature section.) The play takes on some of the political aspects of the time but is driven by the narrative of Southern black migration. Special panels and talk backs will be scheduled throughout the run. For more information and tickets, visit bluebarn.org. — Reader Staff

John Németh Band Chrome Lounge OmahaBlues.com

Soulful vocalist, songwriter, bandleader and multiple Blues Music Award Winner John Németh returns to the Blues Society of Omaha’s early Thursday series at Chrome Lounge September 29, 6 to 9 p.m. See Hoodoo, p. 38 for more. — B.J. Huchtemann


STAKES IS HIGH R ACE, FAITH, & HOPE FOR AMERIC A

MONDAY, SEPT. 9, 2019 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CENTER RM. 201 | 6:30 P.M. Join pastor, professor, award-winning author, activist, and social commentator, Rev. Waters’ and hear words of hope and empowerment that have inspired national and international audiences. Seating is limited, please RSVP.

[ E V EN T S.UNOM A H A .EDU ]

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Edge of Your Chair Joslyn’s Exhibit ‘Art of Seating’ Transcends Merely Functional or Sitting Pretty by Kent Behrens | PHOTOs by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn

J

“Sheraton Chair” (1984), is named for the late 18th century furniture designer Thomas Sheraton. It is a simple, black, enamel chair with a painted design of geometrics, classical Greek forms and drapery motif. Venturi is known for bringing some decoration to the starkness of modernity.

oslyn Art Museum is currently exhibiting The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design. The exhibit features a collection of 40 chairs drawn from the Jacobsen Collection of American Art and organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, Florida. The chairs provide a fascinating representation of the development of American design and the decorative arts.

There are only a few examples where art severely overrides function. The “Synergistic Synthesis XVII sub b1 Chair” (2003), designed and built by Kenneth Smythe, has its inspiration and origins in such disparate sources as the philosophies of Bertrand Russel, the music of Frederick Delius and the Fibonacci sequence. Still functionally a chair, it’s a Wonka-ish sculptural contrivance of laminated wood and Formica that, though fun, defies further explanation and, one would hope, mass manufacture.

The line that separates the fine arts and decorative arts has never been very solid. This display does nothing to make it more so, but maybe that is unnecessary. The exhibit features seating that is more sculpture than chair and seats that are pure canvas to the artists’ whims. Some move, some rock, some might make your chiropractor apoplectic. But they all represent a time, a design philosophy and American ingenuity. The Art of Seating excels as an acknowledgement of the variety and depth of American design and innovation. It may be easy to cite gaps in any collection, and there may be some here, but it seemed a contiguous representation of different styles, movements and manufacturing processes. Quite a few of the chairs in this collection were designed by famous architects: Eero Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Robert Venturi, Frank Gehry, just to name a few. Gehry probably has the most spartan chair in the show. The “Superlight” (2004) is a simple piece of sheet aluminum invisibly fastened to an aluminum tube that starts and ends on the

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“Large Diamond Lounge Chair,” c. 1952, designed by Harry Bertoia, manufactured by Knoll Associates back of the chair after going through about six bends. It looks as if it comes up short in the comfort department; but as an ultra-simple statement to form, it succeeds. Venturi is represented with one of his project chairs from Knoll. He was commissioned by the famous office furniture company to create a series of chairs, a couch and some tables. The chairs were created by using the same bent-plywood base — legs, seat and back from two sheets — and he embellished each with motifs representing various art and design movements.

“Synergistic Synthesis XVII sub b1 Chair,” 2003, designed and manufactured by Kenneth Smythe

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ART

The basic structure of the chairs is exactly the same: a slightly clunky, armless design that could serve as a side chair or table seating. The chair presented in the exhibit,

Also, in the more-sculpture, less-chair category, is Jon Brooks’ “Solid Elm Ball Chair.” Exactly as titled, it is a highly polished, hand-sculpted ball of elm burl, with a scooped seat ground out of the top, sized apparently to fit a limited portion of the current American public. Not much back support is offered; it is simply a stunning piece of wood craft and an example of how almost anything can become a chair. What might at first appear to be some sort of novelty, one-off chair, is Wenzel Friedrich’s “Texas Longhorn Arm Chair” (1890), a serious endeavor by an early American entrepreneur and cabinetmaker. Friedrich saw the value in mountains of discarded horns outside the slaughterhouses and started using the inexpensive material to build chairs. This award-winning chair became very popular and was ultimately coveted by European royalty.


Saturday

Gathering Places

& Sunday September Friday "Sneak Peek"

connecting communities through art...

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Several of the chairs could claim icon status. Featured are classic examples of Knoll’s “Grasshopper Arm Chair” (1946) by Saarinen, Herman Miller’s “Lounge Chair Wood” by the husband-and-wife-design team of Charles and Ray Eames. One of the most successful and iconic chair designs ever produced can be seen in Herman Miller’s “MAF Chair” (ca. 1965), designed by mid-century design legends George Nelson and Charles R. Pollock. This chair, maybe better known as the Swag Leg Armchair, was more of a testament to leg design and engineering than to anything having to do with the fiberglass seat for which it is so recognizable.

“High Stool,” 1971, designed by Frank Gehry, manufactured by Easy Edges, Inc.

There are, however, quite a few that seem to have been the epitome of their kind, never to be copied or mass produced. The range of materials used in the creation of something as utilitarian as a chair is quite interesting: from rattan and wicker (yes, there is a difference) to aluminum and steel, to plastic and rubber, cardboard and Masonite. Frank Gehry, who is represented a second time by his infamous 1971 “Easy Edges High Stool,” developed an entire line of cardboard and Masonite chairs that almost redefined the functional precepts of sitting. As difficult as it is to pick a star, do not miss Herbert von Thaden’s “Adjustable Lounge Chair” (1947). Originally an aircraft designer and aviator, von Thaden developed and patented a system for bending thin sheets of plywood, which ultimately led to his furniture business. Although they probably could be promoted more earnestly, there are two interesting companion shows in the lower level community gallery of the Joslyn’s main Memorial Building that should not be missed. These two displays, Chair Prototypes: A Partnership and Tiny Treasures are results of collaborations between Joslyn and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

“Centripetal Spring Arm Chair,” c. 1850, designed by Thomas E. Warren, manufactured by the American Chair Co.

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Chair Prototypes is an interesting display of design drawings, research and actual models of chairs resulting from a class inspired by the 200 Years of Seating exhibit. The

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“Sling Seat Lounge Chair,” c. 1935, designed by Warren McArthur Jr., manufactured by Warren McArthur Corp. results illustrate the importance of planning and research in the design process. Tiny Treasures is a diminutive exhibit of small, highly detailed chairs assembled from the larger Kruger Collection housed at UNL. The set designers did quite a good job assembling a display that does not directly mimic, but still complements, the larger show. A final note: Kudos to those responsible for the placards at each station; they should be commended for the “extra” cultural tidbits provided with each chair. This gives added context to each design, to the materials and fabrication. It is sometimes easy to forget, especially in a museum setting, how

the decorative arts and utilitarian crafts are so reliant on the availability and access of materials and manufacturing processes, and how much design has in common with social and cultural trends. The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design, and the companion exhibits, are currently on display at Joslyn Art Museum. The exhibit is open during regular museum hours, and it runs through September. Please note that all visitors must obtain a ticket for entry to this exhibit. Admission to the museum is free; but for The Art of Seating exhibit, various prices apply for non-members, and member access is free. Go to joslyn. org or call for further information.


Here's how the dairy community contributes to a natural nutrient cycle – and you can help, too.

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NOURISH PEOPLE We need to ensure a variety of nutritious foods, including nutrient-rich dairy foods, are available and affordable to help all people thrive.

ENOUGH FOOD TO NOURISH 10 BILLION PEOPLE POPULATION OF 7 BILLION WITH 815 MILLION UNDERNOURISHED PEOPLE

Enough food is produced globally to nourish 10 billion people. And yet, food insecurity impacts people in every region, including 1 in 8 Americans.1

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Cow manure’s unique composition helps restore nutrients in the soil, helping it be healthier, so food can be grown with reduced use of synthetic fertilizer, which is fossil fuel-based.

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NOURISH THE LAND Returning nutrients back to the land to replenish the soil completes the cycle.

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IS LOST OR WASTED

National and international efforts are underway to close this gap, and you can help by reducing your food waste. Find out more at FurtherWithFood.org.

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DAIRY CAN BE PART OF THE SOLUTION TO FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY DUE TO ITS NUTRIENT CONTRIBUTIONS. MILK NATURALLY CONTAINS HIGH-QUALITY PROTEIN, CALCIUM, PHOSPHORUS AND B VITAMINS.

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Food waste contributes to this discrepancy.

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NOURISH ANIMALS Just like people have specific nutritional needs, so do dairy cows. Dairy cows have a unique, 4-chambered stomach, so they can unlock nutrition from parts of plants people can’t or won’t eat. For example, people drink the OJ and cows eat the citrus pulp, and people eat almonds and cows eat the almond hulls. 80% OF WHAT DAIRY COWS EAT CAN'T BE EATEN BY PEOPLE.

EACH DAY, 1 COW PRODUCES 17 GALLONS OF MANURE. THAT’S ENOUGH FERTILIZER TO GROW 46 POUNDS OF CORN.2

©2018 Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and National Dairy Council. Notes: 1. Food insecure at some point in time in 2016; 2. Based on average soil content and lactating dairy cow in IL. Sources: Coleman-Jensen et al. USDA ERS. Economic Research Report No. 237, Sep. 2017. FAO/UN. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017. Holt-Gimenez. J Sustain Agr Vol 36, 2012. FAO/UN. SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. Tilman D et al. Nature 418, 671–77. USDA NRCS. Animal Manure Management RCA Issue Brief No. 7. ASAE D384.2, Mar. 2005. Manure Production and Characteristics. Below F, Brandau P. How Much Nitrogen Does Corn Need? Tricarico, J Proc of the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference, Fort Wayne, IN, pgs. 49-57, 2016. eXtension. Liquid Manure Storage Ponds, Pits, and Tanks. Oct. 27, 2015.

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Lifting the Unheard Voice O by Leo Adam Biga

maha theater veterans Colleen O’Doherty and Haley Piper Haas knew each other professionally but certainly didn’t consider themselves stage soulmates — until they discovered they were pursuing independent projects with similar themes close to their hearts. They quickly decided to combine their talents to create the Anastasis Theatre Company.

of the pitfalls and what we needed to talk about in advance.” The Anastasis team began conducting story circles at shelters and in prisons with the intent of creating original plays around each population. Their company’s play about homelessness, Stories on the Brink, is currently being written by O’Doherty. She says she is synthesizing the themes and stories that have emerged, which vary from person to person.

“It’s kind of like getting married – that’s the running joke we have,” O’Doherty said. “It’s a big commitment,” added Haas, “and I have not had a single second thought.” The company’s name, Anastasis, comes from a Greek word whose core meaning is “to rise up,” which fits the theater’s mission and tagline of “lifting the unheard voice.” Their community-engaged theater is developed through immersive, intimate story-harvesting sessions that encourage people to share their personal experiences.

“Some of the homeless were very successful homeowners, business-owners, and life took a turn they didn’t expect,” Haas said. “They’ve shared some really breathtaking, heartbreaking stories.”

Colleen O’Doherty (left) and Haley Piper Haas (right) teamed up to create the Anastasis Theater Company last year. Photo credit: Debra S. Kaplan. Before joining forces, each explored her own socially conscious theater work until they reached a sticking point they couldn’t resolve alone. O’Doherty was researching a play about homelessness but didn’t know how to get residents of local shelters to open up. Haas was encouraging prison inmates to share their stories in role play and story circles. But when the inmates wanted to shape their stories into a staged play, she needed a playwright. It’s around this time Haas and O’Doherty met and realized they could help each other.

Humanities Center and first applied the story circle model to Nebraska State Penitentiary inmates when she volunteered with the re-entry program Compassion in Action. She also honed her skills during 15 years of touring with RESPECT, an anti-bullying theater initiative.

Haas said the model is new in Omaha. Aside from PlayFest, presented by Great Plains Theatre Conference (GPTC), which often brings artists in from outside Nebraska, Haas said “there’s nobody doing this work here or really in the whole region.”

Haas said their skills — O’Doherty’s writing talents and Haas’s ability to think on her feet — complemented each other, and they quickly realized they could work well together. “We started working together, and really, after the first night, it was like, ‘Do you want to start a theater?’”

O’Doherty worked for the Nebraska Writers Collective (NWC) teaching writing. She said her old boss and new Nebraska State Poet, Matt Mason, has provided helpful advice on the ins and outs of nonprofit management.

O’Doherty, a University of Nebraska at Omaha MFA graduate, is an actress-turnedplaywright. Haas, a Creighton University MFA grad, is an actress and nonprofit jill-ofall-trades trained in facilitating story circles.

Haas had trained with Cornerstone Theatre, a national company versed in story circles and community-engaged theater based in Los Angeles. She also learned about story circles through the Minnesota

“I think the one thing that’s different about our process is that the community is a part of every part,” Haas said, “from story gathering to play creation to performance.” Haas said it’s important to them that the entire process is an open book and 100% community-engaged. “There’s no piece that we take and say this is just ours,” she said. “It really is with and for the community.”

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“A big chunk of my work was not acting, it was facilitating workshops and role play and getting people who don’t normally share themselves up in a group to share,” she said.

Putting a nonprofit together on the fly has its challenges, said Haas. “Even with all my experience in nonprofits of different kinds and theaters, there was still a lot I didn’t know about the business side, which we’re still learning. But I knew some

GPTC has commissioned Anastasis to produce Stories on the Brink during next spring’s playwriting lollapalooza. The company will also perform pieces during a free tour through local shelters. In addition, an October reading will be held at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Feedback there and from readings at shelters will guide O’Doherty’s final rewrites. “We’ve already done almost a year of story circles within the homeless community,” Haas said. “It’s a long process. We’re trying to work with every shelter in town, making multiple visits, so we get lots of people’s voices, and we develop actual relationships.” In their prison work, O’Doherty has given the inmates, many of whom were already writers, prompts to trigger memories and emotions. She said she’s weaving together their resulting stories, often shared as poems, into a devised piece of theater. Anastasis has secured permission for the cohort to stage the play for fellow inmates in summer or fall 2020. Details are being worked out to bring the play outside the prison walls and be performed by a mix


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of professionals and formerly incarcerated individuals.

know what my actual story was before,’ or ‘I’ve never told anyone this.’”

fair they get to know us as we get to know them,” Haas said.

Giving voice to largely unheard voices is not something Anastasis takes for granted.

To sustain its work, Anastasis is depending on donations, grants and contractual work.

“The biggest gift I’ve received is the joy that people have in sharing their stories, even their most difficult stories,” Haas said. “So seldom in our culture do people sit down face to face and speak to one another and really listen.

“Having people open up like they do is very humbling,” O’Doherty said, “because when we first started this project, I definitely had some fear or nervousness. Even though our intentions are to raise voices and be helpful, there’s always some worries about how it’s going to come across or if people will perceive you in some way. It always feels like an honor that people open up.”

One of our passions is to be really great, intentional listeners. A lot of participants say things like, ‘Nobody wanted to

The two women follow a quid pro quo in their groups — whatever question they present, they have to answer, too. “It’s only

In April, O’Doherty wrote and Haas produced-directed an Opera Omaha fellowship program culminating event that combined community members and professional opera artists. In May, the pair cast and rehearsed playwright Ellen Struve’s Mayan-themed work, EPIC, for the GPTC PlayFest until the schedule of director Michael Garcés from L.A.’s Cornerstone freed up for him to carry the play into production.

Colleen O’Doherty (left) and Haley Piper Haas (right). Photo credit: Debra S. Kaplan.

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Whatever stream of stories Anastasis cultivates next will coalesce in the same collaborative way that began their company. “We’re here to serve,” Haas said, “and the only way to do that is to be open to the community, and so we want to hear people’s ideas for collaboration and for other voices that need to be heard.” Visit anastasistheatre.org.

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


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Funky Soul to Western Swing September’s live music schedule offers soul, Western Swing, guitar-driven blues, cool folk-jazz and fledgling Americana. by B.J. huChteMAnn

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s September creeps into fall, bands transition from the last festival dates back to club shows and ramp up their regional tours. Special events come our way, too, such as Austin’s funky soul-rock band Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears playing a show at O’Leaver’s Tuesday, Sept. 17, 9 p.m. O’Leaver’s also hosts O’Leaversfest Friday-Sunday, Sept. 20-22, with three nights of multiple rock and garage bands, including Cursive on Sept. 21. See the events at facebook.com/ oleavers for details on all these shows:

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BSO Presents at Chrome The Blues Society of Omaha’s early Thursday shows at Chrome Lounge continue with International Blues Challenge winners Keeshea Pratt Band Thursday, Sept. 5. This soulful Houston band fronted by the dynamic Pratt complete with high-energy horns has quickly become a crowd-pleaser on the touring blues circuit. The band won the 2018 IBC in Memphis. Kansas City guitarist Brandon Miller and his band are up Thursday, Sept. 12. 2017 Blues Music Award nominee Guy King takes the stage Thursday, Sept. 19. King has grown from an Israeli-born teen with a love of

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American blues to one of Chicago’s brightest new blues talents, with his debut CD released on benchmark blues label, Delmark Records. Multiple Blues Music Award winner and nominee John Németh rounds out the month with his always-hot band on Thursday, Sept. 26. They will be fresh from a European tour and always throw it down for a great show. October shows will kick off with acclaimed guitarist Bobby Messano Thursday, Oct. 3. All Thursday shows are 6-9 p.m.

Zoo Bar Blues Lincoln’s Zoo Bar serves up a great variety of music starting with Earl & Them. That’s Earl Cate out front bringing their popu-

lar mix of old Cate Brothers tunes and more to the Zoo for the 5 p.m. show Friday, Sept. 6. Kris Lager Band plugs in Saturday, Sept. 7, 9 p.m. Texas Americana/honky-tonk artist Jesse Dayton plays Sunday, Sept. 8, 5 p.m. Former longtime Lincoln musician Harvey Brindell returns for a show Friday, Sept. 13, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, marks the start of Lincoln Calling, and veteran Chicago blues artists the Willy Buck Blues Band are up 6-9 p.m. Buck was born in Mississippi and played the “Chitlin’ Circuit” before landing in Chicago in 1954 where he was a regular on the old Maxwell Street scene. The Red Elvises are back Monday, Sept. 23, 6-9 p.m. The alwaysgroovy Bel Airs are up Friday, Sept. 27, 5 p.m.


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Lincoln Calling 2019 Lincoln’s Zoo Bar is one of the venues participating in the annual Lincoln Calling event, Sept. 18-21. Other participating venues are 1867 Bar, Bodega’s, Duffy’s Tavern and Bourbon Theatre. The Night Market Stage, a street festival on 14th Street between O and P, offers music, speakers, performance art and drag. Headliners include indie-rocker Soccer Mommy, R&B artist Cautious Clay and DJ Taylor McFerrin (son of Bobby McFerrin) on Thursday. National singer/rapper TT The Artist is featured on Friday, along with a slew of local favorites, including Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Jack Hotel and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. The soul-blues of Lee Fields & The Expressions, the powerpop of Charly Bliss and more, including artists from The Millions to Charlie Burton & Or What, perform Saturday. There will be nearly 100 artists and DJs performing plus art, culture and workshops. The festival touts its “50/50 representation between male and female artists at a time when, on average, only 15% of performers at national music festivals are women.” Find all the details, tickets (ranging from $40-$100) and final schedules at LincolnCalling.com.

Fishstock Original BSO charter president, local restaurant owner and longtime supporter of the blues Greg Lindberg celebrates 40 years of business with an outdoor party Sunday, Sept. 22. There’ll be an outdoor parking lot party at 1218 S. 119th St., outside Shucks, 2:30-8 p.m. Admission is free, and music will include an

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all-star band of veteran local players and more, including Hector Anchondo, Kris Lager, Joe McCarthy, Sarah Benck-Tardy and the Crabby Blues Band. See absolutelyfresh.com for more.

Hot Notes Don’t forget local venues from the B. Bar to Fremont’s The Corner Bar to Buck’s in Venice are also stepping up and offering live music from local artists and up-and-coming national artists. See the venues’ Facebook pages for more, and check out OmahaBlues. com for show listings from these venues and many others. Keeshea Pratt Band plays The Corner Bar Sunday, Sept. 8, 5 p.m. Punk rocker turned label-described “art country” artist Jason Hawk Harris plays Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre Wednesday, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. He’s touring on the heels of his new release Love & The Dark (Bloodshot Records), which fits right into any Americana-lover’s playlist. Think shades of Hayes Carll or Jason Isbell with a nasally croon, glistening steel guitar and more trad-country flavor laced with echoing, atmospheric guitars. Listen up at jasonhawkharris.com. Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys are back with their swingin’ SoCal-born Americana. They’ll be flyin’ high at the Sunday Roadhouse at the Waiting Room Sunday, Sept. 15, 5 p.m. See SundayRoadhouse.com. They also take the stage at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Wednesday, Sept. 25, 6-9 p.m. The swing-infused folkjazz of K.C.’s Victor & Penny & The Loose Change Orchestra opens the LAFTA season Friday, Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. at the 7th Street Loft, 504 S. 7th St. in Lincoln. See lafta.net.

September kicks off with the sassy, sultry, soulful sounds of 2018 International Blues Challenge winners Keeshea Pratt Band playing three local shows. Photo credit: Sean Davis.

Billy Bacon’s Passing: Rockabilly and swingin’ crooner, songwriter and musician Billy

Bacon passed away August 20. Bacon had been living in Lincoln, by my own observation, for almost two months. His long association with Lincoln and the Zoo Bar meant he was a regular at the Zoo, at home among longtime friends. He’d recently been seen sitting in with artists such as The Iguanas and local band Los Gattos. Bacon had been reporting flu-like symptoms the weekend prior to his death. He was found deceased in his hotel room Tuesday, August 20, according to friends. No cause of death has yet been released, but Bacon had been fighting debilitating rheumatoid arthritis for many years. Bacon will be remembered in a memorial September 29 in San Diego.

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Big, Bold and Powerful: Sheer Mag is Here to Stay

Singer Tina Halladay discusses representation in music and the band’s second full-length record. by HOUSTON WILTSEY

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ike any good musical conversation in 2019, my talk with Sheer Mag frontwoman Tina Halladay eventually works its way around to Lizzo.

and Palmer spent time crafting a set of tunes built around a dark time in the lead singer’s life. “I wouldn’t say that it’s the direct story about me or anyone in the band, but you naturally draw from your own life pretty heavily,” says Halladay. “We actually talked about making it into a real concept record about a year ago, but Matt and I decided that something a little less concrete would work better.”

“I think she’s amazing,” Halladay tells me over the phone. “She’s just so beautiful, and I’m glad that she exists. To see that sort of person succeed in the music world is awesome.” Halladay and I are discussing representation in music and what that looks like in 2019. For instance, does she think the music world has become more accepting of women with different body types?

You can see the threads of a concept on A Distant Call. The record settles on a protagonist going through what could be referred to as a bit of a rough patch. The character struggles with alcohol (“Silver Line”) and has to deal with the breakdown of their relationship (“Hardly To Blame”) and the death of their father (“Cold Sword”). However, Halladay ultimately views the record as a positive one.

“I think people are starting to take these conversations more seriously,” she says. As a larger girl growing up in Long Island, Halladay tells me she was scarcely able to find an artist that looked like her — especially in the male-dominated landscape of the garage rock that she so frequently listened to. Instead, she looked to influences outside the rock world for inspiration.

“I think a lot of the record is just about this realization of not wanting to mess up the opportunity that this life is,” she says. “After the death in ‘Cold Sword,’ “I think the first time I saw a fat girl Sheer Mag’s latest album, A Distant Call, was released late last month. Photo credit: Sheer Mag. the person realizes that they really have being cool was in John Waters’ original just one chance to make the most of it; Hairspray,” she tells me. “I just remember After playing together for a few months, we really wanted to go in a more hard rock di- that’s something death makes you realize.” her [lead actress Ricki Lake] just dancing and be- Sheer Mag released its first 7” in the fall of 2014. rection. We wanted to keep it as concise as posWhich brings us back to Lizzo. I tell Hallaing so unafraid.” Composed of four biker-bar-friendly nuggets of sible.” day that listening to “The Right Stuff” from the Nowadays, Halladay is starting to see her- hard rock, the EP, simply titled I, was the perThe album Halladay is referring to is A Dis- album’s back half reminds me of the Minneapolis self as a bit of a role model in the rock world. fect showcase for Halladay’s fuzzy megaphone tant Call, the band’s follow-up to Need to Feel Your rapper — albeit with a lot less flute — because of It’s easy to see why. Sheer Mag, comprising Hal- screech of a voice. Love, which was released late last month. You its lyrics that promote body positivity and recladay, along with Matt Palmer on rhythm guitar The band put out two more EPs over the can hear that hard-rock focus on opening track ognizing that beauty standards are ultimately and brothers Kyle and Hart Seely on lead guitar next two years before releasing their first proper “Steel Sharpens Steel.” The song begins with a a capitalist fabrication. Halladay says she hopes and bass, respectively, has been releasing some record, Need To Feel Your Love, in 2017. It was to fervid howl from Halladay, and its chugging gui- that’s what women, especially bigger women, of the best hard rock out there over the last five be the band’s breakthrough, and for good rea- tar and call-and-response chorus between the take away from it and realize they have the powyears. son. On it, the group not only homed in on what lead singer and her bandmates perfectly splits er to do whatever they want. It all started at State University of New York made them special in the first place, Matt Seely’s the difference between Judas Priest and the Run“There’s just a lot of things that seem harder fiery licks, an air-tight rhythm section and Hal- aways. (SUNY) where Halladay, Palmer and the Seely to do when you don’t see an example of someladay’s delivery of lyrics that read as everything brothers met one another. After their respective Sonically, it’s the band beefing up what was one else that looks like you doing that thing,” from a love letter to a post-inauguration call to graduations, the members found themselves already in place. Power chords sound meatier, she says. “Once you see fat people doing cool arms, they also added flecks of disco and punk living on Philadelphia’s south side. The group and the drums have a bit more snap, but this stuff, you start to realize that they are cool. Etta to the mix. eventually moved into a three-story apartment is quintessential Sheer Mag. Look to the lyrics, James is cool. Aretha Franklin is cool. Meatloaf together where they began to rehearse and put “The last record just felt so scattered,” Hal- though, and you’ll see a subtle, more personal is cool,” she says, before adding “even laday says of it now. “That’s why for this album evolution in terms of songwriting as Halladay though he’s a bit of a dipshit now.” on the occasional basement show for friends.

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15 for ’19: Fall Movie Preview Follow This List for a Good Time by Ryan Syrek

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ver the eternal optimist, even I cannot pretend 2020 is going to be anything less than an unparalleled barrage of stress-inducing political kerfuffles set against the backdrop of a potential recession and dying planet. What I’m saying is, we gotta make the rest of 2019 friggin’ count, y’all. I would say I have “good news,” but putting that adjective before that noun now probably puts me on some kind of watch list. So, let’s just say that autumn’s bounty be bangin’ this year. Here are the 15 movies you need to see before we all die. Sorry, “before 2020” when “anything can happen” and we’ll “probably all be fine.”

Joker ...................................... October 4 If there’s one thing we are all desperately in need of right now, it’s a movie that humanizes an angry, homicidal white dude directed by the guy who did The Hangover. Right? Not bound by the limits of Aquaman’s exposed nips, this is set outside the existing DC Universe and is getting huge praise for Joaquin Phoenix, who seems to be doing something very close to what he does every time he does a thing. Thus ends my ringing endorsement!

Lucy in the Sky............Limited October 4 If you haven’t seen Noah Hawley’s brilliant Legion, which just ended its three-season run on FX, you have missed Jemaine Clement doing a rap battle with Jason Mantzoukas. You also probably don’t realize how excited you should be for his first movie, which stars Natalie Portman as an astronaut who is going bonkers. The cast also includes Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman and Tig Notaro, in case you like people who are awesome.

Parasite......................Limited October 11 Writer/director Bong Joon-hu’s latest is described as a black comedy about various economic and social themes. I really don’t care. Considering he has yet to make a single movie that is anything short of nighperfect, his name alone demands attendance. Festival reviews for this one essentially claim it cures cancer and gives you a billion dollars.

Zombieland: Double Tap..... October 18 Zombieland is one of the most rewatchable, breezy flicks of its kind. Although a sequel may be an exercise in gilding the lily with Twinkies and cannibalism, who isn’t willing to give it a go? The laidback marketing and nonchalant trailer suggest that maybe more of a good thing will still be good, but too much Jesse Eisenberg has been known to cause alopecia. That was a Lex Luthor joke, please don’t loose the legion of Rogaine upon me.

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Jojo Rabbit ...............Limited October 18 As a general rule, I like everything in life to be 100% Hitler-free. Unless, of course, Taika Waititi is playing Hitler. This wacky comedy features an imaginary fuhrer befriending a young boy and is scaring the schiesse out of Disney, who greenlit multiple Waititi films prior to apparently realizing he has a goofy Nazi movie arriving soon. Maybe that’s why the trailers for the film reiterate that it’s a satire about eleventy billion times. I’m as excited for this as I am fearful for the inevitable dialogue about it.

The Lighthouse.........Limited October 18 Everybody but me loved writer/director Robert Eggers’s The VVitch because apparently only I demand that scary movies should be scary. Beyond a muddled message that seemed to justify the binary division of women into either mothers or whores to Satan, my big problem with that movie was that it was boring. His new one is about Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson slowly going nuts at a lighthouse. So clearly no worries about boredom there! This is on the list because it’s probably the most anticipated indie movie of the fall. Mostly because of Pattinson’s sweet mustache.

The Lighthouse, starring Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson’s sweet mustache, opens October 18. Photo credit: A24.

Doctor Sleep......................... October 30 deals with Elsa and Anna’s parents, which I know is snort. Me? I’m so ready for a poetic look at an Austrian Based on Stephen King’s sequel to the book version of The Shining, not the movie version of The Shining, the first trailer for this film featured tons of images from the movie version of The Shining. Confusing? Yes. Exciting? Also yes! Despite director Mike Flanagan’s insistence that this flick is “its own thing,” the idea of watching Ewan McGregor as an older, alcoholic Danny Torrance is as exciting as knowing “redrum” is gonna be a thing again.

Last Christmas..................... November 8 Hear me out… Even if this is just Paul Feig directing Emilia Clarke in a sincere, irony-free Christmas movie featuring the music of George Michael, I’m in. But knowing Feig and having seen the preview, there is at least a 50% chance something absolutely insane is actually going on here. Is Clarke’s love interest, played by Henry Golding, dead? An angel? Sexy Santa? A time traveler? Absolutely nothing indicates that any of these are true, and I believe all of them.

Frozen 2.............................November 22 This is going to go one of two ways. Either we are all gonna walk around singing the lyrical successor to “Let It Go” or we’re going to all be grousing about Disney throwing another brick through our collective cultural consciousness for a cash grab. Probably both? The plot is being kept under wraps but allegedly

| THE READER |

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what every boy and girl has been asking about. Look, so long as it’s clever and works as a satisfying social metaphor, I’ll build that effin’ snowman.

farmer who refuses to join the Nazis in World War II. There is a very good chance we are going to get to watch grass literally grow, and I am there for it!

Knives Out..........................November 27 Star Wars Episode IX: It’s not Clue but it’s also not not Clue… Writer/ The Rise of Skywalker........ December 20 director Rian Johnson has assembled just a stupidly incredible cast for a bottled whodunit. Daniel Craig with a stupid Southern accent? Gimme. Jamie Lee Curtis and Toni Collette opposite Michael Shannon and Lakeith Stanfield? I want it. Next you’ll tell me it features Chris Evans as a smarmy jerkface and Christopher Plummer as the murder victim? It does?! My beatin’ heart suggests there may be another body soon.

I am excited to find out if J.J. Abrams and company are going to take a mega-dump on the best Star Wars movie ever (The Last Jedi) or continue the bold reimagining that Rian Johnson undertook. Thankfully, if there is one thing that J.J. Abrams is known for, it is delivering satisfying endings to longsimmering mysteries that please all sci-fi audiences. Whew!

Queen & Slim....... Limited November 27 Cats ................................. December 20 The first time I saw the trailer for this, I forgot how to chew my popcorn. If writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas deliver half of what that preview promises, this is going to be one of the best films of the year. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star in a first date that winds up with a dead police officer and a life on the lam. Just like all Tinder dates, am I right? I have literally never used that app, but I am so scared for all of you who do. Use the buddy system.

A Hidden Life........ Limited December 13 Terrence Malick movies are majestic, lyrical, introspective or pretentious, lethargic and obnoxious, depending on which cinema you prefer to mentally

I mean, you saw that trailer. You’re gonna watch it, right? It’s both horrifying and inescapable. It is a nightmare with a tractor beam. Their tails go into their butts. It’s what we need to steel ourselves for 2020.

Little Women..................... December 25 This is one of those movies that gets remade every generation. This version just happens to be from Greta Gerwig and features Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl GD Streep and Laura MF Dern. I don’t want to end this preview on something as cliché as “nothing little about that cast!” so here are a few additional words.


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Russian Doll, starring Natasha Lyonne, is one of Netflix’s best current offerings. Photo credit: Netflix.

Immediately after crapping the incestuous bed with the end of Game of Thrones — and shortly before Gemini Man inevitably tanks at the box office — David Benioff and his dudebro, D.B. Weiss, signed a five-year, $250 million development deal with Netflix. Despite having literally never delivered a completely satisfying anything, the duo was all set to write and possibly direct three new Star Wars movies. Except, quietly, the announcement of that Netflix deal mentions a bit of a walk-back there. Now the duo is “committed to penning at least one” of their Star Wars trilogy, and they may not direct any of them. Folks, this may well mean that trilogy goes the way of Benioff and Weiss’s “Y’all Remember Slavery?” confederacy fantasy show on HBO. May the Force show them the door.

One more Star Wars nugget, because I’m a Greedo little pig… Those rumors about Ewan McGregor returning as ObiWan in a series for the upcoming Disney+ are popping up again. By the time you read this, said rumors may have even become truth facts! The potential of seeing McGregor as a weary-lapsed Jedi doing Western-genre stuff on Tatooine shouldn’t fill my foolish heart with such potential joy, but damn if it doesn’t make me feel like a half-priced Tosche Station power converter.

As one of the literal dozens who still considers Black Mirror: Bandersnatch an absolutely gripping first real foray into choose-your-own-adventure-style cinema, I’m unreasonably optimistic about news that we’re gonna get a haunted house movie in

that vein. Alexandre Aja, who got his gators up in a hurricane with this year’s Crawl, is working with Haunting of Hill House writer Jeff Howard on an idea from Hill House and Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan for an interactive fright fest produced by Amblin. Might it suck? Verily, it might. But the idea of actually somehow participating in a horror film sounds like it could be potentially all the more terrifying. If there’s just, like, a button I can press to make jump scares happen, I’m gonna sprain my thumb.

As one of the many absolutely grieving the cancellation of The OA, news that Natasha Lyonne is planning for her Netflix series, Russian Doll, to last only three years is happy/sad. On the one hand, we like for good things to go on as long as possible because the world is filled with so many bad things. On the other, few things are as bad as loving a show that dies before reaching its end. Except, one of those things that is as bad, or sometimes worse, is a show that lives longer than it should. So, overall, hearing that Lyonne is already thinking of how to end one of the year’s best TV shows generates the same kind of complex emotions her show itself does. Well done?

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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 @ thereaderfilm.

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hey’re all over the news, and it’s far too early to tell if they’re here to stay or just a flash in the (frying) pan. They are those, hi-tech, not-meat, fauxfood meat substitutes gaining traction with a segment of the population that swoons over them. These new versions of the historic “veggie burger” are championed by fast food outlets. And remember my admonition: “fast food” is usually neither. The two most prominent players in the patty field are Impossible Foods’ “Impossible Burger” and the Beyond Meat’s “Beyond Burger.”

mal, feed-operation-type industry should be disrupted. I wager it provides pretty dubious product and does so at tremendous cost to our health and the planet. But sustainably raised, grass-fed beef, in my educated opinion, is far better than the analog that Impossible has come up with. However, if techno-meat can slowly wean us from CAFO meat, that’s a good thing. But the unintended consequences could be dire.

And the con I’m not sure the human body knows how to metabolize all those things listed in the faux burger. Evolution gave us the time to figure out how to digest beef, green beans, artichokes, apples and the like. That’s food we learned biologically to live with over eons. Some of that stuff in the analog never existed in its form until the lab made it less than a decade ago. And some of it may not even be healthy. One main ingredient is soy.

Arguably the most prominent headline grabber is the Impossible Burger available at Burger King outlets, so we’ll take a look at that and consider if it meets certain criteria that qualify it as food. You can decide for yourself.

Willing suspension of disbelief I was pretty amazed to see two friends on social media going ga-ga over the Impossible Burger. These are two folks I consider intelligent and, in fact, iconic in their fields. But, in my opinion, their judgment must have been suspended. Anyone who’s studied film — or literature of any sort, for that matter — is familiar with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his description of the “willing suspension of disbelief.” Everyone takes advantage of it many times a day. It’s that mental gymnastic required to even watch a movie. To wit: Even though we know that the movie monster in the basement isn’t real, we suspend our disbelief and go with the deception in order to entertain ourselves. I suspect that is exactly what happens when otherwise intelligent people go to a fast food place to indulge in a techno-burger. We allow ourselves to be talked into believing that what we are eating is food.

“Raised” in Silicon Valley Though it’s Western in location and a “valley,” Silicon Valley isn’t known for herds of

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cattle, grazing land or ranches. No. It’s known for venture capitalists, techno startups and multibillionaires; science labs and human hubris of thinking we can do better than nature in areas we shouldn’t try. So, one day in 2011, a techno Stanford guy started a company to make a meatless analog to meat. By 2016, after lots of lab work, genetically engineering fake blood and working out a deal with Burger King, the company launched lunch with the Impossible Burger.

“Ingredients? We don’t need no stinking ingredients!” I think I’ll just leave the argument to the reader by listing some ingredients of the Impossible Burger from the website. Read them slowly out loud so you get the complete impact of the compounds. Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured

| THE READER |

Heartland Healing

Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols, Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Sodium Ascorbate, Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12. Compare that list to the ingredient in the hamburger from my grass-fed cattle farmer in Pawnee County, Nebraska: Beef. So, here’s what I see in that first list: a bunch of things that do not really grow naturally in the world humans have adapted to. The Impossible Burger, to me, appears to be a concoction, not a food. One may argue that those chemicals exist in nature. But nature did not put them together into an Impossible Burger. With beef, nature played a role. I believe in living in harmony with nature, not in domination of it.

The argument for the impossible The founder/inventor of the Impossible Burger claimed a desire to disrupt the beef industry. Well, in some ways I would log in as all for that. In my opinion, the industrial, confined-ani-

Soy, the way Americans eat it, may be bad for us. Just Google it. Or, god forbid, use your own common sense: When was the last time you went to the store to pick up some yummy soy beans? Yeah, didn’t think so. The two main crops of the United States are corn and soybeans. Both industrial corn (99 percent of what is grown) and soy are not so much foods but raw materials. Most of the corn we grow is for ethanol and livestock feed. We can’t eat it until it is highly processed into junk food and corn syrup. Soy is basically the same. Asian cultures eat soy, but it’s fermented soy, like miso, tempeh and tofu. That alone is a big difference. After all this, are you ready to suspend your disbelief? 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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Photo by Jason Orton Photography | THE READER |

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Success Hasn’t Spoiled Maha (Yet?) Bigger Isn’t Always Better For The Annual Festival by Tim McMahan

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et’s go back in time, just a few weeks to Aug. 17, 2019 — the second day of this year’s Maha

And while sight lines were fine, Lizzo was a glowing dot in her fluorescent onesie when viewed from the far end of the park. No doubt giant monitors similar to those used at other large festivals would be needed at the next sell-out. Suddenly, you’re not watching a concert anymore, you’re watching TV.

Music Festival, held at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village. California punk band extraordinaire Oh Sees had just finished a blazing set on the smaller of two stages situated in the west end of

Does the festival really need to attract a Lizzo-sized audience to be deemed “successful”? Maha is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization “focused on bringing people together,” according to its online mission statement. I don’t see anything about bringing 10,000 people together. And I’ve been told their main financial support comes from sponsors, not ticket sales.

the park. Next up, indie-pop duo/ comedy troupe Matt and Kim were about to take the main stage as the early evening light gave way to what would be a long night. I was hungry. In addition to music, the Maha Festival (now in its 11th year) boasted a variety of food and drink vendors, so before I’d left home that evening I figured I’d skip dinner and just eat at the park.

Maha always has skirted a fine line between booking indie bands The obligatory crowd shot from Saturday night at the 2019 Maha Music Festival. Photo by Tim McMahan. and pop acts. Lizzo was a tipping throngs encamped in the heart of point into the latter category. Only a Stinson waiting for Matt and Kim to I mentioned Fyre to a pal I found waiting in The Saturday night sell-out was something very small handful of indie performers can draw begin their high-octane shtick and headed to the one of the lines. He laughed and said, “You can’t of a lucky fluke. Maha captured lightning in a bota Lizzo-sized crowd. And let’s face it, the odds of Maha food-and-booze area where I quickly realcompare this to Fyre. Maha actually has perfortle when they booked Lizzo months before the replicating the Lizzo booking — signing a midized I wasn’t going to be eating and/or drinking mances.” R&B star exploded nationally with the release of level act before it breaks big — is remote at best anything at Maha that Saturday. a critically acclaimed new album. Overnight, her (unless the festival’s booker, One Percent ProHe was right. This was no Fyre Fest, but it The lines for both food and booze weren’t face was on magazine covers and her music was ductions, has a crystal ball stashed somewhere in was painfully obvious that Saturday night — the just long — they were ridiculously, amusingly, heard on a million TV commercials selling everythe bowels of The Waiting Room). sell-out night, the night of Lizzo — Maha had embarrassingly, futilely long. Five-people-wide thing from smart phones to SUVs. By contrast, As an indie music fan, my biggest fear outgrown Stinson Park. Or at least the organizwedges of humanity stretched from the beer the Courtney Barnett/Jenny Lewis-headlined Friis Maha will get greedy and shift to bookers hadn’t quite thought through what it would tent all the way down the street and beyond, inday night festival I’d guestimate drew about half ing more mainstream pop acts, similar to the take to support a crowd of 10,000 people. It was tersecting another marathon-long line of droolas many people, and the difference in comfort dreck booked at CHI, all in an effort to attract the first time in my Maha history — and I’ve been ing concert-goers waiting to buy a plateful of bigger crowds, because bigger is always betlevel was like night and day. to all of them beginning with year one down at ter, right? smelly falafel. Lewis & Clark Landing — that I felt the organizers The bottom line: If Maha wants to meet or They may sell more tickets, but Maha will But look! No line for Dante’s Pizza. Why? Bewere overwhelmed and unprepared. exceed that Saturday night crowd size, they’re I made my way through the

cause Dante had already run out of food and their crew was packing up their shit to leave. Next to them, the BBQ vendor where I bought food the previous night also was long gone. Heck, even the lines for soft drinks stretched on forever. Too bad I had that beer earlier in the evening because now I’d have to wait in yet another line. Hungry, thirsty and having to pee, another famous music festival came to mind: Fyre.

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On the other hand, Friday night at this year’s Maha Festival was sheer perfection. Though I

going to have to bring in more and better vendors — double what they had on Lizzo night.

had purchased VIP tickets, I still used the food

In fact, they’ll likely have to move the festi-

court to fetch dinner (because, unlike in years’

val to a larger space, if only to better control the

past, there was no food in the VIP tent). Lines for

crowd. I noticed while sitting on the small stage

beer and BBQ were at most two-people deep.

during the Lizzo concert that I’d have to walk

Maha’s new pay bracelet system worked like a jiff.

all the way around the edge of the entire park

Rows of port-a-johns welcomed me with green

if I wanted to get to the VIP tents — there was

“vacant” signs and a gentle whiff of rose-scented

no path to cut through the enormous, densely

musk.

packed crowd.

| THE READER |

Over the edge

lose the charm and heart that make it a unique annual concert experience. The organization is standing at a crossroads where it has to decide what it wants to be. I hope it makes the right choice.

Over The Edge is a monthly column by The 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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Saturday, September 21, 2019 8 AM - 12:30 PM Old Market Farmers Market (10th/11th and Howard St.) Food Day brings us together to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies. Enjoy interactive booths, kids’ activities, live music, the awards ceremony and more! Food Day inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies as we are united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it. Food Day is a day to resolve to make changes in our own diets and to take action to solve food-related problems in our communities at the local, state, and national level.

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


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