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The L.A. Beat

New West celebrates “Divine” female voices

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When women sing, it is a “divine” experience. So catch New West Theatre’s excellent production of “Divine: The Divine Women Of Song,” which continues at  The Yates Theatre until Saturday, Aug. 24.

Olivia Earl performing in New West’s production of Divine. Photo by Richard Amery
 In my books there is nothing sexier then a woman  who sings. And there is plenty of them in Divine as the talented cast present a crash course in famous women in song, and yet barely touch the surface. But it is a really good overview, going all the way back the ’’40s with  Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

 New West shows tend to follow a well founded formula and it works. There’s plenty of song, dance and comedy.
The cast includes beloved members like Erica Hunt and Scott Carpenter, returning member Jordana Kohn, who performed with New West like 25 years ago, relative newcomers like the multi-talented Rylan Kunkel.

 But the newcomers Katie Fellger and Olivia Earl almost steal the show. Actually drummer Keenan Pezderic really does steal the show in his voice over bits and in a particularly inspired comedy bit in which he voices Scott Carpenter’s innermost thoughts as he makes a fool of himself at a wedding.

 The singing is wonderful as always.
They cover  the highlights, opening with “ You Can’t Hurry Love” and each cast member gets their solo spots. Though it is a female powered show, the guys also get to shine. Rylan Kunkel plays sweet saxophone on Olivia Earl’s version of  Connie Francis’s pop hit “Vacation,” and adds  keyboards in a few other places.

Surprisingly, he also sings a solid version of Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep” and knocks it out of the park.

 Bente Hansen steps out from behind the keyboards  to play bass as  Katie  Fellger unleashes her inner demon rocker on Joan Jett and the Runaways’ “Bad Reputation.”


Chris Buck band to add a country touch to hip hop night at Whoop Up Days

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Whoop Up Days ends with a big rap show on the EX Stage with Atlanta rapper Lil’  Jon, The Notorious YEG, Saturday, Aug. 24. But if you aren’t in the mood for that, catch rising country star the Chris Buck Band playing in the Let ’er Buck Saloon.

The Chris Buck Band play Whoop Up Days, Saturday, Aug.  24. Photo submitted
“We’re competing  with Lil Jon? It’s a good thing we have a pretty energetic  show. We don’t have any really slow songs,” said Buck, leaving another interview in Ottawa.

Buck grew up listening to a lot of pop music as well as country music. All of his hits feature banjo player Phil Puxley.

 He just released a new single and video for “Holy Ground.”
“It’s about the special feeling I had while I was growing up and visiting my aunt and uncle in Penetanguishene,” he said, adding he shot the video there as well.

“ And I’ll still go back and visit them when I have time off. It’s about the pleasures in life and the feeling you get when you find that special place,” said Buck who grew up in Midland, Ontario.
He has a variety of hits  including “Good Ol’ Days.” “Leave your light on,” “RDNKN” and a duet with Kira Isabella “That’s When You Know.”


Whoop Up Days and Taber Cornfest and much more this week

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Whoop Up Stage began on Tuesday with a big country night and the Whoop Up  Days parade, Allee opened the Ex Stage at 7 p.m. followed by Aaron Goodvin at 8 p.m. And Corb Lund plays his first Whoop Up Days show at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $38 at the gate and $31 in advance. Medicine Hat duo Mahoney put their oThe Chevelles play Average Joes as well as Taber Cornfest this week. Photo by Richard Amerywn stamp on classic covers in the Let ’Er buck saloon
Wednesday features something for everyone beginning with country music from with Calgary country/roots band the Mariel Buckley Band kicking things off at  7 p.m. They will be followed by the soulful pop stylings of Nuela Charles’ at 8 p.m.. Sam Roberts Band will rock the night away beginning at 9:30 p.m playing a plethora of their hits.
Country musician Ryan Lindsay plays the Let ’Er Buck Saloon. Tickets are $43 at the gate, $36 in advance.
 Thursday will be another eclectic night on the Ex stage as Mohawk/ African Canadian soul/ R and b/Rock and roll and blues band the Julian Taylor band begin the night at 7 p.m.
 Edmonton based indie rock band Scenic Route To Alaska are on the Ex stage at 8 p.m. And Whoop Up Days welcomes Burlington, Ontario based indie rock/pop/ folk band Walk Off The Earth at 9:30 p.m.

The Justin Hogg Band play the Let Er Buck Saloon. Tickets are $38 at the gate, $31 in advance.
 Friday night is the night to rock pop style with Hamilton alternative rock trio the Dirty Nil playing at 7 p.m followed by Vancouver pop duo Dear Rouge at 8 p.m. The Arkells rock the night away at 9:30 p.m.. Several country bands , the Abrams, Garrett Gregory and the Justin Hogg Band are in the Let ’er Buck Saloon. Tickets are $43 at the gate $36 in advance.

Whoop up Days ends Saturday, Aug. 24 with a whole lot of hip hop and rap with Harman B beginning at 7 p.m., the Notorious YEG following at 8 p.m. and Atlanta rapper  Lil Jon closing things off at 9:30 p.m.
 For a contrast to that rising country star the Chris Buck band play the Let Er Buck Saloon with Karac Hendriks. Tickets are $43 at the gate and $36 in advance.

 If that wasn’t enough Whoop Up Days, popular classic rock band the Chevelles play a Whoop up Days wind down party at Average Joes, Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the show. The show begins at 9 p.m.


Enhanced security measures for Whoop Up Days

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With bigger bands booked to play Whoop up Days, it means more stringent security procedures this year.There is enhanced security for Whoop Up Days this year. Photo by Richard Amery
 Everybody will be subject to a bag search and a pat down and will go through a metal detector before entering the grounds at the South and north gates.

There is  a long list of prohibited items which  Exhibition Park staff are encouraging people to leave at home. Prohibited items include  air horns/artificial noisemakers; alcohol;  any item deemed a danger/threat to public order or safety 
; articles of clothing with offensive language/images ;  Banners/signs/voice amplification devices ; Bicycles/scooters ; Compressed and/or liquid gas/aerosol sprays (except personal care products, insect 
repellant) ; conducted energy weapons (i.e. Taser) ; corrosive chemicals/flammable substances; drones/radio controlled devices ; Illegal drugs/drug paraphernalia/ substances ;  explosives/flammable items/ignition devises ; firearms/slingshots/ammunition ; fireworks; flyers/samples/promotional items/giveaways ; glass containers /other containers in which their contents cannot be easily identified ;Hand tools/electric tools ; Knives/scissors/bladed items of all forms ; light emitting devices (lasers); mace/pepper spray/bear spray ;  masks ; materials of an extremist/offensive /discriminatory nature ; padlocks/chains/cables/zip ties/handcuffs ; paint/markers ; pets /other animals except animals with a service dog Identification card ; replica firearms/weapons including items that appear to be firearms skateboards/segway’s/wheelies/shoes with wheels/ hover boards ; sporting goods (baseball bats, hockey sticks, golf clubs, bows and arrows) ; Professional audio or video recording devices ; Unknown liquids/powders ; noise makers (i.e. bullhorns, sirens, air horns, etc) or confetti poppers; Hard sided coolers ;Selfie sticks/monopods/tripods, etc ;Glass bottles or unsealed outside beverages ; High back lawn chairs, large hats that obstruct views, or large umbrellas; Large banners or signs, banners or signs with objectionable language, or banners or 
signs on a pole of any kind  and  any objects deemed unacceptable by security or in their opinion may be used as a 
weapon of any kind . All such items will be confiscated by security and not returned.

 “ It brings us in line with other major festivals,” said Whoop up Days Exhibition Park Chief Operating Officer Mike Warkentin, noting he doesn’t anticipate any negative feedback from festival attendees.

“ It’s the same sort of security they have for events at the Enmax Centre,” he said.


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L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

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