For Day 0: click here
Lawrence, Kansas is the archetype of a college town. Anchored by KU, the life of the city stems from the over 20,000 undergraduates running amok. Well – maybe not today. The rainy weather and post March Madness blues (it’s still a sore subject for many) subdued much of the student body, but as the sun came out in the late afternoon, things start to pick up.
Our host in Lawrence and old Eleven comrade Mark pushes his homework aside and meets up with us at his house, which is two short blocks away from the main drag, Massachusetts Ave. After we unload the Scion tC, we explore the premises. There’s musical instruments everywhere, ranging from the real to a Rock Band Rickenbacker. Out on his front porch, Mark shows off an electronic organ (see below) that he and his roommates found abandoned in an alleyway. It’s cheerful, 80s Casio-esque tone belies it’s harsh, outdoor environment – a Lawrence winter isn’t great for electronic instruments.
Massachusetts Ave. (or Mass Ave., for short) is our next stop. As we meander up and down the street, we get a glimpse of the eclectic components of the Lawrence scene. A notable stop is at local staple Love Garden Records, a small record store with a great collection of vinyl. The walls are decorated with photos of Lawrence’s most well known musical exports – many of whom will be playing this weekend at the Middle of the Map Fest in KC. Who knew the Get Up Kids were from Lawrence? We find tUnE-yArDs’ interesting promotional boombox listening station (see below)
The store’s employees have impeccable taste (see above), and we wonder where we can find an Aladdin Sane arcade machine. Next, we duck up a staircase and climb onto a rooftop patio (see below). Mark describes how hundreds of rabid KU sports fans line the roofs along Mass Ave. after basketball victories – but today, it was only us.
After some more wandering, we take a late afternoon break at an old Eleven photographer’s apartment along the main strip. Besides a inevitable PBR, we find a ton of electronic music instruments and production tools, and dive right in. After a two minute tutorial about how to use Abelton Live (see below) – which gave a slight clue on how to control the music making software – we proceed to make possibly the worst song ever. But hey – we tried!
We head towards the end of block to Free State (see below), Kansas’ first legal brewery and a beloved Lawrence watering hole. At 6 PM, the place is packed with people waiting for the weekend. The C4 Imperial Black IPA is excellent (and strong!).
As the sun begins to set, we make our way towards KU’s campus to the university’s gallery, the Spencer Museum of Art (see below). There’s a 2001: A Space Odyssey themed event going on, and it looks like a promising way to kill an hour before dinner.
Besides, well..art, there is Daft Punk blaring, and…a DDR Club? In the corner of the main hall (see below), KU’s Dance Dance Revolution experts had set up a mobile game unit, and were coercing anyone who walked by to jump in. Of course, we oblige.
After a few Cherry Cokes (they were free!), we head out of the Spencer to the main event: a moon bounce (see below). Cramming too many people in the inflatable palace, surprisingly nobody got (too) hurt.
Across the street is the KU Memorial Unions – the massive, towering student center. On one of the top floors lies KJHK, the KU student radio station (see below).
The radio hosts don’t mind our mid-show interruption too much, and we get a good look at the station’s many production rooms. Also, we find an excellent whiteboard (see below).
We head back towards Mass Ave. in search of a bite to eat and are directed towards the Burger Stand at the Casbah. Besides some tasty gourmet hamburgers, the restaurant boasts six different types of fries, from tofu to truffle. If you could OD on potatoes – this would have been the time.
All day, we couldn’t get over how the city of Lawrence has addresses with fractions (see above). Much more densely populated cities have managed to keep track of their buildings with whole numbers. Even weirder – Mark’s address isn’t only a fraction, but is also on a street perpendicular to his house. Google Maps was definitely confused by that one.
The night ended at Lawrence bar Harbour Lights (see above) – which boasted $2.75 jars (which translated to huge cups of beer). After round two of pool (the first was during the French fry binge at the Burger Stand), the bar was ready to close up.
By this time, we amassed a large crew, and rolled back to Mark’s place for a night cap. Chilling out to some old Fall records, we call it a day.