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Kindred spirits and six toed cats on Outlaw Country Cruise 5

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I have been MIA for the past week on a much needed vacation cruising with kindred spirits from all over the world, but mostly from the U.S.. The Outlaw Country Cruise, sponsored by Sirius XM’s  Outlaw country, is an excellent opportunity to visit places I’ve never been and see some of my favouriThe Waco Brothers on the Outlaw Country Cruise. Photo by Richard Ameryte bands who never play here. As Texan born/ New York based songwriter Outlaw Country host Steve  “Copperhead Road,” “Someday” Earle noted, “ When you’re from New York, it does not suck to be on a cruise ship in January. The same goes for being from Lethbridge.

While I missed auditions for Shakespeare in the Park’s summer production of the Merry Wives of Windsor, One Bad Son and Eamon McGrath’s ’s return to Lethbridge, I did not miss the latest bout of snow, cold and wind, though I returned in time for the next bout of all of them. I also did not miss people complaining about the latest health scare, Trump, Trudeau and traffic. The Outlaw Country Cruise is literally a departure from all that.


 This year, we departed from Miami en route to the Florida Keys to Jamaica and back from Jan. 29-  Feb. 3 and it was fabulous. In addition to non-stop music on board, there were day trips to war correspondent and renown author Ernest Hemingway’s house in the Florida Keys, a former naval based that has been repurposed into expensive condominiums. I saw Hemingway’s study where he wrote “A Farewell To Arms” and “Old Man And the Sea. Six toed cats, the descendants of Hemingway’s original pets wove their way through the legs of hordes of tourists crammed into Hemingway’s rooms, listening to a bellicose guide relate a well rehearsed diatribe about Hemingway’s life and wives. A six toed cat at Ernest Hemingway’s house. Photo by Richard Amery

The cats even crawled onto Hemingway’s bed to get their bellies scratched by adoring tourists.
 I also got to visit Jamaica, particularly reggae legend Bob Marley’s home. His home town of Nine Mile has become a tourist trap with residents eager to sell trinkets, T-Shirts, pot brownies and some of the most massive bombers I’ve ever seen to tourists eager to take in a slice of reggae and music history in the land of homegrown fun. You can photograph everything except the inside of the mausoleums of Marley who died at 37 of melanoma cancer and his younger brother who was killed by police in Miami in 1990 and a separate mausoleum for his mother, who are all buried on site next to a tiny chapel.


I had to do it. It’s so important to take some time to disengage, set the brain to neutral and just enjoy the ride instead of being overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations .
I listen to bands even hipsters have never heard of, so it is just cool to share a knowing grin with somebody else wearing a Govt. Mule T-shirt.


As usual, I return home with a bag full of new music discovered on the boat including new bands, familiar faces with new bands and people I haven’t heard of —yet. I found a great band call the Yayhoos featuring Dan Baird of the Georgia Satellites. Baird also played bass with Jason and the Scorchers’ Warner Hodges this trip and fronts Dan Baird and Homemade Sin which also features Hodges and who were on the boat last year as well as with his band.

Elizabeth Cook on the Outlaw Country Cruise. Photo by Richard Amery
  I found another great band called the Waco Brothers, who add more of a Celtic feel to country rock music and still remind me of Edmonton punks the Raygun Cowboys. As a bonus , they feature the coolest, most groovingest bassist I’ve ever seen. And Jesse Malin, who was in a band called D Generation in the Late ’90s opening for Green Day. Now he’s gone country—ish.

I had to pick up an old Bottle Rockets live CD and a new Supersuckers CD and Jason Ringenberg’s new solo Cd. You can hear them all on  my radio shows on CKXU  Disco Sucks Punkin Old School, Wednesdays from 10 a.m.- midnight and Saturday night’s Hotrock blues Beat 8-10 p.m.


I love seeing these new bands as much as I love hearing the Mavericks, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Bottle Rockets, Robbie Fulks and other cats I  signed up to see.

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U of L explores twins and science in Blood: A Scientific Romance

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Kelly Reay is excited to revisit Blood: A Scientific Romance running, Feb. 12-15 in University Theatre.Daylin Chase and Jessica Syratt are in Blood: A Scientific Romance this week at the University of Lethbridge. Photo Submitted
“ It’s a modern Canadian play by Meg Braem. Meg has a connection to Lethbridge because she was a professor at the University of Lethbridge around 2010,” Reay, said, adding he also has a personal connection to the play as he worked with Braem to put on the play in Calgary several years ago.

“ Filled with visceral imagery and haunting dialogue, Blood: A Scientific Romance is a captivating play featuring a rich cast of characters,”  according to a press release on the play. Guest director, Kelly Reay is doing double duty, as he is also directing New West Theatre’s March production of Dear Johnny Deere which runs March 4-14.

“Twin sisters Poubelle and Angelique are bonded in both biology and shared tragedy after a car accident leaves them orphaned along a prairie highway in a pool of blood. But the young twins are brought home with Dr. Glass after their remarkable recovery, and quickly find themselves the subject of endless experiments. In a quest to study Poubelle and Angelique’s undeniable bond, Dr Glass’ questionable practices are soon scrutinized by a young doctor who might be the twins’ only hope for a normal life,” according to the press release.


The small cast features Daylin Chase, Jessica Syratt as the twins Poubelle and  Angelique Patrick Lynn as the young doctor Dr.Max and Paul Vanhoutteghem as Dr. Glass.
Reay was drawn to the play because  of the writing.

“It explores a lot of ethical issues about research,” he said.
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Playgoers of Lethbridge get serious with “Daisy” at Sterndale Bennett

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Once upon a time, surprisingly, election ads were honest, dare we say positive. The infamous Daisy ad changed all that in 1964.Megan Fennell, Trevor Loman and Cole Fetting rehearse Daisy. Photo by Richard Amery
 So it is all the more relevant as  the U.S. kicks election season into gear.


Playgoers of Lethbridge explore  the effects of media and negative advertising in their production of Sean Devine’s 2017 play “Daisy,” running  Feb. 19-22 in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.
 “Daisy” is departure from Playgoers of Lethbridge’s usual fare of light, bright comedies and dinner theatres  in that is explores more subject matter and is a lot more tech intensive.
“The Daisy ad changed political ads. The Daisy ad was like a hard punch to the gut versus blah, blah , blah, political speech, blah blah blah,” noted Playgoers of Lethbridge veteran Allen Gibson, who plays Bernbach ad agency boss Bill Bernbach.


“I’ve spent most of my life in advertising, so it was an ideal part for me,” Gibson continued, describing his character as ambitious and confident.
“ The agency DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach) was struggling  and neededto  improve their reputation in 1964 and that all changed with the Daisy ad. Today they’re worth over $3 billion. I didn’t study the character, but I did study their ads because you can see them on the internet,” he said, noting the parallels between 1964 and today.
“ Back then, if you didn’t understand the power of television, you weren’t going to win election. Today if you don’t understand the power of social media, you’re not going to win,” he observed, adding he is glad to be back on stage with Playgoers.


“It’s an interesting change from the Odd Couple (in which he played Manolo, in Playgoers’ 2013 production of the show).


 The cast includes a lot of new faces to Playgoers of Lethbridge, though familiar for fans of Shakespeare in the Park and The University of Lethbridge Drama program.
Cole Fetting, Megan Fennell and Trevor Loman were all part of Shakespeare in the park’s previous production of McBeth. Fetting and Loman was also part of the University of Lethbridge’s fall production of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.
 Loman  is excited to play a different character in Sid Myers, Doyle Dane Bernbach’s art director.
“I’ve really enjoyed researching the ’60s– a decade long before i was born,” Loman said.
“Sid is very sensitive, He knows getting to work for the president is a really big deal,” he said.

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Plays, band wars and more coming up

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Now I’m back from vacation, there is a lot to look forward to for live music.Shaela Miller plays a a couple of local shows this week. Photo by Richard Amery
 Shaela Miller’s windy City Opry returns to the Slice on Wednesday, Feb. 12 with Carter Felker. Miller will be opening up as usual at 8 p.m. sharp. There is a $10 cover. Shaela Miller has a busy week as she is also opening for the Dungarees on Valentines Day, Feb. 14, one of many shows happening for single’s awareness day.


Karen Romanchuk continues a busy week. She was at Casino Lethbridge this past weekend, but returns to Mortar and Brick for their annual Travelling Dress Project, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.. She is also playing the Bavaru Brunch on Feb. 16 at 10:30 a.m.


 Sheena Lawson and the Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet play a special Bavaru Valentines dinner at the Old Firehall, Feb. 14. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m. It costs $130 per couple. Local synth pop musician Tyler VandenDool kicks off a mini tour with Adequate celebrating an Adequate Valentines Day at the Slice, Feb 14. If you miss that show, Adequate play next week, Feb. 21 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge with Funk Phenomenorm.

 If yo just want to laugh on Valentines, Day, Adam Blank and Brad Semioutuk perform two special Valentines’ Days shoes at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Good Times. Garrett Clark makes you laugh at Good Times at 7 p.m. and 9:30  p.m. on Feb. 15.

 If you eschew Valentine’s Day as I do, then rock out with Calgary rockabilly band Peter and the Wolves at Casino Lethbridge, Feb. 14 and 15.
 There is lots of local music happening Feb. 15.


 Over in Coaldale, a battle of the bands will be happening at  the Coaldale Inn. Bands include Good Time Charlie, SI, the Waterfront Band and Saints and Sinner competing for recording time with  Muldoon Studio. The music begins at 6 p.m.
Local rock bands Webb and Biloxi Parish join Edmonton’s Good Rumour at  the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Feb. 15.


Over at the Slice, local roots rock band Dark Wrangler and Penelope Rose join Ponoka country musician Markus Sommer, Feb. 15. The Dark Wrangler also host the Slice’s open mic, Feb. 20.
 The following week, HBO3  return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge to host a jazz jam beginning at 8:45 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19.


 Uncovered are at Casino Lethbridge, Feb. 21 and 22.
 The Slice has a couple big rock shows coming up. Edmonton’s Loser points and Reifer madness plus Lethbridge punk band the Hockey Moms play Friday Feb. 21. The show begins at 9 p.m. There is a $10 cover.
The next night, Red Deer power trio King Bull  return to The Slice with local punk/ surf rock band Chief Mountain.
 And the International peace Powwow is at the Enmax Centre, Feb. 22 and 23. There will be plenty of drumming and dance competitions with MCs Tommy Christian and Tony Delaney plus MC Hal EagleTail and Head Dancers  Livia Manywounds and Ellery Starlightt. Weekend passes cost $29 for adults. The excitement begins at 10 a.m.

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About L.A. Beat


L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

It is designed to support music, art, drama and other cultural endeavours in and around the city.

It will start out as an online presence and then evolve into a print edition which will be distributed at numerous locations in the city.

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