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Historic Lethbridge Festival celebrates the ’70s

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Historic Lethbridge and several Lethbridge organizations are going back to the ’70s for the annual Historic Lethbridge Festival with several events happening in the next couple of weeks celebrating the styles, music and movies of the 1970s.

Things begin on Friday, May 2 at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery with a 1970s happy hour from 5-7 p.m. There will be live entertainment, ”70s themed cocktails, frosty craft beers and a costume contest for best dressed  1970’s outfits, so dig out that old polyester suit and wide tie or your favourite disco outfit on and come out and dance.

Brian Black, Bente hansen and Mwansa Mwansa are excited about the Historic lethbridge Festival this week. Photo by Richard Amery
“We decided we wanted to  cover what was important,” said Brian Black, chairman of the  Historic Lethbridge community who is also teaches at the University of Lethbridge in the music department.
“It was an important year for building in Lethbridge.  The Whoop Up Drive bridge was built in the ’70s. It is difficult to imagine  Lethbridge without it and the University of Lethbridge was being built as well,” he continued.

He observed the tumultuous 1970s were an important time in North American history, with the Vietnam War, the Kent State shootings, Richard Nixon, freeing hostages in Iran and in Canada beginning with the FLQ October crisis, though the era of Pierre Elliot Trudeau and ending with the NEP and the Quebec referendum.
 So there is a lot of ground to cover for this year’s festival.

“We wanted to capture the vibrant and exciting culture happening,” said Black who remembered being a young adult in Montreal during the  FLQ crisis.
La Cite des Prairies is  exploring the darker side of the ’70s with  their first contribution — the film ‘La Maison du pecheur.”

“ It’s the first time we’ve been involved,“ said Marie Hélené Lyle, of CineImagine, one of several French cultural organizations operating at the  La Cite des Prairies, and who all will be contributing.

The film is about the FLQ crisis, which sparked Pierre Elliott Trudeau to  implement the War Measures Act.
 The film will be screened at  7 p.m., May 7.

“ I remember there was troops all over the place. it seemed so arbitrary. But it made everybody just take a step back,” recalled Black of the  October Crisis.


Nerdfest Redux returns to the Galt Museum due to popular demand

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For something slightly different, the Galt Museum features the second annual Nerdfest Redux.
 Chris Roedler will be hosting the event.

“We had people last year asking us whether we were going to do this event again,” explained trivia night host Chris Roedler, who is co-organizing it with Leslie Hall.
Chris Roedler is excited baout Nedfest Redux, March 6-7. Photo by Richard Amery

“We want to get a lot of the first timers, who were here last year to come back. So if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do,” he continued adding some of the highlights from last year were watching people enjoy it including one person bringing a 12 pack of Mountain Dew.

“ So we knew he was going to be there for the night,” he said.

And Roedler’s dad who came to the trivia night on his own, and joined a team which eventually won the whole thing.
 There will be lots of prizes for the trivia night/ game night, March 7.

The events begin March 6 with the Drama Nutz performing “Hysterical History.”
 Day two, March 7,  begins from 7-9 p.m. with trivia night with special hosts including “pop culture aficionado” Leila Armstrong, Kapow Comics’ Wallie Desruisseaux, artist and Norse enthusiast Darcy Logan, University of Lethbridge new media specialist Gord Taylor and comic  expert Eric Dyck to name a few.


Galt Museum examines Chinese art techniques in new exhibit

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It’s a happy coincidence that within a few weeks of each other, there was a big fundraiser to help save the remaining buildings in Lethbridge’s Chinatown and The Galt Museum opened an exhibit exploring the art of China.
“It’s a combination of a traveling exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum and a few objects from our own Galt Museum collection,” said curator Wendy Aitkens.

 The exhibit includes intricately carved Wendy Aitkens examines an intricately carved table. Photo by Richard Ameryfurniture from the Galt Museum Collection and bronze, jade and ceramics , some of them dating back to 11,000 B.C..
“ But we talk about the symbolism and what skills were used to create the pieces,” Aitkens continued.

“Some of them (the symbols) offered protection or a healthy life or many babies,” she said adding she was interested in where these pieces originate and especially some of the pottery an the skills used to create it.

“I‘ve made pottery for 25 years,” she said adding the exhibit’s examination of pottery techniques intrigued her.
There are selections of earthenware, created in a low fire as well as porcelain developed in high fire.
“They kept that secret until the 1700s,” she described.

“Bronze is very hard and strong. But they had a technique for bronze casting where they could create very intricate and complex pieces,” she said.

“Some of these pieces are very old, from 11,000-13,000 B.C, but they are very durable so they can be part of the Royal Ontario Museum’s traveling exhibit. So that shows their durability,” she said.
 The Galt Museum pieces chosen include gifts made brought over to mayor Carpenter in the 1990s from Lethbridge’s sister city in China including a tapestry.

 Plus there is furniture donated by local Chinese families.
 And as a nod to Lethbridge’s Chinatown, there are three bowls rescued from the Chinese National Building before it was closed and torn down after being damaged by wind last summer.

There are also school books used in the ’50s  and ’60s to teach Chinese children about their culture and language during special Saturday classes.
“They are very fragile, but they are wonderful,” Aitkens gushed.


Galt Museum explore the arts of China in new exhibit

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The Galt Museum explores China with a new exhibit opening today, Jan. 31.Wendy Aitkens examines three pots from the Chinese National Museum. photo by Richard Amery
“It’s a combination of a traveling exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum and a few objects from our own Galt Museum collection,” said curator Wendy Aitkens of the exhibit  Arts of China.

 The exhibit  features intricately carved furniture from the Galt Museum collection and bronze, jade and ceramics which date back to 11,000 B.C..
The Galt Museum opened the new exhibit just in time to celebrate the Chinese new year, the Year of the horse, Jan. 31.

While Arts of China is open to the public today, the official opening is Feb. 9 from 2-3 p.m. when the Galt Museum welcomes special guest Lisa Claypool, University of Alberta associate professor of history, art, design and visual culture. She will discuss the meaning of jades, bronzes and porcelain in the culture of the Quing Dynasty (1644-1911), the last dynasty in China.


Mitch Miyagawa film explores government apologies in ‘A Sorry Sate’

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Mitch Miyagawa’s family has probably been on the receiving end of the most government apologies on record.
So he decided to explore the issues ralating to  the apologies by making a documentary, “A Sorry State,” which will be screened at the Galt Museum, at 7 p.m., Nov. 14. He will also be speaking at the University of Lethbridge  on Friday at noon for their Art Now program.

2013 marks the 25th Anniversary of Japanese-Canadian Redress: in 1988, Mitch Miyagawa’s Japanese-Canadian family received an apology from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for the internment of Japanese CanadiaMitch Miyagawa screens his film “A Sorry State”  at the Galt Museum tonight. Photo by Cathie Archbouldns during the Second World War. Miyagawa’s stepmother Etheline was a young victim of residential schools for Aboriginal children. His stepfather, Harvey, is the son of Chinese immigrants who were burdened with a racist head tax. Both also received official apologies from the Canadian government.

“It’s about my family’s experience with government apologies,” he summarized from Vancouver on his way out east. The film has screened on CTV 2 as well as TVO.

“It hasn’t done very well at festivals, probably because it has been on TV. But I’m doing a lot of community screenings like this one,” he said.

 It took about four years to complete the film from the original idea to it’s completion. A lot of that time was spent getting funding for it.
“It took about a year to edit and my dad died during the completion of the film,” he said adding  the story of his dad being detained in an Japanese internment camp during the Second World War,”  and receiving an official apology from Brian Mulroney in 1988 sparked his interest in the issues.

“He remarried an aboriginal woman who raised in a residential school and she got an apology from Stephen Harper. And she remarried a Chinese man, who was subjected to the Chinese Head tax. So there are a lot of apologies,” he said.
 So he decided to explore some of these sites and research the history of these events.
“I wanted to find out what does it all mean,” he said.

 He noted some apologies are merely lip service. Others have a more symbolic value
“I think it really does depend on the apology.  There are bad and good apologies,” he said.
The best ones are a really unique way to tell the story of these events,” he continued.
Then there are the others.

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