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#MackAttack

Edmonton’s dean of the Twittersphere, Mack D. Male, celebrates 5 years of tweeting today.

Five years ago most of us probably didn’t even know about Twitter. Heck, some of us might not have known about Facebook yet. But Mack was one of the first people – in the world – to be on Twitter.

From the use of #yeg as an Edmonton identifier to talking up all of our technology, a lot of the Twitter conversation has been shaped by Mack. That he helps raise money through events like Twestival and organized What The Truck?! are just two more feathers for his digital cap.

So, today, we tip our Internet hats to Mr. Male, and will include the hashtag #MackAttack in all of our tweets in the hope of making him a nation-wide trending topic. It’s the least we can do. (It really is, we didn’t even get him a cake.)

While we’re talking about Mack’s accomplishments, you might be interested to know:

Mack was a world-class bodybuilder until he and Chuck Norris teamed up to invent social media.

Mack carries each fail whale to safety. With his mind.

Mack invented sleeping.

 

In some parts of Eastern Europe, the Internet is known simply as “Mack.”


A Sweet Goodbye

By Pam Brierley

Kay McRay, of K.D. Honey, smiles warmly at her young customer as they trade three flavoured honey sticks for a shiny gold loonie.

“The thing I love most about the market is the people,” she says.

Don and Kay have been in the bee-farming business for nearly 50 years and are regulars at the Callingwood Farmer’s Market for the last 13. The thing she says she’ll miss the most, when she and her husband Don retire at the end of this season, is all the friendships they’ve built over the years.

“When you sit next to someone week after week, you kind of get to know them.”

The regular vendors even breakfast together at local restaurant Muggn’z before the market opens on Sunday mornings. Occasionally, regular customers will join them too.

Don first learned the trade from a neighbour when he was 12-years-old, and when his own kids turned 12 they got in on the honey production too.

“I told the kids to either get a summer job or they were working for me.”

But over the years farming has not been easy. (more…)


Featured Edmontonian: Connie John

When I first considered doing a story to inform you all how much I enjoy a trip to Two Rooms Restaurant on Whyte Avenue, I seriously debated just posting a picture of the amazing carrot cake they serve. This would’ve benefited me twofold; 1) I am lazy, and 2) I would’ve had an excuse to down some carrot cake.

But! After a brief conversation with Two Rooms owner Connie John one day over breakfast, I knew I couldn’t just phone it in. Even if it meant bypassing carrot cake for the short term.

Connie is an elegant, charming lady whose passion for food is unmistakable. She is not a career restaurateur; in fact, her resume will probably surprise you. (more…)


Featured Edmontonian: Doug Organ of Edmontone Studio

When it comes to interesting Edmonton-based careers, there are some things I just don’t expect to find here at home. And “studio owner/recording engineer” would be pretty high on my list, somewhere after “ice cream taster,” but before “super-villain”or “space cowboy.”

Doug Organ, Owner, Edmontone Studio

Doug Organ: NOT a space cowboy. NOT.

So imagine my surprise in meeting 29-year-old Doug Organ. He is neither super villain, nor space cowboy; rather, a well known local musician (you’ll likely recognize him a former member of The Wet Secrets, The Whitsundays, or from his namesake Doug Organ Trio) and the owner, operator, producer and engineer of Edmontone Studio. It’s a young recording facility that has, since its inception just three years ago, housed recording projects for Edmonton luminaries like Christian Hansen and the Autistics, Tim Gilbertson and of course our buddies, The Omega Theory.

Edmontone started off as a lot of smaller jobs for Doug, who would often record in makeshift studios, like rehearsal spaces, or his own home.

“Well. it’s not like I’d set up a band in the apartment,” he laughs. “[Artists would] come over to do the vocals…but every time we needed to do beds, the band’s money was going to someone else’s studios or renting a space.”

Doug soon realized he could be earning a better return on his (and his clients’) time and money if he had his own space to record in – so he found an investor and set to work, searching out the right spot. (more…)


Featured Edmontonian: Rudy Smith

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Artist Rudy Smith during Art Walk, back in July.

Here’s an easter egg for all you superfans; if you’ve been with us from the beginning, you may remember that Jeff and I went to Art Walk back in July. Among the people we met was tremendously talented Sherwood Park artist Rudy Smith, whose work you can currently see featured in the flash player at the top of our main page (…and we’re going to blame our not having a proper picture of Rudy on his work – it’s just so dang compelling we couldn’t look away).

Only 21 years old and largely self-taught, Rudy’s work is vibrant and clever, features a multitude of hilarious pop culture references in its titles (“I suck at making up my own,” he says) and stars awesome and unexpected subjects like robots in love, cowboys, and teddy bears destroying cities with their laser eyes (I know, right?!).

“Anything and everything can influence my work,” says Rudy. “Music, movies, books, quotes, conversations, nature, relationships, other people’s art, etc. …Painting landscapes or bowls of fruit never appealed to me. I always wanted my art to be fun and action-packed, the kind of stuff I was excited to read in comics or see on Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid.”

“I suppose I’ve tried to capture some of that childhood excitement and awe in my paintings, or at least create some kind of escapism from the seriousness in life we often encounter as “grown-ups”.” (more…)


Featured Edmontonian: Helen Fester

By Lorraine Poulsen

commercial strip

The Highlands, located in northeast Edmonton and just blocks from the North Saskatchewan river valley, can be said to have had a golden start.

The subdivision was developed by the real estate entrepreneur group Magrath, Holgate and Co. It was that company which offered $50 in gold to the person who could come up with the winning name for the area.

The offer was made in 1910 and by 1911, a total of 28 residential building permits were taken out by Margrath, Holgate and Co. for the Highlands district.

Today the area boasts a unique commercial strip in the heart of the residential district. Minutes away from the city’s centre, the one-of-a-kind businesses offer a unique shopping and eating experience.

Among the shops on 112 Avenue is the famed French restaurant LaBoheme which was built as a luxury apartment block in 1912. The restaurant opened in 1982. The street is also home to a wool shop (Wool Revival), Catfish Coffee and Culina Highlands, a unique neighbourhood cafe, to name just a few.

And, of course, there is Chickies.

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facing 112 ave

If you have a few free hours and you are wondering how to spend them, do yourself a favour and go to 112 Avenue and 65 Street and visit with Helen at Chickies. The shop is opened Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a visit to this spot will just make you feel good.

Being part of the antique selling world is a “glorious” place to be according to Helen Fester, the owner of one of the city’s most unique antique stores.

Helen Fester - ownerAnd, if Chickies compelling atmosphere does not totally captivate and entice you, the rippling laughter of the former Army and Navy sales girl will surely make you want to step inside and have a closer look. (more…)


Featured Edmontonian: Ted Flower

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Okay, so, if you went to the Art Walk this year, you probably came across Ted Flower. He was the quiet, affable guy next to the CIBC who was displaying (among other things) a pair of giant panel cityscapes of Edmonton and Calgary, done entirely in ballpoint pen. I was totally taken with his artwork, which, from a distance, looks like it must’ve been generated by a computer; but when you get up close, you see that it is, in fact, an incredibly detailed, hand drawn depiction of both cities.

Ted is a tremendously interesting guy. He turned 50 just this week, and has had a few different careers; he ran a chainsaw for a long time, until he got hurt too badly to continue; he moved to Edmonton in 1989 and took up demolition and asbestos abatement. In the early to mid 2000s he was involved in a couple of different business opportunities; and he has just recently decided to chuck it all and pursue art on a full-time basis – a pretty bold step for a guy with no formal training. He says he would love to see his version of Edmonton’s skyline hanging in City Hall.

BRIDGE1Anyway, I made arrangements to stop by Ted’s studio, in the basement of his North Edmonton home, and watch him at work. Holy crap, Edmonton. Not only can the man draw;bridge2 he’s also completing a giant replica of a bridge out of TOOTHPICKS. Hundreds of thousands of them. The pieces he’s finished to date take up large parts of his house, and he hopes when completed, it will set a world record. When I ask him why he’s building the bridge, which he figures should be done by the time he’s 60, he says, “Because I need a challenge.” WHAT?! That’s so badass!

Check out the story above, and if you dig Ted’s work, or even if you just want to shake his hand, he’s going to have his cityscapes on display at the upcoming East meets West Festival, on Saturday, August 22.


Our first award winning contributor!

the edmontonian's own top chef!

the edmontonian's own top chef!

Alright, maybe that headline’s a bit misleading. But our good friend and chief parade correspondant Ryan from GrandeFullBody (who is a heckuva chef) did win this contest, sponsored by NAIT, with this picture of one of his delicious creations. His prize? Cactus Club food concept architect (look, wikipedia says it, I just re-type it) Rob Feenie’s new cookbook

Nice work, you award-winning chef/photographer/blogger! When can we all come to your house for dinner?


Featured Edmontonian: Katie Lee, Obleek Design

guitarF.Y.I., internets:  I’ve discovered thing #18648 that I really, really want: a custom strap for my rock band guitar.

Genius! Genius I say! Who would make such a brilliant product? Lo and behold, she’s from Edmonton.  Katie Lee is 27 years old, a graphic designer and an artisan; she and her mom run the Obleek etsy shop, selling
purses, totes, re-usable snack bags and the aforementioned guitar straps.

We recently had a little chat about her business, her background, and what inspires her work:

Q: How long have you been a designer (both web/graphic and fashion)?

A: I have been a graphic designer for 6 years.  I attended Grant MacEwan’s Visual Communication and Design program from 2000 – 2003, and I worked at 2 different companies before deciding to freelance on my own in 2007 at www.obleek.net. I design pretty much everything you can think of,
but my specialties lie with web design and branding/identities.

katie

Katie stitches up a storm on Big Bertha, the industrial sewing machine

As for bag design, I’ve been drawn to sewing ever since my grandma let me play on her old machine when I was very little. My grandma was an avid sewer, as is my mom, so it runs in my blood. This past Christmas my husband and I were really trying to keep down the money spent on gifts, so I decided I would make bags and other gifts for virtually everyone on my Christmas list. This is also when I discovered all the cool fabrics I could order on Etsy, which started my huge obsession with bold and funky fabrics. Everyone loved the bags and straps I had made, and people kept telling me I should try selling them. I was already very intrigued by Etsy and what it had to offer, so I set up a store. At first, I only sold to my close family and friends, but soon it picked up from word of mouth and people randomly finding us on Etsy. It got to the point where I could no longer keep up (more…)


Featured Edmontonian: The Cinnamon Girl!

Michelle Champis, Edmonton's Cinnamon Girl sets up shop at the Beverly Farmers' Market

Michelle Champis, Edmonton's Cinnamon Girl, sets up shop at the Beverly Farmers' Market

(contributed by Lorraine Poulsen)

The crowds, music and noise pinpoint the Beverly summer Farmers’ Market, but it’s the enticing smell of cinnamon that makes visitors know the seasonal market is open for business once again.

Located in Old Towne Beverly, on 40 St and 118 Ave., just south of the Cenotaph Park, the Market is once again open for the summer and fall season every Tuesday, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Booths sell a wide variety of products ranging from fresh fruit to popcorn. At the sound of the start bell, vendors open their booths and offer spring vegetables like radish and rhubarb and bedding plants and flowers of all varieties. Shoppers can buy jewelry, (more…)