Stories for February 2006

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Tuesday, February 28

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What a perfect beginning

Dead Girls Ruin Everything unveil debut CD 'What A Perfect Ending'

Dead Girls Ruin Everything is the sound of four guys who love to rock fists pumping, tongue protruding, spread-eagle-stance style.

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Review: Super Princess Peach - DS

Sorry, but our plumber is in another castle.

The lack of difficulty and overly-cutesy presentation may be an effort to attract a younger female element, but it leaves you with a feeling that the game really could've been stellar if it provided more of a challenge. Still, this is a quality Nintendo title and most developers would kill to produce a product of this caliber.

Rooms that rock!

Ocean oasis brings winner's bubbly personality to surface; Sixth-grader's diverse style reflected in her eclectic pad; and 'Star Wars' room transports fan to galaxy far, far away.

Monday, February 27

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Local filmmakers ponder the viability of Lawrence's upstart film scene

For more than a decade, "CSA: The Confederate States of America" has been the Lawrence film scene's 10-ton guerilla. Written and directed by KU film professor Kevin Willmott, the film's 14-year journey from an unpolished script to a headline-grabbing "Spike Lee joint" has involved the better part of Lawrence's film community.

Style Scout: James Holt and Thao Nguyen

James Holt and Thao Nguyen

Female filmmakers work for notice in male-dominated industry

Amber Ashbrook sits at a desk for hours on end, focusing on a computer screen in the KU Art and Design building. She edits video virtually around the clock to produce five hours of footage that she and her partner Dayton

Tenants to Homeowners volunteers help create affordable housing in Lawrence

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

The day is fast approaching when teachers, firefighters, nurses and other low-income service workers might have a hard time finding affordable housing in Lawrence.

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Review: Resident Evil: Deadly Silence - DS

How does the revamped original fare on the dual screen?

It may be a far cry from the brilliance of Resident Evil 4, but RE:DS should remind gamers of the series' roots. It's still terrifying at times, and you can play Classic Mode if the touchscreen functions annoy you.

The thin line

Experts worry that focus on obesity could lead to more anorexia, bulimia

Lara Izokaitis first got the idea from a television special she watched in her ninth-grade health class: She could purge her food as a way to stay thin.

Sunday, February 26

KU Symphonic Choir, orchestra to perform

The KU Symphony Orchestra will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lied Center. In this final symphony concert of the season, the KU Symphonic Choir will join the KUSO.

Student is finalist for 'sexiest vegetarian'

Kansas University student Ricky House, 19, is a finalist for the "Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" contest organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Summer mystery auditions announced

Auditions for the summer Kansas Mystery Theatre will be Saturday and March 5 at Kansas University. Both student and adult community actors are encouraged to audition.

Hays Arts Council announces competition

The 37th annual Smoky Hill Art Exhibition, sponsored by the Hays Arts Council, will open April 28. It is open to any artist who lives in Kansas.

Artist to recreate soprano's works

Visiting artist Carol Mathieson, professor of voice at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., will present a performance and lecture at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Grants awarded for Baldwin project

The Lumberyard Arts Center Project in Baldwin City has been awarded a grant by the Ethel and Raymond F. Rice Foundation, in the amount of $25,000, for general construction funds on the building project.

Harvard Shakespeare scholar to visit KU

Marjorie Garber, William R. Kenan Jr. professor of English at Harvard University, will deliver the 2006 Richard Gunn Memorial Lecture, a free event open to the public.

Local novelist puts Lawrence in an '80s state of mind

If you grew up in small-town Kansas in the 1980s, then you know Evelyn Bucknow's world.

Star gazing

Teenage lead in touring 'Diary of Anne Frank' has sights set on a long career in theater

Young love is blooming onstage at the Lawrence Arts Center. Clara Kundin clutches Colton Rice's shoulders and plants a kiss on his cheek. Seconds later, as she flees the room, Colton grabs Clara and returns the favor - this time on the lips.

Volumes of talent

Trio of children's books showcases artist-author hybrids

Being multitalented is always impressive, especially when it comes to creating children's books.

Review: Mesmerizing story of afterlife explores the nature of memory

The opening chapter of Kevin Brockmeier's extraordinary new novel, "The Brief History of the Dead" (Pantheon Books, $22.95) is as breathtaking as any fiction I have read in the past few years. People who have died describe their crossing over into a nameless city in the afterlife. To one blind man, the crossing felt like he walked for days through a desert. Another man described his passage as an amusement park train ride. A girl passed through an ocean the color of dried cherries and a rain of ball bearings.

Poet's Showcase

"Legacy," by Susan Carman

Best sellers

Renowned pianist to perform today

Visiting pianist Jay Gottlieb will perform a recital at 7:30 p.m. today at Swarthout Recital Hall.

Friday, February 24

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Review: Street Fighter Alpha 3: Max - PSP

A robust Street Fighter solution for your game-lacking PSP

While it may include a few annoyances in the control department, it's not enough to bring this great fighter down. The sheer amount of modes and characters ensures that you'll be playing this game for a while. Without a doubt, it's the best fighter on the PSP, and well worth a purchase for fans of the series.

Casting calls

Area filmmakers take innovative approaches to luring acting talent

Larry Holden has worked with hundreds of actors over the years, both as a performer and a director of independent movies.

There is nothing timid about savage 'Running Scared'

Two summers ago I was having dinner with some film critics and industry types in New York when our table was joined by a jovial character actor named Jim Tooey.

Thursday, February 23

Local rockers resurrect 'Superstar'

When putting together a list of the greatest rock records, The Beatles' "White Album" always ranks high.

KU ensembles picked for performance

Each year, scores of public school, college and university ensembles from across Kansas submit audition recordings to the Kansas Music Educators Assn. in order to be selected to perform at the annual In-Service Convention, planned this month in Wichita.

Monday, February 20

'Crash' - the worst Best Picture Nominee since 'Ghost'

A pre-Oscar reappraisal of last year's most overrated movie

As early as junior high, you learn in English class to make your thesis statement obvious. That way the reader gets the point quickly and clearly, and your teacher has an easier time grading it. In Paul Haggis' overwrought and overrated Best Picture nominee "Crash," Don Cheadle delivers an opening salvo so artificial and faux poetic that it even contains the film's title.

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Jesus Rocks

Lawrence musicians unite to perform Jesus Christ Superstar - an idea 'so crazy it just might work'

When Eric Mardis recounts the pivotal records of his youth, the list goes something like this: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin ... Jesus Christ Superstar.

'Read Across America' volunteers visit local elementary schools

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

As a proud owner of the entire Berenstain Bears catalog, Ariel George is well qualified to participate in Read Across America.

Style Scout: Michaela Ayers and Sam Doores

Michaela Ayers and Sam Doores

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Smooth Sales Pitch

Local songwriter Brett Armstrong discusses "Selling Something or Myself" EP

Brett Armstrong does NOT sound like Tyler Hilton. Maybe Pete Yorn, or Gavin DeGraw. But definitely not Tyler Hilton. The Lawrence songwriter proves this much on his debut EP "Selling Something or Myself," which features seven of the most radio-ready rock songs you'll hear this year

Showing their stories

Junior high students learn to tell personal tales with cameras

How do you encourage a group of junior high school students to express themselves? Some might suggest you teach them to use a camera. Community members, local artists and regional businesses have collaborated to make it possible for area students to explore the art of photography.

Sunday, February 19

Best sellers

Review: 'The Magic Flute' a whimsical blend of color, dance

Imagine reading a lusty, laugh-out-loud love story while looking through a spinning kaleidoscope, and you just might get a sense of the startling mix of color and creativity at play in Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet's rendition of "The Magic Flute."

Rare photos capture jazz legends

The image captures a painful moment in history.

History test

These black Americans have strong Kansas connections. Do you know who they are?

Call it history lost. For more than a century after the slave trade brought Africans to American shores, the records of their lives survived only as long as the last person who could remember their family's stories.

Poet's Showcase

"The Game," by Cynthia Winn

What are you reading?

Friday, February 17

Flight plan

Children's play explores Kansas aviator's legacy

When Jane Elliott has children, she plans to name one of her girls "Amelia."

'Hoodwinked' twists fairy tale into whodunit

"Ah, the Wolf did it. Talk about profiling."

Thursday, February 16

Church revives history through drama

St. Luke AME play chronicles escaped slave's journey to freedom

It's no secret that centuries of sailors have relied on the steady North Star to guide them through troubled waters. Slaves, too, set their sights on the star during harried flights from their owners.

Campus comedian airs dirty laundry

At one point Mike Birbiglia organized a write-in campaign to get a dish on the menu of Applebee's named after him.

KU grad to appear on 'The Apprentice'

Kansas University graduate and Kansas City businessman Bryce Gahagan, 28, will be a contestant on season five of NBC's "The Apprentice." The season premiere is Feb. 27.

Wednesday, February 15

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No really... What IF the South had won?

Lawrence filmmaker's re-envisioning of the Civil War outcome premieres to wide U.S. audience this weekend in NYC

After nearly 14 years in the making, Lawrence director Kevin Willmott's "C.S.A. - The Confederate States of America" is set for its official U.S. premiere this weekend in New York City.

Entries sought for Art in the Park

Slides or prints of entries for Art in the Park 2006, organized by the Lawrence Art Guild, are due by March 3 along with entry forms and fees.

'CSA' movie heads for theaters

Kevin Willmott, the Kansas University professor who directed the 2004 mockumentary "Confederate States of America," is premiering his film in New York City this week.

Hemenway to speak on noted black author

Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway will give two talks on novelist Zora Neale Hurston this month, with stops in Lawrence and Topeka.

Tuesday, February 14

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Review: Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows - PS2, Xbox

Does the classic dungeon-crawler finally get a worthy update?

While dedicated Gauntlet fans will be pleased with the amount of familiarity, most will find the combat short-lived and the game's depth too shallow

Review: Mega Man Hunter X - PSP

Classic gameplay still proves fun

While it's a truly great game, it's hard to recommend purchasing it when you consider that the six-game Mega Man X Collection is the same price. Granted, this collection isn't available on the PSP, but it still contains far more gameplay than Maverick Hunter.

Monday, February 13

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Sweet 'Revenge'

Kansas City rock quartet Architects unveils new album

It's been 10 years since the brothers Phillips started a ska band and called it The Gadjits. A few albums later, the group reinvented itself as a sweaty American rock-and-soul revival show and inked a major-label deal that should have made them stars. A change in RCA label ownership, however, quickly squashed that dream

Living proof: DCAP volunteers distribute condoms and help

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

Think condoms are expensive? Consider the alternatives.

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Ring of Ire

Lawrence lovebirds think twice about America's "favorite" gem

Diamonds were never Omofolabo Ajayi's best friend. The Nigerian-born professor grew up with a profound distaste for the gems, which were common status symbols in her country.

Style Scout: Sarah Schirmer and Rod Smith

Sarah Schirmer and Rod Smith

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Review: Ape Escape Academy - PSP

Why is this at retail?

Ape Escape Academy would only be excusable as a free internet Flash game. Buying it at full-price for the PSP would be a horrible mistake, as it is extremely short. Replay value is almost out of the question, considering that it's not even entertaining on the first playthrough. Don't buy, don't rent:don't play.

Lawrence native's TV script to air

Corinne Brinkerhoff makes 'Boston Legal' debut

For Corinne Brinkerhoff, the first time's a charm. The Lawrence native's freshman crack at her dream job of writing for television turned into an episode of "Boston Legal," an hourlong courtroom drama/comedy that centers around the Boston law firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt.

This one goes out to the one I love

Reviving the lost art of writing affectionate letters

Technology has made it that much easier to deliver flowers or chocolates to a loved one on Valentine's Day - just a phone call or online credit card purchase away. But one of the most old-fashioned ways of expressing romantic feelings has seemingly been pushed aside: the love letter.

Sunday, February 12

Review: String quartet performs jazz with passion, musicianship

An appreciative audience welcomed the Turtle Island String Quartet, fresh from its Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album, to the Lied Center Friday evening. The album, "4 + Four," featured the Turtle Island/Ying Quartet collaboration originally commissioned by the Lied Center four years ago.

Music, art and stories: There's lots to love on Valentine's Day

Nearly every fairy tale begins with the line "Once upon a time" and wraps up neatly with this proclamation: "And they lived happily ever after." That's not always how it works in real life, notes Lawrence storyteller Priscilla Howe. With that in mind, Howe plans to tell a slate of love stories on Valentine's Day - some that end swimmingly and others that sort of sputter and drown.

Toys for Katrina's tots

Sculpture students hope dolls boost cheer at Mardi Gras

The bright purple toys are multi-talented. They can lounge around. They can sit up. They can tip their hats.

Friday, February 10

'Firewall' can't prevent cinematic hack job

There's always a moment in the kidnapped family/home invasion thriller when the good guy is forced to perform some task the bad guys demand, but he finds a way to turn the tables on them.

No strings attached

Experimental Turtle Island quartet tackles Coltrane epic

For Turtle Island String Quartet, the road to the Grammys kicked off in Lawrence.

'Baroque by Candlelight'

The Lawrence Chamber Orchestra hopes to create an atmosphere of old-world charm with its annual "Baroque by Candlelight" concert.

Frank Bang's Secret Stash

Frank Bang claims his heart is pure rock 'n' roll, but his soul screams the blues.

Thursday, February 9

KU vocalist tries singing his way to coveted opera stage

It's 1 p.m. at Unity Temple on the Plaza, and baritone David Lara takes his place onstage. He's been backstage warming up - and calming down - since this morning.

Pet peeves

Gardeners can win battle between four-legged friends and victimized flowerbeds

Man's best friend? Some gardeners might disagree. How to keep our pets happy and those prized peonies not looking like Fido's personal featherbed can be a real challenge. How do we keep our canine companions from tiptoeing through the tulips, or our feline friends from using the daffodils as a favorite spot to defecate?

Sweet on the arts

Chocolate Auction to honor longtime patrons from Baker

Carolyn Lambert loves the sound of a string quartet in the Collins House reception hall. She and her husband, Baker University President Dan Lambert, helped design the hall - a 1992 addition to the official president's residence - with the arts in mind, adorning its walls with art and constructing a stage at one end.

Wednesday, February 8

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Review: Chibi-Robo - Gamecube

Another Nintendo winner from the theatre of the bizarre

After playing "mature" action game after action game, it can be admittedly hard to sit down and give Chibi-Robo a genuine chance. But if you do, you'll find a refreshing, if sugary sweet, environmental puzzle adventure that may not blow you away, but will provide solid double-digit hours of entertainment for any age.

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Review: 25 to Life - PS2, Xbox

A truly memorable experience - this is the crappiest game you'll ever play. EVAR.

At the onset 25 to Life appears silly, then quickly gets frustrating and finally ends up as a pure embarrassment. It's most certainly a half-assed attempt to swindle $50 out of the urban gaming crowd. Do yourself a favor from reading this and learn that the real crime isn't in the game, it's merely the fact that it sits on store shelves with a price tag.

Tuesday, February 7

Hip-hop music weathers bad rap

Gangsters and hip-hop. Guns and hip-hop. Killings and hip-hop.

Monday, February 6

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The big gamble

Uninsured Lawrencians risk it all in the ultimate game of chance

For the first 33 years of her life, Kendra Herring had health insurance. But she never really used it. In May, when she finished graduate school, the newly self-employed Lawrence artist let it lapse - just months before she really could have used it.

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Hard road ahead

Local musician Kirk Rundstrom confronts cancer

The more Kirk Rundstrom learns about America's health care system, the more he realizes he never understood it in the first place.

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Your Jesterly

Lawrence singer-songwriter Evan Saathoff covers The Anniversary's 'Your Majesty'

Lawrence singer/songwriter Evan Saathoff just finished covering The Anniversary's "Your Majesty" in its entirety. No, seriously - all 11 songs. We invited the talented songwriter into our podcast booth to explain exactly what the hell was thinking.

Precious Love: Ballard Center Volunteers offer down-home help to toddlers, neighbors

Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards

Andrew Meyers likes to help his community. Mostly, though, he likes it when it helps him.

Style Scout: Molly Berthold and Nick Raulsten

Molly Berthold and Nick Raulsten

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Review: Drill Dozer - GBA

Platformers are not dead

For some reason, the game starts off with what is easily the least interesting level. It's not a good first impression, but it makes for a nice surprise when you see how much more complex and entertaining later levels are. Many levels have a certain degree of open-endedness about them, allowing you to go in several different directions at the beginning.

People of the Himalayas

To travel to Bhutan is to venture not only into another culture, but also into a different time.

Friday, February 3

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Excess in the Bottoms

Anvil chorus takes an inside look at Kansas City rock

KC band Anvil Chorus stopped by our luxurious podcast studios to chat about their new EP, upcoming shows, and other miscellaneous points of interest.

Discovery and awe in Terrence Malick's "The New World"

Those truly interested in the transformative powers of cinema will relish the opportunity to see a new Terrence Malick movie on the big screen. It doesn't come around very often.

Actor embodies brilliant, conflicted writer in 'Capote'

There is a hushed moment in "Capote" when author Truman Capote prepares to recite excerpts of his yet-unfinished "In Cold Blood" at a public reading.

Baldwin author speculates about 'In Cold Blood' era in graphic novel

When Ande Parks was explaining the idea for "Capote in Kansas" to his publisher several years ago, he unwittingly made a suggestion that proved prophetic.

Thursday, February 2

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Capturing Capote

Baldwin author speculates about 'In Cold Blood' era through graphic novel

When Ande Parks was explaining the idea for "Capote in Kansas" to his publisher several years ago, he unwittingly made a suggestion that proved prophetic. "I actually joked we could pitch it with Philip Seymour Hoffman because he was the only guy in Hollywood I could even think of as playing Truman Capote," Parks says. Now the film version of "Capote" - which opens in Lawrence today - has earned five Oscar nominations, including best director, best picture and a best actor nod for Hoffman.

"Transamerica" saved by Huffman's graceful performance

For all of its sexual frankness and unusual main characters, writer/director Duncan Tucker's "Transamerica" is way more familiar than it should be. Essentially an "odd couple" road trip movie about two strangers who must learn to get along, it is redeemed in part by an exceptional lead performance by Felicity Huffman.

Pierce Brosnan loses his cool in "The Matador"

The timing couldn't be any better. Recently ousted from the James Bond franchise, Pierce Brosnan bids a bitter adieu and good riddance to the Queen's suave secret agent, dive bombing every 007 stereotype in the book with his fiendishly funny turn in "The Matador."

Souper Bowl aims to score funds for art studio

Pottery sale bolsters Lawrence Arts Center ceramics program

Someone's hands are always dirty around here. Kids come after school to make pinch pots. Kansas University graduate students refine their sculpting skills. And the elderly mold clumps of clay into mugs on potter's wheels.

Do change

INXS enjoys career jump-start after 'Rock Star'

Kirk Pengilly recalls a pivotal meeting with fellow band members of INXS in 1998, shortly after vocalist Michael Hutchence died.

KU students win awards at festival

Two Kansas University graduate scenography students won major awards at the Region V Festival of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, which was last month in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn.