Everything's Up to Date in Omaha

About a year ago, I was working on a short feature about how cities are trying to promote their local scenes. Fritz Junker, the head ...
by | April 16, 2007

Omaha_2 About a year ago, I was working on a short feature about how cities are trying to promote their local scenes. Fritz Junker, the head of the Des Moines music commission, told me that his city was trying to emulate the success of Omaha and its "huge, burgeoning scene."

That was news to me, so naturally I called Omaha and found out about the success of Saddle Creek Records and a concert and nightclub development it was building with the blessing of the city.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying that Studio 360, the public radio program, had a segment last week about how Omaha is turning trendy. Host Kurt Andersen is an Omaha native and he talks with the fellows at Saddle Creek, as well as a bunch of visual artists who are putting Omaha on their media's map.

The story contains every cliche about downtown revitalization -- old warehouses being made into expensive condos; young hipsters having a gay old time; worn-out industrial properties being turned into assets; rising rents driving out the pioneering artists; and quotes from Richard Florida. Still, if you're interested in this sort of thing, it's a good case study.

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