camcarlson

miscellaneous commentary

Omaha Blues

with 4 comments

Here we are at the end of July. This time ten years ago I had embarked on my first solo road trip, traveling east to visit my friends Leah in Oxford OH, Steph in Dearborn MI and Scott in New Haven CT. I returned home for a few short days before moving to Omaha NE to student teach during my final semester of college. I shared an apartment with two ladies who were also student teachers from UNI.

Sometimes I would go out with Annie and Rachel. We had a knack for finding new restaurants to eat at on Fridays. Sometimes we were joined by a couple guys from UNI who were also student teaching in Omaha. Once in a while we’d go out to a bar or club, or go see a movie. We attended a midnight screening of “The Evil Dead” at the Dundee Theater on a Friday night, which just happened to be Halloween. I remember thinking “Annie is going to like this and Rachel is going to hate me for making her watch this” and I made sure to sit between the two. Turns out Rachel broke out in laughter several times while Annie shriveled her face at the screen. I clearly didn’t know my roommates very well.

Sometimes I went out on my own. I liked going to the Dundee because it was one of those older one-screen theaters that often showed independent films like “Northfork” and “American Splendor”. I also caught some good movies at the local AMC on 132nd, such as “Thirteen” and “Lost in Translation”, one of the best cinematic experiences of my life. Very much a “right place at the right time” sorta thing. Once in a while I’d hit up a bar like the 49’r (right next door to the Dundee). One time I stopped in the Ranch Bowl on 72nd St, an oddly wonderful mix of bowling and live music. During November and December I took to ransacking the selection of quality movies at the Hollywood Video branch a few blocks from our apartment.

Anyway… Viet and I have been brainstorming places to see next month and I considered Omaha as part of a road trip that might also include Kansas City and Des Moines. I did a bit of internet sleuthing into the places I used to frequent a decade ago (the cause this nostalgic entry) and learned many of the places I fondly remember from my time there cease to exist! The Ranch Bowl was torn down to make way for a Wal-Mart (typical), the 49’r torn down and replaced by CVS, and I was unable to find any listing for a Hollywood Video branch near Wright Plaza (near as I can remember it being located when I lived there). The Dundee is still “open” though currently closed for renovations.

It’s sad knowing the few places I can remember with any fondness from my time in Omaha no longer exist. It’s not on par with a favorite hangout closing (like Little Italy did, or if the same fate should ever befall the Panther Lounge), but it’s still a bummer.

In my mind, Omaha looks better in the rear view mirror. I know I didn’t have the time of my life when I lived there but over time, like most things, I tend to gloss over the things I didn’t like (such as the early hours and other aspects of student teaching) and only remember the things I did like. But I feel no strong desire to revisit the city. The places I liked going to are gone and no one I knew there lives there anymore. I suspect one of the teachers I taught under may still be around and we had a good rapport, but we haven’t kept in touch at all and I have no reason to seek her out.

Maybe this segues into why I don’t write online much anymore. Writing about my day, or an aspect of it, an interesting anecdote (interesting sometimes only to myself, I suspect) or whathaveyou, is a form of nostalgia. And I guess I’ve gotten so good at living in the present (when I’m not thinking about the future) that I don’t devote any time to recollection or reflection. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Food for thought.

On the bright side, the Spaghetti Works in downtown Omaha is still open. Thank god for that.

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Written by camcarlson

July 31, 2013 at 9:46 PM

Posted in Cinema, Travel

Tagged with , , , ,

4 Responses

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  1. I remember your New Haven visit well and had a lot of fun. However it is located on Connecticut…not Colorado. 🙂

    trumpethustra

    August 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM

  2. Despite you never sending the link, I finally remembered to search and find you here! (FYI: Googling “damfest cedar falls” finds this in the top 10 hits. Just “damfest” gets the geocities page of long ago).
    So, while your writing wans, I will catch up on the old stuff!
    Take a road trip to China? You might need a boat or plane as part of the journey, but you can roadtrip once your here.

    katya42

    September 22, 2013 at 7:32 AM


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