Authors and eateries, resurrected festivals and a theatre are some of the bright lights ahead in 2022

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Marking the passage of a year isn’t all about reflecting back.

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While current circumstances dictate a certain degree of uncertainty, Edmonton’s arts and entertainment communities already have some wins carved out for 2022. And especially while we’re almost literally frozen in time, looking at highlights ahead can help us weather the weather and plan for brighter days.

The Journal’s You writers have weighed in on what they’re most eagerly anticipating this year.

Roxy

Every time I pass the Roxy Theatre on 124 Street, I look eagerly through its plate glass windows — I can’t wait for the moment in 2022 when I walk through the door.

The re-opening of the Theatre Network building, which burned down Jan. 13, 2015, had been anticipated for late fall 2021. But sound and light equipment supply issues delayed that. Also, the City of Edmonton and its fire department have yet to approve the structure for occupancy.

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Artistic director Bradley Moss hopes the theatre — a $12-million build featuring two performance spaces, a rehearsal hall and art gallery area — will be ready for its big reveal by April.

“But that is all it is right now — hope,” says Moss in an email.

Still. Each step, including July’s raising of the iconic Roxy sign and ongoing Instagram updates of the theatre’s stylish interior, make the coming celebration feel ever more real.

— Liane Faulder

Patio sandwiches

The ever-shifting pandemic is messing with timelines, but there are a few eateries slated to open in 2022.

Top of the list for me is Pal’s Sandwiches , part of the same restaurant group that owns Pip, Meat and the Next Act Pub, with a name that nods to a favourite endearment of Pip chef Brad Tebble. Pals is taking over the old Lyon/Packrat Louie space on the corner of 103 Street and 83 Avenue, directly across from Pip. The menu? You can guess that from the restaurant name, but what you won’t be able to guess is that Tebble promises classic cocktails along with the sandwiches, which will be made from their own signature bread and in-house cured meats. Factor in a great patio facing Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park and you’re looking at a choice spot to spend those summer evenings.

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— Tom Murray

Potential best sellers

The list of books coming from Edmonton authors in 2022 is already looking promising, and these are a few titles that caught my eye.

Buffalo is the New Buffalo — science fiction tropes told through a Métis lens — has a straightforward hook that also promises something truly different. Chelsea Vowel writes about virtual reality, foxes taking human forms and buffalo roaming free. Slated for release April 26 from Arsenal Pulp Press, you can learn more at apihtawikosisan.com.

Sandra SG Wong has a new unnerving tale coming in June, In the Dark We Forget, being published by HarperCollins. A woman wakes up with amnesia beside a mountain highway; she’ll have to fight to regain her memory, learning that her parents bought a winning $47 million lottery ticket right before disappearing. Learn more about the author at sgwong.com .

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Young adult and children’s writer Lorna Schulz Nicholson will bring to light one of the Edmonton sports scene’s most uplifting characters: Joey Moss. Nicholson is working with illustrator Alice Carter on a picture book about the life of Moss, called Good Morning, Sunshine, scheduled to arrive next fall from Sleeping Bear Press. Find details at  lornaschultznicholson.com .

— Justin Bell

Sky-high art

Already under construction at 75 Street and Wagner Road is Edmonton’s first elevated rail station, a terrific piece of architecture that looks right out of the future, a few stops down the LRT’s Valley Line Southeast from Tawatinâ Bridge.

This is Davies Station — due to open this summer as the city’s goliath piece of new infrastructure for 2022 — and like Tawatinâ, it’s bedazzled with colourful art. Local mosaic artist Erin Pankratz, also doing a big project behind the Milner Library, is bringing her beautiful tile work to the station’s ramp. The windows on either side of the tracks above feature San Francisco-based artist Shan Shan Sheng’s season-embracing Fluid Landscape, 53 stained-glass windows already hanging in place.

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It’s the largest of the 14 different projects commissioned by the Edmonton Arts Council for the new rail line, and while we can already take a look from the outside, I can’t wait to see it in everyday circumstances.

— Fish Griwkowsky

Bowie and ballet

Like everyone who takes an avid interest in the arts, I’m hoping for more live events of all sorts in 2022. Whether it’s in a concert hall or the outdoors, great music is more of a thrill live with friends.

Of the few specific dance or multimedia events already announced, I’m looking forward to Phi, Alberta Ballet’s adaptation of the music of David Bowie, being staged at the Jubilee Auditorium Mar. 31-Apr. 2.

Billed as a “contemporary sci-fi ballet”, this is Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maitre’s final portrait ballet, geared to the theme of human’s addiction to technology. Bowie’s own chameleon career makes his legacy a natural for such a project and Grand-Maitre has shown real ingenuity in adapting other pop greats before (Joni Mitchell, Elton John). Don’t expect a simple parade of hits.

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Considering the team effort from the master choreographer, dancers, set and costume designers, I imagine Phi will be a 2022 winner.

— Roger Levesque

All the festivals

While pondering what 2022 has in store for us, there was no ignoring the city’s late November announcement to close Hawrelak Park while it undergoes a three-year rehabilitation project.

One of Edmonton’s most popular spaces for outdoor sport and social endeavours — our primary means of in-person interactions the last couple of years — the 68-hectare area is also home to many of our major festivals. The silver lining to this bitter news is that construction won’t start until 2023 and I’m thrilled to have one more year to enjoy all these festivals, with hopes they’ll make a full appearance.

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Edmonton Blues Fest producer Cam Hayden was the first to confirm details for their 2022 edition happening Aug. 19-21 at the park’s Heritage Amphitheatre. Performers already booked are Sue Foley, The Legendary Downchild Blues Band, The Texas Horns, CJ Chenier and His Red Hot Louisiana Band, Fiona Boyes and Phil Wiggins, and a holiday sale on passes is on until Jan. 15 at bluesinternationalltd.com .

But the first festival making the most of Hawrelak Park this year is Silver Skate, kicking off Feb. 11 and running through the following weekend, with more details at silverskate.ca.

— Jenny Feniak

jfeniak@postmedia.com

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