Tag Archives: Little Bohemia

From Springfield to Syria, We Have It Covered

March 8, 2018 by

Pick of the Week—Sunday, March 11: Did you think you missed out on all the film festival fun? Don’t worry, you’re not too late. Sunday offers your last chance to catch a taste of the 13th Annual Omaha Film Festival at their Writer’s Theatre. These staged readings start at noon and last until 3 p.m., covering a range of works featured throughout the run. Who knows? You might even see someone you know up there making their acting debut. So get thee to Marcus Village Pointe Cinema this weekend. To get a complete list of what (and who) you’ll see, click here. Check out their Sizzle Reel here.

Thursday, March 8: Syria seems always to be in the news lately. But what do we really know about the Syrian people? If you’re curious and would like to learn more, head to UNO’s community engagement center to hear Wendy Pearlman, Understanding Syria Through Refugee Stories, a lecture and discussion regarding the lives and personal experiences of Syrian refugees. Pearlman is an associate professor of political science at Northwestern University and author of several books. Get more details about this event here.

Friday, March 9: OutrSpaces has a new home. And no, it’s not on the moon. Instead it’s in Omaha’s latest revitalized area, Little Bohemia. Their Launch Party on 13th Street will feature CJ Mills and Chalis Bristol. This facility brings together members of the local creative community, providing resources and a venue for those who need it, whether the moon is up or not. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. with performances starting at 7:30 p.m. Get there early to learn about the space and the artists. A suggested donation of $10 will go to supper the artists, with further donations going to support OutrSpaces in their second year of bringing people together. Find out more here.

(Photo by Ariel Fred)

Friday, March 9: With rumors of the possible closing of The Apollon Art Space, don’t miss any opportunity to see some of their creative verve at work. Nasty Women Omaha Presents: What the F!?K is Next? is one such unique show. This pop-up group exhibition focuses on demonstrating solidarity within the arts community. No matter what your sexual orientation, race, religion, or background, you are welcome here. (Children are welcome, but keep in mind some content will be graphic.) The art show starts at 7 p.m. with performances starting at 8 p.m. Best of all, 100 percent of the proceeds go to Youth Emergency Services (YES). Learn more about what to expect here.

Saturday, March 10: We’ll give you any excuse to get out of the house and get some exercise, but this weekend’s St. Patty’s Run for the Gold 5k/10k from Freedom Running Company will get you out even further. And it will be worth it, as this race begins and ends at Soaring Wings Winery, where you can enjoy a free beer or glass of wine once you finish. Plus, all finishers will receive a medal and a long sleeve shirt to help you keep warm once you cool down. To get more info and to register for the run, go here.

Nightcrawler Heaven

August 21, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article appears in July/August 2015 Encounter.

Let us now observe the urban jungles of Heartlandia and the Omaha teen, as he and she migrate to a small hole-in-the-wall in Little Bohemia where the coffee is cheap and the doughnuts are even cheaper.

The Donut Stop is a rite of passage for these social creatures, with its promises of late hours, caffeine, and perhaps most appealing to a teen’s loitering nature, places to sit. It’s a powdered-doughnut mustache meets a real one—a first honest attempt at a night life.

It’s been that way since the beginning—at least that’s how owner Marlene Rodgers says she remembers it. She and her late husband, Donut Stop founder Hal Rodgers, opened their doors in 1988, and throughout the nineties, naughts, and tweens, hand-stamped concertgoers and brain-cramped scholars have polluted the nighttime atmosphere with wild conversation and restless banter. They used to pollute it with other things, too.

“Back when you could smoke in here, you could cut the air with a knife,” Rodgers says on a very clear and quiet Friday evening. “Sometimes you couldn’t see the table next to you.”

As reminders of this slight barbarism of yore, the half-textured walls of the Donut Stop still radiate a decrepit yellow probably not unlike the color of the Marlboro Man’s 80-year-old fingernails, or the paint’s closest Pantone match. But that’s just an afterthought to the clowder—cat posters, cat calendars, and cat ceramics—that adorns the walls and shelves throughout the shop. It’s a space so carelessly decorated that it both epitomizes the hipster aesthetic and destroys it.

“Since we like animals, a lot of our customers find us things and give them to us,” Rodgers explains unapologetically about her business’ eclectic décor, “so we hang them on the walls.”

If it couldn’t get any more or less cool, the Donut Stop doesn’t accept “plastic” (an archaic term for credit and debit cards once used around the time of the car phone). It doesn’t roast a single origin bean in-house or brew it through a Rube Goldberg machine, either. No, a self-serve cup of Donut Stop coffee is secure in its flavor profile of gas station Folgers as it proudly sits on a warming plate like a throwback brew should.

But when you’re so engrained in Omaha lore that you unofficially rank among the zoo, Warren Buffet’s house, and the pedestrian bridge as places to visit when in town (and, more importantly, you provide a safe haven for those still coming of age), none of your adequacies or deficiencies matter. You just keep doing what you’ve been doing all along, Rodgers says, and you do it until you can’t anymore.

“I’d just hate to close it [Donut Stop], but you know I’m not getting any younger, and it can’t go on forever,” she admits with a sigh of regret. “It’s tough, but I’m going to keep it going as long as I can.” Rodgers pauses as if waiting for an answer from within. “As long as I stay healthy, it’ll be open—I have a lot of loyal customers I’d hate to disappoint.”