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SOAR festival trimmed down, but features We Are All Treaty People

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A trimmed down SOAR festival kicks off a busy weekend of dance, magic and music  at Casa, May 30 and 31.

W.I.T.S Play the SOAR festival this year. photo by Richard Amery
There have been a few changes for  the fourth year of the event, the biggest changes being there are only two cabaret nights this year and the professional development seminars which used to be part of  SOAR have been spread  throughout the year instead just for one weekend.
“It’s difficult for people to book off an entire weekend,” said Allied Arts Council communications manager Kelaine Devine.

“SOAR started  because of the Lt. Governor‘s celebrations in 2015 on the condition that there would be a legacy project. So that’s what this is,” added Allied Arts Council projects/membership coordinator Muffy McKay.

“It has evolved into what it is— two cabaret nights,” McKay continued, adding art exhibits at Casa continue to be part of SOAR.

“I always look forward to seeing what Darcy Logan has done,” added Devine noting a community Gif display showing on the screen outside CASA is part of SOAR.
 There will be dance, music and magic on both nights of SOAR.

Claire Lint and Sidney Murdoch will be performing a modern dance  number  “When Two Lines Meet” beginning at 7 p.m. on both nights, May 30 and 31.

The cabarets feature new magic show from local magicians. Ben Price’s new show Rabbit Stew is at the SOAR Cabaret, May 30. Jeff Newman Mentalism presents his new show Trickster, May 31.

 The music this year will be provided by Mercedes Fawns on May 30 and local alternative electronica band W.I.T.S , who have been prominent faces at various FLIPfest fundraisers throughout the year, on May 31.

Ben Price Magic returns to the SOAR festival. Photo by Richard Amery
 Devine noted the events are family friendly.

“All of these performers have performed at previous SOAR cabarets, though Ben Price’s “Rabbit Stew” contains some adult content.
 SOAR is designed for developing up and coming  artists.

“Some previous performers like Jeff Charlton wanted to come back, but couldn’t because he got a job in film. Griffin Cork wanted to come back too, but he got a job in Vancouver  on a TV show,” said Devine, adding she is pleased to see previous SOAR performers moving on to bigger things in the arts, as developing up and coming artists by giving them opportunities to perform is what SOAR is all about.
“It’s been stripped down this year, but we’ve kept the same format,” Devine said.


Hatrix revisits familiar faces in A Comedy of Tenors

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It’s fun to revisit familiar characters. Hatrix Theatre is doing just that with their production of Ken Ludwig’s 2015 comedy A Comedy of Tenors, which runs May 24-26 at the Eagles Hall.The Three Tenors Clive Abbott, Greg VanDeurzen and  Colin Bluekens are ready for a Comedy of Tenors, May 24-26. Photo by Richard Amery
The play is an unofficial sequel to Ludwig’s 1986 comedy Lend Me A Tenor, picks up shortly after the antics of  “Lend Me A Tenor, ” in 1930’s Paris, where apoplectic producer Henry Saunders is ready to put on the concert of the century, if his cast doesn’t either quit or kill each other first.

 Several familiar characters return in this production including constantly quarrelling couple Maria (played by Vicki Gibson) and Italian tenor star Tito Merelli (played by Clive Abbott), Saunders, ( played by Stephen Graham), who also played Saunders in Hatrix’s 2014 production of Lend me A Tenor,) and Saunders’ ever faithful dogsbody Max (played by Colin Bluekens) who has not only  become an opera star in his own right, but also is worried about his pregnant wife, Saunders’ daughter Maggie, back home in America.

 Add in  Merelli’s daughter Mimi (Emilie Kidd), her new beau, up and coming opera star and Merelli’s rival Carlo Nucci (played by Greg VanDeurzen) and sultry Russian soprano Racon (Carrie-Ann Worden), slamming doors, plenty of misunderstandings, misidentifications, sexual innuendos and operatic references and you have a good time.

 Clive Abbott wears multiple hats  in the show, as he is not only playing Tito, but Tito’s bellhop twin Beppo, plus a talking tongue and is also building the set.
“I like the idea of playing dual roles and using different voices for each of them,” said Abbott, a veteran of many Hatrix productions including last November’s “12 Angry Jurors.“
“I really like this cast and being directed by Karolyn Harker,” Abbott continued.

Vicki Gibson, who was also in 12 Angry Jurors got the acting bug from Karolyn Harker.


Geomatic Attic, Owl and the Slice all shaking this week

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The last couple weeks of  May are going to cook with lots of great shows happening.Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset has a couple of shows this week. Photo by Richard Amery
 Hamilton singer songwriter Royal Wood and his band play two sold out shows at the Geomatic Attic, May 22 and 23 with Vancouver twins Fionn opening the shows.
 The Geomatic Attic really is the place to be this month, as they also bring back Ottawa blues/rock duo MonkeyJunk, May 25, who return to Lethbridge fresh off winning their second Juno award for their most recent CD “Time To Roll. Tickets are $37.50 in advance, $40 at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m.

 On June 15, the Geomatic Attic wind up their season with Vancouver rockabilly trio Cousin Harley, who are touring in support of their new tribute to Merle Travis “Blue Smoke”. Tickets for that show are also $37.50 in advance, $40 at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m.

 Then the Geomatic Attic gets ready for the second annual Wide Skies music Festival, which will be an impressive three days filled with music in the Southminster United Church and outside as well. The first night, Monday, July 30 features Saskatchewan roots/ blues band Little Miss Higgins opening for acclaimed South Carolina folk duo Shovels and Rope, who are playing the Calgary Folk Festival on the weekend. Tickets for that show cost $60. The music begins at 8 p.m.
 There will be a free outdoor show the next day, July 31 featuring the Weber Brothers, Vancouver blues duo Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Shakura S’Aida Skinny Dyck and the Chicken Catchers and guests. There will be a beer gardens as well as food trucks, vendors, artisans and lots of fun. Skinny Dyck will also be organizing an after party at the Owl Acoustic Lounge as well as the side stage during the festival including a lot of talent including Calgary songwriter Tom Phillips.
 Frazey Ford, formerly of the Be Good Tanyas, returns to Lethbridge for another ticketed event inside the Southminster United Church, Aug. 1 with Seattle indie rock band the Cave Singers. Tickets for that show are $50, or you can get a festival pass for $90 including admission to all of the events.
 But that’s not for a few months yet.

 There is still a lot going on this week.
 The Smokehouse hosts another great punk show, May 23 with Montreal psychobilly veterans the Gutter Demons plus local bands Chief Mountain, the Hockey Moms and 13 to Go. Doors open at 7:30 with the bands beginning at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.
 For rap fans, local rap collective the Blood Rez Crew have an official CD release party at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, may 23 with  Amber AKA Shorty, Chuckbones, Heidi Mason,Olivia Tailfeathers, Fox Eyes, SMG (Killa Cam and Doggystar), UKS, Cat Storm and the Reckless  Gents and  DJ hooligan Admission is  $10.


RiverJacks excited to tour this Spring and Summer

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Calgary Celtic punks the RiverJacks are excited to kick off a big tour in support of their most recent album “Strange Adventures, ” which stops by the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Monday, May 28, where they will be the unofficial hosts of their regular Monday open mic.

The River Jacks return to Lethbridge next week. Photo by Richard Amery
 Bassist Tyler Burton, although he has been with the band for two years still considers himself  to be the new guy, but  is excited to be part of the band of seasoned Calgary music scene veterans, frontman Spencer Jo, drummer Mikey Blotto, accordion player Mandrill Shannon and guitarist Jordan Barrett.

 They considering touring to be a vacation.

“We like to get out at least once a year.This time we‘re going out for two weeks which is a bigger tour,” said Burton from an outdoor festival on the Siksika Nation.
“ We all have day jobs. So we do a lot of weekend playing. I’m an electrician, and Spencer Jo works at CJSW, the radio station at the University of Calgary. So we‘re all pretty busy,” he said.
“ Lethbridge shows always go well. We always love to play the Owl. We have a great relationship with Steve Foord,” he said.


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