By Natali Bianco, Entertainment Editor
The Benson Theatre Project will be hosting a special Toons & Brews event on Feb. 22 at the Pizza Shoppe Collective in Benson.
Toons & Brews will feature works by artist Jeff Koterba, beer tastings provided by New Belgium Brewing and food from The Pizza Shoppe.
The exhibit will open at 7pm, and Koterba will be giving a talk at 8pm.
The food and beer tastings will run throughout the night, and the historic Benson Theatre, next door, will be open for tours.
All proceeds of Toons & Brews will be donated to the Benson Theatre Project, a non-profit organization that is working to raise funds to purchase the Benson Theatre at 6054 Maple Street.
The organization plans to have enough money to buy the theater by April of this year.
Once purchased, the group is planning restoration of the theater and eventually hopes to have the building serve as a cultural center with educational programming, workshops and seminars during the day, and entertainment at night.
One of the hosts of the event will be Jason Levering, executive director of the Omaha Film Festival. Levering is working with the Benson Theatre Project.
“Jeff is one of the most creative and talented individuals I know,” Levering said. “Toons & Brews is going to be a great show, and we’re excited and honored to be hosting it.”
You might recognize Koterba’s cartoons from the Omaha World Herald. His work has been featured in more than 400 newspapers worldwide including The Chicago Sun Times, The New York Times, USA Today and on CNN.
Warren Buffett and Oprah have also been known for collecting his work.
Two of Koterba’s drawings traveled aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 2010.
His published memoir titled “Inklings” was named a favorite non-fiction book of 2009 by the Chicago Tribune.
Koterba was also featured in a documentary titled “Voluntary Gestures” that studied the connection between creativity and Tourette’s Syndrome.
“I’m excited about all of the great things that are happening in Benson,” Koterba said. “And I’m just as thrilled about the Theatre Project. The Benson Theatre has all the potential to become the crown-jewel of Maple Street.”
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online and will be available at the door, day of show.
For more information on The Benson Theatre Project or to buy tickets, visit bensontheatre.org.