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Lethbridge Fringe Festival to showcase edgy entertainment

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 The first Lethbridge Fringe Festival will focus on local talent, Sept. 10-13.
The event  features seven shows taking place at the Gate, CASA and Club Didi throughout all four days.
“I only have two rules  about what goes on stage – be clear about what audiences can expect and don’t break any laws,” said organizer Michele Gallant, who has been involved with organizing the Calgary Fringe Festival for the past 10 years.
“We’ve got two and a half weeks until the first Lethbridge Fringe Festival, so I’m getting pretty excited about it,” she continued adding she and her husband, Blair have been working on getting the Fringe Festival off the ground for the past year and a half.
“My husband is a fifth generation Lethbridgian. He talked to city council and they were really excited about it. We were in Lethbridge for the Whoop -Up Days parade and a lot of people came up to us and said theDeonie Hudson and Kim Harvey are excited about the Lethbridge Fringe Festival. Photo by Richard Ameryy can’t wait for the Festival,” she said.
 Tickets for each show cost $10 each.

“So you can see seven shows for $70. A lot of people will see  a show, then go have a coffee, then see the next show,” she said, adding theatre shows are a lot more expensive in Calgary.
She is excited about the seven shows.

Jay Whitehead is presenting a play he wrote called CRABS and performs in another play written by Greg MacArthur called White Gleaming Beach. It is  two dark comedy shorts combining sunburns, Cheerios, revenge and pubic lice starring Jay Whitehead, Jocelyn Haub and Dylan Parsons.
 Co-Workers is a production written by U of L grad AJ Barager, starring Michael Rolfe and Madeleine Taylor-Gregg about two very different co-workers — naïve accountant Mark and impatient, jaded Stan.

“Banger Bingo” is a Medicine Hat production by Marcus Iannattone featuring ’80s  rock, Bingo, crappy prizes and sleazy wit.
 On a more educational note Calgary playwright and director Chris Denholm presents Legends of Canada- a one man show featuring stories and legends from across Canada.
Ms. Sugarcoat features Fringe Festival circuit veteran Alice Nelson , a well known comedian, clown and puppeteer. It is a satirical comedy about teachers who deal with helicopter parents, entitled students and political correctness.
Another Lethbridge entry is  “The Duck Variations” from Lethbridge playwright David Mamet featuring Mike Theissen-Ernest and Andrew Legg who discuss ducks in depth and in the process explore the nature of existence, love, the environment, friendship,  death and the nature of humanity.
 The last Lethbridge entry is a production of the Vagina Monologues from director Deonie Hudson.
Gallant emphasized the entries were not curated. The participants were chosen by lottery.
“I’m really excited to bring the Fringe to Lethbridge,” she said.

“It’s about celebrating local artists and helping them expand their palate. People don’t realize how many talented artists there are in their own back yard.
 She noted of the $10 ticket price, nine dollars goes to the artists and the other dollar covers ticket expenses.

Deonie Hudson, who is well known as a back stage worker and director of Lethbridge Music Theatre productions of Hairspray and Peter Pan, is excited to present something a little more edgier for the Lethbridge Fringe Festival— the Vagina Monologues.
 There will be four shows— one on each day of the Festival at CASA. All of the proceeds go to local female oriented charities including Womanspace, which puts on their own regular productions of the Vagina Monologues.


A touch of punk to start September

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September starts slow, but with a little bit of punk this week.Hurtin’ play Casino Lethbridge this weekend. Photo by Richard Amery
First up, Lethbridge gets a taste of east Vancouver punk when Shockload and the S--t Talkers take the stage at Inferno.
 The show begins at 8 p.m. There is a $10 cover.

If you like your punk with a whole lot of country and Steve Loree’s blazing fingers on the frets and on the steel guitar, Edmonton cowpunk pioneers Jr. Gone Wild come to the Slice, Sept. 5 with special guest Ryland Moranz opening.

 Tickets cost $20 in advance. The show will begin at 9:30 p.m. They were a huge part of the Edmonton punk scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s with icons like SNFU, Moe Berg and kd lang. They actually covered SNFU’s “Cannibal Cafe” for an upcoming tribute to the Edmonton punk legends. Jr. Gone Wild are also working on new music, releasing a new song and video “Barricades“ to YouTube.


F&M revisit Portugal for new video series

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Edmonton folk/ indie rock trio F & M will continue to explore their fascination with Portugal when they return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Sept. 5.

 Unfortunately they are competing with fellow Edmontonians Jr. Gone Wild who are playing the Slice the same night.
“ We’re going to see if we can play early, so we can go to see Jr. Gone Wild too,” said  vocalist/ guitF&M return to Lethbridge, Sept. 5. Photo Submittedarist Ryan Anderson, who is joined by his wife  Rebecca on vocals and piano plus  multi-instrumentalist Bryan Reichert.

“Mike (McDonald, Jr. Gone Wild frontman) has been incredibly supportive of us. He runs a record store which is going out of business,” Anderson said.

“ It’ll be like South By Southwest in Lethbridge, so come and see us first, then  see Jr. Gone Wild,” he enthused.
 The Andersons were inspired by their most recent  trip to Portugal in March and took a lot of video footage of some of their favourite Portugal moments.

 They are releasing  a series of video snippets to support their CD “ At sunset We Sing,” which was inspired by Portugal.

“ We’ve been touring a lot in support of it, so we’re a little tighter,” he said.

“ We went back to Portugal in March and we  shot  a lot of  video,” he said adding they filmed some of the scenes which spoke to the duo.
“It was amazing  some of our most wonderful material was when we were wandering around after a few drinks when the streets were abandoned,” he said, adding the music on the album, which was released on Nov. 4 was inspired by his reflections on his first solo visit to Portugal several years ago.


Jr. Gone Wild have wild time since reforming

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Edmonton cowpunks Jr. Gone Wild are back together.

“We took about an 18 year hiatus and got back together two years ago,” said frontman Mike McDonald.

Jr. Gone Wild play Lethbridge, Sept. 5. Photo submitted
“It’s been a whirlwind two years,” he said, adding pressure from a persistent superfan encouraged him to reform the band.
“ A couple of years ago a guy asked me if I’d be interested in reforming the band. I said ‘No way, I’m not interested in doing that.’ A couple of months later he asked me if I’d given any thought to what I said and told him, ‘dude, I said no.’ He came back a few months later and asked again, so I quoted him an outrageous amount. Or what I thought was outrageous amount and he said  ‘no problem,’” he continued, so he contacted former band members, bassist  Dave ‘Dove’ Brown, drummer Larry Shelast and multi-instrumentalist and producer Steve Loree to play steel guitar and lead guitar.

“So we got together and rehearsed for like eight months for the reunion show, May 31, 2013, which we thought was going to be a one time thing. We played a three hour set,” he reminisced.

 He was pleasantly surprised with how many people remembered Jr. Gone Wild.
“When we started there was no social media or smart-phones or Facebook. If you wanted to do a newsletter, it would cost you like $300. You’d have to print it up, then buy envelopes and stamps and send it out. Now you can write a note and post it on Facebook and everyone knows about it in two seconds,” he continued.
A variety of well known artists have covered Jr. Gone Wild songs including folk musicians Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle and going back a few years, ’90s rockers the Doughboys who recorded a Jr. Gone Wild song on  their first EP.
“ That was before they became a Much Music band and became famous,” he said.

More recently, Calgary rockers Napalmpom recorded their song “Cosmos.”
“ I actually like what they did with the song. There's guitar harmonies and vocal melodies we never thought of,” he said, adding he is honoured when other musicians record his songs.

“As someone who knows how much work it is to put out a record, I’m flattered. It’s like we’re part of folklore,” he said.
“As a songwriter probably the highest compliment you can get is for someone to cover your song,” he said.
Jr. Gone Wild got to cover a song by one of their idols/  friends — Edmonton born Canadian punk icons SNFU.
 They just released a video for SNFU's “ Cannibal Cafe.”


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