HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: The Alberta election campaign that was By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun April 12, 2019

From left: Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney, Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan, Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel are seen Thursday at the leaders debate. Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK By GRAHAM HICKS As Alberta finally heads to the polls on Tuesday, April 16, a last loving look backwards at this political campaign. And yes, these observations come from a pro-business point of view — this opinion column isn’t called “Hicks on Biz” for nothing. Like any fan of free enterprise, I believe in capitalism with a human face, in individual initiative over the collective. I believe human beings are generally better off if left alone, rather than subjected to the whims/over-taxation of the nanny state. I believe government’s primary role is to encourage a powerful economic engine, creating meaningful employment and the taxation necessary to support public social services, to help those truly in need. STORY CONTIN ... Read the rest of entry »

Darrin Hagen's best work to date: Review of The Empress & The Prime Minister at Theatre Network by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

The Empress & The Prime Minister World Premiere – written and starring Darrin Hagen Theatre Network, 8529 103 St. April 16 to May 5, 2019 Tues. to Sat.  8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. Dark on Mondays. Tickets online: $15 to $30, theatrenetwork.ca Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com One of the loftier goals of the performing arts,  as in every theatrical mission statement ever issued, is to present the world around us in a new light, to inform meaningful change, to challenge the audience to re-think attitudes, to push that audience off default positions. A fine goal indeed. But one rarely achieved – especially when causes woodenly and nakedly masquerade as characters. So hats off and a deep bow to Darrin Hagen who has written and stars in The Empress & The Prime Minister. I found The Empress & The Prime Minister seismic.  I left the show with a deeper, visceral understanding of what being “different” actually means – when just being yourself ... Read the rest of entry »

These Nuns Can Rock! Review of Sister Act, Mayfield Dinner Theatre by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.ca

Sister Act Mayfield Dinner Theatre (Doubletree by Hilton Hotel West Edmonton) 16615 109 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Tickets: mayfieldtheatre.ca,  or 780.483.4051 April 9 to June 9, 2019 Review by GRAHAM HICKS  Hicksbiz.com How satisfying, and rare, to have a full-on, no-holds-barred musical - a full 10-person choir, seven supporting musical actors, a five-person band, 11 backstage designers/technicians  - on a stage outside of the Jubilee Auditorium. Sister Act has to be one of the most ambitious shows mounted at the mid-sized Mayfield Dinner Theatre in recent years – at least since 2014’s Hairspray. Thanks to Whoopi Goldberg’s runaway hit movie by the same name in 1992, the plot is well known -  a mobster’s nightclub-singer ex-girlfriend is hidden by police in a Catholic church/convent, where she proceeds to turn the God-awful choir of nuns into the hottest gospel singers in the country. The “choir” within the play is the great appeal of ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The old and new in Vietnamese eateries, Pagolac and XO Bistro By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 9, 2019

XO Bistro's pork and shrimp grilled combo was everything you could ask for in a Vietnamese rice bowl. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Pagolac (Downtown) 10566 97 St. 780-425-1540 pagolacrestaurant.com Delivery: SkiptheDishes.com 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (9 p.m. Fri. + Sat.) Closed Tuesdays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns XO Bistro + Bar 10236 103 St. 780-761-9696 Delivery: SkiptheDishes.com, doordash.com Tues. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (1 a.m. Fri.) Sat. noon to 1:30 a.m. Sun. noon to 11 p.m. Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Both restaurants, dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $30; loaded $45 STORY CONTINUES BELOW By Graham Hicks Is it ‘make new friends, but don’t forget the old?’ Or ‘out with the old and in with the new?’ It’s an interesting choice these days with Vietnamese restaurants. The style is long-established in Canada. Canadi ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta election proof of civility's decline By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 5, 2019

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel and United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.File / Postmedia Why has the rhetoric of fear and loathing crept deeply into this provincial election? There once was a deep journalism dictum. Criticize the action, not the person. Criticize what a person says or promotes, not the person himself/herself. The two main antagonists in this election, Premier Rachel Notley and opposition leader Jason Kenney, have more-or-less subscribed to this convention. They hammer at each other over policy differences but have not (yet) descended to personal attacks. STORY CONTINUES BELOW But both have allowed their campaigns to indulge in, to actually trumpet, personal attacks. The website thetruthaboutJasonKenney.ca, is a rabid, pit-bull personal attack on Kenney openly sponsored by the Alberta New Democrats. It’s the first highly-publicized “official&rdqu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Belgravia Hub a hidden gem By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 2, 2019

Belgravia Hub Chef Max Pierce's chicken Dijonnaise. Belgravia Hub 7609 115 St. (close to McKernan-Belgravia LRT station) 780-756-3344  (call for reservations) belhub.com No delivery listed Tues. to Fri. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Friday to 11 p.m.) Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $40; loaded $60 STORY CONTINUES BELOW By GRAHAM HICKS Don’t get me wrong. I love all the Edmonton chefs who are media darlings, like Daniel Costa (Corso 32), Shane Chartrand (SC Damn Good Food) or Larry Stewart (Hardware Grill). They are practically household names, as they should be. They are all wizards in the kitchen. But in the background are scores of equally talented chefs, as adept in the kitchen, but with much lower profiles. Because they are not good at, or simply don&rsqu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: It's about government debt, stupid! By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, March 29, 2019

Premier Rachel Notley.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia Trying to track the real costs of election promises is a fool’s game. For every spending promise made in this provincial election, there’s some hypothetical, unprovable financial justification. Take Rachel Notley’s daycare promise: In return for the government’s social investment of $1.5 billion over five years in daycare subsidies, the daycare program will “add $6 billion to Alberta’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).” Where the $6 billion figure comes from is anybody’s guess. Theoretically, a daycare worker with a bigger pay cheque tips his/her server an extra buck, who in turn buys a chocolate bar from a 7-Eleven clerk, who in turn gets a raise for selling more chocolate bars … Then there’s reality. When Notley and her party ran in 2015, they promised to balance the annual provincial government budget within five years. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Five years later, Fina ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Villa Bistro searches for an identity By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUNMarch 26, 2019

Villa Bistro's lamb "popsicles' are heavily seasoned and well-cooked but still tender and juicy. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Villa Bistro 10014 104 St. 780-497-7784 villabistro.ca Delivery: doordash.com Reservations: opentable.ca Mon. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Mon. + Tues.) Closed Sundays Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $35; loaded $70 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience:  2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns By Graham Hicks A survey, released this week by the Restaurants Canada Association, claims one-third of Alberta’s restaurateurs have considered closing because of falling revenues combined with rising costs – specifically the provincial minimum wage hike from $10 to $15. STORY CONTINUES BELOW The word “considered” tempers my reaction. Most of us have “considered” drastic options at one time or another. Rarely have we acted on the same. But there’s no denying these are tough days fo ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Which way will you vote? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, March 22, 2019

Rachel Notley (L) and Jason Kenney (R). As we finally head to the polls on April 16 for Alberta’s 30th provincial election, most commentators have written off Rachel Notley and her New Democratic Party (NDP) — the “accidental government” as they are oft derided, propelled into power only because of the collapse of the 44-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in 2015. But in politics … anything can happen. The most logical predictor I can think of is to start with a review of contrasting political values. How does an Albertan inclined to vote for the NDP think? Let’s call them socialist-leaning liberals. How about somebody likely to vote for the United Conservative Party (UCP)? Let’s simply call him or her a conservative. STORY CONTINUES BELOW This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. At the heart of the socialist-liberal/conservative tug-of-war is the emphasis placed on either the individual o ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Pizza, pizza, everywhere in Edmonton By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 19, 2019

Is the Pink Gorilla's namesake pizza - festooned with pastrami and pink-pickled daikon, colourful enough for you? Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/ EDMONTON SUN By Graham Hicks I woke up with a start, the sweaty smell of mozzarella and tomatoes oozing from my pores. What a dream! Imagine, drowning in a sloppy sea of pizza.  Nothing but pizza here, there and everywhere. Melted mozzarella clogging up my nose, tomato sauce waves crashing over my head, pepperoni rafts floating just out of reach! Eating five pizzas in four days had its consequences. In our town, pizza is everywhere. No other fast food is so available – even burgers and fries. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Pizza is good – extremely good – and relatively healthy. But there’s so much of it! Acknowledging the pizza trend, and curious about new toppings, The Weekly Dish did a trendy pizza blitz:  Pizzeria Rosso on Thursday, Blaze Pizza on Friday, Pink Gorilla Pizzeria on Saturday, Love Pizza on Sunday ... Read the rest of entry »