Beware the Ides of Smarch, Day 3: Desert Delights

I awoke to an absolutely perfect day.  I used the treadmill in my room to run 3.5 miles before getting cleaned up for Mat to take me to church at Our Lady of Mt Carmel.

It was packed today due to visitors attending spring training for the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.  Another truly uplifting service before Mat and Dave came back to collect me to return to Casa del O’Donnell y Langlois.

Mat prepared a homemade breakfast of taiyaki which is a Japanese fish shaped pancake stuffed with a sweet sauce (chocolate and vanilla custard in this case) and thick cut bacon which I used to make a sourdough bacon sandwich.

After breakfast (or brunch, depending on one’s point of view), the four of us played Tetris 99 which is a competition Tetris game where you play against 99 other online players to be the last person standing.  After a few rounds of this, we met on the battlefield of Super Mario Party once more.  Once again, I fell one star short as I lost to Carolyn, but at least having the satisfaction of topping Mat and making certain that Dave, as the accursed Yoshi, stayed in the basement of the rankings.

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StarFighters Arcade

At 3pm, Carolyn left for a concert while Mat, Dave, and I went back in time to the 80s and visited StarFighters Arcade, a vintage arcade.

I’ve visited several vintage arcades, but this has to be the top of the heap, so far.  For starters, it has the lowest price for an all day pass at only $11.  It also has a very varied selection of classic games and pinball machines with some serious old school stuff in here.  It also feels like a traditional arcade with 80s music being piped in and the place is so noisy, you have to practically shout to be heard.  80s movies also play on a couple of screens in the arcade.

I got to play some games that I hadn’t played in years such as Haunted House, a three tiered pinball game and Baby Pac-Man, a hybrid video and pinball game with the catch being that there are no power pellets, but you can escape to the pinball section of the game.  I also played a surprisingly fun Popeye pinball machine, battled Mat around the world in Karate Champ where he edged me out in duels, bested Golden Axe with Dave as he’s the best partner who’s ever worked against me, and even played original Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace games.  I had a pretty good run on Dragon’s Lair and may have been able to best it if I had focused my entire time on it.

We left the arcade machine shortly before closing time and stopped at a traditional Chinese restaurant called Shaanxi Garden for dinner.

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Shaanxi Garden

Shaanxi Garden is known for its homemade noodles and huge servings.  Each entree is truly family style, so I highly recommend sharing one entree among your group.  Mat ordered some cheese wontons as an appetizer and I enjoyed a few small servings of Stir Fry Pao Mo which is a braised, spicy lamb stew.

From the restaurant, we made our way to the Desert Botanical Garden to visit its Electric Desert light show.  This was also where Mat and Carolyn held their wedding reception and I was shocked to see just how small a space the venue had actually been.

It was a peaceful evening as we watched cacti light up like pinball machines, a mountain replicate the experience of a desert storm, and watched psychedelic colors dance over plants and rocks.

The night seemed over too soon before it was back to Mat’s and bed for tomorrow would be road tripping time.

Omaha Playhouse Announces 2015-16 Alternative Programming Schedule

The Omaha Playhouse announced their 2015-16 Alternative Programming schedule at a meet and greet with new Associate Artistic Director, Jeff Horger.  The season promises a little something for everybody with family fare, thought-provoking dramas, and even a musical or two.

Detroit 67

Staged Reading | Howard Drew Theatre
Written by Dominique Morisseau | Directed by Lara Marsh

Set during the explosive Detroit race riots of 1967, Detroit 67 is the story of two siblings trying to make ends meet. They turn their basement into an after-hours joint in an attempt to bring in some money. When a mysterious woman finds her way into their lives, the siblings clash over much more than the family business.

Contains mature content.

Take Me Out

Staged Reading | Howard Drew Theatre

Written by Richard Greenberg | Directed by Noah Diaz

A star center fielder of a major league baseball team is on top of the world. When he comes out as being gay, his announcement brings forth a variety of reactions from friends, fans and teammates. Reaction turns to violence after a bigoted closing pitcher joins the team. A story about our society, our culture and our national pastime.

Contains mature content.

 Civil War Voices

Staged Reading | Howard Drew Theatre
Written by James R Harris | Music by Mark Hayes | Directed by Jeff Horger

Civil War Voices is a collection of compelling and passionate true stories of real individuals who lived through the Civil War, often using the actual words they left behind in diaries, letters and other writings. This is a creative presentation of the history of the Civil War with chilling stories of battle and death, injustices and hope for the future, all intertwined with songs of that time period.

Appropriate for all audiences.


 The Mildred Project

From the Ground Up | Howard Drew Theatre
Written by Denise Chapman

An official collaboration with the Great Plains Theatre Conference, From the Ground Up is a workshop that provides a safe and nurturing playground for artists to develop new work for the theatre. The playwright’s material will be shared with an audience while still in the developmental phase then will continue to be developed to be included in the next Great Plains Theatre Conference.


 A Steady Rain

Staged Reading | Howard Drew Theatre
Written by Keith Huff | Directed by Christina Rohling

Joey and Denny have been best friends since kindergarten. After working together for several years as police officers in Chicago, they are practically family. Joey helps out with Denny’s wife and kids. Denny keeps Joey away from the bottle. When a domestic disturbance call takes a turn for the worse, their friendship is put on the line as they start a harrowing journey into a dark ethical arena.

Contains mature content.


 New Voices

Special Event | Hawks Mainstage

Meet some of the young artists of Omaha. This special evening will showcase the artistic talents of students from local schools.


 Dogfight

Staged Reading | Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul | Book by Peter Duchan
Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort
Directed by Ablan Roblin

It’s November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for a final night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. However, when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.

Contains mature content.


 Treasure Island

Staged Reading | Hawks Mainstage Theatre
Written by Ken Ludwig | Adapted from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Directed by Vincent Carlson-Brown

A stunning yarn of piracy on the tropical seas. At the center of this exhilarating tale of swashbuckling mayhem are Jim Hawkins, a 14-year old boy who longs for adventure, and the infamous Long John Silver, who is a complex study of good and evil, perhaps the most famous hero-villain of all time.

Appropriate for all audiences.

 The Patchwork Play Project

Special Event | Hawks Mainstage

A completely original piece of theatre with a twist! Omaha is home to many talented playwrights, both well established and up-and-coming. A group of local talent will be teaming up to write an original play—one piece at a time. One individual will start writing the piece in the summer of 2015. It will be handed off to another writer to continue the story and will continue to be handed off over the course of the year. Where the story goes…nobody knows! Come watch a staged reading of the final project to find out what the creative minds of Omaha can concoct.


Alternative Programming events are free and open to the public with an opportunity for donations. No tickets or reservations are necessary. The 21 & Over readings are intended for mature audiences and discretion is advised.

2015 Staged Reading Auditions June 8 & 9