Stories for November 2005


Wednesday, November 30

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Review: Amped 3 - 360

Fun snowboarding if you can get passed the presentation

Amped 3 is a very competent, solid and fun "realistic" snowboarding game. However, the bad jokes and lame writing really detract from the greatness. You'll never run out of things to do with this game between all of the challenges and the extra missions, so you won't really miss the multiplayer all that much.

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Review: NBA 2K6 - 360

A facelift, sure, but gameplay remains consistent

While the player models look great, it seems like the coaches and fans in the arenas were just ported over from the Xbox and PS2 versions of the game, and there really is no real innovation or evolution of the control scheme or gameplay from the previous versions, either.

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Review: NHL 2K6 - 360

Not much of a facelift to grace the next-gen machine

While it's not a bad hockey game by any stretch of the imagination, NHL 2K6 just leaves much to be desired from a hockey fan that wants a true next-gen experience. You're almost better off just getting the Xbox version of NHL 2K6 and waiting for NHL 2K7 on Xbox 360.

Tuesday, November 29

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Review: Project Gotham Racing 3 - 360

The superb racer arrives in full next-gen glory

Anyone that owns an Xbox 360 should play Project Gotham Racing 3. This game demonstrates the power of the system with amazing visuals, audio, a plethora of gameplay options, solid controls, cool photo mode, Geometry Wars demos and the most solid online racing to date. This game will be a defining title for the Xbox 360 for a long time to come.

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Review: Perfect Dark Zero - 360

If sequels are supposed to be better, then prequels...

There are potentially redemptive qualities in Perfect Dark Zero in every aspect, but are all thwarted by suspect aiming controls. What results is a campaign only worth playing through once with a buddy and a multiplayer component that falls short of expectations, stranding great weapons and gadgets in a super-average void.

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Review: Greg Hastings' Paintball Tournament Max'd - Xbox

The best paintball game available

Casual gamers may want to steer clear of Greg Hastings Pro Paintball: Max'd since the commitment to realism and use of Paintball terminology will likely be a big turnoff. However, if you're interested in the sport or are a player that just can't get enough of the intense action that is Paintball then the game of your dreams has just arrived.

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Review: Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

Doesn't have the magic to appeal to anyone

It overemphasizes teamwork and features paper-thin combat to appeal to a younger or more casual audience while at the same time its difficulty curve so steep that it alienates that same demographic. If the movie was guilty of this during test screenings it would be delayed and reworked. It's too bad the same can't be said for the game.

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Review: NBA Live 2006 - 360

A pretty face with a silly pace

At first glance the game seems to have a boat load of promise with the new loading and menu setup and the amazing character models; but it does not pan out that way. In the end there is very little here to play, only a single season, single online matches, and the addicting practice arena.

Monday, November 28

Risky Business

Young Lawrence business owners ante up for a shot at a self-employed future

Christine Kosirog had perfected the art of talking herself out of her dreams. The 27-year-old mother of two was on the verge of going back to school for a masters degree in English. A week before classes started, however, she couldn't stop talking about the flower shop she'd always wanted to open.

'Good Night, and Good Luck' entertains, cautions

"The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies, and whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right: The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves." When was the last time you heard a news anchor speak that eloquently about a modern issue on a network broadcast?

Not-So Terrible Twosome

Matt Pryor and Julia Peterson stop by to discuss LCNS benefit, new projects

On Friday, a cast of Lawrence musicians will perform at The Granada to benefit The Lawrence Community Nursery School. Matt Pryor (formerly of The Get Up Kids) will do double-duty, performing an early set with his children's band Terrible Twos and a late set with his grown-up band The New Amsterdams. Lawrence singer/songwriter Julia Peterson will also join the late bill with her seven-piece band The Breaks. Visit to download the entire podcast with Pryor and Peterson and get the latest on both musicians' projects. - neither precious nor painfully trendy

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

Becoming a parent does not necessitate becoming lame, as well. People with kids still like to, you know, do stuff. But it's not always easy to find children-friendly activities amid a social scene geared toward young, single boozehounds.

Crafting is the cause

A local art group is heavy on D.I.Y. but happens to lack the Y chromosome

There's no feminist motivation behind Ladies of Lawrence Artwork, says co-founder Kylie Grater.

Style Scout: Julie Connolly and Tom Bomstad

Julie Connolly and Tom Bomstad

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Review: GUN - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

Doing the Western genre justice

Shortcomings aside, Gun is still an inspired action game. With a compelling narrative, intuitive combat and exploration-friendly world, Gun finally does the Western genre up right. Bottom line: if you're a fan of the Westerns like The Professionals, The Wild Bunch and the Sergio Leone Westerns you'll feel right at home with Gun.

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Review: FIFA 2006 - 360

Better visuals can't overshadow shoddy gameplay

FIFA for 360 sports improved visuals, improved animations, handicapped computer players, no lasting off-line play and missing controls. If this game had been just a port of the current generation's FIFA game it would have been exponentially better than what was delivered.

Exploring body and beingness

Recent discussions about the body and how it can convey our social and cultural identity make use of the concept of "embodiment."

Sunday, November 27

Review: Need for Speed: Most Wanted - 360

Another almost identical 360 port

There are several racing games available at launch, and by no means is Most Wanted the best of them available, but it is a great ride that is worth looking into, especially if previous Need for Speed games have spent significant time in your console.

Review: Need for Speed: Most Wanted - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

A better turn for the series

Even after fifteen hours in the career mode, I still wanted to jump into one more race. The different modes and customization options definitely increase replay value, and racing in Most Wanted is simply fun to do.

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Review: GUN - 360

A decent first effort for the Tony Hawk-only developer

While the story is executed very well, there really isn't much of it. The game can be beaten in five hours, which is terrible by any current standards. Sidemissions get old after a while, and only add two or three extra hours at most. GUN is the absolute definition of a "rental" game, albeit an above-average one.

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Review: Tony Hawk's American Wasteland - 360

Same game with hardly a next-gen face

While the new sense of freedom and lack of load times are great additions, it's simply not enough to change the fundamentals of Tony Hawk gaming. Hardcore fans of the series will certainly enjoy it (considering it's basically just more of what they love), but if you're getting tired of the same gameplay year after year, this won't help matters.

Review: Without Warning - PS2, Xbox

Jack Bauer couldn't even save this in 24 hours

Any fan of the television series 24 knows that it can be extremely intense, entertaining, and suspenseful. Without Warning attempts a similar concept by having you control six different characters in the midst of a terrorist attack. Unfortunately, the concept is the only thing in WW's corner, as the gameplay and story are absolutely awful.

Review: Mega Man Battle Network 5: Double Team - DS

More of the same...again...for the fifth time

Imagine an actual online battle arena much like the one found in game. You can fight whoever you come across all wirelessly online. Again, the series as done the right thing by moving to the DS, it's just a matter of taking advantage of it.

KU student's comic book to be published

A first-generation Vietnamese-American, Frank Tra grew up learning English from the comic books his father bought for him.

Saturday, November 26

No Xbox 360 complaints reported in Lawrence

Lawrence retailers reported selling out on Tuesday of new Xbox 360 video game consoles.

Artist to immortalize biographer, his subject

A foundation dedicated to promoting the works of John Neihardt has selected Lawrence artist Jim Brothers to create a sculpture of the author and of Black Elk, an Oglala holy man and subject of Neihardt's best-selling "Black Elk Speaks."

Friday, November 25

Kids will like 'Yours, Mine & Ours' - but adults will be bored

If ever there was a compelling argument for birth control, "Yours, Mine & Ours" is it. The Paramount, MGM and Columbia Pictures remake of the 1968 Lucille Ball-Henry Fonda comedy about a widower with eight kids who marries a widow with 10 of her own telegraphs its slapstick gags from a mile away - though they become so repetitive, you can predict them even before that.

Austen's power

New 'Pride & Prejudice' film adaptation true to well-loved story

Generally cited by Austen adherents (Janeites to you) as the favorite among her six novels, "Pride & Prejudice" is likewise filmland's preferred Austen property.

'Ice' picks Wichita for humor-free setting

"It is futile to regret," says some character or other in "The Ice Harvest," a woefully miscalculated, distressingly unfunny dark comedy in the "Grifters" mold.

Thursday, November 24

KU "Survivor" update: Tensions escalate

"That was some crazy shenanigans," Danni Boatwright said of night 27's tribal council vote. The former Jayhawk and current Tonganoxie resident found herself in the final seven as the competition for the $1 million prize narrowed further.

Sculptor to speak on impact of work

Installation artist Allison Smith will visit Kansas University as part of the Department of Art Visiting Artist Series, with a public lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Filmmakers late with 'Rent'

"Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes." These opening lyrical lines of "Rent" also seem to describe how long it takes for a viewer to sit through the movie.

Wednesday, November 23

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Review: Call of Duty 2 - 360

One of the few must-have titles for 360's launch

Sure, the 360 has handfuls of ports and standard upgrades passing as launch titles, but make no mistake, Call of Duty 2 is as fun and dare I say looks a little better than its PC counterpart. I am not sure how I can explain it, but both the single player experience and multiplayer world feel more at home on Microsoft's new console. Forget Quake and Perfect Dark Zero, CoD 2 is the shooter to pick up now.

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New Ears Resolutions

Local comedy troupe breaks with tradition to pursue national audience

"I happen to think that the age we find ourselves now is pretty epic in terms of comic material," says Right Between the Ears cast member Roberta Solomon. "But we've never had a problem making fun of whoever is in office and whatever administration is bumbling through things. We had a field day with Bill Clinton. During the Ronald Reagan era, we weren't sure how we were ever going to top that when Reagan wasn't in office anymore. We haven't had any problem. There is always so much out there that is worthy of comment."

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Review: Quake IV - 360

Not much different than the PC version

Not much was made to tailor the experience to the 360, which is disapointing. It is definitely worth playing once on its technical merits alone, but don't expect the Earth to shatter:or Stroggos for that matter.

Tuesday, November 22

Marble universe

Artist Bruce Breslow creates handmade works of art at Moon Marble Co.

Bruce Breslow shot marbles on the playground growing up, like most kids in the '50s and '60s. He played for keeps, and he didn't keep very many.

Monday, November 21

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A glimpse into the heart of Hanson (super) fans

"Why?" That's the question that twelve young women in sleeping blankets found themselves answering Monday afternoon as a tattooed cook from Rudy's Pizza grilled them on their devotion to the cult of Hanson. More than 30 hours prior to Tuesday's show, the line of fans camping outside Liberty Hall was a dozen strong and growing.

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Review: From Russia With Love - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

Flawed, but fun Connery-Bond experience

Like anyone that was between the ages of 10 and 25 back in 1997, I was absolutely obsessed with Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64. Much homework was neglected thanks to long nights of proximity-mine filled battles. I remember a videogame magazine ran a cheat code that supposedly unlocked "All Bonds" for multiplayer. I was thrilled, because I would have loved to play as Sean Connery.

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Review: Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble - Gamecube

It's like Smash Bros. - but not

I can think of no reason to recommend this game, considering that Smash Bros. is the same basic concept, yet executed infinitely better. Hardcore Viewtiful Joe fans may have a good time battling with their favorite characters, but everyone else should steer clear.

Play discusses seriousness of post-traumatic stress

Kevin Lucey knew Sunday afternoon would be emotional for him as he sat in a small Kansas University theater in Murphy Hall. But it turned out to be a little more emotional than he was expecting.

Sunday, November 20

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Review: Fable: Lost Chapters - Xbox

A great way to tie up Fable's loose ends

Gamers who didn't play Fable, or those who only played it once through should pick up TLC. It's definitely worth the 20 bucks for some of the new expressions and the Darkwood Bordello alone. I can't wait to see what Fable 2 will look like.

Review: Super Furry Animals, Caribou at the Granada

I expected a good time. I didn't expect to get the wind knocked out of me.

Author to speak at art guild meeting

Kansas native Paul Dorrell will speak about his book, "Living The Artist's Life," at the Lawrence Art Guild meeting on Monday.

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Review: Sniper Elite - PS2, Xbox

A great diversion from the normal blahs of console shooters

In a market filled with run-and-gun FPS war titles, it's refreshing to see a title that features a heavy emphasis on long-distance gunplay. While you will encounter some close-range skirmishes in Sniper Elite, the majority of the game is viewed from the scope of your sniper rifle.

Outside the lines

Eccentric couple put no boundaries on art

When it comes to outsider art, DaeRa and Don Graden are about as far out as it gets.

Inaugural Band Spectacular! to raise scholarship funds

Bands are an integral part of colleges, providing the soundtrack to basketball and football games as well as programs purely for the enjoyment of listening.

Competition seeks young filmmakers

Aspiring filmmakers in kindergarten through 12th grade in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri are invited to submit films by Nov. 28 for the Digital Media Online (DiMO) Awards competition.

Area artists' works shown at Fields Gallery

Fields Gallery is featuring the Giclee prints of artist Steven Graber and the photography of Roxann Graber, both of whom live south of Lawrence. Steven Graber's work invites the viewer into a place where space is generous and time is filled with quiet beauty. Romantic portraits of women, such as the one shown above, offer elegance in their repose and mystery in their gaze.

Poet's showcase

Godzilla Toy

Review: Theater does a beautiful job

Casting, set stellar in 'Beauty and the Beast'

For a musical about the triumph of inner beauty over outward appearances, the stage version of "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" sure has a lot of neat things to look at.

Saturday, November 19

New Cash biopic "Walks the Line" between familiarity and inspiration

A poor young man from the rural south, haunted by the untimely death of his brother, parlays his unique worldview into a legendary music career and fights the specter of drug addiction on the road while his family grows ever distant at home. Sounds like last year's Ray Charles biopic featuring a dead-on performance by Jamie Foxx, right?

Dances all over the map at KU fall concerts

Swirls of color, sound and movement marked the University Dance Company's fall concerts Thursday and Friday at the Lied Center, featuring choreography by Kansas University faculty, a guest choreographer and a graduating senior.

Friday, November 18

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Review: Sid Meier's Civilization IV - PC

Building new worlds reaches new heights

Well, Civilization may not have been broken prior to Civ IV but I sure can't complain about how they went about fixing it. There is a reason why Sid Meier likes to attach his name to his products in such a bold way and by now we should all know why. Truly, "Sid Meier's Civilization IV" is yet another masterpiece that will stand the test of time.

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Supernatural selection

Prime-time horror hit takes root in Lawrence

Imagine if "The X-Files" took place on a Route 66-type road trip across the Midwest ... only instead of agents from the FBI, the two leads were bickering brothers from Lawrence.

'Goblet of Fire' provides spark to series

Plenty of film series boast sequels that are good, and sometimes better, than the originals. But the fourth movie in an ongoing franchise almost always represents the point when things go rotten.

Cash biopic walks solid 'line'

The Man in Black may be gone, but his shadow and his sound live on in "Walk the Line," the thoroughly entertaining new Johnny Cash film biography.

Author says Iraq war hurts U.S. credibility

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power believes the Iraq war has delivered collateral damage to America's standing in the world. But as a result, the Bush administration has also learned the necessity of multilateralism, she says.

Thursday, November 17

KU "Survivor" update: Rival gets 'blindsided'

Four men and four women comprised the Xhakum tribe as day 25 began. As such, the reward challenge was divided evenly among the sexes, with teams of two racing through an obstacle course in a mud pit.

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Review: Tony Hawk's American Wasteland - PS2, Xbox

Awesome game, if still largely the same

The creation of a seamless skating experience is a welcome addition, but that just isn't enough to warrant slapping a new picture on what is essentially last year's game. The result is a title that feels less like a sequel and more like an expansion pack and that doesn't warrant the $50 price tag.

Chat with J-W's Jon Niccum about new 'Harry Potter'

"Goblet of Fire" proves there is plenty of spark left in the series. See you next year.

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Review: Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble - DS

Maybe just trouble

If you're a huge fan of Viewtiful Joe, it might be worth checking this out so you can play on the go. Unfortunately, this is a series that seems to be taking steps backwards more often than not. It introduces very little, and what is truly new (the touchscreen elements) falters and complicates the control.

Review: Play examines war's effect on many fronts

In a collaboration of English Alternative Theatre and University Theatre, "An Army of One" opened in the William Inge Memorial Theatre this week. Written by recent KU graduate Zacory Boatright and directed by Paul Hough, the play examines the effect of post traumatic stress disorder on Josh Harrison, who has returned from the Iraq War.

'alterNatives' hammers down traditional stereotypes

"Everyone expects a Native play to have feathers and buckskin, but this is a modern play," says Thunderbird Theatre director Pat Melody.

Wednesday, November 16

"Everything is Illuminated" makes odd, funny choices

Elijah Wood continues his post-"Lord of the Rings" streak of taking small, interesting roles ("Sin City," "Green Street Hooligans") in "Everything is Illuminated," the directorial debut of actor Liev Schreiber.

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Review: Castlevania: Curse of Darkness - PS2, Xbox

Gets lost in a Dawn of Sorrow

If Curse of Darkness had been released as a launch game it would have earned higher marks. But clunky combat, uninspired visuals and recycled enemies and areas are unforgivable at this stage of development. Maybe things will change with the new batch of consoles on the way, but for now stick with the 2D Castlevania games, they're infinitely more satisfying.

Review: Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga I & II - PS2

A great answer for the lack of good 2005 RPGs

DS is thoroughly enjoyable and anyone who is looking to get that RPG fix that has been missing this year should definitely not pass on this.

Bodies in motion

N.Y. choreographer's 'Loop Dance' has contemporary twist

Through 15 years of performing with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York, Patrick Corbin has noticed something about audiences: They're getting older.

Tuesday, November 15

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Review: Mario Party 7 - Gamecube

The seventh installment arrives for better or worse

If you liked the other Mario Party games, and you're in a position where you can easily get people to play the game with (college dorms, roommates, siblings, etc), then Mario Party is purchase-worthy. If you want a single-player experience, stay far far away from this title.

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Review: Fatal Frame III - PS2

Third time's a charm?

FFIII definitely has its negatives but easily makes up for it with the story and artistic visuals. Even though the game progresses a bit slower than I would like, the pacing seems to be decent enough not to frustrate.

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Review: The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge- PS2, Xbox

Dripping with Tim Burton style

I love Halloween as much as any other holiday, and I could definitely see myself picking this back up next fall to get in the Halloween and Christmas spirit. If you're a fan of Tim Burton's work, then you won't be disappointed by this solid effort.

Love of KU basketball inspires 'Airball' book

It's not hard to figure out where Lisa Harkrader got the inspiration for the main character in her book "Airball: My Life in Briefs," a seventh-grade basketball fan who is better yelling on the sideline than he is on the court.

Musician, legend still embraces political edge

Nearly 2000 fans were on hand Saturday night at the Lied Center for Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant 40th Anniversary Massacre Tour."

Hemingway of folk music

Austin artist's pointed lyrics cut to the quick

A long time ago, I had a creative writing teacher who gave us an Ernest Hemingway short story to read. I forget which one. For the next day's assignment, we were supposed to come up with a list of excess words. After about 30 minutes, we realized there weren't any.

Monday, November 14

Pot Luck?

Lawrence's pot-decriminalization activists are excited about a pending ordinance. But is it just a bunch of schwag?

Whenever somebody hassles Laura Green about her push to make arrests for marijuana possession a lower priority in Lawrence, she simply points to the activity surrounding her office on Kentucky Street - especially if it's a football weekend.

Style Scout: Tony "2 hands" Shnyra and Lorraine Hilleary

Tony "2 hands" Shnyra and Lorraine Hilleary

Hospice volunteers provide comfort in the final stages of life

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

For most of us, death is something to be avoided.

Reach for the Cars

Local lyricist wins Scion NextUp competition

Reach's local reach had been rapidly growing thanks to a busy calendar of Lawrence and KC shows. Now a national audience may be within the KC-based rapper's grasp, thanks to the Scion NextUp emcee competition. Winning the national competition earns him a phat paycheck and a music video. In some ways, it's an unlikely pairing: a humble, introspective lyricist being co-opted for the purpose of selling aftermarket-friendly tuners. But if there's one thing Reach has proven, no audience is outside his grasp.

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Review: Mario Kart DS - DS

The best Mario Kart title to date

Mario Kart DS is a success in every way possible. The online experience is solid, the multiplayer mayhem is as fun as it has ever been and the robust single player modes have enough depth to keep anyone busy for several hours. This is inarguably the no-brainer, must buy, system-selling title that will lead the holiday charge for the Nintendo DS.

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Review: Call of Duty 2: Big Red One PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

Scripted events prove to be immersive

Big Red One succeeds. It presents the player with a rich story mode, tasteful graphics and sound, and a multiplayer element that isn't the best but holds its own due to quality level design and weapon balance. This game may not completely steal you away from your favorite game, but it will provide a great respite until the Xbox360 releases.

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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare - PS2, Xbox

The fun doesn't last as long as the title

I have to give props to Konami for putting the entire SNES game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time on the disc. I still have my original Turtles in Time game, but this is a great pickup for anyone who played it the first time the Turtles were popular. Unfortunately, after playing Turtles in Time again, you realize just how little the gameplay has changed even after almost fourteen years.

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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare - DS

Not too much better on the DS

Most levels feel similar to the one prior, and repetition and monotony will set in within the first half-hour of gameplay. A possible rental for hardcore Turtles fans (do they still exist?), but certainly not worth a purchase.

Longtime manager of Liberty Hall dies

Lawrence has lost a key figure in its downtown entertainment scene.

Sunday, November 13

Poet's showcase

To Ted Kooser

Putting Beauty in the Beast

Ambitious costumer stitches imagination with skill to outfit cast of beloved tale

In the beloved Disney film "Beauty and the Beast," characters transform magically into clocks, wardrobes and teapots.

Soldier fights many battles in 'Army of One'

It's both fitting and ominous that "An Army of One," a new play by Kansas University graduate Zacory Boatright, will premiere Monday just weeks after the U.S. military death toll in Iraq reached 2,000 and three days after Veterans Day.

Saturday, November 12

A journey to cleanse the heart

'Buffalo Soldiers' play asks whether a fraction can define a whole person

What is the essence of who we are? Are we defined by family? By our genetic makeup? By our society?

'Derailed' skips a few tracks but stays on course

"Derailed" is "Fatal Attraction" meets "Basic Instinct." A married man picks up a woman on the train. He pays a terrible price for it and is sucked into a whirlpool of cheating, lies, blackmail and murder.

Friday, November 11

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Review: Call of Duty 2 - PC

An intense shooter with some truly breathtaking moments

Like its predecessor, Call of Duty 2 is worth playing at least once to extract those great scripted memorable moments and share with your fellow gamers. Even though the new HQ multiplayer mode is rather fun, I don't see many shooter fans abandoning their favorite FPS to make CoD 2 their new home.

'Zathura' like 'Jumanji,' except good

I used to beat the crap out of my younger brother when we were kids. I know he got some good shots in on me too, but the point isn't who wins the fight. With young siblings, camaraderie and friendship are always mixed in varying degrees of unequal parts along with competition and jealousy.

Review: Age of Empires III - PC

It certainly aged well, but has the same wrinkles

Other than having some of the standard problems that most RTS games struggle with, I found myself reasonably pleased with this effort but slightly disappointed in knowing that they could have done so much more that could have made this the new standard in good RTS gaming.

Currents run deep at Ravi Shankar concert

In classical Indian music, rhythm and melody are the driving forces of creation, and as a result, listening to it can feel a lot like being in a river. The percussion bounces off the other flowing instrumental sounds, much like sunlight glimmers off rushing water.

'Blood' work

'Capote' director searches for deeper truth to story chronicling the state's most infamous murders

Truman Capote often bragged that while investigating the events that inspired the true crime novel "In Cold Blood," he possessed a "94 percent recall of all conversation."

Lawrence sculptor to create statue for veterans' memorial

Sculptor Jim Brothers has been called on to create a 7 1/2-foot bronze statue of a soldier lost in thought, mourning the loss of a fallen comrade.

'Elastic Band' to debut tonight

Bizarre occurrences bring together three lifelong musicians

A free concert tonight in Lawrence will feature a wandering Australian minstrel, a harried street saxophonist and a Hurricane Katrina refugee who plays a mean congo drum.

Caught in a 'Funk'

E.M.U. Theatre play searches for meaning, community in disconnected modern world

A play that gives social commentary on the ills of modern living may not sound particularly captivating. But one by John Patrick Shanley, writer of "Joe Versus the Volcano" and "Moonstruck," stands a good chance of being entertaining.

Arlo Guthrie reopens 'Restaurant'

Arlo Guthrie wishes people would move on. Move on? "Yeah, want to move on," he says, "because there's a big future out there, and I would love to see a little more of it."

'Zathura' game for adventure

With all the recent movies being made out of video games, it's refreshingly retro to see one based on a board game. Admittedly, the source is not a "real" game - it's no Battleship or Clue - but a fictitious one originating from the mind of Chris Van Allsburg.

Thursday, November 10

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Review: Trapt - PS2

That's how you feel due to restricting gameplay

Trapt is little more than leading hordes of idiotic characters into pitfall after pitfall until you've reached the credits, but it's the game's failure on a technical level (poor framerate, camera issues, frequent load times) that makes the difference between a casual rent and a game that you're better of avoiding altogether.

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Review: Soul Calibur III - PS2

The soul burns bright for the third time

You're always learning new moves, there's a huge amount of things to unlock and buy, and the new Tales of Souls mode offers a new experience every time you play single-player. While Chronicles of the Sword may be completely disappointing, the new characters and graphics certainly are not. A must-purchase for any fan of fighting games.

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Review: Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

Games for kids can be fun, too...sometimes

If you feel like it, you can try to get 100% of these, but I can't imagine anyone having that much patience for this title. Actual photos of SeaWorld creatures are unlockable, which are genuinely more interesting than the gameplay in Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures. Avoid at all costs.

Wednesday, November 9

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Review: Jak X Combat Racing - PS2

Twisted Kart?

Jak X has a deep and lengthy single-player mode (four different large Cups), and features some great online multiplayer modes. Replay value is pretty high with this title thanks to the varied gameplay. Fans of the Jak and Daxter universe or arcade racing fans in general owe it to themselves to give Combat Racing a shot.

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Review: Ratchet: Deadlocked - PS2

More Ratchet, less Clank

Repetition aside, Ratchet: Deadlocked is a fine third-person shooter. While the new additions vary from great (the combat bots) to tolerable (the vehicles) it's nice to see the series go in a new direction.

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Review: Donkey Kong Country 3 - GBA

Solid formula provides solid, yet familiar, game

It's a fairly lengthy title, and a solid addition to the GBA library (possibly one of the last as well). If you're looking for a different experience than DKC or DKC2, you won't find it here. It's just more of the same, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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Review: Samurai Western - PS2

Nice idea, anyway

SW seemed to be a great combination of two different cultures and worlds, but it turns out the actual combination is bland gameplay with a horrid camera. Combine disappointing visuals and SW is a title that doesn't feel complete; you're left wondering only what could have been.

In and out of her father's footsteps

Molded by a sitar legend, Anoushka Shankar respects musical roots while carving new path

Growing up as the daughter of legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, being the youngest artist ever nominated for a Grammy in World Music and sharing stages with the likes of Sting, Madonna and Elton John would make any musician's career for a lifetime.

Hollywood & politics

Alex Graves ascends from KU to 'West Wing'

"From the Midwest to the West Wing" was a phrase that once described Harry Truman.

Tuesday, November 8

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Review: Battlefield 2: Modern Combat - PS2, Xbox

The revered PC franchise finally comes to consoles with solid results

Modern Combat starts out really well and despite the half-full showing on the multiplayer side, it delivers a solid console shooter experience in the end. The single player missions are definitely worth the price of admission and what's there on the multiplayer side will give you further incentive to keep it rotating in the disc tray.

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Review: Blitz: The League - PS2, Xbox

Does the first non-NFL professional football entry make the cut?

The game is stunning when it comes to gameplay. Players are smooth and have a glossy shine. The framerate holds up well too. If there's one thing Blitz does great is how it presents the action to you. They do a good job of zooming in and giving you great angles of big hits and spectacular plays. It's a nice change of pace from the regular simulation view.

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Review: The Sims 2 - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

Another great round of virtual life

This Sims is a great sequel to follow up the first console version as it's packed with more items, better visuals, and with the return of the infamous blurry shower. Welcome to a true virtual life.

Teens rock out at Battle of the Bands

Free State High School's sixth annual Battle of the Bands provided an opportunity for some of the most talented, quirky and high-energy high school bands in the area to showcase their talents.

Cutting-edge quartet

Kronos strikes contemporary chord with audience

The Kronos Quartet lived up to its artistic mission, "to present and promote contemporary music and expand the repertoire for string quartet," during its Saturday concert at the Lied Center.

Monday, November 7

Democracy Now!

Lawrence's The Ants unveil "Chinese Democracy"

When they're not moonlighting as Jehovah's Witnesses, Lawrence's The Ants create eccentric, homespun indie-folk records that bring to mind primitive Pavement recordings and the reckless creativity of The Mountain Goats. The now-stable quartet recently released a split CD/LP with Nashville band Ole Mossy Face titled "Chinese Democracy," a subversive tactic that could either catapult The Ants into infamy, foretell a career of financial ruin or both.

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Not scoring with your athletic love? Check the team schedule.

The pre-game ritual: Hydration. Lots of carbs. Plenty of rest. No sex.

Meals on Wheels volunteers assist the homebound elderly and disabled

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

You have 10 piping-hot meals in your back seat. You have 10 destinations and 10 nice old ladies who want to talk your ear off.

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All guts, no glory

Classical musicians labor for the love of the game

There will be no record release show for Pat Stuckemeyer's new CD. No in-store performance, no street team, no T-shirts, no drink specials. Pat Stuckemeyer plays the euphonium.

Style Scout: Corey Sievers and Amanda Ruth Meyers

Amanda Ruth Meyers and Corey Sievers

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Review: Quake 4 - PC

Falls victim to the same "problems" as Doom 3

Like Doom 3, Quake 4 sticks to its outdated guns with fervor. Any perceived changes are either cosmetic ("twist" in the story) or not worth mentioning (vehicles.) It is definitely worth playing once on its technical merits alone, but don't expect the Earth to shatter:or Stroggos for that matter.

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Review: Resident Evil 4 - PS2

Even months later, RE4 proves its timelessness

I fully expected Resident Evil 4 on PS2 to be inferior to the Gamecube version. Surprisingly, load times are very inobtrusive, and the graphics are still breathtaking. If you haven't played this game yet because you only own a PS2, you absolutely must purchase it immediately. It's easily the Game of the Year so far in my opinion, and ranks among the very best videogames ever made.

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Review: Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories - PSP

The must-have PSP title of the year

Considering the giant drought of any killer apps for PSP, it's nice to finally have one. Liberty City Stories can be picked up to play for 3 or 4 minutes, and it can just as easily be played for 3 or 4 hours.

Sunday, November 6

Poet's showcase

Rio at the Diner, 4 a.m.

KU to present comic chamber opera

KU Opera will perform "Albert Herring," a comic chamber opera by Benjamin Britten about the life of a shy young man who discovers his independence only after going on a drunken spree and then returning to his hometown after being presumed dead.

The great eight

2005 Phoenix Award winners bolster Lawrence arts scene

The 2005 Phoenix Award winners -- Joyce Castle, Barry Coffin, Janet Hamburg, Paul Hotvedt, Sue Kwak, Brad Levy, Dave Loewenstein, and Jack Riegle -- each bolster Lawrence arts scene.

Friday, November 4

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Review: Shrek SuperSlam - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube

A surprisingly varied and hilarious multiplayer brawler

Shrek SuperSlam isn't trying to be anything more than the lighthearted escape from life that it is. The controls are tight and there is enough depth and varied action to keep anyone from ten to 110 entertained for a significant amount of time. Trust me when I tell you that it's not another sorry excuse to cash in on a great movie license.

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Review: Crazy Machines - PC

Would Rube Goldberg approve?

Abandoning the typical puzzle game formula of falling blocks, Crazy Machines instead takes some heavy inspiration from Rube Goldberg contraptions. For those unfamiliar with the mid 20th century cartoonist, he was famous for drawing extremely intricate and complex contraptions designed to execute simple tasks (similar to the board game Mouse Trap.)

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Exploding 'Firecracker'

Kansas director earns critical acclaim and national audience

During the last few weeks, Kansas filmmaker Steve Balderson has screened his movie "Firecracker" at Landmark Theatres in Boston, Atlanta and Minneapolis. But a major snag transpired when the film was preparing to play Detroit.

Punk maverick Henry Rollins continues to spread the word

It's been a quarter of a century since Henry Rollins began touring the world, and he's amassed quite a few stories. What initially began as tales from his days fronting the seminal punk act Black Flag have grown in scope as the diversity of Rollins' career has expanded.

'Jarhead' takes shots at military life

"Are we ever going to get to kill anyone?" the hero of "Jarhead" pleads. While most modern war movies stress the horror and insanity of combat, this latest drama focuses on the boredom of soldiers waiting around for combat.

Play chronicles adventures of undercover soldier

More than 400 women fought in the Civil War disguised as men. One of those brave females was Emma Edmonds, and Ric Averill was so fascinated by her story that he turned it into an award-winning play that has been optioned for a film and will have its Lawrence premiere this weekend.

Sky falling on Disney animation

'Chicken Little' pretty, but pretty mediocre

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" From Wall Street to Mainstreet, U.S.A., you could hear the Disney stockholders' cry. "Eisner ruined the partnership with Pixar!"

Thursday, November 3

KU vs. K-State "Survivor" update: Wildcat sent packing

The four Yaxha members merged with the larger Nakum tribe as day 19 commenced. Whereas before Jayhawk Danni Boatwright and Wildcat Brandon Bellinger always held a majority alliance at their camp, on the new team -- christened Xhakum by Danni -- they were immediately outnumbered and targeted.

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Review: Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse - Xbox


The presentation is fun, the humor is good and the sound is superb, but the core combat could use some refining to make Stubbs a classic. Also, the game can be blown through in a few hours, which I need not tell you is pretty short for any current action game.

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Review: Gunstar Super Heroes - GBA

Some of the best fun you can have on your GBA

What could be the best GBA game of the year will undoubtedly go unnoticed by the public. For those who are lucky enough to know about the game or read this review, go get this little gem right now.

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Review: The Sims 2 - DS

A touchin' and a Simmin'

I personally believe the open-ended style of the original The Sims worked better, but that doesn't mean I didn't have a blast playing with the new one. It's still as addictive and I'm sure anyone who is a fan of the series will still have just as much fun as I did.

Wednesday, November 2

U.S. poet laureate to read at Woodruff

U. S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will read his poetry at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union at Kansas University.

Tuesday, November 1

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Review: Indigo Prophecy - PS2, Xbox

A unique and suspenseful thriller

Indigo Prophecy is a game built on dialogue, which will become apparent very soon after booting up the game. Expect to do a lot of talking to characters, and exploring different dialogue branches.

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Review: L.A. Rush - PS2, Xbox

Not the Rush you wanted

Rather than picking up L.A. Rush, just go out and get the recently released Midway Arcade Treasures 3, which features a slew of excellent racing games, including San Francisco Rush: The Rock Alcatraz Edition

Ted Kooser's poetry

Poems from "Delights and Shadows"

Staying centered

Midwest writer speaks to common man as U.S. poet laureate

Ted Kooser doesn't want readers to think too hard about his poems. "Anyone can write a poem that is impossible to understand," he says. "It is very difficult to write a poem that a lot of people will take meaning from."