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Lots of long weekend laughter this week

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There is a whole lot of laughter going on in Lethbridge this week. The yuks begin with the return of So You Think you Can Comic at the Owl acoustic lounge featuring Calgary based comedian Austin Lonneberg, Wednesday, May 18. This Game show style  comedy battle features local comics competing against each other in a battle of wits and humour.  The laughs begin at 9 p.m.  Admission is $10.

 

The Bridgette Yarwood band hosts Honkers Pub’s open mic on Friday. Photo by Richard Amery

There are a lot of laughs on Thursday. The Canadian Brewhouse has a comedy night every Thursday.

 

 Good Times features pro-amateur night on Thursday, May 19. Professionals will be practicing new jokes and newcomers will test their stage legs as well. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.m with the laughs starting at 7 p.m. Admission is five dollars through showpass.

 This week’s hosts are Megan Windle and Nicolas Maximiliano plus  Michael Moses, who performed at Good Times on May 14 plus Brian Dawydiuk  performing feature spots.

 

Even the Slice is dabbling in comedy as they host the Southern Alberta Pagan Association (SAPA)  fundraiser, May 19. The fun event features local comedians Randy Webb, Lakshjit Singh Gill, Angus Fraser and Eden Rodriguez performing plus many more. Tickets are $25 in Advance, from Purple Hippo, $30 at the door.

 

Winnipeg based comedian  Scott Porteous returns to Good Times on Saturday, May 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16.67.

 

 As usual there are open mics almost every night of the week. The Owl Acoustic Lounge’s open mic is tonight, May 17.

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Hatrix revisits the Gazebo for first play since pandemic

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It’s good to be back on stage for Hatrix  theatre.

 In the local theatre troupes’ case, they are going way back to bring one of their first plays— Alec Coppel’s 1958 dark comedy “ The Gazebo back to the Moose Hall stage, May 25-28.

Kaitlin Goodliffe, Karl Airey and Clive Abbott rehearsa a scen from the Gazebo, running May 25-28 at the Moose Hall. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s definitely an anniversary play,” said director Karolyn Harker.

 Hatrix first brought the play to the stage in October 2011.

 She brought two of the original Gazebo cast members back into the fold, familiar faces from previous  Hatrix productions and Shakespeare in the park veterans as well as as well as talented newcomers.

 Producing a play during a pandemic has been a challenge, but  it is a community effort. The all volunteer cast and crew have to work around work, school and family schedules.

“It’s been about 10 or 11 years since Hatrix did the Gazebo. And we‘ve just come out of two years of social darkness, so we wanted to do something light that with make people laugh and have a good time,” Harker said.

The pandemic meant the play had to be cancelled a couple of times and they’ve undergone multiple cast changes, but she is pleased with how everything is turning out as opening night draws near.

“It’s about a playwright who’s wife is being blackmailed for a teenage indiscretion, so he decides the only way to protect her is to bump off  the blackmailer and he decides underneath his new gazebo as the perfect location to hide the body of  the blackmailer Joe the Black,” Harker summarized.

“But it’s more comedy than murder mystery,” she said.

“It’s really been exciting. I love this talented cast and crew. So don’t miss it,” she said.

 Clive Abbott is pleased to be back on stage.He has been part of several Fran Rude directed musicals and several Hatrix productions including   “A Comedy of Tenors, “The Foreigner,” “ 12 Angry Jurors and the original Gazebo.

“I was the Duke, the head of the criminal organization,” Abbott said.

 This time I’m Louie. He’s a real gangster. he’ll take any chance  he can to kill,” Abbott said.

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St. Arnaud excited to tour on sophomore album Love and the Front Lawn

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Ian St. Arnaud best known as Edmonton musician St. Arnaud has been busy since things opened up after multiple Covid waves. 

 He just released a new CD, “Love and the Front Lawn” on April 29 and will be playing it and other songs at the Slice, May 13 as part of Slice fest.

 The first single “Loving” has already been lovingly released to the world. He has electrified a little on the new album.

St. Arnaud play the Siice, May 13. Photo by Levi Manchak

 

“The first one was more acoustic,” he said, noting the first album “The Cost of Living” was written in honour of his friend, and North of Here cowriter, band mate Luke Jansen, who was killed by an LRT in 2017

“ I could write another album about that, but that’s not what I want to do. I prefer to be a glass half full type of person,” he said.

 

He worked with  producer Graham Lessard to create the new album. 

 

“Graham Lessard is really good. He‘s a good mentor.  He knows how to direct the music. We took a year, so we weren’t rushed,” he said, adding most of it was recorded  in September.

 

“Love And the Front Lawn” is an easy going, uplifting indie rock pop fuelled  listen with touches of ’70s easy listening music,  R and B, a smattering of ’80s New Wave, a touch of reggae and a whiff of punk, punctuated by plenty of trumpet.

“ A lot of it is about being in my mid-20s and  reflecting on my choices,” he summarized.

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Playing with Buddy Guy opens the doors for Michael Charles

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Chicago based , Melbourne, Australia born bluesman Michael Charles makes a long awaited return to the Slice, Thursday, May 12.

 

The “humble guy” has a lot to be proud of. Buddy Guy himself took him under his wing years ago, after Charles had already made a name for himself in Australia, and has since received multiple Grammy elections (the level below nominations) and has even been inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of fame. He has been in Chicago since the mid ’80s and has released 37 records over the past 38 years. He last played Lethbridge in January 2013.

 

“ It’s a nice pat on the back but really all it does is make me  want to practice more.  I’m probably the only member of the Chicago blues hall of fame who wasn’t born in Chicago, though I’ve been living there for 30 years now. It really is an honour because Chicago is the centre for the blues,” said Charles from Chicago at the end  of an amiable interview. “I’m a pretty humble guy. All it really does is make me practice my heart out and show that I deserve it,” he said, remembering his first visit to Chicago.

“ Buddy Guy me invited me to Chicago to play with him at his club Legends for two weeks an I had the opportunity to play with people like Buddy Guy and Junior Wells and Eddie Clearwater and (Buddy Guy’s younger brother) Phil Guy. So a lot of it was being in the right place at the right time and some hard work on top of that,” he said.

Michael Charles plays the Slice, May 12. Photo submitted

“And when I flew back to Australia after the two weeks, I looked around and said ‘this is old grass’ I’ve done pretty much everything I can do in Australia, and pretty much immediately bought a ticket back to the United States,” he said.

“ Playing with Buddy opened up a lot of doors in a lot of other places like Canada,” Charles continued.

 

“ I stayed for  another six months and pretty much never went back to Australia,” he said, adding he did return for  a documentary about his life called “Michael Charles from A to Z,” which was released in 2016.

“It was basically from me as a baby. I got to go back and reunite with the engineers and producer who helped make my first recordings and videos,” he said.

“I went back to the original studio to record the soundtrack for the movie.”

 He released the recordings digitally as “19” and released them as a box set with a DVD as “19 plus.”

 That is a completely different project than the DVD included in the documentary set.

He has been touring non- stop since moving to Chicago, but Covid put a stop to that, so he recorded  videos and new music from his home studio and released them in a box set called “19 plus.”

“ Not because of Covid, but because I had  19 songs,” he said.

 

 He just released a new single “ Silenced.”

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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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