Stories for December 2002

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Tuesday, December 31

Sequels encompass part of top-10 list

Top 10 box-office films of 2002, according to Exhibitor Relations figures.

Arts, entertainment industries bid farewell to famous faces

Television wouldn't have been the same without Milton Berle, "Mr. Television" himself; "Today" and "Tonight" creator Sylvester "Pat" Weaver; and TV Guide founder Walter Annenberg. Peggy Lee and Rosemary Clooney showed everyone how the interpretation of popular songs could be an art form.

Warm weather waxes and wanes

Matt McGinley and Kristen O'Connor, both of Lawrence, wax McGinley's car at Meadowbrook Apartments. Monday's 56-degree high made working outside less of a chore for the pair.

Friends and neighbors

Clark & Co. ring in another year

Call me a crab, but I can't imagine a less pleasant place to ring in the new year than Times Square. Cram throngs of amateur drinkers into a city that doesn't believe in public rest rooms. Add freezing temperatures. You do the math.

TV season's trends come into focus

Crime pays, families are back and reality doesn't bite. That's what Nielsen Media Research's ratings are telling network executives about the 2002-03 TV season.

People

¢ Diana Ross arrested on drunken driving citation ¢ Sir Ridley, meet Sir Alan ¢ Rowling rolling in money ¢ He's a believer

It's the same old Hollywood story

Franchise movies bring another year of record revenue

It was sequel this, sequel that in 2002 Hollywood, which rode a strong wave of followup films and some new franchises to its own repeat performance: yet another year of record revenues.

Monday, December 30

People

¢ Eminem lowers his profile ¢ Trump son caught in dispute ¢ 'Urban Cowboy' heads for big city ¢ Frustration goes with job

'Two Towers' reaches lofty height in second week

"Catch Me If You Can" couldn't catch "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." The "Lord of the Rings" sequel took in $48.9 million during its second weekend for a 12-day gross of $200.1 million, becoming one of the speediest films ever to cross the $200 million mark, according to studio estimates Sunday.

2002 blockbuster on many fronts

It was a year of huge Hollywood box office, from the slow-build sensation of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" to the steamroller success of "Spider-Man." It was year in which TV viewers rediscovered old "Friends" and gobbled up new reality fare, such as "The Osbournes" and "American Idol."

Friends and neighbors

Sunday, December 29

Friends and neighbors

Virginia Woolf still looms large

The obsession can begin at any time. In high school, for example. "I first read Virginia Woolf when I was 15," says author Michael Cunningham, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Hours," features both Woolf's work and the author herself.

Step right up, and pound a nail into your nose

Specialty school teaches freaky tricks of sideshow trade

Adam Rinn was stumped by his homework. Sitting before class with his teacher, Rinn explained his frustration. "The smaller nails go all the way in my nose," said Rinn, hefting a large, pointy spike in one hand as his instructor nodded patiently. "But the larger ones -- no."

Pinocchio puzzle

Scholar pieces together fragments of evolving puppet-turns-boy tale

Consider Pinocchio's strange journey. Carved from a piece of wood in 1881, he has been hoodwinked, knocked around, swallowed by a giant fish, given a cuddly makeover by Disney and re-created as everything from a college professor to a space traveler. Even now, comedian Roberto Benigni is adding his own twist to the classic character in a new movie.

What are you reading?

'Lost Subs' leaves void for readers

Book fails to mention worthy submarines

This magnificently illustrated coffee-table book is a bit disappointing -- not because of what it contains but because of what it leaves out.

'Ascent of Eli Israel' takes readers into land of conflict

Jon Papernick arrived in Israel on Nov. 4, 1995, the day its dovish Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist.

Short stories explore love, grief, healing

Author has heart, eye for human nature

In "Drastic," her collection of 12 short stories, Maud Casey pulls readers in from the get-go, inviting them to intriguing and sometimes frightening places: the Dollywood theme park in Tennessee, a whole-body donation clinic in San Francisco, a domestic violence shelter in the Southwest.

Arts notes

¢ Exhibit to showcase 'Savage Ancient World' ¢ Heartland Theatre stages 'The Dinner Party' ¢ Blues Society sponsors two January concerts ¢ Lyrikids take on 'Mystery on the Docks'

Bookstore

Spirits, nature help form world for Cuban artist

Even among the salsa musicians and Santeria practitioners roaming around Havana's colonial Plaza de la Catedral, Manuel Mendive stands out.

Tacoma Dome grosses record concert revenues

Along with the sounds of Bruce Springsteen and Avril Lavigne coming from the Tacoma Dome, there's another: ka-ching.

'The Producers' sells $4.7 million in tickets

"The Producers" sold more than $4.7 million in tickets during a monthlong run at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis that ended Dec. 8.

'Pianist' star sheds pounds to prepare for challenging role

Adrien Brody had done so much in preparing for his starring role in the award-winning movie "The Pianist" that director Roman Polanski had to start filming in the middle of the story.

Famed comedy troupe seeks minority talent

For years, The Second City has helped funny people find stardom, including Joan Rivers, George Wendt, John Belushi and Mike Myers. Most have been white; the improvisational comedy troupe has been short on actors of color.

Pet post

People

¢ Stunt nose not necessary ¢ 'Bad boy' graceful under pressure ¢ Treat grandma with respect ¢ Comedian's heart at ground zero

Bush 'most admired man' in U.S. poll

Current, former first ladies, J. Lo top Gallup list of 'most admired women'

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush and J. Lo have something in common: Americans like them. A Gallup poll found the nation divided in the contest for "most admired" woman. Among men, President Bush remained the clear favorite for the second year in a row.

Brownback among guests on Sunday news shows

Kansas senator scheduled to appear on 'Fox News Sunday'

Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows.

National Zoo's newest attraction sticks her neck out in debut

Malaika, the National Zoo's latest debutante, acted like the coy young female she is: She batted her thick eyelashes, she swayed her long, sinuous neck, and she preened about in her plush, cinnamon-colored coat with its white striped accents.

Cowboy shortcut

Daniel Durkes, 4, makes a loop the easy way for his mother seated in the stands at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. Horsemen and women, including Durkes' father and sister, from Eskridge, roped steers on Saturday at the fairgrounds. Roping continues throughout the winter in the indoor arena.

Saturday, December 28

New Who album planned

In the category of New Year's resolutions, Pete Townshend of the Who has pledged to work on a new studio album under the classic rock band's banner, which would be its first since "It's Hard" in 1982.

Friends and neighbors

After the dusting

Thursday's snowfall was more than the predicted dusting; a 1-inch blanket of snow covered everything northeast of Lawrence. Temperatures are expected to climb this weekend, melting any remaining snow.

Pregnant Midge doll pulled

Barbie's oldest friend, Midge, is pregnant, and Wal-Mart has pulled her from store shelves, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Newman-Redford hit director dies at 81

George Roy Hill, the Oscar-winning director who helped turn Paul Newman and Robert Redford into one of Hollywood's most celebrated buddy combinations with "The Sting" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," died Friday at 81.

In charge at last

Washington, Clooney give directing a try

Nicolas Cage, George Clooney and Denzel Washington are among a rush of big-name actors making directing debuts in movies.

People

¢ 'Eminem Show' tops in '02 ¢ Aretha offers her respect ¢ Brosnan shaken, stirred about relinquishing Bond role someday ¢ Book to analyze Democratic woes

Friday, December 27

Performing arts greats shine

With President Bush, first lady Laura Bush and hundreds of Cabinet members and legislators in attendance, Walter Cronkite will play host to "The 25th Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration Of Performing Arts" (8 p.m., CBS). This year's honorees -- James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, Chita Rivera, James Levine and Paul Simon -- hail from the worlds of theater, dance, movies, opera and pop music. The festivities were taped Dec. 8.

People

¢ J.Lo doesn't mind Liz label ¢ Size does matter to Koppel ¢ Black Crowes may be done ¢ Zsa Zsa's recovery continues

Innovative celebrity photographer Ritts dies

Photographer Herb Ritts, whose access to celebrities, even at their most fragile moments, gave him an edge in the competitive field, died Thursday of complications of pneumonia, his publicist said. He was 50.

D.C. dress code: Don't stand out

Flashy fashion considered capital offense

Neither fashion mecca nor fashion wasteland, Washington has its own idea of how to dress.

Fallen stars emit creepy glow in 'Sunset Boulevard'

Ah, old Hollywood. The stars, the glamor, the memories. The has-been performers left behind by a changing medium, the venal opportunists who stayed afloat on a sea of self-loathing. Ain't it grand?

Best bets

Blues Society sponsors two January concerts

The Kansas City Blues Society will sponsor two blues concerts in January.

Abagnale enjoys final scam

New York -- Frank Abagnale -- a con man who once was one of the most wanted fugitives in the world -- was nabbed in the 1970s, while eating hot dogs near the Waldorf Astoria, by two New York detectives. "My poster was all over the place," recalls Abagnale, 54. "I walk by and they look at me and go, 'Hey, Frank.' And I, the idiot, turn around. Then they came over and arrested me."

Spielberg's con game shines in 'Catch Me If You Can'

Since we're a society that likes to glorify criminals as much as heroes, the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. was destined for a Hollywood adaptation. The charming, ingenious con man led such a dazzling life that he's the perfect subject for big-screen treatment -- so much so that it's easy to overlook the amount of financial damage and broken relationships he left in his wake. Abagnale knew how to manipulate people, and "Catch Me If You Can" (based on his 1980 autobiography) masterfully grasps that concept. The cinematic result is a terrific cat-and-mouse game that never loses momentum, even given the film's rather inflated 140-minute running time.

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Sure, the Midwest chill can make Lawrence music fans want to retreat to the comfort of their Sanyos and Boses during the winter. But New Year's Eve is special. It's ripe with opportunities to celebrate alongside live musicians in a buzzing environment. Staying home is for losers ... and imprisoned inmates of the state. So exercise your right of freedom (and exercise your calves) by making merry at one or all of these fine musical events.

SNL's 'Peanuts' parody not out of legal bounds

Robert Smigel seems to get paid to do two things: Write funny cartoons for "Saturday Night Live." And irritate people with them.

Thursday, December 26

Moscow prosecutors to investigate Harry Potter books

Moscow prosecutors have opened an investigation into whether the Harry Potter series of children's books incite religious hatred, an official said Wednesday.

2002 culture varied from 'Spider-Man' Toyota Camry

A sampling of what Americans elevated to No. 1 in 2002.

Joyful noise recorded for posterity

History used to be silent. We don't know what Julius Caesar sounded like, or how the actors performed when Shakespeare's plays debuted at the Globe theatre. In 1877, inventor Thomas Edison captured the words "Mary had a little lamb" on a tinfoil cylinder phonograph, and the era of recorded sound was born. "Save Our Sounds," an installment of "Save Our History" (7 p.m., History), recounts the efforts of archivists and historians to preserve treasures of recorded sound for future generations.

People

¢ Philanthropist plants offer ¢ Seacrest hopes to steer viewers away from TV idol ¢ Blair gets style from mom ¢ Actress hopes to smarten up youngsters about environment

Penn gets no peace for efforts

Actor joins long line of celebrities wading into politics

From the moment Sean Penn arrived in Baghdad, eager to advance the cause of peace, he was doomed -- a dead man talking.

Wednesday, December 25

People

¢ Damon dating, not engaged ¢ Britney sues shoemaker ¢ Right up his alley ¢ Musicals strike a chord

Friends and neighbors

Rolling Stones to play global warming benefit in Los Angeles

OK, now, no jokes about fossil fuels: The Rolling Stones are returning to Los Angeles with a special free concert at Staples Center to raise awareness about global warming.

Ventura leaving political ring

After four entertaining years, Minnesota governor brings down curtain

For Jesse Ventura, public service was never enough. He craved the spotlight. In four stormy years as Minnesota's governor, the flamboyant former pro wrestler mixed serious-minded attempts at reform with often outrageous star turns as author, sports analyst, cameo actor and talk show guest.

Tuesday, December 24

Aerospace command does best to keep up with Santa

The North American Aerospace Defense Command is the joint U.S.-Canadian agency responsible for protecting the continent's skies from foreign threats.

Friends and neighbors

Santa Claus is cruisin' to town

Chris Hartman, Lawrence, has spent the last 23 years making his friends and their children a little happier by dressing up as Santa Claus and cruising Lawrence.

People

¢ Russert remembers his dad ¢ Queen injures knee ¢ Marsalis jazzes up senior center ¢ Reiner directs bank protest

Watch out for the geese

Four Canada geese cross a snowy street to forage for food during a heavy snowfall in Wichita. Monday's storm spread a fresh blanket of snow over southern Kansas -- accumulations between 5 and 7 inches were the norm -- and left a dusting in Lawrence.

Snowstorm snarls traffic across South

Traffic is snarled during a snowstorm in Tulsa, Okla. The National Weather Service on Monday posted storm warnings and advisories for the Texas Panhandle and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois. Ten or more inches of snow were expected before the storm moved out of the region today. At least five fatalities Monday were blamed on the storm, three in Oklahoma and two in Kansas. The Kansas accidents occurred in Wichita and in Barber County. No information on the victims was available late Monday night.

Punk legend Joe Strummer dies

Founding member of The Clash suffers heart attack at age 50

Joe Strummer, a diplomat's son who became a snarling punk icon as an electrifying singer-songwriter for The Clash, has died at age 50.

Monday, December 23

'Rings' sequel towers over box office competition

The "Lord of the Rings" sequel dominated in its debut weekend, taking in $61.5 million -- 30 percent better than its predecessor did last year, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Friends and neighbors

Hark!

Shepherds and sheep, from left, Goldie Schmiedeler, 3, of Lawrence, Kate McLoud, 9, of Lawrence, Allison McFall, 9, of Lawrence and Joshua Robertson, 9, of Austin, Tex., perform in a Nativity play at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt. The play was part of the annual Jesus' Birthday party at the church. Children played games, acted out the Nativity and decorated Christmas cookies as their parents attended church services Sunday morning.

People

¢ McCartney gets coat of arms ¢ Christmas party brings mayhem ¢ Castro favoring his left leg ¢ Lady Bird celebrates 90th

Morning shows feed on emotion

Competition frenzied for human-interest interviews

The danger of the morning news show competition for interviews was evident last week in the tears streaming down a 9-year-old boy's face.

Sunday, December 22

Medium puts stock in 'Mr. Magazine'

Journalism professor's expertise respected throughout industry

Mention Samir Husni's name to just about any editor or publisher in the magazine industry and you'll likely hear something like, "oh, Mr. Magazine."

Friends and neighbors

First Christmas

Victor Moreno, 5 days old, Lawrence, stopped by Weaver's Department Store, 901 Mass., to visit Santa Claus, played by Larry Freeman. Santa will be at Weaver's again today from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

End of the hunt

Hunting dogs Penny, left, and Chief drink water poured for them by their owner, Shane Howard, after an early-morning hunt near Arlington. The trio hunted pheasant Saturday.

Wrap it up, I'll take it

Shoppers kept Lawrence merchants busy during the last weekend before Christmas. From left, Ann Weygint, 20, Krystal Gisel, 18, and Heather Olds, 18, all of Lawrence, wrapped presents for customers Saturday afternoon in the basement of Weaver's Department Store, 901 Mass.

Protest songs

Dressed as patriots, Joe Douglas, Lawrence, and members of the New World Order Peace Choir belt out an anti-war remix of various Christmas carols. The choir sang Saturday near Ninth and Massachusetts streets, protesting war with Iraq, the Homeland Security Bill and U.S. "addiction" to gasoline.

News shows' guest lineups announced

Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows.

Fonda marks 65th birthday with visit to West Bank, Palestinian refugee camp

Actress Jane Fonda on Saturday visited a refugee camp and a hospital in the West Bank, capping a three-day visit aimed at promoting peace.

People

¢ Oprah to aid in AIDS battle ¢ Singer celebrates new career ¢ Nobel Prize on display ¢ Caution flag raised in divorce

Men in dresses and fractured fairy tales bring English Christmas to stage

Looking for a traditional English Christmas? Forget Scrooge and Tiny Tim. The real deal is a mix of "Fractured Fairy Tales" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," tossed with a generous dose of slapstick and melodrama popularly known as panto.

Morrie Schwartz's life lessons still bring many people to tears

Morrie Schwartz never had a problem with grown people crying. So he probably wouldn't have minded that seven years after his death, his lessons -- in their various forms -- are still bringing people to tears.

Homeless Argentines find freedom, food and self-esteem through art

Arnoldo Ponce fiddles with his tie, daubs the perspiration beading on his forehead and watches anxiously for the crowd to react to his paintings. Like many artists on opening night, he is nervous.

Musical theatre to stage Gershwin production

Music Theatre for Young People of Kansas City will stage George and Ira Gershwin's "My One and Only" Jan. 3-5.

Annotations thought to be Mahler's may be penned in another's hand

A recently found score of Gustav Mahler's First Symphony, said to contain the composer's own handwritten revisions, actually may have been annotated by someone else, a scholar said Tuesday.

Financial woes put nonprofit theater group out of business

Financial woes are closing Richmond's only professional nonprofit theater. The 47-year-old TheatreVirginia said its deficit of about $500,000 shows no sign of going away, especially as support for the organization has eroded in recent years.

Last trip home bittersweet for Mark Twain

The white-haired man squinted from the lectern at the star-struck youngsters and old friends eager to hear his stories. Suddenly, the words that usually came so easily weren't there.

'Rings' trilogy composer reflects on epic assignment

On a recent autumn day at London's Abbey Road studios, director Peter Jackson was conferring with his composer on "The Lord of the Rings," Howard Shore.

Best of old, new worlds

Conductor poised to make music in Pacific Northwest

Conductor Carlos Kalmar seems equally at home with Mozart and Aaron Copland. When he takes the podium, the Old World meshes with the New World in a fashion that has pleased critics, who have noted Kalmar's energy, grace and ability to get the best out of musicians.

Arts notes

¢ Guest conductors direct symphony's final shows ¢ Beach Museum to exhibit Pulitzer-winning photos ¢ KC Symphony announces Young Artist Competition ¢ National opera council to hold auditions in KC

Bookstore

What are you reading?

The seasons are king in 'The Rural Life'

"Humans prefer to live in the rooms that seasons make," says Verlyn Klinkenborg, whose exquisite chronicles of the natural world are collected in "The Rural Life."

Docs try hand at medical fiction

Seminar offers tips on how to write, get published in genre

The surgeon poised to remove your gall bladder or the internist you've consulted for a routine physical may be harboring dreams of writing a best-selling novel.

Arts notes

¢ KU's 'Iphigenia at Aulis' to be staged at regionals ¢ Grant helps with cost of 'A Kansas Nutcracker' ¢ Choristers to begin spring rehearsals

Saturday, December 21

Up and away

Central Junior High school instructor David Lund launches a rocket for his Explorations of Technology class. The seventh-graders watched the skyworks Wednesday at the school.

Entertainment has holiday flair

Holiday entertainment this weekend offers area residents the chance to make their own ornaments in a turn-of-the-century Christmas, explore a living Nativity performance and rollick at 98.9 The Rock's Twisted X-Mas.

Surprise visit

Larry Kline, Lawrence, dresses up like Santa Claus once a year and visits area retirement homes. Brandon Woods resident Betty Jo Hale got a kick out of the jolly old man Friday morning.

Pop star returned to Mexico

Pop diva Gloria Trevi was extradited Friday to Mexico, where she faces charges of kidnapping and corruption of minors.

CBS scouts new talent with 'Star Search' revival

Arsenio Hall has been signed to be host of CBS's "Star Search" remake. It will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting Jan. 8.

Chinese game show shares wealth

Viewers as well as contestants can cash in on 'Everyone Wins'

Who wants to be a millionaire? Pretty much everyone in China, and communist leaders are urging them on. Now, the latest Chinese game show is offering treasure-seeking citizens a novel path to the riches their government is encouraging -- the chance to win cash simply by watching television.

People

¢ Spielberg rescues Oscar ¢ Shakira gets into shoe business ¢ Musical tribute to Mandela ¢ Wright at home in Indiana

Friends and neighbors

Friday, December 20

People

¢ It's destiny: Pepsi spikes Spears ¢ Sorkin's drug charges dropped ¢ Hamilton takes spin down aisle ¢ J.Lo can keep her Glow -- for now

'Chicago,' 'The Hours' lead Globe nominations

The brassy old-fashioned musical "Chicago" and the literary drama "The Hours" earned the most Golden Globe nominations Thursday, marking them as early favorites for Oscar contention, with the long-delayed, extravagant Martin Scorsese 19th-century epic "Gangs of New York" close behind.

Study reveals Playboy centerfolds leaving curves behind

The curves of Playboy centerfold models have gradually flattened over the last 50 years, giving way to a more androgynous look, European researchers suggest.

Arsenio plays host to new 'Star Search'

As a late-night talk show host, Arsenio Hall was criticized for gushing over his guests.

Fate of 'Providence' up in air

What's ahead for "Providence" (7 p.m., NBC)? Last fall, NBC announced that tonight's two-hour episode would be the last. Fans of the family-friendly drama-fantasy were miffed and some media watchers were puzzled. "Providence" had a loyal following. While its audience was not as young as advertisers like, it frequently came in at No. 1 in its time slot. Last month NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker stated that he was having second thoughts about pulling the plug. "I'm not afraid to admit I may have made a mistake, and we'll see," he said. The network will make a final decision on the series next year.

Best bets

Paul McCartney tops concert tours

The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week's ranking is in parentheses. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.

Plenty to do during musical dead zone

Now is the time of year that most journalists dread. Bands aren't touring; albums aren't being released; and the live music scene goes into hibernation. This aural dead zone -- which annually spans from the third week of December to the second week of January -- is just the type of occasion to give us ample opportunities for sitting in front of the computer and playing the latest video game purchase until carpal tunnel sets in.

'Gangs of New York' disbands at end

"Gangs of New York" starts out an epic and ends up an epic mess. Director Martin Scorsese's intricate portrait of a buried, bygone era is often riveting. The set design, costumes, weaponry and general aura of the project represent Hollywood skill at its finest.

The best and worst moments in music

R. Kelly and Christina Aguilera without clothes, Michael Jackson's dwindling nose and Axl Rose's no-shows. Surely we didn't wait a lifetime for the moments we endured in 2002. Here's a sampling of the people and events in music that had us buzzing, for all the wrong reasons.

Thursday, December 19

6News video: 'Rings' fans pack theater

6News reports on the early morning showing of the second movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Holiday CD sales slower than usual

With just a week to go before Christmas, sales of this year's holiday music CDs have been more ho-hum than ho ho ho.

'Survivor' finale wraps up season

Does anybody watch "Survivor: Thailand" (7 p.m., CBS) anymore? Does anybody really care? The answer to the first question is obvious: "Survivor" has been a ratings hit for CBS all season. It gives "Friends" a run for its money and consistently tops "Scrubs" for the number-one ratings spot at 7:30 p.m.

Friends and neighbors

People

¢ Reubens pleads innocent ¢ Divorce in friendly fashion ¢ Buddhists don't like Bond ¢ Reeve to ring in 2003

National Film Registry taps 'Spinal Tap' for preservation

Crank up the volume to 11 forever: "This is Spinal Tap" will be preserved by the National Film Registry. The mordant 1984 "mockumentary" of rock star pretensions joins the children's classic "The Black Stallion," sci-fi groundbreaker "Alien," and 22 other films selected this year for preservation by the Library of Congress.

Hollywood's color boundaries blur

2002 a breakout year for black actors, crossover films

Halle Berry's tearful acceptance speech and Denzel Washington's nod to Sidney Poitier were just the beginning.

Second 'Lord of Rings' draws early devotees

Many said they went simply for bragging rights. They wanted to be able to tell their friends they were among the first to see whether Hollywood could do it again with J.R.R. Tolkien's literary masterpiece "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."

Wednesday, December 18

Fans pack local theater to see latest 'Lord of the Rings' film

(Updated Wednesday at 12:36 p.m.) Hundreds of people stayed up late Tuesday night -- to say they got the first look at the newest "Lord of the Rings" movie in Lawrence.

People

Hurley turns down child support

Minnelli, husband sue VH1 for yanking reality show

Liza Minnelli and her husband, David Gest, have filed a $23 million lawsuit against cable television network VH1 and others for dropping plans to air a reality show that centered on their lives.

'Two Towers' kinetic, yet unemotional

In this second portion of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "The Two Towers" is more of an orphan than a middle child. The sword and sorcery epic has no beginning or end, and this condition functions as both its strength and weakness.

Fine acting saves football fantasy

Sports fans tired of watching worn videos of "Rocky," "Rudy" and "The Replacements" might enjoy "Second String" (7 p.m., TNT). While this 2002 sports fantasy leaves few cliches unturned, it does feature some fine performances from Jon Voight and Gil Bellows.

Beatle won't let it be

McCartney wants more credit for his songwriting efforts

Paul McCartney believes the last shall be first. Yoko Ono believes he wants to rewrite history.

'Jackass' death toll keeps rising

A teenager died while practicing what police say was a stunt he and a friend had seen in the movie "Jackass."

Tuesday, December 17

Friends and neighbors

KU grad faced obstacles filming 'Junction Boys'

Accents, different versions of football and kangaroos were some of the most obvious challenges Kansas University alumnus Mike Robe overcame in filming "The Junction Boys."

Warm weather

Joseph Cline, 4, rides the merry-go-round as his mother Savannah Cline watches outside the Antique Mall of Lawrence, 830 Mass. Downtown shoppers were treated to a third day of warm temperatures Monday.

An early spring cleaning

C.T. Taul, Baldwin, uses Monday's unseasonably warm weather to clean his purple martin houses. Temperatures will remain warm today with a high of 56 degrees, but winds will pick up a bit.

People

¢ Fox earns Hollywood star ¢ Bidders default on Eminem house ¢ They don't want Brad ¢ Monroe stockings in auction

'Far From Heaven' early award winner in Oscar season

"Far From Heaven," the glossy, painstakingly retro 1950s- style melodrama about sex and racism in New England, was the big winner in Monday's vote for the 2002 New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

Condit sues Vanity Fair columnist

Departing Rep. Gary Condit on Monday filed an $11 million defamation lawsuit against Vanity Fair columnist and raconteur Dominick Dunne.

Storms kill at least six

Cars struggle through a flooded street in Long Beach, Calif., during a storm. Torrential rain and winds reaching 100 mph buffeted the northern California and Oregon coast for a third straight day Monday, snarling traffic and knocking out power.

Monday, December 16

Lewinsky creates new political flap in Italy

Monica Lewinsky has again found herself caught in a political storm, this time after Italy's state TV decided that a Sunday afternoon chat with her would be too spicy for families watching a popular variety show.

KU basketball players spread holiday cheer

Kansas University senior Nick Collison, left, a member of the men's basketball team, and Tegan Thornberry, Overland Park junior and team manager, go through the check-out line at Wal-Mart, 3300 Iowa, after filling a shopping cart with gifts. Basketball team members went shopping Sunday night for holiday presents for 13 families adopted through the Salvation Army.

Friends and neighbors

People

¢ Bon Jovi doing fine ¢ Lighfoot on the mend ¢ Begley goes out on a limb ¢ Thoreau restoration offer made

A holiday treat for the firefighters

Members of the Meadowlark 4-H Club sing Christmas carols to firefighters at Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical Station No. 1 at 746 Ky. Pictured listening to the carolers on Sunday were firefighters Bryan Winfrey, left, and Danny Clouse.

More than one hit expected of wonders

The Los Angeles Times' annual Freshman Class is a salute to 2002's new arrivals who best reflect the individuality, passion and craft that make them seem promising for the long run.

To watch TLC is 'Human Instinct'

Why is it so easy to gorge on junk food? The witty and informative four-part documentary "Human Instinct" (TLC) shows how tens of thousands of years of human evolution have programmed us to eat fatty, starchy foods and store the fat for lean times.

'Maid in Manhattan' sweeps to box office title

Jennifer Lopez's romantic "Maid in Manhattan" cleaned up at the weekend box office, edging out "Star Trek: Nemesis."

Gore looks live on 'SNL'

Former VP gets last laughs before ending political career

A monthlong promotion blitz for two new books and a "Saturday Night Live" host gig couldn't keep Al and Tipper Gore apart for long.

Sunday, December 15

Giant chess set dedicated to masters

Gordon Ahlstedt, right, unveils a large outdoor chess set in Lindsborg with Mikhail Korenman, left, and grand master Anatoly Karpov. The chess set, constructed by Ahlstedt and his brothers, Earl and Robert, all of Lindsborg, was made to honor 11 internationally recognized chess experts, including Karpov.

Athletes shine in ballet's limelight

'Nutcracker' production features Bay area's top sports professionals

Dana Stubblefield had a problem, surely one that never troubled Mikhail Baryshnikov. The San Francisco 49ers' 6-foot-2, 315-pound defensive tackle was trying to squeeze into an extra-large red T-shirt for his ballet role as a soldier in "All-Star Night at the Nutcracker."

Sunday TV news shows announce guest lineups

Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows:

One of 'Magnificent Seven' dead at 85

Actor Brad Dexter, who rode with Yul Brynner as one of the "Magnificent Seven" and became a confidant of both Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, has died at 85.

Climbing the golden mountain

Photographer documents uphill lives of Asian immigrants

When Pok Chi Lau was 19 and living in Hong Kong, his parents borrowed enough money to pay for two cameras, a plane ticket and college tuition for their son. He ended up in Toronto, living with his cousin in an Italian neighborhood and longing for the familiarity of home.

Life gave her lyrics, and she made 'Rainbow Lemonade'

Lawrence musician releases second CD of parent-friendly children's music

At her weekly gigs at the Eldridge Hotel, Melanie Dill sings a lot of jazz standards about people in love with people. What's so refreshing about her other passion - making children's music - is that kids just tend to be in love, period.

Arts notes

¢ Topeka author to sign copies of children's book ¢ Holidays: Tell us all about your New Year's resolutions

Author gets back to New Jersey roots

Janet Evanovich is a Jersey girl and proud of it. Born and raised in the Garden State, she set her nine best-selling crime novels in Trenton and patterned the star of her books after a New Jersey stereotype: Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is a tough-talking, Spandex-wearing mall rat with big hair.

Book puts human face on right-to-die court battle

In the spring of 1987, a partner in the prestigious Kansas City firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon asked one of its young lawyers to take on a pro bono case - one that big firms do for free. "It may not amount to much," Bill Colby recalls being told, "probably no more than a half-day trial in probate court - but the issues look interesting."

Pianist looks for keys to murder mystery

"Blue Moon," a mystery set in 1963, starts right in with liberal name-dropping. The fictional Philip Damon goes to a Broadway theater with first lady Jackie Kennedy, writers Truman Capote and George Plimpton, and columnist Joseph Kraft, then back to Mrs. Kennedy's suite at the Carlyle Hotel for supper.

Bookstore

What are you reading?

Dreaming of a White House Christmas

Lawrence teens sing holiday tunes at open house in nation's capital

Having friends in high places has its perks. Relatives with connections can be even better. Thanks to his sister's job as an events planner at the most-recognized home in America, Southwest Junior High School vocalist Scott Penny and fellow choir member Lorenzo Ricketts recently landed a gig at the White House.

Arts notes

¢ KU graduate premieres first independent film ¢ Lied Center receives national grant dollars ¢ Civic choir to perform annual holiday concert ¢ Christmas 'Mystery' set to Tchaikovsky ¢ Unicorn stages humbug Christmas production ¢ KCPT to air documentary on Thomas Hart Benton ¢ Kemper Museum displays artist's fabric 'homes'

Rare papers of Langson Hughes uncovered

Couple sells treasure trove of poet's documents signed Yours Truly, Lang

For 30 years, Edward Miller, a 57-year-old retired court reporter, had tucked away his late father's files on a family friend, papers that included handwritten notes signed "Lang."

'Vampires': pass the garlic

What, I ask you, is any musical about vampires without a splashy production-number tribute to the glories of garlic? Yes, indeed, the herb that keeps the undead at bay is celebrated through frantic song and even more frantic choreography in "Dance of the Vampires," a frazzled new $12 million show at the Minskoff Theatre that has a repellent power all its own.

New Jersey starts process of scrapping poet laureate

State lawmakers took a first step Thursday toward abolishing the position of New Jersey poet laureate.

Arts notes

¢ Seventeen films eligible to compete for award ¢ Movie studios target pirated DVDs ¢ Stones fans snap up tickets for concert ¢ Slain comic gets posthumous encore ¢ Sheryl Crow to perform at NHL All-Star game ¢ Springsteen will perform at Atlanta arena

Architect describes museum as sanctuary

Ando's themes remain the same

Tadao Ando was born in 1941 in Osaka, Japan, a cultural backwater that is to Tokyo what Buffalo is to New York City. As he told Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth curator Michael Auping, living on the fringe, relying on rumor rather than firsthand knowledge, only intensified his desire to make a mark.

Reforms help Cuban art flourish

Island's newer creations receiving international attention

Adigio Benitez steps out of the morning drizzle and through the doorway of his ground-level flat in a building with peeling paint, moving from the mundane to his own world of enchantment.

Collection of Gypsy paintings gains attention

Martin Kaleja-Januv is 18, but he still returns to primary school several times a week to paint, an escape from joblessness and hopelessness in Slovakia's largest Gypsy settlement.

People

¢ 'Gladiator' to wed ¢ Dolly spreads literacy effort ¢ Popping the question to Pink ¢ Skater finds fame in song

Coaches suit up

After spending two hours greeting children as Santa, Free State High School football coach Bob Lisher, left, undresses as Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd dons a beard. Lisher played Santa for the first two hours Saturday at the Lawrence Arts Center and was replaced by Wedd at noon. While they were exchanging costumes in a nearby office, Lisher gave Wedd some advice: "Ask them what they want, take a picture and give them a candy cane."

Take a swing

Quintin Hamm, 3, Lawrence, winds up to take a swing at an E.T. piñata during the Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration. Saturday's festivities followed a Spanish Mass at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1229 Vt.

No stopping now

Kansas University senior Abbey Mitchell, Shawnee, focuses her attention on reading her culture and psychology textbooks at Java Break, 17 E. Seventh St. Friday was Stop Day for KU students, which is sandwiched between the end of fall semester classes and the beginning of final examinations.

Friends and neighbors

Saturday, December 14

People

¢ Roth takes ex-buddies to court ¢ Smith I.D. thief gets 37 months ¢ Few takers for Eminem's old home ¢ Assignment awaits wall artist

'Nutcracker' among holiday entertainment offerings

From holiday art sales to holiday-themed theater and musical productions, this weekend is packed with events for people who can't get enough of the holiday spirit.

Moby attacked after holiday concert

Techno artist Moby was attacked by two men while signing autographs outside a nightclub following a radio station-sponsored holiday concert, police said.

Alliance announces award nominees

"Far From Heaven" and "Frida" are among the nominees for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's 14th annual GLAAD Media Awards, which will be presented in April.

City of Lights seeks gay tourists

Paris tourism officials want to give new meaning to the term "Gay Paree." The French capital has always wooed visitors with its reputation for fine dining and high fashion and Paris continually cashes in on its mystique as the city of romance.

Welcome home

Sgt. Josh Yarnall, Garden City, lifts his daughter Brooklyn, 2, during a welcome ceremony at the Kansas State Fairgrounds Encampment Building in Hutchinson. Members of the 346th Army Reserve Military Police returned Friday from a deployment guarding detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Stop Day snooze

Hidden in a study booth at Watson Library, a Kansas University student gets some quality nap time. Stop Day, which marks the end of classes for the semester and the beginning of finals, was an all-day study session for many students on Friday.

Friends and neighbors

Friday, December 13

Lawrence actress becomes homegrown 'Hot Chick'

A fresh-faced Kansas girl moves to Hollywood to make it big. It's a cliche that's been around longer than talking pictures, but for Paige Peterson the pipe dream has become grounded in reality.

Best bets

Q&A with The Get Up Kids

Lawrence known for live music

In broadest terms, there are two things Lawrence is known for: KU basketball and live music. And while the music scene hasn't ever taken home the equivalent of a national championship, it certainly is a strong contender every year.

Tolle of The Belles crafts a mellower mood

This may be the year of rock's revival in the national music media, but in Lawrence The Belles have jumped off that bandwagon. Despite the hype around the so-called "The" bands -- see The Hives, The Strokes, The White Stripes and The Vines, whom many music mags credit for reviving rock -- The Belles' new album "Omerta" is in a decidedly mellower mood.

People

Omaha gets a taste of Tinseltown Ex-husband takes on Tiegs 'Vice' star unloads vehicles

After thorny start, promoter cancels Guns N' Roses tour

When Guns N' Roses announced it was going on tour this fall after a nine-year hiatus, fans of the heavy metal band snapped up tickets. Axl Rose was back and there was talk of a new album.

Nolte gets probation for driving, drug charge

Actor Nick Nolte pleaded no contest Thursday to one count of driving under the influence of drugs. He was sentenced to three years' probation, including counseling and drug testing.

Animals adjust to big-city life

Creatures great and small take stage in 'Christmas Spectacular'

Backstage at Radio City Music Hall, past the Rockettes' dressing rooms, three camels, six sheep, two donkeys and a horse keep a woman awake each night.

American collector buys Potter clues

An American collector has paid more than $45,000 for a card full of clues to the plot of the long-awaited fifth Harry Potter book.

Holiday shows none too cheery

I never thought I'd write these words, but I sure do miss old-fashioned Christmas specials like Kathy Lee Gifford's annual self-promotion spectacular and Martha Stewart's icy exercise in holiday perfectionism. This year's Christmas-themed programs are a decidedly uneven lot. And three of them make their debut tonight.

'Nemesis' charts familiar course

Do you believe in the curse of the "Star Trek" movies? The common perception is that all even-numbered Trek films are good and all odd-numbered are stinky. Luckily, "Star Trek: Nemesis" is flick number 10. And though it falls comfortably into this pattern of relative quality, it doesn't exactly knock one out of the solar system on an artistic level.

Thursday, December 12

Actors make directorial debuts at Sundance

The 2003 Sundance Film Festival will begin with a little levity -- Ed Solomon's "Levity," that is.

People

From ABC to LAPD Britney seeks restraining order Bono, senator on Santa mission Doc punished for prescriptions

Clinton library plans count on ornament sales

With fund raising lagging for former President Bill Clinton's presidential library, cash-strapped Clintonistas have taken to selling Christmas ornaments to finance the glass-and-steel structure.

Comedian Poundstone gets children back

Comedian Paula Poundstone regained full legal custody Wednesday of three adopted children she lost last year after pleading no contest to child endangerment, her lawyer said.

Welk fans visit family farm

It has been decades since anyone has lived on the small farmstead that made this small North Dakota farming community famous.

J-Lo finds this role was 'Maid' for her

Pretty much the only thing missing from "Maid in Manhattan" is the glass slipper.

'ER' betrays backward plotlines

Proof that TV writers are never afraid to take an original idea and run it into the ground can be found on tonight's "ER" (9 p.m., NBC). Events on this evening's installment of the medical soap opera will unfold in reverse order. The show begins just as the bingeing Balkan, Dr. Kovac (Goran Visnjic), survives a late-night car crash. The rest of the hour retraces the events that lead to his crackup.

Wednesday, December 11

Friends and neighbors

Lawrence Home Depot building toward opening in May

Construction work is under way on Lawrence's new Home Depot store, with all four walls of the building recently raised. Jacob Baker, inside the Bobcat loader, and Ysido Romero of Larkin Excavating of Lansing work Tuesday on parking islands for the store located at the northeast corner of Iowa and 31st streets. Shelley Schumaker, a spokeswoman for Home Depot, said the store was scheduled to open in May. It will have 95,000 square foot of indoor shopping space, plus a 24,000 square foot garden center. Schumaker said the store will employ approximately 125 people. She said people can begin applying for the jobs at any of the company's existing stores.

In a fog

Kansas University students cross the intersection at 13th Street and Oread Avenue in a thick morning fog that hides all but a visible outline of the Campanile in the distance. The students were heading to campus Tuesday.

'Lord of the Dance' technically superb

Take any traditional Irish dance performance you've ever seen, inject it with attitude, fairy dust, electrified Celtic music and a light show fit for a Pink Floyd concert, and you get "Lord of the Dance."

TLC breaks the code on 'Hackers'

Chances are you've never heard of Captain Zap. But 20 years ago, long before most people had heard of cyber crime or even owned a personal computer, Zap committed one of the greatest coups in hacker history.

People

¢ 'Mad Max' to return ¢ An unforgettable honor ¢ Imagination knows no bounds ¢ Wright lamp sets auction record

'Sopranos' finale draws second-highest audience

The season finale of "The Sopranos" was the second most-watched episode of HBO's mob drama, with 12.5 million viewers tuning in as Carmela and Tony Soprano split.

Poet, painter Stan Rice dies

Poet and painter Stan Rice, husband of novelist Anne Rice, has died at age 60. He died Monday of brain cancer. Born in Dallas, Rice met his future wife in a high school journalism class.

Comedy offers world of laughs

'Andy Richter Controls the Universe' a must-see sitcom

Who is Andy Richter? This seems like a simple question, especially for longtime fans of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," where Richter made his name as an easygoing yet waggish sidekick.

Tuesday, December 10

Down on your look? 'Makeover' can help

Stephanie Woodside was so self-conscious about the bump on her nose that she'd get chills when she sensed someone staring at her.

Don't miss a minute of '24'

What can I say about this season of "24" (8 p.m., Fox)? If you like thrillers and you're not watching "24," you might as well throw your television set out with the trash. It's not going to get any better than this.

People

¢ Stewart ready for prime time ¢ Furniture gets best of Hogan ¢ Zsa Zsa continues to recover ¢ Celebrities send letter to Bush

Adaptation of 'La Boheme' opens to rave reviews

Sandra Bullock in a slinky black evening gown, edging past paparazzi. A throng of onlookers waiting in vain for the arrival of Leonardo DiCaprio (he sneaked in through a side entrance). Candice Bergen holding court with friends and fans in the lobby.

Ashanti, Nelly lead Billboard awards

R&B newcomer Ashanti made an impressive debut at the Billboard Music Awards, taking home eight awards Monday night while rap star Nelly won honors in six categories. The album of the year went to Eminem for "The Eminem Show."

Monday, December 9

'Brown Sugar' leads Image Awards with 8 nominations

'Barbershop' is second with 5

The romantic movie "Brown Sugar" received a leading eight nominations Thursday for the NAACP Image Awards.

Naughty trumps nice in cartoons

A peculiar theme emerges on two new animated holiday originals. Both feature spoiled characters who drive Santa out of the Christmas business.

People

¢ Singer renews wedding vows ¢ Former 'first cat' leads parade ¢ Director taps into vineyard ¢ Nicholson's affairs of the heart

'Die another Day' shows new life

"Die Another Day" has won another weekend at the box office. The James Bond flick, which debuted as the No. 1 movie two weeks earlier, returned to the top spot with $13 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Turner prize winner inspired by computers

Painter and sculptor Keith Tyson, whose playful artwork is inspired by scientific theories and often ponders the role of computers in the modern world, won Britain's prestigious Turner Prize on Sunday.

Kennedy Center pays tribute to legends of stage, screen, song

A mix of politicians, Hollywood celebrities and performing arts legends joined President Bush and the first lady in honoring Academy Award-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor, Grammy-honored singer Paul Simon and actor James Earl Jones Sunday.

Sunday, December 8

N.Y. Police say '82 stabbing of model solved

'Next Cheryl Tiegs' was killed by Montreal broadcaster, authorities conclude

Twenty years after a rising French-Canadian fashion model was stabbed to death in her apartment, police have named her alleged killer: A top broadcaster known as the king of Montreal's high-flying early '80s disco scene.

People

¢ Hepburn honors home town ¢ Today's GIs have 'own Bob Hope' ¢ Mandela lines up more talent ¢ Kidman ready to move on

News shows list lineups of guests

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

Guns 'N Roses shoots blanks, causes ruckus in Philadelphia

Fans at a sold-out rock show became unruly after the group Guns N' Roses failed to appear, and police were called to the concert arena, officials said.

Turkish beauty takes tiara at relocated Miss World pageant

With a gleaming smile and a graceful bow, Miss Turkey won the Miss World contest Saturday, bringing to a close an international pageant that incited deadly rioting in Nigeria.

Warhol's collection of portraits to debut

A collection of more than 50 Andy Warhol celebrity paintings and works on paper will debut at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in February.

House from China reconstructed on museum grounds in Salem

Its name means "Hall of Plentiful Shelter," and for almost two centuries, the Yin Yu Tang house provided just that to the Huang family in the remote Huizhou region of China.

Musicians, union reach agreement

A settlement worth a reported $8.4 million has been reached between a group of aging musicians and an arm of their union that allegedly failed to provide them benefits after their careers had ended.

Rotating performers make 'La Boheme' versatile show

There are at least six different versions of "La Boheme" on Broadway. Baz Luhrmann's new production of Puccini's opera features three different sets of lead actors and two sets of actors in supporting roles who perform on a rotating basis.

Three musicians to join Hall

Saxophonist Steve Douglas, Motown drummer Benny Benjamin and Nashville pianist Floyd Cramer are the 2003 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the sidemen category.

Museum introduces works of unknown artist

Vaguely warm expressions of elegant, French upper-class men and women contrast with the Middle Eastern scenes of people in flowing robes, splashes of color defining their contours.

Arts notes

¢ TPAC stages diverse holiday spectacular ¢ WU Holiday vespers to be at White Hall

Paul Newman gets better reviews than the 'Our Town' revival

Paul Newman received better reviews than the revival of "Our Town," which has brought him back to Broadway for the first time in nearly 40 years.

First-ever Jazz Vespers proves holiday tunes can really groove

Success drives KU to make swingin' version of Holiday Vespers an annual tradition

Let's hope this tradition catches on. Following the lead of Kansas University's 78-year-old Holiday Vespers (the ever-adored and always sold-out choirs and orchestra collaboration), jazz studies director Dan Gailey this year dreamed up Jazz Vespers.

Exhibit offers snapshot of art collection

Polaroid founder perfected product in exchange for one-of-a-kind photos

Instantaneously visible photographs are nothing extraordinary to today's maven and amateur shutterbugs who document the world with digital cameras. But not so long ago, Polaroid was the only way to both take pictures and evaluate them within a matter of minutes.

Arts notes

¢ Kansas Public Radio show receives three awards ¢ "Vagina Monologues" issues call for auditions ¢ KU University Band to perform Monday ¢ KC physician and artist gives Washburn lecture

Arts notes

¢ KU Collegium Musicum presents holiday concert ¢ Community Theatre adds extra Christmas show

Storytellers, musicians ring in holiday with concert fit for kids from 1 to 92

Decades-old Lawrence City Band continues festive tradition at Liberty Hall

Even without his fuzzy red suit and hat, Bill Stype looks the part of Santa Claus. The 72-year-old retired minister has a long white beard, a circle of white hair around a balding head, St. Nick-like spectacles and a rotund belly. And he loves playing the Jolly Old Elf.

'Lord of the Dance' lands at Lied Center

Lawrence has been craving the Celtic dance extravaganza for years

Lawrence has been waiting for the Lord to appear for years. "Lord of the Dance" that is. The energetic, toe-tapping, Celtic offspring of Michael Flatley is finally here. "Lord of the Dance" will show at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Lied Center.

What are you reading?

Bookstore

Novel chronicles life before and after fateful 'Punch'

On Dec. 9, 1977, during an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets, Kermit Washington hit Rudy Tomjanovich with a punch that shattered Tomjanovich's face. It also shattered Washington's reputation, as the grainy video of the black, muscular Washington turning and cold-cocking the white, unsuspecting Tomjanovich became a ubiquitous sight on television during the following weeks.

A long and complex road

Poet finally enjoying success despite 'difficult' label

Poet John Ashbery is doomed with the "D" word: Most people think his poems are "difficult." "I think 'difficult' is often used interchangeably with 'complex' or 'complicated,'" he says, "and I think poetry has to be complicated if it's going to reflect the world and what the poet wants to say, and not just reiterate what people already know."

Arts notes

¢ Topekan to don robes of Czar Paul I in Lawrence ¢ Performance art centers around steady bass line ¢ CottonWood Winds play music of the season

Physicist's spoken word theory inspires performance art piece

Lawrence artist brings international work to her home town

A woman trailed by a black veil slinks in on cat's feet, wide-eyed, seemingly searching. She pulls the veil down over her face and begins to build a structure. Slowly.

Visions of sugar plums on the prairie

Local artists conjure uniquely Kansan variation of holiday favorite 'The Nutcracker'

It's classical ballet meets barn dance set to a mandolin-adorned orchestra. Along the way, Delaware Indians, John Brown and Missouri ruffians make appearances. Only in Kansas. "It was just waiting to happen," says Deborah Bettinger, main choreographer of "A Kansas Nutcracker," which premieres Thursday at the Lawrence Arts Center. "We decided we wouldn't do it until the first of the year in the new building and it would be our premier holiday ballet."

Saturday, December 7

People

¢ Dad offers famous daughter deal ¢ Garfield steals Dave's glory ¢ Pickford Center to house archives ¢ Singer rewards the generous

Shaw's comedy keeps KU audience laughing

University Theatre's production of "You Never Can Tell" is a light, airy comedy suitable for just about everyone.

Holiday fare gets a bit too sweet

Two movies by Emmy-winning actresses Vanessa Redgrave and Mary Tyler Moore should be a reason for celebration. But subpar scripts and pat, predictably sentimental stories sink both efforts.

'Schooner' leads weekend fare

The weekend is full of events with holiday spirit. Among the Lawrence activities are a downtown Christmas parade, "The Christmas Schooner" and a Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art celebration. Here are some other events to consider:

Fountain memorial to reflect Diana's life

Oval monument likened to big necklace, 'puddle'

A large oval fountain commemorating Princess Diana will reflect the highs and lows of her troubled life and show her "inclusiveness and accessibility," its designer said Friday as officials released detailed plans.

Ryder gets probation for theft

'If you steal again you will go to jail,' judge warns actress

Winona Ryder was sentenced Friday to work with the sick, the blind and babies with AIDS as part of a probationary term for stealing more than $5,500 worth of high-fashion merchandise from a Saks Fifth Avenue store.

Friday, December 6

'Fidel' documentary a guilty pleasure

Although Estela Bravo's documentary "Fidel" (Unrated, 91 minutes) is cloyingly hagiographic in its portrait of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, it's still a guilty pleasure to watch. There's one, unequivocal reason for this. Love him or hate him (and, it seems, there are few in between), Castro is one of the most dynamic political leaders of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Aerosmith singer odd Santa pick

Proof that Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler will do anything, and I mean anything, to keep his gaunt mug in the public gaze can be found tonight on the depressingly slick "Lizzie McGuire" (6:30 p.m., Disney) holiday special. Titled "Xtreme Xmas," this episode stars Tyler as the scrawniest Santa Claus in the long, sad history of bad Christmas specials. One wonders why Tyler was cast as the jolly round guy. With his reptilian features and rubbery lips, he wouldn't need makeup to play the Grinch.

People

Bono takes message on road De Niro gives troops preview 'Bachelor' faces newfound fame TLC keeps it in the family

Thurmond celebrates century mark

Strom Thurmond, the oldest and longest-serving senator in history, reached his 100th birthday Thursday surrounded by family, friends, Supreme Court justices and leaders of the Senate he helped to reshape.

White House decked for holidays

First lady details 'creatures' theme

First lady Laura Bush asked Americans to "remember other people during this Christmas" as she unveiled a White House dressed up in an elegant red-and-gold decor made whimsical by papier-mâche re-creations of the pets of presidents past.

Best bets

Jared Leto shuffles from movies to rock music

"It's inevitable that the lead singer and songwriter of the band is gonna get a lot of focus," says 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto. "On top of that, my situation is definitely unique. But to tell you the truth, out here on the road it's not really a big deal. The only people who seem really curious about it are you guys." The "you guys" Leto refers to are members of the press, and the "it" he mentions is the fact that the talented 30-year-old already has established himself as a movie star ("Panic Room," "Requiem for a Dream") long before the public knew he could effectively wield a guitar.

Photographer captures making of KU calendar

A long time ago, before Watergate even, a lot of us came into this business looking for the Hollywood version of a newsroom. The kind where the city editor yells across the newsroom telling a reporter to drop everything . . . head for a five-alarm fire . . . stop downstairs at Kelly's Bar and grab a photographer on the way. Editors hollered. They hollered things like "stop the presses" and "hold page one," or "get in my office." Many kept bottles of whiskey in their desk drawers for just such occasions. It soothed the throat between demands and commands.

Regional band makes airwaves

Unsigned local bands NEVER make it into the exclusive playlists of commercial radio. It just doesn't happen.

Thursday, December 5

People

Shelby's favorite son Crichton wins Internet name Redford criticizes energy policy Singer faces dental surgery

Counseling and fines recommended for Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder should do community service, get drug counseling and pay $26,000 in fines and restitution for stealing from a Saks Fifth Avenue, a prosecutor recommended in a legal memo filed in advance of the actress' sentencing.

Film board chooses year's best

"The Hours," starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman, is the year's best movie, according to the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

Broadway hot in December with seven major openings

Murderous passion in ancient Greece with the ultimate high-strung wife and mother. Singing vampires in exotic Lower Belabartokovich. A fierce feud between two literary lionesses. Don Quixote tilting again at windmills.

Letters to Santa provide heart-warming stories

Who knew a trip to the dead-letter office could be so heartwarming? Jim Belushi is host of "Dear Santa" (8 p.m., ABC), a glance at the thousands of letters children send to St. Nick every year. "Santa" focuses on just six of these missives, and sets about trying to fulfill each child's wish. And these kids aren't just asking for a new Playstation.

Wednesday, December 4

People

¢ Parties over for Whitney ¢ Jane Kaczmarek has baby girl ¢ Reality check ¢ 'Producers' producer favors film

Singer Macy Gray checks into 'MDs'

Pop/jazz singer Macy Gray takes one step closer to being like her artistic inspiration, actress/singer Diana Ross, when she guest-stars Wednesday in an episode of the ABC medical drama "MDs," airing at 9 p.m. CST.

A return to a 'State of Grace'

Fans of the popular, but canceled, cable series "State of Grace" (5:30 p.m., Family) can catch one last never-before-seen episode. As special holiday episodes go, it's a good one, maybe even a classic. But I have always been partial to this sweet little show.

Designer to outfit Air France staff

Air France is headed for a haute couture makeover. Designer Christian Lacroix was chosen to create the airline's new uniform, which will be both "emblematic of French elegance and a desire to embrace other cultures," Air France said in a statement Tuesday.

'Sophie's Choice' author receives Auschwitz prize

For more than 20 years, William Styron's "Sophie's Choice" has been praised as a novelist's worthy dramatization of human cruelty and criticized as a gentile's limited view of the Holocaust.

'Pippi' Christmas story found

A little-known Christmas story from the Pippi Longstocking series was rediscovered in a library nearly a year after the death of its author, Astrid Lindgren.

Cows put poetry in motion

Any artist can paint cows. Nathan Banks paints on cows. Banks, a 22-year-old student at Purchase College, painted single words (from "a" to "existential") on the flanks of about 60 cows near his upstate New York home, then let them wander around to see if they could compose poetry.

Tuesday, December 3

People

¢ Oasis fight spills over ¢ Sold! to the highest bidder ¢ Gere to adopt Tibetan twins ¢ White House celebrates pets

Nelly leads finalists for Billboard Awards

With mentions in 10 categories, St. Louis-based rap artist Nelly leads the list of finalists for the 2002 Billboard Music Awards. Close behind is Ashanti, who on her own is a finalist in seven categories and is twice a finalist in another as a featured artist on tracks by Ja Rule and Fat Joe.

Holiday programs help make season bright

Another holiday tradition resumes this week as television gears up for its annual marathon celebration of the Christmas season.

'60s censorship battle no laughing matter

How does a happy-go-lucky comedy show come to embrace the 1960s antiwar movement, give its network fits with satire goring every sacred cow in sight, then pass into legend by getting thrown off the air - all in roughly two years?

Monday, December 2

People

¢ San Francisco treat ¢ Jen and Ben at the arcade ¢ Going for No. 3 ¢ Bo Derek in doghouse

Once the King of Pop

Twenty years ago, Michael Jackson was probably the coolest person in America and on his way to making history with an album called "Thriller."

Harry Potter, James Bond duel for lead at holiday box office

It was a photo finish between Harry Potter on his broomstick and James Bond in his Aston Martin at the box office during the long Thanksgiving weekend.

From 'Bad' to worst

These days, Michael Jackson gets mostly unflattering publicity

Michael Jackson seems to be moonwalking from one embarrassment to another this year. He publicly feuded with his record label, accusing its chief of racism after his album sales were low.

ABC cautious to try 'Bachelorette'

Success with 'The Bachelor' leads network to test new show

Outperforming even the network's expectations, ABC's "The Bachelor" is planning to run for a third time next March. Until then, an experimental "Bachelorette" will fill in for six episodes (shorter than the eight granted for the "Bachelor"), starting Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Sci-Fi Channel airs Spielberg series

As networks dither, cable networks rush to fill the vacuum. The Sci-Fi Channel hopes that millions of viewers will devote 20 hours over the next 10 consecutive weeknights watching "Taken" (8 p.m., Sci-Fi), a sweeping 50- year saga concerning four families and several generations deeply affected by alien encounters.

Sunday, December 1

People

¢ Rosie's girlfriend gives birth ¢ Actor avoids the poverty line ¢ De Niro, troops to 'Analyze That' ¢ Shedding name no big deal

Radio station bucks trend by playing only local music

Consultant says WBZB's chances of survival slim

The compact discs come to Steve Bass on a kind of musical underground railroad, slipped under the door of his radio station or passed from a friend to a friend to a friend.

Spoleto Festival delivers eclectic celebration of arts

Jane Austen is coming to Spoleto 2003, and so are dueling flamenco dancers and a most unlikely puppet show about the World War II Battle of Stalingrad.

Parents can help children cope with 'lean holiday'

My husband and I were both forced to take pay cuts recently, and so we're spending less this holiday season. How do we break the news to our children that this will be a lean holiday, after having spoiled them with so many toys in the past?

Sesame Street's Elmo celebrates all holidays

Anyone familiar with Elmo - and who's not? - knows that Elmo loves everyone. He loves his friends of different races and religions and this year he is eager to celebrate the winter holiday with them all.

The secret to longevity as 'The Mousetrap' turns 50: The show's still the star

"The Mousetrap" has turned 50, which prompts the question not whodunnit but whydidit? How did this particular Agatha Christie thriller carve out so unusual a slice of show biz history?

Orwell's 'Animal Farm' survives Chinese censors but struggles with audiences who 'don't get it'

Director Shang Chengjun worried censors would ban his stage version of "Animal Farm," George Orwell's anticommunist satire of a barnyard revolution gone wrong. His anxiety was misplaced.

'Crowns' shines light on church hats and outspoken women who wear them

These aren't mere hats. They're crowns. Whether a simple black beret or an elaborate headdress dripping with baubles and netting, they are emblems of sisterhood, shared history and, most of all, faith.

Arts notes

¢ 'You Never Can Tell' continues this weekend ¢ KANU celebration includes folk music ¢ Spencer Museum serves Winter Holiday Party ¢ Baker performs Candlelight Vespers ¢ Baldwin Theatre issues audition call ¢ Topeka Ballet to stage 'The Nutcracker' ¢ Folly Theater presents lauded Cuban jazz trio ¢ Youth theater stages 'Cricket on the Hearth'

Art Fair gears up for first year in new location

The selection at this year's Holiday Art Fair should be even more diverse :quot; and refined :quot; than in years past.

Duke Ellington's 'Harlem Nutcracker' centerpiece of first-ever Jazz Vespers

Take Kansas University's annual Holiday Vespers, tweak it with a little skid-a-ree-doo-bop, and you get a new variation of the yuletide tradition that appeals to holiday hep cats.

Same holiday treat, new twists

Orchestra, 250 voices combine under direction of new music faculty

Kansas University's annual Holiday Vespers is a tradition 78 years in the making. This year, it keeps many of its traditional features, like audience singalongs of popular carols. But the concert will take on a slightly different flavor under the direction of the new director of choral activities, John Paul Johnson.

Arts notes

¢ Native dancers to perform Christmas powwow ¢ Raven Bookstore to hold holiday booksigning ¢ Ceramics and prints to be sold at KU

Sunday news shows announce guest lineups for today

Guest lineup for the Sunday TV news shows:

Delaware home owner lights up holiday nights

There's no sleigh in the driveway, but a rusting blue Ford pickup with a license tag reads "Santa C."

'Dr. Phil' guest loses foot in aftermath of hotel fall

Former officer is trying to beat murder conviction

A former police officer trying to prove her innocence in a murder case had her right foot amputated Friday after a fall from a hotel window, her attorney said.

Giuliani pops question, will marry in spring

America's mayor is getting a new first lady. Rudy Giuliani and gal pal Judith Nathan are officially altar-bound, spokeswoman Sunny Mindel confirmed Friday.