A vacant building in north Omaha will soon become an arts and culture center thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Calling all playwrights

Oct 10, 2012

The Great Plains Theatre Conference announced a Call for Plays recently.

Best-selling author and comedian Mike Birbiglia is presenting his one-man show, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, this Friday at the Holland Center

Birbiglia is a regular guest on Public Radio International’s This American Life, heard Saturday mornings on KIOS.  He says he’s creating a film from footage of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, a show he says he’s constantly rewriting. 

Birbiglia says the show is about how he decided to get married despite his not believing in the idea of marriage.

Prince Maximilian of Wied and Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, traveled the West during a transformative period in the country from 1832-1834.  

UNO’s Art Gallery is hosting two exhibits this fall, one focusing on Jerusalem and one on the Bethsaida Excavations Project.

Local businessman, Mike Cassling is concerned that not much money or time has been put into the Omaha Civic Auditorium and Omaha Music Hall over the last 20 years.

The Prairie Expedition Exhibition opened at Metropolitan Community College last week and features photographs created by students during a field trip to the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie.

KANEKO recently received three separate, anonymous gifts for one million dollars.

“Remembering Our Fallen” is an exhibit honoring Nebraska’s fallen soldiers.

Sprawl: The Kent Bellows Studio Young Artist Exhibition opens Friday, August 3rd and continues throughout the month.

The Benson Theatre was built in 1926 as a vaudeville theatre.  It was converted to a movie theatre in the 1940’s, and became retail space in 1953. 

In 2010, the space was purchased by Lund Ross Contractors for the purpose of restoring the theatre to its original purpose. 

Monty Eich, Marketing Manager for the Benson Theatre Project, says the organization wants the theatre to become a community hub.  He says the plan is to offer live musical, theatrical, and comedy events, as well as select films. 

Mike Gurciullo and His Las Vegas Lab Band open the 2012 Jazz on the Green Series tonight at Turner Park.

Gurciullo is originally from Omaha, and spent more than a decade in Las Vegas as an entertainer.  Gurciullo played lead jazz/trumpet in the Wayne Newton Orchestra for four years.  

He says he and his band play classic standard arrangements of out of print or unpublished songs as well as original arrangements.  Gurciullo says he and his band will be brining a bit of Las Vegas to Omaha tonight.

Leo Adam Biga

Ruth Sokolof Theatre had its grand opening on July 27, 2007 and Film Streams is currently celebrating its 5th Anniversary.

Executive Director Rachel Jacobson says Film Streams has come a long way in five years, further than she expected.  She says the overwhelming community support has allowed Film Streams to present all sorts of programs.  Jacobson says the theatre shows about 150 films per year, and has offered many screenings in collaboration with community partners. 

More than 50 black and white photographs of civil rights leaders are on view at the Loves Jazz and Art Center through August 25th.

Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail is being offered as a lead-in to the November elections.  Photos of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harry Belafonte, and Ralph Abernathy are included in the exhibit.  Program Director Janet Ashley says the photographs offer visitors the opportunity to see and feel an important moment in our nation’s history.

Omaha Creative Week begins August 31st

Jul 6, 2012

City officials hope the business and entrepreneurial communities will join arts organizations in this year’s Omaha Creative Week.

The third Creative Week begins August 31st. Right now, planned events include discussions on arts and social change, a film festival for movies made using smartphones, and an open rehearsal at Opera Omaha.

Mayor Jim Suttle says Creative Week celebrates innovations and ideas. “It’s what has made our city great and what will continue to make Omaha one of the most vibrant and unique cities in the nation.”

The Durham Museum is offering visitors the opportunity to see one of the top 100 most significant documents in our nation’s history.

Shawna Forsberg, Durham Marketing Director, says original pages of the Pacific Railway Act are on view at the museum through the end of this month.  President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act on July 1, 1862, establishing Union Pacific Railroad Company. 

Artwork from the Kent Bellows Studio is on view in the Omaha Mayor’s office.

Anne Meysenburg, Executive Director for the Kent Bellows Studio, said Mayor Jim Suttle's office wanted something to connect them to the art community, as well as something to beautify their offices.  She says the 12 pieces on display include some paintings, some drawings and collage work. 

Meysenburg says the art was created by students over the past couple of semesters.  She says the students and staff at the studio are excited about this collaboration with the Mayor’s office.

The Durham Museum will receive the 2012 Award of Merit form the American Association for State and Local History.

Shawna Forsberg, Durham Marketing Director, says the award is for the museum’s distance learning initiative.  She says the program began in 2007 when the Durham opened its new lecture hall. 

Omaha’s arts and culture industry is one the city can count on, according to a new report released last week.

The Arts and Economic Prosperity report shows arts and culture provides for 3,400 full-time jobs, both directly and indirectly, in Omaha.  

Marjorie Maas, Director of Nebraskans for the Arts, says the city’s arts and culture organizations provided 89 million dollars worth of economic impact last year, making up half of the state’s 174 million. 

The Nuer people of South Sudan share two special connections with Nebraska. One is there are more Nuer living in Nebraska than anywhere outside South Sudan.  The other is their preoccupation with cattle. 

Terese Svoboda will present an evening of poetry and music, sharing the culture of the Nuer with Nebraskans and the Nuer living in Nebraska.  Svoboda says the Nuer were made famous by E. Evans Pritchard’s classic text on social anthropology.  But she says she shares her own personal connection to the people as well.

Courtesy of Omaha Performing Arts

Omaha Performing Arts offers five different series: Broadway, Dance, Family, Jazz and Showcase, formerly the Popular Series.  

Executive Director Joan Squires says several of the shows offered during this season’s Broadway series are coming to Omaha for the first time.  The season begins with Shrek! The Musical in October.  Squires says that’s followed by Billy Elliot in November.

Omaha’s KANEKO has a new board chairman and new plans for programming.

In March, then-Executive Director Hal France stepped down. Jim Linder, Incoming Chairman of the Board, says France stepped down as part of a planning process.  Linder says the board believed a different structure was needed for KANEKO as it looked at integrating administrative leadership, fundraising and programming.

KANEKO’s mission, to promote creativity and explore innovation will not change.  What will change, according to Linder, is that programming in the new season will follow four major themes.

Courtesy of Omaha Symphony

The Omaha Area Youth Orchestra will play popular pieces from Rimsky-Korsakov, Delius and Mendelssohn at its annual Side by Side program.

The Side by Side Concert takes place Sunday at 7:00 in the Holland Center.  OAYO Executive Director Aviva Segall says the program offers the Youth Symphony the chance to perform alongside Omaha Symphony musicians. 

She says Maestro Thomas Wilkins will conduct the majority of the concert.


Area students and community volunteers have an opportunity to become “Mindbender Masters” through the Durham Museum’s Good Works Program. 

The program is a service-based initiative that will train participants for the Museum’s summer exhibition, Mindbender Mansion. Volunteers or “Mindbender Masters” will guide visitors through the exhibition, helping them complete brainteasers and challenges.

Experimental percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani performs at the Bemis Center Saturday, April 7th.

Joel Damon, Underground Curator, says Nakatani plays a traditional gong with a bow.  He says it creates an atmospheric sound that can be felt and experienced on multiple levels. 

Damon says Nakatani also plays singing bowls, and uses cymbals in new ways.  He says the Bemis is always interested in performers and artists who may not fit comfortably within traditional concert venues.

Happily Ever After: Wedding Dresses and Traditions is the title of the Douglas County Historical Society 2nd annual luncheon and runway show.

Cassandra Novotne, Coordinator for the Douglas County Historical Society, says the show highlights wedding gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses and other matrimonial clothing from the 1890’s to the 1970’s. 

The rock and roll musical is set in 1987 around a club on the Sunset Strip.  Actor Matt Ban plays Dennis Dupree in the production. 

He says Dennis is the 70’s leftover in the show and owns the rock club.  Ban says this is the first rock show he’s ever done and he’s having a good time singing some of the 80’s best hair metal music.  

He says the show gets big reactions wherever it goes and he thinks it’s because the music is so much fun and so well-known.

The Girls in the Band

Mar 3, 2012

The 7th Annual Omaha Film Festival begins runs next Wednesday through Sunday at the Great Escape Cinema 16.  Omaha Public Radio’s Cheril Lee has the story of the documentaries selected for the festival.  It’s called The Girls in the Band…

Give a Damn?

Mar 1, 2012

The 2012 Omaha Film Festival begins next Wednesday and runs five days at the Great Escape Cinema 16.  Dan Parris is one of the documentary filmmakers.  Parris will be in attendance for the screening of his film, Give a Damn.  With the story, here’s Omaha Public Radio’s Cheril Lee...