Lawrence

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In 1984, Ghostbusters was the top-grossing comedy of all time ... and a cultural phenomenon. (Remember those "I've been slimed" T-shirts?)

We review the new version, along with the legacy of the original. Plus, we hear some of Kansas City's ghost stories.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Ghostly, metallic-hued faces stare out from century-old photographs. They neatly line the walls on narrow shelves in Nick Vaccaro’s home office in Lawrence, Kansas.

“Let me get this out of the way,” said Vaccaro, as he opened the door of a lighted display and reached in for a small leather case. Inside, there’s a tintype: an innovation from the 1860s that brought photography to the masses.

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

Chuck Magerl grew up surrounded by family history.

During Prohibition, his grandfather was sent to Leavenworth Penitentiary for distributing alcohol.

One great-great grandfather was the sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri --  in 1869, the governor of Missouri sent a letter, authorizing him to capture Frank and Jesse James, dead or alive.

Another ancestor ran a saloon in Kansas City; a ledger book shows he paid $7 per barrel of beer in 1909.

He was a pioneer in the local craft beer and artisanal food movement before those were really a thing. Meet Chuck Magerl, the man who worked to change the liquor laws in Kansas to open the Free State Brewing Company — the first legal brewery in the state after Prohibition.

Guest:

Courtesy High Dive Records

Psychic Heat
Sunshower (High Dive)

The first impression Psychic Heat makes is volume, no matter how high you have the dial turned up. That’s volume in the auditory and spatial senses of the word: loudness, fullness and energy. Psychic Heat is a garage band, a rock ‘n’ roll machine, an uncaged beast.

United States Mission Geneva / Wikimedia Commons--CC

Four former governors have banded together to “Save Kansas” from Gov. Sam Brownback and his supporters.

In a letter circulated Friday, former Govs. Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Graves, Mike Hayden and John Carlin urged Kansas Democrats, Republicans and Independents to band together “to regain our fiscal health and stop the calculated destruction of our revenue stream and our educational, healthcare, and transportation systems.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In 1975, Paul Stephen Lim, a KU student, was struggling to write a short story.

One night, at a party, he was chatting with a theater professor about his writing problem.

“Maybe it doesn’t want to be a short story,” the professor suggested. “Maybe it wants to be a play.”

And, with that advice, Lim forged a new path.

A Scripted Life

Jun 3, 2016

The first play he ever wrote, as a KU student, won a national college playwriting award from the Kennedy Center. Meet Paul Stephen Lim, a retired KU professor and acclaimed playwright.

Guest:

LaunchKU

Taking a page from entrepreneur’s books, the University of Kansas is turning to social media to help fund new projects.

Launch KU is a crowdfunding platform that will help fund smaller university projects. It started in November 2015, with the goal of allowing people to contribute smaller amounts to help fund university projects.

David Decker is the senior director of annual giving, which oversees Launch KU. He says budget issues nationwide have led some universities take innovative approaches to raise money.

Working For The Weekend

May 2, 2016
James Carr / Wikipedia

The weekend is a beloved institution. It allows us time "for what we will." It also has a storied past in America. That history, plus an examination of the work week in transition. Are we losing the 40-hour work week and with it the weekend? Or are we gaining flexibility?

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As far as university presidents go, Venida Chenault is anything but ordinary. When she says she understands the circumstances some underserved college students are faced with, she really means it.

As one of five siblings raised in Topeka by a single mother, her family sometimes relied on government assistance to make ends meet. Chenault is now the seventh president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, but she used to pay the bills by cleaning hotel rooms and working as a secretary.

Calah D. Johnson, 35, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of a woman shot while driving her family home from Starlight Theatre on July 17, 2009.

For years, police weren’t sure who murdered 45-year-old Deanna Lieber, the top attorney for the Kansas Department of Education. Lieber’s daughter, then 13, and mother-in-law were also in the car, which was traveling south on U.S. 71 near 59th Street when a stray bullet struck Lieber. The family was headed home to Lawrence.

Jen Chen/KCUR

For Dave Loewenstein, a Lawrence-based artist, there’s more to creating a mural than just painting the side of a building.

In his experience, making a piece of public art has encouraged conversations (and offers of help) from passers-by, resulting in what he calls an “improvised gathering space.”

“It’s sort of like a Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner for a while when the murals are going up,” he told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and upended the lives of people who called the city home.

Mike and Katie West lived in the Lower Ninth Ward, and in the time since the hurricane, they have relocated to Lawrence, Kansas.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Artists for the East Ninth Street Project in Lawrence were announced Tuesday – and all have ties to Kansas or Missouri. The project calls for streetscape improvements and art along 9th Street from downtown to the city’s east side, to help make the corridor more walkable and bike-friendly.  

Porter Arneill, public art administrator for Kansas City, Missouri, and director of the Municipal Art Commission since 2002, is leaving for a new position in Lawrence, Kansas, where he'll be director of arts and culture. His last day on the job in Kansas City is April 22. 

"The past 13 years with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, have been tremendously rewarding for me and it's clear the city is moving in a good direction, particularly through the realms of art, craft, design and culture!" Arneill wrote in an email.

A native of St. Louis, Arneill trained as a sculptor and earned his master's degree in fine arts from the Massachusetts College of Art. But in the 1990s, he turned to arts administration. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Just in the last handful of years, an industrial area in Lawrence, Kansas has been transformed into what's called the Warehouse Arts District. Previously boarded up buildings, like a former grocery warehouse and a cider vinegar plant, now house a gallery, a few dozen artist studios, and apartments. 

Karen Matheis / Larryville Artists

Throughout the 1990s, Mark Hennessy was the frontman for the hard rock Lawrence band PAW. After the band broke up in 2000, Hennessy turned his focus to writing — and continued performing.

"I think performance of poetry offers opportunities to communicate in ways that the page just doesn't," says Hennessy. 

There's a new recording studio in Lawrence, and it's located inside the public library. What does it say about Lawrence that of all the new resources the library could provide its citizenry, a recording studio is what most suited the town's needs? Plus, a Lawrence music blogger talks about the weird, vibrant city she shows off in her video, Just A Sec, and a record store owner reflects on change in the Lawrence music scene over the past 15 years.

Guests:

courtesy: el dorado inc.

Update: Lawrence residents expressed concerns after reading the entire ArtPlace grant application, which had not been been made available to the public until this week. The grant listed architecture firm el dorado inc. as the lead project designer, but the firm was not officially selected by a committee until this month.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

East Lawrence, Kan., is a mecca for artists with its affordable housing and studio space.

But an influx of funds for creative placemaking could change all that.

In June 2014, Lawrence Arts Center received a $500,000 ArtPlace America grant. The 9th Street Corridor project calls for a transformation of six blocks between New Hampshire and Delaware streets.  The plan includes "multimodal paths, upgrade amenities, and new models of urban infrastructure" along with art. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The chestnut harvest in Kansas ends during the first few weeks of October, and every year around that time 40 to 50 workers pick pounds of nuts from 1,500 chestnut trees on an orchard right outside of downtown Lawrence.

Since 1995, Charlie NovoGradac, also known as "Chestnut Charlie," and Deborah Milks have been cultivating, collecting and distributing chestnuts.

When the harvest is over, the orchard is covered in gigantic thorny cockleburs. As they ripen during the season, these prickly husks open and release the chestnuts.

Paul Andrews

Paul DeGeorge and his brother Joe have been writing and performing songs about the trials and triumphs of wizards-in-training since 2002. They look disorientingly similar, and both wear v-neck sweaters and neck ties. Their band, Harry and the Potters, has inspired its own genre: "wizard rock."

It was the younger brother, Joe, who first read the Harry Potter books. In his early 20s when the first books in the series came out, Paul, the older of the DeGeorge brothers, picked them up out of curiosity; he immediately related to the Harry Potter character as a punk.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of writer William S. Burroughs, an icon of the Beat movement.

Burroughs lived in Lawrence, Kan., from 1981 until his death in 1997.

As a way of honoring him, the Lawrence Arts Center is focusing some of its programming on Burroughs' work and influence, including a production of the 1950s musical The Nervous Set.

Here, Megan Birdsall sings one of the songs from the production called "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most":

Lora Jost

The Lawrence Public Library on Thursday revealed this year's set of banned books trading cards.

It marks the third time the Kansas library has celebrated Banned Books Week by highlighting shunned classics and contemporary works with a set of trading cards. 

(Courtesy of Digital Ally)

The University of  Kansas Police Department began the new school year with eight body-mounted cameras that its officers are wearing on all patrols.

The department ordered the cameras last spring – well before the protests in Ferguson, Mo., when a police officer killed an unarmed 18-year-old black man. Since then, many have called for using the body-mounted cameras to keep police accountable.

The KU Police Department has used dashboard cameras for 20 years, said Capt. James Anguiano said. But those video cameras have limited use, for those officers in vehicles, he said.

Alan C. / Flickr-CC

Kansas' constitutional ban on gay marriage hasn't stopped same-sex couples from getting divorced in Douglas County.  

On Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske sat down with David Brown, a family lawyer in Lawrence who has personally helped two same-sex couples divorce. 

Brown says that the Kansas state constitution has to do with public policy, not the court's legal recognition of gay marriage.

Thegreenj / wiki commons

As the national media look back at grunge and Nirvana is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Central Standard revisits Kansas City's hole-in-the-wall venues of the 1990s and asks: Was there a Kansas City sound? And are the musicians and fans active at that time still making, promoting and listening to music today?

Frank Morris / KCUR

Musician Chuck Mead has made a name for himself in Nashville, but his new album is all about his home state of Kansas. Mead describes the music in Free State Serenade as “Kansas Noir… true stories of love, murder, and a UFO."

“Nashville is where you go to make country music,” says Mead. “There’s a certain song vibration down here, there’s a whole song writing culture and playing culture that really doesn’t exist outside of New York, or Los Angeles or Chicago."

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