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A One-Act Play: Permanent Terrorism Annihilation

One-hundred-and-eighty degrees, ... The atmosphere is positive, upbeat.” - Lawrence Frank

If this was my life every week, I would never retire. Knowing as low as I was last year, that I can come back and be playing this well, is a great feeling. Now doing it in front of the friends that got me back to where I am now, keeping me upbeat during some down times ... it just makes me feel good and is yet another reason why I have started to believe that everything happens for a reason.” - James Blake

For me, it's that I contributed, ... That I'm on this planet doing some good and making people happy. That's to me the most important thing, that my hour of television is positive and upbeat and an antidote for all the negative stuff going on in life.” - Ellen DeGeneres

(curtain rises on a small cafe. Several tables are placed around the stage. The table which is more or less front and centre has the two main characters (YOU and ME) seated, having coffee and talking.

YOU: So, Rick you're always full of opinions. Do you have one about the British terror threat that was intercepted yesterday?

ME: Yup.

(curtain falls, as the two rise to leave, bowling bags and shoes in hand)


Today, I'm going to do a civic pride thing and brag my ass off about Edmonton and it's fantastic summers. We're called The City of Champions for a reason, you know! In addition to the consistently good sports teams representing the city in various sports and at different levels, we have things like the world-renowned Stollery Children's Hospital, which is drawing the creme de la creme of pediatric doctors from all over the world, we have several top-rate health facilities in fact. Businesses are drawn here not only because of the work pool available, but it is economically the strongest province in the country. We are the only province with no provincial sales tax, and have the lowest provincial income tax in the country. Although real estate prices are currently rising at a whack rate, they are still hundreds of thousands of dollars lower than comparables in Toronto or Vancouver.

The city of over 1 million people is largely divided into Community Leagues, which operate as neighbourhood committees to do everything from sponsoring sports teams or clubs, renting out their meeting hall for parties, running a Block Watch program, having community garage sales. In fact, anything a small neighbourhood in a rural town would do. It breaks down barriers, and you really get to know your neighbours well, if it's an active area. The five years after I just moved out here, the Scout Program I was running was sponsored by our community league.

But all that, and much more aside, I want to focus on the summers. In the summer we take on the title of Festival City. There is hardly a day throughout the summer that there isn't at least one festival or sports event happening at any given time.

For instance, last weekend (the long weekend here) was Heritage Days. This is held each year in Hawrelak Park. All the diverse ethnic communities have stages set up and put on shows highlighting their native dances, costumes, food (available for purchase). Correct me if I'm wrong mackey, but I think it was either 29 or 39 different nationalities represented this year. And you know what? They all got along swimmingly with each other! Everyone gets along. It has grown each year, and attracted over 400,000 people this year over 3 days, up about 15% I believe I heard from last year. Oh yeah! The price of admission? A donation to the Food Bank. Again, my memory may be abandoningme here, but my recollection is that is was something like 60 tons of food were collected. The food donations were up 40% over last year...that one I'm pretty sure of.

This weekend we're hosting the Transplant Games. All the competitors have survived organ transplant operations. The games are designed with a twofold purpose. One is to see who's best of course, and the other is to publicize the effectiveness and encourage an awareness for people to sign their donor cards NOW while you think of it, not 10 minutes after you died.

Also, the biggie this weekend is our 4-day long Edmonton Folk Festival. There's a link in my sidebar to their site.

Just because I've had an on-going interest and commitment to it, I'll give you a sampling of the performers at this year's festival.
Blind Boys Of Alabama
Bruce Cockburn
The Holmes Brothers
Eileen Ivers And Immigrant Soul
The McDades
Mortal Coil
The Neville Brothers
Linda Ronstadt
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thnder
Linda Tillery and The Cultural Heritage Choir
Hawksley Workman
The Waifs
Bedouin Soundclash
David Gray
David Bromberg
Salif Keita
Sarah Harmer
....and many many more, plus local artists not listed in the program who get a chance to strut their stuff in between set changes.

Next week I think it is, the Street Performers Festival takes over the downtown area. These folks come from all around the world, and I swear most of them would dance circles around those folks they're finding on 'America's Got Talent" show currently running.

There has already been a Taste of Edmonton. A whole lot of the eating establishments (including some of the trendy, higher end places that Joe Schmoo normally wouldn't get to) set up booths around the City Hall square and sell samplings of their specialties for a couple tickets that you buy for 25 cents each or something. You get a smorg of all kinds of great samplers. Free musical entertainment all the time at these events also.

Earlier, there was the Art and Culture Exhibition. Mostly local artists display their art all over the downtown lobbies and office buildings, etc. and any of them are for sale. It gets people downtown (which is always a problem, although it's being turned around) and exposes some of the talent that is local.

There are a couple of film festivals that run too, but they are pretty low-key and generally have a dedicated following.

A few weeks back we had The Capital Exhibition. Up until this year, it used to be called Klondike Days, and was Edmonton's major summer celebration some years back. Everyone, and I mean everyone, would dress up in period costumes of the turn of the century. If you weren't dressed up, you could easily find yourself arrested by the police, put in a large cage jail cell set up right in the middle of the street at downtown's busiest intersection, some judge would decide how much your bail was, then you had to beg people, strangers mostly unless you came with a big crew, to give you some money to bail you out. Of course, all the money went directly to charities, but I always panicked that I'd get locked up and no one would pay for me to get out. (A mild tiptoe into some fantasyland there!) Stores would put up false store fronts to make them look like forts, or paint their windows with neat gold diggers and the like.

To clarify why this theme....back in the gold rush days in the late 1800's early 1900's, Edmonton was the staging city for most of the prospectors, because the train came here, but no further north. They would get their supplies from Fort Edmonton, guides if needed, and off they'd go. Now, back to our festival.

The whole thing would be kicked off by a huge parade downtown. There would be bathtub races down Jasper Avenue each day at noon, with the various businesses fielding teams. Some of them took it damned serious. Others...not so much, Expect to get wet. 'Nuff said. The waterfall on the bridge gets turned on twice a year. One is for the Silly boat races on the river. Again, corporate teams, home design, a lot of cardboard etc, and the indispesable water cannon. They had to float under the waterfall on their way down the river.

Sadly, it's pretty much run it's course, largely crowded out by all these other activities. But it always had the Ex associated with it...the rides, the casino, the contest for best quilting, wood carving and apple pie (yup...we still do that. I have a quilted piece of art hanging on my wall that won grand overall prize one year. It was made by a very good friend of mine and her Mom. They had it stored in a closet afterward, and when I said that it should be out becuase it was too awesome to pack away like that, they said "Over your stairs is a perfect place for it." Double-wow.

There are also a Jazz Festival, and a Bluegrass Festival, a Blues Festival and probably one or two that are slipping my mind right now. And of course, Cananda Day, the other day the falls are turned on, complete with fireworks and all the trimmings of course. During the day, too, there is the Silly Summer Parade on Whyte Avenue, where anybody who wants to can go join the parade dressed up, dragging a dancing dog, spraying the on'lookers with water pumps, square dancing...whatever. It's a bring your own act parade. Usually some pretty clever stuff amidst the not-so-clever.

But we wind it all up with the Fringe Festival, held down and around Whyte Avenue on a total of about 30 stages, give or take. It highlights theatre, plays, acting, drama, but often of "an unusual kind". Some are terribly amateurish, others have their run extended because they are so outstanding. In fact, now there is a Son of Fringe festival that runs about a month later and brings back the best acts so more people can take them in. Some are "challenging the limits of acceptability", some have open nudity, a lot get the audience very involved, which some people love and others --- not so much again! The strategy of working a good fringe is to go for the first couple of days and stand around the big board showing showtimes and theatres, and listen to what people are saying. That's how you get the reviews. Don't trust the blokes in the paper. They always leave early to get their story filed in time.

Fringe started in Scotland, and next to Edinburgh's, Edmonton's in the second largest in the world, and they run globally now. I might be wrong on this, but I think there's usually around 80 - 100 different plays to choose from over the course of the week it runs.

Then it's time to go back to school, and cheering for the next Oilers season.

Life is wonderful.

Life is grand.

There's always room for Jello. And there's always room for friends in Edmonton.

As long as you don't turn on the radio anymore.


Wow. You know..I NEEDED to read that today. I have been bouncing around for so long that I almost forgot that I am heading to a city that has a lot of things to offer, similiar to your wonderful city there. Having pride in one's surroundings is the key to keeping those surroundings as energetic and vital as they are today. When neighborhoods work as a team, the results are just what you dexcribed in your post and I would truly love to visit there one day. Have a great weekend, Rick! Sounds like you have plenty to keep you busy!

Yay for Edmonton!!!
You could never get bored around here!
The Street performers Festival was the second week of July. This was the first year that we didn't go because we were on holidays.
You forgot to mention the Cariwest Festival this weekend.
Aug 11-13th
It's the celebration of the Barribean Islands & their culture.
Fun times with some groovy music!!

Shane: It's nice that the timing of this worked out for you. That makes me feel good for some reason! Sometimes, point of view makes a world of difference. I knew I was heading straight for a manic brakdown if I allowed myself to get too exorcised of the international stuff. I saw it mentioned on three blogs yesterday, didn't follow any of the links, and have neither watched nor listened to a news broadcast since, and don't intend to for some time. DJB is right on that one.

I, for one, am guilty of too often seeing the half empty part either before or even instead of seeing the half full part. I'm going to keep trying to work on that. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to mouth off and pontificate anymore, it's just I'll try not to do it when I feel it'll throw my cycle off (sounds like a woman, don't it?!!)

And you are always welcome for a visit in this fine city.

Great weekend back at ya.

Mackey: How could I forget cariwest or carribana (I guess that's the Toronto one, eh?) I HEART Carribbean music BIGTIME.

I wasn't sure about the street performers. I didn't take them in this year, and I had the feeling a lot of them associated themselves with the Fringe. Maybe they come back for that, cause there sure are a lot of them (if only a front end loader would accidentally pick up the push-up guy, though, and dump him in Calgary, the collective IQ of BOTH cities would go up!...(think about it now!)

....and, oh yeah! Did I mention our close proximity to Rockie mountain skiing, both downhill and cross-country, natural hotsprings, endless hiking trails, dinosaur digs, Devonian Gardens (that won't match Butchart, but still a wonderful retreat to spend a quiet day), museums for virtually anything you'd ever want to musee....the list is endless. Little Italy (the best gellato ice cream in the world), Whyte Avenue of course, the best people-watching, best dance clubs, best unusual non-box-cookie-cutter stores, crafts, an incredible evening program of education in many schools for everything from full-blown programs, to specialty courses, general interest or hobby, I'm not sure how many libraries there are, the endless bike and hiking trails through the river valley which runs right through the middle of the city, and is maintained as green space, I don't know how many golf courses....We haven't mentione the great West Edmonton Mall yet either yet, have we? I wonder why that is (sarcasm). The tourists love it. The locals either love it or hate it. There are no in-betweens. Sort of like Walmart, I expect.

okay, It's time for me to take a chill pill here, sorry. Getting carried away, and the mood is starting to rise a bit too quickly here for my liking, so I'm heading off to lie down for a bit (try to catch up on all the sleep I missed last night -- only got a half hour, another sign of mood movement). All the signs are now there over the past several days, it's a case of being able to manage it so they don't go any further. Endless writing is one symptom for me, so I'm definitely going to stop now!!. ...but I did warn you yesterday! Maybe you weren't reading closely enough!

npayxmgt - no pay for ex-management

You sure have a lot more things going on there than we do here. Or maybe I just don't know about anything, because of not reading the papers. Too hard to get around now anyway, so I'll pass. Leaving next weekend for another short holiday, up near San Francisco. Mainly a coastal phot-shoot, and get cooled for a week out of the desert.

Wow, the Edmonton Folk Festival sounds amazing! I pretty much love all of those acts listed.

By the way, your defence of cinnamon hearts opened my mind. I will attempt to eat them instead of chucking them when I get into work on Monday. I wish on the stars that I get the same effect you do!

West Ed is a cool place if you are a tourist but I do not care for it.
Too big &expensive.
We went there in May to go to the waterpark. It cost $80.00 for our family to go swimming!! That was just to get in!! $5.00 for each locker we used.(2)
$5.00 for each life jacket or tube we used. We used 1 life jacket & 4 tubes.
Oh & of course you are not supposed to bring in outside food & of course theirs is outrageously priced.
Screw them..I brought my own food!

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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