HicksBiz Blog

Subtle changes in the 18th edition of the Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Subtle changes in the 18th edition of the Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol A Christmas Carol At the Maclab Stage, Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Dec. 1 to 23, 2017 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  Hicksbiz.com The changes are subtle, but they are there. For the first time since A Christmas Carol graced the Citadel’s Maclab stage 18 years ago, the grand annual Christmas presentation is not being directed by the now-retired former Citadel Theatre artistic director Bob Baker.   Nor does it star Tom Wood, who wrote the stage adaptation of the story that the Citadel has used to this day, and who has played Scrooge for most of those 18 years. It is the end of an era, but not the end of an era. For if ever a transition was seamless, this is it. Director Wayne Paquette has long been Bob Baker’s assistant director for A Christmas Carol.  The role of Scrooge this year is being alternated between Glenn Nelson – who has played the role before &nda ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Mega-batteries are changing energy economics by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 8, 2017

Is it possible that the biggest challenge to the economics of wind and solar renewable energy is about to be overcome? Missing from the equation, up until this point, have been dependable, last-lasting, environmentally acceptable mega-batteries. Wind farms are great in theory – harnessing the wind, no carbon emissions, etc. etc. But the costs go crazy when the wind doesn’t blow. Mother Nature doesn’t care about when mankind needs that power – like on the coldest and hottest days of the years. But if there were mega-batteries alongside those wind farms, storing wind energy when it was plentiful, supplying it to the grid when the wind died down … now we’re talking. It’s been a pipe dream, until now. Maybe it’s just Elon Musk’s great big mouth, but his electric car/renewable energy/battery company Tesla may have done the economically impossible. Tesla has just installed the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery (actually banks and banks of battery ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Sorrentino’s Staff Lunch by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 5, 2017

A wonderful tradition, entirely unknown outside the restaurant kitchen … and probably not much practiced in North America in any case, is the impromptu staff lunch. After the noon rush at Sorrentino’s Downtown,  executive chef Alberto Alboreggia gathers up food in the kitchen that is  surplus to the customers’ needs: Fish skeletons from which the filets have been cut, what’s left of a primal beef detached of its sirloins and prime rib, vegetable peelings and so on. Every day, Alberto converts them into a delicious, quick staff lunch.   A 22 pound, never-frozen fresh salmon has already been stripped of its salmon steaks and filets.  But left over is the head, the fins, all the meat buried alongside the spine. There are pounds of edible fish here, but it’s of little interest to the front-of-house guest. A few pieces of chicken might be left from the night before. Roasted potatoes – quartered, peeled, sprinkled with olive oil and herbs – remain i ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: How to Love Our Tourists by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 1, 2017

While my wife Maria is on a volunteer mission in Africa, before our Rome rendezvous,  I am spending five days hiking in Italy on the famous Amalfi Coast, in the mountains that cascade down to the Mediterranean Sea just south of Naples. I am a pure tourist – I don’t speak the language and I’m not a shopper, but I’m pumping money into the local economy by staying at a bed ‘n’ breakfast, eating out, using local transportation, drinking the local wines … Tourism is something our Edmonton economic developers constantly talk about. In the years to come, especially if the Indigenous People’s Experience being created at Fort Edmonton Park lives up to its potential as a destination tourist attraction, we  might see more tourists  than the trickle of visiting relatives and friends who drop in on our summer festivals while camping in the guest bedroom. What can be learned from this part of Italy, where tourism utterly dominates the local economy an ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Holy Roller One Visual Treat By GRAHAM HICKS; first published Edmonton Sun, November 28, 2017

Holy Roller 8222 Gateway Blvd 780-540-4659 theholyroller.ca Mon. to Wed. 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thurs. to Sat. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sun. 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $16; loaded, $50 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Old Strathcona’s newest restaurant Holy Roller is way too cool, full of Harry Potter twists and turns. The “lobby” (and cafe)  is all London men’s club – the library, a quiet bar. One half expects Winston Churchill slouched in one of the overstuffed easy chairs, puffing on a cigar. But then the hostess leads you through a secondary entrance to the interior. Suddenly a crystal palace greets you, a crystal palace, a restaurant all a-bustle with restless energy, an enormous ceiling, chandeliers, a bar/ open kitchen all down one side, comfy and trendy tables marching down the others. Keep going, to the third space at the back, an entirely new world – modern white ta ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Making public transit work in Edmonton by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun: November 23, 2017

Good on Edmonton Coun. Andrew Knack for sticking to his guns, and to the new city council for coming to its senses. Last July, in a vote that made no sense, the pre-election city council defeated a relatively innocent motion from Knack: That the city look at new ways of improving public transit … including private-public partnerships, ride-sharing, driverless cars and Light Road Transit – trains on tires that could run on dedicated roadways.  The notion – just to do some research, just to have a look around — was defeated in a tie vote, with dissenting councillors bowing to union pressure, or their own ideological beliefs. Thanks to you, dear voters in October’s municipal election, our new city council is a more practical bunch. Knack brought his idea back after the election. This time it passed by a healthy nine to four vote. City employees (or consultants) will check out best practices around the world to see if we can improve on the abysmal fact that only 13% ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: No more white elephants, Edmonton! by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, November 17, 2017

There’s a sinking feeling in the city’s development community, worry that the mighty “aspirational” Blatchford Lands – the City of Edmonton’s 540-acre redevelopment of the now-closed Municipal Airport – will be yet another white elephant. A white elephant: When a big project starts with the best of intentions and an optimistic budget, but ends up taking twice as long, costing twice as much, and delivering a fraction of what was promised. Blatchford started off as a city council dream. So much open land, so close to downtown, could be used to show the world how eco-sensitive Edmonton was. Blatchford is being marketed as a 30,000-resident neighbourhood with the very latest in environmental technologies, renewable energy, lovely lakes and paddle boats, no cars, lots of bikes – so attractive that thousands of families will pay premium prices to purchase brand-new eco-homes in this super-eco-neighbourhood that’s far away from the river valley but very close ... Read the rest of entry »