Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We Interview Mike "Cornfield" Hannah From Ashes to Immortality: "I love the look on the sound guy's face when I tell him to mic the suitcase on the drum kit."

If you're an indie-rock-loving LFK scenester, there's a good chance you haven't witnessed (or perhaps have studiously avoided) the pure joy of an Ashes to Immortality hootenanny.   You're missing out.   This fast-rising Lawrence seven-piece  played a recent high-profile gig at the Flaming Lips after-party at the Bottleneck along with Cloud Dog, and you can find them at the Granada this Saturday, Aug. 4th,  with openers Tyrannosaurus Chicken and Jazz Cigarettes.

Check out the Ashes to Immortality Facebook page here and enjoy our interview with vocalist/mandolist Mike "Cornfield" Hannah, who explains the origin of the band's name, the reason why badass fiddler Rachel Killian is called "Stankboot," and the intricacies of the band's secret weapon:  an old brown leather suitcase. 

Richard:  Tell us about your band's name.  The first time I heard the name, I have to admit, I was expecting some kind of self-important rock/metal band.  As you can imagine, I was pleasantly surprised by your sound!

Mike:  First off, thanks for listening to our music and supporting local music in general.  

The name came about because we are all very into the Occult. No, actually it's the motto of Lawrence.  After Quantrill's raid, which destroyed the town and killed about 150 men/boys, the Lawrencians literally rebuilt the town from Ashes.  We were having trouble deciding on a name but kept booking shows.  So one night I wrote down about 30 potential names and gave it to the band.  At the end of the night Ashes to Immortality was chosen.

The name certainly leads to some confusion though, since it doesn't sound like a typical bluegrass band.  Basically its a homage to the history of Lawrence.  This town really means a lot us.  I myself am a life-ong townie.

Chip:  The crowds at bluegrass/roots shows are so much more fun than the motionless indie-rock scenesters.  Tell us a wacky story about one of your gigs, perhaps involving naked Winfield hippie chicks or something else that will amuse or titillate me.

Mike: Yeah I never understood the indie-rock scenesters lack of movement at shows...what's the deal with that?  I would like to encourage more of the " indie hipsters" to come check out our shows and other acoustic bands.  They just might like it.  Dancing is optional, though strongly suggested.

We do fully encourage naked hippie chicks at our shows, especially in the front row.  In fact, we like to reserve some space up front just for those occasions.  Winfield did get pretty out of hand last year, as it usually does.  I'm not sure I can tell the full details of the story in a public forum for legal reasons.  But come hang out with us at the Granada and Bayley will tell you the story from our late night Saturday Winfield show.  I think she might be the only one who actually remembers it.

Recently, at the Liberty Hall block party show we had a couple get engaged during our set.  We play a tune called "My Gal" and the guy took his girlfriend to the front of the stage, kneeled, and proposed to her.  It was pretty cool.  Luckily she said yes!  Still trying to figure out who they are so I can put them on the guestlist and buy them a beer.  If you see this, send us a message on Facebook please.

 Here's a short video of the band rocking the post-Lips party at the Bottleneck: 

Richard:  I've seen you guys a few times and I think my favorite aspect of the band may be Rachel Killian's kick-ass fiddling.  Why is she called "Stankboot," and where do the other band nicknames come from, such as Cornfield and Flop Hat?  

Mike:  Rachel is a total bad-ass for sure.  She can play the hell out of that fiddle.  Every night we have a friendly battle between stage right and stage left to see who can shred the hardest if you will.  Rachel pretty much steals the show every night....which is why I keep her on stage right with me.  Peter and Brandon are stiff competition though.  As far as her nickname "Stankboot" goes, let's just say don't ever slam a bottle of honey whiskey with Rachel or you'll wake up in the morning on the ground using her muddy boot as a pillow.  Those nicknames came about during our road trip to perform at Summercamp festival 2011, which is basically a Wakarusa for the Chicago area.  Sonny's nickname is Flop Hat because if he's ever not wearing a floppy hat, it only means he has temporary misplaced it.  Colby's nickname is Stripes, because he constantly wears stripes and is probably developing a strange disorder about them.  I can't tell you Bayley Kate's nickname, because it makes her incredibly upset.  And I hate to see such a sweet girl curse at me.  Brandon's nickname is B-Money, because he is so damn smooth.  Honestly, I can't get a nickname for Peter to stick yet: that boy is an enigma wrapped in a riddle.  But you won't find a better banjo player.  I'm called Cornfield simply because I enjoy the comfort of meditating in the peaceful confines of a Midwest cornfield during the late night hours of a self-induced freak out.

Chip:   I dig the wild variety of instruments that turn up on stages with bluegrass/roots bands.   What's the wackiest instrument you guys have ever tackled on stage?

Mike:  It's always a lot of fun getting a bunch of instruments on stage to jam with us.  We really love that.  It's a Winfield tradition to get as many people picking in a circle and jamming together as possible and we like to recreate that vibe at shows when possible.  We'll probably have our talented friends like Dan Pem, Michael Paull and Michael Stephenson sit in with us at the upcoming Granada show.  Hopefully we'll end up with 10 or so people on stage.

But probably the "wackiest" instrument we have on stage is Colby's suitcase.  Our drummer often replaces his kick drum with an old brown leather suitcase.  It actually produces a nice warm tone that pairs well with the acoustic sound, especially in a smaller club.  I love the look on a sound guy's face when I tell him to mic the suitcase on the drum kit.

Richard:  You guys have had some relatively high-profile local shows ol late, with Split Lip Rayfield on New Year's Eve and rocking the block party and after-party at the Flaming Lips/Liberty Hall 100th Bash.  Why do you think Ashes to Immortality is "taking off?"

Mike:  It's been a great year for us so far, starting with that NYE show with Split Lip.  It was such an honor to have those guys ask us to do that gig with them.  We've had a lot of support from people like SLR, Truckstop Honeymoon, and great venues around the area.  My grandad taught me 'it's not what you know, it's who you know'.

However the biggest thing that has helped us is the immense support from our family, friends, and fans.  Since our very first show we've received incredible love and we're just happy to return the energy whenever possible.

This band has an incredible mix of talent that blends well together. We've really gelled and evolved recently as a group and that is important to keep pushing a band and bringing in more fans.  We strive to keep things fresh and creatively improvising to make each show a unique experience.  That's very important to us: we never just want to play a standard set.  Every performance is it's own living piece of art different from the next.

Bayley Kate has become a tremendous lead singer and front-woman, I'm so proud of her.  Brandon and Peter are incredible and keep getting better, as does the rhythm section.  And we've already discussed Rachel's badassness.

Although we play acoustic roots music and bluegrass for the most part, I feel we've been able to achieve a unique, original, and progressive sound within the local music scene and the genre itself.  People seem to be responding to that and we couldn't be happier about it.  There are so many great bands out there; we just want to achieve something that sets us apart and makes people have fun...that's what keeps us working hard.

Chip:   Tell our readers what to expect at the Aug. 4th Granada show?  And what should we know about the opening bands, because frankly I'm a little scared of something called "Tyrannasaurus Chicken."

Mike:  Ha, yes Tyrannosaurus Chicken might sound scary, but they will rock your balls off for sure.  I saw them at Festy Fest this year and they blew me away.  I completely geeked out on them after their set, got their contact info and have been trying to do a gig with them since.  They are from Arkansas.  It's a duo with a multi-instrumentalist and an insane fiddle player.  It's backwoods boogan boogie freak beats at their finest.  We'll also have our friends the Jazz Cigarettes open the night.  That's our drummer Colby's other band, and it's his birthday too!  They are great, Michael Stephenson is an immense talent on the guitar.  Hopefully we'll get to have him and a bunch of friends sit in for a big jam session.  We're going to go all out on Aug 4th.  It's going to be our last show till Winfield and our last show in Lawrence for a while.  So we have some special stuff in the works. We're gonna rock the Granada all night till they pull the plug.  It's going to be a big party to say thanks to all our friends and fans before Winfield.

Richard:  What's on the horizon for the band in terms of new music and touring?

Mike:  We've been working on a lot of new music lately.  Bayley, Brandon and I all are working on new tunes.  And Sonny showed me a few new songs he has the other night.  Always exciting to have new material flowing.

After the Aug. 4th Granada show we are going to take a few weeks off to prepare for Winfield. That's going to be a big deal for us and one of the highlights of our year.  Then immediately following Winfield we're going into the studio for a couple weeks to record our first full-length album.  We're extremely pumped about that and have a lot of great stuff ready to record.

Then we'll be playing a lot of shows for the fall and winter in the Midwest.  I'm working on booking right now actually.  We'll do a few Larrytown shows this fall, looking like Jazzhaus and possibly Bottleneck or another Granada.  But we're also going to continue to spread our music as much as possible while growing the hometown base that has been so good to us.  Hopefully we'll have another great NYE show in town!  

Thanks again to you guys for supporting local music and we hope to see you and all your readers at the Granada August 4th!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Interview with a Teenage Rock Star: Tyler Lenius. "Bieber can keep all the raving 12 year old fans. I'll stick to making all the women go crazy."

Sure, teenage pop stars are all over the place (like that little Bieber feller), but we don't as often hear of teenage guitarslingers ripping it up at smaller rock clubs.

However, one such rocker, sixteen year old Tyler Lenius, hits LFK this Friday, Aug. 3 with a show at Barnyard Beer .  It's right behind the Merc, for those of you who don't know the music scene that exists beyond Mass. Street!  We spoke briefly with Tyler about what it's like to jam with Rick Derringer and spend one's life in clubs while still being five years too young to sample a delicious Barnyard beer.

Check out Tyler's website here and his FB page here.  Enjoy the interview.

Chip:  So how are club audiences reacting to a young star such as yourself?  Are the ladies going crazy, Bieber-style?

Tyler:  Bieber can keep all the raving 12 year old fans. I’ll stick to making all the women go crazy…Lenius-style haha! The crowds have been pretty loud and rowdy so I’m taking it they enjoyed it!

Richard:  Tell us a little about the "Tyler Lenius sound."  How would you describe it?  Also, I understand that none other than Mr. Rick Derringer jams with you on one of your album tracks? How did that come about and what was it like hanging with him?

Tyler: The best way that I can describe it is indie rock mixed with Hendrix and AC/DC.

It was a great honor to have the legendary Rick Derringer play one of my originals, “Birds with Broken Wings," on the new EP.  [Listen here via Soundcloud].  The crazy part of the story is that we were thinking at the time that Dave Mathews was coming in to play on it but it didn’t pan out. The way it came around was that Warrior Instruments owner JD Lewis had Rick and Dave coming in to look at some new guitars.  However, the night prior, Dave got caught up in the storms that hit New York City last summer so he was unable to come. Rick was arriving from another city and was able to make it.  Rick has many Warrior guitars in his lineup and has an endorsement with them. So while he was at the factory JD’s son Dran who is the producer for my EP asked if he would like to lay a lead track on the song and he agreed. So that is how it happened. Lucky me! However I was not able to be their while he was laying the track.  Our flight left that morning and I missed out on it. I was able to meet with him at the Dallas guitar show last August and thank him. He loved the song. The big problem for me was being able to learn the lead that he played on the track and being able to reproduce it live.

Chip:  I heard you're going to be part of a reality show on TruTV?  What's the premise? And is it going to be one of those super-sleazy, Jersey Shore type shows?

Tyler: I’m guessing it’s about a young rock star who is charming and vary talented who gets all the ladies…but I’m just guessing.  But I can tell you that the only thing sleazy about this show are the ladies in the Dolly Parton wigs that stand at the front of the stage!

Richard: Tell us about your collaboration with Warrior Guitar to produce a signature guitar?  Why should every rock band any America be clamoring to get their hands on one of these in the near future.

Tyler: On this tour I’m using three Gibsons and one Fender to get the sound that I want for playing live. With the Warrior guitar that is almost finished I will only use two guitars and they will both be Warriors!  JD Lewis, the owner of Warrior Instruments, took the time to sit down with me and ask direct questions such as what sound do you want from a guitar and what type of feel do you want from the neck. I told him that I wanted a guitar that would give me that blues sound that can be found on a Fender Strat and with a flip of the switch be able to get that low end rock sound that can be heard from a Humbucker pickup using a Les Paul. He then handed me a guitar that he just finished and told me to play it! I crapped my pants after hearing what that guitar could do.  Two guitars in one!  I ended up having it made with a burred redwood.  The finish will go from a natural translucent red to fade to black. It should be finished next month and will be on the website. Funny story: while at the Warrior factory, I was looking at a Les Paul that I fell in love with and told JD that I would do anything for that guitar.  JD’s reply was this: “It’s just a Gibson” ...and he continued to walk away.

Chip:  Being underage and all, are you going to try and sneak in a few delicious Barnyard Beers while you're hanging in Lawrence?

Tyler:  I would never sneak alcohol in to my possession…I have a manager for that!  Haha

Richard:  What's on the horizon for the Tyler Lenius band in terms of music and touring this year? And what about your goals over the next decade as you mature into a jaded rock and roll star!?

Tyler: My goals are to play at all the big festivals and tour some big venues or even open for a larger national act and, judging by our upcoming shows, the future looks good! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Victor Continental Recap / Booty-Shaking Pick of the Day / Monday and Tuesday Movie Events

In many ways, the Victor Continental show is like the world's raunchiest church service.  Much of it depends on ritual.  We expect certain things, and the show serves them up, sometimes modified but always recognizable:

Some of those necessary elements are:

Splashy opening and closing dance numbers in which Victor shakes his ass surrounded by sexy chicks.

Drinking games (including a new one involving "Honey Badger").

An appearance by Victor's brother who provides an update on his newest "adult film" adventures (this year:  a "space porno" called "Ride Sally Ride").

A reliably LFK-centered edition of Shitty Deal Puppet Theater as a kick-off to Act II (this year's was in part a scathing history of Lawrence failures:  "The Tanger Outlet Mall was so boring that the addition of the DMV actually made it better." --paraphrased but fairly close).

A "slideshow" sketch in which the actors "freeze" in ridiculous poses at the narrator's cue (cleverly reconfigured this year as a "choose your own adventure" sketch that depends on the audience reacting in certain ways and made even funnier by the fact that drunken audiences do not always react in the expected manner).

A "word from our sponsors" sketch near the end that offers rapid-fire gags about local businesses.  The mere mention of Frank's North Star got a huge round of applause, suggesting that Frank's has quickly established itself as an essential fixture on the scenester circuit.  What the fuck did people do on the North Side before it arrived?


As always, we find the show to be sharpest when it's at its most local.  A throwaway reference to First Management in Act I got one of the biggest laughs of the early-evening, for instance.  But SO MUCH of the first half of the show was the kind of broad, topical-but-unfocused material (Obamacare) one might see in an average SNL sketch.   Does it entertain a drunk crowd?  Sure.  Could it be stronger? Easily.  But bear in mind this critique is leveled by a blog that's 65% boner jokes, so who are we to judge?


Surprisingly, the beer lines at Liberty Hall were moving swiftly each time we needed beers, which raises our rating to 3 out of 4 PBRs.


As they always say at Liberty Hall, the show ain't over till Mick takes his pants off.


With 106 degree temps, the chances of tonight's Replay matinee drawing much of a crowd are slim at best.  But we want to give a shout-out anyway to one of the bands, Don't Stop Please, because they hail from near our old Arkansas stomping grounds and because they have a song called "My Booty is So Luxurious"  (listen to it here via Bandcamp).

This blurb from the Arkansas Times certainly makes the show sound damn tempting, doesn't it?

"Anna Horton sang a smoky, Latin-tinged lounge number. While playing a ukulele. Later, after everyone had switched instruments a couple times, and we'd seen a trombone, banjo and harmonica make appearances, DSP did the whitest proto-rap funk song perhaps ever performed. The hook was "My booty is so luxurious.*" And at one point, Horton asked, "Where my lazy sluts at?"

The Times follows their review with this funny retraction:  "*A previous version of this post misquoted the lyrics above as "My ass is luxurious."

 Don't Stop Please & The Brody Buster Band at Replay Lounge


There are plenty of movie events to keep you occupied during the early part of the week.

Frank's North Star's Monday Movie Night presents R. Kelly: Trapped in the Closet.  The FB event description says it all:  "What?!"

The Replay Horror Picture show double-feature on Tuesday presents the Rocky Horror Picture Show (finally!) followed by Psycho.  Presumably this will be the original and not Gus Van Sant's bizarre shot-for-shot remake starring a masturbating Vince Vaughn.  But if you must (and we know most of you will), you can watch that Vaughn clip here and make poor Hitch roll over in his grave.  In better news, the clip does contain a shot of Anne Heche's side-boob.

Also on Tuesday, the Bottleneck presents Trash Night:  Superzeroes.

We STRONGLY encourage you to visit the Trash Nite website here and watch the trailer.  Turkish Superman is the coolest!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Final Fridays Photo Recap: Art and Rock (But No Art-Rock)

We were on the scene early at ELFK's new Warehouse Arts District for Final Fridays, but a steady stream of visitors was already trickling through the various galleries.   Our first stop was SeedCo Studios, where Olassa was rocking a nice cover of Jimmie Dale Gilmore's "Dallas" upstairs while BARRR enlightened us on his newest endeavors downstairs (he's poised to be a movie star).   T-shirts were on sale featuring the District's new brand, for those who like to advertise their coolness.  We bought four.

Out front, Burger Stand/Esquina had set up shop for the evening to sell their wares (Chip:  "They did NOT think it was funny when I jokingly ordered a 'cockroach burger' ").   A food truck was stationed nearby as well.  Is LFK finally getting hip to food trucks?

We strolled through the Poehler Building, where each floor is full of fine art.  Here's our favorite, which we spotted on the 2nd floor (which must be the "Swinger's Floor") :


In another building (we can't figure out all the names of the galleries yet), we puzzled over the "Dinner Party" piece below for quite some time.  Was the rubble surrounding the piece meant to be included in our interpretations (a commentary on how the 1% continues to thrive amidst the squalor surrounding them)?  Or was the backdrop merely a part of the unfinished art space, having nothing to do with the piece, which might be a statement on the loneliness of modern romance?  Chip finally muttered, "I don't fucking get it," and turned his attention to a nearby wall containing a photo of a little dog on a country road, which he deemed "Moving."

And our final stop in the District was the new Invisible Hand gallery (formerly located above Esquina).   The upstairs area was a comfortable sunlit space full of mingling scenesters. Do you see anyone you know?

Then it was out of the Eastside and on to the Replay Lounge, where legendary LFK power-pop band The What Gives had moved the evening's matinee reunion-show indoors, a decision we suspect was partly due to the heat and partly due to wanting a play the stage they'd played many times before (long before our personal Larryville-era).   With frontman Jon Harrison towering over us and beaming munificently at the crowd, their fun was infectious and their songs were timeless.  Personally, we'd sacrifice six sloppy LFK garage bands to have a few more pure pop craftsmen in town, but we recognize that sentiment is not popular in the current musical climate.  Great show, gents!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weekend Scenester Picks: Nostalgia, Dance Parties, and Dumpster Diving

The important cultural event of the weekend is the grand debut of the Warehouse Arts District in East LFK during tomorrow's Final Friday events.  Get the full scoop from our in-depth interview with artist Leo Hayden over here.  And at least one night of your weekend must be set aside for Victor Continental: our "Municipal Erections" interview with VC is right over here

But what else should occupy your time this weekend?

We don't know much about Atomic Pajama Party, but they shared their event on our FB page, and their name and song titles such as "Jiggle in My Pants" make Chip giggle.  Listen to a few songs here  Their admirable goal is "to make rock music dancible again, like it was intended to be in the beginning."  It's not an easy thing to get notoriously-immobile scenesters moving on the dance floor at a rock show, so we wish these gents the best!   Catch them at Taproom tonight with Spirit is the Spirit and Brass Buffalo.

Atomic Pajama Party, Spirit Is The Spirit and Brass Buffalo

Seems like there's a shirtless drumming party just about every night with Cloud Dog these days, and that's a good thing. Find them at the Jackpot tonight along with Austin's prolific White Denim. 

White Denim + Cloud Dog

After a long absence full of odd, early-evening DJ sets, the Replay offers up a Friday evening matinee again tomorrow and it's an important one.  The Bus Stop Label reunion show brings you legendary LFK popsters The What Gives along with Erik Voeks and Jon Harrison and the Harrisonics.  Find a good little preview via Nick and the Pitch right here .  Also, we are pleased to note that Nick is now writing for Lawrence.com, and we're certain this will mean fewer recipes and far more focus on local bands that are worth your attention!  Make sure to read his L.com stories even if you don't like L.com!

And you can follow up the early-evening nostalgia by shaking your cares away with our buddy Nezbeat's "WetHotElectricSummer" at the Taproom's late-night dance party.  We'll happily recommend any event that references "Wet Hot American Summer" (we had our annual viewing recently).

And let's not forget that it's moving weekend in LFK, the equivalent of an Olympic sport for intrepid townies.  As usual, we'll be working on our "dumpster diving art project" in which we photograph the same dumpster over the course of a week or so as various objects come and go.  It's a powerful treatise on American consumerism, plus we occasionally find cool shit, like this portrait we snagged two years ago:

For the environmentally-conscious among you, LFK offers a handy selection of "move out tips" to help prevent mountains of ratty old couches from lining the curbs all weekend.  Check it out here .  But let's face it:  there's gonna be junk all over town this weekend and you might snag something sweet if you stay vigilant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Interview: Leo Hayden Takes Us Inside the Warehouse Arts District in East LFK

Readers, if you spend much time on the Final Fridays art scene in LFK, you've certainly seen the work of Leo Hayden.  Chances are, you also know the man himself: one of the friendliest dudes in town and also one of our best artists.  Leo was kind enough to invite us out last week for a Free State beer and a tour through the Seed Company building in East Lawrence's new "Warehouse Arts District."   We're pleased to report that it's an impressive space (all 10,000 square feet of it!). 

At this Friday's debut, Seedco Studios (826 Pennsylvania) presents F-BOMB, "a stunning array of mixed media art," says the press release, from the Fresh Produce Art Collective. The opening, scheduled from 6:00 to 11:00, will also feature music from Olassa, Cloud Dog, and others.  The vision for the future of the building is that the upper level will eventually contain a major stage and bar.  Our friend King Tosser, well-reviewed rock scholar, was along for the tour and immediately exclaimed that the massive two-level space was destined to become the LFK equivalent of Warhol's Factory.  So there you have it, folks:  East LFK will soon be both "the future Santa Fe of the Midwest" (LJ-World) and the next Factory (King T).

The Warehouse Arts District will be in full swing this Friday, with numerous new galleries opening their doors to LFK's arts-lovers.   Make sure to "like" the District here on FB to keep tabs on what's happening and visit the official FB event page for Friday's activities here.

In the meantime, enjoy this interview with Leo for an insider's scoop on what's new in the LFK art world.

Chip:  If I’m to believe the recent piece in the LJ-World (which I don’t), East Lawrence is poised to become “the future Santa Fe of the Midwest.”  What’s your take on the burgeoning arts scene in East LFK and why should lazy Final Friday scenesters leave Mass. Street to check it out?

Leo:  At this point I think it is very much a diamond in the rough. This month is all about seeing the potential of the Warehouse Arts District ( or W.A.D. if you will ). The next few months will be seeing if we can get a flawless diamond cut from this sizable rock, and polish it to make it shine. I think it can thrive as long as the artists keep banging out quality work. That's really where it starts and ends. 

The population of Sante Fe is only 70,000 people, so it's actually smaller than Lawrence, but to be a Sante Fe type of art market the city and private developers would need a planned out, funded, and sustained marketing plan. We have to bring in art lovers from all over the Midwest, not just Lawrence. We need K.C, St. Louis, Omaha, Lincoln, Denver, Chicago, Wichita, Topeka, Tulsa, Austin, Oklahoma City, Seattle, San Francisco, too. (OK, I threw in the last 2 in order to make it sound like "Heart of Rock and Roll" by Huey Lewis, which is INCREDIBLY unhip.)

The other thing Sante Fe has is a style. You see certain things and they just remind you of Sante Fe influence. I am not really sure Lawrence has that. Except sunflowers, wheat and grain silos . And I have sworn myself to never painting any of those. Maybe I could paint a grain silo with sunflowers and wheat stalks on the side of it and kill them all with one stone. 

As for the second part of your question, the area is optimized for lazy scenesters. The "truly lazy" scenester will show up late for the Poehler Building ribbon cutting, mill around and find some type of obligational free snacks and appetizers at various locations, pay a couple bucks donation for some tap PBR, visit all 4 venues showing art without moving a single block, then check out the live music at The Seed Company Studios which goes on all night. They don't even have to go to Mass. Street.  I call it the Mass Exodus strategy.

Richard:   When you walked us through the new Lost Art Space you mentioned that you’d recently developed a newfound confidence in your own work.  Tell us what makes Leo Hayden stand out among Larryville artists and tell us what we’ll be seeing from you this week at Final Fridays.

Leo:  I would like to clear up a misconception about Lost Art Space. Yes, all the artists from Lost Art Space are working out of the building, but Lost Art Space still has a store front on Mass St. It is located on the lower level below Phoenix gallery and is actually open all week, not just for art shows.

I think the confidence comes through validation by fellow artists. That and a backlogged list of patrons wanting commissions.

The Seed CO. Studios are great to work in because you get constant feedback from everyone filtering in and out all day, (and night). It gives you a sense that you belong. Not only belong, but are thriving as an artist as well.

What sets me apart? Patience, people, and quality.

I think on average I spend more time on each individual work. I am very plodding and methodical in how I go about them. My last two paintings took 150 and 120 hours to complete. And the majority of the time I spent on them was the under-sketches, not the actual painting of them.

The people part is in the subjects. I find people much more interesting to paint and draw. But I don't like traditionally posed portraits. I like to try and capture people just being 100% themselves. I think that's why kids make great subjects, because they don't even know how to be anything other than just themselves.

Quality is in the products. I try to build my own panels when possible. I use tempered hard board over other softer woods. I use 4 layers of gesso and sand between each layer. I use the best quality oils I can find. Artists seem to be shying away from the traditional oils. The majority I know use acrylics or, if they use oils, they are water based. The main reason seems to be they prefer the quicker drying times, (which comes back to patience). I use the traditional oils because I think they get the most vibrant color. And the combination of all these things results in a painting that will look as good 200 years from now as it does the day you painted it.

This Final Friday I am showing:

Fally :  local I Heart Local Music blogger Fally Afani showing off her mad skills.

E @ the Star Bar :  The lighting reminded me of Edward Hopper's New York Movie so I took a shot of Elizabeth on my phone and did the painting based on that.

The Ball Pit This piece was all about playing with color. Lots of color.

Cotton Candy is from a photo taken of a girl at the St Patrick's Day Parade in Lawrence. Our dog Niki had just unsuccessfully tried to eat large chunks out of her Cotton Candy as she kept walking back and forth.

Sophie 2012 : a recently commissioned piece
Here's Sophie:

"I've Got Game, and I'm Bringin It"  is my most recent work featuring my great niece being... well my great niece.

All are oils with the exception of Fally. I don't have any pre-conceived elements I am looking for in a subject. I am usually just out somewhere and a situation will catch my eye. It might be the particular lighting, or the colors, or just interesting folks being interesting.

Chip:  My favorite Leo piece has got to be “Brownback Sucks,” in which little baby Brownback suckles at the teat of Sarah Palin.  I’m giggling just thinking about it.  What’s your own all-time personal favorite piece?

Leo:  Well Chip, if you like Brownback Sucks then you would love the little side project called Studio Burlesque that I have been doing. Foxy by Proxy, the local burlesque troupe has been putting on some live art sessions at the Lawrence Arts Center and Atomic Photography. So you get some great images of women posing in interesting costumery ( is that a word? ). They also serve cheap PBR and its sort a fun little DJ'ed  Drink N' Draw hang out session.

I'll have my sketchbook out for Final Friday for perusing.

My favorite piece? Some wise woman (Elizabeth) told me that your favorite piece has to be your most current work of your most current (and last) girl. So E @ the Star Bar is my favorite piece.

And as an artist I feel that the best piece is always the one you are currently working on. This is especially true for me because there is some element that I wonder if I can actually pull it off.

Richard:   What do you see as the greatest strength of the Lawrence arts scene and what do you see as the major weakness?

Leo:  I think the greatest strength has to be the pure number of people that actively create art in Lawrence.

The weaknesses are the same as would be in any art scene. None that would be specific to Lawrence.

The economics of Final Friday are a weakness,  I think. The people that are benefiting most are the businesses. People should make it a goal to spend at least as much on art as they do on $3 margaritas, tacos and frozen yogurt. Without the artists, there is no Final Friday.

At the very least, buy your favorite artist a drink. But trust me, they have been drinking since noon when they started hanging the show.

Chip:  I can only look at art for about a half hour before I get bored and/or confused.  Tell me a few of the can’t miss artists or pieces that I should seek out on the Eastside during Final Friday this week.

Leo:  Like I said before, use the Mass. Exodus Strategy, go to the W.A.D. and check out all 4 venues.

If you don't want to fry your brain figuring out visual metaphors and symbolism, check out my pieces. I like to call my works W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G.'s. What You See Is What You Get. Nothing more, nothing less.

Clare Doveton and Molly Murphy at the new Invisible Hand location will be a can't miss.

I am really enjoying Erok's Crossing Lights series.

Substantial work has been done on Jesse Gray's Bear Fighter piece since you last saw it.
[Here's a pic we snapped during the tour]:


And see if you spot all the PBRs in the last Supper collaborative piece. As well as Lost Art Space guys Paul Flinders, Jeremy Rockwell, and Jeromy Morris apostle-ized. Oh, and an angry possum.

Richard:  I understand that the vision for the Seed Company building involves an upstairs bar and stage for bands as well as the downstairs galleries.  Is this truly going to become like Andy Warhol’s Factory over there?  And who’s the LFK equivalent of Warhol? 

Leo:  That's all purely speculative at this point. But it would be nice if that vision came to fruition. It's still a bit early to see how it will all shake out.

When you talk Warhol, I would say Wayne Propst comes to mind. Erok or Jeromy Morris with the interesting re-hashing of imagery. But the Warhol of Lawrence will always be William S. Burroughs, hands down, dead or alive. Bill Self a distant second.
Hell, Burroughs was Andy Warhol before Andy Warhol was Andy Warhol.

Chip:  I hear Cloud Dog’s playing in the building this Friday?  Are you going to get shirtless and painted up and jam with them?  And are there other acts this week that might lure our music-loving readers over to the Eastside this Friday even if they don’t care about art?

Leo:  A good rule of thumb for me is that it is OK to paint nudes, but it is NOT OK for me to paint IN the nude. I really want this night to be a success, and keeping my clothes on is conducive to that goal.

Music in some form will begin at The Seed Co. at 6 PM. There are four acts:  Olassa, Owl People, a third which was added yesterday, with Cloud Dog finishing the night off. 

I would guess on the start times, but we all know that would just make me a liar.
Peruse the useful map below to insure that you don't accidentally wander into an "abandoned" warehouse being used as a massive marijuana storehouse or a "bath salts" manufacturing facility.

New Interview: Exploring Our Dark Side With Blake Judd of Nachtmystium!

Readers, we're sad to report to all you black-metal-loving locals that Nachtmystium has cancelled their gig at the Bottleneck's Metal Monday next week.  But that won't stop us from running our interview with them.  After all, the band has been hailed by those well-known black metal experts over at Pitchfork as "the biggest and most important band in American black metal" (read the review here) and they've got a new album, Silencing Machine, which arrives on July 31.  They've got a hometown record release show in Chicago on that night as well, so you LFK metalheads might want to consider a roadtrip.

We're honored that the band's Blake Judd made time for our hijinks, despite the fact that Chip claims he hasn't listened to anything "heavier" than Aerosmith (the ballads) since his mother once burned all the Metallica records she discovered in his dorm room. 

Check Nachtmystium out on FB here and pre-order Silencing Machine here

Now enjoy this interview, in which Chip asks frontman Blake Judd about Satan and we chat about the band's return to their black-metal roots after two acclaimed but more experimental records. 

Richard:   There's a lot of talk about how your new album is a return to the pure "black metal" of your first record.   How exactly does it differ in sound from your recent albums?  And do you think newer fans will be surprised or disappointed by the changes?

Blake:  I definitely don’t think that this record is “pure” black metal at all. It’s more of a return to our style of black metal. To me, that means that this is a lot more straightforward record. We don’t break out into saxophone solos on this record at all or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, I like those two Meddle records a lot, but it would have felt very forced for us to find another way to “outweird” ourselves so we decided to go back to the sound that we had previously created. I think we made an amazing record and I think fans will agree with us there.

Chip:   I grew up in small-town Kansas listening to country music.  When people down there think of "black metal" they think of devil worship and human sacrifice and pentagrams and maybe goats, for some reason.  Will I be required to worship Satan at your Bottleneck show, or is it merely recommended?

Blake:  Religion has no place here in Nachtmystium so you can do whatever you want to, hahaha.

Richard:   Those scenester tastemakers over at Pitchfork have give you some absolute rave reviews and even called you "the biggest and most important band in American black metal" when reviewing Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II in 2010.  Do you pay attention to what those hipsters think of you?  And how do you think they'll respond to your newest work?

Blake:   I read the reviews, but I don’t care what anyone says about our records. Of course, it’s great to hear that they think we made a killer record but, what I mean is, we don’t make records so that we get praise from the press. Everyone has their own musical taste so it’s cool if they like it, but if not I’m not too concerned. With regards to this new record, I’ve actually done an interview with them and they premiered a new song from this record so it seems as though they dig it.

[Read that Pitchfork interview here ]

Chip:   The song titles on your new album are really bumming me out. "The Lepers of Destitution."  "These Rooms in Which We Weep."  What's the best time to listen to a Nachtmystium album?

Blake:  The new record is very dark. The themes of this album are much more “black metal” than the previous two albums. You can listen to the record whenever, but I think that everyone will have their own “best time to listen”. Black metal is not for easy listening; it’s not something that people put on for background music.

Richard:    I'm guessing you've seen some wild and violent behavior at your shows.  Can you share a concert experience that will amaze and/or terrify our readers?

Blake:  You know, I actually talked about this in an interview where someone asked about Randy Blythe and his whole situation in Prague right now. [find details on the Blythe case here via Rolling Stone].  Strange scenario… we were playing in Vilnius, Lithuania and some teenage guy (probably 18-19) ran on stage at full speed directly at me with some large object in his hand and I couldn’t see what it was. I immediately turned and got into a stance where I was ready to have someone try to tackle me or attack me, and it turns out it was some crazy fan with a record and a marker (?!) who literally felt it was the appropriate time to get an autograph from me whether I liked it or not, right after our first two songs on stage in our set that night. I was super pissed at first and I started writing “Fuck off” on the kid’s records, but I felt bad, so he has a record that says “Fuck Blake Judd,” signed by me, hahahaha. The situation was startling, however and I spoke to the promoter after the show about his security as it was a rather large and rowdy crowd to begin with.

Richard:  Aside from the new album, what else is on the horizon for Nachtmystium in terms of music and touring?

Blake:  Well, we have a short tour at the end of the month leading to an album release show in our hometown of Chicago. After that, I am going into the studio with my Twilight bandmates to record our new album. The next thing on our agenda is a full scale North American tour, which is already being planned and will happen in November sometime. We’re also talking about getting back to Europe in the early part of 2013. Nachtmystium tours a lot and stays very active so that’s what the plan is at the moment. We are also talking about going to South America, Australia and some other areas where we have never played before. One way or another, we’ll be out there playing, that’s for sure!

Chip:  Can you give one piece of advice to any angry young black metal fans who might be reading this piece?

Blake:  Keep supporting the scene. Listen to Katharsis. Come to a Nachtmystium show!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Summer Crossover Series With I Heart Local Music, Vol. 5: Favorite Jackpot Shows

Our summer collaborative series with I Heart Local Music is back in action.  Last week we considered our favorite Replay shows.  This week we're traveling across the street to the Jackpot.

Check out our picks for favorite Jackpot show over at I Heart Local Music and enjoy their picks right here.  And be sure to visit the Jackpot soon: they certainly need your support in these troubled times!

If there's one thing I can say about the Jackpot, it's resilient. It's been through several changes over the last decade, yet it still manages to bring in some of the best shows in recent memory. We've broken our favorite shows there into three categories.

* Best mind-blowing show I've ever seen at the Jackpot: Dan Deacon (2007)

I'm not going to lie. I waltzed right into this show not having a clue who Dan Deacon was, but I left a dedicated lifelong fan.

The show started with a lengthy introduction that included snark, jokes, and stunts. Deacon made the audience count backwards from 30, but each second had to be yelled for about 15 seconds (think: "Thiiiiiiiiirtyyyyyyyyyyyyy, Thiiiiiiiiirtyyyyyyyy-oooooonnnnnneeeeeeee," etc.).  He stopped us at about 28, and then proceeded to melt our faces off with that classic Deacon electronic madness. The glowing, strobe-light-driven skull gave the audience dancing cues to keep the night going hard and strong. We spent the end of the night looking for our faces, because they had melted, and it was now time to scrape them off the floor.

One of the best things about Dan Deacon's performance today is that the audience interaction is even more intense. Everyone will get a chance to stand just a foot away from him, and experience the insanity together. We caught him at SXSW this year, and the performance (even with a few hiccups) was just as thrilling as ever.

He's coming to the Granada in November. So you can expect more of this:


Best musical skill I've ever seen onstage at the Jackpot: Lymbyc Systym (September 5, 2008)

Lymbyc Systym is comprised of two brothers who create gorgeous electronic music intertwined with enough percussion to make your heart soar. In 2007, they opened for the Album Leaf. In 2008, they came back to headline their own tour. By this time, they had drawn in a much bigger (and more dedicated) crowd.

Jared and Michael Bell are the walking proof that big things come in small packages. With their tiny frames perched upon their synths and drums, they filled the venue with vibrating rhythms and energetic performances. Drummer Michael Bell was a little fireball of energy, his arms flying all over the place. I could hardly keep track of what he was doing at times.

We talked to Jared Bell in the video below, and he talked about what instrumental music can bring to the stage, something that was still fairly scarce at that point in the decade. They effortlessly got the entire audience into it (check out the clapping army at 3:35 in), and ended the set with a fantastic flourish. They really did bring a new excitement to instrumental music, and for that reason alone I am thoroughly looking forward to 
Prairie School , their next album. 

* Jackpot show that I missed and will never forgive myself for: The Arcade Fire

Although technically I wasn't at this show, I still hear stories about it to this very day. Everything from the sold-out calamity (and folks who snuck in through the back) to an enraged Win Butler who would eventually Hulk out and tear apart the roof at the venue after growing increasingly furious with the venue's sound (the sound's much better now).  Legend has it within weeks of this show, the band took off and reached the megastar status that they hold today.

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Municipal Erections" : Our Sexy Interview With Victor Continental

Readers, it's a great honor for us (but especially for Chip) to interview the one, the only, Mr. Victor Continental: a great lover, a lover of dick jokes, and a legendary purveyor of inside jokes about LFK.   

Victor is bringing his annual hijinks back to Liberty Hall this Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28 at 9:00.  As always, he'll pack the joint to the rafters with people ready to get shitfaced, laugh loudly about LFK's faults and foibles, and play some drinking games. 

Visit the FB event page here and tell Victor you're coming (yes, that's meant to be an innuendo: this year's show is called "Come," after all).  And watch a very funny promo/In Memoriam trailer for this year's show over here.

And now enjoy the interview, which truly goes "balls deep" in considering the many LFK citizens with whom Victor has had sex, the growth of North LFK, and (of course) the villainy of Doug Compton.   Okay, here we go...

Chip:  First of all, I’m honored to speak with the great Victor Continental, a man who loves a dick joke as much as myself.   What percentage of LFK have you had sex with anyway, and who are some of the best?

Victor: Ah am a big fan of having sex with the members of Lesbians for Kayaking. They're women who love women and they're already wet. Ah am unfamiliar with their membership roster, so Ah will will have to use a complex algorithm of math and say 69%. And the best one was Patrice. As for the people of Lawrence Fucking Kansas, the algorithm still says 69%, and the best were Sue Hack, Frank Dorsey, Baby Jay, and of course, Patrice. Mike Amyx keeps it trim. Would you like to touch my algorithm?

Richard:  I’ve been seeing the Victor shows for a long time and, truth be told, the mix of insider-Larryville humor along with raunchy hijinks is one of the many influences on our blog.  Tell our readers what kind of fresh local subjects you’re tackling in this year’s show.  And will there be jokes about the increasing “hip factor“ of North Lawrence (I’m thinking primarily of those intrepid boozehounds over at Frank’s North Star, who have finally given Lawrence a truly great new bar).

Victor: Well, Richard, Ah would like to think Ah began the trend of North Lawrence being hip by featuring it prominently in mah show last year. Whenever mah fingers aren't in other places Ah like to keep them on the pulse. Since last year, they have even built a bridge to connect North and South Lawrence. You're welcome. As for the rest of your question, no one in Lawrence is safe, but Ah always use protection. In conclusion, Ah have had sex with Frank's North Star Tavern.

Chip:  I’m guessing it’s safe to assume that local villain Doug Compton will get his usual roasting in this year’s show due to all the controversy over the 9th and New Hampshire project.  What else is deserving of a good old-fashioned VC takedown? And are there any local subjects that you shy away from in your comedy, perhaps for reasons of good taste or perhaps because someone in power (KU athletics, maybe) might put a hit on you if you offend them? 

Victor: Remember, whenever you assume, you give your ass to u and me. And since you've already had it so long, Ah'm taking two turns. We here at the Victor Continental Show are keeping a close eye on Mr. Compton's various municipal erections. Because they have lasted far longer than four hours and to our knowledge he has not consulted his doctor. As for KU athletics, basketball aside, they do a pretty fine job of making jokes of themselves. And Ah can say that, because Ah've had sex with them. You're welcome.

Richard:  What’s your favorite sketch you’ve ever done and why?  And could you also tell us about a sketch that you liked which completely bombed?

Victor: Mah favorite sketch is probably the North Lawrence sketch from last year, because, as the first sketch in the first act, it's the only one Ah can remember. Oh-kay! As for a sketch that bombed, Ah would have to say, "Oh Mah God, Crabs!" Have you ever tried to do a live show with live crabs? Don't. And remember, rub in product, rinse, repeat. And if you opt to shave, mention mah name and Mike Amyx will give you a discount.

Chip:   I fucking love the Shitty Deal Puppet Theater.  How’s Mr. Doper and the gang and can you give us any teasers about what they’re up to this year?

Victor: Ah have sent this question to mah good friend Mr. Doper, who has come back with the following response:

Mr. Doper: Fuck you, Chip. Fuck you and Dick too.  You want a teaser: your grandma. You want to know what happens in the puppet show, buy a fucking ticket and see the goddamn show like everyone else. . . I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I love you Chip. Tell your mom I said "hi."

Victor: Please remember, Chip, that the views of Mr. Doper do not reflect the views of the Victor Continental Show, or anyone else who's urine isn't more fire than liquid. Just remember, he's had a hand up his ass for fourteen years now, and only three of them were good.

Richard:  There’s a heroic amount of drinking involved at Victor shows considering both the drinking games that go on over the course of the evening along with the copious amounts of booze already being consumed.  How hammered do you honestly get during the shows?

Victor: Everywhere Ah go, Ah leave a trail of broken hearts and diseased livers behind me. Ah am a lot like mah good friend Bacchus. We both enjoy drinking and having sex, but Ah don't sell gyros during the day. Ah sleep. Ah am occasionally often completely hammered at the show and all times.

Chip:   Let’s end this interview with a hilarious dick joke.   Lay it on us, Victor (man, that sounds dirty in its own right).

Victor: Chip, mah dick is no joke. And rest assured, were this interview conducted in person, Ah would have laid it on you before question one. Thank you Chip and Richard! Come see mah show, July 27th and 28th at 9pm at Liberty Hall! Ah love you Lawrence! Ah love you Patrice!

[Readers, in an interviewing oversight, likely caused by heat exhaustion and PBR consumption, we failed to ask Victor a timely question about hecklers in response to the recent Tosh/heckler/rape joke controversy.  But we suspect that Victor handles unruly hecklers in his usual fashion:  by making sweet sexy love to them (consensually, of course) until they shut the fuck up].

And here's one of our favorite Victor images, circa 2004 via L.com :

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Important News of the Week: City Fathers vs Adorable Pygmy Goats; Saturday and Sunday Scenester Picks: Replay Tunes and Film Church

In recent years, LFK has engaged in a series of long and important legal battles to insure that ridiculous animals can be kept as pets.  First it was hedgehogs.  Then it was pot-bellied pigs.  This time it's pygmy goats.

Yes, The Man has decided that Arthur Dodge's adorable new pygmy goat, Whiskey, is not legal within city limits.   Make sure to be on hand to lend your support to Dodge and cute goats when the issue comes before the City Commission in the near-future. 

And check out the full story and a great video of Dodge and the goat via LFK's Channel 6 .

The story has also been covered by KCTV5 in KC. Read their story here , which includes a picture of Whiskey:

Meet Whiskey, a pygmy goat stirring up some controversy in Lawrence.

But why has LJ-World been so suspiciously silent on this story?  Come on, Shaun Hittle!  This is Pulitzer-material in the making!


The scenester event of the night seems to be local favorites Hospital Ships and Drakkar Sauna at the Replay, along with Forest of Luxury, which we think is a hip-hop project but we're not sure because it's hard to find a web presence for them aside from Myspace, which we are too hip to click.

And the great film event of the weekend (aside from all this Dark Knight business) is Liberty Hall's Film Church screening of the Coens' ever-brilliant 1984 debut Blood Simple.  We hear there's going to be a shovel giveaway along with Maggie's "sermon." 

Do you know the opening narration by heart?  We do.

"The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here... you're on your own."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday and Friday Picks: Sidewalk Sale and "Loud and Reverberous" Rock and Roll With The Dull Drums

As we point out every year, scenesters hate the Sidewalk Sale because sweaty, average people fill the streets and make it hard to get to the Pig in a timely fashion.  But it's one of LFK's biggest traditions and it's going strong as we speak.  Head down there, score some moderate bargains, and try not to die from heatstroke.

Here's a nice photo from the LJ-World of two Jefferson's employees, though the shade makes it impossible for Chip to identify them.  Visit a gallery of Sidewalk Sale photos at the LJ-World over here and tweet about your purchases all day at the #swsale hashtag. 

As for us, we enjoyed a quick visit to Liberty Hall's DVD sale (complete with a Maggie-conversation about who is the best Coens' cinematographer:  Sonnenfeld or Deakins?). And then we scampered home to the air-conditioning with our purchases.


Friday night brings Tulsa's The Dull Drums to the Replay.  They describe their style as "loud and reverberous."  To prepare, head over to Bandcamp and dig on a song called "Trashvertising."  That shit is totally "reverberous!"  

SKIN YOU ALIVE cover art

Also on the bill is Treemotel, who have an album called Swilling Chit and the Eidetic Trill.  (Chip: "I had to look up three words of that title!"), and a new album called Tabloid Girl's Future Feature Film Debut in Space.  Check them out here .

Here's the creepy, Lynchian cover image of that latter album:


And LFK's own Up the Academy rounds out the triple-bill.  (Re)read our Up the Academy interview over here (it remains one of our all-time most popular, though that may be partly because it has a lovely picture of #KUboobs in it).

In case you're unfamiliar, Up the Academy look like this (photo snagged from their FB page ):



And who's on the bill at the Jackpot this weekend?  According to their calendar, no one.  This doesn't seem like a promising business plan but, then again, it's really too fucking hot to leave the house anyway.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This Week's Geek Picks: Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz, Super Nerd Night, Puppetry, Comic Book Lectures, and The Dark Knight Rises!

Sadly, there's no Nerd Nite in Lawrence this month (they'll be back in August), so we'll be filling our geeky needs elsewhere.  Luckily, there's no shortage of events.

We found ourselves last night in the unlikely venue of Phoggy Dog to experience the Geeks Who Drink pub quiz, a very interactive, multimedia quiz heavy on pop-culture.  Don't worry, readers: the bar at this early hour was not full of the fratty clientele you might expect (and fear) but rather a collection of well-behaved 20 and 30-something types hunkered over tables and reveling in their knowledge of cheesy movie villains, boy bands, and the living room sets of famous TV sitcoms (our group absolutely aced that last one, identifying all 8 of those sons-of-bitches, even Golden Girls and King of Queens!).

Some quiz highlights:

We refrained from using "boner" in our team name because we weren't sure if this was a randy crowd, but the first category of the night turned out to be "I've Got Wood" (sadly, the question was not about erections but rather about famous names containing "Wood").

The "Motown vs. O-Town" question was clever, asking contestants to identify alternating snippets of Motown and boy-band tunes.  We knew our Smokey Robinson, but we did NOT know our N'Sync.  And we were okay with doing poorly in this round and keeping our musical street cred intact.

We did not win the contest, but we DID win a free beer in one round by knowing something about broccoli.

A lowlight:

Somehow we failed to identify a clip from Johnny Dangerously during the video round (in our defense:  the clip was super-brief and we were drunk by that point).


All in all, a worthy way to spend a blisteringly hot Tuesday evening in LFK.  It's free to play and the $2.50 any-beer-in-the-bar special will make sure you're at your sharpest when answering the questions!


Our friends at Super Nerd Night sure as hell aren't taking the month of July off.  They're back at the Bottleneck tonight with a "METAL AS FUCK"  edition of the popular event.  Long Shadows is one of the bands rocking the music portion of the evening (and we understand that the Emberfield boffers will be boffing each other during their set).  The FB event page will fill you in on other nerdy details regarding parchment portraits, carousing maidens, and monster costumes.  All for a mere $3.  And check out this bad-ass flier:


And what about puppetry?  It's geeky too.  Catch Quintron and Miss Pussycat at the Jackpot this evening along with all your favorite Replay Records artists:  Up the Academy, Dry Bonnet, Mouthbreathers.  Details here (and picture snagged from here ).


If you're a comic book fan, the Lawrence Public Library kicks off a new About Lawrence series of events with "A Visual History of Comics" tomorrow (Thursday, July 19) at 6:30.   Get the full scoop here and check out some info from the press release:

"In Part I, writer Jai Nitz will walk us through the history of comics and how they have evolved while illustrator Greg Smallwood illustrates each character using a projector.

After a short intermission, Nitz and Smallwood will kick off Part II by talking us through the basics of sequential art and offering a sneak peek of their newest project to illustrate how it all works together.

Please note: this project contains “PG-13″ subject matter that may not be appropriate for kids! Part II isn’t recommended for anyone who’d prefer to steer clear of comic book crime and violence."

Chip: "I'd attend if it contained NC-17 subject matter. I LOVE watching cartoons fuck."


And you don't need us to tell you this, but The Dark Knight Rises rises in theaters tomorrow at midnight! You've almost certainly got tickets in your nerdy little hands as we speak.  Will it be the masterpiece that geeks assume, or will it be full of near-indecipherable mumblings from beneath Bane and Batman's masks?

One of the biggest questions among fanboys during filming has been whether Anne Hathaway is worthy of the Catwoman suit (note from Christopher Nolan:  do not call her Catwoman, we don't use that name in my ultra-serious film!).  We'll admit that Hathaway gives us a moderate boner, but let's be honest here: she ain't no Julie Newmar!

See you at the IMAX!