Showing posts from August, 2010

Downtown Survey Suggests Potential

Those who live and/or work in the city's core want more out of the region, in terms of dining, shopping and leisure
BETWEEN June 3rd and 25th of this year Edmonton's Downtown Business Association conducted a comprehensive survey of the area's residents and employees, to find out what they thought was missing in the core of the city.
365 downtown residents and 2,200 of its employees took part in the survey (phone and online, respectively) to determine the potential of the area. The results, released on Wednesday (August 25), confirmed what most of us had already expected, that more casual dining, shopping and live entertainment were top priorities.
"It's a big step toward defining downtown expectations, and it's information we can use for years to come," said report author and U of A MBA student Nick Lilley, to the Edmonton Journal. "This tool should be very effective in moving forward with our recruitment efforts, and now we can tar…

Open Sky Music Festival 2010

'Festival City' welcomes new kid on the block Open Sky, an all-day music festival set to light up Hawrelak Park this Saturday
What:First annual outdoors music festival When:Saturday, August 28 (11AM-11PM) Where:Hawrelak Park Amphitheater (9330 Groat Road)
AS if we didn't have enough choices of things to do during the summer season, here comes the all-day (11-11) outdoors (hence) Open Sky Music Festival, an inaugural event in the heart of the river valley.
This Saturday (August 28) Seven Strings Music Entertainment presents the first annual multi-genre music festival at the Hawrelak Park Amphitheater, the largest of its kind in Western Canada.
The hand-picked line-up is made up of mostly Western Canadian acts, including Edmonton's own Souljah Fyah (pictured above), Cops And Robbers, Dani Jean, Jeff Morris, and The Soulicitors. Others on the docket include Saskatoon's Mobadass, Victoria's Current Swell, Vancouver's Goodbye Beatdown, Calgary's Makeshift Innoce…

A Few Minutes With...Mat Simpson

With talent and determination beyond his years local actor Mat Simpson strives to make a difference...
"THERE'S something about embodying another person that I find completely fascinating," confessed local actor and U of A student Mat Simpson, when I Heart Edmonton asked him what he enjoys about performing on stage. "Where do they end and you begin?"
Good question. In fact, that's just what I wondered myself when, on day two of the 2010 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, I sat in the audience of Tom Blazejewicz's Fortress Mentality, in which Simpson, 19, starred.
Even before the show started, before we even got to our seats, Simpson--who was offered the part just two and a half weeks prior to showtime--had gotten into character, pacing the improvised stage at Planet ZE with some book in his hands, and stacks of others at his feet.
It was the young lead's engrossing presence that quickly enticed us, or at least myself, into…


Some of the latest happenings in Edmonton (Blues Festival, Dedfest, Corn Maze...)

TICKETS are still available for the 12th annual Labatt Blues Festival, which will hit up The Heritage Amphitheatre (Hawrelak Park) from Friday, August 20 to Sunday, August 22. Western Canada's premier blues event will include performances this year by Jimmie Vaughan (pictured left), Monkey Junk, Candyce Kane (Friday), Tom Rigney & Flambeau, The Twisters, Henry Gray & the Cats (Saturday), James Harman, Bob Brozman, Boogie Woogie Blowout (Sunday), and many others. There are no longer any weekend passes ($75-$90) or Saturday tickets ($45) left, but Friday and Sunday tix ($40, $45) are available at Ticketmaster. Shuttle transportation is available at the University of Alberta Stadium Parkade each day.
MOST of you are simply gonna ignore this blurb, but for those who care, the Intact Insurance Canadian Derby Edmonton Marathon is this weekend (August 21-22). Starting (and finishing) …

Fringe Fest Off to Great Start!

Those in charge have big expectations for this year's Fringe, which has yet to disappoint
ORGANIZERS of the 2010 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival have high hopes for the 29th edition of the world-class, 11-day event. In fact, according to Julian Mayne, executive director of Fringe Theatre Adventures, this'll be the biggest season yet!
"I'm hoping we can break 100,000 this year," said Mayne. "Part of it is we have far more shows this year. It's pretty exciting. I think we should be able to do it."
Mayne is referring to the 10 additional venues this year, for a total of 39, which will house 1,200 performances of 230 plays by nearly 1,000 artists. Them are some big numbers, Winnipeg!
Last year 92,600 tickets were sold for the 2009 Fringe, a record itself, and if early sales are any indication, 2010 is looking to break it.
From last Tuesday (August 3) at noon to less than 24 hours later, all Frequent Fringer and Double Fringe…

Fringe Binge!

Fringe addicts rejoice, as your favourite time of the year has finally arrived
ATTENDING the Folk Fest, A Taste of Edmonton, Capital Ex, or most other Edmonton festivals is always up in the air. But when it comes to our world-class Fringe fest, there's no question. I'm there!
So imagine my glee that the countdown has finally come to an end. That's right, the 29th annual Edmonton International Theatre Fringe Festival--the largest and oldest on the continent!--is upon us, running from Thursday (August 12) until Sunday the 22nd. This year's theme is "We'll Show You Ours."
More than 500 artists from around the globe descend on our turf to put in over 1,000 performances during the 11-day extravaganza. And it kicks off with the "Performer's Parade" tomorrow night (Aug. 12) at 7:30PM.
This weekend I'll be heading out to at least 8 shows, and don't plan on stopping there, so put off everything else in your life right now and stay…

I Heart iNews!

Local radio announcer & fellow blogger Brittney Le Blanc takes a few minutes to ask me why I heart Edmonton so much...
YOU may remember a segment we did a few months back called 'A Few Minutes with...Brittney Le Blanc'? Yes? I thought so! Anyways, the "prevalent social media darling" has returned the favour, so to speak.
This afternoon, Le Blanc--who works over at iNews880--posted an interview I did with her, titled 'Get to Know an Edmontonian,' on her accompanying blog.
I wanted to personally extend my thank you to Brittney and iNews880 for the shout-out, which included a brief on-air plug that had me flustered over explaining my answer for "Favourite Candy"! Don't ask.
Anyways, a big thank you to Brittney (pictured above right) for taking the time out to spotlight myself and my little blog, and to her own blog's parent site iNews880.
Also, I'd like to take the time to apologize for the lack of posts as of late. Things…

Photo Op/ Elk Island National Park

Nearby national park caters to the outdoorsman, but for me, it's an occasional excursion at best


ONE of the things I love most about our city is its vicinity to some of the most stunning, tranquil, and picturesque regions of our fine nation. Banff. Jasper. Canmore. I mean, come on!

Something like 35km east of Edmonton is another slab of land dedicated to preserving our indigenous ecosystems. Elk Island National Park. And it's pretty, to boot!

Sure, there's no Rocky Mountain landscapes or streaming river bound for the coast, but Elk Island, in all its glory, is 194 km2 of subdued aspen parkland, boreal forest, native fescue grassland, and domestic wildlife, secured as Canada's largest enclosed national park.

Because of its enclosure, Elk Island is second only to the Serengeti plains of Africa as the world's densest population of hoofed mammals. I know...exciting, right?! That's bison, moose, deer, and of course, elk, all of which roam the grounds al…

Music Clip of the Month/ 08-10

Jill Hennessy's "Ghost In My Head" (2009)


"WHEN I began writing these songs, the floodgates opened to my whole life," admitted Edmonton-born singer-songwriter & actress Jill Hennessy, referring to her debut album Ghost In My Head. "It's the embodiment of a lifetime of work."

But most people who even know who Jill Hennessy is, most likely know her from her work on the small screen. From 1993 to '96 Hennessy, 41, played assistant district attorney Claire Kincaid on Law & Order, and then was tenacious medical examiner Jordan Cavanaugh on Crossing Jordan, from 2001 to '07.

The mother of two also showed up on the big screen in between her TV gigs, with supporting roles in RoboCop 3 (1993), The Paper (1994), I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), Autumn In New York (2000), Wild Hogs (2007), Lymelife (2008), and many others.

But Hennessy has been focusing on her musical ambitions as of late, a lingering passion that had been ignited as a…

52 Reasons to Love Edmonton

Never mind the mall or our hockey heritage, Jennifer Fong discovers plenty of other excuses to heart Edmonton


ON July 11, 2009, about a week after I started blogging 'bout why I Heart Edmonton so damn much, the Edmonton Journal's Jennifer Fong (pictured below center) had made it her mission to do the same.

"People who come here already know about the largest mall in North America," wrote Fong, who actually hails from Toronto. "They already know that we claim hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as our own. They know we love our festivals so much that we branded ourselves Festival City.

"But what about the little things? You know, the things that only people who live here know about. The moments that make us sigh a little and think, 'this is beautiful'."

That's why Fong accepted the "challenge" of coming up with "52 Reasons to Love Edmonton," a year-long love affair that had the reporter discover one reason every sing…