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Edmonton

BalletBoyz’s Dance of Life & Death

Ballet-Boyz-by-Hugo-Glendinning

Photo by Hugo Glendinning.

Ten male dancers unify power and sensitivity in the thrilling U.K. dance troupe, BalletBoyz. The Canadian premiere of this breathtaking work by internationally acclaimed choreographers Javier de Frutos and Pontus Lindberg creates a profound and gripping look into contemporary dance. In this performance, titled Life, the dancers’ superior athleticism create visceral stories that illustrate a conversation around life and death. You’ll walk — or dance — away both moved and provoked to see the world around you in a dynamic new way. Visit Alberta Ballet’s website for tickets.

Life by BalletBoyz | February 24 & 25
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 1-844-355-9494

Talent Spotlight: Sheri Somerville

Sheri-Somerville-Photo-by-Ryan-Parker-Photography

Photo by Ryan Parker Photography.

When she was a young girl, Sheri Somerville went to a screening of The Sound of Music, and after she witnessed Julie Andrews dancing and singing up the hill, she knew she wanted to become a performer. “I saw my future and my whole head nearly exploded,” recounts Somerville. After several repeat viewings and sing-alongs, she discovered she had a strong voice, and her mother signed her up for music lessons.

After studying in several prestigious music programs in the country, Somerville’s career shifted when a musical director introduced her to obscure showtunes. They put together a revue for a nightclub act, and Somerville began to perform around the world in cities such as Paris and Hong Kong. However, once she had her first baby, she decided to return to Edmonton so her family could help raise her son while she continued her career. “As a woman who was raising two children while trying to have a career, Edmonton and the women and families in the community allowed me to have my career by keeping my children safe,” says Somerville. “I feel a debt of gratitude to give back to the city who gave me so much and allowed me to have a wonderful career as a performing artist.”

She describes her current role as the executive director for Citie Ballet as an “arts matchmaker.” “I reach out into the community and I bring in ideas,” explains Somerville. Though it may seem odd for someone who’s used to being centre stage to move to this background role, Somerville believes one influences the other. “It’s only because I’ve had a career in music with some dance and lots of theatre that I understand the dynamics of what’s necessary on stage to create something memorable and meaningful.”

Somerville still spends time in the spotlight though. On top of continuing to record new music, she regularly performs with Die-Nasty, the live improvised soap opera. “It’s hard for me to give up meeting some of the most talented people in Edmonton every night and playing together,” says Somerville. “It keeps me creatively sharp.”

Visit Citie Ballet’s website to learn more about their upcoming performance. —Matthew Stepanic

Winter Fun in Edmonton

Winter-Fun-TubingEmbrace the season with these cold-weather activities!

Skate Outside!
Lace up your skates and glide under the stars at one of the city’s free outdoor rinks!

Alberta Legislature | 10820-98 Ave.
Head to the back of the building where part of the grounds has been converted into larger rinks perfect for a pickup game of hockey!
City Hall | 1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
The fountain in front of City Hall is converted into a skating rink that features music and light displays. Skate rentals are available.
Victoria Park Oval & IceWay | 12130 River Valley Rd.
Nestled in the River Valley, this protected outdoor rink is the home of the Edmonton Speed Skating Association, but is also open to the public. You can access the IceWay from the oval, which features a 3-loop skating trail that weaves its way through Victoria Park.
Hawrelak Park | 9330 Groat Rd.
Take a turn around the huge frozen pond in Hawrelak Park that is all lit up at night in the winter. There is a heated change room and skate rentals available.

Ski Hills & Trails
Whether it’s the thrill that comes with careening at break-neck speed down the slopes, or the quiet communing with nature that comes from gliding on cross-country skis that you are after, Edmonton can deliver both!

The Edmonton Ski Club (9613-96 Ave.), Rabbit Hill (25512 Township Rd., Leduc County), Snow Valley (13204-45 Ave.), or Sunridge Ski Area (10980-17 St.) will supply you with all the downhill thrills you ache for, while the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club will help you track down some perfectly groomed cross-country trails.

Go Sledding!
Grab a sled (and your inner child) and head to Emily Murphy Park (11904 Emily Park Road), Gallagher Park (97 Ave. and 92 St.), or  (2903-113 Ave.) for some of the best tobogganing in town!

—Lindsay Shapka

Interview with Edmonton Artist Emily Chu

Emily-ChuWHERE Edmonton: Why art? What made you want to be an artist?
Emily Chu: I look at art and design as a form of visual communication, as a challenge to balance between clarity and creativity. Being a visual person, I really enjoy these types of challenges. As well, I love to constantly experiment with different mediums and improve on my craft.

W: Did you go to school for art? Do you have any professional training?
E: Yes, I went to ACAD (Alberta College of Art and Design) for their Visual Communications program. I majored in Illustration.

W: What mediums do you work in/prefer?
E: Most of my commercial work is digital. However, I also have a background in painting, so I often paint with gouache.

W: What is your favourite subject to paint or illustrate?
E: A lot of my works are inspired by nature. Stylistically, I love working with colours, textures, and patterns. I tend to create images that are light-hearted and fun.

Emily-Chu-IllustrationW: What do you want to create that you haven’t yet?
E: So much! I’m always wanting to do more personal work — paintings, another graphic novel/zine, etc. I also love seeing my work on products, so I’m hoping to create a stationary set in the near future.

W: Where can readers view or purchase your work?
E: I sell my work in person at local markets, through my online store, and in various gift and comic stores in the city (Happy Harbor Comics, Vivid Print, TIX on the Square, to name a few). For updates of my markets/event listings, you can follow my Instagram: @heyemilychu, or you can visit my website to view my work and my online store.

Through the Lens

FRONT-GALLERYLow-Res-Version-trent_to_island_pearl-(1)

Photo by Curtis Trent

Innovative and provocative photography showing a vision of “the future” will be exhibited in this show that is a part of InFocus Photo 2017. The diverse techniques of 27 up-and-coming photographers from across Canada — including Curtis Trent, Kevin Tuong, and Laura Grier — will be on display that also takes place during the Exposure Photography Festival. View more details on the exhibit’s website.

InFocus Photo Exhibit | February 7 – 28
Front Gallery | 12323-104 Ave. | 780-488-2952

High-Heeled Hit in Edmonton

Kinky-Boots

Photo courtesy Broadway Across Canada.

Struggling to live up to his father’s expectations, Charlie Price is trying to continue the family shoe business when Lola, a fabulous performer, shows up in need of some sturdy new stilettos. Inspired by true events, the Broadway musical Kinky Boots takes you from a failing gentleman’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan, and features songs written by award-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper. It is a celebration of the belief that you can change the world when you are willing to change your mind. To date, the musical has won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Choreography. Get your tickets here! —Lindsay Shapka

Kinky Boots | February 14 – 19
Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 1-866-540-7469

7 Stories from Edmonton’s Past

QuirkyEdmonton1904
Joseph Henry Morris owned the first car in Edmonton. In 1904, Morris purchased a 1903 Ford Model A in Manitoba and brought it back to Edmonton by train. He was issued licence plate “No. 1”, but was responsible for constructing the licence plate himself. Morris was later taken to court for failing to display a proper licence plate, to which he argued that the broomstick placed vertically at the back of his car was sufficient to display his number. If the stories can be believed, he won the court case, but was issued a proper leather licence plate the following year.

1907
A rapid population boom in 1907 left many Edmontonians living in tents because builders could not keep up with housing demands. Many of the descriptions of the “tent cities” from that time are very rose-coloured, due to a phenomenon called “boosterism,” in which settlers exaggerated amenities in order to attract more people to their neighbourhoods. Fort Edmonton Park’s “tent city” can be visited to see how people lived during this period.

1910
Mail from Edmonton to St. Albert and surrounding areas used to be delivered via moose-drawn cart! Buffalo Bill Day, as he was known to townspeople, raised two orphaned moose in 1910, and the pair of moose — named Pete and Nellie — went on to pull his mail cart.

1933
The first permanent traffic light was installed in Edmonton in 1933 at the corner of 101 St. and Jasper Ave. The light replaced a battery-operated one, which had to be held up by a police officer!

1938
In 1938 the Al Rashid Mosque was built in Edmonton and became the first mosque in Canada. The land and money needed to build it was collected by a group of local women. Al Rashid Mosque has changed locations several times since then. In 1992, the original building was moved to Fort Edmonton Park, where it still stands as an important landmark of Edmonton’s history that can be toured by park visitors.

1947
On April 29, 1947, children and teens marched down Jasper Avenue to protest the rise of the candy bar prices from 5 cents per bar to 8 cents per bar. Many of their signs read “don’t give way to inflation!” They weren’t successful — nor were their co-protesters in other Canadian cities — but their efforts will never be forgotten.

1956
Canada’s first successful open heart surgery was performed at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton on September 18, 1956. Doctor John Carter Callaghan undertook the ten-hour-long procedure on ten-year-old Suzanne Beattie using a heart-lung pump as mechanically complex as a car. Dr. Callaghan went on to pioneer many other heart surgeries, including one that saved his own great-granddaughter’s life a few years later. He was also the co-developer of the world’s first cardiac pacemaker, and pioneered the use of cold-therapy during surgeries.

—Danielle Mohr

Chef Spotlight: Andrew Cowan

Andrew-CowanFor Andrew Cowan, co-chef and -owner of Northern Chicken, there’s nothing else he’d rather do than cook, as it’s technically the only job he’s ever had. At 15, he started as a dishwasher on a golf course in Ontario and eventually worked his way up to cooking. “I wasn’t planning on being a chef when I was working there,” admits Cowan, “but I eventually started really loving it and having a good, fun time.”

Cowan says he enjoys working in a kitchen for the camaraderie: “I come from a sports background and [cooking] was a very team-orientated job — we won as a team, we lost as a team.” It’s fitting that after working as a chef for Packrat Louie and other restaurants, he’d team up with his good friend Matt Phillips to open this new fried-chicken-focused venture. “We’d worked together at Century Hospitality Group and we’re both really into fried chicken,” says Cowan. He believes the partnership works well because they come from slightly different backgrounds. “Matt’s spent a lot of time in the corporate sector, and I’ve done a few more independents,” explains Cowan. “Matt’s very good at the business side of things and that’s kind of my weakness.”

Why the bond over, and focus on, fried chicken though? It’s good, old-fashioned comfort food. “I remember eating Kentucky Fried Chicken with my grandma back home on weekends,” explains Cowan. “Those were good times and good memories.” Everything they serve at Northern Chicken — including the spice blends, mayos, and even the sweet pickles — is made from scratch except for the bread, which Cowan is hoping to create a program for later.

Cowan appreciates the support he’s received from the Edmonton community, as the fried-chicken concept began with pop-up nights at local restaurants. “I think it goes to show the dining scene in Edmonton is really coming along, and it’s more of a community than it used to be,” says Cowan. In turn, Cowan loves eating and exploring all that Edmonton has to offer. Among his top recommendations are Tres Carnales and the brunch at Workshop Eatery. “I enjoy trying all the places I can around town,” says Cowan, “There are so many awesome new places opening up, it’s hard to keep on top of them all.” —Matthew Stepanic

The Best of Edmonton’s Food Scene

Nineteen-Ahi-Tuna-Twists

The Ahi Tuna Twists at Nineteen.

Over the past few years, Edmonton’s food scene has been rejuvenated with new hot spots serving incredible possibilities beyond the usual steak and potatoes: artisan pastries, gourmet and locally sourced dishes, beautiful brunch specialties, craft cocktails, and more. Though these modern and internationally renowned restaurants may astonish (and please) return visitors to the city who were unaware of the city’s burgeoning food scene, it’s no surprise to Vinod Varshney, Program Chair of NAIT’s Culinary Arts, and the culinary teams he’s been coaching and winning international competitions with over the years.

Since 2004, the team has earned dozens of medals at competitions in Erfurt, Dubai, Singapore, and other culinary hubs in the world. “The proof is in the pudding,” quips Varshney, “when [Culinary Team NAIT] can compete against the best in the world and still come back with medals.” At the 2013 Hong Kong International Culinary Classic, Culinary Team NAIT took home 20 medals in total, setting a record for most medals awarded to a team at the competition!

Why have Edmonton and its chefs seen so much success on the world stage? Varshney offers a simple answer that comes down to the qualities required of a great chef: a dedicated practice, good attitude, creativity, and time-management skills. “These students do a lot of practicing,” says Varshney. “When there is a will, there’s a way. These students are hungry and very eager to learn.”

For someone who’s experienced so much recognition for his leadership and tasted cuisines from around the world, Varshney still finds many reasons to admire the chefs and restaurants in Edmonton. Among his recommendations are the contemporary regional dishes of Larry Stewart at Hardware Grill, the Indian delights of Deependra Singh at Guru Fine Indian Cuisine, and the unique and delectable creations of Frank Olson at Canteen.

Champion Chefs
The appeal of Edmonton’s food scene will continue to intrigue travellers from around the world, and you don’t have to follow the teams to competitions to taste some of their appealing dishes. To start your mouth watering, review this list of the award-winning chefs and restaurants in the city receiving national and international acclaim:

Daniel Costa
10th on enRoute’s 2011 list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants | Eat his work at Corso 32

Andrew Fung
Former Culinary Team NAIT member | Eat his work at Nineteen

Eric Hanson
2016 Edmonton Gold Metal Plates Winner | Eat his work at Prairie Noodle Shop

Blair Lebsack
4th on enRoute’s 2014 list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants | Eat his work at RGE RD

Jacob Pelletier
Former Culinary Team NAIT member & medal winner | Eat his work at Duchess Bake Shop

Lindsay Porter
2016 Canadian Food Champion in Steak | Eat her work at Woodwork

Shelley Robinson
Winner on Season One of Food Network’s Chopped Canada | Eat her work at Atlas Steak + Fish

Jan Trittenbach
2015 Edmonton Gold Metal Plates Winner | Eat his work at Solstice Seasonal Cuisine

Ask the Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (January/February 2017)

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 for her advice about celebrating the new year and winter in the city!

1. Where do you send guests when they want a healthy meal?
Noorish Conscious Eatery features a menu that includes a variety of organic, local, raw, vegan, and gluten-free options bursting with flavour and nutrition! I highly recommend their handcrafted elixir Matcha Messiah, which is loaded with vitality.

2. Where can we escape the cold?
When I think of escaping the cold, I think of the Confederation Lounge at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. The warmth of the lounge, the panoramic windows with views of our river valley and gardens, and the roaring fire are sure to keep you warm!

3. What is the perfect Edmonton gift for Valentine’s Day?
For Valentine’s Day, your only stop will be Sweet Lollapalooza! They carry perfectly handcrafted artisan chocolates with modern flavours. You will be tempted to sample a few of their creations yourself!

4. Are there any festivals or events that you are excited about?
One of my favourite winter festivals is Ice on Whyte, as there is something new to experience every day! Run, play, slide down the giant ice slide, be amazed by a professional ice carver, learn to create your own ice carving, meet ordinary people from our past, treat your ears to live music, or savour a hot beverage or craft beer.

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 at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.

Feel the Beat at STOMP

Stomp-Photo-by-Steve-McNicholas

Photo by Steve McNicholas

You know you are in for an explosive, electrifying show when the eight members of STOMP hit the stage! This international sensation creates music, rhythm, and humour with commonplace items you would use every day, like lighters, brooms, garbage cans, inner tubes, and hubcaps. Since it was created in England in 1991, the show has garnered multiple awards, rave reviews, and has appeared on numerous television shows worldwide! Buy your tickets here. —Lindsay Shapka

STOMP | January 10 & 11
Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 1-866-540-7469

WHERE Edmonton’s 2016 Best New Restaurant: Uccellino

Uccellino_Photo-by-Jamie-Tweedy

Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios.

Local Chef Daniel Costa’s third restaurant, this modern trattoria and stand-up bar is located next to its sister restaurants, Corso 32 and Bar Bricco, on Jasper Avenue. It is a contemporary, yet cozy, space that serves up classic, simple Italian food. Every dish is thoughtfully constructed, from the quality ingredients to the plating, and there is a fantastic wine list featuring some hard-to-find Italian wines that perfectly complement the food.

According to Costa, each of his restaurants represents the food served in the different, and diverse, regions of Italy. “Each region is kind of like its own little country,” says Costa. Uccellino spotlights the lighter, everyday fare of southern and central Italy.

The menu is divided into Fritti (fried), Crostini and Antipasti (appetizers), Primi (first course, pasta), Secondi (second course, divided into meats and vegetables), Formaggi (cheese), and Dolci (dessert). Try the mouth-watering Beef Carpaccio topped with arugula, lemon, and Parmesan cheese, before digging into the Polpette, tomato-braised pork meatballs with pangrattato (Italian breadcrumbs) and basil. You will also want to try the unique and decadent Olive Oil Cake with Olive Oil Gelato for dessert!

While the restaurant does take reservations, they also keep half of their tables and the stand-up bar unreserved. —Lindsay Shapka

Uccellino | 10349 Jasper Ave. | 780-426-0346
Sun to Thu 5 pm – 10 pm; Fri – Sat 5 pm – 11 pm