Monday, October 29
KU student craftsmanship helps New Orleans group reclaim community pride
Strange seeds of convergence were planted two years and two months ago when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Only in context does it make sense why, of all the classrooms in all the world, fate chose this one. Here, squirreled away in the narrow confines of the "mud hut," a small, single-story building used by the KU School of Architecture & Urban Planning, a group of students in room 140 has less than two months to build something for the people of the Seventh Ward of New Orleans.
Lawrence filmmaking crew SenoReality reap harvest of horror on new DVD
A mutilated mime, a prognosticating photo-copier, and a cafe on the edge of hell-no, it's not the set up to an elaborately lame joke, but instead just a few of the supernatural subjects of "Heartland Horrors." Conjured up by local production company, SenoReality, "Heartland Horrors" tells seven terrifying tales of demonic depravity that were filmed almost entirely in and around Lawrence.
Adrianne Verhoeven prescribes "Smoke Rings"
Adrianne Verhoeven aka Dri has been singing feverishly for a decade or so, first as a member of The Anniversary and now with Fourth of July and Omaha's Art in Manila. Though she's always been happy to share the mic, it's all Dri on her debut solo album "Smoke Rings." Due out this week on Lawrence's Range Life Records, the album marks a left turn into poptronica and blip-hop.
We take a look at the games of late October.
Friday, October 26
Lawrence provides inspiration for dressing up on Halloween
Halloween isn't just about scaring folks. It's about reminding people that your creative vision and sheer cleverness trump theirs. No place is that easier to display than when donning the right Halloween costume. Sure, anybody can search the Internet for costume ideas involving the latest celebrity parody or social in-joke. But there's not a source out there that can pony up great advice for a Lawrence- based outfit ... until now.
Wednesday, October 24
Don't let the somewhat "kiddy" look of the graphics deter you from experiencing one of the best games on the system Tools of Destruction is excellent.
Monday, October 22
Documenting half a century of movie censorship in Kansas
Early 20th century. The rise of industry has transformed much of the agricultural United States into a land of grimy factories ruled by corporate Goliaths. People are opening their eyes to the injustice and fighting under the nebulous movement called progressivism. Teddy Roosevelt is breaking up trusts, muckrakers are exposing horrific working conditions, women's groups are fighting for equality and prohibition. And then, there is the rise of film...
Robert Novak, conservative columnist and "Douchebag of Liberty," descends upon Lawrence
What can be said about Robert Novak that hasn't already been said? He's a veteran Washington reporter who has established himself as the preeminent conservative opinion maker of the last 50 years. He's a nationally syndicated columnist, has been a prominent cable news commentator, helped define modern political discourse-oh, and he's the guy that outed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.
The Fairer Sex set out to prove "Two Can Win"
Getting dumped ain't half bad when you can get in the car and listen to The Fairer Sex on your way out of town. Headed up by the songwriting duo of Zack Hart and David Wetzel, the Lawrence band dwells in the same summery stratosphere as Belle and Sebastian, The Lucksmiths and The Old 97s. Songs built on acoustic guitars and keen lyrics take on richer hues in the group's home studio, where the group cut most of its new record "Two Can Win."
Our occasional reminder that people aren't all bastards
Amber Nickel, judging by the promo materials she sent lawrence.com for the upcoming Doggy Monster Ball, likes awful dog puns. A lot.
The new horror flick "30 Days of Night," (*.5) based on the comic book series of the same name, is one of those simple, high concept movies you can explain to your friends right away. In a tiny Alaskan oil town, it stays dark for 30 days out of the year. Bloodthirsty vampires come to feast, and there's no sunlight to kill them-nice idea.
Thursday, October 18
The new horror flick "30 Days of Night," based on the comic book series of the same name, is one of those simple, high concept movies you can explain to your friends right away. In a tiny Alaskan oil town, it stays dark for 30 days out of the year. Bloodthirsty vampires come to feast, and there's no sunlight to kill them-great idea.
Monday, October 15
Despite talk of 'going green,' trash keeps piling up in nearby landfills
"Twelve-hundred acres, 260 feet deep. That's a lot of trash," says Ed. For a decade as an operator at a nearby landfill, this was his line of work. (Fearing potential reprisal from his former employer by agreeing to be interviewed, Ed asked that we not disclose his name.) "It was all we could do to dig a hole fast enough." Forget air pollution for a moment. Forget global warming. Forget pressing issues that, for most of us, exist only in the abstract, like nuclear waste and deforestation. Ed wants to talk about trash. Plain ol' trash.
E.M.U. Theater gets in the Halloween spirit with short-play fright fest, "Horrorshow"
One can only assume that, in the theater community, loss of bowel control among your audience is tantamount to a standing ovation. So when a performance space at the Lawrence Arts Center became available in late Ocotber, the E.M.U. Theater Company couldn't resist the opportunity to scare the crap out of people.
Pomeroy contemplates "A New Reflection"
Way back in the late '90s, when Napster and Y2K were in fashion, a merry band of metalheads united in conquest of fame and fortune-or maybe just fun. They called themselves Pomeroy (not to be confused with the consulting group or college-basketball ratings) and developed a slick sound incorporating funk, hip-hop and rock influences.
One of the toughest and most intangible things for a first-time director to capture onscreen is a consistent mood or tone. In his directorial debut, Ben Affleck creates a strong sense of locale that permeates the entire story and becomes its most affecting element. It is familiar turf for Boston native Affleck, and his movie introduces a bleak environment haunted by the specter of missing and abused children.
Sunday, October 14
He was a hip-hop artist who performed in a musical genre that often focused on a world of money, drugs, guns and women. A year ago, that world became all to real for Anthony "Clacc" Vital. On the morning of Oct. 15, 2006, the body of Vital, 28, was found along the side of a private country lane west of Lawrence. He died from multiple gunshot wounds. The case remains unsolved.
I can't overstate how impressed I was with Phantom Hourglass. While Twilight Princess was an undeniably fantastic game, this title does more in terms of bringing the series forward.
Friday, October 12
We take a look at some of the game offerings of the last month.
Like a Harlequin bodice-ripper that's been splattered onto the screen, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" features a hopelessly complicated plot, many heaving bosoms and some of the most stunningly awful dialogue you've ever heard.
Neil LaBute spent years at Kansas University perfecting his skills as a playwright. Since that period he has become the most celebrated filmmaker to hail from the university, developing a controversial reputation for placing amoral individuals in schemes of revenge and betrayal.
Jayhawk alumnus Mike Jerrick earns national spotlight as host of 'risky' new morning show
On the surface it fits the conventional setup of other syndicated morning shows. The distinguished male host. His younger blond cohost. The duo offers a bit of bickering and bantering between interviews with movie starlets, crime victims and libido experts. But to anybody who has watched a few minutes of "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet," the contrasts begin piling up immediately.
Thursday, October 11
George Clooney plays against type in "Michael Clayton," a smart legal drama that avoids cliche and features a strong ensemble cast. Writer/director Tony Gilroy shows both sides of an ongoing court battle while keeping his focus on the tough moral dilemmas faced by a worn-down corporate clean-up man.
Monday, October 8
Examining the world of workplace drug testing
After you pull up your pants, open the door and fork over your pee to a stranger, here's what happens at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Business Health Center: First, your "specimen" goes to the lab. There, the white-coats mix the pee with a chemical cocktail to analyze it for nine classes of drugs. (Inhalants, in case you were wondering, aren't tested.) For most drugs, if you've done them in the past three days or so, you're likely to fail.
Kristie Stremel reflects on a decade onstage
Kristie Stremel's post-secondary education was carried out in barrooms across the country as the touring guitarist for Frogpond. She spent two rollercoaster years with that major-label outfit before developing her own songwriting voice: a muscular country-rock amalgam of Joan Jett, Lucinda Williams, Paul Westerberg and The Pretenders
Acclaimed filmmaker and playwright Neil LaBute returns to his alma mater
Neil LaBute is not a bastard. Nor is Neil LaBute a misanthrope, a misogynist or a malcontent. Despite the repellent nature of the characters and scenarios he's conjured for stage and screen, LaBute-over the phone, anyway-is a pretty likeable guy. He's not one of the soulless, woman-hating corporate assholes from is beakout film "In the Company of Men." He isn't a manipulative, callow prick like the cretins who populate his play and movie, "The Shape of Things."
Friday, October 5
Hollywood veteran Kip Niven returns to KU stage for bombastic role in 'Translations'
Kip Niven and Murphy Hall have waged many battles together. In fact, the theatrical facility has proven a primary ally during his lifetime of acting. "I wouldn't want anybody to look at my transcript from KU, but I'd be happy to have people look at my resume. I worked in a gazillion shows while I was there," Niven says.
Monday, October 1
U.S.-educated and unable to work legally, local undocumented immigrants struggle to escape from bureaucratic netherworld
She is an undocumented immigrant but has lived in the United States since she was 3 years old. She has no discernible trace of a Mexican accent and doesn't have a single memory of her early years in Mexico.
Robert Moore takes Sonic Spectrum away from public radio and into some Buzz
Robert Moore, longtime host of Kansas City's Sonic Spectrum radio show on KCUR, surprised and saddened listeners earlier this summer when he announced he was leaving the NPR affiliate and taking his show with him.
Adru the Misphit channels personal and political chaos into a harrowing hip-hop polemic
Although he adamantly refuses to be defined by it, Andrew Roufa's wrenching personal history and its influence on his hip-hop persona, Adru the Misphit, is difficult to ignore. Born in Texas and raised in Manhattan, Kan., the 33 year old Roufa has spent many of the last 10 years in mental or correctional institutions following an LSD triggered slide into what doctors diagnosed as bipolar manic-depression.
Our occasional reminder that people aren't all bastards
Every second Thursday of the month, Erika Zimmerman gets her papers in order, heads to the Douglas County Courthouse and helps decide a child's fate.
A greatest hits album can span somebody's entire career but it rarely paints a complete portrait of the artist. "Across the Universe" (¢¢) is like a greatest hits album in more ways than one.