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L.A. Beat

LA Beat

The L.A. Beat

Good times and pleasant memories in 2019

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 The thing about a year, is you never know where you will end up by the end of it. No matter how carefully you plan your life, life itself has its own plans. There is always something, be it family issues, changes in employment status and financial status, or just discovering a new inspiration that clears a new path. But it is always up to you whether to take the new path or stay on the same road.
2019 has been really busy and fulfilling year fraught with freak snowstorms and rain.

Most of my life over the past 10 years has been intertwined with L.A. Beat — that and helping my dad in the city.


 I started L.A. BeThe Arkells were a highlight of whoop Up Days in 2019. Photo by Rchard Ameryat with a lot of help from my webmaster cousin Rod, two days after the Lethbridge Herald laid me off right before Easter in April 2009. Ten years operating your own business is a monumental  and exhausting achievement, and an almost thankless task  financially, but fulfilling in all other ways.


 I didn’t think Lethbridge’s arts community was getting the recognition it deserves and still don’t. I’ve done my best to fill that niche. In  the midst, of everything, the Allied Arts Council gave me the Mayor‘s award for individual excellence at the Mayor’s Luncheon in September. Thank you to everybody for reading my ramblings and , more importantly, supporting the arts in Lethbridge, because I can’t do what I do without you doing what you do.


 So I wanted to mark 10 years of covering arts in Lethbridge on  L.A. Beat by becoming a bigger part of the arts community.
I got to act with three of the major community theatre troupes in Lethbridge, beginning with breaking in the newly renovated Sterndale Bennett Theatre. I played a bit part in Playgoers of Lethbridge’s production of Where’s Oscar in February. Right after that, I played the therapist Ernie in Hatrix Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” at another new venue, the McNally School.
 And hot on the heels of that joined the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society’s production of Macbeth, which was a blast, though plagued by inclement weather.
 I even got up on stage to sing and perform a couple of times. I always enjoy being part of The Lethbridge Girls Rock Camp Band Swap fundraiser so took the stage at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 8, joining Mandy Fox and Amberlea Parker aka two thirds of Mombod and Chris Hibbard on vocals. I got to play bass, guitar and cigar box guitar for that show.
I wanted to show off some of my favourite photos  from the past 10 years of L.A. Beat.
 Darcy Logan let me have an exhibition of some of my 3- D photos at Casa in May, which was very cool. I had a lot of fun splashing paint on some of my favourite photos and turning them 3-D by pasting cardboard behind parts of them.
 And because I spend a lot of time at the Slice listening to music, Slice owner Derek Hoyle let me put up a couple dozen of my favourite shots at the Slice over the past 10 years.
 On top of everything else, I went back to school in September for a second degree in masochism … er management and new media.
 The New Media 1000 class installed a show at the Dr. Penny Foster Building in November, so I put up another pic, which I didn’t get printed in time for the Slice show at the Dr. Penny Foster Building instead.


 I started off the year by starting singing lessons with my wonderfully talented and supportive friend, inspiration and muse Andi Roberts. A single mom teaching singing full time while going back to school, she inspired me to tackle university as a mature student.
 Going back to school was a path I hadn’t really considered seriously. I already booked this January’s vacation, not thinking it might conflict with classes in the Spring. But freelance income dried up to pretty much nothing, about the same time I decided to apply to the U of L.
 But I did it, and pulled some decent marks considering I’m trying to run a business at the same time and help my dad every week in Calgary.
 Along the way, I acted in three plays, had three art shows and saw a lot of great bands.

As always, I was impressed with young new bands like Biloxi Parish, The Cayley, Fawns, Dead Army, The Decadent Phase and numerous other which seemed to form every month. A new ’50s pop band called Frankie and The Bridge Mix were a highlight.

I got to see some of my favourite bands play Lethbridge usually at the Slice like the Wild!, D.O.A. the Dayglo Abortions, Peter and the Wolves, Tin and the Toad and discovered lots of new touring folk and roots acts like Richard Inman and Ellen Froese. Winnipeg country musician Sean Burns became a familiar face in Lethbridge playing all over the city pretty much every other month.


 D.O.A. headlined the most eclectic bill of the year for a packed Slice, May 21. I missed local folk/ country musician Tyson Ray Borsboom. Everyone was there for Indie-pop singer Mike Edel and most had trickled away by the time Vancouver hardcore legends D.O.A. took the stage. They were still done by midnight though.Jolene Draper stands on Steve Martin’s bass. Photo by Richard Amery


 Five Alarm Funk made a long awaited return to the Slice, June 25.
 Eve Hell and the Razors also made a long awaited return to play more rockabilly.


 B.A. Johnson brought the funny for a couple of packed shows at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. The Owl was pretty much consistently packed for most of their shows. The return of folk trio Fates were one of my favourites. Jody Peck and Sarah Burton finally returned to the Owl Acoustic Lounge to play a great show for a handful of people, which was a shame.


 Due to family issues, I missed a final show from Hollerado and a few concerts I really wanted to see at the Geomatic Attic like Del Barber. I did catch one of my favourite touring road shows — Barney Bentall’s Grand Cariboo Express featuring Bentall, Leeroy Stagger, Matt Masters, Dustin Bentall, RIdley Bent and a lot more. Jimmy Rankin played two sold out shows at the Geomatic Attic
 The Folk Club found a new leader in Tom Moffat, so I caught a few outstanding shows there from folks like Tri-Continental, Old Man Luedecke. Earlier in the year, Ken Hamm return to blow some people away with fretboard wizardry, April 27.


 Shaela Miller’s Windy City Opry celebrated three years at the Slice with great acts like Zachary Lucky and Peter and the Wolves.
Mike Spencer’s Wide Skies Music Festival also turned three this summer.  He brought in some exceptional talent including Danny Michel, Harry Manx and Steve Marriner and Cousin Harley, who were outstanding as usual.
The Owl featured a variety of different music from folk and country like  to alternative rock and punk like Vancouver’s the Jins and a great stoner rock show featuring Chron Goblin and Black Mastiff.

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Kyle Gruninger enjoying Canada and U.S. tour with We Will Rock You: The Queen Musical

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Touring the United States and Canada with “We Will Rock You: The Queen Musical” has been “A Kind of Magic” for Lethbridge born musician/ actor Kyle Gruninger, who plays the villain Khashoggi .Kyle Gruninger in We Will Rock You. Photo submitted
 We Will Rock You: The Queen musical is at the Enmax Centre, Sunday, Jan.19.
Gruninger is excited about the show.


“ Most of the shows have been sold out. It’s been great. You have little kids who are about 10 -years excited wearing Queen shirts and raising their hands they’re next to their parents who are doing the same thing,” Gruninger enthused from Vancouver.


“ A lot of people really have no idea what to expect. People will ask me  ‘who’s playing Freddie Mercury,” he said, adding that is tough to answer as We Will Rock You isn’t a Queen tribute show.


“ It’s a spectacle with non-stop action and great costumes and choreography. It takes place in a dystopian world, where there is no music. Everything is digital. Everything is owned by Global Soft Corporation. It’s strange and exciting how true it has become because it was originally written in 2003 and there was no iPhone,” he said, adding his character Khashoggi and his boss the Killer Queen fight the Bohemians.


“We Will Rock You tells the story of a globalized future without musical instruments. A handful of rock rebels, the Bohemians, fight against the all-powerful Globalsoft company and its boss, the Killer Queen; they fight for freedom, individuality and the rebirth of the age of rock. Scaramouche and Galileo, two young outsiders, cannot come to terms with the bleak conformist reality. They join the Bohemians and embark on the search to find the unlimited power of freedom, love and Rock,” according to the We Will Rock You: The Queen musical website.


Gruninger has enjoyed seeing a lot of new places.

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Plenty of plays and auditions coming up in 2020

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Several big plays are on the horizon.
 Auditions are happening Jan. 14 and 15 at casa for  a new thriller Hatrix will be putting on at McNally School in May.
 Karolyn Harker is excited about Frederick Knott’s  “Wait until Dark, a newly revised play that was first put on in 1966 and turned into a hit 1967 movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin.


 It is about sinister con man  Roat and ex convicts Mike and Carlino who are seeking a mysterious doll, which a strange woman has persuaded a blind woman Susy’s husband to transport across the border into Canada. Jeffrey Hatcher revised the play for Broadway in 2013.


 The men have convinced Susy that her husband Sam Hendrix has been implicated in the mystery woman’s murder and that the doll is evidence. She figures out the charade with her young neighbour’s help. The thriller takes place at McNally school at the end of May. Rehearsals will begin  in January after the play is cast.


Auditions for The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society‘s production of the comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor have also been announced. They will be Jan. 30 at the University of Lethbridge and at Casa, Jan. 31. Callbacks will be  Feb. 1 at Casa. Auditions will be held in groups, so sign up for a time slot at https://doodle.com/poll/vy49id8ard9b8dqt.
Prepare a 1-2 minute monologue from any genre and be prepared to move. Playgoers of Lethbridge brings another Broadway hit to the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Feb. 19-22 with Sean Devine’s drama “Daisy.” Rita Peterson is directing this play about the infamous 1964 election ad which launched the era of negative advertising.

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Plenty of punk and rock, open mics and Celtic inspired music this week

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Things start to cook again this week with a cornucopia of live music offerings to choose from this week.

Citizen Rage return to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amery
Tonight,Jan. 13, folk punk Greg Rekus returns to host the open mic at the Owl Acoustic Lounge beginning at 9 p.m.

Tomorrow, Jan 14,  Gabe Thaine hosts  the High Level Blues jam at the Slice, taking over from Keith Woodrow who has escaped the depths of a Canadian winter for Mexico for a few months. There is a lot happening, Jan, 14. Métis multi-disciplinary artist Moe Clark will be at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. And laugh with the Good Times comedy open mic as well.

Jazz jams return to the Slice, Jan. 15 as HBO3 is back to host the jazz jam at the Owl Acoustic lounge, beginning at 8:45 p.m.
The same night, Daniel Romano brings his punk project Ancient Shapes to the Slice with Red Deer based ’70s style rock band King Bull and local punk band Face Cut.


 It is only one of several punk shows happening this week.
 On Jan. 17, Calgary hard core punk band Citizen Rage play the Slice with Celtic inspired power metal band Syryn plus local bands  Invicta Heights and Eons of Earth. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. The music begins at 9 p.m.


Club Lime kicks off the new year with local Def Leppard tribute band Stage Fright the Def Leppard Experience Jan 17. Tickets are $30.


 The Owl Acoustic Lounge is also going rock on the weekend, Jan. 17 with a debut show by Calgary pop rock band  Shuffalo and  North Cold. Admission is by donation.


 The other big punk show is at Theoretically Brewing which hosts Vancouver punk/alternative rock band Blessed and Calgary’s  Body Lens plus J Blissette, Tuesday, Jan. 21 beginning at 8 p.m.
Casino Lethbridge welcomes back Zojo Black to rock the joint blues style. on the weekend.
 There are plenty of open mics as well. Tyler Bird hosts the Slice’s open mic on Thursday. As always Devin Gergel hosts Beaches open mic on Wednesdays. Gergel is also part of local experimental rock band Joshua Beebe and the Forest Orchestra. If you missed them on Jan. 10 like I did, catch them at the Slice, Jan. 18.

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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.

If you have an event you want L.A. Beat to promote, contact us by e-mail.editor@labeat.ca

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