Queerfest fosters true-blue community; New Music series Eko Nova returns for third season; WORRIERS tonight; Floating Opera on Hear Nebraska FM

Queerfest fosters true-blue community

By Rebecca Lowry | photos by Arianna Bohning

The murmuration of voices from Memorial Stadium swaddled The BAY, the Saturday evening air a swath of red from the slowly setting sun, Y Street littered with poorly parked abandoned cars. Inside the all-ages venue, a voice trembled, tumbled over the first lines of Hail Varsity to a mixed reaction of groans, laughter, and applause.

“There is no place like Nebraska…Dear old Nebraska…blue…”

With the altered line, Abigail Edyth quickly spun the song as the tale of a lost love and the amassed audience quieted, swooning and swaying to the audacious tune. Where out in the open air, the hum of the stadium might simply swallow up such an idea, the vacuum-sealed safety of The BAY let the song unfold like a love note.

In truth, as much as Queerfest was put together by Once A Pawn’s C Balta to support the Queer musicians, poets, and young drag artists who performed, the event seemed largely incidental to the community it was nurturing.

As Queerfest was in full swing, cars stopped to drop off and pick up the younger festival goers. The retaining wall in the parking lot across from the north entrance held groups of young and old alike, enthusiastic and excitable with conversation and laughter. The lobby of The BAY was full of organizations ready to engage and inform–as well as a warm, smiling Raws Schlesinger, who would later close out the night, surrounded by his telltale barrel-chested Plack Blague tee-shirts.

The only lights on in the coffee shop were focused on the stage, washing the crowd in a sea of etheral blue light. Watchful parents lined the wall of risers, as did a jubilant Aramara Quintos, holding court to a group of friends and fans, alive with the fire of just having played an energetic set with her band, Histrionic.

Dancing in earnest, singing and shouting along, the thrumming energy of the day bubbled over at the peak of Once A Pawn’s set.

“All of you coming out to support something like this is amazing,” Balta breathlessly spoke behind his drum kit, “And I just hope we can continue to do this, because with all of us being out and being proud and being ourselves, we create a safer community for anybody else who wants to come out and be themselves.”

See photos from Queerfest below.


Leaves Brown

Arden Eli Hill


Anu Peters

Abigail Edyth

Sam Nichols


Anna Marie Stenka

Plastic Garbage

Cassie Kernick

Once A Pawn

Foster Collins

Plack Blague

photos by Arianna Bohning

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New Music series Eko Nova returns for third season

by Andrew Stellmon | photo by Ben Smisch

The Omaha Chamber Music Society and KANEKO have partnered to continue the nonprofit Omaha art gallery’s progressive concert series geared toward pushing the boundaries of classic music.

Eko Nova will return for its third season in late October, bringing three unique performances to the KANEKO’s Bowtruss gallery between then and April. The first concert, “Step for Four: Rhythm in Motion,” happens Monday, Oct. 23 and will feature solo and chamber performers showcasing a variety of percussive works from around the world.

Launched in late 2015, Eko Nova fits with nonprofit KANEKO’s mission to explore and encourage the creative process and how it impacts the community and people in it. OCMS board president says the series will continue to demonstrate the value of new music to the evolving classical conversation.

“New Music is usually defined as having been composed by living artists, is promoted by and commissioned by musicians themselves, and often expands upon what we are familiar and comfortable within and outside of the concert hall,” Meier said.

The series continues Feb. 12 with “Tango Romantico,” a participatory concert featuring the passionate music of Argentina along with Argentinian wine and dance. It concludes April 16 with “Tornado,” a series of original compositions by internationally acclaimed cellist Joshua Roman and the JACK Quartet.

Tickets to “Step for Four: Rhythm in Motion” are $15 and available now via Omaha Chamber Music’s website here.

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Photo coverage: Porchfest OMA

Today in contribution (and catching up from last week), photographer Ben Baldwin grabbed a few shots of the inaugural Porchfest OMA, a multi-stage community concert event in Omaha’s Gifford Park neighborhood which occurred on Friday, Sept. 29. Baldwin and E3 Music Management coordinated the fest, which put Lincoln and Omaha musicians on porches from Chicago St to Cuming St. See photos from the event below.

The Shineys

The Bottle Tops

Scott Severin and Josh Rector

Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band

Midwest Dilemma

Jocelyn and Aly Peeler

Jack Hotel

Dr. Webb

Dirty River Ramblers

Photos by Ben Baldwin

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Concert Round-Up

It looks like a busy Monday evening. Check out our picks for concertgoers and homebodies alike and find more shows at our statewide calendar here. Add your own via the contribute feature here or email us at news@hearnebraska.org.


WORRIERS, Thin Lips, Death Cow at Petshop – Brooklyn melodic punk band WORRIERS comes through Omaha on tour in support of Survival Pop, its sophomore full-length and SideOneDummy debut out Sept. 29. Philadelphia punk band Thin Lips accompany Worriers and locals Death Cow have joined the concert, which has been moved to Pet Shop (2725 N 62nd St) after its original location, Milk Run, closed. 9 p.m., RSVP here.

Ice Balloons, Benny Leather, Low Long Signal at O’Leaver’s – Ice Balloons is a noise rock supergroup from Brooklyn featuring TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone and members of Samiam, Fuckemos and Midnight Masses. The group’s debut album Fiesta was released on Aug. 15 by California’s Volar Records. Benny Leather and Low Long Signal open the show. 9 p.m. show, $10, RSVP here.

Floating Opera on Hear Nebraska FM – Lincoln chamber pop band Floating Opera has subsisted for more than two decades with a rotating cast of players behind the songwriting of Richard Rebarber and Charles Lieurance. The ensemble entered a new chapter into its story earlier this year with new full-length Pop Song on the Elevator Down, out on Tremulant Records. Tonight, Floating Opera appears live in the KZUM studio for Hear Nebraska FM. Tune in at 9 p.m. CST to hear songs from throughout its catalogue and a chat with yours truly, the show’s host. Listen at 89.3 FM or stream at kzum.org/Tune-In app.

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