Was there a Conflict of Interest in the OEAA nomination process?

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:06 pm September 17, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com



Yesterday’s post outlining the nomination process for the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs) resulted in a number of people suggesting there was a conflict of interest since Board President Emily Engles works for a number of bands nominated in various categories. As OEAA Board President and facilitator of the nomination process, was Engles in a position to influence the final list of nominees?

To help clarify the issue, I asked Engles, via email. Here’s what she said:

Me: Which OEAA-nominated bands and performers do you work for?   

Engles: The Decatures – booking/promo; Stonebelly – booking; Mitch Gettman – booking/promo (this partnership started Sept 3); The Willards Band – booking/promo.

Me: What do you do for those bands/performers, and do they pay you?

Engles: Yes, these bands pay me a monthly fee. E3 Music Management is registered with the State of Nebraska..I have also done some “freelance” work for Hector Anchondo and Matt Cox…referrals and connecting them with the right people, mostly.

Me: How were you involved in the nomination process, specifically in categories where bands you work for were nominated?

Engles: As OEAA President and a member of the music committee within the board, I serve as facilitator. I make sure each committee (Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Music) have the list of nominees, meet deadlines, gather contact information, etc. A music review committee of board members and music voting academy members gathered to go over the full list of nominees (like I said in an online comment, we look at the entire list down to those with only one vote, not just the top six). We make sure the artists are in the correct category (many fans put a band in both rock and hard rock or both country and Americana, not knowing where they may fall) and look at the entire list for who may be moved up once those bands that should not be in a category are removed.

In regard to the categories where bands I work for were nominated, I remove myself from the discussion about who should be moved up once the incorrect bands are removed. I allow the other four members to make the final decision…I do not push or make the final call as I might in other categories.

Engles suggested I reach out John Heaston for a formal statement from the OEAAs in regard to the organization’s conflict of interest policy. “We have board members who are also in the arts and may be nominated,” Engles said. “We have voting academy members who may also be nominated…it is requested they remove themselves from actively participating in such categories, just as I did in regard to the bands I work for.

“The bands I work for are nominated because they are talented and work hard to make an impact on the Omaha music scene,” she wrote. “I work hard for them and they work hard for me.”

To clarify further, Engles pointed me to the nomination statement from the OEAA website, which you can read here.

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A final thought…

When you turn art into a competition, you are saying one work of art is better than another work of art. Conversely, you’re saying something isn’t as good as something else. All art is subjective. I might think Bob Dylan’s voice is mercurial; you might think it sucks. The truth is in the eye — or ear — of the beholder.

I can make you a top-20 list of my favorite Nebraska bands. You can agree or disagree with as much of it as you want, understanding at the end of the day it’s just one man’s opinion.

And when you create a non-profit organization that’s designed to recognize the brightest local talent through an awards program, there’s going to be people who disagree with your choices.

However, when the area’s best-selling local albums by the three local performers who draw the largest local crowds are not nominated for the Album of the Year, Singer/Songwriter of the Year or Artist of the Year, people are going to ask questions.

I asked the questions yesterday. The answer was very clear. All three artists were considered during the nomination process, and Conor Oberst, The Faint and Orenda Fink simply didn’t make the cut. The nominating committee felt they’re not as good as those nominated for Best Singer/Songwriter; their records were not as good as those nominated for Album of the Year, and as artists and musicians, they simply didn’t do as much musically as the people who were nominated for Artist of the Year. The OEAA nominating committee has spoken.

Do you agree with them?

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Black Joe Lewis, The F***ing Party, Gordon, Dim Light tonight; Ladyfinger, Criteria (in Lincoln) Saturday; Dave Sink tribute Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:47 pm February 15, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here’s your weekend line-up, though it’s mostly a Friday-night line-up because there ain’t much happening the rest of the weekend.

The top touring-band show is Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears at The Waiting Room tonight. This is straight-up funk, blues, rock ‘n’ roll brought to you by Lost Highway Records. I’m surprised this hasn’t sold out already. Snake Island opens. $15, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, just down the street at Sweatshop Gallery (just south of The Barley Street) The Fucking Party is celebrating its LP release as part of their Very VD Valentimes Art Show. According to the event inviteFive dollars includes all you can drink beer, art, and music!” Wait, what? Free beer with your $5 cover? How can you beat that? Well, add Baby Tears and Dark Satellites to the line-up, along with some sweet art by the likes of 10 artists. I’m surprised this hasn’t sold out already. Starts at 9.

Happening right frickin’ next door at The Barley Street (They should have just closed off the street and combined the two shows) is Dim Light with K.C. psych act The Devil and Omaha sludge/stone rockers Megaton. $5, 9 p.m.

What’s that you say? You want to stay away from Benson tonight? No prob. Head over to O’Leaver’s tonight for Gordon (break-out act of 2013?) with Worried Mothers (unpredictable hi-jinx bordering on bat-shit crazy) and Adult Films (surf rock Omaha style). $5, 9:30 p.m.

And then comes Saturday and there ain’t dick going on in Omaha.

So you might want to drive to Lincoln not only for the final night of Lincoln Exposed, but also for the Ladyfinger album release show at The Bourbon Theater featuring a rare performance by fellow Saddle Creek Records band Criteria. Headcase-noise-explosion band Masses opens.  $8 if 21+; $10 if 18-21 (confusing!). 9 p.m.

One more thing…

Looks like the OEA Awards show is Sunday night at the Hilton Grand Ballroom. I’ve read/heard virtually nothing about this event other than there will be a special award and video tribute for the late, great Dave Sink, which by itself would be worth the $27+ ticket price. Show starts at 6 p.m. Good luck to the nominees, whoever they are… Waitaminit. The Reader‘s Chris Aponick, who’s all about The OEAA’s, wrote this bitchin’ summary of nominees.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Happy Bright Eyes Day!; Grammy/OEAA thoughts; Middle of the Map Fest; Pimps of Joytime tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:56 pm February 15, 2011

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Some odds and ends on this groovy Tuesday…

I hereby declare today, Feb. 15, 2011, as Bright Eyes Day, as the band’s new album, The People’s Key, officially “drops” at stores near you. No, there will be no parades, no fireworks, no turkeys thrown from helicopters, just lots of people buying lots of CDs (hopefully). If you live in the tri-state area and don’t want to be disappointed by arriving at the store only to find that they’re out of stock, go to Homer’s Records, who is absolutely guaranteeing that they’ll have plenty of CDs and vinyl on hand at competitive prices.

And just so you know that today is extra special, it’s also Conor Oberst’s 31st birthday, so roll by his Fairacres compound and wish him all the best (even though he probably ain’t there as he’s playing a show in Stockholm tomorrow).

* * *

It’s been two days and the smoke has cleared and now it’s time to contemplate this year’s Grammy’s and Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs).

First, the Grammy’s. I watched the whole thing unfold on my plasma Sunday night, one performance after another after another, remembering fondly when The Grammy’s was just an awards show. You have to admit, it was a stellar combination of musical talent that hasn’t been pulled together since the last Live Aid-style charity festival. On top of the legends sheet: Bob Dylan, Mick Jaggar, and, of course, Babs, followed by the next tier — Lady Gaga, Eminem and Arcade Fire.

So I’m thinking to myself — why is so much of the telecast being spent on performances this year? The only thing I could think of was that the artists and bands have closely examined the writing on the wall. The days of living high on the hog from CD sales are quickly coming to an end. These days the real money comes from ticket sales, and if you can get inside John Q. Slob’s living room and properly swing your moneymaker enough to convince him that it’s worth it to shell out the $75 to $100 per ticket when the caravan rolls into his local arena, you’ve done a helluva lot more than sell a few thousand CDs. Or maybe I’m wrong…

Anyway, the evening’s biggest Gee Whiz moment was Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year for The Suburbs, beating out a slew of major label bozos. Just how significant was the win? If it results in above-ground radio airplay and million-unit sales, it could spark interest in indie artists by majors in a way that hasn’t been seen since the Nirvana land-rush days. Or it could just be one giant head-scratcher by all those kids who bought or stole the latest Ke$ha/Katy Perry/Ga Ga record. Only time will tell.

As for the OEAAs, I followed the results as they were tweeted by hearnebraska.org. No surprises and most of my predictions were on the mark. It was a big night for It’s True, who won the Artist of the Year award.  But as much as I like the band, they didn’t deserve it, especially when you consider they announced their breakup shortly before the MAHA Music Festival, and then spent the rest of the year doing…nothing, while other artists (specifically Saddle Creek artists) were busy touring, making new albums and bringing the attention of the country right back here to Omaha. Oh well, it’s all just for fun, right?

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Speaking of festivals, someone posted some information about the Middle of the Map festival on the ol’ webboard, and the event looks promising. To be held April 8 and 9 in venues throughout Kansas City, the festival will feature 25-30 local and national acts, including Cursive, Appleseed Cast, Daniel Johnston, Dosh and The Life and Times.

“The festival is brought to you by Ink Magazine and The Record Machine. Ink magazine and inkkc.com are Kansas City’s premier lifestyle and entertainment publication and website,” said MotM organizers. “Owned by The Kansas City Star, it is one of Kansas City’s largest publications and the only one produced by and for people in their 20s and 30s.” The only one? Really? Whatever happened to Pitch Weekly? Regardless of the politics, the festival sounds like a good time, with two-day passes selling for a mere $25. Find out more at middleofthemapfest.com.

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Finally, there’s an odd little show going on tonight at a venue off the beaten path. The Hideout at 320 So. 72nd St., a place known mostly for hosting local metal shows, is hosting Brooklyn-based funk trio The Pimps of Joytime. Check out their myspace page and get ready to get weird. Opening is DJ Brent Crampton and SpenceLove. $7, 9 p.m. More details at the Facebook event page.

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Tomorrow right here: Pete Yorn. Thursday: Tennis. It’s a busy week…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.


David Bazan returns, Stickerguy facelift, OEAA predictions, Dirty Flourescents debut tonight, Wavves/Best Coast Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 6:20 pm February 11, 2011

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Some housekeeping items as we close out the week, before we get to the weekend picks:

— David Bazan of Pedro the Lion is returning to Omaha as part of a spring house-show tour. Bazan did this same tour last year, and it was a big success. Like last time, Karl Houfek (It’s True) is once again hosting the event. The show is March 24, and tickets (limited to just 40) went on sale today at 2 p.m. online here. Cost is $20. Karl said last year’s Bazan house show sold out in 48 hours, so if you’re interested, you better get clickin’.

— A head’s up that stickerguy.com just redesigned its website. I’ve been using  these guys for my stickers for a long time, driven by their cost and quality. In fact, I just got some new stickers made, so if you run into me at a show, ask for one. If you find a better vendor locally, use it; in the meantime, check ’em out.

— Someone on the webboard who posts as “Laserdisque” asked if I was going to make my annual picks for the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, which are this Sunday night in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is an ironic location considering the organization’s name. Anyway, my response was that I haven’t been following the awards since my public resignation earlier this year (which you can read here). And instead of a contest, if you’re looking for a list of the best bands and musicians in the area, it’s hard to fault The Reader‘s annual list, which you can read right here.

But that being said, I did manage to find the list of OEAA music nominees here at hearnebraska.org. So for you, Laserdisque, here are my predictions:

Best RockWho will win: Landing on the Moon. Who should have won: Probably Cursive, though they didn’t release anything in 2010 other than a benefit single (I think).

Best Hard Rock — Who will win: Emphatic. Should have won: Looking at the nominees, who cares?

Best Blues — Who will win: Matt Cox. Should have won: I honestly don’t know because I don’t follow local blues (or any blues for that matter).

Best Adult Alternative/Singer Songwriter — Who will win: Brad Hoshaw, though he didn’t release any new material last year. Should have won: Tim Kasher

Best Alternative/Indie — Who will win: Little Brazil (also nothing new in 2010). Should have won: Tim Kasher

Best Roots/Americana/Country/Bluegrass — Who will win: Filter Kings. Should have won: Filter Kings (though, again, no new material in ’10).

Album — What will win: It’s True, self-titled; Should have won: Tim Kasher, The Game of Monogamy

New Artist — Who will win: Conduits. Should have won: Conduits

Artist of the Year — Who will Win: It’s True. Should have won: Tim Kasher.

The fact that so many nominees didn’t produce new material in 2010 — Cursive, Landing on the Moon, Brad Hoshaw, Dan McCarthy, Little Brazil, Filter Kings, Conduits — is yet another strike against the OEAAs. I realize it’s a public nomination process, but really, to not have nominated Tim Kasher in any of the categories seems a bit, well, silly. But this is what I’ve come to expect from the OEAAs, and part of the reason why I’m no longer involved in it. But that said, the ceremony always is a good time, so if you’re going, have fun.
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Now onward, to the weekend:

Tonight at O’Leaver’s, it’s the world debut of Dirty Flourescents. According to this post on SlamOmaha, the trio is fronted by former Landing on the Moon guitarist Shawn Cox and includes Cricket Kirk on bass (Paper Owls) and Dave Hynek, drums (Venaculas). Also debuting at the very same show is The Garden, featuring frontman Jason Pollard (Song Remains the Same), guitarist Bunny Geist (Song Remains the Same), Cricket Kirk, bass; and Dave Hynek, drums. Also on the bill are Comme Reel and Paper Crickets. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, OEAA nominee The Filter Kings are playing at The Sydney with Reckless Ones, Blacktop Ramblers and Snake Island. $5, 8 p.m.

The big show Saturday night is Best Coast, Wavves and No Joy at The Waiting Room. And guess what, kids, this one’s sold out. No Joy came through Slowdown Jr. last October, and were pretty cool (review here), so I suggest you get there right at the 9 p.m. start time.

For those of us without tix, it’s back to O’Leaver’s for The Third Men, Students of Crime (a Thornton production) and Chromafrost. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.


OEA feedback; The 49’r’s last show ever tonight (with Bad Luck Charm); Of Montreal, STNNNG, Fourth of July also tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:09 pm October 22, 2010

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Briefly, there has been plenty o’ feedback on Tuesday’s blog entry regarding OEA nominations. You can read most of it in the comments section. OEA organizer MarQ Manner posted that anonymous Artist of the Year nominee Daniel Christian was a “top public nominee,” which, apparently, automatically gets him on the ballot, just like last year. He also said that Christian has played “many times” at The Barley Street Tavern. And then five other folks commented saying that Christian is a really nice guy. I have no doubt that he is. He even wrote me a kind e-mail introducing himself and saying in addition to his pumpkin patch tour that he’s also playing a couple coffee house gigs in the near future. So I guess I was wrong. Christian indeed deserves to be recognized as the significant musician in the Omaha/Lincoln area in 2010. Right?

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Word has it that not only is tonight the last show ever at The 49’r, but that the bar is closing its doors for good next Wednesday. Tonight’s gig features the return of Niner mainstay Bad Luck Charm along with power-pop superstars The Third Men. Expect a huge, boisterous crowd. I wouldn’t be surprised if some things go missing throughout the evening as people try to take home a piece of history. I’d love to see that moose head wind up at O’Leaver’s. Show starts at 9, if you can get in. Expect to pay at least $5.

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While the 49’r show is the most important gig of the weekend, there is a slew of others going on tonight that makes this the busiest Friday night music-wise in recent memory.

Top of the bill is Of Montreal at Sokol Auditorium. The band is on the road supporting a new album, and has Atlantic recording artist Janelle Monáe in tow. According to Rolling Stone, expect a show that’s akin to a carnival or circus, with giant puppets and other surprises.  Read my ’04 interview with the band and then pick up your $25 tickets to tonight’s show, which starts at 8.

Also tonight, Lawrence band Fourth of July is having a CD release show at O’Leaver’s with Capgun Coup and McCarthy Trenching. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And those leather-gloved punk animals STNNNG are playing at The Brothers Lounge with Well Aimed Arrows. STNNNG has a hot new album called Smoke of My Will coming out on Tuesday, which you’ll likely be able to snag at the gig. $5, 9 p.m.

Last but not least, Sub Pop band Avi Buffalo is playing at Slowdown Jr. Saturday night with Mother Culture. $8, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.