Stories for June 2008


Monday, June 30

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Field Notes

Reports from the Badlands

A man walked back from the Kwik Shop to his car, an old boat of an Oldsmobile with scuffed blue paint parked at pump number two. The smell of gasoline was strong. Unleaded was going for $3.82, $3.80 with a Dillons Plus card. The man swung open the driver's side door, revealing a burgundy Holy Bible planted on the dash, and exited out the south entrance of the 19th and Massachusetts service station. An aqua green car driven by a young woman playing R&B music at a high volume quickly replaced the vacated spot. The young woman walked into the convenience store. All four pumps were occupied. Three minutes later all but one were empty. This was Lawrence.

Actual news*

*all news this week based on reports received from the future

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Full Metal Jacket

Reggie and the Full Effect releases its most metal record to date

More than most bands, fans have certain expectations for what they want a Reggie and the Full Effect record to sound like. These mostly teenage minions fell in love with Reggie when he was a different man: a younger, goofier, (even) more immature version of his present-day self...

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Moving beyond oil

Local committee urges city to take action

Imagine the day when your vehicle's odometer becomes a tax meter - the more you drive, the more you pay in taxes. When you do drive, you'll be greeted by more toll stations. And when you stop, you'll be greeted by more parking meters. Along the way you'll notice roofs with solar panels, yards with vegetable gardens, construction crews building bike paths instead of roads, and perhaps even large warehouses stuffed with massive amounts of food to deal with an energy emergency that hovers on the horizon.

Downtown concerts draw few notes of discord

The intersection of Ninth and New Hampshire streets in downtown Lawrence has become a popular outdoor venue for the city. It's the location for the Downtown Film Festival, where movies are projected on a city parking garage during select summer evenings. It's where several events surrounding this month's Ironman 70.3 Kansas festivities were held.

Friday, June 27

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KU students to debut 'Off the Wall' comedy pilot

There's no shortage of comedic movies and TV shows aimed at the college crowd. But according to Scott Winer, only a handful are actually created by college students. Winer and a troupe primarily composed of Kansas University students have responded with the independent sketch comedy show "Mildly Off the Wall."

Wednesday, June 25

Lied Center promotes upcoming performers by offering free iTunes

Area residents don't need to wait for prominent artists such as Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass to show up in Lawrence to hear their distinctive styles. Just grab a free iTunes card, download the songs and start the music - an innovative introduction to the Lied Center's upcoming season, courtesy of the center, Apple and the artists themselves.

Monday, June 23

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Local business connects unknown artists, customers through the power of the interweb

On August 25, 2003, a couple of guys from Lawrence named Devin Walker and Ladd Epp launched a small company out of Walker's house called It worked like this: Artists would upload images of their work. Orders would be placed. Using magic software that could turn a one-megabyte image into a high-resolution print as big as a building, Walker would print digital images onto posters.

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Speak, Memory

Jennifer Holt's ghosts of everydays past

The wheat hangs heavy, white and ghostly, upside down. When it's fired, it will be hollow, standing upright as a brittle indicator of what was inside. Wheat, of course, is Kansas. Or the memory of Kansas. Artist Jennifer Holt is leaving town soon.

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Actual news*

*based on actual news

Wednesday, June 18

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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)

Wherein we award a game our first perfect 10-MGS4 has unparalleled narrative, graphics, audio, gameplay, weapons, environments, voice acting, soundtrack, replayability, and on and on...

Monday, June 16

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Waiting for his Shot

Haskell Boxing Club star Marcus Oliveira toes the line of the big time

Where the four ropes enclosing the ring are frayed, duct tape does the job. The canvas is stained with blood and dirt. A fan blows loudly somewhere overhead. Harsh fluorescent lights shine. Mirrors on two sides of the ring broadcast Marcus Oliveira's punches to a dozen kids sliding side to side, gloves up, honing their footwork along the red carpet of the humming Topeka gym.

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Letter from the Editor

This week we published issue No. 200 of our Deadwood Edition. In some ways, this rag has come a long way these last five years. In other ways, we're doing the same thing we've always done-lovin' on Lawrence, lovey-dovey-style and tough-love-style. We hope you feel pretty much the same way.

Actual news*

*based on actual news

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Films Fatales

Downtown Lawrence Film Festival returns with outdoor noir

Ah, summer-the monarchs are returning, the children frolic gaily at the pool, and crime movies dripping with post-war tension featuring protagonists of moral ambiguity and women of predatory sexual proclivities are projected on the side of a parking garage in downtown Lawrence.

Thursday, June 12

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Chinese acrobats show off skills

Crowd wowed by stunts

They flip. They juggle. They balance. They're acrobats from the other side of the globe, and they made an appearance Wednesday in South Park.

Tuesday, June 10

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Wii Fit (Wii)

It was supposed to be a fun way to work out, and accessible to virtually anyone, regardless of age or familiarity with videogames. It does a great job on all accounts.

Monday, June 9

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Wakarusa Festival 2008: A surrogate for memory

A collection of photos, audio, and video from the 2008 edition of the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival.

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Passing Permanence

Jody Wood and the power of the temporary

You can tell a little about Jody Wood's disposition toward her art from the way she handles her air mattresses made of pig intestines. Removing one of the two brittle mattresses from a corner of her studio in KU's Art and Design Building, she handles it not exactly gently, like most people do with a piece of art they once slaved over.

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Music in the Air

Lawrence filmmakers debut ambitious musical

Through A Glass Productions, started by KU film school grads Chris Blunk and Jeremy Osbern, bucks the coastal migration habits of much of Lawrence's cinematic talent. "We started a company to produce films in the Lawrence/Kansas City area," says Osbern. "We do commercials and music videos during the day and work on movies the rest of the time."

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Festy Festarusa

The week after Wakarusa is a difficult time. The colorful stream of festival goers has come and gone, leaving those without enough funds for the next party to languish on the sidewalks and back alleys of downtown Lawrence, panhandling, tending to large canines and strumming the three remaining strings on their guitars.

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Living Proof: Our occasional reminder that not all people are bastards

Lawrencians leave for Burma: "It's time to do something about it."

One day this past May, a 28-year-old hairdresser named Julie received a phone call from Tim Heinemann. Said the retired U.S. Army colonel to the stylist: "I need your help."


:Playboy edition!!!

And now, for the latest installment of the semi-regular Breaking News feature QUOTATION OF THE WEEK.

Actual news*

*based on actual news

Sunday, June 8

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Zappa resurrects father's eclectic music

Dweezil Zappa has been obliged to respond to two questions his whole life: 1. Yes, that's his real name. 2. Yes, his father, Frank Zappa, is sadly overlooked by today's generation of music fans. So the 38-year-old guitarist decided to do something about the latter one.

Saturday, June 7

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Sites unseen: Outdoor sculpture exhibit adds new dimension to familiar locations

The scenery in downtown Lawrence has changed once again. The street-corner artwork that is part of the Lawrence Outdoor Downtown Sculpture Exhibition has been swapped out for a new crop of entries as the Lawrence Arts Commission celebrates its 21st year of organizing the show.

Friday, June 6

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Space Case: Wayne Coyne transports the Flaming Lips' extraterrestrial sounds back to Wakarusa

Few musicians in rock history know how to make an entrance like Wayne Coyne. The Flaming Lips frontman proved this at the 2006 Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival, where he arrived encased in a giant plastic bubble that descended from the scaffolding attached to a flying saucer.

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Storm shortens festival

Severe weather weakens before reaching area

A severe storm moved into Lawrence Thursday night as expected, although it had weakened from earlier in the day in central Kansas. The storm did cause an early end to the opening day of the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival at Clinton State Park. About 7:45 p.m. festival organizers along with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office began to warn festivalgoers to seek shelter where they could.

'Kung Fu Panda' a wacky and wise parody

Po dreams of being a great martial artist. He longs to have skills, "an awesome aura so awesome, his enemies would go blind from overdoses of pure awesomeness!"

EMU Theatre provides Shakespeare parody

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two lesser-known characters from Shakespeare's "Hamlet," become the main characters in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead."

Thursday, June 5

6News video: Storm shuts down Wakarusa Festival

Mark Boyle reports from Wakarusa, where a severe storm has shut down the festival for the night.

6News video: Music lovers rock on at WakFest

6News reporter Lindsey Slater checked out a few of the necessities every camper needs for Wakarusa Fest.

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Escalating gasoline prices compel Wakarusa fans to embrace carpooling

To drive a 1977 Volkswagen Bus from Austin, Texas, to Lawrence costs roughly $130, given today's spirit-crushing gas prices. That's alarming news for the typical (or stereotypical) fan of this weekend's Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival.

Wednesday, June 4

6News video: WakFest preparations continue

Clinton State Park will soon become Douglas County's second largest city.

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Music festival prep continues

The tie-dye shirts are showing up in bunches. Clinton State Park will soon be Douglas County's second-largest city. The fifth edition of the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival returns to the park Thursday through Sunday. "You get to the point (after four years) where it all seeks that common flow and things tend to go pretty well - knock on wood," said Jerry Schecher, manager of the state park.

Tuesday, June 3

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Review: Okami (Wii)

I saw some recent ads for this Wii port of Okami, and it had an incredibly true headline: "The best game you've never played". The PS2 original was a masterpiece when it comes to level design, gameplay, and art style. This Wii port retains this level of quality, although the motion controls take a bit of getting used to.

Wakarusa festival subject of chat

The fifth annual Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival starts on Thursday, and festival organizers and law enforcement have been working on plans for about a year. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is preparing for 13,500 guests, which would make Clinton State Park the second-largest city in Douglas County until the festival wraps up on Sunday.

Monday, June 2

T'd Off

Uncertain days for the city's public transit system

Sign #367 that Lawrence is a strange place: Gas prices are rising, signs of the metalocalypse are running crazy, you can hardly plug into the news without being deluged with stories like one The New York Times published last week-"Americans are giving up their gas guzzlers, making fewer trips to the mall and even riding public transportation." Meanwhile, in Lawrence, money is tight at City Hall. And city commissioners, getting ready to plan next year's budget over the next few weeks, say many things may get cut, including the bus system, the T.

Actual news*

*based on actual news

Green-age Wasteland

Businesses see the bio-benefits and financial perks of shoving leftover food up their compost piles.

Josh Millstein burrows into a large pile of dirt in downtown Lawrence. He removes a piece of plastic and inspects the mound's innards: roly-polys, a rotting orange, brown sludge. Yep, everything looks right.

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President Obama

Kansas helped lead Barack Obama toward the nomination, now his state campaign leader focuses on the White House

When last we spoke with him, Dan Watkins was guardedly optimistic about Barack Obama's chances to secure the nomination of the Democratic Party. That was way back in November-a political eternity ago-and the freshman senator from Illinois, in a historic and sometimes histrionic primary campaign, is now the presumptive nominee.


...A Breaking News special report!!!

An item caught Breaking News' attention last Tuesday, spurring an investigation, when the Lawrence Journal-World printed the following in its daily law enforcement report:

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Salvation Army seeking music festival volunteers

The Salvation Army is in need of volunteers to work four-hour shifts Thursday through Monday at the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival to raise money for the ongoing work of the Lawrence Salvation Army. Volunteers must be at least 16 and are needed to replenish paper towels and toilet paper around the festival and to serve as cashiers for showers.

Summer events scheduled to be downtown draw

Several summer events are just around the corner in downtown Lawrence. "I can't wait to get them going," said Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. One of the first events is the Downtown Lawrence Film Festival that kicks off on Thursday. "I'm really anxious for the first film; it's going to be a lot of fun," Pennington said.