As far as arts entrepreneurship goes, the Slowdown clubin Omaha, Neb., started modestly. It was barely art, and barely entrepreneurship.
Jason Kulbel and Robb Nansel just wanted a place to hang out, drink a beer and listen to some good music in Omaha. Their neighbors learned of their plan and crowded a public hearing, furious at the idea of young people milling around, drinking and laughing late into the night. It's easy to imagine the rest: Conservative city prevents those damn kids from making a ruckus.
But that's not how it went down. What followed is so unlikely and so perfect that it could be the platonic ideal of how arts entrepreneurs can thrive by working with politicians and other businesspeople.
Some city officials learned of this fight and realized that in the 21st century what Omaha needs more than anything else is a lot of young people hanging out, having fun. As in many smaller cities and towns, the smart, young and ambitious left Omaha as soon as they could; they went to Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco--places that had the essential combination of fun things to do, fun people to do them with and fun and interesting jobs.