The dynamic duo behind concert promotion company Perpetual Nerves — Chris Aponick and Sam Parker — are opening their own music venue and art gallery near downtown Omaha.
Milk Run is located at 1907 Leavenworth St., right next door to Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar in the same turn-of-the-last-century building. The concert room will be rather cozy, about the same size as The Sweatshop Gallery; while the art gallery space is much more open. The two rooms are connected via a fenced-in patio in the back of the buildings, which also will act as the venue’s main entrance located right off a parking lot shared with Shucks.
Here’s what the duo had to say about the new music venue:
Why are you opening an all-ages club?
Chris Aponick: We wanted a spot that we could run with consistent standard, a space that put music in the forefront of its mission and one that would be an ideal spot for smaller scale bands. We wanted a room that makes a crowd of 30 to 50 people feel like an event instead of a bummer. It’s an incubator for bands that are on the way up or bands that are looking to reconnect with the immediacy found in house shows or DIY spots. We want bands to have a good experience playing in Omaha, so that they make Omaha a regular stop as their fanbase grows. We want a place that is approachable for everyone that wants to see a band. We don’t want the term “all ages” to mean just for those under 30. We also want to provide a reliable venue for others bringing bands to town.
How did you settle on the location?
Aponick: Shuck’s crab legs led me to the spot. I hit up their Monday happy hour with my friend (and now our neighbor Greg Sechser of Howlin’ Hounds coffee shop) and I peeked in at the two bays. I inquired about them the next day and they were perfect for what Sam & I had discussed for an ideal all-ages space.
What kind of shows will you be booking?
Aponick: Our shows will continue to be more of what has already been booked under the Perpetual Nerves banner, though we’re hoping to dabble in a little bit more variety. The goal is to get bands we and others like into town. We want to bring stuff to Omaha that would not play in town without our involvement. We’re still hoping to do shows with venues like O’Leaver’s Pub, Lookout Lounge, Slowdown and the Waiting Room Lounge when those rooms are good fits. We also want others to use our space, too. It’s available for shows that others put together.
How will you curate and operate the art gallery?
Sam Parker: We intend to have a monthly rotation of various artists in the gallery. Particularly trying to focus on musicians who are also artists in the visual arts aspect as well. Ideally, they would display their artwork, make a playlist of songs that influences their work and that list would be played during the showings. Gives the viewer a more in-depth feel to the artist.
Who’s involved other than Chris and Sam?
Aponick: Sara Bertuldo and Matthew Carroll of See Through Dresses are responsible for sound. The equipment, the ongoing management & hopefully upgrading of the system and running live sound will all be spearheaded by these two. Sara Bertuldo will be the main sound engineer for shows. Mike Zimmerman (DWNR, Chalant) will also be helping with projects both aural and visual. We hope to include others in what we hope is a collaborative space for shows, performance, art and more.
When is your first show and who are the bands performing?
Aponick: American Cream, David Nance, Robust Worlds, and Church of Gravitron — it’s a show organized by Church of Gravitron’s Justin O’Connor. It’s November 7 and it’s only $5.
How do you guys line up your bands? Who do you work with?
Aponick: People email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. (We) email some band or booking agents and pray for a positive reply. Some bands have been pointed in our direction by local friends, which is always appreciated. Booking Pile really jump-started things. Pile is everything.
How do you keep up with new bands that are awesome? You pretty much hit the nail on the head with all your PN shows.
Aponick: Mike Kronberger, who designed the PN logo, turned me on to Exploding In Sound Records. That’s been a big one. I love getting recommendations on things to check out. Others have just been from listening and making gut calls on stuff that ends up in the inbox. Some of it, like All Dogs, is just obvious on a first listen that they’re something special.
Is there a club that you’re trying to emulate or that will influence your club? i.e., “We’re trying to do what the Cog Factory did.” or “We really like how they do things at Jackpot down in KC”, etc.
Aponick: Mostly we just wanted to keep going with the positive momentum that was flowing at the Sweatshop Gallery between Craig Dee’s Eyeball Promotions shows and our shows there. We felt the best route was to give ourselves a home base that we curated and organized.
Why did you call it Milk Run? What’s the origin of that name?
Aponick: It’s called Milk Run, as a playful nod to the area’s gay history. A milk run was an innocuous excuse to get out of the house and go downtown in the ’80s and ’90s for gay men. We want people to be open and be themselves in our space. By embracing a part of the area that was once secretive, we’re saying that your identity is welcome here.
Are you concerned that the name could alienate some people and/or parents?
Aponick: If it’s alienating for any other reason than homophobia, I’d be surprised, but willing to discuss those feelings.
What’s your definition of success when it comes to the club? What are you trying to accomplish?
Aponick: Paying our rent and paying touring and local bands well. We want to make sure touring bands have the ability to leave Omaha with a good experience and a good payday. We want to make Omaha a spot worth stopping for more bands. And we want to add to the idea that Omaha is a vibrant, artistically progressive city.
Do you think you could fill a niche that all the other venues aren’t filling? What’s that niche?
Parker: Let’s leave that for the people to decide. Our goal is strong in bringing touring acts that people as well as ourselves, want to see. But, at the same time, highly focusing on the great local scene that’s constantly growing and forever evolving. Bigger show. Little show. Doesn’t matter, hit us up. Our venue is yours.
Keep track of the Milk Run concert and art show schedule at the venue’s Facebook page.