November 12th, 2003.
But first thing's first.
Last night we arrived in Omaha, Nebraska. A small city apparently dominated by the First National Bank - we'd landed a gig with the help of a friend from Providence, RI , of all places, and we rolled into town, located the Stage Right Cafe, and parked with very little difficulty.
The ultimate score? It was Veteran's Day and the meters weren't in effect.
Can I perhaps, get you, dear reader, to stand and give me a hallelujah?
And maybe even a HELL YEAH!
After Chicago and it's innumerable 15 cent tolls, coinage was at a premium for us (though we discovered that Chicago toll booths took pennies), so a free meter was a beautiful thing - sort of like a beautiful grey pillar of holy ... er... meterness, sent from some parking diety.
We got a chance to wander around for a little bit before actually setting up for the show, and ran across a beautiful sculpture (hated by the locals apparently, but created to commemorate the adventurer's spirit OF the locals by First National) and a really cool but closed "Magic Theatre" - labelled a juice bar from the exterior, the windows were filled with installation artwork and frightening mammoth mannekin creations. Eyes followed us until it was time for the show.
Playing the Stage Right was - unmemorable. We played ok, but our need for nightly practice sessions really showed, and I wanted to make use of my new looping pedal thingie, but really need to work with it more. I tried to attract people through the window with my sinuous guitar gesturings, and even took a break so that people could go call their friends on their cell phones and attract more in to our clutches... we ended the night with about six new fans, which isn't so bad, seeing as that was just about the population of the place through the evening.
Unfortunately, Omaha IS in the middle of everything ... and yet in the middle of nowhere. 8 hours from Denver, 8 hours from Chicago, and not much fun in and of itself... or so we thought....
Nicholas was one of our six. Nicolas works at the aforementioned Magic Theatre. He is the resident "spelunker".
The Magic Theatre of Omaha has apparently been in existance for about 60+ years, and closed maybe 6 years ago, and fell into disuse. The water no longer works, only parts of it have electricity, and all of it is filled with the faded trappings of aging stage art.
There are huge styrofoam animals, staircases, part of a whale - bins of hands and shelving units of "flying things". Hats, old costumes, tools and spools of miscellaneous threads, echoing with the distant useage of table saws - Nicholas leads us through this excavated labyrinth followed by two excitable pit bulls.
Flash light in hand, he leads us through dripping caverns and almost secret passages. Holes in walls open to reveal prop rooms stinking of a half-decade of disuse, and everywhere there is fallen plaster and discarded ... objects.
And it is these objects that find their way into the glass cases on the ground floor, pieces of art protesting war and hunting for peace and enshrining Castle Greyskull for no apparent reason. It is a heaven for a found object sculpter.
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