Tag Archives: Leavenworth Street

Drop It Like It’s…Eggs?

March 22, 2018 by

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Pick of the Week—Saturday, March 24: It’s raining eggs this weekend! Well, kind of. There will be eggs dropping from a helicopter at the Easter Egg Drop at Brookside Church. But don’t worry, the eggs are plastic and will contain one piece of candy each. What’s better than candy, you ask? Well, one lucky kid from each age division also has the chance to win a helicopter ride if they find the hollow plastic egg with a small helicopter in it. This event is for children from the age 3 up to those in the 5th grade. While they’re waiting to scramble for their eggs, they’ll have plenty of other activities to entertain, including inflatables and even petting goats. And of course, the Easter bunny will be available for photo ops. Hunt for all the details you need here.

Thursday, March 22 to Sunday, April 15: Rudolf Nureyev was an international sensation for more than just his dancing prowess—he was the first Russian artist to defect to the West during the Cold War. The man known as the “Lord of the Dance” would eventually become the subject of hundreds of sketches and canvases of artist James Wyeth. Nureyev’s Eyes at the Blue Barn Theatre imagines what the relationship between the two creative men must have been like. If you can’t make it tonight, don’t worry. This show goes on for several weeks, so you still have time to catch the incredible performances of this cast. Get your tickets here now.

Friday, March 23: Don’t miss the first show of the season for Hugo’s Art Galleries, a showing of The Art of Di Farho. The show is also Farho’s first since her return to Omaha five years ago after living in Colorado for two decades. She noticed that her old neighborhood (31st and Leavenworth area) had changed significantly, so she started documenting the changing urban landscape in her sketches and oil paintings. Be among the first to see Farho’s impressions of her beloved neighborhood. Head here for more information on the show and here to find out more about Hugo’s Art Galleries.

Saturday, March 24: It’s been over two years since the death of legendary performer David Bowie. If reading that sentence hurt your heart a little, take solace this weekend at the Holland Performing Arts Center with a Tribute to David Bowie by the Omaha Symphony. Led by Principal Pops Conductor Ernest Richardson, this show will bring you all the classics, from “Space Oddity” to “Under Pressure.” No matter which Bowie you preferred, this performance will help fill that little black, star-shaped hole in your heart. Head here to get your tickets now, you pretty things.

Sunday, March 25: Is there a better way to spend a Sunday Funday than drinking half-off beers while shopping half-off books? If you said no, then Day Drinking with the DBCSpring Cleaning Edition at Pageturners Lounge is where you need to be this Sunday. The Dundee Book Company is making room for new stuff, so help them (and yourselves) out by buying some books while you’re drinking some beer. To find out more, lick your finger and turn the proverbial page here. (Just kidding, there’s really no need to lick your finger.)

Sam Parker

August 2, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Sam Parker wants to help his patrons find that feeling—the rush of emotion that happens when people lose themselves in a song.

A true-to-form millennial, Parker has pursued passion projects and labors of love from city to city. Originally a transplant from the Washington, D.C., area, he came to Omaha some years ago to study business marketing. He later left to work with Paper & Plastick Records in Florida and returned to find that Omaha’s creatives were ready to put his business savvy to good use.

If you are a musician or an artist in town, you have likely crossed paths with Parker. Though he sits at the helm of a couple major operations and has his hands in even more, he is quick to state that nothing he does is a solo effort: “I have a very solid group of people surrounding me in every project that I’m doing. I really couldn’t do any of this without them.”

SamParker1That collaborative vision is a thread weaving through all the enterprises Parker is involved with, from his role as co-founder of production company Perpetual Nerves, to his position as talent buyer for the music festival Lincoln Calling, to his work at Hi-Fi House, a vinyl record musicology lab/library (founded by Kate Dussault). Parker wants his ventures to foster connection and further the movement for social progress. His new music venue, Milk Run, is no exception.

Milk Run, which opened last fall, defines itself as an all-ages community space. Primarily hosting concerts, the site is on Leavenworth Street, tucked between Shucks and Club Vibe. On the front door is a yellow sign which reads “Safe Space,” signifying an inclusive ideology that welcomes all.

Stepping into Milk Run feels a bit like visiting your cool grandma’s house, with black and white walls and a string of lights behind the performance area. It is intimate, modest, and entirely unpretentious. The space invites you to be yourself.

Milk Run was founded on Parker’s desire, and that of his colleagues, to help grow Omaha’s music scene; he says they “wanted to see more bands come to town, including artists who are under the radar.” When asked whether he thinks Omaha is ready to support eccentric creators, his stance is confident: “There are a lot of people who want change.”

As with all of Parker’s projects, Milk Run does more than promote musicians. They also provide organizations like Omaha Zine Fest and Feminist Book Club with a space to meet when needed. “We get so many different kinds of people walking through these doors, I feel like I’m constantly learning.”

Ultimately, that’s what he cultivates: opportunities for folks to experience something new and to connect over live music. “It’s cool to see people come together. Omaha is an evolving city, and I want to be a part of that.” It is clear that Parker has already begun to influence our city’s evolution, pointing us toward a more dynamic future, one great show at a time. 

Visit facebook.com/milkrunomaha or @milkrunomaha on Twitter, for more information. Encounter

The McBrides

July 15, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Caroline McBride sobbed as she left midtown Omaha with her partner, M.J., and the last load of their belongings from their midtown home. She was so happy there.

The tears quickly subsided as they arrived at their new home.

“It’s pretty easy when you are greeted with strangers bearing champagne,” M.J. says.

McBrides4The couple now live in The Rows at SoMa, a group of rowhouses along Leavenworth between 11th and 13th streets. Bluestone Development approached them about moving.

Bluestone owner Christian Christiansen was looking for buyers of his new development off the Old Market, and a mutual friend suggested he contact the ladies.

“When we bought down here, it was dirt and not much else. We really had to trust and go on a wing and a prayer,” M.J. says. “Everything they promised has come true.”

Christiansen promised great people (in the neighborhood) and quality workmanship (in the building). The couple appreciate the diversity of The Rows’ residents. Their neighbors range from millennials to folks in their 60s, from single people to married couples.

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Caroline and M.J. welcome all the new friends. Caroline has even joined the board of the homeowner association, which hosts wine nights on Wednesdays.

“They’re great,” Jerre Tritsch, current HOA president and a retired lawyer, says of the couple. “They’re fun people. Very positive. We love having them here.”

“There’s always an eclectic group of people and dogs,” Caroline says.

Walking around the neighborhood, Caroline greets everyone by name, and they smile and say hello back. In fact, the only complaints that the couple receive follow M.J. starting her Harley-Davidson motorcycle before 7 a.m.

The wine nights take place in the community garden, which features two crescent-moon shaped benches on a paver patio. The garden includes 14 planting beds, available by a lottery system. The landscaping and gardens are all organic.

It’s also beautiful, in part, thanks to Keep SoMa Beautiful, a group started by the community that walks through the streets to make sure the sidewalks are intact and mess-free.

“Overall we’re looking to encourage an attitude of participation in the community,” says Tritsch. “Don’t wait for a contractor or management company to do something. Pitch in and help, because that helps to build relationships within the community.”

The first row house the couple lived in was a two-bed, 2-1/2-bath townhouse in the middle of the development. The 2,200-square-foot home looked out over the community garden. Sitting on one of the benches in the garden, a visitor would hardly know the heart of the Old Market lies a quick stroll down the street.

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“There’s a sense of openness by the total privacy that’s built in,” Caroline says.

The couple specifically wanted to live in one of the homes facing Leavenworth Street and the Old Market.

In 2009, they acquired one of The Rows’ eight 2,500-square-foot homes with three beds and 3 1/2 baths. They liked the floor plan, which is longer and includes more windows.

“One of the first questions people ask is about windows,” M.J. says. “Are you covering them? Are you leaving them uncovered? What about the kitchen?”

The creative couple, who established and operate Rebel Interactive agency, found an appropriately creative solution—sheer panels with black squiggly details running down them. The contemporary design fits well with their home, which includes brightly colored artwork and furniture throughout.

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The couple appreciate that art is a part of SoMa. The garden features a sculpture commissioned by Bluestone for the area. The community also features an art gallery that doubles as a commons room and is available to residents at SoMa. Caroline and M.J., who have been together since 1997, used the gallery to celebrate with their friends and neighbors following their marriage in Iowa in September of  2013.

This urban-living development embraces people (and pets) of all types. Amenities such as snow removal and lawn care help residents leave home with peace of mind.

“A lot of people are attracted to SoMa because they travel quite a bit,” says Tritsch.

The McBrides count themselves among those travelers. They spend many weekends at Lake Okoboji with their black cat, Reo, and Boston terrier, Bella. They also travel to Key West, Florida, once a year to stay at their time share, and to Arizona to visit M.J.’s mom.

Their travels always end back at their row home in Omaha.

“We love being close to Bemis and KANEKO,” Caroline says. “It’s nice being right across the street from world-class creativity.”

M.J. smiles brightly as she thinks about her downtown life.

“I’ve enjoyed living other places, but I love living here,” M.J. says. Encounter

Visit omahadowntown.org for more information.McBrides1

This Is Halloween

October 31, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“What’s your favorite decoration?”

“That one!” says Salvatore. As do most 3-year-olds, he knows what he likes.

“The one in the cage right here? Or the big spider?”

“The one in the cage.”

“It makes noise,” his older brother, Mario, volunteers. “Except not right now. Mom has batteries for it, but we don’t know where.” Mario is 8 and quite matter of fact.

“And it has a black eye!” exclaims Sal.

These brothers, along with sister Mia, 2, and mom and dad Denni Layne and Mike Anzalone, have the privilege of residing at one of Midtown’s best decorated homes for Halloween. Layne and Anzalone say it’s not uncommon for people to slow down for a good gawk at their home at 35th Avenue and Leavenworth Street.

Can onlookers be blamed?

 

The front yard of the mustard-colored Victorian home is small but surrounded by a tall, ornate iron fence. Cobwebs drape over the rails and a good portion of the yard itself, while cornstalks serve as a seasonal front gate. Tiny corpses hang in little cages on the porch, a light-up spider is on the door, and a bat hides in the eaves. Zombie heads populate the space underneath a small tree, and large stone lions hold Barbie-doll-size skulls tightly in their jaws.

Of course, passersby will notice all those minor details after they’ve stopped staring at two life-size coffins propped up in front of the porch. They’re open so that visitors can admire the lighted skulls of the inhabitants.

Despite the fact that the yard and front porch are covered in all manner of Halloween fun and it’s right off of busy Leavenworth, nothing has ever gone missing. “Well, these things are heavy,” Anzalone says, pointing to the coffins. “I made them almost life-size.” As a wood and metal custom designer, Anzalone is no stranger to making some of the more exotic Halloween decor. He also made the home’s iron fencing. And a 12’-tall pumpkin reaper monster that may make a last-minute debut this Halloween.

“We try something new each year,” Layne says. “And we’ve been doing this for about four or five years.”

It takes the family a couple hours daily over the course of four or five days to bring Halloween to life at their home, and everyone is incredibly into it. Even Gigi, the family’s Italian mastiff, carries a plush pumpkin with her these days, short tail wagging furiously amid all the activity.

“The kids and Denni do a lot of the spiderwebs,” Anzalone says. One particularly enormous web gathers fallen leaves underneath a small maple. “At first I tried to pick them out, but I finally said, you know, that adds to it,” he says.

Because Leavenworth is such a busy street and their front sidewalk is right on it, Anzalone and Layne don’t get many trick-or-treaters. “We’ll leave a pumpkin out with some suckers and every now and then there’ll be a couple missing. We’ll have maybe one or two.”

Still, the family enjoys the notes of appreciation from the neighbors and the comments from pedestrians. “We’re glad that people love it,” Layne says, “because we really love it.”