Week Fifty Two

Musings and a few links

Posted in 2007 Archives by sarahbakerhansen on 20 August 2007
I’ve been out of town for the past few days, in Phoenix, and I was actually glad to get back to Omaha for a few uninterrupted days (though I do have to travel to Kearney bright and early tomorrow morning.)
Here’s some links to some of my recent writing.
Cover story on Larry the Cable Guy, Omaha Reader
Review of the Bloch Building, the new wing at Kansas City’s Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
Review of Natalie Linstrom’s show at the old Darkroom Gallery in downtown Omaha
I also recently checked out Kansas City’s first Friday openings, and my review of that isn’t posted online, but I posted it below in its entirety.
This week I’ll be reviewing Sheldon Connections two, now on display in Lincoln and writing about the Bemis Center’s new podcasts. I’ll also be attending the opening of Dave Swensen’s solo show at the Bemis Underground.
Other intriguing stuff: There’s a show opening at Creighton’s Lied Gallery of art inspired by the work of Ted Kooser. I’m also looking forward to this fall at the UNO Gallery now that Dan Siedell is on staff in Omaha. I’ll also be writing in the coming weeks about a new group called Design Alliance Omaha, which aims to heighten all of our knowledge about architecture and the envoronment around us.
Meantime, here’s my thoughts on KC’s first Friday:
Kansas City’s First Friday art openings are almost legendary in the Omaha arts community.
I’ve heard about them ever since I’ve written for the Reader, but I’ve never been able to time my annual KC summer trip to the right time. This year it finally happened, and I come to you with a full report – some good and some bad – on the city’s bustling Crossroads District on First Friday.
The first thing you gotta know is that it’s packed out. Thousands of people descend on a mile-wide area in downtown KC, the boundaries being 15th Street, Interstate 35, the Freighthouse district and Troost Ave. My sister and I were forewarned that the area surrounding 20 th street and Baltimore was the craziest part – the epicenter – and boy was that right.
The streets were teeming with people and the crowd, combined with the sauna-like August heat, made things a tad sweaty. In fact, the crowd was so big that people in essence formed a single-file line down the street, into each gallery door, through each gallery, back out the door and on to the next. It’s not exactly an atmosphere for casual perusal.
I looked in vain for a glass of wine or a catered snack but none were in sight. One gallery owner told me in the past, vittles were part of the game, but the crowds have made it too expensive for most galleries to provide, so they stopped. Also, don’t expect to go to the ladies room without a battle. In one gallery, I was met with a snide remark when I asked about facilities, and the lack of restrooms is apparently a common problem on First Friday. (Thanks to the gallery owner that took pity on me a few blocks later.)
That’s the not so good.
But the good was really good. My sister and I loved – and I mean loved – the stretch of galleries, stores and coffee shops along 18th St. I was especially excited to spot Straw, Sticks and Bricks, the sustainable design outlet that also has a location in Lincoln. The street life was great – we saw a man taking photos for a Kansas City fashion magazine, a guy in red and black zebra print plastic pants doing some crazy dance moves on one corner and a café full of some hard core indie rockers; closer to 20th street we saw street vendors, a band using a street sign as an instrument and some politicos: one group supporting Ron Paul and a second supporting Bush impeachment.
The best art was at the Blue Gallery, (http://www.bluegalleryonline.com/) on 19th and Grand, but I also loved a store called Spool (http://www.ilovespool.com/) where I bought a really sweet horseshoe necklace made by Lawrence jewelry artist Kyle Grater. I’d recommend checking it out, if only to give a cool event some added support, something any arts community needs if it’s going to continue to thrive.

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