Blixt Locally Grown Announces Season of Artistic Innovation, Community Building, and Education and Engagement
Lincoln, NE - Blixt Locally Grown (BLG) is offering a local and statewide roster of vibrant arts and community events for the 2021-2022 season. A Lincoln-based arts nonprofit, BLG is known for putting interesting twists on arts experiences and leveraging creativity to connect community members through meaningful events. This season, BLG will offer a mix of live performances, community events, and educational opportunities.
“At Blixt, we know that the arts are a powerful conduit for growing goodness. Creativity is a vibrant asset we’re thrilled to share with our community and state, and this season is one of our most exciting to date,” said BLIXT Executive Director Becky Boesen.
Kicking off fall events are two live performances of The Dream Switch, a song cycle performed by a live band that tells the story of a young Nebraskan who is trying to decide whether or not to leave or stay in her hometown. With lyrics by Becky Boesen and music by David von Kampen, The Dream Switch puts an exciting millennial twist on the idea of rural returnership and makes space for conversations about welcoming and inclusion. Performances are free and open to the public and will be held on Sunday, August 29th at 6 PM at the VeteransMemorial Building Parking Lot in Nebraska City, and on Sunday, October 3rd at 1 PM at the Thayer County Activity Center in Deshler, Nebraska. The Dream Switch is produced in partnership with Nebraska Community Foundation.
Blixt will also continue to embark on a rich collaboration with Lincoln Community Learning Centers, and will be providing and co-creating multiple after school clubs for Lincoln Public Schools elementary and middle school students. One such club returning to the roster after a successful inaugural year is Branching Outward, a youth-led series that utilizes plant science to encourage and foster friendship and belonging. Focusing on “helping people find their people”, Branching Outward combines hands-on tasks with social and emotional curriculum and helps students build confidence and connection.
Just in time for Halloween, BLG will present Ghouls’ Night Out at the Mill Bistro on Innovation Campus, featuring spooky monologues from area playwrights. For act one, audiences will be invited to cozy up for scary original works, hot brews and cold chills! Act two involves audience participation and will invite the crowd to share their own scary stories and tales with the audience as the evening unfolds. Ghouls’ Night Out is Saturday, October 30th at 7 PM and tickets will be $20 and available for preorder or at the door.
In November, BLG will kick off its 5th annual “Wuzzlewubbies” Blanket Project, a local initiative that connects community members and helps provide new and homemade blankets to elementary students at local schools. A combination of individual donations, as well as the involvement of local businesses and clubs helps to make the project a success. This year, several small businesses will be invited to participate in the collection of blankets and be featured as “Locally Grown Helpers” for the project.
“This season exemplifies what Blixt is all about. We strive to serve our communities, support local artists and performers, and raise awareness about issues; and we have fun doing it!” said Deepak Keshwani, President of Blixt Locally Grown.
Spring 2022, get ready for breakfast, fresh beats, (and bacon!) with your best buds in a secret pop-up location! Hosted by DeWayne Taylor, D-Wayne’s BLIXT’D Brunch will bring people together over some of life’s greatest joys: good food, good drinks, and awesome music. Dates for the brunch will be announced in winter 2022.
“D-Wayne’s Blixt’d Brunch deepens our efforts to shine a light on young Nebraskans and connect with them in a fun, authentic way. We are so grateful to D-Wayne for helping us find innovative ways to engage with Lincolnites of all ages,” said Boesen.
The BLG season will culminate with When Lightning Strikes: A New Works Festival, which premieres in June 2022 (date and time TBA) and is a staged reading workshop of new plays written by Blixt Playwriting Fellows. Selected for their promising talent and unique voices, Blixt Playwriting Fellows are being mentored for a year by professional playwrights and others who are supportive of their work. Audiences can expect to be delighted by fresh new voices and to interact with new plays that tackle themes of identity, grief, isolation, climate change, and more. Information about festival passes and admission will be released in winter 2022.
For more information about the Blixt Locally Grown 2021-22 season, please visit www.blixt.space.
Blixt Locally Grown Utilizes Virtual Theatre and Input From Local Physicians To Address Community Health
Blixt Locally Grown (BLG) had planned a live performance of Conor McPherson’s St. Nicholas in partnership with The Mill Coffee and Tea on Innovation Campus around Halloween time. With the local COVID-19 dial rising, BLG will instead provide a streamed performance of St. Nicholas on October 30th at 7 PM.
In addition to the 75-minute production, BLG will host an online community discussion following the virtual performance featuring Dr. Phil Boucher, Dr. Bob Rauner, Carly Woythaler-Runestad, and Becky Boesen. Local community builder and personality DeWayne Taylor will moderate the post-show discussion panel. Dr. Phil Boucher will also introduce the live feed of St. Nicholas.
“This production change and addition of a health-related panel illustrates BLG’s commitment to making pandemic sensitive theatre,” said Petra Wahlqvist, President/Community Organizer for BLG. “Blixt Locally Grown is honored to welcome the panelists to the project, and believes that their presence will help elevate a message centric to the BLG canon: Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.”
Dr. Boucher is a well-known local pediatrician who has been featured on local and national outlets after growing a following for his straightforward parenting advice.
Dr. Rauner is an expert in public health and has been a voice of reason during the current pandemic, providing weekly video updates on YouTube. He is also a member of the Lincoln Public School Board of Education.
Carly Woythaler-Runestad is the Executive Director of Mourning Hope Grief Services. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of children’s grief, health policy, and community health.
Becky Boesen is the co-founder of Blixt Locally Grown, and an award-winning playwright, lyricist, producer, and educator. As a consultant, she currently works alongside vibrant rural communities to unleash local creative assets. She was recently honored as a Chime Bank 2020 Changemaker for her commitment to advancing goodness through the arts.
St. Nicholas is a play about an individual dealing with feelings of isolation and longing for connection, which are timely themes during COVID-19. Performed by veteran actor Brad Boesen and directed by Becky Boesen, St. Nicholas is an exploration of what happens when we fail to make deep relationships and lose touch with the parts of life that help us feel wanted and like we belong. Sometimes haunting, but also humorous, St. Nicholas makes space for conversations about community, secret thoughts, personal dreams, and what it means to share the world with others.
“We can’t miss this opportunity to provide a stunning piece of theatre while also utilizing live arts to address current events in our own community,” says BLG President Petra Wahlqvist. “The world may feel pretty divisive right now, but at the end of the day, we’re all people in our communities, sharing a place. Taking care of each other has to be at the heart of what we do.”
The live streamed virtual performance and community conversation is available to purchase in advance for $10 at www.blixt.space or by calling 402.817.8176.
All proceeds will go toward a live performance set for December at The Mill Coffee and Tea on Innovation Campus.
“We have to wait for that dial to go down before we share a room,” says director Becky Boesen. “Meanwhile, theatre and the catalyst it creates for unleashing community goodness doesn’t go away. We’re here for it virtually until we can all be together again.”
St. Nicholas by Conor McPherson
A virtual live stream event and community conversation
7 PM - Oct 30th
*This play contains some adult themes and is not suitable for young children
About Blixt Locally Grown:
Blixt Locally Grown is a Nebraska-based arts organization that grows goodness with the arts. BLG specializes in the development of new works, education and engagement, community building, and the integration of arts and culture into all facets of life. To learn more about Blixt, please visit www.blixt.space, or check out the August cover story of L magazine, which features Blixt’s origin story and current work. BLG is supported by Nebraska Community Foundation, the Peter Kiewit Foundation, Humanities Nebraska, Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Beyond School Bells, the Pearle Francis Finigan Foundation, Union Bank and Trust, and individual donors. www.blixt.space
About The Mill Coffee and Tea:
Craft micro-roaster since 1975 with multiple venues that serve and bring value to neighborhoods throughout Lincoln, Nebraska: At 8th & P in the Historic Haymarket, 48th & Prescott in the College View neighborhood, 21st and Transformation Drive on Innovation Campus, and 21st & Capitol Parkway in the Telegraph District. www.millcoffee.com
Local COVID-19 Resources:
*A note from Blixt Locally Grown: Our organizational ethos is one of embracing risk and taking "the leap." Board Member Dr. Darl Naumann shares a story about a recent leap he took, and what he learned.
The year has been somewhat challenging, with COVID-19 placing an obstacle in front of almost every event I’d been looking forward to for months.
My son Sam saw a coupon for skydiving at in our hometown of Holdrege. We considered it.
Why not? We decided to go for it! Fast forward to the sky...
Jumpers onboard, doors closed and the plane took off into the air to reach the altitude. Then it rose higher and higher as the altimeter crawled slowly up—over two miles! And I knew we were getting close.
The pilot had planned something special, and he said, “we are about to experience Zero-G.” The instructor in front of me had not put on his helmet, and it began to float in the cockpit. I placed my hand on the roof of the plane as I became weightless.
This weightlessness was something few people get to experience. I felt like “Peter Pan” before gravity took over as we soared again to 14,000 feet. For 20 seconds, the zero gravity was the realization of every boy’s childhood dream.
Then reality as the door of the plane opened and a cold wind filled your lungs. Jumpers began to inch their way toward the opening.
Soon, I was standing at the opening of the airplane. My toes on the ledge pointing toward something unknown. My instructor said we would jump on “three” but we jumped on “one”!
The feeling was surreal. I just didn’t know what to think. All I could do was be present to feel the sensation of soaring through the air. I knew from the reading that the free fall would only last 60 seconds. That minute became 60 seconds of adrenaline-fueled sweetness.
I quickly went into a skydiving position with arms bent and back and knees bent - the “banana” position the instructor was so careful to explain in his presentation. A few short seconds into the one-minute freefall I was relaxed! A kinda-otherworldly feeling of lasting forever – while at the same time feeling that it’s over almost before it starts.
Thus began the rush everyone talks about and it sticks in your mind indefinitely.
Freefall is unequalled...
Finally, the instructor pulled the cord and I went from a feeling of uncomfortable unknowingness to a state of calm peace as I floated slowly downward.
I steered from left to right and made my landing.
During this unbelievable experience, I learned a few things that I’m happy to share:
Don’t analyze too much.
If I would have thought too much beforehand about the experience that lay before me, I probably would have talked myself right out of even trying. I think soberly about my decisions in life. That’s wisdom. But overanalyzing to the point of paralysis gets you nowhere.
There may be some waiting time in between learning how to do something and actually doing it.
I may feel that I’m ready to go forward but the conditions all around me are shaped by the world. Skydiving requires clear conditions, and they’re worth waiting for.
The first step or two out of my comfort zone will feel uncomfortable and even scary but if I continue to go forward, I’ll realize that I am moving along my journey of life.
Stepping outward and taking a risk made space for an exceptional father-son experience I’ll not forget.
Final lesson..Don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
You just might have an adventure of a lifetime!
Blixt Locally Grown