Tag Archives: Skeletons

Your Trash, Her Treasure

April 9, 2017 by
Photography by Keith Binder

Even on a blustery, freezing January day, as Christmas lights still twinkle from neighbors’ homes, it’s Halloween inside Diane Hayes’ apartment.

Enter into her abode, which is located in the 105-year-old West Farnam Apartments off Dewey and 38th streets, and you’re confronted with fortunetellers and witches and skeletons, oh my! The 1,800-square-foot place is spacious, with floorboards that squeak and much of its early 20th-century charm still intact, but it’s Hayes and her often-merrily macabre refurbished artwork that makes the apartment truly spellbinding.

“For a while, I tried to keep all my work hidden in one room, but then I said ‘Oh, to hell with it,'” Hayes says. “By the time they carry my body out of here, I suppose things will really look strange.”

Hayes lives to make the old new again. From turning a vintage side table into an animatronic fortuneteller to using antique alarm clocks to create mini terrariums that depict tragedies like the Titanic sinking and Lindbergh kidnapping, she uses her creative magic to take everyday objects and turn them into art. A strong believer that “décor shouldn’t come from Bed, Bath & Beyond,” Hayes scavenges through Goodwill, antique shows, and online to buy things only for their pieces and parts.

After purchasing an item, she stows it away and lets ideas start marinating in her head. Once inspiration strikes, the tinkering begins.

“It’s not my thing to come home after a long day and sit down to watch TV,” Hayes says. “I’m always putting something together.”

While she displays most of her work in her home, she does sell some items on Etsy and has donated pieces to benefits for the Nebraska AIDS Project and the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

If she isn’t selling or donating a piece, chances are it will end up in her year-round Halloween-themed office. Teeming from floor to ceiling with things that go bump in the night, this room is more fun and festive than frightening, as most of her collection reflects Halloween styles that were popular in the 1950s and ’60s. And come Halloween night, Hayes is the ghostess with the mostess, inviting around 80 costumed party guests into her apartment to have their palms read by a fortuneteller and watch silent films like Nosferatu.

“I love the Halloweens I grew up with,” Hayes says. “It’s such a fun time of year, and it doesn’t have the stress or religious and political connotations of Christmas.”

Beyond Halloween, living in Omaha’s first luxury apartment building offers its own inspiration. Built in 1912, the West Farnam Apartments house the city’s oldest working elevator.

“You can hear those 100-year-old gears cranking and groaning, almost like a tiny factory that’s come to life,” Hayes says.

Perhaps, this explains her next project—refurbishing an old clock complete with its own ancient gears. Some projects she completes in a day, others she’s always working on, always tinkering. This clock’s finish date is yet to be determined, and to Hayes that’s just fine.

“It’s been an unfocused life,” Hayes says, “but I’m not sure I’d want to do it any other way.”

Visit etsy.com/people/halloweenclocks for more information.

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

Ten Minutes With Danzig

October 22, 2015 by

Once revered as an infallible god of punk rock, Glenn Danzig has since descended into Millennial hell as a sort of living, breathing meme who, as it turns out, buys his own kitty litter.

He’s been commodified by Fiend Skull-sporting mall punks, trolled by message-board activists for his oft-polarizing remarks, and cold-cocked by camera phones ever at the ready to record his next punch to the face.

It’s enough to make the ex-Misfits, ex-Samhain, and current Danzig frontman seek comfort in his pre-Internet past.

“There is no punk rock anymore because everything is too PC — punk rock by its very nature, especially then, was to be un-PC and say the things that nobody would say and do the things that nobody would do,” Danzig says in a fit of nostalgia from his LA home. “We did it all.”

Enter Skeletons, the singer-songwriter’s highly anticipated covers album due out this November, which will offer a glimpse into the 60-year-old’s formative years. Ranging from Elvis to the Everly Brothers to ZZ Top, the record’s tracks will bleed into Danzig’s live set, he says, when the band headlines the “Blackest of the Black” tour on Oct. 25 at the Sokol Auditorium.

The rock spectacle will also feature ex-Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo’s band Superjoint, and metal bands Veil of Maya, Prong, and Witch Mountain.

“I’m excited to play [Omaha],” Danzig says in his staple New Jersey accent, “’cause it’s probably going to be my last Danzig run for a while.”

As for the much-discussed album’s cover design, it’s a cover in itself of David Bowie’s Pin Ups album cover, which is also a covers record (say that one 10 times fast), and it also marks the first time Danzig has donned corpse paint since his Misfits days, he says, eliciting perhaps the wrong kind of nostalgic reaction from his fans.

“It’s [Pin Ups] a really good covers record as covers records go and I wanted to do a take on that, so instead of Bowie and Twiggy, you have me and Kayden Kross in ‘skull face,’ which I thought was pretty cool and really fun,” he says with a forced laugh that seemingly destroys all Misfits implications. “So that’s really what that whole idea was about.”