Stories for August 2005

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Tuesday, August 30

The week that was

Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...

Big Brothers & Sisters volunteers

Our weekly reminder that not all people are bastards...

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Review :: Ghosty, "Grow Up Or Sleep In"

Ghosty has achieved several large feats since the band's inception six years ago, and this debut album ranks among them

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Review :: Danny Pound, "Surer Days"

Danny Pound's "Surer Days" is an authentic exercise in timeless songcraft - the kind of "bar band" record that you'd actually want to hear when you walk into a bar.

Jarmusch, Murray score big with heartbreaking 'Broken Flowers'

Sometimes less truly is more. Bill Murray has virtually cornered the market on understated acting, while writer/director Jim Jarmusch ("Dead Man," "Ghost Dog") has always specialized in quirky, meditative portraits. The combination of the two is "Broken Flowers," a compelling portrait of loneliness that is the best movie of the year so far.

Happy endings

Local fiction writers unveil the plot twists in their quests to get published

Laura Moriarty cannot hook you up. The Lawrence-based fiction writer who authored "The Center of Everything" does not possess insider info that will land you a lucrative publishing deal. Nor does she hang with an elite entourage of publishing mavens with whom she could drop your name. Her advice: write a frickin' book.

Monday, August 29

'Me and You' more than a way to pass time

Lately there has been a series of indie movies contemplating how people go through life detached from their feelings and everything around them. Me, You and Everyone We Know is another one of those movies.

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Review: Mario Superstar Baseball - Gamecube

A fun, if average, arcade sports title

If you're a sport fan that's burnt out on the excessive realism of games like Madden or MLB, a first time player of sports videogames looking to get your feet wet, or a Mario fanboy that's dying to settle the age old debate "can Mario hit Luigi's slider" then check this out. For all others: stick with the real thing, you'll play it longer.

Sunday, August 28

Poet's Showcase

The Rain, Part 2 - By Matthew W. Schmeer

The King of Kansas City

Author's second novel probes dark corners of his hometown's evolution

If you work, shop or otherwise frequent Kansas City, you know I-70 and I-35. The highways approach the metropolis from where green farmland still rolls near their shoulders. One plows through the suburban sprawl of Johnson County, and both surge into the hot heart of downtown Kansas City. But in 1956, when Whitney Terrell's second novel, "The King of Kings County," opens, those rivers of concrete had not yet arrived. For farmers, the unadulterated land symbolized an average livelihood, a way of life.

Saturday, August 27

Exhibit features Lawrence businesses doing their jobs

Restaurants, media outlets give glimpse behind the scenes

It is an unusual work of art: Four screens simultaneously filled with images and sounds of Lawrence workers doing their jobs feeding the city.

Friday, August 26

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Review: Darkwatch - PS2, Xbox

The best console first-person shooter since Halo 2

Darkwatch won't revolutionize the genre, but it does many little things so well that it will make enough noise to get noticed, enjoyed and replayed. PS2 owners would be foolish to ignore a solid FPS, and Xbox aficionados tired of Halo 2 or the Tom Clancy shooters would do well to test their trigger mettle with some vampire goodness.

'The Cave' rarely needs exploring

If establishing an atmospheric setting is half the battle when making a horror film, then at least "The Cave" gets that part right. The film's visualization of massive caverns situated in Romania are both a combination of outstanding location footage and impressive production design.

Pass the mic

Jam sessions and open mics enjoy major revival at Lawrence clubs

Let's play a funk riff. Key of C. Drummer counts it off. Ready. Set. Jam. It's a Monday night at The Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Mass., and The Spanktones are on the stage operating as both headliner and backing band.

Cult film icon Bruce Campbell flaunts 'Screaming Brain' in K.C.

Ed Wood may be the undisputed king of bad cult movies, but Bruce Campbell earns the title when it comes to good cult movies. Since entering the public consciousness as the beleaguered Ash in 1981's "The Evil Dead," the Michigan native has notched 60-something film roles (such as this summer's "Sky High") and numerous TV shows, many of which have secured reputations as underground classics.

Thursday, August 25

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Koufax, "Hard Times Are in Fashion"

Lawrence's adopted pop superpower is Koufax, a fearsomely catchy four-piece featuring Ohio expatriates Robert Suchan and Jared Rosenberg as well as former Get Up Kids Rob and Ryan Pope.

Tuesday, August 23

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Review :: The String and Return, "What Cheer"

This on-and-off Kansas City band vividly recalls flagship indie bands like Slint, Codeine and June of 44 as well as retired KC peer-bands like Shiner and Giants Chair.

Review :: Gooding, "Angel / Devil"

Wichita's brightest hope to piggyback on the Maroon Five train is Gooding, a virtuosic three-piece band that has all the markings of forthcoming commercial success. The band recently contributed songs to "MTV Road Rules" and "The Matrix: Revisited," exposing them to the national audience they've sought all along.

Audio-Reader volunteers

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

Annie McEnroe is one of 200 volunteers who spend an hour a week reading newspapers, magazines and books for The Kansas Audio-Reader Network. Their voices travel via closed-circuit radio signals to more than 2,000 visually impaired subscribers throughout Kansas and western Missouri who tune in to be both informed and entertained.

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Popular mechanics

A mechanic's guide to not getting screwed by mechanics

Trusting types and/or paranoid-delusional types with lots of money need not worry themselves about the fine art of getting a fair deal on one's automobile maintenance. For the rest of us, however, hundreds of dollars can be at stake.

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Review: Advance Wars: Dual Strike - DS

Though not stylus-centric, it's one of the best games on the DS

On top of this great single-player gameplay, Advance Wars features enough bells and whistles to keep it fresh for a while. Mapmaker options are available, as well as wireless multiplayer for up to 8 players. Graphics while not extraordinary by any means are bright, vivid, and feature a unique art design.

Captive Audience - Student workers spill the dirt on part-time jobs

Finding a good student job in Lawrence is a lot like riding the world's biggest rollercoaster - a great thing to brag about when you're done, but a hard knock to the gut while getting over the hump.

The week that was

Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...

Monday, August 22

Developing a downtown destination

Hobbs Taylor Lofts project sparks a mix of enthusiasm, worries

A couple of years ago, customers at La Familia and The Bottleneck could look east across New Hampshire Street and see nothing much except a tall - albeit dying - tree on an otherwise empty lot.

Sunday, August 21

Playwright prefers life unscripted

Wanderlust brought KU prof, EAT founder to Lawrence

Paul Lim has set the stage for success through the years as the sole English professor teaching playwriting at Kansas University and founder of the English Alternative Theatre.

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Designing women

Kristen Ferrell is no snob. The 29-year-old Lawrence artist - with her mane of dreads and arms sleeved in tattoos - made paintings that were fresh and edgy enough to pack the youthful Olive Gallery with a legion of hipsters at the opening of her July show.

Poet's Showcase

Risk by Michael Johnson

Saturday, August 20

Traveling troubadours

Lawrence ensemble to be vocal ambassadors at Kansas State Day service in Washington

In their 30-year history, the Lawrence-based Motet Singers have never traveled farther than Kansas City, Mo., to perform. That will change in a big way Sunday, when the group represents all of Kansas during the state's official worship service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Friday, August 19

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Nintendo DS to $129, GBA Micro dated

DS drops and the GBA Micro is upon us

Nintendo announced this week that starting Monday the 22nd, the Nintendo DS will drop to $129.99 just in time for the release of Nintendogs and Advance Wars. The sleek GBA Micro will debut September 17th at a mere $99.99 with a choice of black or silver.

'40-Year-Old Virgin' consummates comedic concept

Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) spends his free time reading comic books, playing his tuba and painting medieval figurines. His apartment is decorated with framed posters of magician Doug Henning and the band Asia, and filled with his most treasured items: collectible action figurines.

Family Ties

Sisters Morales find rich harmonies in blood bond

When it comes to musical style, you might say the Sisters Morales have multiple personalities. And they have their family to thank for it.

Thursday, August 18

As KU classes resume, officials on prowl for underage drinkers

It's that time of year at the Red Lyon Tavern. With college students flooding back into town, bartender Chris Neverve knows he'll probably see more than a few fake driver's licenses - some of them comically incorrect - from youngsters trying to buy a beer before they turn 21.

Haskell filmmaker headed to Hollywood

$50,000 Disney fellowship to help pay way

Less than a year after putting together the Haskell Film Festival, Thomas Yeahpau is headed for Hollywood.

Wednesday, August 17

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'North vs. South'

Yanks and Rebs encamp in Lawrence, this time for music

Starting today, Lawrence will provide the setting for the second annual North vs. South Music Festival. Nearly 30 acts hailing from either Minneapolis, Minn., or Austin, Texas, are preparing to encamp for three days on one of three downtown stages. The resulting concerts will offer a rock music equivalent of the blue vs. gray.

Review: 10-minute plays tread in bizarre but witty territory

E.M.U. Theatre opened its 10-Minute Play Festival, "Don't Fear the Rooster," last weekend at the Lawrence Arts Center with a mix of musical and dramatic performances by local talent. It featured plays by Ron Willis, Jeff Sorrels, Leo Nightingale, Joel Reavis, Adri Pendergrass and Andrew Stowers as well as musical compositions and performances by Lonnie Fisher, Joe Griffin and Howard Callahan.

Rockin' ramen

Use your noodle! Staple of collegiate cuisine doesn't have to be boring

Kansas University classes haven't even started yet, but Joseph Hermens already is counting on ramen noodles to be a staple for him during his college years.

Documentary set for Friday screening

A new documentary, "Touched by Fire, Bleeding Kansas," will have its Lawrence debut Friday night in South Park, 11th and Massachusetts streets.

Tuesday, August 16

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Review: Geist - Gamecube

It gets better, it really does.

Know that you'll have to sit through cumbersome shooting controls and a rocky first few levels to get to the gold. It's not the most technically pleasing of games, but make no mistake, Geist is worth the few initial cusswords to reveal the rewarding, core possession mechanics.

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Review :: Drakkar Sauna, "drakkansasauna"

Let's be honest... this is probably not Drakkar Sauna's breakout album. If you don't cotton to their particular brand of down-home folkish surrealism already, chances are "drakkansasauna" won't change your mind.

The week that was

Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...

Headquarters Counseling volunteers

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

There's never a reason to lose all hope in Lawrence. That's because the volunteers at Headquarters Counseling Center are on-call 24 hours a day, sleeping on futons and interrupting their REM sequences to counsel those in need of serious help - immediately.

A matter of degrees

It doesn't always take a college diploma to 'make it'

With tuition going through the roof, the question of a whether college is worth the cost can be a tough call make, particularly for prospective students without clear idea of what they're going to do after they get the degree.

Review; Johnny Quest, "Just John"

Johnny Quest has been a consistent contributor to the Lawrence hip-hop scene for nearly a decade, bringing his old-school lyricism to MC battles, Wax Clashes and local hip-hop shows. "Just John" is Quest's most proper release to date, elevating his game to a level higher than the scattered mixed tapes and CDRs he's handed out to friends.

Monday, August 15

Freshman fouls

Our budget guide to the pitfalls of being a freshman...or someone who acts like one

We're not self-righteous enough to think we can talk freshman out of doing all the stupid things they're going to do. In fact, we'd rather those things were fully experienced as freshmen than have more middle-aged homies out there trying to relive those lost beer-bong years. So here it is, your freshman year to-do list...

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Review: Madden NFL 2006 - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

Not quite the big step like 2005, but still a good game of football

There's a reason why only a select few are able to play in the NFL and make difficult reads and such. We gamers want to enjoy that thrill, just not with the frustration that can go along with it. The learning curve is higher this year, but once you get use to everything and become comfortable, the game really shines.

Review: Pirates! - Xbox

Arrr...great ideas bogged down in archaic gameplay...arrr!

You become more famous as your pirating career becomes more prolific, you can hunt down rival pirates and try to bump them off the top 10 list and you can play nations against each other. All these concepts sound like they might be fun, but they really don't deliver.

Residence halls welcome influx of students

On the move at KU

Throngs of Kansas University students returned to campus residence halls Sunday, traveling in vehicles packed with everything from clothes and food to stereos and television sets.

Disguises blown on drug paraphernalia

Glass tubes convert easily to crack pipes

Those tiny fake roses sold in glass tubes at convenience stores aren't just impulse buys for romantic souls.

Sunday, August 14

Poet's Showcase

On the Day 14 Marines Were Killed in Anbar Province - By Max Sutton

Friday, August 12

Eerie mysteries unlocked in 'The Skeleton Key'

"The Sixth Sense" started a trend that few movies have been able to successfully replicate. Six years after the "I see dead people" blockbuster was released, most horror-thrillers are hopeful to deliver a BIG SHOCK ENDING.

Lawrence native to be on Grand Ole Opry

Chuck Mead, a Lawrence native and a founding member of the country rock band BR549, will perform solo Saturday on the Grand Ole Opry.

Return of the kings

Fans, impersonators and celebrities gear up for the annual Elvis Parade

Mike Miller has seen all manner of people who look like Elvis Presley. He's seen them youthful and decked in tight leather. He's seen them paunchy and draped in sequins.

Thursday, August 11

Nude actors to perform in Topeka

Actors and actresses will bare it all next month at a city-owned theater when a nudist colony stages a series of plays it commissioned to promote a clothing-free lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 10

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Sweet honey and the rock

Lawrence's Aubrey hopes the music industry will suckle their aural nectar

Two years out of high school, Aubrey is sitting on a remarkable debut album titled "Honey and the Shame." It surely has flaws, but on the whole it's a delicious journey through all things pop the dreamy post-production of Air, the jazzy bounce of Badly Drawn Boy; and the washy Brit-pop guitars of Coldplay and/or prepubescent Radiohead.

Suspect captured in shooting of musician Marc Cohn

Liberty Hall says it will reschedule canceled performance

A man suspected of shooting Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn during an attempted carjacking was arrested after a 5 1/2-hour standoff with police.

Rising stars

Lawrence musician adjusts to role with 'next big thing'

Tonight, musicians Teddy Geiger and Justin Hosek will play a set during Acoustic Open Mic Night to friends and family and whoever else wanders into Lawrence's Jazzhaus. Thursday night, the pair will perform to a sold-out Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

Sunday, August 7

Review: Book warns U.S. attitudes on war endanger security

Andrew J. Bacevich's "The New American Militarism" (Oxford University Press, 270 pages, $28) is both a critique and a defense of our nation's armed forces by a West Point graduate, Vietnam veteran, professional military officer and self-described conservative Catholic. He also is professor of international relations and director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University.

Poet's Showcase

Saturday, August 6

Moon Bar hosts filmmaker

Director hopes to submit film to Sundance

The Moon Bar, 821 Iowa, was transformed Friday into a very different establishment: "Rosie's Cafe," an eatery specializing in strawberry pie. It might be difficult to get your own slice, however; the cafe and the pie were fiction, created for a feature-length independent movie being shot by a Lawrence filmmaker.

Derby delivers demolition aplenty

County fair event offers thrills for both drivers and fans

They came to see metal crunch and hear engines roar. Hundreds packed the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds' rodeo arena Friday evening for one of the fair's highlighted events: the Demolition Derby.

Friday, August 5

'Dukes' hazardous to one's mental health

Now "Bewitched" has some competition. Those who thought that cinematic train wreck represented the summer's worst adaptation of a "classic" TV show need only see "The Dukes of Hazzard." Stupidity is exchanged like hard currency in this sub-"Smokey and the Bandit" romp around backwater Georgia.

Checkered flag

Does the Confederate symbol deserve a place with the 'Dukes,' or is it merely a reminder of America's enduring racism?

Bo and Luke Duke sit in their car, stuck in traffic on an Atlanta street. A vehicle pulls up next to them and a driver shouts, "Nice roof, redneck. Why don't you join us in the 21st century?" On the other side, a trucker slows down to counter, "The South will rise again!"

Tractors pull in fair crowd

Rich Wakeman, of Law-rence, hopped down from the seat of a red 1960 Farmall 560 tractor, and his 17-year-old son, Curtis, quickly jumped up and took his place.

Tuesday, August 2

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Review: FlatOut - PS2, Xbox

A standard arcade racer bolstered by fun physics and side games

FlatOut has one unique thing going for it, and that's the physics engine. There's a huge amount of environmental objects scattered across the 40+ tracks, and all of them react appropriately when hit with your car. See that huge wall of tires on the side of the track?

All eyes on Harry

Lawrence readers weigh in on 'Half-Blood Prince'

Kids young and old give their reviews of the most recent Harry Potter book.

Monday, August 1

March to the beat of a penguin drummer!

Should it really be such a surprise to see a nature documentary like "March of the Penguins" nestled in each week's box office reports among this summer's blockbuster fantasy/sci-fi hits? It may have more in common with them than you think.