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Omaha Magazine

Editor's Letter: Arts, Music, Action

Jun 12, 2019 02:59PM ● By Daisy Hutzell-Rodman

Omaha Magazine has long been the city’s magazine for premier arts and culture articles. In the past couple of years, we’ve informed our readers of musicians from Jocelyn to Josh Hoyer, visual artists from Tim Guthrie to Betni Kalk, and performers from Tracie Mauk to Catie Zaleski (featured on this issue's cover).

We have also brought you news of notable former Omahans like Adam Devine, Q. Smith, and more.

This summer’s issue of Omaha Magazine is all about arts and culture. We’ve taken the focus of this publication and expanded it into an entire, themed issue. In our A+C section, we bring you the story of Andrew Bailie, who has been playing music since he was a teenager in the late 1990s, and the visual art duo Tūdūsō explain their collaboration. Late in the section is Angi Sada, fitting because she herself if frequently late to the game, and poet Withlove, Felicia.

In the features section, I spoke with OEAA pioneer John Heaston to get an idea of how this incredible event came to be, and what it has done for the arts community in Omaha. Speaking of the OEAAs, former editor Doug Meigs is the president this year, and we know he and his board are going to make this event fantastic. But they cannot do it without your help. Find out how to nominate your favorite artist here.

We checked in with 15 popular arts venues and asked each of them about their biggest achievement of the year. In 2019, Omaha debuted world-premier ballets, showed Tony-award winning Broadway theatricals, exhibited significant contemporary artworks, and engaged listeners with unique symphonic and operatic performances, among others.

Jazz is music to some people’s ears, and muzak to others, yet it has a long history in Omaha. Our article on page 54 talks about the revival of jazz music, and its rich history, in Omaha.

While we spotlighted Omaha legends such as Curly Martin, we also talked to up-and-coming performers like Chloe Irwin, who spoke to us in a rare down time. This teenager can be seen acting in plays put on by everyone from Nebraska Shakespeare to SNAP Productions.

Filmmaker and photographer Jesse Attanasio is our subject for this month’s Adventure story. His company, ONElapse, creates beautiful time-lapse images that show shooting stars, meteor shower— even the sun rising over Omaha.

The Omaha Conservatory of Music fosters the dreams and musical talents of thousands of students in the Omaha area. They moved into the former Temple Israel a few years ago, and it has served them well, enabling them to continue to grow as they help music students grow.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a complete book nerd. One of my favorite courses at the University of Iowa was “history of the book,” and when Iowa City flooded in 2008, I remember watching the line of people shuttling books and memorabilia to the top of the library on a news site and yelling at my computer screen: “Save the Gutenberg!” (The University of Iowa has a piece of an original Gutenberg bible.)  These are reasons why I enjoy the story of Bonnie O’Connell, a professor of book arts at UNO.

Are any of you readers over the age of 60 and sporting a tattoo? If so, congratulations, you are braver than me. I have never considered a tattoo, being a needle-phobe. As baby-boomers age into their 60s and beyond, there are more people who have tattoos, and we explain to the 60-plus readers what they need to know about getting one.

And there are several notable names in Omaha art, but Joslyn and Rogers are at the top of the list. George and Sarah Joslyn procured an art collection in the early 1900s that started the Joslyn Art Museum, while Bob and Roberta Rogers started Gallery 72, on 72nd Street, in 1972. The two families may have been decades apart, but their stories parallel in interesting ways. The article can be found on page 82.

The GI Forum is known for their Taco Thursdays, which pack the house for their crunchy beef-and-tortilla treats, along with the camaraderie of fellow veterans and South Omaha residents. Among the tacos and talking is Joe Cabral and his trumpet. This jovial veteran is the unofficial historian and recruiter for the organization.

Although temperatures in July and August in Omaha can reach wretched numbers of 90 or more, the evenings are often cool enough for a stroll, and there are lots of places around the city to find art outdoors. This has traditionally been true of sculptures, which is why our Obviously Omaha this round is about outdoor sculptures in varying parts of the city.

Those looking to grab a bite to eat while pursuing the art scene should check out the Benson area, which boasts a downtown full of art, music, and food—all of which converge during the first Friday of each month for an event that packs the streets.

And Omaha recently lost a great sandwich joint that also supported the arts. B&G Tasty Foods closed its doors over Memorial Day Weekend, and several artists worked there through its time in Omaha.

Finally, this issue lets the cat out of the bag—at least in my opinion. Mercury bar is a great place to go before seeing a performance at the Orpheum. It’s small, but the drinks are delectable, the cheese plate is divine, and my friend Jamie will tell you the scallops are to die for.

But we can’t forget about our friend Otis Twelve. His column this month discusses the idea of “Ars Gratia Artis,” which translates to “art for art’s sake.”

Omaha is a great arts city, whether talking about music, visual arts, performing arts, avant garde, or more. I need to end this letter so I can go see a show. I hope you enjoy the articles, and we’ll be back in September with our Big Give issue.

This letter was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman 2019 A+C