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Edmonton

Dreamspeakers Film Festival

Dreamspeakers

Image courtesy of Dreamspeakers Film Festival.

A Dene elder once said that when you make films, “you are speaking your dreams”. Since then, Indigenous filmmakers have referred to their craft as “Dreamtalking”. This festival has become an annual international gathering of Dreamtalkers — filmmakers, performers, and artists — from around the globe who gather to share this common bond and link with the natural world through film. All film screenings or only $12, and their are a variety of panels and workshops where you can learn more about Indigenous cultures and filmmaking. Visit the website for a full program and to buy tickets. —Lindsay Shapka

Dreamspeakers Film Festival | September 23 – 28
Metro Cinema at the Garneau | 8712-109 St. | 780-378-9609

Get Your Geek on at Edmonton Expo

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Alex Kingston as River Song in Doctor Who. Photo courtesy Edmonton Expo.

Get ready to celebrate science fiction, comic books, fantasy, animation, pop culture, and much more at the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo! Attendees of this three-day convention will be able to shop hundreds of vendors, take part in cosplay contests, check out panels and workshops, and meet some of the creators and stars of their favourite films, television shows, graphic novels, and comic books. This year’s list of guests includes Carrie Fisher from Star Wars, Alex Kingston from Doctor Who and Arrow, John de Lancie from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Breaking Bad, and Natalia Dyer and Shannon Purser from Stranger ThingsTickets are available at the door, but it’s safer to buy them in advance hereFor more information on panels and special guests, visit the Edmonton Expo website. —Lindsay Shapka

Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo | September 23 – 25
Edmonton EXPO Centre | 7300-116 Ave. | 780-471-7210

Ask the Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (September/October 2016)

Nella-Blog

Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios.

We asked Edmonton expert and Les Clefs d’Or Nella Mirante at The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald‘s Gold Floor for her advice about fall time and shopping in the city!

1. Where would you send a traveller who wants to take a yoga class?
I like to send my travelling guests to Noorish to maintain their daily rituals of yoga and mediation. Then, after the class, they can indulge at the restaurant with local organic, raw, vegan, and gluten-free options!

2. What is your recommendation for a great spot to try local beer? 
I usually recommend downtown’s Craft Beer Market! There are so many different types of beer to choose from and some great local faves too!

3. What is your favourite thing to have guests do in the fall in Edmonton?
My fave for fall is a segway tour with River Valley Adventure Co. through our river valley. The views are spectacular and you can take in all the beautiful fall colours!

4. Where is the best place to watch an Oilers game (other than the new arena)?
I would recommend watching an Oilers game at 1ST RND — every square inch is a TV!

5. The changing weather means it’s time to shop for new shoes! Where should visitors go to outfit their feet?
Treat your feet to Poppy Barley — the local brand is known for its style and comfort, and you will love their story of true craftsmanship and how their company came to fruition.

Les Clefs d’Or Concierges have been opening doors for hotel guests in Canada since 1976, and today there are more than 150 members from coast to coast and more than 3,500 members worldwide! You can find Nella on the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s luxurious Gold Floor.

Die-Nasty or Die Trying in Edmonton

Die-Nasty

Photo courtesy of Varscona Theatre.

An event for only the most daring and talented improv actors in Edmonton, the annual Die-Nasty Soap-a-Thon is a 50-hour continuous improv show. Sleep is for the weak, and the Die-Nasty Soap Opera actors are ready to present a weekend full of laughter, tears, joy, and cheers. This year’s theme is “Airport 1975,” which parodies characters and cliches from 1970s disaster movies.

Head to the newly renovated Varscona Theatre between Friday at 7 pm and Sunday at 9 pm to join in on the fun. Drink a coffee (or three) beforehand and see if you can outlast the actors! If you purchase a Weekend Pass, you can leave the theatre between sets for a dinner or nap break. Call 780-420-1757 or visit TIX on the Square for tickets. —Danielle Mohr

Die-Nasty Soap-A-Thon | September 16 – 18
Varscona Theatre | 10329-83 Ave. | 780-420-1757

Catch an Adrenaline Rush at the FISE World Series in Edmonton

FISE-World-Series-2

Photo courtesy FISE World Series.

The Festival International des Sports Extrêmes (FISE) will be setting up giant ramps and riding features in Hawrelak Park for the fourth FISE World Series stopover of 2016! This extreme sports competition will feature a BMX freestyle park, a demanding, technical cycling competition, and a BMX flat course. There will also be an MTB Slopestyle event, which is performed on a course built to reproduce elements that bikers would find on a mountain, including over-sized features and massive jumps. The fourth event will showcase skateboarding tricks as some of the best in the world compete on huge ramps built specially for the event. Between events, you can hang out in the Beer Gardens, or join in fun activities, such as jumping on a giant airbag or battling in bumper balls! —Lindsay Shapka

FISE World Series | September 16–18
Hawrelak Park | 9930 Groat Rd.

Book of Mormon Returns to Edmonton

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

The hilarious hit musical is back in Edmonton! Dubbed “the best musical of the century”, by The New York Times, this show from the creators of South Park follows the adventures of two Mormon missionaries who are sent to a remote Ugandan village to spread the Good Word.

Their attempt to share the scriptures meets resistance from locals who are more concerned with famine and oppression, so the young men decide to get creative. For as much as it may offend some attendees with vulgar moments, the show also offers some heartwarming lessons about believing in yourself and achieving your dreams.

Buy your tickets through Ticketmaster today!

Book of Mormon | September 13 – 18
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 1-855-985-5000

 

12 Over 12: Celebrating Pubs, Bars & Entertainment Venues in Edmonton

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The burger at The Next Act Pub. Photo by Adrien Guyot.

Edmonton’s nightlife thrives off these pubs, bars, and entertainment venues whose longevity — they’ve all been in operation for at least a dozen years — is a testament to how they draw crowds and shape the character of the city and its neighbourhoods.

The Hat
Opened: 1912
Come for: Classy atmosphere and longevity
Location: 10251 Jasper Ave., 780-429-4471
An Edmonton institution born the same year the Titanic was launched, this well-loved pub shows no signs of sinking! The long, narrow bar creates a cozy, old-fashioned atmosphere. For food, the burgers are your best bet, with regulars’ favourites including the Signature — with double-smoked bacon, Monterey Jack, barbeque sauce, and banana peppers — or for those who like it hot: the Jalapeno Cheddar Burger. Located in the centre of downtown on the happening Jasper Ave., The Hat is a tasteful joint and convenient spot to gather after a thought-provoking show at the Citadel Theatre or Winspear Centre. —Matthew Stepanic

Yardbird Suite
Opened: 1957
Come for: A cozy and intimate atmosphere
Location: 10203-86 Ave., 780-432-0428
The Edmonton jazz scene owes a great deal to this local club. In 1957, a group of musicians with unparalleled passion for jazz opened the first location of the Yardbird Suite in a basement space on Whyte Ave. Although the location of the venue has changed multiple times since then, the current incarnation on 86 Ave. has been in operation since 1984. The club gives artists a creative and interactive space, while also offering Edmontonians a chance to see top jazz talents up close. Part of what makes the venue so popular is the casual, hip, and intimate atmosphere it provides for musicians and audiences alike. —Danielle Mohr

Rose & Crown Pub
Opened: 1978
Come for: Pre-game beers
Location: 10235- 101 St., 780-426-7827
Located next to the new Rogers Place, this popular English pub is a hot spot for pre- and post-game drinks and eats. Historically, the pub is noted for being the first “stand-up bar” in the city after the AGLC changed the liquor laws, allowing Edmontonians to consume drinks while standing. Expect Olde English style comfort food, a friendly atmosphere, and plenty of televisions to satisfy your sports cravings. Sit back with a scotch at the bar, enjoy a pint with friends after a game, or book a party in their private dining room. —D.M.

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The stage at Blues on Whyte. Photo by Adrien Guyot.

Blues on Whyte
Opened: 1984
Come for: Unpretentious, non-stop blues
Location: 10329 Whyte (82) Ave., 780-439-5058
With the classic feel of the blues bars of a bygone era, this welcoming spot will have you returning for some of the best live music in the city. No matter what night of the week, this well-loved bar is a haven for live bands. An entirely down-to-earth venue, anyone is welcome to swing their hips on the dance floor — or in their seats — where the only rule is to have a good time. Play some pool, enjoy a cold beer, and chat with the regulars. Be sure to swing by on a Saturday afternoon for the Blues Jam, when musicians riff each others’ songs, and a new group takes to the stage about every 20 minutes. —M.S.

The Next Act Pub
Opened: 1992
Come for: The Cameo Burger, an ever-changing special
Location: 8224-104 St., 780-433-9345
This classic pub is quite literally the next act for the many actors in the area who’ve just finished their innovative play or improv show. (Chances are good you can congratulate an actor or ask a director follow-up questions here!) The bar was purchased by new owners and renovated in 2010, and the upgraded menu is now one of the best reasons to stop in. The burgers at Next Act are a local favourite, and with the Cameo Burger changing from week to week with exciting toppings, there’s always something new to try. Often, the menu borrows smoked brisket or chicken from its sister restaurant next door, MEAT, making the food an extra tasty treat. —M.S.

The Black Dog Freehouse
Opened: 1992
Come for: Rooftop parties under the stars
Location: 10425 Whyte (82) Ave., 780-433-0379
One of the most popular evening hangouts on Whyte Ave., this hip pub always serves great local beers on top of the usual well-known brands. Each of the bar’s three levels offers a distinct experience, from the Underdog basement to the Wooftop Patio. The main floor hosts a cool DJ, while the basement features anything from Thursday-night comedy to live music. Arrive early to claim a spot on the roof, where you’re surrounded by a flourishing garden, the night sky, and a unique view of the bustling avenue below. —M.S.

The Billiard Club
Opened: 1993
Come for: The pool tables
Location: 10505 Whyte (82) Ave., 780-432-0335
Housed in the historic Post Office Heritage building on Whyte Ave., this popular bar has earned its place in Edmontonians’ hearts as a go-to spot for good times. Patrons consider it an “experience” rather than a restaurant. Whether you’re looking for a casual weeknight meet-up over dinner, or hoping to turn it up for the weekend with dancing, drink specials, and live DJs, The Billiard Club will not disappoint. If the delicious menu, theme parties, and live music can’t hold your attention, there’s always a game of pool waiting for you on one of the many pool tables that lend the bar its name. —D.M.

O’Byrne’s Irish Pub
Opened: 1998
Come for: Live local music
Location: 10616 Whyte (82) Ave., 780-414-6766
O’Byrne’s proudly holds the title of “Edmonton’s Oldest Irish Pub”. As one would expect, the Guinness flows steadily here, and the menu offers a tasty selection of traditional Irish dishes created from scratch. Give the Irish Stew a try, or sample their Sausage and Spuds, an Irish classic topped with Guinness gravy. The cozy and welcoming atmosphere of this Edmonton favourite is made lively with regular entertainment throughout the week. Tuesday night Guinness Celtic Jam sessions are popular among patrons, and the Big Rock’n Open Mic shows on Sunday nights give local talent a chance to shine. —D.M.

Filthy McNasty’s
Opened: 2001
Come for: Fabulous food and drink specials
Location: 10511 Whyte (82) Ave., 780-705-6626
Award-winning wings and renowned service will draw you in, but it’s the fun-filled atmosphere that will keep you coming back to this longstanding Irish pub. Think of Filthy McNasty’s as your newest headquarters for special events. Karaoke nights, record release parties, PPV sports screenings, and theme parties are just a few of the legendary festivities they host regularly. Swing by on a Saturday afternoon to take in free live shows by local and touring musicians. While you’re listening, try out some of their fantastic daily food and drink specials, which make this pub a great hangout for students. The bar staff is friendly and attentive, and there is always something interesting going on to draw you in! —D.M.

Allegro Italian Kitchen
Opened: 2002
Come for: Live piano music
Location: 10011-109 St., 780-424-6644
When you arrive at this downtown Italian staple on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll be greeted by the tinkling of live piano music. The beautiful melody will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a fine-dining spot in Italy. Lucky patrons can score a seat at the piano bar and enjoy the pleasant music as they sip Sangiovese all night. The food remains authentic and delectable, including their classic Lasagna — layers of homemade pasta, tender veal, creamy béchamel, mozzarella and parmigiano cheeses, and a fresh tomato sauce. After dinner, take a pleasurable evening stroll around the nearby Legislature Grounds and enjoy the striking architecture and fountains. —M.S.

The Starlite Room
Opened: 2004
Come for: Intimate band experiences
Location: 10030-102 St., 780-428-1099
The brick building that houses this popular venue — the Old Citadel — was originally built by the Salvation Army as a place of worship. From 1965 to 1978, it was the home of the Citadel Theatre Company, and now it’s become a place for hip music lovers to worship their favourite bands. Line up early enough, and you could be front and centre for an intimate experience with that must-catch rising punk band. But don’t worry if you arrive late — the stage is raised and the floor slopes, so the varieties of musicians (from wild electronic to soothing indie) are in sight no matter where you’re standing. —M.S.

The Comic Strip
Opened: 2005
Come for: The laughs
Location: 1646 Bourbon St., West Edmonton Mall, 780-483-5999
If you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side, The Comic Strip offers up nightly side-splitting shows. Owned by Canadian comedian Rick Bronson, it’s known as “the club that launched a thousand faces” for its expertise in showcasing emerging talent. With over a decade of exceptional entertainment and hospitality under its belt, a night of laughter is guaranteed. Shows feature today’s top comedians and tomorrow’s celebrities, bringing together local and international talent to create first-rate acts. Full dinner and drink service are also available with every show, making the venue a one-stop shop for date night or weekend fun with friends. —D.M.

Edmonton Film Society Presents Favourite Films for Fall

Northbynorthwest1The Edmonton Film Society is changing things up for its fall film program by showing some of the greatest classics that deserve to be revisited, instead of its usual roster of under-appreciated movies. See the masterpieces from some of Hollywood’s finest directors, writers, composers, actors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart, Cary Grant, and more! All the screenings start at 8 pm on Mondays at the Royal Alberta Museum. View the schedule below, or find more details on the website.

September 12 | 8 pm
North by Northwest
An ad executive is kidnapped due to a mistaken identity, and he winds up in a convoluted battle with enemy agents and fleeing from both police and the agents. One of Alfred Hitchcock’s greats, many of this film’s sequences will forever resonate with audiences.
Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

September 19 | 8 pm
The Fortune Cookie
In this Billy Wilder comedy, a TV cameraman gets hurt on the job, and his brother-in-law works up an insurance-fraud scheme to make them both rich, if the injured one can masquerade as a wheelchair-bound invalid.
Starring: Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon

September 26 | 8 pm
All About Eve
An aging Broadway star takes a seemingly naïve fan under her wing, only to discover the waif has a secret. This movie received 14 Academy Award nominations, and Joseph Mankiewicz won three: Writer, Director, and Best Picture.
Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Marilyn Monroe

October 3 | 8 pm
Bringing Up Baby
In this screwball comedy, a non-stop profusion of comic disasters, coincidences and misunderstandings ensue when a naïve professor joins an heiress to look for a lost dinosaur bone.
Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn

October 17 | 8 pm
Ninotchka 
Communist Russian bureaucrats send a serious and businesslike woman to Paris to retrieve three delegates corrupted by the West, but her mission is complicated by a romance.
Starring: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Bela Lugosi

October 24 | 8 pm
Father Goose
An irascible beach bum finds himself reluctantly drafted to man an observation post on a South Pacific island during WWII. An upstanding schoolteacher and her seven female charges invade his domain resulting in a comical battle of the sexes.
Starring: Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard

October 31 | 8 pm
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
A lonely widow refuses to be scared by the ghost of a salty sea captain who haunts her newly purchased cottage. This fantastical romantic comedy features a beautiful score by Bernard Herrmann.
Starring: Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders

November 7 | 8 pm
Vertigo
In this Hitchcock masterpiece, a man quits the police force because of his vertigo and takes the job of tailing the wife of a friend who’s been behaving strangely.
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes

Local Author Spotlight: Mark Lisac

Mark-Lisac-2-Photo-by-Elinor-Florence

Photo by Elinor Florence.

What drives a politician to run over a man with his half-ton truck? That grisly murder is the political scandal that sets the tone in Mark Lisac’s dynamic first novel, Where the Bodies Lie. Lawyer Harry Asher — an old friend of the current premier — is hired to investigate the politician’s motivation and ensure nothing more sinister is at work that could damage the premier’s political dynasty. What Asher uncovers is a long list of corrupt deeds and moral slips that could implicate some of the most powerful people in this oil-rich province.

Where-the-Bodies-Lie

Courtesy NeWest Press.

Though the novel never specifically names where it’s set, it’s an educated guess that Mark Lisac drew from his decades of experience as an Alberta political reporter to create his fictional province. Some of the book’s scandals may be missing from Alberta’s history, but the political structures and players will feel uncannily familiar to anyone who’s followed the province’s news and politics in recent years. Over his reporting career, Lisac clearly understood the necessary elements of a story in the reports he filed, as his voice in fiction builds suspense seamlessly.

As Harry moves closer to uncovering dark truths in a province fuelled by greed, rumours, and lies, he learns the only way to stay safe is to keep your ambition to yourself. Political junkies will devour this book, and other readers may find themselves eerily unsettled after the last page as they continue to question what is certain in their own lives. —Matthew Stepanic

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Under the Sky

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Photo courtesy Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

There is no better way to end summer than with four days of music! The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra heads to Hawrelak Park for an incredible repertoire that will include the music of Simon & Garfunkel, Hollywood hits, and the classical sounds of Mendelssohn, Strauss, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Sunday night will end with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

The following weekend, the ESO moves to the great outdoors of the city to perform a FREE concert in Churchill Square! Enjoy family-friendly performances of favourite songs from Disney films, including The Little Mermaid,Beauty and the Beast, and The Jungle Book. Come early for activities in the square and remember to bring your own chair.

Symphony Under the Sky | August 25 – 28 | 7 pm
Hawrelak Park | 9930 Groat Rd. | 780-428-1414

Symphony in the City | September 2 & 3 | 5 pm & 3 pm
Churchill Square | 102 Ave. & 100 St. | 780-944-7740

Chef Spotlight: Serge Jost

Chef-Jost-by-Pedro-Escobar

Photo by Pedro Escobar.

The head chef at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Chef Jost is originally from the Alsace region of France that borders Germany. His father was a winemaker in the region, and so he was raised working on the family winery and learning how to make and appreciate the nuances of wine.

The transition from wine to food was a natural one for Jost, who trained in Strasbourg, France, and then spent the first years of his career working at hotels in Paris, Germany, and Hong Kong. After his international foray into the culinary world, Jost returned to France to open his own restaurant, but found the complicated French permit process was preventing him from doing what he really wanted — creating great food and delighting diners.

So, he left France and came to Canada, arriving in Quebec where he worked for 17 years at three different exclusive hotels. Before making the move to Edmonton, Jost visited the city and the food scene got him excited: “I saw that the food scene was moving in Edmonton, and it felt exactly the same as when I started 17 years ago in Montreal. There was huge potential and I wanted to be a part of that.”

And a part of it he has become. Jost has created fantastic, must-try menus for the Harvest Room, Confederation Lounge, and the new Gold Floor at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald that feature dishes made with local, high-quality ingredients. Visit the website to see the full menus. —Lindsay Shapka

And They’re Off! Horse Racing in Edmonton

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Photo courtesy Northlands.

It’s official, this is the last year of operation for the historic Northlands Racetrack, and they are going out with a bang! The sand and clay track opened in 1900, and during its 116 years of operation, it has served as one of Western Canada’s top racetracks and been the official home of the Canadian Derby since 1957.

To celebrate the final season, the 87th Canadian Derby on August 20 is going to be bigger and better than ever before. This prestigious race began in Winnipeg as the Manitoba Stakes in 1930, and when it evolved into the Canadian Derby, it drew top competitors from all over Canada to Winnipeg from 1941 to 1956. It has only grown in size and prestige since it moved to Northlands in 1957.

This year, not only will you be watching the exhilarating races, and enjoying fantastic food, you will also be entertained by Canadian country superstar Paul Brandt who will be performing in the evening. Tickets for the event range in price from $20 to $150 depending on where you would like to sit and dine.

And don’t forget to dress your best! This is the time to show off your fanciest hat, boldest party dress, or perfectly tailored sports coat. The derby attendees are hands down one of the most well dressed crowds of the summer!

Not going to be here for the Derby? No problem! There are races every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday throughout July and August. Don’t miss Park After Dark on Friday nights with specialty food, drinks, and sunshine on the patio while you watch the thrilling races — post time is at 6:30 pm. —Lindsay Shapka

Canadian Derby | August 20
Northlands Racetrack | 7410 Borden Park Rd. | 780-471-7210