HicksBiz Blog

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 »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Chef Lou's Kitchen is special place BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2015

Chef Lou's Kitchen 15131 121 St. (Castledowns) 780-457-5630   Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns   Dinner for two, just food – basic $20, loaded $30 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays Closed Sundays Graham Hicks 780-707-6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com www.hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix   You wanna go where everybody knows your name. You wanna go where people know, people are all the same.   Chef Lou’s Kitchen isn’t quite Cheers – theme song quoted above - but it’s darned close. It’s the beautiful smile on Chef Lou’s face when he greets you on arrival at his restaurant way up in Castledowns. It’s the equally gracious greeting of his wife Quyen when she pokes her head out from the kitchen. Here, in this nondescript strip-mall restaurant, I discovered true hospitality and excellent, inexpensive “Fast Food, Authentic Western & ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Does Alberta Premier Prentice have what it takes to stand up to unions? BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2015

I made a pile of notes at two events this week, the Edmonton Economic Development annual lunch where Premier Jim Prentice talked turkey about the Alberta government’s over-reliance on oil/gas royalty revenue, the other a panel discussion at the U of A’s Institute for Public Economics, entitled “Does Alberta Need A Sales Tax?” I should have just sat back and listened. For it all boils down to one thing: To control government spending, Prentice must confront Alberta’s well-paid public sector – i.e. anybody funded from the provincial purse – with the same determination and tenacity as Ralph Klein did in the ‘90s. Prentice is asking Albertans to accept new taxation to compensate for the $6 billion to $7 billion shortfall created by the loss of oil/gas royalty revenue due to the oil price crash. Perhaps ... but only if he lives up to his side of this bargain. As Klein did, Prentice has to walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to controlling gov ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Does Alberta Premier Prentice have what it takes to stand up to unions? BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2015

I made a pile of notes at two events this week, the Edmonton Economic Development annual lunch where Premier Jim Prentice talked turkey about the Alberta government’s over-reliance on oil/gas royalty revenue, the other a panel discussion at the U of A’s Institute for Public Economics, entitled “Does Alberta Need A Sales Tax?” I should have just sat back and listened. For it all boils down to one thing: To control government spending, Prentice must confront Alberta’s well-paid public sector – i.e. anybody funded from the provincial purse – with the same determination and tenacity as Ralph Klein did in the ‘90s. Prentice is asking Albertans to accept new taxation to compensate for the $6 billion to $7 billion shortfall created by the loss of oil/gas royalty revenue due to the oil price crash. Perhaps ... but only if he lives up to his side of this bargain. As Klein did, Prentice has to walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to controlling gov ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Cafe Bicyclette a disappointment, BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2015

Cafe Bicyclette 8627 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury (91 Street) 587-524-8090 lacitefranco.ca/cafe-bicyclette.php. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday Dinner for two, food only: basic, $40, loaded $80 Food: 2.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 2 of 5 Suns How disappointing when a restaurant of allegedly good repute puts out an inferior product on a busy weekend evening. The service at Café Bicyclette was abysmal. Something was wrong in chef Alysha Couture’s kitchen. Nobody seemed to care. Café Bicyclette is a cute little bistro in La Cite Francophone. The architecturally stylish building is the beating heart of the city’s Franco-Albertan community on Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury (91 Street) north of Whyte Avenue on the east side of Mill Creek. The space has defeated many a restaurant operator — the latest was Café Persaud — but Café Bicyclette seems to be making a go of it. Sti ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz - Will Edmonton home values plummet with price of oil? BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 09, 2015

Just this week, the City of Edmonton’s assessors announced the average assessed value of an Edmonton house had hit a record $401,000. The CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation – the go-to indicator of Canadian house prices) suggested Edmonton’s 2014 market value prices averaged $360,000 per home. The CMHC predicts house prices will still rise, modestly, to an average $371,000 in 2015 to $380,000 in 2016. ATB Financial’s crystal ball gazers predict a 2% overall growth for Alberta’s economy in 2015, with oil prices (based on the benchmark WTI (Western Texas Intermediate) price per barrel, in American dollars) likely to recover to the $55 to $70 range. These forecasts are made with sophisticated financial tools, by experts. But often they are wrong. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. What if the world economy, saddled with enormous debt, continues to stagnate, or, even worse, contract? Alberta is a petro-state. We currently produce around 2.6 milli ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Sorrentino's goes back to basics, BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 06, 2015

Sorrentino’s Back to Basics special menu Sorrentino’s West, South, St. Albert, Little Italy, Downtown and Bistecca Italian Steakhouse. Cooking classes also available Jan. 5 to 31, 2014 More info at www.sorrentinos.com Food: As experienced at Sorrentino’s cooking school, 4 of 5 Suns Hours vary according to location. Dinner for two, just food – basic $40, loaded $70 – Monday three-course special for $29 ($35 Downtown, $39 Bistecca) Graham Hicks 780-707-6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com www.hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly eat yet one more chocolate Ferrero Rocher, another handful of pistachios or yet one more perogy with turkey gravy … you’re hungry again! But, please, keep it simple. Nothing too rich. And your significant other knows better than to comment, but those three or four Christmas pounds also need be shed. Quickly, lest they decide to hang around. Enter the brilliance of t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Will the oil patch chill turn into pneumonia? BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 02, 2015

So, it’s starting. Civeo (formerly PTI Camps) is closing several camps, oilsand worker lodges, around Fort McMurray. Which means the traditional Alberta fall-back position – “I can always find work up north” – is rapidly drying up. It’s not just that oil prices have gone into the dumper. It’s that they keep going deeper and deeper into the dumper. From $110 (American) a barrel in June to $100 in August to $90 in October, to $80 in November, to $70 in early December, to $60 last week, to $55 this week … A chill is settling in. Big Oil’s top bosses are revising their 2015 marching orders. Hiring freezes, spending cuts, less capital investment than was anticipated. Cenovus is cutting spending by 15%. Husky will invest $3.4 billion in oil production, compared to $5.1 billion in 2014. Even a month ago, they were speaking brave words about oilsands investments being long-term, immune to volatile day-to-day oil prices. Now they’re starting to s ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: My favourite foods of 2014 - BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN, FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2014

After eating at 42 Metropolitan Edmonton restaurants specifically for reviewing purposes in 2014 — and likely double that for informal dining — here’s what sticks in the taste buds of my mind. Comfort Foods Mostly meats — and mostly meats in sandwiches: The pulled pork sandwich from Meat, Baba Finklestein’s incredibly good Montreal smoked brisket on rye, Burrow’s smoked chicken and Farrow’s French-onion-soup-in-a-sandwich. Outside of a sandwich was Rostizado’s rolled rotisserie pork shoulder — slow-cooked and infused with chopped jalapeno, a special salt and special oregano. The best steak of my year was an eight-ounce peppercorn-rubbed New York striploin from Hart’s Table & Grill. The best mac ‘n’ cheese, in a year when mac ‘n’ cheese flooded the market, was to be had at Woodwork, topped as it was with pork crackling. The best French fries were beer-battered at The Rock. The Parlour’s towering “20 ... Read the rest of entry »
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