Arts notes

Works about Kansas focus of Spencer show

An exhibition that highlights notable and visionary work either related to Kansas and its history or produced by Kansas artists opened Saturday and runs through Dec. 19 at the Spencer Museum of Art.

"A Kansas Art Sampler," on view in the Spencer's White Gallery, is organized in conjunction with Kansas Art and Culture, an art history course offered this fall by professors Charles Eldredge and Chuck Berg. Kate Meyer, curatorial assistant in the department of prints and drawings, coordinated the show.

The objects she selected emphasize topics covered in the class, such as Bleeding Kansas, issues of race, environment and land use, as well as perceptions of the region. It includes loaned work by Abilene artist Randy Regier and New York artist Joe Coleman, as well as recent acquisitions to the Spencer's collection by Robert Swain Gifford and Lisa Grossman.

Look for a story about the exhibition on Oct. 31.

KU theater presents new Godzilla plays

"Zodgyra and the Seven Deadly Sins," a staged reading of seven new 10-minute plays about the artist formerly known as Godzilla, will be presented by English Alternative Theatre at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

When the call went out from EAT to its roster of KU playwrights to create plays featuring the enigmatic Japanese monster dealing with the seven deadly sins, the following responded: Will Averill, "Anger"; David Huffman, "Greed"; Jonathan Langford, "Pride"; Tim Macy, "Gluttony"; Chris Nelson, "Lust"; Alan Newton, "Envy"; and Paul Shoulberg, "Sloth."

Admission is free. The event is being held in conjunction with "In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage," a Kansas University symposium set for Thursday through Sunday. For more information on Godzilla 50th anniversary events in Lawrence, visit

Octarium starts season with saints and angels

The vocal ensemble Octarium will celebrate All Saints Day with music of the saints and angels in two upcoming concerts.

The group, composed of eight vocalists, many of whom have ties to Kansas University or Lawrence, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Saint Elizabeth's, 2 E. 75th St., Kansas City, Mo. The group will repeat the program at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1234 Ky., in Lawrence.

Tickets to the Kansas City performance are $10 for the public and $5 for students and seniors. Admission to the Lawrence show is free.

The program will include music by Tomás Luis de Victoria, William Byrd, Healey Willan, Maurice Durufle, Benjamin Britten and others.

The dual concerts begin the group's second full season, which also will include four other concerts, appearances with the Friends of Chamber Music MusiConnection program and collaborations with newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and aha! dance theatre.

Mystery dinner theater on weekend menu

The Lawrence Community Theatre will bring a 1940s detective story to life when it stages "Murder at Cafe Noir," a dinner theater mystery, at 7 p.m. Friday.

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling 843-7469. Dinner will be served buffet style and will include roasted pork tenderloin with tropical fruit sauce, poached salmon with lemon-caper sauce, Old Prospect salad, dinner rolls, green beans amandine, rice pilaf and a black-and-white dessert buffet.

The theater will be transformed into Maceli's restaurant for the show, which features Rick Archer, a detective out to find a curvaceous runaway on the forgotten island of Mustique.

Other characters include a French madame and club manager, a voodoo priestess, a shady British attorney, a black marketeer and a femme fatale.

Percussion professor brings beats to KU

Julia Gaines, assistant professor of percussion at the University of Missouri-Columbia, will give a Visiting Artist Series concert 7:30 p.m. Monday at Swarthout Recital Hall.

The free event, organized by KU's music and dance department, will feature a diverse program and a variety of percussion styles.

Gaines has performed with the Idaho/Washington Symphony, the Green Bay Symphony, the Fox River Valley Symphony and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. As a member of the Percussive Arts Society, she toured the Soviet Union and was selected as a member of the Eastman Wind Ensemble for a tour of Japan.

At MU, Gaines directs the University Percussion Ensemble, the World Percussion Ensemble, teaches private lessons and the percussion techniques class, and serves as faculty adviser to the MU Percussion Society, a student organization devoted to promoting percussion events on the MU campus and the Columbia community.

Brian Tate, marimba, and Natalia Bolshakova, piano, will join Gaines during her KU performance, as will mezzo-soprano Jenee O'Connor.

Faculty recital features tuba, euphonium

Scott Watson, professor of euphonium and tuba at Kansas University, will perform a faculty recital 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Swarthout Recital Hall.

Admission is free.

The concert will include guest performance collaborations with Kelly Cornell, who plays horn with the Kansas City Symphony; Thomas Stein, professor of tuba at the University of Missouri, Kansas City; and Jamey Mitchell of the Fountain City Brass band.

The program will include a mixture of solo and chamber works.

Watson has degrees from the college Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and KU. The Alabama native conducts the KU Tuba Euphonium Consort. He has commissioned many new works for tuba, is former editor of the Tuba Press and co-artistic director and member of Symphonia, America's first professional tuba-euphonium ensemble.

New York designer to give talk at KU

Micah Laaker, a designer and creative director based in New York, will give a talk at 6 p.m. Monday at the Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Miss.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Hallmark Symposium Series.

Laaker is the creative director of Fearless Concepts, an interactive design and development firm in New York, where he leads the conceptual and visual direction of music and entertainment projects. His clients have included the ACLU, Island Def Jam Music Group, Disney Channel, Sprint PCS, Lockheed Martin and Adobe Systems.

He was instrumental in the founding and operations of the research and development department at Iguana Studios, a noted New York-based design firm. He has written extensively about design and technology, including authoring "SAMS Teach Yourself SVG in 24 Hours" and "Photoshop CS in 10 Simple Steps or Less." He won he 2002 London International Advertising Awards Gold Award and the 2001 Industrial Design Society of Americas Industrial Design Excellence Gold Award.

KU Camerata to perform at Spencer Museum

KU Camerata, a student orchestral ensemble, will perform at 3 p.m. today in the Central Court of the Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Miss.

The free concert will include works by George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi and Paul Hindemith.

The orchestra, the newest ensemble in the orchestra division of KU's music and dance department, is under the direction of Steven McDonald. The group performs two concerts per semester at the museum. It includes 15 string players, with occasional guest accompanists. The group also provides students of the KU Symphony opportunities to perform solo repertoire.

Today's concert will include the KU Symphony's Shan-ken Chien and Emily Stewart on violin, and cellist Jesse Henkensiefken.

New theater troupe to stage first show

Lawrence's newest theater company will stage its first performance next weekend at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread Ave.

The Borogove Theatre will perform "The Art of Conquering Aja," an original script written by Iowan Paige McLemore and directed by former Lawrence resident Tim Cormack.

The show follows kleptomaniac Aja, a stressed-out, burned-out, art school drop-out who steals her favorite painting from the Chicago Museum of Art. Her punishment is to attend group therapy, which leads her obsessive compulsive friend and her washed up lounge singer father to take up stealing in order to get into her therapy session. Chaos ensues, but everyone feels a lot better in the end.

The cast includes Lawrence actors Tina Connolly, Michael Cormack and Brenton McCall, as well as Tim Cormack, Taylor Gass and Alyson Schacherer.

The show plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Nov. 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 6. A Nov. 6 matinee will be announced.


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