Lawrence gets lit Friday.

Everything Is Illuminated 

Lawrence gets lit Friday.

FRI 7/22
Lately we've heard a lot of talk around here about anti-evolutionists' attempts to bring the concept of "intelligent design" into the public schools of Kansas. But we prefer Lawrence's interpretation of intelligent design -- this weekend's lamp competition. Kojo (745 New Hampshire, 785-841-5656) displays and sells the newest innovations in kitchenware, timepieces, furniture and lighting. From 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, the store hosts Light Up Lawrence, a lamp-design contest in which artisans display their imagination and skills with bulbs and wiring. (Kojo is one of 15 venues participating in the quarterly downtown gallery walk that night.)

The store's owner, Carl Masters, says he put together the competition in hopes of giving local designers more exposure. "I hope it [the contest] develops to gain publicity nationally over time." This year, contestants' submissions were due July 15, and three hometown experts -- Dan Sabatini of Sabatini Architects, Ann Evans of the Lawrence Arts Center, and Jon Swindel, a design professor at the University of Kansas -- chose the winners based on innovation and craftsmanship. For two weeks following the competition, the lamps will be on display and available for purchase through a silent auction. -- April Fleming

Alias
Cêch, please.

FRI 7/22
Kansas City's Debra Di Blasi doesn't write with a pen name -- she writes with an alter ego. For her latest work, The Jirí Chronicles & Other Fictions, she uses male character Jirí Cêch to create what she calls a "bastardization of aesthetic forms." A hyper-postmodern wise-ass who has been published in the country's top literary journals and nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Di Blasi is also a visual artist, and the book culminates a six-year project blending text with images and gateways to her work online. Jirí is a self-described "incredibly handsome Czech very male vampire guy's guy man hunk" who fled his homeland after impregnating his teenage sister. He has since encountered John Ashcroft and Hitler's ghost. (Don't take our word for it -- see home.earthlink.net/~jiricech/.) Tonight, Di Blasi performs a "multimedia fiction" based on a short story from The Jirí Chronicles. The free nonreading -- not recommended for kiddos -- begins at 8 p.m. at the Writers Place (3607 Pennsylvania, 816-753-1090). -- Sarah Smarsh Pour It On
Robert Gillis spills his guts -- but never his beer.

WED 7/27
Robert Gillis began his career as a beer vendor with the Kansas City Royals on April 10, 1978. Now, arguing that "very little has been written about our national pastime from the perspective of everyday people," he's penned a memoir covering the past 27 years. It's heavy on sentimentality (the final line is "I love you, Kansas City!") and ultra-smiley pictures (including candids of guys we've kissed ... weird). But it reminds us of when it was actually fun to be a fan. Meet the man behind Beer Bob Speaks at Wednesday's 6 p.m. book-signing party at George Brett's on the Plaza (210 West 47th Street, 816-561-6565). -- Annie Fischer Fancy Pants
Bad, bad, bad, bad boys make us feel so good.

SAT 7/23
The goal of Saturday's 10 p.m. Bad Boy Party and Bad Boy Britches fashion show and underwear auction at Late Night Theatre (1531 Grand, 816-474-4568) is to support the arts. All proceeds from the $10 cover go straight to LNT's endowment fund. And even though we sometimes worry that we're the only ones who think about how panty auctions result in the buyers wearing already-worn undies, we can't argue with keeping anyone well-endowed. -- Rebecca Braverman

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