Stories for July 2007

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Monday, July 30

Editor's note

Lawrence. Kansas. Burroughs was frequently asked-as all Lawrencians inevitably are: Why Kansas? When you could live anywhere-in any of the world's cultural capitals-why Lawrence, Kansas?

The Life of William S. Burroughs

A timeline

From St. Louis to Boston to Vienna to New York to Boston to St. Louis to Chicago to New York ... to Lawrence.

Ten Years Gone

Assigning William S. Burroughs a place in local space-time

William S. Burroughs is 10 years gone now and only vestiges remain. His little Datsun and an old typewriter rust in a thicket behind the red house where he lived at 1927 Learnard Ave., and on drunken Friday nights citizens of a certain age may emit stories of the times they saw him buying cat food at Dillons.

The Burroughs Guy

An interview with James Grauerholz

James Grauerholz is heir and executorof the estate of William S. Burroughs-maestro of the Beats, writer of "Naked Lunch," international queer, academic junkie, wife-shooter, Harvard graduate, an undeniably American artist.Grauerholz lived 30 years with Burroughs.Street Level joins Grauerholz in a booth at Pachamama's for a moseying reminiscence of Burroughs and the Beats...

The Inner Circle

Memories collected from the FOBs (friends of Burroughs)

"Most of his peers are dead-who's left? People who really were his disciples. They were sort of the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to the Antichrist." -Dennis Domer, professor emeritus of American studies at KU.

Remembering William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg

A piece by Jim McCrary

I've been asked many times to put something up about William Burroughs in Lawrence, Kansas. Sort of. Okay, once someone asked me WHAT he did out here. What he did? All this because I had the extreme privilege to work for William Burroughs as Office Manager for 10 years, as well as the opportunity to spend time with him on a daily basis doing well...nothing most of the time...until William died August 2, 1997. William, of course, had a steady stream of visitors in Lawrence, and one of those was his best friend, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. I use William and Allen's friendship to offer a 'snapshot' of what I observed.

Tales of Ohle

An interview with David Ohle

David Ohle met Burroughs in the mid-'70s while teaching at the University of Texas at Austin. They became close friends after Ohle moved back to Lawrence in 1984. Ohle is the author of two novels (plus one forthcoming) and many short stories. He earned his master's degree from KU in 1972 and teaches fiction writing and screenwriting at the university.

Burroughs' Student

An interview with Wayne Propst

Propst-who calls himself a "leisure consultant"-is an experimental artist and raconteur. Scatterbrained fascination oozes from his pores. He calls himself Burroughs' student.

Hell, Man, I'm Not Gonna Shoot 'Em Way Out There!

A piece by Jon Blumb

The first time I set up a shooting range for William Burroughs, I went out to the farm early and set up targets on a board, an improvised table, and lawn chairs. When I brought William to the spot later that afternoon, he sized up the distance, commenting, "Hell, Man, I'm not gonna shoot 'em way out there! Move 'em up closer-most gunfights are just across a room!"

A Portrait of the Old Man's Art

One of William S. Burroughs' chief activities in his Lawrence years was creating art. After receiving a kick-start in the form of a celebrated opening at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York in 1987, his art was in some demand by curators and collectors for the rest of his life...

Old Man's Curse

I never feel the heat closing in, this 10-year specter over my head, setting up his flaccid old man revenge fantasy, putting a curse over me and my home maybe a higher-up elbow in Kansas City, vault a decade and two cities, catch a flexible writing gig:

Outgrowing the Interzone

A poisonous lie is the sum total of what Burroughs accomplished.

In Bed With Burroughs

A piece by Marcus Ewert

In 1988, when I was 17, I flew across country to the Naropa Institute with the express purpose of sleeping with either Allen Ginsberg or William Burroughs. By sleeping with them, I would join my life to theirs, thereby speeding up my own ascent into personal and artistic greatness. Burroughs wasn't at Naropa that year, so I made my play for Allen, and that worked out great: Allen and I genuinely got along. And he had no problem with the fact that I still wanted to 'connect' with Burroughs at some point-on the contrary.

Memories of Learnard

A piece by Mark Luce

My son, Miles, was conceived in William S. Burroughs' bedroom. Perhaps I should explain.

Remarks on Behalf of the Community

William S. Burroughs memorial service: A Eulogy

We gather here today as a community of men and women who admired and loved William S. Burroughs and were transformed by his extraordinary life. We are here to mourn William's death, but that is a secondary matter...

Memories of Burroughs

A guestbook for readers' recollections of the Old Man

Sunday, July 29

Review: The Bigs (360)

The Bigs is nothing revolutionary, but it proves to be an entertaining experience for a limited amount of time. After spending several hours with the Rookie Challenge mode, the slightly shallow gameplay starts to grow somewhat tiresome.

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Mondo Lawrence

Schlock cinema auteurs Nife Fite host the lurid "Locally Grown Filmsploitation Show"

Clairvoyants vomiting otherworldly ooze, teenage delinquents succumbing to the evils of reefer, hepcat aliens in search of a happening beach party-some will call it "degenerate," others "corrupting," and still more will label it "hoodlum-izing." Julia Zinn and Lauren Kimball-Brown, two Lawrence hop-heads with a taste for extreme cinema, prefer to call it "Nife Fite."

Friday, July 27

Introspective sci-fi offers ray of 'Sunshine'

Director Roddy Doyle (ÂTrainspotting,Â- Â28 Days LaterÂ-) grapples with provocative questions of morality and spirituality in this sci-fi head-scratcher starring Cillian Murphy as a scientist flying a nuclear bomb into the sun. Arresting visuals dominate the proceedings, even as the movie veers towards horror.

Wednesday, July 25

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Gettin' the Heck Outta Pomona

The Pomonas leave Lawrence with farewell album and two

In their three years as a band, The Pomonas earned a reputation as a rockin' pop funfest the likes of which Lawrence may not soon see again. With members moving to Seattle, New Orleans, and Chicago, the band's time is drawing to a close. Before they ride off into the mid-life sunset, the foursome will celebrate the release of a farewell record with two shows in two nights

Monday, July 23

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Bring on the Cavalry

Lawrence's Cavaliers unveil new album, lineup

Sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. Lawrence's Cavaliers have certainly delivered on that premise with a full-bodied debut record dubbed "Except for the Birds."

'Once' Upon a Time in a Song

"Once" is an unscrubbed little gem of a film that gets its title from the fleeting beauty of moments. There are things in your life that will only happen once, and that sense of discovery you get when you meet someone special for the first time is more than enough to hang an entire movie on. What makes "Once" so special is that it captures that feeling and puts it to song.

Friday, July 20

'Victor Continental' prepares to intoxicate Lawrence

The term "sketch comedy" doesn't quite encapsulate the event known as "The Victor Continental Show." Part choreographed musical, part topical commentary, part puppet show, part mammoth inside joke funny enough to pack Liberty Hall for two nights, "Victor Continental" has turned into one of Lawrence's most consistent live entertainment spectacles.

Wednesday, July 18

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Punch & Doody Show

"Sh*tty Deal Puppet Theater" heralds the raunchy return of Victor Continental

Adding an extra layer of depravity to the term "lewd hand gestures," the Lawrence-born "Shitty Deal Puppet Theater" will be re-emerging this week with fists raised triumphantly in their hind-quarters. Life for the puppets began in 1998 as part of the comedy/variety/gin-bender known as The Victor Continental Show, but the "Shitty Deal Puppets" have spent recent years gaining notoriety in the UK as part of Axis of Evil Productions.

Sunday, July 15

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Vex, Lies and Videotape

KU student's experience on Big Brother a not-so-glamorous dose of "reality" TV

While squatting upon a giant, whirling toadstool which belched noxious sputum into her face, Carol Journey began doubting if she was ready for her glitzy new role in showbiz.

Saturday, July 14

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Sowing seeds

Fresh Produce Art Collective bands together to promote work, create more artistic outlets

Members of the Fresh Produce Art Collective admit they're pretty relaxed when they meet Tuesday nights. "We keep some minutes," member Yuri Zupancic jokes, "but they come out as surreal contour drawings." They might be a laid-back group, but they have some pretty big goals when it comes to the arts in Lawrence.

Friday, July 13

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Never break the chain

Move to Nashville allows Lawrence's Sarah Buxton to achieve her country singing and songwriting dreams

So much of what audiences need to know about Sarah Buxton she spells out in the first lyric on her latest album. She sings, "I left Lawrence, Kansas, at the age of 17 / To chase down my own version of the American dream." Ten years later, that dream has evolved into a daily reality for the Nashville-based country artist.

Thursday, July 12

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Review: Transformers (PS3)

Remember that War of the Monsters game? Yeah, it was pretty fun, but wouldn't it be better if you slapped on a movie license and sapped it of any fun or originality? Well, that's pretty much what you'll get if you decide to play Transformers.

Review: Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree

Everyone from 4th graders to adults loved the DS brain games, and they sold by the truckload for Nintendo. Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree marks the series' first foray onto the TV screen, and it's a bit lacking.

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Spoonman

Lawrencian Rob Pope puts his bass all up in Spoon's face

Rob Pope has fashioned a career of playing the bejeezus out of the bass, and the former Get Up Kid and current White Whale anchorman snared his biggest gig to date when indie-rock hitsters Spoon invited him into the fold for their new record "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"

Wednesday, July 11

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Kicking Glory in the Balls

Lawrence league elevates kickball to community obsession

How best to explain the near metaphysical appeal of kickball? Is it the exquisite balance of expectation and being? Experiencing mortals nobly embracing their destiny on a cosmically pregnant diamond of earth? Watching drunk people kicking the crap out of a piece of inflated rubber?

Tuesday, July 10

Frustrating 'Harry Potter' alienates audience

For most kids, oneÂ's teenage years are scary and uncomfortable. For the title character in ÂHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,Â- things are a bit more serious. Besides the usual teen problems like burgeoning sexuality, post-pubescent alienation, and low self-esteem, Harry has an evil madman out to murder him.

Sunday, July 8

Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (360, Wii, PS2)

If you play this game and focus on the exploration aspect, you'll probably have a decent time with it. If you play it looking for a solid main quest, you'll end up a bit disappointed.

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Gems amid the plains

Couple collect works by Kansas artists

It's a fairly innocuous woodcut print. A woman sits in a front-porch rocking chair, her laundry hanging on the line.

Saturday, July 7

Filmmaker to re-create Quantrill's raid in docu-drama

Ken Spurgeon doesn't want people to just know about William Quantrill's 1863 raid in Lawrence; he wants them to deeply feel it.

Friday, July 6

Review: The Darkness (X360)

It reminds me of Prey in many ways. The gameplay is competent yet unremarkable, but the presentation makes the experience a highly entertaining one.

Review: Tomb Raider Anniversary (PS2)

This series gained a great deal of fame thanks to the cover girl and the films, but I feel it never really had the gameplay to back up the popularity. Anniversary, if nothing else, is an effective reminder of this.

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Pop culture clash

Rival Kansas teams prepare for battle on VH1's trivia tournament

NRVOUS. That condensed word was the answer to the question that Robert Bishop kept running over in his mind.

Tuesday, July 3

Review: Resident Evil 4 (Wii)

Somehow, someway, they've managed to improve upon what was already an almost-perfect gaming experience. The Wiimote and Nunchuk prove their worth in adventure games in an even more appropriate way than with Twilight Princess. It's natural, useful, and above all, fun.

Review: Shining Force EXA (PS2)

Sadly even with some interesting features in place it's impossible to ignore that the two main gameplay elements, combat and chapter progression, are fundamentally one-note and predictable.

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Swamp Thang

The Konza Swamp Band eats, sings "Groundhog"

All you need to know about the Konza Swamp Band you can learn from the liner notes of their new album, which gives thanks to The Good Lord, Miller Lite, Woody Guthrie, truck drivers and blue-collars...

'Transformers' a hilariously absurd teenage fantasy

A flawed, frenzied, and ultimately fun affair, BayÂ's big screen adaptation of the Hasbro toy line (that itself spun into a TV series and 1986 animated movie) comes off like an absurd cross between ÂThe Last Starfighter,Â- TVÂ's ÂKnight Rider,Â- and ÂRisky Business.Â- It also fulfills every teenage boyÂ's fantasy to make out with a hot girl on your talking Camaro while a giant friendly robot watches over you.

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Red, White & Green

Lawrencian Simran Sethi joins Al Gore for webcast, an "SOS for a climate in crisis"

As soon as the smoke clears following this year's Fourth of July revelries, Lawrence eco-journalist Simran Sethi will be in New York helping Al Gore clear the air of less festive emissions.

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Life after Harry

Publishers, readers hope to conjure magic from someone besides Potter

When "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" hits shelves July 21, it will represent the end to one of the most successful and beloved fantasy book series ever. With this seventh - and final - entry being released in J.K. Rowling's saga of a headstrong wizard, young readers aren't the only ones who will be on a quest for more magic.

Monday, July 2

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Blowing Crap Up For Freedom!

Every day in Independence Day on the outskirts of Lawrence

This "is as American as it gets," says Outlaw in anticipation of this year's Independence Day. "If you love America, blow up a small piece of it. There's going to be some shit going down, even if I have to light another car on fire."

Sunday, July 1

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Summer lovin'

A look at what we dig about the sultriest season

Aah, summertime. It stirs a sense of euphoria in most of us. School's out, the sun is shining, and the world seems to move at a slower clip. In homage to this glorious season, we explore some of the elements that define it - from lightning bugs to lemonade, longer days to lingering poolside.