Stories for April 2006

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Sunday, April 30

Poet's Showcase

"Whipping Frogs" by Dan McCarthy

E.M.U. Theatre takes walk in the park with Shakespeare

It turns out that rehearsing Shakespeare in a park can be a bit trickier than practicing in a closed-door auditorium. A cast preparing for this week's performance of "As You Like It" has learned that this spring.

Review: 'Da Vinci Code' follow-ups lack thrill of best-selling mystery

A British judge may have exonerated Dan Brown of plagiarism, but that's no reason to forgive the author of "The Da Vinci Code" for spawning the currently flourishing genre of theological conspiracy thrillers. As of last week, Steve Berry's "The Templar Legacy" continued to hold its own at No. 6 on the New York Times best-seller list, Raymond Khoury's "The Last Templar" had slipped a bit to No. 15, but Javier Sierra's "The Secret Supper" had already ascended to No. 8.

Jazz ensemble to present annual concert

The Baker University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of J.D. Parr, will present the annual Chris Grubb Memorial Scholarship Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Rice Auditorium on the Baker campus.

Award winners' work featured in gallery

Kansas University's Art Department will present a scholarship exhibition in KU's Art and Design Gallery today through Tuesday.

Contest entries sought from photographers

Amateur photographers from around Douglas County are invited to submit an original photograph that demonstrates the many positive ways that seniors are aging in our county.

On a roll

Imaginative kids give Ford Tempo fourth makeover for parade

Most people wouldn't trust an 8-year-old to paint their car. Then again, most people don't drive a Ford Tempo that was once plastered with 1,000 fast food toys, transformed into a rolling nightmare and then finger-painted and glittered to within an inch of its carburetor's life.

KU student writes new music for play

Jordy Altman once served as a song leader at a Jewish music camp. And he's played his guitar a few times at house parties.

Saturday, April 29

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All the World's a Stage

Local theater troupe comes out with South Park production of Shakespeare's 'As You Like It'

E.M.U. Theater is not an improv troupe. But when your stage is Lawrence's South Park, you sure as heck better learn to improvise.

Friday, April 28

Screen Scene with Jon Niccum

No movie this year has generated more controversy prior to its release than "United 93." Opinions are varied as to whether American audiences are "ready" for this docudrama. But aren't audiences always ready for a great movie?

Review: FIFA World Cup 2006 (PS2, Cube, Xbox, X360)

I think the most bothersome element of 2006WC is that it's a full retail title that basically finishes what Road to the World Cup started. But EA has to milk as much moolah out of a license and that's why we have 2006 FIFA World Cup.

'United 93' a visceral and poignant experience

For all the advance criticism that "United 93" has received for being a Hollywood version of our national tragedy on September 11, 2001, the actual film itself is about as far from Hollywood as you can get. British director Paul Greengrass helmed this gripping docudrama that mixes depictions of real-life events (with some of the actual participants) and a good amount of believable and terrifying speculative fiction.

'United 93' a first-class drama

Up until recently, the title of this film was "Flight 93." But the subtle move of altering it to "United 93" endows the picture with so much more depth.

Thursday, April 27

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A leg to stand on

Musicians and comedians come together to help fellow performer

Billy Brimblecom was recuperating hours after having his cancerous leg surgically removed. The longtime professional drummer was groggy, tired and battling a slew of emotions. The phone in his Overland Park hospital room rang. It was Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen.

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Nintendo officially gives us "Wii"

The code-name of Revolution is no more. We now have "Wii."

According to Nintendo, "While the code-name "Revolution" expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer. Wii will break down that wall that separates video game players from everybody else." The net is already ablaze with passionate reactions both good and bad. What do you think?

'United 93' a first-class drama

Up until recently, the title of this film was "Flight 93." But the subtle move of altering it to "United 93" endows the picture with so much more depth. Aside from being a specific reference to the airline itself, the rewording brings a new unity to the enterprise. United in a singular goal. United in battling a common enemy. United States.

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Review: Commandos: Strike Force - PS2, Xbox

Decent first effort

The spy missions are where Commandos separates itself from the rest of the FPS crowd. While many titles in the genre implement stealth elements, C:SF manages to make it more fun than you'd expect. You can take uniforms off dead soldiers, and their rank determines how well you're hidden.

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Review: Suikoden V - PS2

Rebounding from the tedious episode

If you're a patient gamer, Suikoden V pays off in the end. There are 11 different endings and the story takes numerous surprising twists and turns throughout the duration of the game.

Review: Tao's Adventure: Curse of the Demon Seal - DS

Poor, clumsy blah

When the Nintendo DS was announced I remember thinking, "games for that will either be incredibly inventive or poorly designed, clumsy garbage." While several games have come out that fall into the former category, Tao's Adventure: Curse of the Demon seal falls squarely into the latter.

Built to Spill helps keep blistering guitar solos alive

It sometimes seems as though the guitar solo, that staple of rock 'n' roll, has noodled its way into obscurity. Much of today's rock looks elsewhere for its bravado. More common is a tight, methodical churning, epitomized by bands like the Strokes, Interpol and Arcade Fire. For even the head-banging, guitar-crazy My Morning Jacket, the climax of a song is often when everyone is simultaneously playing the same thing.

Wednesday, April 26

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Volunteers

A brief, broad-strokes profile of a four-piece combo that makes and plays folk/pop music in and around the Lawrence, Kansas, area these days

If you're not proactively ignoring local music in Lawrence, you've surely noticed their name on fliers, if not seen them on stage several times already. The Volunteers discuss their unique style of folk rock, their upcoming album, their constantly evolving sound and playing music in Lawrence.

Tribeca returns to its inspiration

Five years after 9-11, 'United 93' opens New York film festival

The first few hours of the Sept. 11 attacks have been imagined and replayed countless ways in the minds of many, but for the first time, a movie of that nightmare premiered on the big screen.

TV 'pioneer' focuses on women's roles

KU graduate Steve Mills' most recent project brings him back to Lawrence

Growing up on a farm near Russell didn't introduce Steve Mills to the luxuries many television executives share.

Monday, April 24

Art therapists reach out to the homeless population

Stephen Elder was never an art therapist. But he was an artist - and an occasional therapist thanks to his gig working the night shift at the Lawrence Community Shelter and Drop-In Center.

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Declaration of dependence

"Powershift" conference seeks to educate community about America's oil addictionDeclaration of Dependence

Even Earth-conscious vegetarians sometimes need a good kick in the arse when it comes to conserving oil. Mere talk of an impending crisis, after all, doesn't do much to ease the burden of living without gas.

Style Scout: Rachel Zavarse and James Colbert

Rachel Zavarse and James Colbert

Tiempo Libre concert frees audience from inhibitions

Stirred by Cuban rhythms, patrons turn Lied Center into dance pavilion

When the Miami-based Tiempo Libre performed Saturday night at the Lied Center, the group made it clear that timba - a musical mix of Latin jazz and son rhythms - is not just about sitting there and listening to the music. It's about experiencing the music with your whole body

'Silent Hill' draws crowd, climbs to top of box office

A real scary movie bumped off the spoof variety at the box office.

Friday, April 21

Art a la Carte

The Seem-To-Be Players wrap up the Lawrence Arts Center's Family Theatre Series with performances of two classic fairy tales: "Hansel and Gretel," which tells the frightening story of two children who outsmart an evil witch, and the comedic "Hans in Luck."

'American Dreamz' an audaciously entertaining mess

Star ratings suck. They accompany movie reviews for quick reference, so that actually reading the review isn't necessary to know what the critic thought of the picture.

Service for blind desperate for space

Audio-Reader has nowhere to put gifts to be used in fundraiser

A pile of records and musical instruments litter a room in the Kansas Audio-Reader Network office on the Kansas University campus.

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Voices Kari

KU grad becomes the go-to voice for animation and video games

Kari Wahlgren recently performed a love scene opposite Sean Connery - yet she never actually met him. It's just another career quirk experienced by Wahlgren, who has rapidly become the go-to voice for more than 60 animated movies, TV series and video games.

'American Dreamz' worships false 'Idol'

The "American Dreamz" commercial that ran during Wednesday's telecast of "American Idol" was curiously vague.

Lawrence Roller Warriors ready for 'Brawlroom Blitz'

Little-known Lawrence fact: The Bottleneck, 737 N.H., was once the site of a roller skating rink.

Thursday, April 20

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How now, Justin Roelofs

In the Mayan ruins at Palenque, the past is irretrievable, the future irrelevant. Birds call in the jungle; lizards skitter across ancient stone. The tourists arrive, and snap photos with cellphones and send postcards. Justin Roelofs came to download vibrations.

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Garb for the globe

Fashion show has designs on saving the planet

Loni Hosking would like to sell you her recycled rubber bra.

Wednesday, April 19

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Review: Battlefield 2: Modern Combat - 360

360 verse: same as the first?

It's neither revolutionary nor an Xbox360 exclusive but that will not keep it from being one of the most played Xbox Live games. It will survive because the multiplayer is deep and addicting. The quality PC-born shooter series thankfully translates well to the 360.

High school announces theater festival

The Free State High School theater department will have its final performances of the year Thursday and Friday.

Monday, April 17

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Keeping Lawrence weird

Is the sky really falling on Downtown Lawrence's rare retail haven?

In her 10 years owning The Casbah, Terri Faunce has done more than her fair share of treading water. She's added roommates, cancelled her cable, sold items on eBay and called in plenty of family favors. But with her store's first-quarter earnings paling in comparison to previous years, Faunce is beginning to question the viability of her three-decade-old downtown retail establishment at 803 Massachusetts St.

Friends of the Kaw clean up the Kansas River and educate the public on environmental issues

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

Rachel Treanor knows all about the Kansas River's bad reputation.

Style Scout: Grant Noble and Dana Parsons

Grant Noble and Dana Parsons

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Review: Brain Age - DS

Legit aide or simple puzzle "game"?

Brain Age boasts a huge amount of replay value. Since you can only do a few tests a day, it's hard to really get tired of it. You can pick it up, do three training exercises, complete a Sudoku and put it down. Another great addition to the DS library.

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Review: Odama - Gamecube

A strategy-pinball game?

Odama proves that a pinball/strategy hybrid has merit. Who would've thought? But it doesn't take the extra step to polish all of the elements to make this potential beacon of innovation shine.

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Review: Kingdom Hearts II - PS2

The Final Fantasy - Disney hybrid returns with awesomesauce

Kingdom Hearts II is everything a sequel should be. It improves on every aspect that was weak in its console predecessor while adding new elements that are original and strong. The series feels as if it, like its protagonist, has grown up. The added depth of the combat and general size of its adventure will appeal more to RPG fans that grew up with Disney films rather than the other way around.

'Scary Movie 4' scares up best Easter opening ever

Bob and Harvey Weinstein returned to the box-office lead as "Scary Movie 4" debuted with $41 million, the first No. 1 opening for the new company founded by the former Miramax bosses.

Saturday, April 15

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Brawlroom Blitz

Lawrence ladies cruise onto KC roller-derby scene

The Kansas City Roller Warriors begin their second season on April 29 at the Winwood Skate Center in KC, Mo. The all-female roller derby league will welcome a smattering of Lawrence ladies into the league, including Julie Ibach and Anne Mergenmeier of Pipeline Productions and Wheat State Pizza Manager Jamie Olmstead

Friday, April 14

Screen Scene with Jon Niccum

He's described as a mass murderer, bloodsucker, pimp, profiteer and a yuppie Mephistopheles. But he's actually a lobbyist for big tobacco.

'Thank You for Smoking' a double-edged vice

"Thank You for Smoking," adapted from Christopher Buckley's 1994 novel by writer/director Jason Reitman, is at its best when it lets Nick loose in the savage game of verbal one-upsmanship.

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Review: MX vs ATV On the Edge - PSP

Is it worth owning the embattled portable?

If it weren't for the lack of career mode and the awful loading times, MX vs ATV could have been a decent racing game. I would have had no problem with some downgraded graphics if it meant I'd get to actually race quicker.

Rhythm nation

Latino community bonds through salsa dancing

The night is bustling with activity. An inviting dance floor quickly becomes a free-for-all of spins, dips and twirls under vibrant lights beaming off the walls. Meanwhile, the music is full throttle starting at 10 p.m. and lasting straight until the wee hours. A DJ is accompanied by live bongos, flanked by instructors teaching the unsure how to move.

'Smoking' may cause laughter

While working on a report for school, 12-year-old Joey Naylor (Cameron Bright) asks his dad, "Why is the American government the best government in the world?"

'Snakes on a Plane' taking off before release, thanks to online Fang Club

The titles of movie thrillers tend toward the quick, macho, boom! variety. "Firewall." "Inside Man." "The Sentinel." Lofty, bold labels that resonate with gravity and danger and import.

Thursday, April 13

Burroughs' cabin on eBay

'I thought I would never sell it'

The 568-square-foot cabin with narrow concrete stairs, outdoor shower and an incinerating toilet in the bedroom may not be the first place a home hunter would want to drop nearly $160,000.

Haskell theater to premiere one-acts

Mention the name Bruce King, and Delinda Pushetonequa emits an involuntary "ooh."

Review: Cast works miracles with Helen Keller play

Forget, for a second, about the triumph of the human spirit.

Artist pays tribute to late leader, while fighting Arab stereotypes

Shared love of horses inspired piece

Most Americans have never heard of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai. And most people from Dubai have never heard of Lawrence artist Stan Herd. But all that is about to change.

Monday, April 10

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East Side Pride

Two-weekend event to showcase the artistic character of East Lawrence in the midst of controversial commercial developments

Nine days prior to the opening of the Eastside Art Show, the event's trio of organizers finally figured out what it is.

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Girls rock

The Harvey Girls discuss their epic album "The Wild Farewell"

The Harvey Girls' complex new album "The Wild Farewell" is indeed a labor of love, combining electronic programming with live instrumentation to create enticing experimental soundscapes

Biking and hiking trail volunteers do dirty deeds dirt cheap

As a dedicated ultra-marathoner, Mike Goodwin often finds himself on state trails to run portions of his 20-40 mile treks.

Style Scout: Jill Cavender and Justin Mosel

Jill Cavender and Justin Mosel

Sunday, April 9

A day to remember

Music fans enjoy return of festival

Hundreds of Kansas University students and area music fans loafed on the grass just to the east of the Lied Center on Saturday afternoon.

Friday, April 7

Art a la Carte

Welcome to Art a la Carte. I'm Journal-World arts editor Mindie Paget.

Tricky 'Slevin' not just by the numbers

A chatty man in a wheelchair (Bruce Willis) corners a young stranger in a deserted airport terminal and begins telling him about a crime caper from the 1970s. It involves horse racing, debts to bookies and brutal murders.

Back on Top of the Hill

Lawrence's renowned concert event makes dramatic return

Chris Tolle was one of more than 10,000 people who huddled on Kansas University's Campanile hill when Pearl Jam took the stage in 1992.

Thursday, April 6

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Review: Rumble Roses XX - 360

Not for gamers

If you consider yourself a gamer, this is not a title for you. This is a title for 13-year old boys who apparently haven't discovered the resources of the internet. You'd be better off watching scrambled Cinemax.

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Review: The Outfit - 360

Same boring genre action or something a little new?

THQ and Relic deserve credit for taking a chance to create a new IP based on a new gameplay mechanic and for moderately succeeding. The Outfit is great for those who can survive frustrating vehicles and want to put the time in to mine the depths of the gameplay.

Review: Pokemon Trozei - DS

A shallow puzzler or hidden gem?

Trozei is clearly an example of a big-money franchise being inserted into a completely un-related game formula for the purpose of selling a few thousand additional copies.

Review: Worms: Open Warfare - DS

How does the classic translate to the touch screen?

Fans of the series will be the most disappointed with this game, but are likely to be the only ones who might enjoy it as well. Quite honestly, you'd have to be a fan of the series to really enjoy Open Warfare and even then I imagine the interest would be fleeting at best.

No small miracle

Local production of Helen Keller play goes beyond touching story of a girl and her teacher to memorialize a Lawrence couple's son

What would it be like to be blind, deaf and living in a time period devoid of tolerance?

Woman seeks lost, beloved piano

Nearly five years ago, while financially strapped because of medical bills, Kathy Leclere sold her most prized possession: a piano given to her by her parents on her 12th birthday.

Wednesday, April 5

Community theater announces auditions

Lawrence Community Theatre will have auditions for "GEORGE M!," by George Cohan on Monday and Tuesday.

KU diversity conference to feature poet's speech

Poet Angela Cervantes will be the featured speaker at the Kansas University Multicultural Resource Center's third annual Student Diversity Conference from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Kansas Union.

Tuesday, April 4

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Review: Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter - 360

The first real next-gen-feeling shooter has arrived

The combination of impressive visuals, outstanding surround sound mix, winning level design and, for the most part, solid A.I. create a game that is at times inspiring. GRAW has the ability to create emotion within the player. It delivers a feeling of exhilaration when you run from one piece of cover to the next and a sense of true teamwork when you order a squad member to revive a fallen comrade while you provide cover-fire.

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Review: The Godfather - PS2, Xbox

Puzo didn't want his name on it - would you?

Though this game is flawed, it does many things right it stays true to the source, adds relevant new story elements, has a fairly large amount of content and most importantly is generally fun to play. Too bad EA didn't choose a less constricting source because future iterations could easily improve on this start.

Review: 24 - PS2

Craptacular rendition of the prized series

24 had a ton of potential to become an awesome game, but Cambridge Studios really dropped the ball. I'm as hardcore of a 24 fan as they come, but not even I could convince myself that this was anything but a steaming turd.

Review: Capcom Classics: Remixed - PSP

Does it improve on the previous collection?

If the idea of looking at original concept art or joining up with another player and punching your way through Captain Commando and Final Fight or fighting terrorists with a bionic arm sounds appealing then this game is for you. The true classics are still timeless, while the rest provide at least a moderate distraction.

Review: Age of Empires: Age of Kings - DS

Forging new ground or odd copycat?

The real shame here is that it has to go head to head with the king of handheld strategy games: Advance Wars. Age of Kings certainly does a good job of competing with AW, but ultimately is unable to top it.

Studios to start selling films online

Hollywood studios will start selling digital versions of films such as "Brokeback Mountain" and "King Kong" on the Internet this week, the first time major movies have been available online to own.

Monday, April 3

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City Upon A Hill

The Day on the Hill music festival seeks to reclaim its once glorious reputation in the eyes of Lawrence

"For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us." ... When John Winthop delivered his stirring 1630 sermon "A Model of Christian Charity" to the Puritan colonists of New England, he probably wasn't thinking about KU's 2006 Day on the Hill festival.

Vintage Players bring humor to the Lawrence community

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

Did you ever hear the one about the dyslexic man who walked into a bra? Beverly Willis-Wyant has. About a thousand times.

A Tale of Two Towers

KJHK recovers from microburst by switching to a new transmitter location

For employees of Lawrence's downtown Cheese and Salami Shoppe, two weeks without KJHK was two weeks too many.

Style Scout: Erika Ochoa and Dirk Whitebreast

Erika Ochoa and Dirk Whitebreast

'Ice Age' sequel rings up $70.5 million in cold cash

"Ice Age: The Meltdown" heated up the box office with a mammoth $70.5 million weekend, while audiences gave the cold shoulder to Sharon Stone, whose "Basic Instinct 2" debuted with a paltry $3.2 million.

Sunday, April 2

Poet's Showcase

"Thoughtful Haiku," by Robert Barnes

J-W sports editor covers first base

Tom Keegan gets inside access to major-leaguers for latest book

Tom Keegan doesn't claim to have any personal expertise in playing first base.

Art sale benefit planned

Work by Lawrence artists will be for sale at "Goodnight Moon," a benefit for GaDuGi SafeCenter.

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