Saturday, April 30
You cannot choose your heritage, but you can choose to embrace it and share it with others, regardless of their background, culture or beliefs. And oral histories, or personal stories, can aid in this effort by finding common ground between different groups of people living in the same place.
Friday, April 29
Though there is room for improving relations between the native and nonnative people in Lawrence, New York-based artist Ping Chong said he was encouraged by efforts here to foster better communication.
Like salmon that swim upstream to spawn, there must be some innate quality in young boys that causes them to build forts in their back yards out of old boxes. According to "Millions," it's seemingly as common a practice in Britain as it is in America.
Composer to unveil 'Phoenix of the Plains'
When Geoffrey Wilcken accepted a commission from the Lawrence Civic Choir in 2003 to create a musical composition in honor of Lawrence's sesquicentennial, he knew he had a big job ahead of him.
Lawrence musicians, road managers and promoters reveal do's and dont's of taking an act on the road
Plane flights and stadium gigs are rare luxuries for most Lawrence bands. But local acts trying to make a name for themselves nationally are equally familiar with the frenetic world of touring. The casual music fan might be shocked to learn just how many area bands go on the road, how frequently they travel and what exotic locales they visit.
Thursday, April 28
Who are we? Why are we here? What is the answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything? And would a sperm whale suddenly called into existence in midair, miles above an alien planet, want to make friends with the quickly approaching ground?
Welcome to our online chat with Ping Chong, author-director of 'Native Voices - Secret History'. The chat took place on Thursday, April 28, at 1:00 PM and is now closed, but you can read the full transcript on this page.
Wednesday, April 27
Bruce Springsteen takes listeners to some desolate places on "Devils & Dust" (Columbia): a desert battlefield, a prostitute's bedroom, the riverbed of the Rio Grande, a barroom gripped by the desperation of last call. If only it wasn't such a barren place musically.
For Miss America, on-air survival may hinge on getting down and dirty
How about Miss Arkansas in a cat fight with Miss Texas? Or Miss Alaska plotting with Miss Tennessee to get Miss Maine voted off the runway? Or a swimsuit contest featuring bikini-clad women walking the runway while covered in leeches?
Tuesday, April 26
Topeka author Thomas Fox Averill has established himself as a respectable practitioner of the short story, with three collections to date and an O. Henry award for his talents. Like his previous short story works, the stories in "Ordinary Genius" use Kansas as a canvas for stories of seemingly ordinary people in a seemingly ordinary place. But the stories are anything but ordinary.
KJHK's annual battle harvests fresh fruit from the Lawrence music scene
Like most bands entering Farmer's Ball, The Volunteers have one primary objective. "Hopefully we'll get some fucking phat studio time," says lead singer/guitarist Tyler Jack Anderson, who formed the band just weeks in advance of the annual KJHK-sponsored battle-of-the-bands. Otherwise (our first album) is going to be ghetto," he added.
Let's get this out there right off the bat: Veda is a good band - possibly even a great one. This relatively new Kansas City foursome sounds primed for rock's biggest stages - no small achievement considering the dozens of local bands who aspire to as much but fall dreadfully short.
For the last couple years, The Black Ale Sinners (originally known as Saddle Rash) have been flying below the radar with the occasional underpromoted gig and some impromptu performances at The Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield.
Lawrence band finds its own way in the music industry maze
If every band were given the chance to script their own big 'break,' many might well come up with what actually happened to Lawrence's Ghosty. In late 2003, they were at Trent Bell's studio recording, when none other than Flaming Lips' frontman Wayne Coyne showed up...
Despite stripped-down script, cast rekindles children's classic
Shouts of "Aargh!" echoed through the Lawrence Arts Center theater on Saturday afternoon as the Seem-To-Be-Players hoisted the Jolly Roger and set sail for "Treasure Island." Adapted by Scot Copeland of Nashville Children's Theatre from Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure story, "Treasure Island" is loaded with all kinds of pirate fun: mutiny, sword fighting, treasure hunting and, of course, lots of "Aargh!"
Monday, April 25
The Wakarusa Van will travel to 12 Midwestern states to promote the festival.
An extensive, customizable and wonderfully intense underground racer
If you're even a moderate fan of racing games, you owe it to yourself to pick up Midnight Club 3. The standard story mode alone will last you close to 20 hours, and there's tons of unlockables and optional races to keep you busy for a long time.
Purely one of the best PSP launch games
Wipeout Pure is a fun, fast and frantic racing game that plays as good as it looks. PSP owners looking for a game to really showcase their new toy's power, racing fans looking their next adrenaline rush and fans of good videogaming in general will all be more than satisfied with Wipeout Pure.
A decent soccer game to please most fans of the sport
World Tour Soccer is a fun sports sim that does an excellent job of maintaining a reasonable level of realism while preserving the go-anywhere, pick-up-and-play gameplay that is necessary to portable gaming.
The blockiest Star Wars adventure yet
It is a short ride but entertaining the whole way through. Every Star Wars fan will love this game, and if you're looking for a quick, fun arcade adventure, then I highly suggest checking this one out.
Sunday, April 24
Local American Indians share stories to open community dialogue
Five Lawrence residents are preparing to bare their souls in public for the good of the community. They'll be sharing their innermost thoughts, telling their life stories. And they'll be doing it in their own words, with their own voices -- voices that often go unheard.
Saturday, April 23
The University Dance Company showcased its extraordinary season of work Thursday and Friday nights at the Lied Center in a program that ranged from baroque to jazz, grief to flirtatious infatuation.
Friday, April 22
With "Melinda and Melinda," a lightweight but enjoyable slice of thin-crust pie, Woody Allen is finally poised to win some of his long lost fans back
A swarthy drama unfolding on the Lawrence Arts Center stage proves there's nothing like a good pirate story to level the playing field between men and boys.
Star Nicole Kidman reportedly signed on to "The Interpreter" without having read the script. Had she skimmed a few pages, she might have changed her mind -- or at least began asking enough questions about the plot to generate some revisions in the pre-production phase.
Thursday, April 21
Much, much better than you'd guess
What a surprise. I honestly didn't think I could take a developer's freshman effort on a new label that seriously. Although it has some kinks to work out, the foundation is solid and Destineer should be very proud.
Only if you MUST have a portable ATV racer
ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails isn't a bad racing game, but it's not a good one, either. If you're a PSP owner and you're jonesin' for a racing game, you might want to look elsewhere, unless you've a big ATV fan, but then again, who isn't?
With BR549 on hiatus, frontman Chuck Mead returns home for solo performance
Bob Dylan is trying to break up BR549. No, it's not quite like what Yoko Ono did with The Beatles. Instead, Dylan has recruited multi-instrumentalist Don Herron from the Grammy-nominated country act as part of his touring band. The situation has made it rather awkward the past few months for the Nashville unit to conduct business as usual.
Wednesday, April 20
The best DW yet
Get ready to hit the square button. A lot. Yes, everyone's favorite run-around-and-kill-a-million-people game is back, and it includes enough upgrades and changes to make it worthwhile
Those Mountain Dew darlings revive their video game skills (or lack thereof)
Hey, kids, I've got a question for you: what do you get when you take an out-of-date gaming license, add uninspired and confusing levels, and then mix in poorly developed platforming bits, redundant puzzles and braindead enemies? (A) The exact recipe for videogame monotony, (B) An exercise in frustration, or (C) Spy vs. Spy for the Xbox? I'm sorry, the correct answer is (D) All of the above.
Tuesday, April 19
Local theater troupe brings "Hedwig" to Lawrence
When Steven Eubank talks about doing shows with "integrity" and "grit," he's not talking about "Death of Salesman." No, the 21-year-old producer/director wunderkind is talking about his production of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" - in all of its transgendered-rock-and-roll, mutilated-sex-change glory. "This is actually kind of a departure from the shows I'm used to doing," said Eubank. Right. This is waaaaay different than "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens."
MLB delivers for baseball fans looking to take their game on the go.
With a few tweaks to the gameplay, this franchise has the potential to be a third pillar in the world of baseball videogames. It's just too bad that the recent exclusivity trend in sports games may prevent that from happening. Regardless, baseball fans shouldn't hesitate to give this title a try.
Teen parents share their stories of unexpected pregnancy
Rewarding. Transforming. Empowering. In the big happy world of make-believe, these are the type of words that describe parenthood. In the real world, however, there's only one word that consistently describes the virgin stages of cherub-rearing. "It's scary," says Amber Bailey, who gave birth to her first child, Zoey, three months ago. "Now that I'm a mom I worry more - about everything."
It's been three years since Miles Bonny and Joe Good released a full length, and it's obvious that in that time, they've blossomed sonically - peeping game and stepping theirs up accordingly
Monday, April 18
High school vocalists balance hectic schedules to prepare numbers for Showtime and Encore
Leslie Rhoton had to go to school, attend three hour-long rehearsals, organize yearbook deadlines and cheer on the Lawrence High School Lions at a varsity basketball game.
More fun than a barrel of monkeys ... wait, didn't we just use that joke template?
It's easy to pick up your PSP, play one or two of these short levels, then save and quit. Eight or nine hours will finish off the main story mode for most people, and you can always go back to previous levels to get 100%. Later levels start to get fairly monotonous as the monkey-catching gameplay starts to wear a bit thin.
More fun than a golf cart full of ... golf ... stuff
There's no shortage of off-road racing games out on the market today. There is, however, a shortage of off-road games that feature biplanes and golf carts. After years and years of angry emails from golf cart fanatics, THQ has finally answered their prayers. Sarcasm aside, MX vs ATV Unleashed is a decent game for fans of the genre, and will certainly give them plenty to do.
In the shadow of Sony's God of War, Kasai still offers tons of fun
Rise of the Kasai is fun and I was really surprised at the critical bashing. The game definitely doesn't have an amazing butt-load of new features, but I think the co-op is enough to hold me over. The series is definitely moving forward from The Mark of Kri and I can't wait to see what Bottlerocket Entertainment can do with the next installment, if we're so lucky.
Sunday, April 17
Painter pinpoints spiritual moments in 'Signs and Seasons'
There's no mistaking the seasons in Kansas. The state's extreme weather draws sure signs of winter, spring, summer and fall in the prairies and skies.
Friday was a night of firsts. First chance for local audiences to meet the newly formed 940 Dance Company, a re-invention of the Lawrence Arts Center's Prairie Wind Dancers.
Jubilant Sykes carries off range of styles with ease
The rich voice and expressive styling of baritone Jubilant Sykes kept an appreciative Lied Center audience in rapt attention for two hours Friday night. He sang folk songs, jazz standards, spirituals, Broadway songs, Latin American songs and popular songs -- and seemed equally at home in them all. He also displayed a great deal of personal charm throughout the evening; one audience member described it as "flirting with the audience."
"Signs and Seasons," an exhibition of paintings by James Schaefer at Signs of Life Gallery, is just one stop on the Downtown Friday Gallery Walk, set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. The following venues also will participate in the self-guided tour of downtown art spaces:
New York choreographer Kate Skarpetowska creates fast-paced 'Squirrel Suite' for KU dance company
Kate Skarpetowska came to Kansas University by way of New York City compliments of a Broadway flop en route from Warsaw, Poland.
Jimmie Manning said he found little to celebrate after the April 5 statewide vote approving a constitutional ban on gay marriage in the state - even though a wide majority of Douglas County residents voted against the ban.
Friday, April 15
Nintendo scores its first great puzzler for its two-screen handheld
Regardless, Polarium's main gameplay is solid as a rock and proves to be more rewarding than Lumines. The only drawback is the lack of modes and the initial hump you have to overcome in the Challenge difficulty. But I wouldn't hesitate to put Polarium on your DS priority list.
Does the Xbox incarnation fare well or add anything fresh to the mix?
The port is stunningly accurate with an amazing amount of detail still packed into lesser hardware. Unimportant NPCs were given the axe and the game starts off smoother than its PC daddy. I am as impresed as any critic how well it translated to the four-year-old box. But the fact still remains that Doom feels incredibly dated despite its visual prowess.
Filmmaker Michael Tucker focuses on day-to-day life, avoids politics
The members of the 2/3 Field Artillery were treated to quite a scene when they set up barracks in Iraq. Their ongoing residence was a pleasure palace formerly owned by Saddam Hussein's son Uday -- a bomb-riddled, garish ode to hedonism, complete with a swimming pool, putting green and fishing pond.
Brazilian martial art fuses music, dance and combat
Picture someone like Jet Li or Chuck Norris punching and kicking the bejesus out of some goon ... then breaking into a lively song and dance about it. Such is the unusual mixture of art and self-defense that is called capoeira.
Never trust a real estate agent who says a potential property has a "vibrant history." At 112 Ocean Ave. in the Amityville neighborhood of Long Island, N.Y., that description means a family was recently murdered there. Not to mention the fact it was built on the mass grave of tortured natives ... blah, blah, blecch.
Thursday, April 14
Twisted Metal fans unimpressed by the latest in the series will find redemption in Head-On
Incognito has released yet another Twisted Metal game, and it certainly ranks among the best. In almost every conceivable way, Twisted Metal: Head On feels like the true spiritual successor to Twisted Metal 2.
We take a trip to the travelling N-Van from Nintendo and check out the upcoming titles
It was a great lineup displayed, and I have to admit that Killer 7 really caught my eye and is the one title that stands out from the others.
Wednesday, April 13
A true example of what happens with most launch games
It is not a port of the console versions by any means. Just because you truly enjoyed the PS2 or Xbox incarnations of Spider-Man 2 (as I did), that doesn't mean you're going to like this one. It's 19 missions long, most of them are extremely unentertaining, and you can beat it in one sitting.
As Prairie Wind subsides, 940 Dance Company seeking momentum in fresh faces, name
Spring sunlight filters into the dance studio at the Lawrence Arts Center as lithe athletes in loose workout clothes stretch at bars positioned around the room's perimeter.
Dogs Die in Hot Cars reveals inspiration behind the 'worst band name in the history of music'
The story behind the name of Scotland's Dogs Die in Hot Cars is shrouded in mystery. The five-piece pop-rock act has spread some crazy tales about its origin -- from the first words on the Scrabble table to a moment of inspiration when the members were inhaling helium balloons -- but the truth behind the band name always has been kept under wraps.
Tuesday, April 12
Harry G. Frankfurt opens his book with the line: "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit." And then he continues to expound for 80 pages on bullshit definitions, analogies, nuances, where it came from and why we have so much of it.
Lawrence's electronic enthusiasts still partying...just don't call em 'ravers'
Life is peaceful on Maryam Hjersted's farm these days. At a glance, Hjersted's farm is like any other: grizzled cats and dogs roam the driveway, portentous barns cling to their golden years and endless acres of land sprawl into the horizon. But the tribal graffiti on the south side of Hjersted's barn is a dead giveaway to the farm's fabled past - as one of Lawrence's premier rave - ahem, "event" - spots.
Monday, April 11
Lawrence's music scene just wants to be loved
If the opinions of two of the largest national music magazines mean anything at all, Lawrence's music scene is not necessarily hip, nor does it warrant much hype. Blender magazine's last list names renowned sonic centers like Austin and NYC's Williamsburg as the "20 Most Rock & Roll Towns in America." But our beloved little town of Lawrence didn't even make the cut.
Sunday, April 10
The best portable Tony Hawk you can buy
Its objective and combo-heavy gameplay lend themselves well to portable gaming, allowing you to beat goals and free skate around some of the bigger levels when and wherever you find time. While it may be the worst of the next-gen Tony Hawk games, it is still better than most of the extreme sports ilk and a fine launch game for the PSP.
Sam Fisher's best outing yet can't quite reach its full potential
I threw a flash grenade into the room, blinding all three. As they were disoriented, I ran in and slaughtered them all with my machine gun. It's these kinds of immensely satisfying moments that make the Splinter Cell series what it is.
By the time he was in fifth grade at Hillcrest School, Steven Church stood taller than most of his teachers. "As a kid, I was kind of freakishly huge," he recalls. "I was 5 foot 7 and weighed 160 pounds. So for a 10-year-old I felt pretty freakish."
Agatha Christie's durable "Mousetrap," running continuously in London since 1952, is onstage at Lawrence Community Theatre, and both first-time viewers and veterans of other performances will enjoy watching the ingenious plot unfold once more. The cast, directed by Michael Doll, keeps the audience guessing whodunit until the end. Jack Riegle's set could not look more like an English guest house, complete with fireplace and wainscoting. Annette Cook's costumes reinforce each character's personality well.
A mother and daughter team from Lawrence put the right spin on the "Wheel of Fortune" during a taping of the popular television game show Friday in Kansas City, Mo., and then walked away with some big bucks.
Alumnus shares experiences acting, battling cancer during theater department fund-raiser
Actor and former Kansas University student Mandy Patinkin bared his soul before 500 admiring fans Saturday during "A Conversation With Mandy Patinkin" a fund-raising appearance at KU's Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.
Friday, April 8
Whether it involves mammoth meteors hitting the earth or underwater animated tales, Hollywood studios often come up with the same ideas at the same time. This year's coincidental project involves writer Truman Capote. Two large-scale productions are under way that focus on Capote's research in small-town Kansas for his signature work, "In Cold Blood."
"Fever Pitch" is clearly a Peter and Bobby Farrelly movie. It is easily identifiable not for the gross-out humor that made the directors' names in "There's Something About Mary" and "Dumb and Dumber," but instead for the awkward sentimentality of recent misfires "Shallow Hal" and "Stuck on You." Like those, "Fever Pitch" is chock full of forced and uneven corniness and - considering the film's winning premise - it makes one wonder how they could screw this one up, too.
There is absolutely no reason to waste your money on this movie...but perhaps you'll enjoy this review
Forget character development, "Sahara" literally cuts to the chase. Unfortunately, fast-paced action scenes have zero urgency without some depth of character. Cue the music: Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" serve as theme songs for McConaughey's good-time hippie-Texan version of Indiana Jones. He's so cool he even has TWO big entrances.
Matthew McConaughey trades red carpet for RV parks
When he steps out from behind his Airstream trailer, Matthew McConaughey looks nothing like the smooth-talking Knicks fan women adored in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." This McConaughey, clad in a backward hat, Wranglers and a few days worth of stubble, appears surprisingly at home at Missouri's Basswood Country Inn and RV Resort.
One of the best tidbits of wisdom imparted to young directors is to "make the movie you ARE making, not the movie you PLANNED on making." Such is the case with British photojournalist Zana Briski, who spent years living in the red-light district of Calcutta to study the harsh conditions of impoverished prostitutes.
Thursday, April 7
KU theatre alum Mandy Patinkin to recap career in Lawrence visit
"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Mandy Patinkin can't get through the day without someone approaching him and delivering that phrase. And he loves it.
"Miss Saigon," a musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schnberg, is a longtime Broadway favorite because it taps into one of the oldest and most pervasive themes of all time: the idea that during our darkest moments, our dreams sustain us and keep us alive.
Guitarist, dancers interrupt European tour to inoculate city
Gerald Lubensky was just a youngster when his heart was pierced by the beauty and power of flamenco, a distinctive style of dancing -- more of an art form, really -- that comes from Andalucia, the eight-province region of southern Spain.
Kansas University's International Student Assn. will be host to International Awareness Week Sunday through Friday.
Wednesday, April 6
Fund raising under way to add space to East Lawrence facility
Tiffany Luthi isn't sure what she'd be doing if she didn't work at Van Go Mobile Arts after school four days a week.
Europe's longest-running murder mystery will be performed in Lawrence starting this week.
Tuesday, April 5
Carving a name in the upper echelon of action games of this generation
While it may be only eight hours long, it's enthralling the entire time. There really isn't any section of the game that I would have removed or shortened. It's truly one of the most polished and entertaining gameplay experiences I've ever had, and ranks among the PS2's best.
Le Bourgeois Vineyards offer low-key day trip
It's easy to make bad wine. Making good wine, however, is an ambition that requires much more discipline. For Les Bourgeois Vineyards, the only thing that matters is the end product: eleven one-of-a-kind wines straight out of the Midwest
Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...
Monday, April 4
Cellist Zuill Bailey may play an instrument that is hundreds of years old, but he exudes an appeal that is decidedly modern.
Split Lip Rayfield's Kirk Rundstrom takes aim at insurgent country kings, Bloodshot Records
"I feel hurt, neglected, let down and disappointed in my relationship with Bloodshot Records," says Split Lip Rayfield's Kirk Rundstrom.
The best Timesplitters yet seems a little late to the party, but still packs in a lot of fun
Future Perfect seems pretty late to the party and a little rusty at first. But looking past its average exterior will still open up a robust multiplayer component that you can take online with the PS2 and Xbox version and spend plenty of hours in mindless fun. And hey, we all need a little of that now and then, right?
Sunday, April 3
Drum Drum, a contemporary music group based in Darwin, Australia, gave new meaning to the expression "rhythm nation" when it performed music and dances from Papua New Guinea Friday at the Lied Center. Papua New Guinea, a country north of Australia, has some 800 languages and 3,000 dialects, and Drum Drum performed an equally diverse repertoire of explosive percussion, with beats representative of the Melanesian and Polynesian cultures throughout the South Pacific region.
An idea came to Eudora resident Stephanie Pascua during a long car ride with her husband and her infant daughter.
One of the most popular musicals of all time is headed for a two-night engagement at the Lied Center.
On its 25th anniversary, Lawrence Art Auction attracting more artists and buyers than ever
As Mike Elwell remembers it, the situation was pretty dire. Word came that the Lawrence Arts Center would not be getting an annual grant on which it had come to depend. Director Ann Evans and company were faced with a choice: Either raise some money or start letting people go.
Saturday, April 2
Downtown shop converts pop culture into Christian apparel
At Extreme Christian Clothing, God is in fashion. So is Jesus, heaven and Scripture. Even -- gulp -- Satan makes an appearance or two.
After 2,400 years of the tragedy from Oedipus' point of view, it seems fair to hear from Jocasta. Paul Stephen Lim brings the queen's story as told by Michele Fabien to the Lawrence Arts Center stage this weekend.
Friday, April 1
Wherein we confuse the news with fabricated refuse
Lew Perkins to donate KU men's basketball season tickets, and other items that failed to come to pass last week...
The down-and-dirty sport of roller derby is being embraced by a new generation of women
It's the ultimate girl fight. Women push and shove. They body-check each other. They get in brawls. They purposely fall to take out an opposing team's player. But this isn't football or rugby. It's a full-contact sport that involves roller skates, flashy outfits and -- usually -- fishnets.
Several modern movies have tried to bring the look and feel of a comic book to life. Not just to adapt comic characters into a cinematic setting, but really capture the episodic, exaggerated, colorful texture of an actual ink-and-paper product.
For 13-year-old Dacotah Hasvold, Rick Schroder is more than the former star of "NYPD Blue" -- he's the director of "Black Cloud," a movie that gave Hasvold, a member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe, a reason to smile.
A new study has determined that daily contact with newsprint ink can cause hair loss and impotence. APRIL FOOLS! Among the most underappreciated of "holidays," April 1 represents the one time of the year when it's socially acceptable -- and often encouraged -- to get away with just about anything.