Showing posts from November, 2009

Photo Op: The River Boat, Pt. I & II

EDMONTON has had its share of nicknames over the decades, from "Oil Capital of Canada" and "Gateway to the North" to "City of Champions" and the erroneous "Deadmonton." But the one I've come to prefer more than any of those is "Festival City," which seems the most fitting of the bunch.

All year long Edmonton is hosting major, minor, or back alley festivals that nobody has even heard of. There always seems to be something going on in our under-appreciated city (see "Edmonton Festivals" in the sidebar) just gotta look for it!

One of those dozens of fests that take over the city every year is the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival, which was hosted by the Louise McKinney River Front Park in late August.

"The Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association (EDBFA) is a non-profit organization which promotes Dragon Boat racing and its multicultural celebration in the city of Edmonton," reads the group's mission statement

Edmonton 2010 Welcomes Big-Name Concerts

U2, Bon Jovi & John Mayer are amongst the major acts coming to town in the new year


OVER the last few years Edmonton has become a preferred destination for some of the world's most celebrated music acts to come to perform.


Well, Alberta's economy was numero uno in the nation during those years, and amongst the most stable on the continent, which meant that plenty of Edmontonians had plenty of expendable funds. As it turns out, many of the major concerts in E-town would either sell out or come damn near close.

It also didn't hurt that the music industry was on the opposite end of a boom, suffering deeper with every passing year, as record labels watched album sales drop substantially, and illegal downloading take over as the favoured way to gather music. That meant that musicians were forced to hit the road more and more, in order to make up for lost revenue from those dramatically-weakened record sales.

During these past few years Edmonton has hosted …

A Few Minutes with...Don Iveson

Ward 5 city councillor Don Iveson takes part in our brief Q&A about our favourite city!


AT 30, Don Iveson is currently the youngest city councillor in Edmonton's City Hall. But it isn't his age that Iveson will be best remembered for in the coming years. It's "for proving you can change city hall--with lots of persistence, patience and non-partisan bridge-building."

Or at least that's why he recently made the inaugural "Top 40 Under 40" list by Avenue magazine, recognizing Edmontonians dedicated to building a better future for our city.

The Ward 5 councillor--and self-confessed Trekkie--was born right here in Edmonton. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta, where his mother Margaret is an education professor. Iveson also served as the editor of the school's newspaper The Gateway, and then as advocacy director of the U of A's Students' Union.

He entered politics in 2007, surprising many when he was v…

EDvent: Edmonton International Film Festival '09, Part III

EIFF '09 has come and gone, but organizers are already looking towards 2010


IT'S been a month and a half since the 2009 Edmonton International Film Festival came to an end, but that doesn't mean that we can't still check in. After all, the EIFF recently issued their latest newsletter, declaring the '09 season a success!

Attendance for the 23rd annual EIFF (Sept. 25-Oct. 3) was up again, and the festival experienced even more interest in their programming streams, which included "Sobey's Lunchbox Shorts" and "In Our Own Backyard."

The EIFF is already accepting submissions for its 2010 edition, but films must have been produced AFTER April 1, 2009. There are four categories to consider when submitting: Narrative Feature (75 minutes or more), Documentary Feature (60 minutes or more), Short Films (30 minutes or less), and Documentary Shorts (30 minutes or less).

In addition to films, the EIFF is also on the look out for board member…

Save Alberta Hospital Concert

Live music will help raise money & awareness for group destined to save Alberta Hospital

What:Save Alberta Hospital Edmonton Concert
When:Saturday, November 28, 2009 @ 7PM
Where:Edmonton Event Centre (8882-170 St.)/ 780-489-7469

ANYONE who's been tuned into the local news over the last few months knows at least something about the recent controversies involving the Alberta Hospital. The 86-year-old, 275-acre, 45-building, 400-bed psychiatric hospital is downsizing.

The province announced the closing of some of the facility's acute care beds back in August, but has since seen a swift backlash of protestors who warn that this decision could have serious consequences.

This Saturday (Nov. 28) has been set aside by those very protestors, who have organized a special evening of music to raise proceeds and awareness for their cause. Presented by Friends of D.A.V.I.D.S., the "Save Alberta Hospital Edmonton" benefit concert will take place at Edmonton Event Centre in West Edmon…

@ the Movies/ Broke

Director Rosie Dransfeld discovers more than she expected to tell in her documentary, based in a local pawn shop


IT'S when he's so desperate that he'd break into a parked car to steal its GPS unit and a few CDs. It's when his addiction has taken over his inhibitions, and spare change and empties are all he's got left. It's when her wedding band is no longer irreplaceable and has lost the meaning it once held.

These are the kind of lonesome moments director Rosie Dransfeld captures in her sobering documentary Broke, which was filmed last year right here in Edmonton.

Set entirely in or just outside the cluttered A1 Trading (9434-111 Ave.), Broke examines the mostly loyal patrons of the inner city pawn shop, which happens to be situated across the street from an elementary school (see picture below).

Jewish immigrant David Woolfson is the poor man's banker, of sorts, lending cash to bottle collectors, drug addicts, alcoholics, or folks just down o…

Edmonton's 2010 Grey Cup to Debut New Mascot

When the 98th Grey Cup comes to the 'City of Champions' next year, Earl the mascot will be in tow!


EDMONTON has a new mascot, sorta. Earl Grey, as he will be known, was unveiled earlier today (Nov. 20) to a group made up mostly of the media, and will make his official debut at the 2010 Grey Cup in Edmonton.

The $10,000 mascot made quite an impact on those on hand, as well as subsequent readers and bloggers, who had lots to say about the cartoonish character.

The Edmonton Sun conducted an online poll to clarify whether locals were content with Earl, or flat-out hated him. The results were about 50/50.

Modelled after the 100-year-old Grey Cup championship trophy, the green & gold-coloured Earl was made possible after the federal government handed over $150,000 to the Edmonton 2010 Grey Cup Committee.

Earl was designed and created right here in town by the International Mascot Corporation, which has production & marketing facilities in New York, Madrid, Atla…

Ed Spot #9: Cafè Leva

In the vicinity of the U of A campus is an Italian-style cafè that wears several hats...


EVERYTIME I drive by this place it seems to be brimming with specialty coffee drinkers and loyal admirers of simple Italian fare. In fact, when I recently checked out the licensed Cafè Leva for the first time, the only reason my buddy and I were able to get our order "to stay" was because a pair of patrons were just leaving. We pounced on their still-warm seats with our $4 lattès as I stared down the gourmet desserts and pastries behind the '60s-styled glass showcase. Yum!

Hidden in a residential area in the Garneau district, somewhere between the U of A and Whyte Ave., Cafè Leva is a cozy little getaway from busy streetscapes. The quaint departure is "focused on providing traditional Italian-style coffee" to its devoted patrons, and has been since 2001.

We found free parking on one of the narrow lanes that criss-cross Leva on the corner of 111th St. (despite …

A Few Minutes with...Rhubarb Jones

JOE FM's Rhubarb Jones takes part in our brief Q&A about our favourite city!


IHEART Edmonton is excited to introduce a new segment to our humble site, "A Few Minutes with...", which is a 6-part Q&A with local celebrities, TV/radio personalities, artists, athletes, or regular Edmontonians dedicated to bettering our amazing city.

Our first victim will be Rhubarb Jones, who only recently became Program Director over at one of Edmonton's most popular radio stations, JOE FM (92.5), playing "80s, 90s...Almost Anything!" Jones is also part of the on-air team at JOE FM, DJ'ing weekdays from 2-6PM.

I Heart would like to thank Mr. Jones for being the inaugural participant for "A Few Minutes with...", and for answering all of our hard-hitting questions. Okay, maybe they're not exactly Oprah-worthy, but still...

1.What is one thing about Edmonton that you think stands out from other Canadian cities?There is a real sense of communi…

Localities (11/17/09)

Kingsway Mall gets reboot/ Old Strathcona needs artists/ Bryan Hall retires from Eskimos

-YOU might wanna sit down for this one (okay, you probably already are!). One of Edmonton's busiest shopping centres, Kingsway Garden Mall, is no longer! Well, the name isn't, that is. The central mall has dropped the "Garden" and will now reside simply as Kingsway Mall. I know...this is a lot to process, but you'll get used to it, I promise.

It's all part of the 33-year-old mall's grand reopening this past weekend (Nov. 13-15), following a 2-year, $70 million makeover, just in time for the holiday season. Located at 109th St. & Kingsway Ave., the 190-shop centre boasts brand new stores, new escalators & bathrooms, enhanced lighting, plush seating, and a stylish, updated food court. It even has a new slogan, "Let Your Light Shine," which goes well with the brighter look of Edmonton's second largest mall (at 960,000 square feet).

Over the last couple…

Taboo...The Naughty but Nice Show

"Definitely Edmonton's Sexiest Event of the Year!"

What:Taboo...The Naughty but Nice Show
When:Friday, November 20-Sunday, November 22, 2009
Where:Northlands Agricom, Hall A (1-800-626-1538)

TABOO is an annual, upscale consumer trade show that specializes in "romance," "self-improvement,"!

"The show's primary objective is to bring the industry together with prospective buyers in a comfortable and non-threatening environment," reads Taboo's official website.

For just $15 ($10 online) you're invited to take in celebrity guests & autograph sessions, fashion shows, product demonstrations & seminars, contests, live broadcasts, educational workshops & seminars, a VIP party, and, of course, the main stage presentations.

What does that mean, exactly?!

That means presentations by Capital City Burlesque (pictured above), Madeleine Horn ("Burlesque from the Darkside"), Show Girls Exotic Dancers, First Class Male, pol…

The Unknown Studio

When the written word just isn't doing it for you, sit back and let Adam & Scott feed your ears with the goings-on of E-town


I WAS listening to the "second" episode of The Unknown Studio podcast as I was writing this post (that's called multi-tasking), because I simply couldn't wait until it was over to tell other Edmontonians about it.

This particular episode featured Ward 5 city councillor and self-proclaimed Star Trek nerd Don Iveson, who was recently selected by Avenue magazine as one of their "Top 40 Under 40" Edmontonians working to brighten our city's future. The podcast was produced back in the beginning of July, and centered around discussing "smart growth, transit-oriented development, the Fraser Institute, and hilarious trivia."

But this was not my introduction to Adam Rozenhart & Scott C. Bourgeois' topical podcast. I was a late bloomer who didn't plug in until Episode 11 (November 9, 2009), featur…

Avenue Magazine Crowns 'Top 40 Under 40'

Local magazine sifts through the best of the best of Edmontonians who are shaping our future


I CAN'T imagine exactly how many under-40-year-olds there are in our grand city, and I can't imagine having to dwindle those tens of thousands of fine folks down to a short list, and then selecting the 40 who would make up Avenue magazine's inaugural "Top 40 Under 40" list. Fortunately, that task wasn't up to me.

Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, Grant MacEwan President & CEO Paul Byrne, Avenue's Director of Marketing Trudy Callaghan, Edmonton Arts Council Executive Director John Mahon, Chair of Junior Chamber International Edmonton Julie Ward, and Lexus of Edmonton GM Bruce Kirkland were given the burden of tackling this list, which meant rejecting countless worthy candidates and narrowing it down to 70, and then again to the final 40.

How did they come up with the elite 40? I'm glad you asked! Avenue magazine went on the prowl to find Edmonton…

EDvent: Jeff Stuart & the Hearts' CD Release Party

Local alt-rockers give Dylan & Young a run for their money?!


FOR someone who has seen icons Bob Dylan and Neil Young in concert in the last year or so, I can honestly say that I had a better time listening to the alt-country rock sounds of local band Jeff Stuart & the Hearts, who hit up the Pawn Shop Tuesday night (Nov. 10) for their anticipated CD release party.

Dylan & Young went through the motions of another arena concert, pushing through their catalogue of classics like they had better things to do. I guess I can't blame them for showing a lack of enthusiasm for what must've been their gazillionth show, but what the hell?! I expected more outta these legends of rock, and yet got more than expected from Stuart and his squadron of multi-instrumentalists.

Almost makes me hope Stuart & the Hearts fail to hit it big! But not really.

My sister Carrie and I arrived fashionably early to locked doors at the Pawn Shop on Whyte Ave., but right on time fo…

Edmonton Remembers Our War Heroes

It is November 11th today, which means Canadians are celebrating the 90th annual Remembrance Day, commemorating the sacrifices made by the armed forces and civilians in times of war, dating all the way back to the First World War (1914-1918).

The special day of remembrance (known as Veterans Day in the U.S.) was first dedicated to November 7th by King George V in 1919, stemming from a pair of ceremonial periods of remembrance that were established by Edward George Honey in 1917.

Although the official national ceremonies are held each November at the National War Museum in Ottawa, Edmonton hosts various ceremonies throughout the city. The largest of which is held annually at the Universiade Pavilion, better known as the "Butterdome" (pictured below).


Edmonton Arts Advocate Tim Ryan Has Died

At the age of 62, one of the city's most significant theatre arts promoters and aficionados passed away last week


AN influential and vital member of the Edmonton theatre arts community, Tim Ryan passed away last Thursday (November 5) due to congestive heart failure complicated by the H1N1 virus. He was 62.

The visionary mentor, teacher, artist, husband and father has left a mark in our city's lively theatre scene, including as founder of the 30-year-old arts department at the Grant MacEwan University.

In 1979 Ryan, a graduate of the University of Dayton, moved his family to Edmonton from Cleveland, where he served the town's theatrical and operatic districts, and co-ran the Willoughby School of Fine Arts with then-wife Maralyn.

It was immediately upon his move to Alberta's capital that Ryan began developing a theatre arts program at what was then the Grant MacEwan Community College, specializing in the musical format.

Ryan's influence was noticeable rig…