Omaha in the NYT, again…

Category: Blog — @ 6:48 pm March 26, 2007

Once again, The New York Times has published a feature about the burgeoning Omaha arts and music scene. “Omaha’s Culture Club,” written by author and Omaha native Kurt Andersen for the Travel section of the Time‘s Sunday Magazine includes descriptions of The Old Market, Bemis, and of course, Saddle Creek Records. There’s even a photo of Robb Nansel looking like he just rolled out of the rack the morning after after passing out in his clothes.

You can read the article here, though the link may not work. It works for me, for some reason. An excerpt from the article:

“‘We’re just sort of doing things the way we want to do them,’ Nansel said. Because Omaha is a cheap place to live – a 1,300-square-foot loft in the Old Market rents for $575 a month – he and his musicians are spared the financial anxiety of places like New York and L.A. ‘I like to believe in the concept of putting out a record because it’s good,’ he said, ‘not to sell records.’ Saddle Creek releases six albums a year and has repeatedly turned down offers to be acquired by a big label.”

Andersen goes on to quote Orenda Fink, Sarah Wilson, and documentary filmmaker Rob Walters about Saddle Creek. Andersen sums it all up this way: “In short, Omaha’s cultural moment is all about the application of the great Midwestern bourgeois virtues – thrift, square dealing, humility, hard work – to bohemian artistic projects. On this, everyone agrees.” Well, not everyone… Beyond hard work, there is this little thing called talent and creativity that may also play a factor…

The article then goes on to talk about Slowdown and Film Streams and the Omaha Lit Fest, before Andersen identifies his “local essentials,” including NODO (even though Slowdown isn’t open yet), The Brothers and The 49’r (nice!), and Homer’s (which he calls “HQ for Saddle Creek musicians and vintage vinyl.” Vintage vinyl?).

Ah well, it’s still a pretty good piece and good publicity for the town, even though it continues to galvanize the idea that Omaha’s music scene is defined solely by Saddle Creek and its bands. Guess that’s the way it’s always going to be.

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