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Nick Krug

Stories by Nick

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A look at the 2017 Phoenix Award winners — through the eyes of those who nominated them

For the 22nd year, the city of Lawrence and the Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission will present Phoenix Awards to several local artists who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in their field or in promotion of the arts and arts education in Lawrence. The awards ceremony will be today at 2 p.m. at the Lawrence Arts Center. Here’s a look at the 2017 award recipients — through the eyes of those who nominated them.

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Renowned Lawrence sculptor Kris Kuksi releases new book

If you just looked at the floor of artist Kris Kuksi’s North Lawrence studio, the sight provides a pretty clear vision of the kind of disorder an energetic child could create if left unattended for hours. Action figurines lie next to toy motorcycle parts while a disassembled space craft, a toy machine gun and the vertebrae from a miniature skeleton congregate near the steeple of a model church. Although the studio is dusty and somewhat chaotic, all of the disarray comes to a halt when you set your eyes on his sculptures, which are pristinely and meticulously crafted as evidenced by his new book Conquest, which was released in early October.

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Your guide to finding fun on the farm picking pumpkins

If getting your winter boots a little dusty isn’t quite your thing, a nearby grocery store might be the place for you as far as perusing this year’s pumpkins. But if you want to catch a wagon ride, drink some hot cider or momentarily entertain your kids’ fantasies of bringing home a 70-pound behemoth, then the intersection of North 1500 and East 1850 roads is ground zero for the Douglas County pumpkin experience.

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Chef's Choice: Limestone's mushroom pizza is 'go-to' for Ramen Bowls owners

Pretty much the moment a server at a restaurant asks if I’d like to hear about the specials, I nod but usually drift off to a place where words just become sounds that don’t matter. I’m not trying to be impolite, I just have favorite menu items that I really look forward to everywhere I go. So, when Ramen Bowls and Luckyberry owners Shantel and Tim Grace told me they both order the mushroom pizza at Limestone, always, I knew I was in good company.

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As Halloween nears, stained-glass artist's works take on a darker tone

Artist John Niswonger’s stained-glass hawk feathers would look nice in just about any window and might even make a nice gift for a loved one. But here’s guessing that your grandmother would not react the same way if she were to unwrap his one hundred-piece homage to the 1970s low-budget, horror movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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Exhibition of Native American nude paintings hopes to 'tear down' a cultural taboo

Among the upcoming Final Friday exhibitions is a show at the Phoenix Underground, which artist and organizer Brent Learned is sure will offer a unique experience not only in subject matter, but also in its assemblage.

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Musical adaptation of Hanks, DiCaprio film to make debut at Theatre Lawrence

For its opening act of the 2017-2018 season, Theatre Lawrence will present the musical Catch Me If You Can, which director Ric Averill explains goes much deeper than a simple tale of cat and mouse.

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Chef's Choice: Fried chicken from an unexpected source

Just when you thought you’d finished that 800-page novel on fried chicken restaurants in Lawrence, Reagan Petrehn, co-owner of 1900 Barker Cafe and Bakery, decided to write a new page with a visit to an unexpected restaurant. This month for Chef's Choice, we travel to Hank Charcuterie, for — yes — fried chicken.

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Monuments of a different type honor civil rights heroes at Lawrence exhibition

As bronze statues of Confederate figures are creating national controversy, there's hope that a Lawrence exhibition featuring quilts and textiles of civil rights heroes will bring people together.

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Chef's Choice: Pho with Lee Meisel

For this month’s edition of Chef’s Choice, Lee Meisel of Leeway Franks decided that Little Saigon Cafe was his spot for pho. Perhaps that's because Little Saigon owners Steve and Anna Nguyen have mastered the classic Vietnamese dish to the same degree that Meisel has mastered sausages and frankfurters.

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Artist Anson DeOrnery makes viewers a part of his work

Not many artists readily admit that their set intention with their work is to disappoint the viewer. Anson DeOrnery, who goes by the artist name Anson The Ornery, on the other hand, has a show at the Lawrence Arts Center titled Deluge, which is, well, kind of a bummer the more it is explored. According to the artist, that’s precisely the point.

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How a little sweat equity can earn you a bicycle

You know that old junker of a bike that’s been sitting in your garage? The one with all the spiders on it that has two flat tires with punctured tubes and an unattached, rusty chain that’s leaving a stain on the concrete? That’s the one. Now imagine 60 of those in your garage or basement.

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Chef's Choice: La Estrella and 'the perfect taco'

Some might call it serendipitous that Ladybird Diner owner Meg Heriford found her favorite taco in town while searching for a few staples for her restaurant. What’s most likely, however, is that she was lured just a little off the beaten path by a star, shining brightly, even in broad daylight.

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Retired Lawrence police officer dives deeper into acting with film being shown at Free State Festival

It’s possible that the 27 years he spent with the Lawrence Police Department served Paul Fellers well when it came to sniffing out acting roles. In the twilight of his career with the LPD, Fellers began moonlighting as an actor and was cast in two different roles, which must have seemed like natural fits.

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29th Outdoor Downtown Sculpture Exhibition kicks off this week

For this year’s Outdoor Downtown Sculpture Exhibition, Lawrence residents and visitors will be treated to works by some familiar names such as Kate Dineen and John Rasmussen, but also ODSE first-timers like Alicia Kelly.

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A Chef's Choice tour at Bon Bon! and a healthy dose of 'buns'

For this month’s edition of Chef’s Choice, T.K. Peterson, owner/chef of Merchants Pub and Plate decided that traveling to the “Far East” was a must for eating Katsu Buns. Happy to oblige, I booked my travel, packed my bags and journeyed to far East Lawrence, to eat my “Bunz” off at Bon Bon!.

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'The Music Man' comes to town

For Charlie Goolsby, Friday’s opening of "The Music Man" at Theatre Lawrence will be his third time directing the musical, which he says brings him back to his childhood watching the American classics on late-night television.

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Chef's Choice: A Chicago dog with Chef Rick Martin

For the first installment of Chef’s Choice, I met with chef-owner Rick Martin of Limestone Pizza, 814 Massachusetts St., and invited him to a lunch at any restaurant in town other than his own. His choice: the Chicago dog at Leeway Franks.

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KU professor awarded Guggenheim Fellowship for family photo project

For many attuned to the Kansas art scene, the name Daniel Coburn might recall beautiful black and white images of sweeping Kansas landscapes with not-so-subtle indications of the human impact on our environment. Although Coburn has certainly received recognition for his portrayals of nature’s complex relationship with humans, he was recently awarded a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship for his work that has involved rotating his lens 180 degrees and turning his attention to another complexity, his own family history.

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First-time filmmaker's work to debut at Liberty Hall this week

Lawrence resident Kalee Forsythe says she wants to be a writer/director “more than anything in the world,” but unlike Sara, the lead female role in her film “E 1200,” Forsythe didn’t have to get a $5,000 loan from a sadistic drug dealer named Alice to make it all happen. But, she did need $5,000 to get the dream off the ground. She got it through the slightly less stressful method of an Indiegogo campaign.

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KU Distinguished Alumnus to give jazz tribute to Langston Hughes

For many in town, the name Ron McCurdy might be linked with fond memories of trumpets and tubas blasting over the triumphs of Danny Manning and Larry Brown while McCurdy served as director of the Kansas Basketball Band in the late 80s. It’s possible that KU music majors may have recorded jazz pieces within a Murphy Hall studio named after McCurdy, where he once served as the first director of Jazz Studies. For everyone else stateside and far flung around the globe, McCurdy, a KU Distinguished Alumni, is best known for creating the Langston Hughes Project, which he has performed internationally and which he will be bringing back to KU during a performance on April 7 in Swarthout Recital Hall.

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Behind the scenes at Lawrence's Fight Club

If you hear the name Lawrence Fight Club, you’re probably picturing a dingy and damp basement in some old building on Mass Street with fluorescent lights flickering from the ceiling. Down below a circle of spectators surrounds two shirtless dudes who are pulverizing each other.

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6 restaurants in 2 hours? Journal-World staffers take a chicken challenge

If you’ve kept up with Chad Lawhorn’s Town Talk and you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering exactly what the cluck is going on with all of these fried chicken joints popping up around town. To further investigate the allure, as every journalist should, I enlisted the help of sports editor Tom Keegan and the fried chicken oracle of Lawrence himself, Chad Lawhorn, to eat at all of them.

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Lawrence musicians making commercial music heard all over the world

If the names Sam and Dan Billen ring a bell, it might be that you heard their music while popping around the Lawrence music scene at The Bottleneck or Jackpot Saloon in the early- to mid-2000s. But you’ve likely heard their music and not known it — and it may even have caused you to grab your wallet.

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Residents share their wildly unpopular and totally nonpolitical opinions

Give us your wildly unpopular, nonpolitical opinions.

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A process revealed: Arts Center exhibit gives glimpse into photojournalism

A current exhibit at the Lawrence Arts Center, featuring works by Mike Yoder and Richard Gwin, two photographers with well over a half-century’s worth of combined years at the Lawrence Journal-World, aims to bring forth the hidden process. By presenting prints of contact sheets while on assignment, and photos selected after being pushed through the various channels of editing, “the work” is made visible.

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Pageant contestant has unique and colorful talent

In 90 seconds, most people could probably fry an egg on a preheated pan, fill up an empty tank of gas on a compact car or peel and cut up an apple with fingers fully intact. Most people, however, could not produce a large-scale painting of anything remotely recognizable before an audience while wearing high heels.

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65 colorful characters in Lawrence artist John Sebelius' upcoming show

It would be pretty difficult to forget meeting a anyone with a name like Gizmo Joe, or Mothman or Pat the Hat from Slab City, California. A pinky-ringed cabbie from Jersey named Al? Fahgettaboudit! For Lawrence artist John Sebelius, the memories of these four and 61 others certainly haven’t faded, as he has recorded them in great, colorful detail for his upcoming show, Cupcakes, which opens at Phoenix Gallery for Final Fridays on Nov. 26.

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New book aims for a clearer look at Phog Allen

Most Kansas basketball fans can recall from memory the classic photo of the game’s creator James Naismith standing proudly on the left with the coach Phog Allen to his right. The two figures of basketball royalty are both wearing fedoras and the only thing stopping them from holding hands is a basketball that they hold together. The image portrays the two as allies and collaborators in lock step, cradling the game in its fledgling years. But a new book on Phog Allen suggests reality wasn't nearly as picturesque.

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'Pinnacle of Nuttiness' — Political state of affairs a dominating theme this Final Friday

If going downtown to unwind and unplug yourself from the presidential election, the talking heads and hot-button political issues is on your agenda for the upcoming Final Fridays, let this serve as a warning to steer clear of several works of art.

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Whether you call her Cheese Whiz or Big Cheese, Lawrence resident now in most exclusive of cheese clubs

After waiting for six weeks, on Sept. 2, Knickerbocker, who heads the Murray’s Cheese Shop at the Dillons at 4701 W. Sixth St., said that she received word that she had passed the three-hour, 150-question Certified Cheese Professional exam.

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Are you a Cheese Whiz? Answers to the quiz

Answers to the cheese quiz.

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Art between friends: Lawrence artists collaborate despite 1,000-mile separation

Two Lawrence friends, Adam Smith and Adam Lott have collaborated on a Final Fridays show despite having more than a thousand miles between them.

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Lawrence jeweler and metalsmith gets national recognition

The chance of hearing a jeweler talk about the beauty of cement, coal or industrial latex within a conversation about engagement rings is just about as likely as hearing a construction foreman asking for more diamonds, gold or silver in the concrete mix. That being said, Lawrence jeweler and metalsmith Cate Richards, who was recently named to American Craft Week’s list of “30 Exceptional Craftspeople Under the Age of 30,” is garnering some attention for melding what many believe are seemingly incongruous materials into her own fine art.

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LOOK: In the yoga world, some like it even hotter

On a day when the National Weather Service had issued an excessive heat warning for over half of the state, most in Lawrence didn’t dare set a foot outside to dip even as much as a big toe in a pool. However, on July 22, one place in town, specifically 1405 Massachusetts, had their heaters going with temperatures hovering between 100 and 110 degrees for over an hour and nobody seemed to mind.

Behind the Lens: Journal-World drone could offer a different perspective

Recently, editors at the Lawrence Journal-World approached the photo department about incorporating video and still photographs shot from a drone into our reportage. Initially, the idea was met with some hesitation, in part because of the potential costs. But speaking at least for myself, I also was a bit nervous about crashing the thing and getting blamed for trashing a piece of expensive equipment.

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Behind the Lens: How to survive a court-storming

If my calculations are correct, Kansas University men’s basketball opponents are more or less good for about three to four court-stormings a season. I’ve learned a few things about how to protect myself and how to convey the gravity of the moment without getting trampled.

Behind the Lens: Pooling with the president

When Journal-World photo chief Mike Yoder told me that we had been offered a position in President Barack Obama’s press pool during his Jan. 22 visit to Lawrence, I believe I channeled Keanu Reeves when I responded, “Whooooooooaaaaa.”

Behind the Lens: Basketball games keep photographers (and fans) on their toes

Plenty of my photographer colleagues believe that basketball sits at the top of the list among the easiest sports to cover. Often the reasons they cite are that it’s played on a relatively small court and also for the predictability of the action’s direction.

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Behind the Lens: 'Jayhawk Decade'

Looking through images I’ve made during 359 games has taught me a lesson about being somewhat selective while shooting, but I also learned a little about the importance of meticulous archiving practices.

When deciding on vacation camera gear, less can be more

A defenseless feeling creeps over me when I get too far away from my camera gear for too long.

Behind the Lens: ‘Chimping’ a photography faux pas

Chimping is the aptly named industry term for when a photographer takes a picture and immediately refers to the LCD screen on his or her digital camera for the instant gratification that only it could provide.

Behind the Lens: Remotes help you be in 2 places at once

It always seems as though referees pass in front of the photographers right when players like Ben McLemore are milliseconds away from completely “posterizing” a helpless defender. The result is a view of a tremendous play obscured behind the backside of the game official.

Behind the Lens: Lights can help separate photo subject, background

I’ve talked before about visual style and how each Journal-World photographer gravitates toward creating a particular look in the photos we create.

Behind the Lens: Stuck in a photo rut

Several readers have commented to me before that they can often pick with a great success rate which Journal-World photographer shot a particular photo on a given day without looking at the credit.

Behind the Lens: Dear Lawrence Project redux

Not so fast if you were thinking about putting away that shoebox of old photos.

Behind the Lens: Phone apps don’t lessen journalistic credibility

For anyone who thought the whole funky, camera app craze was just a fad, the April sale of Instagram to Facebook for about a billion smackaroos may suggest otherwise.

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Behind the Lens: Camera tempts subjects to break the fourth wall

In news-gathering situations, most photographers make a conscious effort not to allow their presence to influence the events around them.

Behind the Lens: Final thoughts on the Final Four

The NCAA Tournament, and more specifically the Final Four, can be regimented to the point of peculiarity.

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Behind the Lens: A photographer’s notes from the postgame scrum

If you had the chance to catch the postgame celebration following the Jayhawks’ 80-67 victory over North Carolina, you probably saw the team pour onto the floor in celebration after the buzzer.

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