Friday, June 29
Ideals of feminine beauty lampooned in KU's musical production of 'Pageant'
The dapper, tuxedo-clad emcee singles out the six beauties who stand behind him. "You've got charm / You've got grace," he serenades the contestants as their eyelashes flutter and smiles beam at the audience. "You've got that something extra." In this case that "something extra" refers to a Y chromosome ... among other things.
Paul Santos believes there is a substantial buffer a puppet provides that separates an entertainer from his audience. "People are a lot more critical when they look at a human doing something than as they would with a puppet," says Santos, producer-director-writer of "The Felt Show."
Thursday, June 28
Planet Puzzle League doesn't reinvent the wheel by any means. It pretty much just adds stylus and online support to a tried-and-true format, but it's still as fun as ever.
Wednesday, June 27
Welcome to Konami's Brooktown High, or as I like to call this morally reprehensible little gem, The Training Manual for Deserving School-Shooting Victims
America's most divisive filmmaker is back at it again with "Sicko," a new documentary that takes on the health care system with a potent mix of satirical humor and thought-provoking cultural questions. More than a political polemic, this film discusses an issue that affects all ages and people from all walks of life.
Chef brings know-how cultivated on coast to new downtown restaurant
Armando Paniagua realizes he's going against the grain. He's been working at restaurants in California for 17 years, most recently as chef at a Rose Pistola in San Francisco - a much-lauded restaurant in a city known for its cuisine.
Monday, June 25
My time on VH1 by Eric Melin
There are some serial TV shows I will tape to make absolutely sure that I don't miss an episode-"Lost," "24," "The Shield," "The Office." My priorities may be a little out of whack, but staying on top of my favorite TV shows is more important to me than paying my bills on time.
The bottom line for these latest iterations is that they're really not all that different from the originals, which works both to the game's benefit, but also detracts from the overall experience. If you've somehow missed out on the craze all these years, the Pokemon games are fairly simple RPGs with a heavy emphasis on collecting the titular creatures.
Overall, Aedis Eclipse has a lot of potential, it just gets weighed down under its own sloppy interface and under-explained complexities. Those willing to spend hours learning all of the game's nuances will find a very deep strategy-RPG that should last quite a few hours. Unfortunately, for everyone else, it's just too much.
Our occasional reminder that not all people are bastards
A pleasant slice of conversation over lunch with Kalli Sanders at Java Break: Back when she had pancreatitis, there were about 12 months straight when she always had some kind of unnatural hole in her body-like a drain, an incision, you get the picture.
Pop culture warriors be reprazentin' Lawrence on VH1's trivia battle
While KU point guards and quarterbacks may get all of the glory (and all of the glorious venereal diseases?) there is an unsung cadre of elite gladiators who also test their mettle on behalf of Lawrence pride.
Metro transplant's art hails urban landscape
Janet Satz feels like a voyeur when she visits the city. Whether she's in Chicago, where she grew up, or New York, where she lived before moving to Lawrence, she often finds herself glancing into high-rise windows while riding the train into the heart of the metropolis. "There's always something going on, something behind the facade," Satz says. "I find the city is very mysterious."
Sunday, June 24
Lakeside farm building reconceived as bluegrass music venue
The crowd can't contain their hollering as the band onstage sings about mommas, daddies, trains, mountains, Jesus and young love.
Friday, June 22
The philosophy and art mayhem of KT Walsh
KT Walsh is a compulsive artist, marrying pre-existing, found objects to traditional materials like paint, chalk, and poetry. Nature plays into the sculptures, too, as does her old house. The result is frenetic, but oddly homey. Comfortable. This is a celebration of life at its most blessed-completely harmonic, intrinsically bizarre, gorgeous to see.
Even though its approach to horror is old-fashioned, the small-scale fright flick "1408" is a breath of fresh air in the wake of recent gore-filled torture-fests like the "Saw" and "Hostel" movies. It has a methodical set-up, some imaginative twists and turns, and an inspired lead performance by John Cusack. So it is too bad when "1408" stumbles one too many times and cannot escape the genre's most common curse-the dumb ending.
In Hollywood screenplay parlance, there is no "arc" to Mariane Pearl. When we meet her, as played by Angelina Jolie in the film of the book Pearl wrote, "A Mighty Heart," she is a strong, in-control woman - a smart, tolerant journalist and a no-nonsense wife of another journalist in a part of the world that doesn't forgive mistakes: Pakistan.
Spencer Museum of Art collection encompasses a true paper warehouse
Every Friday, the Spencer Museum of Art opens its Print Room to requests. Want to look at rock music posters by Rick Griffin, pinups by Alberto Vargas, woodcuts by Antonio Maria Zanetti or photographs by Diane Arbus? Anything is fair game. "I love how I'm spoiled by getting to be so close to the objects," says Kate Meyer, curatorial assistant of Kansas University's department of prints and drawings.
When Lawrence High School teacher Jeffrey Kuhr and two of his film students were asked to screen their documentary at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., he began to realize what a groundswell of national support the project was receiving ... literally.
Friday, June 15
For as much effort as organizers of the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival have put into distancing themselves from the "hippie music" label, it appears this year things turned out pretty groovy, man.
Kansas author launches 'seat-of-your-pants' competition for aspiring screenwriters
Watching the sights and sounds of thousands of deluded hopefuls audition for "American Idol" suggests that nearly everyone in the country believes they have the talent to become a pop star.Perhaps that goal is starting to shift to another medium.
The best comic book movies aren't entirely cartoonish. The first two Spider-Man movies and "Batman Begins" boasted a moral landscape rendered in subtle shades of gray and multidimensional characters who, absent their costumes, would have been at home in a serious story. Bryan Singer's X-Men movies had a sophisticated sensibility and subtext.
Thursday, June 14
Marry Me Moses revs up "Engine Engine"
Marry Me Moses could be the name of a nun's autobiography or a Judeo-Christian marriage seminar. But here in Lawrence, Marry Me Moses is synonymous with face-melting rock riffs, more or less. The industrious group recently ascended Mount Sinai (a.k.a. Neighborhood Studios), and recorded their debut tablet (a.k.a. album), "Engine Engine."
Eric Frodsham has indulged in many professional pursuits. He's been a minor league baseball pitcher, a lead singer of a rock band and is currently back in college studying to be a physicist. That's not stopping him from indulging in his newest occupation: filmmaker.
Monday, June 11
Campers began straggling out of town this morning - and many of them were looking to hitch a ride. But as the music fans head back home - or to the next concert - the real job is just starting.
Artifacts have been out of sight since anthropology museum's closing
Some of Kansas University's more than 10,000 collected ethnographic artifacts will begin showing up in an exhibit this summer at the Spencer Museum of Art.
A festival retrospective in pictures and sound
Flash back to the Wakarusa Festival 2007.
Only 14 arrests made at four-day event; visitors say last year's police presence kept 'riff-raff' out
The thousands of mostly happy campers started taking down their tents Sunday evening in between hearing more from some of their favorite bands at the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival.
Sunday, June 10
Carpeting. Covered tables. Three-seater lounges. Cold-water buckets to dunk the feet.
Saturday, June 9
I was very excited about the potential of this title, but ended up disappointed at what seems like a lackluster port of a Gamecube effort. Fans of the series will find more of the same with Mario Party 8, for better or worse.
The Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival isn't all about rock tunes and tents. Friday, the second day of the festival, showed it's also about straight talk on the environment.
Because he performs under the stage name That 1 Guy, Mike Silverman is used to encountering misunderstandings while playing the festival circuit.
1920s musical comedy challenges cast, promises fun
Director Mary Doveton's assessment of the Lawrence Community Theatre's summer show as "frothy" and "fun" describes what she hopes will be the audience experience.
Friday, June 8
One of the promotional stills from Steven Soderbergh's star-studded Las Vegas heist sequel "Ocean's Thirteen" features George Clooney as pack leader Danny Ocean, decked out in a black turtleneck and sporting a huge fake moustache. The movie also features Brad Pitt posing as a hippie scientist and Matt Damon as an aggressive womanizer with a severe nose. The inference is that the film pokes lighthearted fun at the suaveness of its movie stars by having them wear all sorts of ridiculous Fletch-like disguises.
Lawrence man enjoys ringside seats to Wakarusa from comfort of own backyard
In many respects it's just a trailer. Cozy, clean and stationary. It's encircled by a charming yard, with statues, flowerpots, birdbaths, picnic tables and several American flags waving in the wind.
Mel Gibson missed a golden opportunity to hire the perfect band to play the wrap party for his latest cinematic epic, "Apocalypto." If only he had stumbled upon Kan'Nal.
Police presence down on first day of event
If the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival means rock concerts, camping out and environmentalism, then Michael Rouse may be the embodiment of Wakarusa's spirit.
With "Hostel: Part II," the sequel to his successful 2006 gorefest, Eli Roth has made even more of a grindhouse flick than his buddy and mentor, Quentin Tarantino.
They've got their ring-a-ding-ding back. "Ocean's Thirteen" brings back our latter-day Rat Pack and restores the Pitt Pack's pizzazz and panache. It's a funny, chummy movie that is every bit as over-plotted, absurd and indulgent as "Ocean's Twelve." The big improvement? This time the ham is served on wry.
Zowie! Stan Lee, the creator of such comic-book superheroes as Spider-Man and X-Men, has signed an exclusive content deal with Walt Disney Studios, it was announced Wednesday.
Thursday, June 7
They're back. The festivarians have taken over Lawrence-the north side of Clinton Lake anyway-and Wakarusa is alive, many thousands-strong. Whether you like the music, the hippiesque culture, or anything else about the festival, one thing is indisputable-Wakarusa has become a major stop on the national festival circuit and the people calling Lawrence home this weekend represent a singular subculture.
Thousands of concert goers descend on Lawrence and set up camp for the weekend, but one couple sets up camp not just for the entire festival - but permanently, for the year.
As rain clouds moved into the area, so did thousands of campers for this weekend's fourth annual Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival.
When it comes to playing in bands, Eddie Roberts isn't averse to lead singers. He doesn't believe that they're all preening prima donnas. "I've just never found a singer who seemed to be on the same wavelength," says Roberts, guitarist, tambourine player and founder of The New Mastersounds. "Plus, it's kind of nice to be lyricless."
Wednesday, June 6
Thousands and thousands of people are expected to begin arriving at Clinton Lake early Thursday morning for the 4th installment of the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival.
Monday, June 4
In 2003, the inaugural Wakarusa Festival was met with open arms-and skepticism. But with each passing year and tens of thousands of people through the gate, Lawrence's most ambitious event establishes the kind of staying power that it promised in the first place. Headliners like Widespread Panic and Ben Harper were once but wee daydreams, but this year they'll be backed by a jam-heavy lineup that also sports top draws like Yonder Mountain String Band, Medeski, Martin & Wood and Michael Franti and Spearhead. Toss in more than 100 more rock, jam, bluegrass, funk, alt-country zydeco, jazz, blues and experimental bands and you'll begin to understand why showering and sleeping are way overrated.
Lawrence anarchists vs. FEMA anarchy in the rubble strewn streets of Greensburg
So far as oxymorons go, "anarchist organization" is right up there with "military intelligence" or "jumbo shrimp." Kansas Mutual Aid (KMA), however, isn't exactly a Molotov-hurling band of latter day Guy (and Gal) Fawkes bent on destroying society.
Lawrence's Minus Story plays with anagrams and cooks up a Truss-tworthy new record
Fans of Minus Story are generally hardcore fans, and for good reason. The band's records are absorbing listens, crafted with the meticulous spirit of a fiction writer or glass blower.
Archetype brings in the band, plans new album
Staples of Lawrence's hip-hop scene since 1999, vocalist Isaac "iD" Diehl and vocalist/DJ Jeremy "Nezbeat" Nesbitt of Archetype take pride in the musical progression both experienced from their first album, Freehand Formula through 2005's well-received Bleed for Them.
A profile of Matt Baum-former wrestler and bar owner turned coffee shop proprietor and forest fire fighter
Matt Baum looks like a firefighter: thick arms, thick nose, thick hands. Looks more like a firefighter than an espresso shop owner.
Outdoor film noir festival casts shadows onto downtown lot-and positive light on downtown
Hey, did you ever think that bare wall on the parking garage at Ninth and New Hampshire would be the perfect place to screen movies? Yeah, you and about every other visionary who's used that lot as a public urinal after last call.
Sunday, June 3
Genetically modified crops raise concerns for Kansas farmers, consumers
An announcement came last month: Kansas is going to help solve the world's diarrhea problems by hosting a crop of pharmaceutical rice near Junction City. Two-hundred-fifty acres this year, and up to 3,200 acres later on. The rice contains a protein that could be used in drugs to treat diarrhea and dehydration in developing countries.
Friday, June 1
Twin brother's death inspires sister to organize concert benefit to battle obesity
Twins Julie and Joe Welsh seemed like total opposites. Julie worked as a personal trainer and graduated Kansas University with an exercise science degree in 2003. She loved to run and bike. Joe hadn't been interested in sports much past childhood.
Everything you've heard about "Knocked Up" is true: It's even more riotously and consistently hilarious than its predecessor, Judd Apatow's 2005 sleeper hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," with even greater heart. No small feat.
Dean Bevan is a cat person. "My parents always had cats while I was growing up, so that seemed to me to be the state of nature," the playwright says. Recently, Bevan was reading a book written by a friend that featured a human-sized, talking white rat.