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Len Komanac and Leila Armstrong explore coyotes and pop culture in new CASA exhibits

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This weekend, CASA opens two excellent new exhibits  featuring new works from popular local artists Len Komenac and Leila Armstrong.Darcy Logan examines Len Komanac's TV dinners at CASA. Photo by Richard Amery
“Dr. StrangeLen’s Pop Tarts and Burning Toasters” features a variety of  Komanac's  pop art inspired works  which may be familiar to those who frequent the Owl Acoustic Lounge which frequently features Komanac's works.


“He looks at popular culture, art history and consumer culture which allows the listener to knead some deeper issues,” described curator Darcy Logan.


 The west wall of Komanac’s room is dominated by sculpted television dinners.
“It’s just a really fun concept, but I look at it as exploring food consumption and how art explores our food needs,” he continued.
Another wall features new works inspired by  comic strips.


“They are a reference to romance comics,” Logan continued. While another wall features works inspired by ’60s pop artist  Andy Warhol, who is best know for works exploring  works  featuring Campbell’s Soup Cans.


“He’s riffing on Andy Warhol’s soup cans, except Len’s works are based on very contemporary no name brands,” he added.
 Dead centre in the middle of the room are several giant sculpted Lego blocks.


“Everybody will be able to appreciate these from families, to children, to fans of pop art,” he  said adding Komanac has also had exhibits at the Bowman Art Gallery as well as has taken part in group exhibits from Trapdoor and the Potemkin Collectives.


 Leila Armstrong has also exhibited at the Bowman as well as in various group exhibitions.

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Cassette mix tape club brings Albertan music community together

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Lethbridge musicians Jesse Northey and Jon Martin are revitalizing a long lost  ’80s memory — mix tapes.  And in the process they are creating a province-wide community of musicians.


 The subscriber series evolved out of a post show conversation between Martin, Northey (who has since moved to Edmonton),  Edmonton musician Doug Hoyer and drummer Clayton Smith about mix  tapes and all of the Alberta talent.Jon Martin is excited about the cassette mix tape club. Photo  by Richard Amery
“Jesse took the idea and ran with it. And we sold out the subscriber series even before there was any music,” Martin said, who is responsible for mastering all of the songs.


 Every month songwriters submit a song based on a theme provided in whatever style of music they are interested in. The results are put onto a compilation of 50 cassette tapes as well as downloads.


“ We get indie rock, indie pop, hard rock, sensitive ballads, alt country electronic eight bit and psych rock though we haven’t had any metal yet. Aaron Trozzo’s song sounds like ( ’70s progressive rock band King Crimson) “Court of the Crimson King”, which is awesome,” Martin said.


 The compilations feature many familiar faces from the Lethbridge and Edmonton music scenes like Doug Hoyer and Jesse Northey and Joe Nolan who was just in Lethbridge this week opening for Jeremy Fisher,  plus familiar Lethbridge faces like Lustre Creame’s Aaron Trozzo, Brenna Lowrie, Joel Stretch from the Utilities, Michael Granzow and of course Jon Martin who usually plays with the New Weather Machine. Word is spreading as they are starting to receive submissions from Calgary as well.

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Halloween will be a hoot this week

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With all of the live music happening this week, you’d think some special event was happening. Oh right— Halloween.Damage Inc—  The Metallica Tribute is one of many local bands playing for Halloween. Photo by Richard Amery
 But first, tonight, Oct. 27 Michael Bernard Fitzgerald brings his  “Way Too Big, Way Too Loud” tour to  the Slice.  There is a $10 cover for the show, which begins at 9 p.m.
Pretty much everybody has live music before, during  and after Halloween night.
 A great pre-Halloween Witchfest party happens at the Slice, Oct. 30 featuring Calgary female powered punk band Hag Face plus Fist City,  local punk trio Advertisement, garage rockers the Yeah Dads and  the Postnamers. Tickets are eight dollars in advance and $10 at the door.


 All hell breaks loose for All Hallows Eve, which happens on a Friday this year so there is literally something for everyone.
Canadian punk legends D.O.A play Halloween at Scores with Calgary punk band Jenny and Lethbridge's own the Scallywags. Tickets for D.O .A., Jenny and the Scallywags cost $15 in advance. They play Scores, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m.


 If you want to bang your head, Metallica tribute Damage Inc. tears it up with Bottoms Up at Bo Diddly’s, Oct. 31. Or else you can bang your head at Inferno with a lot of metal bands at Inferno including SS Doom, Hallow, Fox Eyes, Flannel Pajamas, Perception of Pain, Marked in Stone and DJ Bassman.

If you just want to rock, local funk rock trio Cosmic Charley performs at the Owl Acoustic Lounge with Pat Moloney and the Carisa Jayne Burlesque. Over at the Front Row Pub, Unzipped will rock Halloween. The Chevelles return to Average Joes for Halloween and Soup of Flies rock Casino Lethbridge this weekend as well.
However if you are feeling a little country, The Old Man River Band play the Onion.

Rancho Deluxe and Steve Foord play the Slice for Halloween as well. Your other country option is at the Smokehouse, where the Mark Hall band will be holding court.


 For a more mellow Halloween, the Herb Hicks Jazz Quartet with Sheena Lawson play the Mocha Cabana this weekend as well. But to start the week off mellow, don’t miss the Ellen Doty Quartet, who were a highlight of the Lethbridge Jazz Festival this year. They return to the Sterndale Bennett  Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 29. at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20.
 There are also several excellent shows early in the week.
 The Geomatic Attic continues to be very busy.

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D.O.A.’s Joe Keithley back to play punk after run at politics

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After Vancouver based Canadian punk legends D.O.A founder Joe Keithley lost the NDP nomination by five votes last year, he did what he does best— he reformed the band,   recorded a new album “Live at Chinatown” and hit the road to Tour Australia and China in April.D.O.A Paddy Duddy, Joe Keithley, Mike Hodsall  Photo by Tom Wiebe

Keithley plus drummer Paddy Duddy and bassist Mike Hodsall will be heading  out east to Lethbridge,  to celebrate Halloween at Scores with Calgary's Jenny and Lethbridge punks Scallywags.


“ I remembered I haven’t forgotten how to play guitar, write songs and sing or how to kick ass on stage,” said frontman/ guitarist Joey Keithley about reforming the band.


He lost his nomination by a mere five votes. It was a learning experience.
“I suppose they didn’t want someone with an actual opinion,” he said.
 “ Instead they voted for a basically a potted plant, who doesn’t say much, who ran a poor campaign and who lost the riding,” he said.


“ When I went into politics, I always saw myself, and I’m going to use a reference nobody under 50 will get, as being like the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—being really opinionated and outspoken,” he said.

“I suppose the biggest thing I learned from it is politics is really a pretty dirty game, which is really no surprise to anyone,” he summarized adding he is not counting out running for nomination again in 2017.


Right now Keithley is focussed on taking D.O.A. on the road again, so he went back to the band's roots in Vancouver, recorded  the new live album and is excited to return to Lethbridge for Halloween.

“ We’ve been there for the past two years, but it was several years before that. Though we’ve played Coaldale a couple of times,” Keithley said.
“ We’ll be playing songs from ‘Hardcore ’81’ and ‘Something Better Change’ and newer songs and songs from D.O.A.’s  middle ages,” he said.
He  said the new line up came together naturally.


“ I was negotiating with Paddy designing T-Shirts by trading vintage D.O.A. stuff and he said if you ever need a drummer…  I remembered he used to play in a hardcore band years back. He was in Circle the Wagons. And when I was planning the trip to Australia and China I did need a drummer and then I needed a bass player, so he said how about my friend Mike. He played guitar with Circle the Wagons,” he said.
 He said the new lineup is working well together.


“We had a great time in Europe. We played 17 shows in 17 days in nine different countries. So now we’re working on new songs for a new studio  CD to be released in 2015,” he said adding there is no shortage of things that make him angry and no shortage of fodder for songs.


“ When we started D.O.A. we were just kids who wanted to make a living playing loud rock and roll music and I found out I had something to say. I never wanted to fall into a nostalgia act,” he said adding the underlying issues he writes about- greed, corruption, police brutality are as true today as they were  over 30 years ago when he started playing music.

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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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