by Andrew Norman
It sounds like someone tripped the alarm on a clown car. A gaggle of geese honk out a goofy staccato in the distance as five cranes fly past from the north side of the lake to the west. I'm sitting on a 5-gallon bucket watching a red-and-white bobber float motionless as if it's epoxied to the top of glass-smooth water.
To my left, Lincoln folk musician Manny Coon is using the roots of an upturned tree as a recliner, his Koozy-cloaked beer sitting comfortably in a knot on the log. His bobber bounces quickly, and his hands — wrapped around the cork-covered base of his fishing pole — fly hard behind his right ear to set the hook. Reeling in the line rapidly, he pulls a tiny bluegill from the water, holding him up near his face to remove the hook from its lip.
“We always give 'em a smooch,” he says, puckering and planting a peck on the little fish's kisser before setting it back into the water. His worm still intact, he takes a drink from his beer and casts his bait about 20 yards in front of him. It lands with a gentle “buh-loop.”
As Manny's weight pulls his worm to the bottom of the lake, I suddenly realize that this is the first Saturday morning in months that I haven't had a computer in front of me. I have no deadlines and zero stress. This is how I want to spend my summer weekends, I'm sure of it. But I can't help but feel as though I'm missing an opportunity for Hear Nebraska. I have a picturesque scene and a fishing musician ... there it is: Fishin' with Musicians.
It's a simple concept: Local musicians take me fishing, and I film the experience. If nothing's biting, no worries, the musician will pull out his or her guitar, ukulele, kazoo, fiddle, whatever, and perform a song or two. It's a unique opportunity to capture some of Nebraska's natural beauty and arts culture at once.
But here's the thing, I need your help: Hear Nebraska requires a better camera in order to do justice to this alliterative project. We hope to raise enough money to purchase a Canon T2i, the same camera Love Drunk uses to shoot its videos. However, Love Drunk is willing to loan us a lens or two, and a couple batteries, so we just need the camera's bare-bones body. It will cost about $700.
This is probably a good time to explain that Hear Nebraska is a nonprofit that operates entirely on donor's contributions and volunteers' time. No one takes a dime from this project. But we could do so much more with some proper funding.
We want to be able to more effectively tie together Omaha and Lincoln's music scenes with those across the state — North Platte, Columbus, Kearney, Scottsbluff, Ogallala, Norfolk — with high-quality, multimedia-heavy stories that show why Nebraska's arts culture deserves as much national attention as its football team receives. We want to go to these small towns and uncover music story gems like the viral video shot in Peru that intern Michael Todd covered Thursday. We want to put local music on city and state call-waiting recordings. We want to provide a hotline for anyone in the state to call and geek out about the great band he or she just watched. We want to make Nebraska music so conspicuous that visitors to our state can't help but notice. We aim to engage and unify the symphonies, school music programs, buskers, dive-bar rockers and big-stage hip-hoppers around this mission.
We have plans for how to accomplish all of these things, and we will, but we do need your help. If you like the idea of Fishin' with Musicians, or that you can post a blog, event, band or venue profile on our site that is read by hundreds of viewers, or if you simply like the content we produce each day, please consider contributing by donating what you can.
We know times are tough, so if you can't contribute financially, but like what we do, please help spread the word by printing and distributing flyers, and/or promoting our stories and events on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Or come to our fashion show/Love Drunk video premier fundraiser Saturday at the Omaha Press Club. Every little bit helps, and every effort is a step toward making Nebraska music a trophy fish worth a smooch.