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T hr e e cr i t i ca l l y e n da n g e r e d , y e ar l i n g B u r m e s e s tar t o rt o i s e s , G e o ch e l o n e p l aty n o ta , at th e T u rt l e C o n s e r v a n cy . © P h o t o b y J o e l Sart o r e / Nat i o n a l G e o g raph i c P h o t o A r k

ART: Past is Prologue DISH: You Can Afford to be Finicky Heartland Healing: Farming the Earth to Death THEATER: Brigit Saint Brigit Over The Edge: Indie Music Roundup Film: Pacific Rim HOODOO: Fresh Sounds MUSIC: Vanessa Williams with the Symphony




May 25 & 26


April 13 & 14


June 1 & 2


April 20 & 21


June 8 & 9

April 27 & 28



May 4 & 5


June 15 & 16


May 11 & 12


June 22


May 18 & 19


June 23


June 29 & 30

THE 402




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APRIL 2018

















publisher/editor........John Heaston graphic designer........... Ken Guthrie, Sebastian Molina assistant editor.....JoAnna LeFlore rock star intern......................................Cheyenne Alexis



EARTH DAY: Joel Sartore and the Photo Ark


EARTH DAY: Bob Dixson


DISH: Frankly, You Can Afford to be Finicky

healing.........Michael Braunstein arts/visual..........Mike Krainak eat....................................Sara Locke film...........................Ryan Syrek hoodoo.............. B.J. Huchtemann music...................James Walmsley over the edge........Tim McMahan theater............................................


................................................ Kati Falk


......................................... Clay Seaman


...................................... Salvador Robles


HEARTLAND HEALING: Farming the Earth to Death


PICKS: Cool Things To Do in April


ART: Past is Prologue


................................. Debra S. Kaplan



THEATER: Brigit Saint Brigit


HOODOO: Fresh Sounds


MUSIC: Vanessa Williams in Concert with the Symphony


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BACKBEAT: Music Recap of March April 2018




OVER THE EDGE: 2018 New Indie Music Roundup


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APRIL 2018


Omaha Jobs: Green Jobs Bad news, Omaha – the state of Nebraska falls toward the bottom of the Forbes list of Greenest States. It’s number 33 out of 50, although ranked two spots ahead of Iowa. And Omaha is number 78 on Wallet Hub’s list of Greenest Cities in the United States, while Lincoln is 34th. But even if you don’t live in the greenest of cities or states, you can still place yourself in a career focused on sustainability and conservation of resources.

Omaha by Design is a civic planning organization dedicated to the development and implementation of both urban design and environmental public policy.

The Green Omaha Coalition

RDG Planning and Design is an architecture, planning and design company that also provides graphic design and multi-media services. University of Nebraska at Omaha is a public research university, often referred to as Nebraska’s metropolitan university.

The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities partners with Omaha-based companies to form the Green Omaha Coalition. Companies in this coalition are dedicated to promoting green initiatives within the Omaha area. Employment with any of these companies represents a job that promotes sustainability as a company culture. Here are some of the companies involved with this green initiative. It’s not an exhaustive list, but gives a good overview for job seekers who want an environmentally responsible role in a green company. American Institute of Architects (AIA) Omaha Chapter represents more than 350 architecture professionals in the Omaha area. Bahr Vermeer Haecker Architects is an architectural firm focused on creativity and community improvement. City of Omaha Office of the Mayor represents Mayor Stothert to Omaha residents and acts as a representative of the city. Destination Midtown is a group conducting an expansive planning study to revitalize the Midtown area of Omaha.

Our Healthy Community Partnership is a membership group consisting of various hospitals, insurers and other agencies and organizations. The Sierra Club is a national environmental organization founded in 1892.

Greenest Jobs National Geographic lists the greenest jobs on the rise right now, but many aren’t yet available here in Nebraska. Among the greenest jobs on the list are urban growers, water quality technicians, clean car engineers, recycling technicians, green builders, biofuel jobs and wind energy workers. A green job is great, but to make changes to our personal carbon footprint outside of work can have a huge impact over time. Find ways to make your job green, even if the work itself isn’t necessarily green. Telecommute to reduce or eliminate car emissions. Find ways to use less paper and energy where you work. Be an environmental advocate within your organization. You don’t necessarily have to have a green career to have a positive impact on the environment in Omaha and beyond. But if you decide a green job is the right path for you, seek an employer dedicated to sustainability and environmental responsibility – and choose a job that directly helps the world around you.

Douglas County Health Department is a public agency responsible for the health of Nebraskans within Douglas County. HDR Architecture Inc. is an award-winning, national company specializing in architecture, engineering, environmental and construction services. Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities promotes sustainable development within the Omaha area. Keep Omaha Beautiful is a non-profit, environmental organization with the goal of keeping Omaha clean, beautiful, and environmentally sustainable as a city. Kiewit Building Group Inc. is a subsidiary of the Kiewit Corporation and is ranked as a top U.S. engineering and construction firm. Lamp, Rynearson, and Associates is a civil engineering and project management firm specializing in landscape architecture, construction administration and surveying. Lead-Safe Omaha Coalition is a non-profit organization providing education to Omaha residents about lead safety. Metropolitan Area Planning Agency works with Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa residents and government agencies in planning and development.


APRIL 2018



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APRIL 2018


f Noah had a camera, perhaps he would have done what noted nature and wildlife photographer Joel Sartore is doing. Sartore, who resides in Lincoln, Neb., is a star National Geographic shooter in the midst of an epic project, aptly named Photo Ark, that’s creating an archive of global biodiversity in order to raise awareness and spur acton around endangered habitats and species. The National Geographic Society is throwing its considerable weight behind the effort.


The endeavor transcends geo-political differences to put a face on stressed ecosystems and inhabitants. Photo Ark grew out of Sartore’s early assignments around the world documenting wildlife. In addition to National Geographic magazine, he’s shot for Audubon, Life and book projects. His work’s been the subject of national broadcasts. He’s a regular contributor on CBS Sunday Morning.

Nature photographer

Joel Sartore

taking cue from Noah with his National Geographic An endangered Malayan tiger, Panthera tigris jacksoni, at THE Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo. © Photos by Joel Sartore/ National Geographic Photo Ark


April 2018


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


The more he saw and learned, the more species and habitats that became threatened, the more urgency he felt to create a comprehensive archive in his lifetime. “I’ve been a National Geographic photographer for more than 27 years, and I photographed the first 15 years or so out in the wild doing different conservation stories, on wolves, on grizzly bears, on koalas, all in the wild,” he said. “Can I say that moved the needle enough to stop the extinction crisis? No, it did not. So I just figured maybe very simple portraits lit exquisitely so you can see the beauty and the color, looking animals directly in the eye with no distractions, would be the way to do it. “NG sees themselves as not only responsible stewards of the environment, but they’re in it for the long haul. I always believed that, if I could build the project up a bit, they would see the value

in it. And they sure have. Sadly, I have seen species go extinct since starting the Photo Ark. A rabbit, a fish, an insect and the Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog have all gone extinct since I photographed them. It saddens me greatly, but also angers and inspires me to want to give everything I’ve got to this project, and use extinction as a wake up call. As these species go away, so could we.” Traveling to where species are, often to remote areas, accounts for much of his time on the project.

Children’s Zoo, a mile from my house, to take photos. The naked mole rat at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo was the first animal to come on board the Ark.

say another 30 countries or so should do it.”

“Since then, I have visited 40 countries and worked in more than 250 zoos, aquariums and animal rescue centers around the world to create the Photo Ark. Most of the countries I’ve visited for this project are those I’d not visited before.”

“Now that I’m working mainly at zoos, the work has fewer unpleasant surprises. During my 16 years on assignment in the field for National Geographic magazine, however, I had a few close calls with critters. But it’s mostly the little things I’m most wary of.”

Ironically, the Photo Ark practically began in his own backyard about 12 years ago.

He’s already logged thousands of hours and tens of thousands of miles to photograph thousands of species, and yet he’s far from finished.

“The Photo Ark started when my wife got breast cancer. That event ‘grounded’ me for a year in that I literally needed to stay home and take care of my wife and kids while she got chemo and radiation. She’s fine now, and on the days that she felt better, I started going to the Lincoln

“We are a little more than halfway done after 12 years with just over 7,500 species (photographed). Because we’ll now have to travel farther and wider to get the remaining species (an estimated 5,000 more), it’ll take us another 15 years to complete. So, if I had to guess, I’d

When working in the wild, things can get hairy.

For example, there are diseases carried by insects like the Marburg virus. “I was quarantined three weeks for that one and didn’t get it.” Then there’s a flesh-eating parasite called mucocutaneous leishmaniasis. “I did get that one and the treatment is no fun at all.” Things are less creepy-crawly today, “These days, working in continued on page 8 y

Three critically endangered, yearling Burmese star tortoises, Geochelone platynota, at the Turtle Conservancy.



April 2018


controlled environments. most of these shoots go extremely smoothly because the animals have been around people all their lives,” he said. “But sometimes the critters do ‘have their way’ with my backgrounds and sets. “Having enough time to get to everything is the biggest challenge, but definitely doable. Thankfully, the project isn’t political and so we’re welcomed pretty much everywhere we go.”

“If I had to choose one right now though, I suppose it would be Nabire, one of the last northern white rhinos at the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. She was the sweetest and passed away less than two weeks after our visit of complications brought on by old age. Now the world just has three left, all in a single pen in Kenya.”

The work holds deep personal meaning for him.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19. Sartore, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism graduate, is now working exclusively on the Photo Ark. He’s the project’s lone photographer though it’s evolved into a family and legacy adventure.

“Most animals I photograph have a real impact on me. They’re all like children to me because I’m the only voice most will ever have. It’s giving a voice to the voice l ess. For many of these species, especially the small ones that live in the soil or in little streams or high up in the treetops, this will be their only chance to be heard before they go extinct. That’s a great honor, and a great responsibility, and why I’m devoting my life to this.

April 2018


Photo Ark strives to make a difference. One way is by raising money to save species from extinction. “In the bigger picture,” Sartore said, “we raise public awareness to the extinction crisis.” The message gets out via projections on touchstone buildings (St. Peter’s Basilica, the Empire State Building), publication in NG magazine and posts on NG social media. “The images get people to care about some of the least known animals on the planet while there’s still time to save them.” The PBS documentary series, Rare: Portraits of the Photo Ark, provided more exposure. Nat Geo Photo Ark EDGE Fellowship is a new initiative aimed at supporting future conservation leaders working on the planet’s most unique and endangered species. In partnership with the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE of Existence program, the fellowship will support funding and highlight creatures in the Photo Ark that

A federally threatened koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, with her babies at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.


“My oldest child, Cole, goes with me to assist on most foreign shoots and has promised to carry out the work should I not be able to complete it in my lifetime,” Sartore said.


historically receive little or no conservation attention. Sartore doesn’t mince words when describing what’s at stake with endangered biodiversity and the consequences of inaction. “We’re looking at a massive extinction event if we don’t control human behavior in a way that spares some of the largest rain forests, prairies, coastal marshes, coral reefs, et cetera. But if we can raise public awareness, and get people to care, it’s my hope there will be far fewer extinctions than predicted. It is not too late to turn this around.

seas, habitat loss, clean air, clean water, good food to eat – these things are all tied together. When we save these other species, we’re actually saving ourselves. It’s my hope, my prayer, that the public wakes up, and soon. There’s still time to save the Earth, but we must act now.

“At its heart, the Photo Ark is meant to be more than just a huge archive; it’s meant to inspire the public to care about the future of all life on Earth, including our own. After all, when we save other species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”

“There are a million things we each can do: Insulate your home and drive a smaller car to reduce your carbon footprint. Eat less meat or no meat. Put zero, and I mean zero, chemicals on your lawn. And just how do you spend your money? Every time you break out your purse or your wallet, you’re saying to a retailer, ‘I approve of this, please do it again’. Is your money helping to tear down the world or to save it? Yes, it requires a bit of education to know right from wrong in terms of your consumer choices, but it’s so important.”

In his travels, he encounters just enough positive developments to encourage him.

In 2019, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo will incorporate a Photo Ark show into its new exhibit space.

“I meet people every month who have saved species simply because they cared enough to devote time to it. That inspires me greatly and gives me plenty of hope to carry on.”

Even three decades into his high profile career, Sartore still has to pinch himself that it’s real, especially the part about his modern-day Noah’s ark gig.

To those who pooh-pooh global warming and the damage done by ever encroaching human contact with the wild, he offers some food for thought. “People don’t think this issue affects them, but it will in a major way in the not too distant future. Climate change, overfishing of the

“I still can’t believe a kid from Nebraska who dreamed of working for National Geographic is doing just that. I’m a lucky guy, to say the least.”

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April 2018


From rubble to renewables Greensburg is back and better than ever by C h e r i l L e e


ou may not know the name Bob Dixson, but you likely recognize the name Greensburg. The city of Greensburg, Kansas was leveled by an F5 Tornado on May 4, 2007. F5 is the highest rating for tornadoes with wind speeds between 261-318 mph. Bob Dixson was the mayor of Greensburg at the time and still is today. He said the tornado hit the community directly and as a result, 95% of the buildings were leveled to rubble. Once the debris was cleared away, Dixson said the community immediately started a planning process for rebuilding. And he said the community opted to do it using green building practices. “We wanted to make sure we got things that would be sustainable for decades, if not generations. It was this disaster that brought us to that thought process,” Dixson explained. He said rebuilding is never easy. Where do you meet when all of the plac-

es to meet are gone? The answer is…a tent. “Right after the tornado, there was no place in town to meet as a community. So that summer, we had a big tent in one of the parks on the east edge of town where we did everything as a community. We hugged, we laughed, we cried and we did our planning,” said Dixson. Hundreds of people showed up at the community meetings. Dixson said the process took about 12-15 weeks during that first summer. “We talked as a community about what the possibilities were and utilized resources from the outside consultants. There were all sorts of people who showed up with all kinds of ideas for us. But in the end, our long-term recovery plan and our sustainable redevelopment plan came

from those community meetings and not a boilerplate from the outside,” he said. Dixson admits they had no idea that they would end up going green, at least not at the very beginning. But it didn’t take long to start thinking about the possibilities. When the discussion about green energy did come up, the community began to talk about what that would look like and what it would entail. “We wanted to know what the benefits were as well as the challenges. From the early talks about redevelopment, this green idea grew and eventually was implemented by each individual homeowner and business owner in the city,” he said.

Dixson emphasized that though everyone in the city wanted to make sure they were being good environmental stewards, at the same time, they knew there had to be financial stewardship too. One thing that was presented to the city council at that time was the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certification Program. “In December of 2007, the city council passed a resolution that the city/ municipality would strive to build their buildings back to the LEED Platinum Certification,” Dixson said. The Platinum Certification is the highest level LEED offers. Points are awarded in various categories including things like: indoor air quality, sustainable sites and water efficiency. Dixson felt that set the tone as a scorecard of what the city could do in terms of its building projects. “There were different technologies out there that we were able to implement. continued on page 12 y


April 2018




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COVER Omaha Reader 04-01-18 M18NC150 Earth Day.indd 1


April 2018

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benefits of the tent meetings was everyone being able to get together because it really started our healing process,” he said.

In addition to the city’s efforts, private businesses and homeowners took up the torch as well and built as green as they could with the green they had available (insurance money),” said Dixson.

Nearly 11 years later, Dixson said residents are still dealing with the aftershocks of the tornado. People The 5.4.7 Arts Center - Powered by wind & solar are still struggling with emotional issues of loss. And he said that commonality has drawn everyone together as a community.

In Greensburg’s city hall, there is soGreensburg - circa 2004 lar power. There is a geo-thermal well going. You have to have that for heating and cooling. And there are youth and those younger gen75,000 bricks that helped rebuild the city erations that decide to stay or hall that were reclaimed from the rubble. move back to their community. “We utilized as many local building It’s a great thing,” he said. materials as we could. And then there are things like the lighting system, which is designed to take advantage of natural daylight. So if it’s a sunny day, the sensors detect this and the lights aren’t on as bright. But if it’s a cloudy day or it’s nighttime, the lighting shines at a brighter level,” he said.

“Great communication makes a community vibrant and strong,” said Dixson.

And that’s true of the school, the hospital and a lot of the city’s buildings. Dixson is proud that Greensburg has been able to cut its energy consumption.

One interesting side effect of the green rebuild is that there are now some green-based businesses in town. Endurance Wind Turbines sells small and mediumsized turbines for private residences, small businesses and even farmers. Dixson said they have done a great job of helping homeowners.

Green efforts continue in Greensburg, however the bulk of the major projects are finished. Most all of the municipal buildings and businesses that decided to build back or rebuild, as well as homes, are done.

“There is also a solar company up in Hutchinson, Kansas, about 90 miles away that has done good work with people in the community getting them set up with solar power,” he said.

Dixson said he’s noticed population is enjoying a slow growth, “It’s not tremendous growth but it is steady and that’s the best kind of growth. It means then that the people that move here assimilate to our thought process and what we are trying to accomplish as a sustainable community.”

Greensburg is a municipal-owned utility. They have a wind farm that generates electricity for the city. Ultimately, through the power purchase agreements and renewable energy credits, Dixson is proud that Greensburg can say all of their electrical consumption comes from the wind farm.

He sees the size of Greensburg’s Kindergarten through third grade classes as proof positive of this growth.

“And that has really helped stabilize electrical rates. We have not had any rate increases since the tornado,” he said.

“Those are our biggest classes at the school. So we are getting a lot of younger people back in the community and that’s what keeps your school and businesses

Dixson believes other cities can do what Greensburg did in terms of going green but the key is to establish their goals and objectives at the outset. He explained it’s important for them to understand the


April 2018



FEMA told the residents of Greensburg that the rebuilding process would take about 10 years. Despite that, Dixson said everyone thought it would happen faster.

the Robinett Building - The only building to survive on Main Street, now home to an antique store

character and values of their community and figure out just what they’re trying to accomplish. “You have to have a process in place to have “tent” meetings. You need to have clear cut goals and a vision of where you’re headed. This can’t be a feel good thing where you’re just wanting to get away from fossil fuels and look at something else,” he said. Though each community is different, the planning process can be the same. Dixson said he thinks Greensburg is even stronger today than it was before the tornado hit. He attributes that to the pioneering spirit people possess in the Midwest. “The people that chose to stay in the community and rebuild their lives have drawn closer together. One of the biggest

But they realized, it’s does take time to go through the process of rebuilding and getting it right. Dixson will be the guest speaker at The Reader’s Earth Day Event on April 21, 2018. He said his presentation will have a three-pronged approach. First, he will talk a little bit about the tornado and what happened so people have a context for why the city rebuilt green. Then, Dixson will discuss the planning process the city went through as well as their thoughts on sustainability. Finally, he will talk about where the city of Greensburg is today. “We pretty well got everything going back and going good but we are not unlike other rural communities in America where jobs and employment are highly critical for maintaining a sustainable community. We are just trying to make our community a better place to live and work for those who live here now as well as future citizens,” Dixson said.

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APRIL 2018


FRANKLY, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BE FINICKY Finicky Frank’s Owner Counts on Clientele to be Picky Eaters. That’s What Keeps Them Coming Home BY LEO ADAM BIGA



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


APRIL 2018

inicky Frank’s stands apart from North Omaha restaurants with its farm-totable commitment and casual-meets-fine dining balance. Chef-owner Kesa Kenny sticks with quality ingredients and keep things simple to create five-star comfort food. The Salina, Kansas native worked the family farm growing up, gaining an appreciation for fresh-natural-local even though things often got overcooked by her elders. As a stay-at-home wife and mother, she raised the kids, maintained a home and made art (dried gourds became a medium). Then, almost on a dare, she poured her creativity and love of good food into cooking. She stretched herself in the kitchen to the point she made her own cheese, butter, bread, noodles. “I was awfully close to self-sufficient. I went to the library and researched. I just got into cooking. I guess I always had been, but didn’t realize how good it could be,” she said. After moving to Omaha in the late 1990s, she worked factory line shifts and flipped houses, saving enough to open her first eatery, the soupsalad-sandwich Center Street Cafe. It was a hit but when she couldn’t swing buying the building to renovate, she looked elsewhere. The first version of Finicky Frank’s – named for a persnickety Ponca Hills neighbor – folded at the Forgotten Store. Then she and husband Brian Kenny, who manages and tends the bar and repairs anything that breaks, opened in one small bay of their present 9520 Calhoun Road location.



They found kindred spirits among the local gourmands, small growers and urban farmers, thus making her farm-to-table practice a welcome fit. “They are kind of foodies for the most part out this way. The restaurant soon outgrew its snug confines and seven years ago the couple expanded into the adjacent bay – doing a total makeover. The result is a cozy spot with a not too heavy black and white tiled motif. The laid-back, curated ambience extends from the art on the walls to the music overhead to the soul satisfying, un-rushed food coming out of the kitchen. The aesthetic is hers. “Art flows in everything I do,” said the selftaught Kenny. “Anything creative is my realm. Anything I can get my hands on, found objects or ingredients, I repurpose. It just follows me.” As time allows during service, the plain-talking Kenny engages diners about their meal or makes small talk. If there’s a snafu with a dish, she personally addresses it.



It’s a neighborhood place but both loyal followers and newbies come from near and far. Everyone’s treated the same: warmly. The same confidence and drive that convinced Kenny to be a restauranteur infuses her cooking approach. “I’m not afraid of anything.” Years reading recipes and food books, finding new ingredients and ways to use them, fortify her culinary arsenal. “You just change it up. That’s what keeps me fired up.” She’s open to good ideas wherever she finds them. Like her fried chicken. “I stole that recipe from a restaurant I waitressed at years ago in Kansas.” She starts with fresh, never frozen, organic free-range chickens from the family farm. Salt, pepper and flour. Fried in a stainless skillet in pure vegetable oil. Simple sums up her overall approach to cooking. “Start with a good basic ingredient and keep it simple. If you mess that up, you have no business behind a skillet. Don’t overcook it, don’t overstress it, don’t overwork it. “It’s wise to keep it to good basic comfort foods people remember growing up. That’s why our Saturday night fried chicken is a huge success, Some of my fondest memories are passing platters of food at family dinners and having meatloaf or chicken night. It’s bringing those things back and just putting a little twist on them


of my own and keeping it fun to where I can stay creative.” The same ethos applies to her walleye Thursdays. Her meaty, slightly sweet catch come direct from Canada. “It brings people from all over the place. I keep it as simple as can be with a light coating of homemade bread crumbs. Salt and pepper. Served with twice-cooked Yukon gold potatoes and fresh cole slaw. It’s just like the lakeside meals you make with fresh caught fish.” For her succulent steaks, she uses teres major cuts (shoulder blade) from a local purveyor. “That piece of meat is like a filet – a little more marbling but not much. The flavor’s really nice. It’s tender every time.” People tell her her burger is “hands-down” the best in town. It’s all in the details. She hand forms full 8 ounce patties of 80 percent lean Angus beef accented with sea salt for a medium grill on the flat-top. Grilled red onions add a sweet, creamy bite. She serves it all on a buttered brioche bun with choice of add-ons and sides. The moderately priced menu also includes crab cakes, a veggie stir fry, a seafood enchilada, a spinach-mushroom enchilada, a Reuben sandwich, a pork tenderloin sandwich, wood-fired pizzas, scratch soups, crafted salads and various wines, draft beers and cocktails.

A small patio offers an outdoor seasonal garden-fresh salsa and guacamole and from“That is like the best compliment ever. There is dining option. scratch roasted veggie broths. something about me that always has to be loved She decides daily specials by whim, weather, At Frank’s, everything is prepped back of and I figured out through cooking no one will season and what diners tell her they’re craving. the house to arrive ready in the galley-style never bite the hand that feeds you.” Her own urban farm-garden at her 11-acre kitchen, which has the same black and white She’s enthused by fellow North O good eats Hills home supplies kale, bok choy, peas, green checkerboard tile as the rest of the place. About destinations (Alpine Inn, Enzo’s, Florence Mill, beans, cucumbers. radishes, onions, peppers, the tile, she said, “It’s fun, it’s vibrant, it keeps the Fat Shack BBQ, Omaha Rockets Kanteen). Area tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, cilantro, basil, kitchen a part of the whole and it cleans really options took recent hits when fire totaled Mouth parsley, et cetera. well. Tile never wears out.” of the South and Fair Deal Cafe closed. “It means getting up earlier in the morning to She has anchors in her husband – “He will Kenny said northeast Omaha is still pick and wash, but it’s worth it. It doesn’t get any never let me give up on an idea” – and daughter- “underutilized and under-seen.” She envisions better than right out of the ground.” in-law Stephanie, who waitresses there – “We a trolley tour hitting historic venues, scenic The nearby Florence Mill Farmers Market is mesh like no other.” overlooks and area food spots. another fresh produce source. The most satisfying thing for Kenny is seeing She feels North O still suffers a stigma that “I bring it from there right over here. It’s so customers savor their meal by tipping back a sees business drop after high profile shootings – wonderful to have that and it supports them.” bowl to drink the last of their soup or sopping up even if incidents occur a mile or more away. She She’s a vendor at the market, where she likes sauce with a dinner roll. Best of all is when they wants folks to know about gems like hers and educating people’s palettes with homemade, “clean” their plates. there’s nothing to fear unless you’re counting calories and carbs.

Lunch: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday, 5 pm. to close. Visit or call 402-451-5555. Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at





APRIL 2018


HEARTLAND HEALING HEARTLAND HEALING is a metaphysically-based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet by MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit and like us on Facebook. .


APRIL 2018


Forget pipelines. This is far worse. BY MICHAEL BRAUNSTEIN


e are stuck in the Stone Age. I’m serious. In the truest sense, in fulfilling our energy needs, we haven’t advanced much since the first caveman came upon that lightning-struck log two million years ago and used it to warm his cave and cook his food. Oh, for sure, we’ve learned better ways to package and transport the fuel we use for energy. Still, we are using the same hydrocarbon-busting process to deliver our energy that was the essence of burning wood. We burn carbon — in all its forms — in order to power our incessant gluttony. There is no doubt we must pivot from burning carbon in order to produce energy. It’s dirty. And the planet is not a bottomless waste basket. Consuming the very planet itself to fill our energy needs and letting foreign corporations push aside the land rights of American farmers are both ample reasons to support the pipeline protesters. But in truth, oil pipelines are a pimple on a bug’s ass when it comes to dangers to our environment. To put it briefly with very little hyperbole: you could open every pipeline in the country for a month and you wouldn’t do the damage that just one season of Big Ag farming does. Worried about a possible spill into the Missouri-Mississippi watershed? An oil spill would be small potatoes compared to what’s getting dumped into our waterways already. We’re talking farm chemicals. And they are already poisoning our water and our planet. Invisible. Pollution from Big Ag farms doesn’t produce dramatic optics like goo-covered seagulls or river otters and that makes it even worse. The invisibility of the poisons already dumped into our environment by industrial farming cloaks the damage. Ethanol is the worst. Renewable pollution. We use petroleum fuels to manufacture the fertilizers and pesticides; semis burning fossil fuels to carry inputs to the farm; more fossil fuels to deliver the corn to processors; more yet (plus vast amounts of water) to make the ethanol and even more to deliver to the pump. Then, when we burn the carbon ethanol in our vehicles, it still produces air pollution. How is that a win? This should scare you. Each year, conventional, industrial-type American farmers dump billions of dollars worth of chemicals on your food and crops. Most of these fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides find their way into our waterways, including the Missouri and Mississippi. You know, using those terms kind of sanitizes it. Here’s a report that names them and I’ll list only one-tenth of them: Most frequently detected anthropogenic-organic contaminants were desulfinylfipronil, chlorpyrifos, dieldrin, metolachlor, atrazine, deethyl atrazine, glyphosate, desulfinylfipronil atrazine, the antidiabetic medication, metformin, β-sitosterol, triclosan. Do you really want this stuff in your water? “The ocean is a desert…with the perfect disguise up above,” sang America in “Horse with No Name.” The most dramatic effect of the Big Ag runoff is the number of huge “dead zones” around the world. The one closest to us is the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. Simply put, the tons of chemicals used in the Midwest ends up washing down into the Gulf. Nothing can survive that onslaught of toxic chemicals. Creatures die away. Runoff fertilizer spawns an overgrowth of algae that uses up all the oxygen in the water, strangling shrimp, fish, crabs, all



other life. The sea floor is dead. The ocean is dead. But no one sees it so it doesn’t get the airplay a baby seal with petro-muck on it does. No PETA activists are down there watching animal life dwindle. And these dead zones are all around the world, all the result of Big Ag chemicals that are already in the water. And they don’t get there via pipelines. They get there because First World inhabitants demand cheap food. As if you can call what we buy in supermarkets, “food.” So, who should we be protesting? The two most prevalent crops in industrial farming are corn and soybeans. Both demand huge amounts of chemical inputs. And neither are food that you’ll find on your table without vast amounts of processing. The corn we’re talking about isn’t served with butter. It’s not fit for humans. About 90 percent of it is equally divided between livestock feed and ethanol for your gas tank. The rest goes to corn syrup for your diabetic sweet tooth. As for soybeans, when was the last time you sat down to a nice soybean stew or a bowl of buttered soybeans? Never! It ends up basically a food-like additive for processed foods. Let’s get this straight: Farmers are not the bad guys here. It’s the System that keeps them essentially indentured servants to the Big Ag corporations. They are the ones who run the show. You already know who some are: Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, Novartis and, of course, big, bad Monsanto. And remember Cargill, Tyson, Big Dairy and every fast food burger joint around the world. If you consider yourself an environmentalist, this April, this month of Earth Day, unchain yourself from the pipeline and protest where it counts: the corporations that are really polluting the planet. Be well. Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit and like us on Facebook.

if you come for

you won’t goaway hungry

and end up having a


11th & Howard • 8416 Park Drive

you’re welcome.


Old Market

Celebrating Over 25 Years Of Making Ice Cream The Old Fashioned Way Old Market

Two Omaha Locations: Downtown 1120 Jackston 402.341.5827



Benson 6023 Maple 402.551.4420


APRIL 2018


























APRIL 2018



Come In Early And Enjoy Dinner And Drinks!! No Cover Charge

“Happy Hour “ Mon., Wed., Thurs. and Friday 3:30 To 6:30pm Tuesday 3:30 Until Close

cent success can be credited to that record, Everybody, which dropped in May 2017, boasted the hit single “1-800-273-8255” and featured Killer Mike, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Black Thought of The

April 2

Lucy Dacus Reverb Lounge

Just three years ago, Lucy Dacus was a film school dropout performing in front of crowds for the first time. Today, she’s a Matador Records signee with two full-lengths under her belt. If 2016’s No Burden was the album that put Dacus on the map, her March 2018 Matador debut Historian earned her a “major city” distinction. It’s an ambitious follow-up, stretching to 47 minutes in just 10 songs, but it never overstays its welcome. Album opener and lead single “Night Shift,” which reaches past the six-minute mark, weaves a heartbreaking but optimistic tale detailing the aftermath of a breakup as pitchshifting guitar solos rage in the background. At the track’s climax, Dacus reaches to her upper register with a voice recalling Matador labelmate Julien Baker’s knack for repeating refrains and texture building. After one song, the album already sets its course of powerfully emotional lamenting and healing hopefulness. Dacus performs live at Reverb Lounge this month, and tickets are $15. Adult Mom and And The Kids open the show.

Roots. To gauge truly how high Logic has climbed, consider this: Logic last played Omaha in March 2016 at Sokol Auditorium, and on this stop he’s headlining the 8,000-capacity Baxter Arena. The show is sold out, but StubHub offers tickets ranging from $33-$155.


Directed by: Cathy Kurz. This production is being presented in partnership with Joslyn Castle Trust. Ticket info: $30 General Admission; $25 Student/65+/Military - $10 for Students on Thursday.

~Hear Nebraska

April 5-7th, 10-12th, 17th, 18th, 20th @ 7:30pm

Bridget Saint Bridget presents:

~Staff Pick

April 5th & 7th @ 7pm April 8th @ 4:30pm

April 6

Sense of Drama Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge St.

Uncle Vanya

by Anton Chekov Joslyn Castle 3902 Davenport Street

Broken Mirror:

A Rose Teens ‘N’ Theater Production The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam Street $6 (FREE Teen Night on April 5th)

~Hear Nebraska

April 4

tasks is always accompanied by a running score of thoughts, and urges. We laugh at ourselves, cry for ourselves (sometimes at once), and because of the light touch and human understanding of this miraculous playwright, we are refreshed.

Baxter Arena

One of Chekhov’s most intimate plays, Uncle Vanya takes place on an estate whose day-to-dayness is suddenly electrified by the arrival of the luscious and vibrant Yelena.

Within the past year, Maryland rapper Logic has risen from a bubbling hip-hop overachiever, dropping mixtapes and albums almost yearly, to a household name with a chart-topping LP. Much of Logic’s re-

She ignites fantasies of escape in many members of the estate. Some even imagine that escape can be realized. All the while, “everyday life” continues–funny, angry, clumsy, wistful. But the doing of everyday

Broken Mirror examines the complex issues that affect real girls in today’s covergirl world. Each year, the company of young women use poetry, improvisation, comedy, music and more to create a dynamic piece of new theater that is exciting, daring, and thought-provoking! Created by members of Teens ‘N’ Theater that focuses on giving middle school and high school students the chance to write, act, direct, stage manage and design shows. ~Staff Pick


Artist Jacqueline Kluver will open her next exhibit, Sense of Drama, Friday, April 6 at Modern Arts Midtown. Kluver, a full-time artist, was the recipient (with MAM owner Larry Roots) of Omaha Arts and Entertainment Awards Best 2-Person Show for 2016. Kluver’s art consists of paintings created with mosaics of color and shape. Working with both bold and pastel palettes of color, her abstractions are architectural, but fluid. With little specific symbolism and few recognizable references, the graphic jigsaws are vibrant, but reserved; a layered quilt of line, shape, and color creating three-dimensional space both intentional and accidental.


April 2018


Reminiscent of mid-century graphic design of Herbert Bayer and Alvin Lustig and their contemporaries, Kluver’s use of hard edged amoebic shapes, contorted rectangles and grid patterns, guide her color and composition, result in an expressionistic quilt of immense depth.

April 6-22

Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade” is total theatre that engages the eye, the ear and the mind. The play is about revolution, and where, in modern times, lie the borderlines of sanity. Furthermore, what if, in these modern/post-modern/pre-collapse times, the play isn’t really set in an insane asylum in France in 1808, but in a maximum-security US prison in 2018, enacted by prisoners for their “recreation, entertainment, and education”? Directed by Doug Paterson.

Opera Omaha ONE Festival Multiple Locations

Jacqueline Kluver is joined in her exhibit by Sioux City artist Cathy Palmer and Kansas State Art Professor Teresa Schmidt. Jacqueline Kluver: Sense of Drama opens with an artist reception April 6th, from 6-8 p.m. For details and gallery hours, please go to

~Staff Pick

Friday, April 13


~ Kent Behrens

Darger HQ Gallery (1804 Vinton St)

Petshop Gallery, 2525 N. 62nd Street The Omaha Bug Symposium provides a space and time to educate and celebrate insects, spiders, myriapods, gastropods, and similar animals and this year they are teaming up with Benson First Friday in April for a truly unique event at Petshop Gallery. The symposium is a multi-disciplinary and interactive event featuring live music from The Show is the Rainbow & Cult Play, along with lectures, performance, food and presentations in addition to a group visual art exhibit. The exhibit features Joe Addison J Barnett, Christie Braze, Dan Crane, Dave Crane, Tracy Haas, Reagan Pufall, Jar Schepers and Amy Haney with a variety of mediums ranging from photography to sculpture to electroform. Activities are open to all ages, but events starting at 8 p.m. are intended for adults. A $10 donation is suggested. The art exhibit will remain on view at Petshop Gallery through May 26. ~Melinda Kozel


April 2018

DIALOGICAl continues until June 3 at Darger HQ, 1804 Vinton St. For details and gallery hours go to

April 13-14

Dorm Fest

Its mission is to celebrate bold storytelling and a variety of art productions with an emphasis on experimentation and new work. Discovering the full line up on the website above, find performances and exhibitions ranging in content and venues from the historical purview of Post-Civil War in Nebraska at Kaneko to Greek Mythology at the Orpheum Theater.

Omaha Bug Symposium

Currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sontheimer received a BFA from Austin State University and an MFA from Montana State University, Bozeman. His work is represented by the Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas, Texas, and can be found in the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

~Mike Krainak

In it’s inaugural edition, the ONE Festival is an artist-led 16-day exploration of programming across the city.

April 6 @ 6 p.m.

ous grants and awards throughout Europe. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Budapest History Museum and the City of Vienna.

University of Nebraska Lincoln dorms Search Facebook Events: Dorm Fest

Satisfy your itch for creative curiosity and your wallet by attending this festival. Most events are free with registration and open to all ages. ~Staff Pick

April 11-14, 18-21

MARAT/SADE by Peter Weiss

UNO Theatre Weber Fine Arts Building

“Marat/Sade - The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton



DIALOGICAL, opening Friday, April 13 6-9 p.m. at Darger HQ Gallery, will feature similarly inspired work by Sophie Dvořák (Vienna, Austria) and Matthew Sontheimer (Lincoln, NE). Both artists use language and map imagery to create a conceptual analysis of how images and language from the media work together to convey information. Sontheimer’s text-based work focuses on his internal dialogue whereas Dvořák looks externally to cartography to create an abstracted, reduced language. Dvořák received her MFA from Glasgow School of Art and the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria. She has exhibited internationally and has been the recipient of numer-

This one is for the college kids. On a Friday and Saturday in April, nearly 20 local and regional musicians will play acoustic sets in dorm rooms scattered around UNL’s campus. Among the lineup’s highlights are Lincoln folk songwriter Andrea von Kampen, Wichita surf punk band Kill Vargas, and Omaha power pop band Uh Oh. The coolest thing about the fest? It’s all coordinated by a group of freshmen who want to connect the Nebraska DIY community with the university and its students. The location of each performance has yet to be announced, but a full continued on page 22 y


UT APRIL 13, 15, 19, 21 & 22 | KANEKO SOLD O


80+ working

artists exhibiting in over 50+ studios & shops



APRIL 28 & 29

SAT/SUN–2018 April 2018


lineup and more information can be found on Facebook. ~Hear Nebraska

April 13

April 14

Omaha Zine Fest

The Union for Contemporary Art

Robert Klein Engler Connect Gallery

Zines seem like a creative and journalistic medium that would have fallen victim to the Internet age. In the DIY arts and music communities, though, zines — short for fanzines or magazines — are still vital, and to continue cultivating zine culture, Omaha Zine Fest is back for its third annual event this month at The Union for Contemporary Art. The sixhour event, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is set up similarly to an indoor flea market, with creators lined up with zines and crafts at enough tables to fill the room. In past years, OZF has hosted tablers from states across the country, selling zines that covered anything from cats to sexual consent. This year, more than 100 zine creators will showcase their works, and more than a dozen workshops will be held throughout the day.

Summer Salt. Turnover moved on from poppunk with 2015’s Peripheral Vision, but they didn’t quite leave behind that genre’s angst. The LP fused influences from dream pop and shoegaze with the blunt, gut-wrenching couplets of emo, at one point equating the feeling of losing a lover to cutting off one’s fingers. The sonic combination proved successful, earning the band co-headlining tours with Citizen and propelling the band to the top of prominent indie label Run For Cover Records. Last year, the band dropped its third full-length, Good Nature, another step in the band’s gravitation to lush guitar progressions and twinkling harmonies. Nearly every song finds its home in a major key, bubbling into an album that sounds as if it were written entirely on an eternally sunny riverbank while experimenting with psychedelics. There should be no shortage of good vibes when the band stops in Omaha this month. Tickets are $17.

Starship, and the children that fight to keep his feet firmly planted on Earth. Directed by Roxanne Wach. Showtimes: Thurs-Sat @ 8pm, Sunday @ 6pm (Sunday May 13th @2pm). Thursday: $12; Friday-Sunday: $20.

~Hear Nebraska

Just in time for a mid-March trip to South by Southwest, Omaha dance-rock band State Disco dropped its debut EP Going to Sleep Is Giving Up, a five-song album with a strong penchant for the anthemic hook. The album takes a clear influence from Saddle Creek’s The Faint, with pounding indietronica beats dominating each track, but the songs still call back to ‘80s synthpop’s fluttering disco melodies as frontman Cody Rathman sings of heartbreak and renewal on “Chameleon” and “History Is My Teacher.” Featuring production from Graham Ulicny of The Faint and Thick Paint, Going to Sleep Is Giving Up oozes promise and local star power. State Disco is celebrating the album’s release this month at The Waiting Room with Omaha indie pop band Twinsmith and Chicago rockers The Kickback. Tickets are $10.

April 20-May 13th

Three to Beam Up by Don Nguyen Shelterbelt Theatre 3225 California St

~Hear Nebraska Artist Robert Klein Engler returns to the Connect Gallery in April with Recent Work. Engler’s paintings and marker drawings reflect a style that gathers inspiration from poetry to medieval manuscripts to the De Stijl. With a foundation in abstraction, his aesthetic utilizes symbolism, a painterly treatment and bold color bound together with a narrative to offer something personal and spiritual for his audience.

April 18


The Waiting Room

As a writer and artist, Engler seeks to tell relatable stories full of vibrancy and selfreflection tackling subjects like immigration, religion, history and a sense of place. Recent Work is on view at Connect Gallery and Studios, 3901 Leavenworth Street, April 4th to April 28th with an artist’s reception on Friday, April 13, 5:30-9pm. For more information, visit ~Melinda Kozel


April 2018

It’s hard to believe today that there was ever a pop-punk incarnation of Virginia Beach indie rock band Turnover, which plays The Waiting Room on April 18 with Philadelphia punks Mannequin Pussy and surf rock band



Originally performed as part of the 1999 Shelterbelt season, Nguyen has rewritten the original play as part of Shelterbelt’s 25th season. Sam Wisher returns home to Riverside, IA at the urgent request of his sister. There, he discovers Jules and their father, John, have built a holodeck and John has locked himself inside for 2 weeks. Jules and Sam must rescue their father before they lose him forever. Three To Beam Up is the story of a man who believes he is the captain of a Federation

~Staff Pick

April 21

State Disco Release Party

The Waiting Room

~Hear Nebraska

April 23rd @ 7:30pm

The Patchwork Play Project

Omaha Community Playhouse 6915 Cass Street Free to the public @LTERNATI<E PR*GRAMMING Presents ‘The Patchwork Play Project’ - A staged reading of a play, Howard Drew Theater. A completely original piece of theatre with a continued on page 24 y

Shakespeare’s best-loved romantic comedy springs to life on the Orpheum stage!

MAY 5 & 6 ORPHEUM THEATER • • 402-345-0606 • Box office: 13th & Douglas Premier Benefactors:

Season Sponsor:

Major Support: Cindy & Scott Heider

Fred and Eve Simon Charitable

Foundation pickS


April 2018


“100% human experience,” according to a January statement. ~Hear Nebraska

April 24 @ 5 p.m. twist! Omaha is home to many talented playwrights, both well-established and upand-coming. A group of local talent will be teaming up to write an original play—one piece at a time. Where the story goes… nobody knows! Come watch a staged reading of the final project to find out what the creative minds of Omaha can concoct. Contains adult content. ~Staff Pick

Dark Beyond Darness: James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang Weitz Community Engagement Center on the UNO Campus Open to the public


April 23

Jack White Baxter Arena


a discussion with scholars Jim Blight and janet Lang

Trailblazing garage rock revivalist and former frontman of The White Stripes Jack White has been out of the public eye for the past few years, placing more of his focus on a new Dead Weather record and behind-thescenes collaborations with Beyoncé. In late March — four years since Blunderbuss, the White solo album which broke the record for most first-week vinyl sales since 1991 — White returned in late March with Boarding House Reach. The record easily pulls from the widest sonic palette of White’s career, taking inspiration from African percussion, adding wide doses of synthesizer modulations and even rapping on “Ice Station Zebra.” Somehow, the songs still fall comfortably under the “blues rock” umbrella. Leave it to Jack White to prove there’s plenty of room for experimentation in such a triedand-true genre. He plays Baxter Arena this month, and tickets range from $49-$79. Worth noting is the new “phone-free” policy White will employ on this tour to ensure a


April 2018

blow up would skew the truth. He signed to Def Jam Records in 2010 and was included in XXL Magazine’s “2011 Freshman Class,” which has spawned superstars like Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller and Meek Mill. K.R.I.T. has showed promise since then, dropping well-received efforts in 2012’s Live from the Underground and 2014’s Cadillactica, which both displayed the grittiness and vivid storytelling of Southern hip-hop pioneers OutKast and UGK. K.R.I.T. just never had the breakout single or the growing underground following of his XXL classmates. He left Def Jam in 2016, citing as the main reason the creative restraints the label imposed on him.

Presented by the Nebraska State Council APRIL 24 for Social Studies, Dark Beyond Darkness5 isPMan Weitz Community Engagement Center event and discussion around the publication on the UNO campus exploring the Cuban Missile Crisis. As trained OPEN TO THE PUBLIC cognitive psychologists, both authors Jim Blightluck and Janet host this public is Lang notwillenough dialogue about the book being written as an “act of resistance.” They have written or co-written fourteen books on the history of U.S. recent foreign policy, seven on the Cuban missile crisis along with a short film. Take their readers to Cuba (the history) to experience the dread that is as applicable now as then (the warning), before suggesting a paradigm-shifting path to long-term action toward nuclear abolition (the catalyst). Luck is not enough.

Last year, K.R.I.T. made his triumphant return with 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time — an 84-minute double LP that’s perhaps his best album to date, and surely his most ambitious at 22 tracks. His “Heavy Is The Crown” tour stops in Omaha later this month with openers Cyhi the Prynce and Childish Major. Tickets are $20. ~Hear Nebraska

April 28 11am-2pm

Dia Del Nino (Children’s Day)

El Museo Latino, 4701 S 25th St Free Admission

Big K.R.I.T. Slowdown

If there were an award for the most slepton rapper, it might go to Atlanta’s Big K.R.I.T. But to say K.R.I.T. hasn’t had the resources to



Hot Shops Art Center

Spring Open House Hot Shops Art Center 1301 Nicholas Street

Bronze pouring, pottery throwing, pencil sketching, picture taking, iron forging, glass blowing, paint flowing, name it, the Hot Shops has it-ing. Their open house is the best time to see the art center in all its fiery glory, and it doesn’t cost a thing...unless you see something you just have to have. Most all of the over 80 artists that occupy and exhibit in the 54 studio space will be on-hand to answer questions and showoff their newest works. If you haven’t been to an Open House in awhile, give it a go, the art is ever changing with something different every time you visit. Their two art galleries will be hosting shows, and food vendors will be displaying their arts as well. The Open House is a family-friendly event and always entertaining, with demonstrations both days. It’s a free event that runs from Saturday, April 28th (12pm to 8pm), to Sunday, April 29th (12pm to 5pm). ~Reader Staff

Through May 13

Metamorphosis Lauritzen Gardens

~Staff Pick

April 26

April 28th & 29th

In America, we have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even Grandparent’s Day...but in Mexico, they also have a whole day just to honor Children! Come celebrate in historic South Omaha at El Museo Latino on April 28th. Free to the public, there will be family fun galore; Music, Dance, Balloon, Book, games, and of course...Prizes! ~Staff Pick

Artists Ganz, Robson make 3D marine magic out of plastic pollution To say that our shores are awash in plastics is an understatement. In fact, oceans, lakes and waterways are choking with the stuff—bags, bottles, straws, you name it. And it probably comes as no surprise to learn that it’s not particularly a good thing


for marine life, which is one of the points made vividly but artistically in the current exhibition Metamorphosis: Works by Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson at Lauritzen Gardens.


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These two artists have been making sculptures independently that use pieces of our waste stream and repurpose them into creatures from both land and sea, real and imaginary. Magical might be the best way to describe their colorful and spirited transformations of kitchen utensils, toys, coat hangers, bottle caps and even highway safety barrels into soaring dolphins, dangling jellyfish and a rainbow arch of reef life. Eighteen sculptures are located in the main display hall as well as in conservatory spaces. They invite close-up discovery of the ways that something representational may be constructed from ordinary yet disparate components. They also encourage a more critical view of our casual approach to plastics as the fabric of our lives. Metamorphosis: Works by Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson continues at Lauritzen Gardens through May 13. Located at 100 Bancroft Street, the venue is open daily from 9am to 5pm. There is an admission fee for non-members. ~Janet L. Farber



April 2018



Artist Joy “revisits” his Tudor heritage in current abstract exhibit at SCAC








APRIL 2018

bstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes…”-Arshile Gorky Patrons of Steve Joy’s abstract art who may have missed his recent exhibit, Forgotten Corner, at Gallery 72, have another opportunity to enjoy his work in his current show, Icons, Elizabethans, and Elegies to a Mad King, which continues through May 6 at the Sioux City Art Center. Both exhibits resulted from Joy’s return to his heritage and birthplace in Cornwall, England. But while the Gallery 72 exhibit resulted in work inspired by Tudor portraits, “those first sparks of civilization: science, mathematics, philosophy and more,” his SCAC show takes a different tack. The artwork in Icons, Elizabethans, and Elegies to a Mad King, is the stuff of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, but there is no need for you to brush up on your Tudor monarchs or Orthodox dogma. Artist Steve Joy welcomes the mystery and query that comes with abstraction. For him, these paintings are meant for contemplation and discovery, a source of both the imagination and the spirit. Much has already been written about Joy’s life, education, world travels, and life’s influence on his art. In addition to his art degrees, he is a student of history and religion,



and believes deeply that abstraction in art can expressive shapes with bolder brushstrokes and have an equally valuable spiritual influence on looser compositions. In “Netherlandish Portrait our lives. (unknown)” (2017) he layers tenuous line work The Icons in the exhibit’s title may be on to distorted shapes, adds peculiar patterns, the works that most people associate with thickness and texture to the paint, and areas this artist, as he has been producing these of raised dots; an allusion to the fabrics and contemplative studies for several years. These accouterments of the time. paintings are inspired by the religious Icons Although not specifically figurative, they associated with the early Eastern European are representational of figure, metaphors and Orthodox Churches. allegory to the personalities of both the portraits The small, religious narrative artworks were and people. painted on wood, with a somewhat a reserved Even an abstract form has to have a likeness – color palette, but enhanced through the Willem DeKooning application of gold and silver leaf. They were King George III, the source of the third and then usually varnished for protection, over time last series of Joy’s paintings, Elegies for a Mad giving them a warm glow. These Icons were King, came to power around 1760. He would thought to provide illustration and explanation to reign for 60 years. He was both respected and Biblical stories and teachings of the Church; a hated, sometimes by the same people, and conduit to enlightenment. had the added responsibility of dealing with Joy’s modern Icons borrow heavily from the the new colonists in America. His reign was colors and textures found in the archaic versions. eventful and complex, and, to add to it, he These strongly geometric grids are dimensional suffered from a progressive form of mental but free from disturbances caused by diagonals illness. or curves. The darker rectangles and squares, In this group Joy references “Eight Songs contrasted with lighter areas and areas of line for a Mad King,” a 30-minute opera, by Peter and slight brush texture, invite the viewer to enter Maxwell Davies and Randolph Stow. These the work. three, slightly smaller paintings, simply titled The modern choices of pigments may be “Elegy to a Mad King 1, 2, and 3” (2017), are bolder than those of old, but the contrasting the artist’s response to the operatic play, a areas provide a sense of warmth, and security, disturbingly exuberant portrayal of his mental many of them serenely glowing due to his adept illness. skills with gold leaf, translucent glazes, varnishes The three images are the most unstructured and wax. and off-kilter of the show, a reverse Rorschach “Icon Constantinople” (2008) is a vibrant test. With a slight ligature of line and solid shape example of the depth that Joy achieves with the holding the piece together, these three pieces layering of gold leaf, translucent varnishes. The are suggestive of a loosening grip, and staccato spacious depth of the Icons is very apparent in presence of thought. the piece. A thread of lament runs through all of Steve There is no abstract art. You must always start Joy’s work. Not the hand-wrung regret or the with something. Afterword, you can remove all howl of grief, but a quieter recognition and traces of reality. – Pablo Picasso praise of things that maybe should not have The title’s Elizabethans are Joy’s response passed, or at least not without some recognition. to the Tudor portraits of the mid- to late 16th The work is not meant as a history lesson, century. Originally, these flat portraits of (mostly) however; his life and interests are simply nobility depicted their subjects as wooden and inspirations to his further exploration; he pretentious, with oddly small hands, pasty skin, welcomes reinterpretation of his art. and thin, pursed lips. All detail was reserved for The Sioux City Art Center is showing Steve Joy’s the uncomfortable dress and trappings fit for a Icons, Elizabethans, and Elegies for a Mad King king, or queen. through May 6th. It’s located at 225 Nebraska St. In these works, Joy steps away from the quiet in downtown Sioux City. It is free and open to the contemplation and staid geometry of the Icons, public. If you would like any more information, expanding his color palette and using animated, please visit:


MARCH 2018





APRIL 2018


quarter century since Cathy Kurz was told, “No one wants to see this stuff,”’ her Brigit Saint Brigit (BSB) Theatre company still draws paying audiences to productions of the classical canon. Works by Shakespeare, Shaw, Chekov, Ibsen, Miller, O’Neill, Williams, Albee, Stoppard and other playwright legends grace its stage. Since leaving College of Saint Mary eight years ago, the theater’s moved around and now alternates its site-specific work between Joslyn Castle, First Central Congregational Church and other venues. This 25th anniversary season concludes with Uncle Vanya, April 5-20, at the Castle and The Shakespeare Revue, May 3-24, at First Central, on select dates. All shows are 7:30 p.m. Low overhead helps keep expenses down, but what’s truly made BSB sustainable without a fixed home is an unwavering commitment to mission. “Going to rehearsals and working with actors and reading all these plays and thinking about them – that work is everything. That produces the endorphins that make everything else happen,” said Kurz, BSB artistic director and co-founder. “I know the medium, I know the story, and when I read it, I can imagine the story in the medium, and that makes all the difference.” It helps she’s yoked to a fellow believer in her husband, Scott Kurz, BSB managing director and frequent actor. Her own fascination began in her hometown of Wichita, Kansas. First, watching television productions, then film adaptations and, finally, live theater. “I just remember being gob-smacked. I would still be sitting there when they were sweeping up. I was entranced by the smell of the greasepaint, the



Still going strong in 25th year BY LEO ADAM BIGA

whole thing, I knew nothing about how it worked. I just knew I liked being there.” The theater became her home through studies at Friends University (Wichita) and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “Trying to translate these plays to the stage and working with actors to find the extra dimension that occurs in the theater has been the greatest love of my life. I’ve had so many incredible learning experiences.” She feels classic theater can touch all of us deeply. “Story is the oldest form in the world. Humans love to be told stories, The reason why these scripts have lasted is they’re so good. People don’t get an opportunity to see them. When they do, they realize today’s dramas pale in comparison, and then you combine that with the fact it’s live, it’s right there, and it’s really spellbinding. “There is no spectacle that even remotely can do what theater does. It’s that visceral encounter with talented live actors working right in front of you in a play that’s well-paced and interpreted. There’s just nothing like it. It’s spectacle. You can’t pause it, you can’t start eating and drinking or get distracted. It’s right there and it amazes people.” When she moved to Omaha in 1980, the Norton Theatre was the city’s only regular classics showcase, Kurz directed several seasons there. When it closed, she felt adrift. Stage manager Cathy Murphy-Barron and actor John Jackson agreed they should stop simply lamenting its loss and, thus, they formed the nonprofit BSB. “I didn’t know if people would come. I was discouraged from doing it by others,” Kurz said. She persisted anyway, buoyed by her fellow travelers.

“If, as a director, you have talented, disciplined, dedicated actors and you can match them, then you’re going to do it. I’ve never believed you have to have a fancy backdrop or electronics or big screens. That’s not how we are. If you believe in the power of theater and this material, you’re going to do it wherever you can.” BSB found an instant following and developed a company of players. But, she acknowledged, if the Norton hadn’t closed, “i don’t know if I would have started the theater.” BSB produced its earliest shows at Joslyn Art Museum, then Bellevue University, before taking

residence at College of Saint Mary in 1997. BSB stayed 11 years. “College of Saint Mary was just pivotal. They were so supportive of us. We had storage space, dressing rooms, offices. We rehearsed and constructed sets there. People liked the location. We really did build a lot of audience over that time.” But when CSM experienced an enrollment boom, it reclaimed the space. “We were really sorry to leave.” That was 2008. Then came a twinning experiment with the Blue Barn, followed by a stint in the Capitol District before settling at the Castle and First Central. One-offs happened at

Mastercraft and 40th Street Theatre. The Castle’s 19th century architectural splendor lends itself to period pieces without having to build sets and First Central’s flex space allows great freedom. Kurz wasn’t sure audiences would follow BSB from venue to venue, but they have. Now she wants the uninitiated to know that instead of treating Chekov’s Uncle Vanya as some dry academic-historical exercise to sit reverently through, it’s okay to laugh. “It’s not dour. There’s a lot of humor. It’s just life.” The greatest affirmation she receives is seeing patrons after a show “affected” the same way she was when first captivated by theater.

“There isn’t a greater gift.” She’s grateful a new generation of theater lovers is being cultivated by BSB public afterschool programs conducted by actress-educator Patty Driscoll. By Kurz remaining true to her vision, BSB remains vital. “This 25 years has has a lot of ups and downs, tension, drama and worry. The thing that’s kept it going is the belief in it and the love for it.” Visit Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at






APRIL 2018



Music from classic blues to high-flying roots rock plus plenty of guitar stars make April a big month for live music.




HOODOO focuses on blues, roots, Americana and occasional other music styles with an emphasis on live music performances. Hoodoo columnist B.J. Huchtemann is a senior contributing writer and veteran music journalist who received the Blues Foundation’s 2015 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Journalism. Follow her blog at and on


APRIL 2018

eyboard virtuoso Bruce Katz has two local shows, hitting The B. Bar below Castle Barrett at 4330 Leavenworth St. Friday, April 6, 6 p.m. Katz is at work on a new CD and also plays Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Saturday, April 7, 6 p.m. Katz is a multiple Blues Music Award nominee and is one of the scene’s finest piano and organ players, mixing up jazz, R&B, boogie-woogie and blues styles with his great band. Matt Cox CD Release Matt Cox’s sixth studio CD, High Places, showcases the continuing evolution of this fine singer-songwriter, guitarist and bandleader. The CD drops April 20 and the official Omaha CD release show is Friday, April 27, at Waiting Room with artists Dustin Arbuckle & The Damnations and Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck opening the show. The band’s Lincoln CD release is Friday, April 20, 5-8 p.m. at the Zoo Bar. For more info and to hear the first single from the disc visit Zoo Bar Blues Guitar great and gifted songwriter Ian Moore has a special show at the Zoo Saturday, April 14, 6-9 p.m. Moore has a new release, Toronto, out in May, which promises a return to his blues-rock roots after successful forays into a variety of roots styles. Now based in Seattle, Moore always delivers spectacular musicianship combined with thoughtful songwriting. Check out Other shows coming up at Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar include the Nick Schnebelen Band and Sebastian Lane Band Wednesday, April 11, 6-9 p.m. and horn-driven band The Jimmy’s Friday, April 13, 5-7 p.m. Guitarist Michael Charles plays the Zoo Wednesday, April 18, 6-9 p.m. The Mezcal Brothers heat things up Thursday, March 19, 6-9 p.m. with Andy Frasco & The U.N. playing after 9 p.m. that night. Saturday, March 21, Too Slim & The Taildraggers plug in 6-9 p.m. The 24th Street Wailers are up Wednesday, March 25, 6-9 p.m and K.C.’s Katy G & The Girls are back Thursday, March 26 6-9 p.m. K.C.’s self-described “roots, blues and prohibition-era jazz band” Grand Marquis features two horn players and takes the stage Friday, March 27, 9 p.m. See Versatile and highly accomplished Texas guitarist and songwriter Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, 6-9 p.m. Chrome Lounge Thursdays BSO Presents early Thursday shows at Chrome Lounge continue along with some special Saturday music bookings. Thursday, April 5, everybody’s favorite Chicago blues band, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials plug in with their energetic show. Thursday, April 12, it’s a very special show with one of the big names in contemporary blues, Louisiana’s Cajun guitar star Tab Benoit. The Jimmy’s open the show. Advance tickets are recommended. See the event listing at for details.



TAB BENOIT PHOTO CREDIT: TABBENOIT.COM Saturday, April 14, Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling bring their top-flight musicianship and extremely entertaining show to town. The band just released their new disc, The High Cost of Low Living, on Alligator Records and it went straight to Number Three on the Billboard blues charts. The recording was produced by Kid Andersen. See Too Slim & The Taildraggers are back on Thursday, April 19, and Florida blues-rock guitarist Albert Castiglia is up Thursday, April 26. Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch take the stage Wednesday, May 3. All these shows happen 6-9 p.m. Playing With Fire Playing With Fire has announced the line-up for this summer’s two free concert dates at Midtown Crossing. Saturday, July 14, the headliner is multiple Juno and Maple Blues Award winner, blues-rock guitarist Jack de Keyzer. See Supporting acts are Monkey Junk and the Heather Newman Band. Saturday, August 25, the headliner is Paul Reddick. Hailing from Toronto, the singer-songwriter and harmonica player is the 2017 Juno Award winner for Blues Album of the Year. Supporting acts are Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Matt Cox. Hot Notes April brings Junkstock with lots of great music April 6-8, see Also make time for Record Store Day April 21st at Homer’s. And Earth Day Saturday, April 21, in Elmwood Park also offers live music along with vendors, informational talks and booths. Sebastian Lane’s Blues Jam is the first Friday of every month at Barley Street Tavern in Benson. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal get funky at Slowdown Saturday, April 21, 8 p.m. The amazing, high-octane roots rock of Lindsay Beaver & The 24th Street Wailers takes the stage at The B. Bar Friday, April 27, 5:30 p.m. Sunday Roadhouse presents Malcolm Holcombe and special guest Peter Case Sunday, April 29, at Reverb Lounge, 5 p.m.

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APRIL 2018

inger-actress Vanessa Williams, 55, brings a regal serenity wherever she goes. The always put-together Tony, Grammy, Emmy nominee makes her metro debut headlining the April 21 Omaha Symphony Gala Concert at Holland Performing Arts Center. For the 8 p.m. gig benefiting the symphony’s community engagement programs serving youth, she’ll sing her own hit tunes (“Save the Best for Last,” “Colors of the Wind”) as well as American Songbook classics. She looks forward to a backstage visit from an uncle who lives in Omaha. The Broadway musical star, concert hall veteran, recording artist, film-television player and humanitarian has won multiple NAACP Image Awards. “I’ve felt the embrace of the African-American community from the get-go – besides incidents where people felt I wasn’t black enough,” she said.



PHOTO CREDIT MIKE RUIZ She’s proud of her behind-the-scenes reputation as a steadying influence. “I’m usually the leader of calm. People say when I’m a part of an ensemble, it’s a calm and happy set. I know how to deal with people. I don’t like drama and I don’t engage.” Thirty-four years into her career, she shows no signs of slowing. In February, she appeared in the New York City Center Encores production Hey, Look Me Over. She sang a tune idol Lena Horne originated in the show Jamaica.

Here, Williams will interpret standards immortalized by Horne and other icons. She recently completed a three-week Asian tour. Then she went to Dallas to shoot an ABC episodic dramedy pilot, First Profits, about women cosmetics moguls. If picked-up, it will mark her fourth ABC series, following Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and 666 Park Avenue. “It’s kind of like going back home. The character I play is a force to be reckoned with. I’m excited.” continued on page 34 y

y continued on page 32 She loves moving from one genre to another. “It’s great because it exercises a lot of different muscles for me. It never gets stale and I get a chance to reach different audiences. Playing a small jazz club I can do some intimate, personal stuff. Doing a symphony concert allows beautiful, lush orchestrations I don’t get to hear all the time, so for me it’s a special treat. Then acting behind a camera, I get a chance to step into another character. “The reason I get to do so many things is that I take care of my voice, I’m professional, I show up on time, I know my material. That’s how you have longevity in this business – being prepared and dependable.” Performing is play. Preparing to play, especially doing eight shows a week on Broadway, can be a grind. “The biggest effort is getting to the theater and going through the process of putting on your makeup and costume, especially when you’re exhausted or your voice doesn’t feel right or you’re dealing with distractions. Once you hear PHOTO CREDIT GILLES TOUCAS the downbeat, then it all goes away. You feel the electricity from the audience, the camaraderie of the cast, and it’s easy.” The mother of four, who successfully manages her Type 1 diabetes, said she consciously “doesn’t try” striking a positive image but instead projects her authentic self. “I think it’s a byproduct of who you are. I am who I am and I’m lucky I had great parents who instilled great values in me and I get a chance to demonstrate that. I think it’s also reflected in my children (one of her daughter’s is singer-actress Jillian Hervey).” In 2012, she and her mother, Helen Williams, released a memoir they co-authored, You Have No Idea, in which Vanessa revealed being molested by a woman as a child. Though raised Catholic, she got an abortion as a teen. She became “a trailblazer” as the first black Miss America, only to have erotic photos she posed for published without her consent. Stripped of her crown, she recovered from the scandal. “I’m seen as a survivor after being famous overnight at 20 and then having to create a career when, within 11 months, it all changed drastically. PHOTO CREDIT GILLES TOUCAS It shows fortitude, perseverance, talent. That’s what’s revered. That’ll never go away. That’s a badge of honor I continue to carry.” warm men – producers, directors, writers, actors She supports today’s women’s advocacy – who are my good friends.” movements born from sexual harassment She weathered divorce from NBA playerallegations against men, including some turned-actor Rick Fox – the father of three of her prominent film-TV-music figures. children. “I know these are very positive and strong women She married businessman Jim Skrip in 2015. helping to bring awareness to the issues,” she said. Williams has come to represent what black She cautions branding all men with a broad- women she admires symbolize. brush. “Lena Horne, Diahnn Carroll, Debbie Allen, “I don’t want an attitude where every man is Eartha Kitt. bad, a threat, a predator, untrustworthy. I’ve All legendary women stellar in their career worked with some incredibly talented, wonderful, and active with civil rights. Their own personal


APRIL 2018



struggles were such lessons for us and our generation. They paved the way.” She’s a nurturing “mother bear” to younger artists. “I’m always the one everyone comes to for advice. I love to connect people and make things happen.” She’s encouraged by how many women of color have become creative forces behind the camera “Progress is definitely apparent in movies and television,

Certainly, there’s plenty of opportunity now, which is fantastic.” She’s may even direct one day. Meanwhile, she despairs America’s divide. “The hate speak and the divisiveness,” she said, “is just really saddening” Escape with her in music on the 21st. For tickets, visit Read more of Leo Adam Biga’s work at

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t seems Nebraska musicians as a whole prefer to release new music Leading with a jiving piano riff over crackling static, the track bursts into a once the weather starts to warm up, and a handful of up-and-coming lively drum rhythm with chorus-laden guitar leads. But the song’s shining star artists did just that in March, with everything from sample-based lo- is McInnis’s melodies and the devastating story his lyrics tell. Through the first fi hip-hop to upbeat piano-rock ballads dropping through the month. verse, McInnis sings to a close friend or love interest who left town for good. Let’s talk about those releases here. The narrator assures her he’ll be a phone call away when she needs him. But Omaha indie folk five-piece Bokr Tov dropped its self-titled debut EP in early by the time the last refrain rolls around, it’s clear the narrator is the one who March after two years of playing shows around the state. The EP’s four songs needs her: “With no plans, how did I expect this to end/Now my friend’s — mixed by See Through Dresses drummer Nate Van Fleet and recorded up north, and she’s better off without me.” The lyrics and music effortlessly in summer 2016 — reflect a nostalgic but carefree, wind-through-your-hair mesh; you’ll be hard-pressed to hear another local song this year that’s as mood fitting for a late-August sunset complete with wistful slide guitars and emotionally impactful as “Julianne.” The full EP, Change of Heart, drops May 5. Michael Stipe-esque falsettos colliding throughout. The album is a bit of an With March came the 32nd annual South by Southwest festival and anomaly in that way, simultaneously echoing ‘80s college rock and early- conference in Austin, Texas, and for the second year in a row, Lincoln 2000s Saddle Creek alt-country, while throwing in a dose of hovering delay independent radio station KZUM presented the Nebraska Exposed showcase for atmospheric effect. Lyrically, the album deals with loneliness, loss, fate and with 13 Nebraska musicians and comedians. Many of the artists spent the inevitability of the passing of time, but it offers a note of hopeful advice their SXSW trips focused on generating maximum exposure, playing other as the closer, “Narco,” fades out: “Don’t close your eyes/Don’t say goodbye.” showcases and hitting cities like Kansas City and Oklahoma City on their Bokr Tov celebrated the album’s release at Reverb Lounge on March 3 with drives south. Khari the Duo even dropped a verse on SiriusXM’s national local acts Jacob James Wilton and Ryan Menchaca & The Invisible Horses. “Sway in the Morning” radio show (check it out on the band’s Facebook In last month’s column, we noted Omaha indie rock band See Through page). On March 15, the 13 acts, including Omaha hip-hop group The Dresses’ in-studio session for Audiotree, a music outlet that invites bands Dilla Kids, Lincoln post-hardcore band Better Friend and folk troubadour to perform at its Chicago studio and later posts the video recordings on Orion Walsh, came together for the daylong Nebraska Exposed showcase YouTube and makes the MP3s available on streaming sites. Audiotree at Cheers Shot Bar, which Walsh said showcased each band’s talent and the released the session’s tracks on March 14. On the same day, another See Nebraska music scene’s camaraderie, according to a KZUM article. Through studio session, with the similarly operating Daytrotter in Davenport, As Austin is known for SXSW, perhaps Omaha will one day become widely Iowa, was posted on Daytrotter’s website. It’s a four-song collection of known as the home of House Fest, which held its second-annual event on cuts from the band’s 2017 LP Horse of the Other World, swirling through March 16 and 17. Lucy’s Pub, the festival’s house venue namesake, and We’re synthscapes and the atmospheric effects of Sara Bertuldo and Matt Carroll’s Trying Records hosted more than 200 music fans and 30 DIY bands — many dreamy voices. Give the tracks a listen at of which were touring acts. Due to weather, the planned outdoor stage was Omaha beatmaker/electronic producer Ridgelines, aka Mike Johnson, scrapped, but with a basement stage and a garage stage already available, posted a sweeping 12-minute trip-hop cut titled “Told You,” featuring emcee it wasn’t an issue. In a Facebook post the day after the festival, coordinator Sleep Sinatra. The track shapeshifts from a bass-heavy, cacophonous and Lucy’s Pub resident Dave McInnis acknowledged the logistical nightmare world of drifting synths and (what seems to be) Beyoncé samples to a House Fest could have been, but the two days packed with music went trap-influenced, futuristic rap trunk-shaker as Sleep mumbles esoteric bars smoothly, and the festival raised over $1000 for Youth Emergency Services, depicting fire falling from the heavens. Then, when you think the song has an Omaha charity benefiting at-risk youth. As DIY venues around Omaha found its groove, it morphs again into a psych-pop dream as the hi-hats and struggle to keep their doors open, Lucy’s Pub is a shining light, and events bass fade away. As a whole, it’s a bit mind-boggling, as if Tame Impala’s like House Fest inspire a scene where making music on your own can reach Kevin Parker, Aphex Twin and Metro Boomin joined forces for a drawn-out wide audiences. With another stellar turnout this year, look for House Fest to epic. But what’s more mind-boggling is the fact that it works. Ridgelines’ continue growing into an Omaha independent music staple. latest album, Beautiful View, comes out April 7 with a release show at Reverb To end the column, we’ll add in some big news from February that couldn’t Lounge, and information for the show is available at be included in last month’s column due to deadline constraints. Maha Music Sleep Sinatra’s March output didn’t stop with the Ridgelines collaboration, Festival asserted its position as Nebraska’s biggest yearly music event, though, as the restless Lincoln rapper released his third EP since August 2017, announcing an expansion to two days and its addition of the innovation XMXTHXST. He’s more confident than ever, with his flows comfortably meshing and entrepreneurship-focused Big Omaha conference to its programming. with his instrumentals. By now, it’s clear Sleep is a student of backpack rap, Maha’s growth to two days was a natural progression, Maha Executive often pulling inspiration from Madlib’s sample-heavy production and the Director Lauren Martin said in a Daily Nebraskan article. But Big Omaha’s haunting deliveries of contemporaries like Milo and Billy Woods. But instead inclusion came as an effort to align the festival with the setup of a wideof using those influences to vie for the top, Sleep is content sitting back and ranging event like South by Southwest, involving more than only music fans observing with a shrewd BS detector and the certainty that the top will with Maha. The 10th-annual festival takes place Aug. 17-18 at Stinson Park present itself when it’s ready for him. On “Tyronn Lue,” he elevates “from a in Aksarben Village, and lineup announcements should be expected in the player to a coach,” enough to see the world for its faults and hypocrisies on coming months. “Social Sciences.” The album’s title, read as “amethyst,” pops up in samples throughout the EP, possibly pointing to the gem’s meaning as a Greek This column is part of an ongoing collaboration between The Reader and symbol for sobriety. From sobriety can come growth, and if this is Sleep Hear Nebraska, a music journalism and production nonprofit seeking to Sinatra’s state of mind, his growth should be fun to watch. engage and cultivate Nebraska’s music scene (and now, a program of new Another local artist with an album on the horizon, Magü, the solo project nonprofit umbrella Rabble Mill). Want more Nebraska music news? Keep up of Dave McInnis (who also drums in Omaha bands Timecat and Jacob James with local music happenings at and make sure to check Wilton), released his EP’s opener, “Julianne,” on Bandcamp on March 16. out next month’s Backbeat Column.



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KAIJU GOO GOO Pacific Rim: Uprising Is Not Too Shy to Be Silly




APRIL 2018


scar-winning fish pornographer Guillermo del Toroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pacific Rim was a just-fine endeavor hailed as near-sexually-satisfying by a vocal community blessed/cursed with low expectations. Pacific Rim: Uprising is directed by a guy who produced a show called Travel Boobs and directed all of seven episodes of genre television before being handed a $150 million check to bang CGI robots together in the same way future ambassadors for toxic masculinity



whack action figures together in grade school. You know what? Honestly, Travel Boobs did a better job. Everything that worked in the first film is heightened. Charisma-spewer John Boyega replaces glowering generic male Charlie Hunnam as lead. The games of robot/monster Twister take place in the daylight on land, as opposed to the darkest-dark-of-night, mid-ocean brawls in the first installment. More than anything, the silliness dial is cranked up so high, the Godzilla remake

looks like a very special Planet Earth episode by comparison. It’s not, you know, “good.” But it is unabashed escapist stupidity that delivers what was advertised and absolutely not one thing more. If you don’t know, the dense Shakespearean narrative that probes existential questions about humanity is about robots that punch kaiju, which are monsters that slobber neon phlegm after being farted out of the ocean’s buttcrack. Set 10 years after the first film, Uprising begins with Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Idris Elba’s martyred character, being forced to train young jaeger pilots. Oh, right: They call the robots jaegers for absolutely no good reason, and they give the jaegers names that seem to consist of the most nonsensical pairing of words they can Mad Libs together. Pretty sure the ones this time out are something like Taco Disruptor, Lumberjack Pancake and Aphrodite Sphincter. Jake feuds with his former partner, Nate Lambert, played by Scott Eastwood, a pile of nepotism with a five-o’clock shadow. Had he any less charm or watchability, even Charlie Hunnam’s agency “Legally Alive Male Actors” would have to drop Scott Eastwood, no matter how many chairs his daddy yells at during a televised convention. Anyway, the monsters that they defeated last time who will “never come back” come back, Charlie

Day talks squeaky, loud and fast, and there’s no way the overmatched heroes can win until they do. At no point, even accidentally, does Uprising almost become original. It also never becomes boring, somehow making the most banal exposition sequences approximate entertainment. Other than a massively uninspired misuse of the best character from the first film, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), nothing is even outright unpleasant, provided you willingly attended a live-action anime about kaiju-fighting robots and know what all those words mean in that order. The film’s silly, undeserved-but-endearing, confident swagger culminates in a wholly unearned declaration about a third film that logic and restraint says is the opposite of inevitable. You know what? Provided they bring Boyega back, continue to ratchet up the absurdity, and let me name at least 2 jaegers (Frankenstein Cher and Odysseus Hemorrhoid), I’m all about it.


Grade = B

Wes Anderson’s

Isle of Dogs

Dundee Theater — Begins Thur, April 5, 2018




Playmates and soul mates...



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APRIL 2018



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


APRIL 2018

2018 NEW MUSIC ROUNDUP Notes and nuances about a dozen new indie albums BY TIM MCMAHAN


hat are record reviews in this age when most people Hookworms, Microshift (Domino) -- British neo-psych band has a have Spotify and can listen to everything? Instead of bit in common with Tame Impala but lacks that band’s quirky melodies telling you where you should spend your money, record and willingness to go over the edge and look back at you. The result is reviews are like signposts pointing you to where you a straight-forward electronic album big on chiming rhythms but small should spend your time, or to keep you from wasting it. on memorable melodies. With that in mind, these reviews are more like notes taken while Clarence Tilton / Monday Mourners, split LP (self release) — This listening to these albums, all of which were released this year. All are is like getting two albums in one because there’s so much material worth checking out, though some more than others. You’ll know which from both of these Omaha bands — six tracks per band. Side one I mean. is Clarence Tilton, who provides another set of the best alt-country Yo La Tengo, There’s a Riot Going On (Matador) -- I assume the title you’re going to hear this side of Uncle Tupelo. Monday Mourners is a was supposed to be ironic? I’ve been listening to Yo La Tengo since new discovery, with a sound that ranges from more traditional C&W the ‘90s, and while every album has a few sleepy tracks, there’s also (“Steal My Time,” “Trouble at Home”) to heavier, snarling country rock always a handful of Velvet Underground-style rockers. Not so much (“Blood on the Wheel”) with twanging guitars that float atop a cushion this time. With the exception of the grinding “Out of the Pool” and the of organ tones. Giddy-up. bouncy “For You Too,” this was the most yawn-inducing YLT album High Up, You Are Here (Team Love) — This Omaha act has been ever, like listening to breezy airport music — warm, pleasant and working up to a full-length debut for a couple years, and a number of easy to ignore. these songs have been released as different recordings on their debut Car Seat Headrest, Twin Fantasy (Matador) -- The first time I listened EP last year. Most notable is “Two Weeks,” which gets a different to their last album, Teens of Denial, I had the lyrics sheet resting on arrangement that brings the horns up front and feels louder and more my lap and followed along word-for-word. It made for a satisfying confident. Unlike their past EP (and live performances) the band keeps hour of headphone bliss, like reading a series of depressing short the energy pumping even on the ballad-heavy numbers like the cover stories written by a precocious, bashful teen outsider who doesn’t of Bright Eyes’ “Make a Plan to Love Me” and the gospel-organ fueled have enough to complain about. I don’t have the lyrics sheet for Twin “Blue Moon” that sounds like an FM radio single. “Domino,” another Fantasy, which actually is a re-recording of an earlier CSH album. As stand-out, is a punchy sequel to “Two Weeks.” When will a bigger a result, it’s hard to stay focused for the hour-plus collection of dense audience discover these guys? lyrics and power chords. Will Toledo could be this generation’s Elvis Eleanor Friedberger, Rebound (FrenchKiss) — The former Fiery Costello, but a much more unsatisfied one. Furnaces frontwoman’s solo debut Last Summer was a fave of 2011, Nap Eyes, I’m Bad Now (Jagjaguwar) — This warm, melodic indie but the follow-ups have been mostly yawners. This synth-heavy rock comes from an act out of Nova Scotia who played in Omaha last collection is loaded with simple, sing-along pop ditties like the sunyear opening for Fleet Foxes (a show I missed). They remind me of shiny “Make Me a Song” and “The Letter.” The arrangements are The Feelies, especially because lead vocalist Nigel Chapman’s drab, so simple they almost sound like demos, with rhythms akin to beat nasal delivery matches Feelies’ Glenn Mercer, though Nap Eyes lacks box programs, but Friedberger’s sweet coo keeps you listening. Out Feelies’ driving, relentless rhythms that rise and rise and explode. This May 4. just sort of lays there from song to song. Preoccupations, New Material (Jagjaguwar) — From the guys who Anna McClellan, Yes and No (Father/Daughter) -- More than any used to be called Viet Cong. I listen to a lot of Sirius First Wave, which other female indie singer-songwriter doing piano-driven confessionals, plays post-punk/New Wave music from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and some my heart hurts when I hear her slightly off-kilter voice warble through of these tracks could be dropped into rotation and no one would notice. a set of yearning love notes. McClellan unashamedly holds nothing Opener “Espionage,” for example, sounds like ‘80s Gary Numan back when she belts out her stories unpolished and beautiful. She’s a synth rock crossed with Interpol. On the other hand, “Antidote” is Enobroken-hearted nerd who deserves to win, just like the rest of us. esque modern and dissonant while “Solace” sounds like reimagined Caroline Rose, Loner (New West) -- This sassy New Yorker calls her New Order. A favorite. style “schizodrift,” which I guess means it tries to capture her everHeaven, All Love Is Blue (Little Cloud) — Another favorite, it’s like shifting moods that range from anger to sarcasm to irony to humor. listening to a really good post-punk shoe-gaze band, but instead of Actually, three of those are attitudes more than moods. Imagine each song droning along a flat, fuzzy chord progression, Heaven Alvvays or La Roux but with a darkly wicked sense of humor and a conjures bright melodies. It’s like Jesus and Mary Chain but each bracingly accurate view of this modern world. It could become my song sounds different, unlike JAMC albums that are like 12 versions summer album for 2018. of the same song. We’re getting a generation and a half beyond MGMT, Little Dark Age (Columbia) -- I always thought MGMT was when this style of music first arrived. This is what you get from folks signed to an indie label. They’ve always been on Columbia, all the way who grew up listening to their parents’ records (if their parents were back to their 2007 debut, Oracular Spectacular, but somehow they cool). get grouped in with the indie kids, which was where they belonged when they released their last few disturbing “experimental” albums. Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing They’re back to their original radio-rock sound, which has that clubby writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and pop bounce that got them signed to a major in the first place. the arts. Email Tim at






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