HicksBiz Blog

An Unusual, Fascinating and Insightful Show: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  Playing at the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada September 17, 2016 to October 9, 2016 Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, at the Citadel Theatre through October 9, 2016, is one of the most interesting, multi-layered and thoughtful plays to have come along in a long, long time. Ostensibly, it’s about a high-functioning autistic young teenager, Christopher, trying to find out who killed his neighbour’s dog. Boil down the plot and the swirling collage of scenes and characters: In a compelling sub-text, author Mark Haddon (and, one presumes, stage adapter Simon Stephens) shakes his head at the inability of modern adults to sustain deep, loving life-long relationships, especially in the context of children and their needs.  Curious Incident is a subtle meditation upon (and a magnificent creative illustration of) the emotional effects of parental break-up on c ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A made-in-Edmonton super drug? BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

This business story has so many angles, one scarce knows where to begin. A (potential) $750 million (US) drug development deal; world-leading drug research in Edmonton; a passing-of-the-torch from the now-deceased Edmonton-based drug researcher Dr. Ron Micetich to his drug-business savvy son Chris Micetich; a dizzying series of business manoeuvres involving the promising new drug; disruptive yet promising ways of doing business. The drug development deal was an under-publicized monster, announced in January of 2015: Swiss drug giant Roche purchased the world-wide (excluding Japan) rights to a promising but unproven antibiotic drug owned by Edmonton’s Fedora Pharmaceuticals, in partnership with Japan’s Meiji Seika Pharma. If the "beta-lactamase inhibitor" OP0595 passes clinical trials and is approved by regulators, it may be the new super-bacteria bug killer the world is looking for. If so, Fedora and Meiji Seika will pocket the entire $750 million from Roche, plus sales royalties. T ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: The hidden treasures of Alberta Avenue BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

Thank God for Alberta Avenue – better known to the non-locals as 118th Avenue. Alberta Avenue keeps Edmonton’s food scene honest. You can have your frothy cocktails and fish tacos in Old Strathcona, on 124th Street and now downtown. You can have your craft beers in those fake-rustic gastropubs, served by scruffy hipsters with toques pulled over their eyebrows. Alberta Avenue harkens back to an earlier, more innocent era. Newly arrived immigrants couldn’t speak English, but mama could cook and papa could figure out how to take orders. The neighbours might be a tad sketchy, but Alberta Avenue offered a rare combo of cheap storefront rents and pedestrian traffic. To this day, the most interesting, low-cost restaurants in the city are strung along 118th – from NAIT to Northlands, then from 50 Street to 34 Street. It’s a little United Nations, with Asian, European, Central American, South American, African, Filipino and Caribbean food outlets, even a sprinkle of good ol&rs ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Dashboard shows Alberta in the dumper BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

I am mystified. The Alberta government’s Economic Dashboard, an up-to-date snapshot of the provincial economy, shows we’re truly in the dumper. Compared to a year ago, Alberta’s unemployment rate has jumped from 6.1% to 8.4%, the number of jobs has dropped 22.6%, average weekly earnings are down 4.2% and Employment Insurance recipients are up 48%. The only positive sign is the population has grown 1.8% to 4.2 million. And yet downtown Edmonton is in the midst of a building boom, the likes of which we haven’t seen in 30 years. Around the just-opened $480 million Rogers Place downtown arena, zillionaire Oilers owner Darryl Katz and his partners are building four towers – 27, 66, 54 and 50 floors — that will be combinations of residential, office, hotel and retail space. Outside the arena district, the Provincial Museum, Kelly Ramsey Building, Hyatt Place Hotel plus new MacEwan University and NorQuest College buildings are under construction, as are at least ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Have Mercy reeks of character BY GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016

Have Mercy Southern Table & Bar 8232 Gateway Blvd. (Old Strathcona) 780-760-0203 havemercy.ca Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Food: 4 of 5 stars Ambience: 4.5 of 5 stars Service: 4 of 5 stars Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $25; fully loaded, $60 Forget the ICE District and all those downtown eateries for half-a-minute. Turn your gaze across the North Saskatchewan, up the south bank to the less-active Old Strathcona. Two years ago filmmaker Michael Maxiss, through family circumstances, took over a restaurant-in-the-making on Gateway Boulevard just north of Whyte Avenue. Fortunately Maxiss was a fast learner. He knew how to create atmosphere, he had a few marketing tricks up his sleeve but he was new to the restaurant trade. After a rocky start in the kitchen, Maxiss brought in chef Lindsay Porter. It’s been smooth sailing ever since. El Cortez Mexican Kitchen + Tequila B ... Read the rest of entry »

Pitch-perfect evening of Simon & Garfunkel: The Simon & Garfunkel Story at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: A review by GRAHAM HICKS, posted Sept. 12, 2016

The Simon & Garfunkel Story Mayfield Dinner Theatre,  16615 109 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 780-483-4051 mayfielddinnertheatre.ca To October 30, 2016 Tickets, including dinner, $85 to $115. REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS I’m sure the sociologists and neurologists have a field day studying this one, but it’s true. The pop music surrounding any given generation, from its high school years to the end of college, will become the most fondly remembered and favourite music of that generation for the rest of its days. Which is why the Mayfield Dinner Theatre – off Mayfield Road and within the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Edmonton West - specializes in nostalgia musical shows.  “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” will more than earn its keep as it plays at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre through October 30, 2016. Written and performed by Dean Elliott (he plays Paul Simon with fellow Englishman Jonny Muir as Art Garfunkel), Simon & Garfunkel is a lovely trip dow ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A new kind of oil boom BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 09, 2016

Ever since the world price of oil crashed and burned in July of 2014 and remains a smouldering wreck of over-supply, Alberta’s power brokers have talked about economic diversification, talked about weaning us off our love affair with oil + gas, talked about finding a new lover to shower us with the same kind of wealth.   The problem has been that nobody knew quite what to do. Even if a plan comes together, growing dynamic, profitable, job-creating companies and new industries is a long and arduous process, fraught with peril. . But now future industrial possibilities are emerging that actually sound like decent bets. It’s about a host of futuristic non-polluting products that can be made from oil; products that are fast becoming cheaper, lighter alternatives to metals used in manufacturing. In a talk to the University of Alberta Energy Club, Alberta economic thinker and industry strategist Dr. Richard Dixon made a gloomy but realistic case for an enduring global slowdown in dem ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A new kind of oil boom BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 09, 2016

Ever since the world price of oil crashed and burned in July of 2014 and remains a smouldering wreck of over-supply, Alberta’s power brokers have talked about economic diversification, talked about weaning us off our love affair with oil + gas, talked about finding a new lover to shower us with the same kind of wealth.   The problem has been that nobody knew quite what to do. Even if a plan comes together, growing dynamic, profitable, job-creating companies and new industries is a long and arduous process, fraught with peril. . But now future industrial possibilities are emerging that actually sound like decent bets. It’s about a host of futuristic non-polluting products that can be made from oil; products that are fast becoming cheaper, lighter alternatives to metals used in manufacturing. In a talk to the University of Alberta Energy Club, Alberta economic thinker and industry strategist Dr. Richard Dixon made a gloomy but realistic case for an enduring global slowdown in dem ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Hankering for great steak? Try Von’s BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 06, 2016

Von’s Steak House + Oyster Bar 10309 81 Ave. (Old Strathcona) 780-439-0041 www.vonssteakhouse.com Food: 4.5 of 5 stars Ambience: 4 of 5 stars Service: 4 of 5 stars 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (midnight on Friday and Saturday) Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $70; fully loaded, $120 The last few years have seen a revival of the venerable steak house. Chop, Ruth’s Chris, Bistecca and the Blue Rare (Sherwood Park and St. Albert) have joined the standing ranks of Lux, Coliseum, Moose Factory, Sawmill and the multiple Kegs. One steak house has stood eternal, above the fray, seemingly unchanging and as popular as ever after some 35 years in the same South Side location that looks over Gateway Boulevard at 81 Avenue. Von’s Steak House + Oyster Bar, built and opened by Barry Sparrow and family around the same time Sparrow opened Cook County Saloon next door, has never changed hands. Operating partner Ron Kauffman continues to run a first-class show. Evolution, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Let Maritimes history be a lesson to Alberta BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 02, 2016

A just-ended holiday through Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia could well be called idyllic. The beaches of Prince Edward Island, the coastlines of the Bay of Fundy, Cape Breton's highlands, 400 years of colonial history and Maritime friendliness: Through the eyes of a visitor, it was delightful. But, sadly, some things have little changed from my last Maritimes visit 40 years ago. The economy remains about the same - not much besides tourism, agriculture and the lobster fishery. Population growth has been minimal. Unless they land public sector jobs, young Maritimers usually must leave to work elsewhere until they can retire back to their beloved ancestral homes. It wasn't always thus. From the 1600s through the birth of Canada, even up to the 1920s, the Maritimes were a powerful economic driver, as important as Alberta is to the country today. Alberta, take notice. How quickly prosperity can slip away - especially when governments pursue "save the planet" policies that will even further de ... Read the rest of entry »
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