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Tom King

Stories by Tom

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Nature’s medicine chest: Family, experts tout the health-giving, delectable elderberry

After managing the Herbs and Wellness departments during his 20-year tenure at Community Mercantile, 901 Iowa, herbalist Hal Sears is convinced of the health benefits of the elderberry.

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Kitchen wisdom: Eighteen Lawrence culinary masters share some of their best tips

Lawrence’s restaurant scene has come a long way since the turn of the century. Massachusetts Street has become a bona-fide Restaurant Row, an asset to local culture and prestige...

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The etiquette of corkage

Fine-dining restaurants pop off about BYOB

You’ve ordered the same dish several times at a favorite restaurant, and you keep thinking how well it would pair with a wine you have stored at home — a special bottle not on the restaurant’s list. Now’s the time to inquire about the restaurant’s corkage policy.

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Despite sour grapes in Topeka, local wineries stomp ahead

It’s spring in Kansas, pruning time in the vineyards. That seems an incongruous statement in the land of amber waves of grain, but time was when Kansas and the Midwest dominated American winemaking. If Kansas wineries have their way, that time will come again.

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The more the merrier: A college student joins community of North Lawrence retailers

In North Lawrence, you’re both in and out of town. The river is a powerful psychological divide. North Lawrence feels like frontier country, a place far removed from the bustle across the river...

Brave new food: You won’t believe the things you’ll be putting in your mouth

Remember the first part of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” when the ape threw the bone in the air and it suddenly cut to the space station? Food science took a similar leap in the first decade of the 21st century.

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Group Dine-amics: Local dining clubs foster friendship, feasting and economy

While the nostalgia of meatloaf and macaroni and cheese undoubtedly nourishes our souls, globalized Midwestern palates increasingly dig sashimi and pisco sours...

Bierocks: Old World culinary icons live on in Kansas

You’d think most Kansans would know about bierocks. After all, Kansas and Nebraska are bastions of America’s bierock tradition, and bierocks play a significant role in Kansas’ culinary heritage. But say “bierock” to a Kansan, and the general response is silence, or something about the music at a frat party.

Amazing grain: South Pole cook touts barley’s many qualities

Francis Sheil knows all about winter food. He recently became the 1,255th person on record to spend a complete winter at the South Pole. Seven months, 80 below and total darkness. “The Milky Way is so bright, it almost seems to cast a shadow,” he says.

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The art of the mix: Tips on tunes for a rockin’ New Year’s Eve

One song you can count on hearing at nearly every New Year celebration in the English-speaking world is Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne.” But that’s only one song, a mere four minutes. How does the exacting host sculpt a soundtrack for an entire party?

Holidays perfect time to indulge your inner top chef

Quality, style and a scoop of TLC are the main ingredients for holiday snacks and appetizers. For at least a few local foodies, party-food ideas for the coming holiday season center around freshness and quality, a casual sophistication and the revival of the MIY ethic: make it yourself.

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End Times Entrepreneurialism: Hollywood taps into the ‘2012’ prediction for big box-office profits

Hollywood’s latest foray in the apocalyptic genre carries a curious title: “2012.” That’s the year popularly believed to be the end of the ancient Maya calendar. Roland Emmerich’s new movie uses the apocalyptic date as a springboard to show the end of the world on screen with a melee of CGI and special effects. While the movie “2012” has been widely panned as a shallow disaster-porn flick, the cultural phenomenon surrounding 2012 is a fascinating rabbit hole...

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Poet and anti-poet: The duality of Lawrence writer Jim McCrary

"Like all art, most poetry is awful," says Jim McCrary, referring as much to his own work as anyone else's. "The Poet's Corner in the newspaper. You know what I mean..."

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PB&J in the U.S.A.

Is peanut butter and jelly our national sandwich? The numbers seem to indicate as much.

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Help's Angels

Lawrence’s Social Service League is in its element in these tough times

Jean Ann Pike is no stranger to desperation. As manager of the Social Service League, she deals daily—intimately—with all sorts of people in need. These days, there are just more of them...

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The Kids Are Alright

Lawrence’s best-known band reunites as greatest Get Up Kids cover band in the world

Rock and roll break-ups are often tumultuous, emotionally charged affairs. And so it was for the Get Up Kids, probably the best-known band to come out of Lawrence in the last decade. After their March 13th show at Liberty Hall, the Kids will head to Alaska, Los Angeles, Belgium, New York, and beyond—all in conjunction with the release of their 10th anniversary edition of “Something To Write Home About.”

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Cast and Present

The Appleseed Cast embarks on new sonic expedition

In a one-handed count of Lawrence bands whose last two records have each sold over 25,000 copies, you’d likely have fingers left over. Tom King interviews The Appleseed Cast about its new album "Sagarmatha" and mountains to climb in 2009.

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Meet the New Boss

Fix-it specialist David Leamon steps up to guide the Lawrence Arts Center through uncertain times.

New Lawrence Arts Center Director David Leamon is faced with the Obama-like challenge of resurrecting an ailing institution in tough economic times, and of regaining the respect of local artists, many of whom now criticize the LAC's exhibition policies as largely unrepresentative of Lawrence's varied and vibrant arts scene.

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"We Ape, We Mimic, We Mock, We Act"

Endurance is insurance for the EMU Theatre

When Nathan Cadman and Andy Stowers staged their first EMU Theatre production in a downtown Lawrence coffee shop, they had more imagination than money. Ten years and over 40 productions later, that may still be true—but their enthusiasm is stronger than ever.

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These Boots Are Made For Walking

Painter Molly Murphy and the Less Traveled Truth

When you begin a conversation about Art in Lawrence, it usually doesn't take long before you're talking about Molly Murphy. Whether as curator for art shows at the Bourgeois Pig and Lawrence Arts Center, or as a member and gallery partner of the Fresh Produce Art Collective, Murphy's full-bore involvement in the local art scene frequently earns positive comment — but it's her painting that provokes the most chatter.

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Before I Die...

How two artists use death to amplify life

What make some people more aware of their own mortality than others? What motivates people to take action in their lives? What values do we hold as a society? Artists Nicole Kenney and ks rives address these questions in their global survey of human attitudes toward death in a project called "Before I Die I Want To..."

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A consideration of the internet and the evolution of consciousness

Thanks to the internet, all of the drama, emotionalism, and occasional comedy of the 2008 U.S. elections have resonated far more widely-both here and around the globe-than ever before. Much has been written about this, the first truly wired U.S. election. That's not exactly our concern here, though. Our concern is relatively elusive-it is to make of the broadening, more unified awareness ushered in by the internet:

Winds of Change

Coal, Kansas Politics, and The New Activism

It's another overflow Monday evening at the Free State Brewery, and they're wobbling like bowling pins out on the patio. In a ritual instigated in large part by bargain-priced beer, townies of all stripes gather in number on this night to jostle, slosh on, and holler at each other. The din of the place is a physical presence and the tap handles move like metronomes. Hippies hang with lawyers and students debate professors, boundaries blurred by conviviality and a torrent of Copperhead Ale.

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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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Five Years

2012 and the End Of The World As We Know It

THE END IS NIGH and somehow we know it. It blackens our souls and poisons our dreams. Wrath, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, lust, vanity-these are the hallmarks of human civilization. Our institutions are corrupt, our perceptions distorted. We have become evil, hell-spawn, irredeemable by love. Someday a rain's a-gonna come and wash it all away. Hurricanes, tsunami, cyclones-they will cleanse the world of our evil. The fires of war and cataclysm will purify the land. The temples of the money-changers will crumble to dust. The earth will swallow you whole. And those that remain-the chosen few-will live on in the kingdom of God.

The Burroughs Guy

An interview with James Grauerholz

James Grauerholz is heir and executorof the estate of William S. Burroughs-maestro of the Beats, writer of "Naked Lunch," international queer, academic junkie, wife-shooter, Harvard graduate, an undeniably American artist.Grauerholz lived 30 years with Burroughs.Street Level joins Grauerholz in a booth at Pachamama's for a moseying reminiscence of Burroughs and the Beats...

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It Is Well With My Soul

KU religion professor Paul Mirecki rebounds from controversy through the power of Rock and Roll

About a year and a half ago, Paul Mirecki made international news. Scourged by Christian fundamentalists for his derisive opinions of those lobbying for creationism in state science standards, and chastised by the University of Kansas for his incautious expression of those views, Mirecki resigned the chair of KU's religious studies department.

Beaten, but not down

Beat insider James Grauerholz takes a beating and loses his "delicious cynicism"

James Grauerholz is heir and executor of the estate of William S. Burroughs-maestro of the Beats, author of "Naked Lunch," international queer, academic junkie, wife-shooter, Harvard graduate and patron saint to generations of artistic rebels and literate rockers-a distinguished figure in 20th century literature, like him, his work or neither.

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This Is Not a Still Life

Adrianne Verhoeven's non-stop musical adventure

As a member of the Anniversary, Adrianne Verhoeven went directly from high school into the fast lane of rock and roll. The Anniversary toured the U.S., Europe and Japan, opening for the likes of Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices and Cheap Trick, before the band's tumultuous dissolution in 2004.

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Marquee mama

Lawrence promoter Jacki Becker spreads music and love across the Midwest

From her beginnings as a KJHK DJ to her current status as one of the Midwest's foremost concert promoters, Jacki Becker embodies the DIY ethos: work hard, make friends and have fun.

Rose's Rules of Order

Lawrence producer lays down the dos and don'ts of the recording studio.

Ed Rose's production resume comprises a who's who of local and regional rock bands: The Appleseed Cast, Butterglory, The Casket Lottery, Coalesce, Arthur Dodge, The Esoteric, The Get Up Kids, Kill Creek, Reggie and the Full Effect, Slackjaw, Stick, Ultimate Fakebook, Vitreous Humor and White Whale, to name a few.

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Behind the masque

Arthur Dodge strips off his rock visage and reveals "A Perfect Face"

For new latest release, "A Perfect Face," Dodge gives The Horsefeathers some time off and corrals an all-star line-up of local guest musicians to portray his latest musings on love, desire and the facts of life.

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Stirring Up the Melting Pot

RedLefty cooks up a stew of swinging American roots music

RedLefty swingin' blues, which is the short way of saying roots- folk- dixieland- bluegrass- country- klezmer- ragtime- hoedown- swing- blues music

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The Honeymoon continues

Truckstop Honeymoon's new album, the first from their new home in Lawrence

Piercing screams leap from a tidy Victorian home in a quiet Lawrence neighborhood. Foul play? Tragedy? Little girls playing Barbie.

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All in the family

The brothers Hangauer toast their indie rock combo, Fourth of July

You can't swing a cat in downtown Lawrence without hitting a Hangauer. Of the five (at last count) Hangauer siblings, four are active contributors to at least six local bands.

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Get Up, Stand Up. Get Naked.

Revolutionaries fight the power with flesh and bone

In a storefront directly across the street from the county courthouse, people are plotting against the system.

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Where All The Lights Are Bright

Lawrence's longest-lived fine dining restaurant settles in downtown

At nine on Friday nights, the sounds of Luxe Soul fill the Star Bar in the back of Pachamama's. Well-behaved patrons of all stripes lounge in plush armchairs, quaffing wine and grazing on artfully presented appetizers. As the night deepens, they dance.

Style scout: Kim Callaway

Leave Home!

Fledgling rockers The Kinetiks take their act on the road

Huddled around an atlas at a coffeehouse table, the Kinetiks are planning their first tour.

Style scout: Nathan Jenkins

Style scout: Elizabeth Steranko

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Packing Serious Wood

Log Lady aims to set cities on flame with rock and roll

Call them purists, retro-rockers, or deconstructionists and the three members of Log Lady nod in agreement. Call them cock-rockers and they smile.

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Honorable Mention

Barbering Hizzoner Mike Amyx looks back on a bumpy year of civic uncertainty, bar violence, a microburst and more

Street Level deftly swivels a barber's chair to talk about the last year face-to-face with Mayor Mike Amyx about guns, the weather, and facing south for more than 30 years.

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Smell Smoke?

Hip-hop maestro Miles Bonny lights a fire down below

For his solo debut maestro Miles Bonny slips into something sexy and strides to the front of the stage.

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Sonic Transportation

This Is My Condition goes boldly where few have gone before

As bassist for the Blue Leaves, Craig Comstock works an avant-pop vein; as the one-man band This Is My Condition, he goes for the jugular.

Give Them What They Want

Street Level surveys downtown merchants to take the pulse of the season

For most of the merchants in Lawrence, the Christmas season yields a significant and essential portion of the annual take. For many, it's make or break.

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A Gift of Music

KJHK plows fertile fields and presents the community with Farm Fresh Sounds

Street Level sheepishly ushers KJHK veterans Caterina Benalcazar, Courtney Ryan and Jenny Kratz into our disheveled podcast studio to reflect on indie spirit, dudes with music biz pretensions and the joys of harvesting a well saturated scene.

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The utmost of the no coast

KC's crown prince of rap talks candidly about the n-word, misogyny, and the hard lessons learned from his lifestyle

In the Midwest, there is no bigger name in rap than Tech N9ne. Since his 2001 JCOR release "Anghellic," Tech's dark-themed, self-released albums have landed critical praise and impressive sales-thanks to word of mouth, savvy use of the internet, blanket guerilla promotion, and frequent tours.

Style Scout: Molly Murphy

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Wax and wane

The Waxman rides out fads and oil crises with handmade business

All is peaceful in Bob Werts' workplace. The mood is more monastery than factory-thick drips of warm wax, hushed remarks, and KJHK or NPR soft in the background.