HicksBiz Blog

Hicks Weekly Dish: The Situation needs a service upgrade BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2017

Situation Brewing Co. 10308 81 Avenue situationbeer.com 780-705-1377 Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverage: basic, $30; loaded $60.   At what point does “not snobby” morph into sloppiness and indifference? At what point does a deliberately casual attitude – as befits Situation Brewing Company’s brew-pub location in the heart of the Old Strathcona – become too casual? I can’t say I was enamoured with the view of my server’s hairy armpits. He was wearing a tank-top, a backward ball-cap and shorts. Situation Brewing has been open for about a year. It was the first of the new generation of gastro-brew pubs to open in town. (Brewsters has long brewed good beers on site at its three Edmonton locations, but is roundly ignored by the trend-setters.)   Situation was followed by Biera restaurant, which opened last spring with on-site brewed Blind Enthusiasm beer. Biera was glowingly reviewed in this column last week. Polar Park Br ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Oil on decline but pot is hot BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 2017 UPDATED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017

An industry is being born around Edmonton that will, ever so slightly, offset the decline of Alberta’s oil, natural gas and coal sectors. Marijuana! The fast-approaching legalization of recreational pot, plus the now-legal production of medical marijuana, will create a Canada-wide industry every bit as big as booze is today. Greater Edmonton, thanks mostly to the Aurora Cannabis Company’s massive indoor marijuana farm being built out by the Edmonton International Airport, is about to become a major centre of the new, legal, Canadian cannabis industry. It’s not just about getting high. Medical marijuana has a big market, both domestic and international. Hemp – essentially marijuana without the buzz – is coming into its own with dozens of non-recreational uses. Edmonton has a thriving hemp industry. Here are some of the immediate economic benefits flowing into our city and region. Now publicly traded on the TSX, with shares collectively worth a billion bucks, A ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Biera, a most satisfying meal BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2017

Biera Ritchie Market, 9570-76 Ave. 587-525-8589 biera.ca Wednesday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Sunday to Tuesday Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $40; loaded, $80 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns    A pile of chefs talk the talk. Beer is as sophisticated as wine, they say. Beer can be as carefully paired with food as wine, they say. Beer this, beer that … Few, however, walk the walk. Very few chefs actually create foods that discernibly, in the mouth, are truly enhanced by the addition of beer and its bubbles. Even fewer chefs make dishes that go well with one style of beer, and not so well with another. In fact, I was convinced (other than a cold lager with a hot curry) that the whole fine beer/fine food thing was just another millennial trend, featuring nothing but fashionable pretense. Then I went to Biera – the recently-opened gastro-pub/bistro/neighbourhood eatery in the new ul ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Biera, a most satisfying meal BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2017

Biera Ritchie Market, 9570-76 Ave. 587-525-8589 biera.ca Wednesday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Sunday to Tuesday Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $40; loaded, $80 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns    A pile of chefs talk the talk. Beer is as sophisticated as wine, they say. Beer can be as carefully paired with food as wine, they say. Beer this, beer that … Few, however, walk the walk. Very few chefs actually create foods that discernibly, in the mouth, are truly enhanced by the addition of beer and its bubbles. Even fewer chefs make dishes that go well with one style of beer, and not so well with another. In fact, I was convinced (other than a cold lager with a hot curry) that the whole fine beer/fine food thing was just another millennial trend, featuring nothing but fashionable pretense. Then I went to Biera – the recently-opened gastro-pub/bistro/neighbourhood eatery in the new ul ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Canada’s tax system is needlessly complicated BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017

Will no one rid us of this crazy, illogical, overwhelmingly difficult Canadian tax system? Our income tax calculations have reached absurd levels of complexity. The cost of compliance – i.e. accountant fees – has become almost as big a burden on small business as taxes themselves. Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau is oblivious to the problem; Justin Trudeau’s government has shown no interest in reviewing, overhauling and simplifying Canadian taxation rules. The problem, at its heart, is quite simple: Band-Aid upon Band-Aid upon Band-Aid. There has been no major review and reform of the Canadian tax system since 1971. Successive governments have expanded, modified, and changed the rules of the game by adding amendments, more regulations, closing loopholes, adding incentives and so on. It’s mind-boggling, but can be succinctly illustrated. The original income tax legislation, the 1917 “Income War Tax Act” was 10 pages long. Today’s 2017 I ... Read the rest of entry »

Citadel Theatre's Shakespeare in Love worthy of the highest praise: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Shakespeare in Love Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 16, 2017 to October 8, 2017 Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Rest easy, the Citadel Theatre is in good hands. Daryl Cloran has had a year now as the new artistic director of the Citadel Theatre, but the 2016/17 season was still picked and planned by his predecessor Bob Baker, who retired in the spring of 2016 after a long and rich tenure at the helm of the largest theatre in Canada west of Toronto. This season’s opener Shakespeare in Love is the first show of the first season that Cloran has fully overseen. Plus he decided to direct the show as well – which must have involved many 18-hour days leading up to opening night on Thursday, September 22, 2017. Big challenge! Shakespeare in Love is a sprawling, BIG play in all aspects, over two hours long, 20 actors, jam-packed with action and meaning. You may remember it began life as a movie, a major hit that earned seven Academy ... Read the rest of entry »

Soul Sistas an explosion of talent and energy: Mayfield Dinner Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS

Soul Sistas Mayfield Dinner Theatre (DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton) Sept. 5 to Oct. 29, 2017 Hicksbiz.com review by GRAHAM HICKS Hang on! Taking in Soul Sistas at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre is like hopping into a musical Lamborghini on a race track with no speed limit. Breathless!  Exhilarating!  Exciting, and, dare one say it, probably as close to the originals (Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin) as is humanly possible. Tiffany Deriveau as Tina Turner and Tara Jackson as Aretha Franklin are far more than impersonators – they get inside their characters. In song, dance and spirit they channel these two super-stars of American soul, rhythm & blues, and, in Tina’s case, rock ‘n’ roll. Older patrons of the Mayfield Dinner Theatre, be not afraid. While the show is full of energy and enthusiasm and celebrates familiar music from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, it is presented within reasonable decibel levels. Soul Sistas is not so much a musical as two separ ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – Mad Fantastic Maid of God: Joan of Arc: Review by GRAHAM HICKS 3.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – Mad Fantastic Maid of God: Joan of Arc: Review by GRAHAM HICKS  3.5 of 5 stars Mad Fantastic Maid of God: Joan of Arc Venue 36, “L’unitheatre at La Cite Francophone, 8627 91 St. (Rue Marie Anne Gaboury) Thurs. Aug. 17 – 8 p.m. Fri. Aug. 18 – 5 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 7 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 7:15 p.m. Tues. Aug 22 – 6:15 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 3:45 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 2 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 4.45 p.m. 3.5 of 5 stars THEATrePUBLIC/Polema Productions Duration 55 minutes Not a bad show from prolific Edmonton playwright/director Ken Brown, who often writes new plays premiered at the Fringe and had consequently developed a strong and loyal following.  But Mad Fantastic is not a Ken Brown classic, not like Life After Hockey or the Spiral Dive Trilogy, not by any means. The idea is a strong one – a narrative/meditation of the life of historical/Christian legend Joan of Arc, who as a teena ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – A Quiet Place - Review by GRAHAM HICKS ??? of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – A Quiet Place - Review by GRAHAM HICKS A Quiet Place  Blarney Productions Venue 8, Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre 8426 Gateway Blvd.  Thurs. Aug. 17 – 9:45 p.m. Fri. Aug. 18 – 11 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 – 4.45 p.m. Mon. Aug. 21 – 12:15 noon Wed. Aug. 23 – 9:30 p.m. Sun. Aug. 27 – 8 p.m. How many stars out of a possible five? I have no idea Blarney Productions Duration 60 min. I’m not saying A Quiet Place is bad theatre. Not in the least.  It’s probably very, very good theatre. But I’m part of that Fringe audience that just doesn’t understand/comprehend/grok that style of abstract theatre known as  “Theatre of the Absurd”. A Quiet Place is meant not to make contextual sense … I think. The show makes no attempt to explain why two men are in an inescapable room, why one starts being bound in a chair and being beat up by the other, why the r ... Read the rest of entry »

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – To Be Moved – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4.5 of 5 stars

Fringe 2017 – Hicksbiz.com – To Be Moved – Review by GRAHAM HICKS 4.5 of 5 stars To Be Moved Blarney Productions Venue 28, the Playhouse, 10033 80 Avenue  Thurs. Aug. 17 – 9:15 p.m. Fri. Aug. 18 – 2 p.m. Sat. Aug. 19 – 4:15 p.m. Sun. Aug. 20 – 7 p.m. Wed. Aug. 23 – 4:15 p.m. Thurs. Aug. 24 – 9:15 p.m. Fri. Aug. 25 – 2 p.m. Sat. Aug. 26 – 9:15 p.m. 4.5 of 5 stars Duration 60 min. What a lovely, non-verbal, embracing-all-senses show To Be Moved is.  This is collaborative, accessible art at its finest – Meagan Koshka’s interwoven visual design, Matt Skopyk’s most appropriate electronic music … which actually carries a melody, thank you very much, the movements and emotions of actors Zoe Glassman and Kristian Stec, all bought together by artistic and conceptual director Braydon Dowler-Coltman.  It’s quite gorgeous.  A young sweet couple are  so much in love, tha ... Read the rest of entry »