HicksBiz Blog

Category: Around town

Around town

Hicks on Biz: Looking forward to the Indigenous People’s Experience BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017

My wife and I are off to Winnipeg for a few days this summer. We’ll visit relatives and see the city. But our primary motivation will be visiting the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Opened in 2014, the museum cost $350 million. It is already a civic icon. Think of Winnipeg and you think of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Blue Bombers, the Jets and now the human rights museum. Maria and I will spend about $1,000 on airfare, accommodations, meals, getting around and admissions. Winnipeg Tourism will love us – proof tourist dollars are flowing into Winnipeg thanks to the museum. That’s why I am so excited, in so many ways, about the now fully-funded $42 million Indigenous People’s Experience exhibit to be built at Fort Edmonton Park. The exhibit will be the crown jewel of a $150-million upgrade (a three-way split between the Edmonton, Alberta and federal governments) to our top historical attraction. Fort Edmonton’s aging utilities will be overhauled and other inter ... Read the rest of entry »

Crazy For You at the Citadel Theatre: Way Too Much Fun!!! theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Crazy For You Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada March 4-26, 2017 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com It was an audacious daring experiment, even as Momma Mia was being awkwardly built around a framework of  ABBA songs. In 1992, playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me A Tenor) took the classic hits of George and Ira Gershwin from the 1920s and 1930s, stitching them into a successful new Broadway “jukebox” comedy musical that utterly captured the spirit and humour of the songs and their era, and, at the same time, had a strong story line – not just a series of sketches hung between songs. The Citadel’s version of Crazy For You, in partnership with Theatre Calgary, works like a damn. It’s big, boisterous, full of fun, silliness, and word-play groaners. The plot is pure fluff, but it’s fun fluff – show girls, dreams, cow pokes, crazy impresarios, veering in locale from New York City to Deadrock, Nevada.  The dancing is vaudeville tap-dancing ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel Theatre's 2017/18 season is the real-meal deal - story by GRAHAM HICKS

Commentary on the Citadel Theatre's  unveiling of its 2017/18 season by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com  Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada February 13, 2017 The sigh of relief was audible last week among seasoned Citadel Theatre fans in Edmonton, as, play by play, new artistic director Daryl Cloran unveiled the 2017/18 season. This kid, the grizzled veterans of Edmonton theatre thought to themselves, is for real. Until the 2017/18 season announcement, we didn’t know quite what to think of Cloran. The Citadel board search committee had plenty of time, almost a full year, to find a replacement for past artistic director Bob Baker. Baker had announced his retirement after 17 excellent years at the helm of the theatre. He continues an association with The Citadel as artistic director emeritus. The board was excited about Cloran, who during six seasons as director of Kamloops’ innovative Western Canada Theatre had built a national reputation for both innovation and aud ... Read the rest of entry »

Bundle up, get outside and enjoy Hawrelak Park/The Ice Castle in January! - by GRAHAM HICKS

Jan. 17, 2017 Baby, it’s cold outside! When it’s winter, inertia can rule.  What’s the point of heading outside?  Mitts, toques and scarves must be put on and taken off, over and over.  Exposed skin is always mildly shocked by the dramatic change in temperature – fingers and toes and cheeks take forever to warm up. But as Canadians, we know the up-side.  As long as there’s little or no wind, being outside on a sun-lit Alberta day in January is gorgeous. The cold, crisp air is a tonic.   Mental cobwebs are swept away.  Headaches caused by the stuffy indoors magically disappear. But where to go once you are dressed for the elements?  Especially when you lack athletic skills such as skating, playing hockey or skiing, when you’re too old and brittle for toboganning? To Hawrelak Park! Edmonton’s most popular park in the summer (Heritage Days etc.) is also a haven for outdoor winter activities. For the second year in a row ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: Edmonton’s leading-edge dining scene BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2016

For years and years, snotty socialites would complain about the Edmonton dining and cultural scene. It was soooo backward here, dahling, compared to that wonderful Toronto or fabulous New York City. Even Calgary was better than plain ol’Edmonton. It drove me nuts – you’d reel off 10 excellent restaurants, they’d not been to one. You’d name 10 recent theatrical productions in this theatre-rich town, and they’d not seen one. They’d not bothered with the symphony or to visit the art gallery. No matter. We were just … backward. The best news of the past year: That complaint is gone! The opposite has happened. Fancy national magazines now send out writers from Toronto to chronicle Edmonton’s leading-edge dining scene. I don’t care if Edmonton is ahead or behind the times. I just live here and thoroughly enjoy what my city has to offer in a staggering array of dining-out options. The number of new, informal, high-quality bistros continues t ... Read the rest of entry »

Wine-tasting: Wines from Brazil's Vinicola Salton winery by GRAHAM HICKS

Wine-tasting:  Wines from Brazil's Vinicola Salton winery By Graham Hicks Edmonton, Alberta, Canada First posted Nov. 7, 2016 hicksbiz.com graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com @hicksbiz Edmonton wine stores have shelves upon shelves of Canadian, American, Italian, New Zealand, Australian and French wines.  There’s fewer Chilean, South African, German and Spanish wines, but still some choice. But when it comes to Brazilian wines, you’ll be lucky to find a few brands on a back shelf. Which is why Mauricio Salton and Cesar Baldasso, of Brazil’s Vinicola Salton winery, found themselves 11,000 kilometres away from home, tucking into tapas at the  Bodega Highlands tapas bar and kitchen on a cool November evening. Producing 1.25 million cases of wine annually, Salton is one of the biggest wineries in Brazil and definitely the oldest, started by Mauricio’s great grandfather and his great grandfather’s brothers in 1910. Brazil likes its home-grown wines, especially sparkl ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton hotelier not spooked by economy BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 04, 2016

How interesting that it took a 69-year-old independent businessman to build the first new major hotel in downtown Edmonton in 25 years, the 255-room (including 32 suites), 12-storey Hyatt Place at 9576 Jasper Avenue.   How interesting that Prem Singhmar was willing to break new ground, to be the first developer to make a major ($55 million) investment in The Quarters, the City of Edmonton’s vision for the Downtown East. Hyatt Place is one block east of the Shaw Conference Centre. And the new hotel has opened in the middle of a province-wide severe economic downturn. Prem professes to no particular financial acumen, but his track record is one of successful real estate and land development, one project after another. Starting with a chicken farm near Redwater on his arrival from India, via Libya, in 1985, Prem’s UAM Enterprises now consists of hotels, commercial and residential buildings and construction throughout Metropolitan Edmonton, plus agricultural holdings. “I am n ... Read the rest of entry »

Better to have loved and lost - Shadow Theatre's The Red King's Dream - review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Red King’s Dream Shadow Theatre production on the Varscona Theatre stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Oct. 26 to Nov. 13, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicks biz.com  Prolific Edmonton playwright David Belke has written plays encompassing modern farce, introspection, historic figures mixed into the contemporary world, humour, confusion and much more.  He, with Shadow Theatre artistic director John Hudson, chose to re-mount one of Belke’s most introspective and serious plays, 1996’s The Red King’s Dream, for the opening play of Shadow Theatre’s 2016/17 season in the new Varscona Theatre. The Red King’s Dream is a quiet play – a two-hour introspective meditation on the nature of romantic love and infatuation.  An awkward, intellectual loner, buried in books, is kindled by passion as he falls in love with a woman with similar tastes who happens to live in the apartment building. While The Red King’s Dream is an interesting tre ... Read the rest of entry »

Great balls of fire, this show works! Review of Citadel Theatre's Million Dollar Quartet by GRAHAM HICKS

Million Dollar Quartet Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Oct. 22 to Nov. 6, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  hicksbiz.com Tickets  Holy moly, Lord have mercy, great balls of fire, it’s a miracle! Well, not quite.  But damn near. Somehow, the Citadel Theatre found the perfect four actors for its production of Million Dollar Quartet, running through November 13, 2016 on the Shoctor Stage. Piano virtuoso, singer and madcap actor Christo Graham embodies the spirit, cheekiness and looks of Jerry Lee Lewis.   Guitarist, singer and actor Kale Penny plays every complex Carl Perkins’ guitar lick as if were his own.   Singer/actor Christopher Fordinal’s reincarnation of the young Elvis Presley will be a life-long meal ticket. Singer/actor Greg Gale impersonates (in the best sense of the word) Johnny Cash’s mannerisms plus possesses a melodious baritone that is uncannily Cash-like.  The context of the ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Rogers Place helping Edmonton take back the night BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2016

Wednesday evening I am sitting in one of my favourite downtown spots, Bodega Tapas & Wine Bar at Sabor. It’s an hour before the Oilers’ first game of the season in the spanking-new Rogers Place just up the street. I have sat in this same chair many an evening, with its fine view of a massive concrete wall that is the west end of the Edmonton City Centre. Tonight is different. Instead of a pedestrian passing by every 10 minutes, as often staggering as walking, the sidewalks are alive with people who have packed nearby taverns and eateries and are now walking to Rogers Place. For once, the down ’n’ outers do not dominate the downtown come nightfall. For once, there are far more “normal people”. For at least 30 years, the reality of the downtown after dark has been at best uninviting and at worse downright scary. It’s been a ratio game. Less–fortunate Edmontonians – the panhandlers, the intoxicated and generally tough-looking characte ... Read the rest of entry »