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Q+A: Backstage at the High Performance Rodeo with Kelly Reay

Kelly Reay is currently the festival producer for One Yellow Rabbit, but a decades-long career has seen him travel across many of Calgary’s renowned stages. (Photo courtesy of the High Performance Rodeo.)


Like so many performing artists before him, Kelly Reay, festival producer for One Yellow Rabbit, was obsessed with storytelling from a young age. He dreamt of following his passion right to Hollywood’s doorstep, and first began working in Calgary’s theatre scene in hopes that the experience would make a perfect stepping stone to the silver screen. But an unexpected lesson learned early on later made it impossible for him to leave the stage behind.

“There is a richness and a uniqueness in this medium that you can’t achieve in any other, in film or TV,” he says. “Theatre is very much a communal experience—you’re there with this group of strangers, collecting shared experiences, and that rawness is ultimately one of the big things that drew me to theatre and made me stay. That idea of how visceral seeing a live performance is, and sharing that specific performance, on that night, with whosoever is in the audience.” (more…)

Calgary restaurants: 5 new and noteworthy things


This is part of our bi-monthly food and drink series, which rounds up eats, drinks and food news!

Bar Annabelle now open on Stephen Avenue

Photo by Jasmine Croteau.

Bar Annabelle’s pink doorway with gold script draws you inside to a tiny but welcoming space. The wine bar opened in December 2017 right next door to sister restaurant Blink on Stephen Avenue, and offers a unique drinks list and tapas menu. The cozy bar is accented by pink, from the light fixtures to the distinctive Kat Marks price point and bill markers complete with Bar Annabelle’s logo.

Blink and Bar Annabelle owner Leslie Echino is often a friendly face behind the bar, and she’ll offer up a wine or spirits recommendation tailored to your preferences. From the spirits list, try the Shiratama Umeshu Brandy from Signapore. It’s a plum wine blended with brandy and makes for a delightful after-dinner sipper.

If you’re looking for small snacks to nosh on with your drink, you can choose from a selection of tapas like olives, roast nuts or whipped ricotta on baguette. Meatier options include charcuterie meats, a selection of artisan cheese with house-made jam and baguette or Sturgeon Caviar.

New feature option at Caesar’s Steakhouse

Upper level of lounge at Caesar’s downtown location/Photo courtesy Caesar’s Steak House and Lounge.

Caesar’s Steakhouse and Lounge has introduced “convivium”, a new feature intended to build a sense of community over the enjoyment of food, wine and conversation. From Monday to Friday, 3 to 6 pm, you can choose from a special menu in the comfortable and luxurious lounges at both Caesar’s locations (Downtown and Willow Park). Sip, snack and chat while eating through a selection of hors d’oeuvres on the menu, including fennel meatballs, tenderloin bites and beef sliders. Drink specials include well highballs for $5 and featured red or white wines for $8; select drought for $6; select bottled beer for $5 and select cocktails for $9.

Loft Lounge at Granary Road 

Game meat charcuterie at Loft Lounge/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

After exploring the market at Granary Road, you have the opportunity to sit down in an elegant upstairs space at The Loft Lounge. Operated by Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, the restaurant’s menu allows you to choose from share dishes or entrées. For sharing, the game meat charcuterie is a winner, with addictive elk salami and wild boar mortadella. Follow that with the warm pretzel bites and seared chicken skewers. Have a glass of the Granary Road Spritz with Aperol, prosecco and soda, for a refreshing drink that strikes the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavour. The Loft Bakery and Kitchen are downstairs if you’re looking for fresh pastries or sandwiches.

12 Street Bridge now open in Inglewood

Bison tartar at Rouge/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

After more than two years of construction, the 12th Street SE Bridge reopened in December 2017, making it much easier to get to Inglewood from the downtown core. For those looking for a sit-down lunch with exceptional service, Rouge Restaurant rises to the plate while also offering a relaxed and welcome atmosphere for lunch. A beautifully plated and notable dish is the bison tartar, with Saskatoon berry vinaigrette and barley cracker. Finish your meal with the dark chocolate brownie, which was voted one of Where Calgary’s 25 favourite dishes in the January/February 2018 Where to Dine Awards issue.

Two Penny open for lunch

Won ton soup at Two Penny Chinese/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

Two Penny Chinese is now open for lunch daily at 11 am. The restaurant is the newest concept from Thank You Hospitality Hospitality, the team behind Native Tongues Taqueria and Calcutta Cricket Club. The family style menu gives you the option to sample several things, but if you’re in a rush, pick the lunch special. You can choose from a protein of your choice (with options like roast duck, crispy chicken, crispy pork belly or steamed eggplant) on steamed rice or soup noodles. If you have time to sip and snack, feast on the won ton soup and try one of their funky and tasty cocktails, like the gin soy sour.




Art Show Round-up: Jan 18-21


Art by Jonathan Forrest, courtesy of Newzones.

Thursday, January 18

Launchpad at Dialog
Indefinite Arts Centre (January 18 – February 14)

Unbroken Community: Showcasing the Beauty of Inclusion and Collaboration
This is My City Art Society/Pumphouse Theatre through March 25

Prospect Human Services: Silk Screenings
Untitled Art Society closing reception, 6 pm

How many of the things i do are conscious decisions and how many are coping mechanisms
Emily MacDonald and Caitlin McCann (The New Gallery)

The Mountie in The Family
Kenzie Housego (Alberta Printmakers)

A memoir for a woman I didn’t know and the man who plays the banjo
Alexa Bunnell (Marion Nicoll Gallery)

Vision fickle centre, peripheral flicker, denter
Brett Bonk (TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary)

• I am sorry (in drag) – NIK
Stride Gallery/Coven Gallery/ACAD

RAW: natural born artists Calgary presents Envision
Marquee Beer Market & Stage, 7 pm – 1 am

Friday, January 19

After Weather: Rick Silva + Justin Waddell
Stride Gallery, 8 pm – midnight

“Winter Garden” curated by Katherine Ylitalo
VIVIANEART, 6 pm – 9 pm

Print(ed) Word Salon Series, The Second
Loft 112 and Alberta Printmakers, 7 pm – 10:30 pm (tickets still available)

Saturday, January 20

I trust you with special things: Reading with Steffanie Ling
Stride Gallery, 4 pm – 6 pm

Duet: William Robinson
TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary, 7 pm – midnight

Reservoir: Peter von Tiesenhausen
TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary, 7 pm – midnight

Dancing Sun, Sleeping Moon
Webster Galleries, through February 3

Sunday, January 21

Print(ed) Word Salon Series, The Third
Loft 112 and Alberta Printmakers, 7 pm – 10:30 pm (tickets still available)

Artist Spotlight: Kyle Schneider

What made you want to be an artist?
I’ve always been a creative person, so finding myself in a non-traditional, illustration-based career has been a natural fit—if not an occasionally stressful one. The first time I knew I wanted to draw was in Grade 3 when a fellow student started drawing these tough guy/superhero comics and I was instantly smitten with the idea of taking pictures from my mind and putting them on paper!

What themes or issues do you explore in your art?
My illustration style has, at times, been the only uniting factor in the work I put out! I make low-brow art, a style I’ve been describing to people as the “opposite of fine art.” I find myself mostly drawing characters in situations that, although may be pretty far-fetched, feel relatable to lots of people. You’ll find hints of skateboard culture, Dungeons and Dragons references, occult-inspired imagery, dark humour, and sexuality all mixed in together.

What artists or works inspire your own?
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this lately. I would say the television cartoon series Adventure Time, the absurdist illustrated works of Chad VanGaalen and Mike Fudge, and recently—as I’ve gotten into animation—the sloppy style of Don Hertzfeldt.

Photos courtesy Kyle Schneider

What do you hope people take away from your art?
All of the work I make has its meaning in the specific content of the piece being viewed. It’s all right there in front of you—just don’t overthink it! The pleasure is in the humour of a piece, its lifework and colouring, and that it relates to your imagination in some way that is endearing. The feeling I hope people take from my work is just straight up giggles, warmth, and curiosity. I just love it when people’s eyes widen and they say, “OMG, THAT’S ME!!”

Where can readers view and/or purchase your work?
My ever-evolving portfolio is online, and my latest work can always be found on Instagram and my online shop.

Hot Dining: Italian & Creole Faves

Photo courtesy Vaticano Cucina

NEW: Vaticano Cucina
The new southside eatery Vaticano Cucina offers pizza, pasta, and other Italian favourites. Its specialty is wood-fired pizzas—cooked in an Italian oven and with quality ingredients, both imported from Italy and sourced locally. Although you may want to engage in a bit of sinful gluttony looking at the menu, you’ll still feel like a saint beneath a replica of the painted Sistine Chapel ceiling. Try the St. Teresa Pizza with prosciutto, fontina, lemon, and anchovy vinaigrette, and save room for the firm and sweet Pistachio Panna Cotta.
10310-45 Ave. | 780-250-1110

TRIED & TRUE: Packrat Louie
Since 1993, Packrat Louie has been a staple in Old Strathcona—and with recent renovations and a revamped menu, they’re planning on staying that way! There’s still the throwback to its old warehouse days—with its exposed brick and big windows—but with refreshed warmth. Indulge in the new and delicious with an order of savoury Chicken Masala Perogies. Or if you’re looking to reminisce, try the original menu’s classic Lemon Pizza with garlic oil.
10335-83 Ave. | 780-433-0123

HOT DISH: BLVD Bar & Kitchen‘s Jam-Packed-Balaya
The Creole-inspired menu at BLVD Bar & Kitchen boasts many options, but a cold winter night begs for a bowl of something hot and hearty. Settle in for the gluten-free Jambalaya, which has a tantalizing mix of chorizo sausage, Creole chicken, shrimp, mussels, spiced rice, and a tasty mango pineapple salsa!
10765 Jasper Ave. | 780-934-2583

7 things to do in Calgary this week: Jan 15 to 21


Photo by Jason Dziver.


Make a fun New Year’s resolution to try a new restaurant! Check out our Top 12 Where to Dine Awards winners, or one of Where Calgary’s Top 5 Steakhouses!


On January 16, come to Vin Gogh Paint and Sip’s studio for discounted Tuesdays. You will get a canvas, easel, paint, brushes, apron and a glass of wine (or beer, coffee or tea). An artist provides step-by-step guidance and in just two hours, you will complete your own “red skies” painting. Must be 18 years of age or older. (more…)

Q+A: Getting personal with stylist Megan Szanik


When Megan Szanik first settled in Calgary and opened her fashion boutique, Espy Experience, she never dreamed one late-night shopping spree would give her retail style a revolutionary makeover.

“I had a customer bring her friend into the store at night,” Szanik says. “She said to me, ‘Megan, she won’t come in during the day. She hates herself, she’s gained all this weight. She doesn’t know how to dress her new body.’ So we brought her in at nine o’clock at night and I dressed her for two hours. We went through that bottle of wine, and I showed her.” (more…)

Calgary’s Top 5 Steakhouses


No cross-section of Calgary’s fine dining scene would be complete without an examination of our prime Alberta beef. Though a bad steak is certainly hard to come by in this region, it takes something special to stand a slice above the rest. Whether you like it well-done or fresh from the butcher’s block, here are Where Calgary’s picks for top 5 steakhouses in Calgary from January/February 2018 Where to Dine issue. (more…)

Behind the Scenes of a Magazine Cover


Coming up with a magazine cover for each issue takes a few different steps. Where Calgary Art Director Veronica Cowan worked closely with our Contributing Photographer Jason Dziver for our stunning Where to Dine Awards cover for the January/February 2018 issue. She was kind enough to take some photos and give us a behind the scenes look of the process! (more…)

Art Show and Party Round-up: Jan 11-13


Art by Jonathan Forrest, courtesy of Newzones.

Thursday, January 11

Out for Lunch Tour: Eye of the Needle
Lunchtime is the best time for an art break at Glenbow museum and gallery. Curator Mary-Beth Laviolette provides a look at the diverse range of art and crafts in the “Eye of the Needle” exhibition.
Admission $5 / Free for Glenbow Members; tickets available at the door (more…)

Ask the Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (January/February 2018)


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 winter festivals and Valentine’s Day in the city!

1. What restaurant would you recommend to someone looking for some hearty comfort food?
My go-to for comfort food is my local fave, Blue Plate Diner. Their tasty Mac’N’Cheese and Real Shepherd’s Pie are some of Edmonton’s most comforting dishes!

2. What’s an essential Edmonton experience to enjoy in these colder months?
Taking a short drive to one of Edmonton’s best ski resorts, Rabbit Hill Snow Resort, where you’ll have a blast skiing and snowboarding!

3. Where can you find a unique gift for a partner for Valentine’s Day?
Spoil your fave with the “Gift of Gold” at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald—nothing is quite as romantic as a stay on the Fairmont Gold Floor!

4. What’s your favourite winter festival to catch in January and February?
My favourite is the Silver Skate Festival, where you can visit the Ice Castle—a Narnia-like castle built of icicles!

5. Where would you send someone whose New Year’s resolution is to treat themselves to a spa day?
If you want a real spa experience, then indulge at NVE Institute. Relax and rejuvenate your skin with a soothing facial!

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.

Les Clefs d’Or 2017 Silver Service Award

Photo by Jennifer Linford

Les Clefs d’Or Canada and WHERE Edmonton Magazine would like to congratulate the Edmonton winner of the 2017 Silver Service Award, Rostizado! Clefs d’Or Nella Mirante of the Fairmont Macdonald chose this Mexican hotspot as she’s had only the best experiences there and all of the guests she’s sent return raving about their excellent service. “They really take care of you,” says Mirante. “Whether you’re a new or old guest, they welcome you and express well what’s on the menu and what it’s about.” Mirante recommends the restaurant to anyone looking for a fun atmosphere that feels like an escape from the city—plus mouthwatering food.

Though the restaurant does not do reservations, you can put your name down using the NoWait app when you arrive so that you’ll be notified as soon as your table’s available. Many of the dishes here are enjoyed best when shared, including the platter of roasted meats—with juicy rotisserie chicken and Cuban-style pork shoulder—and the Queso Fundido: Mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese, chorizo sausage, and potatoes served in house-made tortillas. Mirante also highly recommends saving room for the fried Churros coated in sugar and cinnamon, which you dip in a creamy salted pasilla milk chocolate.

Rostizado | #102, 10359-104 St. | 780-761-0911

The prestigious Clefs d’Or Silver Service Award is given to a local restaurant that has displayed excellent service and outstanding food.