HicksBiz Blog

Oscar would approve: Teatro La Quindicina's production of The Importance of Being Earnest - review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com

The Importance of Being Earnest Teatro La Quindicina production at The Varscona Theatre Edmonton, Alberta, Canada July 12 to 28, 2018 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com Watching The Importance of Being Earnest, Irish playwright Oscar Wilde’s acclaimed farce that is as robust and amusing today as  when first produced 123 years ago, is to realize this play’s seminal influence on most light-hearted humourous scripts written since it hit the stage. There is not a comedic sit-com, a crazy Mayfield Dinner Theatre farce or humourous romantic film that does not owe a debt to The Importance of Being Earnest.  Remarkably, Wilde’s play continues to be the standard-bearer of plot, of beautiful and witty language, of a comedy of manners. Over a century later, The Importance of Being Earnest does nothing but improve with age. It is so appropriate for Teatro La Quindicina to stage The Importance of Being Earnest. Teatro’s  playwright-in-residence Stewart Lemoine almo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Imagine Okuda fundraiser a chance for chef to wow diners By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun July 3, 2018

Imagine Okuda Fundraising Dinner June 27, 2018 Holy Roller Restaurant By GRAHAM HICKS The Weekly Dish usually avoids special-event dinners, given the idea is to review a restaurant in its every-day mode, to review anonymously, and to report on menu offerings that are always available. But this six-course fund-raiser on June 27, was different. It was created to raise funds for a six-story mural in Old Strathcona by globally recognized Spanish street painter Okuda San Miguel. San Miguel’s geometric works are packed with colour and vibrancy. The mural — to be painted on the north-facing side of the Crawford Block in a little-known plaza east of Gateway and south of 83rdAvenue – will offset the unrelenting white (snow) and green (evergreen trees) of an Edmonton winter. Imagine Okuda was also a chance to support Michael Maxxis, a culinary entrepreneur (Holy Roller, Have Mercy, and El Cortez restaurants) and a filmmaker. The interiors of his Old Strathcona restaurants are works of a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Goodbye Edmonton, hello region By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 29, 2018

Edmonton City Hall.David Bloom / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS It’s one thing for politicians to defend tax increases as a necessary evil, to fund services being demanded by the citizenry. But then there’s a reality called the free market. Invisible political boundaries surround the City of Edmonton. Step across that boundary into Sturgeon, Strathcona, Leduc or Parkland counties. Magically, industrial land prices drop by a half or more.  Ongoing business property taxes check in at 50% less than in Edmonton’s industrial parks. When existing companies expand or modernize, they are moving out of Edmonton to the major industrial parks in municipalities surrounding  the city — the Nisku and Leduc business parks, Parkland’s massive Acheson business park butting up against the city’s western boundary, Strathcona and Sturgeon counties for heavy industry. Last year, needing to expand, Ford’s Western Canadian distribution centre left its building ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Silk Bar Kitchen, a bar with good food, not a restaurant By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 26, 2018

The seared basa filet on cous cous was a highlight of Silk's bar dining. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Silk Bar Kitchen 10344 105 Street (beside the Quest condo tower) 780-264-1444 Silkbarkitchen.com Tues. to Fri. 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sat. noon to 12 a.m. Sun. noon to 2 a.m. Closed Monday Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, just food – basic $35, loaded $65 By GRAHAM HICKS The food experience in Edmonton is being blended into the bar/lounge experience. It is not a particularly pleasant picture. Full evenings of casual but elegant dining — inspired by RGE RD and Corso 32, in turn inspired by the likes of the Hardware Grill – are being replaced by lounges offering more complex bar food than in the past. When you walk into Silk Bar Kitchen, you are not walking into a bustling restaurant for a 6:30 p.m. dinner. You are walking into a near-empty bar, that two hours later is still nearly empty, and likely won’ ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta's carbon tax nonsense By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 22, 2018

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci.Gavin Young / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS So the Alberta carbon tax is now in its second year of implementation. So far, it is doing next to nothing toward achieving this government’s extraordinarily expensive Climate Leadership Plan goals. So far, it is, as respected University of Calgary economic Jack Mintz says, just another “government tax-and-spend slush fund.” This tax is a miserable failure. It is adding dramatically to the cost of gas at the pump – 6.73 cents per litre hidden within the overall price per litre – without producing results. Vehicle dealerships are not reporting a dramatic shift from SUVs to sub-compacts. Most individuals cannot dramatically reduce their miles travelled. Gasoline sales have not dropped. It’s an especially cruel tax on home heating. It’s not like any home owner today can further renovate to  reduce the amount of natural gas used to heat our homes.  From Jan ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Ampersand 27 By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 19, 2018

Who would have thought, besides chef Fan Zhang, that pureed popcorn would go so well with scallops? Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Ampersand 27 10612 82 (Whyte) Ave. 780-757-2727 ampersand27.com Delivery: Skipthedishes.com Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 4 p.m. to late, seven days a week 10 a.m. opening Saturdays and Sundays Dinner for two, just food – basic $34, loaded $65 By GRAHAM HICKS The good news is Ampersand 27 continues to be one of Old Strathcona’s best restaurants. The bad news is that the restaurant has lost the culinary edge it once had, years ago, under its initial chef Nathin Bye. It’s a handsome space that has needed little renovation since the 200-seat space originally opened more than a decade ago. In the dining room, the ceilings are high, it is spacious with acres of natural lighting. An informal classic decor is based on elegant wood. There is – like every restaurant these da ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta NDP not an utter failure — here's why By GRAHAM HICKS first published Edmonton Sun, June 15, 2018

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is applauded at a press conference after speaking about the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, in Edmonton on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.Jason Franson / The Canadian Press By GRAHAM HICKS While admitting such may cause gagging and vomiting among those opposed to the current Alberta government, our moderate socialists have done a few good things. Ten good things about the Rachel Notley New Democrat government of Alberta. 1. Rachel Notley herself: In three years, Notley has built a remarkable reputation. Even the opposition leaders agree she is fair, principled, honest and hard-working. Her unequivocal support for the Trans Mountain pipeline has earned the grudging respect of the oil/gas industry. If the New Dems are re-elected next year, she’ll be the main reason why 2. Health Minister/Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman’s amazing statement – for a socialist – that money for social programs doesn’t grow on trees. Commenting on the western premiers&r ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish — Kanto 98 St. Eatery a culinary adventure By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 12, 2018

Kanto's take on Liempo - sweet, silky BBQ'd pork belly slices. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Kanto 98 St. Eatery 10636 98 St. 780-244-7388 Kanto98st.com 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week Delivery: Skipthedishes.com and UberEATS Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $22, loaded $45 By GRAHAM HICKS It’s not that Chef Edgar Gutierrez hasn’t enough to do. As the executive chef and partner in Tres Carnales and Rostizado, he oversees two highly successful kitchens. The downtown Tres Carnales has been packed since it opened seven years ago. Rostizado, with its unique take on Mexican, Latino and South American cuisine, is fast becoming one of Edmonton’s top restaurants. But within the success, Gutierrez always had a hankering to open a restaurant paying tribute to his Filipino heritage (he came to Canada from the Philippines in his pre-teens), at the same time applying his own style and in ... Read the rest of entry »

The Enduring Grandeur of Les Miserables, the musical/opera - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium July 3 to 8, 2018, review by GRAHAM HICKS

Les Miserables Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, July 3 -8, 2018 (seven shows) Tickets start at about $50 including fees/taxes Produced by Broadway Across Canada Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com So put up your hands, if you have seen Les Miserables at least once. All of you? Not surprising.  Various editions of the touring Broadway show have visited Edmonton/Calgary in 1990, 1992, 2013, and now 2018. The 2012 movie, with Hugh Jackman in the lead role, was faithful to the script/book, and again brought this magnificent story and score to public consciousness. Put up your hands, if you’d like to see it again … and again … and again. All of you? Hardly surprising! Les Miserables is fast securing its reputation as one of the 20th Century’s most enduring operas/musical theatre. It will likely, over time, join the 20 or so shows that are the staples of the opera world. The book upon which it is based, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, is considered one of t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: That Edmonton airport bus service By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, June 8, 2018

The ETS bus to Edmonton International Airport shown at the start of service in 2012.Bruce Edwards / Bruce Edwards By GRAHAM HICKS The ETS (Edmonton Transit Service) 747 bus route – from the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Century Park southern terminal to the Edmonton International Airport – is an evidence-based, practical measurement of the city/region/provincial commitment to urban transportation, tourism, and general efficiency. Any city worth its salt has user-friendly, inexpensive and modern public transit between its airport and downtown. Toronto is a North American leader for airport-to-downtown options. The very modern and efficient UP Train leaves every 15 minutes and provides 25-minute service from Pearson International to the downtown Union Station transport hub. The $12 fare ($6 for seniors and students) is heavily subsidized. Or, for $3.25, you can take a regular Toronto bus from the airport to the Kipling subway station, hence to downtown – about an hour and a b ... Read the rest of entry »
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