Stories for February 2007

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Wednesday, February 28

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Review: NBA Street Homecourt (360)

If you haven't tired of the series by now, Homecourt won't be the one to set you over the edge. It introduces a great new gamebreaker system and a simplified trick/dunk scheme that breathe new life into the franchise.

Theater to stage serious comedy

In "The Curious Savage," it's the evil stepchildren tormenting the stepmother, rather than the other way around.

Monday, February 26

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Review: Wii Play (Wii)

In the few weeks that I've had my Wii, I've made it a mission in life to infect every person that crosses the threshold of my home with the game play of the system.

Style scout: Dayton Segard

Style scout: Amber Ashbrook

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The Honeymoon continues

Truckstop Honeymoon's new album, the first from their new home in Lawrence

Piercing screams leap from a tidy Victorian home in a quiet Lawrence neighborhood. Foul play? Tragedy? Little girls playing Barbie.

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Pupaphobia

Lawrence puppet troupe "The Felt Show" inspires laughs (and mortal terror)

"The Felt Show" began life as a guy with a puppet making people feel vaguely uncomfortable in area bars. While this sort of behavior would normally result in a public indecency arrest, writer and director Paul Santos has parlayed it into a surreal theatre spectacle.

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Flight Plan

Lawrence's Range Life Records powers through growing pains and preps "White Flight" for great success

Mrs. Whiskerson was a good kitty-a mild-mannered feline who enjoyed snacking and nuzzling. Then, late one night, in the presence of housemates under the influence of powerful psychoactive medicines, Mrs. Whiskerson went apeshit.

Actual News*

*:based on actual news

'Departed', Scorsese take top prizes

Martin Scorsese's mob epic "The Departed" won best picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday and earned the filmmaker the directing prize that had eluded him throughout his illustrious career.

Sunday, February 25

By design

KU professor weaves culture, care into award-winning furniture and sculpture

When Tom Huang looks at a chair, he doesn't just see a place to sit. He sees an intimate object that connects everyone who has ever rested there, waited there, dreamed there. He imagines the sentimental value it might hold for a family. He senses the hands of the artisan who crafted its legs and seat and back.

Friday, February 23

'Reno 911!:Miami' : When lowbrow humor attacks!

Lt. Jim Dangle and his drooling deputies graduate from Comedy Central to the big screen, but leave all their good ideas at the TV network. The flimsy plot is nothing more than a set-up to get the idiots from small-time Reno patrolling the tough streets of Miami-a promising start to a desperate film that goes nowhere.

'Astronaut Farmer' is lost in space

"The Astronaut Farmer" is not a movie for cynics. From a laughable title with a jokey double meaning to a formulaic plot that charges ahead seemingly unaware of how ridiculous it is, this is one bold movie.

Pushing the envelope

Oscar offers global invitations to Hollywood's biggest night

It started out in 1929 as a private party thrown at a Hollywood hotel. Since then, the Academy Awards has turned into one of the largest media happenings in the world. And for the 2007 ceremony, the event has expanded its global scope to an unprecedented level.

Folk hero pianist takes inspiration from natural world

George Winston has been dubbed the "father of new age music." For years he has done everything in his power to downplay the title. "I've actually got a vasectomy. So I'm the father of nothing," Winston says, laughing.

Thursday, February 22

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Review: Crackdown (360)

Any title that had the Halo 3 beta attached to it is a guaranteed sell, so this game could have been crap and still flown off the shelves. Luckily, Realtime Worlds has put together a very solid title on its own merits.

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Can't Stand Losing Him

Kirk Rundstrom loses his battle with cancer at 38

Kansas music icon Kirk Rundstrom will no longer be seen on the stage, playing for the fans he loved so much. After battling cancer for more than a year, Rundstrom died today at 4:45 a.m. in Wichita. He was 38.

Monday, February 19

Roman à clef

The shocking truth about the Roman Numerals. Well, the truth anyway

Rather than resorting to retro reverence, Roman Numerals embrace creative revisionism: the sound of the past informed by the future, as if Big Black had visited early-'80s era Gang of Four in a vision, or if the ghost of Fugazi had haunted Modern English.

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Taking it to the streets

Graffiti and street art show gives gallery space to marginalized voices

Our Power:A VISION:walking into a small room behind the anarchist bookstore, stepping onto some weird spray-painted floor::is in the Streets::hip-hop music thumping:spray paint:street posters broadcasting:skulls words "this is not our war" images flowers "regime change" pitchforks:across the walls:a simulated alleyway:an anarchist circus:

Field of screams

Punk culture documented in 'American Hardcore' had a heartland home in Lawrence

"You could break a finger, or your wrist, or your ankle or your foot. It was very raw. You could pass out drunk and someone would take advantage of you-and that was if you're a guy."

Actual news*

*based on actual news

Style scout: Scott Lefler

Sunday, February 18

Ruckus making noise on the hill

A tank of gas is a treasure to me, I know now that nothing is free. The guys of Blink 182 penned those words for their song, "Carousel," in 1994, and 13 years later that very song is available for free to anyone with a dot-edu e-mail address.

'Twenty-Eight Artists' reveals how hardship spawns creation

While culling essays for her new collection, "Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints" (Pantheon Books, $30), Joan Acocella discovered a loose theme: the hardships that come with creation, and how various artists dealt with these obstacles - or did not.

Friday, February 16

'Ghost Rider' a total flame-out

"Ghost Rider" is another ham-fisted Marvel comic adaptation from Mark Steven Johnson. Nicolas Cage is kind of funny, but Johnson fails to get at the core of Johnny Blaze at all. For a movie that places so much emphasis on the soul, "Ghost Rider" is conspicuously devoid of one.

'Lyrics' evokes '80s vibe

Love Hugh Grant. Love Drew Barrymore. And if they don't burn down the house with any sparks they set off in "Music and Lyrics," their Valentine to moviegoers, they at least make it amusingly watchable.

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Teen act takes mature approach to music

The soundtrack to the cable-TV movie "High School Musical" was the biggest-selling album of 2006.

Comedic cocktail

Theatre on the Rocks showcases untapped potential of bar-based sketch humor

Drinking and driving don't mix. But what about drinking and live sketch comedy? So far, the blend seems to be working for Theatre on the Rocks. The Lawrence troupe concocts a fresh show each month, presenting short plays and skits from its home base at Fatso's, 1016 Mass.

Tuesday, February 13

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Review: Battlestations Midway (360)

For some reason, certain missions seem almost unwinnable, regardless of the difficulty level. The Vengeance at Luzon stage had me shaking my head in disbelief over how insanely hard it was so early in the game.

Lens on the world

Artist follows in father's steps, telling cultural stories in photos

At a dinner party in China a few years ago, the conversation turned to how best to use acquired knowledge. Pok Chi Lau pulled out a fortune cookie slip he kept in his wallet: "Many receive advice, but only the wise profit by it."

Monday, February 12

Actual news*

*...based on actual news

Wherein we peruse the news that was news last week.

The lure of Lincoln

As bicentennial of his birth approaches, 16th president enjoys pop iconic status

Most Americans think of the stovepipe hat, the famous penny profile and a booming voice intoning, "Four score and seven years ago ..." But beyond these iconic impressions, Abraham Lincoln remains among the most complicated and important figures in American history.

Baroque by Candlelight provides sweet pre-Valentine's treat

The encore to Saturday's Baroque by Candlelight concert by the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra was a lush dessert bar, but the concert may have been even sweeter.

Sunday, February 11

Style Scout: Bridget Guffey

Style Scout: Adam Driggers

Blog to the Chief

The political revolution will not be televised (it'll be blogged)

Describe the impact of new media on the 2006 midterm elections in one word? Easy: macaca.

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All in the family

The brothers Hangauer toast their indie rock combo, Fourth of July

You can't swing a cat in downtown Lawrence without hitting a Hangauer. Of the five (at last count) Hangauer siblings, four are active contributors to at least six local bands.

Oscar predictions

At first glance, this year's Oscar race is open and shut. The front runners have all received numerous awards already from all kinds of guilds and film critic's societies. But at least the biggest one of the night is completely up for grabs this year. But let's start with the shoo-ins:

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Life strands

Lawrence artist's surrealist connections

Perhaps it's the primordial nature of someone born with a twin, but local artist Hong Zhang works with connections.

A matter of respect

Proper care of KU's cultural artifacts collection proves easier said than done

After four-and-a-half years of resting in a comatose state in Spooner Hall, KU's neglected 10,000-piece collection of cultural artifacts appears to be headed somewhere.

My chemical romance

Mysteries of love may boil down to science

A young man gazes at his date across the dinner table and starts a conversation with himself. I'm falling for her, he thinks. She's beautiful. Kind and thoughtful. Incredibly intelligent. I can't get her out of my head. It must be love.

Girlfriendly advice

Star helps author cheeky mating manual

Felicity Huffman is not a relationship expert, nor does she play one on TV. But that's her name on the cover of "A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend," a cheeky mating manual now in bookstores.

Saturday, February 10

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Review: NCAA March Madness '07 (360)

The main complaint most people will have with this game (and any college sports game) is clearly an unavoidable one. As rabid as KU fans are, I have to imagine that they'll be disappointed by the absence of Julian Wright, Brandon Rush, and the rest of the team's likenesses. It's obviously no fault of the game, it's just an unpleasant legality.

Fragments of the past

Dead Sea Scrolls offer insight into religion, ancient history

The fragments are small, measuring only a few inches wide at their largest portions. The text is difficult to see, in the dimly lit display cases meant to preserve the nearly 2,000-year-old documents. Even if you can make it out, it's in Hebrew.

Friday, February 9

Few grisly details spared in 'Hannibal'

Hannibal Lecter's journey from man-monster of mystery to avenging angel anti-hero is completed in "Hannibal Rising," the new movie from the new Thomas Harris novel.

Two for the show

Lawrence musicians savor Grammy Award nominations

Pianist Robert Koenig was between lessons during a day of teaching at Kansas University when he decided to go online to peruse that morning's Grammy nominations.

Thursday, February 8

View from the top

William Allen White Citation goes to former Lawrence photographer

Rich Clarkson's photos have been on 33 Sports Illustrated covers and seven Wheaties boxes.

Wednesday, February 7

Review: Diddy Kong Racing DS

Diddy Kong Racing is still a decent racing game:it's just unfortunate that Rare decided they had to force some touchscreen/microphone minigames into it.

Tuesday, February 6

The faraway nearby

Artists take fresh look at familiar Lawrence neighborhoods

On the daily commute between his East Lawrence home and his downtown office, John Reeves keeps his eyes peeled for more than just stop signs and oncoming cars.

Monday, February 5

Stiches in time

What joy-of hundreds, thousands of material objects I've looked at over the years, occasionally one particular work will still knock the wind out of me.

'Volver' another solid Almodovar movie that avoids categorization

George Cukor may be the prototypical "women's director" of Hollywood's classic period, but nobody can write witty, sympathetic roles for modern women like Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar. And where Cukor had a rousing multi-picture partnership with Katherine Hepburn, Almodovar again teams with one of his favorite heroines, Penelope Cruz, in the genre-busting new film "Volver."

Style scout: Julia "Baby J" Shnyra

Style scout: Dustin Kinsey

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Get Up, Stand Up. Get Naked.

Revolutionaries fight the power with flesh and bone

In a storefront directly across the street from the county courthouse, people are plotting against the system.

The Candidate in Black

Singer-songwriter Jake Davis campaigns to save the 'heart of Lawrence'

You might have caught him performing in dives about town as folk-rock troubadour Basin, but Jake Davis is now asking for your consideration in a different venue: the political theater. Fed up with what he sees as "too much meddling" from the bureaucratic machine, he recently announced his candidacy for Lawrence City Commission.

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Vag' of Honor

'Culture of vaginas' celebrated by a decade of 'Monologues' now a proud institution

A culture of vaginas. How strange this phrase this might have sounded some 11 years ago, before Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues" was first performed in a New York cafe, before the first V-Day was held two years later on Valentine's Day, before the movement hit Lawrence three years after that. Before the pink of February took on an additional meaning.

Actual News*

*:based on actual news

Imagination grows in 'Garden'

Children have wonderful imaginations. In a perfect world, they always would use them purely for fun. In the real world, they often use them as escape routes from the unbearable.

Sunday, February 4

Review: Barnyard (Wii)

Unfortunately, many objectives fall into the fetch quest category, and the long runs required for some of these quests becomes tedious quickly.

Saturday, February 3

Moved by the spirit

KU vocalist follows famous footsteps on musical journey

Lynda Canaday hadn't even let out her first baby bawl when world-class singer Mahalia Jackson blessed her voice.

Strong voices give credence to impassioned acting in 'Tales of Hoffmann'

KU Opera's production of Jacques Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" is a don't-miss event for anyone who likes good voices and good acting. Even those who don't think of themselves as opera buffs might find this the best chance to re-think the position.

'Real World' stars DJ at Eldridge

Want to know what those "kids" on MTV's "The Real World" like to dance to when they're not on camera?

Friday, February 2

Review: Dragonball Z BT2 (Wii)

Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a game that will appeal mostly to fans of Dragon Ball Z, with its huge cast and expansive story. However, anyone looking for a fun, easy-to-learn fighter would do good to check this out as well.

Pulse video: A Civil Rights Reader

You could say DBR and the Mission are a little of a lot of things - funk, rock, classical, hip-hop.

Intimacy guides atypical 'Sensualist'

There are many things that keep "The Sensualist" from being your average play put on by college students. First, it was written by a student, and it's being performed for the first time.

'Labyrinth' a fantasy masterpiece

For Ofelia, an imaginative 10-year-old in Fascist Spain, it is better to live in her dreams than die on her knees.

'Idol' worship

Lawrence hopefuls find their way onto TV's biggest stage

'"Dare to dream." That's the motto of the country's most popular television show. And for some Lawrence hopefuls, the dream to appear on "American Idol" has been realized.

Thursday, February 1

Review: Warioware Smooth Moves (Wii)

Even though the basic premise has stayed the same throughout the four Warioware titles, the method of control has varied drastically. With Smooth Moves, the developers obviously had a great time designing minigames that utilize the Wii remote.

A way with words

Each year the Lawrence Arts Center and The Raven Bookstore sponsor the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Awards to recognize excellence and encourage achievement of emerging writers in Douglas County. This year's awards went to Jean Grant, fiction, and Doug Crawford-Parker, poetry. Each will receive $500 and will read during a reception at 7 p.m. today - Langston Hughes' birthday - at the arts center, 940 N.H.

Poetry by Doug Crawford-Parker