New concert venue Milk Run, first show Nov. 7; Here We Go Magic still on tonight at The Slowdown…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 2:19 pm November 2, 2015
Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

by Tim McMahan,

The dynamic duo behind concert promotion company Perpetual Nerves — Chris Aponick and Sam Parker — are opening their own music venue and art gallery near downtown Omaha.

Milk Run is located at 1907 Leavenworth St., right next door to Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar in the same turn-of-the-last-century building. The concert room will be rather cozy, about the same size as The Sweatshop Gallery; while the art gallery space is much more open. The two rooms are connected via a fenced-in patio in the back of the buildings, which also will act as the venue’s main entrance located right off a parking lot shared with Shucks.

Here’s what the duo had to say about the new music venue:

Why are you opening an all-ages club?

Chris Aponick: We wanted a spot that we could run with consistent standard, a space that put music in the forefront of its mission and one that would be an ideal spot for smaller scale bands. We wanted a room that makes a crowd of 30 to 50 people feel like an event instead of a bummer. It’s an incubator for bands that are on the way up or bands that are looking to reconnect with the immediacy found in house shows or DIY spots. We want bands to have a good experience playing in Omaha, so that they make Omaha a regular stop as their fanbase grows. We want a place that is approachable for everyone that wants to see a band. We don’t want the term “all ages” to mean just for those under 30. We also want to provide a reliable venue for others bringing bands to town.

How did you settle on the location?

Aponick: Shuck’s crab legs led me to the spot. I hit up their Monday happy hour with my friend (and now our neighbor Greg Sechser of Howlin’ Hounds coffee shop) and I peeked in at the two bays. I inquired about them the next day and they were perfect for what Sam & I had discussed for an ideal all-ages space.

What kind of shows will you be booking?

Aponick: Our shows will continue to be more of what has already been booked under the Perpetual Nerves banner, though we’re hoping to dabble in a little bit more variety. The goal is to get bands we and others like into town. We want to bring stuff to Omaha that would not play in town without our involvement. We’re still hoping to do shows with venues like O’Leaver’s Pub, Lookout Lounge, Slowdown and the Waiting Room Lounge when those rooms are good fits. We also want others to use our space, too. It’s available for shows that others put together.

How will you curate and operate the art gallery?

Sam Parker: We intend to have a monthly rotation of various artists in the gallery. Particularly trying to focus on musicians who are also artists in the visual arts aspect as well. Ideally, they would display their artwork, make a playlist of songs that influences their work and that list would be played during the showings. Gives the viewer a more in-depth feel to the artist.

Who’s involved other than Chris and Sam?

Aponick: Sara Bertuldo and Matthew Carroll of See Through Dresses are responsible for sound. The equipment, the ongoing management & hopefully upgrading of the system and running live sound will all be spearheaded by these two. Sara Bertuldo will be the main sound engineer for shows. Mike Zimmerman (DWNR, Chalant) will also be helping with projects both aural and visual. We hope to include others in what we hope is a collaborative space for shows, performance, art and more.

When is your first show and who are the bands performing?

Aponick: American Cream, David Nance, Robust Worlds, and Church of Gravitron — it’s a show organized by Church of Gravitron’s Justin O’Connor. It’s November 7 and it’s only $5. Even Lazy-i readers have $5.

How do you guys line up your bands? Who do you work with?

Aponick: People email or (We) email some band or booking agents and pray for a positive reply. Some bands have been pointed in our direction by local friends, which is always appreciated. Booking Pile really jump-started things. Pile is everything.

How do you keep up with new bands that are awesome? You pretty much hit the nail on the head with all your PN shows.

Aponick: Mike Kronberger, who designed the PN logo, turned me on to Exploding In Sound Records. That’s been a big one. I love getting recommendations on things to check out. Others have just been from listening and making gut calls on stuff that ends up in the inbox. Some of it, like All Dogs, is just obvious on a first listen that they’re something special.

Is there a club that you’re trying to emulate or that will influence your club? i.e., “We’re trying to do what the Cog Factory did.” or “We really like how they do things at Jackpot down in KC”, etc.

Aponick: Mostly we just wanted to keep going with the positive momentum that was flowing at the Sweatshop Gallery between Craig Dee’s Eyeball Promotions shows and our shows there. We felt the best route was to give ourselves a home base that we curated and organized.

Why did you call it Milk Run? What’s the origin of that name?

Aponick: It’s called Milk Run, as a playful nod to the area’s gay history. A milk run was an innocuous excuse to get out of the house and go downtown in the ’80s and ’90s for gay men. We want people to be open and be themselves in our space. By embracing a part of the area that was once secretive, we’re saying that your identity is welcome here.

Are you concerned that the name could alienate some people and/or parents?

Aponick: If it’s alienating for any other reason than homophobia, I’d be surprised, but willing to discuss those feelings.

What’s your definition of success when it comes to the club? What are you trying to accomplish?

Aponick: Paying our rent and paying touring and local bands well. We want to make sure touring bands have the ability to leave Omaha with a good experience and a good payday. We want to make Omaha a spot worth stopping for more bands. And we want to add to the idea that Omaha is a vibrant, artistically progressive city.

Do you think you could fill a niche that all the other venues aren’t filling? What’s that niche?

Parker: Let’s leave that for the people to decide. Our goal is strong in bringing touring acts that people as well as ourselves, want to see. But, at the same time, highly focusing on the great local scene that’s constantly growing and forever evolving. Bigger show. Little show. Doesn’t matter, hit us up. Our venue is yours.

Keep track of the Milk Run concert and art show schedule at the venue’s Facebook page.

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Despite the tragic murder that took place Halloween night at Slowdown Jr., tonight’s Here We Go Magic show is still happening, according to Slowdown booker Joe Teplitsky.

For those who live out of town (or in a cave), details about the crime are reported here by the Omaha World-Herald. The shooters reportedly are still at large.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Filter Kings, Dim Light, DJ Chris Aponick tonight; UUVVWWZ, Yuppies Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:41 pm January 6, 2012

by Tim McMahan,

Another weekend without a national touring show. But as info, I just glanced at the last issue of Time Out New York and they didn’t have too many touring shows this first week of the year, either. So things are tough all over, as they say. At least we’ve got a couple good local shows going on this weekend to tie us over until the spring thaw.

Filter KingsStarting tonight at The Waiting Room, with Filter Kings, Dim Light and Snake Island. It’s the kind of show where one of Benson’s many tattoo artists should ask Marc and Jim if he can set up a both in the corner and sell some ink (now that’s good marketing). $7, 9 p.m.

And what better place to show off that new tattoo than Saturday night at The Brothers, when Omaha’s favorite punk lounge hosts one of its rare rock shows, this time featuring Lincoln art/noise rockers UUVVWWZ (Saddle Creek Records) along with Iowa City shredders Solid Attitude and our very own garage heroes Yuppies. $5, 9 p.m. More info here.

Last but not least, if you’re out and about early this evening, drop by House of Loom and get your mind blown by DJ Chris Aponick — yes, that Chris Aponick, the music editor at The Reader. Chris will be running the tables (and hence, the dance floor) from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight as part of Loom’s new Friday Afternoon Club program, which, in addition to good music, also includes free food from Casablanca Moroccan Cafe as well as happy hour drink specials… and it’s free.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Column 307: Local Boy Done Good (; The Reader reorgs; new Digital Leather; Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings…

Column 307: A Kind of Homecoming
Local boy Andy Norman launches

by Tim McMahan,

hearnebraskaTo understand the vision for — the new online music-directed website that is more than a website — you must understand its creator, Andy Norman. launched Monday morning. I’m not going to go into great detail here about the site because you can discover its multitudes on your own simply by typing into your browser. I will tell you that its goal is to provide resources and a voice for bands, artists and members of Nebraska’s creative class — as well as the businesses that support them — in an effort to make the state a globally recognized cultural destination. I know that because I helped write the mission statement.

Full disclosure: I’m on the Board of Directors, so bally-hooing the site will seem somewhat self-congratulatory until you realize I get nothing from its success other than knowing that Andy and his lovely wife, Angie, are one step closer on their quest to acquire health insurance.

It didn’t have to be that way. Norman could be sitting in a fancy office on K St. in Washington, D.C., right now contemplating his next deadline had he followed his initial career path.

OK, let’s start at the beginning.

Shortly after graduating with a degree in journalism from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003, Norman headed to Omaha to work with former Omaha World-Herald columnist Jim Minge and a cadre of others (including The Reader‘s own Eric Stoakes) to create Omaha City-Weekly, an alt-weekly competitor to The Reader, in 2004. His tenure as managing editor at OCW was short-lived, as he ended up at The Reader in June 2005, where, among other things, Norman was my boss as the paper’s managing editor.

Three years’ worth of deadlines later, and Norman left The Reader in May 2008. “I was looking for a new challenge and didn’t want to work for any other paper or alt weekly,” he said. “I just wanted to go back to school.”

He found a program that offered a Master’s in Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. “Basically, they teach you how to find and produce environmental stories by taking dry science and making it compelling,” he said. Norman paid his tuition by working as a grad assistant and editor of MSU’s award-winning EJ Magazine. He went on to spend the summer of ’09 covering environmental legislation on Capital Hill for Congressional Quarterly.

It all sounds very impressive, doesn’t it? “I had picked environmental journalism because I was trying to position myself and my career,” Norman said. “I wanted to learn about new media; I wanted to know how to transition in a rough journalism climate that hadn’t even gotten rough yet. I thought I was ahead of the curve.”

But something funny happened on the way to picking up his future Pulitzers — the economy died, along with journalism. “The housing bubble busted and the economy went to shit and no was buying newspapers anymore,” Norman said. “It was all about sports and entertainment. Lifestyle reporting was safe. Environmental journalists and foreign correspondents were disposable.”

Norman hadn’t even graduated from MSU yet and he was already second-guessing a career in environmental journalism. Instead, he and Angie were having drinks in a dive bar in Lansing and the conversation turned as it always did, to Nebraska music.

“We talked about how no one in Michigan knew about Nebraska music, and if they did know something it was only about Saddle Creek Records,” Norman said. “The idea popped up to create a statewide website that increased Nebraska’s music presence nationally.”

He took the idea to his advisors at MSU, and became Norman’s master’s project — a project that had nothing to do with the environment. “My advisors were incredibly supportive,” Norman said. “They said if you can make a job out of this or if it helps you get a job, we’re in no position to stand in your way. There was this air that no one had a fucking clue what was happening in journalism or how to navigate the waters, so they were open to it, and I had a pretty good pitch.”

Among his biggest supporters were Cliff Lampe, one of the founders of nerd/geek tech site, and Jonathan Morgan, a reporter for the New York Times and the Detroit News, who was behind a neighborhood hyper-local online application.

So after receiving his master’s in May 2010, Norman began to piece together the non-profit from his new home, back in Lincoln. Despite the unmistakable death knell of print journalism, with his credentials Norman still could have landed a cushy reporting gig somewhere. Instead, he followed his more financially modest dream.

Why didn’t he go for the money grab? “It’s not what I want,” Norman said. “I want to live comfortably. It would be great to have health insurance, but I lived in D.C. for a summer and worked for one of the best political papers in the country and I saw the lifestyle and how fast everything moved and how much I would have had to focus on my career as opposed to my family and friends, and that’s not what I wanted. I didn’t want to chase those ambitions.

“I’m proud of Nebraska, and I realized in Michigan that I had become this huge cheerleader for the state. I want to help it grow. I’m a Nebraska guy. It just makes sense to be here.”

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Speaking of The Reader, there have been a ton of changes at the paper which you may or may not know about. The executive suite sees the departure of Sarah Wengert as Managing Editor. Sarah’s not leaving town, she’s just looking to try something new. You’ll be seeing her byline out and about in various publications, including The Reader. Her replacement is Sean Brennan, who you might recognize from the ol’ Omaha City-Weekly. But there’s also a bunch of new warm bodies that have been added to The Reader‘s torch pile, including news writer Lincolnite Hilary Stohs-Krause, a name you may recognize from the blog. And something I didn’t have room to mention in the above column — Andy Norman also continues to contribute to The Reader in a news capacity — you didn’t think he was paying his bills doing, did you?

And then there’s maybe the most earth-shaking change of all, a monumental shift that very likely will have a quantum impact on the Omaha music scene — Chris Aponick has been added to The Reader staff as its new music editor. I’m not sure what his actual title is, but Aponick is now responsible for assigning music coverage as well as writing the weekly “Backbeat” column.

In the driver’s seat for only a couple weeks and Chris already has snagged his first exclusive. In his column this week he reports that Digital Leather has signed a deal with Tic Tac Totally Records to release their upcoming album, Infinite Sun, sometime this summer. This is the album that was partially funded through a successful Kickstarter effort, so if you, like me, laid down some cash you’ll be getting your limited edition copy sometime soon. TTT is a Chicago label whose roster includes Bare Wires, Wavves, So Cow, Meercaz, and Omaha’s very own trash-punk deviants, The Shanks. Pssst… just between you and me, Digital Leather is one of my favorite local bands…

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Finally, the Playing With Fire concert series announced yesterday that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings is the headliner for their July 16 concert at Lewis & Clark Landing. It’s a huge announcement that sends shockwaves through the local festival circuit. SJ&theD-Ks is one of those bands that cuts through multiple genres — blues, R&B, rock and yes, indie — as well as age groups. Everybody thinks they’re cool because they are. Huge. Red Sky very likely never even considered booking them, but SJ/D-Ks would have been a perfect get for the MAHA Music Festival. This ups the ante even further. Can MAHA top it?

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.