EID RECIPES A holiday of faith and food JAYHAWK FOOTBALL A guide for fanatics and new fans
+ FA 12
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ANNE UNDERWOODâ€™S Queen Anne Renovation
editor Nathan Pettengill Designer/art director Shelly Bryant Chief Photographer Jason Dailey advertising representative John W. Kramer (785) 856-7705 ad designer Jenni Leiste copy editor Christy Little contributing illustrators William Bottini Lana Grove John Naughtin contributing writers Lauren Beatty Mick Braa Becky Bridson Amber Brejcha Fraley Mary R. Gage Susan Kraus Paula Naughtin Cheryl Nelsen Kate Blatherwick Pickert Julie Tollefson Liz Weslander general manager Bert Hull
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She could have bought a pixie house instead.
Our fall cover story on Anne Underwood’s Queen Anne in East Lawrence presents a home at its very best after years of renovation. As you can learn from Liz Weslander’s story and Jason Dailey’s pictures, this home was worth the effort. However, as anyone who has done a similar project knows, the sweat equity, the expense and the hassle can sometimes seem too much. Hence the appeal of a pixie house, a little piece of whimsical wonderland created by gourd artists introduced in this issue. In miniature size, it contains the appeal of a no-hassle home sweet home whose magic shell-tiled roof never leaks and whose magic moss lawn never needs mowing. But magic comes at a cost, as we learn again in Julie Tollefson’s story on Tessa Gratton and fiction fantasy for young adults. And there is also the example from Kate Blatherwick Pickert’s story about Lawrence piano tuners. For years now, their profession has been able to call on the industry-equivalent of magic— electronic tuners. But even when technicians tap this technology, they still must ultimately rely on their memory, their ears and their training to find the right tuning. And an electronic tuner is simply incapable of making the necessary variable adjustments required for each piano’s unique tuning. The hassle is better than the magic for home repair, for piano tuning—and for daily work. Take our ongoing series “And I Wanted to Be…” that photographs Lawrence residents acting out their childhood aspiration. When you are little, of course you want to be a cowgirl rather than a community health organizer … but Lawrence is fortunate that people like Marilyn Hull grew up to work for a nonprofit health group (and to leave hollerin’ and gallopin’ through the city for the occasional photo shoot). We hope Lawrence Magazine showcases the community at its best precisely because our stories represent both the aspirations and the realities of Lawrence, a city whose symbol, appropriately, is a magical Phoenix rising above buildings built—and rebuilt—through plenty of hassle. Nathan Pettengill
Cheri Drake www.CheriDrake.com
For this edition, Art Director Shelly Bryant and Chief Photographer Jason Dailey worked with Anne Underwood on a series of photos that led to our final cover image. Most LM covers come from these follow-up shoots designed specifically for the cover image, but often a potential cover Lawrence magazine emerges during the course of our work. Nearly one year ago, Jason joined Maggie Khater at her annual Eid baking and returned with several images, including this strong cover contender. And then there was a photograph that emerged as Evan Smith from the University of Lawrence magazine Kansas Cheer Squad played around with a foam Jayhawk hat at his photo session. Bizarrely Rock Chalk.
70 | Anneâ€™s Queen Anne
Years of devotion and constant renovation define the relationship between one woman and her home
78 | In Her Blood
on the cover Anne Underwood sits on her sun porch at her home in East Lawrence.
Writer tackles themes of lore and themes of angst in magic-filled books for young adult audiences
community 14 | LM Sisters
This is the first of a series of articles with information about and updates from Lawrence’s three official sister cities
19 | Rock Chalk Football Flow Chart This is their season. This is their year. And you are the fan to get them there.
24 | Out of Their Gourds!
A harvest standard doubles as objet d’art in the hands of creative artists
28 | LM Bookmarks An overview of selected literary events in Lawrence this season
40 | The Tuners On either side of Middle A, these masters work with wood, string and relativity to ensure a perfect sound
wellness 46 | An Eid for All In Lawrence, one of the biggest holidays for the Muslim faith draws on a convergence of cultures, traditions and dishes
53 | LM Fit What’s the most challenging hill workout in Lawrence? A triathlete, a cyclist and a bike commuter provide their take on the burg’s biggest, baddest hill
and i wanted to be ...
58 | Brad Allen
30 | The ‘Ribbet’ Heard Round the County
60 | Marilyn Hull
LM writer Cheryl Nelsen takes a break from the fall election frenzy to examine the historic legacy of Lawrence’s most amphibious politician
36 | His Own Personal Oz
journey 62 | Island Opting When visiting Sanibel and Captiva islands, even a rainy day in paradise is still a day in paradise
When life hands him connections to a magical kingdom, one man decides to write adventure books
in every issue in every issue
86 | Fall 2012 Calendar
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During our eight years of publication, Lawrence Magazine has rotated various departments through our lineup of stories. Sections devoted to homes, gardens and people are the most enduring departments, with this issue introducing everyone from piano tuners to a famous frog. Some stories begin in Lawrence Magazine as one article and then become regular installments through the work of the writer and the response the story generates. An example of this is the “Chef’s Table” story that features a chef or local foodie preparing a favorite recipe in his/her home kitchen. In this issue, writer Amber Brejcha Fraley (who helped create the section) returns with a scrumptious “Chef’s Table” story on Eid recipes. There will be cookies. In the past year, we have added a series on literary events, “LM Bookmarks,” written by Mary Gage, and another on local artists, “LM Gallery,” by Mick Braa. In this issue, we are proud to introduce a health series, “LM Fit,” with Becky Bridson, and begin a new series, “LM Sisters,” by Paula Naughtin, devoted to information and updates from Lawrence’s official sister cities. We hope Paula’s story will be a nice complement to our regular “Journey” section by Susan Kraus, which has taken us to Chile, Fiji and the Azores. Warning—you might want to have your passport ready after reading these articles. Please enjoy Lawrence Magazine’s evolution and the stories and photos inside this section.
14 19 24 28 30 36 40 46 53 62
LM Sisters Rock Chalk Football Flow Chart Out of Their Gourds! LM Bookmarks The ‘Ribbit’ Heard Round the County His Own, Personal Oz The Tuners An Eid for All LM Fit Island Opting
de p a rt m e nts Maggie Khater prepares Eid treats at her home in Lawrence
story by Paula Naughtin
This is the first of a series of articles with information about and updates from Lawrence’s three official sister cities.
Lawrence Sister City since: Population: 2009 Approximately 10,500 Approximate miles from Lawrence: Time difference with Lawrence: 6,250 miles +8 hours Exchange programs in place: KU theater performance exchanges with additional adult and student exchange programs currently being developed. Exchange program history: KU theater students took trips to perform Greek plays at a restored, fourth-century theater in Iniades. These trips led to the formal city association.
University of Kansas students participate in a race through Iniades. Photo courtesy Karen Christilles.
Lawrence-Iniades personal connections: Dennis Christilles, a theater professor at KU and program co-chair, says Iniades’ fertile farmland at the mouth of the Aheloos River provides an immediate connection for many Lawrencians. “A lot of the community is rural and connected to farming,” he says. “The kids who come with me are from Kansas—it feels quite like home.” Makis Mpalomenos, active in the Iniades Friends of Lawrence group, adds that these familiar settings come with Greek benefits: “the diversity of nature, the ancient sites, the beautiful mountains that surround it, the hospitality, the taste of Greek food and local wine.”
Lawrence Lawrence Sister City since: 1989 Population: Approximately 20,000 Approximate miles from Lawrence: 4,670 Time difference with Lawrence: +7 hours Exchange programs in place: High school student exchange, college student exchange, and musical and art performance exchanges. Exchange program history: Informal student exchanges began in 1966 with an agreement formally adopted by city leadership in 1989. Eutin-Lawrence personal connections: Martin Vollertsen, chair of Eutinâ€™s Friends of Lawrence, has gained new family from the program. His daughter, Inga, met Kris Humbarger from Lawrence when Kris interned at a bank in Eutin. They married, and now Martin and his wife, Marion, have two granddaughters, Martha and Greta.
Aerial view of the Eutin Manor House; photo courtesy C. KlĂźver/TI Eutin.
Lawrence Sister City since: 1990 Population: Approximately 260,000 Approximate miles from Lawrence: 6,250 miles Time difference with Lawrence: +14 + 14 hours Exchange programs in place: Middle school and high school student short-term summer exchange program. Adult short-term exchange program approximately once every five years. Exchange program history: Matched with Lawrence through the Sister Cities International program. Lawrence-Hiratsuka personal connections: Taishi Takanashi spent a year in Lawrence studying at the University of Kansas and working at city hall. He says he came back with a new perspective on his life. â€œAlthough Japanese have got a lot of common things with Americans, we have a lot to learn from people in Lawrence, such as the way people treat others.â€? He says he hopes Japanese students come away from their experience in Lawrence motivated to volunteer and be more concerned with the environment.
Hiratsuka Beach Park, photo courtesy Fusao Aoki/City of Hiratsuka
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Rock Chalk f o o t b a l l
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This is their se T h i s i s a s o n. their And yo year. u
them t are the fan t og he presen re. Lawrence et ts this Magaz gu ine (for die -hard f ide ans an fair-we d a to mak ther Jayhawk ing the s) Univer most o sity of f the Kansas 2012-1 3 season football .
story by Lauren Beatty Sydney Thibodeaux of the 20122013 KU Cheer Squad
photography by Jason Dailey
re He Do you know who Charlie Weis is and how to pronounce his name?
How many home football games have you attended in the past two years?
Have you ever attended a KU football game?
1 to 10
It’s not really in my color wheel
On the 50-yard line
In front of the TV
Do you look good in KU blue?
Cooking brats in a parking lot? Not exactly my idea of fun
OK, so you’re not the biggest football fanatic in Lawrence. That’s OK. You should probably go to at least one home game this year, probably one of the low-risk, early matchups. Try the home opener against South Dakota State on September 1 or Rice on September 8. Single-game tickets start at $25. As for the rest of the season, think about hosting a watch party at home or at least listening to the play-by-play on the radio while you do laundry/finish that crossword/avoid Massachusetts Street.
Pretty much the greatest thing ever
You’ve proven yourself to be a loyal KU fan. So how should you embrace the new era of Jayhawk football? You’ve got lots of options. Tailgate on the Hill – beer’s allowed. Go the Homecoming game and parade (October 27 vs. Texas). Another good option: Watch KU take on TCU in the Horned Frogs’ first Big 12 game ever on September 15. If you’re really feeling the excitement, bring the kids and head to the “Family Zone” – a season ticket package for two adults and two children for $350.
All of them
Your “lucky” shirt from last year:
Has been burned
Is in the hamper
Do you avoid driving on Missouri Street?
Tears of K-State fans
Refreshment of choice:
Waving the wheat:
Free State Brewing Company’s Ad Astra
Who’s going with you?
Love it The family
The fraternity/ my best friends
It’s time to step up your game. You’re a die-hard fan with cash to burn. Sure, you can stick with the season ticket deal you’ve bought for years, but why not rent a suite at Memorial Stadium for the best views around? Prices start at $28,000 for an eight-seat suite, five-year package. Or take your party to the field and buy tickets for the recliners that sit just a few feet from the action on the gridiron. Those Touchdown Club seats start at approximately $1,100 for membership plus an additional $99 per game. Away games are no problem. Grab your friends and a copy of Lawrence Magazine contributor Susan Kraus’ book, A Game Day Guide To Towns of the Big 12. It’s a little out of date, as it still contains information about Columbia, Missouri (aren’t you glad we don’t have to go there anymore?), but it’s still extremely useful. Oh, and pick up a new “lucky” shirt. This is our year, baby.
Remember ... you and the are to fan them . get there
Evan Smith of the 2012-13 KU Cheer Squad demonstrates how to proudly wear community Jayhawk fan gear.
High School is hard... smiling isn't
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Out of Their Gourds! A harvest standard doubles as objet dâ€™art in the hands of creative artists
gourd by any name dries moldy and dusty just the same. This is the first step in a yearlong process people have undertaken for thousands of years to reveal these vessels of great creative potential. Hard-shelled gourds are among the earliest type of plants cultivated specifically for making decorative and ritualistic objects. Green and dried gourds are commonly arranged and displayed to please the eye, but gourds become something special when transformed by marking, burning, piercing, carving, bleaching, painting and embellishing with feathers, beads, handles, basketry, paintings and other creative techniques.
lawrence magazine gallery
story by Mick Braa
photography by Jason Dailey
The gourd art by Karen Mikijanis includes intricate carved patterns, left, Native art motifs, center, and painted nature scenes, right.
Karen Mikijanis www.gourdartenthusiasts.ning.com/profile/KarenMikijanis A visit to a certain McLouth farm will introduce the range of possibilities for gourd artwork. Karen Mikijanis, a self-taught artist, ranges from abstract to figurative to primitive to wildlife to contemporary to folk and purely decorative styles in producing scores of stunning art gourds. A wood-burned owl, Geronimo’s portrait, painted birds, antler handles, basketry edgings, filigree pierce-work, sgraffito-carved patterns, beading, gourd figurines and even gourd lizards captivate the eye. “I go online to gourd sites, I don’t copy, but I like to see what other people are doing, and that fascinates me. And then I go invent my own gourds,” Mikijanis says. A twisted snake gourd, so unusual that she knew she ought to be able to do something with it, hosts a jewel-like black-and-white pattern circling the gourd, perhaps reminiscent of a snake’s skin or a Gila monster. “Working with your hands keeps your mind working harder and helps you see and do more,” says Mikijanis. “There are at least two different techniques on most of my gourds. I also do a lot of gourds for people that are strictly for that person—something about that person.” Mikijanis grows and prepares her own gourds, selecting from many varieties of types, sizes and shapes common to North America. She refers to gourd types by traditional names such as bottle, gooseneck, dipper, sugar bowl, snake, banana, tobacco box, kettle or cannon ball—and they range in size from a couple of inches tall to several feet long with diameters up to nearly a foot. Their hardened shells can be an eighth- to a half-inch thick. She even hangs the growing gourds to make them longer and helps to shape and size them in other ways. “There are usually at least two techniques in every gourd I make,” Mikijanis says. “I do this or paint that and cut and carve, making things up as I go. I enjoy picking and mixing colors— inventing but not necessarily with any real rhyme or reason.”
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The Pixie Houses of Pendleton’s Farm Collective www.pendletons.com Each fall out in the Kansas River bottoms, Karen Pendleton brings together gourd artists to create fantastical designs that remind one of Alice in Wonderland mixed with Dr. Seuss. The artists featured at the store on Pendleton’s farm east of Lawrence have built a reputation over the years for pixie-sized dwellings designed from reconstructed gourds and found materials. “We grow the gourds and use natural found things, but we always have to put a little bit of manmade bling on them, ’cause pixies and fairies like shiny things. We use a lot of broken jewelry-type things, and the tackier the better, I think,” says Pendleton. “We’re farmers, this is where we live, and the stuff is all around us, so we don’t have to look very far. We have friends that bring us boxes of stuff, so the hardest thing is to organize it all.” The artists do team up at times and feed off each other’s energy, but each depends on her own perception, ideas and favorite features for the final creation. Alice Anderson, for example, likes doing shingles from flaked pine cones and doing fences. “We all have different ways of searching out each house,” says Anderson. “One person can do this type of thing really well, and works with it, and it all comes together. It goes better when you come up with a theme to work with.” Wanda Hughes-Pfeifer, who has created a line of popular sport-themed gourds, describes the intensive process that all the pixie house designs demand. “We dry them for a year, scrape them off and out, scrub them off with a bleach solution and dye them so the natural graining and stains show,” she says. “Then we use Dremel tools to grind and cut out doorways and windows, drill holes for hinges and to hold additions and other stuff, sandexposed edges and use a lot of glue guns.” This creative process has led to oddly angled chimneys, bell towers, birdbaths, mossy landscaping, wire and leather door hinges, furnishings and miniature Virgin Mary grottos. And some dwellings even have a mailbox! Now and then a gourd has started smoking from overly aggressive Dremel grinding, but the artists say that so far none have actually burst into flames.
Opposite Left Alice Anderson’s “LylBrown Church” pixie home features a working belfry. Center Top Wanda Hughes-Pfeifer’s creation includes a pixie-sized window planter. Center Bottom Anderson’s home, and other pixie creations, are sold at Pendleton’s Country Market east of Lawrence. Opposite Right Karen Pendleton’s pixie home takes advantage of the gourd’s natural shape to create a rickety tower with a pixie-sized balcony.
photo by jason dailey
Winter’s Bone cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group
An overview of selected literary events in Lawrence this season
WINTER’S BONE AUTHOR BACK IN LAWRENCE Daniel Woodrell returns to Lawrence this fall as an award-winning author and honored guest of the Lawrence Public Library and the University of Kansas Libraries. The KU graduate will discuss his eighth book, Winter’s Bone (Little Brown/Hachette Book Group), on September 27 as the 2012 Read Across Lawrence selection. The book was adapted into a film and won the Grand Prize for drama at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and was subsequently nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Woodrell’s success as an author has been strongly bolstered by the success his books have had as film adaptations. His 1987 book, Woe to Live On, loosely based on Quantrill’s raid, became the film Ride with the Devil when director Ang Lee brought it to the big screen in 1999. Woodrell says that producers and directors are largely attracted to storylines that deliver “a lot of big action, which is not necessarily what I provide.” Instead, he describes his heroine in Winter’s Bone as a young woman on “an epic quest, written small.” His last several books are set in the singular landscape he’s most familiar with, the Mis-
souri Ozarks. Delving into the hard-scrabble, often violent world of meth cookers and drug abusers, Winter’s Bone is written in a distinctive style that is richly textured, darkly cast and full of heart. “To me style is a necessary and important part of the process,” Woodrell says. “That’s where the individuality comes out. My books are all not exactly similar style. They’re all different. Each book you have to find the way that this book needed to be written. You can’t just impose your style on every story.” The writing process, even with experience, can veer off the wrong direction. Woodrell originally envisioned Ree Dolly, the central character of Winter’s Bone, as a thirty-something single mother. “I realized that wasn’t going to open it up to me the way I wanted it, so I slowly accepted she was much younger, and then it did work for me right off the bat.”
story by Mary R. Gage
KELLY BARTH’S MEMOIR Kelly Barth is learning about contractual film options with the publication of her first book, My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus (Arktoi Books). “Apparently it’s a standard thing,” she says. “I just can’t imagine it, but if they want to make a film of it, that’s great with me.” She’s also familiar with the ebb and flow of inspiration. The longtime Lawrence resident and winner of the Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award began the book 10 years ago as a novel. “I got about a chapter or two into it, and it was just labor,” Barth says, “such a struggle. And I thought, this is not the genre I can do this in—‘fess up! So I changed strategies and started writing what I guess you would call stand-alone essays about how weird it has been to be gay and Christian and be raised in a culture that doesn’t let you be those two things.” Barth wrote the first draft in longhand and the second draft on her Royal Deluxe typewriter, paring it down each time. As lengthy as the writing process was, the road to publication was surprisingly smooth for a first-time author. She received an acceptance email from Arktoi Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press, one week after submitting the manuscript. Barth had some questions about being published by a small press versus a larger one. Then an issue about the cover image arose almost immediately that assuaged any doubt. The publishers agreed to jettison the initial illustration, which Barth describes as a “chick-lit, bare legs and chains” version, for one ultimately designed by Barth’s partner, artist Lisa Grossman, depicting a Jesus nightlight they’d received as a gift. It was a heartening outcome for them. “It was so important that the cover was right,” says Barth. “We’ve both talked about how it will make you want to read something.”
Find your local authors reading from their works every fourth Thursday at The Raven Bookstore, 6 East Seventh St. “Big Tent: Stories and Poems in Three Acts” is a monthly showcase for writers of plays, poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Other writers appearing this fall include science-fiction author Kij Johnson, best-selling mystery author William Kent Krueger and several contributors to the project Kansas City Noir.
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The ‘Ribbet’ Heard Round the County
n 1986, a political novice with no known campaign experience—a frog, in fact—captured national media attention by nearly winning a seat on the Douglas County Commission. Following the ballot, and since her last public appearance in 1988, Agnes T. Frog has chosen a quiet life in the backwaters of the political limelight. But her colorful legacy, the mystique of her true identity and her ribbet-ribbet way with words have ensured her place in history. According to several members of her campaign team, Agnes hatched during an informal gathering of friends at a home in central Lawrence, on a Friday afternoon, October 24, 1986, just 11 days before local elections. One of those present, University of Kansas professor of religious studies Tim Miller, recalls that the group was upset about a proposed highway bypass through the Wakarusa wetlands south of Lawrence. More specifically, they opposed what they saw as an intentional plan by both political parties to head off debate about the proposal by not contesting one of the three county commission seats up for re-election. So they drafted a frog into the race. “Even if you had two supporter candidates, you’d at least have forums and a chance to ask questions,” explains Miller. “So, just in kicking around ideas we decided to make it a joke, make it fictitious. And what better for wetlands than a frog?” Within hours, their candidate had a name—Agnes T. Frog. And the group of friends became the CETA (the Committee to Elect a True Amphibian). Committee member Roger Martin, then
story by Cheryl Nelsen
with the KU Office of Research, Graduate Studies and Public Service, says the frog’s campaign focused on serious issues but tapped humor to reach voters and cheer supporters. “Agnes gave us some joy, some laughter, because we felt pretty disempowered,” Martin explains. The late Richard “Dick” Larimore, described by CETA members as the mastermind of the campaign, drew on his previous experience as a statehouse reporter for the Associated Press to set a campaign strategy of press releases, radio spots, newspaper ads and political cartoons. Supporters even hired an airplane to fly over the KU football stadium during a game while dragging a large banner that read: “Write-In Agnes T. Frog.” That banner, noted then KLWN radio correspondent and disappointed Jayhawk fan Hank Booth, “was about the only bright thing over the stadium” that day. But the capstone of the campaign was Agnes herself. Decked out in a frog costume with a traditional electioneering straw hat, Agnes made several public appearances, from simply walking down Massachusetts Street with fascinated children in tow to stealing the show at the county courthouse election-night bal-
photography by Jason Dailey
editor’s note: This story was printed as legal processes continued. Some quotes may not reflect the current status of the bypass.
an original Agnes campaign button photo courtesy Kansas Historical Society.
LM writer Cheryl Nelsen takes a break from the fall election frenzy to examine the historic legacy of Lawrence’s most amphibious politician
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Agnes, in the Words of Those who Knew Her Mike Amyx, Lawrence mayor the year before and after the Agnes T. Frog writein campaign, and presently on the Lawrence City Commission: “Agnes did two things. One it drew national attention to the wetlands and the South Lawrence Trafficway project, and there was a greater participation in that election. More people remember her name than any other candidate.”
photo by jason dailey
Tim Miller, founding member of CETA and presently a KU religious studies professor: “She brought public attention to the issue. Twenty-six years later the eastern part of the highway isn’t there. I think it’s very hard to defeat in a permanent way those kinds of development forces.”
Photo Courtesy William Lopez
photo by jason dailey
Sandy Praeger, Lawrence mayor in 1986 and presently the Kansas Insurance Commissioner:
“I have to chuckle when I think of the effort to elect the ‘true amphibian.’ It was a very clever way of making the point about the potential environmental impact of building the trafficway without affecting the community in a divisive way. Folks understood the message without wanting to ‘shoot the messenger.’ It was very effective.”
John Simmons, spokeshuman for Agnes and presently adjunct curator of collections at Penn State University: “I think, overall, it was a very good thing because there still isn’t a road through the wetlands. To me, that’s the bottom line. There are other routes for that road. The original road back in 1971 was planned to go around the wetlands, and if they recognized the importance of it then, I think they should now.”
lot count. At major events, she was accompanied by spokesperson John Simmons, then a collections manager with the KU Natural History Museum, who joined CETA after being told the group was determined not necessarily to stop the bypass, but to find a better route and make the decision process more transparent. Agnes, it seemed, had a way with words—at least through Simmons’ translations. And whether it was the force of her ideas, her stirring speeches or her prankster appeal—the frog became a serious contender within two weeks of campaigning. Agnes’ campaign captured writeups in The New York Times, Time and Newsweek. And for a “It was a short period, it had clever way seemed possible that Agnes might of making the address the press point about and the county in a the potential victory speech. CETA mem- environmental ber Stevi Stephens, who created the impact of Agnes costume and building the would later serve one term as a mem- trafficway ber of the Kansas without House of Representatives, said Agnes’ affecting the supporters went community in a from frustration to amused bewil- divisive way.” derment as they –Sandy Praeger pondered what might happen if Agnes were to win. The frog had stated, through spokespeople, that she would formally establish residence at an aquarium inside the boundaries of the contested district. But other details remained unclear. “Would the person in the suit have become the commissioner?” wonders Stephens. “Would we have to have produced a birth certificate?” When the results were tallied on election night, Agnes had hopped away with 1,850 votes—or 27.46 percent of the electorate—having spent a mere $2,730 (including the $200 for the plane and banner rental) on her campaign. Content with a near-victory, Agnes largely retired. Once, she joined Simmons to pass out fliprevious and opposite Illustrator John Naughtin of Anchovies Design recreates Agnes T. Frog for this story. Though Agnes officially retired from politics, her legacy is preserved in political lore.
ers at the Capitol and was escorted out by security and subsequently refused a meeting with then-governor Mike Hayden. Agnes also made an appearance at Lawrence Earth Day celebrations in 1988 and then again at a rally to protest a commercial development’s decision to tear down cottonwood trees—potential nesting sites for bald eagles—along the banks of the Kansas River in northeast Lawrence. That was her last public appearance. Her costume was donated to the Kansas Museum of History in 1995 where it has been preserved and occasionally placed on exhibition. Over 25 years since Agnes spawned, a certain amount of mystery surrounds the identity of the individual, or individuals, who wore her costume. From eyewitness accounts and photographs, it is clear that Agnes was petite for a person, and somewhat mammary for a frog. In the course of preparing this article, several supporters, a few political opponents and people who came into contact with Agnes have speculated on or stated the identity of the human in the Agnes costume. But the few individuals who are believed to have actually seen a person put on the frog costume cite an oath of secrecy they took never to reveal Agnes’ human identity. And it is perhaps fitting that the person inside the costume has remained anonymous for so long. After all, Agnes the character—not the human portraying her—was the focal point of a historic county election campaign where politics became the art of the possible, the pond and the slightly surreal. The original Agnes costume is now stored, and sometimes displayed, at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. Photo courtesy Kansas Historical Society.
+ Agnes, in Her Own Words It is November 4, 1986, and candidates running for office in Douglas County elections anxiously await the returns at the county courthouse. A hotly contested governor’s race and a ballot full of amendment questions have drawn in 61 percent of the registered voters in Douglas County. Upstairs at the courthouse, votes are being screened by a new electronic ballot counter, but the machine has stopped several times. The reason? Numerous write-in votes, including many where voters choosing Agnes T. Frog for Douglas County Commission have neglected to fill in the bubble next to the space for the write-in vote. As the tension builds and the hours wear on, KLWN radio journalist Hank Booth grabs Agnes T. Frog and her translator, John Simmons, for commentary. The following is a large portion of the interview, transcribed from a private recording. Hank Booth: I’m sure, Agnes, that you’ve appreciated this help from John. Agnes T. Frog: Reep, reep, ribbit. Simmons: She says she couldn’t have done it without me, which is, of course, an exaggeration. My role has been minimal. Agnes has really carried the ball, such as frogs can, in this entire contest. Booth: It’s difficult for a frog to campaign, Agnes. I’m certain a door-to-door campaign was out of the question. Agnes: Ribbit. Simmons: She said she tried some pond-to-pond campaigning, but door-to-door has been rather difficult. Booth: Let’s talk just a little bit about the particular issue you are concerned with and why a group of people, obviously, have worked very hard for your campaign. Agnes, would you like for John to take on that particular responsibility tonight? Agnes: Ribbit. Simmons: She added to that. I know it sounds like a lot from one ribbit, but she added to that that she prefers the term non-amphibian to human. Booth: Non-amphibian, OK, thank you. Simmons: The issue that really got Agnes out of the swamp was the proposed route of the bypass, which will go through the northern edge of the Baker Wetlands. The Baker Wetlands are the only home in Douglas County of the threatened Northern Crawfish Frog. And Agnes also thought the voters deserve a choice, the right to make a choice on how their tax money is spent and how their county is developed. From her perspective she couldn’t see that they had had any chance to do that. Booth: I think I was most impressed when I saw the airplane carrying your banner over Memorial Stadium. That was about the only bright thing over the stadium. Agnes: Ribbit. Ribbit. Simmons: She said that was her idea, that she also enjoyed the field goal. Booth: We want to thank Agnes T. Frog for joining us here today, and, again, any future plans in politics? Agnes: Ribbit. Simmons: She says: “Today the pond, tomorrow the pond.”
His Own Personal Oz When life hands him connections to a magical kingdom, one man decides to write adventure books
Other connections came later when Paul was caught in the aul Miles Schneider has always kept one foot in the Merry Old Land of Oz. For the 49-year-old author of center of a tornado in Lawrence in 1981 and then when he played the youth adventure book Silver Shoes and its sequel, the part of the Tin Man in the Kansas Repertory Theatre’s 1982 The Powder of Life, this connection began for him as summer musical production of The Wizard of Oz at the University of Kansas. Although Paul did not realize it at the a young child in Lawrence when time, this was 100 years to the date that L. Frank his mother, Jo Anna March, read him Oz books “Here are the Oz Baum appeared under his stage name, Luis F. from the original series by L. Frank Baum. These Baum, to perform his melodrama The Maid of books had been hers when she was a child, and books; I’m living Arran with a traveling troupe at the Bowersock before that they had belonged to her father, in Kansas; I have Opera House, now known as Liberty Hall. Paul’s grandfather George Miles Marsh. In 1985, Schneider left Lawrence and entered “They’ve got his handwriting when he a connection a world of Los Angeles glitter, where he produced wrote his name in them when he was 5 or 6, to the book and designed DVD movie menus and interactive and then my mother wrote her name. It was content for Hollywood films and television shows. like a legacy that connected me to my past,” I’m holding in But Oz came back into his life with force in 2004, says Schneider. “Here are the Oz books; I’m liv- my hand. It’s when Michael Shaw, the owner of a pair of the ing in Kansas; I have a connection to the book ruby slippers used in the famous 1939 The Wizard I’m holding in my hand. It’s connecting me to a connecting of Oz movie, pulled them from his vault to show grandfather I never met.” me to a Paul, who wondered: “What if they were real? His connection to all things Oz continued What if you or I could put them on our feet and at age 7, when his paternal grandfather, Samuel grandfather I they worked? And they were magic, and we could Schneider, a Russian immigrant who became never met.” travel, and we could go places, and we had magic?” executive vice president and treasurer of War–Paul Miles Schneider This type of speculation came naturally ner Bros., arranged a backstage meeting for Paul for Paul, whose work required him to come up with Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of with ideas and scenarios for games. “What that did to my brain the West. That meeting led to Hamilton becoming Paul’s pen pal. When Paul was 9, a touring stunt show came to Lawrence, was train me to take characters and come up with cool situabringing with it an old black pony named Admiral who had tions for them to be in; hurdles for them to overcome; situations they had to get out of or figure out,” he explains. appeared in The Wizard of Oz and who gave Paul a ride.
story by Cheryl Nelsen
photography by Jason Dailey
Author Paul Miles Schneider, above, discovered many personal connections with elements from L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.
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Eventually, these thoughts—and his life of quirky connections to Oz—led to the realization that he simply had a story to tell. “I didn’t sit down and say: ‘I want to be a writer, and what will I write about?’ I said: ‘I have a story that I have to tell. OK, I’ll be a writer because I have to tell the story,’” says Paul. “That’s why I wrote the book. It was a story that just had to be told.” Silver Shoes, released in 2009, and The Powder of Life, released in 2012—both through iUniverse— are fast-paced adventure stories combining the worlds of Oz, fairy tales and top-secret, governmental paranormal investigations. For the author, the series has been a learning experience—but as often in life, a connection to Oz made a difference. In a discussing his characters with Robert A. Baum, L. Frank Baum’s great-grandson, Paul learned that L. Frank once was frustrated and said to his wife that his characters weren’t doing what he wanted them to do. She suggested he let them do what they want to do. He’s taken that lesson to life as well. Just as Paul’s characters are having their own Oz-like experiences, he, too, goes with them down that creative road. So, will the journey that returned Paul to Lawrence in 2009 be like going home again? “I’ve moved to Lawrence, not back to Lawrence. There’s still so many people in my life that were here from my childhood. They connect me to my past, but I’m not in the past. I think it was an identity thing as much as anything else of why I wanted to be here. I wanted to hang on to who I am and who I was,” Paul says. “I know Dorothy gets to go back to Kansas at the end of The Wizard of Oz. That’s the fantasy.”
Schneider, who writes from his home in northern Lawrence, has recently released his second book, The Powder of Life, chronicling further Oz-related adventures.
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The Tuners On either side of Middle A, these masters work with wood, string and relativity to ensure a perfect sound
n orchestra takes the stage. The conductor gives musicians time to tune their instruments. But the pianist is not tapping the ivory keys or adjusting strings to bring about the perfect pitch. This has already been done, and it requires a specially trained person with perfect pitch, the aptitude of a fine “It starts as mechanic and the hands of a carpenter. Becoming a registered piano techan interest in nician requires years of study and often an apprenticeship. And if the experi- addition to ence of Lawrence piano technicians is what you’re any guide, then it often involves a lessthan-straightforward path to becoming doing for your a master. livelihood.” Tom Eversole began dabbling with –Tom Eversole piano tuning while he owned a music store in Lawrence. “It starts as an interest in addition to what you’re doing for your livelihood,” says Eversole, who now works as a piano technician at the University of Kansas and has tuned pianos for the likes of Sonny and Cher. Eversole the store owner, however, receives credit for sparking the career of fellow technician Melissa Warren, who was an Army reservist and working as a firefighter when she walked into Eversole’s store looking for a piano. Warren, who had played the instrument as a child and earned a degree in
story by Kate Blatherwick Pickert photography by Jason Dailey
Tom Eversole, above, is one of two piano technicians responsible for tuning the more than 130 pianos on the University of Kansas campus.
After careers of military service and firefighting, Melissa Warren now repairs and maintains pianos.
music, renewed her interest in the piano and eventually asked Eversole if she could shadow him on her time off as he tuned pianos. Now, Eversole and Warren are colleagues at KU, where they keep more than 130 pianos in tune, including the pianos used in concerts at the Lied Center. Another Lawrence piano technician, Harry Miller, practiced law for 32 years in Kansas City and then for nine years in Lawrence in the district court trustees office. But at night he would play piano in clubs, and during his lunch break he would make time to practice. Eventually, after three and a half years of study, he sat for an exam to qualify for the Piano Technicians Guild. Now he works from a wellorganized workshop in Lawrence that resembles a carpenter’s heaven with parts of a 1908 upright on his table and a 1960s baby grand sitting in the center of the room. Restoring this baby grand, Miller explains, is his personal research project. “They are relics of a bygone era,” he says. “In the day of that piano,” he adds, pointing to parts of the 1908
Unique • Affordable • Functional Featuring the original handmade works of local, regional and national artisans. piano, which happens to belong to Warren, “there were no televisions, no radios, no phonographs. The piano was the entertainment center.” Warren’s workshop is filled with tools and a piano in the process of being rebuilt. Rebuilding a piano can require years of work. “I have been working on this piano for months and months,” Warren says. “The people, I am sure, would like to have it back.” Pianos often have sentimental value because they have been passed down through the family. But like many antiques, sometimes they need some refinishing. “The piano is a wooden instrument, and things break,” says Warren, who often taps her woodworking skills to replace veneers and the interior soundboards. Eversole says the piano is different from other instruments. Musicians who play instruments like the flute or clarinet regularly take them apart and put them together, but for pianists that is not the case. For people who play the
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piano, the inner workings of their instrument can often be a mystery. Tuning is also something rarely done by pianists, who do not necessarily have the training nor own the tools. Piano tuning tools can be electronic machines or tuning forks. Which of these is the more accurate tool is an ongoing debate, but it is the skill of the technician who uses these tools that is key. “A lot of people can hear where the note needs to be, but getting the pin and the string to stay where it’s supposed to be is really a big skill,” says Warren. Miller, who works with the electronic version of the tuning fork, believes they are more accurate but says in the end a technician relies on his or her ear. “Middle A is the only constant on a piano,” Miller explains. “It starts out as a standard pitch, and then everything on either side of it varies depending on the piano. It’s all relative to that A. That is the art of piano tuning.”
+ Piano notes from Lawrence’s piano technicians The piano is a percussion instrument. A home piano should be tuned at least once a year or more, depending on how often it’s played. A home tuning takes on average two hours, depending on what needs to be done. Prices for home tuning vary but usually start between $90-$100.
Harry Miller, above, taps electronic tools for tuning a piano, but he ultimately relies on his ears to find the perfect pitch.
A Registered Piano Technician (RPT) has passed a series of examinations on the maintenance, repair and tuning of pianos. The Piano Technicians Guild, based in Kansas City, Kansas, is a nonprofit organization that serves piano tuners, technicians and craftsmen throughout the world.
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An Eid for All In Lawrence, one of the biggest holidays for the Muslim faith draws on a convergence of cultures, traditions and dishes
cross the world late this summer and fall, Muslims gather for two celebrations of Eid (pronounced “eed” or “aye-eed”) to worship and share traditional foods. In Lawrence, these Eid events—and the dishes prepared for them—reflect the local Muslim community’s rich cross-cultural convergence. Eid in Lawrence becomes a holiday that is sacred and traditional but also a fusion of international modernity. Lesser Eid, known in many parts of the Muslim world as Eid al-Fitr, marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. Greater Eid, often called Eid al-Adha and known as the “sacrifice Eid,” commemorates the Quranic story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God, and God’s response to send an angel with a lamb to be sacrificed in Ishmael’s stead. Though both Eids signal the end of different observances, they hold a few things in common: love for God; fellowship with family, friends and neighbors; celebration of life and happiness; and food. Because Muslims fast throughout the month of Ramadan, Lesser Eid becomes a time to reintroduce rich, flavorful foods into the diet while communing with family and friends. Because Greater Eid focuses on the story of Abraham’s sacrifice, lamb is the central food of this holiday, with Muslims around the world slaughtering lambs according to specific religious tenets and ensuring that the meat goes to good use. “Food is always important, but it’s more significant during the month of Ramadan,” says Baha Safadi, originally from Jordan and a longtime member of Lawrence’s Muslim community. Much like the Christian period of Lent, Baha explains, Ramadan is a time of sacrifice and reflection. During daylight hours of the month of Ramadan, Muslims forgo all food and
story by Amber Brejcha Fraley
photography by Jason Dailey
Maggie Khater, left, estimates she bakes 600-700 traditional cookies each year for Eid.
drink, including water. This is easier in Muslim countries where many people take the month of Ramadan off work, sleep during much of the day and eat at night. Not so in the U.S., where Muslims must continue to go to work and school and function during daylight hours without sustenance. “You have to give up some earthly pleasure for the love of God,” explains Baha. “You have to have your best performance—best attitude—to everyone. This month is a holy month. You have to show your best language, attitude, behavior and so on, to your family, your kids, your neighbors, to all of society. “The celebration at the end of that month is called Eid,” Baha continues. “You did good, you did your prayers and your fasting, now is a celebration.” For Greater Eid, which falls approximately 70 days after the end of Ramadan and signals the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, Muslim men participate in the ritual slaughter of lambs. The meat is then shared throughout the community. “The tradition is to give a third to the poor, a third to your neighbor and keep a third for your family,” Baha explains. Many Muslims accomplish this by donating money for lamb to needy Muslims overseas and/or by giving some of their share of lamb to their local mosque, which hosts a large Eid feast each year. Baha says that in accordance with Muslim tradition, members of all faiths are welcome to attend the Eid meals at Lawrence’s Islamic center. The Lawrence Muslim community is different than his childhood in Jordan, says Baha, because here Muslims from all over the world come together, sharing their varied dishes. “The celebration is universal; the variations in foods prepared to celebrate Eid are cultural,” he says. “When I first came here, I missed our holidays in Jordan because it had a lot more significance because the whole country celebrates. All schools are off. All businesses are closed. But now, our community has grown, and our center has gotten bigger and bigger, and now I have a larger family—I have friends who are like my family. Now the feeling of Eid is just as fun as when I was young.” Maggie Khater’s cookies Maggie Khater, originally from Egypt, is known in the Lawrence Muslim community for her traditional Eid cookies. While most modern Muslims are content to purchase store-bought cookies for Eid, every year Maggie still goes all-out to bake hundreds of cookies that she dis-
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Maggie Khater’s Eid kahk (cookie) recipe Ingredients 2 packages dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar ½ cup warm water (110 degrees) 5 pounds all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 ½ pounds unsalted good-quality butter Powdered sugar Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix yeast and teaspoon of sugar into the warm water. Stir, cover and let stand for a few minutes until mixture becomes foamy. In a large container, mix together flour and salt. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until very hot. Add to the flour mixture and mix well. Mixture will be hot. Add yeast mixture to the dough and work it in. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until done. Once cool, sift powdered sugar onto the cookies.
“Now the feeling of Eid is just as fun as when I was young.”
– Baha Safadi
The Jakmoujes Moroccan Couscous Ingredients
2 pounds khalel lamb, roast or chicken cut up into large pieces Olive oil 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon ginger (for chicken only) 1/2 teaspoon paprika (sweet or hot) 1 bunch cilantro 1 jalapeno pepper (if desired) Vegetables in season—zucchini, butternut squash or pumpkin, turnips, parsnips, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes—cut up into chunks (“It all depends on how much you have and how much you want to make—anywhere from 1-2 cups,” says Melissa.) 1 15-ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed 6 cups dry grain couscous Brown meat in a pan with a little olive oil over high heat with spices. Once browned, add vegetables, chick peas, cilantro (in whole bunch together), whole jalapeno (if desired for additional hot spice) and 2 cups water. Simmer until vegetables are cooked. Steam couscous until soft. Remove cilantro and jalapeno from sauce. Serve meat and vegetables over couscous with broth. Serves six. In Lawrence, Eid celebrations draw on traditional foods from Egypt, top, and Morocco, above.
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tributes widely among family and friends. “I bake a batch, mail it, bake a batch, deliver,” she says. “If there’s any left over, they’re for us. I’m the only silly one who still makes them. It’s kind of a dying art. When I talk to my sister who lives in Cairo she says, ‘Oh my gosh. You still make that stuff?’” Though Maggie makes a variety of cookies for Eid, one shortbread-style cookie, called kahk, is native to Egypt. “Some other cultures put dates in them,” she explains. Like Christmas cookies, Eid cookies don’t have a direct religious significance, says Khater, but they are a delicious cultural holiday tradition. The Jakmoujes’ couscous Lahsen Jakmouj is originally from Morocco, where the lamb served at Greater Eid festivities is most often incorporated into the national dish of couscous. Though couscous is often served as a side dish in the United States, it is a hearty main dish in Morocco that incorporates meat and several vegetables. Lahsen, whose wife, Melissa, is Catholic, says that for many years, he relied on his sisters to give him cooking tips for traditional Moroccan dishes. Now though, Melissa has learned to make many of the recipes, and the couple share the job of making Moroccan food for Eid celebrations. Melissa says that one drink her family always fixes for Eid is tea. “Mint tea is very important in Morocco. It’s part of the culture. Anytime you visit someone they’ll offer you a cup of mint tea with tons of sugar in it. But it’s especially important during Eid.” The Jakmoujes also celebrate Christian holidays, which means there’s plenty of holiday cooking going on year round. The couple include their three children in the celebrations and ensure they understand the religious significance of them. “If the kids don’t have anything major going on at school, I’ll sometimes tell them they have a day off during Eid,” says Lahsen. He and the kids then go to the mosque to pray, eat and socialize. “We think it’s great to expose our kids to both cultures,” says Melissa. Lahsen says that he can get most foods native to Morocco here in the States, and he thinks that dates from California are every bit as good as the dates he got at home in Morocco. He also enjoys the varied dishes at Lawrence Eid celebrations. “I never had Indian food growing up, and there are a lot of Pakistani and Indian brothers and sisters in the community here, and some from Bangladesh. It’s very interesting. I like it.”
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Peterson Road, from Kasold Drive to Monterey Way Tim Byers’ approach to hills involves timing and teamwork. The triathlete and track and cross country coach implements his strategy on Mississippi Street (south of Ninth), Clinton Parkway (west of Wakarusa) Bob Billings Drive (from Kasold Drive to Monterey Way) and Peterson Road (also from Kasold Drive to Monterey Way). “I try to train on hills when it’s dark, so I can’t see how big the hills really are,” says Byers. “I know I’m going up a hill and everything. I just decide, ‘OK, this is what I’m going to do. Put one foot in front of the other and keep going.’” Byers’ buddies help traverse tricky terrain both on foot and bicycle. “To be honest, it’s really easy to let yourself down, you know, to say, ‘I’m just going to walk this last part,’ but when you have someone kind of trudging next to you, either they’re pulling you or you’re pulling them. Mentally I think it’s 99 percent, not easier, but, for me, it’s more motivating when I have my training partner next to me and know together we’re going to hammer this thing out.”
Jim Whittaker, cyclist
Fourteenth Street, from Kentucky Street to Jayhawk Boulevard Competitive racing cyclist and coach Jim Whittaker has become very cozy with most hills in and around town throughout the years. But it wasn’t until recently he realized the extent of Lawrence’s hilliness. After a month of riding in Florida followed by a week of local training, knee pain ensued. “I was like, ‘Why are my knees hurting?’ It’s because Lawrence has so many more climbs than just a completely flat place. It’s just flat riding in Florida.” Whittaker’s favorite place for hills is Mount Oread due to its variance. He points out campus is not only easy to get to, but a cyclist also has a lot of options with short sprinter hills and longer gradual climbs. “Fourteenth is really hard,” says Whittaker. “When you’re a big guy like me, you have to sprint up it to get your butt over it.”
story by Becky Bridson
photography by Jason Dailey
What’s the most challenging hill workout in Lawrence? A triathlete, a cyclist and a bike commuter provide their take on the burg’s biggest, baddest hill.
Tim Byers, triathlete
Rhonda Houser, bike commuter
Sunflower Road, from Indiana Street to Jayhawk Boulevard Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke, even Sheriff Rosco appeared regularly in Rhonda Houser’s childhood makebelieve. Houser’s brother had a red bike, so he got to be the Duke brothers, her sister a yellow bike, so she got to be Daisy. “Guess who had the blue bike?” asks Houser. “So, I had to be the sheriff or whatever. Every time.” She’s not holding grudges, however. “I always loved bikes and have ridden my bike every chance that I get,” says Houser, who commutes on her bicycle to her work for the University of Kansas library system each morning. As a commuter, Houser has a different perspective on hills than, say, a competitive athlete, but the end result is the same. With her mountain bike she’s had since college and her spankin’ new, ergonomically friendly handlebars, she conquers the tough slope where Indiana Street turns into Sunflower Road south of campus. “I like the workout of riding up the hill when I’m going to Watson Library,” says Houser. “It does feel good. You see the world in a different way. You’re going a little bit slower. You can say ‘hi’ to people. I just love to ride my bike. I feel free.”
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Most of us had a wild dream for our future that once seemed neither wild nor a dream. After all, when you are 4 years old, why can’t you plan on becoming a unicorn tamer? And when you’re a wizened 7 years old, then of course your objectives have become slightly more realistic, but still bold—the President of the United States, history’s first time-traveling genius, the MVP who scores the game-winning touchdown with just 0.03 seconds remaining in the world’s first International Super Bowl. Some of us are fortunate enough to be doing our dream job—a dream job that we might have wished for only later in our lives. But for those of us who somehow missed becoming the heir of Jane Goodall or the reincarnation of Evel Knievel, those childhood dreams remain a vital part of our core, of who we became. For the past year, Lawrence Magazine has invited community members to live out (if only for one photo session) their childhood aspirations, which have included a blues singer, a poet, a mermaid, a fireman, a senator, a clown and even Quincy, M.E. Depicting these dreams involves some costuming and a considerable amount of playfulness from our subjects. Marilyn Hull, the cowgirl in this issue, brought Massachusetts Street traffic to a stop as she sauntered across Ninth and Mass. with her stick horse and holster. Brad Allen, also in this issue, somehow agreed to moonwalk around in a space suit of spare bathroom parts, aluminum foil and duct tape— something we thought any self-respecting 9-year old would admire. His nephews and niece kindly agreed to the role of the Martian welcoming committee—and hopefully their dreams of their own futures will be just as bold. We’re still turning dreams into photo shoots. Let us know if you know of someone (and their childhood alter ego) who we should include in an upcoming issue.
A n d I wa n t e d t o b e ... Marilyn Hull and the stick horse she rode in on wait to cross the intersection of Ninth and Massachusetts.
and i wanted to be ...
photography by Jason Dailey
Director, Lawrence Public Library When I was 9 years old, Amadeus won best picture at the Academy Awards, Apple unveiled the Macintosh computer, Space Shuttle Discovery made its first voyage, and two crew members from Space Shuttle Challenger carried out the first untethered space walk I lived in Topeka. I played basketball, baseball, football, soccer and cheered for the Royals and the Chiefs. My friends and I wrote futuristic detective novels and tried to sell them at school for 10 cents. And I wanted to be â€Ś an astronaut.
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and i wanted to be ...
photography by Jason Dailey
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Island Opting When visiting Sanibel and Captiva islands, even a rainy day in paradise is still a day in paradise
’m sitting with my feet up in the Book Nook, a used bookshop on a side street of Sanibel Island. It’s my first full day on the island, and it’s raining. But no big deal. Clouds move in, rain pounds down, clouds move out, sunshine returns. You go with the flow. And without the rain I never would have met Melanie and Jan, the two sisters who own the store, and heard their story. It’s classic Sanibel—northerners, who craved simplicity, a slower pace, less hassle and warmth in every sense of the word, have an epiphany. They surfed the web, they saw an ad for a used bookstore that had been a Sanibel staple for decades, they came down to take a look … and that’s all it took. The sisters had never owned or run a store, but they loved books. They put down a deposit the next morning, got lucky in selling their Ohio homes within weeks, had a massive garage sale and drove south. They haven’t looked back.
story by Susan Kraus
photos courtesy sanibel captiva chamber of commerce; Dave meardon, denise mckee, kevin James
As for me, I’d heard about Sanibel for years, decades even, but never made it down. Finally, here, on the beach, I’m not necessarily having a life-changing epiphany, but I am loving the island. And I’m not alone. Many Lawrence residents head for an annual week or more on Sanibel or the neighboring island of Captiva. Attorney Sherri Loveland has escaped to Sanibel for a week of respite right after Memorial Day for the past 13 years. “After your first visit, when you check out the sights, find some favorite restaurants and get acclimated, it’s like returning home. Some things change, but most remains the same. What I love and miss is sitting on the beach at dawn with a cup of coffee and watching the shore come to life. Sky, birds, crabs, fish, dolphins … it’s an amazing show,” she says.
Ivy Travis went down twice in the last year, once to Captiva for some alone-time last fall and again for a week in April with her husband, Mike, on Sanibel. “I love the simplicity of the islands,” Ivy explains. “Besides the beach, birds and bike trails, there is not much else. Wildlife is respected and protected. It’s a quiet, simple place to get away.” More so offseason, actually, as the traffic in winter highseason on the two-lane roads that extend the length of Sanibel to Captiva can be bumper-to-bumper. Spring and fall are ideal as far as avoiding winter crowds or intense summer heat, and getting weeklong condo rentals at bargain rates. These are small islands: Sanibel is roughly 12 by 3 miles (even narrower for most of the island) and Captiva is much smaller,
Lawrence resident Susan Kraus has been the travel feature writer for Lawrence Magazine since 2007. Her stories are the only portion of our magazine not devoted specifically to people, events and places of Lawrence. But we think her approach to journeys is extremely Lawrencesque (and uniquely Susanesque as well), combining curiosity about and respect for the places she visits with a perspective that comes from being informed as well as open to unexpected encounters.
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about 4 by one-half mile. They’re shaped like a banana resting in the sea. There isn’t a lot you have to do here. Sure, I’d hate for anyone to miss out on visiting the acclaimed J.N.“Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the nation. And kayaking through the refuge feels spiritual. And of course taking a boat ride on Captiva Cruises out to Cabbage Key, where dolphins leap like synchronized swimmers in the wake, allows you to lunch on a cheeseburger-in-paradise (despite anything else you might read or hear, the locals will assure you, this is the spot and cuisine that inspired Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise”) and tape your own dollar bill to the wall (joining about 70,000 others). And yes, you can marvel at the diversity of shells at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the only museum in North America dedicated only to seashells. Or shop at any number of island boutiques. Or fish. Or bike (you can bike everywhere). But you don’t have to do anything, except maybe swim and eat. Sleep, swim, read, walk, nap and eat. Focus on the essentials.
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The eating is pretty darn good, from the classy upscale resorts to the local bars. I had excellent meals at the Thistle Lodge at Casa Ybel Resort (upscale, romantic, divine lobster bisque), Traders Café (tasty specials, live music, happy crowd), and Doc Ford’s Sanibel Rum Bar & Grille (bar & grill chow— do drink rum, lots of rum). And then there’s The Mucky Duck, on the beach on Captiva, featuring live music on the patio with their specialty of “sunsets every evening.”
But you don’t have to do anything, except maybe swim and eat. Sleep, swim, read, walk, nap and eat. Focus on the essentials. The best Happy Hour I found was at the Jacaranda, daily 4-7 p.m., with half-price drinks and outstanding appetizers that easily became meals. (The $5.95 bucket of mussels were in
+ Island History … The original locals were the native Calusa Indians, who were masterful at transforming the abundant shells into tools, and creating high mounds of shells for protection from storm tides and for observation. Ponce de León stumbled on what he called “Santa Isybella” in 1513, but the Calusas were not receptive (de Leon died 10 years later from a fatal arrow attack). The Calusas never did allow settlement, but over the next 200-300 years were decimated by European diseases. Then the pirates moved in (note the mainland nickname “Buccaneer Coast”), with prisoners being held for ransom on “Isle de los Captivas.” It wasn’t until after the Civil War that a military presence made the islands somewhat safe for homesteaders, and the Sanibel Lighthouse became a beaming presence. Fishing and farming (grapefruit, watermelon and vegetables, plus a key lime plantation on Captiva) were the mainstays until the islands were decimated by two hurricanes in the 1920s (when Captiva was separated from Sanibel, although not by much). Looking around for ways to support themselves, the residents discovered the hospitality industry. Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh were regulars (she wrote her book Gift from the Sea while staying on Captiva). For several more decades, until the first bridge was built from the mainland in 1963, the islands could be reached only by ferry. Strict zoning regulations have protected the islands. In contrast to the mainland side of the causeway where development rules, there are no high-rise condos, no big signs, no big-box chain stores and almost no fast food chains. There are extensive tracts of protected land and uninterrupted miles of beaches. Nature rules. Susan Kraus with material from the Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce.
a splendid sauce that took a basket of homemade bread to soak up.) They also have a Sunset menu, 5-6 p.m., with full dinners between $11-20. A table in the shaded, flower-decked patio was a lovely wrap to a day in the sun. This is a place, as are many, that may cater to tourists in high season but has more “regulars” the rest of the year. There is something about Sanibel and Captiva that draws people. The islands are full of transplants, people who woke up one day, took a look at their lives and opted out … or opted in, depending on perspective. “How did you get here?” I asked locals, and their stories spilled out. But most folks turn to Sanibel and Captiva for respite, a break, a week or so when they can chuck the “to do” lists and schedules and rest weary bodies and minds. And once people come, they tend to return. It must be that “captivated” factor.
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Each issue of Lawrence Magazine contains two or sometimes three stories that we call “features.” These are usually stories we think deserve extra thought or attention because they express an important theme or because they contain images that we are particularly eager to share—or both. Liz Weslander’s feature on Anne Underwood’s home was a narration that we thought would resonate with many of our readers—the joys and the unexpected-amount-of-work-that-noone-seems-to-warn-you-about that come with owning an old home. Julie Tollefson’s feature on local writer Tessa Gratton explores the popularity of young adult books, the process of writing them, and the responsibilities an author encounters when helping young readers understand and make sense of their role and their choices in a complicated world. That sounds serious, and it is … but fortunately we also have some whimsical illustrations by Lawrence artist Lana Grove to balance it all out. “Regicide” and “Awkward Kisses” never looked so delightful.
Anne’s Queen Anne
In Her Blood
fe a t ures Author Tessa Gratton reacts to a spluttering fog machine at the beginning of her photo shoot for this edition of Lawrence Magazine.
Anneâ€™s Queen Anne Y e a r s o f d e v o t i o n a n d c o n s ta n t r e n ova t i o n d e f i n e t h e r e l at i o n s h i p b e t w e e n o n e wo m a n a n d h e r h o m e
Story by Liz Weslander
Photography by Jason Dailey
When Anne Underwood decided it was time to make the transition from renter to homeowner, she didn’t bother with an exhaustive search or careful deliberation. She looked and leapt. “I don’t think I had a lot of energy, a lot of time, a lot of know-how to just look and look and look,” says Anne, who was a single parent of a 7-year-old at the time. “So I just kind of jumped.” The turn-of-the-century Queen Anne in a historic district near 11th and Rhode Island is the first and “It needed only house Anne looked at during e v e ry t h i n g . her search for a home. While the It needed house is now an inviting space in a r o o f. I t nearly pristine condition, it was needed new nothing near that when she bought it in 1995. plumbing. “I had a ton of buyer’s remorse,” It needed says Anne. “It needed everything. e l e c t r i ca l .” It needed a roof. It needed new plumbing. It needed electrical. The -Anne underwood exterior needed painting. The porch needed to be rebuilt.” With no shortage of projects to choose from, Anne started by having the floors refinished in the room where she says she spends the most time—the kitchen. Anne continued to update and reconfigure the kitchen over the years, but the vintage stove that came with the house remains. “We went out and looked at newer stoves, and I just had a panic attack about it,” says Anne. “I love my little stove. The oven is not
that big, but I have 14 people over for Christmas Eve, and I can manage that crowd with that space. I havenâ€™t had to chop any turkeys in half.â€? After finishing the kitchen floors, Anne replaced the floors throughout most of the ground level, then replaced wallpaper with fresh paint throughout the house. Soon after that, she started hiring out bigger projects and has been gradually, but assiduously, updating and remodeling ever since. In the 17 years she has lived there, Anne estimates, two years is the longest continuous stretch she has gone without having some sort of major project in her home. Anne says she has learned to reduce the stress of home renovations by demanding certain qualities in contractors. People who clean up after themselves are of paramount importance to her. She says she also looks for meticulousness, good communication
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skills, accountability and trustworthiness. “It’s the whole mean what you say, say what you mean thing,” she explains. Anne, who works as a massage therapist and yoga instructor in downtown Lawrence, says her home’s location has proven to be convenient and peaceful. She has a quiet side porch for relaxing and a vegetable garden in her back yard, yet she is still moments away from all the places where she needs or wants to be. “It’s a lifestyle that’s so user-friendly. You don’t get a real sense of busyness here, but I’m a two-minute walk to both of my jobs,” says Anne. “That’s the fun thing about being in this little urban setting.” When she chooses to, Anne can work out of her home. With her son now in his 20s, Anne has converted his old art room into an airy yoga studio with shining wood floors. She also has set up a small room for massages.
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True to form, one of the home’s upstairs rooms is currently under renovation. Anne’s partner, Rodney Troth, whom she met while he was working on another project for her house, is finishing the room for use as a bedroom. When that’s done, Anne says the front porch will need some work. And after that, there’s sure to be something else. “I’m always so aware of what’s the next thing” says Anne. “A huge piece of being here is to maintain the house, keep it going, make it better than I found it. That’s kind of what you do when you sign on for property.”
“ I t ’ s a l i f e s t y l e t h a t ’ s s o u s e r - f r i e n d ly . . . T h at ’ s t h e f u n t h i n g a b o u t b e i n g i n t h i s little urban setting.” -anne underwood
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In Her Blood Writer tackles themes of lore and themes of angst in magic-filled books for young adult audiences Story by Julie Tollefson
Photography by Jason Dailey
In novelist Tessa Gratton’s world, magic exists, teenagers confront hard choices, and blood is the tie that binds everything together. Gratton’s stories twist familiar Kansas and Missouri settings to create magical, sometimes dark, worlds that challenge her teenage heroes to take a stand in the fight between good and evil as they test their fledgling independence. Along the way, they learn every choice has a price. “I was very concerned with there being consequences to everything, good things and bad things, because that is what teenagers are having to learn and in very dramatic ways when they’re in high school,” says Gratton, 31, author of 2011’s Blood Magic and The Blood Keeper, released at the end of August. Needs and Questions Gratton, always an avid reader, grew up telling stories, thinking about stories and, later, writing stories. When her family moved to Japan in her eighth-grade year, reading and a newfound interest in storytelling through theater became the twin supports that helped her through the dramatic changes of her teen years. “I’ve never loved books and needed books as much as I did when I was a teenager. They were my lifeline when I moved to Japan, the way they helped me think about people besides myself and think about how people lived their lives,” she says. “I love being able to write stories for people who are going through that and need them as much as I did.” Yet when she began to craft her novels, Gratton didn’t immediately gravitate toward telling stories for young adults. She needed a push from her critique partner, Maggie Stiefvater, who saw Gratton’s potential as a YA (young adult genre) author before Gratton did. “To me, the immediacy of her plotting and the character themes she likes to tackle seemed really suited to YA,” Stiefvater says. “I remember I had a novel due in 90 days, and she was looking to start a new project. I said something along the lines of, ‘My deadline’s now your deadline. Go!’”
The Virginia-based Stiefvater, best-selling author of the Shiver Trilogy, Books of Faerie and the Scorpio Races, says the thoughtfulness Gratton applies to her writing elevates her novels. “Writing a good novel is about writing an entertaining story well,” she says. “Writing a great novel is about writing an entertaining story that works on many, many different layers, and you can’t do that without asking questions about meaning and repercussions. Tessa asks lots of questions, and she writes great novels.” The blood magic ritual at the core of Gratton’s books is a case in point. Blood runs throughout the storyline in both physical and metaphorical ways. Gratton’s characters draw blood to unleash magical power in a ritual that grew from Gratton’s research into American folklore and reflects the symbolic role blood plays in many world religions. “It always is the symbol for life and transformation,” Gratton says. But the ritual also is reminiscent of the “cutting” phenomenon seen among some teens struggling to deal with emotional pain. “I didn’t want her to be cutting as a way of getting through her grief, but it is basically what she’s doing,” Gratton says of her lead female character in Blood Magic. “I do think it’s an important thing for readers to be aware happens, and it doesn’t necessarily come from an intentional place even on the teenager’s part.” Bloodlines Gratton’s second novel, The Blood Keeper, is set in and around Lawrence and is a companion to Blood Magic, though its story stands alone. The novel jumps ahead five years and features new narrators, but most of the characters from the first book make return appearances. Where Blood Magic’s teenage narrators experience grief and sacrifice as they learn about their family folk magic history, The Blood Keeper’s
lead female character, Mab, believes her magic connects her to nature and God. “It’s not as dark, mostly because the characters are happier,” Gratton says. “They still have their difficulties and challenges and trauma, but after writing about the hard, dark, dangerous side of this magic, I wanted to write a book that appreciated its beauty.” Both novels explore the power of blood to bind individuals together into families. Blood Magic’s most moving moments evolve through a brother-sister relationship, and the idea of “blood family”—meaning those drawn together through blood magic—is key in The Blood Keeper. The darker side of family ties appears as both books tackle themes of “sins of the fathers” (and mothers and grandmothers). Gratton tells her characters’ stories through alternating male and female narrators. Each narrator has a distinctive voice, and the author switches back and forth between personalities, channeling teenage boys and girls with equal believability. She gets inside the heads of her characters the same way she used to portray characters on stage when she was a teenager. The key to acting, she says, is the moment the actress finds the one thing that defines the character within the context of the play. “If you can find that, you know how they’ll react to basically everything,” she says. “I try to have that core—who do they think they are and how are they going to change over the course of their story.” Her raindrops on roses Gratton, a graduate of the University of Kansas, returned to Lawrence after a stint in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati, where she spent her last year translating Beowulf instead of completing her thesis. Back in Lawrence, she threw herself
into writing, culminating in publication of Blood Magic five years later. Gratton may write another Blood Journal novel—”There is a third book living in pieces in my head,” she says—but her newest project explores a different kind of magic. The Songs of New Asgard series will introduce readers to an America founded on the tenets of old Norse religion instead of Christianity. Book one, The Weight of Stars, will be published in May, and Gratton and her web designer, Chris Kennedy of Lawrence, are building an interactive website to accompany the series. “There’s a very special place in my heart for the Blood Journal books, but ever since I was translating Beowulf back in grad school, I’ve been wanting to write about the themes in Old English and old Germanic poetry, which is all about glory and honor and sacrifice and, you know, violence,” she says with a mischievous laugh. “My favorite things.”
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Craft Notes Tessa Gratton’s fans—and those interested in the process of writing—can get an insider’s view of her writing process and her writing friendships in The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories, by Gratton and fellow young adult authors Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff. The anthology, published in August, grew out of the three authors’ Merry Sisters of Fate blog, where they each posted short stories every week for four years. “We wanted to have a space to experiment outside of novels where we could throw down ideas, play with whatever we wanted, and do it in public,” Gratton says. The blog allowed them to stretch their writing muscles and get immediate reactions from readers. The three wrote about 100 short stories each for the blog, often unedited and unpol-
ished. Though the writers have each written their last stories for the Merry Sisters of Fate, eight or nine of each of their stories have been collected in The Curiosities. The stories cross genres from contemporary and horror to fantasy and paranormal. They explore themes common to young adult novels—growing up, finding yourself—but the heart of the collection is the story told through footnotes and cartoons of the authors’ friendship, how they wrote the pieces featured in the collection, and how the experience of sustaining the blog influenced their novels. “I learned so much, and I grew exponentially as a writer because I was able to take risks I can’t do with a long-term novel in the same way,” Gratton says. The collection, from Carolrhoda Lab, also includes exclusive stories never published on their website.
Twilight courtesy Hachette Book Group
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Harry Potter courtesy Scholastic
The Hunger Games courtesy Scholastic
Silver Shoes courtesy Paul Miles Schneider
Blood Magic courtesy Random House
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Hamlet courtesy williambottini.blogspot.com
a M ai d e n
illustrations by Lana Grove of
books h at
themes in young adult
For the past years, young adult, or YA, books have been one of the most successful branches of the book industry, fueled by global hits such as Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, a growth of titles and— according to a 2010 report from research organization Kaiser Family Foundation—the fact that children and teens are spending more time reading.
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Lawrence Public Library’s Teen Services Librarian Karen Allen says that many YA titles copy trends set by popular breakthroughs, most recently with a run of dystopia-themed novels hoping to ride the success of The Hunger Games.
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But Allen thinks all good YA literature taps similar elements. “It’s a teen facing some sort of adversity or a task that is seemingly unattainable,” explains Allen. “And there are common themes: finding identity, finding yourself, learning independence, challenging authority, accepting alternative lifestyles as well as the idea that teens are strong, not helpless. They are facing fear, solving problems and learning their emotions are valid.”
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A librarian's view of the YA formula
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Even the latest generic thriller, emphasizes Allen, can be a powerful tool in equipping young adults for what might be some of their most tumultuous years. By facing grittier themes of drugs, loss of parents, eating disorders or suicide that are common in YA books, teens can confront these issues and the choices involved in responding to them. “It gives them a way to try to experiment in their lives through this literature,” she says.
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for example does the “magic” theme appear in book series?
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september LIED CENTER SEASON OPENER | September 7 Musical legend Buckwheat Zydeco presents a free, outdoor concert to open the Lied Center’s 2012-13 season. Family activities begin at 6 p.m. on the Lied Center lawn, 1600 Stewart Avenue. Concert begins at 7 p.m. For more information, including details and ticket information on the full season lineup, call (785) 864-1604 or go online to www.lied.ku.edu HASKELL INDIAN ART MARKET | September 8-9 One of the biggest public events hosted by Haskell Indian Nations University, the annual celebration features Native American theme art from across the nation as well as free dancing and musical performances on the campus. For more information, call (785) 749-8467 or go online at http://www.haskell.edu/art_market READ ACROSS LAWRENCE | September 27 (August 28 – September 29) Author and University of Kansas graduate Daniel Woodrell reads from his book Winter’s Bone—the 2012 Read Across Lawrence book selection for a communitywide read (see our article about Woodrell on page 28). Woodrell’s free lecture, 7:30 p.m. at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts Street, is the culmination of a series of monthlong Read Across Lawrence events that includes geocaching scavenger hunts, a children’s book selection kickoff pizza party, a smackdown trivia competition, a writing workshop and movie showings. For more information, call (785) 843-3833 or go online at www.lawrence.lib.ks.us/news-events/read-across-lawrence
o c tober KAW VALLEY FARM TOUR | October 6-7 This is the eighth annual celebration of more than 20 regional farms providing guided tours of crops, animals and farm crafts (such as the Pendleton Farm’s gourd art on page 24). Guests pay $10 per car to tour at their own convenience. Maps, hours, ticket information and a guide on where to sample wine or pet an alpaca are available at www.kawvalleyfarmtour.org or by calling (785) 843-7058. PAUL MILES SCHNEIDER | October 18 Lawrence author Paul Miles Schneider (see page 36) reads from his latest novel, The Powder of Life, a young adult thriller about Oz, secret government investigations into parallel worlds and—of course—flying monkeys. Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., 7 p.m. The reading is free and open to the public. For more information, call (785) 843-3833 or go online to www.lawrence.lib. ks.us or www.paulmilesschneider.com BLACK JACK BATTLEFIELD AND NATURE PARK TOURS | October 20-21 The nonprofit Black Jack Battlefield Trust allows year-round access to the location where abolitionist John Brown defeated a group of Missourian forces leading up to the Civil War. But this weekend’s free tours are a particularly good time to visit the wooded area and catch the fall colors and citywide activities as nearby Baldwin City holds its annual Maple Leaf Festival. For tour times, locations and additional information, call (785) 883-2106 or go online at www.blackjackbattlefield.org KU HOMECOMING | October 27 University of Kansas Jayhawks football team takes on the University of Texas Longhorns squad for the 2012 homecoming. Now that you know what type of fan you are (see page 19), you also know the best way to enjoy this game. Our prognosis: KU 137, TX 3. Remember, you first read it here. Game time TBA. For more information and probably more realistic game predictions, go online to www.kuathletics.com, www.kusports. com or www.ljworld.com/news/sports
n ovember DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY LIGHTING | November 23 Lawrence kicks off the holiday season with the traditional lighting of downtown and the rescue of Santa Claus from the top of Weaver’s Department Store. Holiday music begins at 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts Streets.
All events are subject to change
For detailed listings of events, you might also want to look at www.lawrence.com/events, www.visitlawrence. com and www.downtownlawrence.com
September-November Send your future event listings to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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