Bug Symposium, “Weirdest Thing to Do in Omaha”


October 6th, 2017

Photo courtesy of Dave Crane

Omaha, NE—Started in 2014 by Dave Crane, The Omaha Bug Symposium was a chance for local bands to perform and for Crane to show some of his own bug photography. Since moving from the West Wing to Midtown Art Supply and now to OutrSpaces, the event has expanded, offering lectures, music, gifts, and art—all bug related, of course.

The bug symposium is not just for amateur entomologists, Crane explained.

“We’ve had people from biology students from UNO and UNL and students that study at the med center people that just found out about it online because it was it was the weirdest thing that they saw going on in Omaha that night, and it’s turned into kind of a blend of those two audiences,” Crane said. “There are people that are there for the bugs for the bug presentations and they know that it’s going to be this unruly, halfway-improvised, hilarious and entertaining lecture on bugs and then they’re not aware of hardcore noise music that’s happening in between set and there’s some people that are there just for the noise and it’s a great juxtaposition of the audience members.”

This year’s symposium will feature musical acts CBN and Effluvium. All guests are welcome to participate in the bug art contest and bug costume contest. Any medium is acceptable and encouraged. Crane and Matz do suggest though that costume contestants should be ready to give a heartfelt explanation for their choice, because the competition is steep.

Also this year, 3-D printed bugs designed using photogrammetry and even bug comestibles. Those will be free charge, because guests might need some encouragement to try them.

And if you’re planning on attending for purely entomological reasons, Matz and Crane talked bit about their presentations.

“Last year I talked about sperm competition in insects,” Matz said. “A great topic—I realized a little too stilted for our audience, so my talk this year will be something insect related but it will be something more of a subversive topic. Maybe insect fighting or something like that.”

“So my contribution to the lectures is using photos and videos that I’ve accumulated over the years that I’ve taken talking about insect morphology [and] anatomy, talking about different plant interactions, parasitism and mutualism pretty much the most fascinating aspects of bugs that I’ve taken photos of,” Crane said.

All of these events lead up to a final presentation by Crane and Matz at the end of the night.

“I’d say the pinnacle of the evening as it was last year is a joint presentation where we use combined focus stacking and 3D and people put on 3D glasses. We zoom way in above body parts and it is completely bizarre. I mean like the little cavities in between where the antenna is plugged into and the actual antenna itself being able to explore some very minute interstitial spaces on top of the insect exoskeleton. Stay for the end.”

If you haven’t attended the Bug Symposium before, Matz and Crane are confident you haven’t seen anything like it in town.

“Somebody looking for the weirdest thing to do in Omaha that night, we guarantee that our show is the weirdest thing going on that night or that month probably,” Matz said.

The Omaha Bug Symposium is this Saturday, October 7th at 7:00pm at OutrSpaces, 528th South 24th Street. For more information find “Omaha Bug Symposium” on Facebook.



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