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.
Jeske 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.”