Thursday, December 18, 2014

Weekend Holiday Picks: Retro Holiday Dancing, Die Hard, Kansas Nutcracker, Shitty Deal Puppets, and More!

It's snowy/slushy in LFK!  Let's get in the X-mas spirit.

Kick things off with a retro holiday bash at Frank's this evening,  We plan to perform most (if not all) of the dances from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.  Check out the full details for BongoTini's Annual Christmas Festiganza via FB.  Starts at 7:00 (and 7:00 actually does mean 7:00 at Bongotini events, at least in the past).

Friday is Die Hard day at Liberty Hall! Shows at 7:00 and 9:40.

You've got a few more chances to catch the annual Kansas Nutcracker at Lawrence Arts Center.  We'll be live-tweeting on Saturday! (well, at least during intermission).  Who all stars in this one?  Is Tyler Gregory playing John Brown?  What role will Peace Rob play?  Is there a scene where Brownback actually squeezes the metaphorical nutsack of Kansas in a vise-like grip?

Or perhaps your idea of the holidays involves country music, burlesque, and comedy.  The Outlaw's Wild West Christmas event at the Granada might be for you.  Plus, it's a Toys for Tots fundraiser, and that's a good thing.

And it's not Christmas in LFK until Mr. Doper and the Shitty Deal puppets pop up to get filthy.  They're at Frank's on Saturday. The  event page promises "A yule log, A Menorah, A Secret Santa.... A foul mouthed sock puppet....PBR." 

That does it. As Mr. Doper would say: Merry Christmas, kids!  We're done here until after the holidays...

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Post for the Foodies: Harold's Fried Chicken and Donuts and Kойоt Snack Shop

Readers, today we're profiling two LFK joints that are so new we're not even 100% sure they exist.  So far we've tried (unsuccesfully) to go to one of them. And the other one, frankly, just sounds made up!

Sometimes new LFK restaurants have a long slow build-up (Ladybird!). But other times they pop up out of thin air, like Harold's Fried Chicken and Donuts, which suddenly replaced EAT in the 6th Street Miller Mart last Tuesday, much to the surprise and delight of local Twitter gourmands. Early reviews told us the chicken is off to a good start and the southern style green beans are killer.  However, by the time we arrived the next day,  we were told that the "soft opening" was over (though the soft opening was not made clear on the FB page), menu tinkering was in process, and the joint would open again starting tomorrow. So we'll see you soon, Harold! (hopefully). Or maybe it was all just a beautiful, artery-clogging mirage in the desert of 6th Street all along?   

Give them a "like" on Facebook here.

They have a terrific old-school bare-bones sign.

At the other, fancier, end of the foodie spectrum lies the new "pop up snack bar" called Kойоt, located in Decade coffee shop in ELFK. So far they've tweeted twice, once about  sweet or savory oatmeal and once about "Mushroom Toast-enoki and oyster mushrooms, Béchamel, white cheddar."  Follow their Twitter account here and the Decade coffee FB page here to try and figure out when they'll pop up.

Koйот snackbar

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Weekend Picks: Comedy, Trivia, Rock and Roll, and Writing Letters

It's Stop Day Eve, so don't forget to hit The Cave tonight for a nice brawl with the basketball and football squads.

Or you could just go to the "Good Time" comedy show at Replay and hear some "holiday jokesters." Much lesser chance of being arrested there, unless someone gets arrested for...obscenity!

Follow it up with two more installments of the LFK trivia/comedy event "Massholes" on Friday evening at Eagle's Lodge. We hear BARRR is doing stuff at this one. Plus: brownies from Scratch Bakery (they probably won't be pot brownies...but you'll be stoned anyway no doubt).  Why isn't there a poster on the FB event page? But this photo is good too:

The I Heart Local Music Gang has your Stop Day covered on Friday with not one but TWO showcases, at Replay and Jackpot.


Or head to KC for the Dead Girls farewell performance there.

Saturday brings the ever-popular Sip & Shop event, which is at the Roost this year.  Odd location, but it should be good.  Anyway, it's LFK's booziest holiday shopping event.


Pachamama's hosts Barry Rothbart and a bunch of local comedians on Saturday.  (Re)read our interview here.

And join us at Letter Writing Club at Decade coffee shop on Sunday, where we finally hope to finish our X-mas card letters.  It's always hard to remember how many PBRs we drink each year, but it's a detail we always try to include.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Interview with Barry Rothbart: "Get on Conan. You'll love it!"

Perhaps you first encountered comedian Barry Rothbart doing stand up on Conan.  Or maybe you spotted him popping up numerous times in Martin Scorsese's recent opus The Wolf of Wall Street.  He's also got a new album, Streets of Fire, available via Itunes and elsewhere.

But perhaps you're not too cool and haven't stumbled across him yet at all.  That could (and should) change this weekend, since Rothbart has two area shows: at the Riot Room in KC on Friday--details here--and at Pachamama's in LFK on Saturday with many of your favorite local openers--details here.

We recently asked Barry some questions about his stand-up and film work and he (sort of) answered them, so enjoy the interview and we'll see you at the show(s).

Chip:  I just watched your performance on Conan and I think my favorite bit was the Liam Neeson/"particular set of skills" riff.  What's your personal favorite bit that you do and why?  And how much of your routine is dick and "shart" jokes, because that seems to be about 65% of Lawrence comedy right now.  

Barry:  The percentage of my routine that's dick jokes is the same percentage of my body that is dick: 40%!! I've got a big dick (or a small body)!!! 

Richard:  Who's your favorite (relatively) well-known comedian right now and why? And who is a comedian that our readers might NOT know about but should discover?

Barry: Bill Cosby. He's great. Besides that, I love Rory Scovel.

Chip:  The Lawrence comedy scene is booming right now, and there's some good stuff going on, but some nights (like the recent Thanksgiving show) are about as awkward as you can imagine, with half the comics just riffing on a Shirley Temple movie playing in the background for some reason.  Want to regale us with a tale about a particularly awful or awkward set? 

Barry: Yes. Wait, no. Sorry, I stopped reading the question halfway through. What's Lawrence?

Richard:  What advice would you give to Lawrence's struggling young comedians who are busting their asses several nights a week and wishing THEY were on Conan?

Barry:  Get on Conan. You'll love it!

Chip:  So you were in Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street, a film which set a record for most uses of the word "fuck."  What was your role in the film, which hour did you appear in (because that sumbitch is looong!), and how many times did you say "fuck?"

Barry:  I am in eight scenes and never say 'fuck.' Although I said 'fuck' when they cut out the other scenes I was in. But that was while I was watching the movie, although Martin Scorsese was with me at the time taping my reaction to seeing the movie, so I guess you could say "once" if that situation counts.

Richard:  Can you leave our lazy readers with a blurb on why it's imperative that they catch Barry Rothbart at the Riot Room in KC and/or Pachamama's in Lawrence this weekend?  And, by the way,  Lawrence is often referred to as LFK (Lawrence Fucking Kansas), if you want to work that into your set to please the locals.

Barry:  Sorry, I won't work that into my set. Just being honest. And here's my blurb on why you should see me...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Recap / LFK True Crime of the Month: Chicken Thief / Holiday Photo of the Week: Rooftop Nativity

Another weekend has come and gone in LFK.  We didn't get to meet Jenny Lewis (Chip cried a little), but we tried to make the most of what the city dubbed "Winter Wonder Weekend," which mostly consisted of pretty horses parading through the streets. The KC Chiefs' horse War Paint was on the scene, as well as this lil guy below, which we believe is surely the horse who played Li'l Sebastian on Parks and Rec.


We also attended the former Free State Glass Christmas party which used to be in the Turnhalle but this year resided in an old one-room schoolhouse in NoLaw.  It was still suitably odd.


It wasn't a good weekend for KU basketball's Jamari Traylor, though, who becomes the newest local athlete to be arrested at The Cave for assault.  But those stories are too common to be particularly interesting.  We're more interested in the burglar last week who "filled a trash bag with an Xbox 360, a Playstation 1 game console, a Playstation 2 game console, 42 assorted video games and a three-pound bag of Tyson chicken taken from the refrigerator."  Well, a man is certain to get hungry while playing 42 video games. But he was caught hiding behind the door.  A Grinch indeed!


We plan to showcase several photos of LFK's best holiday decorations throughout the month but let's start with a classic: the rooftop Nativity scene in the Merc shopping center.   Read the LJ-World piece on the looong (50+) years of the tradition here and gaze into the piercing eyes of this sheep in our photo below.  It's totally breaking the fourth wall this year, if you catch our theater terminology.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekend Picks: Jenny Lewis; Fashion Shows; Protest Marches

What's going on this weekend besides the beloved horse parade in LFK and the Noise for Toys fundraiser in KC? 

Here are a few options.

Jenny Lewis hits Liberty Hall. We've offered, via Twitter, to take her ice skating or buy her a milkshake at Ladybird before the show. But she hasn't responded yet.  Our daydreams may never come true.

There's a fashion show in the cockfighting pit at Frank's on Saturday.  We've waited a long time to say that. Here's a photo someone took of a flyer, from the FB event page.

And do something important on Saturday afternoon, why don't you?  Join the March Against Police Brutality at South Park on Saturday at 2:30.  The FB event page reveals 220 supposed attendees.  Hopefully it's a big event.  And  hopefully all the horses from the horse parade are out of the streets by then.

Here's an image from the FB page that they are requesting people "print, post, and share."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Our Annual "Very Special Christmas Message" From The Noise FM

As reliable as Santa, but much drunker, The Noise FM return to the region every year around this time for their annual Noise For Toys fundraiser for Toys for Tots.  They also send along their annual inspiring Christmas message to our blog readers.  This year's event is at the Riot Room on Saturday.  The FB event page is here and make sure to check out a flyer AND teaser-trailer for the show down below, which features cats and a sexy dance party with special scenester guest stars.

Thanks, Noise Boys!

"This is our 7th year hosting the Noise for Toys benefit concert and here’s what you already know:  Noise For Toys is the greatest charity event in the world. We started the event in 2008 while living in Lawrence, hosted it for four years at The Bottleneck (and once mistakenly at the Replay), and have also been hosting events every year in Chicago since 2010. All proceeds and toy donations from the shows are donated to the Toys For Tots organization which provides children in need with gifts in the Kansas City and Chicago areas. Our best guess is that we’ve raised several million dollars in donations and helped at least a couple million kids, but none of us are mathematicians so those numbers may not be accurate. Point is, Noise for Toys is a huge deal, and we humbly accept everyone’s praise for hosting such a life-changing concert. You’re welcome.

That said, last year was an absolute disaster. Santa could have taken a steaming dump in those poor kids’ stockings and it would have been more successful than the shitshow we hosted. We thought it would be fun to move Noise for Toys from Lawrence to the Riot Room in Kansas City last year. Mix it up a little, ya know? We’re wild like that. Anyway, if you’ll recall, the temperature on December 21 of last year dropped 30 degrees in less than 24 hours. By 6pm there was an inch-thick sheet of solid ice covering Kansas City. The National Weather Service issued an alert while we were driving from Chicago that we were facing “dangerous freezing conditions” and to “avoid highway travel at all costs.” Two of the four bands cancelled at the last minute due to hazardous roads. By the end of the night we had collected only two toy donations at the door (three if you count the Batman bobble head that we ended up mounting on the dashboard of our van), and the children of Kansas City could be heard crying in their beds as Christmas came to an icy death.

Despite the odds, our friends still came out to dance and everyone ended up having a hell of a good time. We’re not ones to learn from our mistakes, so let’s try it again!

Join us at Riot Room in Kansas City on December 6 along with the fine musicians (and part-time orthopedic surgeons) of Hembree and Bonzo Madrid. Plus DJ sets from French Horn Rebellion and Sheppa! Tickets are $10 at the door OR only $6 with the donation of an unopened toy to Toys For Tots. Music starts at 9pm. Wear an ugly sweater, or if you’re feeling really frisky, an ugly swimsuit for our 90-gallon eggnog dunk tank!"

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stuff We Like This Week: New Hidden Pictures Album; Ted's Taphouse Expansion; Holiday Movie Screenings at Liberty Hall

A cold Tuesday in LFK got a lot better yesterday when the new Hidden Pictures' album Ottomans popped up to spread a little warm pop around town.  Mr. Gintowt is living out West these days, but "the album acts as a bittersweet ode to Kansas City and some of its more colorful and dubious personalities" and the band will be at the Brick for a record release show on Dec. 13.

Our current favorite tune from Ottomans: "I Hope No One Dies This Week."  Best line from that tune: "You can share in a duplex, with some kids who like to fuck in your yard." 

Listen and download via Bandcamp and make sure to read the funny liner notes while doing so. Example: "Lennon Bone quit Ha Ha Tonka to play drums on this farce of a project."

Ottomans cover art


Our friends at Ted's are taking over the front dining room of their space downtown, so now we can eat chicken and drink fancy beers while staring out the window at all the dummies passing by who aren't eating chicken and drinking fancy beers with us.  The new space opens this afternoon. We're not sure when the "late night grub window" appears.

"late night grub window" appears.

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Liberty Hall is screening It's A Wonderful Life (twice) this Sunday but they're saving the GREATEST Christmas movie for two screenings on Dec. 19.  We think you know the one we mean...


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New Interview: We Discuss Sunflowers, Sunsets, and Sons of Bitches With Monzie Leo

You've all known the bearded scoundrel Monzie Leo as an integral part of the LFK scene for many years, whether he's bellowing some gothic-flavored country-blues at the bar or serving as the barker for the Foxy by Proxy gang.  But he's gone next level on your asses this time with a terrific new album called Sunflowers, Sunsets, and Sons of Bitches, full of lovely lilting harmonies from Melody Ayres and the rest of the Big Sky gang.  Released through Little Class Records, it's available in LFK at Love Garden, via Itunes and other online outlets, and--even better--at a big record release party at the Westport Saloon on Dec.6 opening up for the great Hooten Hallers.  Give Monzie Leo and Big Sky a "like" on Facebook here and enjoy this  interview in which we discuss music, drugs, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Monzie's provocative thoughts on Missouri!

Chip:  Between you and Tyler Gregory and Nicholas Saint James, it seems like there's a bearded singer-songwriter howling on every street corner in LFK these days.  Tell our readers what separates Monzie Leo from the rest of the beard-buddies?  What's distinctive about the Monzie Leo sound?

Monzie:  We have all certainly carved out a niche for ourselves.  Tyler, Nick, and I, we all appeal to different markets and my mind...all brothers in this thing, sharing resources and being inspired by the same sorts of tunes. We all like Blaze Foley and Tom Waits and whatnot. There is definitely an interesting sense of community between the three of us. I would say the thing that makes Monzie Leo and the Big Sky distinctively different from both of them is that I was born and raised here in Lawrence and the harmonies we achieve in the big sky.

Richard:  I'm digging the super-cool overlapping male/female vocals on the song "Taco Pizza."  Who's singing with you on this record and who are some of your influences in terms of that sound? George and Tammy?

Monzie: Melodie Ayres is the one singing on all the songs on the record. Derek Long also sings and so does Brett Grady.  The gang vocals really come from a love of singing in general. The reason I wrote "Taco Pizza" was because I was in this relationship where most nights we were passing out after a night on the town and we'd always listen to "In Spite of Ourselves" by John Prine. We got in the funniest little argument about how she didn't like me singing this tune with anyone else (we wanted to cover it) and I said, "Fuck it, i'm tired of these dang ol' games." Wrote that song in about 10 minutes.

Chip: Oh shit, yeah, that Prine song is one of the funniest songs I know:  "She caught me once, and I was sniffin' her undies."  It all just rings so true, you know!  And speaking of truth, how much of your music is autobiographical in general? I'm thinking particularly of lines like "I was high on psilocybin, I was drunk and I was drivin'." 

Monzie: I don't quite sing classic country but i do write like a Waylon or a Kristofferson or a Roger Miller about the things that have been done to me and the harmless dumb shit I've done. We played a wedding a few summers ago, and I was one of the ones that had ingested the goods. We were gifted this heroic-sized bottle of Bulliet bourbon and made pretty short work of it. Went skinny dipping, and then I got in a car wreck. Drove right into a locust tree. (I went out and cut the fucker down and used it as a bumper on my truck  for a while, but i kept getting pulled over).  The next day i nearly had to walk back. And I realized I had walked it before when I was younger. After that all these stories kept coming back to me about the treacherous curved road north of town and all the dumb shit I'd done on it.  That's why the headlight is crooked on the cover of the album and real life. I can guarantee that there is a story about everything I've ever written about, a person, a quarrel, or even just a mighty fine piece of pizza.

Richard: This record employs a terrific reference to The Outlaw Josey Wales (at least I'm assuming that's where the "3 Kinds of Sun" in Kansas wordplay comes from?).  Is that a favorite film?  Is there a cinematic influence in your songwriting in general?

Monzie: I'm a Missouri sympathizer, as many of my family fought for the Missouri State Guard and I had a few fights for Kansas and some others for the North. I'm also a Civil War re-enactor and I have never worn grey.  My Yankee Bleeding Kansan great-great-great grandpa Lorenzo Burdick was torn apart by the war and hated his bushwacker brothers and they hated him.  I've been a border baby my whole life, going in to Missouri for my camping trips.  I am 5th generation Kansas on both sides, family came here as indentured servants, and I love that line in Josey Wales, just because in my mind everybody on both sides can be a bunch of damn babies. I mean, you like the Royals! Get over it, Kansas! Sore winners.

On the topic of films, I am greatly inspired by films that represent the underlying United States country culture, i.e. the habits that formed us . The other sample besides Wales is from a wise old crone in Cold Mountain.  It regards destiny and personal change and so does the song, as it is about a dream I had that guides me.

Chip:  So what's on the horizon for Monzie Leo and the Big Sky in terms of shows and future performances? And yes, my horizon/sky wordplay is deliberate!  

Monzie: We plan on making a leap of faith and shooting for 200 shows next year! So that's the plan. Our next album is a concept record about the fictional love child of Hugh Cameron (Lawrence founder and weirdo) and Carrie Nation (crazy lady). We plan to have it partnered with a comic book. Other than that, we are Tennessee-bound with our eye on Nashville!!


Monday, December 1, 2014

THREE Scenester Picks for a Cold Monday in December: Drinking and Drawing, Bear Club Vibe Sessions, and Local Celebrity Beverages

Surely there's nothing to do in LFK on a cold Monday evening after a long holiday weekend, right?  Wrong.  Here are three worthy activities.

Those rascals at the Thieves Guild are celebrating their second anniversary of drinking and drawing at Fatso's tonight at 7:00.  The FB event page is here.

Phil Morris is in town and is hosting a "vibe session" with Tom Richman at Love Garden tonight at 7:00.  The FB event page is here.  We're sure all the Bear Club buddies will be on the scene.


And stop by La Prima Tazza to sample this month's local celebrity beverage.  We're especially fond of this one.  If you're lucky, Chip will be on hand making "Yule Log" boner jokes.