Stories for January 2005


Monday, January 31

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Review :: The Harvey Girls, "Blabber n Smoke"

The Harvey Girls are a husband-and-wife duo from Lawrence consisting of Melissa Rodenbeek and Hiram Lucke (ex-Teryakis). Since the "Girls" rarely perform around town, we have to assume the 'band' is mostly a home recording project.

Sunday, January 30

Writing award goes to two poets

Each year the Lawrence Arts Center and The Raven Bookstore sponsor the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award competition to recognize excellence and encourage achievement of new and emerging writers in Douglas County. This year the award went to two poets, Kevin Rabas and Max Keith Sutton. Each will receive $500 and will read during a reception 7 p.m. Tuesday -- Langston Hughes' birthday -- at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Rising sun

Woodblock exhibition sheds light on ascent of Japan's imperial capital after quake

The earthquake struck two minutes before noon with devastating force. The midday meal was close at hand, and charcoal and wood stoves were being stoked in preparation. Fires quickly engulfed houses in the congested city, and a strange series of windstorms and cyclones spawned by intense heat and lack of oxygen sped the destruction.

Poet's Showcase


KU Opera breathes new life into Mozart classic

The stage of the Robert Baustian (formerly Black Box) Theatre is transformed into Lawrence in 1950, and as Ferrando exclaims "goldarn it" in the opening "La mia Dorabella," our town feels a long way from Vienna in 1789. But the feeling soon passes, as this production's splendid voices and Mozart's incomparable music enchant the audience into a willing acceptance that this story could have happened here or anywhere -- so long as it sounds this good.

Saturday, January 29

Slogan ideas critical, hopeful

Many readers' suggestions evoke state's controversies

First, a warning: Some people REALLY hate the new state slogan. These same people, it quickly becomes clear, also harbor deep resentments about the fact the Board of Education a few years back put Kansas on the map as a state that doubted the truth of evolution, the Legislature is considering a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and their blue-state values are at odds with those of most of the folks in this passionately red state.

Friday, January 28

'Hide and Seek' best left unfound

Or 'An open letter to Robert DeNiro'

Dear Robert DeNiro, For the sake of other living screen legends and film fans everywhere, please do another American Express commercial when you are short on cash, and not another full-length feature that insults the intelligence of all involved, particularly the audience...

Cinema with soul

New group shares enthusiasm for spirituality in film

Nearly everyone who loves movies knows what it's like to discover a treasure of a film -- one that's so good, so mind-expanding, so heart-stirring, it comes across as a revelation. Those are the kind of films that capture the attention of C. Shaffia Laue, a holistic psychiatrist based in Lawrence.

Eastwood's Oscar contender doesn't pull any punches

"It's the latest freak show out there," explains Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), for why he refuses to train a female boxer and why she shouldn't have any trouble finding someone else who will. The fact that he believes the 31-year-old Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is too old for the sport doesn't help matters.

Thursday, January 27

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ABJ ... we'll never forget!

Anything But Joey enjoys its last waltz

"Every band eventually breaks up, so it's inevitable," Chesen says. "Ours was progressing. We were playing better, touring more and selling more records. There was certainly no downfall on a national level. It was just not going as fast and as well as I wanted it to."

Wednesday, January 26

Alcohol at issue on KU campus

Student senators to ask for beer sales at union

Beer could soon be flowing again at the Kansas Union. A group of student senators plans to lobby the Kansas University administration to allow 3.2 percent beer to be sold at the union, with a special emphasis on responsible consumption.

Tuesday, January 25

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Minus Story, "Heaven and Hell" EP

Lawrence's Minus Story has been picking up steam since the release of last year's "The Captain Is Dead, Let the Drum Corpse Dance" - a majestic eight-song home recording that recalled some of the finer moments of Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeremy Enigk and Built to Spill.

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Doris Henson, "Give Me All Your Money"

Doris Henson straddles the I-70 divide by uniting former members of Kansas City math-rock experimentalists Giants Chair (bassist Byron Collum) and Lawrence's Proudentall (singer/guitarist Matt Dunehoo). "Give Me All Your Money" is the band's second album and its first on Desoto Records (The Dismemberment Plan, Jawbox, The Life and Times).

'Business as usual'

The Lazer axes local music program after 10-year run

The local music show on The Lazer was supposed to be celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. Instead, Lawrence's KLZR-FM 105.9 rang in 2005 with the abrupt dismissal of the show, coinciding with the station's format change to adult-oriented "Hot AC" (recent playlists include Sheryl Crow, Coldplay, Kelly Clarkson and Goo Goo Dolls with little trace of rap, hip-hop or R&B).

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Women in a MANager's world

Women managers find silver lining doing the "dirty work" of KU men's athletics teams

Ellyn Angelotti has had about a hundred boy friends during her four years at the KU. She's done their dirty laundry, lugged their stuff around, counseled them in times of need and seen them all strike-out many a time. But there's one thing she won't do as the Jayhawks baseball team manager: Date them.

Dreaming big

Area teen who jumped from A-cup to D-cup overnight falls in line with national trend: More young women are getting breast implants, often to perk up self-confidence

"I always told everybody, 'When I graduate, I will have boobs,'" says Farrar, now 20 and a junior at Ottawa University. "I didn't think it was going to happen, but it did." Using some of her savings and graduation money, Farrar spent $4,200 to go from a small A-cup to a small D-cup. In doing so, she achieved a three-year-long dream.

The week that was

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

Festival returns, retools format

Organizers hope to draw more locals to Wakarusa Fest

"Three Days. Three Stages. Over 50 bands."

Chamber orchestra charms

Candlelight concert a magical 'aural feast'

Amid the flickering of hundreds of candles, Lawrence Chamber Orchestra's annual "Baroque by Candlelight" concert conducted by Steven Elisha offered a "taster's choice" of favorite works by the "great heroes" of the Baroque era Saturday night at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Sunday, January 23

Move over, Sundance; Lawrence touted as 'perfect place' for independent film festival

The way Judy Billings sees it, downtown Lawrence is just a film festival waiting to happen. After all, the area has most of the main ingredients to attract a crowd of film producers, actors and aficionados -- plenty of bars for late-night revelry, multiple coffee houses for early-morning remedies and a handful of unique theaters for movie viewing.

Poet's showcase


Figuratively speaking

Bodies to do the talking on gallery walk

As long as humans have been creating art, they've been putting themselves in it.

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A place for us?

Lawrence has a reputation for being gay-friendly. But as the Kansas Legislature edges ever closer to letting voters weigh in on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, couples are questi

Maureen Warren was a high school student in Garden City when she realized she was lesbian. She let only a few people in on the secret. "In fact, I still continued to publicly date guys," Warren said last week. "I came out to my mom and some friends maybe as a senior in high school. I came out completely once I came to KU."

KU Opera's 'Cosi' to have Midwest flavor

Mozart set his opera "Cosi fan Tutte" -- which premiered in 1789 -- in late 18th century Italy.

Junior high to present Anne Frank play

Southwest Junior High School will present the play "And Then They Came For Me; Remembering the World of Anne Frank," written by Kansas University graduate James Still. It will be performed by ninth-graders at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the junior high, 2511 Inverness.

Mishaps at breakneck speed

Review: 'Flaming Idiots' derives comedy from pace, energetic cast

It has been observed that farce is tragedy sped up, and that could apply to Lawrence Community Theatre's production of "Flaming Idiots," in which potentially appalling mishaps are transformed into comedy by being played at breakneck speed.

Saturday, January 22

Poe's little-known science book reprinted

Retired KU couple brings 'Eureka' to 21st-century readers

Edgar Allan Poe had more on his mind than ravens and creepy horror stories. He spent a lot of time thinking about bigger issues -- like how the universe formed, the relationship of stars and planets and why the night sky is dark.

Friday, January 21

Checking in to 'Hotel Rwanda'

African bishop reflects on the genocide revisited by a powerful film

The Rwandan genocide of a decade ago claimed nearly four times as many lives as this winter's devastating Asian tsunami. But it was no natural disaster.

A musical road paved with offbeat dreams

"America is so much about the strip mall," says Jolie Holland while driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. "And I've never written a song about a strip mall." Those familiar with Holland would not expect her to deal in anything linked to cookie-cutter commercialism.

Wednesday, January 19

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Review: Resident Evil 4 - Gamecube

Pick your cliche: A triumph! A thrill ride! Sets the standard!

Resident Evil 4 is a triumph of epic proportions. That should mean a ton coming from someone who was never a fan of the series. It will surely resurrect not only Resident Evil games but the entire survival-horror genre. With amazing and satisfying gameplay matched with unrivaled presentation, it's sure to go down as one of the best games ever made.

Finding the right 'Groove

Oranizers end 'Project Groove' at The Bottleneck and reboot for 2005

An institution is gone. Sorta. The grassroots-grown Friday night hip-hop gatherings known as Project Groove will cease to be a weekly event after several years of packing venues.

Good cop, bad cop

'Assault on Precinct 13' offers glossier, more violent remake of cult thriller

Before John Carpenter became a cinematic brand name thanks to his 1978 horror classic "Halloween," he made a sparse thriller called "Assault on Precinct 13." Modestly budgeted at $100,000 and featuring no movie stars, the 1976 gem gained a cult following due to its intense, unrelenting premise.

Kansan connects with youth through role in 'Anchorman'

Bill Kurtis never expected to become a youth icon. But Kurtis, a 1962 Kansas University graduate and host of A&E television's "Investigative Reports," says that's exactly what has happened ever since he narrated the Will Ferrell comedy "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

Tuesday, January 18

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Can you smell what 'The Rock' is cookin?

Lawrence architect Dan Rockhill re-envisions Midwest vernacular

As adjectives go, "idiosyncratic" is not one usually flung in drive-by comments on Dan Rockhill's designs. Weird, freaky, modern, cool, ugly, minimal, hip: adjectives reflecting tone and intention, but all of which together imply: idiosyncratic. Rockhill's buildings stand out in the community for their contemporary design, so much so that people seeing one of his houses for the first time can often tell 'that's a Rockhill.'

The week that was

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

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Supernauts, "Medicine & Love"

"Stop reading now. Suspend your opinions, suspend your animation. You have never been in this moment before and you will remember it for some time. This is the moment during which you first found out about Supernauts." Ha ha, band bios are a real crack-up. Nothin' better than running around the office with a sidesplitting slab of rock-n-roll hyperbole, laughing at the poor schmucks who dare to hail themselves as the next big thing.

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Blood Circus

Lawrence screenwriter's film 'Blood Feud' premieres after four years in the making

John Wallace Cochran is a smarter man thanks to "The Blood Feud." The Lawrence-based writer, musician and wearer of capes did quite a bit of research before writing the screenplay for his four-years-in-the-making feature film. He versed himself on various topics in etymology, pathology and dermatology. He read up on kidney diseases, dystrophy and black markets for medical collectibles. But, predictably, he skipped the research on how to actually make a movie.

Adjustable situations

Homeless young adults in Lawrence have plenty of resources to help them get back on their feet, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're using them

It's 2 in the afternoon and emergency medical crews are arriving at 10th and Kentucky.

Sunday, January 16

Director adjusts to new position in 'Flaming Idiots'

When "Flaming Idiots" -- a new farce being staged by the Lawrence Community Theatre -- opens Friday, it's going to be a challenging experience for Charles Whitman.

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Artist infuses timeworn sentiments with fresh perspective

Most poets will tell you the hardest subject to write about is love. The moment the words hit the page, they seem trite and sappy.

Poet's showcase


Friday, January 14

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Review: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap - GBA

Minish Cap keeps the series setting a standard at a blazing pace.

The Zelda structure is so lucrative that one solid gameplay twist like the shrinking of Link's size, can make the entire experience feel so new and refreshing. Adding new and exciting items that allow Link to fly or turn objects upside down make the puzzle element possibilities skyrocket.

'In Good Company' a clever social critique

There's a cameo in "Ocean's Twelve" where Topher Grace plays himself as a bratty, self-important actor apologizing to Brad Pitt for trashing his property after an all-nighter. In reference to "In Good Company," he tells Pitt, "I totally phoned in that Dennis Quaid movie." The real joke, however, is that that Dennis Quaid movie is way more fun than "Ocean's Twelve."

Only Garner elevates 'Elektra' above mediocrity

In the grand scheme of things, Elektra doesn't rank in the top 50 Marvel Comics superheroes deserving of their own big-budget feature. She probably sits in the 100s, somewhere between Nighthawk and the Scarlet Witch.

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Up in the 'Air'

Lawrence filmmakers scrap for funding to finish feature-length musical

After two hours of setting up a camera, putting lights in place and otherwise getting organized, it is time to shoot the day's first scene for the movie musical "Air." "Roll camera," director Jeremy Osbern murmurs. Then, over the fierce buzz of the rolling film, he calls out: "Action!"

Fame at last

The Kansas Music Hall of Fame honors its inaugural class

Six years ago, Bill Lee discovered that Iowa and Nebraska each had formed a hall of fame to honor its musical history. And it made him angry.

Wednesday, January 12

KU students' plays selected for regional theater festival

When Elizabeth Dean's close friend first told her about his father dying and the resulting awkward relationship with his mother, she listened sympathetically. But it wasn't until last spring that Dean put the story to paper.

Tuesday, January 11

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Review: MechAssault 2 - Xbox

Great multiplayer on one hand, forgettable single player mode on the other.

MechAssault 2 is in its stride online. There is no room for argument. Destroying things in a fury has never felt as rewarding as it does in the game, but questionable single player experience, menu design and music really hinders what could have been stellar.

The week that was

Your weekly review of the news that was new last week...

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Girls in the Boys' Room

Lawrence's female rockers may be few in number, but they're making plenty of noise

Once upon a time, when the dinosaurs of rock roamed the earth, the women ruled. Janis Joplin, Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde - these were women you didn't jack with. Women with real rock-and-roll chutzpah. But then everything changed. The Bangles met Prince and started letting other people play their instruments; Debbie Harry became "Deborah" Harry and discovered something called "Euro-dance"; Liz Phair indulged her inner Barbie fantasies; and Courtney Love ... well, you know the rest.

Sunday, January 9

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Art of a city

Lawrence derives character from ubiquity of art, but can too much of a good thing be a bad thing?

Maybe, just maybe, it's too much of a good thing. There's so much art in Lawrence -- sculptures on the street corners, paintings in the coffeehouses, photo exhibits in pizza joints -- that Brett Allen thinks many people just don't notice it.

Friday, January 7

'White Noise' lacks spirit

The dead no longer speak through such antiquated items as a Ouija board. Nowadays, the spirits from beyond are traveling more high-tech paths, using HDTVs, cell phones and computers.

The Lazer switches to older, community-based audience

It's been more than five years since The Lazer 105.9 FM switched its format from a mix of modern rock and regional artists to unabashed Top 40, following a transition from local ownership to corporate ownership.

Reader Review: Closer

If you enjoy movies brimming with sexually explicit talk but no action, choose "Closer."

Thursday, January 6

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Soldier-poet finds irony in dual callings

Writer returns home to release first book

As far as brooding writers go, Mickey Cesar fits the stereotype. The twiggy bard haunts the corners of darkened Lawrence coffeehouses, smoking cigarettes, nursing cups of joe and scrawling pensively in notebooks.

Tuesday, January 4

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Review: Abileen, "Abileen"

Four years after Frogpond, Heidi Phillips is back with guitarist/vocalist Marty Robertson (the only former member of Frogpond), bassist Danny Krane and drummer Jeff McGuiness. Abileen revisits much of what made Frogpond successful: memorable choruses, dueling electric guitars, solid rhythmic sensibilities and strong harmonies.

No strings attached

Free State junior passionate about puppetry

A stroke of imagination and sound effects can do wonders to mesmerize a roomful of fidgety children.

K.C. Film Critics Circle issues top honors

Clint Eastwood's emotional boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby" won Best Film at the 39th annual vote of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle held Sunday.

Monday, January 3

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Thrift-store cowboy

Sweet western shirt costs only dime, changes a life forever

For those who had a prosperous year, Christmas morning held the promise of a nice goose and a plump red visitor with an engorged sack filling your flue. Who doesn't dream of being smothered in a flood of oversized packages swollen with the love of their fellow man? Who indeed?