A look at this autumn's biggest arts and entertainment happenings in Lawrence:
Neko Case at Liberty Hall
Case, the singer-songwriter also known for moonlighting with Canadian indie rock superband the New Pornographers, is a red-haired beauty with a thunderbolt of a voice whose ballads take metaphors and turn them into heroes. Her last album, “Middle Cyclone,” even featured a tornado that loves — what could be more appropriate for Kansas?
Her latest album, “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You,” was released earlier this month to mostly positive reviews, and is her most personal and dark yet, while at the same time is resiliant and retains some of the fun and surreal bits of earlier albums.
— Jon Ralston
The Archduke who bore the name took a bullet and helped start the First World War. The band that bears the name Franz Ferdinand took a catchy single fraught with suggestive lyrics, pulsating rhythm and jangly guitars and helped push the post-punk revival of the early aughts to the fore. The Scottish gents will bring their act to the Granada stage Oct. 8.
Touring on the heels of their fourth album, “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action,” Franz Ferdinand are no one-hit wonders. While their self-titled debut sold briskly on the strength of the aforementioned earworm single, they’ve built a respectable career, releasing three critically acclaimed albums that continued to sell, even as the buzz around the decade’s earlier “movement” faded. Sticking with their infectious grooves, front man Alex Kapranos’ seductively leering lyrics and danceable rock numbers they’ve managed to maintain what endeared them to fans from the beginning while moving forward.
Tickets are $25 in advance.
— Mike Krings
What is a party without music? And what is music for if not to set the mood for and provide the soundtrack for a good time, or party if you will? Such questions aren’t about to occupy the lecture halls in college philosophy courses, but they drill down to the essence of Andrew W.K.
W.K. has been partying, rocking, bloodying his nose and exploring all manner of bringing unadulterated joy to the masses for more than a decade now. His music wastes no time in getting to the point. If you’re up for a party, Andrew’s your guy. His debut album “I Get Wet” introduced him to the mainstream in 2001 and he’s taken his rockin’ shindig around the world since, headlining the Warped Tour, releasing a slew of new albums, EPs, DVDs and even a Cartoon Network series.
W.K. will grace the Granada stage Tuesday as part of his “The Party Messiah Solo Tour 2013.” Six Percent and American Ghouls will join him and take on the task of getting the party started. An all ages show, doors will open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $17 in advance and $20 the day of the show.
— Mike Krings
“Weird Al” Yankovic at Liberty Hall
Keeping Lawrence weird! Liberty Hall is one of the final stops on “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Alpocalypse Tour, which has been taking his signature curly hair and crazy parodies to stages nationwide since July 2011.
From back in the day, you may remember famous tunes like “Fat” and “I Think I’m A Clone Now.” Don’t worry, Al’s been keeping up on all the latest hits — his new “Alpocalypse” album features parodies like “Party In The C.I.A.” and “Polka Face!”
Weird Al’s all-ages show is set for 8 p.m. Oct. 14 at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $35 and go up to $100 for the best floor seats.
— Sara Shepherd
Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds
Some people were lucky enough to be there for pivotal moments in rock’s history. Whether they were in the “Ed Sullivan Show” audience to see Elvis sing and gyrate, danced in the mud at Woodstock or hung out as punk took off at the legendary CBGB’s in New York. Then some people, like Kid Congo Powers, seem to have a knack for being there when some of the biggest names in underground and post-punk music did their finest work.
Kid Congo has played a part in hugely influential rock acts such as The Gun Club, trash-a-billy superstars The Cramps and was one of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds. Now doing his own thing, he’s released a series of albums with his latest project, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds.
With his ever-present guitar, trippy talk singing style, psychedelic and flat out trippy lyrics, he’s touring in support of his latest album, “Haunted Head.” The album was recorded at the Harveyville Project, the former public school in Harveyville, Kan., that’s now an artist’s retreat that survived a tornado that struck the small town in 2012. Ron Miller, one of the proprietors of the Harveyville Project and front man for local rock outfit Up The Academy, holds down the beat for the Pink Monkey Birds on drums.
Kid Congo and his outfit are touring with noisy blues shouters Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, but will headline a show at the Replay Lounge on Oct. 27. They’ll be joined by Psychic Heat and a mystery guest DJ. The show is set to start at 10 p.m. Ticket prices haven’t been announced but it’s a good bet the Replay’s usual $3-$5 cover charge will get you in the door.
— Mike Krings
Other shows of note
• Rancid, Saturday, the Granada, with Tim Timebomb and Friends & The Interrupters. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $26
• Ha Ha Tonka, Sept. 28, The Bottleneck, with Amanda Shires. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $13
• Hanson, Oct. 15, the Granada, with David Ryan Harris. Tickets $26
• Built to Spill, Oct. 19, The Bottleneck, with Lee Renaldo and the Dust & Slam Dunk. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $21
• Billy Joe Shaver, Oct. 19, the Granada, with Sturgill Simpson. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $15
• Desaparecidos, Oct. 21, Liberty Hall, with The So So Glos. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $22.50-$27
• The Neighbourhood, Oct. 23, the Granada, with Lovelife. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $16
• Deer Tick, Nov. 2, The Bottleneck. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $15
• Toro Y Moi, Nov. 5, the Granada, with Classixx. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $15
• High on Fire and Kvelertak, Nov. 29, the Granada, with Windhand. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $15
“James Turrell: Gard Blue” at the Spencer Museum of Art
As crowds flock to James Turrell’s simultaneous retrospectives at major museums in New York, Los Angeles and Houston, Lawrence residents have a closer-to-home option for viewing work by the artist Forbes magazine called “the art world’s brightest luminary this year.”
Today, “James Turrell: Gard Blue” opens in the Central Court of Kansas University’s Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St. Turrell himself will give a public talk in the museum’s auditorium at 11 a.m., with doors to the exhibition opening at noon.
“Gard Blue,” a projection of blue light in an enclosed space, will appear in a large, box-like room constructed specifically for the artwork. Holograms created more recently by Turrell will surround it. The exhibition will be on view through May 18.
— Sara Shepherd
Between 40 and 50 artists are expected to open their studios or homes during the 19th annual Lawrence ArtWalk, scheduled for Oct. 25 through Oct. 27 in and around the city.
The weekend-long event kicks off with artists’ receptions from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday night and continues with open studios from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Receptions are also planned from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday night.
This year’s featured artist is Gina Westergard, an associate professor of metalsmithing and jewelry at KU. For more event details and a full list of participating artists, visit lawrenceartwalk.org.
— Sara Shepherd
Banned books trading cards project
Banned books trading cards are back. This Lawrence Public Library project — which garnered national attention last year — invited community members to submit artwork representing their favorite banned books. Seven winning designs, one for each day of Banned Books Week, will be printed as collectors cards with book information on the back.
Winners will be revealed Thursday during an awards ceremony at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St. The party and a silent auction begin at 7 p.m., with awards at 8 p.m. Admission is free. A cash bar will be available.
By the end of Banned Books Week, Sept. 22 through Sept. 28, members of the public can have a full set of the cards for free. One card per day will be released, available at both the library, 700 New Hampshire St., and the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St. After Sept. 28, remaining cards will be sold at the library and through the library’s website for $7 a set plus a mailing fee.
Images of all 100 artwork submissions will be featured on the library website and in a slideshow playing at the library throughout the week.
— Sara Shepherd
More visual arts events
• Lawrence Print Week, through Saturday at various locations. The city’s inaugural print week will feature printmaking exhibitions and events downtown and on the KU campus. The week culminates with the Lawrence Print Fair, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St. For a list of other Print Week events, visit lawrenceartscenter.org/print-week.
• “Unnatural Selection: Teresa Dunn, Ben Duke and Robert McCann,” through Oct. 12 at the Lawrence Arts Center. An exhibition of paintings by three Michigan State University assistant professors of art.
• “Marty Olson. Ergo Sum: Present Tense,” Sept. 27 through Nov. 16 at the Lawrence Arts Center. Olson, a Lawrence painter and printmaker who also owns Do’s Deluxe salon, will give an Insight Art Talk at 7 p.m. Oct. 3.
• “Diego Teo: International Artist-in-Residence,” Sept. 30 through Oct. 19 at the Spencer Museum of Art. Mexico City-based Diego Teo is the museum’s next international artist in residence. Teo will be working in Lawrence Sept. 30 through Oct. 19, and his resulting project will be on view at the museum through Jan. 5.
SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque
This show is billed as “an evening of light sabers, power tools, zombies and half-naked women.”
The SuicideGirls website — popular for its titillating pictures of pierced and tattooed ladies (the more you pay, the more you get to see) — says the community exists to celebrate “alternative beauty and alternative culture from all over the world” and includes an L.A. Times review snippet calling it a “nationwide art sleaze phenomenon.”
Sound up your alley?
See the SuicideGirls live on their Blackheart Burlesque tour, stopping at the Granada at 10:15 p.m. Oct. 17. Doors open at 10 p.m., and tickets are $20 in advance or $22 the day of. The show is 18 and over.
— Sara Shepherd
Read Across Lawrence: “The Worst Hard Time”
“The Worst Hard Time,” an account of the Dust Bowl by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Timothy Egan, is the featured book for this year’s Read Across Lawrence community reading project, as well as the Kansas University Common Book for 2013-14. Read Across Lawrence events continue through this month, highlighted by a Night with Author Timothy Egan, planned for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Ave. Egan will take audience questions and sign copies of the book following the event.
• Film Church featuring John Ford’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” noon Sept. 29 at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $7, with a cash bar and some complimentary snacks.
• Community Book Discussion, 10-11 a.m. Sept. 30 at Brandon Woods at Alvamar, 1501 Inverness Drive. The public is invited to discuss the book and reminisce about the time period.
Related visual art:
• “Conversation XV: Dust” at KU’s Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St., features a series of photographs and objects that chronicle the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and its aftermath. The following events are planned:
• Gallery Talk: Dust, 10-11 a.m. Sept. 26. Exhibition curator Kate Meyer leads an informal in-gallery talk designed for senior citizens but open to everyone.
• Lecture: Art and the Dust Bowl, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 2. Meyer discusses art from and about the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, including works that chronicle that period, its aftermath, and memory.
• Lecture: Conversation with artist Scott Jost, 5-6 p.m. Nov. 13. “A Book of Nine Februarys” by Jost, associate professor of art at Bridgewater College in Virginia, is one of the key artworks in the “Dust” exhibit. The artwork, based on Jost’s personal experience of a dust storm near Salina, chronicles his effort to remember that storm and to contemplate the legacy of other droughts and dust storms in the Great Plains region.
— Sara Shepherd
Rev it Up! HotRod Hullabaloo
Hundreds of hot cars and cool cats will fill South Park Sept. 28 during the annual Rev it Up! HotRod Hullabaloo. The section of Massachusetts Street along the park will be closed off for the car show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This year’s live music lineup features the King Devilles Band at 2 p.m., the Quivers at 4 p.m. and an after party with the Cowtown Playboys from 6 to 9 p.m. at Replay Lounge. The awards ceremony is set for 5 p.m. Entry donations and sales of food and merchandise will benefit Ballard Community Services.
It’s not too late to sign up your own hot rod — visit revitupcarshow.com for details.
— Sara Shepherd
• Fall 2013 Antique Show and Sale, Sept. 20-21, Douglas County Fairgrounds
• St. John’s Oktoberfest, Sept. 28, St. John School Parking Lot
• Nordic Heritage Festival, Oct. 5, Douglas County Fairgrounds
• Fall Family Day with the Puppetry Arts Institute, Oct. 5, Watkins Community Museum of History
• Kaw Valley Farm Tour 2013, Oct. 5-6, regional farms
• DOGtoberfest, Oct. 6, South Park
• Halloween Children’s Ballet and Costume Ball, Oct. 26, Lawrence Arts Center
• Maple Leaf Festival, Oct. 19-20, downtown Baldwin City
• SUA Presents: “World War Z” author Max Brooks, Oct. 23, Kansas Union Ballroom
• Downtown Lawrence Halloween Trick-or-Treat, Oct. 31, downtown Lawrence
• SUA Presents: World Fashion Show, Nov. 13, Kansas Union Ballroom
"red, black & GREEN: a blues"
Tucked away in all this season’s Lied Center performance schedule is the kind of programming it at excels at finding and bringing to Lawrence. “red, black & GREEN: a blues” promises an outstanding night of dance, poetry, drama, and music combined artfully to make social commentary.
The work of Marc Bamuthi Joseph, “red, black & GREEN: a blues” is set in four American cities: New York, Chicago, Houston, and Oakland. It fuses the issue of creating sustainable, green environments in urban centers with race relations in the U.S.
Sometimes funny, sometimes sorrowful, Joseph aims to look at environmental issues from an holistic point of view. Planting trees and recycling isn’t enough. The living environment needs to be sustainable too.
The first part of the show invites the audience onstage to examine the set and interact with the performers. Joseph (a San Francisco Poetry Slam Grand Champion) uses hip-hop music, spoken-word poetry, dance, and singing to tell the stories of African-Americans in the inner cities of some of America’s largest urban population centers. Well reviewed across the U.S., “red, black & GREEN: a blues” brings thought-provoking performance art to the Lied stage.
“red, black & GREEN: a blues” stages 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9. Tickets are available at lied.ku.edu or by calling 785-864-2787.
— John R. Phythyon Jr.
• “Footloose,” Sept. 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, Oct. 4, 5 and 6, Theatre Lawrence
The 1984 film sensation comes to life onstage. Ren McCormick moves from Chicago to small-town California, where dancing and popular music are illegal. He’ll have to convince Rev. Shaw Moore to change his mind on the ordinance designed to protect the townsfolk from sin in a story of love, loss, family and music.
• “Dracula,” Oct. 4, 5, 6, 18, 19 and 20, Kansas University Theatre
Bram Stoker’s immortal classic is featured in a new adaptation by KU instructor Dennis Christilles. Based on the legend of the infamous Wallachian warlord, Vladimir Tepes, “Dracula” tells the story of a vampire come to England from Transylvania, where haunts beautiful Lucy Westenra before turning his attentions Mina Harker. Her husband Jonathan must enlist the aid of the aid of vampire-hunter Dr. Van Helsing to save her soul before it’s too late.
• “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” Oct. 25, 26, 27, 31 and Nov. 1-2, Lawrence Arts Center
Stephen Sondheim’s bloody tale of revenge takes the stage at the Lawrence Arts Center with a cast of Equity and community actors. Exiled barber Sweeney Todd returns to London to take revenge against the lecherous Judge Turbin, who framed him and ravished his young wife. He teams up with the opportunistic Mrs. Lovett to help her make meat pies out of his customers in this dark comedy.
• “And I and Silence,” Oct. 25, 26, 27, 29, 30 and 31, Kansas University Theatre
Based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, “And I and Silence” examines racial issues in 1950s America. Jamie and Dee are young women — one black, one white — who meet and become friends in prison. Nine years later, after they are released, they discover they cannot overcome societal barriers of prejudice without each other in this story of female friendship amid a time of social upheaval.
• “Memphis,” Nov. 14, Lied Center
1950s Memphis explodes onto the stage in a musical about fame and forbidden love. Based loosely on events in the life of Dewey Phillips, “Memphis” tells the story of a white D.J. who wants to change the world and a black club singer ready for her big break. Featuring music by Bon Jovi founding member David Bryan, “Memphis” won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.