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L.A. Beat


The L.A. Beat

Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society lends a laugh with Merry Wives of Windsor online

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Shakespeare performed in a pandemic, so The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society plans to  perform  during the Covid 19 crisis— one way or the other.
 As Covid safety protocols have been lessened, The 12 actors had their first read through on Thursday of John Poulsen’s reader’s theatre version of the farce the Merry Wives of Windsor, for an online presentation of the production on July 3 at 7 p.m., to be filmed at the Gate.Chelsea Fitzsimons returns to play Slender in Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Richard Amery

“Thursday was an unmitigated disaster, wasn’t it,” asked Poulsen asking for confirmation from a few of the actors trickling into the Gate for rehearsal.
“But Friday was a lot better. So it was a mitigated disaster because we learned a lot. Though everyone left feeling kind of bummed. All 12 actors stayed. They were willing to experiment,” he continued.

The first read through was also a test of whether they would be able to use Zoom to broadcast, but ran into a few technical issues, so they tried an alternate approach during Friday’s rehearsal and moved to a two camera strategy for Saturday’s rehearsal.

 The end result is there will be broadcasts on Youtube as well as the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society Facebook page on July 3, 11 and 17 most likely from the Gate Church with a limited audience of 50. There may be future broadcasts added this summer including possibly at Galt Gardens.

 They also have a couple of performances scheduled for the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, though the official date is to be announced.

“Shakespeare performed during a pandemic (the bubonic plague in 1603-1613, during which London playhouses were shut down 60 per cent of the time) and he went on the road with his troupe and wrote plays. I think he rewrote Romeo and Juliet during it,” Poulsen said.

“This could change the way we do things in the future,” Poulsen said.

Poulsen has written several reader’s theatre adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays including Merry Wives of Windsor.

“Part of my job at the university is research and I found 50 per cent of kids really hate Shakespeare and the other 50 per cent love Shakespeare. So I wrote a 25 minute reader’s theatre designed to fit in a high school class and a 45 minute version.


New video examines Robert Bechtel’s “Studium” exhibit at Trianon Art Gallery

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The multi-talented, multi-disciplinary artist Nick Bohle has killed two bird with one stone, so to speak by filming a new video with local artist Robert Bechtel and helping out the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen.

Nick Bohle performing with Dead Army. Photo by Richard Amery
Bohle, who wears many hats including actor, film maker as well as a solo musician and guitarist for local hard rock band Dead Army, just released his video last week.
The video, under Bohle’s company name Hat Chap Productions, is about Bechtel’s exhibit ‘Studium’ which now has an extended run until July 31 at the Trianon Art Gallery thanks to Covid 19.

“I was walking in the coulee after work  on the west side between the wetlands and the dike and ran into John Savill (owner of the Trianon). It’s a nice place to walk. And we got to talking. I’ve known John for a long time because his son and my younger brother went to school together. And he told me about the new exhibit, which nobody could see because of Covid 19. So the idea of a making a documentary about the came up,”  Bohle related, noting he filmed it in between a lot of other projects including a new solo single due out in August and auditioning for acting jobs.

“I composed the music  for the  video too. it was a challenge to create the right mood for the exhibit. I didn't get it finished until  two weeks after the video was finished,” he said. adding he  only had a passing knowledge of Bechtel’s work before the video.

“I always liked art. I studied it in school. I’d heard of Rob and  walked by his works at Casa, but I didn’t really know him. He is an exceptional artist. He has a very Van Gogh painterly style,” he said adding Bechtel has an impressive body of work.

“There’s 200 pieces in this exhibit all from the past two years. He paints about a painting a day. And he graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 1995 and has painted steadily since then for about 25 years,” he enthused, adding he was glad to support Bechtel with the video.


Great memories as a perfect storm forces closure of Average Joes

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Average Joes has been the latest business casualty of Covid 19. While any local business closure hurts, Average Joes really smarts because Average Joes was more than just a sports bar, of which there are many in Lethbridge. It was the only sports bar to regularly double as a mid sized music venue, which featured up and coming rock, country, pop and alternative acts, not toThe Chevelles were pretty much Average Joes’ house band. Photo by Richard Amery mention many great tribute acts. A lot of people are sharing their favourite memories photos and videos on a new Facebook group called Average Joes Sports Bar Lethbridge Concert Memories which brings back a lot for me. 

Average Joes was the great mid sized venue that Lethbridge desperately needed and needs even more so now as both the overall population as well as the number of music fans are increasing.

I remember many a night I ended up deaf, blind and drunk at an Average Joes show, and a few I don’t quite remember.

 Average Joes announced the closure on social media, June 24, blaming a perfect storm of Covid resulting in the complete elimination of concerts, entertainment events and sporting events which attracted their main client base and lack of students.

“After much consideration, efforts, plans that fell through, pending sale of our rented home, Covid closure and many other impacts... Average Joe's will be keeping the doors closed. 
New ownership took over February 1st with all the best intentions and great potential but the unexpected provincial closure due to covid has cost more than expected & has stopped university students visits, sporting events, concerts and entertainment bookings, large gatherings and many others that affects our day to day business model. Lonny, AJs owner, has not decided whether when/if he will open at another location.
 It is an extremely hard decision to make considering he came out of a nice retirement in AZ to take on this opportunity. If anyone could have made AJs fabulous again, it would have been him. Enter covid and the story is different.
Thank you ALL for your support and patronage. Your kindness and hopes for us to reopen. We will miss you and our home sweet bar home,” according to their Facebook page


Vanden Dool releases new electronica CD inspired by Lethbridge

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When one thinks of small rural cities like Lethbridge, electronica music usually isn’t the first type of music to come to mind, usually one thinks of folk or country music.
However on July 3, Lethbridge electronica musician Tyler Vanden Dool releases his first official  EP of  ’80s pop inspired music “The View From Here,” which is about living in Lethbridge.

Tyler Vanden Dool playing the Owl Acoustic Lounge. photo by Richard Amery
“It follows my first full length album so it’s my first official EP, though I released two pandemic EPs for charity, said Vanden Dool, 25, noting his parents were more into ’80s hard rock  like Def Leppard and Bon Jovi than ’80s electro pop.

“But I heard it on the retro radio station, 94.1, and I realized that was the direction I wanted to go, noting he took to the music of Depeche Mode, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD)  and the Pet Shop Boys, who he is often compared to.

 “Then I got into bands like M83 and Chvrches who are influenced by ’80s music,” he said.
“I just liked the grandness of the sound,” he said, adding he also appreciates the willingness of artists in the late ’70s and early ’80s to experiment with their music.

He wrote, produced and recorded the EP at home, beginning last summer and finishing the last song in February. He had to replace  his computer, so  the EP was delayed while he learned the new  machine.


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

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