Tag Archives: tennis

Soccer Brings Bob Warming Home

October 24, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Bob Warming’s unexpected return to Omaha in 2018—this time to head the men’s soccer program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha—is the latest turn in a lifelong love affair with coaching.

Warming, 64, twice helmed the Creighton University program in town. He’s known as the architect of a Bluejay program he took from nothing to national prominence. During his first CU run (1990-1994), Omaha became home to him, his wife Cindy, and their four children. During his second CU tenure (2001-2009), his kids finished school and came of age.

His passion for the game is such that even though he’s one of collegiate soccer’s all-time winningest coaches at an age when most folks retire, he’s still hungry to lead young people. After eight highly successful seasons at his last stop, Penn State, he did retire, albeit for less than two months, before taking the UNO post in April.

Love for family changed best-laid plans. It started when he and Cindy visited Omaha in November to meet their new granddaughter. Their intense desire to see her grow up caused Warming to step down at Penn State and move to Omaha. 

When then-UNO soccer coach Jason Mims decided to pursue new horizons (Mims had played and coached for Warming at Saint Louis University, and traveled with him to Creighton and Penn State before kickstarting the UNO program in 2011), Warming couldn’t resist continuing to build what his former assistant had started.

“I have come back with even more energy. There’s a lot of younger guys I’m running into the ground,” Warming says.

He also brought knowledge gained from legendary peers and best friends at Penn State: women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose, wrestling coach Cael Sanderson, and women’s soccer coach Erica Dambach.

“I learned more coaching at Penn State than I had in all my previous years,” he says. “It’s not even close. I grew tremendously. I got a lot of new ideas about things. I derive tremendous energy from being a continual learner. Even in the 59 days I retired, I continued to research better ways to teach and train people.”

His son, Grant, played for him in Happy Valley and now assists at UNO. Grant’s twin sister, Audrey, died in a 2012 auto accident. The family honors her legacy with Audrey’s Shoes for Kids, an annual event that gives away soccer shoes, shin guards, jerseys, and balls to disadvantaged children in Omaha. About 300 youths received gear in this summer’s giveback.

Warming first fell in love with coaching at age 14 in his native Berea, Kentucky. The multi-sport athlete was a tennis prodigy on the United States Lawn Tennis Association’s junior circuit when his coach taught him a lesson in humility by having him coach 9-year-olds. In the process, Warming found his life’s calling.

“I had been very into myself only,” he admits. “I was a selfish little brat. Then all of a sudden I realized it’s about helping other people. It’s a great lesson my coach taught me. He knew if I was ever going to go any place with my life, I had to give something to others.”

Warming’s outlook on life gradually shifted. “I derive the most pleasure out of watching young people improve,” he says.

Soccer supplied his next life-changing experience. Berea College, a private college in his hometown, has a long history of inclusion. In the early 1970s, it recruited world-class footballers from Ghana and Nigeria. Warming was the squad’s goalkeeper (and also a varsity letter-winner on the tennis, swimming, and golf teams); he honed his knowledge of soccer from these foreign players and gleaned insights into diversity.

“I’m playing soccer and hanging out all the time with these black guys in the South—not the most popular thing to do in a town where on Sunday nights every summer the KKK burned a cross,” he recalls. “That was the dark ages in a lot of ways. But I was fascinated interacting with these guys from Africa and finding out how they live and what their culture is like.

“I was able to play with these incredible guys from a young age, and the game is the best teacher,” he says. “For me, it was a remarkable time in my life. I learned a lot about a lot of different things.”

Years later at Penn State, he brought more student-athletes of color into the soccer program than it had ever seen before. “That was a cool part of the whole deal,” he says.

He appreciates what a mentor did in giving him a progressive outlook. “The guy who eventually became my college coach was the leader of all this,” Warming says.

His own collegiate coach at Berea, Bob Pearson, succeeded his protégé a few years later when Warming left his coaching post at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia, for a coaching position at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in the 1980s. Four decades later, the veteran Warming succeeded his own protégé, Mims, at UNO.

“I have all these crazy circles in coaching,” he says.

The kind of bond Warming has with Pearson, he has with Mims.

“Loyalty, trust, and respect are the basis for all relationships, and we have all three of those,” Warming says.

Pearson got Warming his first head coaching gigs in his 20s at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky (where Warming spent one season before heading to Berry University); he also coached tennis at both schools.

Warming was still only in his mid-30s when Creighton hired him the first time in 1990, poaching him from his brief tenure as director of athletics at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. At Creighton, he revived a dormant program that began winning and drawing fans.

He enjoyed the challenge of “building something from its inception and doing missionary work for our sport.” In exchange for free coaching clinics, he got local soccer clubs to turn out in droves.

“Thus, Creighton soccer was born. It came out of giving back to the community and coaching education,” Warming says.

He left CU in 1994 for Old Dominion. From there he went to Saint Louis University. The Rev. John Schlegel, then-CU president, lured him back in 2001 with the promise he could design a state-of-the-art soccer facility.

“Father Schlegel said, ‘Build me a soccer stadium. We want an iconic building to define the new eastern borders of our campus. I’ll pick the facade because I want it to reflect how the rest of the campus will look,’” Warming recalls. “Think about that. Where else has a soccer stadium determined what the rest of the campus would look like?”

The result, Morrison Stadium, has become a jewel of north downtown.

Warming’s CU and Penn State teams contended for conference and national titles. Now that he’s back in Omaha, he looks to take fledgling UNO soccer to its first NCAA playoff berth and create a powerhouse like the one he did down the street.

Back in Omaha again, he organized “the largest free coaching clinic in the country” at UNO in August. Some 200 coaches from around the nation attended, including 150 from Nebraska. Tweets about the event surpassed two million impressions.

“The selfish reason I did it was I want to kick-start this program into something, and to take soccer in Nebraska to the next level,” he says. “We have to get better.”

His methods today are different than when he last coached in Omaha.

“If you really want to train people, you have to get them in the mood to train using all the different modalities—texting, tweeting, playlists, video—available to us now,” he says. “You cannot coach, you cannot lead, you cannot do anything the way people did it years ago. You won’t be successful. The why is so important in terms of explaining things and building consensus and getting people involved to where they say, yeah, we want to do this together.”

In the full circle way his life runs, he feels right at home at UNO, where hundreds of students, including international students, get a free education. “We are the school of the people,” he says.

Meanwhile, he’s busily stocking his roster with players from around the globe—including France, Spain, and Trinidad and Tobago—with many more players from Omaha and around the Midwest.

Wherever he’s landed as a coach, it’s the new challenge that motivates him. No different at UNO. “One hundred percent,” he says. “I love it.” 


Visit omavs.com for more information.

This article was printed in the November/December 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

A Culinary Master in the Making

July 4, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The metal crank wouldn’t work. Witney Stanley had to think of a solution fast. The pressure heated up the kitchen at the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center in Grand Island. The clock ticked tauntingly.

Thirty minutes remaining. 

The SkillsUSA Culinary Arts Championship was on the line. Each participant had to present judges with an entrée from a fabricated whole chicken, a sauce, a vegetable, and a starch. Judges would be expecting a composed salad as well. Only items in the kitchen’s pantry were allowed to be used to create the dishes, and the dinner needed to be cooked in two hours and 30 minutes. Think Top Chef with high school students. 

But the crank was being…well…cranky. 

Witney, a senior at Omaha Central, wanted to win it all. Her competitive drive wouldn’t allow faulty equipment to squash her chances at a medal. After a frustrating five minutes, she grabbed a rolling pin instead to smooth out the dough for her tortellini. She cut it and filled it with spinach, garlic, tomato, and olive. 

Witney inserted the thin thermometer into her roasted chicken thighs. 

155 degrees. 

She rushed to the pantry for oil. The pastor’s daughter took a long deep breath and said a short prayer. Showtime. Only seven minutes, not nearly enough time to cook it completely in the oven. She finished off the chicken on the stovetop with a pan-fried sear. 

The white wine sauce created a challenge as well. Since Witney was only 18 and not legally old enough to drink, she needed to be creative. The young cook substituted white vinegar, onion, and homemade chicken stock. 

She sliced the (finally) cooked chicken, a technique she mastered in between school and tennis. She added Tuscan vegetables and tourné cut potatoes. 

Time.  

At the April 2018 competition, Witney came away with a bronze medal and a passion for competing. 

But her love of all things savory and sweet is deeply rooted in family heritage. When she was only 4 years old, as her sisters prepped for monthly church outreach banquets alongside their mother, Witney would stand on a stool washing cabbage or setting tables for guests. 

“My mom is a genius in the kitchen,” Witney explains. “She doesn’t trust anyone in there except her daughters.”

Her mother, Alyssa, enrolled all six of her children into cake-decorating classes at Michael’s. Witney, 10 years old at the time, started baking cakes whenever she could for birthdays or other special occasions. After a recommendation from a neighbor, the girls decided to sell their homemade yellow and devil’s food cupcakes with buttercream frosting at the Gifford Park Neighborhood Market. 

“I was hesitant at first,” Witney recalls. “Then I thought, what’s the worst that could happen? I could end up with a tray of cupcakes, and I could eat them.”

The money, though, wasn’t to buy more supplies, candy, or even toys. Instead, the sisters saved it for someone special. It took an entire year, and the older girls had to get side jobs, but it all went to purchase a bedroom set their mother had her eye on for a while. 

“From that point on, they were known for those cupcakes,” Alyssa says. “All just to surprise me with a Mother’s Day gift.” 

It turned into a business, Stanley Southern Sweeties. Each sister plays a role—whether creating roses, borders, or letters. 

Their mother saw something special in Witney and pushed her to cook for the family. She started experimenting even if it meant getting dinner to the table later than usual. 

In order to play tennis, Witney made the move from home-school to Central High School. Introverted and painfully shy, the teenager couldn’t fathom it all. So her sister Justine, who was taking online classes at Metropolitan Community College, went to every single class to watch out for Witney that first year. After taking the No. 1 spot in tennis, Witney soon made friends and discovered culinary classes. Entering her senior year, she started taking classes at the Omaha Public Schools Career Center for college credit. She continued practicing in the kitchen at every opportunity, soaking up knowledge like a sponge cake.

“She’s an example of what we should be seeing in every student,” says chef Perthedia Berry, a culinary instructor at Metro. 

Berry, sometimes referred to as the “female Gordon Ramsay,” can intimidate students. Witney prefers the tough love as it reminds her of her own upbringing. 

“I love the intensity. She [Berry] wants her students to do well. She’s preparing me for the future. If you can get through her, you can get through anything,” Witney says. 

The main issue for the aspiring cook is speaking up. Berry yells at her to stop worrying about offending people. Chefs should be concerned with getting dinner to hungry guests; save the politeness for later. 

With each class, Witney gained confidence. She earned the Best Beef Award at her first invitational (the Metropolitan Community College Institute for Culinary Arts High School Invitational in February 2017). In another competition, two teammates dropped out, but Witney took it upon herself to take all the responsibility. 

“Witney pushes forward, and she’ll be someone you know in this community,” Berry says. 

Her mother, originally from New Orleans, was a mentor for last year’s Metro invitational. So Witney simmered a New Orleans gumbo on the stove and, along with Omaha North’s Ajana Jones, took home the silver medal. 

Witney plans to open a restaurant or a bakery someday, maybe with her sisters. After she takes the accelerated Culinary Arts program at Metro, she plans to enroll at Creighton University for a business degree. The pitfalls are well-known, but that doesn’t stop her. 

“She’s fearless,” her mother says. 

For now, Witney is carefully measuring each step, weighing the consequences, and stirring in a pinch of prayer that her dream will become a reality.


Visit ccenter.ops.org for more information about culinary classes at the OPS Career Center and mccneb.edu for details on Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for the Culinary Arts.

This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. 

2018 January/February Concerts

December 27, 2017 by
Photography by Contributed

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 Symphony No. 3
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

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

This article appears as part of the calendar of events in the January/February 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.

2018 January/February Calendar of Events

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.

A Professor in Motion Stays in Motion

April 27, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The sun barely penetrated the narrows of the canyon. Kris Berg, Ph.D., scrambled over dusty red rock, carefully avoiding the steep cliffs that plunged down 50 yards on either side of him. History and geology combined with each footprint he left behind.

While most come to Las Vegas to roll the dice, Berg would rather hike with his wife in the outdoors, taking in the natural beauties of the world (which he accomplished during a recent winter trip).

Berg is a self-described exercise nut. The physical fitness bug struck him at a young age. When Berg was just 12 years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Rather than a healthy boy, people saw him as fragile and sick. In high school, Berg’s coach even kicked him off the football team.

“I’ll show you. I’ll be so healthy that no one would do that again,” Berg thought.

After his family moved, a new doctor told Berg to experiment. So Berg lived his life, not letting diabetes limit his physical abilities.

“Exercise is such a powerful thing,” he says. “People are always looking for a magic pill. It’s right in front of us.”

He played multiple sports in high school and college. The science behind it all stimulated and fascinated him. With a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Missouri in hand, Berg began teaching at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

“Top to bottom, front to back, he is enthusiastic,” former student Robert Buresh says.

Kris Berg, Ph.D.

UNO had no laboratory at the time so Berg developed one with the backing of the dean. Berg, a prolific researcher, made ties with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He developed an exercise physiology lab geared toward an investigative-driven program which would look at the human body from a scientific angle.

He soon started a special exercise program for Type 1 and 2 diabetes. His own brother had passed away from the disease at 32. Berg spent years of his career dedicated to informing the public on the positives of exercise to help regulate blood sugar.

Berg’s interest never wavered. He tackled osteoporosis next. The Strong Bones Program was born, helping the elderly build up confidence and mobility to avoid falls.

“We were very fortunate Berg initiated this program,” Berg’s former colleague Josie Metal-Corbin says. Although a dancer and yoga enthusiast, 65-year-old Metal-Corbin took the class for the added strength training and sense of community. The classes soon combined into the Adult Fitness Program.

After four books, more than 200 articles, and 45 years at UNO, Berg hung up his tennis shoes last May and retired. However, retirement didn’t stop him from doing what he loves.

Berg still finds time to visit with graduate students who need his help on papers, and he spends two hours or so a day researching.

“I wanted to go on being physically active regardless of age,” Berg explains.

Long and lean at the age of 73, Berg follows a diverse workout plan. He smacks the ball around on the tennis court four or five days a week. The physical and mental “chess match” keeps him sharp. He also still shovels snow, pulls weeds, and hikes.

“I have a tremendous enjoyment of exercise. I never get bored,” Berg says.

At the gym, Berg avoids the machines, preferring resistance training (similar to his classes). He stresses the importance of maintaining coordination and mobility. His goal—for himself and for others—is to prevent age from becoming an obstacle to living life. 

The Adult Fitness Program is open to members of the general public age 50 and older. The supervised fitness class takes place twice a week at UNO’s Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) Building. The program costs $36 for three months; parking costs $54 for three months. Contact the UNO Exercise Physiology Lab at 402-554-3221 or exphyslab@unomaha.edu to enroll.

Visit unomaha.edu for more information.

Fighting Misogyny (updated)

December 15, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“Fighter” is a very connotative word. People hear it and think of large, brutish men knocking each other out for money. They think broken homes, difficult childhoods, and a last resort. Women are an afterthought, usually in the form of the devoted and completely dominated girlfriend or as the victims of domestic violence. The occasional person, when prompted, remembers Ronda Rousey’s infamous loss to Holly Holm—or how hot they both are. Typically, people respond so negatively to the idea of women in combat sports that I don’t even bring up the topic. Upon mentioning an upcoming fight or my training for the first time, the initial question people usually ask is not where do I train, or what’s my record; they ask what my boyfriend thinks of it. The readiness of this question, of the mindset that prioritizes the manner in which I relate to men as the most important part of my identity, is a big part of the reason I fight. The implication of that question answers the usual follow-up question of how I got into mixed martial arts.

I had my first cage fight in January of 2016, at 110 pounds. I invited only four people outside of my team to watch, three of them women. I defeated my opponent via unanimous decision, meaning the fight went the full three rounds but the judges agreed that I was dominant throughout. It felt like a victory for not only myself and my team, but for all the skinny little girls around the city who are constantly being told they are too small or cute to get into any sport rougher than tennis. Afterward, I felt a little better equipped to handle the frequent instances of random men deciding to follow me on a run or asking me to get into the car as they drove by. My only battle wounds were bruised knuckles and a small bump to the left of my eye that quickly faded into a minor, reddish bruise. I loved having the visible symbol of my victory on my face. In part, because combined with the right amount of “resting bitch face,” it seemed to deter creepy strangers from approaching me in coffee shops or while walking down the street.

To me, “fighter” means being relentless, indomitable, dedicated, nurturing, receptive, empathetic, soft spoken, and even-tempered.

But I wasn’t quite able to wear even my minor injuries, symbols of a well-earned victory and a major milestone in my life, with pride like the male fighters can. I remember my boyfriend coming out of his first fight, his only loss to date, with a badly broken nose and blood in his eye. Everyone’s first assumption was that he had been in a fight; I know because strangers approached him, excited to talk about how he had engaged in the most masculine of sports and emerged in reasonably good shape. Where he was met with excitement, I was handed cards with hotline phone numbers from sympathetic gas station employees who didn’t believe my story. For the week or so that my bruise was noticeable, any boy I happened to be walking around with that day was on the receiving end of accusatory glares, head-shaking, and lots of poorly muffled whispers. Outside of the martial arts community in the area, it was like my victory was something I should have hidden behind closed doors. Apparently, even after all those days of getting up at 5 a.m. to train and then spend hours at the gym, I still looked like an easy target. It wasn’t my first time being silenced about something I was proud of. Gradually, I realized that MMA will not change how most people see me, but it has changed how I see myself.

During the month leading up to my second fight—this one at 115 pounds—I still encountered the stereotypical ways that women are perceived in relationship to the word “fighter.” But impositions of societal norms were not my concern during that time. Four weeks out, being a fighter means nothing about gender roles; it means constantly eating. Specifically, it signifies the consumption of a constant stream of protein shakes, eggs that I am beginning to accept will never taste good no matter how many different ways I cook them, supplements, vegetables, and what feels like gallons of water. I have put on close to 10 pounds of muscle since my first fight, in order to be able to cut a few pounds of water to make 115 pounds before weighing in, and then rehydrating back to a heavier weight the night before the fight. Beyond my diet, being a fighter means balancing the commitments of a full-time student working toward a double major, an internship, and a job while doing everything I can to win in the cage.

As a junior in college, fighting means training at an offensively early hour so I can get all my studying done before morning classes, so I can get school and work knocked out before maybe having time to eat an actual dinner, all so I can focus on working out and night training. It means trying to get to bed around 10 p.m. so my body can recover and I can do it all again the next day with a little more weight added to every lift and a little more of a push to get my 3.57 GPA up to a 3.6. It means discipline, and making adjustments when I need to study. I love my routine right now. I love training and then letting whatever Jiu Jitsu or kickboxing techniques I learned simmer in the back of my mind while I study, then letting my brain process information about Renaissance Europe and sonnets while I lift. My interests in academia and in sports complement each other, and I have heard the same from other fighters—contrary to the myth that fighters tend to be uneducated.

Lindsay2

With all of these things considered, people wonder why I would choose to be a fighter. I grew up playing softball and soccer, and have no formal background in combat sports. I am attending college on full academic scholarships and do not fit the stereotype of a cage fighter. So why would I, at 19 years old, decide to add cage fighting to my resume alongside mission trips and semesters on the dean’s list? I guess I can see how on the surface the choice might seem a little incongruous, but to me mixed martial arts is the most natural thing in the world to pursue. The long answer as to why I fight is that I live in a world where I once didn’t get hired because I wasn’t “willing to consider leaving my boyfriend” (according to the man who was interviewing me). With such experiences in mind, I don’t get how becoming a fighter could be anything but a logical course of action. In a world where women are still considered annoying if they speak, people listen to me when they see MMA on my resume. The short answer is that I like it, just as I like soccer and softball. The sport fits my personality.

Random men still follow me and yell rude comments if I’m downtown at night. Realistically, I don’t think there’s much I will ever be able to do about that. Even as I’m writing this, there’s a boy I’ve never met at the table behind me yelling “hey” every time I stop typing, but no matter if they’re a heavyweight (205 pounds and up) or a third-degree black belt in taekwondo, almost everyone I have encountered in the MMA community has shown me nothing but respect. Yes, I train ground game and standup with men, but I have never had another fighter follow me to my place of work, stand outside the door, and yell for the girl in the dress. Even if I do look like an easy target, instances of disrespect I have experienced in this most “masculine” of sports are nothing compared to the disrespect I get from men on the street on a daily basis. I think there’s a lesson there, with regard to our society’s skewed perception of what it means to be masculine. The guys I fight with are not the same guys who are treating women like inferior beings on the street or in their relationships.

The fundamental message that fighters fight to convey is simple: “I will not be dominated.” To me “fighter” is not a word synonymous with troubled home life or hyper-masculinity or misogyny. To me it means being relentless, indomitable, dedicated, nurturing, receptive, empathetic, soft spoken, even-tempered—I think all of these words describe most fighters better than whatever people think of when trying to come up with reasons I shouldn’t be one. With all due respect to those trying to look out for me, I don’t see how it’s unsafe for me to be locked in a cage with another woman my size compared to how dangerous it is for me to walk down the street. Or to, in general, be a woman who physically exists and takes up space in the world. Silencing my interests won’t fix the real problem.

“Hey” boy just invited himself to have a seat at my table. He has started talking to me despite having been pointedly ignored for at least 10 minutes and the fact that I am obviously in the middle of something. I am not polite in response. I have no interest in being dominated by a culture that puts women in boxes and has taunts at the ready in case they try to fight back. I have no interest in being quiet about my sport in order to protect people from a discomfort that I’m guessing doesn’t compare to the discomfort of a 14 year old having her ass grabbed by a stranger. I don’t care if it’s “inappropriate” for me as a “young lady” to be excited to get into a cage and physically beat another girl. I’d rather autonomously lock myself in a cage than be folded neatly into a gender role. I don’t care what your perceptions are of what it means to be a fighter, or what you think it means to be a size 0 and 20 years old with blue eyes. As my coaches and training partners are constantly reminding me, I’m not here to apologize. I’m here to dominate.

“Fighting Misogyny” was originally published Friday, Oct. 14 online at omahamagazine.com.     

Postscript

At Ralston Arena (on Friday, Oct. 14), I lost my second career fight via TKO in the final 10 seconds of the final round. The following Saturday morning by 8:30 a.m., I was back in the gym and on my way to becoming a stronger fighter.

I am not happy about losing, but I am also not devastated by getting punched in the face. I’m not fighting for perfection. I’m not perfect, and an imperfect record does not end my ambition in the cage. Rather, I’m fighting for all the girls who have contacted me to give support or share their story of fighting misogyny in their lives. I’m fighting for everyone who has told me it empowers them to see me get in the cage at all.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my incredible coaches, Mauro Siso and Sergio Rangel, and everyone at Legacy Martial Arts for supporting me on this journey. With lessons learned from defeat, we are making changes in my training regimen for the next fight.

Visit facebook.com/pg/lmaomaha for more information.

Lindsay3

Johnny Rodgers

August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Johnny Rodgers turned 65 this year. He looks great. The 1972 Heisman Trophy winner and Husker football legend is also busy. He likes it that way.

“Well, I think that retiring, to me, is being in the position to do the things you want to do. I don’t think that retiring is getting somewhere and doing nothing,” Rodgers says. He then adds with a chuckle: “The law of use says, ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it.’ And I’ve found that a lot of people, as soon as they retire and start doing nothing, they die.”

Rodgers is far from retired…and he’s aiming to live to age 100. He works as vice president of new business development for the U.S. and Canada at Rural Media Group Inc., which operates both RFD-TV (the huge rural-focused television network) and Rural Radio on SiriusXM. He also recently published a book and audio book, titled, Ten Minutes of Insanity. The self-help book and audiobook provide insights into moments when a person can “mess themselves up” or “set themselves up.” Rodgers speaks from youthful personal experience coupled with an older man’s perspective.

Referring back to his college years, a “mess yourself up” situation is “like the gas station fiasco that I was involved with,” he says. The opposite, positive kind of moment is “like the punt return against Oklahoma. You’ve got to be pretty insane to stand back there and wait for them to come.” He adds that each scenario “presents dramatic results, just in a different way.”

Johnny-Rodgers1Rodgers has a website in the works (which should be live this fall) aimed at providing help and perspective to business leaders, entrepreneurs, and athletes. “What I really want to do is to help athletes—professional athletes of football, basketball, baseball, all of them—transition from sports to public speaking,” he says. “And to be able to set up mechanisms for them to be able to tell their stories.”

Denny Drake, who has worked with Rodgers for more than 20 years on a variety of charitable and business projects, says Rodgers has always been open to trying new ideas, and to receiving critiques and wisdom from others. Drake is the president and CEO of the marketing company Performance Solutions Worldwide. He is also connected to the Jet Award (named after Rodgers), which honors the top return specialist in college football, and the Johnny Rodgers Youth Foundation. Rodgers serves as the youth foundation’s president; Drake is its CEO.   

“Johnny is a really good idea guy. He’s a good visionary of things,” Drake says. The two men are also working together on Authentic Collegiate Jeans, a venture to provide jeans with school and university logos that should launch this fall.   

With all that is going on in his life, Rodgers says he remains thoughtful about maintaining himself, too. When he was young man, it was about being a high-caliber athlete. Now, it is about being a quality person. He’s a fan of fish and organic chicken, but might only eat one traditional meal a day. For additional nutrition, he consumes kale and greens, frozen cherries and blueberries, and other healthy foods in liquid form in the morning, and fruit or protein bars in the afternoon, prior to dinner. He also tries to drink at least a half a gallon of lemon water every day. 

Rodgers plays tennis, golf, and racquetball weekly, and plays at a higher level now after having knee replacement surgery this past year. Rodgers says (with a smile) that 60 is the new 40.

“At 60, you’re smarter than you’ve ever been,” he says.  “And at 20, you’re about as dumb as you’ve ever been.”


Johnny Rodgers has long been known for his unique take on many subjects. Below are some of his quips to reporter Tim Kaldahl.

On Mike Riley, the University of Nebraska’s head football coach:
“Mike is probably a mix between Osborne and Devaney, as I see it.”

On the future of Nebraska football:
“I think our future is so bright that we’ve got to wear shades.”

On current concerns about the safety of football:
“I can’t think, overall, that it’s any more dangerous than it always has been, and I think that that risk factor is what people liked all the time. The possibility that, you know, you could get jacked.” (Rodgers chuckles.)

On good habits for life:
“And you don’t want a habit that’s taking you down. You want to create the type of habits that build you up, so you have to make a change.”

On staying mentally focused and goal setting:
“Thoughts are not just things. Thoughts are the cause of things. So if you can hold a thought long enough, you can have it.” 


Visit thejetaward.com for more information. Sixty-Plus

Magdalena Garcia

May 11, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article was published in the May/June issue of Omaha Magazine.

As executive director of El Museo Latino, Magdalena Garcia pours her heart into the museum she founded. She can’t help it; art isn’t just her work, it’s her life.

“It’s always about the art,” she says. “This isn’t something I just go do for eight hours, it’s a way of life.”

Garcia’s family moved to Omaha when she was nine, but returned to visit her artist aunt and grandmother each summer in Mexico City, providing her lots of cultural inspiration.

“Art was always part of our lives,” she says. “We’d go to the museum, ballet, theater—I remember grandmother cleaning on Saturday mornings with opera music blasting. None of it was ever foreign to me. That’s why I believe it’s so important to expose children to different art forms.”

Garcia frequents the symphony, opera, and museums in Omaha, and when she travels she’s always investigating local museums and culture.

“I love research. I love to learn new things, and one thing takes you 50 other places and then you come back around,” says Garcia, motioning in a circle.

Skeptical she could make a living as an artist, Garcia pursued related interests to situate herself in the museum field. She volunteered at the Joslyn Art Museum while earning an art history degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and working full time in human resources for Northern Natural Gas. She relocated to Houston when the company’s headquarters moved there and later used severance pay as a springboard for graduate school.

“I liked what I was doing,” Garcia says, “but over time I realized I just really wanted to work in a museum. It could be human resources—but in a museum.”

While seeking an internship, Garcia noted there were only three Latino museums in the country. Despite that early ’90s stat, she found a common, burgeoning interest in serving a growing Latino demographic.

“Why not Omaha?” she asked herself. And with that, the seed was planted for El Museo Latino, which Garcia opened in 1993 on a shoestring budget anchored by her own elbow grease.

Today El Museo Latino is one of 12 U.S. Latino museums, including one in Puerto Rico.

“None of us really know when that last moment of our lives will come, but I didn’t want to wonder: ‘Could I have tried it? Should I have tried it?’” says Garcia.

Garcia did traditional Mexican folk dancing for years, and continues to teach it at the museum. She also enjoys gastronomy, with a love for Italian, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican cuisines, and says she loves to “cook, experiment, taste.

“My other love is tennis,” she says. Garcia also adores swimming, and has been playing racquetball and weightlifting—“just for variety.”

“I’m always inventing new stuff to do, but making time for the things I love is important,” she says. “I think you have to find something that you really enjoy. When it comes to being active, I just want to get out there and have some fun. I want to go play.”

MagdalenaGarcia

Sharon Ongert, 66

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

World traveler. free spirit. Social butterfly. All these terms aptly describe Sharon Ongert.

The native Omahan has always been an affable go-getter and shows no signs of slowing down as she hits her mid-60s. “I like to follow the advice, ‘Don’t buy things, buy memories,” Ongert confides one morning over drinks at Paradise Bakery.

Ongert in Egypt. Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

Ongert at the Egyptian Pyramids, 2010. Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

Ongert loves to travel. “When I was first married, my husband and I spent a year living in Europe,” she shares. “We visited 16 countries and 168 cities throughout western Europe and northern Africa. I guess that’s how it started.”

Once her two kids were born, the family continued to take trips to the Caribbean, Mexico, skiing… “Later, I began traveling with my mom to England, Australia, and New Zealand. My dad didn’t care much for travel, so he paid for the trips, and I’d go with her…it was the perfect situation.”

Ongert in... Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

Ongert on the chariot tracks in Pompeii, Italy, 2012. Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

Now single, Ongert continues to travel the globe, often with new friends made on past journeys (of which she has many). Egypt and Peru were recent vacation destinations. “Last year, I took two back-to-back Mediterranean cruises, which took us to Turkey, Croatia, Malta, Sicily, Italy…I keep a travel journal every trip I make and log in every day I’m gone so I can keep track of everything I do.” This year, she’ll put more stamps in her passport with trips to Russia and Scandinavia on the agenda.

In addition to travel, Ongert loves to work…yes, work. She has three jobs. She spends one or two days a week at both Ann Taylor Loft (Village Pointe) and Pottery Barn Kids (Regency Court), which she says has allowed her to make some wonderful friendships with co-workers of all different ages. She loves working with customers as well, adding, “I love meeting all the new moms and grandmas.” The social aspect of working retail is a major plus for Ongert, who once worked as the social director for a Miami-based cruise ship.

Ongert with a friend in Machu Picchu. Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

Ongert with friend Linda in Machu Picchu, Peru, 2011. Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

Ongert also officiates tennis matches for a dozen different tennis organizations. “My kids both played competitive tennis, and so I followed it for a long time,” Ongert recalls. “When my youngest graduated, I decided I’d train as an umpire so I could continue in the sport. I’m an independent contractor, essentially, and have chaired matches for the Big 10, Big 12, Omaha Tennis Association, high schools…I’ve watched so much good tennis this way. I’ve always got the best seat in the house!”

To keep up with this busy schedule, Ongert makes it a point to stay fit, working out daily at Lakeside Wellness Center, lifting weights and walking on the treadmill. She’s also a snowbird, traveling to Phoenix every March to spend a month hiking, playing tennis, and practicing her new favorite sport, pickleball.

Ongert at the Colosseum. Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

Ongert at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, 2012. Photo provided by Sharon Ongert.

“It’s basically tennis on a much smaller court using a wiffle ball. It’s best for those who can’t cover the ground of a tennis court. It’s a lot of fun!”

That’s Ongert, always up for a new adventure.