Friday, March 31
Screen Scene with Jon Niccum
A tiny slug from outer space burrows into a man's stomach, causing him to mutate into a giant squid and develop a ravenous hunger for flesh. Sound ridiculous? It is, and it's likely the most fun you'll have at a horror movie this year
Hands down the defining RPG for the Xbox 360
If you have a 360 and even a remote interest in RPGs, you simply must play Oblivion. Between the engaging combat and the sheer size and scope of the game, players will be ensnared by its charm and beauty for weeks, if not months. Oblivion is one of the best RPGs to come out in years on any system, and one that will definitely have gamers enthralled for quite a while.
In the 14-year gap between "Basic Instinct" and the sequel, it's doubtful star Sharon Stone spent the time taking acting lessons.
The truth behind Lawrence's prominent whatchamacallits and thingamajigs is revealed
Most Lawrence residents can talk at length about Allen Fieldhouse, Liberty Hall, the Campanile or that "Honk for Hemp" guy.
In a world of brain-dead horror remakes, writer-director James Gunn didn't just set out to redo any old fright flick. In the body-snatchers-from-space tale "Slither," he aimed to remake them all - and more.
Thursday, March 30
Red Guitar celebrates the release of "Beauty Will Save the World"
The melodic FM-friendly pop rock purveyed by The Jayhawks, The Gin Blossoms and Matthew Sweet lives on the capable hands of Red Guitar. The KC-based seven-piece is a collective of friends whose lineage dates back to the mid-'90s Lawrence music scene
A free short demo video of a documentary on Hurricane Katrina produced by local filmmakers will be premiered tonight in Lawrence.
The classic port is still a so-so go
I enjoyed my time with ToP even thought it's not without flaws. Luckily the good aspects of the game outshine the bad ones. The great presentation and open endedness of the adventure make this title worth a look for any RPG fan.
It's time to return to the qualities that got you here
In the wake of such a dismal game as Driv3r it would have been easy for Atari or Reflections Interactive to throw in the towel and drop the Driver series, but thankfully they did not. With this new iteration they have resurrected the old controls and breathed new life into the series.
Wendy Doniger knows something about religious controversy.
Book: Life at KU included chores, dress codes, curfews, sharing beds
These days, just sharing a room can be too much for a college student. But when John Conard went to Kansas University in the 1940s, he had to share a bed.
Wednesday, March 29
Does the expansive and deep Prime universe make the grade on the DS?
Prime joins Mario Kart DS as one of those no-brainer titles any DS owner must purchase. The single player mode is good enough to warrant the asking price, but the robust online multiplayer seals the deal, finally taking the series to the obvious next level.
By far, the best feature is online play. You can do one-on-one or go against 3 other people. In the 4-person game, you can use Mario Kart-esque items, which really make it fast-paced and fun. I've yet to experience a single problem connecting or finding opponents, and this great mode ensures a huge amount of replayability. This should be in every DS owner's library.
Stephen Johnson honored as record number of artists donate work to 26th annual Lawrence Art Auction
Before Stephen Johnson made a living at art, he made a point of living at the Lawrence Arts Center.
Variety of books and other items available
One of the city's best-attended book events kicks off Thursday.
Tuesday, March 28
The classic gets a beautiful face lift
Fans of classic Mega Man games will surely appreciate the upgrades Capcom has made with this remake. When all is considered, this version is actually more fun than the original. It would have been nice if they implemented some of the later Mega Man abilities (charge shot, slide, etc), but it's fine as it is.
British pop star woos American audiences with understated sound, piercing lyrics
James Blunt is about to learn a little about Kansas. Everything the British singer-songwriter, who plays a sold-out show Wednesday at Liberty Hall, knows about the state he learned from being in a stage production of "The Wizard of Oz."
Monday, March 27
Haskell's "Fightin' Indians" overcome obstacles and strive for respect
Second grade was a rough year for Tim Johnson. Already abandoned by his parents, Johnson moved to Albuquerque, N.M., with his grandparents. It was his first time on an Indian reservation, and his new peers had trouble accepting his "urban Native" style.
Several thousand fans determined the combatants in the first annual Deadwood Derby by voting online from March 1 to 22 - the 16 bands below are the lucky winners. Every Tuesday night in April, a Derby round will feature four of these bands. The winner each round will be determined by 50 percent crowd vote and 50 percent judges' vote. The four finalists plus one wild card band will perform at the finals on May 6 for a shot at the grand prize worth over $2,000. Thanks to all the bands that entered and all those who voted - see you at the shows.
Emily Elmore and Brent Carter
Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards
As the new coordinator of the Downtown Lawrence Farmers Market, Mercedes Taylor-Puckett hopes to assemble a team of dedicated volunteers.
Lawrence artist Paul Flinders opens anticipated second show
Only a kid from Utah could describe northeast Kansas as noisy and crowded. Lawrence artist Paul Flinders grew up on an orchard at the base of Utah's Manti Mountain and moved to small-town Kansas as a kid. He regretfully compares the landscapes.
Can the game really get that much better?
There is absolutely no excuse for this title to be absent from any gamer's library. At only $30, you're getting one of the greatest gaming experiences of all time, along with a ridiculous amount of fun extras. A videogame has never come as close to perfection as Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
Workout duds take a turn toward trendy
Headed to the gym? Here's what's out: baggy sweatpants and oversized T-shirts. Not to mention hot pink Jane Fonda-esque leotards and leg warmers.
LHS alumna turns affections toward mother-daughter relationships
Kathleen Gilles Seidel is breaking up with romance novels. They will remain friends with benefits.
Sunday, March 26
Lawrence band journeys to the South By Southwest music festival
The annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX, offers independent bands like Lawrence's Ad Astra Per Aspera a chance to perform for a concentrated cross-section of industry movers and shakers. With a full-length album nearly completed, the five-piece band journeyed to SXSW to audition for record labels, grab some free sneakers and catch a few of their favorite bands...
"Still life with snake," by Jesse Nathan
His life's work was destroyed in gallery
A painter who lost more than 400 original works in a gallery fire is painting again, and about to put his work on display.
Musicians of all abilities join informal sessions at Americana Music Academy
Twelve musicians sat in a circle and fiddled with their guitars, harmonicas and other instruments as one person spun the wheel that would direct the theme of the next song they would play.
The dedication of a section for books on disability studies and the disability rights movement will be celebrated April 6 at Oread Books, Kansas Union.
Lawrence Community Theatre's popular program for girls in sixth through eighth grades will begin a second session April 5.
The April Fools are for real when "Right Between the Ears," the award winning, nationally broadcast sketch comedy series, lets loose a new show Saturday at Liberty Hall.
A benefit concert of world music will be performed to raise funds for books and solar cookers for villages in rural Tibetan areas.
The Ottawa University English Department has invited Caitriona O'Reilly, Irish author and poet, to give a reading at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Lawrence native Kathleen Gilles Seidel will give a talk and sign copies of her new book, "A Most Uncommon Degree of Popularity," at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. The event is free and open to the public, and it is co-sponsored by the Raven Bookstore, 6 E. Seventh St., which will make copies of the book available for purchase.
Friday, March 24
Buzz, buzz, buzz. That's the sound that bees and movie fans make in the spring. And for the same reason - they're both anticipating the summer.
It's not what one would expect in a prefabricated home. A movable wall. Bamboo floors. Walls made almost entirely of glass.
A cancer diagnosis suddenly altered his priorities. Now friends are banding together to help Split Lip Rayfield's fighting frontman.
When Kirk Rundstrom is well enough to write his next song, he'll have plenty to say.
Imagine a new, two-day festival for Lawrence that would be all about books, reading and writers.
Thursday, March 23
It's not often that Spike Lee directs a movie that he didn't write. Perhaps that's why all the trailers and TV ads for his new movie, "Inside Man," downplay the controversial director's involvement, instead stressing its "perfect bank robbery" set-up and star power.
Baldwin's beloved historical musical seeks bigger audiences in Lawrence
We all know the history: Abolitionists fought fervently - and even died - for the free state cause in Lawrence.
Wednesday, March 22
After 82 years standing atop Mount Oread, Kansas University's radio tower is coming down.
Tuesday, March 21
Formulaic Onimusha-ness only lasts so long
Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams should take most gamers over 20 hours to complete. But even with the huge amount of customization, the standard enemy battles start to get a little repetitive after several hours.
Monday, March 20
When the terrorist known only as V announces to a live television audience in 2020 Britain that he will blow up Parliament in one year's time, it's clear things have gotten pretty bad in this the new film by the Wachowski brothers
Unnecessary subtitle: Lasts longer than the game's fun
Unfortunately for Mr. Ecko it takes more than a winning soundtrack, great vocal talent and a strong commitment to vision. A crappy action-platformer is a crappy action-platformer no matter how well it's dressed up with high production values.
High school photographers snag slew of awards
Lawrence is full of talented artists whose work hangs in galleries, adorns street corners and fills private collections in homes across the community.
KJHK is off the air. For now.
Sunday, March 19
Students interested in earning a fine arts degree can talk with Kansas University fine arts alumni at the second annual Careers in the Arts day April 1.
Feature film visual effects artist Donny Rausch will visit Kansas University on March 27 as part of the Department of Design Hallmark Design Symposium Series. Originally from Hoyt, the KU alumnus will return to his roots to speak about his work in movie visual effects.
Two Kansas University students have been selected to direct productions in the 2006 Student Play Festival.
Two workshops will be offered in May for beginning and advanced sculptors to hone their skills.
Don't let the tiny vacuum fool you. The sweeper may be small - it fits in a box measuring 3-by-3-by-6 inches - but that doesn't mean it's simple to make.
"March Madness (12 March 2006" by Priscilla McKinney
Eight bands, artists inducted into sophomore class
Johnny Neal belted out bluesy lyrics and filled Liberty Hall with sounds from his keyboard Saturday night.
Poet Mickey Cesar, of Lawrence, has work included in the anthology "The Other Side of Sorrow," to be published by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire.
A traveling exhibit featuring winners of the 2005 Association of American University Presses Book, Jacket and Journal Show will be on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Friday at the University Press of Kansas, 2502 Westbrooke Circle.
Friday, March 17
Imagine George Orwell's 1984 if its central character had been a costumed crimefighter a la Batman, you'll have some idea of the dynamic it played in "V for Vendetta. Also opening this week is The World's Fastest Indian, The White Countess, and She's The Man.
"Ideas do not bleed. They do not feel pain," Natalie Portman's character explains in the opening narration. But do ideas get dizzy? There are so many disparate ideas competing for screen time in "V for Vendetta" that it's a wonder the film doesn't come apart at its narrative seams.
Show a celebration of life, career
We don't like to admit that our tastes haven't changed that much in 90 years, but Peter Stone knew it and took advantage of it by writing "The Will Rogers Follies," which provided a way to bring back the Ziegfeld Girls and their leggy routines as the vehicle for a celebration of the life and career of Will Rogers. Whenever Will is not onstage - and sometimes when he is - the focus is on the precise and fluid movements of these dancers.
Art lovers are invited to display items relating to the Wakarusa Wetlands at Monday's Lawrence Art Guild meeting.
Kansas Music Hall of Fame inducts its sophomore class
Kansas native Bill Lee recalls seeing an early performance by The Byrds in the mid-1960s after he had moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. Then he was quite astonished to find a mention of Bonner Springs High School in the liner notes of the band's first record. He soon discovered Byrds founder Gene Clark grew up in the area.
Thursday, March 16
Lawrence author Tom Mach has harbored a keen fascination with the Civil War since childhood.
Dean Bevan had a dream. Queen Victoria was visiting a women's commune in Africa. She was baffled by the whole concept and questioned its necessity. Her tour guide, a nice young State Department official, explained that the facility was designed to free women from dependence upon males.
Wednesday, March 15
Revival or remedial?
Shallow, albeit stylized combat. A broken camera system. Clunky save system. A ridiculous plot that is derivative, uninvolving and incongruent. Attempts at edgy urban attitudes that come off corny. I would expect this kind of half-assed execution from a lesser developer, but from an industry giant like Capcom this is unacceptable.
The title just sounds so wrong...
The Rub Rabbits is a fun distraction, but ultimately is too similar to Feel the Magic XX/XY. Later missions seem to lose the uniqueness of the beginning and several are just repackaged versions of earlier minigames. The Rub Rabbits is worth a rental for most and maybe a purchase for big fans of the original.
So how does one make a play about the politics and social mores of ancient Greece relevant to a contemporary audience? Well, the University Theatre attempts that feat with its production of Aristophanes' "A Congress of Women" in the William Inge Memorial Theatre. Adapted by director Dennis Christilles from "Ecclesiazusae," this version of Aristophanes' comedy maintains the original's bawdy humor and broad political satire, but little imagination is needed to recognize its current political target.
Tuesday, March 14
Aspiring Lawrence video game developers seek to conquer the industry maze
If the phrase "level design" still conjures visions of insanely ramped "Excitebike" courses, you probably stopped playing video games 15 years ago.
Game visionary, Oliver Hall
Robert Kerley, game music composer
Game engine analyst, Jason Stewart
James DeWees juggles personalities on latest 'Reggie' tour
On Monday, James DeWees - aka Reggie and the Full Effect - celebrated his 30th birthday. The goofball Vagrant Records icon is basically living the same life he led when he was 19 years old and a member of seminal hardcore band Coalesce: touring constantly and making records. Now that the budgets are a little bigger, Reggie is pulling out all the stops for his first headlining tour in support of last's years "Songs Not to Get Married To" (opening bands Common Denominator and Fluxuation are actually Reggie alter-egos).
Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards
Diners at Jubilee Cafe indulge on a scrumptious breakfast menu of homemade gravy, eggs-made-to-order, pancakes, bacon, sausage and grits.
Zack Love and Courtney Crouch
Monday, March 13
Two years ago, it looked as though Lawrence's pre-eminent experimental emo rockers were calling it quits
Novel reflects Indian student-turned-KU prof's integration into America
Swapan Chakrabarti traded Sunday dinners for lessons in driving his American roommate's Cadillac.
Kansas University students are targets of property crime year-round, whether they're away on vacation or they've just left a bike unattended for a few minutes.
Moviegoing fell to its lowest level in nearly a decade while the costs to market films continued to increase, especially for smaller, specialized ones, the Motion Picture Association of America said last week.
You use The Bard's words more often than you might think
Wednesday is the ides of March. Most people - and certainly those who read William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" in school - know that means the ominous March 15, or the day Caesar was killed.
Sunday, March 12
Registration is under way for "Encountering Asia," a four-part book discussion series co-sponsored by the Lawrence Public Library, Kansas Humanities Council and the Center for East Asian Studies at Kansas University.
"Stationary Front" by Larry Rochelle
The Chi Omega sorority and Phi Delta Theta fraternity earned plenty of awards after the 57th annual Rock Chalk Revue Saturday at the Lied Center.
Students and recent graduates from Kansas University's Department of Design were successful in the second annual American Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA) Kansas City Design Awards - the A2 Awards.
Notable composer Morten Lauridsen will discuss his approach to composition and his writing technique during a presentation at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The Kansas University Department of Art has invited visual artist Chris Johanson to KU as part of the Visiting Artist Series.
Kansas University's Wind Ensemble, conducted by director of bands John P. Lynch, will perform festive music influenced by Hispanic culture at a performance Tuesday.
To most of the world, he was Gordon Parks, called a "Renaissance man" to the point it was cliche. He was a poet, author, photographer, painter, music composer, movie director, activist and, somewhere deep in his heart, a Kansan.
Film to document hurricane's devastation
For Eric Hyde, spring break is not about getting three shades darker and three sheets to the wind, but is a time to heighten awareness about the people devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Blaine Muhl has Cabo San Lucas on the mind.
The eighth annual Oral History Conference, sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities at Kansas University, will consider the insights yielded by interview-based research in fields of medicine, illness, healing, living with disability and aging.
Friday, March 10
The seemingly never-ending string of horror movie remakes continues with French director Alexandre Aja's modern re-telling of the Wes Craven 1977 low budget cult classic "The Hills Have Eyes." While the new version features a faster pace and the superior make-up and special effects that more money can buy, it never quite commits to either the psychological terror or high camp of the original. What it does have is the requisite amount of gore and some strangely unfocused and awkward political commentary.
Lawrence film weathers kudos and barbs from national media
"Satire via sledgehammer."
Critical acclaim is not the only way "C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America" is gaining press coverage. In fact, one cast/crew member of the Lawrence-made film found out just how quirky notoriety can be.
If the chambers of commerce from a few Southwestern states thought "National Lampoon's Vacation" posed a deterrent to driving through their regions, they might consider issuing an injunction to prevent the release of "The Hills Have Eyes."
Beginning with his film debut in 1989's "Powwow Highway," Wes Studi has followed a career path that has led him to become one of the most successful American Indian actors working in Hollywood.
Thursday, March 9
Lawrence film weathers kudos and barbs from national media
"The first great American film of the year" or "A sophomoric film essay that would have barely rated a passing grade from a tougher teacher" and other national criticisms of the Lawrence film. While Lawrence-based Willmott's film enjoys its official hometown premiere Friday, the picture already started playing around the country during the last few weeks.
American Indian professors from across the United States will be in Lawrence late this afternoon for "Reservations Without Borders: Indigenizing the New World Order," a national conference co-sponsored by Haskell Indian Nations University and Kansas University's Center for Indigenous Nations Studies.
Looking for social commentary with dancing girls? Dennis Christilles, Kansas University professor of theater and film, delivers with his comedic production "A Congress of Women," based on the ancient play "Ecclesiazusae" by Aristophanes.
The Kansas Arts Commission has awarded fellowships to Lawrence residents for their work in poetry and fiction. The fellowships also are awarded in various disciplines, including 2-D visual art and 3-D visual art.
Inside the wide halls of Kansas University's Spencer Museum of Art, the vision of Gordon Parks looks out onto the world.
Wednesday, March 8
The creators of Burnout try their hand at the shooter genre
Black is like a roller coaster where all the cool hills and loop-de-loops are prematurely placed at the beginning of the ride. After you've experienced it for a while, you'll start checking your watch
Joanie Madden is spending time on tour editing a new DVD and coming up with ideas for a new album.
Kansas native was acclaimed filmmaker, photographer
Gordon Parks, who captured the struggles and triumphs of black America as a photographer for Life magazine and then became Hollywood's first major black director with "The Learning Tree" and the hit "Shaft," died Tuesday, a family member said. He was 93.
Tuesday, March 7
One of the nation's busiest and best-known American Indian actors will be in Lawrence this weekend for the Stories 'N Motion Film Festival at Haskell Indian Nations University.
Monday, March 6
Lawrence architects debate the relative merits of nostalgic vs. progressive designs
The workaholic KU architecture professor - known around town for his trademark structures like the metallic residence at Seventh and Alabama - is the kind of guy who covets the opportunity to put a house on stilts, divvy it up with a drawbridge, or create "rooms" with sliding metal sheets.
Our weekly reminder that people aren't all bastards
Emma Stone was looking for a place in Lawrence to ride horses.
Jamie and Jeramiah Alspaugh
Former Split Lip Rayfield member returns to Lawrence with the Sluggos
Quite a lot has changed in Wayne Gottstine's life within the past year. Last June he quit his former band Split Lip Rayfield. His longtime friend and former band mate Kirk Rundstrom was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in February. And he reunited after 15 years with his former band the Sluggos.
Does the next-gen boxer put up a fair fight?
I feel a purchase recommendation is in order for Fight Night Round 3. While I certainly have my complaints, the multiplayer makes most of them a non-issue. Not to mention it's a great showpiece for the 360 when you have friends over. Even if you're not a huge boxing fan, give this one a shot.
Can it best EA's licensed FIFA offering?
While it's a great commitment to quality it can also be more than a little overpowering to the casual sports gamer. Often racing games like Gran Turismo or Forza offer the choice between arcade and simulation. It might be nice if the Winning Eleven series had this option too.
There are a lot of reasons to love Lawrence Community Theatre.
Headquarters Counseling Center will play host to a fundraiser with the band Sellout at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Granada, 1020 Mass.
Sunday, March 5
The Yards release full-length collection of funky organ jazz
Lawrence quartet The Yards conjure mind-bending polyrhythms and tantalizing horn arrangements and fold them into a funky format reminiscent of The Meters and Medeski, Martin & Wood
The Spencer Consort will present a performance titled "The Italian Style in Baroque Music" today at the Spencer Museum of Art Central Court.
Those at the Lied Center on Friday night were treated to a little bit of Irish dancing, some bluesy guitar, a touch of flamenco and some smokin' fiddlin' by Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul.
Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam Hussein's former chief nuclear scientist, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Budig Hall on Kansas University's campus.
Schneider named worst actor for 'Deuce Bigalow;' Cruise wins award for most tiresome tabloid target
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Paris Hilton won worst-of prizes Saturday at the Razzies, an Academy Awards spoof mocking the worst of 2005.
Graphic design students, professional designers and book lovers in the Lawrence area will soon have a chance to view the latest award-winning book and jacket designs from some of the nation's scholarly presses.
"In a Chinese Restaurant" by Michael L. Johnson
James Cockman III, a Kansas University graduate student in piano performance, has won two top competitions and will be performing in Kansas and Missouri during March and April.
In the Oscar-winning comedy "Annie Hall," the jittery comedian played by Woody Allen takes a shot at Hollywood.
Saturday, March 4
An interview with Mo Rocca
If you've watched more than an hour of TV since the year 2000, chances are you've seen Mo Rocca.
Friday, March 3
River City Weekly host Greg Hurd holds a panel discussion wth John Tibbetts, Jon Niccum, Loey Lockerby and Eric Melin to discuss this year's Academy Awards.
The plot of "16 Blocks" seems vaguely familiar, like something from a '70s flick you might flip to on late-night cable.
Japanese cartoon and comic book culture celebrated in Lawrence
When Kristina Dobbs was a preschooler in the 1980s, she recalls being entranced by cartoon series such as "Transformers" and "Voltron: Defender of the Universe."
Thursday, March 2
Japanese cartoon and comic book culture celebrated in Lawrence
When Kristina Dobbs was a preschooler in the 1980s, she recalls being entranced by cartoon series such as "Transformers" and "Voltron: Defender of the Universe. A lot of people my age were raised on anime, even though they didn't know it."
Marjorie Garber, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at Harvard University, will deliver the 2006 Richard Gunn Memorial Lecture at 8 p.m. today at Kansas University.
The spy at the heart of "Red Herring" likes to fish for red herring. The detectives in "Red Herring" prefer to angle for Communist spies.
The New York Public Library has acquired the personal archive of Beat Generation icon William S. Burroughs - offering the first public glimpse of many of the writer's unpublished works and correspondence.
About 200 original paintings by a well-known regional artist were destroyed Wednesday when a fire swept through his gallery in the historic downtown of this Kansas City suburb.
Alumni to return for anniversary performance
It's been 12 years since Julie Gasper sang with the Lawrence Children's Choir.
Wednesday, March 1
Can I unwreck my un-fun?
In every respect, Full Auto fails to be more compelling than the franchises it borrows from. The unwreck feature is a great idea built on less-than-pleasing grounds. You won't get any more than an hour or two of entertainment out of the title before you're back to your racer of choice.
Baker University Theatre students will perform "Antigone," by French playwright Jean Anouilh, Thursday through Sunday at Rice Auditorium.
As Oscar night approaches, a look at Americans' love affair with the crunchy treat and the big screen
Sometimes, popcorn just needs extra pop.