Nebraska Coast Connection presents 'The Hollywood Salon Comes Home' May 8

· 5 min read

Nebraska Coast Connection presents ‘The Hollywood Salon Comes Home’ May 8

The Nebraska Coast Connection presents The Hollywood Salon Comes Home on Monday, May 8 at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.
The Nebraska Coast Connection presents The Hollywood Salon Comes Home on Monday, May 8 at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

The Nebraska Coast Connection presents “The Hollywood Salon Comes Home,” 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 8 in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

The performance will also be live streamed for viewers in California and worldwide. The event is part of the celebration of 30 years of Nebraska Coast Connection and The Hollywood Salon.

The event will feature a conversation and Q&A with two Nebraska friends who made their careers in Hollywood: Kearney native Jon Bokenkamp (Creator, Writer/Producer of NBC’s “The Blacklist” and show runner of a new Apple TV series) and Tod Nelson, a University of Nebraska–Lincoln theatre and journalism graduat, CBS/Paramount producer and founder of the Nebraska Coast Connection.

“It seemed fitting that in our 30th year, we would bring the Salon back to Lincoln for the first time and spotlight one of Nebraska’s native sons, who has made a stellar career in Hollywood while still living in Kearney,” Nelson said. “Jon’s been a great friend since before his success in TV and film, and I can’t wait to share him with UNL and the arts communities back home.”

Nelson is receiving the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts’ Award of Merit at the Honors Day Celebration on May 5.

The Nebraska Coast Connection is an education and networking alliance that connects professionals working in the entertainment industry. It was founded in 1992 by Nelson, and its monthly Hollywood Salon has been a touchpoint for University of Nebraska–Lincoln students, alumni and Hollywood transplants.

“Since 1995, we’ve hosted monthly meetings on the Second Monday each month that we call The Hollywood Salon,” Nelson said. “In all that time we’ve never missed a month, even during the pandemic when we moved to Zoom. At each Salon we always host amazing special guests, like Alexander Payne, Marg Helgenberger, Gabrielle Union, Donald Petrie, Dean Zanuck, Molly Parker and hundreds of other entertainment professionals — people who share their stories of success and give inspiration and advice.”

The idea was fostered by Nelson’s frequent trips home. He often visited the late theatre professor Bill Morgan, who connected him with former students who were pursuing careers in the arts. With support from the University of Nebraska Foundation, the first Nebraska Coast Connection cocktail event in Bel Air drew 200 people.

Since then, they have hosted barbecues, screenwriting groups, Halloween parties, Christmas caroling and comedy nights. They have also produced radio commercials for the Nebraska Alumni Association, host an annual short film festival and several extensive websites. More than 2,000 Nebraskans have found their way into the Nebraska Coast Connection.

The Nebraska Coast Connection has also sponsored internships for Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film students and celebrates regular engagement between professionals, alumni and current students.

The Hollywood Salon Comes Home event is sponsored by The Nebraska Coast Connection, the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Nebraska Alumni Association.

Bokenkamp created and served as executive producer on the NBC drama “The Blacklist.” He currently is the show runner for a brand-new Apple TV series.

A native of Kearney, Bokenkamp’s feature film work includes the thriller “The Call” for Halle Berry and TriStar pictures; an adaptation of the serial-killer novel “Taking Lives” for Angelina Jolie and Warner Bros.; and “Perfect Stranger” for Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and Columbia Pictures. He has collaborated with such directors as Tony Scott (“Top Gun”), William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”) and Joe Carnahan (“The Grey”). He also served as creator and executive producer on NBC’s “The Blacklist: Redemption,” a spinoff of the original series.

Bokenkamp attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he received an honorary doctorate of fine arts, before graduating with honors from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. In addition to his work in television and feature films, Bokenkamp is the founder and creative director of the World Theater arthouse in Kearney. To adapt to the realities of the pandemic, the World Theater moved heaven and earth to build a new drive-in movie theatre. In a full-circle twist, drive-ins were the subject of Bokenkamp’s thesis project at USC, the documentary, “After Sunset.”

Production of “The Blacklist” was interrupted due to COVID-19, and Bokenkamp quickly adapted that episode to serve as the season finale, finishing out scenes using animation.

Nelson is a producer/director with more than 40 years of experience in television, documentary and feature filmmaking.

Since 2008, his company Braska Films, Inc. has been part of Paramount Global producing international promos and marketing for CBS Television, Paramount+, MTV, Showtime and Paramount Pictures. He was previously a freelance producer for CBS Studios, Fox Television and Walt Disney Studios.

Nelson grew up in Holdrege, Neb. He put himself through school at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as a reporter for KETV News in Omaha and graduated with honors from UNL in 1984 with a double major in broadcast journalism and theatre arts.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences internship program selected him as one of the top 15 broadcasting students in the country and brought him to Hollywood where he was an intern on “Days of Our Lives.” He was a post-production assistant on the first season of “The Golden Girls” and then a personal assistant to director Paul Bogart on multiple miniseries, pilots and movies, including “Nutcracker” with Lee Remick and “Tales from the Hollywood Hills” with Michelle Pfieffer.

Nelson directed and produced the award-winning documentary film “Surviving Friendly Fire: The Making of a Street Kids Theatre Project,” which screened at more than 55 film festivals worldwide. His other films include the documentary “Haiti’s Helping Hands” about an American medical missionary team in Haiti and Disney’s “People Behind the Magic.”

In 1992 he founded the Nebraska Coast Connection, a networking alliance of more than 1,000 show business professionals with ties to Nebraska. Now celebrating their 30th anniversary, the Nebraska Coast Connection hosts the Hollywood Salon in Los Angeles on the second Monday of every month with celebrity and industry guests from all areas of entertainment and the arts.

Recent News