Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dumpster Diving Vacation!


Due to the unseasonably nice weather and the fact that nothing much is happening in LFK this week, we're taking a few days off to go dumpster diving.

So far the pickings have been pretty slim, but we do like this little guy, who seems to be a perfect symbol of this summer's construction gridlock:

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See you in a few days for weekend picks including the ever-popular demolition derby at the Fair!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekend Recap: Things That Did and Did Not (Completely) Happen


Well, the Lawrence Public Library has reopened. It really happened!  Our favorite description so far comes from an eight year old quoted in the LJ-World yesterday: “It’s not just a square and a roof, it has a lot of windows, and it’s really big.”

But we're a little nervous that the woman in the picture below may have put a curse on the new building during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Let's hope it was a blessing instead.

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What else?  Well, we finally got to hear Patricia Lockwood, "The Smutty Metaphor Queen of Lawrence, Kansas," read some poems (and a very funny short essay about Robert Frost) during Wonder Fair's "Young Women Author's Event."  Liberty Hall's own Maggie also performed a piece called "The Artist Formerly Known as the Prince of Denmark" with a purple skull prop.  Photos via our pal Pickles:



And what didn't happen?  Sadly, our friend Mike Anderson of The Not So Late Show didn't make his 66 hour goal to set the world record for longest marathon talk show.  But he DID last through 36 hours of wacky television featuring just about everyone in Lawrence.  The last hour or so before the attempt was called off was some VERY upsetting (yet riveting) television.  Great job, Mike! We hope you're okay!

Photo via @6NewsLawrence.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Final Friday and Weekend Picks: Comedy, Art, Rock, Tacos, a World Record, and a NEW LIBRARY


Thursday = boner jokes at Replay.  One of these days Chip will surely bound up to the open mic and tell a few stories about his own penis.  But probably not tonight.





The scenester music pick of the weekend takes place afterward, as Major Games takes the stage at the Replay for Jerome's 40th birthday bash.  One assumes they'll soon begin playing quieter and gentler shows, being old and all.  But probably not tonight.

Best promo art of the week?  We think so.




Here's an under-the-radar pick  for you.  Austin psych-pop band The Sour Notes are en route to Denver's big Underground Music Showcase this weekend and are stopping by the Jazzhaus tonight for a gig.  That's right.  The Jazzhaus.





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Did you realize tomorrow is Final Friday?  Probably not, since this is one of those months where the buzz  is practically non-existent.  But you'll find a few paintings and such if you try, plus music and tacos.

Here are some options.

We don't associate the Bottleneck with FF but here's a great poster for a cool-looking event featuring art and music.





Love Garden is serving up solid shows these days. The FF gig from Middle Twin and Ebony Tusks is going to make you bounce around.  Our only concern is there's not much room to dance.  Try NOT to break any albums or cats.




Wonder Fair still has their top-notch Young Woman Artists show running, but FF also brings a special evening of local ladies reading literature (Young Woman Authors),  including Parcel magazine's Kate Lorenz and Liberty Hall guru Maggie Allen.  There's a FB event page here. There's even a schedule of reading times if you're ambitious enough to scroll down into the comments section.





Or perhaps you'd prefer tacos to art (Chip: "Now you're talking.").   Head to Culinaria in ELFK where they'll be dishing up "summer veggie or pork shoulder tacos — accompanied by a fresh salsa bar — and grapefruit-tequila cocktails." Details here via LJ-World

Salsas from Culinaria:

 Some of Culinaria's homemade salsas. (photo courtesy of Culinaria)


And we've mentioned this several times but don't forget Mike Anderson's attempt to set a world record for longest marathon talk show. It begins tomorrow!  He probably still needs audience members.  Details here via Facebook and sign up for audience blocks here via Channel 6.




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Saturday is all about the NEW LIBRARY, obviously.  LPL tweeted a partial list of events last night that sounds like classic LFK:  "Community book relay, ribbon cutting, local musicians, Library Luau, dinner, and Ghostbusters."  Oh, and don't forget:  you can also actually go into the library and check out books!!



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Interview With LFK's Nicholas St. James: "I'm just an honest vaudeville performer."



Perhaps you've recently wandered into the Replay or Jackpot late at night, expecting to encounter the usual three or four-piece rock band bashing their way through a set, and discovered instead a heavily-bearded solo songwriter, hunched over his guitar, making a helluva racket, howling those "Gypsy blues," sounding his "barbaric yawp" over the roofs of LFK (if you catch our Whitman reference).  Well, if so, that was Mr. Nicholas St. James, and you'll find him at the Replay again this Saturday, releasing an EP on a triple-bill with Westerners and The Sluts (who are also releasing an EP).

We sat down with Nicholas to find out how he's managing to carve out a solo career alongside these rockers.  Check out his website to sample some tunes from the Honeysuckle EP and enjoy the interview.





Chip:  Increasingly, the good citizens of LFK are seeing the name "Nicholas St. James" popping up on bills alongside their favorite local rockers.  So who IS Nicholas St. James, and what does he stand for?

Nicholas:  Who IS Nicholas St. James? I'm not sure... If you have any ideas, I'd be open to hearing them! I moved to Lawrence about seven years ago and only within the past year have I decided to make the move to performing publicly. A lot of the music I listen to was made seventy or so years ago--stuff like Robert Johnson, Fats Domino, old Smithsonian Folkways recordings--but the local scene here in Lawrence is easily producing some of my favorite contemporary music.  We live in such a diverse music town where you really can see nearly anything you want on any given night. I spent my first six years here soaking up everything that Lawrence had to offer before I felt like I had something to say that added to the "conversation." I would be the first to tell you that a lot of my influences show in my music, but what's made things interesting, for me at least, is that those influences really shouldn't belong together.  However, I think this has also allowed me to share the stage with someone like Tyler Gregory and then play with a band like The Sluts the very next night. 

My show is usually just myself on acoustic guitar, playing through a couple of tube amps and trying to give the impression that there's a lot more going on than there actually is. I don't use loops or any "programed" equipment, but I'm always looking for ways to make the crowd ignore the fact it's really just a single guy with an acoustic guitar up there. 

I'd heard someone say once that they like beautiful melodies telling them terrible things, like a nursery rhyme detailing a car accident, and that's usually where I go when I sit-down to write a tune. Coming from a personal space is always difficult for me to do when writing, but I enjoy finding the not-so-good quirks that make us all human and telling a story. We seem to be living in a time where everything has this shiny, plastic, artificial perfection, and folks seem to buy into that, a lot.  However, that's not really the world we live in. 

I'm just an honest vaudeville performer. 


Richard:  As Chip suggests, you seem to be popping up on the rock circuit as much or more than the folkie kind of shows that other solo artists might play.  How do you describe your sound and how is it being received by the rowdy late night rock crowds?  Are they paying attention?

Nicholas:  I Heart Local Music described my tunes as Gypsy Blues in a recent write-up and, I have to say, I could not have asked for or thought up a better description. A lot of what I do is just my take on artists like Lead Belly, so there is a lot of simplicity and storytelling involved in my music, but I also have a fondness for surprises and 90 degree turns in tunes that can make someone's ears perk-up. I recently told a friend who was at my house playing a few tunes with me that I wanted his part to sound like "a turn-of-the-century circus put on by pirates," and that is really what I'm aiming for each time I write a tune--I want to write THAT soundtrack!

As I mentioned already, I bring a lot of gear with me that any other solo artist might not, so there is a bit more noise and tonal possibility available to me than, say, someone with just an acoustic guitar, but none of that matters if the tunes aren't there--everything else is just a distraction, a 90 degree turn, to get folks to listen to the tunes. The being said, those "distractions" afford me the opportunity to share the stage with a wide-range of diverse, amazing acts because I can "turn-up" and get gritty if need be.  

I have been incredibly lucky over the past year to get a lot of validation and help from some of the more established acts in town, and I think that has helped anyone who may be listening to accept what it is I am doing. It's one thing for someone at a show to come-up and say they appreciate what it is you're doing, but when another musician tells you they dig, it's this strange feeling of parental-approval because, really, all of the acts in this town, no matter how diverse, are all in this together and you know those people are "fighting" for the same thing you are. So, yeah, people seemingly are starting to pay attention, and I continue to work on the live show to "hook" those ears from walking out the door. The great thing about music is it's all so diverse and there is something for everyone, so people won't always like what you do because it's not for them, and there is no problem with that.  But...you should always put all you have into it while you're on stage to grab those that may be interested and show them that you're just as committed to the experience they're sharing with you. 


Chip:  I was just listening to "Before I Quit It" from the Honeysuckle EP prior to this interview.  That's some harrowing shit!  Now I'm a little bit scared of you.  Should I be?


Nicholas:  Yes. 

Well, no. As I alluded to earlier, I like to write about things that may not be entirely pleasant, but things that make us human. I've been told by folks I meet after shows that they were taken back by how approachable I was, which is a hoot. It's nice not being able to write personal tunes because I can focus more on a performance and not an emotion, which allows that "switch" to be flipped much easier. So, no, don't be scared. Let's be best friends!

Richard:  Leave our readers with a blurb that convinces them they absolutely  NEED to make it out for the Replay EP release show with The Sluts and Westerners on the 26th.


Nicholas:  Why come to the EP release show on July 26th at Replay? Well, for starters, because The Sluts and Westerners will be playing! Also, The Sluts are releasing their very own EP that night as well, The Loser EP, so you have choices, should you care to leave the show with some music!

The show obviously hasn't happened yet, and maybe this isn't something I should be saying as an act on the bill, but what an amazing event showcasing three local bands that are all doing something a little different! All three of us are going to be bringing out a few surprises and you're sure to see a thing or two from me that I haven't included in the act before that'd I'd love to share here, but a lady never tells...

Here's the great poster you've been seeing all over town!  REDRUM! 






Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stuff We Like This Week: Hank Charcuterie in LFK; Rock Art at Science on Tap; DNA Art at New LPL


Local foodies were ecstatic to spot this FB message popping up this week from the long-awaited Hank Charcuterie:

"We will finally be open next Wednesday the 23rd from 11-7. Some stuff won't be done yet. We will have lots of sausage, chops, and pate."

Between Hank, Alchemy Coffee, Dapper Dillon's, Cottin's farmer's market, and On the Rocks, the 19th and Mass area has just about everything an LFK scenester gourmand needs these days.

So head down tomorrow and get your chops on! (and some of you may want to avert your eyes from the second pic we snagged from their FB page).




 


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We've never been fond of the space or set-up for the Science on Tap events at Free State Brewery, but we like that nerds assemble to drink beer and talk science.   At first we hoped tonight's "rock art" topic would deal with concert posters but, sadly, it's about ancient carvings in Saudi Arabia.  Could be good though!  Check out the details here.  Presentation begins at 7:30.

Pretty sure we've spotted a flyer which we can't currently locate.

Photo snagged from biodiversity.ku.edu:

 Secrets in Stone: Deciphering Ancient Arabian Rock Art

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Since it's NEW LIBRARY WEEK in LFK, we have to showcase something about the soon-to-open new space.  Even though we haven't seen it in person yet, we already like the DNA-strand artwork in the atrium.  Check out Nadia's LJ-World article on the new library art. 

Who all (besides us?) plans to camp out to be among the first to enter the new building this weekend?

Photo via Mike Yoder in LJ-World:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Very Special All-Ages Blog Post: Rock and Roll; Derby Cars; and Ghostbusters


Looking for something to entertain your teens and tweens on a hot and sweaty Monday evening in LFK.  Well, drop them off at the Replay around 6:00 pm and let them get a dose of furious rock and roll with LFK's Black on Black and Westerners along with Toronto's The Greys.  Sure, your teens might return home mildly bruised and battered, nearly deaf, and smelling suspiciously of PBR, but it will serve them well in the long run.  The FB event page is here




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If there's one thing teens love, it's mayhem and destruction, so they'll want to take part in several events related to the ever-popular demolition derby at the Douglas County Fair and sponsored by Lawrence Library and Lawrence Magazine.  Teens can paint a library-sponsored derby car cleverly named "The Dewey Decimator" and the rest of us can follow along as Dewey himself chronicles his progress toward the derby via the Twitter account @DeweyDecimator1.  He's voiced by local Twitter prankster Brittany Keegan from Watkins Museum, so you can expect some good stuff here.  Example:

"It's very pleasant to break something from time to time."- Dostoyevsky. My life motto. August 1st, the fairgrounds

This poster lists the relevant event dates:



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And did you know the NEW LIBRARY opens THIS coming weekend? Of course you did.  And we all know that you can't open a new library in LFK without screening Ghostbusters on a giant inflatable screen in the middle of the street on a Saturday night with a bunch of beer and food vendors scattered around.  The film happens about 9:00 pm on Saturday with food and beer festivities beginning around 7:00.  See you there.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nerd Nite Summer Shorts 2 Recap / Weekend Picks: JabberJosh Retires and ASSJAMZ Returns


Oddly enough, Nerd Nite's 2nd annual Summer SHORTS was possibly the LONGEST Nerd Nite yet, stretching on well-beyond 10:00 pm.  It was also the most crowded (estimated at about 170), with at least a few people being turned away from the ballroom.   Will the nerds have to move again to even larger quarters?   And where would that be? The damn Lied Center?  We'll see.

Here are a few quick observations on a few of the 3(ish) minute presentations:

--Could there have been a better choice to kick off the evening than some thoughts on Kansas populism from LFK legend Boog?  No.

--Great to see an update from Paul on the prairie chicken, but that poor embattled bird really deserves more than three minutes.  Prairie chickens just can't catch a break.  (Early in the evening, nerds got very excited when Paul entered with a bag that we all sincerely hoped contained a live prairie chicken.  It didn't).

--For such an innocent-seeming gal, that Lindsey sure does talk about a lot of disgusting things, such as worms coming out of people's legs and whatnot.  How about a presentation on fuzzy little kitties next time?

--Big laughs in Erin's presentation on Megalodon, including a reference to Free State beer changing their fries!

--Who was that guy doing the Mumblecore presentation?  He seemed okay.


Final thoughts:  seriously, though, why was this thing so fucking long?  The Q&A should probably be shortened.  How about one question for each presenter?  And the length requirement should probably be policed a little more carefully.  We're still in favor of ringing a gong if you hit that upper limit!






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It's Thursday night!  Who's ready for dick jokes?? Or possibly some "incest porn" material from Leigh Nelson?  Head down to the Replay.  We stopped by last week and we can assure you that it's become a true scene.  Congrats, Harpoon Presents!  We never thought you'd consistently get scenesters to pack the bar for early events.  The FB event page is here.






Our old friends from Atomic Pajama Party pop up at the Jackpot tonight, along with a weird 3-piece synth band from Manhattan, Kansas called Echopod whose band members have names like Luminous Neon. Here's an old blurb from the former Hype Weekly in Manhattan:

"Echopod is one of the oldest bands in Kansas, if you include their gastropodian overlord who has existed longer than time itself. The rest of the band formed a year-and-a-half ago, joining forces in order to translate their namesake's trinary cyber-transmissions into the human-understandable language of music. It is unclear exactly how the human members of Echopod receive these missives from outer space, but those close to them suspect a secret ritual involving copious amounts of whiskey."





And there's a real shitkicker of a matinee at the Replay on Friday with Bloodshot Bill, backed by the Cowtown Playboys.  This could be good.





While we're kicking shit with Bloodshot Bill, the cool kids will be down the street at the Jabberjosh "retirement show" at Love Garden.  Muscle Worship opens, presumably with a nice quiet set for such an intimate venue.




Free State Brewery hosts an open house at the production brewery in ELFK on Saturday afternoon from 1:00-4:00.  There's no flyer, but there's a FB event page here.  The art work from the kick-ass Burroughs souvenir glass will be on display out there.



And Chip's favorite LFK event is at the Granada on Saturday:  ASSJAMZ!

Chip: "I just want to dance."

227 people are going so far.  Will you join them. Click here