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Hootenanny plays with dogs, puppets and nosy neighbours to brighten up downtown

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Have a hoot downtown as local thespians brighten up the day with Hootenanny’s new production “The Risky, Yet Rewarding Adventure of Pearl and Dot.

 The Nicola Elson and Julia Wasilewski penned play is about two  elderly neighbours who find friendship and adventure when they both win dogs in a contest, but which run away on an adventure on their own.


Ahona Sanyal plays Dot and Anastasia Siceac plays Pearl in the new Hootenanny play. Photo by Richard Amery

The half hour play takes place Wednesday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. until July 31

“The play is about Pearl and Dot who are neighbours but not friends. Pearl used to fly airplanes back in the day and Dot used to sail  ships. But now they putter around their homes and gardens. They give each other sideways glances. They’re lonely, but they both have a dream of owning a dog,” described Elson.


“But their dogs run away together so Dot and Pearl go around the world trying to find the dogs and spoiler, they become friends,“ Elson continued, keeping an eye on her own brand new puppy before the show’s debut, Wednesday, July 7.


“We‘ve been on the waiting list for a dog for a while, so I guess dogs were on my own mind when I wrote the play,” she said, noting she and  Wasilewski starting building the skeleton of the play last year.


“It’s a devised  theatre piece, so we fleshed out the details with the actors.”


 They cast Ahona Sanyal as Dot and Anastasia Siceac as Pearl, then recruited Serena Lemire as stage manager and  Carla Traughber Simon and Georgia Jeffery to design the set, props and puppy puppets.


Good Times ready to bring back the laughs

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There’s been precious little to laugh about during the past year and a half, but Lethbridge comedy club Good Times is counting on people being ready for their share of chuckles when they reopen, July 2.


Johnny Pogo is excited to bring back Comedy as Good Times re-opens. Photo by Richard Amery

Johnny Pogo, Faris Hytiaa and  Brad D will be the local comedians performing for the grand re-opening shows on July 2 and 3.


Since closing in November, Good Times, has been painted, there are pictures of famous comedians on the walls and the owners rescued the  comfortable chairs from Average Joes.

“People are ready to laugh, so we are counting on there being g a crowd, said one of the owners Johnny Pogorzelski, noting  They  are re-opening  at a limited capacity  of 70.


“It’s pretty tight in there when we are at our capacity of 100,” he continued.

“So get your tickets early and often,” he chuckled, noting  you can save five dollars by buying them online in advance.

 For now, they will be opening on Fridays and Saturdays with Saturdays focusing on touring comedians.


New West Theatre producing summer shows in Lethbridge parks for Arts in the Park series

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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.


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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