HicksBiz Blog

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: Lowering our green house gases will cost us how much? BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2016

* * * In the Alberta government’s climate change/carbon tax/phase out coal/renewable energy debate, I have never seen an objective analysis of how Alberta could meet its lower greenhouse gas (GHG) goals as cheaply as possible with the least possible damage to the province economy. We know the New Democrats’ end goal. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed Canada to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by one-third, from 2013’s 726 Mt (million tonnes) to 523 Mt by 2030. So must Premier Rachel Notley do the same, reducing Alberta’s GHG emissions by approximately a third from 2013’s 267 Mt to 193 Mt by 2030. We know however, that this New Democrat government is in love with renewables, regards coal as the face of evil, dislikes oil, and only grudgingly puts up with natural gas. But the question to be asked – the logical, rational question – is this: What combination of coal, natural gas, oil, renewables and conservation would reduce provincial GHG ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Sloppy Hoggs is in excellent hands BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2016

Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus 9563-118 Ave. 780-477-2408 sloppyhoggsbbq.com Tuesday to Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Mondays Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $24; fully loaded, $50 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns When a top-notch independent restaurant changes ownership, as happened earlier this year with the popular southern barbecue Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus on 118th Avenue, you worry. Will quality drop? Will the ribs be as expected? The good news is the new owners recognized a good thing when they saw it. The sale included everything down to the meat smokers and Sloppy Hoggs’ BBQ recipes. Nothing has changed other than a few more additions to the menu. Six of us descended on Sloppy Hoggs this past weekend, hungry and ready to chow down. The first impression was promising – the restaurant was bustling on a Sunday evening with several birthday parties in pro ... 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 »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Clementine’s has much more to come BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2016

Clementine 11957 Jasper Ave. barclementine.ca 5 p.m. to midnight, 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday Closed Sundays and Mondays  (No reservations. no phone) Food: 4.5 of 5 stars Ambience: 4 of 5 stars Service: 4 of 5 stars Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $40; fully loaded, $70 It’s far too early to tell – like declaring a Stanley Cup winner two weeks into the season -  but Chef Roger Letourneau at the newly opened Clementine has the potential to be the next culinary star to come out of Edmonton.  On the storefront street level of the new 35-story Pearl Tower on Jasper Avenue West, Clementine (or Bar Clementine, the name goes back and forth) is a jewel in the pearl.  Through a winter-proof vestibule, one enters a time-warp, magically transported to a classic European bar circa the 1930s – all dark polished woods, sturdy tables and counters, dominated by a massive curved bar behind which stands rows of spirits of every colour and hue. Co ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Carbon tax a colossal waste of money BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 07, 2016

No matter that Canada’s contribution to global warming is negligible. No matter that China, India and the USA are the culprits, not Canada. No matter the consequences, the carbon tax is going to happen in Alberta. On January 1, the carbon tax will bump up the cost of gasoline by 4.5 cents a litre, diesel by 5.4 cents a litre, home heating costs by $1 a gigajoule. In winter, my 2,100 sq. ft. home burns eight to 10 gigajoules of natural gas per month. The carbon tax will add to most of your purchases. Municipalities will pass on carbon taxes in higher property taxes. Grocery stores will pass on the added cost of transporting food. Carbon taxes won’t go away. Those two great world saviors Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau will keep raising the carbon tax every year for the next six years. By rough calculation, the carbon tax on gasoline will be around 17 cents a litre by 2022. This tax grab is the equivalent, respected Calgary economist Jack Mintz says, of a 3% provincial sales tax. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: The micro-brewery explosion BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 04, 2016

“It smells of grainy and metallic caramel malt, a twinge of earthy yeast, ethereal oily nuts, leafy, herbal, and floral hop bitters. The taste is bready and moderately biscuity caramel malt, a dark orchard fruitiness, earthy yeast notes, and laid-back weedy, herbal, hay-like hoppiness.” We may not be in Coors country anymore, Toto. These wondrous if unintelligible words from Brady White of thebeerdiaries.tv are not in praise of a fancy French wine, but are a tribute to Rale Yard Red Ale, a specialty beer brewed by the Olds College brewmaster program. Rale Yard is made in the heart of ranching country, its barley grown on the hard-scrabble prairie. Beer is the new wine. Different kinds of beer are being “paired” with food at multi-course dinners in better restaurants. Beer is a new food group, being considered a food flavour unto itself. In 2003, seven craft breweries were producing beer in Alberta, including Edmonton’s venerable micro-brewery Alley Kat and Calgary& ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Predicting the best-and-worst-case scenarios of the Alberta NDP's energy policy BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Too late to turn back.   The Alberta ND government has irrevocably committed the province to a profound change in electricity generation, from coal, natural gas and some wind to no coal, more natural gas, and massive new renewable energy projects – more wind farms, big solar farms, on-site solar and run-of-river hydro. The government’s self-declared goal is to have 30% of Alberta’s power generation coming from renewables by 2030. This fundamental shift is as expected from a government with a radically different mind-set than the old. The “Alberta Advantage” will no longer be measured in economic terms but in ecological ones. Under past Conservative governments, Alberta was the lowest-cost province in which to do business. The New Democrats want Alberta to be the cleanest province in which to do business. So let’s polish up the ol’ crystal ball, and predict best-and-worst-case scenarios of this determined effort that will hit home in January when th ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS WEEKLY DISH: Izakaya Dorinku needs some explanation BY GRAHAM HICKS FIRST POSTED Edmonton Sun: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Izakaya Dorinku 10205-82 Avenue 780-988-9760 dorinku.ca 5:30 p.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, till 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday Food: 4 of 5 stars Ambience: 4 of 5 stars Service: 3 of 5 stars Dinner for two (without tip or beverages): Basic, $20; fully loaded, $60 These Izakaya Dorinku people – and there are lots of them — certainly are sociable. When a customer enters the Japanese-style gastro-pub, the staff gustily shouts out “irasshaimase”! As Izakaya Dorinku is a hit, “irasshaimase” (welcome in Japanese) reverberates throughout the stylish but casual drinking/eating establishment. The many young, mostly Oriental female servers never stop ensuring everything is fine. Upon leaving the Old Strathcona establishment (in the new Station Condos building east of the tracks), the front-of-house boss walks you to the door, holds it open, then stands outside, waving goodbye. Izakayas are the gastro pubs of Japan. Found everywhere in that country, izakayas are a vi ... Read the rest of entry »