Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Small Town Americana Picks of the Week: Kansas Storytelling Festival; The Last Picture Show at Film Church; Lucero and Mud

Readers, it was recently brought to our attention that there are other towns in Kansas besides Lawrence and that some of you occasionally travel to these towns for events.  For cultural events!  Who knew?

Anyway, our new spring/summer column called "Road Trip of the Week" offers suggestions for those who insist on leaving LFK for a few hours or even (gasp) a weekend.

We begin today with this weekend's Kansas Storytelling Festival in Downs, Kansas, and we asked our friend Saul (nickname: Better Call Saul!) to pen a blurb for us because he has connections to the Festival (visit the official website here for full details).   Thanks, Saul.  Here's his report:

“What’s Up, Downs?”

Everyone knows you gotta get out of LFK every now and then, and after being cooped up all winter a springtime road trip is just the thing to erase the recent memory of a snowy, miserable Spring Break. Even if Chip asks to borrow your car for the weekend, tell him he can’t, because you are driving out to Western Kansas. 

However, we all know the options are limited and you can only see the corpse of SP Dinsmoor on display at the Garden of Eden in Lucas (Little Lawrence) so many times. So why not change things up and travel to the official Kansas Storytelling Festival in Downs, Kansas? This small town (about three and a half hours by car from Lawrence), which awestruck hipsters have described as Mayberry-like, hosts this event of tall tales and long-winded yarns which culminates in a storytelling competition where the winner receives a shovel for having spewed the best B.S.

For the weekend of April 26 and 27, the 20th annual festival will be in full swing (however, it is typically a dry event which sadly means no PBR). No need to worry about fan favorites pulling a no-show (I’m looking at you Morrissey) and with copious amounts of small-town hospitality this event is well worth it. 

Chip:  "I attended this event last year and relayed a series of tender and erotic 'farmer's daughter' stories. They were generally well-received, though the most consistent critique was that I overused the word 'pecker.'"



If you're like us, you've been waiting a long time to see a young Cybill Shepherd naked on a diving board in beautiful 35mm black and white.    Thanks to Liberty Hall's Film Church, you'll get your chance this Sunday as they present Peter Bogdanovich's small-town slice-of-life The Last Picture Show.  We're not sure what's being served for brunch, but it really should be a greasy diner burger.


Lucero brings their brawny Americana sound to the Granada tonight (along with Langhorne Slim).  We haven't paid much attention to Lucero these past few years, but we'll always have a soft spot for them since we used to catch them regularly in the back room at a great dive called Vino's in Little Rock more than a decade ago.  Oh, such memories.

We snagged this old flyer from a cool site over here:

And here's tonight's flyer:


We also like to take every opportunity to enlighten or remind people that the brother of Lucero's Ben Nichols happens to be the great young Southern filmmaker Jeff Nichols, whose follow-up to the outstanding Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter is called Mud.  It's coming soon, it looks like a riff on Huck Finn, and it features a shirtless (of course) Matthew McConaughey as the titular Mud, and costars a kid in a Fugazi shirt (watch the trailer) as well as Nichols' ever-present collaborator Michael Shannon as a mussel diver.  Oh yeah, and Ben Nichols and Lucero collaborate on much of the soundtrack of the film.  Trust us: it's all going to be very, very good.

 We prefer the French poster to the American ones, because we're sophisticated:

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