Sunday, July 31
House Burning By Jessie Salsbury
Rich spices, deep smoke bind Eudora family that produces Hombre jerky
The idea of a family business - guided by principles like secrecy and loyalty - might seem like a bygone concept.
Saturday, July 30
With moving season here, curbside finds are everywhere, but few realize Dumpster diving is a crime
Lacey Dumler doesn't often intend to go Dumpster diving. But sometimes, she says, the opportunity is too good to refuse. Take, for example, the time Dumler - an eight-year Lawrence resident - found an abandoned Papasan chair left by the garbage during one of the city's big moving weekends.
Friday, July 29
One of the most difficult subjects to capture on-screen is the life of a composer, and yet filmmakers have been doing it for years - even as far back as the silent era.
Lawrence team imagines original rock musical
It all started as a joke. Just a way for bored coworkers Andy Stowers and Nick Wells to pass the time at a Lawrence coffee shop. "Nick and I were working together at the Java Break and needed something to occupy our brains besides doing dishes," Stowers recalls.
More than 20,000 people, almost 6,000 exhibits and hundreds of pounds of funnel cake. That's what's in store at the Douglas County Fair, which begins officially this weekend with horse shows, and which hits full gear Tuesday with a carnival, exhibit judging and other popular events.
How refreshing to watch a movie where superheroes revel in their powers rather than mope about them. Don't look for characters preoccupied with soul-searching like Spider-Man, self-loathing like the Thing of the Fantastic Four or a scarred childhood a la Batman. In "Sky High," a tight, clever little adventure-comedy, the characters can't wait to test-drive their new powers.
Thursday, July 28
You won't flip over this awkward pinball title
The game definitely has unique and stunning visuals, but it only lasts half the time. Even with an MSRP of $19.99, it's still hard to find value.
Tuesday, July 26
The Buffalo Saints' first proper release is trim, it's fit and it's fantastic - though at just six songs it's also begging to be more.
Local Americana rock outfit Buffalo Saints took much longer than they would have liked to release their debut, "Walking the Dead." lawrence.com caught up with 3/4ths of the core band over drinks at the Taproom to figure out what the hell...
August move in/move out yields bummer crop of booty for dumpster-diving enthusiasts
Thanks to on-the-move rental tenants like Tracy, the week-long window surrounding August 1 is a paradise for dumpster divers. It's a ritual that occurs with the regularity of KU football underachieving or underage drinkers racking up MIPs; a ritual that typically involves weird karmic journeys of orange, dome-shaped plastic chairs. "I left it at the dumpster," dumpster diver Stefanie Tracy said of a distinct orange chair. "And then I started dating this guy the next year. He had the exact same chair at his house. We all lived in the student ghetto, so I wasn't that surprised."
Local experts dole out advice for Lawrence renters
Bob Ebey prides himself on being a pretty easy landlord to get along with. His tenants stay with him because he charges below-market rent and fixes things when they break. Bob stays with them because they take care of his properties and don't piss him off. Every once in awhile, though, things aren't quite so simple.
"Sun Dog" feeds Lawrence's all-beef Kosher craving
Anyone who knows Nowatzke probably isn't too surprised about his new business venture. He's an outdoor guy through and through - an avid water-skier, bicyclist and horticulturist who spent previous summers hawking his homespun produce at the Farmer's Market. He also runs his own photography business, which he hopes will take off with a little re-investment of his hot dog earnings. Never mind that he's paralyzed from the waist down.
For every upbeat, pop song The Get Up Kids wrote, it seems vocalist Matt Pryor has matched it with a less positive, darker song via his alter-ego as The New Amsterdams' front man. "Killed or Cured," the band's latest free online effort, is no anomaly.
Sometimes it's better to not ask questions. I mean, sure, I'd LIKE to know why there's a band in Lawrence called The Black Rabbits that just put out an album with 10 songs about rabbits. I'd LIKE to know the logic behind songs like "Bunnycocks" and "Velvet Rabbit: Rabbits are everywhere in their black rabbit hair." But sometimes it's better not to know.
Indie wrestling crew seeks niche in Lawrence
It's Saturday night at the Lawrence National Guard Armory and Payday Patterson's incandescent orange speedo is about to get bloody. Patterson, a trim yet chiseled 19-year-old from Topeka with a curly white-boy afro, is engulfed in a wrestling match with his nemesis Billy "The Irish Luchador" McNeil. The two have decided to settle their long-stewing feud in a "TLC" match - tables, ladders and chairs.
Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...
Monday, July 25
They enjoy working on cars, scouring salvage yards for early 1970s Impalas, and they absolutely love the sound of metal crashing against metal on hot summer nights.
Wedding photography has changed dramatically in the past few years. Not long ago, everything was carefully posed. This style remains today, and it can give you beautiful images. But posed photographs lack spontaneity, naturalness and life.
Sunday, July 24
Lawrence artist sculpts Buddha from dead tree
There's yard art, and then there's yard art. Lawrence sculptor Dave Werdin-Kennicott's latest work belongs in the latter category - that of something different and special.
The Boy Who Lived returns for his penultimate escapade in the most mature installment of the popular Harry Potter series. Harry has had to grow up fast, pushed early on into adult responsibilities. For those of you who haven't read the book, there are some minor spoilers here. Beware.
When Kansas University's KUJH decided to restructure the channel in December, it excised student TV programming. The fallout meant a handful of original, student-created shows were left without a home.
Friday, July 22
I get the feeling that there are a lot of people who think that movie critics are sad little people whose only true enjoyment in life comes from taking the piss out of movies that are really asking for it. Michael Bay's futuristic "The Island," starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as two runaway clones, is one of those movies that is really asking for it.
Heat index hits 111
Clara Kundin wasn't afraid to push people around for a new outfit. "I can shove people," the 15-year-old Lawrence resident said. That's the way it was at some stores downtown Thursday as thousands of shoppers streamed in for the annual Sidewalk Sale.
Johny Barbata notched his first hit record in 1962 with The Sentinals. The fledgling drummer was only 16 and still in high school when the surf instrumental, "Latin'ia," became a West Coast smash, leading his band to tour with The Ventures and The Champs. He hasn't really put his sticks down since then.
As they say in baseball, the "Bad News Bears" team sure looks good on paper. Billy Bob Thornton is one of America's finest character actors. He proved in "Bad Santa" that he can play an antisocial loser with little problem.
Denizens of the concrete jungle explore their natural habitat
Three weeks ago, long before I had heard of "elevator surfing," "buildering" or "urban exploration," I never pictured myself trespassing aboard a leaky rowboat in a flooded underground business park in southern Kansas City. I am on an excursion with a team of amateur enthusiasts whose mission is to find, explore and document the hidden and obscure landmarks of metropolitan history.
For the 11th year, "Cairo on the Kaw" will present a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern dances. In keeping with the event's tradition, director Jo Anne Zingo-Hargis has drawn up an eclectic program.
'Freeform' created for Lawrence sesquicentennial
Lawrence residents now have another visible reminder of the city's historical connections to freedom and flames.
Thursday, July 21
When the Rev. Darrell Brazell, an evangelical minister, first heard that police had found thousands of pornographic images on former Christian-school leader Martin K. Miller's home computer, he wasn't surprised.
Plenty of people have contemplated a hasty escape - climbing into their cars and driving away from their lives. Few people follow through with the fantasy. Katherine Earl is an exception.
Sunday, July 17
Still improving, still the best college pigskin title...and the only one.
This is the best installment in the series so far, and it's very pleasing to see that Tiburon and EA are not going to get lazy with their sports games seeing how there is no more competition when it comes to football simulators.
Review: 'Talley's Folly' duo holds audience spellbound
To begin with, you will not doubt for an instant that Kansas University student Aaron Champion is a middle-aged, middle-European Jew, nor that recent graduate Summer Eglinski is a rural southern Missourian. Both live so fully in their parts and speak so unerringly in their dialects that the illusion is complete and never broken.
Newest public sculpture recalls city's tense, fiery battle to achieve freedom
Lawrence has something in common with the sculpture Stephen Johnson and Cotter Mitchell are creating in honor of its 150th birthday. Both were formed by heat and tension.
Boat installation among offerings in Downtown Gallery Walk
The swell of Chris Kilmer's passion is audible when he talks about the ocean. He reminisces about the thrill of crashing through giant waves in a one-person sloop. You can almost taste his devotion, like saltwater spray on the lips.
Saturday, July 16
In 1931, Variety magazine wrote of Universal Studios' "Dracula," "The living-dead Count Dracula who sustains life by drinking the blood of his victims, seems almost plausible." This was written about a soon-to-be-famous Hungarian actor with hypnotic eyes and a cape. "Dracula" was hugely successful at the box office, but the film was not considered great art in its time, and Bela Lugosi was by no means regarded as a great actor. Sixty years later horror became respectable.
Sixth Potter book draws crowds at midnight hour
If only there was a spell to fight the "dark art" of sleep deprivation. Hundreds of Harry Potter fans of all ages -some costumed - waited late into the night Friday at Lawrence bookstores for the midnight release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," J.K. Rowling's latest novel about the orphaned wizard.
Friday, July 15
"Wedding Crashers" is a high-concept, totally formulaic comedy that should not work. Any script that calls for the audience to have sympathy for two slimeballs who spend all of their free time preying on women's emotional vulnerability at weddings is asking a lot, especially when it derails into forced sappiness. But thanks to two perfectly cast lead roles and a couple of winning supporting performances, "Wedding Crashers" just barely skates by with seemingly effortless charm.
The N machine gets a wildly original and graphic title
It will be absolutely loved by some, and hated by many. While it's certainly not for mainstream audiences, fans of the bizarre and ultraviolent will surely embrace it.
If this were the first cinematic adaptation of Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," it would likely be hailed a masterpiece. By capturing the dark menace and fairy tale wonder of Dahl's work, the picture is a visionary imagining of a nearly unfilmable children's book. Only it's NOT the first version.
Sex toys don't sell themselves. Richard Osburn, owner of the sexual novelty store Naughty But Nice, said even his business lived by the mantra "Location, location, location." Osburn said that's why he planned to fight any efforts by the city to make him move his business from its five-year home at 1741 Mass.
Thursday, July 14
Tree Frog reunion offers Lawrence a taste of '70s scene
More than 2,000 Young Republicans were cheering for the members of Tree Frog. But before they could strum a note, they had to allow the Secret Service to take position. "The thing I remember most is seeing all these guys in dark suits - very stern-looking Secret Service guys - standing in front of the stage," says Lynn Piller, steel guitarist of Tree Frog. "They were like a human wall. ... It was an intimidating presence."
Concert to benefit families of children with cancer
Short of actually losing a child, there are few things more difficult for parents than having to nurse a child through a life-threatening illness such as cancer.
Wednesday, July 13
Pizza a tasty alternative in outdoor summer cooking
Tired of grilling burgers and hot dogs? Maybe it's time to put that grill to a different use and create something that will wow the guests at your next backyard barbecue. Like a grilled pizza.
Tuesday, July 12
They rarely play shows, they occasionally write songs and they don't give a damn if they ever "make it."
'You run, you dive, you hit the bump and take a dive'
Leaving the nest and embarking on a parent-free life means freedom. A whole new world of possibilities opens up - getting smashed every night, sleeping with your boyfriend, getting a lower back tattoo or nose piercing... For Kathy Piller freedom is a Slip 'n' Slide.
Community coalesces around aquatic center
Abra Bron has the whole working thing figured out. Though boredom can set in while doing research work up on campus, the 22-year-old KU grad knows how to revive herself. "I take rejuvenating pool breaks," says Bron.
Like, another XTREME sport that will totally <em>own</em> you
Kansans can now hang ten without driving to the coasts and without the 6-foot swells typical of usual surf destinations. With the new EXTREME sport kiteboarding, all you need is a little wind and a body of water - perfect for Kansas.
Backyard barbecue junkies offer guidance for real deal cookouts
Jessica Miescher is typically not a big drinker. At 27, she hasn't been to a keg party in years. But there's something about the open summer air and the sweet scent of marinated cow flesh that brings out her inner lush. "At barbecues I typically tend to make out with people," says the bubbly 27-year-old sailing enthusiast. "It's more on the cheeks," she clarifies. "I become like your annoying aunt, not like the slutty girl next store."
American Beer Month offers occasion to reflect on beer's joyous role in our lives
July is American Beer Month - a time for celebrating our country's ambrosial ales and for shining a stiff upper lip towards the imported intoxicators. It may be a fabricated holiday in the tradition of "Bosses Day," "National Chocolate Day" and "Christmas" - but it's a much better cause to pull an Oatmeal Stout beer-bong.
Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...
Brunette is a five-piece rock outfit from Kansas City, Mo. that at times recalls the delicious guitar phrasings of The Oranges Band, the emotive insinuations of Sparta and the bouncy pop of The Cardigans.
Why is Harry Potter so popular?
Can't wait to get your hands on "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"?
Harry Potter not kid stuff for grown-up aficionados
"I'm a Harry Potter geek."
Monday, July 11
Updates and maps that inarguably enhance the experience
Now, Halo 2 takes a giant step (back) toward the greatness and identity that made the series a household name with the Multiplayer Map Pack.
From MTV Europe to 'One Tree Hill' to an expanded band, The Belles are ringing out
Most musicians, it stands to reason, would be fairly excited by the prospect of getting a song on a nationally syndicated television program. Chris Tolle, however, remains unenthused. "I'm not going to wade through a whole season of Dawson's Creek to hear a song I've heard a thousand times," deadpans the mild-mannered singer/songwriter of The Belles
Sunday, July 10
Pop culture finally embraces tastes of the kids once deemed uncool
Micah Adams is a child of the Nintendo generation. He spent his early years punching the A and B buttons on a controller that guided an Italian plumber through a land of mushrooms and Koopa Troopers.
Saturday, July 9
Great potential with a slightly constricting gameplay arc.
Some aspects (the saucer destruction, the on foot PK rampages) are extremely entertaining, but the game doesn't encourage this kind of play as much as it should. Too much focus is on the lackluster stealth aspects, which hurts the missions tremendously.
Does Lawrence need its own symphony orchestra? That's the question at the heart of a debate under way with supporters of the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra.
Divided by war, two sisters find common ground in family ties
Meet Kara. She's an 18-year-old high school student whose favorite colors are green and purple. She might want to be a fashion designer someday. But right now, all she wants is for her sister to make it home alive.
Friday, July 8
The combined muscle of Obi Wan Kenobi, Batman and Tom Cruise hasn't been able to save the galaxy ... not the galaxy where Hollywood resides, anyway. The Fourth of July holiday marked the 19th straight weekend that domestic box-office revenues were down compared to last year.
In 1993, filming wrapped on a $1.5 million adaptation of Marvel's Fantastic Four. And then ... nothing happened. No theatrical premiere. No video release. No TV showings.
Its plot is stretched thin. Its creativity is nearly invisible. Its logic is rocky. And the whole enterprise goes up in flames. Welcome to "The Fantastic Four," Marvel's latest and least impressive entry into its recent superhero adaptations. After delivering dandy versions of "Spider-Man" and "X-Men," the comic book kingpin takes a giant step backward with this big-screen bomb. It's worse than "Hulk" ... even worse than "Elektra."
Thursday, July 7
When a movie advertised as a suspense/thriller is practically devoid of suspense and contains no thrills, it usually results in a complete failure to entertain. "Dark Water" is certainly missing those key elements, but because of an attention to psychological detail not found in most genre pictures and a rich supporting cast, it is at least a noble failure.
Wednesday, July 6
Same old cussing Conker.
Xbox Live support is the biggest upgrade the game made, and it's disappointing to say the least. It might be worth picking up if you're new to the Story Mode, but the online play is worth a rental at best.
Lawrence artist Kristen Ferrell's study of duality and paradox
Kristen Ferrell's art is a clash of oppositions. The Lawrence artist's pieces consist of innocent, almost cute images - but with ironic, often grotesque contortions that could only speak to the most cynical viewers. In short, Ferrell's art evokes her generation's coming of age.
Your guide for how to fully appreciate a good beer
Oh, you think you already know how to drink beer. Grab the bottle from the fridge, pop the top and pour it down the hatch.
Tuesday, July 5
KU cast revives youth, romance from winter of discontent in 'The Fantasticks'
Kansas Summer Theatre opened its season Friday with the enduring hit "The Fantasticks." Written in 1959 by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, the show played more than 17,000 performances at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York before closing in 2002.
The biggest pop band of all time took America by storm. Amid a whirlwind of speculation and media hype, it played show after show from the Hollywood Bowl to Madison Square Gardens. The musicians became superstars, then solo stars, then legends.
Here are 10 terrific games to tempt you
While many young gamers crave video games from the edgy Mature titles, there's really no reason to fuss. There are plenty of great games rated "T" for "Teen."
Monday, July 4
Battlefield 2 truly takes the series to the next level
I lost my vision past 10 feet in front of me because of the dust and smoke from the artillery firing. As the smoke cleared I found my entire squad alive and intact. We had taken the base. This is when I knew, Battlefield 2 delivers.
In its current form, MC3 is a horrible game as far as portability is concerned. In no way does it support "pick up and play" gaming, and there is absolutely no excuse for the load times.
Photos by Thad Allender as he leaves for New York
In third grade at Protection Middle School, my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. "A psychologist," I said, without fully understanding what psychologists actually did. What I knew of the profession seemed intriguing: To study the human mind and human behavior. But thanks to art classes and a subscription to National Geographic, I got distracted and became a photographer instead.
Sunday, July 3
Juicy steaks. Personal pools. Acupuncture. These animals are living in the lap of luxury.
Welcome to Animal Planet. The Lawrence home of Gary Rogers and Leola Roach is sanctuary to a veritable zoo of critters: two cats, two dogs and seven birds of various origins. But reigning supreme over this kingdom of beasts is Venus, an Umbrella cockatoo with snow-white feathers and black, penetrating eyes.
Nearly a dozen award-winning authors of science fiction and fantasy will sign copies of their publications Saturday at Oread Books.
Since the 1950s, James Gunn has lived in the future. Beginning in science fiction's "Golden Age," Gunn has written or edited almost 40 novels, short story collections and histories of the genre and is considered one of its "grand masters," a title he shares with such pioneers as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Theodore Sturgeon.
Saturday, July 2
Local youth among 101 participants
John Bond is a good piano player, for an incoming senior at Free State High School. He wants to know how he stacks up against young pianists from around the world.