Stories for March 2007

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Friday, March 30

'Lookout' for this little gem of a crime film

A small town in rural Kansas City is not the most obvious place to set a heist picture starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Isla Fisher, two of Hollywood's brightest up-and-coming stars. And centering your movie on a brain-damaged bank janitor is about as far away as you can get from glitz and glamour, but that is one of the reasons "The Lookout" is such a refreshing treat.

Sister city's Guitar Orchestra of Eutin pays first visit

The young German students who comprise the Guitar Orchestra of Eutin are on the road enjoying their first trip across the United States. Having just performed in Los Angeles, they are heading to Las Vegas for a concert and then making a brief excursion to marvel at the Grand Canyon.

Prosecutors say message of lawfulness was sent

Many of those caught in the drug crackdown at the 2006 Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival have yet to be formally charged.

Stars sharpen 'Blades'

Silly as a drag queen convention and subtle as an unflushed toilet, "Blades of Glory" is everything you'd hope for in a Will Ferrell comedy. And more.

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The art of improv

Lawrence comedians return for festival of spontaneous humor

Der Monkenpickel. It's not a real term ... in any language. It was concocted one day when fellow Lawrence residents Corey Rittmaster and Ed Goodman were discussing how the two funniest words in the English language were monkey and pickle. "Then we thought we'd class it up a little by giving it a German bastardization," Rittmaster recalls.

Wakarusa promoter expects 'peaceful' music and camping extravaganza

It's time to get ready to jam, not to focus on the past.

Thursday, March 29

'Encore' opens tonight

Free State High School's annual musical revue, "Encore," begins tonight with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the school, 4700 Overland Drive. Tickets are $7.

Fresh perspective

Photo group offers men new ways of seeing world

Jerry Adams had never imagined himself as a photographer. But after several months of shooting familiar Lawrence locales with a disposable, point-and-shoot camera, he's starting to change his mind.

Wednesday, March 28

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Review: Motorstorm (PS3)

Motorstorm is a good racing experience that gets dragged down by an awful menu system and some cumbersome load times. Online play is great, but it's not enough to make up for the disappointing single-player experience.

Tuesday, March 27

Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 (360)

This series has gone by many names around the world and on various consoles, but its signature quality gameplay has tied them all together over the past 13 years.

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Review: ProStroke Golf (PSP)

The career mode, usually the main attraction in games like this, is also poor in its implementation. Your options are limited to playing match after match with little else to do.

Monday, March 26

Bite-sized movie reviews

Sometimes the best movie in town isn't actually in the movie theater. Don't overlook these recent releases on DVD.

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Evolving debate

Author's book tour places the struggle over Kansas' science standards within the national debate

Those who think Kansas has closed the final chapter on its evolution debate better think again. Although the calculated effort to replace evolution in public schools with a brand of science more acceptable to fundamental Christians is momentarily on the decline, it is far from dead.

Rose's Rules of Order

Lawrence producer lays down the dos and don'ts of the recording studio.

Ed Rose's production resume comprises a who's who of local and regional rock bands: The Appleseed Cast, Butterglory, The Casket Lottery, Coalesce, Arthur Dodge, The Esoteric, The Get Up Kids, Kill Creek, Reggie and the Full Effect, Slackjaw, Stick, Ultimate Fakebook, Vitreous Humor and White Whale, to name a few.

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Channel 99

Local artists attempt to subvert your cable box via public access

You might know of "Tribal Vision" as the Lawrence collective of DJs and artists who throw badass dance parties with a social conscience and occasionally screen documentaries at Liberty Hall. But unless you've lingered in the nosebleed channels on basic cable, you've likely missed out on their latest endeavor-"Films for Action."

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The New Land Scape

A conversation with printmaker Shawn Bitters

In a short time, we have progressed from wanting to respect and protect the environment (you know, all that stuff outside) to worrying about our carbon footprints and our monetary support of pesticides-in other words, our role within the environment. Makes sense, then, that art will evolve from its millennial adoration of nature to an exploration of an individual's experience within it.

Style Scout: Josh Rome

Style Scout: Jessica Dean

Actual News*

*:based on actual news

World harmonies

KU choir members sing international music while learning about cultures around the globe

The music of the Balkans is starting to grow on Alberto Avezuela. He grew up in Puerto Rico, and now he's a graduate student at Kansas University. He sings in the university's World Music Choir, a group devoted to learning about music and cultures from a variety of countries.

Sunday, March 25

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Review: Bullet Witch (360)

I'd imagine this game will appeal to a select group of people, namely the type that get pumped up for movies like Underworld.

Review: Def Jam Icon (PS3)

I'm a white guy from Kansas, but I think I'm smart enough to realize that Def Jam Icon resembles "street life" about as much as God of War resembles the US Marine experience.

Rebel with a cause

Lawrence native sets beauty, currency as destinations in dance

Karole Armitage didn't set out to be a rebel. For most of her first 20 years of life, she executed pirouettes and jetes in pretty tutus as a classical ballerina. When that started feeling rigid and automatic, she ditched Europe for New York and became a modern dancer.

Orchestra in tune with Kansas

Musicians to work with Lawrence students

Holly Hamilton performs dozens of times each year at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., one of the premier concert halls in the country.

Saturday, March 24

Review: The Thermals w/Ad Astra Per Aspera and The Legendary Terrordactyls

Staying up late on a week night to catch rockin' performances by the Thermals and their Lawrence counterparts at the Bottleneck on Tuesday night.

Friday, March 23

Girls with guitars

Industry amped up over more female strummers

When Amy Trompeter started listening to Pink Floyd, she knew she had to play like guitarist David Gilmour. She decided to take lessons. Two years and three guitars later, she still gets strange looks when people learn she plays.

Wahlberg on target in fast-paced 'Shooter'

In "Shooter," a high-caliber action movie that gives '70s revenge fantasies a contemporary spin, Mark Wahlberg plays Bob Lee Swagger, a military marksman in embittered retirement after an off-the-books African mission backfires.

Tuesday, March 20

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Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PSP)

R&C has always provided the gamer with a full, challenging, and fun experience. As far as I know, they've got the 'Lombax mechanic with wrench and robot pal' niche sewn up.

Monday, March 19

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Behind the masque

Arthur Dodge strips off his rock visage and reveals "A Perfect Face"

For new latest release, "A Perfect Face," Dodge gives The Horsefeathers some time off and corrals an all-star line-up of local guest musicians to portray his latest musings on love, desire and the facts of life.

Sandler, Cheadle not-so-odd couple in 'Reign Over Me'

So often in movies, characters never really do the things that real people do in everyday life. We rarely see them at work, listening to music, or playing videogames. When a tragedy occurs in a movie, grief can be overcome quickly with a brief montage. In real life, the healing process is long and involved.

15 Seconds

KU AIDS awareness week is packed with education, entertainment:and reality TV stars

Grad student Cody Charles hopped from major to major, college to college, before settling-almost reluctantly-on studying education at KU.

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The Wanderer

Lawrence artist/musician/skater Yuri Zupancic follows his questions-and finds more questions

On a morning in East Lawrence, in the house with the motley spray-painted van in the driveway, Yuri Zupancic slugs back coffee at his dining room table. A dead lizard in a mousetrap found at William S. Burroughs' house rests strangely in a glass case on the old piano nearby.

Beer Run

Annual Brew to Brew benefit race much more than a mere marathon

For some people, 26.2 miles just isn't far enough. Fortunately for them, people like Lou Joline are around to create "ultra-marathons."

Style scout: Megan Embers

Style scout: Adam Warnecke

Actual news*

*:based on actual news

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God of War II (PS2)

Next-gen be damned. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360. But none have yielded a gaming experience like the PS2's God of War II

Second wind

Local quintet performing again after four-year hiatus

Don't count out the Lawrence Woodwind Quintet until a stake's been driven through the group's heart, says one of the quintet's musicians.

Sunday, March 18

Human nature

Environmental art project raises fears about marring habitat, natural beauty

Del Christensen moved last fall to the north end of Louisiana Street, where railroad tracks cut through the short span that separates his home from the woods that line the Kansas River.

Saturday, March 17

Celebrating Patrick

Life of storied saint just as interesting as widely held myths

Today, while drinking your green beer and eating your corned beef, be sure to take a moment to remember the man behind the green holiday. You know, the REAL St. Patrick - the one who drove the snakes out of Ireland, who fought the Druids and who used a shamrock to teach about the holy trinity.

Friday, March 16

Dreamlike 'Premonition' explores alternate futures

"Premonition" is like a dream that doesn't make sense when you're hashing it out the next morning. And in a way, that's fitting, because Sandra Bullock's character in this sappy supernatural (sappy-natural?) thriller - housewife Linda Hanson - is having trouble distinguishing her waking life from her sleeping state.

Southern audiences react to KU filmmaker's 'Fall from Grace'

K. Ryan Jones was watching at a sports bar in Austin, Texas, when his Jayhawks conquered the hometown Longhorns in the Big 12 Tournament championship game. "I had three pieces of KU apparel with me, and I've been wearing them every day in some fashion," Jones says.

Thursday, March 15

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Review: Gundam Crossfire (PS3)

I really can't think of much nice to say about Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire, a manga-inspired giant-robot fighting trainwreck of a PS3 game. It reminds me of a 500-pound cousin asking how she looks in her five-sizes-too-small prom dress.

Monday, March 12

Location, location, location.

It's a tried and true cliche in real estate, and it's now the crux of a debate in the local art community. Some Lawrence artists are speaking out against the proposed site for the "Kansas River Expression of Soul," an environmental art park slated to begin on the east end of Burcham Park this summer.

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Second Nature

Proposed art installation raises questions about beautification of nature

Here along the south bank of the Kaw River, there is a stretch where the view of City Hall is to your back and the woods are to your left and there is nothing but river ahead.

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Life of the Party

KC's The Afterparty comes with the smiles and bubbles

KC's The Afterparty is known for incendiary live sets complete with flamboyant costumes, raucous rock songs and big voices

Beyond the Ring

Semi-pro regional wrestlers pursue lifelong ambition despite the odds

Mark Sterling proudly boasts that he is the hardest-working man in Kansas City. Of course, when you're about to enter the ring with a guy named "Homicide," a touch of self-confidence can't hurt.

Watching the Watchmen

Journalist Danny Schechter wants to protect you from your media

Speaking with a rapid East Coast staccato more befitting a rabble-rousing instigator than a widely renowned reporter, Danny Schechter can barely contain his contempt for the media machine he used to work within.

Actual news*

*:based on actual news

Style Scout: Berrigan Willmott

Style Scout: Erin Raux

Review: MVP 07 NCAA Baseball (PS2)

Unless you absolutely have to play a college baseball game, look elsewhere.

Long shot

Even with basketball knowledge, chances of bracket-betting perfection remain slim

Here's a number you probably don't want to think about today as you're filling out your NCAA tournament bracket for your office pool. According to Kansas University math professor Ben Cobb, the probability of picking all 32 first-round winners randomly is 1 in 4.3 billion.

Friday, March 9

300 bikini briefs, 600 shiny pecs, 1 disappointing movie

In terms of stylistic overkill, the new big screen adaptation of Frank Miller's uber-violent graphic novel "300" ranks right up there with "Moulin Rouge." But where Baz Luhrmann's movie musical was overflowing with ripe emotion, "300" is a bombastic and cold affair-not unlike watching the story sequences between levels in a video game.

'Hawk horde

University Archives preserves KU's extensive legacy

Rebecca Schulte leads the way through a maze of artifacts. She arrives at a secluded room - formerly a projection booth - and unlocks the door. Behind it, bird-shaped heads, feet and bodies are strewn about like some kind of poultry processing plant.

Local musicians won't back down from Petty effort

Not long ago, Lawrence singer/songwriter Julia Peterson heard a concert by Tom Petty tribute band American Girls in Kansas City.

Comic book-styled '300' a macho epic

In the cinema, there have always been "films" and "movies." One speaks to art, the other to pure lost-in-the-popcorn-moment excitement.

Monday, March 5

'Zodiac' an epic exploration of famous unsolved case

"Zodiac" is a story of obsession focused on the serial killer who taunted police and terrorized the Bay Area in the early 1970s.

The Call of the Wild

It's Saturday night. Girls Gone Wild is in town.

So here I am on Saturday night at this new tiki bar in Topeka called Sharkey's. It's next to a strip club and shares a parking lot with a bowling alley. Out front, the Girls Gone Wild bus takes up eight spaces and promises a good time.

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Sh*ts and Riggles

Newest Daily Show cast member reports on his Kansas roots

Rob Riggle is nice. That's not to say that he's overbearingly friendly or phony pleasant. He just doesn't have the monster ego or narcissistic characteristics you might expect from a star on of one of TV's most influential programs.

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Stirring Up the Melting Pot

RedLefty cooks up a stew of swinging American roots music

RedLefty swingin' blues, which is the short way of saying roots- folk- dixieland- bluegrass- country- klezmer- ragtime- hoedown- swing- blues music

Gender Blender

Glamming it up for a good cause at The 'Stache & Lash Drag Formal

Mild mannered granola slinger in the Community Mercantile bulk section by day, dashing bon vivant ne'er do well by night, Jess Anthony wears many hats-and false facial hair pieces.

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A Tale of Two Cities

Club owners and promoters fear looming entertainment license could cool Lawrence's vibrant nightlife

Suppose the undulating lifeblood of Lawrence's youth culture is its nightlife and music scene. Suppose this culture has the potential to live or to die as Lawrence changes and grows.

Actual News*

*:based on actual news

Style scout: Andrew Roberts

Style scout: Kate Furst

Kate Furst

Laces wild

Shoes dangling from power lines in Lawrence probably represent harmless college pranks

The white Adio tennis shoes, size 9 1/2, stood no chance of making it to a Dumpster. One night, when Alex Busche decided the shoes were finally worn out, he tied their laces together, walked to the sidewalk outside his apartment at 14th and Tennessee and heaved them skyward. On the first try, the shoelaces settled on top of the power line. Score.

Saturday, March 3

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Review: DDR Universe (360)

This obviously isn't my area of expertise when it comes to gaming, but I'll admit to having some fun with this title. Namely, the hilarious realization that I was pseudo-dancing to Chris Brown and Kylie Minogue songs.

Film fest focuses on females

There's something unusual about the featured short movies in the LunaFest film festival, which comes Sunday to Lawrence.

Acting top-notch in theater's 'Curious Savage'

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" King Lear would have sighed in understanding over the tribulations of poor Mrs. Savage in "The Curious Savage," by John Patrick, which opened Thursday at Lawrence Community Theatre. This play is no tragedy, but it's certainly full of some occasionally poignant and often hilarious renditions of greed and family dysfunction that the long-suffering Lear would recognize.

Friday, March 2

'Zodiac' an epic exploration of famous unsolved case

In "Zodiac," Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Robert Graysmith, a former political cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle who becomes obsessed with finding the serial killer who taunted police and terrorized the Bay Area in the early 1970s. Although it was directed by David Fincher-the man behind "Seven"-this new movie has more in common with Gyllenhaal's most recent film "Jarhead," where Gulf War soldiers prepared for war for 2 hours and then saw no real action. Similarly, "Zodiac" is 154 minutes of a mounting police investigation with no resolution.

Smothers Brothers recall TV censorship battles

When they first appeared on "The Tonight Show," host Jack Paar told the Smothers Brothers, "I don't know what you two guys have, but no one's going to steal it." True enough. Despite being hailed as inspirations to an entire generation of Vietnam-era comedians, no one has ever tried to adopt the same mix of sibling rivalry, social commentary and folk music balladry as Dick and Tommy Smothers.

Jazz banned

Thirty-year anniversary of KU Jazz Festival reunites alumni once forbidden from performing the style

Lawrence has earned a reputation as a haven for underground music. That same attribute hasn't always applied to Kansas University, however. Prior to 1972, jazz was all but forbidden within the music department. Students from the era recall former fine arts dean Thomas Gorton threatening those he heard playing jazz in the practice rooms to stop or he'd yank their scholarships.

Obsession marks 'Zodiac'

After forever altering the look and feel of serial-killer thrillers with 1995's "Seven," director David Fincher returns to the genre with a radically different purpose and result in "Zodiac." Based on the nonfiction book by Robert Graysmith about the infamous San Francisco murderer whose crimes were never officially solved, the movie is a thriller in subject matter only.

Thursday, March 1

Painting brought to vivid life by Dayton Dancers

The power of painting to inspire artists working in other media is well known. Mussorgsky's set of piano pieces "Pictures at an Exhibition" (1874) and Nat "King" Cole's chart-topping "Mona Lisa" (1950) are but two examples.