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Nishikaze Anime festival full of anime fun and cosplay

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The fourth annual Nishikaze anime festival is a year-long project for it’s enthusiastic organizers.Stefie Simms is excited about the Cosplay portion of the Fourth annual Nishikaze Anime Festival, June 13  from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s an open community for everything to do with Anime — Japanese animation. It’s a day filled with activities and of course Cosplay,” enthused University of Lethbridge New Media student Stefie Simms, who has been hard at work sewing two intricately detailed costumes based on two of her favourite Anime characters for the fourth annual Nishikaze — Lethbridge’s Anime Festival—June 16 event at Merkin Hall.

“I’ve been working on them for the past year. I actually can’t wait for this to be over so I can start working on the next one,” bubbled Simms, who is the co-ordinator of her favourite part of the festival — the cosplay portion of the event, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
She has taken part in the cosplay competitions at Anime festivals all over Western Canada and even out to the east coast, and through her participation, has earned the title of Master in Cosplay.

She will be dressed as Maou from the cartoon Maoyu.

“I love her attitude,” she said.

She also created a second  costume — a far less elaborate maid's outfit which she will be wearing while working the Café Ayaku maid café which will offer snacks and a variety of games.

She suggested patrons check out the Pokemon League as well as the U of L Fine Arts and New Media Department’s  Cute Em Ups, which she won’t be able to attend due to working the maid‘s cafe.
 She spent between 30-40 hours on each costume.

Maid Cafes are popular in Japan where the staff dress up as maids and act as servants, treating customers as masters and mistresses in a private home rather than as customers.
The annual event is a celebration of all things related to the Japanese form of animation — anime.

“It’s a great community of people who really enjoy doing what they love doing,” she enthused.


CASA supports SOAR Festival with Loose Leaves

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CASA gets an early start on the upcoming SOAR Emerging Artists Festival (June 3-7) by opening a new exhibit this weekend featuring 22 Albertan emerging artists.

Darcy Logan is excited to support emerging artist swith Loose Leaves at CASA, May 9-June 7. Photo by Richard Amery
CASA received 36 submissions to their call for submissions several months ago of which curator Darcy Logan chose 22 works for the Loose Leaves exhibit, which opens May 9 with a reception at 7 p.m.

“SOAR is a professional  development symposium for emerging artists, so I wanted to do something in conjunction with that festival, so I came up with  the idea of an exhibit working with paper,” he said.

Adding the only restrictions were the artists had to be under the age of 35 and the works had to be unframed and on paper or utilizing paper.

“Part of the Loose Leaves  was they had to be unframed,” he added.

He was impressed with what the artists came up with.

 Artist Ryan Smitham did a core sample of 10 years of his sketch books while Alberta College of Art graduate Felicity Hart created a Tarot Card reading desk and designed  a deck of cards  incorporating hand painted images of death.

“Each deck explores the three greatest outbreaks of the bubonic plague,” Logan said.


Arts Alive and Well at SAAG with This Is the Water and Electric Eye

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 Arts Alive and Well and the imagination is the only limit as the exhibit features 400 works from students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 from all of The Lethbridge area school districts. The other exhibit, This is Water,  features some new and innovative work form  University of Lethbridge MFA and BFA students.Arts A:ive and Well  runs until June 7. photo by Richard Amery

So if you are at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery for the Electric Eye Music Festival, Saturday, May 9, don’t forget to check out their new exhibits, which run April 26-June 7.

The 38th annual event feature a variety of works ranging in styles from realism to more surreal works and sculpture.
 Subject matter ranged from the fun to the political.

“We‘re always impressed by the high quality works that are submitted, said SAAG communications co-ordinator Nicole Hembroff.
 While some works are by individual artists, others are collaborations between classes or duos.
The St Francis Grade 9 class submitted a sculpture called In the Marsh they made out of chicken wire and fabric.
 Some students took a political route with their works exploring issues like female body image, aboriginal suicides and healthy eating.

“We have everything from 3-D printing to T-shirts,” Hembroff said adding other students actually created hand crafted  books featuring  calligraphy, drawings and  found items like feathers.


Anne Dubord paints as Paul Cournoyer plays bilingual indie pop

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Edmonton  bilingual folk and pop musician Paul Cournoyer entertained almost 100 people at Cité Des Prairies, April 29 where Lethbridge artist Anne Dubord was premiering some of her latest works.Anne Dubord paints to the music of Paul Cournoyer. Photo by Rchard Amery
 Dubord was live painting two brand new works on stage during Cournoyer’s set.

 Cournoyer played addictive set up up tempo rock which sounded like Joel Plaskett singing in French. He played bass as his guitarist, keyboardist and drummer played ambient, Pink Floydish layers of music.

 He played much of his new CD and an older song which he had entered in a songwriting contest.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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