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Alberta

How to prep for Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

By RACHAEL FREY and SILVIA PIKAL

Photo courtesy Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.

Western Canada’s largest pop culture event is back with a bang. The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is a massive convention and trade show encompassing genres such as sci-fi, horror, anime and children’s entertainment. It runs from April 26-29.

More than 100,000 pop culture devotees and hundreds of exhibitors are expected to pack the BMO Centre for the event to show off their costumes, score memorabilia and collectibles, and snag a photo with the celebrities and creators behind their favourite characters.

We’ve rounded up four ways to prep for the four-day pop culture extravaganza.

BINGE-WATCH YOUR FAVOURITE STARS 

Rewatch your favourite sci-fi, fantasy and adventure flicks to prep for the big names that will be making an appearance this year, including luminaries such as Elijah Woods (Lord of the Rings), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars’ C-3PO), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Thor: Ragnarok), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Justice League) and a triple Princess Bride appearance of Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon and Wallace Shawn. Inconceivable!

GET COSTUME READY

Join in on the cosplay fun and pick up a costume from Don’s Hobby Shop. They carry a wide selection of superhero costumes, including licensed costumes from Avengers, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Star Trek, along with masks, wigs and special FX make-up.

SNAG A DEATH STAR WAFFLE


The Death Star waffle returns to Yellow Door Bistro! This year’s waffle is cocoa nib and dark chocolate with pink peppercorn and strawberry sauce, along with caramelized white chocolate chantilly, topped with fresh strawberries and – the pièce de résistance – a Storm Trooper chocolate.

WATCH THE PARADE OF WONDERS 

A post shared by Where Calgary (@wherecalgary) on


This event offically kicks off the expo and brings thousands of cosplayers to the downtown core for a spectacular parade. Watch beloved characters strut their stuff along Stephen Avenue, from 8th Street to Olympic Plaza.

Last year we saw some incredible costumes, including Chewbacca, a group of stormtroopers and Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy. A few stars popped up to ride in the parade, including Christian Nairn, who played lovable giant Hodor on Game of Thrones!

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Gloria Mok

What made you want to be an artist?
I wanted to create something that surprises me and leads me to an imaginary world that is meaningful and gives me satisfaction.

What mediums do you prefer to work in?
For my show at the Art Gallery of Alberta, I am using gouache, which is an opaque watercolour. I have also used collage, digital manipulation, oil, acrylic, and mixed media.

What themes or issues do you explore in your art?
Science and medicine, which are my areas of interest and expertise. I am a family physician, so my training and work involves understanding how the body functions. My work involves creation of a singular cosmos. I suppose one can use the analogy of myself as Miss Frankenstein (not in a malevolent way), making up my own world.

What artists or works inspire your own?
There have been a number of artists over the years, depending on the project. My current inspirations are Cy Twombly, who used calligraphic marks to create poetic paintings, and Marcel Duchamp, who was an original thinker and made the world look at art in a totally new way. His work is always challenging and unpredictable.

What do you hope people take away from your art?
I would like it to have an immediate impact. The work is mysterious and allows the viewer to interpret what they see. On seeing the artwork again, I hope some further details, interest, or interpretation will emerge.

Where can readers view and/or purchase your work?
I have selected works at the Scott Gallery, and an exhibition—Metamorphosis—at the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Hot Art Round-Up: April 19 – 22

By HOT ART YYC

THURSDAY, APRIL 19

The {online} Market by Shop Local YYC
April 19 – 30

Kajill Aujla & Chantal Snodgrass : home∙mak∙er
University of Calgary, Nickle Galleries: opening reception 5 – 8 pm

Kusama: Infinity
Calgary Underground Film Festival, Globe Theatre: 6:45 pm

Digital Storytelling- Opening Showcase
Antyx Community Arts, 7 – 8:30 pm

RAW:natural born artists Calgary presents Magnify
RAW Artists Calgary, 7 pm – 1 am

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 20

Long Lunch/Quick Reads Open House!
Loft 112, noon – 2 pm

Calgary Night Market
Eau Claire Market (inside) 5 -11 pm

Makeshift Tales / Elizabeth D’Agostino
Alberta Printmakers, 7 – 9 pm

Jordan Reimer + Five AM: Self/Assertive
Five Art & Merchandise, 7 – 11 pm

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

The Fibre Shindig – Spring 2018
Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, 10 am – 5 pm

Calyx Distinctive Arts Spring Art Sale
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm

Beacon Annual Spring Art Exhibition & Sale
Bridgeland – Riverside Community Association, 10 am – 4 pm

CUFF Saturday Morning All You Can Eat Cereal Cartoon Party
Globe Cinema, 10 am – 1 pm

Group Exhibition: I believe in living
Untitled Art Society, 3 – 6 pm

 

SUNDAY, APRIL 22

Iman Bukhari & WOC: A Sisterhood (Women of Colour)
Arts Commons, 1 – 3 pm

4 new shops in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY

These four shops have opened within the last year and are unique to Calgary.

Recess

Photo courtesy Recess. 

People who love stationery REALLY love it. If you’re one of them, you know. Recess is Calgary’s new haven for the devoted stationery-phile, packed with the finest quality notebooks, pens, office and illustration tools, and lots more. Owner Kyle Chow only stocks items that are capable of taking your workspace (and your Instagram feed) to a new level of aesthetics and productivity.

1323 – 9 Ave SE, recessshop.ca

The Grinning Goat

Photo courtesy The Grinning Goat.

Vegan shopping isn’t as easy as it sounds, but this fully vegan boutique is easing the pain with men’s and women’s shoes, outerwear, accessories and more.

323 – 17 Ave SW, grinninggoat.ca

Cinder & Sage

Jewelry designer Lindsay Saunders has been selling her vintage-inspired creations online since 2009, and now has a retail space in Mission devoted to her treasures.

2107B – 4 St SW, cinderandsage.com

Beyond Scarf

Another place that recently made the leap from HTML to brick-and-mortar, selling wearable art in the form of luxury scarves, bow ties, pocket squares and women’s accessories.

815 – 17 Ave SW, beyondscarf.ca

Curator Spotlight: Esker Foundation’s Naomi Potter

By SILVIA PIKAL

In 2012, Naomi Potter wore a hard hat and steel-toe boots to her interview with Jim Hill for the position of director and curator at Esker Foundation.

That’s because the building was still under construction.

“I spent a good part of the morning with Jim just wandering through the space and imagining what it could be,” Potter says. “I felt so much excitement of what could happen here.”

What is the Esker Foundation? 

The Esker Foundation is unique in Canada as it’s funded by philanthropists and art patrons Jim and Susan Hill. Since opening in 2012, the gallery has developed a reputation for showcasing innovative and challenging contemporary art.

Potter has been a key part of positioning Esker as a cultural force in Calgary and Canada over the past five years: “I’m proud of being part of the founding staff of Esker Foundation. I think about how I’m shaping the future of this place. It’s a heavy responsibility but it’s also quite exciting. The reputation we’re building is important to longevity—that motivates me.”

The path to a curator 

Potter grew up on Salt Spring Island with parents who loved travelling and took her on trips to Europe, where she spent a lot of time touring museums.

After completing a Master of Visual Arts at Concordia University, she lived in various cities in Europe and Canada. Through participating and working in the visual arts community, she made connections with artists all over the world.

“I became really good at organizing fellow artists. By default I think I became a curator because of my good organizational skills.”

She says her job at Esker Foundation looks different everyday. She could be finding artists through research, studio visits, or viewing other exhibitions. She also oversees the installation of art, and develops Esker’s public programming.

Seeing artwork for the first time 

“One of the things I love most about what I do is our installation period. We close for three weeks and special trucks with huge crates arrive. It’s kind of like Christmas when we get to open the crates and see the artwork.”

Potter says they feature experimental art that pushes boundaries, while staying relevant to Calgarians.

“It’s important for us to feed the local art community and conversations around culture, politics and inclusion. We want the public to walk away feeling they are connected to the work.”

Their public programming gives different access points to their exhibits, which include tours, artist talks, workshops, kid’s classes and a “bring the baby” art tour.

“We start them really young,” she laughs.

If you haven’t been to Esker Foundation before, Potter encourages you to drop by.

“Give it a chance. We’re quite friendly here.”

Hot Art Round-Up: April 12 – 15

By HOT ART YYC

THURSDAY, APRIL 12

Second Thursday – Spotlight Opening
CSpace, Alberta Craft Gallery: 5 – 8 pm

Fiona Ackerman – Act Naturally
Herringer Kiss Gallery, 5 – 8 pm

Open Source Soup
CSpace, Paula Timm Artist Studio C: 6 – 8 pm

Adults Only Night – Science Fiction
TELUS Spark, 6 – 10 pm

MFA in Craft Media Thesis Exhibition
ACAD, Illingworth Kerr Gallery: Opening 6 – 8 pm

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 13

Curated. Spring Market Calgary
Friday (5 – 9 pm) Saturday (10 am – 4 pm)

Cameron Lee Roberts | ECHO
Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, 5 – 9 pm

Cruel Jokes
Five Art & Merchandise, 7 – 9 pm

S.B. Bad Luck Ball!
Elephant Artist Relief Society, Festival Hall: 8 pm – 1 am

House of Vans Art Expo April 13 – 15
Big Four Building: Friday 4 – 9 pm, Saturday 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday 10 am – 6 pm

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 14

Stu Oxley: Distant Still
Paul Kuhn Gallery, 2 – 5:30 pm

Second Chance Art Sale
Rotary Club of Calgary Heritage Park, 9 am – 5 pm

CCAG Spring Show & Sale
Calgary Creative Arts Guild, 10 am – 4 pm

Artist Trading Card Making & Trading
cSPACE King Edward, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Winston Churchill’s “Emerald Lake”
Masters Gallery

David Foxcroft: Looking Back – Going Forward
The Edge Gallery, 1 – 4 pm

 

SUNDAY, APRIL 15

Tubby Dog Mural Opening – Meet The Artists
Tubby Dog, 7:30 – 9:30 pm

What’s new and notable with Calgary restaurants

By SILVIA PIKAL

April 11, 2018

Read the latest in our bi-monthly food and drink series, which rounds up eats, drinks and food news!

Elbow Room launches spring menu

Char Siu at Elbow Room/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

Elbow Room’s new spring menu launched on April 10. The elegant restaurant in Britannia focuses on globally inspired Canadian cuisine. Luckily for our tastebuds, tried and true favourites are staying on the menu, including the crispy fried Brussels sprouts with irresistible serrano pepper cream sauce, and agnolotti — pasta squares stuffed with smoked chicken and mushroom filling.

From the new items, we loved the Char Siu option, which comes as a pork platter for two (or more) with charred pork belly, roasted tenderloin and miso mayonnaise, accompanied by Chinese pancakes, ginger soy vegetables and crispy rice. On the drinks list, don’t miss the samurai cocktail with plum sake and gin — it’s simply delicious.

Emilio’s and Blk Rbt open in Grain Exchange Building

Emilio’s is a new joint located in the Grain Exchange Building on 1st Street. The eatery is named after Alberta’s famous rumrunner Emilio Picarriello and serves contemporary, Italian-inspired dishes.

For a different vibe, drop into Blk Rbt speakeasy for snazzy beats, a sophisticated cocktail list and small bites. We dug all the artwork in the space and were wowed by the lemon pie sour cocktail — it was truly tasty.

Daily specials at Hayden Block Smoke and Whiskey 

Brisket, watermelon salad and mac, three cheese and bacon at Hayden Block Smoke and Whiskey/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

Hayden Block Smoke and Whiskey’s meat is smoked daily up to 14 hours in a Memphis-style smoker that can hold 685 pounds of meat. We couldn’t get enough of the brisket, available by the 1/2 pound, and it went perfectly with the epic mac, three cheese and bacon, and watermelon salad. Pair that with a side of corn bread for only $1 and you’re in meat heaven. They know their whiskey cocktails here, and the whiskey sour with Bulleit Bourbon was delightful, and presented with style.

Their daily specials are the perfect chance to try the delectable house-smoked meat and hand-crafted cocktails. Check out Tuesday’s $20 brisket and bourbon special and on Fridays, you can get a feature whiskey cocktail for $10.

OMO Teppan and Kitchen opens on Macleod Trail

Sushi at OMO Teppan and Kitchen/ Photo by Silvia Pikal.

This new restaurant on Macleod Trail seeks to give guests a fun Teppanyaki experience paired with exceptional Japanese hospitality. If you’ve never eaten Teppanyaki-style, you’re invited to sit around a large table where talented chefs prepare your food on a hot griddle, and show off their cooking skills in the process.

We couldn’t get enough of the teriyaki chicken and wagyu steak. It’s also the only restaurant in Alberta to serve Kobe beef, a delicacy known for its tenderness — call 24 hours ahead of time if you want a Kobe steak.

Aside from the six teppanaki tables, the restaurant holds more than 100 and has a kitchen menu with cold and hot appetizers, noodles, entrees, tempura, sushi and wagyu slices or sliders. Try sake off their drinks menu, or for something different, the cold-brewed premium green tea from Japan.

Q&A: Roy Oh of Anju

By RACHAEL FREY

April 9, 2018

Photo courtesy Roy Oh.

When Roy Oh volunteered for a humble job cooking for a fundraiser at his church, a spark was lit. He enjoyed cooking so much that he quickly became the go-to guy for Christmas dinners and other large events.

“I found I was really enjoying myself and had a knack for it,” Oh says.

At the time, he was running a vinyl graphics business, but sold it to start his dream of becoming a restaurateur. He began working in kitchens and just a couple short years later, opened Anju with his wife Anh on December 31, 2008. Their first major challenge arose when Anh gave birth to their first child just nine months later, leaving Oh to handle the restaurant on his own.

While the first three years weren’t exactly a breeze, word began to spread around town and in 2013, Oh took the risk of shutting down the restaurant in order to build a bigger and better Anju.

In partnership with the Concorde Group, he reopened a year later at the busy corner of 4th Street and 17th Avenue SW, and the extra space has been more than needed as Anju has risen to one of the most respected and beloved restaurants in the city.

The clever and contemporary fusion of Korean food with inspirations from around the globe, draws in restaurant industry professionals, foodies and just about everyone else night after night.

Why did you choose to focus on Korean tapas?

A friend of mine that was in the restaurant business told me I should be cooking the food I grew up eating. I know Korean flavours better than any other so that was an easy decision. I also love the relationship between food and drinks. Anju (food eaten with alcohol) embodies that for me. It’s not just about the food but also about the relationship between what would be the best beverage to pair with that food. And the possibilities are endless!

Do you have a food philosophy?

Make food that tastes good and is something that you would enjoy eating yourself.

What is the #AnjuEffect?

That was created by Daniel Ramon, AKA Papi, from Teatro. It’s when you don’t like tofu but you try it here and fall in love with it, and now all you can think about is crispy tofu. It’s eating things at Anju that change the way you think about food and making you crave things you had no idea even existed. I’d say it’s an unexplained addiction to Anju food.

Hot Art Round-Up: April 5 – 7

By HOT ART YYC

THURSDAY, APRIL 5

Calgary Distinguished Writers Program presents Canopy
University of Calgary, Nickle Galleries: 5:30 – 8 pm

Free First Thursday Night
Glenbow Museum, 5 – 9 pm

Alec Brilling – Δt
Collin Brown – Further Reductions
ACAD, Marion Nicoll Gallery: 6 – 8 pm

Film Screening: Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times
Lougheed House, 7 – 9 pm

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 6

Make It Calgary (April 6 – 8)
Big Four Building. Friday 11 am – 9 pm, Saturday 10 am – 6 pm, Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

Exhibition Tour with Jacob Huffman
Esker Foundation, 6 – 7 pm

Vikky Alexander: Other Fantasies
TrépanierBaer Gallery, 5:30 – 8 pm

Anne McGilvary: Meadows & More
Framed on Fifth, 6 – 9 pm

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 7

Meet the Artist: Susana Espinoza at the gallery
Gibson Fine Art, 1 – 3pm

Artist Reception and Talk – Alberta Craft Gallery Calgary
CSpace, Alberta Craft Council: 2 – 4 pm

Tuponia Closing & Fruit Salad Furnishing Launch Party
Ruberto Ostberg Gallery, Bee Kingdom: 3 – 6 pm

Free Flow – Art Show
Motion Gallery, 6 – 9 pm

4 Must-Try Asian Tapas

By SILVIA PIKAL

Oxtail tortellini from Anju 


The oxtail tortellini is a must at Anju. Oxtail meat is shredded and placed inside a small dumpling, with soy sauce, truffle oil and grana padano cheese poured and sprinkled on top. You’ll be ordering more than one plate of this toothsome dish.

Pork belly steamed buns from Raw Bar

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Raw Bar in Hotel Arts has one hell of a happy hour. Tuesday to Saturday from 4 pm to 6 pm, small plates are half price. The pork belly steamed buns are a can’t-miss dish. Generous and mouthwatering portions of pork belly are topped with cherry hoisin sauce and sautéed onion before being swaddled by steamed buns.

Trout from Foreign Concept

Photo courtesy Foreign Concept.

Share the large plate of Alberta trout cha ca la vong at Foreign Concept. It’s a stand-out dish of turmeric fish served on scallion rice noodles and you’ll be wishing you ordered your own plate.

Mushroom dumplings at Two Penny Chinese

Photo by Silvia Pikal.

The crispy mushroom dumplings at Two Penny Chinese provide a crunchy hit of tasty mushrooms with each bite, and are divine when dipped in the addictive black truffle soy mayo.

Retail Spotlight: Shop Chop

Photo courtesy Shop Chop

1) What inspired you to open shop?
We (Prudie and RJ) first opened our hair studio in 2004 and always had the intention of turning the space into a retail store. We eventually reworked the existing space to include a full salon in the back and enough space in the front for the shop.

2) How do you choose what products to stock?
We bought stuff that we liked, thinking it was the best way to express who we were as a store. We both are always hunting for new brands, go to a lot of craft sales, and get cold-call offers from people wanting to sell here. We like to keep new stuff coming in, but there are some essential items we keep in stock all the time.

3) How much of your stock comes from local artisans, and why is it important to support them?
We stock as much local stuff as we can, especially when it comes to handmade items. It’s about 25% local, 50% Canadian, and 25% global. The Shop Local movement has created a new intimacy between shoppers and makers. When people walk in and see local brands that they recognize—like Justine Ma, Bang Bang Bijoux, Pura Botanicals, and Beton Brut—you can see a connection when they buy it. There are also a lot of creative people out there who can’t imagine an outlet for their products. When they come in and see a local artist prominently displayed in a shop, it’s encouraging.

4) What is surprising about downtown Edmonton?
That people make the trek downtown just to come to our store. We’re a stand-alone destination and a surprising number of people say they drove 30–40 minutes just for us. It makes us feel great, but also makes us hopeful that further development in the core will help close the gap between the destination shops.

5) Is there anything in particular that you feel people should know?
Shopping in local boutiques really does improve your city and your neighbourhood. Independent shop owners take a huge risk to do something they feel passionate about. And when we see someone buy anything, no matter how big or small or expensive it is, it feels like a win, because we liked the same thing.

Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date on their inventory!

15 things to do in Calgary in April

By RACHAEL FREY

Glory 

Photo by Erin Wallace, courtesy Alberta Theatre Projects.

If you think hockey and dance don’t go together, give this uplifting story a chance to change your mind. Told through music and dance inspired by the jazz age, it’s the story of four friends in the Depression era who set out to prove hockey isn’t just for men. Catch it playing from April 3 – 21. (more…)