First Nations are blocking an Imperial Metals mine, and the RCMP may intervene

On Friday, Imperial Metals, the company responsible for Canada’s largest-ever mining waste spill, served an injunction application to First Nations protesters blocking roads to its Red Chris copper and gold mine near Iskut, BC.

Advertisements

Reporting from the First Nations resistance camp that’s evicting Imperial Metals

After a man-made lake full of mining waste spilled in British Columbia in early August, locals have been up in arms about the residual damage caused. We visited an active First Nations mining resistance camp that sits eight kilometres away from the spill zone.

Search and rescue, doggy-style

When my cat went missing this summer, the last place I thought to look was the Internet.

Don’t get me wrong—I look at cute animals on the interwebs as much as the next Buzzfeed reader. I just never thought such an activity would somehow result in my pet’s return.

REVIEW: Else­things Festival with Raleigh, PrOphecy Sun and We Are Phantoms Again

While East Vancouver celebrated the demise of a beloved venue with abandon, a smaller gathering in the West End launched an unexpected new haven for fun-having. Though it certainly wasn’t the first show hosted by Googly Eyes Collective, Elsethings Arts Festival—a collage of performance, film, art, and cozy hangouts—was charged with expectation, light, and new beginnings.

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.”

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.

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.

True Blood’s ‘Pam’ shows fangirl fangs

It’s one thing to earn millions of views, but the success of HBO’s True Blood is better measured by the lively, semi-religious devotion of its fans.

Not satisfied with watching the vampire drama alone, true “fangbangers” orchestrate screening parties, make webisodes of their favourite characters, write fan fiction or dissect series creator Alan Ball’s “anti-brunette agenda” online.

Director puts mentorship in focus

Tuning into the Oscars last week, you may have asked: where are all the women directors?

Filmmaker Tracy D. Smith asked herself the same question. Zero women were nominated for directing awards this year, and Smith says their absence leads to a glut of shallow, uncompelling female characters on the silver screen.

“It’s never two women talking about their own experience, only ‘what do you think about what he said or did?’ and so on,” she says of the widespread “male gaze” in Hollywood. “It’s very common and very frustrating.”

So you want to break into Hollywood North?

Like any preteen boy with an overactive imagination, Chris Clark loved monsters. He preferred the blood-sucking murderous variety, but truly anything with claws or scales was acceptable.

Twenty-ish years later, Clark builds monsters for a living. As a Vancouver-based special effects artist (okay, his official title is prosthetic FX tech), he’s punched fur into monkey suits worn in the recent Planet of the Apes prequel, and splattered brains on set of the Final Destination horror franchise.

Grimes: “It’s kinda psychedelic…”

It wasn’t so long ago that Claire Boucher—a.k.a. Grimes—released a miniscule run of 30 cassettes for her breezy electro-goth debut Geidi Primes. Just over a year ago, the Vancouver-born, but then Montreal-based artist played to a modest crowd at the Astoria with the help of local jack-of-most-trades, Cameron Reed.

“Cam set up my first show in Vancouver, which was really nice of him,” Boucher recalls of the de facto show promoter, who also crafts glitchy atmospherics under the banner Babe Rainbow. On the line from her parents’ place in town, Boucher reflects on how far she’s come.

Drag phenom Taylor Mac reclaims his image

It is possibly the first and only drag show born out of lazy journalism.

With sequin-encrusted eyes and a sharp tongue, PuSh Festival veteran Taylor Mac brings a unique musical mash-up to the Performance Works stage this weekend, called Comparison is Violence or The Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook.

The mouthful of a title arises from repeat descriptions of Mac’s larger-than-life persona. When Mac toured The Be(A) st of Taylor Mac – a solo piece he brought to Vancouver in 2009 – theatre writers across the globe seemed to be of one mind.

All in the Family

On the heels of the holidays, theatre director Kim Collier has reunited with her Electric Company kin. Best known for genre-bending works of multimedia spectacle, Collier’s latest work is a stripped-down familial affair.

“In this production we’ve brought together a family, literally,” Collier says of All the Way Home, her company’s intimate reimagining of Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer-winning script.

Close-knit is an understatement. Collier is married to cast member Jonathon Young, while Young’s father George plays the part of his dad. Lead actors Meg Roe and Allesandro Juliani are offstage life partners, while young brothers Jordan and Aidan Wessels round out the cast.

B.C.’s five looniest liquor laws

The year is 1949. British reporter Noel Monks walks into the Hotel Vancouver and orders a pint. The barman turns him away — not because he’s intoxicated or even poorly dressed — Monks was bounced for standing on two feet.

The journalist later wrote Canada is “a tremendous, virile country… Yet you’ve apparently let yourselves be legislated into a state of adolescence when it comes to the use of alcohol.”

Monks had reason to be miffed. At the time, B.C.’s beer-serving establishments outlawed music, dancing, food of all kinds, unescorted women and standing upright with a beer. Wine or whisky weren’t on the menu, and mocking the rules by crawling from one table to the next was presumably more than frowned upon.

Banning bikes on Broadway

What began as an election campaign proposal has since snowballed into a heated online debate. In an October 24 editorial in the Georgia Straight, newly inaugurated Green Party councillor Adriane Carr first suggested “bike-free routes” on Vancouver’s main arteries like Broadway and Hastings.

“I realized in the beginning that I wasn’t specific enough,” says Carr, who is now advocating dedicated bus-only lanes on major roadways—a strategy Carr says was successful during the Olympics. “I’ve been talking to transit drivers who say it worked,” she continues. “The buses moved much more rapidly, and there were more buses on the routes.”

Damian Moppett’s lessons in art history

On the floor of the cavernous exhibition space in Bob Rennie’s private Chinatown gallery, Vancouver-based visual artist Damian Moppett is assembling his latest work.

Red aluminum pipes and plates lie arranged in rows, while cables hang from the gallery’s 12-metre ceiling.

The massive site-specific piece makes a nod to art history — a hallmark of Moppett’s work.

Arts event crawls east

It’s studio-hopping season again. For three days, the Eastside Culture Crawl will see hundreds of local artists open their creative spaces to the public.

Each year the Crawl, which kicks off tomorrow, serves as a snapshot of East Vancouver’s arts community. And while that community continues to find creative ways to thrive, there are a few changes afoot.