Fact: Some glass pipes are fancier than others.
And a good number of folks who create the fancy variety would prefer their work be called art instead of just, you know, paraphernalia.
At 7 p.m. Nov. 16, the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St., is screening a documentary titled “Degenerate Art: The Art & Culture of Glass Pipes.” The film explores the culture of glass pipe-making from the origins of Bob Snodgrass’ famous “color-changing” pipe to what filmmakers describe as the “radical emerging art movement it has become today.”
The trailer includes video clips of pipe-makers with torches and their completed Chihuly-esque glass creations — multicolored, sculptural, elaborate and in some cases a yard or more tall. It also includes shots of pipe-makers being arrested in a paraphernalia sting several years back, which of course the film decries.
“This subversive art challenges our right to free speech and expression, as well as reflecting the nature of the people who make and collect the pieces,” says the film’s synopsis. “One of the last true underground American scenes, glass pipe art remains invisible to mainstream culture.”
Here’s the arts center’s event listing: www.lawrenceartscenter.org/film
And, for the trailer and more on the film, the “Degenerate Art” website: www.degenerateartfilm.com
It only took one touch from a piece of misplaced tape for me to realize my gray-on-white Chevron Pumpkin — looking promising after a flawless basecoat of glossy white spray paint — had turned the corner and was headed straight down the road to Craft Fail City.
Without primer, it turns out, paint doesn’t stick to real pumpkins’ waxy skin all that well. It hangs on fine if you handle the pumpkin carefully, but pressing on and peeling off painter’s tape does not, apparently, count as handling carefully.
My other chevron pumpkins for this week’s Go! story worked (apply tape to pumpkin skin, paint gaps a single color, peel off tape). But me and my West Elm-happy self were dead-set on pumpkin No. 3 being white and dove gray, no orange.
Obviously if my basecoat chipped off in the taping process, peeling off tape to reveal the final product was going to be a real problem. Yet the optimist in me pushed on, hearing “Keep going anyway, you can touch it up with a paintbrush and it won’t be a failure after all!”
Then, when the gray paint was dry and the tape peeled off (along with most of the white paint, of course), “This is kind of cool, like I was going for a textured look!”
Then, “Get real. This is a bona fide pumpkin craft fail. Your husband may have sweetly told you that pumpkin crafts aren’t meant to be perfect, but you cannot use this in your story.”
So gray-on-white (and orange) Chevron Pumpkin made the blog, where others can learn from my mistake. A few pointers on the other pumpkins from the story:
• Hot-gluing nearly 400 individual rhinestones on a pumpkin takes for-ev-er — don’t bother if you’re not really excited about the Black Widow Pumpkin (it's on my desk right now, and I’ve heard “awesome,” “soooo cute” and “kinda tacky” from officemates). With a low-temp glue gun, you can only do a couple stones at a time; with a high-temp gun you’d have to use tweezers or small pliers to avoid burning a finger.
• I freehanded Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkins’ mouths — but used a black ballpoint pen and had to apply two extra-thick coats of paint to cover up my lines. Should’ve just used a pencil.
• Black Stocking Pumpkins beg the question of what to do with the stem? Start by not buying a pumpkin with a short stem (like we did on one of ours), then you’ll have something substantial enough to tie a ribbon around for a more finished look.
Of course, it could be much, much worse. The official CraftFail website has plenty of projects that will make you laugh — and realize maybe you're not so bad at crafting after all. Also, we got a picture from our "Pumpkins and More Pumpkins" Pinterest board repinned ... to a board entitled, "WHO THOUGHT OF THIS? not I." I guess she didn't really like the Cozy Wrapped Pumpkin. Fair enough.
While Go! editor Katie Bean was out shopping for materials to create the Stocking Pumpkins in today's Go! cover story, something else caught her eye: No-carve pumpkin decorating kits.
Katie might have been tempted by these all-in-one options, but she stuck with her mission to find patterned black hose for our original plan.
For chronic craft-failers or people who are too busy for the whole crafting thing to start with (nothing to be ashamed about), she shares some of the easier options to be had out there.
I’m a fan of DIY, but I don’t always have time to do the projects I want to do.
As I was shopping for supplies for the stocking pumpkin I made for our Go! cover story this week, I found that stores have anticipated the trends in pumpkin decorating we saw online. There were several examples of pumpkins like the ones we had discussed for the story pre-made and many kits that eliminate the running around for different supplies. Here are a few examples from my shopping trip.
I was most surprised to see full kit options. Some seem to involve painting; others just have pieces you stick on. Here are a few examples I saw:
There were also pre-decorated pumpkins available in the same styles we saw on Pinterest.
There were many faux pumpkins available in different shapes, sizes and colors. If you choose to invest the time and money (they were a little more expensive than fresh pumpkins), you can have a decoration that will last for years. We do not recommend keeping real pumpkins for years — they have a long shelf life, but not that long.
However you choose to decorate your pumpkin, take a picture and share it with us and other readers in the decorated pumpkins of Lawrence photo gallery.
Free State Brewing Co. calls it a beer fit for a blacksmith — and apparently beer festival judges.
Free State’s Iron Man Imperial Stout nabbed a bronze medal in the American-Style Stout category at this weekend’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, touted as the world’s largest commercial beer competition.
“It’s kind of a testament to the craft of brewing,” brewer Geoff Deman said of the beer, named in honor of a local blacksmith who frequents the brew pub.
With ten malts and five hop varieties, Iron Man starts with deep roasty flavors and finishes with a slight malty sweetness, according to Free State’s description. The beer tips its hat to history, as Imperial Stout was a key British export in the Baltic trade that elevated art and industry in Russia and England during the 18th century.
Two other area breweries joined Free State on the medal list, according to results from greatamericanbeerfestival.com. Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kansas City, Mo., got two gold medals — one in the Belgian-Style Witbier category for its ZON, and the other in the Other Strong Beer category for its Reverb Imperial Pilsner. Topeka’s Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant took gold in the German-Style Kolsch category for its Capital City Kolsch.
This year’s festival, which ran from Thursday through Saturday, drew its largest competition field to date, with 4,338 entries from 666 breweries across the United States and Guam. The festival awarded a total of 254 medals for the best examples of each style beer.
Free State's Iron Man — a small batch brew — is not on tap at the brew pub, 636 Mass. However, bottles are expected to be shipped to select area liquor stores at the end of this month.
In other crafty beer news, 23rd Street Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway, just tapped a 2010 Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout, according to their Twitter account. And Free State is playing host to its first-ever happy hour Thursday night (it's only been legal for, oh, almost four months now, so I'm sure Free State fans will be glad the brewery's finally on board!). The pub is advertising $2 select pints from 9 p.m. to midnight, plus chances to win Free State stuff.
I’ve undoubtedly eaten more than my fair share of Nutella on its own — on ice cream, toast, crepes, fruit, by the spoonful and (I confess!) straight off a knife — but never baked with it.
On the one hand, I’ve always thought, it’s kind of expensive and so decadent, why waste it by mixing it with other things? On the other hand, I mulled as I recently dipped crackers in it for the first time, wouldn’t some kind of salty-sweet dessert with Nutella and pretzels be awesome?
Envisioning gloops of Nutella and chunks of pretzels just needing some kind of something to hold them together, I pulled up a handful of Nutella recipes online but found none like what I had in mind. So I came up with my own.
These cookie bars (inspired by the Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from September’s Kansas University tailgating food story) have mini pretzels and white chocolate chunks in the cookie dough. Not wanting to dilute the Nutella by stirring it into anything, or risk it being smeared away from the top or bottom of a cookie, it’s scooped straight out of the jar and sandwiched safely between layers of dough.
This probably goes without saying, but these are extra good with a glass of milk.
PRETZEL-NUTELLA BARS WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNKS
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 bars
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups mini pretzels, broken
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 jar (13 ounces) Nutella
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, stir together cake mix, oil and eggs. Mix in pretzels and white chocolate chunks. In a greased 9-by-13-inch pan, press three-fourths of the dough into the bottom. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.
Spread Nutella over top of partially cooked dough. Drop remaining dough over the top. Bake 20 minutes more, or until top is lightly browned. Cool and use a sharp knife to cut into bars.
National spotlight shines on library’s banned books trading cards, now available for purchase online
The Lawrence Public Library’s banned book trading cards are blowing up — even with no bubble gum in the pack.
With requests to get them coming in from across the country, the library ordered a second printing and started selling packs online last night.
Emails from teachers, book lovers and other libraries started rolling into library marketing director Susan Brown’s inbox Sunday, when we published a story about the innovative art-books collaboration and the colorful cards it created.
At first Brown figured the library could just mail cards, pay the postage and mention that a donation would be great. But things snowballed fast.
“Monday morning, my inbox was just flooded,” Brown said. “By Tuesday we knew that we had to have a plan.”
The library lassoed up a PayPal account and permission from each artist for the second printing. They set up a purchasing mechanism on the library website, www.lawrence.lib.ks.us, where shoppers can get a pack of all seven cards for $7. After-cost proceeds will go to the library and the artists.
The library believed the trading card project was the first of its kind and expected some national attention, at least in the library world, but Brown said this much attention was a good surprise.
The Associated Press picked up my story, and on Friday The Huffington Post wrote a story along with images of the cards. A number of blogs have highlighted the project, too.
Not only does the project’s popularity showcase the library’s efforts to promote reading, Brown said, “It really highlights the arts scene in Lawrence.”
Locals can still get the trading cards for free in-person at the library, 707 Vt., and the Arts Center, 940 N.H. — as long as supplies last.
Here's our photo gallery of all the cards:
One 10-piece, 1,090-calorie Chicken McNuggets meal, please.
For the first time today, I learned how many calories are in my favorite meal at McDonald's. I’m still trying to decide whether I’m worried about it.
As promised, the fast food giant this week added calorie counts to its menus — no more having to go the extra mile to check online (or look at the box), the count is right there next to the price. Lawrence locations are included, with calories on both drive-thru and in-store menu boards (confirmed at Sixth and Wakarusa, no reason to doubt the other spots don’t have them up, too).
The 1,000-plus calories in McNuggets do not shock me. While I’ve never been a big calorie counter, I am generally health-conscious and well aware typical McDonald’s fare is not a healthy choice.
When I head to McDonald’s — always the drive-thru — I’m either starving, in a hurry and don’t want to trouble myself to get out of my car AND/OR have a salty greasy food itch to scratch and wouldn’t give healthier options the time of day, anyway. McDonald’s satisfies those needs like none other.
Obviously, my health would be better off without McDonald’s (at least the kind of stuff I order there). However, if I depended on the drive-thru for frequent meals and sustenance rather than occasional indulgence (or if I had diagnosed medical conditions such as high cholesterol or blood pressure), I think I’d be a lot queasier about the calorie counts — and all the other counts. My nuggets and fries had a combined 28 grams of protein (56 percent of the recommended daily allowance), but they also had 1,270 mg of sodium (53 percent RDA) and 48 grams of fat (73 percent RDA), according to nutrition information on the boxes.
Hmmm. I guess that does make me extra glad I ate homemade salads for lunch the previous two days.
P.S. You’re probably wondering, “What’s the highest-calorie item on the menu?” Got it. Weighing in at a whopping 1,400-plus calories, that would be the Angus Bacon and Cheese Burger meal. The sandwich alone has 2,070 mg of sodium (86 percent RDA) and 39 grams of fat (60 percent RDA).
Until a few weeks ago, I knew sumac as a vigorous weed that grows in the ditches alongside Kansas highways and turns bright red in the fall.
It turns out, Middle Eastern people have known for hundreds, if not thousands, of years that dried and ground berries of the sumac plant make a tasty addition to food (not necessarily Kansas ditch-sumac, there are many varieties of the species). I've since noticed that Aladdin Cafe has a dish called Sumac Chicken on the menu, too.
My friend recently hosted a Turkey-themed dinner party (not random, she was just back from a three-week trip there) where she and her husband made main courses for the feast and assigned side dishes to the rest of us. My assignment was Shepherd’s Salad, with a note saying I didn’t have to use the sumac the recipe called for if I didn’t have any.
Of course, I didn’t have any (I didn’t even know what it was). But of course, I was curious. I Googled, determined I could surely find some in bulk at a Middle Eastern market in Kansas City, and wasn’t disappointed — only $2 for a big scoop, too!
The flavor is bright and citrusy, a little like coriander but more earthy. The color is a beautiful deep purpley-red.
Everyone liked this fresh pretty dish, which works as a salad alongside kebabs, lamb or fish, or an an appetizer or snack with crusty bread (to soak up the juice!).
TURKISH SHEPHERD’S SALAD
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 large cucumber, diced
1 Anaheim pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon sumac
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place all vegetables in a medium sized salad bowl. Add sumac, salt, pepper and mint. Toss. Drizzle with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Chill until ready to serve.
(Recipe adapted from giverecipe.com and english.turkishcookbook.com.)
UPDATE: The full video is complete.
And it's really beautiful. I like how they show time-lapse of the mandala under construction, still-shots of the monks, and even shots of members of the public watching them work. (Also, I kind of like how they added a little Jayhawk in the corner.)
Have a look:
Journal-World photographer Richard Gwin and I were at KU's Spencer Museum of Art Tuesday to report and shoot our feature story on the Tibetan monks creating a sand mandala there. (Note: They should be working on it for a few more hours today if you haven't had a chance to check it out. Hurry, though, by 2 p.m. it will disappear!)
As we sat a few feet away, watching the intricate, brightly colored mandala emerge one centimeter of colored sand at a time, I said to Richard: "Someone really should make a time-lapse video of this. Wouldn't that be cool?"
He pointed up. The Spencer's photo staff had already thought of this, and had a camera on a tripod set up on the balcony above, aiming down at the monks and their mandala.
The museum has posted this teaser video already, and promises a full video next week. I'll watch for that and post it when it's ready. In the meantime, check out this teaser. Cool, no?
Lawrence is hitting Hulu today, as the main focus of the third episode in a new travel series called “Up To Speed.”
With cities like San Francisco and New York also covered in the Hulu original show, why would kooky tour guide/historian/philosopher Timothy “Speed” Levitch stop here?
Well, producers say, our “tumultuous” Civil War history is interesting. Kansas “straddled the line between right and wrong” (pretty sure their description of “wrong” side is referring to Missouri there). In his Kansas episode, Speed — with help from a talking Bowie knife and a fiberglass Jayhawk — highlights heroes, criminals and “monumentally ignored monuments” (ie: Founders Rock at Robinson Park, for one) of Bleeding Kansas.
Plus, Speed now lives in Kansas City, Mo. If you know more about film than the average bear, you may recognize him as the subject of a 1998 documentary called “The Cruise,” which trailed him sharing historical facts and his love for New York City from atop Gray Line double-decker buses, according to imdb.com. You may also know that “Up To Speed” director Richard Linklater also directed “Dazed and Confused,” “The School of Rock” and “Bad News Bears.”
Here's the Kansas episode.
To see what Speed has to say about other cities, visit hulu.com/up-to-speed.