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Women-only recovery experi­ment: did it work or not?

For Sherri Johnstone, resident at the Rainier Women’s Treatment Centre in the Downtown Eastside, the last two weeks have brought on some tearful goodbyes. As Health Canada funding for the four-year pilot project ceased Dec. 1, Johnstone and the Rainier’s 37 current residents are adjusting to immediate cuts in staff and programming.

“It’s been hard,” says Johnstone, who struggled with crack addiction and failed at traditional treatment programs before she was referred to the Rainier in 2011. “We started to open up to these women and now they’re not here… Now we have to do that again with somebody else — it makes me feel like I’m almost back at day one again.”

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Occupy Wall Street’s new job: disaster relief

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, many New Yorkers are struggling to understand why parts of the city are still in crisis. By the time the lights in my East Village apartment returned, the citywide death toll had crept north of 40, thousands were still displaced and hundreds of thousands remained without basic utilities like electricity, water and heat.

Amid this darkness and uncertainty, a once-familiar movement reignited. Long before the first subway tunnels were pumped dry, members of Occupy Wall Street sprang into action, assessing the needs of people who lost everything in the storm.

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VIDEO: A takeaway jam

For many of the musicians I know, band practice is an intimate weekly ritual. One member taps out a rhythm overheard on the bus, while another articulates some severely internet-centric lyric. Sometimes it’s all lighbulbs and fireworks. Other times ideas are ridiculed and abandoned as quickly as they’re expressed.

The Adulthood graciously shared a jam session with me, and even let me point a camera at their faces. When I stopped by, they were jamming out a new song called ‘Til Death do us Part. This is the resulting video/jam/document/thing.

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Rerooting the Motor City

The Motor City was the first industrial boom town in America to experience massive corporate disinvestment. And in the wake of the global financial crash in 2008, two long-festering narratives went viral.

On one hand media makers relished in pornographic ruin, documenting empty factories and abandoned homes as a spectacle of urban decay. On the other hand Detroit was celebrated as a playground for young and privileged creatives to rebuild. Inclusionary, home-grown alternatives faded into obscurity.

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Ban billboards, fund jour­nalism!

Scanning Monday’s headlines, you may have spotted Postmedia’s announcement that it will cancel its wire service and cut 25 jobs. The news comes less than a month after the Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen introduced online paywalls to combat a steep decline in print ad revenue.

We’ve known the financial picture for Canadian journalism has been in decline for a while. But one quick-and-dirty answer that has yet to be considered in Canada comes courtesy of a documentary called This Space Available, which is showing in Toronto for the first time today.

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Indie theatres weather the liquor license storm

Following months of struggle with British Columbia’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, the Rio Theatre in East Vancouver will gradually return to the mixed programming it cultivated before 2012. For most of this year, the Rio operated under an imposed liquor licensing condition that prevented the venue from showing films.

Although the single-screen venue expects to make a full recovery, owner Corinne Lea says her company is not out of the woods yet. “Because our finances got depleted so badly, our biggest challenge is just digging ourselves out of the hole,” Lea says. “Now we’re creeping back.”