Here it is, readers. This is not only our last column of 2015 but also our very last column here at LJ-World/Lawrence.com. Remember that you can always find us on Twitter @LarryvilleLife (without ever being asked to take a pesky survey). Happy New Year!
Split Lip Rayfield/Rolling Foliage/Sugar Britches, 7 p.m. Thursday at Bottleneck
As reliable as Santa on New Year's Eve, the legendary rascals of Split Lip Rayfield descend on the Bottleneck each New Year's Eve to ring in the new year in raucous fashion. This year is extra-celebratory, as the trio has a new album called "I'll Be Around."
Joining this year will be Rolling Foliage and the ladies of Sugar Britches, who have made perhaps more appearances in this column than any other local band. But why not? They've had a hell of a year.
The Facebook event page is here.
Mouth/Hearts of Darkness/Pink Royal, doors at 7 p.m. Thursday at Granada
You can certainly dance to the lightning-fast bluegrass of Split Lip Rayfield (we've done it), but perhaps you're needing a smoother funk groove for New Year's Eve. The Granada has you covered with this big evening. Start your party early with the funky sounds of Mouth (their farewell show) and KC's always-stellar outfit Hearts of Darkness and end your evening with a late-night DJ set from Kimbarely Legal.
"May the Funk Be With You," proclaims the excellent Star Wars-themed poster from the Facebook event page, which also announces that this will be a Star Wars costume party. Droid, please! We're totally going as BB-8 from "The Force Awakens."
Gnarly Davidson/Arc Flash/Approach/The Fog, 10 p.m. Thursday at Replay
Let's face it. There's a certain contingent of our readers who wouldn't consider doing anything else on New Year's Eve (or Halloween) except going to the Replay. For this crowd, it's not even that important who's playing there (and you can probably pretty much guess anyway). For the rest of you: Thursday's bands are the ones listed above. You'll like them. If you don't, you'll be drunk enough to believe that you do.
The Facebook event page is here and features the above picture of Gnarly posing with an "interesting" friend.
Foxy by Proxy NYE Revue, doors at 9 p.m., show at 10 p.m. Thursday at Liberty Hall
In the mood for a bigger space on this crowded holiday? Prefer scantily-clad women to live music? The Foxy by Proxy crew only needed four words to convince us their Liberty Hall NYE event was worthy of inclusion here: "Surprises! Sparkles! Nakedness! CHAMPAGNE!"
The Facebook event page is here.
'When Harry Met Sally,' 4 and 7 p.m. Friday at Liberty Hall
Liberty Hall has the most comforting cure for your New Year's Eve hangover: two screenings of one of the great modern romantic comedies. Perhaps they'll team with Ladybird Diner to serve pecan pie (if you catch our reference)? We'd certainly be pleased to partake of it. Or perhaps a contest to imitate Meg Ryan's classic diner scene (You know the one. Can we say "orgasm" here? We'll try, since this is our last column).
These things won't happen. Nevertheless, sitting in a dark room and laughing with your friends and lovers will soothe your soul (and aching head). Find more details at the Liberty Hall website.
Thanks for reading our column this year, and hopefully you'll be able to find things to do in LFK in 2016 without us! We have faith in you. And remember: if all else fails, head to the Replay.
Weekend Picks: The band formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.; Midwest Fallfest; Sugar Britches’ CD release; ‘Psycho’ screening; spooky bonus pick
We're all about the "new" this week.
Learn some new dances. See an old band with a new name. Check out a new fall festival. Buy a new CD from local favorites. Watch an old movie (which still retains the power to reveal new things). That's our advice for this weekend.
Hispanic Heritage Week: dance exhibition and dance party, 7 p.m. Thursday at Cider Gallery
We're not sure how most of our readers choose to spend their Thursday evenings, but we're guessing it's not watching a selection of Latin American dances in East Lawrence. But why not?
Stop by the Cider Gallery on Thursday night for this event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Week and make sure to stick around for the dance party with DJ Jalapeno and show off the moves you learned earlier in the evening. After enough cocktails, we just might convince ourselves we can dance a Brazilian Samba!
The Facebook event page is here and check out this LJ-World article that details other Hispanic Heritage Week events, such as our pals from Cucharada performing as a five-piece in the Eldridge's Big 6 bar on Friday.
Jr. Jr./Hippo Campus, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Friday at the Bottleneck
If you like bands with odd names, this double-bill is sure to satisfy.
The band formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. actually dropped the reference to the NASCAR legend from their moniker earlier this year and now want to be called just Jr Jr.
Confused yet? Don't worry about it. They'll still be serving up the same quirky indie-pop fans have come to expect.
Openers Hippo Campus describe their sound as "kinda pop" and their album "South" arrives in stores and on the Web on the very day of this show. But why not just pick up a copy in person?
The Facebook event page is here. We love the cheeky tour poster which reflects the Dale Earnhardt name change.
Midwest Fallfest, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday at Lied Center
Are you missing the myriad music festivals of summer? KJHK and KU's Student Union Activities (SUA) try to fill that void with the debut of a new fall festival at the Lied Center.
Four bands will perform, including the excellent Shy Boys and La Guerre, and the festival will also showcase work from local filmmakers and artists. The Lied is booze-free, of course, but there's plenty of time to hit the bars after the festival ends at 10:30.
Sugar Britches CD release, 5-8 p.m. Sunday at Replay Lounge
We like to boast about having covered all the milestones of the Sugar Britches' rapid ascent to the top.
We were there for their first show at the Gaslight way back in March. We were there for their first busking performance outside Free State. We were there for their first kisses (OK, not really, but we needed one more funny thing for this list). So now we'll surely be on hand this evening for the Britches' first album release party.
Tireless troubadour Nicholas St. James opens this likely-packed evening of high-energy folk and bluegrass.
The Facebook event page is here (look, all your friends are going!), and the image above serves as the Britches' debut album cover (art by Matthew Asbury). Follow the band's Facebook page for other fun teasers leading up to the show.
'Psycho,' 7 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Hall
Hitchcock's "Psycho" turns 55 years old this year, but it's lost none of its power to freak you out. Head to Liberty Hall Sunday to witness what's arguably cinema's most famous murder on the big-screen in glorious black-and-white.
Our friends at Liberty must be in the Halloween spirit early this year. They've also got Jon Landis' classic "American Werewolf in London" on tap for Oct. 11. Too bad it wasn't scheduled to coincide with last week's supermoon/blood moon eclipse! But, hey, we'll watch "American Werewolf" any time it plays.
Find more information at the Liberty Hall website.
Thieves Guild drawing session: "While My Ghoul-Tar Gently Weeps," 7 p.m. Monday at Fatso's
Let's add a bonus pick this week, just in case your weekend is over but you still want to go out for something mellow yet spirited (if you catch our spooky Halloween/booze wordplay).
This month's installment of the ever-odd Thieves' Guild drawing/sketching series will focus on model Dale Cordes "doing double duty playing some eerie melodies on his guitar while striking dynamic poses for your drawing pleasure!"
Fatso's has $2 beers and calls every Monday. After a few of those, your pen may be a little unsteady, but perhaps it will only add to the eerie fun.
The Facebook event page is here.
Tweet us at @LarryvilleLife.
Weekend Picks: Audio-Reader sale; Folk at Fatso’s; Stik Figa; The Merc’s “Grand Reveal”; Restaurant Week; and Nerd Nite bonus pick
Here's a tip. We're more likely to "pick" your event for Weekend Picks if it has a cool flier combining memorable imagery with the necessary info about your event. This week's installment offers five events with standout promotional imagery (as well as a family-friendly affair at the Merc and a sneak preview of Lawrence Restaurant Week).
"For Your EARS Only" (annual Audio-Reader sale), Douglas County Fairgrounds, 6-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
Local music geeks never miss this annual sale of all-things audio, and we never tire of the cool James Bond-themed posters that accompany each year's event.
This year's sale will feature "thousands of vinyl records, vintage and modern stereo equipment, musical instruments, CDs and DVDs, all priced to sell." As always, proceeds go to the Audio-Reader program which provides "free reading and information services to the blind, visually-impaired and print-disabled."
The opening night sale on Friday is a ticketed event that includes snacks and prizes. Saturday is free. Make sure to stop by for one or both. Find more info at the Audio-Reader website.
Nicholas St. James/Sugar Britches, 10 p.m. Friday at Fatso's
Friday night's Nicholas St. James and Sugar Britches' double-header certainly caught our eye with its creepy promo image, which is perfectly suited to some of the tales of woe and desperation likely to emanate from the stage tonight.
We asked Mr. St. James to tell us about his choice of imagery. Here is his insightful response:
"I find a fair number of show posters far too cluttered as it seems the pertinent details (who's playing, where and when) are buried somewhere inside what became an art project. In the case of the Fatso's poster, hopefully eyes are being drawn to it because of the simplicity. Both bands on this bill play folk music, which itself can be defined as "simple and uncluttered." It would make very little sense for our logos to be dripping blood and feature a picture of a State Farm agent eating pork chops while a myriad of other detailed things happen around him. The skull-faced woman was chosen because it seems so damn American and suggests the show might be a little darker in lyrical content, which it will be. After that, the only things left are the pertinent details, which is why a poster was made to begin with."
Despite the spooky imagery, don't be afraid to take a break from your usual haunts and pop into this unexpected Friday night Fatso's gig. The Facebook event page is here.
Arthur Dodge/Douglas County Quintet, 8 p.m. Friday at Frank's North Star
We love the retro-appeal of the poster for this rollicking (relatively) early-Friday show at Frank's. Aim your rocket ship across the river and check it out.
However, let's hope that this evening proceeds more smoothly than the last time Dodge and DCQ were booked at Frank's: poor Dodge never got to play at all because of plumbing problems that resulted in the big crowd being evacuated into the night.
The Facebook event page provides this description of what to expect: "Show & Dance, baby. LFK style"
Stik Figa, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Friday at Bottleneck
The eye-catching image for Stik Figa's Bottleneck gig forces the viewers gaze in two directions and seems open to interesting interpretations. Why are the eyes covered in two of the pics?
We did a wild and wide-ranging interview with Stik Figa way back in 2012 on our older (much raunchier) blog. Find it here if you are so inclined.
Read Stik Figa's full bio at the Facebook event page.
Merc Co-Op "Grand Reveal," 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Merc
Looking for a family-friendly Saturday outing? Check out what's new at the Merc as Lawrence's beloved institution offers a day of indoor and outdoor activities (including miniature ponies that resemble Lil' Sebastian), food (street tacos!) and music (Zydeco Tougeau).
Giveaways throughout the day will allow visitors a chance to win everything from a year of free coffee to a year of free yoga.
Find full details at the Facebook event page, where the "attending" list suggests this will be a very busy day for the always-busy Merc.
Downtown Lawrence Restaurant Week, Sunday through Sept. 18 at participating restaurants
This is the second year for Downtown Lawrence Restaurant Week, and we think it's a great idea except for the name, which sadly excludes excellent new(ish) establishments such as Hank Charcuterie and Leeway Frank's (not to mention west-edge stalwarts like 23rd Street Brewery and Marisco's) that are making their way just fine apart from the Mass. Street hub
Quibbling aside, however, you'll certainly want to chomp your way through the participating downtown restaurants that will "prepare creative and original dishes not found on their regular menus." Some restaurants are planning $35 tasting menus but budget-conscious foodies can find stand-alone items that start as low as $5.
Keep an eye on the Lawrence Restaurant week website and the Facebook event page to monitor specials and learn which establishments are participating. We've already spotted an intriguing "prix fixe" meal from Limestone for a reasonable $20. And make sure to tweet and Instagram mouthwatering pics of your best food finds at #EatLawrence.
"Nerd Nite 41: Old Is the New...New," 8 p.m. Wednesday at Maceli's
The nerds of Nerd Nite can almost always be counted on to deliver a cool graphic for their monthly events. This installment's intriguing promo image fuses elements that will be covered in the presentations: missiles, weaving, and the slow food movement.
The Facebook event page contains more information on this month's three presentation topics and presenters as well as an overview of the three presentations: "War is the new Peace, Craft is the new Industry, and Slow Food is the new Fast Trend!"
Tweet us @LarryvilleLife and tell us your best Restaurant Week discoveries.
Weekend Picks: Fiddling and Picking Championships; ‘Obamaville’-themed fundraiser; Cowboy Cabaret; Taproom Poetry Series; Dewayn Brothers at Replay
The students are back in town and hopefully they won't run over you as you make your way to this weekend's cavalcade of cowboy cabarets, "candy-ass dance parties," and fiddling and picking contests in South Park. Good luck!
Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships, pre-party at 6 p.m. Friday at Replay, main events from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday in South Park.
The Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships is an event somewhat bittersweet in its implications, arriving at the end of August and marking the official end of another summer in Lawrence. The event itself, however, is always a stellar day to witness the state's best fiddlers and pickers (and a few concerts from local bluegrass bands) while eating and drinking in South Park. Free State Brewery has been on hand with beer in recent years.
Can't wait till Sunday? Get a jump on the picking and grinning with a Friday matinee at Replay featuring Old Fangled and Alferd Packer Memorial String Band. Details here on this pre-party.
Visit the official Kansas Fiddling and Picking website for more information and a schedule of Sunday's events.
940 Live: Starhaven Rounders Cowboy Cabaret, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence Arts Center
"Cowboy Cabaret" seems like an odd and unexpected combination of words, but this event from LAC's typically-excellent 940 Live music series is shaping up to be a memorable evening.
The Facebook event page promises "a feel good, honky-tonk, variety show, featuring fun and faithful interpretations of classic country and western songs, burlesque performances, audience participation and laughs for everyone!"
We've had several good times listening to KC's Starhaven Rounders play their country covers on the Replay patio. Mix in a bevy of special guests (including Drakkar Sauna's Jeff Stolz and the members of Maria the Mexican) and this should become a good old-fashioned Saturday night hootenanny.
We asked Kirsten Paludan, a Rounders member as well as the director/co-producer/co-creator of this show, to give us a rundown on why the Cowboy Cabaret is a must-see weekend event. Here's a short list of her reasons: 1) it's a rare chance to see cool local artists performing with a full-on country-and-western backing band; 2) it has its own theme song; 3) an appearance is expected from a "rather frisky donkey." Sold! High-rolling cowboys and cowgirls should also inquire about the VIP option, which includes a pre-show party with the cast onstage plus free beer and BBQ.
Check out more from Paludan about what the show has in store in this LJWorld piece.
Lawrence Community Shelter fundraiser, 7 p.m. Saturday at Frank's North Star
Saturday brings a good opportunity give back to the community at an unusual fundraiser centered around the recent Payless Furniture controversy in which owner Bob Fyfe claimed that the city of Lawrence was essentially "Obamaville" and deemed its residents a bunch of "Commies and candy-asses." Longtime Lawrencians, of course, decided to embrace these designations!
This benefit for the Lawrence Community Shelter kicks off with "Commie Cocktail Hour," in which guests are invited to wear red (get it??) and enjoy a silent auction and raffle. This is followed by a "Candy-Ass Dance Party" in Frank's basement. You can also order Christine Maki's in-demand "Commies and Candy-Asses" T-shirts at the event.
Find all the necessary details at the Facebook event page and head to Frank's to shake those candy-asses.
Reggae by the River, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at Burcham Park
Summer is waning but the music festivals aren't quite over. Head to Burcham Park for the first-ever Reggae by the River, an event presented by the Lawrence Community Fest organization.
One can of food (but be kind and bring several) is the only cover charge for this otherwise free event that seeks to collect 5,000 cans of food for needy Douglas County residents.
Twenty food vendors are slated to be on hand, as well as a "Farmer's Community Vending Village" in the afternoon. The event also bills itself on the Facebook event page as "family friendly, dog friendly, cooler friendly." The last one seems very surprising, if true. Won't that cut down on beer sales?
Taproom Poetry Series, 5 p.m. Sunday at the Eighth Street Taproom
According to a 2014 piece in The New Yorker, the work of Steve Roggenbuck might be similar to what Walt Whitman would produce if he were alive and "vlogging." The New Yorker terms Roggenbuck a true "internet poet" in that his poetry "is made, distributed, and viewed almost exclusively on the Web, taking the form of tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and image macros."
In addition to The New Yorker, Roggenbuck's work has been discussed by media outlets from Rolling Stone to The Guardian, and an exhibit of his videos is currently on display at the New Museum's 2015 Triennial.
Local writers Liz James and Zach Webb round out the bill along with an open-mic reading.
The Facebook event page has more details on the event.
Dewayn Brothers/Sugar Britches, 5 p.m. Sunday at Replay Lounge
If you're looking for a considerably rowdier alternative to Sunday poetry or a perfect follow-up to Sunday's picking and grinning in South Park, look no further than the Replay patio, where one of the region's very best bluegrass bands, Dewayn Brothers, will make an increasingly rare Lawrence appearance for a barn-burner of a Sunday matinee.
Hailing from Emporia, Dewayn Brothers list their genre as "Kansas bluegrass." We're not 100 percent sure what distinguishes Kansas bluegrass from other forms but we know to expect a full dance floor and drunken stomping. LFK's ever-sassy and ever-present Sugar Britches will open the show at 5.
Yes, work and/or school looms the next morning but, for these three hours with a patio beer in hand, you simply won't care. The Facebook event page lists 100+ guests. The flier above offers a nice feel of the vibe for the Dewayn's current three-city weekend-whirlwind tour with the Britches.
Film Church presents 'Tootsie,' 7 p.m. Sunday at Liberty Hall
Our Weekend Picks are unusually Sunday-heavy this week, but we couldn't dare leave out Liberty Hall's screening of "Tootsie."
If you haven't seen Sydney Pollack's 1982 classic in awhile, rest assured it holds up as one of the most finely crafted comedies ever made, with impeccable performances from Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, and Bill Murray in addition to Dustin Hoffman's legendary title role.
Since this is an official Film Church presentation, expect Liberty Hall manager Maggie Allen to kick things off with a short "sermon" explaining the film's continuing importance (in her typically humorous fashion).
Visit Liberty's website for more details.
Tweet us @LarryvilleLife with under-the-radar ideas about next week's Final Friday events.
Weekend Picks: 9 Del grand opening party; ‘True West’ (again); sci-fi book signings; PorchFest KC; Richard’s Rock Camp concert; The Melvins
Expect the all-encompassing Free State Festival to dominate local coverage for the next few weekends. In the meantime, peruse another varied selection of events below where you'll find everything from legendary punk shows to a prestigious sci-fi conference at KU.
9 Del Lofts grand opening party, 5-9 p.m. Friday, 900 Delaware St.
The controversial development of the East Ninth arts corridor project has been garnering all the East Lawrence attention lately. In the meantime, however, don't overlook Friday's opportunity to experience the changing face of ELFK at this grand opening party for the new 9 Del Lofts.
This sneak peek will offer food truck fare from Drasko's, creme brulee from Torched Goodness, and a performance from Psychic Heat, who are sure to frighten away those who are unprepared for such a ruckus at an otherwise civilized grand opening ceremony.
The Facebook event page is here.
True West (final two performances), 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Liberty Hall
Yes, yes, a lot of attention has already been lavished on Card Table Theatre's production of "True West." But that's because it's terrific. We even wrote a formal, in-depth review of the play which you can read on Lawrence.com here.
Only two chances remain to see this rare, ambitious, unusual theatrical production while sitting BEHIND the curtain on Liberty Hall's hallowed stage. Try not to miss it.
The Facebook event page is here.
Campbell Conference (Thursday-Sunday) and public sci-fi book signings 4-5 p.m. Saturday at Jayhawk Ink, across from the Kansas Bookstore on Level 2 in the Kansas Union
Not everyone realizes that KU is a rather major science-fiction hub, home to renowned sci-fi author James Gunn and the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. This weekend's annual Campbell Conference (named for sci-fi luminary John W. Campbell) brings in acclaimed sci-fi authors for three days of panels and workshops and an awards banquet to celebrate this year's Campbell and Sturgeon awards for best sci-fi novel and best short sci-fi of the year.
Among this year's attendees are acclaimed novelist John Kessel, perhaps best known for his novel "Good News from Outer Space," and Stephen Gould, who kicks off this year's conference with a presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Raven Book Store. Find a full schedule of events here.
Walk-up registration for the conference will cost you $50, but the general public can get in on the action with a book signing from 4-5 p.m. Saturday at Jayhawk Ink, across from the Kansas Bookstore. The conference's visiting authors will be on hand for this autograph session where guests can "purchase current, recent, and even some rare books by the authors."
Porch Fest KC, noon-5 p.m. Saturday (porches in West Plaza neighborhood of KC)
Looking for an unusual daytime jaunt to KC? Consider the second annual Porch Fest KC, a free event where regional musicians (over 100 bands!) take to the porches of the West Plaza neighborhood and entertain visitors who wander from porch to porch to soak up the varied genres on display. Make sure to look for a few familiar Lawrence bands like Sugar Britches holding court on various porches.
Richard's Rock Camp 6th annual concert, 5-7 p.m. Saturday at the Granada
The new Girls Rock! Lawrence music camp has been garnering attention here and elsewhere lately, but of course Lawrence has a long tradition of programs like Richard's Rock Camp to train its children to be the next generation of local musicians to play in bars once they're old enough to swill PBR.
Stop by the Granada on Saturday for the annual climax to a music camp sponsored by Richard's Music, where "30 youth, aged twelve to eighteen, will perform a full-fledged rock concert as a culmination of a three week-long music education program."
The Facebook event page is here.
The Melvins/Le Butcherettes, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Sunday, The Bottleneck
Why spend a Sunday night at home watching "Game of Thrones" when you can enter the fray of battle yourself with a set from legendary punk band The Melvins, currently touring with Le Butcherettes, a very cool female-fronted punk band from Mexico whose lead singer goes by the name Teri Gender Bender.
The two bands have a new split-album called "Chaos as Usual," and that's probably a safe bet for what to expect at this show. The Melvins' have been around since 1983, so expect a trek through their deep back catalog followed by ringing ears and a raging hangover for your Monday.
Tweet us at @LarryvilleLife and let us know what we're doing right or wrong.
A previous version of this post misidentified the location of the book signing at the Kansas Union. The event will occur at Jayhawk Ink, across from the Kansas Bookstore on Level 2 of the Union.