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New West Theatre ends season with play about cyberbullying

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New West Theatre winds up their season this week with a gripping Canadian play about cyberbullying  and it‘s consequences.New West theatre presents Girls Like That, May 15-25. Photo by Richard Amery
“Girls Like That” runs in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, May 15-25 Wednesday through Saturday. There are also special matinee performances for which several southern Alberta Schools are coming to see.
 They welcome back professional actors, New West Theatre veterans including Alexa Elser and Genevieve Paré, University of Lethbridge students and even a Shakespeare in the park veteran and U of L student  Alli Price.

The cast includes Mali King , Anastasia Siceac, Zoe Bracken, Vivian Ou, Mataya Mikuliak, Kaitlyn Olfert and Heather Gallipeau , who have been involved in an intense 13 day rehearsal process
“It’s a play about cyberbullying and it’s effects of social media on a generation of teenagers, ” said Alexa  Elser, who was part of several new West Music comedy revues including “All Spruced Up,” and ”Heatwave,” but has been working as an actor in Calgary since graduating from the University of Lethbridge in 2016 and returns to New West as a mentor to the younger actors.
“It’s about how cyberbullying has an effect on  the social community, school community and at home,” observed Zoe Bracken, who just graduated  for the University of Lethbridge with a performance degree and is returning for an education degree. She has enjoyed working with and learning from the professional actors.

“Professional actors are mentoring us, so it’s become a learning experience,” Bracken said.
“ It’s a really interesting script. Because the director breaks it up into pieces and gives  them to anywhere between five to 19 girls,” Elser said.
“ It has been split between 10 girls here,” Bracken added.

“But we could say ‘my character would never say that,’ and give it to another character,” Bracken continued.
“The dialogue is different, because it isn’t one character saying ‘hi’ and the other saying ‘hi’ back,” said director Sharon Peat.

According to the press release “Evan Placey’s Girls Like That is an urgent and explosive new play that explores the pressures on young people today in the wake of advancing technology. When a naked photograph of Scarlett goes viral, she becomes the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons. But while rumours run wild and everyone forms an opinion, Scarlett just stays silent.
 Awarded Best Play for Young Audiences at the Writers Guild Awards, Girls Like That explores gender equality and the pressures on today’s digital generation. Airing the issues of feminism, self-esteem, peer group pressure and the dangers of the social media this is a must see for teens and parents.
Recommended for ages 14 and up.”

Director Sharon Peat observed this play has a very timely, constantly relevant theme and felt it was important to bring it to the stage.
“It fits in well with our Canadian play series. The playwright is a Canadian, though it was written for a British audience so we had to change things like Level Three instead of Grade 3,” she said.

“I’m a parent and my kids are grown up and I’m thankful they never had to experience cyberbullying. But as a high school teacher. I see it,” she continued.


D.O.A.'s Joe Keithley reconciles political career with punk

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D.O.A. frontman Joe Keithley is a busy man. In addition to preparing for  the Vancouver based hardcore punk pioneers’ fortieth’ anniversary tour a  CD ‘1978—”, including early demos and rarities,  running his record label Sudden Death Records, Keithley has been putting his motto Talk-Action=0 into action as a newly minted member of Burnaby City Council.

D.O.A. returns to Lethbridge to play the Slice, Tuesday, May 21. Photo by Richard Amery
“ I ran on the Green platform and there’s a lot of common ground with mayor Mike Hurley,” said Keithley who has been fighting against demovictions and for creating affordable housing in Burnaby. He has a long history of political activism and environmentalism.

“ City council is a lot different than provincial and federal government where there is a lot of stomping and booing. These are eight people you’re working with for the next four years and you have to really listen to their ideas and work with them. It is so important to co-operate to get things done,” Keithley continued.

“People look at all the stomping and yelling in government and people and ask we‘re paying millions of dollars for this? They all do that except for Elizabeth May who stays away from that, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Green party member,” Keithley continued, adding there was a steep learning curve upon being elected to council.

“ It’s a lot of responsibility,” he said.
“I ran for the Green party provincially and lost. (in 1996 and 2001) But when I got elected in October,  I told the band we‘d be taking a break while I learned how to do this job. Because all I’ve ever done is played music for 50 years and played with D.O.A. for 40 years. But we already had some of these tour dates booked before I got elected,” he said, adding he will be taking some homework on the road to read during downtime.

“We’ve been doing a lot of weekend shows. But during the summer there is more time between council meetings.”
He takes a brief respite from fighting for affordable housing in Burnaby by taking D.O.A on a quick tour which comes to the Slice, Tuesday, May 21. He shares the stage with Vancouver/ Seattle folk musician Mike Edel.

“I don’t know him, but I’m glad to hear it because we used to have a punk band, a new wave band, an experimental band and a reggae band playing the same show,” said Keithley, noting people tend to have a pretty narrow definition of punk rock, so with barely 50 people in the original scene, they put a variety of different genres on the same bill.

 He is excited about the new double record compilation.

“We released a studio album ‘Fight Back’ last year and it did really well. Then Ron Obvious, who used to work with Bob Rock found some old demos. Because Bob Rock, who went on to become really famous and still is, used to record punk bands at night for free or for not much money,” said Keithley, noting he decided to turn those demos and other early demos as an double LP set, not only to celebrate the band’s 40 year history, but to remember a lot of early D.O.A members, who passed away in the past few years. The demos date from around 1972 to about 1982


Lots of fun scheduled for May long weekend

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I seem to write this every week, but this week is really an eclectic week.
Things start off with Keith Woodrow’s monthly blues jam at the Slice, Tuesday, May 14.
The Slice goes indie with Victoria emo band Mystery Lover playing the Slice on Wednesday, May 15 in support of their debut CD  “The Death of Young Love.” They will be joined by local ’90s style rock band MTBC (Molly The Boy Cat).

The Parsons aka Clayton and Joelle return to Lethbridge this week. Photo By Richard Amery
 For the complete opposite to that, in the afternoon, traditional country musician Floyd Sillito plays a special afternoon show at Galt Museum with special guests, Medicine Hat duo Otto and Karen Pahl.

 The Slice is all over the place this week. They welcome Fredericton based string band The Montgomery Street band who play string band music plus bluegrass, newgrass and maybe even a little mariachi music. They will be joined by ragtime guitarist CA Jackson
Down the street, country/pop star Jojo Mason brings his first headlining show at Average Joes, Thursday, May 16. He has been to Lethbridge several times with Gord Bamford and once with the James Barker band and Meghan Patrick. he is touring in support of his latest hit single “Future.” He has also hit number one with “Red Dress” and “It’s All Good.”
 Tickets are $20 in advance. The show begins at 8 p.m. sharp.

For laughs, Good Times features the Roast of owner Johnny Pogo on May 17 at 9 p.m. Mike Dambra is  one of the roasters. The show begins at 9 p.m Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
 Kathleen McGhee performs May 18 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Tickets are $10.



Mike Edel explores life changes on new CD

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It has been a few years since indie rock/folk musician Mike Edel visited Lethbridge. In the pastMike Edel makes a long awaited return to Lethbridge next week. Photo by Richard Amery couple years, the Alberta born Edel, moved from his adopted home of Victoria, got married and moved to Seattle  and released a new CD “ Thresholds,” about all of those experiences.

He brings his band to the Slice, Tuesday, May 21.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Lethbridge,” he said.
“It’s about transitions and changes in life. I recorded it with Chris Walla who was in Death Cab for Cutie,” he enthused.

“We‘re good friends now we’re going to visit him when we‘re in L.A.. I’m grateful he decided to work with me,” he said.

“I spent a year obsessing over this CD, so I’m glad it’s finally out. And It was just so cool to be in the same room as Chris, who obsesses over music just as much as I do. There are so many textures I got to experiment with these songs,” he said, adding he has already received  lot of support from CBC and Sirius XM radio.



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