HicksBiz Blog

Inspired silliness at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre - Graham Hicks' review of Don't Dress For Dinner

Don't Dress for Dinner Mayfield Dinner Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada through April 5, 2015 Tickets - including dinner - starting at $75 There's farce, and then there’s good farce. Thank goodness, Don’t Dress for Dinner at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre through April 15,  is good farce.  In fact, thanks to French playwright Marc Camoletti, director John Kirkpatrick and a fine farcical cast, Don’t Dress for Dinner is, in fact, excellent farce! Farce: “A comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations.”  Farce is all about fun. It’s usually about silly affairs, mistaken identities and plots that have no pretense towards anything but fun, yet are marvellously constructed to maximize that fun. I won’t even try to describe anything that happens in Don’t Dress for Dinner – mainly because so much happens that by the time you leave th ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Grim Jim Prentice's legacy coming into focus - BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2015

So now Alberta Premier Grim Jim Prentice is steeling us toward  a bona fide 9 per cent cut in the upcoming provincial budget (compared to last year). This is tough medicine to cope with the collapse in the price of crude oil, to adjust to an unexpected $7 billion loss in oil-related revenues. This is Ralph Klein territory. Except when then-finance minister Jim Dinning bought in austerity budgets starting in 1994, they faced a whopping provincial $22.7 billion debt.  Prentice and today’s finance minister Robin Campbell are clamping government spending to PREVENT any such buildup of provincial debt. Prentice’s desired legacy is already clear. He wants to be the Alberta premier that not only keeps this province out of debt, but leaves its finances far less vulnerable to future swings in oil/gas price and royalties. If Prentice does that, he will have achieved the near-impossible. But it has to be done … if we are to keep this marvelous standard of living, remain debt f ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Solstice Seasonal Cuisine a winter delight - BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2015

Solstice Seasonal Cuisine 10723 124 St. 780-488-4567 solsticefood.com 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., closed Sundays Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, food only: basic, $70; loaded, $115 Graham Hicks 780-707-6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com www.hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix It’s a classic story of all that’s right about opportunity in this town. Four 30-something young men work together for some years at Packrat Louie’s, the South Side icon tucked in beside The Fringe grounds. Chef Jan Trittenbach, sous chef Jamin Sharp, front-of-house manager Jon Elson and bartender Josh Meachem are all very good at what they do. (Trittenbach won the city’s Gold Medal Plates Competition in 2011). The entrepreneurial spirit struck them. Why not open their own restaurant, based on their ideas and their experience? Thus Solstice Seasonal Cuisine was born, opening, by design, on 2014’s Dec. 21 winter solstice. Solstice re ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Uber is just superior - BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 06, 2015

Watching the city's taxi drivers fight Uber, the new, superior, passenger transportation system that's far more consumer-friendly than their industry, how should we feel? Sad? Sympathetic? Disdainful? Indifferent? Edmonton's taxi service as a whole has been lousy for years. There's never a cab when you want one, let alone when you really need one. We're told not to drink-and-drive, yet the conventional taxi industry rarely provides reliable, fast, alternative transport. Years ago, city council limited the number of taxi cab licences, allowing existing owner/operators to buy and sell those licences. For the older operators, it meant an instant retirement nut. But to get into the industry, to buy an existing licence, became very expensive. Ergo, fewer cabs when most needed. This city-regulated, supply-managed, personal transport system has long been dysfunctional. Along comes Uber, which is nothing more than a sophisticated co-ordination system between those willing to provide a ride from point A ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Edmonton chef competing in Gold Plate final - BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2015

I’d wager it was more fun than this week’s main event, though Ryan O’Flynn might disagree. Having won the regional Gold Plate Medals Competition in October, The Westin’s executive chef is competing this Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 4 to 6, in the Canadian Gold Plate Finals in Kelowna. The winner takes home a new BMW, multiple other prizes and, far and away the most important, bragging rights as Canada’s top chef. Our fun took place last week. O’Flynn and the Westin invited food writers/bloggers to rehearsal night. Westin food and beverage manager Nasser Nammari had shopped that day for 10 mystery ingredients. From the moment Ryan opened the mystery box, he had 10 minutes to assess his food stuffs, declare his intentions, then another 50 minutes to cook and present his small plate recipe to about a dozen guests. Don’t stand back in awe, said Nasser. Talk to Ryan as he cooks, follow him around the kitchen, get in his way a little bit. At the Kelowna finals ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton Chamber of Commerce's new CEO is up to the task - BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2015

Edmonton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Janet M. Riopel poses for a photo in her office in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The Chamber is undergoing a new branding initiative and Riopel is their new president. She previously sat on the board of directors in 1996. (Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency) Article Change text size for the story Print this story Report an error More Coverage Hicks on Biz: Does Alberta Premier Prentice have what it takes to stand up to unions? Hicks on Biz - Will Edmonton home values plummet with price of oil? Hicks on Biz: An Edmonton creative collective Related Stories Hicks on Biz: Uber is just superior As its brand-new president and CEO Janet Riopel would agree, running the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is a complex thing. So many possibilities, so many requests, so many mandates, so many members – 2500 of them - wanting this, that and everything else in return t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks's Weekly Dish: Yeah, North 53 is O.K. BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2015

North 53  10240 124 Street 87-524-5353) North53.com Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, just food – basic $40, loaded $70 5 p.m. to late, Tuesday through Sunday Closed Mondays It was one of the most interesting, if bizarre, restaurant tales of 2014. Just opened a year ago, North 53 was an overnight sensation with its chicken cooked in hay, veal sweetbreads and juniper-scented haddock. Young, self-trained executive chef Ben Staley was the talk of the Edmonton foodie scene. Then, poof! For whatever reasons, Staley abruptly exited North 53 in September. He’s soon to open his own digs, The Alder Room, north of Chinatown. North 53 wasted no time. Sous-chef Filliep Lamant took over the kitchen. The restaurant closed for a couple of weeks, then emerged with a new menu, a new concept and new branding. It worked! North 53 Version 2.0 isn’t creating the same foodie waves as the Staley version, but it’s probab ... Read the rest of entry »

Playing With Fire, The Theo Fleury Story at the Citadel Theatre: Jocks and their artsy girlfriends will both love this show - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story Maclab Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Through Feb. 15, 2015 Tickets, starting at $30 Review by Graham Hicks,  hicksbiz.com Relax. Playing With Fire – The Theo Fleury Story – is not going to subject you to scene after scene of the grim sexual abuse story of Fleury’s adolescence that finally sent his hockey coach tormentor Graham James to prison. In fact, this one-man show on the Citadel’s Maclab Theatre is surprisingly cheerful and funny, given it’s a detailed autobiographical account of the famous and diminutive Calgary Flame's ascent and then descent into a living hell of drug, alcohol and gambling addiction, then, one hopes, back to an addictions-free life.  (Who knows? The play is based on Fleury’s autobiography, published in 2009.) It’s also innovative, played on a mini-hockey rink, with top-notch multi-media enhancements to the story, beautifully acted with Shaun Smyth taking hi ... Read the rest of entry »

Venus in Fur at the Citadel Theatre - whooo hoo! A review by GRAHAM HICKS

Venus in Fur – A HicksBiz.com review by Graham Hicks Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage 9828 101A Ave., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Through February 8, 2015 Tickets start at $30 What’s this? A little foreplay?  Black corsets? Whips? Legs that go on forever? At The Citadel Theatre? Yes!  But, this being the theatre, we’re not talking pornography. And, if it was a film, Venus in Fur would likely have a “G” rating. But you wouldn’t take your kids. Venus in Fur is based on a wildly creative idea and is executed on the Citadel’s Shocter stage in wildly creative ways.  The plot’s straightforward and needs explanation before writing about this production. A struggling director/writer (Jamie Cavanagh) is holding auditions for the female lead in his new play, based on a 19th century erotic novel, Venus in Furs by the original Mr. Sadomasochism himself, an Austrian writer by the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. This is historic fa ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: An Edmonton creative collective BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2015

Not for me the bad-mouthing of retail titans, the Walmarts or Home Depots that scour the world for the best deals, buy in the millions, and through every efficiency known to mankind, make available mass-produced goods at rock-bottom prices. But damn it’s nice to experience the other end of the scale. Enter Ficus Studios on Calgary Trail. Day light pours through the front windows of what was likely once a retail shop. One corner is taken up with visual artist Megan Stein’s studio. Next space over, wet-plate photographer Gary Soo (Soomuu) records images of the new world using technology from the old. Dion Bews (Dion Guitars) makes beautiful, hand-crafted, $6,000 guitars sold in New York City and Los Angeles. Greg Morgan (Ryaton Shoes) doesn’t assemble shoes, he creates, designs and makes them. Brad Goertz of Nomadic Infrastructure Labs, with apprentice Leila Sidi, designs and makes high-end wood furniture.  Tinkerer Alex Hindle; visual and multi-disciplinary art ... Read the rest of entry »
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