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Hatrix Theatre becoming at one with puppets on Avenue Q

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All  doesn’t end well on Avenue  Q, a gritty, yet hilarious Broadway musical which Lethbridge Theatre Company Hatrix Theatree is bringing to life at the Moose Hall May 5-9 and 12-16.
While the residents of Avenue Q may look like the friendly puppets from Sesame Street, it definitely isn’t your mother’s Sesame Street and it definitely isn’t for kids.
“Don’t expect any happy endings,” said Aiden Quinn, who plays Princeton while his dad, director Brian Quinn, shepherds his talented cast through the first rehearsal of a complete run through.
 Avenue Q won the hearts and minds of Broadway in 2004, beating out Wicked for the Tony Award for the year.

Jory Kohn and Aiden Quinn rehearse a scene with  Kate Monster and Princeton. Photo by Richard Amery
It is the coming of age story of Princeton, a recent English degree bearing college graduate who tries to find his purpose in the world but ends up living on Avenue Q for financial reasons.
“ Princeton is me. I’m in my mid-20s and trying to find my purpose. I’m trying to figure out what to do,” Quinn said.


“I’m not anything like Kate Monster, though I used to teach kindergarten, though I was a kindergarten teaching assistant at one time. But Kate really has a monster side,” added New West Theatre veteran Jory Kohn, who plays Kate Monster  — a kindergarten teaching assistant who wants to open her own school for monsters.


Princeton meets a variety of characters on the street including the porn fiend, the Trekkie Monster, the Bad Idea Bears, Lucy the Slut and  “Gary Coleman” to name just a few and in the process explores a few mature themes including homelessness, unemployment, relationships, sexuality and racism.
The Lethbridge production features a talented cast and crew including Hatrix Theatre veterans as well as familiar faces from the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge Musical Theatre’s production of Guys and Dolls.
 Kohn said working with puppets has been a unique challenge.


 “ It’s not about you, it’s the puppets,” she said noting the actors must not draw the audiences attention away from the puppets.
“So you have to use your voice and body language to convey their emotions,” she added, noting she has performed in puppet based shows before.Derek Taylor, Aiden Quinn, Jory Kohn and Sheri-Lynn Taylor rehearse with their puppets. Photo by Richard Amery
“ It’s been a challenge,” Quinn continued,” noting he hasn’t been in a show like Avenue Q.
He noted in addition to learning puppeteering itself, the cast has had to learn how to dance and sing with a puppet on their hand.


 They are excited about the show.
“I’m really excited to see what the audience will think. It really pushes the envelope. It’s not what you’d expect to see in Lethbridge,” Kohn continued.
Director Brian Quinn is also excited to see the audience reaction to Avenue Q.


“ I’m really proud of this cast. I’m really pleased with all of the work they’ve done. Puppeteering is very physically demanding,” he said comparing puppeteering to the Skittles commercial where a town of arm wrestlers all have one massive bicep and one ordinary sized one.
“ They’ve got these puppets on their hand for a two hour show. It’s tough,” he said.
He noted ticket sales are going slow with only 25 per cent of them being sold.

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Peter Katz lets go on latest CD

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Toronto, Ontario based songwriter Peter Katz decided to let go a little for his long awaited new CD “ We Are the Reckoning.”
“ It took us a long time to make,” Katz  said, loading in for a show in London, England.Peter Katz brings his band to Lethbridge, May 6. Photo by Richard Amery


 His last studio album was in 2012 and he released a live CD in 2011.


 He brings his new band (pianist Michelle Willis, drummer Benjamin Rollo, bassist Mark McIntire) to Lethbridge to play the Slice, May 6.


“ I tried to take a step back from touring and focus on songwriting and voice. So I sat in a  room with a whole bunch of different songwriters, which was  a new experience for me, and wrote 50  different songs for the CD  and sent them to (producers) Royal Wood and Bill Lefler and let them do what was required. I’m too close to them,” he continued adding he let them decide which songs to put on the CD.
“Being a solo singer songwriter, I’ve always done everything on my own. Now I’m trusting people more,” he continued.


He said there was no conscious theme to the 50 songs or the songs that ended up on the CD.


“A lot of the time you write a song without thinking about it. It just comes out and then you find out what it means. That’s been my process. The meaning reveals itself,” he said adding the CD ended up having a lot of diversity.

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Lethbridge Food Show celebrates all things food related

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Adam Essex shares his passion for food with the community May 2, at the Lethbridge Food Expo.

He is also the mind behind Lethbridge Comicon.
The Red Seal chef has gathered together a variety of vendors, Lethbridge chefs and has put together some other fun food related Adam Essex is looking forward to the Lethbridge Food Show. Photo by Richard Ameryactivities for the event which takes place in the South Pavillion, May 2.
“ This event is all about food from restaurants, caterers and people who cook for fun. It’s to show off what our local cooks can do,” Essex said.
 He expects the event will attract 4,000 foodies to the Pavilion.


 In addition to an expected 50 Lethbridge vendors offering samples for dollar food tokens, there are also  food releated activiities including ice carving and  a chop style cooking competition.


“It’s like the TV show Chopped. It’s a quick time competition. Chefs have 30 minutes to present the best dish they can with the pantry ingredients.  They’ll also have to use two surprise basket ingredients,” he described.


“We’re looking for competitiors. It can be professionals who cook in restaurants or people who cook for fun at home. It’s open to any people who are passionate home cooks,” he said adding the judge will be special guest, the Iron Chef himself David Adjey known from the Food Network TV shows “The Opener” and “Restaurant Makeover.”


David Adjey has been in the restaurant business all his life.  He rose from being a dishwasher in a Scarborough Ontario diner to become Executive Chef at New York City's Tony Rihga Royal Hotel. He has also been Personal Chef to actor Dan Aykroyd, appeared on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and realized a dream as Chef Proprietor of his own Toronto fine dining establishment, 'Nectar.'

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Homecomings and debuts highlight this week

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 There are many highlights, first visits and homecomings this week.The Utilities play with the Ashley Hundred this week. Photo by Richard Amery
The week begins with a one day art show and live music with Edmonton bilingual folk musician Paul Cournyer at the French Canadian Centre La Cité Des Prairies, April 29. There will be a wine and cheese reception at 5 p.m. as Montreal born, Lethbridge based artist Anne Dubord unveils 15 new original acrylics.


 At 7 p.m., Edmonton based bilingual pop singer Paul Cournoyer takes the stage, playing the fourth date on his tour in support of his new EP.


The next day, Winnipeg based Lethbridge raised musician Keri Latimer and her husband Devin come home to Lethbridge as Leaf Rapids to play a show at the Slice, April 30 with Grant Davidson aka Slow Leaves. There is a $10 cover for the show.  


 Jesse Northey also returns home to Lethbridge this week when he brings his band Jesse and the Dandelions to the Slice, May 1 with fellow Edmontonians The Colleen Brown Band and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan favourites PandaCorn. The Owl also brings back Calgary psych folk/ indie folk band the Ashley Hundred, April 30 with local rock band the Utilities.

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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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