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Tim vonHolten

Stories by Tim

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Review: Brooktown High (PSP)

Welcome to Konami's Brooktown High, or as I like to call this morally reprehensible little gem, The Training Manual for Deserving School-Shooting Victims

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Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PSP)

R&C has always provided the gamer with a full, challenging, and fun experience. As far as I know, they've got the 'Lombax mechanic with wrench and robot pal' niche sewn up.

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Thrift-store cowboy

Sweet western shirt costs only dime, changes a life forever

For those who had a prosperous year, Christmas morning held the promise of a nice goose and a plump red visitor with an engorged sack filling your flue. Who doesn't dream of being smothered in a flood of oversized packages swollen with the love of their fellow man? Who indeed?

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Wanda (Sykes) does it

Queen of Comedy Central comes to K.C.

Wanda Sykes has one of those voices that makes you laugh no matter what she's saying. Her segments on Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers," for instance, where she's complaining to a mechanic about the, uh, dookie left in her back seat, or calling a prison to arrange a conjugal visit - with anyone who's up for it - are among the show's most hilarious moments.

A firm grip and a smooth snatch

For Master Esthetician Elizabeth Krull, technique can make the difference between pain and worse pain

Once upon a time, Big Wheels had hand brakes, Corvairs were the pinnacle of speed and handling, and a man's chest fur was a hirsute treasure to be cultivated and cherished by himself and all others.

The hole truth

Archaeologist/Soldier of Fortune Jessica Craig cracks the whip on danger

After years of coursework, research, and digging in severe heat with pick, trowel and soft-bristle brush; after earning an undergraduate degree and a Master's degree, and beginning a Ph.D (whatever that is) that will include defending three field statements and another thesis; after being separated from her fiancee for months at a time and learning the difference between a shard of glass and a sherd of pottery (the difference is one letter), Jessica Craig still steps willingly into a world of calamity. A world of peril. A world of villainous guides, Nazis, and traitorous monkeys. Jessica Craig is an archaeologist. For real.

Single lens reflux

Watch the birdie : and show Nick Erker your ass

If you're one of those troublemakers who thinks that sorority and fraternity life involves nothing more than getting intoxicated enough to be counted as legally dead and abusing people who work for a living, stop reading now. If you think the Greek system is ridden with emotionally stunted children looking for other emotionally stunted children with whom to have emotionally stunted sex, then this story is not for you. There's nothing here that will change your mind.

Ladder Day Saints

Lawrence firefighter saves lives, doesn't make love to Jennifer Jason Leigh

In real life, our childhood fantasies are frequently pushed aside in order to try making a living writing snotty little "stories" about other peoples' jobs instead of pursuing dreams of a cowboy life. Um, for example. But in real life, horses do exist, and some stalwart men and women ride the range rounding up doggies or something. And real-life robbers from lower-income neighborhoods are busted by real-life cops. There are even real astronauts, believe it or not. And some people actually ignore the sphincter-tightening reality that fire is something you run away from. Fast.

Q&A with King Buzzo of The Melvins

The new Melvins record is a collaboration with a guy named Lustmord called "Pigs of the Roman Empire." The cover is on the back. And that's just the beginning of the sass. King Buzzo (above, center) has been defying convention with his band Melvins for 20 years. They've weathered major label contracts, tours with White Zombie, and "Dookie," and have emerged as smooth and freakish as a two-headed snake. How, you may ask. Dunno. spoke with the miraculously locked monarch about literally thousands of topics, all of which can be found at, but some right here.

Q&A with Sebadoh

Lou Barlow and Jason Lowenstein resurrect a minimal Sebadoh

A lot about Sebadoh seems accidental. The band's very existence began as a side project for Lou Barlow, who was trying to cope with playing bass in the less-than-democratic environment of the band Dinosaur Jr.

Q&A with The Waxwings

Descent out of madness

Sell your Verizon stock. Their cell phones don't work. But in between the seven (SEVEN!) call drops, managed to have a very nice conversation with Dean Fertita from the Waxwings while he was watching a friend sky dive. We don't know who he was waiting for (Thanks again, Verizon), but between "Hello?" and "Did you get that last part?," we managed to talk about the new record ("Let's Make Our Descent"), Detroit, and "the letter."

Dude, where's my fame?

Laid-back Houston rapper trying to give Texas a better name

It's no secret that Texas is a state populated primarily by self-admiring, soft-headed boneheads and shitkicker-wearing nimrods with belt buckles as big as their constant-look-of-surprise faces. Between the raging floodwaters and Dubya's insistence that all non-Caucasians register at the border, it doesn't seem to be a very welcoming environment for a rapper, let alone a rapper who makes no secret of his love of R & B (reefer and beer). But alas, Houston native Devin the Dude continues to thrive and produce stoned, funky gems from within the armpit of North America. July 13 marks the release date for "To Tha X-Treme," Devin's latest LP. spoke with Devin the Dude about parenthood, sluts, and boo boo'n. F'sho.

Q&A with Bob Schneider

According to and, Bob Schneider has been romantically linked to Sandra Bullock. So whatever you think about his music, it comes down to who's dated Sandra Bullock. And you haven't. But never mind the Bullocks. The Austin music veteran was also a member of the Scabs and has a regular gig at the legendary Antones. So there.

Q&A with Jamie Masefield of Jazz Mandolin Project

There was a time when Jamie Masefield was playing in 5 different bands on a number of different instruments and free lancing gigs across New England. But in none of these experiences was he getting to play jazz on the mandolin. In 1993, he began booking one night a month at a non-profit coffeehouse in Burlington called The Last Elm Café, a move that put his vision on the map. The name, "the Jazz Mandolin Project" began as a personal title toward a goal toward which he would focus all his energy. Masefield put his Project on hold just long enough to grant this interview.

Q&A with Skeeter of The Hackensaw Boys

There are lots of mountains in the world but few are older or wiser than the Blue Ridge of Virginia. An hour's drive west from the state capital, foothills cradle the small city of Charlottesville where generations of workers, artists and students have built a progressive community steeped in the best traditions of the American South. The Hackensaw Boys first began playing their joyful blend of old-time and bluegrass string-band music on the streets of Charlottesville in the autumn of 1999. Later, in the year 2004, spoke with said Boys regarding some hippie fest they're playing here in Lawrence, Kansas.

Q&A with Jim Eno of Spoon

What the hell are Spoon doing at the Wakarusa Music Festival? Well, just like everyone else who doesn't have a golden retriever wearing a bandana, they're here to see Guided by Voices. But that's not important. What's important is that they're here to rock you in a Spoon-like fashion. Thank goodness we're not in Wyoming. Sure, they've got mountains, but we've got Spoon.

Q&A with Chuck Mead of BR549

That guy in the hat singing for Nashville favorites BR549 is from Lawrence. But did leaving our campestral municipality make him all highfalutin'? Hell, no. He still answers the phone when we call, and answers the stupidest questions we can throw at him. Nice manners, that Mead boy.

Q&A with Ben Nichols of Lucero

Lucero's a weird band. Are they southern rock? Emo? Indie? An alt-country Nickelback? Or are they just a hard-working rock band trying to, in the words of Elvis Presley (with whom they share a practice space), "Follow That Dream." spoke with the craggy-voiced singer about murder, Tiger Style Records, and murder.

Q+A with Charlie Hunter

If you haven't heard Charlie Hunter, you may be missing the second coming of jazz. Blue Note and Impulse, fortunately, are mostly resting on their laurels. Unfortunately, when they're not, we get more Easy Listening Vanilla Knobzak from whichever Brecker or Marsalis happens to be hanging around the lobby. Jazz used to have stones the size of Chet Baker's heroine habit and enough mojo to make you cough just looking at the album covers. Charlie may be a little short on the grit side, but what he does bring to the table is real jazz, infused with enough funk to make the entire Warner Brothers catalog wet their tiny pants.

Q+A with Dan Bejar of Destroyer

Dan Bejar has been making records that no one really understands for years now under the name Destroyer, and apparently that's okay. Not just that he's been making records, but that no one understands them. They're not meant to be understood by anyone but Dan Bejar, unless you're one of the other people that understands them. So apparently they're not necessarily that un-understandable after all.

The most important meal of the day

Sean Tucker fed hundreds of people this week. What did you do?

If you've previously limited your philanthropy to bludgeoning mobile phone users or breaking the windows of pharmaceutical representatives' Hummers, you may need to reconsider your level of involvement. Although these are certainly valuable societal offerings, there are other ways - surprisingly, even legal ways - to contribute to the betterment of humanity.

Q+A with Clinic

Liverpool's Clinic is on their way to Lawrence to bring their brand of surgically altered pop music to The Bottleneck. Walking a scalpel's edge between garage rock (whatever that is now) and horror movie soundtrack spookiness, Clinic operates (hee hee) on their own plane, and may soon put Liverpool** on the map. spoke with Clinic frontman Ade Blackburn about masks, radiology, kimonos, Radiohead (a lot), and lazy critics. **Liverpool is in England

Heaping helping with a side of ranch

J.D. Kerr's bad choices lead out to the farm

J.D. Kerr has made some bad choices in his lifetime. Not bad choices like choosing the wrong wallpaper or going to see a Martin Lawrence movie; bad choices leading to drug and alcohol abuse, abandonment, and jail time.

Q&A with Styx :: The Grand Illusion

Chicago-based prog rock band Styx had become one of the most popular acts in America by 1984. But the Styx hit the fan when founding member Dennis DeYoung's vision of the band ran counter to the that of the rest of the band. And it got messy. But after various starts and stops including death, litigation, and debilitating illness, Tommy Shaw and founding member James Young are back at it, touring in support of "Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology," a 35-song career retrospective. spoke with James Young (JY) at 8:30 in the freaking morning about the new record, the likelihood of a reunion with Dennis DeYoung, and how bitter he's not.

Slip Not :: Cleveland's Mushroomhead grinds its way to Lawrence

It takes a discerning ear to unfurl the petals of the rose that is modern metal -- while Slipknot may excel in simple batshit mayhem, the strength of Mushroomhead may lie in their Faith No More-inspired operatic layering. But who's to say. If you get right down to it, isn't there room for two eight to nine-member bands wearing terrifying masks and uniforms? As long as they're not Insane Clown Posse, is there really any harm being done?

She believes the children are our future

Pre-school teacher Stephanie Duncan's iron-fisted reign of terror

Stephanie Duncan doesn't wake up in the morning with the intention of undermining the American way of life, but as lead teacher of Lawrence Community Nursery School, she wields considerable power. And as the adage goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

No Status Quo :: Artist Eric Drooker brings his righteous noise to Lawrence

Artist Eric Drooker's passionate renderings have been seen everywhere from the covers of The New Yorker and The Village Voice to the brick walls and lampposts of South America; from the New York Times Op Ed page to finer comic book stores. He's collaborated with Allen Ginsberg and Rage Against the Machine. And whether it's with a harmonica, a booming bass drum, or graphic depictions of class struggle, he's getting a message to the people: discontentment, tempered with optimism. spoke with Eric about creativity, responsibility, and his upcoming week in Lawrence.

Q+A with Dark Star Orchestra

Unlimited Devotion

Love 'em or hate 'em, for 150 years the Grateful Dead were arguably the most influential touring act in the world. They gave the concert experience a complete overhaul, and they generated a crossover appeal that has yet to be matched. And they proved that, with enough history, you can get away with anything. The Dark Star Orchestra doesn't so much carry on the Dead tradition as relive it, traveling the golden road of Dead shows past with a pathological devotion and attention to detail. spoke with drummer Rob Koritz during some time off from channeling Mickey Hart.

Q+A with All Night Radio

When was but a sprog, we had the rare opportunity to travel briefly but eventfully with the Merry Pranksters themselves.

Q+A with Low Flying Owls

Let's get one thing straight: There's nothing dark about The Darkness. To digress momentarily, that fey singer doesn't come remotely close to being the heir to Freddie Mercury either. Freddie's falsetto was purposeful, not used because he couldn't hit high notes. Anyway, they're not dark. The first Batman movie wasn't dark. It was supposedly based on Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (DARK!), but thanks to the damp, pasty hand of Tim Burton, all darkness was exorcised before its release. The point, if you can really call it that, is that it's high time that people were reminded what darkness is.

Q+A with Phantom Planet

The Jason Schwartzman regime has ended. No longer can the iron fist of the Son of Talia be felt about the throats of the remaining young innocents of Phantom Planet. Although his presence is still felt by those who were unfortunate enough to incur his wrath, his name is now only spoken in whispers, and only by the very brave. spoke to a jet-lagged Jacques Brautbar, guitarist for Phantom Planet, about the press, the Amish, and life after Rushmore.

Q+A with Ziggy Marley

In a short but frustrating interview, spoke with Ziggy Marley, son of Bob Marley, who, among other contributions, has ensured that college students will always have a soundtrack to their freshman year. But this isn't about Bob. To our knowledge, it isn't about anything else, either. Huge, unintelligible segments have been omitted. Oblique references to unknown topics are retained where possible. apologizes for failing to better engage the groovy Mr. Marley.

Q+A with Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins has a lot to be mad about. The legendary Black Flag front man-turned-standup comedian/motivational speaker has seen what's going on in the world, and isn't happy. At all.

They call me : Mister Adam

Adam Mitchell is nicer than you

As a lad, Adam Mitchell played by himself or read books while his mother worked the night shift. Nothing Dickensian; it was just the simple reality of being a child of a working parent. While Mitchell could have easily become a self-involved, thrift store mannequin like the rest of his generation, he instead developed conscience and responsibility -- he works with kids. Sweet kids, too. They call him... Mr. Adam.

Q+A with British Sea Power

Since England is the last nation that still supports our oil hungry meddling, you should consider it your civic duty to embrace and celebrate British Sea Power.

Q+A with Ming + FS

For those unfamiliar in the Junkyard arts, please prepare to be educated. Stepping up to their four decks with guitar and bass in hand (and a bevy of production equipment), Ming + FS whip their music into a mind-blowing frenzy, mixing razor sharp drum patterns with pin-point accurate scratching and chest caving bass.

Q&A with The People :: The populist view

Kansas City's The People are nearing a release date for their debut album from Astralwerks Records, and it will most likely be released under the name Populist. That's right, scoop-hungry reader. Apparently a band from the '60s still owns the rights to the name "The People." Still, with a new label, a new record, a new name, and an impending wedding, Ben Grimes can't find anything better to do than talk with about Springfield, Christian industrial music, and The People's early works.

Tale from the Back Room

20-year-old makes most of sucky job, avoids sticky situations

So what happens when a young woman becomes a cog in this male-dominated multi-billion dollar machine that continues to grind and grind and grind, again and again, faster and harder, year after year?

Q+A with Youngblood Brass Band

Take a Wisconsin-made meat grinder found at a New Orleans yard sale and cram it full with a sousaphone, a snare drum, a bass drum, two trombones, a sax, two trumpets, and eight people who can play the hell out of these ingredients. Then stuff in a liberal dose of hip-hop inventiveness and start crankin'. Fry this up with a healthy portion of cultural consciousness, and oo-wee, you've got the delicious (and nutritious) Youngblood Brass Band. spoke with Youngblood MC/snare drummer David Henzie-Skogen, in Cajun accents as far as you know.

Q+A with The Spiders

The belly of the beast

K.C.'s biggest rapper Tech N9ne leaves for L.A.

When it comes to his career, Tech N9ne's Christmas lists have been pretty short for a long time: 1) Become as well-known around the country as he is in the Midwest and in his hometown Kansas City. 2) Give the finger to the music industry all the way to the top. This year, though, the K.C. rapper has narrowed the list.

Editorial :: 1229 words about something I don't really care about

So there's a nameless ditch out there to which various pinkos want to attach the name of William S. Burroughs. Can I assume that the reasoning behind this is that the creek, like its proposed namesake, is frequently loaded with junk? Sorry. Too easy.