Stories for July 2006

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Sunday, July 30

Spencer gallery to be closed

Kansas University's Spencer Museum of Art will close its 20th/21st Century Gallery, located on the fourth floor, for renovation next week.

Treehouse dweller part of city's lore

Hugh Cameron may have been eccentric - even wacky - but he remains Lawrence's best-known resident of a treehouse.

Lawrence theater announces auditions

Lawrence Community Theatre will have auditions for "CHAPS!" at 7 p.m. Aug. 7-Aug. 8 at the theater, 1501 N.H.

Poet's showcase

'Whitecaps,' by Larry Rochelle

Branching out

Families make outdoor time creative with elaborate treehouses

Sarah Faith takes it just a little personally if you ask whether she had a treehouse when she was growing up.

Friday, July 28

'Miami Vice' a stylish, technical marvel

Anyone going this weekend to see Michael Mann's movie version of "Miami Vice," the hugely popular television series that he executive-produced in the 1980s, may be shocked to find that about the only thing that ties the two together are the names of the two main characters. Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jaimie Foxx) are still intensely devoted, hard-boiled cops who lead undercover drug stings and flirt with dangerous criminals, but gone are the sunny days and bright, pastel colors of Miami. In their place is a darker, more sinister tone.

New Willmott movie will infiltrate 'Bunker Hill'

When dabbling with standup comedy in college, Kevin Willmott spent a lot of time roving Interstate 70 en route to gigs in rural Kansas. He recalls how one place about 180 miles west of Lawrence particularly caught his eye.

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Director deals with 'Firecracker' shortage

It's one thing to get your movie made; it's another to make sure people see it. "That's the tricky part," says Steve Balderson.

Thursday, July 27

Men don aprons for NAACP fundraiser

As Adrienne Paranjothi settles into bed and digs into a good book, she usually can count on her husband, Kitcha, doing the same - sort of.

Artist proposes creating sculpture trail by river

Marie Thompson said she knows many Lawrence residents prefer to avoid the Kansas River, though it flows just north of the city's popular downtown.

Wednesday, July 26

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Review: Chromehounds (360)

If you're looking for a good single-player game, don't buy Chromehounds. If you're looking for a fun, action-packed multiplayer game, don't buy Chromehounds.

Tuesday, July 25

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Review: Monster House (PS2, Gamecube)

While the game does a good job of capturing the look and sound of the film, the fact remains that it's really nothing more than a young gamer's Resident Evil 4, sans the innovation, tight control scheme, and sense of adventure.

Monday, July 24

Review: Monster House (GBA)

While the game is not so childish that an adult couldn't play it, it is still a children's game and only a child could see past this game's flaws enough to be able to actually enjoy it.

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Inside the White Whale

Veteran Lawrence musicians' debut proves to be one of the year's most promising albums

When a bunch of seasoned salts from Kansas band together to embark on an epic musical voyage, it's no surprise that well wishers line the quays to wave them off. Advance reviewers of White Whale's "WW1" shout "Grandiose!" "Artistic!" "Primal!" "Expressive!"

Sunday, July 23

Teens trying out 'grown-up' theater

Don Schawang thinks Lawrence teens are ready for grown-up theater. That's why he keeps challenging them with plays that tackle big social issues.

Concert helps student with medical expenses

The backdrop of the Kansas River was a bonus for Dulcie Guinty, of Wichita, as she sat in Burcham Park Saturday afternoon and listened to the Lawrence band Avenue.

Generations on vacation

Grandparents, great-grandkids join in on family fun

Generally, Thelma Holloway enjoyed her weeklong road trip to Montana with her granddaughter, her grandson-in-law and her great-grandson. Except for that one night.

Faces of the fair

Beauty queens, hot dog eaters grace 'State Fair'

"State Fair" is a thoughtful, sometimes funny, consistently interesting collection of 103 black-and-white pictures taken at 10 state fairs. They include fairs in California, Texas, Minnesota and even Kansas.

Friday, July 21

An appropriately rough and funny 'Clerks II'

It was 12 years ago that New Jersey convenience store 20somethings Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) were hoisted into the unlikely position of generational spokesmen when newcomer Kevin Smith maxed out his credit cards to make the grainy black-and-white "Clerks."

'Lady in the Water' steeped in maverick filmmaker's ego

The movies of M. Night Shyamalan have always been steeped in the supernatural and otherworldly, whether they've explored life after death, alien invasions or superheroes.

Night Vision

Director turns personal bedtime story into supernatural blockbuster

M. Night Shyamalan's two young daughters insist on hearing a scary story at bedtime.

Wednesday, July 19

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Review: Monster House (DS)

When I first turned on Monster House for the Nintendo DS, the last game I expected it to play like would be Smash TV. Surprisingly, this game (based on the upcoming animated film) has a large amount in common with the coin-op classic.

Review: The Movies: Stunts & Effects (PC)

The new "Stunts and Effects" expansion pack seeks to expand the palate of available options and tools beyond the already extensive collection that the original game offered. The package certainly accomplishes that feat, but fails to fix the more pressing problems for which fans have been waiting.

Ban on trans fats may not have a place at city's tables

Leaders: Consumers, not government, should make diet decisions

Lawrence city commissioners were game for a ban on public smoking. They were willing to consider the tightest cell phone restrictions in the nation. And they have no problem with city controls on garage sale signs.

Tuesday, July 18

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Sizzling summer sexcapades

It's a hot Saturday night, and all across Lawrence, friends are gathering in backyards to drink beer and talk shit. But at a two-story family home on Prescott Drive, this particular group has come together to drink beer, talk shit and plan one of the city's most unique comedy shows.

Monday, July 17

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Review: Prey (X360)

For a game that was announced over a decade ago, Prey certainly feels next-gen in every way, and just might be the best single-player FPS experience on the Xbox 360. Don't let the novel approach fool you:it's not a gimmick game by any means, as it's solid in almost every crucial aspect.

Sunday, July 16

Review: Crusty Demons (Xbox)

Crusty Demons is another foray into that age-old videogame concept: Bikers sell souls to Satan to become immortal, Satan likes to see bikers get hurt, Satan makes bikers hurt themselves to get their souls back.

Review: Rogue Trooper (PS2, Xbox)

For how enjoyable the game is, it's really sad that Rogue Trooper's biggest drawback lies in its replay value. With the single-player game only lasting about five or six hours, it feels like the whole thing is over just as it's getting good.

High, low art share space at Nelson-Atkins

Museums nationwide engage in trend

The exam breezed by, but now Catherine Futter was stumped. The artist was Rembrandt; the question was the classification he fit. Futter kept thinking the 17th-century master's work could not be defined.

Poet's showcase

"Navel Gazer," by Lee Carlson

Bugle corps to visit Lawrence on Monday

The Colts drum and bugle corps based in Dubuque, Iowa, will stop in Lawrence on Monday for a rehearsal.

Band brings swing to ballroom dance

About the 100th time Bogdan Pathak danced the samba to "I Saw the Sign" by Ace of Base, it started driving him crazy.

Friday, July 14

'Scanner Darkly' paints an hallucinogenic toreador like few drug movies have

"Blade Runner" and "Minority Report" are both terrific movies, but neither of those Philip K. Dick movie adaptations so accurately approximate the unique head trip that it is to actually read one of the revered science-fiction author's books as much as Richard Linklater's new animated film "A Scanner Darkly." Based on a partly autobiographical 1977 novel, it has a loose, hallucinatory grip on reality and mines the same paranoiac, unmotivated territory that goes hand-in-hand with excessive drug use.

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Clerks II: A lively sit-down with Dante and Randal

Abrasive slacker duo grows up in comedy sequel

A young waitress stops Jeff Anderson as he's leaving a downtown barbecue restaurant.

India names 3 suspects in Bombay train bombings

Indian authorities named three suspects in this week's train bombings, an apparent breakthrough in the frenetic investigations into the well-coordinated attacks that killed at least 200 people.

'Dupree' an ode to lovable losers

Beware of guys who are only known by their last names. It reeks of both schoolyard immaturity and anonymous superficiality.

Thursday, July 13

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Frisbee to a Tee

Lawrence's thriving disc golf scene boasts three free courses

When "Crazy" John Brooks dropped out of college to hit the beach and master the Frisbee arts, his friends had yet to endow him with his present-day nickname. "'Stupid' is pretty much what they were calling me back then," says Brooks, who designed the disc golf courses at Clinton Lake, used during this year's Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival.

Salute! toasts good cause

Miles Schnaer understands why the annual Salute! fundraiser has become a smashing success for Cottonwood Inc.

Wednesday, July 12

The stuff of dreams

KU alumnus produces TV anthology of Stephen King tales

For some people, it's becoming trapped in a house with vengeful ghosts. For others, it's being pursued by deranged killers in hockey masks. For Mike Robe, his most common nightmare is failing to attend an economics final at Kansas University.

Tuesday, July 11

KU Center announces science fiction winners

Kansas University's Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction announced the winners for several science fiction awards.

Monday, July 10

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Review: Urban Chaos: Riot Response (PS2, Xbox)

Urban Chaos: Riot Response is certainly fun for a bit, but most gamers will probably get tired of the monotonous "rescue X many civilians" objectives later in the game.

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Videophilia

Americans forgo outdoor activities for more electronic entertainment

Americans are forgoing the great outdoors as they resort to videophilia. "The paradigm is changing," said Oliver Pergams, a University of Illinois-Chicago professor.

Sunday, July 9

Poet's showcase

"Perry," by Jason Wesco

Friday, July 7

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Review: Hitman: Blood Money (X360)

Agent 47 is a man who is simply doing his job. It should be noted, however, that his "job" occasionally includes dressing as a clown and killing women at birthday parties.

Review: Rise and Fall (PC)

Rise and Fall is a perfect example of a game that dreamed big but failed to execute properly. A lot of this was probably due to time and budget constraints, as is all too often the case with a lot of these "me too!" PC copycats.

'Pirates' offers mind-numbing ride

Part of what makes a thrill ride fun is knowing that it's a momentary adventure.

Comic books enrich their character mix

POW! Take that, racism. And - WHACK! - take that, homophobia. And - THOOM! KER-THWACK! KRUMMMMM! - take that, gender stereotyping, cultural bias and religious intolerance.

'Saving the world through science fiction'

KU's Campbell Conference honors standout writers in maturing genre

"Skiffy." That's how some prominent science fiction writers jeeringly pronounce "sci-fi" because they so detest the term and all the baggage that accompanies it.

Thursday, July 6

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Whiskey, coke, crime, a broken heart, and - finally - redemption ... sort of, anyway

Lawrence songwriter Outlaw Jake finds his way out of heartache and addiction through music

Sitting in the darkened, sticky confines of The Flamingo Club - Lawrence's lunch buffet eatery/strip club - is a country fried rocker known as Outlaw Jake. Or simply 'Outlaw,' as the 20something musician refers to himself.

'Dead Man's Chest' an insecure, scorned middle child

It was just three years ago that Johnny Depp finally achieved major superstardom and, believe it or not, his first Oscar nomination in a Disney movie based on a theme park ride and directed by Gore Verbinski ("The Ring," "The Mexican"). 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" had swashbuckling adventure and freewheeling slapstick, but mostly it had Depp, who turned anti-hero Captain Jack Sparrow into the quirkiest franchise character since Crispin Glover's George McFly from "Back to the Future." The only difference is that Glover wasn't carrying the entire picture on his shoulders.

Melancholy adaptation showcases Midwestern resolve

Like the popular syndicated radio show that bears its name, Robert Altman's new film "A Prairie Home Companion" occupies its own unique time bubble. Nostalgic for an idealized version of wry family entertainment that probably never quite existed, it embodies all that is strong in character about the Midwest, or at least what should be.

A mystery's 'Afoot' at KU theater

There's an air of mystery surrounding Kansas University's summer theater season this year.

Monday, July 3

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Review: NFL Head Coach (PS2, Xbox)

It's called Head Coach for a reason, and you'll quickly learn how tedious and painstaking the job can be. Those hoping to turn on the game and start coaching on the field right away are going to be sorely disappointed.

Review: MLB Slugfest 2006 (PS2, Xbox)

In the two years since the last title in the series (MLB Slugfest: Loaded), sports games have advanced significantly, both graphically and in terms of gameplay. Unfortunately, Slugfest has not.

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Review: Mega Man Battle Network 6 (GBA)

Newcomers might find the game's unique battle system entertaining, but the story starts off on such a juvenile note and develops so slowly, that all but the most patient gamers will give up after a few minutes.

Kansas zombie movie to premiere tonight

Joel Trujillo's new horror film "Dusk of the Living Dead" won't be premiered in Hollywood, nor even in a movie theater.

Sunday, July 2

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Shoot To Thrill

Lawrence's Fourth of July show a rare, lo-fi production

The ammunition for Lawrence's Fourth of July fireworks show is stored in a barn on the outskirts of town. The location is a closely guarded secret. The barn is invisible from the main road, set low in a hollow and obscured by a windbreak of trees. Old cars and farm implements parked around the barn offer no clue to the fact that $12,000-worth of fireworks - "shells" in pyrotechnical jargon - are hidden inside.

Poet's showcase

"From a Distance," by Curtis D. Bennett

Star tours

Even amateurs can drink up the heavens' out-of-this world views

These days, the term "stargazing" might be used more often to describe the kind of red-carpet gawking perfected by Joan Rivers than the subtle pastime of sitting quietly and observing celestial bodies aglow in the night sky.

Lawrence book club news

¢ Booknerds welcome new members to club ¢ Neighbors enjoy good books, company

Professor invited to exhibit in Spain

A professor in Kansas University's School of Fine Arts will soon travel to Spain to present a solo exhibition.

Saturday, July 1

Wild West Film Festival

The Wild West Film Festival will be taking registrations on July 17. Filmmakers will have 48 hours to create a working short film based on top-secret criteria. Entrants can enter the contest on July 14 by picking up a packet of secret criteria at either Fred P. Ott's on the Plaza or Henry's Coffee Shop in Lawrence.

Pachamama's to have gallery opening

The new Pachamama's site at 800 N.H. invites the public to a gallery opening this month to view works by local and regional artists.

Exhibit features work by Lawrence photographer

Four photographic artworks by Lawrence global street photographer Gary Smith have been included in a four-month international street photography exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.