HicksBiz Blog

This Wizard of Oz (at the Jubilee Auditorium) does justice to the legend - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Wizard of Oz Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Tuesday, Feb. 23 – Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 8 p.m.   Sat. matinee, 2 p.m. Sun. matinee, 1 p.m., evening 6:30 p.m. Tickets $45 to $145, (plus 25% extra in facility charges and service fees) REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS  - Hicksbiz.com How beguiling, to see another generation of young children entranced  by the story of Dorothy and Toto and the land of Oz.  It’s been going on since Frank Baum wrote the original “American fairy tale” in 1900, through Broadway productions, silent movies, then into the stratosphere with the classic 1939 movie with the young Judy Garland – using brand-new colour technology – as Dorothy, and the movie’s subsequent re-spooling year after year on that revolutionary new social medium of the 1950s known as television. The Wizard of Oz, being performed at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium through Sunday, Feb. 28, is the latest wrinkle in the re-telling of this ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: There’s charcuterie, then there’s Cured charcuterie BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2016

Cured Wine Bar 2307 Ellwood Dr. SW  (off 91 Street, south of Henday Drive) 780-756-3722 www.curedwinebar.com Food - 4 of 5 Suns Ambience - 4 of 5 Suns Service - 4 of 5 Suns Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fri. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.   Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $32; loaded, $50 What’s the point, I’ve always wondered, of ordering charcuterie - cold-cuts and cheese served on a wooden cutting board – at a restaurant? Go to the Italian Centre, buy deli meats and cheeses and make a charcuterie at home for a third of the price! Then I heard about Cured Wine Bar on the South Side, so far south as to be closer to the International Airport than to downtown. Charcuterie is the entire focus of the restaurant, along with small plates, deserts, and mostly Okanagan wines by the bottle and glass. On Cured’s Enomatic wine prese ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton real estate market depends on full employment in public sector BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016

You have to forgive realtors. They are relentlessly optimistic. The economy is dropping like a rock. A great time to buy! The economy is sizzling red-hot. A great time to sell! I was impressed with the reasonably objective research and conclusions of Edmonton realtor (and ex-accountant) Kathy Schmidt, in her monthly The Schmidt Report. The sky is not falling, she argues, not in Edmonton’s housing market. It has crashed down in Fort McMurray, it’s falling in Calgary, but here, we’re just a little overcast. Median house prices are down – about 3% — in most of Metropolitan Edmonton, a median price of about $340,000 compared to $350,000 at this time last year. (“Median” excludes the very top and very bottom ends of the housing market. At the top end, Edmonton houses listed at $600,000 or more are down more than 3%.) But the market, Schmidt says, is busy. More homes (houses and condos) were sold last month than were sold in January a year ago. Th ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Workshop Eatery a fulfillment of a dream BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2016

Workshop Eatery Mosaic Centre, 2003 91 St. SW (corner 91 Street SW and Savaryn Drive SW) 780-705-2205 theworkshopeatery.com Mon. to Wed. 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thurs. to Fri. 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns     Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $50; loaded, $90 This is not your normal Weekly Dish restaurant review. Knowing I am a hobby cook, Sun editor Phil Rivers had suggested Chef Paul (Sun food writer Paul Shufelt) and I should review each other’s food in side-by-side columns. The idea evolved into a fund-raiser, a two-part package presented in the 2015 annual ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction. A few weeks ago, highest bidder Jody Fraser and his family, Chef Paul and his wife Kristine arrived at my home for dinner. Paul didn’t step foot in the kitchen. He served as table host, and, with input from Jody, Janice, Jo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Understanding carbon credits BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 04, 2016

Finally, through a company created to save the planet AND make money, I actually understand what “carbon credits” are all about. Airdrie-based Carbon Credit Solutions (CCS) Inc. partners up with folks (mostly farmers) who can create Alberta government-approved carbon credits. It assists in “making” these carbon credits, then buys and sells them, hopefully for a profit. Making a profit can’t be that difficult, not when the monetary value of these Alberta carbon credits should jump by 50% in a year’s time. That’s when the Notley government says it will raise the levy, basically a tax on excess carbon emission, from $20 to $30 a tonne on companies pushing too much CO2 up their smokestacks. (A tonne of CO2 is roughly the amount of CO2 an average coal-burning power plant sends up its smokestack every hour.) Companies either pay the levy, or they can purchase carbon credits from companies like CCS to offset excess CO2 emissions. The market value of a carbon cred ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Million Thai Restaurant - unforgettable stir fry BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2016

Million Thai Restaurant Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Tuesdays millionthaiedmonton.com Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $25; loaded, $40 I’d love to write that Million Thai Restaurant is one of those hidden gems where great ethnic food is to be had in a dimly-lit diner with deteriorating Halloween-orange Naugahyde back-rests. Alas, in Million Thai’s case, the gem in the rough is only half true. Two of the main dishes were beautiful, fragrant, fresh and delicious. But of other two, one was passable and one not properly prepared. As a hole-in-the-wall prospect, Million Thai was tantalizing. It’s in Beverly at the east end of 118th Avenue, in a mildly dilapidated strip mall (parking out front) with a physiotherapy clinic on one side and a convenience store on the other. In short, the kind of area you expect to find a hidden gem. The kitchen, next to the restaurant, has i ... Read the rest of entry »


Under Premier Rachel Notley’s Climate Leadership Plan, by government decree, all coal-burning power plants in Alberta are to be shut down by 2030, with the goal of replacing 50% to 75% of that power with renewable energy. Meanwhile, the provincial demand for electricity will grow from 14,500 megawatts (MW) today, to 17,500 MW by 2030. This is the triumph of ideology over evidence-based science. This illogical, ill-conceived government decree will result in wasting billions of dollars with no net environmental gain. Today in Alberta, there are 18 major coal-burning power generation units. Four are close to the end of their useful lives and will close within two years. Of the 14 still operating, six will still have plenty of juice left come 2030. The case for coal: coal is the cheapest, most reliable source of electricity in Alberta, crucial in keeping Alberta’s industry competitive. In 2015, it provided 43% of the province’s power. Environmentally, thanks to technological in ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Alberta Hotel Bar + Grill among the best BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2016

Alberta Hotel Bar + Grill 9802 Jasper Ave 780-760-0062 albertahotelbarkitchen.com Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to midnight Fri. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sat. 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday closed Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $60; loaded, $80 I was worried, but I ought not to have been. Worried that the Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen, burdened with expectation, could not win for want of trying. A few years ago, across Jasper Avenue from the Shaw Conference Centre, architect/developer Gene Dub replicated the once-fine Alberta Hotel, torn down in its declining years to make way for that pink palace known as Canada Place. On the main floor, architect Dub re-created the early 20th century ambiance of the original Alberta Hotel bar and restaurant. The Hardware Grill’s Larry Stewart leased the premise and soon opened Tavern 1903 with magnificent food and ambience. Somet ... Read the rest of entry »

On Being Gay in the 21st Century: The Gay Heritage Project at the Citadel Theatre - review by Graham Hicks

The Gay Heritage Project Citadel Theatre, Club Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Feb. 10 to 27, 2016 Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HIcksBiz.com Even  a cheerful cynic accepts that much good comes from watching shows like the Gay Heritage Project. Presented cabaret-style in the Citadel Theatre's innovative Club space, The Gay Heritage Project is an insightful, informative and entertaining look into what it's actually like to be gay.   No matter how many gay friends or acquaintances one might have, very few straight folks know that much about what's behind the curtain. The old expression "walk a mile in my shoes" comes to mind.  Three gay actors, by necessity researchers, realized precious historical or even contemporary knowledge wasn't out there about their  unique culture, their tribe.  Homosexuality has been part of mankind since the beginning of civilization, but from the fall of Rome to, finally, social acceptance in the 21st Century, little history has bee ... Read the rest of entry »