By Kelsey Jochum, Content Editor
Last Sunday’s fifth annual Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs) in Council Bluffs, IA had both class and chaos.
The event took place at Harrah’s Convention Center where nominees, their families and the general public were invited to witness the presentation of this year’s awards concerning the Omaha art community. The event was hosted by Tom Becka, Omaha’s well-known radio personality and salesman.
“Tonight, we recognize some of the most talented artists in the Omaha area,” opened Becka, “representing both visual and performing arts, as well as live music.”
The night began smoothly with The Moving Company, UNO’s modern dance performing group since 1935, starting off the first of many performances that night. As guests filtered in after the initial start of the event, their tables greeted them with personal popcorn buckets, as well as the option to buy beverages from the corner bar. Guests took advantage of this opportunity throughout the evening, walking back and forth, somewhat diminishing the elegance of the event.
As the night went on, presenters and receivers graced the stage, totaling 48 awards in all. While Becka announced most of the awards for the night, he occasionally passed the torch on to allow several other presenters the chance to take the spotlight, including KGOR’s Dave Wingert and Omaha’s own scary-man, Dr. San Guinary.
Perhaps the most memorable blunder of the evening was the evident trouble that the lack of an anticipated teleprompter seemed to cause. On more than one occasion, Becka and other presenters were seen fumbling through a script on the speaker’s podium, apparently unprepared for this form of recitation.
“You see, there’s supposed to be a teleprompter here,” explained a frustrated Becka after the previous presenter misplaced the script, “but there’s not, so we gotta use this script instead!”
This was not the only time that this document caused trouble throughout the night, as many difficulties continued to result from losses in place and misspeak in general.
Breaking up the show every ten awards or so, performers would take the stage to display the talent that brought them there. Those guests who stayed beginning to end were treated to the stylings of All Young Girls are Machine Guns (winner of Best Jazz/Easy Listening and Best New Artist awards), Steve Raybine, Felicia Webster, and the Filter Kings.
Amy Lane, who is currently directing UNO’s performance of “Dark Play or Stories for Boys,” won the award for Best Actress in a Play for her work in “Rabbit Hole” put on by the Blue Barn Theatre.
In the remainder of the performing arts category, Omaha Community Playhouse outdid themselves, winning nine of the 25 possible awards in that category, which ranged from individual acting to group performance.
After announcing Best Dramatic Play (“Death of a Salesman” – Omaha Community Playhouse), Becka returned to the stage to bid his guests adieu. However, after Becka left the stage and the nearly 100 guests in attendance began moving toward the door, the audience was surprised to learn that the final award of the night had been forgotten: Artist of the Year.
“Wait, we have one more!” explained a baffled Becka as he returned to the stage.
The award went to It’s True, who accepted the award despite the large number of bewildered guests moving toward the door thinking the night had ended. After a final send-off from Becka, accurate in placement this time, the rest of the crowd left, enjoying the prospect of an after party at Stir Live and Loud that Becka promised, that would be no doubt as chaotic as the first.