Stories for March 2008

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Monday, March 31

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Beneath the Surface

Life Outside of Man and Woman

Matthew Blankers is scared of the men's room. Sometimes, on the KU campus, he walks into one, and if it's crowded, or cramped, or if he just can't summon the nerve, he heads to the sink, turns on the water, washes his hands (la-di-dah) and walks out in search of another.

Family Portraits

Sibling rivalry gets post-modern with painting/forgery show 'Pareidolia'

The Allen kids are a complicated set of sibs right up there with Abel and Cain or Donnie and Marie. Brett Allen makes abstract acrylic paintings. Maggie Allen made further abstractions of some of these paintings using colored pencils. They decided to conjoin these twin images into a brother and sister show called "Pareidolia."

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Bigger "Stages"

Vedera preps major-label debut and tours with Eisley

If marriage is a covenant to stick it out for better and worse, then Kristen May and Brian Little are in it for the long haul. As half of the Kansas City band Vedera, the couple has already endured trials like losing all their gear on the road and fighting a legal battle to keep their old band name (Veda).

BREAKING NEWS

:Cranky Uncle Pete edition!

Former KU football standout Charles Gordon, now a cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings, once bowled a 244, he tells Breaking News. It was his high score. The next game, he bowled 244 again. He has yet to replicate the feat.

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Actual News*

*...based on actual news

Wherein we peruse the news that was new last week.

Friday, March 28

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God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)

It's a good thing God of War: Chains of Olympus turned out as well as it did, because the last thing Sony would want to do is tarnish the name of their biggest new IP in years. Thankfully, this is a true God of War game, and does the series' name justice (although on a smaller scale).

Thursday, March 27

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The Battle of Bunker Hill

Lawrence filmmaker Kevin Willmott debuts provocative new drama

The town of Bunker Hill resides in Russell County in the central plains of Kansas. As of the 2000 census, the population numbered a modest 101 citizens. But Kansas filmgoers - and with a little luck, national audiences - may soon equate the name Bunker Hill with that of the movie that shares its title and setting.

'Stop-Loss' does a service to its subjects

"Stop-Loss" is being marketed by MTV Films with its good-looking actors and new rock soundtrack upfront, but it's actually a thought-provoking, even-handed drama. Director Kimberly Peirce's Iraq war drama follows in the footsteps of "coming home" war movies, and asks some tough questions about the definition of duty.

Wednesday, March 26

Review Roundup 3-26

We take a look at the games of March

Monday, March 24

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Art World Player

A buyer's guide for the down and out

If art according to your walls is some water-damaged drywall and your roommate's Hendrix poster from freshman year, fret not: you can be an Art World Player by summer. OK, so maybe "Player" is a bit strong, but Collector: now that we can do, easy. There's a learning curve, but it's a fun one. And trust me: it's more about the hunt than the money.

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Bunker Mentality

Director Kevin Willmott takes on post-9/11 'fascism' in 'Bunker Hill'

In Kevin Willmott's first two films, the central theme was race. In "Ninth Street," it was the story of the small black section of Junction City, Willmott's hometown, seen through the eyes of a pair of winos. In the Ken Burns-style mockumentary "CSA: The Confederate States of America," race was given biting satirical treatment in an alternate U.S. history supposing the South had won the Civil War.

Guest column: The Iraq War and the Presidential Election

With all eyes fixed on the forthcoming election, we must consider the issues that will face whomever becomes our next president for these are issues that we and perhaps even our grandchildren will have to cope.

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Court of Appeals

Kansas City record label curbs its name but not its enthusiasm

"Maybe we should just sleep on it," Tim McGraw once sang. Unfortunately for Curb Appeal Records, McGraw's record label (Curb) didn't take his advice to heart. One cease-and-desist letter later, the Kansas City-based label is changing its name to Appeal Records.

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Just Toshing!

Daniel Tosh gets completely serious about comedy in Lawrence

Daniel Tosh, and his particular brand of bug-eyed deadpan, has carved out a niche for himself in the comedy world as being a pure stand-up comic. He doesn't have a TV show, he's not trying to be taken seriously in some crappy indie film, and he's not Dane Cook-he just tells jokes.

Actual News*

*...based on actual news

BREAKING NEWS

:big money money edition!

A man who said he'd recently moved out of a homeless shelter and into a co-op approached a physics student heading to a coffee shop in downtown Madison, Wis. He told him that for $5 he could tell his future, or his past. "I already know my past," the physics student said. "So do I," said the man, 41.

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Friday, March 21

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Hall pass

Kansas Music Hall of Fame inducts latest class

Bill Lee remembers the first time he ever saw live music played in Lawrence. During the mid-1960s, the freshman student at Kansas University stepped into a club and crossed paths with Ann Brewer and the Flames.

Tuesday, March 18

Becoming the Beast

Nick "The Beast" Scott's rise in the world of wheelchair bodybuilding

It's a Wednesday morning at Ottawa Nautilus Family Fitness Center, a furniture store-turned-gym on Main Street in Ottawa, and, like usual for a weekday morning, Nick Scott is one of the few people inside.Tomorrow, Scott is boarding a plane for the National Wheelchair Bodybuilding Championships in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

BREAKING NEWS

:A special Hamm's on the rooftop report

Three young men were seen drinking cans of Hamm's beer on lawn chairs on the rooftop of a house on the southeast corner of 19th and Alabama streets last Wednesday afternoon.

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March Mustache Madness!

Fuzzy upper lip frenzy takes over the town

March. Mustache. Madness. Nobody knows precisely how the craze blew into Lawrence, or when. What's known is that in the hazy recent past, in this circle or that, hair-thick and thin, coarse and fuzzy, black, brown, red and blond-has been sprouting on upper lips at bewildering rates in the month of St. Patrick.

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Singer, Interrupted

Doby Watson plays hushed songs for attentive ears

Remember six-inch voices? Those would be about four inches too long for a Doby Watson concert. The 21-year-old songwriter pens tranquil numbers that emphasize sparse arrangements for acoustic guitar and voice: the only two instruments he typically carries with him on his frequent tours of D.I.Y. folk venues.

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Actual News*

*...based on actual news

Wednesday, March 12

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Review: Lost: Via Domus (360)

It's definitely cool to experience these familiar locations in an interactive environment, but it's unfortunately not up-to-date. You're pretty much playing through the first two seasons of the show, so don't expect to run into Otherville or try to activate the underwater radio signal from the season 3 finale.

Tuesday, March 11

Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

In the gaming world, "sure things" are extremely rare. Despite this, I don't think there was a doubt in anyone's mind that Super Smash Bros. Brawl was going to be an instant classic.

Monday, March 10

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COUGAR!

In search of the phantom Menace

It was a dark fall night one decade ago when Marilyn Horsch says she first saw a mountain lion. She was in the final stretch of her daily drive home from work in Kansas City when, near the intersection of Stull Road and E. 400 Road, the full-grown cougar sprinted across the beams of her headlights, 25 to 30 feet in front of her.

Night of the Living Film Geeks

Midnight Movie Madness screens insomnia cinema at Liberty Hall

For less than the price of a medium Mr. Pibb at the movie theatre you can get a movie and a PBR at Midnight Movie Madness. And it'll be a good movie, too-none of this "Jumper" crap.

Islands in the Midwest

Clare Doveton's map of the (inner) world

Paint tubes on the floor, canvases stacked against the wall. Themes emerge, with the occasional odd surprise poking through (abstractions, thick paint, scratch marks, then a rabbit shooting out of a sewer pipe?).Pan out: an old couch, a work table, computer. Then a stage, with mics. Some chairs.

Actual News*

*...based on actual news

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Crew Cuts

INnatesounds hip-hop crew unveils its debut compilation

Oftentimes, the prevailing logic regarding the Kansas City and Lawrence hip-hop scenes is that our homeboys could be worldwide if they just got organized. Enter INnatesounds. The brainchild of producer Miles Bonny, INnatesounds began to take shape when Bonny's former SoundsGood collaborator Joe Good "retired" from the game (time will tell if Joe-Z gets back in the ring).

A Slit in Time

Ari and punk legends The Slits roll into Lawrence

Punk pedigrees don't come any more bona fide than that of Ari Up. Lead singer of the Slits-the seminal all-girl British '70s punk band that toured with the Clash and the Buzzcocks. If starting your own band at 14 years of age isn't punk enough, how about adding "step daughter to John Lydon of the Sex Pistols" to your resume and suddenly we have one punk as fuck Brit.

BREAKING NEWS

:archaeological edition!

A car was seen lodged on a low wall enclosing the entrance to the parking lot of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity on 17th Street between Tennessee and Ohio streets on Saturday afternoon.

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Artist's filming of Flint Hills fires captures prairie cycles

Louis Copt watches the TV screen, which shows a roaring, crackling fire rushing through brown grass in the Flint Hills. All that's missing is the smell of smoke and the terror of actually being there.

Sunday, March 9

Musician returns home, brings ensemble

In some ways, the Aspen Ensemble is a mix-and-match musical montage. There are five members in the group - a violinist, a violist, a cellist, a flutist and a pianist - but the members never are all on stage at the same time.

Friday, March 7

The Triumph of 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly'

At first, it's a little difficult to get your bearings. The camera wanders, is never completely in focus, and the audio is muffled, cutting in and out. It pans back and forth to simulate the movement of the eyes. A narrator begins to speak. Seeing the world through the limited perspective of a bedridden man wouldn't normally strike one as the most cinematic of ideas.

Thursday, March 6

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Student affairs

KU sophomores populate edgy TV series

Sharon Liese was preparing to take an active part in one of the most turbulent and influential periods of her child's life: high school. So six years ago the single mom decided to pick up a camera on the eve of daughter Justine's freshman year at Blue Valley Northwest High School. "I knew she was going to launch on this new adventure, and I wanted to document what goes on in high school. But I quickly abandoned the idea of documenting her and instead decided to follow other girls through the high school she went to," Liese says.

Wednesday, March 5

Review Roundup 3-5

This week's games - Twisted Metal Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition, Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Edition, and Dynasty Warriors 6.

Tuesday, March 4

Review Roundup 3-4

This week's reviews: Pet Pals Animal Doctor (DS), Turok (PS3), and FIFA Street 3 (360)

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Top secrets

Frank Warren's personal art project has turned into worldwide phenomenon

Four years ago Frank Warren embarked on a modest artistic experiment. He began handing out 3,000 blank postcards to strangers in Washington, D.C. He requested they tell him a secret - one that had to be true and had never been shared with anyone else. Within a month he had received about 100 back.

Monday, March 3

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Screen Sisters

With Hollywood treading in its own testosterone, female filmmakers find redemption in indie film

Six percent of the 250 top-grossing movies in the United States last year were directed by women. This means 94 percent were directed by men. And yet women make up roughly 40 percent of the film students at KU, according to the Department of Theater and Film. So what happens to all of them? It's one of those problems that never seems to go away. This story, which is about women in film, and why so few of them occupy the most important roles behind the camera, could have been written 10, 20, 30 years ago and be virtually the same.

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Through Native Lenses

Two Days, 10 Native American films in 4th Annual Stories N' Motion Film Festival

If the education you received was, like many in the United States, devoid of American Indian history, except maybe as an afterthought, consider this weekend a rich opportunity to catch up. The 4th Annual Stories N' Motion Film Festival at Haskell Auditorium, packing in 10 documentaries made by Native Americans, explores a wide range of the most dire problems and proudest accomplishments in Indian Country, past and present.

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Drink & Ride

The DeWayn Brothers are coming to your town

Like most bands that you might stumble upon at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, The DeWayn Brothers pen twangy tunes about hearty country livin' (the non-Cracker Barrel variety). They embrace the culture of whiskey, prison, bacon, and more whiskey while avoiding said sins jes' enuff to stay out on the road 200-plus dates a year.

Dollars and Sense

Annual Arts Center auction should benefit collectors <em>and</em> artists

Are you prepared to make a gift? It's a malleable question. Say it through clenched teeth, and it's a threat. Add some pep, and you sound like a perky telemarketer. One thing about this opener to the artists' page of the Lawrence Arts Center's 28th Annual Art Auction is clear: Artists, check your ego at the door.

Bringin' Bocce Back

Jo Shmo's hurls bocce ball into the downtown restaurant scene

If you've ever hankered for a big slab of beef on a bun, paired with a cold brew, and served with a side of hurtling Italian balls, then Jo Shmo's is definitely your bag.

Actual News*

*...based on actual news

BREAKING NEWS

:vainglorious edition!

Living Proof

Our occasional reminder that not all people are bastards

If you dig furry creatures and groove on sounds, here's something you may want to tune your mind to, compadre:

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