Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekend Reflections on a Cultural Bonanza: Free State Festival; Lawrence Field Day Fest; Final Friday; and Tour of Lawrence

Lawrence served up a feast of cultural opportunities this weekend and we tried to sample a few portions of each.  Here are some thoughts.

Free State Festival:

This year's Free State Fest, centered around the Lawrence Arts Center, expanded from a film fest into a full-force community event combining film, music, art, and panel discussions, and it was unquestionably a hit.  It seems likely, in fact, to become the cornerstone event of the summer--something that will increasingly draw tourists from well beyond the borders of LFK--if the Lawrence Arts Center can afford to keep it going strong.  Judging from all the grant money rolling in lately, this shouldn't be a problem.  This is one of those events where the old cliche "something for everyone" pretty much holds true, with events ranging from family-friendly buskers to free outdoor concerts (2000 people on hand for Mr. Johnny Winter) to late-night scenester "happenings" (such as Husker Du icon Grant Hart backed up by some of LFK's finest).  If we had to level a critique, it seems to us that the film portion itself could stand to be a little more buzzworthy.  Imagine, as one example, if they had somehow scored an early screening of Richard Linklater's Boyhood this summer, with the man himself on hand to discuss.  But judging from the near-capacity crowds at the two film events we attended, most people were perfectly pleased with the offerings.  Good job, LAC and Free State Fest!

Here is a busking mime (not necessarily an official part of the Free State Fest, but this is the kind of event that everyone can latch onto!).

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Lawrence Field Day Fest:

In past years, we had two minor criticisms of Lawrence Field Day Fest:  it was all held in a single venue and it wasn't diverse enough for our taste, tending mostly toward garage rock and punk.   With year three, these concerns were non-existent:  the Fest branched out of the Bottleneck to the (impressively renovated) Jackpot, added a free evening of shows at Wonder Fair and Love Garden, and opened up the billing to some more eclectic fare, from the singer-songwritery goodness of Danny Pound (who read a high-school poem he wrote called "Don't Let Disco Die") to the hip-hop stylings of Ebony Tusks (we heard, from Marty, that this show was epic!) to the bad-ass blues of Katy Guillen and the Girls (a band we sincerely regret missing after hearing Josh Berwanger rave to us about them).  We were on hand for much of Saturday's line-up, arriving early to witness the resurrection of Pale Hearts, with Rob in fine screaming voice, besuited and showcasing his best dance moves, channeling some LFK demons for what he claimed was one last hurrah (or is it?) before moving to KC.  From there we stopped by the Jackpot in time to catch the end of a raucous Quivers set and the beginning of a sizzling Philistines set before heading back to Bottleneck to catch Berwanger, in classic Berwanger-style, blazing through 30 minutes of arena-ready rock, complete with a fog machine.   Mr. Cameron Hawk deserves applause for curating this thing and keeping it running like a well-oiled machine, with all the bands we saw starting right at their appointed set times, perhaps the rarest miracle of all in the world of rock and roll.

Final Friday:

Did folks make their way off the streets and into the galleries for Final Friday?  We only stopped at two places (Phoenix Gallery--upstairs and down--and Wonder Fair) but they both seemed to be hopping.

Chip is trying to save some cash and purchase a piece that he calls "Naked Woman With Cat," which is part of Wonder Fair's terrific YWA (Young Woman Artists) show.  Make sure to stop by and check it out.

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Tour of Lawrence:

The bikes are fast.  The bikes are kind of fun to watch (for about 15 minutes).  The bikes are COMPLETELY blocking off 9th Street right next to your home!  The bikes are almost running you down as you try to cross Mass on Sunday.  It is way too fucking humid outside to enjoy the bikes.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Final Friday and Other Weekend Picks: Comedy, Art, A Double-Dose of BARRR, and Captiva

Apparently there's other stuff going on in LFK right now besides the Free State Festival and Lawrence Field Day Fest.  Who knew?

Here are a few other options.

It's time for more Thursday comedy at the Replay and one of tonight's headliners is Mr. Jason Barr.  We haven't seen Barr do comedy in awhile, but we assume his act reflects his recent "straight-edge" lifestyle.  Expect some inspirational advice about the power of exercise and prayer, and perhaps a few gentle barbs about the faults and foibles of Lawrence Friendly Kansas.

The FB event page is here.



Final Friday is almost upon us, and there is art to be seen if you can somehow make your way through the Free State Fest buskers and Tour of Lawrence bicycle racers (unlikely).

Our friend Karen has a cool show at  Phoenix Underground. It's a series of paintings inspired by watching people dance at the Taproom.

Chip:  "If I'm one of the dancers she painted, there is going to be A LOT of grinding in these works.  There should be a GIF video installation as well to better capture the movement."

The show also features Lora Jost's "Animals."

This is our TOP PICK for Final Friday.  Try hard to get there.

The FB event page is here.


And don't neglect the main upstairs Phoenix Gallery, since there's a cool show from Thieves Guild there in which artists display their life-drawing sketches, photos, etc from the monthly Fatso's events.  Last time we stopped by one of those Fatso's events there was a nearly-naked woman on stage with @DoppelGangsta lying on top of her in some sort of prom-themed pose, so you can expect to see some interesting stuff at this opening.  Check out the FB event page.  Here's a sneak preview.


Needing more BARRR after Thursday's comedy.  Find him out at SeedCo on Friday selling art out of his truck (parked at 826 Penn).

If you venture beyond Jason's truck and into SeedCo, you'll find more art and music from our friends in Carswell and Hope and others.  Details here[Update: apparently this event will be held outside SeedCo, since there's some kind of SeedCo SNAFU going on].


Wonder Fair has a show that's all about the YWA's this month!  That means "Young Woman Artists," in case you're not in the know.  Find some details at the Wonder Fair site.


And the Percolator's popular dime-bag show is back this Final Friday.  Good fucking luck getting to the Percolator right now.  And do not attempt to take a shortcut through the Compton hotel.  We tried. It just doesn't work.

Details here


The youngsters in KC's Captiva are getting some good buzz these days.  Find them at the Granada on Saturday for an all-ages show. Check out a fun little INK KC interview with Captiva's 17 year old Hank Weidel here.

Set times according to the band:

AY Musik performs around 8
Captiva performs at 850
Not A Planet performs at 1015

We love the flyer:


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Johnny Winter in LFK and Five More Lawrence Field Day Fest Blurbs

We spent last night in KC watching John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin fame play the mandolin with Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch.  But we hear Marc Maron in LFK was good too.

Anyway, the Free State Festival officially kicks off today with a documentary about Johnny Winter and a live outdoor concert from Johnny Winter and some kind of lighting ceremony in which digital projections appear all over town or something (we don't understand that part).  Anyway, if it doesn't rain, this will all be pretty cool.

Here's Johnny and Edgar in 1974:


Today we've got five more blurbs from bands playing Lawrence Field Day Fest.  Follow the links to their FB pages and find the complete schedule at the FB event page.

Rooms Without Windows, Friday June 27 at 11:00 at Jackpot

"Female-fronted, dynamic indie pop that will make you feel all the feels and shake it."

Friday, 6/27 @ Jackpot

All Blood, Friday June 27 at 11:00 at Bottleneck

"All blood was voted most likely to play satans toga party.  Senior year whoooooo!!!! Our last hurrah!!!!  Let's party!!!!!! "

Destroy Nate Allen, Friday June 27 at 9:00 at Jackpot

"We play interactive, sing-a-long, folk punk and guarantee to show folks a good time. Our music can be described as kid songs for adults"

Stiff Middle Fingers, Sat. June 28 at 12:30 at Jackpot

"Local rabble-rousers and true sons of Lawrence Stiff Middle Fingers will be screaming out the end of the festival at the Jackpot on Saturday night. LFDF organizer (Cameron) Hawks will be shredding the six string. Bass wunderkind Barry will be blowing up the low end. Prodigal sultan of skate HEEEPS will be returning from criss-crossing the country to slam the skins. And that raving, sweaty lunatic known only as…uh…Travis…will be thrashing out a vicious set of punk tunes to herald the passing of Field Day Fest 2014."

Travis = Travis Arey
Barry = Aaron Swenson

HEEEPS = JP Redmon

Hawks = Cameron Hawk

Loose Park, Fri. June 27th at 11:30 at Bottleneck

"At 75-acres, Jacob L. Loose Park is one of Kansas City's most popular, beautiful and historical parks. At 17.5 feet end on end, LOOSE PARK is one of Kansas City's most popular, beautiful and historical bands. Been around the same musical blocks for years before uniting here, this band of a woman and a' two man play a sparklingblend of 70's metal and west coast shoegaze, elating by candlelight whatever the weather.  Their debut album MONSTROUS is available now for download or in cutting edge compact disc format via Bandcamp."


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nerd Nite 28 Recap (Nerds Get Soulful) and Four More Blurbs from Lawrence Field Day Fest Performers

Readers, it's Marc Maron Day in LFK!  But, let's face it, most of you didn't score tickets.  Anyway, welcome to Lawrence Fucking Kansas, Maron!

Today we offer up four more blurbs sent to us from bands playing the Field Day Fest.  Go check 'em out!

But first, a Nerd Nite recap that you can read or skip.

The nerds assembled once more, late in the month and on a Monday, in conjunction with the Free State Festival.  Here's what happened.

Peter Lyrene opened with brief remarks about Roger Ebert's famous assertions that any film starring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmitt Walsh can't be all bad.

Chance Dibben followed with a discussion of film codes and censorship issues ranging from the Hays Code to Kirby Dick's blistering 2006 expose of the MPAA: This Film is Not Yet Rated.

KJHK's own Vince Meserko was up next with a discussion of "authentic" vs "inauthentic" soul music, and offered up our favorite line of the night: "This is 25 pages of my dissertation, condensed to two bullet points."  There were several portions of this presentation where Vince played soul music and the entire roomful of white nerds nodded along.  It was quite a sight.  He even made mix CD's (though he rudely skipped over us in the front row!!).  But we scored one anyway.

Laura Kirk, indie film actress and co-founder of Women of Lawrence Film (we love its acronym: WOLF) closed the evening with a consideration of the state of film.  Verdict: not good.  BUT it's easier than ever to make films. Check out Laura in The Sublime and Beautiful, the centerpiece film of the Free State Fest, on Saturday at 7:00 at LAC.

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Now the blurbs for Lawrence Field Day Fest:

Josh Berwanger Band 11:00 Sat. June 28th at Bottleneck

"What genre of music does the Josh Berwanger Band play? Rock, Psychobilly, Hip Hop? Do they sound like legendary rock bands like Creed, Sugar Ray, or C.T.D.? Wishing to achieve the sounds of such bands and genres The Josh Berwanger Band brings their own style of rock n' roll music all the way from Nilbog, Kansas. Their music has been described* as Buddy Holly meets Guns n' Roses. It's no Spin Doctors, but c'mon now...who is?"

[*Description from LFK music guru Jon Harrison]

Vigil and Thieves 6:30 June 26 at Wonder Fair

We are an adventuring trio who like to beat on drums, strum melodies onto strings, slam on keyboards and belt out lines of carefully placed words. We attempt to do so in an entertaining manner, which with any luck might make listeners wanna move their feet and sway their shoulders. We consider ourselves to be several different genres, a little bit indie, a little punk, a little bit emo, but 100% rock-n-roll. We are opening at Wonder Fair Thursday and would love to see some curious new faces. 
Strangely and sincerely,
Vigil and Thieves

Field Day Jitters, 6:50 Thurs. Jun 26 at Love Garden

Come let the Field Day Jitters get you in the mood for the local music onslaught that is Field Day Fest! The Field Day Jitters are a trio from Manhattan Kansas that makes music nostalgic for the likes of Grandaddy and My Bloody Valentine. Let them show you how excited they are to not only play at the famous Love Garden, but also open for local legend/hero Danny Pound! This show is free, people! Hope to see you there. 

The Philistines, 9:30 Sat. June 28th at Jackpot

"The Philistines are a six-piece KC rock collective led by the ferocious vocals and unbridled stage presence of Kimberely Queen and the provocative, moody, psychedelic songwriting of Cody Wyoming. Sending out of a barrage of spaced-out, razor-sharp guitars, a pummeling rhythmic onslaught, and melodic keyboard tapestries, the band takes vintage ideas and forms them into modern sonic movements. They are bent on bringing their vision of the future and their barbaric brand of psych pop to the rest of the world.   


Photo: We play Lawrence Field Day Fest a week from this Saturday at the Bottleneck. It's going to be a fun one! Check out all the great bands playing.

Photo: Very excited to have Manhattan's The Field Day Jitters back for #LFDF this year! They will be playing at Love Garden Sounds during an evening of FREE shows, Thursday June 26th, opening for Danny Pound.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Free State Fest and Lawrence Field Day Fest Coverage Begins, with a Very Special Message from La Guerre and a Nerd Nite Preview

Readers, with two festivals happening concurrently (not to mention Final Friday and other events) there's more going on this week than mortal (and lazy) bloggers can cover, so keep a close eye on the Free State Festival site and the Lawrence Field Day Festival site to make sure you don't miss out on cool shit you want to see.

We'll be showcasing a few choice events this week and also offering up a few "very special messages" from local bands and artists who want to promote their events (or "pimp" them, as Chip insists on saying).

Our only real complaint about the Lawrence Field Day Fest over the past couple of years is that it's been solely confined to the Bottleneck (a festival should have options!) so we're VERY pleased that this year has expanded beyond just the 'Neck to include Jackpot, Wonder Fair, and Love Garden.

Now here's Katlyn Conroy to tell you about her La Guerre set at Wonder Fair on Thursday.

Show: Thursday, June 26th at Wonderfair 6:30pm FREEEEE

"From the depths of her own poetic self-loathing, Katlyn Conroy's La Guerre emerges with catchy, melodramatic pop songs. Armed with a Nord and a belly full of red wine, let La Guerre take some deep seated emotional issues out on you, the audience. But, in a lovely, entertaining way."


It's a Monday.  It's late in the month.  You're probably not prepared. But Nerd Nite is TONIGHT!  So make sure to check out the nerds as they partner up with the Free State Festival for an evening called "Free Souls and The State of Film."  One of the presentations is from local funnyman Chance Dibben and deals with film codes and censorship.

Chip: "Oh, I hope he shows a bunch of naughty clips!"

Check out the FB event page for full info. See you tonight.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Weekend Picks: Comedy, Fiesta, Key Party, Free Rap, and More

Readers, think of this weekend as the calm before the cultural storm in LFK, because NEXT week and weekend brings a massive convergence of the Free State Film Festival, Lawrence Field Day Festival, Final Friday, and Tour of Lawrence bicycle races.  If you think you are parking anywhere within a one-mile radius of downtown that weekend, you are dead wrong.

But in the meantime, there are plenty of things to do.

It's Thursday, and Thursday means dick jokes at the Replay with the Harpoon Presents gang. Tonight's headliners are Justin Williams, Rob Schulte, Joe Noh, and Tyler Waugh (telling some jokes about ghosts).  We heard that Colin at the door might let you in free if you make him laugh with a good "man walks into a bar" joke.

The FB event page is here and our recent naughty interview with Joe and Rob is here.


And stick around late for a lovely, low-key evening of music.


Friday and Saturday brings the ever-popular St. John Mexican's Fiesta. As usual, it's gonna be hot and humid for your tamale-eating exploits.



The Replay rules again with a Friday show from The Caves and Key Party.  We don't know Key Party, but it's a great band name and also makes us want to watch The Ice Storm again.  Terrific flyer too.


And our pals from lowercase Kansas are back with another free, all-ages rap show at the Bottleneck on Saturday.  Chip is planning to do a little freestyle about being stuck in #LFKGridlock (while smoking weed).

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Or just head over to Frank's and sit around and sip on some Ginger Lemon Radler from Boulevard.  Also, the Goodness Steaks' food truck will be there on Friday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Stuff We Like This Week: The New LPL; Boulevard Championship Ale; Liberty Hall's Guestploitation Series

It's time for another quick edition of "Stuff We Like This Week."

1)  The new LPL!  After reading this week's LJ-World piece on the soon-to-open new library, we are more hyped than ever, and can't wait to hang out in the "Fiction Loop," reading some weighty postmodern tomes.  Three cheers for Brad Allen and the LPL gang.  Bring it on.

Check out Mike Yoder's cool photo gallery here for more sneak peeks and a close up of Brad in a hard hat.


2)  Boulevard's Championship Ale hit the shelves yesterday, commemorating Sporting KC's championship season.  But we're the ones who felt like champions as we sipped this Saison on a sultry summer evening in LFK on Captain Chanute's front porch.

3)  And Liberty Hall kicks off a new film series on Thursday called "Guestploitation."  Yep, it's three of Christopher Guest's terrific mockumentaries.  Is it okay to shout "Hey, wha' happened??" along with Fred Willard in A Mighty Wind tomorrow night? Probably not.  At any rate, make it a drinking game! 

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

True Crime in LFK, Vol. IV: Bungling Burglars and a Taxi to Omaha

Our popular summer LFK True Crime series resumes today with a number of recent(ish) bungling burglar tales.

Sometimes a robbery goes astray, and leaves you wandering naked somewhere west of Perry, KS.  After allegedly battering some LFK residents and stealing a car, the suspect in a 2013 case was later picked up ambling nude along US Highway 24:  "Officers who spoke with Hardin were not able to understand how he arrived at that location without his clothes." (full story here).

Sgt. McKinley offers this assessment: "He was exhibiting some odd behavior...It seems like something had gone wrong."


Earlier this year, the gloriously named Buffkin and Becker were nabbed while making a daring escape via fire escape on Ohio Street having obtained two coveted possessions:  "a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and a poster from the Rocky film franchise." (full story here).

As the saying goes, the heart wants what it wants.

We're very curious as to which Rocky poster Buffkin and Becker scored?  The article says it was "Rocky Balboa," but doesn't specify if that necessarily refers to the recent (not so successful) attempt at reviving the franchise?


We give the LJ-World a fair amount of grief, but we can't deny they write some good leads for their crime stories, as in this frozen February tale which took place in the midst of the season's worst snowstorm:

"What began as a reported shoplifting Tuesday after a shopper ate a popsicle in the frozen section of a Lawrence Dillons escalated to a foot chase when another shopper later tried to elude police." (full story here).

One of the culprits stole "several boxes of a drink mix" but stopped to eat a popsicle while IN the store, returning the open box to the shelves and leading to this classic deadpan Sgt. McKinley line:

" 'Other than the popsicle,' McKinley said, 'the stolen items were recovered.' "


This past April, a man robbed an LFK Credit Union, strolled "nonchalantly" out of the building, and paid a taxi driver "a considerable amount of money" to drive him to Omaha, where he was soon arrested. (full story here).  We envision the robber as similar to the John Cazale character  in Dog Day Afternoon who believes that Wyoming is a whole other country.  Watch the 40 second classic clip below.


And for nostalgia purposes (because we really miss Miracle Video), let's end with the armed robbery of LFK's eclectic video store and porn emporium in 2009.  The culprit was armed with a "silver baseball bat." (full story here).

Chip: "Two thoughts:  Why didn't he steal some porn while he was there instead of just money? And this case still haunts me because I so easily could have been in the adult section at the time."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Best Of Lawrence Recap: We Won! / Plus, Selected Tweets From Our Imaginary #LFKPD Twitter Event

As many of our readers know, the Best of Lawrence awards ceremony was held last Thursday at Abe and Jake's as the mighty Kaw raged by outside, and our Twitter account @LarryvilleLife came up victorious as first place winner of "Best Local Facebook, Twitter, or Other Social Media."  Why are these categories lumped together?  And how in the hell did we beat the Facebook phenomenons in the "Fuck You, I'm From Kansas" gang?  We have no idea. But thanks to everyone who voted for us!  The video ceremony will (hopefully?) pop up on-line at some point and then you can see Richard (or is it Chip?) introduce the "Arts and Entertainment" category while wearing our favorite disguise: a PBR box.  And there's also a great LFK-centric parody of the Sopranos opening credits sequence   And Tom Keegan doing a bunch of silly shit.

But our favorite category this year was "Best Celebrity," which went to the motley crew of Bill Self (1st place), Dennis (2nd), and Tyler Gregory (3rd).  The LJ-World really blew an opportunity by not having those three pose for a winner's photo together.


On Friday, we decided to celebrate our Twitter victory with a preposterous Twitter-event, inspired by the popular KC police tweetalongs.  We asked some of our funniest LFK friends to join us in live-tweeting an imaginary evening with Lawrence's finest and the criminal mischief they might encounter on Friday the 13th during  a full moon (and also a "honey moon.").  You can read all the tweets at the hashtag #LFKPD but we're going to offer up a few of our favorites here today from the most active participants:  Chris Nelson, Will Averill, Laura Larson, and ourselves.  Thanks, folks! 

Tweets from @RoboNelson79:

 "Danger Bob vs Paw" riot at Bottleneck leads to looting of Hobbs Taylor Lofts. Pachamama's watches, comforted by smooth jazz.

Anthony Jimboy brought in, 48 Hours style, to help investigate attempted Wheatfields robbery.

East Lawrence disagreement over proper composting technique leads to chicken coop fire. PD, FD & Sociology Major on scene.

19th and Haskell. Yeah, what can you do . . . *sigh*

Officers respond to misdemeanor bogarting at 14th & Tenn. "It's puff, puff pass, sir" they were heard to explain to the suspect.

 Kaw River Midnight Mile Swim ends in foreseeable yet unavoidable tragedy. "Sorry, we don't have boats." -LPD spokesperson

Tweets from @willaverill:

 Police arrest for hot, naked 3-on-1 trivia. filming, groping.

(reply from Chris Nelson:   "That is NOT how Alan was meant to be used!" -horrified detective)

 Authorities still searching for the Paradise Cafe. If seen please contact the 90's.

Police called to to investigate the rise of a large building blotting out the sun

would like to wish everyone a Happy Father's Day and remind you to please NOT STAB YOUR FAMILY.  

Tweets from @prairielaura

 6th and Monterey Way: couple cited for "insufficient irony" while wearing acid-wash jeans

 disturbance reported at 15th & Vermont. Disagreement over depth of caramel notes in homebrewed beer. Officers en route to weigh in.

 report of bike stolen from patio. Perp described as having handlebar mustache, riding penny-farthing

 Victim apprised that "you'll need to be more specific than than that if you want us to catch this guy."

 Tuvan throat-singing flashmob reported, 8th & Massachusetts. Backup requested

fisticuffs reported . physical dispute over true identity of "AAA," high-score holder for "Mars Attacks!"

Tweets from @larryvillelife

Reminder: due to full moon and Friday the 13th, stabbings are considered LOW priority tonight.

7:23 pm. Large busker brawl at 8th and Mass. Suspects escaping on unicycles and pogo sticks.

 Drunken handcuffed children are being led out of Shot's. Eight year olds, dude.

 Several reports of werewolf sightings on KU West Campus. But it's probably only mountain lions.

 Receiving reports that has suspended all laws tonight, inspired by The Purge. Do NOT cross the bridge!

 12:11 am. . Moon dance in progress. It's fantabulous but illegal. Requesting backup.

 Jimboy spotted outside Basil Leaf Cafe, yelling for Joe's Bakery donuts.

Jimboy has been sighted walking west on 9th. Officers have set up a perimeter around Muncher's. The ceiling is secured.

 A series of "donut traps" have been set out around 9th and Iowa in an effort to intercept Jimboy on his march to Muncher's.

 A rare happy ending: Jimboy shares a cream cheese donut with his arresting officers at Muncher's. 

  Full moon orgy in progress in . Very flabby. Harmless. Nothing to see here. Let 'em fuck.

 We've been stabbed. This was inevitable.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Weekend Picks: World Cup; Boulevardia; More Comedy; The Return of The Hips in LFK; and More

The World Cup kicks off (get it??) today.  Where are you watching in LFK?  Red Lyon or Dempsey's?  We stopped by the 9th Street Cork and Barrel to salute this soccer player built of Budweiser:

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Who needs shitty old Kanrocksas when KC has a major new festival called Boulevardia which begins tomorow.  Explore the website here for a full schedule of bands and food and beer.   Really, it's all about the beer.  The festival calls itself "our own country within a country," whatever that means.

But what's happening right here in LFK.

We're pretty sure the great This is My Condition is playing at the Taproom tonight (Thursday). But you have to reach them by carrier pigeon, and the event isn't listed on Tap's website or FB either.  But you'll be cool if you go and it's actually happening.  It's possible that Folkicide is also on the bill, and a band from Seattle and a band from Wichita.

There's another Comedy Freakout at Frank's on Friday.  The FB event page is here.  Are scenesters complaining that there's too much comedy in town these days getting in the way of their rock and roll shows?

Or spend a spooky Friday the 13th evening with these ladies down at Replay:

And the mandatory scenester show of the weekend is The Hips and Ghosty at Replay on Saturday.  You'd think there would be flyers or something for The Hips' triumphant return, but we can't find anything.  Besides, you know who they are and you remember what they look like and you'll be at the Replay on Saturday night anyway.  See you there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday Scenester Picks: Dar Williams, Detroit Cobras, Dirty Comedy, and the Last Waltz

Sometimes things get slow mid-week during the summer in LFK, but this Wednesday and Thursday offer a little something for everyone.  Here's a quick look at some of your options.

The sensitive folkie types are ecstatic about Dar Williams' return to Lawrence and Liberty Hall.  And she's playing her entire first album straight through, which is all the rage these days.  We'll be outside hitting on all the ladies in attendance.

Or you can just take a break from LFK's construction gridlock and frequent stabbings and enjoy "the cool evening breezes of Anytown USA*" during South Park's band concert tonight. 

[*We stole that line from the Seinfeld episode where Kramer installs a screen door for his apartment].

Follow the band concert with something a little more raucous as the Detroit Cobras hit the Bottleneck late tonight.  Between that and Black Joe Lewis last Sunday, it's quite a week for all of you retro soul and funk and R&B fans.

If you prefer something one hundred times less innocent than the band concert, check out the Harpoon Presents' "Good Time" event on Thursday at the Replay.  We attended last week and are pleased to report that Shadoe Barton is indeed the filthiest comedian we've heard thus far in LFK.  That "crusty panties/Walk of Shame" bit was something else.  Visit the FB event page here

And Liberty Hall's series of music films continues with The Last Waltz, "big and loud" on the big-screen at 8:00 on Thursday.  Make sure to engage in a series of pretentious conversations about whether Last Waltz or Stop Making Sense is the greatest concert film of all time (correct answer: Stop Making Sense).  Visit the FB event page here.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

True Crime in LFK, Vol. III: Athletes Behaving Badly (A Chalupa, Three Melees, and an Elevator)

In today's installment of True Crime in LFK, we learn that KU's beloved and revered athletes, off the field,  are actually much like you and us: they occasionally get into knife fights and (alleged) bizarre sexual scenarios on elevators.  Follow the highlighted links to relevant LJ-World articles if you're so inclined.

Let's begin with this sentence that takes us way back to 1999 and the Terry Allen-era of KU football.

"An angry Kansas University football player got stuck Wednesday in the drive-through window at Taco Bell after he tried to crawl through it to get to food servers who forgot the chalupa, a taco-like product, in his take-out order." (full story here via LJ-World).

The player was extricated by police and, later, suspended from the team.

Chip: "I love this incident because it's so charming and innocent, really.  It reminds me of Pooh Bear trying to get that honey.  There just comes a point on many drunken evenings when a man will do ANYTHING for a chalupa."

Sadly, this tale does not seem to be captured in film or photograph.  It occurred, after all, well before the Iphone era.


J.R. Giddens may have had skills on the basketball court, but he wasn't great at knife-fighting.  A June 2005 incident outside the late, lamented Moon Bar left him and four others with stab wounds, all inflicted by the same dude, who apparently WAS skilled at knife-fighting.  Apparently the stabbing spree was a result of a "brawl" that began inside the Moon Bar.  And Giddens himself was later charged with "battery and disorderly conduct."

Like many such incidents, conflicting stories remain. Perhaps LFK's Sgt. Branson explained it best: "The reality of it is you've got a melee...You can go through these 50-some statements and they all differ as to who did what when."


And of course there is the legendary Sherron Collins elevator incident and lawsuit in which a female employee of Jayhawk Towers "accused Collins of exposing himself and rubbing against her despite being told repeatedly to stop."  It lends itself to jokes (Chip: "Obviously!") but it's less funny if you believe the woman's claims: "She claimed damages for humiliation, severe emotional pain and mental anguish. She claimed she incurred medical bills and suffered permanent medical, emotional and psychological damages."  Sounds pretty serious, though not serious enough for Collins to bother showing up to his court date.  

Personally, we always found the multiple "lab tests" to be a very interesting part of the story. KU apparently wasn't fond of the initial results: "In October KU sent the evidence back with a request for a different type of examination."  Was there a Lewinsky-dress element to this story?

Anyway, the woman later dropped the charges, leading basketball fans on the talkbacks to insist they were all blown out of proportion from the outset.  But where are our conspiracy theorists at, the ones who might consider whether she was coerced into dropping such serious charges?  We did, after all, need Collins' help in winning the national championship that year.


And let's close with one more "melee" (well, two actually) from 2009 when the football and basketball teams engaged in two massive brawls on campus, the first involving possibly as many as 100 people at night in front of the Burge Union and the second in broad daylight between a dozen or so players near Budig and Wescoe.  The important thing here is: who won? 

This quote from the LJ-World seems to sum it up: “Basketball team kind of walked off,” said Harrison Hems, a KU senior from California, who also witnessed the incident. “I don’t think they wanted to get in another fight.”

So there you have it.  A rare occasion where KU football surpassed KU basketball.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Theater Review: Full House Re-Enactment at Frank's / Puppet Show Preview: The Return of The Felt Show With Electric Needle Room

Fast, frenetic, and frequently very funny, Card Table Theatre's sitcom re-enactments already feel like an LFK touchstone, a worthy successor to fill the void left by the late great Victor Continental Show.  If last night's Full House re-enactment didn't attract the same rabid fanbase as the previous Saved By The Bell installment, it still easily filled the basement at Frank's for an 8:00 and 10:00 show.

For us, most of the evening's highlights came not from the sitcom re-enactment itself, but rather the commercial parodies and condensed re-enactment of a film (in this case, Speed, an inspired choice, complete with creatively low-budget explosions). These elements of the evening seem to offer more possibilities for artistic creativity and weirdness, such as exploring the potential homosexual subtext of a Hillshire Farms commercial or cleverly merging Keanu's bullet-dodging moves from The Matrix within the confines of Speed

But what about the sitcom portion of the evening?  With Saved by the Bell earlier this year, the group's choice of a very familiar "very special episode" (diet pills) worked well, with much of the audience anticipating the lines and the episode itself containing enough over-the-top histrionics (and musical interludes) to keep the unfamiliar entertained as well.  Last night's Full House episode, however, didn't seem to offer much to differentiate it from any other strained and conventional episode of the series. Using an actual laugh track was a great choice, though, as it allowed the audience to ponder what the Full House writers intended to be funny, most of which the live audience did not actually laugh at.  For what it's worth, we'd like to see the troupe branch out in future installments and tackle something besides a bad sitcom.  Tackling a good sitcom (Cheers? Seinfeld?) would be a challenge, but it would be interesting to see these talented funnyfolks test their comic chops and timing with actual good sitcom writing.  Another idea would be to re-enact, say, a prime-time soap, maybe a Dallas or a Dynasty, and revel in the heightened emotions (and sex!).  Or perhaps just loosen the rules a little bit and not completely stick to the sitcom script: it would be pretty awesome to see a Three's Company episode, for instance, where everyone including Mr. Furley had an orgy.

Cast standout:  Matt Gaus as Keanu!  Great impression!

Most terrifying: Andy Morton in a dress.

Final verdict:  still damn fun.  Three out of four Coors Banquet tallboys!

Here is a photo of the She-Ra and He-Man commercial break that we borrowed from our friend @boredintellect.


The Felt Show has been performing its adult puppet shows around town off and on for eight years now, but they have been pretty silent as of late. We assumed the puppets had died and we were a little sad.  While they were never as filthy as Mr. Doper and the gang from Shitty Deal Theater, the Felt Show puppets have the advantage of being very weird and looking super-cool.  So their return to the Bottleneck on Tuesday is a nice surprise.

Opening the show and also providing the backing music for some Felt Show tunes is KC's Electric Needle Room. We've been digging their adorable jangle-pop for awhile now. You should check out their recent album It's Getting Personal on Bandcamp and bounce around to funny songs like "Why Don't You Follow Me? (The Twitter Song)" and "Facebook Friend."  We've been saying for years:  This is the kind of band that would probably also be great as a backing band for a drunken adult puppet show.  So it's nice to see our dreams coming true. 

Check out the full history of Felt Show and its puppet-master Paul Santos via here and head to the Bottleneck on Tuesday.  Get there early: doors are at 8:00 and music begins at 8:30.  Did you catch a sneak preview on Mass. Street late on Friday night, as the puppets popped up to pimp their performance?  We did.

Great Twilight Zone-inspired poster!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weekend Music and Movie Picks: Western Swing at Frank's, True Stories at Liberty Hall, Pulp Fiction at Art Emergency, and Black Joe Lewis at Bottleneck

We've already explored some prominent weekend options, such as tonight's Good Time comedy matinee at the Replay and Friday's outdoor screening of Stand By Me at the LAC and Saturday's IMPORTANT re-enactment of an episode of Full House at Frank's.

But what else might be of interest?

If you are excellent dancers, like us, consider the Western Swing sounds of Austin's Rollfast Ramblers  They roll into Frank's on Friday at 9:00, "bringing their western swing stylings across America, traveling from town to town as ambassadors from the past, from the 1930s - 1940s, when people gathered to swing together and celebrate all of life's beauty and woes!"  Read more over at the FB event page.

If you're not into the wholesome and booze-free crowd who will be watching Stand By Me at the LAC on Friday, venture into the quirky heart of ELFK to the new Art Emergency "gallery," where you'll find a bunch of kegs and an outdoor screening of Pulp Fiction.  The cost is $10.  We suspect this event is illegal in several different ways, but it'll be pretty cool.  You can find Art Emergency on Twitter @artemergencyLFK

be hip, very hip indeed.

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It's not technically called Film Church this Sunday when Liberty Hall hosts a screening of David Byrne's weird and delightful True Stories.  But we're gonna call it Film Church anyway, because we miss that event so, so much.  The FB event page is here.  Yes, it'll be over in time for Game of the Week.


And Black Joe Lewis is at the Bottleneck on Sunday night if you're not into the whole kickball scene.  We've seen 'em there before, and it's safe to say this will be a scorching show.  The Pedaljets are opening.  Check out the FB event page.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Interview: Talkin' Dirty With Joe and Rob From Harpoon Presents: Season 2 of Good Time Begins Thursday, Now At Replay!

As most of you know, the comedy scene centered around Harpoon Presents is going strong in LFK these days.  One of their best events, Good Time, begins its second season on Thursday, and the shows are moving from the elegant confines of the Eldridge to new (considerably less elegant) digs at the Replay. This will allow for a much-needed "taco break" in between the open mic and showcase portions of the evening.  It's gonna be good.   Check it out tomorrow and every Thursday from 6:00 to 9:00.  The FB event page is here.

Richard:  So I stopped by the "Good Time" events at the Eldridge on several occasions and I had a...good time. It had kind of a nice comedy club feel downstairs, with the shows starting (more or less) on time and the audience actually paying attention.  What was your opinion on the old location, and what do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of moving the event down to the Replay on Thursdays (besides the obvious advantage of Taco Zone)?

Rob Schulte: The Edridge Big Six Room was a great space physically, and has a great atmosphere. It helped us realize that we have the capability to put on a consistent quality show on a weekly basis. We will always appreciate the opportunity that was afforded to us there.

Joe Noh: Plus, the cheap martinis helped drown our sorrows. Also, the bathrooms down there are good for blow jobs. Most people are not aware of the existence of the Eldridge Big Six room, and extra effort had to be put into informing people and getting them down there.

Rob: Which plays into our excitement for the Replay, which everyone knows. Another great part is that the show is cheaper now [$3] and we can now involve the community by starting with an open mic followed by the showcase.

Joe: One of these days Brad Shanks will hopefully be able to take a break from Taco Zone and perform with us.

Chip:  Also, how in hell are you gonna get folks to show up to the Replay at 6:00 pm on a Thursday?  That's early as shit for scenesters and performers too.  Maybe you should offer free tacos to the first ten people in the door or something? 

Rob: Actually, we have already done a show at the Replay before at 6:00 and had a great turnout. It was called No Tacos…this was before Taco Zone existed. We're confident that people are ready to laugh again.

Richard:   The Eldridge event had an early and late-night component, but this is just a single three hour block.  Tell us a little bit about what to expect each week. 

Joe: Doors are at 6:00 which starts the sign up for open mic, the open mic starts by 6:30, runs for an hour, then we have a taco break and conclude with a showcase of 4 quality performers. It's from 6 to 9. Haha, 69. It is not only a Good Time, but a sexy time as well!

Chip:  What I like most are dick and boner jokes.  Those crack my shit up. Who do you think is the best LFK comedian when it comes to those categories?  Also, who is the filthiest in general?

Rob: Joe has the most dick jokes. You should hear the one about tittyfucking the three-boobed lady in Total Recall.

(Chip:  laughs for several minutes without even hearing the actual joke).

Joe: If we're talking strictly filth, Shadoe Barton takes the ass-waxing cake. You should hear her one about how many people she can fit in her vagina.

Richard:  Without giving too much away, what's your favorite bit that you do, and why?

Rob: I like talking about being a french EDM DJ named Robert Chowder

Joe: I like the one where I talk about boobs and then poops

Chip:   So many stand-up shows are just a bunch of dudes talking about their dicks, which is funny, don't get me wrong, but what's the state of female comedy in LFK right now?  Who are the best?

Rob and Joe: Hands down, the funniest female comedian in LFK is Shadoe Barton. She's funnier than both of us.

Joe: Men seem to be drawn to comedy performance after they get dumped. I don't know but maybe the ladies aren't getting dumped as much. If any ladies want to get into comedy, I will dump you.

Richard:  Leave our readers with a blurb that convinces them they absolutely must attend "Good Time" at the Replay every Thursday

Rob and Joe: People tend to have an idea of what live comedy is, but once you see a great performance, it's addicting. Live comedy engages an audience in a different manner than live music. The risk is high and the reward is even higher. Live music has always been a staple in Lawrence, and will alway continue to be. It's a no-brainer in this town and we are now making comedy a no-brainer option as well especially at a venue like the Replay.

Check out Rob's "Human Side of Lawrence" videos via Fartlyfe here,

And check out Joe's informative "Joe's Knows" material via Fartlyfe here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Stuff We Like: Too Much Rock's Singles Series (Berwanger Edition); Stand By Me at Free State Festival Under the Stars; A Re-Enactment of Full House at Frank's

The excellent "Singles Series" from Too Much Rock marches on with a new release from Josh Berwanger.   The A-side is a blast of power-pop called "Oh Bis!" that makes us want to bounce around all day listening to it on repeat (with occasional breaks to jam some Marshall Crenshaw and NRBQ).  And the B-side is a cover of The Jags' 1978 "Back of My Hand."  Hip enough for you?  Nick over at Rock Star Journalist wrote a great review which you should read here.

There's a launch party at Mills Records in KC on June 5.

Josh appears to have bulked up quite a bit since we chatted with him at the Replay recently:


Many of us are still sad and bitter that Compton construction projects destroyed the summer series of outdoor films projected on the parking garage wall.   But Lawrence Arts Center and the Free State Film Festival are attempting to bring back the tradition this summer on the south side of their building with a screening of Stand By Me this Friday (and later screenings of Kings of Summer and Chaplin's The Kid).  It's a bit of an odd space between the LAC and the Salvation Army building, but they've done it before, and we're willing to see Stand By Me outdoors no matter where it's being shown.  Bring some Pez.  Cherry flavor Pez.  No question about it.  (if you catch our reference).  Will the LAC host a pie-eating competition, enabling the audience to re-enact the legendary Lard Ass"complete and total barf-a-rama" from the film?  We doubt it.

Chip:  "When Gordie Lachance points the gun at Ace Merrill and says, "Suck my fat one, you cheap dime store hood," there's almost a 100% chance I'm gonna stand up and cheer and pump my fists.  I hope the crowd doesn't mind."

Info from the Free State Film Festival site here and FB event page here

Photo: It's a goocher!

Photo: Because no summer is complete without a discussion on what Goofy really is... Free State Festival Under the Stars presents a free screening of Stand By Me on 6/6 9pm outside the Lawrence Arts Center.


If you were lucky enough to make it into the packed basement for Card Table Theater's re-enactment of a Saved by the Bell episode, you know that it was both a sublimely silly theatrical event AND a clever deconstruction of sitcom tropes.  If you weren't there, read our review. The gang is back again this weekend with a re-enactment of a Full House episode (along with a 10 minute version of Speed: great idea!).  It's likely to be a hot ticket (we predict a full house, get it??), so show up early.  Shows at 8:00 and 10:00 on Saturday.  The FB event page is here.