AKSARBENT drove a friend back to Missouri yesterday and on the way, stopped to book browse at an old favorite, the Antiquarium bookstore, now in Brownville (an arts community 90 minutes south of Omaha off I-29), where owner Tom Rudloff is discretely having the last laugh on Borders.
For longer than three decades, The Antiquarium was Omaha's biggest, most popular used bookstore and well enough known to book lovers everywhere to have served as the bait of an Orson Welles-narrated radio ad in Young and Rubicam's "Wings of Man" radio/tv campaign for Eastern Airlines. (Scroll down to play the ad and see video of the old Antiquarium location.)
Though we scarcely thought it possible, we liked the current venue even more than the former one; the new space (in a converted school's gym) soars, but still offers alcove after alcove, cleverly supporting the catwalks and built by Al Strong (the carpenter in the portrait), who was the King, Queen and Royal Family of construction material recycling, a connoisseur extraordinaire of iridescently loud Aloha shirts and the first person to point out to us how much of a bargain Maker's Mark was when first introduced.
|The Antiquarium's new Brownville location, a block south of Main on Fourth Street.|
I don’t remember the first time I went to the Antiquarium or met Dave Sink. It all just kind of happened. I suppose I would have been twelve or so, just tagging along with my brothers and the older kids from the neighborhood. Whenever that was I know I could not have known then that that place would become the epicenter of discovery for my musical life (and life in general) and probably the single most sacred place of my adolescence.
AKSARBENT didn't leave empty-handed. We snagged a copy of Phillip Norman's SHOUT!: The Beatles in their generation, the definitive biography of the supergroup. At Amazon.com, the paperback is fetching $11.55, but we paid $4.50 plus tax — for a hardcover.
Not everything is that cheap, but you can get a discount, dear readers, just for mentioning this blog when paying! (Call the store at 402-917-1300 to verify hours, if you're driving a considerable distance.)
BELOW: a 1970s radio ad for Eastern Airlines which touted The Antiquarium as a good reason to visit Omaha. Your tour guide is the original Voice-of-God narrator, Citizen Kane director Orson Welles (whose name is misspelled in the video accompaniment.)