Tag Archives: Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards

2018 January/February Calendar of Events

December 27, 2017 by
Photography by Contributed

Museums and Exhibits

Lines Forming
Through Jan. 7 at Darger HQ, 1804 Vinton St. Featuring artists Angie Seykora (of Omaha) and Ying Zhu (a China-Midwest transplant), this exhibit is part of a series of collaborative and experimental projects facilitated by Darger HQ. Admission: free. 402-209-5554.
dargerhq.org

Zoom into Nano at The Durham Museum

Zoom Into Nano
Through Jan. 7 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This interactive exhibit allows people to see things magnified 100 million times their actual size. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to members and children 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Reconnect: A Juried Alumni Exhibition
Through Feb. 15 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Art Gallery, 6001 Dodge St. Alumni of UNO will come together for this show at the campus art gallery. Former and current faculty and students will show a broad range of works. The curator is Teliza V. Rodriguez from the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney. Admission: free. 402-554-2796.
unomaha.edu

The Art of the Brick
Through Feb. 19 at 225 N. 12th St., Suite 120. The Art of the Brick is a global touring exhibition rated by CNN as a “Must-See Exhibition,” the first art exhibition to focus exclusively on the use of Legos as an art medium. Award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya transforms countless Lego pieces into whimsical and awe-inspiring creations. Admission: $20 adults, $18.50 seniors and military, $17.50 children. 402-933-1293.
artofthebrickomaha.com

Monarchs at the Bemis Center

Monarchs: Brown and Native Contemporary Artists in the Path of the Butterfly
Through Feb. 24 at Bemis Center, 724 S. 12th St. This exhibit takes the yearly migration path of the Monarch butterfly as a metaphor for considering themes of place, home, migration, immigration, diaspora across the Americas, transnationalism, land rights, and sovereignty. The exhibition considers aesthetic forms through mediums such as basket weaving, ceramics, dressmaking and plaster. Admission: free. 402-341-7130.
bemiscenter.org

Pushing Boundaries: HDR at 100
Through Feb. 25 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This exhibit is an homage to HDR founders and their innovations in engineering. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (age 62+), $7 children (ages 3-12), free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

photo by Lola Alvarez Bravo

Three Generations of Women Photographers
Through March 10 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. This exhibit features Lola Álvarez Bravo, her student Mariana Yampolsky, and photographer Cristina Kahlo. All three have ties to Frida Kahlo. Admission: $5 general, $4 students, $3.50 seniors and children K-12, and free to members. 402-731-1137.
elmuseolatino.org

Light
Through March 31 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Visual art, performances, lectures, youth education, and hands-on creative experiences will empower visitors to see the world in a whole new light. Admission: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Forever Forest at Omaha Children’s Museum

Forever Forest
Through April 15 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. This national exhibit explores sustainability, selective harvesting, transportation needs, and the everyday products that are made from trees. Admission: $12 adults and children over 2, $11 seniors, free to members and children under 24 months. 402-342-6164.
ocm.org

High School Artist Show
Jan. 5-25 at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Over 15 schools from across Nebraska and Iowa will showcase their students’ best work. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Jennifer Homan
Jan. 5-26 at Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge St. This local artist often uses pastels to depict breathtaking sky scenes. She is a member of the prestigious Pastel Society of America. Admission: free. 402-502-8737.
modernartsmidtown.com

Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez
Jan. 12-March 8 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St., lower level. Friedemann-Sanchez describes her art as “a bicultural and transcultural experience” as it focuses on her migration from Colombia to the United States. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

2018 OEAA Visual Artists Nominee Showcase
Jan. 13-27 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. Works by nominees from the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards will be shown in this exhibit. Expect to see a variety of mediums including painting, print, installation, and more. 4 p.m. Admission: free.
oea-awards.org

Metamorphosis at Lauritzen Gardens

Metamorphosis: Works by Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson
Jan. 20-May 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. From birds to aquatic creatures to a massive vortex, Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson’s sculptures promote environmental stewardship while showing the potential beauty of reclaimed (once-discarded) plastic objects. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for members and children under 6 years old. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Persistence: Branches, Barks & Berries by Margaret Berry
Jan. 20-May 13 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This exhibition explores the theme of persistence in nature through the winter months. Look for the sculptural beauty of bare branches, the brightness of berries, and the mesmerizing texture of barks. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for members and children under 6 years old. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

I See That Fable Differently at Joslyn

I See That Fable Differently: Selections from Creighton University’s Carlson Fable Collection
Jan. 27-April 29 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. This exhibition will examine a dozen Aesop fables with a variety of objects from printed materials to ceramic dishware, assemblage sculpture, and a set of nesting dolls. A companion exhibition will be on view at Creighton’s Lied Art Gallery. Admission: free. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Walk With Me
Feb. 1-25 at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Judith Anthony Johnston presents her first solo show at the co-op in 40 years. The show depicts one woman’s journey walking the Caminos in Spain and Portugal through the use of gold leaf, oils, and wire sculpture. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Brian Gennardo
Feb. 2-23 at Modern Arts Midtown, 3615 Dodge St. This abstract expressionist uses bold lines and vivid colors in his modern art. Admission: free. 402-502-8737.
modernartsmidtown.com

Ed Ruscha at Joslyn.

Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha
Feb. 3 through May 6 at the Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. The first major exhibition featuring Ruscha in his home state of Nebraska, Word/Play brings together prints, photographs, and artist books, complemented by a selection of major paintings. At turns poignant, provocative, and confounding, Ruscha’s use of the written word is a signature element of his work. Several of his images contain palindromes inscribed over mirror-image landscapes, such as Lion in Oil. Admission: $10 general, $5 students with valid ID, free to members and youth (17 and under). 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Women in Omaha: A Biographical Sketch of Persistence through History
Feb. 3-July 29 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The Durham Museum partners with the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s History Department and Service Learning Academy to produce an immersive, interdisciplinary experience focused on the experience of Nebraska women. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (age 62+), $7 children ( 3-12), and free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Fighting for the Right to Fight at The Durham

Fighting for the Right to Fight: African-American Experiences in World War II
Feb. 17-July 15 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. What do Alex Haley, Sammy Davis Jr., Benjamin Davis Jr., and Medgar Evers have in common? They were four of the thousands of African-Americans who served in World War II. This exhibit highlights some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African-Americans during World War II, including an eight-minute video about the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors ( 62+), $7 children (3-12), and free to members and children age 2 and under. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Performing Arts

Spectrum Dance Theater at the Orpheum

Spectrum Dance Theater: A Rap on Race
Jan. 9 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Based on the 1970 conversation between James Baldwin and Margaret Mead, this production enlivens the conversation on race using dance and theater. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$40. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Tammy Pescatelli
Jan. 11-14 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St., Suite 201. Currently on the “Dirty, Sexy, Funny Tour” with Jenny McCarthy, Pescatelli is a two-time finalist on Last Comic Standing and winner of Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Showdown. Times vary. Tickets: $16-$18. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Tim Allen
Jan. 12 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Expect lively and outlandish stand-up comedy from funny man, TV personality, and movie icon Tim Allen. 8 p.m. Tickets: $59-$119. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue”
Jan. 12-13 at Orpheum Theater, 409. S. 16th St. This production shows that “no job is too big, no pup is too small” while sharing lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills, and problem-solving. Times vary. Tickets: $23.25-$124.25. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

The King and I at Orpheum Theater

The King and I
Jan. 16-21 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. An English governess travels to Siam to teach the king’s English (among other subjects) to the king of Siam’s children. This show features such classic tunes as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Something Wonderful.” Times vary. Tickets: $35-$99. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Feedback Reading and Workshop
Jan. 18 and 20 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Poets Nate Marshall, Ben Wenzl, and Gina Keplinger discuss their creative process (Jan. 18, 7-9 p.m.), followed by a writing workshop (Jan. 20, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) presented by KANEKO and the Nebraska Writers Collective. RSVP to attend either event. Tickets: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Ripcord
Jan. 19-Feb. 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Pranks and practical jokes abound when cantankerous Abby and chipper Marilyn are forced to share the nicest room at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. Times vary. Tickets: $24+ adults, $16+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

Appalachian Spring & West Side Story
Jan. 26-27 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Originally titled Ballet for Martha, this Omaha Symphony performance combines Copland, Ellington, and Bernstein on one stage for a majestic performance. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$72. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Meaning of Maggie
Jan. 26-Feb. 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Full of relatable characters, this production is a story about how growing up is an adventure that lets us strengthen the best parts of ourselves and reaffirms the importance of family. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Across Rhodes
Jan. 26-Feb. 18 at Shelterbelt Theatre, 3225 California St. Rhodes Bar is the only place with live music for miles. Young musician Joss is haunted by both past experiences at Rhodes and a girl named Sarah. Tickets: $20 general, $15 students, seniors (65+), and TAG members. 402-341-2757.
shelterbelt.org

Cinderella at Orpheum Theater

Moscow Festival Ballet Presents Cinderella
Jan. 27 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. The Moscow Festival Ballet returns to Omaha to perform another fairytale classic. Tickets: $20-$45. 8 p.m. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

Venus in Fur
Feb. 1-25 at BlueBarn Theatre, 1106 S. 10th St. Inspired by the 1870 erotic novel, this production follows a playwright and a young actress as they blur lines between fantasy and reality, entering an increasingly serious game of submission and domination only one of them can win. Times vary. Tickets: $30 adults, $25 seniors and students. 402-345-1576.
bluebarn.org

Andrea Gibson
Feb. 2 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. One of the world’s most celebrated LGBTQ poets, Gibson emerged at the forefront of the national spoken-word poetry scene in 2008 (winning the first-ever Woman of the World Poetry Slam). Gibson combines poetry and music in performances. 9 p.m. Tickets: $21. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

John Caparulo
Feb. 9-10 at Funny Bone Comedy Club, 17305 Davenport St. Perhaps best known as “the under-dressed everyman” on Chelsea Lately, Caparulo has since been featured on many comedy specials, and released a few of his own, along with becoming a Sirius XM fan favorite with his show The Mad Cap Hour. Times vary. Tickets: $22. 402-493-8036.
funnyboneomaha.com

Parade
Feb. 9-March 11 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This Tony Award-winning musical is based on the trial of a Jewish man wrongfully accused of murder in Marietta, Georgia, in 1913. Times vary. Tickets: $42+ adults, $25+ students. 402-553-0800.
ticketomaha.com

My Funny Valentine
Feb. 10 at IWCC, 2700 College Road, Council Bluffs. Date night just got funnier! Join comedians Pat Hazell, one of the original writers for NBC’s Seinfeld and a veteran of The Tonight Show, and Dena Blizzard, featured comic at The Laugh Factory and Gotham Comedy Club and creator of the viral video “Chardonnay, Go!” as they join forces for an evening of hilarious and heartwarming stand-up comedy. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35. 712-388-7140.
artscenter.iwcc.edu

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
Feb. 10-March 4 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Performed by The Rose Theater and told through non-verbal, creative movement and the words of Eugene Field’s poem, these children sail through the stars while on a fishing trip. Times vary. Tickets: $12. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

An American in Paris at Orpheum Theater

An American in Paris
Feb. 13-18 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This Tony Award-winning musical follows an American soldier and a French girl yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Times vary. Tickets: $35-$95. 402-661-8555.
ticketomaha.com

YAMATO Drummers of Japan
Feb. 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Celebrate the ancient art of Japanese taiko drumming in this spectacular display of physical strength as performers leap from drum to drum to create exhilarating music. 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$32. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Emotional Creature
Feb. 14 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. This production is a collection of original monologues and irresistible songs performed by a group of young women about, and for, young girls. It is a call to action, to empowering and illuminating issues women and girls face. Contains adult content. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-553-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

She Kills Monsters
Feb. 14-18 at Lied Education Center for the Arts Studio Theatre, 2500 California Plaza. This play is a comedic journey exploring the role of fantasy role-playing games. Laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and ’90s pop culture, the young playwright Qui Nguyen delivers an action-packed story that speaks to everyone’s inner geek. Times vary. Tickets: $5-$15. 402-280-2509.
creighton.edu

Murder in a Jerkwater Town
Feb. 15-24 at The Apollon, 1801 Vinton St. The year is 1873, eight years after the end of the Civil War. The tensions between the citizens have not settled, and the Ozarks are rife with poverty and banditry. Water stops—or jerkwater towns—along the rail are frequent targets. Your train has broken down in one such town. When a fellow passenger turns up dead, everybody becomes a suspect and no one is leaving until the murder is solved. 7 p.m. Tickets: $25 (dinner included). 402-884-0135.
apollonomaha.com

White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Feb. 19 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a show performed by a single actor who has never read the script before and has no idea what it’s about. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: free. 402-533-0800.
omahaplayhouse.com

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions

Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions
Feb. 20 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale has lived in war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit to keep true to her philosophy of “living the story.” Witness the world’s surreal beauty through Vitale’s lens. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $11-$26. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Revolutionists
Feb. 21-March 3 at UNO Theatre, 6001 Dodge St. Weber Fine Arts. Go inside the mind of a feminist during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. This “testament to solidarity” is a girl-powered comedy that explores what could happen if four powerful women got together to oust a tyrant. Times vary. Tickets: $6-$16. 402-554-2406.
unomaha.edu

Seedfoliks at Orpheum Theater

Seedfolks
Feb. 23-March 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This production features a community brought together by the work of one girl as she tries to turn the lot next to her house into a garden. Times vary. Tickets: $20. 402-345-4849.
rosetheater.org

Back to the Future
Feb. 24 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Experience the adventure again, or for the first time, as Alan Silvestri’s score is played live as the film is screened in its entirety. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$79. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

La Bohème
Feb. 24, 28 at Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St. The most performed opera in Met history is the story of young Bohemians in 19th-century Paris who are willing to starve—and die—for each other. Times vary. Tickets: $24 general admission, $20 Opera Omaha, Film Streams, or Met Opera members; and $10 students. 402-933-0259.
filmstreams.org

CONCERTS

Black Label Society
Jan. 2 at Sokol Underground, 2234 S. 13th St. In concert with Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod, this Los Angeles-based heavy-metal band formed back in 1998 and is on tour leading up to the release of their newest album, Grimmest Hits. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $34 in advance. 402-346-9802.
facebook.com/sokolauditoriumandunderground

The Prince Experience
Jan. 6 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This performance is a tribute to Prince and will include all of his hits, including the Purple Rain era. 9 p.m. Tickets: $17 in advance, $20 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Schumann’s 3rd Symphony
Jan. 7 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish,” recalls a visit to the Rhineland. Listen to the sorrowful yet beautiful paean to lost love. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-342-3300.
ticketomaha.com

Tennis at the Waiting Room

Tennis
Jan. 10 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Tennis continues their extensive North American Tour in celebration of their fourth full-length album, Yours Conditionally. 8 p.m. Tickets: $16 in advance, $20 day of show. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Jan. 11 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Big Head Todd has brought their blues-rock sound, with the same core lineup, to the world for 30 years. They are coming to Omaha to promote their 11th studio album. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

St. Vincent
Jan. 13 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Musician and songwriter Annie Clark—aka St. Vincent—is one of the most distinctive artistic voices and original guitarists of her generation. Her recent self-titled album, St. Vincent, won her “album of the year” designations from NME, The Guardian, and Entertainment Weekly. 8 p.m. Tickets: $32-$169. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Broken Skulls
Jan. 13 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. This Lincoln-based hard rock/metal group has blended many different genres with influences ranging from blues, death metal, hard rock, and punk. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

Bernstein Grooves
Jan. 14 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Join conductor Thomas Wilkins to discover what makes music groove, featuring music by Leonard Bernstein and other composers. 2 p.m. Tickets: $15. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

The Green
Jan. 14 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This group of musicians from O‘ahu, Hawaii, have become self-titled ambassadors of Aloha, as they spread happiness through their reggae-infused rock. 8 p.m. Tickets: $17 advance, $20 day of show. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

John Maus
Jan. 17 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Maus’ music is a highly mutable affair, often described as retro-futurist on behalf of the ’80s drum machines and synth sounds employed, John’s music is more personal than the nostalgic retread implied. 9 p.m. Tickets: $13 advance, $15 day of show. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

The Texas Tenors
Jan. 20-21 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Audiences are treated to a unique blend of country, classical, Broadway, and pop. With breathtaking vocals and a touch of cowboy charm, the boys create an unforgettable live show. Times vary. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Banditos
Jan. 21 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Banditos’ music appropriates elements of ’60s blues-fused acid rock, boogie, garage punk, and folksy tunes. 9 p.m. Tickets: $10 advanced, $12 day of show. 402-884-5707.
reverblounge.com

UNO Faculty Showcase
Jan. 26 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. Part of the UNO International Concert Series, this performance is composed of renowned teachers and performers committed to the academic and artistic development of students throughout the United States and globally. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 regular admission, $8 student, military, and seniors. 402-554-3411.
ticketomaha.com

Billy Childs Quartet
Jan. 26 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Emerging as one of the foremost composers of his era, the four-time Grammy winner and his quartet seamlessly blend elements of jazz and classical music. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Curly Martin and Friends at Holland Performing Arts

Curly Martin and Friends
Feb. 2 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. This world-class drummer and Omaha native brings together musician friends and family to celebrate their Nebraska roots and lifelong love of jazz. 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Destroyer with Mega Bog
Feb. 3 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The Canadian rock band Destroyer, fronted by singer-songwriter Dan Bejar, formed in 1995. Destroyer songs are characterized by abstract, poetic lyrics and idiosyncratic vocals. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

The Music of ABBA
Feb. 10 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Direct from Sweden, the world’s foremost ABBA tribute band, Arrival, looks, sounds, and dresses like the supergroup. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $19-$89. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October
Feb. 5 at Scottish Rite Hall, 202 S. 20th St. The frontman of the chart-topping band Blue October brings his emotionally charged and magnetic music to Omaha. 8 p.m. Tickets: $32-$45. 402-884-5353.
onepercentproductions.com

ZZ Ward with Black Pistol Fire
Feb. 5 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Equally evocative of blues grit and hip-hop bounce, this Los Angeles-based vocal powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist’s new sound takes a deeper look at some of the artist’s earliest inspirations—including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Vera Ward Hall. 9 p.m. Tickets: $25-$99. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Bob Marley Birthday Bash
Feb. 10 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Rhythm Collective, The Bishops, and DJ Stryker will satiate your thirst for some island reggae and calypso music—the perfect way to celebrate Bob’s B-day. 9 p.m. Tickets: $6-$8. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Nebraska Wind Symphony Winter Concert
Feb. 11 at Omaha Conservatory of Music, 7023 Case St. The Winter Into Spring concert will feature the Nebraska Wind Symphony Middle School All-Star Flutes. 3 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students and seniors, ages 12 or younger free. 402-932-4978.
nebraskawindsymphony.com

She-e Wu at the Holland Center

She-e Wu
Feb. 15 at Strauss Performing Arts Center, 6305 University Drive N. Part of the UNO International Concert Series, this performance features the head of Northwestern University’s percussion program playing on a majestic concert marimba. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 adults, $8 students, military, and seniors. 402-554-3411.
ticketomaha.com

Jeremy McComb with Kimberly Dunn and Sack of Lions
Feb. 16 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. McComb is an American country music artist and former tour manager for comedian Larry the Cable Guy. Tickets: $12-$15. 9 p.m. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

“I Met You When I Was 18 World Tour” featuring Lauv with Jeremy Zucker
Feb. 18 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. In his early teens, Ari Staprans Leff (aka Lauv) picked up a guitar and started writing songs of heartbreak before ever having had a romantic relationship. Now 23, the acclaimed L.A.-based singer/songwriter/producer will musically pull your heartstrings. 8 p.m. Tickets: $13-$15. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Haydn’s The Hunt Symphony
Feb. 18 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Adventurous rhythms and harmonies cascade through this piece. Insane energy in the finale captures the intensity of the hunt. Tartini’s concerto suggests the splendors of 18th-century Venice. 2 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-342-3300.
ticketomaha.com

Pop Evil with Black Map and Palaye Royale
Feb. 20 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The post-grunge/alt-metal band from Michigan, Pop Evil, has a new album out in February. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$25. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Here Come the Mummies
Feb. 22 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This eight-piece funk-rock band has a one-track mind. Their Terrifying Funk from Beyond the Grave is sure to get you into them (and possibly vice versa). 8 p.m. Tickets: $13-$15. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Chris Potter at Holland Center

Chris Potter
Feb. 23 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. A world-class soloist, composer, and bandleader, this saxophonist has emerged as a leader in his generation in music. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 402-345-0202.
ticketomaha.com

Donavon Frankenreiter
Feb. 26 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This surfer/rocker brings his cool singer-songwriter honesty to the stage. Tickets: $17-$20. 8 p.m. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Family & More

Holiday Lights Festival NRG Ice Rink
Through Feb. 14 at 10th St. and Capitol Ave. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, which supports the Food Bank for the Heartland. Bring the whole family and create memories while supporting the community. Admission: $8 (includes skate rental). 402-650-4813.
holidaylightsfestival.com

The Rooftop Rink
Through Feb. 25 at Midtown Crossing, between 31st-33rd streets and Farnam to Dodge streets. The elevated location is innovative—so is the rink—an all-weather “synthetic ice” surface. Hours of operation to be announced. Admission is a minimum donation of $5 benefiting The Salvation Army. 402-934-9275.
midtowncrossing.com

Joslyn Castle Public Tours
Recurring at the Joslyn Castle, 3902 Davenport St. Tour historic Joslyn Castle each Monday and the first and third Sundays of every month. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors (60+), students and military. 402-595-2199.
joslyncastle.com

Millard Branch Escape Room
Jan. 3-5 at Millard Branch Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Once guests are locked in the room, they will go through a series of puzzles in order to get out. There will be an escape room for kids grades 2-4 and 4-6 every hour. Guests should register on the library website. 402-996-8037.
omahalibrary.org

Music & Movement Storytime
Jan. 3 at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 Dodge St. This event allows active toddlers (up to age 5) to explore literacy through song, dance, and play with their caregivers. 402-444-4852.
omahalibrary.org

Benson First Friday
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 in Benson (Maple and 59th to 63rd streets). Art galleries, bars, music venues, and cultural institutions of Benson collaborate on the first Friday of every month with a showcase of local arts and culture.
bensonfirstfriday.com

First Friday Old Market
Jan. 5 and Feb. 2 at the Old Market. Walk the distinctive brick streets of the Old Market to live music, ride Ollie the Trolley for free between venues, and ignite your imagination with art at this free event. Recurring the first Friday of each month.
firstfridayoldmarket.com

The Great Train Show
Jan 6-7 at Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of miniature railroading at the train show, featuring hundreds of tables of trains, accessories, scale models, collectible toys for sale, activities for kids, and seminars. 10 a.m. Tickets: $10-$11, kids are free. 712-323-0536.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

Teen Poetry Workshop
Jan. 13 and Feb. 10 at Omaha Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Join Nebraska Writers Collective’s Louder Than a Bomb coaches and visiting artists to learn from the experts. Recommended ages 8-12 years old. 1:30 p.m. 402-444-4848.
omahalibrary.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Jan. 13 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Come hike in the woods and share nature stories while sipping on hot chocolate. Children are encouraged to bring a favorite stuffed animal to help make up a nature story. Admission: free. 10-11:30 a.m. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

Midlands International Auto Show

Midlands International Auto Show
Jan. 18-21 at CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St. See, touch, and experience the automotive industry’s latest and greatest. Tickets: $9 adults:. $7 seniors (65+), children (7-12), and military with ID; free to children under 7. 402-341-1500.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

River City Hunting, Fishing, Boat, & RV Expo
Jan. 19-21 at Mid-America Center, One Arena Way, Council Bluffs. View more than 100 exhibitors; attend seminars on topics such as ultimate fishing in Canada, mushroom hunting, fly fishing, and dog training; and try out the indoor BB gun and archery ranges, interactive games, and turkey call-in teepee. Times vary. Tickets: $9 adults, $3 kids ages 4-15, and free to ages 3 and under. 712-326-2295.
caesars.com/mid-america-center

The Price is Right Live
Feb. 7 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Come on down! This interactive stage show gives eligible individuals the chance to play classic games from television’s longest-running game show. Favorites such as Plinko, Cliffhangers, The Big Wheel, and the Showcase will be at this event. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $49.50-$150. 800-440-3741.
ralstonarena.com

Lawn, Flower, & Patio Show/Omaha Home & Garden Expo
Feb 8-11 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Gardeners who are ready for the spring planting season will enjoy this event. Over 600 exhibits for the home inside and out. Kids activities include exotic animals to view and games to play. Tickets: $9 adults, $4.50 ages 12-5, free to children 4 and under.
centurylinkcenteromaha.com

FIsh Fries, Fry-days starting Feb. 9

Lenten Fish Fries
Fridays, Feb. 9 through March 30. Feb. 14 this year not only signifies Valentine’s Day, it is also the start of Lent—the season of repentance for many Christians in which they are not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. Numerous Catholic churches in the area will hold fry-days on Fridays in February and March. The three voted for “Best Fish Fry” in “Best of Omaha” 2018 were: Holy Name, Mary Our Queen, and St. Patrick’s of Elkhorn. Visit archomaha.org for more info on Catholic fish fries. Other popular fish fries can be found at All Holy Spirit and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox churches, Disabled American Veterans, American Legions, many Protestant churches, and community organizations.

Love at the Zoo.

Love at the Zoo
Feb. 9-10 at Henry Doorly Zoo, 3701 S. 10th St. Listen to a lighthearted presentation about dating and mating in the animal kingdom. The event includes a champagne welcome, dinner, and special animal encounters. Ages 21+ only. 6:30-9 p.m. Tickets: $75. 402-733-8401.
omahazoo.com

KanPai! Con
Feb 9-11 at Hotel RL, 3321 S. 72nd St. Kanpai! Con is an annual cultural appreciation convention that focuses on anime, manga, and Japanese video gaming. Come dressed as a favorite character and enjoy the family-friendly convention setting. Times vary. Admission: $30 weekend pass or $20 one-day pass.
kanpaicon.com

Fasching
Feb. 10 at German-American Society, 3717 S. 120th St. Start celebrating Mardi Gras the Saturday before with Germany’s version of this feast day. Eat jagerschnitzel or herbed fish while listening to music. And don’t forget the bier! 5 p.m. Reservations required by Feb. 6: $19 for members, $22 per guest, $25 for non-members, $9 for children 12 and under. 402-333-6615.
germanamericansociety.org

Second Saturday Program at Heron Haven
Feb. 10 at Heron Haven Nature Center, 11809 Old Maple Road. Watch an educational slide show about the animals at Heron Haven filled with photos from photographer Nanette Williams. This free event is the perfect way to teach children how animals survive in the winter. 402-493-4303.
heronhaven.org

12th Annual Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards
Feb. 18 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This is Omaha’s own version of the red carpet. Hundreds of musicians, visual artists, and performing artists have been nominated. Find out who won at the event. 6-10 p.m. Tickets: $30.
oea-awards.org

Kids Rule Fashion Show
Feb. 24 and 25 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. This kids fashion show is open to both girls and boys ages 5 to 12. There will be a modeling workshop and a time for garment selection. Register online before the event. 2 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: TBA. 402-819-8792.
kidsruleomaha.com

Omaha Fashion Week
Feb. 27-March 4 at Omaha Design Center, 1502 Cuming St. One of the nation’s largest fashion weeks, Omaha Fashion Week holds fall and spring events. Special guest Fern Mallis, founder of New York Fashion Week, will judge during the VIP Runway Finale. Tickets: prices vary.
omahafashionweek.com

Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

This article appears in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Pitch Poet

June 8, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

She sets up on a bustling Old Market corner. The footpaths jostle with tourists and locals doing their weekend shopping, dining,
and sightseeing.

Jocelyn Muhammad pulls the acoustic guitar slung over her back then slowly strums a chord that rings throughout the heart of the old-timey business district.

She massages sweet melodies from her guitar, but it’s not until the baby-faced, curly-haired 19-year-old songstress adds her silvery vocals that passersby stop to admire her. No one could escape her charm.

“I want to feel the breeze through my hair, through my hair,” she sings. “I want to go somewhere. I want to be someone. I want to fall in love just like everybody else.”

Muhammad’s voice flows freely at her top notes, pleasantly vibrating eardrums. She’s a showstopper—and a guitar-wielding poet of sorts.

A young musician relatively new to Omaha’s music scene, Muhammad’s voice has a textured, lived-in quality. Perhaps that’s her appeal. Caught off guard, spectators pause to hear her old-soul poetic lyrics and heart-on-her-sleeve folkie romantic songs, which are totally unexpected from such a young, jovial person.

Muhammad is a promising singer-songwriter who has already attracted an incredibly large social media following and the attention of the music industry.

A live, buzzworthy video snippet of her song “Just Like Everybody Else” recently went viral to the tune of almost 5 million plays on YouTube, even before the studio version was released in November. The 23-second clip, filmed on a few cellphone cameras, features Muhammad belting out the chorus of her song.

Taken aback, she was surprised her song reached people from as far away as Russia. It was a humbling experience, says the recent Millard South graduate. In fact, one fan wrote a song in
honor of her.

Songwriting is such an intimate practice and the truest form of flattery, she says. “It’s the idea of singing a song that you wrote about someone. The way they make you feel. And you get to put it to a melody and add words.”

Social-media savvy Muhammad stays connected with her fans through her music blog (jocelynmusic.com), YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter. She documents her musical journey, taking fans along the quirky moments in studio sessions to interviews with the media.

Aside from hearing her from-the-heart work on Old Market street corners, fans catch her at open mic nights around town. She sings a mix of original melodies and covers about love and loss, loneliness and desperation, and pleas to find her soul mate. Under her musical belt, per se, she’s performed at open mic sessions at the legendary Whisky a Go Go in L.A. and the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. She plans to return to L.A. this summer to finish piecing together her first record.

Muhammad got her music start at age 14. Though she participated in school choir, her happenstance of guitar picking came later when she rescued a black Indiana acoustic guitar dubbed “Black Bastard” from the flames of a friend’s bonfire.

She took it home and cleaned it up. She studied her favorite British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s likes and dislikes. His musical preferences and tendencies influenced her own.

A friend taught her the fundamentals of guitar strumming—how to play a G on Cadd9 chord. Two weeks later, she wrote her first song, “Burn It Down.”

She couldn’t bottle up her newfound love for songwriting and guitar playing. So, she packed up her guitar and headed for the Old Market.

A few months later, she says she was introduced to Aly Peeler, who, at the time, was in charge of an open mic night for the then-Side Door lounge. Soon after, she met her current manager, Jeff McClain of Midlands Music Group, who offered her a placement in the group’s free mentoring program for budding musicians.

Muhammad is grateful that she has Peeler and McClain as soundboards to help her polish her melodies and lyrics. Still honing her skills, she says she owes Peeler and McClain for helping develop her talent through many lessons and repetitive exercises, which prepared her to perform live.

“I’m not going to let a melody be just a melody,” she says. “It has to be the right one. I’m practicing constantly…working to get better.”

When she’s performing on stage, Muhammad says, “It’s just me. It’s just me there, singing to you. There’s nothing else … no one else. Just me and you. And, I’m singing.”

Muhammad has been nominated three times for Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards’ best singer-songwriter, but has yet to take home the hardware.

“I’m, like, the youngest artist there…so that’s really cool,” she says. “I’m still working on winning though. I’ll get there someday, but it’s cool just to be nominated.” 

jocelynmusic.com

This article was printed in the May/June 2017 edition of Encounter.

Sexy & Slow

March 31, 2017 by
Photography by Keith Binder

Is it terrible the pain in Peedi Rothsteen’s voice is musically satisfying?

His honest mix of pleasure and vulnerability blended over incredibly sexy slow jams makes your knees buckle.

Rothsteen knew he was tapping a vein when he emerged on Omaha’s music scene nearly two years ago with a brand new sound unlike any of his other rhythm and blues projects.

Many may know him as lead singer to Voodoo Method or “P. Minor,” a local R&B artist and former radio personality, but he’s since evolved from typical masculine crooning. His delicate vocals now have depth. Musical grit, if you will. And, ultimately, rock influenced his creative trajectory.

Watching the evolution of Rothsteen has been quite entrancing. A lyrical twist intrinsically influenced only by time and experiences.

Music is second nature to the Chicago-born singer, who played trumpet and French horn as a child. He sang for his high school and church choirs. In fact, he got his start as a scrawny 7-year-old who took his church talent show stage in an oversized suit, patent leather shoes,  and a skinny black tie belting out Bobby Brown’s “Roni.”

Music was a persistent influence in his early years, but he stepped into his own in 2006 while working at Omaha’s hip-hop radio station Hot 107.7 FM.

P. Minor became a local R&B crooner who opened for some of the early 2000s’ hottest hip-hop musicians, including Donell Jones, Ciara, Akon, Ludacris, Ying Yang Twins, and Yung Joc. At the time, his single “Can I” was one of the most requested songs at the radio station. He garnered radio play outside Nebraska. His song “Keys to the Club” played in Arkansas, Missouri, and Minnesota.

Omaha’s R&B scene still is relatively small. Only a handful of soulful singers have landed regular gigs or made successful albums. He was tired of being stuck in a genre filled with repetitive melodies and predictable style. So he tried his hand at a new genre: rock.

“I liked the energy of rock music,” he says.

Minor was introduced to a couple of guys who were putting together a band. After a few jam sessions in 2007, the group formed Voodoo Method. With that band he toured and learned more about music than he’d ever imagine.

Voodoo Method featured an unexpectedly good combination of punch riffs, accurate lyrics being soulfully delivered by Minor, who almost always sported a tuxedo shirt and bow tie.

In the eight years performing with the band, his songwriting, voice, and look changed. He stepped into his own distinctive, expressive style. It was multi-dimensional.

“In rock, you have to be ready to take it up another level,” he says. “You have to be able to get out of your level. You have to be a magnetic frontman and push your vocals. And, without being in a band, I wouldn’t … my sound wouldn’t have developed that way.”

Voodoo Method is still around.  “We’re taking our time writing and just exploring music,” Minor explains.

But he got the bug for R&B music again.

“I wasn’t trying to get out or push anything, just exorcise my own demons,” he says.

He knocked the rust off and started producing again.

“What if I take what I’ve learned with the band and some of those experiences and move them over with R&B,” he ponders. “I might have success.”

All the while, he was producing a podcast and doing audio production.

“I wanted to create something new.”

He quietly started making R&B music again, he says. “A few songs here and there and then it started to feel good.”

So, here he is: a promising, ambitious, and talented songwriter and musician with one foot in rock, and the other in soul. This musical metamorphosis brought him to create his stage
persona, “Peedi Rothsteen.”

“Peedi” is a family nickname that stuck and Rothsteen is homage to Sam “Ace” Rothstein of Martin Scorsese’s brilliant and brutal 1995 film Casino.

Ace’s claim to fame is being an excellent gambler, he says. The way he approached the game. He knew all the ins and outs to gambling and could pick a winner.

“That the way I feel about music,” he says. “I know a song, what it needs. I know how to pick a winner. That to me, it’s symbolic.”

Hence, the brilliantly collaborative Peedi Rothsteen.

“There aren’t many things I can do great,” he adds. “Music is one. I work really hard, too. What comes out in the end is something people can enjoy.”

In 2015, Rothsteen released his debut EP Moments Before,  a five-song compilation of incredibly soulful lyrics. The music scene took notice. That same year, Rothsteen took home the Best New Artist award at the 2015 Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards.

Exactly a year to the date, Rothsteen released Moments During, a five-track EP follow-up. The songs are full of foot-stomping grooves and fiery grooves vocals. Two songs to wrap your nodding noggin’ around are “Righteous Giant” and “Clap.” Rothsteen hopes to continue his music collection by releasing Moments After this summer–same June 11 date, of course.

His audience is just as diverse. Young. Old. Black. White. Metal. Soft rock.

“I don’t want to be just one thing,” Rothsteen says.

“In rock, you can go anywhere you want,” he says. “Good music will never be bad. It doesn’t matter how you box it up, how you deliver it.”

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Encounter.

CJ Mills

December 23, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

On a fresh autumn night, chatter filled a Lincoln home-turned-music-venue. A few guests trickled through the front door. “No big deal,” CJ Mills thought. It was just a handful of people. Moments later, more appeared. The trickle turned to a flood. All of a sudden, there were 80 people jam-packed against the makeshift stage.

An astonished Mills stood two feet from the standing-room-only crowd. “I couldn’t breathe,” recalls the 31-year-old singer from Omaha. “I went out the side door to take a few deep breaths.”

The moment was surreal.

This was all new to her. The jam-packed house party. The live acoustic sessions. The impromptu performances and scheduled studio time.

Life as a new musician moves fast—a constant hustle.

Three years earlier, Mills (a self-proclaimed introvert) could have never fathomed performing in front of other people. Yet, her soulful, bluesy-folk voice has garnered quite the reputation as a crowd-pleaser. Singing her most cherished words—short poems in lyrical form—only heightened the level of intimacy.

cjmills1Mills has a profound gift for turning raw expressions of human frailness into something bordering on sacred. There’s something about her voice that commands complete attention. She can make a song cry.

She began singing in church as a young child. “I had always been singing since I was a kid. My family was very religious…Because I could sing, I was always made to,” says Mills, who began writing poetry during her early years.

“As a kid, I was huge into reading,” she says. “When I did something well, my mom would take me to the library or buy me a book.”

Soon after, Mills felt compelled to write her own short stories, which turned into poetry she later sang. That was, perhaps, her earliest simultaneous personal and artistic growth.

As a teen, singing wasn’t much of a highlight. She attended Marian High School, then ran track at Kansas State University, but was injured her junior year. While weightlifting, she squatted heavy one day and suffered a bulging disc. “Only time heals that wound,” she says.

Six months to be exact. With all the down time, she saw a decorative ukulele and taught herself how to play. She progressed to a guitar rather quickly. “I didn’t like the way it was strung,” she says of the first right-handed guitar she purchased, “so I flipped it upside down and restrung it so I could play it left-handed.”

Ambidexterity is kind of her thing. “I’m pretty even-handed. I write with both hands,” she says. “[But] I could not play that guitar. I don’t know why. Seemed so odd to me. After a month of trying, I Googled how to restring it.”

In terms of playing chords, she learned by listening to others. She was influenced by the stylings of Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, and Tracy Chapman. “Simple chords, yet, powerful lyrics,” she says. Their music spoke volumes to how Mills hoped to be perceived as an artist someday. Writing songs was a natural next step.

Mills graduated from college, then went on to the workforce. She became a health inspector, not the restaurant kind. More like the Breaking Bad kind. Off stage, she has been sent to investigate meth labs.

Mills has been playing live music for about three years, and with a band for one year. The band—featuring Mitch Towne, David Hawkins, and Max Stehr—has been a great collaboration of like minds, she says.

Mills began to develop her own individual style after college. Blending a mixture of reggae, folk storytelling, jazz melodies, and atmospheric harmonies. She performed her first show at Pizza Shoppe Collective in December 2013. There, she met All Young Girls Are Machine Guns frontwoman Rebecca Lowry, who took to Mills. She asked her to take the stage with her at a local venue.

Now for the whirlwind. Mills released her illuminating debut EP Quiet in 2015, which appeared on multiple lists of the year’s best Nebraska releases. She played the inaugural Femme Fest (organized by Lowry) that same year and returned as the festival’s headliner on Sept. 2.

Since then, Mills has stayed busy playing shows in Omaha and Lincoln. The music newcomer was featured at this year’s Maha Music Festival. Most notably, Mills was nominated for two Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards: Best Singer-Songwriter and Artist of the Year.

Although she’s insanely talented, she’s modest and humble. “The only time I feel comfortable with music is when I’m by myself creating music or on stage playing it,” she says.

Back to that special autumn night. Mills turned that ordinary Lincoln house party into a musical theater.

She composed herself before stepping back on stage, frenetically rapping as she moved through her song “Retail Star” before launching into “I Can’t Be.”

Visit soundcloud.com/cjmillsmusic for more information.

cjmillscover

Homer’s Manager Mike Fratt

August 2, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

I walked into the oldest business in the Old Market looking for Mike Fratt. My search for the general manager of Homer’s Music was blocked by towering racks of vinyl records and CDs.

Then I heard his voice. The voice that hosted a three-hour radio show called “Sunday Morning” for 10 years on 89.7 The River—until he got tired of getting up at 5 a.m. every Sunday. The radio show on the campus of Iowa Western was 16th in the ratings when he began. Several years later, ratings had zoomed to third place.

A bassist, Fratt has played in local bands for 30-plus years, touring to concerts in cities such as San Francisco and New York. (He harbors a special love for western swing and bluegrass.) He also has written about music for various publications.

Fratt has worked in the retail side of the music biz since his high school days in 1975, when he worked at Musicland at Crossroads Mall and the Record Shop at Westroads Mall.

The Omaha native has worked at Homer’s for 38 years. One of the few independent music stores still standing in the nation, Homers once had as many as 11 locations in Omaha and Lincoln. Now all that remains is the glass-front store in the Old Market boasting album covers and local shows.

“The ‘Walmarting’ of music, followed by the digital revolution, pushed independent music stores out of business,” says Fratt.

The recent resurgence of the popularity of vinyl records and their warmer sound have brought buyers back into the store. Record Store Day, a worldwide event held the third Saturday in April that was co-founded by the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS), also has created enthusiasm.

As a CIMS board member, Fratt helped organize Record Store Day. He is currently CIMS chairman.

It’s an exciting day for vinyl record fans. A line forms down Howard Street and around the corner, with people hoping to get a limited edition item. Some fans arrive at 3 a.m. The store doesn’t open until 10 a.m. This year, an estimated 500 people stood in line.

The scene is duplicated around the world. “In some cities, people start lining up the night before,”
Fratt says.

In 1985, a fire in an adjacent building destroyed the space Homer’s occupied at 1210 Howard Street. Homer’s moved to 1114 Howard after the fire, where the store did business for 25 years.

Homer’s returned to 1210 Howard in 2010, one of five locations the Old Market store has occupied in its 45-year history.

From a small shop in the middle of the country, Mike Fratt has made a nationwide impact. The Wall Street Journal featured him on its cover in November 2014 when he led a battle against moving Record Release Day from Tuesday to Friday.

“People already shop weekends,” says Fratt, who at the time served on the Music Business Association board of directors.

He lost that battle, but won another after organizing retailers to file an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the right to sell used goods.

“Justice Breyer noted part of our brief in his decision,” he says. “That was a career highlight for me.”

Fratt also served on the board of directors of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards. He organized the first multi-venue showcase in the Benson area, where he and his wife, Sarah, live.

About three to five percent of Homer’s sales happens online. Tourism is a healthy contributor to the bottom line, he adds.

“From April through October, one-third of our business is from tourists. They don’t have a store like this in their city, whether New York, Kansas City, or Chicago.”  Encounter

Visit homersmusic.com for more information.

MikeFratt1

Matthias Jeske

June 22, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Matthias Jeske sits at a red leather booth in The Diner in downtown Omaha looking like he belongs there. It’s his leather jacket, plastic-framed glasses, and plaid shirt that probably came off the rack of a Woolworth’s 50 years ago. On him, the shirt still looks so fresh, so cool.

“I’m a Cold War boy with a Buddy Holly style,” Jeske quips.

The 25-year old refers to things as “groovy” and “swell.” He owns numerous vintage furnishings, from a custom-made 1962 sectional sofa by designer Milo Baughman to a stereo console. You might even call him Mister 1960.

Listeners at MavRadio did. The recent UNO graduate spent the last four years spinning music of the early 1960s on his show, “The Waxx Museum by Mister 1960.”

It was this music that started his love of all things vintage.

MatthiasJeske2Jeske says, “My mom (Liz Jeske) would play Patsy Cline in the kitchen while she was making dinner. Then I fell in love with the cars in high school.”

His beloved ride is a 1960 Chevy Impala he named Black Betty. He evoked Danny Zucko in high school, sporting a pompadour while wearing dark jeans and a leather bomber jacket.

As he graduated from high school in 2009, he graduated from the post-war ideals of the 1950s into polished chrome and futuristic patterns. He began to favor tailored suits and skinny ties.

“I traded my pompadour for a side part. I fell more in love with the atomic era,” Jeske says. “The atomic era applies more to my every day life.”

A friendship with the general manager at MavRadio led to the opportunity to create his radio show in fall 2011, spinning the pre-1966 music he loves so well and joking around with his listeners. Professor Jodeen Brownlee entered his radio show into the Broadcasting Education Association Awards. In April 2014 he won Media Personality of the Year and flew to Las Vegas for the ceremony. He came back to Omaha, spun more pre-1966 records, and flew back to Las Vegas to pick up the same award in April 2015.

He picked up a theater minor at UNO and graduated from spinning records behind a booth to performing onstage. Even with the theater it’s been his love of retro that brought him to award-winning roles.

“I’d never done a show at the (Omaha Community) Playhouse before, but being a nerd, I’d always loved Monty Python.” Jeske says.

He landed seven supporting roles in Spamalot and won awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical from the Theater Arts Guild, Omaha Community Playhouse awards, and Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards.

“I felt like I was just running around being a goof, but the voters must have loved it,” Jeske says.

He also held the supporting role of John Burt in Frost vs. Nixon at the Blue Barn Theatre.

“The two theater parts I have played this year have been satisfying,” Jeske waxes. “At first I thought, ‘theater is great fun,’ but I have been pleasantly surprised by how great the theater community has been.”

MatthiasJeske3

Neil Griess

May 13, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Neil Griess felt like an alien. He immersed himself so deeply into his art that coming out of it felt unnatural. This feeling of being otherworldly, detached and yet painting reality, lasted for about three years. Later, driving home from the Union for Contemporary Art after opening night, he broke down in tears.

“It was a big sigh,” Griess says.

His exhibit, “Pleated Field,” came together with the help of his entire family, who “took over the Union” back on November 14, 2015, when his exhibit began in the Wanda D. Ewing Gallery.

NeilGreiss2

Griess, 27, learned he won Best Solo Exhibition at the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards in January. But he doesn’t paint for the awards.

He wasn’t always serious about his art, as his late uncle, award-winning realist painter Kent Bellows, often reminded him. Griess found being in his shadow difficult.

“He was the ultimate cool uncle, but I was intimidated by him growing up,” Griess admits. “I wanted his acceptance and affirmation.”

While Griess was a student at Westside High School, his uncle passed away in his sleep. It was a trigger for Griess, who felt like he had something to prove; perhaps to make up for the grief and loss of Bellows in his life.

As Griess says, natural talent doesn’t mean anything without hard work. Soon, he developed a portfolio of acrylic on wood. Griess’ realism is so evident, his father Jim jokes he should take the painting of him into his doctor’s office because even the vein popping out on his leg is shown with such great detail.

Griess’ art led to a Gold Medal by Scholastic Art, a $10,000 prize, and a visit to Carnegie Hall in New York City when he was only 18.

“He’s just wonderful,” says his mother, Robin, prompting Griess to run out of the room in his worn black socks. Always the shy son, Greiss clearly becomes uncomfortable when his mother discusses him.

His mother is an artist, like his grandfather and uncle. Griess’ brothers are also creative. One is a game developer while the other is a sculptor. Jim laughs, saying he brings the frugality, common sense, and work ethic.

While he was pursing his Bachelor of Arts in the fall of 2011, Griess began developing his solo project. He thought about the potential of spaces and how people could alter them on their own terms rather than the norm. Griess combined different objects he saw, then put them into believable spaces. It was an “exploration of possibility.”

Griess designed miniatures of models, construction scenes. Sometimes, he would take the model out and experiment with different lighting like at dusk.  After taking photographs, Griess used acrylic to paint on wood panels.

Griess now divides his time between being a guard at the Joslyn Art Museum and tutoring children at the Kent Bellows Mentoring Center.

Will he do another exhibit?

Griess thoughtfully looks to the side, weighing his answer, slouching all in black on his mother’s white couch. Art is a challenge, a sacrifice.

“I’m playing, that’s all I will say,” Griess says with a sly smile. Encounter

Visit neilgriess.com for more info.

NeilGreiss1

The Essential 
Brad Hoshaw

March 3, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The legend of Brad Hoshaw and The Seven Deadlies began in 2008 with a one-off show that has since tumbleweeded into two acclaimed full-length albums and five Omaha Entertainment
and Arts Awards.

Hoshaw—who was raised on healthy doses of Johnny Cash and murder ballads—started releasing his virtuous blend of Americana, folk, and pop in 1998 against a chicer Omaha indie sound that would render him somewhat anonymous for most of the naughts. After joining forces with Matt Whipkey, Vern Fergesen, and J. Scott Gaeta, or The Seven Deadlies band, the 35-year-old eventually achieved name recognition as a regional songwriting powerhouse. He’s been committing songs against humanity ever since.

Gluttony: This isn’t your older brother or sister’s Brad Hoshaw. The raucous first chords of “Powdernose”—the leading track from 2009’s Brad Hoshaw and The Seven Deadlies self-titled album—assure the listener of just that, kicking in like a renegade cowboy ready to shoot up the place. Tragically, the lyrical patrons of Hoshaw’s fictitious saloon are too sick with vice to fight back.

Envy: If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Hoshaw’s cover of Kyle Harvey’s “It Falls Apart” sincerely takes the former local singer-songwriter to task. For as much as the woeful coda to 2014’s Funeral Guns espouses the same message as Harvey’s experimental effort, it’s clearly not the same song. Of course, Hoshaw’s more palpable rendition isn’t a conscious critique of the original but rather a byproduct of his master craftsmanship.

Sloth: One of the premiere tracks from Funeral Guns, “8 Ball” is the coming-of-age tale of heartbreak and a once popular fortune-telling toy. Throughout the idling experience, Hoshaw looks to a Magic 8 Ball for a clue as to why his former sweetheart of five years got hitched, thus axing their fated reunion. He’s left without an answer, forgetting to pose his inquiry in the form of a yes-or-no question.

Lust: The narrator of Hoshaw’s “Face of Man” could’ve limped off the pages of a Cormac McCarthy novel. He’s a murder ballad in the making, “Hey Joe” before the crime. But whether the brooding antihero is a lecherous madman or just a run-of-the-mill misogynist remains to be heard in The Seven Deadlies redux that first appeared on Hoshaw’s 2003 album Sketches from the Dream State. Either way, any hope that he’ll one day become a well-adjusted person is eventually shattered by a piercing Matt Whipkey guitar solo in the song’s eleventh hour.

Greed: Originally written for the local roots act The Black Squirrels, Hoshaw’s sonic act of charity, “Delta King,” later became the ninth track on Funeral Guns after the band broke up in 2011. While the cautionary folk tale betrays the album’s tough cowboy exterior, its commentary on excessive pursuit defends Hoshaw’s cynical theme: humankind is depraved.

Wrath: Judging from Hoshaw’s complete body of work, it’s tempting to think there isn’t a mean bone in it. Enter “Gone in a Minute,” the slightly spiteful track that admits, “You were wrong to think I was kind.” Ever the nice guy, Hoshaw instantly returns to his sympathetic ways, threatening to leave in a minute’s time…for two and a half minutes. If it’s any consolation, it’s still his shortest Seven Deadlies song.

Pride: Born from the deepest stirrings of Hoshaw’s ego, “Funeral Guns” came to the crooner in a dream, or so the story goes. The track, from the album with the same title, is a pseudo eulogy to Hoshaw’s deceased father, whose ascending ghost seems haunted by how he’ll be remembered by those he loved most. In the end, the proud son forgives and his song never forgets.

Visit bradhoshaw.wordpress.com to learn more.

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So Far to Go

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

At a mere 22 years old, he’s already one of Omaha’s most accomplished theatre talents, but Noah Diaz doesn’t have his sights set on a bigger stage.

“Broadway or something else would be cool,” Diaz says, “but it’s been important to me over the years to try to keep my head down and focused on what I’m doing now.

“If I don’t do that, I won’t be focused on the right things.”

With the fast start he’s had in his young life, no one would blame Diaz for looking beyond Omaha for his future.

After getting started in theatre as a fourth-grader in a Council Bluffs school production, Diaz has acted in more than 90 shows in the Omaha area and has also tried his hand at directing and writing—his personal favorite.

“I don’t think I was ever meant to be in theatre,” Diaz says. “I think I was meant to be a writer.”

Diaz’s prolific acting vitae, and anyone who has seen him on a local stage, might beg
to differ.

While filling up a trophy case with Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards and Theatre Arts Guild nods, Diaz has turned such notable performances as The Cat in the Hat at the Rose Theater, the Scarecrow in the Omaha Community Playhouse’s Wizard of Oz, and a high-school misfit in SNAP’s production of Speech and Debate into a career fit for someone much farther along in life.

Even as a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Diaz has kept up a blistering pace—acting in five to eight shows every year. Some local aficionados see him as “the next big thing” in Omaha theater.

“Acting is fun and challenging, but I think the thing I like most about the theater is the self-discovery,” says Diaz, who is on track to graduate from UNO in 2017 with a degree in special education and communication disorders. “Every production, I learn new things about myself—how my mind works and how I think.”

Diaz has done plenty of thinking about combining his passion for theater with his desire to serve the deaf community. He is focusing on American Sign Language at UNO and someday wants to work as an interpreter.

He performed in Chicago in a special adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in which Romeo’s family is deaf and Diaz’s character interprets for the audience. In one of his most challenging roles, Tribes at the Omaha Playhouse, Diaz portrayed a deaf person, but not without struggling over whether to even take the part.

“Eighty percent of the audience the first night was deaf, and I about had an aneurysm I was so nervous,” he says. “But it was very well received, and a deaf friend of mine said afterwards he was glad someone with a heart for the deaf community did the part.”

Diaz isn’t slowing down any time soon. He completed a run in Beertown at the Omaha Playhouse in November. A play he wrote, The Motherhood Almanac, recently was staged as a workshop reading at The Shelterbelt Theatre, where Diaz serves on the board. And he will be directing The Feast at the Sheltebelt, which opens April 15.

“I feel as if I have so far to go—not in terms of success, but in terms of finding out who I am supposed to be,” he says. “So I want to keep pushing myself and bringing more to the work.”

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Dominique Morgan

January 15, 2016 by
Photography by Bill SItzmann

I’m gonna be so honest with you right now it will piss…you…off. I started writing music at seven. Music just comes to me. I don’t read music. The shit just happens and I just go with it and I just go with it ‘til I can’t go anymore.”

Dominique Morgan, orator of the aforementioned, was a show choir kid at Benson High. At age 14, he came out as gay to his family, “who were cool with it.” He left home during his senior year, “making a stink about being grown,” and followed friends to UNL, where almost no one knew he wasn’t enrolled or that he got by sleeping in cars. Bad checks led to prison.

That was before 2009. Now he is one of the metro’s most celebrated R&B recording artists and a prominent activist. Morgan recently headlined at the Baltimore Pride Celebration, which he described as a highlight of his career.

Morgan is involved at various levels with the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network, Queer Nebraska Youth Network, the NAACP, Urban League Young Professionals, Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition, and the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards. He founded Queer People of Color (QPOC), a group whose focus is providing diverse, local role models for LGBTQIA youth.

An unguarded man expressing his pain and hope on- and off-stage, Morgan brought himself and his fans to tears during an acoustic set with Kevin Sullivan of Bells and Whistles during the 2015 OEAA nominee showcase at Reverb Lounge. His album, Loveaholics Anonymous, is a well-received tribute to the highs and lows of romance, earning him three nominations for best R&B artist, album of the year, and artist of the year. A holiday album, Dom’s Favorite Things, launched in late 2015. If the past is prologue, the next act for this Omaha original could be biblical. What comes after a year like that?

“I’m not worried about that,” says Morgan with a sincere, charming theatricality and flair, but no bull. “I don’t want to be stuck. It’s time for a break.”

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Independence has perks. Morgan is allowing himself time for creative recharging.

“Time to catch a breath and start over fresh. ‘Loveaholics’ is a good, solid album. It’s going to ride me out for another year. With no label, I’m not forced to put out ‘stuff.’ I feel like there’s some things I haven’t done yet musically and I need to take a break to be able to be open to it.”

Morgan says he struggled early on with being open about his painful past. 

“What I was missing for the longest time was focusing on me,” says Morgan, admitting that leaving his prison life out of his published music created imbalance in his new life. “I treated [that life] as if it didn’t exist. It’s hard to balance the two when my music comes from my experience. There would be songs I would write about, but wouldn’t record them or I would record them and never release them. How do you write from those experiences, but you won’t talk about those experiences?”

Working with at-risk teens helped tip the balance toward full disclosure for Morgan.

“When I was working with young people and discussing my process of coming out at a young age, there were so many levels with these young people that I could have worked on, but I wasn’t because they were things I didn’t want to talk about or deal with.” 

Ultimately, the superhero in Morgan opted to open up, using his greatest strength—experience—to connect with everyone needing a loving example. Fusion is one of Dom’s favorite motifs.

“It’s been hard because for a while, people were like, ‘What does he do? Is he a musician? Is he an activist?’ Soon people realized that I blended the two together.” 

When Morgan started receiving notice from the media, he was understandably leery of the attention. Exposing one’s inner most self, as well as past crimes to the world, can be discombobulating, especially when left in the hands of another  writer.

“I was really nervous about having an open conversation about my life. I wanted to talk about music. I wanted to talk about my ‘this, that, and the other,’ but you have to be able to talk about everything. This last year has been the first time that I’ve been open to talking about everything.”

“I did hide for a while,” Morgan continues. “My formative years were not the best. I’m a reinvention of myself. I thought, ‘Do I let people see this shiny, glossy version of Dominique Morgan, which is really safe and comfortable, or do I get outside of my head?’”

Reinvention, acceptance, love, fusion, music, and activism. Dominique Morgan brings it all together.

“It’s part of the process. You can’t reinvent yourself without embracing your old self.” 

Visit dominiquemorgan.com to learn more.

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