Cineplex Entertainment is looking beyond Hollywood with a new concept that combines arcade games and live performances.The country’s biggest movie theatre chain said Monday it plans to launch The Rec Room later this year in Edmonton as part of a pilot project that will ramp up to a bigger expansion.Each location will have space for a restaurant and bar, as well as an array of entertainment options, like an arcade and an auditorium for live music and comedians.The company is also considering other games like bowling, billiards and ping pong.The idea is in the vein of restaurant and arcade chains in the United States like Latitude 360 and Dave and Buster’s.“When you look at Canada we really don’t have a location-based social environment where people can game, have a meal, watch [sports], all of those kinds of things that create a destination,” chief executive Ellis Jacob said in an interview.“It allows us to capitalize on our strength, from our infrastructure to the assets we’ve built up.”Box office flops like Sex Tape and Blended cut into Cineplex’s bottom lineCineplex looks to diversify business as fourth-quarter profit falls 38%The first Rec Room will open late this year adjacent to an existing Cineplex theatre at the South Edmonton Common shopping centre.Another 10 to 15 locations will follow in major cities across the country over the next several years, though they won’t necessarily be next to a movie theatre, Jacob said.Cineplex already operates 18 Xscape Entertainment Centres with popular arcade games and billiards. Some of the locations also have lounges with liquor licences.What makes The Rec Room different is the broader game and food selection, and the large digital screens, Mr. Jacob said.He hopes Cineplex can tap into the rising popularity of video game tournaments on the big screen, where audiences gather to battle each other playing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 games.Cineplex also owns an advertising business and premium-priced movie theatres. The company has been focused on diversifying its business to lessen the impact of the volatile movie industry, which thrives on blockbuster hits but falters when a big movie tanks.Last month, Cineplex backed out of screening the controversial Seth Rogen movie The Interview when hackers threatened terrorist attacks at theatres showing the comedy.While Cineplex said it only planned to postpone screenings, the company decided against showing it at all when Sony Pictures made The Interview available to rent and buy online.The Canadian Press
Photos by Amy Sundstrom For another year, the Emery Town Winter Ball aimed to raise funds for the restoration of the old yellow church in Emery. This year’s successful event took place on Saturday as attendees gathered at the Emery Town Rec Center for an evening of music and dancing.A couple from the Salt Lake Scandinavian Music and Dance organization were in attendance at the ball this year to perform and teach Scandinavian dance. Tom Oesleby and Gwen Trefts are leaders in the Salt Lake company. They helped form the organization after moving to Utah from Wyoming in 2006.Their first event, The Scandi Jam 2010, was an afternoon workshop and evening party featuring Bob Holmen from Red Lodge, Wyo. with music by local musicians. This has grown to annual and semi-annual Scandi fests and other local heritage festivals. Oesleby and Trefts have studied under Norwegian and Swedish instructors and enthusiastically shared their talent at this year’s ball.The event was organized by the Emery Historical and Restoration Committee as funds continue to be raised for the restoration of the church.
It all started out as a class project.David D’Angelo was intrigued by the concept of biodegradable forks, knives, spoons and other utensils, a technology his father stumbled across while running factories in China.So, D’Angelo presented the idea to his entrepreneurship professor Teresa Menzies, who “really liked” the pitch. As his course assignment in his fourth year, he wrote out a formal business plan.“At first, I was just doing it as a class project,” recalls the 21-year-old. “As I started to get into it, I got more passionate about it. Eventually, now, it turned into my current business.”David D’Angelo with prototypes of his biodegradable packaging. As he begins his business, D’Angelo will focus initially on producing biodegradable cosmetics containers.“It’s really never been done in the cosmetics industry before,” he says. “There’s never been a biodegradable or compostable jar that you could put anything into.”Also, says D’Angelo, the demand for cosmetic products is consistently high, relatively insensitive to economic downturns, and has a higher profit margin than utensils.He notes that with a rising volume of organic-based cosmetics being produced, “this is a perfect fit.”But the big question is how do you produce a container that’s biodegradable but will also hold creams and other materials without disintegrating?Coat the container with a substance that will preserve the integrity of the container.That’s where Paul Zelisko, Brock’s only polymer chemist, comes in. He and D’Angelo are finalizing the terms of a project to come up with such a coating.Zelisko explains that the coating has to meet strict criteria, including protecting the package, not interfering with the chemical composition of the cosmetic it is holding, and the coating itself has to be biodegradable.“You don’t want this thing essentially turning into compost on the store shelf or in your bathroom,” says Zelisko. “The last thing you want is a cold cream that turns black when it’s in contact with the coating – it won’t sell that well.”Zelisko says that within the next six months, he’ll be conducting experiments to understand how various polymers interact with the containers and how to apply them to packaging, among other things.Polymers are chemical compounds or mixtures of compounds consisting of repeated structural units that occur naturally or synthetically. Examples of natural polymers are cellulose, shellac and amber.“I’ve always been a big fan of science with practical applications,” says Zelisko. “In reality, there’s a lot of fundamental science that needs to be developed. It just so happens that at the end of the day, somebody gets a product, or the university gets a license that they can work with.”D’Angelo, is equally enthusiastic about his partnership with Brock.“As I grow, Brock is going to grow with their business incubator,” says D’Angelo, who plans to run the company with his father and long-time family friend Bob Birrell. “We want the relationship to be mutually beneficial.”