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Poems in Paint

Le pays qui penche. Photo by Michèle Drouin.

Over her four-decade artistic career, Michèle Drouin has known many passions, including ceramics, drawing, and poetry. Her abstract acrylic paintings, which showcase her command of colour, are illuminated with poetic titles that heighten the meaning of each work and ask more from the viewer. Drouin stopped painting in 2011, and this final exhibition of her work will cover the most important moments of her career from 1977 to 2007.

Gardens Ablaze/Jardins de Lumière | November 17 – December 7
Bugera Matheson Gallery | 10345-124 St. | 780-482-2845

Jersey Boys

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

“Oh, What a Night” you’ll have at this documentary-style musical of the 1960s rock ’n roll group The Four Seasons! In the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys, the rise and fall of the iconic group is split into four separate seasons, each narrated by a different band member and filled with the beloved songs of this golden age of music. You’ll find it hard not to sing along to hits such as, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “Rag Doll” at this entertaining trip down memory lane.

Jersey Boys | November 10–12 | $35–$120
Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 1-866-540-7469

Talent Spotlight: James Cockell

When James Cockell was only three years old, his parents put a violin in his hands. But it was not until he was in university that the desire to pursue music professionally finally settled in. “I did English for my first degree, so I was working towards being a writer,” he explains. “I was doing music on the side, and at some point I started to work and realized it was a lot more engaging for me.”

His work in music began when a university friend needed a violinist for a Hungarian folk group, which evolved into a career as a freelance violinist, working routinely with such groups as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and the Citadel Theatre. “Both my mom and my dad played in the orchestra back in the day, so it’s kind of like the family business,” says Cockell. “For me, because I freelance, it’s never the same routine week to week. You come up against new challenges all the time.”

In these months alone, Cockell is involved in several projects, either as a performer or an organizer. He’s one of the talented musicians playing in the pre-Broadway production of Hadestown and is organizing the orchestras for Legend of Zelda and Salute to Vienna.

One new and exciting challenge in particular is the upcoming production of Amadeus Live—the full-length movie accompanied by a 55-piece orchestra and a 50-person choir. “This is the first time that I’ve organized anything that involved an entire film,” says Cockell. “And there are some obscure instruments involved in this. This is the first time I’ve had to find basset horns anywhere!”

Although he does have a bias, Cockell still avidly recommends the Edmonton arts scene—particularly because of its evolution and diversity. “We’ve got the theatre, the symphony, the opera—all these great things that are actually really accessible now. It’s not just for upper-class, wealthy old people,” he says, noting the current line-up that includes classical composers, video games, and Hollywood scores. “It’s been really exciting to see it grow and change. There’s something for everyone.”

Chef Spotlight: Christine Sandford

Photo by Detour Photography

Revitalizing a quiet neighbourhood near Whyte Avenue, the new Ritchie Market features a butcher shop, coffee shop, and a highly anticipated brewpub, Biera. The head chef, Christine Sandford, is excited to be at the helm of this new eatery on the Edmonton food scene and working with Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company.

“We’re changing people’s idea of what you can eat with beer,” says Sandford. “When people imagined what the restaurant was going to be like, they thought it was going to be a lot of pub food, burgers and fries, and it’s nothing like that. It can be light and delicious.” Sandford and the team at Biera aim to give customers a unique dining experience, pairing quality local food with craft beer in the same way that other restaurants may pair wine or cocktails.

Part of being the head chef is imparting techniques and experiences—and Sandford has plenty to go around. She has trained as a butcher and in various restaurants both in Edmonton and overseas, including interning with Belgian chef Kobe Desramaults at his Michelin-starred restaurant, from whom Sandford learned skills now being used in her own kitchen. “I think we’re one of the first places to have a full-on charcoal grill. It’s an awesome thing to teach other chefs because it’s quite a technical, old style of cooking,” she says. “I can see why people ended up going to gas grills because it’s obviously more convenient, but the flavour is just incomparable.”

Upon returning to her hometown, Sandford has rediscovered the availability and variety of local product and ingredients. Combing through farmers’ markets and speaking with local farmers has fuelled her inspiration. “In the fall, it gets more challenging. You prepare for it in the summer months, and you adapt,” she says. “That’s part of being a chef: being adaptable to any situation. You get to constantly be creative.”

When she’s not travelling or working hard in the kitchen, Sandford—like many chefs—enjoys the local dining scene. Some of her favourites include Pho Hoan Pasteur, Izakaya Tomo, and Clementine.

Artist Spotlight: Caitlin Bodewitz

WHERE: What made you want to become an artist?
Caitlin Bodewitz: I attribute a lot of my creative pursuit to my unique upbringing. I was raised on a mountain in a secluded community called Powder King in the Pine Pass of northern B.C. My childhood was rooted in using my imagination, being active, and connecting with nature, which are all now integral parts of my practice.

W: What mediums do you prefer to work in?
CB: I am a mixed-media printmaker that incorporates silk-screening with drawings and photography onto birch wood. I also work with reclaimed materials such as barn wood and wood waste from the construction and design industries as a medium for large-scale wood murals.

W: What themes or issues do you explore in your art?
CB: I am interested in reflecting on the relationships between nature and urban influences. The adaptability and abundance of wildlife in a city river valley fascinates me, and on the other end of the spectrum, provincial park infrastructure and waste left by hikers in the backcountry concerns me. By observing the interactions of these two opposing realms, I attempt to seek a balance, questioning if there is a space for these two worlds to respectfully co-exist. Visually I explore this by juxtaposing nature and geometry, creating tension between something organic and something structured to find a cohesive composition or relationship.

W: What do you hope people take away from your work?
CB: I hope my creations contribute to the celebration, education, and conservation of our planet. By bringing a little piece of nature in their homes, I hope the viewers will think more critically about their role in protecting and keeping our planet and animals safe and wild.

W: Where can readers view and/or purchase your work?
CB: On my website, which also lists stores across Canada that I sell out of, including TIX on the Square. They can also visit my Etsy store and Instagram @CMBPrintWorks.

Edmonton Opera’s Les Feluettes

Photo by Yves Renaud

From accomplished Québec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard comes a passionate tale of love and deception. Edmonton Opera’s production of Les Feluettes (Lilies) follows the love story between two men in early 20th-century Québec as they struggle against repression and social norms. With lush, romantic music, the opera will be performed in French with English surtitles and features the talents of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Les Feluettes (Lilies) | October 21, 24 & 27
Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave.| $20-$165

Ask the Beer Expert: Jason Foster

Jason Foster is the beer columnist for CBC Radio in Edmonton and other outlets, as well as the creator of onbeer.org.

WHERE Edmonton: What kind of beer would you recommend for someone who’s just starting to like beer?
Jason Foster: The key is to pick flavours you’re familiar with. If you’re used to what I call Macro Lagers—the pale lagers with a high portion of corn syrup—then I would point them to a craft lager that has a similar profile but is all barley. Good local examples include Yellowhead Premium Lager or Ribstone Creek Lager. White wine fits well into a blonde ale or light, fruity Kolsch-style. Yukon Gold or Alley Kat Scona Gold are good starting points.

W: Is there a type of beer you’d recommend someone enjoy with the cool fall weather?
JF: The fall is perfect for ambers and reds, much like the colour of leaves. I always love an Oktoberfest this time of year, which is a German-style malty, amber-coloured lager that defines the Munich festival. As the temperature begins to dip, I start pulling out red and brown ales, such as Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewing’s award-winning Open Road Brown Ale.

W: Are there any trends in brewing—perhaps in Alberta—that you’re excited about?
JF: I am impressed to see Alberta breweries embracing more adventurous styles. I like how Bench Creek Brewing is quick to adopt emerging interpretations like New England IPA, a type of IPA that downplays hop bitterness for big, citrusy, fruity flavours. The Apex Predator is like Five Alive in a beer can!

W: Do you have any tips for pairing beer and food?
JF: There are no hard-and-fast rules, but generally I opt for trying to either contrast the beer and food or complement their flavours. An example of contrast is to pair a roast chicken with a malty Vienna Lager or Brown Ale. To complement, I may link a Porter or a Stout with a chocolate cake, where the combination highlights the chocolate flavours and aromas.

LitFest 2017

Scaachi Koul. Photo by Barbora Simkova

Reading may be a solitary act, but LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival pulls you out of your reading chair by bringing some of the biggest names in nonfiction to the city. With readings, panels, and events on food, music, art, politics, and more, there’s a book and an event for any interest. Headliners include the hilarious and unapologetic Scaachi Koul—a writer at BuzzFeed Canada and author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter—and Jen Agg, a Canadian restaurateur and author of I Hear She’s a Real Bitch. Don’t worry—you don’t have to read the books beforehand to enjoy the events, but you’ll definitely want to take them home after!

LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival | October 12–22
Various venues | Check out their schedule here

9 Notable Facts about Edmonton

Illustration of the North Saskatchewan River through Edmonton

1) Edmonton is one of Canada’s top three sunniest cities, along with Calgary and Winnipeg. Each year Edmonton gets an average of 325 days of sun, or 2,345 hours.

2) West Edmonton Mall no longer holds the title of world’s largest shopping mall, but it does still boast the Guinness world record for the largest parking lot. Holding up to 20,000 cars at once, it even tops prime destinations like Disneyland.

3) At 18,000 acres, the North Saskatchewan River Valley in Edmonton is North America’s largest continuous urban green space. There are 150 kilometres of trails for year-round activities and 22 parks in the space. Much of the land was privately owned originally, but became public again when the city seized back the land after the North Saskatchewan River flooded in 1915.

4) In 1987, an F-4 tornado ripped through the city at speeds of 416 km/hr, killing 27 people and injuring numerous more. The day the deadliest tornado in Alberta’s history struck came to be known as “Black Friday.”

5) At 64 metres high, the Great Divide Waterfall on the High Level Bridge is seven metres higher than Niagara Falls. The waterfall feature was installed by artist Peter Lewis in 1980 to celebrate Alberta’s 75th anniversary. Before being shut off indefinitely in 2014 due to budget and environmental concerns, it pumped water into the North Saskatchewan River at a stunning 50,000 litres per minute.

6) Pigeon lovers beware! Edmonton Bylaw 13145 on Animal Licensing states clearly that Edmontonians may not keep more than 75 pigeons as pets.

7) Elk Island National Park has the second-highest density of hoofed mammals (bison, moose, deer, and elk) in the world, just behind the Serengeti Plains of Africa.

8) A wedding of royal proportions took place in Edmonton on July 16, 1988, when Wayne Gretzky married American actress Janet Jones. Thousands of Edmontonians lined the streets between St. Joseph’s Basilica and the reception hoping to catch a glimpse of the new couple (and Janet’s $40,000 gown). The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra serenaded the couple down the aisle.

9) In 1990, an Edmonton park was named after James Ramsey, a man credited with bringing the penny to Edmonton in 1913 so that his popular department store could put on 99-cent sales. Unfortunately, the city misspelled his name, calling it James Ramsay Park. The misspelling of the park has been noted by the city, but never formally changed.

By Danielle Mohr


WHERE Edmonton is giving away a 2017 Specimen Set from West Edmonton Coin & Stamp! Included is a one-of-a-kind loonie featuring a dramatic image of a snow goose, which was designed by Canadian artist Derek C. Wicks.

To enter to win this historic collector’s item, follow WHERE Edmonton on Twitter and watch for tweets about the contest! We will draw for the winner on October 16.

Hot Dining: Surf, Turf & Sweet Treats

Photo courtesy Three Boars Eatery Group

Wishbone | 10542 Jasper Ave.
From the local restaurant group behind Three Boars Eatery and Farrow Sandwiches comes a new downtown eatery. Wishbone offers a modern, refined Canadian surf-and-turf menu—and several veg options—that’s perfect for sharing! Try the charcoal-grilled meat skewers or Welsh Rarebit—crimini mushrooms and cured egg yolk atop toasted bread. Grab a table alongside the open kitchen, and be sure to sample the selections of sherry and gin served on the rocks, with soda, or in a cocktail.

Photo courtesy Chocorrant

Chocorrant Pâtisserie + Café | 10328-124 St.
Get your fill of scrumptious pastries on 124 Street! The sibling-owned Chocorrant Pâtisserie + Café serves a light lunch menu, French pastries, organic teas, and specialty coffee using locally roasted coffee beans. Although all the delectable desserts are sure to impress, try the tart and creamy Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake—a fan favourite—or one of their flavoured croissants, such as strawberry or matcha. Sit and relax awhile in the quaint 20-seater, or grab your tasty treats to go and take a stroll around the neighbourhood.

Escape from the Corn Maze

Photo courtesy Edmonton Corn Maze

For this year’s theme, the Edmonton Corn Maze has partnered with BioWare, a local video game company, to design a challenging new maze that features Anthem—BioWare’s highly anticipated new release. With 85 different decision points and five kilometres of pathways to get lost in, the maze could take you over 60 minutes to escape! Open day and night until October 24, test your sense of direction with your family and friends in the exciting new design.

26171 Garden Valley Rd. | 780-554-4540

Interview with Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario

This weekend (Sep 22 – 24) the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo will give fans the opportunity to get their geek on and meet and listen to some of the stars and creators of their favourite films, TV shows, and comics. One of the guests we are delighted to welcome is Charles Martinet, who is best known as the voice of Mario and his work with Nintendo. WHERE Edmonton recently interviewed the talented and delightful Martinet about his work and upcoming visit to Edmonton.

Charles Martinet will be at the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend, Sep 22-24. Photo courtesy of Edmonton Expo.

WHERE Edmonton (W): What do you love about being a voice actor?

Charles Martinet (CM): It’s what I absolutely love to do. You get to do all these characters and create them off the top of your head and just have fun. When you actually do the character, like my favourite character in the world like Mario, you get to become that character when you’re doing the job. To me, Mario is so full of happiness and fun. He’s got a sense of adventure and this positivity, facing adversity with a (imitates Mario) “Here we gooo!” Every bit of acting is always exploring dimensions of yourself, so I hope I have that level of optimism.

W: You’ve always stipulated that your main principles in life are to be happy and kind and to have fun. How do you continue to maintain and promote these principles after so many years in the industry?

CM: It’s so easy. Because when someone says, “Hey, would you do the Mario voice?” and I go, “Here we gooo!” and I see them smile, that makes me just absolutely joyful and excited about it. It keeps the character fresh and young and alive in me. (Mario voice) “It’s-a me, Mario!” At the Edmonton Expo, I’ll be giving autographs and taking pictures with people, and I don’t just stand there to take the picture. I say, “Let’s make Mario poses and go ‘Whoopeeeee!’ together.” I sometimes look up when I’m autographing and I’ll do the voices, and I see the smiles on people’s faces and that keeps the character forever new and fun.

W: Is that your favourite part about attending conventions and expos?

CM: I love everything about it, to tell you the truth. I love seeing people in costumes that they’ve designed. Some of these people spend a whole year making the perfect Princess Peach or Princess Daisy or Rosalinda or Mario, Luigi, Waluigi—their favourite character or some character from an anime, or some people are hopping around in a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume. It’s so spectacular—I love that. It’s people having fun. And being immersed in this place of total joy and fun, it’s really just the greatest experience. It’s my favourite way to have a weekend.

W: You have a spotlight panel scheduled for the Saturday. Do you know what sorts of topics or content fans can expect to hear discussed?

CM: I will talk about my life and getting the job of Mario and the joy of doing it. I always like to start by saying thank you, because, really, it is the enthusiasm of the people who love Mario games, anime, and sci-fi that allow us the opportunity to connect with you and to go around the world. To be appreciated for what you love to do is just such an amazing pleasure. And of course, I’ll take any questions about my career and my life. It’s always so fun to connect with people.

W: What’s your favourite game that you’ve created?

CM: (imitates Mario)Super Mario Odyssey!” I’m so in love with that game. I can’t wait until it comes out! Although, I will warn you, every time I see a game for the first time or play it for the first time, it becomes my favourite of all time… But Super Mario Odyssey is a very marvelous, hallmark game. It’s amazing. If you think in terms of the longevity of Mario games and Zelda games, the passion and fun of Nintendo comes out… The way that the game is put together, it has a level of integrity that’s just magnificent.

W: If you weren’t a voice actor, what do you think you’d be doing, to bring you this level of joy that you’ve found?

CM: This summer, I was in London, and there was this Eastern European guy who was outside one of the museums. He had a bucket and two poles and this string tied between the poles with little loops in it, and he would dip that into his bucket and, as he pulled it up, hundreds of bubbles would go flying over London to the absolute elation and squeals of joy of all these beautiful children who were watching. Everybody was so happy and would stop and watch. Even the most stodgy adults couldn’t resist the temptation of poking the bubbles… I would want to find a way to bring that kind of joy, and I would definitely go out and get a bucket and two poles to do that. To do what you love to do in your life and to bring some sense of happiness to people is such an amazing and unique privilege. It’s something I just fell into—I didn’t know anything about Mario or Nintendo. I only knew that I wanted to be happy and to bring smiles to people.

W: What’s one thing that fans would be surprised to learn about you?

CM: I’m pretty much an open book! My passion for travel? I love stepping on a plane. If I’m not doing a show or a video game, I get on a plane and I go somewhere because I love food, art, culture, and architecture… I have a passion for food. I will definitely be hunting for great food in Edmonton, I’ll tell you that much.

W: Where’s your favourite place that you’ve traveled?

CM: That is the impossible question. That’s like asking about my favourite Mario game—I love them all. Everywhere I go is just magnificent. It’s such an adventure, such an exploration. I love places in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, in Eastern Europe. And there’s still so much of the world I haven’t seen. So I’ll get back to you on that in 20 years!

W: Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to in Edmonton?

CM: I can’t wait to explore the restaurants! And I can’t wait, most of all, to meet Mario fans, because I am a Mario fan, too. And to hang out, take pictures, do autographs, and hear their stories and adventures is just really great. I love seeing the cosplay and seeing people having a great time. This group [The Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo] in particular really puts on a great show. They’re so caring about the fans and so energetically enthusiastic about making the experience the best it can be for everyone who comes.

Mr. Martinet’s panel, “Spotlight on Charles Martinet,” is on Saturday, September 23 at 11 am and is included with general admission. He will also be signing autographs at designated times each day. Visit the Edmonton Expo website for scheduled times and more information.


WHERE Edmonton is giving away 2 one-day passes to the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend! To enter to win a pair of tickets, follow us on Twitter (@whereedmonton) and watch for tweets about the contest. The lucky winner will be chosen on Thursday, September 21.