Stories for May 2008


Saturday, May 31

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Native tongue

Lost language comes to life on screen in new movie

When Jimm Goodtracks speaks to his grandson at home, it's usually in Baxoje, a language that is nearly extinct. Goodtracks has written two books on the language and is working on an unabridged dictionary on it. He sees the 3-year-old boy as another way to help keep it alive. "Younger people don't know this stuff," Goodtracks says. "They're getting away from things."

Tuesday, May 27

LOL Hippies

Internet meme meets Wakaruskies.

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Dam Libs! Annoying-Festival-Dude Edition

In lieu of serious, tedious, same-as-previous-years', read-by-no-one "journalism" about the Wakarusa Festival, we present: Dam Libs!

Monday, May 26

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Rails, roads, and wilderness: the endless search of the tramp

Two days passed in northern British Columbia. Then three. Cricket was in desolate country waiting for a freight train, stuck at one of those crossroads that most folks experience only in metaphor. The question was inevitable. Do I want to keep doing this?

Q&A with Alyssa Kelly

A couple of years ago, Alyssa Kelly left Houston, the city she grew up in, for the road. Today, she is married and living in Lawrence. In a bedroom of the Haunted Kitchen, the punk house on the corner of 19th and Louisiana streets, Kelly, 21, offered a beer, lit a cigarette and detailed her two years on the road.

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Greensburg Returns

A year later, the tornado-ravaged town rebuilds in the eye of a media storm

As has now become tragic lore, little over a year ago the town of Greensburg, Kan., was wiped off the face of the earth. On May 4, 2007, a massive tornado measuring EF5-the most powerful recordable with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour-swept through the western Kansas community. Estimates put the destruction of the town at 95% and 11 people lost their lives. In the wake of the storm, there was simply nothing left.

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Mended Paw

Formative Grunge Act reunites for Festival

To many in Lawrence, Paw's story is well-known. Their success with the song "Jessie" and two well-received albums, "Dragline" and "Death to Traitors," eventually led to a breakdown with their label, A&M, which shelved a third album. After coming back up for air with "Home is a Strange Place" in 2000, infighting and a departure of both vocalist Mark Hennessy and guitarist Grant Fitch seemed to signal a definitive end to the band.


:storm from the shelter edition!!!!

Trees shook. Rain fell. Thunder crashed. The electricity went off. It was the earliest hours of Saturday, May 24, in Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A.

Actual news*

*based on actual news

Bodies on a bender

Flexibility faux pas? Drop the doc and contort thyself

Not too long ago, Ron Gaches dreaded walking into the capital building in Topeka. It wasn't his lobbying job or the politicians that bugged him, but rather an agonizing foot pain amplified by marble floors. "You can't imagine a less forgiving material to be on all day long," he says.

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Living Proof

Our occasional reminder that not all people are bastards

Look at the photo with this story. It's heartbreaking. It's of Addison Whitenight, who's now 19 months old and has been waiting to receive a liver transplant for a year.

Saturday, May 24

Rising price of corn leads to increase in movie ticket cost

The rising cost of corn is about to hurt your wallet in an unexpected place: at the movie theater.

Summer concerts start Wednesday

The Lawrence City Band summer concert series kicks off at 8 p.m. Wednesday at South Park, 1141 Mass.

Monday, May 19

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Off the Fairway

Vinland Natural Nine takes golf from country club to country

Richard Morantz lives in an old trailer. A couple of holes have worn their way through his blue trousers, which are held up by a pair of suspenders. His curly, overgrown hair is thick with humidity. Pulling up the gravel driveway to his 80-acre spread south of town on a warm spring day, you get the feeling this would be a good place to hole up when the rapture arrives, but about the last place you would think to go for a round of golf.

Actual News*

*...based on actual news

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Sea Change

Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford discusses "Little Wars" and his fling with Lawrence

Johnathon Ford grew up with an appetite for movie soundtracks, Disney scores and classical music. Those obsessions inform his body of work as Unwed Sailor, an instrumental band that has routinely changed members and styles during its 10-year run.

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Kickin' the Truth to the Youth

Local rapper Richard "GQ" Thomas schools Lawrence High hip-hoppers

Who is that rapper poisoning the delicate minds of our youths with the hippity-hop? After searching low and high, we found that it's none other than local rapper and BombSquad member Richard "GQ" Thomas.

Down the ArtHole

The electoral collage of City Commissioner Boog Highberger

For better or for ill, the supremely unorthodox Dennis "Boog" Highberger has come to epitomize the supreme unorthodoxy of the city where he serves as commissioner. Since 2003, the gangly guy seen zipping around town on his three-wheeled recumbent bicycle has served on the Lawrence City Commission as the reliably progressive voice of the people.


: blase edition!!!

Congratulations, reader! You've checked in at just the right time, for this is the first semi-regular installment of a new feature, WORDS OF THE DAY.

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Friday, May 16

More concerts could be in store

Strike up the next band. The promoter for Wednesday evening's Wilco concert said he was ecstatic with how the event fit into downtown Lawrence, and he hopes to do three to four a year at the site near Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

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Bee prepared

Hip-hop legend Busy Bee brings wild style to town in honor of KU basketball star's graduation

Jayhawks basketball guard Russell Robinson is netting another honor this year to go along with his NCAA championship ring: He'll be graduating from Kansas University with a degree in communications.And communication is the key word when it comes to how Robinson will be celebrating the occasion.

Thursday, May 15

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Outdoor concert impresses visitors

The city's first major outdoor downtown concert proved successful Wednesday night, leaving many people wanting more family-friendly outdoor events of its kind in the future. On the lawn north of the Lawrence Arts Center where opening band Retribution Gospel Choir and headliner Wilco played, Vanessa Sanburn, Jake Lowen and their five-year-old daughter Nadia Sanburn relaxed in between sets.

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Wacky wheels will claim streets Saturday for Art Tougeau

Fresco Fords, classy Chevys and tacky Toyotas will roll down the street Saturday as part of the annual Art Tougeau Parade.

Wednesday, May 14

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GTA IV (PS3, 360)

Fantastic, controversial, hilarious, gigantic, varied, beautiful...yes.

Fire-eaters could heat up downtown

Street performers would congregate during proposed Busker Fest 2008

You thought the mid-August weekend when Kansas University students returned to Lawrence was crazy enough. Just imagine what it will be like when you add fire-eaters. It looks like there will be no need to imagine.

Tuesday, May 13

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NH Street to close for Wilco concert

A major downtown concert will have an impact on traffic starting early Wednesday morning.

Monday, May 12

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Kids in the Stall

Exploring the seedy underbelly of Lawrence: the public bathroom

I don't wanna sound like a queer or nothin:but I think unicorns are pretty kickass!- black marker, women's room, Replay Lounge It was nearing 10 p.m. last Wednesday night on the patio of the Replay Lounge when a woman named Al returned from the bathroom with a stencil freshly blackened by spray paint in her hand and a grin on her face.

Actual News*

*...based on actual news

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Sir Charles

Lawrence songwriter Charles S. McVey spreads the gospel of "Modern Living"

Charles S. McVey doesn't seem like the sort of guy who enjoys his down time. In addition to freelance engineering at Black Lodge Studios and playing keys for Lonnie Fisher & the Funeral, McVey labors over his own recordings and maintains a busy local performance schedule.

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Freshly Screwed Coffee

Human cost of coffee examined in fair trade documentary "Black Gold"

The price of one of those venti frou-frou caramel abortion lattes you can get at the neighborhood beanery equals about 10 days worth of wages for an Ethiopian toiling in the Addis Ababa coffee trade. In our junkie's pursuit to ride the brown serpent, the 2-billion-cups-a-day coffee habit of the global community is borne on the backs of farmers and packagers in developing countries.


:skin edition!!!

A girl and a guy sat together on a bench outside the east entrance of Oliver Hall. They stopped talking each time someone walked past. They looked unhappy.

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Friday, May 9

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Blue skies

Talented and tumultuous Wilco headlines unusual downtown outdoor concert

Early in his professional career, bassist John Stirratt opened for The Replacements in Mobile, Ala. The headlining band had just released its 1987 masterwork, "Pleased to Meet Me," and was becoming a legendary force in alternative rock.

Filmmakers forge distribution network

Lawrence filmmaker Kevin Willmott came to this realization: "Nobody cares about your film more than you do."

Tuesday, May 6

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Review: Mario Kart (Wii)

Mario Kart has always been the ultimate "casual" game. Growing up, even if your friends didn't like video games, they liked Mario Kart. Non-gamers of all kinds have tossed a red shell at one point or another. It's only fitting (and inevitable) that the franchise makes its first appearance on the ultimate "casual" console.

Monday, May 5

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Not a Drop to Drink

Scarce water, stagnant lives on the nearby Kickapoo Reservation

Heading east on K-20 Highway toward Horton, a sign said COMMUNITY CENTER and pointed right. Down a short gravel drive, a warehouse-like building was empty on a warm Thursday afternoon except for three women sitting around a table and smoking. "Can I help you?" one asked. I'm here to do a story on your water. "Don't drink it!" one said, and the three women laughed.

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Star child

The enigmatic Justin Roelofs and his first solo show in Lawrence

In three years, Justin Roelofs has recorded two albums and set foot on stage exactly once, guesting with Ratatat in San Francisco. So, for fans of his music, his show this week in Lawrence is not to be missed.

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Hail to the chiefs

The Presidents launch new campaign to make rock fun again

While the 1990s were politically synonymous with Bill Clinton, the decade's music scene was equally receptive to The Presidents of the United States of America.

Beyond the Valley of the Blow-up Dolls

Behind the scenes of Steve Balderson's Kansas-made shock-farce, "Watch Out"

People have said it will be the most controversial film of the decade, and that's not an understatement," modestly suggests Kansas filmmaker Steve Balderson of his next film, "Watch Out." "It could very well be the most explicit non-pornographic film ever made."

Actual News*

*...based on actual news

Living Proof

Our occasional reminder that not all people are bastards

It's a colossal mound of mud today. A big, wet dump protected by a chain-link fence. Such is the construction zone west of the long-awaited addition to KU's Student Recreation Fitness Center.


:All Hail Goulet edition!!!

Big hail fell on 17th Street at 5:58 p.m. on May 1. Car alarms began sounding in the parking lot of a fraternity. A resident clothed in a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops screamed in mock agony and climbed atop a sport utility vehicle, yelling "help." A similarly clothed fraternity boy ran across the parking lot to stop one of the alarms.

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Review Round Up - 5/5

MLB 2K8, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, The World Ends With You, Obscure, and Teenage Zombies.