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New West Theatre producing summer shows in Lethbridge parks

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You don’t need to believe a politicians ’s promise to have “the best  summer ever” because New West Theatre and local artists and arts organizations already have that in hand.Andrew Legg is among the performers scheduled to particpate in Art in the Park with New West Theatre
 New West Theatre will presenting  live music, magic, drama and much more in their new summer series Art in the Park running from July 10- Sept. 11 at four different city parks every Saturday.
 Performances will be rotating through the Civic Park, downtown, behind the LSCO, Henderson Lake, Legacy Park in the north and  Nicholas Sheran Park on the west side.


“We’ll be presenting free performances throughout the summer at various parks across the city,” said New West Theatre artistic director Kelly Reay.


“ We’re doing this because A: Artists haven’t been able to perform live in a year and a half and B: because people haven’t been able to see arts live in a year a half.


 “So this is a celebration of arts in the city because performers bring so much joy to people when they see actual live arts performances,” Reay continued, adding  they aren’t doing their usual  main stage variety shows this summer.

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Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens partners with the community for a busy summer

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The Nikka  Yuko Japanese Gardens has partnered with numerous community groups and local businesses for a lot of outdoors, socially distanced fun this summer. The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens which officially opened their season, Thursday, June 3. They are open until Oct. 10.


“ It’s been really busy already,” said Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens marketing and events manager, Melanie Berdusco.The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens is open for the season. Photo by Richard Amery
 “There’s a lot of opportunities to learn about Japanese Culture,” she said.


A partnership with the Mocha Cabana has spawned  a pair of popular picnic related activities.
“Yagai (outdoor picnics) have been really popular already. You can have a picnic in the Gardens,” Berdusco continued, noting all food is locally sourced.


“But we also have a smaller package called Zensai, which means appetizers on a charcuterie board for two people,” she continued, adding Covid restrictions have added challenges the staff have overcome.


“It’s been really tough. But it is easier for people to socially distance when we have a four acre garden.”


They offer a Nakama package for cohorts of up to 10 people to partake in activities like guided tours,  origami and an original Nino dance program.


“It is for people who really want to do a deep dive into Japanese culture.”


 They have partnered with Andrew Hilton for a gin tasting program beginning on June 19.


“We have a lot of juniper trees, so this is a great way to ‘taste‘ the gardens,” she said, adding conforming with Covid guidelines, this program is also limited to cohorts of up to 10 people.


 The Gardens welcome back The Lethbridge Shakespeare performance Society, for three presentations of their tenth anniversary production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, July 3, 23 and Aug. 19.
“I can’t think of a better stage for Shakespeare than here,” she enthused.

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Movie Mill presenting drive in movies for summer

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The Movie Mill went back to the past with a drive-in theatre showing of  Back to the Future last Saturday, May 15. The event was so successful that they plan on holding special retro drive in events throughout the summer as long as Mother Nature co-operates.
“We’re really excited. We showed Back to the Future on Saturday and it was really well received,” said Movie Mill owner, Leonard Binning.Weather Permitting, the movie Mill will be presenting drive in movies beginning this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
“It was a lots of fun, social media exploded,” he said, adding audiences enjoyed the experience so much  that  they have  been making requests for future showing.
“Drive in movies bring back a  lot of good memories for people. Ninety-five percent of our requests have been for movies from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” Binning continued, adding his short list for this weekend showings are the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Princess Bride, Jaws and Twister. Pirates of the Caribbean, Grease, Harry Potter, Shrek and Fast and Furious are also possibilities.


“Though we might save Jaws and Twister for later in the summer. After our short list, the possibilities are endless,” he added, noting having a drive in has required a lot of negotiations with not only The AHS,  the city and the movie companies, the latter of whom are a little paranoid about people pirating their movies by trying to sneak their friends into the movies in the trunks of their cars.
He said the AHS have been easy to work with.
“ We have always had a great relationship with the AHS with having showings inside and with organizing the drive in showings,” he continued, adding he can only speculate why drive in experiences in other communities have been shut down by the AHS.


Binning is still finalizing admission and ticket details. So far it looks like admission will be $40 per car. He is working on the details for admissions singles in cars.
“ But we’re also giving you a $15 bag of concession popcorn,” he said, adding there is a 100 car capacity for the showings. All cars must  be six feet apart.
“Because apparently there is a car variant of Covid,“ Binning deadpanned.


 You’ll be able to order your ticket online through https://www.moviemill.com/ and there will be links on Facebook and Instagram.
“The website is your best source for information,” he said.
“It will be a game day decision, because our equipment can handle the wind but it can’t handle the rain, ” he said.

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Lethbridge drag community seeing success with short film Moniques on 4th

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Lethbridge‘s drag community is making waves with their short film/ music video Moniques on 4th.
 “It’s one third short film and two third music video,” summarized producer and  Hatchap productions general manager Nick Bohle who co-directed the film with first time director Erica J Barr.
“It’s really Erica’s baby. I just helped make her vision come alive on screen. She did a great job,” Bohle said.


“ Mama Didi can’t find a dress to wear to her music video launch, so she goes shopping in town until Alberta’s crazy weather whisks her away to a magical land where all her fashion dreams come true,” Bohle summarized.


The short film features a who’s who of Lethbridge’s drag and theatre scene including New West Theatre’s Katie Fellger and Erica Hunt, Francheska Dynamites and Jay Whitehead and Kathy Zaborsky’s  popular drag characters Didi D’Edada and her brother Castrati. Richie Wilcox and Aaron Collier play prominent roles on the film while Charlie Christensen, Danielle Wintrip, Katt Panic, Jamie Johnson and Deonie Hudson make invaluable contributions behind the scenes.


Aaron Collier produced the Jay Whitehead penned song.
“It a disco/ dance song that has a lot of ’80s and ’90 influence,” Bohle described.

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