Things have been busy and fun in Omaha, with so many events happening that Vivian and I haven’t even been able to attend them all. One specifically was a very important Centennial anniversary that occurred over the weekend — the 100-year celebration of the Lincoln Highway! Apparently, a bunch of classic cars took a tour down the old brick road in West Omaha, and even the Omaha Jitterbugs made an appearance to dance for the occasion out by Saddle Creek. Wish I could have been there.
On Friday night, Vivian and I took Hannah up to Memorial Park for Bank of the West’s annual concert and fireworks show. I’d dropped by around lunchtime to put down a blanket in advance while Hannah visited some friends at Friendship Program for “take your kid to work day” with Mommy. That evening, we got to enjoy a couple hours of rocking 80s music with Loverboy and Pat Benatar. Memorial Park was host to tens of thousands of people crowded around for the free show, so we naturally bumped into a few friends on the way up. Our blanket was pretty close to the stage, so I had to find a way to plug Hannah’s 19-month old ears, which wasn’t easy. I think next time we might place ourselves a little farther back in the park, where Hannah seemed to enjoy picking clover. A couple of Vivian’s friends dropped in to share our space as the sun went down on the park, and then some fireworks hit the sky the dazzle the crowd after the show was over. This was the first time Hannah had seen real, live fireworks, so she was happily mesmerized before we began the trudge back home amidst the thousands of people clogging Dodge Street.
On Saturday, we partook in another fun put-your-blanket-down-in-a-park-and-enjoy-a-free-show type of event: Shakespeare on the Green! I usually enjoy setting up our spot hours before the show starts and then enjoying a long afternoon of reading in gorgeous weather before people start to arrive. We had a smaller crowd this time around, since Titus Andronicus is decidedly for mature audiences only (so no families with kiddos). Joining our blanket were Phil and Jen, Jessica, and Jon Paper, all with various things to nibble. Juggler Jek Kelly and singers Madrigali et al wandered the crowd before the show, per tradition, and then Two-Minute Shakespeare hit the stage with some very lively (and abbreviated) performances of Macbeth, Titus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Julius Caesar. The show itself was bloody magnificent. I knew nothing about the play before it started other than the level of violence, but I was able to follow the twisted tale of revenge without any trouble at all. The dress was traditional for first century Rome, and all the players were very convincing in their roles. I should congratulate director Vincent Carlson-Brown for making the blocking on stage so picture-worthy. I’m only glad I had my telephoto lens.
We had such a great time that we might just come back to see the comedy Twelfth Night next week. We’ll see.