Thursday, March 31
Filmmaker Rick Schroder hits Lawrence with tale of American Indian boxer
As an 8-year-old child actor, Rick Schroder ran into his idol backstage at the Academy Awards. Schroder had just presented an Oscar for art direction and began chatting with the legendary John Wayne, who was there to bestow best picture honors to "The Deer Hunter."
Wednesday, March 30
I expect more out of Nintendo. The recent rash of less-than-average games from the leading innovator in the industry is less than encouraging. With as many Mario Party games as there are already, it becomes increasingly more difficult to make an argument for a successor. Mario Party Advance does not, in fact, advance the series nor give it a worthy start on the handheld.
Lots of people know the strange, tragic tale of Oedipus. The ill-fated King of Thebes unknowingly murders his father and marries his mother, who bears two of his children.
Monday, March 28
Local artists team up for charitable exhibition
When the "Superhero Art" show opens this week, it may be hard to tell whether the real superheroes reside in the artwork depicted on the walls or the artists lurking behind the scenes.
Majesco scores with this deep, online action frenzy
In the world of video games, spring is the season to sleep through a boring list of blah releases. This year, we've had a few surprises, plus the launch of the PSP, so it's been far from the normal spring blahs. Majesco's Phantom Dust appears out of nowhere, and provides a whimsical blend of card-based RPG battle and tantalizing action.
Television actor offers film to counter stereotypes
Former "NYPD Blue" star Rick Schroder will be in Lawrence this week for the Midwest premiere of "Black Cloud," a movie he wrote, directed, produced and stars in.
Sunday, March 27
Writing "Escape from Saigon" was almost like a coming home for Kansas writer Andrea Warren.
N. Barry Carver is better known to his acquaintances as the author of a collection of short stories called "Sunday Best," but he's also been painting for more than 25 years.
Crafting poetry can be a lonely discipline. But the reward comes when poets can share their writing with others, especially when it means reciting one of their poems -- in their own voice -- to a receptive audience.
Lawrence artists interpret superheroism for inaugural exhibit at downtown shop
All the best-known superheroes spring from a formula that goes something like this: Bizarre tragedy strikes good-at-heart man, endowing him with herculean powers that he uses to save the world from evil.
Saturday, March 26
Artist Justin Marable reminds viewers of vanishing history
Justin Marable knows Kansas rural life first-hand, having grown up in Robinson - a town of 200 about 70 miles north of Lawrence - where not even a bank remains today. Now 22 and having lived in Lawrence for four years, he returns home with an appreciation of the landmarks of rural life. To Marable - a younger brother of Aaron Marable - these symbols of home are something remarkable, uncluttered and have a story to tell.
Friday, March 25
Dodgeball -- the childhood game that made pencil-thin students quiver and school yard bullies drool -- is making a comeback in Lawrence. And now it is no longer just for kids.
"Armed and Fabulous" would make a fine stand-alone title for this movie. It's too bad the phrase "Miss Congeniality 2" precedes it.
Sandra Bullock adds a new twist to a Hollywood formula in 'Armed and Fabulous'
Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Sandra Bullock and Regina King? There's been no shortage of buddy-cop flicks that find a partnership developed between a pair of black and white individuals. Usually one is uptight, the other a loose cannon. Everyone knows the drill.
Tuesday, March 22
Set your radio dial at 93.3 and run your scanner through the range of FM stations, and it's easy to tell who's popular on the airwaves: The top-40 stations are playing new Kelly Clarkson. The easy-listening stations are playing old Kelly Clarkson.
Teens and parents sound off on differences, similarities in their musical tastes
Choosing music during Guthrie family road trips leaves every man, and woman, fending for themselves. "Sometimes we are smashing each other's fingers trying to change the radio stations," James Guthrie says.
Monday, March 21
Damn, Reggie you feelin ok? Are things alright in Reggieville? Did Paco have a heart murmur? Did that drunk girl from the Get Up Kids show sue your ass? Something's definitely up...
Da Bombsquad regroups and releases second album
That conversion van cruising down Mass. St. painted up with the four faces of Da BombSquad is sometimes confused for a mode of transportation. But only people who see it up close for the first time make this mistake - after that, you recognize it for what it is: a record store on wheels with THE album for sale.
Sunday, March 20
Saathoff's deft fingerpicking carries most of the songs on "The Actor," his first full-length, which also feature the talents of bassist-turned-guitarist-turned-drummer Jacob Baum (formerly of Ghosty). At heart it is a singer/songwriter record, with a charming quirkiness that takes pride in the little eccentricities of Saathoff's hushed delivery.
Art, knickknacks, live music at sale help pay for residential projects
Bill Wachspress has never thrown a javelin. That's why he purchased one for a few dollars Saturday at the annual YART sale in New York School's gym.
The 2004 movie "Napoleon Dynamite" was filmed for under $500,000 in rural southern Idaho, far away from the glitz of Hollywood. After being optioned by Fox Searchlight for $3 million, it netted roughly $45 million at the box office.
Cultures measure their progress through change. The speed of innovation. The frequency of cures. The differences between "now" and "then."
Driven by pared-down aesthetic, KU alum opens gallery
Lawrence designer Carl Masters likes to keep things simple. "I like especially things that are functional first, and that function drives the design," he says, looking around his airy downtown gallery and boutique.
Friday, March 18
Many new additions make Round 2 even better
Last year, EA Sports resurrected its boxing regime, foregoing the Knockout Kings IP in favor of Fight Night and introducing the total control system of movement and punches using merely the analog sticks. With the extended Create-a-Champ, new Haymaker and Cutman features, Fight Night 2 secures itself as the most robust and realistic boxing title to date.
According to "The Ring Two" production notes, a series of "bizarre happenings" occurred while filming. The production office was flooded overnight on the seventh day of shooting by a burst water pipe. This mirrored both the time frame of when characters in the movie meet their demise and the water damage that remains the only evidence accompanying the crime scene.
Lawrence's left-of-center music scene is booming. Ani DiFranco sold out Liberty Hall a few weeks ago, as did Interpol. Saul Williams played in town Sunday. Steve Earle will be here April 3. Indeed, times are good. But for the city's small-but-tireless band of blues lovers, pickings have been slim lately.
Thursday, March 17
Nintendo brings more innovation and fun to the DS
Nintendo is a firm believer that innovation and simplicity go hand-in-hand. The Nintendo DS is a hardware platform that the big N intends to fuse this idea to. Unfortunately, many third parties haven't really explored the hardware to its potential, but Yoshi's Touch & Go takes a convincing step in the DS's intended direction.
A great shooter to start off the year
Later levels proved to be more strategic and a lot more fun. No longer could I run around into open areas without gunfire raining down on me. It was great because I thought this game was going to be an unchallenging run-n-gun type of shooter. It turned out to be a mix of shooting, vehicle driving, interaction with the environment and other such variations done with FPSs.
Tuesday, March 15
and other KU basketball-induced miscellanea
With two Final Four births in the last three years, Jayhawk fans like Ebony Simon have come to expect nothing less than six killer street-parties in March. "There's like this sense of entitlement," Simon said. "It's like, 'We're supposed to win - we're f*cking KU!' And then when we don't, everybody's attitude gets kind of somber and it's like you got the wrong Christmas present or something - you get kind of pissy about it."
Spring break offers more than kegstands and wet t-shirts for those who harvest its forbidden fruit...
What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico. Unless, of course, you cross the border with a sexually transmitted disease. In that case, Mexico stays with you - in the form of strange discharges, swollen testicles, funky genital warts, chronic pelvic pain and infertility (not all at once, usually, but it sure looks scary when you lump them all together like that).
Wherein we peruse
WET T-SHIRT CONTESTS, HOWEVER, NEED ONLY BE APPROVED BY THE INTERFRATERNITY WET T-SHIRT CONTEST COUNCIL: A KU fraternity has been expelled from campus for organizing a party last month in which police cited nine people for alcohol violations and seized 16 kegs of beer. KU officials said the party violated several policies, including those that require all parties to be registered with the Interfraternity Council, prohibit the use of kegs, and prohibit the sale of an unlimited quantity of alcohol. Police shut the party down, removing signs advertising $5 beer and a 'Wet T-shirt Contest.' The decision against Phi Kappa Theta, announced Monday by KU's Interfraternity Council's judicial board, marks the first time a fraternity has been kicked off KU's campus, university officials said.
Monday, March 14
Frontman Jakob Dylan finds success doesn't always equate to album sales
"In another life I'd like to come back and be the bass player or the drummer," Jakob Dylan says.
Innovation is Nintendo's strength, shining in Jungle Beat
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat steps out of the music/rhythm gameplay element and serves up an amusing platformer that you must use the bongos to control. While it may sound a little awkward, the result is insanely fun.
Finally a Star Wars game that doesn't suck
The single player campaign is actually a well crafted experience in terms of pacing and story development. Rarely are you allowed to get bored with any particular area because there is always a sense of urgency that propels you forward.
Sunday, March 13
Haskell photos capture pivotal time in history
There's something poetic about Frank A. Rinehart's American Indian photos ending up at Haskell Indian Nations University.
Nearly two years ago, Kentucky photographer Tom Hardin, a long time friend and editor of mine, called to say he'd contracted with a photo book project, "America 24/7." It would be similar to "A Day in the Life of America," but its content would be photographed over a week's time: May 12-18, 2003. "Day in the Life" was shot in 24 hours.
Friday, March 11
The Get Up Kids get down for good
Talk about emo. In the few days since The Get Up Kids officially announced their impending dissolution, the band's website has been flooded with the kind of reactions typically associated with finding out one's huggy bear has been sleeping with another teddy.
Robin Williams' appearance at the Academy Awards really punctuated just how tired the comedian's routine has become. He delivered the same pop-culture references, the same gaggle of impressions, the same manic asides that he's been milking for decades. It was dated and unfunny, especially when compared to host Chris Rock's superior material.
Wordsmith Saul Williams puts a musical beat to his political activism
As an 18-year-old college student, budding poet Saul Williams took an internship on Capitol Hill. His days were confined to menial tasks such as making copies for Sen. David Pryor of Arkansas.
In late May, 67 children will relinquish a few days of summer vacation to perform abroad. The young vocalists of the Lawrence Children's Choir have been invited to perform in Eutin, Germany, as part of the Lawrence Sister Cities program.
Thursday, March 10
Emily is tired of bringing Colin his breakfast. For once, she wants it brought to her.
Wednesday, March 9
Far from your average WW2 shooter, BiA has more heart, brains and brawn.
Brothers in Arms follows the true account of Matt Baker from beginning to end with unparalleled accuracy. Gearbox has been at work for several years not only designing the game, but researching. Whether it's visiting the National Historic Archive, reading wartime non-fiction, spending time in real training camps or even hiring a Colonel to be a highly-influential guide through game development, Gearbox has taken meticulous care to recreate this story. Plus, the city models are so accurate you could be a tour guide if you ever visit Normandy for the first time.
Tekken returns with its most complete and exhaustive effort.
Simply put, I got hooked for about eight straight hours. The game is deep, plain and simple. You can add as many cool features and unlockables as you want, but if the fighting isn't fun, the game fails. Luckily, this game doesn't. What I loved about Tekken 5 is that it seemed to me to be a mesh of Soul Calibur and Virtua Fighter.
For some guys, the best brews are the ones they create in their homes
Lots of guys love beer. Heck, enjoying a cold one now and again is almost an essential part of guyhood.
Tuesday, March 8
Paisano's humble exterior and unassuming strip mall location might deter some of Lawrence's Mass Street faithful, but that's ok with me. Once shown to your table in the main dining area, the Italian-American theme becomes a bit more noticeable-I was seated between pictures of Rocky Marciano, Marlon Brando, and of course, Frank Sinatra.
"Life begins with the knowledge of death," says U.S. Marine sergeant Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) in the new psychological thriller "The Jacket." If that's true, then what does life end with? In Jack's case, the answer is blunt trauma to the head. Again.
Crime and punishment in the dark underground of KU's finest flimflammers
Travis is a very honest cheater. The KU freshman - last name withheld on request - only cheats on tests that don't pertain to his life or career goals. He might jot down an equation or two on the cover of his calculator, but he's never stolen an answer key or turned in a paper written by somebody else. Besides, he sucks at cheating.
What's bad for one may be good for all
"If David Ohle's writing is any indication, modern fables with sharp political critiques are definitely on the upswing." In the Lawrence author's newest book, "The Age of Sinatra," Ohle (rhymes with cannoli) documents and caricatures political and social observations over recent years.
Record recommendations from your sound alternative...
Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...
Monday, March 7
Does EA's final MLB game for awhile hit or miss?
It's easily the best baseball game when it comes to franchise mode and gameplay. This is the last MVP game for awhile and with the $30 price tag, it's something you shouldn't miss out on.
Does FIFA Street live up to both prominent brands?
It might have succeeded as an additional mode to FIFA 2005, but as a standalone without online play, a faulty multiplayer, and no depth, I cannot honestly recommend it.
Sunday, March 6
At 101, some of the senses Dorothy Rosenthal uses to perceive the world around her have dulled with age. Her hearing, for instance, is not the greatest. It's important for visitors to face her while talking, so she can read their lips.
Encouraging creativity in youngsters builds confidence
Just inside the door of this Lawrence Arts Center preschool classroom, a pair of rapt youngsters are poised over two spinning turntables.
When the house lights went down and the stage lights went up, making transparent the scrim between the two, the audience at Crafton-Preyer Theatre was drawn at once into the eccentric world of the Vanderhof-Sycamore household. Guest director Kim Hines remained faithful to the script, but playfully altered the characters.
Part of the beauty of professional dance is its muscular strength and precision that create an almost otherworldly uniformity. But as Philadanco proved recently, what is perhaps more powerful is a dance ensemble capable of making the most spectacular and demanding movements seem human in their individuality.
Bouncer-for-hire discovers knack for keeping order
Trouble is Trent Tiemeyer's business. As a bouncer-for-hire at some of Lawrence's busiest nightclubs, Tiemeyer has taken guns away from customers, head-butted a rowdy drunk and tossed more than his share of troublemakers out the door.
Saturday, March 5
The Jazz at the Arts Center series continued Thursday night with soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom. Bloom, along with bassist Mark Dresser, drummer Bobby Previte and keyboardist Jamie Saft, gave a spellbinding performance of experimental sound, movement and jazz.
Opening-night jitters were nowhere in sight as the cast of Lawrence Community Theatre's "Enchanted April" took the stage Thursday evening. The play depends on a gradual transformation of its characters from February gloom in London to April brilliance in Italy.
Friday, March 4
Dante returns in his best, most challenging showing.
DMC is one slick, fast, beautiful and challenging ride that packs surprises, bonuses and a one-of-a-kind experience that rekindles the love I had from the series debut.
"Sequels," says Chili Palmer (John Travolta) with visible condescension. And from the first word uttered, "Be Cool" establishes that it's not so much a traditional movie as it is a loose collection of self-referential gags. Similar to "Ocean's Twelve," this comedy unfolds like a two-hour in-joke that is rarely dull but only occasionally as funny as it thinks it is.
After decades as a TV icon, Bob Newhart gets back to his roots in stage comedy
Bob Newhart isn't the type of comedian who needs to wear a plastic arrow through his head, speak in a goofy voice or bash watermelons with a sledgehammer to gain attention. No, with the exception of employing his signature telephone, Newhart is among the most reserved, low-maintenance comics to grace the stage.
Ingrid Jensen: Juno winner, acclaimed jazz soloist and female trumpeter. While the first two are something Jensen says she is proud of, the third doesn't matter at all to her.
Thursday, March 3
Playing both of these titles reminds me why I continue to play video games. Street Fighter II and III are pictures of innovation, genius for its time.
I was 14. I lived a few blocks from a 7-Eleven that had this arcade game I had before only heard through legend. It was the one on one fighting game that first captured the world's mind, and kept many arcades full. That game was Street Fighter II and since the incarnation of the side-scrolling fighter, no arcade video game has drawn crowds like it did.
Lawrence instrument expert keeps collectors tuned in to value of antiques on PBS' 'Roadshow'
The room smells like an antique store. In some ways, it is. It's dusty and unkempt. It seems undistinguished from any other retail business.
Wednesday, March 2
Sixty-eight years after George Kaufman and Moss Hart teamed up to produce "You Can't Take It With You," the comedy is finding its way to the Kansas University Theatre.
Tuesday, March 1
Our fellow Americans, We the Found Fathers of lawrence.com, bequeath upon you, beloved reader, the inalienable right to rewrite these portions of the U.S. Constitution as you see fit.
Bob Eastman isn't a big fan of high art. His documentary "Eatin'" - which will screen Monday at Liberty Hall along with a half-dozen other locally produced films - is exactly what it claims to be: a diary of his eating habits.
Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week...
Deception and murder, blackmail and passion - these are a few of film noir's favorite things. In "Bad Education," Pedro Almodovar's uniquely flavored tribute to the genre, the Spanish filmmaker adds some thematic favorites of his own, including cross-dressing, transsexuality, heroin addiction and ecclesiastical hypocrisy. The result is one of Almodovar's darkest films since the early days of "Law of Desire" and "Matador," and certainly one of his finest.
Independent hip-hop label Datura Records uses guerilla marketing to infiltrate the masses
At Monday's Sage Francis show in Phoenix, Arizona, 50 lucky people will get a free "Independent Success Story" CD. The promo mix of Lawrence music is one of many guerilla marketing tactics Datura has adopted to make a name for itself and its artists - local acts like Deep Thinkers and Approach - among a crowded independent hip-hop scene. From internet networking to cold-calling radio and retail outlets, Datura hopes to follow the grass-roots models of successful independent hip-hop labels like Rawkus and Rhymesayers.
Ten quick reasons to pick up the Coup de Grace re-release of "Necks Move" from Kansas City hip-hop duo Deep Thinkers...or the attention-span impaired
Ben and I are an earnest hip-hop duo from Lawrence with a debut CD that shows some promise but lacks the sophistication of some of their peers' releases.
Songwriting winner siphons inspiration from strength of tsunami victims
Watching video of the devastating Asian tsunami aftermath struck a creative chord with 17-year-old Brenna Daldorph.