How It Feels…To Get A DUI


By Cassidy Ritter


“How It Feels” is Style on the Hill’s newest series of first person stories from students at KU who have had incredible experiences. Check back each Friday over the next few weeks for new installments.

Two years ago, KU student Jayce Donnelly was arrested for a DUI. This is what it feels like.

As soon as I woke up from a blacked-out state, bright lights were all I saw. The empty road ahead was blurry, but the lights behind me were clear. I instantly knew I was going to jail.

It was Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1:15 a.m. I don’t remember leaving the party. Nor do I remember driving my car five miles down the road. I shouldn’t have been driving. I knew I was fucked up.

As I headed east onto 23rd Street, the bright red and blue lights followed. As I pulled into the Hobby Lobby parking lot, I could taste the bitter tequila on my lips. We had been drinking since 11 a.m. the previous morning because it was the last day of Fall Break. I reached diagonally for mints in the glove compartment. As I put the mints in my mouth, a spotlight blinded me.

Two cops appeared at my door. A white heavy man in his mid-50’s pounded on my window.

“Have you been drinking tonight?” he asked.

I looked at the blurry officer that stood before me and said, “I’m really fucked up.” There was no way to hide my drunken state or tequila breath.

I stepped out of the car accepting the fact that I was going to jail with a DUI. I stood against my cold car as the officers went through my wallet. Then proceeded with the sobriety test. I blew a .222; the legal rate is .08. The officer told me to walk in a straight line down and back. This was cake. I’m in the military and practically do this in my sleep. So with all the focus I had left I marched. When I got to the end I tried a left facing turn and fell over in the process. Deep breath. I knew I’d be okay. When I marched back, the officer said, “Yeah, you’re done. We don’t need to see you walk anymore.”

The officers put handcuffs on my wrists in front of my body as a “reward” for cooperating and drove me to jail. After about two hours of paper work and waiting, I paid $535 for bail and was released to my friend.

Two years later, I’ve paid over $6,000 in fines and fees, had a Breathalyzer in my car and was on probation with the military for six months.

I still like to party, but took a break from going out for a few months and no longer hang out with the people I drank with that night.

Graphic by Allison Ellis

Street Style: Wedge Wonder





Jacinta Duong / Theater

Photos by Ikeadi Ndukwu


Street Style: Barbie Girl





street style3-emily

Emily Horton / Textiles

Photos by Abby Liudahl

Heard on the Hill



  • “It’s Tuesday and, I mean, I’m down to get hammered.”
  • Guy 1: “I literally fucking hate this next class.”
    Guy 2: “Dude then don’t go.”
    Guy 1: ” You’re right.” (He turned around and walked home.)
  • “The only ginger I like is Prince Harry. Unless you have a title, don’t talk to me.”
  • I once went like two weeks without Starbucks and almost DIED!”
  • “There’s no way he has a real job. He spends 3/4ths of his day with his shirt off and when he’s not chugging iced coffee it’s tequila.”
  • “You just drew dicks on Hiroshima. Shut the fuck up.”
  • In the Watson stacks:
    Girl 1: “I’ve had sex in here before”
    Girl 2: “Oh my god same.”
  • “Sorry, it’s been a weird day. My friend thought he got his car stolen this morning, but it turns out he just left it at Watson.”
  • ​”I hate job applications. I just want to move to a vineyard in Italy.”
  • “You could hand me an Android that would give me a blowjob and I’d still use Apple.”


Dare to Dream


By Hannah Pierangelo


Woodruff Auditorium bubbles with the chatter of the audience on a Wednesday night. Unsurprisingly, the crowd is almost entirely female. Tonight’s event is titled “Dare to Dream” and is targeted to the young women present—girls with stories, girls with dreams. Christie Garton, KU graduate, college expert and founder of the company U Chic and the 1000 Dreams Scholarship fund, speaks about her efforts to inspire young women and help them accomplish their professional and personal dreams. Accompanying Garton is Farrah Krenek, an actress known for her roles in Orange Is The New Black, Law & Order, Nurse Jackie and SNL, among others.

The point of the event is part advice, part inspiration and part gushing about Orange Is The New Black. But Krenek is more than just a celebrity speaker. Her experiences growing up and working in the entertainment industry tell the story of what it’s like to be different.

Krenek, who stands over six feet tall with short, spiky hair and dons typically masculine attire, says she was bullied as a kid for looking like a boy.

“I went through very bad bullying and very bad ridiculing,” Krenek says. “And I was from an era where there was no Google, no Youtube, no social media that I could report this to, so I just had to take it, which is why I became stronger.”

For Krenek, “Dare to Dream” means pursuing acting as a gay woman and trying to overcome her past, where she says she felt unaccepted. Now, as she has found her success story in the entertainment industry, Krenek values her craft more than ever.

“I am not an actress because I am looking for glamor [or] fame,” Krenek says. “The reason I’m doing it is because I want to represent girls that are like me. Or that were like me and had nobody to look up to. I’m not saying that there were not gay females that could be actresses that could be an example, but they really didn’t look like me. Being a girl that looked like a boy that wanted to be an actress that was auditioning for girl roles, they acted like, ‘What circus do you belong to?’”

“My message is: it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t give up,” Krenek says.

Krenek trained at a modeling school, but distinctly recalls hating makeup. When she auditioned for the massively popular Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black, Krenek says she could be herself.

“Everything I hate—the makeup, the glamor—was everything they didn’t want,” Krenek says. “It was [more like,] the meaner and tougher you look, the better.”Farrah Krenek

Garton says she chose Krenek to speak at “Dare to Dream” because of the actress’ success at a young age and her inspiring story. Moreover, her campaign’s mission is about giving young women role models.

“This is a time to realize that there’s not just one type of girl out there,” Garton says. “This is a diverse generation of young women today.”

Garton reaches her audience of college-aged women primarily through U Chic, which sells items and also gathers college advice from girls across the country to include in the best selling college guide book, The College Girl’s Guide to Everything. The book has sold more than 100,000 copies and is now in its fourth edition. U Chic also launched the 1000 Dreams scholarship fund last year, which uses a portion of sales in its web store to contribute to funding the dreams of girls everywhere.

“This life stage is such an important life stage,” Garton says. “You’re in the midst of figuring out what your dreams are. This is a formative time of your life. I think to hear this information and these personal stories that we’re sharing about how their girls are funding themselves or using support from our company to go out and do things, it’s really about sharing.”

The book gives young women a voice, and also a platform to share experiences, advice, and support. She says the book not only deals with classroom issues, but also aids with relationships and the college lifestyle.

“My experience was very much driven by what I did outside the classroom,” Garton says. It’s the reason she started the 1000 Dreams Fund. While in college here at KU, Garton was involved with her sorority, the symphony, and started her first non-profit at nineteen years old. Music Mentors is still serving the Lawrence community through the KU Center for Community Outreach today. Garton says her extracurricular experiences helped make her a more well rounded student, and she wants to extend those opportunities to all young women.

Over the last year, her company surveyed 300 college women about their college experience. She found that more than half say that extracurricular activites are important to the future, but 95% lack an easy access to funding to pursue these activities.

Garton’s scholarship fund aims to change that. In the last year, it has already funded sixteen women. One scholarship recipient is also here tonight. Gracie Schram steps on stage with canary-yellow pumps and a guitar. The Kansas City high school student is just seventeen years old, but has already recorded a full-length album with a Grammy award-winning producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, Brett Dennen) in Nashville. She donates a portion of her album sales to charities and has helped underprivileged children in Africa and Haiti, raising more than $30,000 for The Global Orphan Project.

Gracie Schram

Krenek, Garton, and Schram all take the stage to emphasize the importance of a person’s story and a person’s dreams.

“I have a story to tell, and just because I don’t cry about it every day, anymore, doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult,” Krenek says.

She spends the final part of her speech doling out words of advice, encouraging the audience to make friends with strangers, look up from their phone screens and interact with the world, and above all, value their self-worth.

“If I can hear the story of one girl that tells me, ‘I saw you on TV’ or ‘I got your message’ or ‘I heard your story and it inspired me,’ then mission accomplished.”
The 1000 Dreams Scholarship Fund is taking applications now. Apply here.

Photos by Hannah Pierangelo

Farrak Krenek and Christie Garton spoke at the Kansas Union September 23rd, 2015.

How It Feels…To Live Through Hurricane Katrina



By Erica Staab

“How It Feels” is Style on the Hill’s newest series of first person stories from students at KU who have had incredible experiences. We launch the series with one student’s memory of surviving Hurricane Katrina. Check back each Friday over the next few weeks for new installments.

Ten years ago, KU senior Kinsey Roberts and her family fled from Hurricane Katrina, leaving behind their home in the wake of a super storm that took nearly 2,000 lives.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The morning before the storm, I sat pouting and watching the news with my family. I was devastated because my cheer competition had been canceled. We knew the storm was coming, but in my 11 years of life I had watched 13 storms roll through my suburb of New Orleans, and not once had anyone evacuated my quiet neighborhood on the North Shore.

I had been expecting the usual: A few missed days of school and my parents throwing a hurricane party that consisted of drinking and fun as families waited out the storm together. It wasn’t until the storm went from a category three to a category five in four hours that I realized this wasn’t like any storm I had seen before. That’s when the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, issued the first ever mandatory evacuation of the city.

It was around 11 a.m. and I remember chaos. We had less than 24 hours to evacuate and my mom was in tears saying, “We aren’t going to have a home after tomorrow. It’s going to be gone.”

I packed up a small suitcase and debated on which beloved Barbie would get saved, since I only had room to bring one. I was upset and concerned about my two white rabbits, Sugar and Cinnamon, who had to be left behind.

My mom was desperately trying to stuff her wedding dress and the family photos into our white Kia minivan and hauled what wouldn’t fit to our attic in a vain hope it would be safe. Dad was out in the yard, trying to barricade our house with sandbags stacked up in hopeful wall. Erica, my younger sister, was packing a bag too, but little Matthew, who was only 4, was obliviously watching cartoons. He was excited he didn’t have to go to preschool.

At 7 that night, all was calm and the sky was clear as I sat cramped, stuffy, and whiny in the third row of our van. I was packed up with the rest of my family’s precious possessions as we abandoned our home and fled towards safety in Baton Rouge.

What normally was a 45-minute drive to our family friends home, took nearly four hours. I remember my mom changing Matthews diaper on the side of the highway. We couldn’t risk exiting just to get stuck trying to get back on.

I felt like I was at sleepover when we finally arrived that night. Tucked up in bed next to my sister in a second-floor bedroom, I drifted off to sleep a little after midnight to the sound of drizzling rain on the window.

hurricane katrina

Photo taken in East Madeville, the suburb of New Orleans across the lake, that Kinsey and her family lived in.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I like to joke that I slept through Hurricane Katrina. The storm hit around 6 a.m. and I’m such a heavy sleeper that it didn’t even wake me. When I did get up, New Orleans was already flooding.

When the eye of the storm reached Baton Rouge, we decided to move to another family’s house that didn’t have trees standing in the yard. Even there, the winds were so strong we worried the trees would fall on the house. But for that one hour it was as calm as it could be.

When the other side of the storm hit, I began to hear whispers that the levy had broken. I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time, but I knew it was serious.

It wasn’t until the helicopters began to fly over the city and show the damage on the news that my tears came. I was terrified my home had been destroyed and Sugar and Cinnamon were dead.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I’ll never forget my brother waking up that morning. It was his fifth birthday and he kept asking, “Where is my cake? Where are my presents?” We had to leave all his presents behind.

The Aftermath

The husband of the  family we were staying with in Baton Rouge worked for the LSU’s football team. A few days after the storm, he took our family to his office so we could all get out of the house.  I was looking out the window of his office which over looked the football Stadium, foundly named Death Valley, when the trucks came.

Workers in hazmat suits opened up the trucks and unloaded hundreds of dead, bloated bodies and began to lay them out on the turf. End zone to end zone. Some of them didn’t even look human anymore. I can’t forget the smell. I had never even attended a funeral before and this horrific image of death still haunts my nightmares.

I stood wide eyed until the adults in the room realized what I was witnessing outside the window and pulled me away quickly trying to shield me from the horrendous sight.

Monday, August 5, 2005


“The picture of Lakeshore Drive was when my parents went back initially; still super flooded obviously. It’s Lake Pontchartrain, and you can’t see where the lake ends and land begins. It’s usually a 10 foot wall so it’s pretty high water.” Kinsey Roberts

It wasn’t until a week later that I got my first look at my damaged neighborhood. We drove onto our street and the third house we saw was demolished. When I saw my house, bruised and battered, but standing strong I was relieved. That didn’t keep me from bursting into tears the second I walked in and saw the flood damage.

There was mud and trash covering the floors. It was a mess and it smelled so bad. I couldn’t believe that this was the house I had left only a week ago.

That’s when I saw it. A glimpse of white outside the window. It was Sugar. But it seemed that Cinnamon didn’t make it through the storm. Apparently our neighbors, had thought it would be best to let Cinnamon and Sugar out of their cage to give them the best chance of surviving the flooding.

We got to stay in our house that night. There was no electricity and our house was hot with the 15 other people that  stayed with us. My parents invited co-workers and friends that had all lost their homes to stay with us. We were one of the lucky families.

Things weren’t the same until January.  My mother, sister, brother and I moved to Ohio to stay with relatives until after Christmas when the schools in my town began to reopen.

I don’t remember being scared of hurricanes after Katrina. Nothing could ever compare to the super storm I survived.

Graphic by Allison Ellis
Photos provided by Kinsey Roberts and family

Street Style: Creative Contrast






Ashley Bennett / Journalism

Photos by Abby Liudahl

Playlist: First Day of Fall


first day of fall

Today officially marks the autumnal equinox, or what’s more commonly called the first day of Fall. Fall is one of our favorite seasons around here—the weather finally cools off, which means it’s a prime time to add layers to our favorite outfits. Plus, Fall means apple cider, carved pumpkins, and seeing the leaves change color on campus. This week, we’re bringing you a staff curated playlist featuring some of our favorite fall songs from artists like Twin Forks and Bright Eyes, plus everything else we’re jamming this week. Have a listen and don’t forget to follow us on Spotify!

Heard on the Hill



  • ​”Bath and Body Works lotion makes me feel some type of way.”
  • “If I were 27 and a MILF I’d be twerking on the wedding dance floor too.”
  • (in Fraser) “I feel like this building is going to collapse at any second. It just smells like it’s going to.”
  • “I was late to class because I slept through my alarm. I got to class 20 minutes into it, then fell asleep in the class. No more dollar nights guys.”​
  • “I should bring Crocs back, make em’ cool.”
  • “I would be at my internship all day surrounded by successful people, then I would come home and put whipped cream on my French Toast Crunch. I did that for like a solid week.”
  • “Oh my god I look like PURE butthole.”
  • Girl: “The hottest hookup I ever had was in the Shot Room bathroom at the Cave. It was intimate.”
    Friend: “You’re kidding me, right?”
  • “I’m at the point where I wear nicer clothes. I need to do laundry.”
  • “Do you know what my favorite part of college is so far? Tinder…it’s so fun.”
  • (At the Hawk) Guy 1: “God it smells like vomit in here.”
    Guy 2: “I just vomited.”

Won’t You Come Down: What Makes Not Like Igor One of Lawrence’s Most Powerful Performances


not like igor

Photo courtesy of Not Like Igor

By Colin Murphy

Not Like Igor drummer Nick Fredrickson leans against the wall of his basement and practice space as we both watch guitarist and singer Maxwell Moore pace the floor. The two are contemplative in their speech, reserved in their manner. “The best shows I ever have are when I can just let go of every thought—just let go, just be in that space,” says Nick. “Forget about your worries, just give it your all.”

Not Like Igor lets go onstage, where the Lawrence-based band’s persistent energy ebbs from dancy and upbeat into driving, heart wrenching swells. Moore’s voice holds softer melodies with childlike vulnerability, but on the constant brink of growing into a scream—which he often does. Personal and poignant, Igor’s lyrics hit home like Moore has been reading your diary and is giving you the words you wish you had been able to articulate, all while telling his own story. Their album This is Just To Say is “One-hundred percent autobiographical,” Moore said. “The entire LP was mostly to do with my girlfriend at the time, and her role in bringing me out of a really shitty period in my life and making me feel like it’s okay to care about people.”

Math rock inspired guitar spins an intricate backdrop to frame Igor’s songs before settling into grooves that are guaranteed to get their audience moving. Nick’s drum style is primal yet calculated, innovatively driving the songs forward with a presence that is hard to tear your attention from. His demure manner sheds completely as he really loses himself to the music, which encourages the audience to do the same. With the addition of bassist and younger brother Andy Fredrickson, who creatively fills out what space was left open in the songs that were first written for two, Igor’s music has become layered and rich. All throughout Not Like Igor’s dynamic performance, you can’t shake the sense of sincerity and urgency that comes through at every moment. Every hit of the drum, every word mumbled or yelled is there because the band needs to put it out there, and they need you to hear it.

                    KEEP IN TOUCH
Not Like Igor
Music: Bandcamp
Facebook: /notlikeigor
Catch the band at their Kansas City show October 28th!

“That kind of show is not expected, but it’s inevitable, because that’s what people in the emo community are doing,” Moore says. “They’re baring their soul, and they’re showing that it’s okay to have them, and be vulnerable and get up on the stage with people who are going through the same shit you’re going through every day. So it’s been wholly cathartic to have my friends and the people in the Lawrence and KC music scene to get up right next to me, and to bare their soul along with me.”

Seeing it live feels as authentic as Moore claims, but it wouldn’t be so if not for the support of Igor’s fans, and their ability to be vulnerable back. “It helps that people come up to us afterwards and tell me that the lyrics and music touched them in some way,” Moore says. “When I first started playing shows it was so hard for me to get up and do that, it was so scary for me to get up there and talk about things like my parents divorce . . . The fact that people tell us that it’s relatable and that it’s getting them through shit and that it’s helping get through things in their lives that I’ve been able to relate with, then it’s hugely inspirational to me and it completely affords me the strength to do it once every week or once every two weeks like we’ve been doing.”

This connection to fans is what gives their style of music purpose, the band believes, and something unique to the genre. Moore continues, “I think that if Nick and Andy and I were to play shows and afterwards no one said anything then it would seem like what we were doing wasn’t relatable, and that would scare the fuck out of me—I don’t think I would be able to play music anymore if that was the case. Because it is very vulnerable to go up and not sing about going drinking on the weekend, but instead singing about things that are sometimes deep and dark and would otherwise be a total secret to those people.” Deep and dark aptly describes the tone of the band’s lyrics, but Not Like Igor is also relentlessly clever. Their particular brand of heart-heavy dissatisfaction is convicting, breaking down any barrier between the band and their audience, pushing everyone in attendance into the same headspace.

Photo by Colin Murphy

Photo by Colin Murphy

The band took their emo influence south last January when they toured through Texas, coming back with nothing but praise for the house shows going on in that region. “The shows were exceptional,” Fredrickson and Moore agreed. “Playing a house show in Houston where our style of music does thrive and house shows happen often, and people come without it feeling like you have to pull their teeth because they’re coming and they’re bringing money to support touring bands and bring their own beer to drink, and they treat their house shows like we treat our parties here. Instead of people just congregating and drinking beer, people are congregating and drinking beer and listening to great music. I’ve been watching videos and seeing this sort of things for years and it was so great to finally go and be a part of it.”

Not Like Igor hopes to release a second full length album this coming winter. Their current releases are available at for streaming and download, and be sure not to miss their October 28th show at Davey’s Uptown Bar in Kansas City, Missouri! If you can’t make it out (or can’t plan a month in advance) keep an eye on Mass Street—this band comes with a live show you can’t miss.

Street Style: Game Day


We love to see your game day style! One of our staff photographers caught up with some very stylish Jayhawks at our last home football game.




GDS 4  GDS 5




Mary, Abby, and Olivia

The next game isn’t until October, but we’d love to see your game day style! Show us on Twitter and Instagram and tag us @styleonthehill.

Photos by Emma Creighton

For Boos and Giggles: Being Funny For A Living


By Hayley Francis

Dennis Gubbins-comedy

Dennis Gubbins performs standup comedy at West Side Comedy’s Laugh Party in Santa Monica earlier this year.

Sitting atop a stool on the dimly lit stage of Replay Lounge, the sting of two fireball shots lingering in her throat, my roommate, Maddy Rich, grabs the microphone from the mic stand. Twenty-three people fill the bar stools idly holding drinks, or stand eating popcorn, anticipating her opening line. The come-as-you-are dressed crowd has gathered at 7 p.m. on a Thursday night for one reason: to laugh. It’s the weekly standup comedy open-mic and this is Rich’s first time performing.

The MC, Rob Schulte, tries to help. He sits at a podium with his own microphone and laptop contributing “hell yes,” funny sound effects, shout outs, and laughs to engage the crowd and keep the handful of performing comedians rolling.

He’s one of seven local comedians who created Harpoon Presents, an organization with an initiative to spread comedy in the Midwest. Last year, local comedians Bene Garcia, Chance Dibben, Peter Lyrene, Joe Noh, Shadoe Barton, Rob Schulte and Zach White realized that their individual local shows were closely scheduled or overlapped. The self-described indie comedy group decided to get together to collaborate, and it set out to establish Lawrence as a “good place for comedy.” With no comedy club in Lawrence, the group puts on weekly open-mic opportunities and showcases and monthly shows. The goal: “To expose anyone and everyone who is interested in comedy.”

So what drives these people, like the members of Harpoon Presents, my crazy roommate, and professionals, to willingly stand in a spotlight or under dim fluorescent bar lights teetering on a crowd laugh as they do their best to be humorous? Why risk being thrown to the dogs for a laugh? My roommate says standup is her door of opportunity to the improv world, where she feels her class-clown personality can land her a job she’s excited about. She aspires to be on SNL or perform with the Chicago improv group The Second City. Schulte says it’s simply the joy of making others laugh. Fellow Harpoon Presents member Chance Dibben says he’s pursuing comedy because it’s freeing and all for fun.

When I asked professional comedian and actor Joe Torry, a St. Louis native, he justified his 25 years of joke-making saying, “For me it’s therapy.”

Torry says comedy is a way to articulate his feelings through humor and connect with others. “It’s being able to vent and get immediate approval. I feel like I’m a hero when I say certain things because people are going through the same stuff that I’m going through…When some people think like you and they’re not even the same color, or the same age, or the same gender, then it’s like a universal laugh or a universal healing.”

His claim to fame before strictly focusing on comedy was hosting the Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam in 1992, where he went on to star in several hit comedy films like House Party and Strictly Business, and made appearances in the TV series E.R. and NYPD Blue as well as other films like Poetic Justice and Sprung. He is now working on standup and improv comedy and preparing to do two major tours, one solo and the other with a collection of comedians. The best part of being a professional comedian he said: “It’s more of a talent that’s blessed by being able to make money, and to express myself without getting arrested.”

But getting to his status didn’t come easy. “It was a hustle.” Attaining professional success begins at ground zero for most. Torry says the process begins with re-locating oneself, like he did, to Los Angeles, the best place for opportunity and exposure. Self-promoting your talent is also important, like uploaded performance footage to YouTube or sending out DVDs to prospect companies. From there it’s casting a wide net and performing as much as possible, networking, seeking agents and managers, and ultimately being at the right place at the right time. Along the way, Torry advises that aspiring comedians should, “try to find [their] own voice. And to stay well read, meaning to be able to perform anywhere and tackle any subject.” And once a comedian gets a bite, it’s about continuing to elevate him or herself while climbing the ladder.

The climb to individual fame for the core members of Harpoon Presents, however, doesn’t seem to be its main objective. Each person has their varying, individual aspirations, but the group’s goal is to collectively build a larger audience for themselves in Lawrence, and help others to get a foot in the comedy door. While they all joked about being jealous of blossoming newbies that surprise them at open-mics, their collaborative work is simply about the laughs and a shared love of comedy.

“I don’t expect to become famous, but I do enjoy creating something fun for my town,” Schulte said. “I just want to do weird stuff.”

Harpoon Presents is aiming to achieve this with it’s weekly and monthly events, as well as bringing “some of the country’s best, most interesting, and weirdest comedians to Lawrence” in its annual Riptide Comedy Festival. The festival, which took place in April, is a downtown Lawrence showcase of more than one dozen comedians from around the country performing over three days. The hope, according to the members of Harpoon Presents, is that the showcase will “grow the seed” of comedy in Lawrence. There are already over twenty affiliates outside of the group’s core seven that perform regularly at the organized shows; the seed is growing.

Keeping the seed alive will be the challenge. Outside the efforts of Harpoon Presents, it will be even more challenging for individuals aspiring to be professionals to make it. Torry says maintaining and elevating success as a comedian is an ongoing battle:

“People talk about retiring, but that’s when you’re dead. At every level you need to try to take your game to another step, another roof, another plateau. And I guess that’s what keeps me inspired, and everyone else inspired, is that you’ve never made it. The energy of still having to prove yourself, which most people do especially when you’re living out in L.A. or Hollywood. People don’t care what you’ve got, what you did yesterday.”

My roommate is beginning this ambiguous climb to hopeful success as she raises the microphone to her mouth on the Replay Lounge stage. “Well, coming after that guy,” (a mid-thirties bearded man who joked about “hot twenty-year-olds” and having sex with them) she begins, “let’s talk about ladies. And all that we do for you guys.” She uses this springboard to talk about guys’ desire for nude selfies from women and tells the story of her first, failed, nude selfie to her high school boyfriend. She unknowingly included the fresh poop sitting in the toilet in the background of the photo. “I felt pretty good about what I sent, but I nervously waited for his response. He finally texted back and said, ‘Flush the toilet.’” The crowd erupted in laughter. She chuckles and concludes her one-and-done story with, “Well, that’s all I got.”

As she walks off the stage, relieved to be done, the MC hollers, “Yeah! First time for Maddy Rich, let’s hear it!” The crowd gives a supportive clap, and a few people lend some shouts. Flustered she didn’t use the entire five minutes, but relieved to have broken the performance ice, Rich exhales loudly when she greets me behind the bar. “Whatever, it’s done.” But when the butterflies settle, she excitedly begins talking about what to change and add for next week’s open-mic act.

Q+A with Dennis Gubbins

Professional comedian and actor Dennis Gubbins is known for films such as Beer Fest, and The Horror of Barnes Folly, and he has acted in commercials, a few T.V. shows and award-winning independent films. He was also a writer for South Park, and is currently a writing consultant for the upcoming Netflix series Flake’d, and a writer and producer for Comedy Central’s Brody Stevens: Enjoy it! In addition, he is working on stand-up comedy, writing various TV pilots, and auditioning for acting positions. I asked him what it’s like to be funny for a living.

Where do you get your material?

DG: Generally my material comes from real life experiences. I like to tell stories and a lot of times those stories are about awkward and funny things I have done or said. I am pretty self-deprecating and not really into making fun of people.

Is any topic off limits?

DG: No, not really. I think if it is funny then it is okay. But you never know if it is really funny and not offensive until you try it a couple times. Like rape…I don’t find it funny so I avoid it, other than the couple times I referred to myself as the child produced by Louis CK raping Zach Galifianakis. I don’t do that joke much. Any “hot topic” like religion or racism is certainly fertile ground and free game, but it is a fine line between funny and interesting and offensive and tired [or] hack.

Who is your favorite comedian and why?

DG: I don’t really have one, but I really liked Robin Williams growing up because he was physical and wacky and I was like that too. I was compared to him by a mutual teacher we had. He grew up in Marin County like I did. Today I think Bill Burr and Louis CK are great. I really like Zach Galifianakis and his comedy, and Sarah Silverman and Tig Notaro always make me laugh.

What has comedy taught you about life?

DG: I wish more! Ha. Comedy has taught me to look at the hard and awkward things in life from a different angle, to find the humor in all things. That is not to say I laugh in the face of death–I don’t–but it has taught me that it all depends on how you look at something and choose to interpret it. I also learned this growing up in an Irish Catholic family with a lot of funny people. Gallows humor was always big in our homes and so was pushing the taste a bit.

Photo courtesy of West Side Comedy. 


Heard on the Hill


The SOTH spies are listening! Here’s what we heard around campus last week:HOTH 2

  • “The syllabus said there’s a 3,000 word research paper so I dropped the class, while I was sitting in the class.”​
  • Talking to the bartender: “If I tell you I love you in four different languages will you give me a free tequila shot?”
  • “Ugh she said she’s going to a law school job thing. I need to hangout with freshmen, I’m more on their level.”
  • “She had a missing tooth! But hey bro, when life gives you lemons, you fuck the lemons.”
  • “I think he was just trying to see how many times he said penetrate in an art history lecture.”
  • “There were a bunch of people in Watkins coughing with those surgical masks on, and I felt like I was in a zombie plague movie.”
  • “Shit, my Polo logo on my sock doesn’t show when I put my converse on.”
  • Girl 1: “I’ve worn Lululemon shorts out to the bars before, it’s totally fine.”
    Girl 2: “Yeah but only on like a Tuesday.”
  • Anyway, that’s not really how the story ended. I had to give it a happy ending, but in reality my stepmom is a bitch and I hate her.”
  • “If we got married in Vegas, would you contribute to a kickstarter campaign to help pay for our annulment?”


If you’d like to send us your hilarious, out of context, overheard quips, send us a note at or tag us on Twitter and use #HOTH.

3 Ways to Wear White After Labor Day


By Audrey Danser

Labor day has come and gone, and unfortunately, so has the summer fun. But why does the color that reminds us of our carefree weekends at the lake have to disappear too? We have all heard the rule—do not wear white after labor day—though, who is to say white cannot transition into our fall wardrobes? What once was a fashion faux-paux, is now a rule meant to be broken and there is no reason to resist. We have three looks to prove it.


Create contrast.

The Fall palate tends to be dark, re-introducing the grays, plums, and forest greens that lay dormant during the summer months back into your wardrobe. Pairing these distinctly autumn hues with white creates a bold contrast and sleek look. We chose our staple as a pair of white skinny jeans—there is no reason not to treat your white denim like any other pair of blue jeans. Swap your summer sandals for a pair of suede or leather booties, add a contrasting colored top and bomber jacket, and you’ve got a polished autumn-ready look!



Ground those bold patterns.

White can be used to balance an outfit and add relief from loud patterns. Go ahead and experiment with mixing prints and styles, using a white tunic or blazer to relax the eye. Unexpected combinations have the best results!


Feminize your cozy cardigan.

Transitioning white from summer to autumn is all about the pairing, keeping conscious of textures, silhouettes, and colors that are distinctly Fall. Utilize your white article (we used a simple pencil skirt) as your basic, letting it play in the background as you layer up with cozy cardigans, metallic accessories, and your favorite pair of boots. This technique, allowing just a hint of white, will soften your layered look and add just the right amount of sophistication.



Now go ahead and wear those white garments proud, you rebel!

Photos by Sabrina Sheck 
Styled by Audrey Danser and Holly Kulm
Modeled by Elise Gao

Street Style


Street Style Dana El Shoubaki

Dana El Shoubaki / Junior, journalism

Who or what influences your style?

No one really directly influences my style. If I see something cute I just go for it. I’m drawn to pastels and soft colors and stripes usually. 

What’s your favorite thing to wear? 

My favorite thing to wear is a skirt. 

Why is fashion important to you?

Fashion is important to me because I feel good and think I can conquer the world when I think I look good. It boosts my self esteem and my confidence and it’s always a nice way to express myself.

Photo Feature: Grinter Sunflower Field


We’re pretty bummed that the long weekend couldn’t be longer, but it’s a good time to get back to the grindstone. How did you spend your holiday? Tell us (or show us!) on social media and tag @styleonthehill.

Staff photographer Skyler Lucas visited the Grinter Sunflower Field over the long weekend and shared his photographs of a Kansas classic. With stalks over five feet tall and blooms as big as your face, the sunflower field is an adventure for anyone with a camera. The field is open to the public, but the farmers ask that visitors leave a donation to keep their field full of beautiful native flowers. The sunflowers at Grinter Field will be in bloom for the next two weeks. 






All photographs taken by Skyler Lucas.

Heard on the Hill


Our SOTH spies are back, bringing you the funniest, weirdest, and always out of context quotes heard on campus and around Lawrence. If you’ve got a quip to add to our list, send us a note at


  • Person 1: “Ugh. Someone sent me an email in Comic Sans.”
    Person 2: “Why would someone do that?”
    Person 1: “Because they hate me.”
  • Girl 1: Do you get Starbucks every morning?
    Girl 2: Yeah?
    Girl 1: I commend you girl. If I did that I would be broke as a joke and fat as fuck!
  • “Jayhawk Boulevard… that’s the street with Target at the end right?”
  • “I’m feeling pretty good today. I don’t think I’ll do any drugs tonight!”
  • Girl: “I’m sorry, you were where?”
    Guy: “I said I went to a post-apocalyptic theatrical metal concert last night.”
  • Girl: “I watched The Purge a couple nights ago and now I’m convinced there is someone crawling outside my window at night, should I call the cops?”
  • Guy: “Yeah I’m totally voting for Kanye, but only because I want Kim Kardashian as our First Lady.”
  • Teacher: “Is the noise from outside the window too noisy for you guys or..?”
    Student: “It makes it sound spooky.”
  • Girl to a friend: “Dude, I totally knew you would be on this bus. You wouldn’t want to walk the extra stretch to Ellsworth from the 43 red stop.”
  • “Have you been to The Cave?! It was the SICKEST place I’ve ever partied at…”


Playlist: Labor Day Weekend


playlistHappy Labor Day Weekend! We’re stoked to celebrate the holiday, even if it does mark the end of summer. We put together a new playlist featuring some new favorites from Halsey and the X Ambassadors to keep your stereo on all weekend long.

Follow us on Spotify (styleonthehill) to stay updated with all our new playlists!

Americana Girl: KU grad Emma Johnson talks fashion, photography, and life in Kansas City


Emma Johnson

By Aleah Milliner

With a love for all things thrifted and vintage, Emma Johnson, a recent KU graduate, is making a name for herself through her blog, The Bold Americana as well as her videography work for brands. She has an eye for personal style and is not afraid to be bold, wearing pieces that may surprise others. She says, “You have to risk people being like ‘what the heck’. Confidence is key.”

Growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada, Emma Johnson lived in a culture of superficiality, where money and appearance were the ultimate goal.  At 18, she moved to Kansas, not knowing a soul. Now, four years later, she has found a genuine community of creatives to surround herself with and grow in her art of photography and videography. She splits her time between Lawrence and Kansas City, a city that has an  influence on her and has been a place of community.

You can hardly call it a job when you are doing something that you love. For Johnson, working with brands means hanging out with friends—camping at the lake or a spontaneous weekend in Los Angeles—and using them to model products as she snaps the photos. Those brands include Fable, a shop owned by Tara Light selling her original designs, Sandlot, a leather goods company, and Future, a vintage clothing store specializing in denim jeans. Johnson has shot product photos for all three companies and calls the owners good friends. Many companies she works with are local Kansas City shops.

Johnson holds the Kansas City community dear—a city quite the opposite of her hometown.

“Everyone wants to move to Los Angeles or New York, which is so typical,” Johnson says. “There are so many big things happening in Kansas City and I love the people there. Being around such a calm atmosphere has helped me to not be afraid of what other people are going to think. I have found a very genuine friend group there.”

Along with her freelance work, Johnson writes her blog, The Bold Americana. The name of the fashion and lifestyle blog combines her love of coffee and her personal style.

“I have an American girl style. I try so hard to have my own style and be bold,” Johnson says.

The blog features style posts of Johnson herself, as well as other people she finds with unique style. Recently she blogged about Kansas City’s West 18th Street fashion show, an event she photographed at. Another recent post featured two Kansas City designers, their line called Covey, and the concept of “slow fashion.” Her blog is simple, letting the photographs speak for themselves. Her “about me” page tells of her love for all things 90’s and says “I hold on tight to nostalgia and cuddle my VHS tapes at night.”

“Without saying anything, it tells other people who you are,” Johnson says on why having personal style is important.

Her style is “sporty-chic,” a combination of feminine pieces and sports apparel (think Adidas). She credits Alexa Chung and Jane Birkin as her style icons. To achieve her look, Johnson shops mainly at vintage stores, searching for unique pieces and anything that speaks to her nostalgia (old band t-shirts for example).

Johnson’s favorite blogs include Man Repeller, Glamouri and Happily Greyall fashion and beauty blogs—though she admits she does not like to spend too much time looking at other creative’s work in an effort to keep her style and work unique. After reading through so many different blogs, it is easy to become influenced by the content.

The Bold Americana started while Johnson was still in high school and pushed her to create better photos. Her photography experience began with a tripod and self-timed photos capturing her outfits for her blog. Her next step was moving to Kansas and enrolling in the photo media major at KU.  As a photography student, Johnson slowly figured out what she wanted to do for a living.

She stumbled upon product videography, her current job, after being asked to shoot a promotional video at Alchemy Coffee. She shot a stop-motion video for the coffee shops owners, now good friends of hers, and her career began from there.

Now, Johnson shoots product photographs and videos for various brands she likes—lifestyle brands, skateboard companies, any brand that doesn’t make her follow certain rules. Her approach is unstructured; you can call her free-spirited. Johnson says she does not follow a specific plan and storyboards are not her thing. Instead, she comes up with ideas while driving around until an idea strikes.

“While I was in California, I didn’t have a plan,” Johnson says. “I just told all my friends that it would be cool if I took a bunch of video while we were there. I just took video of cool things we were doing and I gave them the video camera. It was so unstructured, but when I put it together, it was one of my favorite videos I’ve made. It has so much feel to it.”

Emma Johnson-2

You can keep up with Emma Johnson on Instagram or her blog.

Playlist: Back to School



Welcome back to the hill, Jayhawks. We are beyond excited to start this semester! To kick it off right, we gathered the staff for another awesome playlist to keep you pumped all day long. Featuring the bouncy and addicting 80s pop style of The Griswolds and our favorite songstresses Demi Lovato and Beyonce, these jams will put some spring in your step on the first day back in class.

Don’t forget to follow us on Spotify (styleonthehill) to stay updated with all our new playlists!

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