Stories for August 2006

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Thursday, August 31

'The Illusionist' lacks magic

In an era where computer-generated special effects can portray the most stunning of creatures or stunts, there is something exciting about watching a magician like Criss Angel or David Blaine leave onlookers in a state of shock by performing a trick right in front of their disbelieving eyes. It's that realization that something amazing has actually happened right in front of somebody, and with no camera tricks, that makes it special.

Photo exhibit at Dole Institute revisits 9-11 sites 5 years later

The differences in the photos are striking. So are the similarities.

CBS bringing 'mountain of publicity' to N. Lawrence

'Jericho' promotion to include unveiling of Stan Herd's crop art

Hollywood is officially coming to town. And it's bringing a posse with it.

Wednesday, August 30

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Review: Starfox Command (DS)

I'm definitely glad to see Starfox return to the skies and get rid of the terrible on-foot missions. If a DS sequel featured some classic on-rails areas and perhaps omitted the odd "strategy" element, I think this series has the potential to return to its former glory.

Review: Deep Labyrinth (DS)

Deep Labyrinth is really only going to appeal to a small, dedicated group of gamers looking to relive the glory days of first-person dungeon crawls. For anyone else, the repetitive environments, RPG-lite gameplay, and lame story aren't going to be enough to satisfy.

Crepe expectations

Made-to-order treats specialty of small Lawrence shop

A.B. Rials is singing just loudly enough to be heard over the crackling of the grill. He walks to his fridge, in step to the song in his head, to pull out more ingredients.

Tuesday, August 29

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Review: Saints Row (X360)

While GTA clones are certainly nothing new in recent years, this title is the first that is arguably superior to Rockstar's baby. To describe them each in a word, GTA would be "more," but Saints Row could be accurately tagged as "better."

Monday, August 28

Style Scout: Jana Casper and Edwin Morales

Jana Casper and Edwin Morales

Good ol' days again

Remember the gool ol' days, when the highlight of your week was finger painting or making papier-mâche masks?

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Light up the nightlife

Five years along and Neon is still glowing strong

When Edwin Morales laughingly talked his way into hosting a weekly dance party called NEON, he just wanted to spin records while having fun out with friends.

Nice Rack

In a society 'two clicks away from Victorian', breasts shape more than women's curves

When she was 16, Cara already had what most men lust for and many women would do anything to have - enormous breasts. The problem was, she didn't want them.

Wild, blue eyes, wide-open and defiant: A review of the Split Lip Rayfield Tour

Let's say you're Kirk Rundstrom. You've been through a very public battle with cancer, and as far as the doctors know, cancer's kicked your ass. But that discounts the fact that you're Kirk Rundstrom.

YouTube must-sees featuring Lawrence

Want to make an evening pass by quickly?

Sunday, August 27

Tonganoxie author's book honored

Tonganoxie author L.D. Harkrader's novel "Airball: My Life in Briefs," has been named a 2006 Kansas Notable Book and is a finalist for the 2006 Thorpe Menn Award.

Poet's showcase

"The Smallest Light," by Susan Waldo Simmons

Lawrence artist's exhibit announced

Roger Shimomura will unveil new paintings at an exhibit titled "Gottabees, Wannabees & Gonnabees" at Jan Weiner studio, Kansas City, Mo.

Friday, August 25

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Review: Tekken Dark Resurrection (PSP)

Tekken: Dark Resurrection straddles the line well between accessibility and complexity. Longtime fans of the series will be thrilled to have such a full experience in portable form, and newcomers will reap the rewards of a decade's worth of enhancements and additions to the original game.

Review: Ninety-Nine Nights (X360)

Even with the advantage of next-gen hardware, this title features even more repetitive action than Dynasty Warriors (and more glitches and annoyances to boot).

Not quite 'Invincible,' but a noble entry nonetheless

The standard sports movie cliche usually involves an underdog team faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their way. They look deep within themselves and, against the odds, pull out an unlikely victory. "Invincible," the newest Disney sports film, more or less follows that formula with one exception.

Inside the 'Bunker'

Indie film production unifies Lawrence and Hollywood talent

It's a complicated setup for the first day of filming. Dancers, musicians, actors and horses are all gathered around a bandstand at Pendleton's Country Market in Lawrence.

Time for more local bands to reunite

Not everything went perfectly smooth during Sunday's reunion of The Embarrassment at Liberty Hall. But what the Wichita band lacked in precision after a 17-year hiatus, it more than made up for in amplifying good vibes.

Let the 'Sunshine' in

I had the feeling after watching music-video maestros Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' first feature, "Little Miss Sunshine," that if they'd known how well it would play at the Sundance Film Festival, they would have made a better movie.

Wednesday, August 23

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Review: Dead Rising (X360)

Anticipated since the unveiling of the Xbox 360, the final version of Dead Rising is a truly conflicted title. Much fun can be had slashing through hordes of hundreds of zombies with a huge arsenal of weapons, but there are also tons of problems with the game.

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Some Cheap Cologne, a Hot Box and Thou

Lawrence's lovable folk-grass weirdos weave yarns and afghans (or something warm and fuzzy) with new album

Employing natty haberdashery and a contraption called the harmophone, Drakkar Sauna crafts gleeful ditties about things that few humans can comprehend - the etiquette of dueling, cannibal metaphysics, Spanish cinema - and you can sing along to it all

Tuesday, August 22

Terrific cast makes "Little Miss Sunshine" best R-rated family film ever!

If the quirky little indie comedy "Little Miss Sunshine" would have been made inside the Hollywood studio system, some studio executive somewhere would have suggested that the directors insert the Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" during the film's cathartic finale. The title would have been changed to something more easily marketable like "Winners and Losers," and the pitch-perfect cast would instead feature bland family comedy A-listers like Tim Allen and Robin Williams.

Monday, August 21

Review: Super Dragon Ball Z

Don't let the allusions to Street Fighter II on the case of Super Dragon Ball Z fool you. This title plays nothing like the Capcom classic of the early 90s, but it does offer some moderate fun on its own merits.

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Curry's fire still burns hot

The man behind that famous painting of John Brown (finally) gets an opening

Imagine John Brown without the lens of John Steuart Curry.

Nobody puts baby in a corner

Gina Kaufmann breaks down why babies are the new black

For those of you living in Antarctica without grocery store aisles, internet access or InStyle subscriptions, here's a news flash: Every celebrity who ever so much as looked at Brad Pitt is having a baby. Angelina Jolie, all of the Friends ... even naughty secretary Maggie Gyllenhaal is due.

Style Scout: Ken Baker and Leilei Woolfolk

Ken Baker and Leilei Woolfolk

Stream of conscience

Activists have the Kansas River at the top of the mind

"Cat Daddy is one interesting character!" Or at least according to Alphilde Rees and Jason Dick, volunteers for the Kaw Valley Heritage Alliance and Kansas Stream Link. The couple has been spending their free time volunteering for the organizations since the beginning of summer.

Sunday, August 20

Review: Barnyard (PS2, Cube)

The game is based off the recent Nickelodeon film, and follows the adventures of a group of farm animals who have the humanlike abilities to walk on two feet, talk with each other, use cell phones, and make vulgar thrusting motions.

Poet's Showcase

"Going Home," by Ronda Miller

'The best band you never heard of'

Kansas' beloved Embarrassment reunites after 17 years

They had short hair in an era when everybody had long hair. They wore thick glasses when only nerds embraced the look. They played tight, blistering pop songs when overproduced stadium-rock anthems and repetitive disco tracks were the norm.

Lawrence Humane Society reiterates stance against pit bull ban

News reports these past few weeks have been hard for dog lovers in our area. The media have placed pit bulls on center stage once again in regard to the tragic and preventable death of a woman in Kansas City. Even in our own backyards, it seems, no one is safe from vicious dog attacks.

Friday, August 18

'Accepted' earns a solid C

If you're into snap judgments, write off "Accepted" for what it is, a doltish "college" comedy with characters so generic they could have come from any youth "party" comedy, from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" to "Old School," "Can't Hardly Wait" to "American Pie."

Thursday, August 17

Review: Barnyard (GBA)

The game's setting and story are based off the Nickelodeon movie of the same name, and for the most part, it gets the source material down. Whether that's a good thing is debatable.

Pacifica Quartet coming to Lawrence

The Pacifica Quartet, a group with a strong classical foundation and one of contemporary music's most ardent advocates, will perform at 2 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Lied Center.

Theater to showcase area playwrights' work

Lawrence playwrights will be in the spotlight starting Friday as EMU Theatre and Lawrence Community Theatre host the "Citywide Festival of Playwrights."

Classical band to play Merrie Melodies tunes

Fireworks, hailed as the "hottest new classical band in New York," will perform "Cartoon" next month at the Lied Center.

Historical play explores John Brown's motives

Kerry Altenbernd always saw theatrical portrayals of John Brown - the ones where the abolitionist is a larger-than-life character with a booming voice - and didn't think they painted a complete picture.

Wednesday, August 16

Review: Civilization IV Warlords

Six new civilizations have been added to the already extensive lineup, including the Carthaginians, Koreans, Vikings, Celts, Ottomans and finally the venerable Zulu. Each new civilization also received their own unique units and leaders, just as they're counterparts have.

Tuesday, August 15

XBLA Review Roundup

Considering the amount of quality titles on Xbox Live Arcade (and the huge success of Street Fighter II), I think it's only appropriate for Lawrence.com to start covering them. From this point forward, we'll include reviews of new XBLA games in a kind of "mini-review" format. We'll kick things off with a brief roundup of some currently available XBLA titles.

Monday, August 14

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Bad blood

143 years after Quantrill burned Lawrence to the ground, the Border War lingers on - even when KU isn't playing MU

Growing up in Kansas City, Mo., just on the other side of State Line Road, I was raised to believe that the Civil War was over.

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The greatest band you've never heard

Wichita, Kansas, 1979: Blondie, Donna Summer and Kenny Rogers dominate the AM airwaves; FM radio is home to REO Speedwagon, Styx and Foreigner. Four high school buddies, unimpressed with the radio, form a rock and roll band called The Embarrassment.

Re-Do: Laura DeVito goes straight at Static

Model Laura DeVito and Colorist/stylist/esthetician Roxanne Klaus, Static Salon

Style Scout: Kevin Saunders and Liz Wilson

Kevin Saunders and Liz Wilson

Early Quantrill

The Occupation of Jackson County

That Bitter Blue Uniform

The Civil War in Jackson County

The Morgan Walker Raid

The Cruel and Unjust War

Sunday, August 13

Spencer gallery closed for changes

In some ways, the temporary closing of the 20/21st Century Gallery at the Spencer Museum of Art will allow it to be better positioned for the 21st century.

Poet's Showcase

"Forsaken," by Xin Liu

Show documents atheist's month in Christian home

The premise for the TV show "30 Days" is to place individuals in a lifestyle that is different from their upbringing, values or profession. In the case of Lawrence resident Brenda Frei, an avowed atheist, that meant being sequestered for a month with a conservative Christian family in Frisco, Texas.

Saturday, August 12

Turn on the nightlife

Impressive number of venues support Lawrence's sonic scene

The Wakarusa Festival peddles 60,000 tickets, mostly to out-of-towners, who come to Lawrence in June to revel in live music.

Falling for Films

Witty comedies, powerful dramas dominate season's movie scene

The hype machine loves to talk about "summer movies." But most film fans know that the best cinematic material released each year comes out in that stretch between late September and Christmas.

Eating great, even late

What's open into the wee hours to sate your grumbling tummy

The Frosty. The Big Mac. The Double Decker Taco. They're cheap, impossibly convenient and yes, deliciously decadent during the late night hours. But, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing is never a good thing. So for those looking to revamp their nocturnal fast food habit, here's a guide to the best eats in town after the sun goes down.

Culture cravings

Offerings to soothe your occasional urge for refinement

Let's face it. Kansas isn't the most culturally "cool" state in the nation.

Come on and take a free ride

Having a ball in Lawrence without spending a penny

If you've done your research - like every good college student should - you arrived in Lawrence knowing the city has a rep for its wicked entertainment scene.

Friday, August 11

Review: Valkyrie Profile Lenneth (PSP)

Lately, the PSP has been host to several RPGs that play like lesser versions of their console big brothers. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is no different.

'Scoop' showcases old-fashioned, unfunny Allen

For all of you - OK, all of us - who wish and wish for an old-fashioned Woody Allen movie, here it is: "Scoop." It's a tired, thin, almost laughless reminder of the earlier Allen.

'Rock Star' outwits, outplays 'American Idol'

Thousands of wannabe stars embarked on the initial leg of auditions this week for the sixth season of "American Idol."

Thursday, August 10

Free State alumna wins arts award

Riggs Skepnek, a painter and 2001 graduate of Free State High School, has been named a winner of the coveted Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation award.

Wednesday, August 9

'World Trade Center' a mostly riveting survival story

Oliver Stone is the last person one would think of to direct a straightforward survival movie about the World Trade Center attack that is free of post-9/11 politics and full of religious empathy. Yet that's exactly what the rabble-rousing director of "JFK," the biggest government conspiracy film ever, has done. Whomever you think is responsible for the attacks of that infamous day, it is impossible to deny the powerful emotion in Stone's new movie, titled simply "World Trade Center."

Tuesday, August 8

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'C.S.A.' released on DVD

Lawrence filmmakers hope project will find new audience

Like hundreds of other area residents, producer Rick Cowan had a juicy cameo role in his film "C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America."

Monday, August 7

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Devil inside

Young cancer victims talk about the disease that has changed their lives - in terrible but also in beautiful ways

Lately, it feels less and less like some crazy fluke for young adults to be diagnosed with cancer. Local calendars are heavily peppered with benefits for cancer patients, many of whom are just in their early 20s and most under 40.

Youth Volunteer Council maintains birthday tradition

Emily Lamb is in the business of birthday parties. Her latest celebration, which was held on July 6, had all the makings of any normal birthday party: cake, ice cream, streamers, presents, music, games, and friends - but it was anything but ordinary. Since the age of 11, Emily has been throwing birthday parties for the homeless at Lawrence Community Shelter.

Sunday, August 6

Indelible images

Spencer project, others exhibit works of John Steuart Curry

The image, in most Kansans' minds, is indelible. John Brown, a maniacal look on his face, stands in a crucifix-like pose, a rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other. Dead soldiers from the North and South lay at his feet.

'Ballad of Black Jack' rides to Lawrence

The story is familiar, but it's coming to a completely new stage.

Poet's showcase

"Mom and Apple Pie," by Florence Smith

Different perspective sought for Civil War commemoration

Look down the schedule of events for this year's Civil War on the Western Frontier, and you'll realize: This isn't just about North and South, slave and free, Union and Confederate. In fact, many of the speakers and events attempt to get people thinking outside the stereotypes usually associated with Civil War historians.

Saturday, August 5

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Independent of the future

Indie record stores look ahead for ways to stay afloat in turbulent industry times

When it comes to supporting indie music, Will Oldham is putting his money where his mouth is.

Ready for Bleeding Kansas

Neighborhood supportive of concerts at Burcham Park

Every once in awhile, Doug Moles is drawn outside by the sounds of loud music coming from Burcham Park.

Friday, August 4

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Music festival set for Saturday

Thousand of art and music lovers are ready to take over Burcham Park in northern Lawrence for a first-of-its-kind festival inspired by Lawrence's rich political history.

Editing and improvisation keep 'Talladega Nights' on track

In the case of the newest improv-heavy Will Ferrell comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," the MVP of the movie is most definitely editor Brent White. Just as he did with 2004's "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy," White had to choose the best scenes from hours and hours of wildly different takes to fashion together something with a narrative arc that resembles a movie. It can't be easy work, but he had a little more story to work with than he did in the uneven "Anchorman." Minor continuity errors be damned, "Talladega Nights" is one funny film.

Silliness fuels 'Talladega'

"What does 'diablo' mean?" "It's like Spanish for fighting chicken."

Let it bleed

British trio Keane survives success and madness

It's tough to name a band that accomplished more in its first full year in the spotlight than Keane did in 2005.

Thursday, August 3

Review: The Ant Bully (PS2, Cube)

Missions are extremely unoriginal and can be very frustrating at times. Most are straight-up fetch quests that feature you running around whacking spiders and larva with a stick.

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Indie spirit celebrated at Burcham Park fest

Most people know Burcham Park as the place to watch Fourth of July fireworks or walk their dogs along the river. But on Saturday the locale will transform into an international concert venue.

KU announces gallery season dates

Kansas University's School of Fine Arts has announced its fall schedule of events at the Art and Design Gallery.

Lawrence resident to exhibit photos

Bernard Ewbank, 86, will feature his black-and-white photographs of New York City after World War II as well as candids and portraits of his family on Saturday.