Friday, September 30
"Serenity" is great, guilt-free entertainment. Joss Whedon offers up conventions and puts his own winking spin on them, giving a much-needed shot in the arm to a genre that's become so pompous and full of itself that it wasn't any fun anymore.
Cast, crew find modern relevance in Dickens classic
"Oliver Twist" is a tale of survival. Not just because of the travails of its plucky lead character, but in terms of how the story itself has found an audience with each new generation.
Against steep odds, 'Greatest Game' lives up to its hyperbolic title
"The Greatest Game Ever Played"? The Colts were in it. Or the Red Sox. Knute Rockne was on the sideline.
After removing piles of clothes from a sofa, the four members of The Billions take a seat in the living room of their farmhouse/studio where the band recorded "Trash and Treasure."
So far, the best and most interesting movies of 2005 have been among the most violent. The hostile comic book fantasy "Sin City," the explosive racial parable "Crash," the Nazi biopic "Downfall" and the gunrunning tell-all "Lord of War" all accentuate on-screen violence in healthy doses.
Thursday, September 29
The King of all Cosmos returns for another roll in the fray
Do yourself a favor and purchase We Love Katamari. It won't take long to beat, but it's always good for a "Hey, check this game out" when you've got non-gamer company. You don't have to be a hardcore gamer to appreciate the personality, charm, and style this game brings to the table.
KU tradition could end if bar closes
One of Lawrence's biggest and busiest campus-area bars is at risk of losing its liquor license for serving alcohol to underage drinkers.
Wednesday, September 28
New Yorker film critic muses about books, the state of cinema and the next big thing
No one will ever confuse David Denby with David Manning, the bogus film critic invented by Columbia Pictures. Denby, the distinguished voice of The New Yorker magazine, occupies that elite group of cinematic experts who don't just review a movie but investigate and illuminate it for the reader. They also shy away from allowing their words to be exploited as critical blurbs in movie ads.
Tuesday, September 27
"High-flying car crashes" no longer Hollywood hyperbole
I loved playing with Hot Wheels when I was a kid. I loved making them drive off make-shift ramps made of open notebooks resting on pencil jars, careening into my pretend oblivion. Luckily Criterion made the Burnout series for people like me.
Innovation does not automatically equal success
This game is a perfect example of why Nintendo should be hesitant about green-lighting any game just because it's "innovative." Sure, you only use L and R...but is that always a good thing? It ends up being extremely annoying, as well as extremely difficult. I've been playing games constantly for over 15 years, and I got stuck on certain levels for hours at a time. I can't imagine how an 8 or 9 year old casual gamer would fare at this title
Portable crashing carnage arrives
Burnout Legends is the first PSP game I will actually return to play. Many critics are forgiving on launch titles and will fluff the scores, but will never return to play them. (I mean, who is honestly still playing Lumines?) Legends deserves its praise and your lust to play again will prove it.
Geocaching enthusiasts savor the thrill of search and discovery
Alek Joyce, geocaching enthusiast, has searched the Colorado wilderness to find caches, tech-speak for what are basically hidden treasures. But last Tuesday, the Central Junior High School student's latest geocaching adventure took him to an urban setting: downtown Lawrence.
Monday, September 26
"Mayeye tell uhall sumthing eyeno?/Asking too much eznt ahlot wen yur ask-king god." So begins the debut full-length album from Lawrence's Kelpie, as dictated by the album's printed lyrics. As these two pages of phonetically garbled liner notes seem to indicate, Kelpie speaks its own musical language.
'Get Your War On' creator returns to Lawrence to spread the gospel of dissent
David Rees clearly has a lot on his mind. The 30-something artist's comics are just a few frames, but they pack a manifesto's worth of punch in sarcastic criticism and biting wit ...
Haskell Boxing Club pushes amateur fighters to reach their potential
Pain is good. Pain lets you know you're alive. Erik Riley reminds his pupils of this as they huff their way through suicide drills in the Haskell Boxing Club's heat and mosquito-afflicted practice space. The makeshift gym is the size of two living rooms - barely large enough to contain the 10 amateur fighters in attendance for a Monday-evening workout.
New Lawrence music store uses its 'gift of gab' to bite off a piece of the rap/hip-hop pie
Jaime Scott is no stranger to promoting CDs to strangers.
Meghan Dervin is hyped about volunteering at The Habitat ReStore.
GBA's Advance Wars ideas get console-ized - does it work?
A mix of real-time strategy and 3D action, Battalion Wars is a 128 bit spin off of the popular series, Advance Wars for the Gameboy Advance. At its core Battalion Wars is a real-time strategy. Instead of having an observer's viewpoint of the action like what is found in the GBA counterparts, this time you actually participate in the action directly.
Tap and click adventure arrives on the DS
Trace Memory is made for everyone but not everyone will like it. Even with all the backtracking involved, the game will take most around 5-6 hours to beat, or in other words, it's short and simple.
For the past 34 years, thousands of musicians, campers and fans of acoustic music have set aside the third weekend in September and crowded into the Cowley County Fairgrounds in Winfield for the Walnut Valley Festival.
Sunday, September 25
Meaning arises in the stillness between notes, movement, images and words
Some commonly held truths: Music is sound. Art is image. Dance is movement. Conversation is words. Right? Well, sort of.
Show with 150 works runs through Oct. 2
About 100 people shuffled around a concrete floor and perused art pieces hung from chain-link fence material at Saturday's opening night for the fifth Lawrence Own-Your-Own Art Exhibition and Sale.
LCT revue flaunts tunes and costumes
Take nine talented performers, nearly 40 tuneful songs, and more than 100 colorful costumes. Keep them coming over the course of a 2-hour show, and you have "Jerry's Girls," now playing at Lawrence Community Theatre and directed by Terrance McKerrs.
had i been born - By Lee Carlson
Saturday, September 24
Franz Ferdinand rouses Liberty Hall crowd
One shot. That's what it took to kill Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and to spark World War I. Remember eighth-grade world history class?
Friday, September 23
The kool ko-op keeps Kombat kredible
It's a blast to go through in ko-op mode, and there's certainly enough unlockables and secrets to warrant a second, third, or fourth play-through. Should be an immediate purchase for fans of either Mortal Kombat or co-op action games.
The premise is again deliciously dark and mildly subversive. But it is also slight. Perhaps the director should have spent more time punching up the script and, like "Nightmare," left the directing duties to another. This new dark romantic fantasy is like a tiny black orchid that never quite blooms.
Frank Mantooth's widow embarks on odyssey
Carrie Mantooth is musically illiterate. She doesn't play an instrument. She doesn't read sheet music. But during the last year she has become a virtuoso of sorts. "I took a walk in my husband's shoes and stepped into the world of music," she says.
Jodie Foster keeps airborne thriller aloft
Jodie Foster makes "Flightplan" worth watching, all by herself. As a woman who wakes up on a trans-Atlantic flight claiming that her daughter is missing, she walks that tightrope between "Is she paranoid?" and "Should she be?" with such conviction and panic that she makes this "Twilight Zone" nightmare plausible and horrific.
More than a decade after "The Nightmare Before Christmas," Tim Burton marries painstaking stop-motion animation with digital technology in "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride." The product of that union is a film that's wondrous, strange, poignant and beautifully reflective of the director's distinctive, darkly humorous style.
So just who are "Jerry's Girls"? Patrons of the Lawrence Community Theatre will soon know them as Sarah Young, Franci Talamantez, Annette Cook, Cheryl Banez Ocfemia, Barb Wasson, Sarah May Shaffer, Catherine Skorupski and Heather Ballinger.
"I've got plans for a big future," singer Matt Dunehoo repeats like a mantra during the tune "Big Future" off Doris Henson's latest CD. Even if the lyrics are meant to be dispensed with irony, it must be getting harder these days for the group to ignore the song's implication.
Thursday, September 22
More of the same but now online
It seems more and more companies are producing sequels just to have something "new" out every year. Too often these sequels are barely, if any, improvement over the previous version. Unfortunately, MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology has fallen into this trap.
In conjunction with the exhibition "Lee Friedlander at Work," artist David Rees will speak on "Laughing at Work" Sept. 29 at the Spencer Museum of Art's auditorium at Kansas University.
Wheat State Pizza is growing beyond its Douglas County roots.
Wednesday, September 21
Within 30 seconds of starting Ultimate Destruction, I beat a man to death with a cow. In short, it's well worth a rental for any fan of action games and a recommended purchase for fans of the Hulk or general mayhem.
Does the game do better than its real-life counterpart this year?
The industry already has arcade hockey games and EA has always done a great job of balancing arcade play with simulation play. Hopefully this year's installment is an omen for a good NHL comeback.
Tuesday, September 20
Lansing band among those bracing for battle's bigger stage
It's a school night, but the band My Last Day practice until 11 p.m., like it does four nights aweek. This practice has to be good, as do the next few. My Last Day will play its most high-profile show to date on Saturday at The Granada in Lawrence as one of more than 20 invited bands in the eXposure Battle of the Bands festival
Robin Rowland thinks Israeli and Palestinian leaders could learn a little from the world of jazz.
Monday, September 19
After four full-length albums and extensive touring, The Billions have developed an audience of hundreds (maybe thousands?) of listeners who appreciate the band's unaffected approach to crafting distinctive pop/rock songs. Too often overlooked in their own backyard, the Lawrence band adds another chapter to their fine string of releases with the topflight "Trash or Treasure."
The Spencer Museum of Art seeks new ways to engage the community in its museum
The spontaneous, responsive, aggressively creative, interactive, conversational, faster, more dynamic Spencer Museum of Art is now open for business.
Kim Hewett always hated math. Until, that is, she started teaching it.
Sunday, September 18
Journal gathers group of poets spawned by Lawrence counterculture and nurtured by one another for four decades
Jim McCrary was miserable. It was 1965. War protests and civil rights marches raged across the country. Artists were reacting to the turmoil with radical words and pictures.
Prize money will send Rebecca Curtis to Turkey to research first novel
Rebecca Curtis is about to break out of her comfort zone, and she has $10,000 to help her do it.
Put on your black turtleneck, pour an absinthe, light up a Gauloise, and get ready for an evening in a 1950s Paris cafe. Kansas University's Stage Too! has become a cabaret, and a talented ensemble of five men and five women sing dance, and act the songs of Jacques Brel, creating what director John Staniunas describes as "unity through variety."
Merrill Gilfillan, poet, essayist and fiction writer, will read from his work Thursday at Oread Books in the Kansas Union.
The Lawrence Community Theatre has announced auditions at 7 p.m. Sept. 26-27 for "Disney's Beauty and the Beast."
Friday, September 16
It really will change the way we play video games
The wait is over. Nintendo's new controller for its next system is truly revolutionary and will change the way video games are played. 3D pointing, tilt function and a remote control-looking setup ensure Nintendo could be back in the driver's seat of innovation.
"There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation," Nicolas Cage's character explains in the film's opening narration. "That's one firearm for every 12 people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?"
University Theatre out to prove 'Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris'
The University Theatre kicks off its fall season tonight with a musical revue featuring the work of European author, composer, actor and director Jacques Brel.
It's time to ditch a few of the worst ideas still menacing music
Some bad ideas in the world of popular music suffer a short shelf life. Hair metal. Gangster rap. Synth pop. Keyboard neckties. Platform shoes. Japanese headbands. Eddie Murphy's singing career. Other bad ideas linger longer than a flattened skunk. In fact, some are so prevalent that few people ever stop to question why they're still around.
Thursday, September 15
AMC Entertainment Inc., the nation's second-largest theater chain, said it would to donate all ticket and concession sales at its theaters today to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief.
The owner of Einstein Bros. Bagels closed one of its two Lawrence locations Wednesday.
The pre-eminent reality show "Survivor" takes pride in marooning its 16 castaways in exotic locations. But for its 11th season there will be an undeniably Midwestern feel to the TV series.
Wednesday, September 14
The Lawrence Public Library is offering a free, four-session book discussion group on childhood literary classics.
Author Deborah Lipstadt will speak on "History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving" at 7:30 p.m. today in the Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union at Kansas University.
The last in a new series of art fairs will be Saturday at the Lawrence Visitor Center, 402 N. Second St.
Monday, September 12
Eco-fuel tinkerers work towards a veggie-tastic future
In his ongoing quest to usurp the petroleum-slathered man, Andrew Roberts isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.
Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards
By day, Kerry Niemann cleans houses. By night, she helps Douglas County Jail inmates clean up their lives.
Sunday, September 11
Cry, By Beverly Boyd
That old saying about the Kansas weather - the one that says if you don't like it, stick around a few minutes and it'll change - might also apply to the Collage Concert Friday at the Lied Center.
In the art imitates life, science and Kansas politics department, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" will air a four-day report on the controversy over evolution.
History is set free as captured by graduate student
The places are haunting, their stories told by details left behind. A cup. A broken plate. A piece of barbed wire. The people who once lived there - who ate and drank from the dishes, who were imprisoned by the barbed wire - don't like to talk about these places. The memories are too painful. Emily Hanako Momohara wants to be their voice.
Saturday, September 10
Vicki and Patrick Langston's front porch is like no other. "Oh, we probably have 70 pieces out here. They vary in size," she said, referring to the chain-saw sculptures she and her husband carve from the hauled-in remains of dead trees.
Connie Finnegan forgets about everything and relaxes when her hands are busy molding clay on her pottery wheel.
Friday, September 9
Interested in learning a new art technique? Been dying to try your hand at resist hand dyeing? Want to learn how to print your own cards, CD covers or posters?
It takes a lot of chutzpah to include the word "exorcism" in the title of a new horror movie. "The Exorcist" (1973) is widely regarded as the best and scariest horror flick ever made. Other than the film's various sequels, no other mainstream movie has attempted to commandeer the term.
American Indian artist Michael Horse knows people who are skeptical they'll find something new and interesting at native art shows.
Cast and crew of horror-drama possessed by true story
While doing research for a big-budget action movie, filmmaking duo Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman began working with a New York City police officer whose area of expertise was investigating paranormal phenomena. The officer introduced the pair to unusual evidence he had collected through the years.
A man found dead June 19 at a Clinton State Park music festival died of a drug overdose.
Thursday, September 8
A man found dead June 19 at a music festival at Clinton State Park died of a drug overdose, according to an autopsy released today.
This is a test of the Emergency Target Marketing system
THQ couldn't be more obvious with their target audience for Big Mutha Truckers 2. It's only $19.99, and filled with tons of (attempted) lowbrow humor and digital breasts to appeal to the lowest-common denominator gamer. This game is clearly neither for anyone who knows anything about games nor anyone who would actually be reading a videogame review on a website.
Nothing like a space shooter/RPG to shake things up
The fresh concept will dazzle you for a couple hours, but then faulty game balance is what keeps this game from excelling. I would definitely keep my eye on this franchise however. For one it's the only one of it's kind, and sequels are made to improve.
Tag sale to fund youth classes at Spencer Museum of Art
On Friday, the Spencer Museum of Art will play host to the "Dollars for Scholars" tag sale, an event designed to fund programs that introduce youngsters to the world of art.
"Explore the Writer Within You," a workshop covering fiction, nonfiction and poetry, will run weekly from Sept. 22 to Nov. 10 in Mission.
Wednesday, September 7
If Pac-Man met Sonic Adventure...
Pac 'n Roll is much more of an interesting twist on the original "Pac-Man" and "Mrs. Pac-Man" games than it is a whole new game concept. The game is similar to the Super Monkey Ball series in that the idea is to roll a ball around 3D levels, collecting items and reaching the goal, but their two game concepts are actually pretty different.
Father of shock rock thrashes new generation with hardcore theatrics
There would be no Kiss without him. No Rob Zombie. No Slipknot. And certainly no Marilyn Manson. Alice Cooper was and continues to be the undisputed father of shock rock, a title he has embraced since the late 1960s.
Roger Shimomura, Kansas University professor emeritus of art, will have a major exhibition of his work titled "Return to Minidoka: The Paintings of Roger Shimomura," at Clemson University in South Carolina.
Straight-talking singer-songwriter reveals 'What I Really Mean'
RollingStone.com's one-paragraph bio on Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen isn't quite right. It says Keen and his college pal Lyle Lovett "used to sing and play in their underwear to astonished churchgoers across the street from Keen's house."
Lawrence poets featured in the new publication "Black Spring" will read their works at an upcoming event Sept 23.
The Unity Art Gallery is planning an exhibit titled "Chalks and Pastels," which will run from Sept. 25 to Nov. 12.
Tuesday, September 6
There have been several local hip-hop releases as of late that have reset the bar in a number of ways, that bar becomes irrelevant here; music and message simply push each other to become better
Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards
As a Rape Victim/Survivor Service (RVSS) advocate for the GaDuGi SafeCenter, Marita Robinson is often the first point of contact for survivors of sexual assault. Her on-call telephone conversations and 4:00 a.m. trips to the hospital lend a helping hand to victims when they need it most.
The joke that is the ostensible subject of the obscene and at times hilarious documentary "The Aristocrats" - and whose punch line lends the film its deceptively innocuous title - is not an especially good one. It does, however, provide a marvelous opportunity to take a look inside the psyche of the working comedian, more than 100 examples of whom were persuaded to come before the camera of director/stand-up comic Paul Provenza and his partner in crime, executive producer Penn Jillette, to tell the same dirty gag (and I mean gag) over and over and over.
Remedy Records thrusts two of Lawrence's most homegrown songwriters onto the national radar
Given Pound's jaded attitude towards the music industry, it seems remarkable that he signed to a label at all. Remedy Records, however, is a different animal than the faceless conglomerates that Pound speaks so skeptically of. Founded by Neighborhood Studios owner Jerry Johnson, the upstart Lawrence label purports to be the artist-friendly alternative to the faceless corporations.
There are probably very few people in Lawrence who are familiar with The Ants. This is largely due to fact that the band rarely plays around town, which may have something to do with a rotating membership that previously featured out-of-state members. Singer-songwriter Chad Bryan currently resides in Overland Park, however, indicating that we may see The Ants emerge in the near future.
Still fun in the retro sorta way
If anything, these retro games prove that regardless of processor speed, polys per second, and online play modes the underlying theme for any game worth mentioning is that it is fun to play. The games on this disc that are still significant do that.
Mark the fad, it's the end of fun
If there's one factor that saves this game, it is the multiplayer. And although the online play doesn't live up to what it should, it's still an enjoyment to get a group of people together working as a team.
Monday, September 5
It baffles me that Capcom my favorite third party developer can release great games like Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry 3, and Killer 7 in the same year as Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance. While they consistently put out AAA titles, they have a tendency to release a true disappointment every once in a while.
Holiday honoring working people finds a few with unique passions
Richard Renner would prefer not to eat fire, but "I'll do it if I have to," he says.
Sunday, September 4
One reason the comic strip Dilbert enjoys so much success is that anyone who's ever worked in an office can relate to the nonsense of overbearing bosses, patronizing IT guys and annoying cubicle mates.
American Indians infuse contemporary art with tribal traditions
The entire reservation had gathered to wait. They stood in silence - children, mothers, fathers, elders - on parched, unyielding dirt. The Arizona heat danced in waves on the horizon.
Friday, September 2
One of Randy Long's burly pet Akitas loves it when Pink Floyd is played on the stereo. She'll situate herself directly between his Bose 901 speakers and lay on her back with all four paws in the air to the strains of "Wish You Were Here."
When Bill Murray replaced Chevy Chase on "Saturday Night Live" in 1977, the move did not go over well with audiences. In fact, Murray was initially considered such a dull, awkward bomb that he appeared in a fake telethon sketch asking viewers to send in money to help him be funny.
Thursday, September 1
Lawrence band readies for national stage
"With running, you can't sit and think about, 'Oh my god, I'm going to run 15 miles,'" says Andrew Connor, frontman for Lawrence pop band Ghosty. "You just have to do it and not think about how far you're going." Connor has applied that philosophical outlook to his band as well.
How does Nintendo's virtual pet fare?
While it's an extremely novel idea, and a good use of the hardware, Nintendogs ultimately gets old within a few days. There's just not enough to do to keep the player's attention. Once you've taught it all of the tricks, it's pretty much the same procedure every day.
The game's over before I can even finish this li...
Reckoning is hurt the most by repetitive gameplay and a completion time that clocks in a just a hair over two hours. Let me repeat that. This 40 dollar game is good for about a two hour single player mode.
Popular name gets poopular game.
A single map can take a significant amount of time to complete, thanks to the slow moving turn-based system. This makes it doubly frustrating when you finally get to the final objective for the mission, only to have some boss immediately decimate you with some fireballs.
English Alternative Theatre presents a double-bill of comedic one-acts by Kansas University students for its annual Labor Day Special at the Lawrence Arts Center, 946 N.H.
Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history, and Jill Kuhnheim, professor of Spanish and Portuguese, are the winners of the 2005 Byron Caldwell Smith Book Prize, awarded by the Hall Center for the Humanities at Kansas University.