Entries from blogs tagged with “Lawrence”

Watch McCollum Hall’s implosion from three angles

Three Journal-World photographers were spaced around KU's campus Wednesday morning as McCollum Hall came crashing down.

Watch all three angles in the video below, and be sure to check out our main coverage of the implosion, including full length videos, crowd reaction and a photo gallery.

(Video by Mike Yoder, Richard Gwin and John Young)


Demolition crews bring down KU’s McCollum Hall

KU’s McCollum Hall came crashing down Wednesday after 50 years atop Daisy Hill.

About 750 pounds of explosives spaced throughout the building detonated around 9 a.m., reducing the 10-story, three-wing, 220,000-square-foot residence hall to a pile of rubble.

The 600-foot "evacuation perimeter" around the site will be enforced until 9:30 a.m. Barricades along Iowa and 19th streets are expected to be removed by 10 a.m.

Check back to LJWorld.com for more photos, videos and more coverage from campus.

While reports come in, catch up on Journal-World reporter Sara Shepherd’s story about pre-demolition prep. Other articles of note: What happened to the dorm’s furniture + where the namesakes’ portraits ended up + why fire crews kept coming back to 1800 Engel Road.

Also, take a look at KU’s plans for the newly open space on Daisy Hill.

None by Tim Caboni

None by LJWorld

None by Sara Shepherd

None by Caitlin Doornbos

None by Caitlin Doornbos

None by Sara Shepherd

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Van Go Adornment Holiday Art Sale opens this weekend

Van Go apprentice artist Derrius Wilson, 16, has a laugh with others at his table as he works on his "Van-imal" on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, at Van Go Inc., 715 New Jersey Street.

Van Go apprentice artist Derrius Wilson, 16, has a laugh with others at his table as he works on his "Van-imal" on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, at Van Go Inc., 715 New Jersey Street. by Nick Krug

The holidays are going to the dogs (and other members of the animal kingdom) this weekend, when Van Go Inc. kicks off its month-long Adornment Holiday Art Sale and Show from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

The Van Go headquarters at 715 New Jersey St. will be transformed into a gallery — complete with twinkling lights, live music and original artwork filling almost every inch of the space — for the occasion, which raises funds for Van Go’s apprentice artist program.

About 30 young artists aged 14 to 24 are represented at the critter-themed show, which boasts everything from pastel animal portraits, glass plates and lit marquee signs to laser-cut jewelry, animal beds made out of suitcases and beastly creations called “Van-imals” that are affixed to wall mounts in the tradition of taxidermied game.

All proceeds from the show benefit Van Go programs, which offer arts-based employment opportunities to underserved youths.

“It’s all one-of-a-kind, not mass-produced work,” says Lynne Green, Van Go executive director. “Not only are you able to buy a beautiful piece of artwork made by our kids, you can also support a nonprofit. So, it feels really good to be a part of it.”

The price range this year runs from two-for-$5 magnets to bone-shaped marquee signs (for the dog lover in your life) at $150 apiece, says Green, who’s hoping to raise about $25,000 total.

That money, she notes, makes a major difference for Van Go — “we can buy snacks for the kids, we can keep the lights on, we can just operate,” Green says.

At 7 p.m. sharp on opening night, a bell is rung to signify the start of the sale and a mad dash ensues to snatch up artwork. The event also includes wine, a treat and free gift wrap, but the main event — at least for Green and her staff — is the recognition ceremony, where all 26 of the apprentice artists are introduced and a handful are asked to speak.

“It’s quite an emotional experience for those adults who are here to listen, because the kiddos really speak from their hearts about what being in Van Go has meant to them and how it has changed their lives, in some cases,” Green says. “That’s the point at which people ‘get it’ and understand what Van Go’s really about.”

Any pieces that go unsold Saturday night will still be available at Van Go 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. on the weekends until Dec. 24.


Off the Beaten Plate: Betta’ Pizza Burger at The Sandwich Bowl

The Betta' Pizza Burger at The Sandwich Bowl, 3514 Clinton Parkway, Suite E

The Betta' Pizza Burger at The Sandwich Bowl, 3514 Clinton Parkway, Suite E

Burger enthusiasts, be warned: If you’re considering ordering the Betta’ Pizza Burger at the Sandwich Bowl, there’s something you should know.

This culinary mash-up isn’t really the patty-on-a-bun burger. Instead, it’s more along the lines of the meatball marinara sub from Subway, albeit fresher tasting and generally less sad.

At Sandwich Bowl, all the traditional components of a pizza — plus a half pound of ground beef, broken into bite-sized morsels — are loaded onto a hoagie bun that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. (See, I’m already making up for that unfortunate Subway comparison.)

In this case, that entails marinara sauce, pepperoni, green bell pepper, onion, oregano, and both provolone and mozzarella cheeses, which cover the meat-and-veggie mixture in a ooey-gooey, still-bubbling blanket of goodness.

Where to get it: The Sandwich Bowl, 3514 Clinton Parkway, Suite E

What you'll pay: $8.99

Try it with: Since this thing is so heavy (did I mention there's half pound of ground beef in here, plus pepperoni?), you might want to go with an apple or carrots as your side. Or upgrade to a side salad for 50 cents.

Also on the menu: Plenty more hearty sandwich and burger creations, from the Flaming Pig, Fire in da Hole and Chatburn (notice a trend here?) to classics like the Reuben and French dip. Plus, a few salads and soups.

— Off The Beaten Plate highlights some of the more exotic, oddly named or inventively concocted dishes from local menus. Know of an offbeat item we should check out? Email reporter Joanna Hlavacek at jhlavacek@ljworld.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/hlavacekjoanna. Check back weekly and monthly, respectively, for more Off the Beaten Plate and Lawrence Libations.


One-man band Monster masters beautiful buildups

If you’ve ever been fascinated by the art of building a song, Monster’s a great place to start.

The one-man-wonder treated the Replay to one of his yearly performances on Friday night. The sole performer — armed with a set of keys, buttons, mics, guitars and a highway system of wires — is grand fun to watch. You’re there for every step as he constructs a song, starting with repeating keyboard bits and drumbeats, then eventually looping in guitar rhythms and vocal harmonies.

On this night, his dreamy synth numbers were backed by accidental yet appropriate percussion, courtesy of the bleeps and bloops of the pinball machines behind him. Monster’s music is exquisitely ethereal, so all the space noises from those pinball machines were nearly mistaken as part of the act.

Here’s a clip of one of his songs, featuring his knack for beautifully subtle buildups.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


LarryvilleLife’s Picks: McCollum Hall implosion; Franksgiving; Bizarre Bazaar; Culinaria Supper Club; post-holiday rock ‘n’ roll

Thanksgiving approaches, but there's plenty to do in LFK for those who aren't trekking to parts unknown.

Alongside our more traditional selections, we also recommend that you watch a landmark crumble, be a brave pilgrim and attend the first-ever Franksgiving celebration at Leeway Franks, and opt for Culinaria's Korean feast instead of boring old leftovers on Friday.

McCollum Hall implosion, Wednesday at 9 a.m. sharp!!

OK, this is a bit of an oddball choice to kick off this week's cultural picks. However, we know quite well that numerous long-time Lawrencians are anticipating this 18-second event with the fervor of children waiting for Christmas morning.

KU's largest dorm opened in 1965, so it's biting the dust on its 50th anniversary. This is the kind of event that's bound to attract plenty of gawkers, though we're hesitant to advise on the best viewing locations. When plotting your spot, remember that many nearby streets, including parts of Iowa, will be temporarily closed prior to and following the implosion. Less ambitious voyeurs can watch the implosion streaming online at LJWorld.com.

In the meantime, consult this LJ-World story for all the technical details on the implosion and a full list of street closings for responsible citizens who need to get to work and don't have time to stand around waiting for buildings to implode. The KU Housing website is collecting great student memories from McCollum's long history, which is worth a look to learn about various pranks and "panty raids."

Franksgiving, 3 p.m. Thursday at Leeway Franks

Don't want to cook on Thanksgiving and tired of the more traditional options in town? Then reserve your Thanksgiving afternoon and evening for the first-annual celebration of what's likely to become a long-running LFK tradition: Franksgiving.

What exactly happens at Franksgiving? Well, we're not sure. But we're hoping it's something along the lines of "festivus," but perhaps with less "grievances." Maybe participants can offer Franksgiving blessings for all this town's odder elements. For instance, we're perpetually thankful for unusual true-crime tales such as that of Jimboy getting stuck in the Munchers Bakery ceiling, just across the way from Leeway.

What we do know is this: Leeway will be "serving some delicious crispy bird, stuffing, sides, sausage [obviously!] drinks & [board]games starting at 3 PM." Visit Leeway's Facebook page for info and updates.

Bizarre Bazaar, Final Friday and all day Saturday at Lawrence Arts Center

We're not fans of the Black Friday mayhem of Christmas shopping and shoving but, if you MUST participate, why not keep it local and buy strange things at the Bizarre Bazaar (or BizBaz, as it is affectionately termed by long-time attendees).

The long-running post-Thanksgiving art/music event has (wisely) expanded to Friday night in recent years to capitalize on crowds already downtown for Final Friday and the annual Santa rescue/lighting ceremony at Weaver's. Expect big crowds both days as usual. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

The Facebook page of BizBaz is here.

Culinaria's "Supper Club Korea," 6:30 p.m. Friday at Culinaria

Our foodie friends have been buzzing about Culinaria's food and wine events, so consider Friday's "Supper Club Korea" as an intriguing alternative to the cheap wine and crackers on hand at your usual Final Friday gallery stops.

The event costs $35 per person (not including booze) but the menu looks like a great opportunity to impress a date by pretending you know how to pronounce such items as Dakgangjeong (crispy fried chicken) and Kimchi Bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice).

Check out the full menu and RSVP here.

Gnarly Davidson/Nicholas St. James/Dean Monkey and the Dropouts, 10 p.m. Saturday at Replay

It's Saturday night after Thanksgiving and even the stragglers are straggling back to town at this point, full of leftovers and sick of relatives. There's really nothing left to do with your weekend at this point but listen to some loud music, and this blast of dynamic performers should do the trick. So kick back and soak up the "beer-rock" fury of Gnarly Davidson and the powerful yelp of Nicholas St. James and the raunchy doo-wop of Dean Monkey.

Despite the holiday ornaments on the flier, we don't expect a lot of Christmas cheer at this event, unless it's some kind of prank from these tricksters. We did see Dean Monkey and gang dressed as the Nativity scene one time, after all. The Facebook event page is here.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife.


Patrick Ryan, chef-owner of Port Fonda, takes things slow at new Lawrence location

Fresh chicharrones, served along with chips and guacamole and a Pineapple Serrano margarita, at Port Fonda in Lawrence. The upscale Mexican eatery, which originated in Kansas City, opened a second location earlier this month at 900 New Hampshire St.

Fresh chicharrones, served along with chips and guacamole and a Pineapple Serrano margarita, at Port Fonda in Lawrence. The upscale Mexican eatery, which originated in Kansas City, opened a second location earlier this month at 900 New Hampshire St. by Richard Gwin

In Kansas City, Patrick Ryan is kind of a big deal.

But in Lawrence, where the James Beard-nominated chef recently opened his first Port Fonda restaurant on this side of the Kansas-Missouri border, “it’s been a relief for me that not everybody knows who I am,” he says.

It wasn’t even five years ago that Ryan began serving up rustic Mexican staples out of a refurbished 36-foot Airstream trailer on the streets of Kansas City. The buzz was immediate, and the demand “exhausting,” he says.

“I cooked every single night in the trailer. I was the guy. It was like the ‘Patrick Ryan Show,’ and it was really tough on me personally,” the 40-year-old recalls. “I want the (Lawrence) place to be really great, whether it’s about me or not.”

The hype hasn’t slowed down in the wake of Port Fonda’s move to its brick-and-mortar location in Westport two years ago — and, now, at 900 New Hampshire St. in a corner space adjacent to the TownePlace Suites by Marriott.

Line cook Logan Elder stirs up some fresh-cooked chips at Port Fonda, 900 New Hampshire St.

Line cook Logan Elder stirs up some fresh-cooked chips at Port Fonda, 900 New Hampshire St. by Richard Gwin

The Lawrence restaurant was buzzing with activity on a brisk, cloudy afternoon last week, where a diverse crowd of patrons scooped fresh salsa onto house-made pork rinds and slurped down bowls of tangy pozole verde while hip-hop beats pounded over the sound system.

It’s got a decidedly hipster-y feel, but Jamie Davila, manager for both Port Fonda locations, says he’s seen everyone from “19-year-olds to 70-year-olds” walk through the restaurant’s doors since opening in early November.

For its first few weeks in business, Port Fonda has been serving dinner only, Tuesday through Sunday. That’ll change this weekend when the eatery starts offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. From there on out, Port Fonda will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week — with the exception of Thanksgiving.

“We’d love to be something that’s here forever,” Davila says. “Somewhere you could see locals and people from out of town stopping in for a basketball game.”

Ryan agrees, likening the process of opening a restaurant to “much more of a marathon than a race.” It’s a fitting — yet seemingly contradictory — analogy for a guy who compares cooking in a professional kitchen to the “stress and pressure” of competitive sports.

He did both as a kid growing up in Overland Park. When he wasn’t on the soccer field or baseball diamond, Ryan was in the kitchen.

His grandfather, a Kentucky native whose family farmed vegetables and hogs, and grandmother, who hailed from New Orleans, lived just a few blocks away. On most days, Ryan recalls, you could find him picking produce from his grandparents’ garden and cooking it up in their kitchen.

By the time he was 6 or 7, Ryan could craft himself a decent broiled sandwich or scrambled eggs with ham. So when he turned 14, he got a job making pizzas at the local Chuck E. Cheese’s. He loved it — and “I kind of never stopped,” Ryan says.

From there, it was Latin-inspired spots like Jalapeno’s and Jose Peppers. He liked “the spice and the heat and the flavor” of Latin cuisine, even at the “Americanized Mexican restaurants” of Johnson County.

“When you’re a white kid growing up in Overland Park, that stuff was really new to me, and I thought it was really cool and exciting,” Ryan says. “I fell in love with the people and the culture.”

Port Fonda has recently opened at 900 New Hampshire St. with a menu of rustic Mexican fare and drinks.

Port Fonda has recently opened at 900 New Hampshire St. with a menu of rustic Mexican fare and drinks. by Richard Gwin

It’s not exactly what he’s doing at Port Fonda these days. His food is a tad pricier and more sophisticated, perhaps — Davila describes Ryan’s style as “Mexican street food with polish” — but Ryan, who says the Midwestern-skewing Mexican restaurants of his youth remain special to him, wants to craft something more along the lines of Chicago’s Frontera Grill, where he received much of his early training.

His focus at Port Fonda — both in Lawrence and Kansas City — is on service, atmosphere and other “finer details” that make up a great dining experience.

“I want to make sure we carry on everything that’s made the Westport location successful,” Ryan says.

After the New Year, he’ll begin retooling the menu — he expects a “70 percent overhaul” of the Westport original — to “get a lot more ‘Lawrence’ with it.”

“We really want to bring in a lot more locally farmed things, vegetarian items,” Ryan says. “Take the feedback from our customers and tailor it to what they want.”

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Folks behind Wichita’s Passage to India restaurant to open similar concept in Lawrence

Lawrence is getting a new Indian restaurant, and it'll be located right across the street from downtown's sole Indian eatery, India Palace.

Nav Chawla, a cook at Wichita's Passage to India, and Kuldip Singh, a co-owner of that restaurant, have plans to open a sister concept of sorts in the former Mirth Cafe space at 947 New Hampshire St.

Their Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar is set to open by Christmas, Chawla confirmed Wednesday. The new eatery will be about "99 percent similar" to Wichita's Passage to India, which serves plenty of Indian staples like chicken tikka masala, curries and a bevy of vegetarian options.

Passage to India's Photos - Passage to India | Facebook

Passage to India's Photos - Passage to India | Facebook by Passage to India

"We were looking into something closer to Kansas City," Chawla said. "After meeting with local people and being a smaller-town person, we liked the mentality and the small community here."

Like its sister restaurant in Wichita, Bayleaf will serve lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday.


Off the Beaten Plate: Heart Attack at Yokohama

The Heart Attack at Yokohama, 811 New Hampshire St. and 1730 W. 23rd St.

The Heart Attack at Yokohama, 811 New Hampshire St. and 1730 W. 23rd St. by Joanna Hlavacek

You wouldn’t expect to find jalapeño poppers (cousin of such bar-food delicacies as mozzarella sticks and chicken wings) at a restaurant that deals primarily in sushi and other Japanese dishes.

And yet, there they are at Yokohama, arranged artfully on an oblong plate and sprinkled with a mysterious, burnt-orange dressing (we’re talking color here, not the fruit) that gave the hefty poppers a little extra heat.

Yokohama’s Japanese-skewed version is spicy — in addition to cream cheese, the jalapeños are stuffed with spicy tuna and lightly fried — but needless to say, the name “Heart Attack” might be a tad hyperbolic in this case.

Where to get it: Yokohama, 811 New Hampshire St. (It’s also available at Yokohama’s south Lawrence location, 1730 W. 23rd St.)

What you’ll pay: $7.50

Try it with: Your meal and a cold drink

Also on the menu: Sushi galore, plus a variety of Japanese and other Asian entrees, including Korean specialties such as bibimbap and jajangmyeon. If you’re looking for more fried concoctions, Yokohama’s got plenty — tempuras of all sorts and fried ice cream and cheesecake, to name a few.

— Off The Beaten Plate highlights some of the more exotic, oddly named or inventively concocted dishes from local menus. Know of an offbeat item we should check out? Email reporter Joanna Hlavacek at jhlavacek@ljworld.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/hlavacekjoanna. Check back weekly and monthly, respectively, for more Off the Beaten Plate and Lawrence Libations.


Sugar Britches to boast new lineup at fundraiser tonight

Some midweek merriment is in store for Lawrence.

Our favorite foul-mouthed songsters, Sugar Britches, will be playing a benefit show on Wednesday for the Lawrence Community Photo Studio. The studio has had a tight relationship with the band, and even hosted them for a popular Final Fridays event over the summer. In return, Sugar Britches will be helping raise funds for the studio with a performance there.

The band will come armed with a new lineup. Previously, they performed as a four-piece, but have now added some percussion via Kimberly Simonetti. They've told us this is a permanent fixture.

The studio currently acts as a space for up-and-coming photographers, darkroom classes, gallery shows, equipment workshops and more. But it also has served as a strong ally to the musicians. "The folks at Lawrence Community Photo Studio are good friends of ours, and they have helped us out in the past," says Sugar Britches' Monica Greenwood, who also admitted the band "jumped" at the opportunity to return the favor. "We really liked the idea of giving back to the Lawrence community that has given us an overwhelming amount of support this year."

You can catch the benefit show this Wednesday at the studio, 720 E. 9th St., Suite 6.


Hank Charcuterie chef Juan Carlos “Jay” Tovar-Ballagh dies at 27

Betty Jane Moore has celebrated her past five birthdays at Pachamamas. At this year's celebration on Feb. 14, former Pachamamas pastry chef Jay Tovar-Ballagh dropped by to give Moore a bottle of white wine and chocolate truffles with raspberries.

Betty Jane Moore has celebrated her past five birthdays at Pachamamas. At this year's celebration on Feb. 14, former Pachamamas pastry chef Jay Tovar-Ballagh dropped by to give Moore a bottle of white wine and chocolate truffles with raspberries. by Richard Gwin

Juan Carlos Tovar-Ballagh, chef de cuisine at Hank Charcuterie and former Pachamamas pastry chef, died Thursday in his Lawrence home. He was 27.

Tovar-Ballagh’s longtime friend and colleague Vaughn Good, owner-chef of Hank Charcuterie, was still trying to process the news Tuesday morning while sharing stories of the “creative and dedicated” chef he first met as a kid in fencing club some 20 years ago.

“It’s been pretty hard,” said Good, who declined to give any details surrounding his friend’s death. “Jay was a big part of the soul of this place, and he really helped shape this place.”

During Tovar-Ballagh’s tenure at Hank Charcuterie, the one-time “small artisanal butcher shop” evolved into a “full-fledged restaurant,” Good said. Earlier this year, the eatery started serving dinner — “that was a big one for him,” said Good. “Jay was really into creating composed dishes.”

And in July, Tovar-Ballagh helped Good and the rest of the Hank crew celebrate the restaurant’s one-year anniversary.

“I was just happy he got to see a lot more of our goals be accomplished,” Good said of Tovar-Ballagh. “We’re going to push on and make sure that everything we do from now on will be done in Jay’s honor.”

As a young boy growing up in Lawrence, Tovar-Ballagh would often experiment in the kitchen, but as he admitted in a 2011 Journal-World article, his bread-baking efforts with the microwave weren’t always successful. “Terrible” was the exact word he used.

But at Pachamamas, where the budding chef climbed the ladder from line cook to pastry chef in less than two years, Tovar-Ballagh thrived. Specializing in pastries and breads, Tovar-Ballagh created the dessert menu at the upscale restaurant, which closed earlier this year.

It was a role he took to quickly, says Ken Baker, former chef and owner of Pachamamas. In 2012, Tovar-Ballagh was nominated for Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Pastry Chef.

“He was very quiet — and I don’t mean quiet in a bad way,” Baker said. “He was focused, always inside his own head, a nonstop thinker and always looking to the next thing he could do and how he could do it better.”

“He had the bug” for food, Baker recalled. “And he had it bad.”

In his short life, Tovar-Ballagh worked only two jobs: painting houses with his father and food production. He left manual labor behind permanently — shedding “the other job like one would a winter coat on a hot summer day,” the 2011 Journal-World article read —after securing his position as a line cook at Pachamamas in 2009.

“Watching him work was a joy,” Baker said of Tovar-Ballagh, who lacked formal culinary training and spent his career constantly striving to advance his skills and knowledge.

Outside the kitchen, where the chef exhibited the kind of “precision” and “methodical” style one might expect from a perfectionist, Tovar-Ballagh was a fun-loving, loyal friend who would spontaneously ask Baker to shear off his “ridiculously long, thick locks” one night after a few beers. “It was an ordeal,” Baker recalled with a laugh.

He was also the kind of guy who would create a special dessert for one longtime customer every year on her birthday, each time stepping out of the kitchen to give his well wishes.

His several notebooks, in which he jotted down recipe ideas throughout the years, are still around. Baker said he’d like to bring some of those recipes to life in a benefit for Just Food, though he’s still ironing out the details.

Baker’s lost a lot of people in his life. But Tovar-Ballagh — “he’s one that I can still hear his voice. Like, I could call him up right now,” Baker said, the emotion evident in his voice.

“I think I just want people who knew him to learn from this that you only have one shot, and our day could be up tomorrow,” Baker said. “And this was not his time.”

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Barnett Family Funeral Home, 1220 Walnut St., in Oskaloosa. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Just Food and sent in care of the funeral home: PO Box 602 Oskaloosa, Kan., 66066.


LarryvilleLife’s Picks (Nov. 17-23): Benefit for Lawrence Community Photo Studio; Anti-Holidays Happy Hour at Frank’s; Black Friday play; Night at the Museum at the Museum; Kathryn King EP release; Trading Places

The holidays approach, like it or not, and we've got holiday and anti-holiday options below, as well as plenty of stuff that has nothing to do with the holidays whatsoever. Those are good, too.

Benefit for Lawrence Community Photo Studio featuring Sugar Britches, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Lawrence Community Photo Studio (720 E. 9th St.)

Yes, yes, we know that this column covers the Sugar Britches a lot. Maybe too much. But they're just so prolific! And they're often doing good things, like this benefit show for the new Lawrence Community Photo Studio in East Lawrence, an excellent community resource which could use a little support.

The suggested donation is $5, refreshments will be served (we assume this includes beer), and the Sugar B's have a drummer now. It's the most fun you're likely to stumble into on a slow Wednesday. The Facebook event page is here.

Beecher's Magazine Presents: An Anti-Holidays Happy Hour, Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank's North Star

Grinches like us believe Christmas shouldn't be mentioned until at least after the Thanksgiving table has been cleared. And don't get us started about Lawrence keeping the Christmas lights on this month PRIOR to the official lighting ceremony.

Perhaps the good folks at the Lawrence-based literary magazine Beecher's share our views. Their "Anti-Holidays Happy Hour" at Frank's looks to be an intriguing mix of literary activities, "secular vintage dance tunes on vinyl," and the one thing that both holiday and holiday-parties can't do without: booze.

Visit the Facebook event page for more details on the event.

Black Friday, a play from Orange Mouse Theatricals, Friday at 8 p.m. at Taproom and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Replay (also Friday Nov. 27 at Taproom)

Orange Mouse Theatricals is becoming known for staging their works in unusual locations. They tackled Mamet in the confines of Aimee's Coffeehouse recently, and now they're taking an original play called "Black Friday" into two rather unexpected venues: the Taproom and the Replay.

A short synopsis from the Facebook event page provides a feel for this sure-to-be-unusual event: "Ardent shoppers wait in line for the best deals the universe has to offer in order to salvage their complicated, dysfunctional lives. As they psychotically defend their turf and plot their wacky strategies the game keeps changing.

We've long hoped that a daring local troupe would eventually perform a site-specific version of O'Neill's classic "The Iceman Cometh" set in a local bar. Perhaps Orange Mouse will be the ones to eventually rise to the challenge! In the meantime, this will suffice.

"Night at the Museum" at the Natural History Museum, Friday, tours at 7:30 p.m. and film at 8:30

Speaking of intriguing site-specific events, KU's Natural History Museum offers a free screening tonight of the popular family-friendly Ben Stiller comedy "Night at the Museum," preceded by free tours of the museum.

Will the museum's legendary horse Comanche spring to life like the exhibits in the film and chase guests around the collection? Let's not rule it out.

The Facebook event page is here.

Kathryn King EP release show, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bottleneck

Yes, this is a rare early evening rock show at the Bottleneck, and it's a solid triple-bill of new and old.

The indie-pop of Kathryn King and company may be largely new to local ears, including ours, so we reached out to Kathryn to get the scoop on why music fans NEED to show up early on a Saturday. She says: "Part of the fun is that my band is made up of almost all family members. Some might call us a contemporary twist on the Von Trapps, minus any yodeling. Also since this is my EP Release, those who come will be the first to hear these songs played full band, as they are on the EP!"

Balancing out the newcomers will be local doo-wop stalwarts Dean Monkey and the Dropouts, providing a familiar sight as their many members pack the stage. And John Benda is likely to be recognized by many as the drummer from various local projects such as Spencer Mackenzie Brown's band. He'll step to the forefront tonight with his outfit John Benda and the What For.

The Facebook event page is here.

Trading Places screening, Sunday at 7 p.m. at Liberty Hall

Need a few big laughs before a stressful week of holiday travel and obnoxious relatives? Stop by Liberty for a screening of the 1983 John Landis-helmed holiday comedy "Trading Places," which has been deemed by certain internet scribes as " the pre-'Bad Santa' hard-R holiday movie to beat."

Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy star in this wild variation on the "Prince and the Pauper" story, which also features a terrific performance by Jamie Lee Curtis as well as the great Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as business tycoon brothers.

Though a less obvious holiday selection than "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" (which Liberty has previously screened prior to Thanksgiving),"Trading Places" provides the necessary uplift alongside some welcome raunch. Find more info at the Liberty Hall website.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife.


Your Friend announces new album, releases single

Before Lawrence musician Taryn Blake Miller boarded a plane to Paris on Friday, she was celebrating an upcoming album release. She spent this summer recording her second album, Gumption, on Domino Records in New York City, with a host of local musicians by her side (including Chris Luxem and drummer Nicholas Stahl). Producer Nicolas Vernhes (who has worked with The War on Drugs and Deerhunter) helped Miller craft her rich, textural sound at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn. Her reflective nature shines through the eight tracks on the album, and confronts the listener with the self-awareness Miller has been concentrating on over the past two years.

With this beautiful set of songs set to come out on Kansas Day (Jan. 29), and a number of overseas workshops (through Red Bull Academy) and performances in her future, Miller excitedly headed off to Paris last week.

"It's still a surreal feeling to have had the opportunity to make this record with Nicolas Vernhes and alongside my close friends," she posted to her Instagram account before she left. "Our last day of tracking even landed on my birthday." She posted the new single to her Facebook page (you can listen to "Heathering" below) and settled in for the flight.

But while Miller was in the air, a horrific scene was playing out across the City of Lights. A series of coordinated terrorist attacks that would leave more than 100 people dead shook the heart of Paris. A majority of the attack was carried out at a concert featuring a U.S. band. Immediately, Miller's friends and fans started frantically messaging her.

Miller was able to use a Facebook feature to mark herself as "safe" after the Paris Terror Attacks. Red Bull Music Academy also took precautions, canceling any shows they had scheduled until Thursday. So for now, she is marching forward with her work.

Miller will play a few European dates in December before heading back to Lawrence to celebrate the release of Gumption, which will come out on CD and standard LP on Domino.


Lawrence Folk to host Heartland Traditional Music and Dance Festival this week

Lawrence Folk, a local organization committed to preserving folklife in the Lawrence community, will host a series of workshops and dances this week as part of its Heartland Traditional Music and Dance Festival.

The event, which officially runs Thursday through Sunday, is a collaborative effort between Lawrence Folk and the national Country Dance and Song Society. Held in celebration of the CDSS’ 100th anniversary, Lawrence is one of six communities across North America to have been chosen as Centennial Tour Stops.

“The goal was outreach,” says Jill Allen, a Lawrence-based dancer and musician who serves on the CDSS governing board. “What CDSS does is support all of the organizations throughout the nation who do this kind of traditional music and dance. So, they wanted to do outreach and they especially wanted to go to communities or regions where they could build those (folk) communities.”

Lawrence Folk, along with several other Midwestern CDSS affiliate members, applied collectively to secure Lawrence as the festival site. The city’s central location and reputation as a cultural “destination” may have helped cinch the coveted spot, Allen says.

Before festivities begin Thursday, Lawrence Folk — with help from nationally recognized instructors supplied by CDSS — will teach traditional dances to students at Broken Arrow Elementary School and Deerfield Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon and at Raintree Montessori School on Wednesday afternoon.

Everyone — even those with the least dancing experience — is welcome to attend this week’s workshops and events, Allen says. The roster includes everything from English country dancing, clogging and Scandinavian dancing to lessons in singing, foot percussion and music theory.

The Family Dance on Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St., might just be the highlight of the festival, Allen says. Unlike other festival events, this one’s free (just show up in your comfiest dancing shows, Allen advises) and will offer easy dances for every age and skill level.

“It’s fun, it’s accessible, it’s community-based, it’s people getting together and doing something together that’s not looking at a screen and doesn’t involve technology,” Allen says. “When the music gets going and everyone is dancing together with the music, it’s magical.”

Workshops are $10 each. For more information, including additional pricing information, registration and a full schedule of events, visit www.lawrencefolk.org.


Lawrence falconer Jack Stoddart prepares for hunting season

Video by Lawrence Journal-World photographer Richard Gwin (see below)

Related story by Karen Dillon: Falconry rare in Kansas, with only about 50 licensed practitioners statewide

Falconry is an ancient form of hunting, estimated to be about 4,000 years old, and it was dubbed the original sport of kings.

While we don’t have kings in Kansas, it does take a special kind of person to be a falconer.

Only about 50 Kansans have the required permits and licenses to own and hunt with predatory birds, said Jessica Winebarger, a senior administrative assistant with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

“Not a lot of people do this here,” Winebarger said.

There are several reasons, Winebarger said, and one of those is the amount of time.

“This is really a lifestyle,” she said.

... Read more ...


Play time: KU Theatre staging ‘A Doll’s House’; EMU Theatre performing one-acts with local ties at Percolator

The next few weeks — this weekend in particular — promise more than a few options for theater lovers in Lawrence.

If you’re a recovering theater nerd like me (shoutout to Thespian Troupe 1820 at Wichita Southeast High School) who routinely listens to the “Les Miserables” soundtrack to get pumped for work in the morning, this is very exciting news.

Let’s review the selections, shall we?

First up: Kansas University Theatre’s take on Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” opening Saturday at Stage Too! in Murphy Hall’s Crafton-Preyer Theatre. This classic drama, penned in 1879, boasts some pretty ahead-of-its-time attitudes regarding gender roles.

In “A Doll’s House” (spoiler alert for a 130-year-old play), the housewife protagonist ends up leaving her condescending and overbearing husband in order to discover her own identity. It’s a decidedly modern take on what it means to be a woman in a man’s world that still feels relevant more than a century later, and as of 2006, the centennial of Ibsen’s death, held the distinction of being the most performed play in the world that year.

Saturday’s show is sold out, but tickets for Sunday’s staging are still available. You can also catch “A Doll’s House” next week, Thursday through Nov. 22.

Elsewhere this weekend, EMU Theatre is staging “Single Shots and Sunday School,” a series of monologues, most of which boast plots and/or authors with Lawrence ties.

Slated for Friday, Saturday and next Friday, Nov. 20, at 8:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Percolator, “Single Shots and Sunday School” features seven monologues, among them “Hot Georgia Sunday” by off-Broadway playwright and Kansas resident Catherine Trieschmann and “Upon the Occasion of Uncle Milt,” written by Lawrence’s Will Averill and performed by Jerry Mitchell, aka Victor Continental.

Other plays include “Warning Shots,” written by Everett Robert about Quantrill’s Raid, and Dan Born’s “Bang,” which recounts the life of poet Joan Vollmer before she was shot in the head by her husband, William Burroughs, in Mexico City.

(If you don’t know much about this incident, Wikipedia is a treasure trove of fascinating tidbits. Read when you literally don’t have anything else to do, because this stuff sucks you in.)

Tickets are $8 at the door. Check out Facebook for more information.

Next up for the Lawrence theater scene: a staged reading of local playwright and retired KU professor Paul Stephen Lim’s “Flesh, Flash and Frank Harris” at the Lawrence Public Library on Dec. 3, plus “The Little Mermaid” comes to Theatre Lawrence on Dec. 4.

Here's a little something to get you hyped in the meantime. Can you feel that (red) blood stirring in your veins?


Pickin’ and picklin’: MAW to celebrate new album with show at Frank’s

Lawrence loves a good MAW show, and it's been a while since we've seen one. But this weekend, the musical matrons with a flair for old-timey tunes will be celebrating with a CD release party for their latest album, "Bought the Farm."

Everything about MAW is undoubtedly agreeable, which makes sense when you consider their origins. These harmonizing women are also the wives of the Midday Ramblers, and decided the boys wouldn't be having all the fun when they came together to form the beloved Americana band. Since then, they've pleased audiences with their matter-of-fact folk numbers full of cheeky, dark humor (they've been known to keep a death count of casualties in their songs).

This playful attitude continues on the new album, as evidenced by the songs they posted online ahead of the show. We're particularly fond of "Picklin' Man." With lyrics like, "I like a little pickle and I like a little ticklin', too," it's hard not to blush (you can listen to that song here). MAW tends to have audiences wrapped around their banjo-pickin' fingers, and we imagine that'll still be the sentiment this weekend.

You can catch MAW at their CD release show, where they've promised murder ballad bingo, from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Frank's North Star Tavern.

Note: This post originally appeared on I Heart Local Music.

— Fally Afani is a freelance writer and editor of I Heart Local Music. She enjoys long walks, photography and rock and roll. She does not like cats, but makes exceptions for the ones at Love Garden. For more local music coverage, visit iheartlocalmusic.com.


Trinity Episcopal Church to host annual Ploughman’s Lunch on Friday

A good piece of bread to go along with his soup was just what Cayman Cook, 8, of Lawrence, needed on a cold day as he attended the Ploughman's Lunch at Trinity Episcopal Church at 1011 Vermont St. on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014.

A good piece of bread to go along with his soup was just what Cayman Cook, 8, of Lawrence, needed on a cold day as he attended the Ploughman's Lunch at Trinity Episcopal Church at 1011 Vermont St. on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. by Richard Gwin

Back when the quintessential “ploughman’s lunch” first showed up on English pub menus in the 1950s, diners were served a cold plate of cheese, bread, butter and beer.

You won’t find any booze at Trinity Episcopal Church’s annual Ploughman’s Lunch on Friday (that’s definitely a Kansas thing) but parishioners are still serving up all the hearty components of the traditional harvest-time meal.

“It started in pubs, I think, but the earlier ploughman’s lunch does have its roots in agriculture,” says church volunteer Pat Kehde. “They — women and children, probably — would take food to the people who were working the fields.”

The Ploughman’s Lunch came to Lawrence in 1955, when Trinity parishioners organized a high-tea fundraiser to rebuild their fire-ravaged church.

After a brief stint as a sausage lunch, the annual fundraiser evolved into the Ploughman’s Lunch as we now know it sometime in the mid-1960s, Kehde says, partly because several prominent British church members at the time recalled the meal being served in pubs back home.

This year’s event, slated for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., has three homemade soups on the menu: white chili with chicken and white beans, Tuscan minestrone, and — Kehde’s personal favorite — French onion.

Anne Patterson - Timeline Photos | Facebook

Anne Patterson - Timeline Photos | Facebook

The meal, at $8 apiece, also comes with cheese, Wheatfield’s bread and homemade apple pie. Lunch is served at 11 a.m., though the annual Trinity Treasures sale (featuring a bevy of handmade goods from sweaters and quilts to holiday decorations like wreaths and stockings) and bake sale will remain open throughout the event.

“We have several members of the church who are real artists,” Kehde says of the Treasures sale, which was added to the program about 40 years back. “It’s very fine needlework and knitting.”

In the lunch’s early years, whole staffs of downtown businesses (law firms, banks and the like) would walk en masse down to Trinity to enjoy a comforting bowl of soup. These days, “now that the firms have moved out west and south,” Kehde says, it’s “not quite as much of a businessperson’s menu.”

But, after half a century or so, it’s still a lot of fun, she says. “You see your friends and the people you know.”

All proceeds from this year’s Ploughman’s Lunch will benefit the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen (LINK), Douglas County CASA, Health Care Access, Trinity Interfaith Food Pantry and the Willow Domestic Violence Center.


Off the Beaten Plate: Ranchalicious pizza at Pyramid Pizza

The Ranchalicious pizza at Pyramid Pizza, 1029 Massachusetts St.

The Ranchalicious pizza at Pyramid Pizza, 1029 Massachusetts St. by Joanna Hlavacek

Hey, I don't create food trends — I just report on them.

That's what I often find myself telling my fish oil-supplementing, yoga-practicing mother when she advises me "not to make a habit" of eating the more indulgent creations I've sampled for this column.

(Oh, so perhaps I shouldn't integrate a hamburger topped with chocolate syrup and processed cheese into my everyday diet? Thanks for the sage advice, Mom.)

I'm guessing I'll probably hear more of the same in a few days when Kathy gets around to reading this week's Off the Beaten Plate, featuring a pie simply called "Ranchalicious."

Apparently, dipping and/or drizzling pizza in ranch dressing is a thing. Pyramid Pizza's hearty creation takes that to the next level, slathering on ranch dressing in place of marinara sauce and loading it up with chicken, mozzarella and bacon (what else?).

A generous helping of diced tomatoes fill in for the marinara sauce, and give the pizza some nice color and acidity.

Where to get it: Pyramid Pizza, 1029 Massachusetts St.

What you'll pay: $12.99 for a medium

Try it with: This thing is incredibly rich, needless to say, so... a salad? Green, leafy vegetables of any sort? A colon cleanse? I don't know.

Also on the menu: Appetizers galore, from the popular Bonez ("a better version of breadsticks," Pyramid's menu boasts) to bar favorites like jalapeno poppers, buffalo wings and onion rings. Plus, sandwiches, desserts, and, of course, pizzas — either by the slice or whole pies. Build your own or choose from one of Pyramid's many specialty options, including the Cream Cheese Delight, West Coast Style and Philly Cheesesteak.

— Off The Beaten Plate highlights some of the more exotic, oddly named or inventively concocted dishes from local menus. Know of an offbeat item we should check out? Email reporter Joanna Hlavacek at jhlavacek@ljworld.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/hlavacekjoanna. Check back weekly and monthly, respectively, for more Off the Beaten Plate and Lawrence Libations.


LarryvilleLife’s Picks: Nerd Nite 43; Parquet Courts; Franks at Frank’s; plays at Percolator; Andrea Gibson poetry

This week's diverse mix of picks contains everything from circus performances to sausage-themed soirees to spoken-word poetry. Soak it up.

Nerd Nite 43: Body Movin', 8 p.m. Wednesday at Maceli's

Sometimes we just have an inkling that a particular Nerd Nite will be epic, and this is one of those occasions.

In addition to intriguing talks on such subjects as "Historical European Martial Arts (title: "Kicking Ass, Medieval Style"), the Facebook event page also promises "circus performances" throughout the night between presentations, courtesy of LFK's Last Carnival circus school. Yes, Lawrence has a circus school, in case you didn't know.

The other talks on this body-themed evening include weightlifting and "the intrinsic code of aerial silks body wraps." We're hoping for demonstrations and show-and-tell, and we have a feeling that the Nerds will crank up Olivia Newton John's "Let's Get Physical" at least once in the evening (probably more than once).

See you there.

Parquet Courts, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Bottleneck

So you're telling us that the wonderfully wordy Brooklyn indie-band Parquet Courts have decided to stretch a bunch of songs out to jam-band length on a new live album recorded at Jack White's Third Man Records studio? Well... why not? After all, Pitchfork's 7.5 review assures us it all makes sense:

"Parquet Courts’ sarcastic verbosity can’t fully conceal their latent desire to lock into a groove, zone out, and coast on that perfect sound forever. And in terms of appealing to jam-band enthusiasts — well, what demographic can better relate to a song like "Stoned and Starving"?"

KC rockers Lazy and Houston's Young Mammals round out this solid mid-week bill. The Facebook event page is here.

Franks at Franks, 7 p.m. Friday at Frank's North Star

Some pairings just seem fated. Can you imagine a world where jelly DIDN'T end up in the loving embrace of peanut butter? Such is the case with Friday's collaboration between one of Lawrence's best-loved bars and one of Lawrence's best new restaurants.

Yes, the sausage-slingers of Leeway Franks will ply their trade north of the river at this shindig at Frank's North Star. Two of the event's three bands (MAW and Sugar Britches) are made up solely of ladies, so there's much more to the evening than just a sausage-fest. (Expect some similar jokes from the ever-raunchy Britches throughout the evening).

The Facebook event page is here, and we think every person named Frank in town should attend, because a bar full of Franks eating franks at Frank's would be so awesome!

[Odd coincidence: If you stop by the Replay on the night before this event, you can sample the bar's new wieners from Cosmic Dogs while listening to a musical showcase from Wiener Records featuring our pals from Schwervon! and other cool bands. Sadly, no one thought to market this event in any kind of clever way].

'Single Shots and Sunday School' one-act plays, 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (also 8:30 p.m. Nov. 20) at the Percolator

It's a good weekend for theater in Lawrence. KU University Theatre opens Ibsen's classic "A Doll's House" and EMU Theatre returns from hiding (or at least we haven't noticed them lately) with this intriguing series of one-acts at the Percolator.

The Facebook event page bills the event as "the stories of people, one character at a time, as written by some of our best area playwrights." These include off-Broadway playwright Catherine Trieschmann and LFK rapscallion Will Averill.

Our research indicates that one of the plays deals with William Quantrill and another consists of William Burroughs' wife recounting the story of her life leading up to her husband shooting her in the head in Mexico City. This may not sound like a lighthearted affair, but we suspect that many of the plays are actually chock-full of dark humor.

The Facebook event page is here.

Poetry of Andrea Gibson, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Sunday at Bottleneck

It's a major Sunday for poetry fans. One can attend the Taproom Poetry Series at 5 p.m. then head over to the Bottleneck to experience the acclaimed spoken-word poet Andrea Gibson, the first winner of the Women's World Poetry Slam.

The Facebook event page has a nice mix of bio and blurbs, informing potential guests that "Gibson has headlined prestigious performance venues coast to coast with powerful readings on war, class, gender, bullying, white privilege, sexuality, love and spirituality."

Gibson is touring in support of her new collection, "Pansy." Find more details at her official website here.

Tweet us @LarryvilleLife.


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