Stories for December 2013


Sunday, December 29

Lawrence pianist YoungArts music finalist

Chaeyoung Park was selected from 11,000 applicants in 10 disciplines in literary, performing, visual and design arts fields, 171 finalists total.

Kansas City Connection: Looking forward to 2014

With last week’s New Year’s Eve guide under our belt, I’d like to close out the year by looking at some of the most promising events and places to check out in 2014.

Local orchestra changes name, ensemble plans

The Lawrence Chamber Orchestra is going through a series of changes including new directors, new music repertoire, new orchestra musicians and a new name.

Survivor of bacterial meningitis shares life-changing experience in new book

Andy Marso’s book, “Worth the Pain: How Meningitis Nearly Killed Me — Then Changed My Life for the Better,” details the painful disease that led to the decaying and eventually loss of parts of both of his feet and his hands.

Kansas-Missouri border war film to screen at Liberty Hall

“Road to Valhalla,” will be screening at Liberty Hall on Jan. 4, at 7 p.m.

Friday, December 27

Photo exhibit shows Lawrence parades through the years

From suffrage marches of the 1800s to modern-day zombie walks, Lawrence has always loved a parade. A new photo exhibit at the Watkins Museum of History captures a few of the city’s many parades through the years. By Sara Shepherd

Thursday, December 26

December Final Friday Preview: Drink up this month's events

While some of the traditional Final Friday venues will be closed this week, such as the Lawrence Arts Center and the Lawrence Art Party, there are still plenty of opportunities to see excellent works by some of our city’s most talented individuals — and you might have to have a drink or two in the process.

The perfect winter outfit

CheckOut asked resident fashion experts Emily and Elizabeth Kennedy and Nicholas Cunigan for their definition of the “perfect” winter outfit.

Fix-It Chick: Wire a switch to an existing outlet

When it comes to electrical projects, wiring a switch to an outlet is a pretty straightforward project.

Garden Variety: Plan your landscape now

This is a perfect time to consider landscape planning.

Style Scout: Matthew Smith

Fashion trends you love: I like pea coats, v-necks and I’m a bit of a texture person as well. I like dressier shoes so I love leather soles on boots or a nice pair of wing tips. I also like jeans that ar

Celebrity Fashion Fusion: Catching attention — Jennifer Lawrence’s little black dress both edgy and classy

If you want to be hot enough to catch on fire this New Year’s Eve, all you need to do is follow Jennifer Lawrence’s lead.

Mrs. Mass: A last-minute Fix

It’s the time of year for holiday parties and Christmas photos. Everybody dresses in their finest, making sure their hair is styled just so and their nails are clean and trimmed.

Off the Beaten Plate: Bison Bolognese at Merchants Pub and Plate

We really don’t need another reason to indulge in a plate of pasta, but the bison bolognese at Merchants Pub and Plate just gave us one.

Style Scout: Constance Whiston

Fashion trends you love: In winter, I like boots in all different kinds of styles. I like infinity scarves and eccentric hairstyles. Once in a while you get to see a lot of creativity on Final Fridays with creativeness in clothes.

Lawrence comes alive with New Year's Eve events

Not sure yet where to make your toast to 2014? From restaurant specials to live shows, Lawrence lights up with many options on New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, December 25

Celebrate a new year (or two) with hot sauce

This year I decided to get a little more complicated and make my own hot sauce. “A little” is the key phrase there, because making your own hot sauce doesn’t take much work.

Monday, December 23

Mother grateful for ‘Christmas miracle’ after young actor collapses on Theatre Lawrence stage

When 20-year-old Jake Leet collapsed on stage Saturday night, audience members may have thought it was scripted — after all he was playing Donkey, the most physically animated character in Theatre Lawrence’s “Shrek.” But castmates quickly realized something was wrong. Leet was not breathing and had no pulse. Jake’s mother, Teri Leet of Lawrence, calls what happened next and in the following days a “Christmas miracle.” By Sara Shepherd

Lawrence businesses say it's been a good holiday shopping season

About 10 percent of you will still be shopping for gifts on Tuesday (yep, that's Christmas Eve), a National Retail Federation holiday survey estimates. As for the rest of us, local retailers can tell we’ve been checking off our lists. Businesses in downtown Lawrence, the city’s local retail hub, say it’s been a good season. By Sara Shepherd

Sunday, December 22

Eric Melin's 10 best movies of 2013

2013 was an embarrassment of film riches, and the best movies of the year are all over the place in terms of budget, scope, genre and style.

Kansas City Connection: Holiday diversions

Whether you’re stressed or relaxed, there’s still plenty of family fun to be had in Kansas City throughout 2013, as well as some great New Year’s Eve events we’ll preview in the second half of this week’s column.

Local writer's work recognized as Notable Essay in 'Best American Essays 2013'

“It’s just a Volkswagen,” the line reads in the first paragraph of Gregg Primo Ventello’s essay. A Volkswagen Passat he affectionately calls “Das Schweinehund,” translating literally as “pig-dog.”

Thursday, December 19

Arts Center hopes it's found perfect fit in second Steinway grand piano

When the Lawrence Arts Center parted with its recently acquired Steinway, it wasn’t because there was anything wrong with the instrument — it was a beautiful grand piano with a lot to offer. It’s just that, well, they found a better fit. By Sara Shepherd

Off the Beaten Plate: Ham and Corn Bun at Formosa Bakery

You’re not going to find these Asian breads by accident.

Style Scout: Zach Mandell

Fashion trends you love: I like that corduroys are in right now!

Fix-It Chick: Some handy gift ideas

When it comes to holiday gifts, wants and needs often collide. Here are 20 priceless Fix-It Chick gift ideas that might be just right for someone on your holiday list.

Chrismas Eve concert acts as annual town reunion

It’s been said that the best days of your life are in college, but who says you can’t keep moments from those days alive?

The Fashion Column Twins: Midseason inspiration

In the depth of winter I inevitably find myself in a fashion rut reaching for only black-colored comfortable pieces in my closet. Who wants to wear a fancy dress and heels in 20-degree weather? Not me!

Mrs. Mass.: Seize the doughnut

Doughnuts are not an everyday breakfast item, at least not in my household. The warm, doughy goodness decadently coated with sugar — and sometimes topped with happy sprinkles or an additional layer of frosting — is certainly a celebratory way to greet the day!

Style Scout: Rhen-Elyse Ward

Fashion trends you love: I love boots and imitation leather and furs but I don’t know if that’s a trend. I also really love natural hairstyles.

Garden Variety: Cherish the lowly worm

"Tremors,” a 1990 horror/comedy movie, features not one but four serious subterranean wormlike creatures dubbed “Graboids” — at 30 feet long and traveling at 20 miles per hour, they devoured everything from trucks to outhouses. Worms in real life compare only in shape and assumed bodily function, and hopefully we have more than four.

Family Adventures: Grandma's sugar cookies are a sweet inheritance

The best thing about baking with my grandma was that she was never very scrupulous about scraping every last drop of batter from the mixing bowl. As she said when I commented on it one time — spooning up globs of chocolate brownie batter as I spoke — “Grandma’s prerogative!” By Meryl Carver-Allmond

Salon-quality products available in unlikely places at unlikely prices

Most moms wouldn’t think to buy Christmas gifts for their daughters at a barber shop, but that’s not the case for moms like LeAnn Towner.

Wednesday, December 18

Bite Sighs: the Yule Log cake revisited

A new year is just around the corner; a fresh start full of amazing possibilities. In a fit of nostalgia, I decided to take a look at my very first Bite Sighs recipe: a Yule Log cake.

Try some mincemeat mini pies, a take on a holiday classic

Mention mincemeat pie in a crowd, and you’ll get the full spectrum of reactions.

Monday, December 16

Public art project suggested for new Lawrence roundabout

The Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission is asking the city to include an art project in the design of the new roundabout at Wakarusa and Legends drives. By Sara Shepherd

Sunday, December 15

Kansas City Connection: Soccer, shopping and holiday shows

Casa Mesa is a holiday shopping destination, and a roundup of holiday-themed theater.

Behind the Lens: Books for the shutterbug

If you’re not that knowledgeable about what photography-related gifts to get your favorite shutterbug, a safe alternative can be books. Here’s a short list of potential stocking-stuffers

Deadline extended for Langston Hughes writing award submissions

The submission deadline for the Langston Hughes writing awards co-sponsored by the Lawrence Arts Center and Raven Book Store has been extended to Friday, Dec. 20.

Dance shoe fund benefits young children at Lawrence Arts Center

The Lawrence Arts Center named the Candi Baker Shoe Fund in her honor following her retirement, as a scholarship means for young students who can’t afford to purchase dance shoes.

Thursday, December 12

'Naughty nurses' raising funds for Red Cross

The Bottleneck is hosting a Naughty Nurses for the Needy burlesque show Friday to raise money for the Red Cross disaster relief fund.

Style Scout: Andrew Chavez

Fashion trends you hate: Really long basketball shorts or sweatpants. It looks like you’re really not trying at all.

Style Scout: Francesca Whatley

Fashion trends you love: Skinny jeans, colorful clothes, fluffies and winged eyeliner.

Off the Beaten Plate: Tom Yum Shrimp at Thai Siam

“Yum” is right there in the name.

Mrs. Mass.: Waxing poetic

Candles seem like a kind of magical home decor item, don’t you think? What’s even better is that they make a great gift item for almost anyone. With that in mind, I headed to Waxman Candles, 609 Massachusetts St., to check out the goods and get a few holiday gift ideas. By Jessica Pauly

The Fashion Column Twins: Sporty winter style

When searching for stylish sportswear, I like to keep it simple and go for brands that I know will last.

Tease photo

Moving target: Arts Center’s ‘A Kansas Nutcracker’ keeps evolving

Ric Averill doesn’t stand still very long. Even catching the longtime artistic director for the performing arts at the Lawrence Arts Center in a casual conversation can be difficult. He’s always going somewhere.

Kansas Public Radio to host Big Band Christmas Concert

Kansas Public Radio is hosting its Big Band Christmas Concert at 8 p.m., on Dec. 14, at Liberty Hall this year.

De-stress with all-natural pampering treatments

Along with the joyous holidays, comes inevitable holiday stress.

Who knew rabbits tasted this good?

Rabbit is a favorite of many chefs in Lawrence. But why, and where does the meat come from?

Wednesday, December 11

Chicken and noodles a comfort food classic

With nods to the women who’ve handed it down to me, here is my version of our family chicken and noodles recipe.

Delicious/Nutritious: Cinnamon spice makes anything nice

This month's ingredient: Cinnamon

Sunday, December 8

Furniture artist Wendell Castle donates piece to Spencer Museum

In May, Kansas University gave Wendell Castle, father of the art furniture movement and a KU alumnus, an honorary doctorate of arts degree. On Thursday, Castle gave the university an honorary gift — a new piece of his artwork.

Concerts at Lied Center to feature traditional band, jazz Christmas music

The Kansas University Band and Symphonic Band will perform traditional and contemporary music, and the KU School of Music is presenting its annual jazz vespers performance in two separate concerts at the Lied Center this week.

Kansas City Connection: A menu that will boost your self-esteem

If you’ve eaten out at all in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed a trend toward craft foods, locally sourced ingredients and occasionally precious-sounding descriptions of the care and conscientiousness that went into each individual menu item.

Local writers of 'Echoes from the Prairie' find universality in each other's memories

The Great Plains Writers Group are a local group of writers who recently published their second collection of short memoirs, "Echoes from the Prairie."

Pop-up artist colony finds home in East Lawrence church-turned-house

Just another day at Pilot Balloon Church-House? There’s probably no such thing. The historic-church-turned-house at 10th and New York streets in East Lawrence is spending the year as a pop-up artist colony, where creatives from across the country stay a week or three and, basically, create whatever they want while here. By Sara Shepherd

Thursday, December 5

Style Scout: Greg Lang

Describe your style: I try to keep a modern look with an element of classy. I like a style that is a little bit more well-crafted.

Style Scout: Rachel Smalter Hall

Tell us a secret: Well, I’m a Scorpio and I do have a secret Scorpio handshake.

Tease photo

Lawrence Holiday Gift Guide 2013

With the holiday season in full gear, it's time to start gathering gifts for everyone on your list. What better way to give a meaningful gift than to find something that can't be found in any other town or any large commercial shopping center? By Nadia Imafidon

Lawrence Libations: Ruest at Bourgeois Pig

Taking the classic hot hard cider, and kicking it up a notch.

The Classic Sartorialist: Bundle up in style

Staying warm in the blustery cold of winter can all too easily translate into oversized parkas, ski gloves and orange-knit hunting hats. All of these have their place in winter hobbies, but they don’t belong on Massachusetts Street. When strolling across town, consider a few of these stylish updates for your winter wardrobe.

Mrs. Mass.: Loving the holidays in Lawrence

It is no secret that I love Lawrence. The people, the local shops and restaurants, the enthusiastic events and parades seemingly every other month — what’s not to love?

Layered performance

Actor, city employee shares trait with title character in Theatre Lawrence’s ‘Shrek’

If you’re looking for the perfect actor to play Shrek, the green-skinned ogre who is the subject of the beloved film and now a Broadway musical coming to Theatre Lawrence for the holidays, it would be hard to find someone better suited to the role than Knute Pittenger.

Infamous Stringdusters on tour to aid Colorado flood relief

The five-piece bluegrass Infamous Stringdusters are stopping in Lawrence on their winter “Road to Boulder” tour, while raising money and the profile of the devastating floods that took place in Colorado in September.

Wednesday, December 4

Grilled cheese makes for quick, fancy dinner

While I typically do a good job of mapping out our dinners each week, sometimes the plan goes awry as the holiday season picks up. With tree festivals and jingle jogs and cookies to make in the evenings, often we just want something simple but still delicious. Enter the fancy grilled cheese sandwich.

Sunday, December 1

Historical photos reveal Ottawa theater could be oldest working theater in U.S.

When invited to look at recently donated photographs of her family’s movie theater, Peach Madl wasn’t expecting to unleash an investigation into the history of cinemas in the U.S. But what resulted was the discovery that The Plaza Grill and Cinema in Ottawa is likely the oldest operating theater in America, having opened in 1905, predating San Francisco’s Victoria Theatre by three years. Let the news sink in and the shock wear off. A small town in Kansas, far away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood and New York City, is home to the country's oldest theater in continuous use. By Nadia Imafidon

Kansas City Connection: Seize the holidays

Recently I rediscovered an old Calvin and Hobbes collection titled “The Days Are Just Packed.” I always loved that title and the “seize the day” philosophy it suggests. It’s also a good way to describe what things will be like in Kansas City through the rest of the year.