Stories for April 2007

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Monday, April 30

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Rock-and-Roll Fight Card

A Handy Companion to the Deadwood Derby Finals

After four awesome rounds of debauchery, bloodshed and barbarous wedgies, the Deadwood Derby's 16 competitors have been whittled down to five. A good-old-fashioned butt slap is in order for the survivors: Sterilize Stereo, Kaw Valley Project, Left on Northwood, Dead Girls Ruin Everything and The Old Black.

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Eco 2.0

Environmental journalist Simran Sethi spearheads hipster sustainability from Lawrence

Simran Sethi is a five-foot tall dynamo of the new environmental movement who is more than likely powered by photovoltaic cells or some other form of ecologically friendly cyborg technology. There's no other possible explanation for the Lawrencian's improbably prodigious pro-environment work.

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It's not easy being 'green'

Environmental sustainability proves much easier said than done in Lawrence

Whatever the political prestige of putting a green foot forward, one thing becomes clear when talking to local authorities: Environmental sustainability is about long-term goals and baby steps. Sustainability is a game of benchmarks, pledges and certifications, of lack of funds and a need to reprioritize. And it is a process that brings change but slowly. At least that's how it's been so far.

Beaten, but not down

Beat insider James Grauerholz takes a beating and loses his "delicious cynicism"

James Grauerholz is heir and executor of the estate of William S. Burroughs-maestro of the Beats, author of "Naked Lunch," international queer, academic junkie, wife-shooter, Harvard graduate and patron saint to generations of artistic rebels and literate rockers-a distinguished figure in 20th century literature, like him, his work or neither.

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Kristen Hertlein

TOWNIE GUIDE TO: Smokin' Smokes

Two Lawrencians help the cigarette set find their way amid the public smoking ban.

Style Scout: Sally Schrum

Actual news*

*...based on actual news

Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week.

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A Prairie Band Companion

Lawrence old-timey outfit The Prairie Acre unveils "Jaybird and the Sparrow-Hawk"

Once upon a time, four friends started a bluegrass band despite the fact that only one of them had any experience playing bluegrass. Five years later, The Prairie Acre is one of the most accomplished string-band outfits in the Midwest. The Lawrence group's third self-released record "Jaybird and the Sparrow-Hawk" is loaded with hot doses of revivalist old-timey fare, documenting the sound of a band hitting their stride and having a heck of a good time doing it

Sunday, April 29

Review: Ar Tonelico (PS2)

Some RPGs have great presentation, but paper-thin gameplay. Others have great gameplay, but the production qualities of a junior high musical. Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia belongs in the last category.

Review: Honeycomb Beat (DS)

In its current form Honeycomb Beat is a series of brainteasers that range from the childishly simple to the stylus-bendingly frustrating.

Review: After Burner (PSP)

The controls are tight, the action is exhilarating and the game is just long and challenging enough to remain fun all the way to the end.

Friday, April 27

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Landlocked artist doesn't let geography curtail inspiration

More than 700 miles from the closest arm of an ocean, it's unusual to find a Kansas artist whose artwork is all inspired by the sea. But Pam Sullivan has a good reason for using the soft colors and subtle motions of ocean water as the basis for the various mixed-media art she creates.

Thursday, April 26

KU alumni announce theater presentation

Kansas University theater department graduates Samara Naeymi and Theresa Buchheister plan a gathering Saturday to promote their New York-based theater company, Point Productions.

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Gangsters of love

'Guys and Dolls' celebrates legacy of bootleggers and gambling in song

Lawrence Henderson isn't worried about young people losing interest in the bootlegging and illegal gambling of the 1930s. And that, in part, is what keeps interest alive in "Guys and Dolls," which Henderson stars in starting Friday at University Theatre.

Wednesday, April 25

Hamburger: king of comedy

Cult performer extracts humor from being not very funny

Flanked by camera flashes and microphones wielded by the Hollywood media, Neil Hamburger found himself roving the red carpet usually reserved for the entertainment industry's glitterati.

Tuesday, April 24

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Review: Super Paper Mario (Wii)

It's certainly a very smart game, and the gameplay makes Super Paper Mario hard to lump into a specific genre. It's too smart to be a straight platformer, and too much of a platformer to be a traditional RPG.

Monday, April 23

Review: The Godfather Don's Edition (PS3)

While this PS3 version adds a few new aspects, it retained the same clunky controls and problems that the last-gen versions had.

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The more you know:

Legal experts offer advice on preparing for police presence at Wakarusa Festival

When heading out to the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival this June, it might be a good idea to pack more than your sunscreen, shades and usual camping gear.

'Shaun of the Dead' bad boys sport hilarious 'Hot Fuzz'

When I saw the pitch-perfect zombie movie homage "Shaun of the Dead," I figured the reason there was so much gore was pretty obvious. It's a zombie movie. Duh.

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Remaining 'nameless'

Namelessnumberheadman release new album, but continue to lay low

More than just a sonic experience, NNHM shows reveal the sometimes frantic but always carefully calculated movements of the band's members- Jason Lewis, Chuck Whittington and Andrew Sallee.

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Kait Head, 18

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In Country

A Kansas marine talks about the war while home from Iraq

In 1999, a marine recruiter visited Seaman High School in Topeka. That was before 9/11, before most Americans had ever heard the name Osama bin Laden or thought much about terrorism. The recruiter found Jeff Hodges ready to sign up-his plan was to get a chemical engineering degree at KU and become a military officer.

TOWNIE GUIDE TO: Being a Cool Parent (or babysitter)

A Lawrencian navigates a Saturday with mini-Lawrencians.

Style Scout: Solomon Johnson

Style Scout: Jessica Hensley

Actual News*

*:based on actual news

Artist honors musical influences on album

The best cover songs are sparkling interpretations of originals, with just enough of a difference to make that tune stand on its own.

Sunday, April 22

Banjo bashin'

Book rounds up jokes aimed at instrument and its players

Leo Posch has his teeth, is smart enough to carry on a conversation and doesn't drool. You'd never know he's a banjo player. Posch, who lives near McLouth, plays with the Lawrence-based Midday Ramblers.

Friday, April 20

Pop opera 'Aida' pleases

Judging by the applause and a standing ovation at evening's end, it was clear that the near capacity crowd drawn to the Lied Center on Wednesday night by the glitz of the Elton John-Tim Rice makeover of "Aida" was pleased by the well-oiled road show version of the 2000 Broadway hit.

Haskell film club showcases American Indian cinema

Actor Gary D. Farmer has never turned down a role because he objects to the way it portrays his heritage. He prefers a different strategy. "What I do is rewrite the script and fax it back to them," Farmer says.

Horror flick 'Vacancy' leaves viewer empty

"Vacancy" is the kind of movie that leaves you feeling icky all over afterward - grimy and sickened and desperately in need of a shower.

'The Hoax' offers great lie that is honestly portrayed

It's a few weeks past April Fools', but close enough to make the grand scam of "The Hoax" all the more apropos.

Called to attention

High schoolers expose military's enlistment tactics in their film 'No Child Left Unrecruited'

It started as a class assignment. Lawrence High School students in a broadcast media class were asked to make a short clip of an advertisement. Simple enough. "Over the summer I had gotten a letter from an Army recruiter that offered me money to enlist with him. And we see recruiters at lunch all the time, so we thought they're like an advertisement in our school," says LHS senior Alexia Welch. "It was supposed to be a five-minute thing, but the more we found out about it, the more we realized it had to be a movie."

Hopkins and Gosling enjoy witty banter in 'Fracture'

We know you're thinking it. We were, too. So we may as well just acknowledge it, get it out of the way and move on as a group.

Wednesday, April 18

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Review: Virtua Tennis 3 (360)

If you own both the PS3 and 360, I'd say the improved graphics on the former should be a bigger deciding factor than the flawed online play of the latter.

Tuesday, April 17

Review: Tetris Evolution (360)

I don't know if I can justify spending $30 on a title that's been released time and time again in essentially the same form.

Dynamic duo

Young pianists strike chord, win gig with professional orchestra

While some juniors in high school are cramming for tests or working on their curveballs, two young women from Lawrence have been memorizing Mozart piano concertos.

Monday, April 16

Review: Call of Duty 3 Gold Edition (360)

COD2 featured in-game lag, and COD3 took forever to get into a match. Luckily, the online issues have almost entirely been fixed, and it results in one of the greatest multiplayer experiences on the system.

Hopkins and Gosling match wits in tense and funny 'Fracture'

With a bazillion "Law & Order" spin-offs on TV and tons of generic courtroom thrillers on the big screen every year, there's not a lot of room left to reinvent the legal drama these days. So it is all the more impressive when a film comes along that manages to combine the genre's tried-and-true formulas into a cohesive and engrossing picture.

Springtime in Lawrence

A bona fide Lawrencian tells you how to do the town, post Vernal Equinox. On your day off.

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Reel exposure

Films attempt to generate media attention for the Native American experience:beyond 'powwows and feathers'

Nobody said making an independent film documentary would be easy. For Haskell alumna Carol Burns, the cost came to $63,000 of mainly her own savings, plus four-and-a-half years of full-time work and thousands of miles logged along the Missouri River.

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Schoolhouse Doc!

Lawrence teens investigate intrusive law with their film "No Child Left Unrecruited"

While most kids their age are busy Facebooking, licking toads and getting into knife fights with greasers at the sock-hop (or whatever the hell it is that kids do these days), Lexi Welch and Sarah Ybarra are making their peers look even worse.

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The Bile of a Clown

Phlegmatic funnyman Neil Hamburger plans to make Lawrence cry until it laughs

Remember the good old days of comedy? When wrinkled borscht belt hacks in cheap tuxedos belittled minorities and women? Those glorious salad days of rim-shot-ready one-liners, gin-soaked toupees and Schecky Greene? Well, Neil Hamburger remembers-and he's keeping that tradition alive whether you want him to or not.

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As Nasty as She Wanna Be

Kansas expatriate Pink Nasty is pure 'Gold'

Based on her music alone, the stage name "Pink Nasty" seems like a misnomer. The doe-voiced lyrics aren't particularly "nasty," nor are the blue-tinged ballads. But being a modern musician requires more than just solid music - you gotta have personality.

Style Scout: Mark Hurst

Style Scout: Jade Tittle

Student playwright swimming in success of 'Punchbowl'

Of all the ways to kill yourself, drowning in a punchbowl doesn't necessarily come to mind.

Saturday, April 14

Speaker's parents helped Jewish arts survive in Nazi Germany

It might be one of the most compelling stories of Nazi Germany, but Martin Goldsmith says many people have never heard of the Jüdische Kulturbund. "It's virtually unknown," he says.

Higher stakes

Though mostly absent from public debate, churches say adding casinos raises risk of addiction, family strife

Randy Beeman has little problem with gamblers who set their limits and stick to them - especially if those limits are low. But he's seen the floodgates open, watched the way a quick trip to a casino can turn into a gambling addiction and all the troubles that go along with it.

Friday, April 13

Slick and twisted 'Perfect Stranger' perfectly awful

Perfect StrangerÂ- is an offensively slick and soulless piece of Hollywwod crap. A movie filled with scuzzy people doing scuzzy things, there is not one person to care about least of all Halle Berry, whose plunging necklines and tight skirts project a sexy working woman's confidence, while her cardboard character exposes her as nothing but a walking billboard.

'On Golden Pond' cast avoids re-creating beloved film roles

Betty Laird isn't Katharine Hepburn. She doesn't even want to be. So forgive her if she shows a little frustration when you compare her role of Ethel Thayer in "On Golden Pond" to that played by Hepburn in the well-known film by the same title.

Stepping Stone

Renowned actor, former Jayhawk returns for Trailblazer honor

Dee Wallace Stone has been stalked by rabid dogs, cannibals and werewolves. She's been replaced by a look-alike robot. She's shared a house with a space alien. She's even been seduced by Dudley Moore. The Kansas native and Jayhawk alumna has been through it all in a film career that started with 1975's "The Stepford Wives" and is going strong with roles in five feature films slated to be released this year.

Day on the Hill gains momentum after hiatus

Frankly, Colin Haliburton was too young to have many memories of watching Pearl Jam in 1992 at Day on the Hill. But he still brags about seeing the band - even if he went with his baby-sitter.

Thursday, April 12

Crop artist plows into new territory for art auction

The entire world is a canvas for Lawrence artist Stan Herd. Perhaps it's fitting then, that his latest piece of art is made from one of the very tools he uses to decorate that canvas.

Wednesday, April 11

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Review: The Godfather Blackhand Edition (Wii)

This new Wii version may not be as visually polished as its 360 and PS3 brethren, but the new motion controls make it a completely different experience.

Tuesday, April 10

Review: Custom Robo Arena (DS)

While it may be a decent first RPG for children, with its spoon-fed story and easy to follow objectives, ultimately it comes up short.

Ham Radio

"Right Between the Ears" transmit sketch comedy via wireless telegraphy into your cranium hole

Lawrence's "Right Between the Ears," which began life as a serial radio drama called "The Imagination Workshop" in 1983, has been broadcasting its old-timey brand of live sketch comedy in its current incarnation since 1990.

Like mother, like son

Exhibit showcases link between art, parenting

Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Lora Jost has found a way to sidestep that problem - at least when it comes to the link between child and adult artists.

Haskell event will feature contest winners

Haskell Indian Nations University students have won awards in the Tribal College Journal Creative Writing Contest and will read works at the school's first Art Gala on Friday.

Monday, April 9

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Spirit of the Kaw

River tour guide and local character lives his love for the river

Certain people are like Tom Farris, and they are the most interesting people on earth. My cousin Max, for instance. "Mad Max" is what the family used to call him. Max talks fast, and he never stays on topic. And he is supremely fascinated by things. One of his chief delights in life is to spout off random and dubious facts that he found God-knows-where, but which he insists are true. He is not a liar. He is a theorist.

Actual News*

*:based on actual news

U.S. inspires horror in 'The Host'

In 1954, the iconic Japanese monster movie "Godzilla" arose from that country's post-World War II fear of more possible nuclear attacks. Over 50 years later, it seems that America is still inspiring new kinds of monster mayhem, as illustrated by the impressively sleek South Korean import "The Host."

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This Is Not a Still Life

Adrianne Verhoeven's non-stop musical adventure

As a member of the Anniversary, Adrianne Verhoeven went directly from high school into the fast lane of rock and roll. The Anniversary toured the U.S., Europe and Japan, opening for the likes of Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices and Cheap Trick, before the band's tumultuous dissolution in 2004.

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Hey, Boo

Boo and Boo Too beyond Farmer's Ball

In just over a year of being together, Boo and Boo Too have moved from winning last year's Farmer's Ball after mere months of being together to become a fixture in Lawrence's rock scene. They'd be playing even more shows, were it not for lack of more all-ages venues.

Style Scout: Melissa Knudsen

Style Scout: Nick Ray

Butterfly art project may be sweet for bees

An artwork envisioned for a patch of ground east of Lawrence will tell the story of the birds and the bees - or at least, the butterflies and the bees.

Saturday, April 7

'Antigone' cast makes show relevant for today's audiences

The tagline for the Kansas University English Alternative Theatre's production of "Antigone" is "now more than ever," and it's an apt description of Sophocles' immortal tragedy.

Friday, April 6

Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 (Wii)

Tiger Woods for the Wii isn't the massive upgrade some hoped it would be, but it has potential if they improve the motion next year. It's still fun, especially with four players, but it's just not enough to pry me away from its 360 counterpart.

'Grindhouse' double feature a gloriously entertaining contrast

"Grindhouse" is a minor cinematic event. More of an overall theater-going experience than merely a movie, writer/directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez pay tribute to an exploitative style of filmmaking that is long dead with a double feature that is literally exploding with the dead.

'Keely' fuels debate

Jane Martin's "Keely and Du" premiered in 1993 at the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival of New American Plays. That its central conflict still resonates is a testament both to the power of the conflict and the power of the play to articulate it.

Thursday, April 5

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Behind the wheels

Lawrence members of the KC Roller Warriors gear up for a new season of roller derby

Hannah Hurst is busy pushing a stroller occupied by her 2-year-old daughter. But come Saturday, the stay-at-home mom will be maneuvering a different set of wheels.

Ancient play seems new again

All throughout rehearsals, the cast members of English Alternative Theatre's production of "Antigone" have found themselves asking whether the classical Greek play they're performing was actually written within the past week.

Tuesday, April 3

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Review: Virtua Tennis 3 (PS3)

Gamers everywhere (especially of the hardcore variety) have fond memories of the Sega Dreamcast. When I think back to that ultimately unsuccessful system, two titles jump to mind immediately: Soul Calibur and Virtua Tennis. I'm still trying to forget Seaman.

Monday, April 2

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Serving in Silence

Soldiers speak out against "Don't ask, don't tell" policy during KU Pride Week

If you are gay and in the military, what do you do? Tell people? Hide it? And what happens? Three distinct stories-one of an openly lesbian sailor, one of a gay soldier who was discreet until he'd had enough, and one of a soldier was murdered because he was thought to be gay-paint a picture of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and its effect on gays in the military.

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Marquee mama

Lawrence promoter Jacki Becker spreads music and love across the Midwest

From her beginnings as a KJHK DJ to her current status as one of the Midwest's foremost concert promoters, Jacki Becker embodies the DIY ethos: work hard, make friends and have fun.

Behold:the Wonders of Kansas!

Our great state beseeches your help in creating its future antiquity

Egypt may have their hoity-toity triangular coffins, but Gove County has the Chalk Pyramids. Babylon might think they're all that and a bag of ziggurats because they had a few ferns on the roof, but the town of Lucas has the Garden of Eden.

Style Scout: Erin Urich

Actual News*

*:based on actual news

Sunday, April 1

Review: American Catastrophe with Softee, Ghosty and the PedalJets

Live, loud and local: rockin' out with American Catastrophe and other indie bands for the Sonic Spectrum Anniversary Showcase in Kansas City.

The 'Invisible' man

Author waits until age 96 to write first novel

Into his 90s, decimated by the loss of his beloved wife, and alone at night with the memories of a rough and sad childhood spent battling an alcoholic father and vicious anti-Semitism, Harry Bernstein decided to write.