Lawrence joins 98 other global venues for simultaneous 'cinematic Olympiad'
It started out small but potent. Nick Mason decided to set up a screening in New York's Union Square Park to showcase fledgling student filmmakers. "I had to go over to a friend's house to borrow a computer so I could make the press release, but the T button never worked right on it," Mason recalls.
If not for a city in Kansas, Pure Prairie League might never have existed. The members of the classic country-rock act, eventually known for the hit songs "Amie" and "Let Me Love You Tonight," were trying to come up with a name for the fledgling band in the late 1960s when the drummer happened across an airing of the 1939 film "Dodge City."
Documentary examines local school board case that evolved into national controversy
In the beginning, God created controversy. And filmmaker Jeff Tamblyn was there to cover it. To clarify, this particular "beginning" took place in 2005 when three members of the Kansas State Board of Education - Steve Abrams, Kathy Martin and Connie Morris - conducted controversial hearings to debate where God belonged in the classroom.
Songwriter Sarah Buxton performs her first hometown show since leaving for Nashville nearly a decade ago
Much of what audiences need to know about Sarah Buxton she spells out in the first lyric on her latest album. "I left Lawrence, Kansas, at the age of 17 / To chase down my own version of the American dream."Ten years later, that dream has evolved into a daily reality for the Nashville-based country artist.
Locally produced film explores hidden history of Haskell
The camera slowly dollies in on the stern face of actor Kevin Geer. About 30 cast and crew members crammed into the third floor of the Watkins Community Museum of History look on. "This is not a prison. There are no walls. No fences. But there is a clock," Geer scolds. "You will learn to respect time."
In the early hours of Aug. 21, 1863, several hundred Confederate raiders led by William Quantrill rode into Lawrence while the town slept, gunning down its citizens and setting houses ablaze.
The term "sketch comedy" doesn't quite encapsulate the event known as "The Victor Continental Show." Part choreographed musical, part topical commentary, part puppet show, part mammoth inside joke funny enough to pack Liberty Hall for two nights, "Victor Continental" has turned into one of Lawrence's most consistent live entertainment spectacles.
Move to Nashville allows Lawrence's Sarah Buxton to achieve her country singing and songwriting dreams
So much of what audiences need to know about Sarah Buxton she spells out in the first lyric on her latest album. She sings, "I left Lawrence, Kansas, at the age of 17 / To chase down my own version of the American dream." Ten years later, that dream has evolved into a daily reality for the Nashville-based country artist.
Rival Kansas teams prepare for battle on VH1's trivia tournament
NRVOUS. That condensed word was the answer to the question that Robert Bishop kept running over in his mind.
Ideals of feminine beauty lampooned in KU's musical production of 'Pageant'
The dapper, tuxedo-clad emcee singles out the six beauties who stand behind him. "You've got charm / You've got grace," he serenades the contestants as their eyelashes flutter and smiles beam at the audience. "You've got that something extra." In this case that "something extra" refers to a Y chromosome ... among other things.
Paul Santos believes there is a substantial buffer a puppet provides that separates an entertainer from his audience. "People are a lot more critical when they look at a human doing something than as they would with a puppet," says Santos, producer-director-writer of "The Felt Show."
Spencer Museum of Art collection encompasses a true paper warehouse
Every Friday, the Spencer Museum of Art opens its Print Room to requests. Want to look at rock music posters by Rick Griffin, pinups by Alberto Vargas, woodcuts by Antonio Maria Zanetti or photographs by Diane Arbus? Anything is fair game. "I love how I'm spoiled by getting to be so close to the objects," says Kate Meyer, curatorial assistant of Kansas University's department of prints and drawings.
When Lawrence High School teacher Jeffrey Kuhr and two of his film students were asked to screen their documentary at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., he began to realize what a groundswell of national support the project was receiving ... literally.
Kansas author launches 'seat-of-your-pants' competition for aspiring screenwriters
Watching the sights and sounds of thousands of deluded hopefuls audition for "American Idol" suggests that nearly everyone in the country believes they have the talent to become a pop star.Perhaps that goal is starting to shift to another medium.
For as much effort as organizers of the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival have put into distancing themselves from the "hippie music" label, it appears this year things turned out pretty groovy, man.
Eric Frodsham has indulged in many professional pursuits. He's been a minor league baseball pitcher, a lead singer of a rock band and is currently back in college studying to be a physicist. That's not stopping him from indulging in his newest occupation: filmmaker.
Because he performs under the stage name That 1 Guy, Mike Silverman is used to encountering misunderstandings while playing the festival circuit.
Lawrence man enjoys ringside seats to Wakarusa from comfort of own backyard
In many respects it's just a trailer. Cozy, clean and stationary. It's encircled by a charming yard, with statues, flowerpots, birdbaths, picnic tables and several American flags waving in the wind.
Mel Gibson missed a golden opportunity to hire the perfect band to play the wrap party for his latest cinematic epic, "Apocalypto." If only he had stumbled upon Kan'Nal.
When it comes to playing in bands, Eddie Roberts isn't averse to lead singers. He doesn't believe that they're all preening prima donnas. "I've just never found a singer who seemed to be on the same wavelength," says Roberts, guitarist, tambourine player and founder of The New Mastersounds. "Plus, it's kind of nice to be lyricless."
Dean Bevan is a cat person. "My parents always had cats while I was growing up, so that seemed to me to be the state of nature," the playwright says. Recently, Bevan was reading a book written by a friend that featured a human-sized, talking white rat.
Twin brother's death inspires sister to organize concert benefit to battle obesity
Twins Julie and Joe Welsh seemed like total opposites. Julie worked as a personal trainer and graduated Kansas University with an exercise science degree in 2003. She loved to run and bike. Joe hadn't been interested in sports much past childhood.
I've found that YouTube is the greatest source available for instantly locating the highlights, lowlights and most bizarre musical junctures in recorded history. That's largely because anybody can post anything - thus the "you" in YouTube - which often results in amateur moments of sheer audacity.
It's hard enough to make a movie. It's that much more difficult knowing that millions of viewers are scrutinizing every decision along the way. That's the premise of "On the Lot," a new Fox reality show produced by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett.
Students, faculty saddened by fate of murals slated to join rubble pile at South Junior High
When Steve Bagwell was a student at South Junior High School in the late 1990s, he began to treat the distinctive murals that filled the halls as a kind of global positioning system.
Esquire dubs Lawrence hot spot one of the best bars in America
A record store employee playing pinball, a grad student reading in the corner and a married couple smoking on the back patio may not be aware that they are perched within the best bar in Kansas.
Haskell Cultural Center offers 'gateway' to student legacy
Passers-by may see the Haskell Cultural Center and Museum as simply a lone wooden building on campus, but to Lori Tapahonso it represents the "the gateway to Haskell." "One of the blessings of having a cultural center is our alumni have a place where they can come back to and reminisce in a way that helps strengthen our students," says Tapahonso, public information officer at Haskell Indian Nations University.
Bill Lynch is a Midwest icon. And the musician is going to prove it this weekend. The singer-guitarist returns to his former hometown, toting his new backing band, the Midwest Icons. The quartet features legendary drummer James Gadson (Bill Withers, Paul McCartney, Beck), bassist Rick Moors (Bonedaddys) and multi-instrumentalist John Hoke (Rod Piazza) - all products of the Kansas City area.
Local music promoter adjusts to life after heart transplant
Eight months ago, Merle Zuel showed up to his job at Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City, Mo., where he splits time working the door and booking bands. "I got the money from the bartender, walked back across the room, started to feel weird, then I hit the ground," Zuel recalls. "I lost consciousness and went into a fatal heart rhythm. But my defibrillator brought me back around."
Cult performer extracts humor from being not very funny
Flanked by camera flashes and microphones wielded by the Hollywood media, Neil Hamburger found himself roving the red carpet usually reserved for the entertainment industry's glitterati.
Actor Gary D. Farmer has never turned down a role because he objects to the way it portrays his heritage. He prefers a different strategy. "What I do is rewrite the script and fax it back to them," Farmer says.
High schoolers expose military's enlistment tactics in their film 'No Child Left Unrecruited'
It started as a class assignment. Lawrence High School students in a broadcast media class were asked to make a short clip of an advertisement. Simple enough. "Over the summer I had gotten a letter from an Army recruiter that offered me money to enlist with him. And we see recruiters at lunch all the time, so we thought they're like an advertisement in our school," says LHS senior Alexia Welch. "It was supposed to be a five-minute thing, but the more we found out about it, the more we realized it had to be a movie."
Renowned actor, former Jayhawk returns for Trailblazer honor
Dee Wallace Stone has been stalked by rabid dogs, cannibals and werewolves. She's been replaced by a look-alike robot. She's shared a house with a space alien. She's even been seduced by Dudley Moore. The Kansas native and Jayhawk alumna has been through it all in a film career that started with 1975's "The Stepford Wives" and is going strong with roles in five feature films slated to be released this year.
Exhibit showcases link between art, parenting
Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Lora Jost has found a way to sidestep that problem - at least when it comes to the link between child and adult artists.
Lawrence members of the KC Roller Warriors gear up for a new season of roller derby
Hannah Hurst is busy pushing a stroller occupied by her 2-year-old daughter. But come Saturday, the stay-at-home mom will be maneuvering a different set of wheels.
The young German students who comprise the Guitar Orchestra of Eutin are on the road enjoying their first trip across the United States. Having just performed in Los Angeles, they are heading to Las Vegas for a concert and then making a brief excursion to marvel at the Grand Canyon.
Lawrence comedians return for festival of spontaneous humor
Der Monkenpickel. It's not a real term ... in any language. It was concocted one day when fellow Lawrence residents Corey Rittmaster and Ed Goodman were discussing how the two funniest words in the English language were monkey and pickle. "Then we thought we'd class it up a little by giving it a German bastardization," Rittmaster recalls.
K. Ryan Jones was watching at a sports bar in Austin, Texas, when his Jayhawks conquered the hometown Longhorns in the Big 12 Tournament championship game. "I had three pieces of KU apparel with me, and I've been wearing them every day in some fashion," Jones says.
University Archives preserves KU's extensive legacy
Rebecca Schulte leads the way through a maze of artifacts. She arrives at a secluded room - formerly a projection booth - and unlocks the door. Behind it, bird-shaped heads, feet and bodies are strewn about like some kind of poultry processing plant.
When they first appeared on "The Tonight Show," host Jack Paar told the Smothers Brothers, "I don't know what you two guys have, but no one's going to steal it." True enough. Despite being hailed as inspirations to an entire generation of Vietnam-era comedians, no one has ever tried to adopt the same mix of sibling rivalry, social commentary and folk music balladry as Dick and Tommy Smothers.
Thirty-year anniversary of KU Jazz Festival reunites alumni once forbidden from performing the style
Lawrence has earned a reputation as a haven for underground music. That same attribute hasn't always applied to Kansas University, however. Prior to 1972, jazz was all but forbidden within the music department. Students from the era recall former fine arts dean Thomas Gorton threatening those he heard playing jazz in the practice rooms to stop or he'd yank their scholarships.
Oscar offers global invitations to Hollywood's biggest night
It started out in 1929 as a private party thrown at a Hollywood hotel. Since then, the Academy Awards has turned into one of the largest media happenings in the world. And for the 2007 ceremony, the event has expanded its global scope to an unprecedented level.
George Winston has been dubbed the "father of new age music." For years he has done everything in his power to downplay the title. "I've actually got a vasectomy. So I'm the father of nothing," Winston says, laughing.
Theatre on the Rocks showcases untapped potential of bar-based sketch humor
Drinking and driving don't mix. But what about drinking and live sketch comedy? So far, the blend seems to be working for Theatre on the Rocks. The Lawrence troupe concocts a fresh show each month, presenting short plays and skits from its home base at Fatso's, 1016 Mass.
The soundtrack to the cable-TV movie "High School Musical" was the biggest-selling album of 2006.
As bicentennial of his birth approaches, 16th president enjoys pop iconic status
Most Americans think of the stovepipe hat, the famous penny profile and a booming voice intoning, "Four score and seven years ago ..." But beyond these iconic impressions, Abraham Lincoln remains among the most complicated and important figures in American history.
Lawrence musicians savor Grammy Award nominations
Pianist Robert Koenig was between lessons during a day of teaching at Kansas University when he decided to go online to peruse that morning's Grammy nominations.
Lawrence hopefuls find their way onto TV's biggest stage
'"Dare to dream." That's the motto of the country's most popular television show. And for some Lawrence hopefuls, the dream to appear on "American Idol" has been realized.
Based on the 1981 hit Broadway play, Dreamgirls has been hyped all year as a frontrunner for Best Picture, and now that it has finally arrived, it turns out to be as phony as Pat Boone covering a Little Richard tune. It is big and showy and loud, but director Bill Condon's attempts to make the movie more socially relevant than the theatrical production just serve to highlight what little soul was there in the first place.
"The Hitcher" is the latest bland attempt to scare teens of today by updating a movie their parents probably watched a generation ago. And it's no more -- or less -- successful than recent spins on "When a Stranger Calls," "The Amityville Horror" or "Black Christmas."