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The Ethical Hustle

Democracy Now Reports on the Dissenting Voices of the Vancouver 2010 Games: An Interview with Reporter Aaron Maté

Christabel Shaler
Mar 4th, 2010

Democracy Now's Aaron Maté  discusses his report on the Olympics, titled "In the Shadow of the Olympic Flame: A Report from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, the Poorest Neighbourhood in Canada." He finds reasons to celebrate small, important human justice victories.

VO: What was it like witnessing the Olympics in your hometown? What did you notice about how the culture and atmosphere shifted?

Maté: I think the Olympics' overall impact on Vancouver has been a negative one, but that doesn't mean it wasn't nice to see the genuine excitement that was everywhere downtown.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of Expo '86. When I saw young children caught up in the Olympic revelry, I imagined that it was a similar kind of experience for them.

A Tour of Tent Village on the Downtown Eastside, Guided By Ivo (age 17)

Christabel Shaler
Feb 24th, 2010

This photo was taken by Angela Wakefield during the first few days of the Tent Village demonstration

The Power of Women (POW) created Tent Village on February 15th, 2010 at 58 West Hastings, to demonstrate our city’s urgent need for more safe, affordable housing. Many people who are living in Tent Village prefer it over a shelter. My friend Ivo is shooting a documentary about Tent Village, so I asked him to give me a tour of this community and discuss his perspective.

Ivo is a seventeen-year old aboriginal poet/ designer/ activist, who many describe as an old soul. The richness of his kindness and comedy are contagious. He has experienced homelessness in his past, and he wants to support the numerous homeless youth, who live in Tent Village and on our city’s streets. According to Ivo, there are at least ten youth residing in Tent Village.

Crowd Packs Show on Opening Night of 'Here is Now' at Chapel Arts: An Exhibit of Fresh, Young History-Makers

Christabel Shaler
Feb 9th, 2010

Photo by Vancouver artist, Hana Pesut: www.sincerelyhana.com

On opening night, the line-up for HERE IS NOW spilled down Dunlevy Avenue. The show was packed before 11pm and eventually the fire marshalls had to shut it down. 

If you couldn't make it to the opening, HERE IS NOW  will be running until February 26th. They will also be hosting HERE IS NOW Art Socials on February 11th and 18th

Street Kids Gain Access to New Media While Mayor Gregor Robertson and EA Sports Cut the Ribbon on New Opportunities

Christabel Shaler
Jan 16th, 2010

Photo by Trish Meow trishmeow.com

On Wednesday, January 13th, Mayor Gregor Robertson cut the ribbon on the new media room at Directions Youth Services, funded by EA Sports, an award winning developer of sports video games including Madden, FIFA, EA SPORTS Active, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR, NBA LIVE, NHL, Grand Slam Tennis, Fight Night.

After the ribbon cutting, the crowd was entertained by youth playing folk music and blues.

Directions Youth Services provides a safe place to run to. It is the only 24-hour, multi-service centre in Vancouver that provides young people at loose ends access to laundry, food, jobs, education, housing and community.

Gregor Robertson and Rain City Housing Provide More Shelters Despite Tight Timelines, Budget Cuts and Controversy

Christabel Shaler
Jan 5th, 2010

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Rain City Housing met with the press Tuesday morning to discuss Vancouver’s new winter shelters that will be open until April 2010. Locations include: Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, Downtown and the West End. When these shelters close, the city is planning to provide interim housing, which provides the next step towards permanent social housing. This entire process requires cross-disciplinary partnerships and support from the province.   

When Robertson spoke yesterday, his demeanor was serious and direct. His relentless commitment to end street homelessness by 2015 has not been watered down by harsh controversy and massive budget cuts. When a reporter asked whether residents could stop shelters from entering their area, Robertson unapologetically said, “No.”

Lee Matasi's Birthday Celebration, Four Years After His Murder

Christabel Shaler
Dec 28th, 2009

Lee Matasi was killed on December 3rd of 2005, outside the Red Room Nightclub in Downtown Vancouver. He was killed because Dennis White decided to get wasted and go to the club with a gun. Lee had never met White, but when White was flaunting his gun, Lee told him that it wasn’t cool. The execution style murder occured shortly after Lee made this comment.

Despite fingerprints, over a dozen witnesses, and security camera footage, White received house arrest and didn’t get his full sixteen-year sentence until 2007.

December 27th 2009 would have been Lee Matasi’s 28th birthday. His friends gathered at the Astoria in East Vancouver to dance, listen to Wu-tang and eat birthday cake. It was a party that Lee would have loved. 

My most prominent memories of Lee consist of his hugs and his comedy. He would pick me up and spin me around until I was laughing. If a party was boring, he made it fun. If a party was fun, he multiplied the fun. The light he represented also translated into actions that made Vancouver better.

Burnkit Ad Campaign Increases Donations to Union Gospel Mission

Christabel Shaler
Dec 22nd, 2009

What makes you care? When you’re all stressed out, a sad plea for donations might get lost amongst other thoughts of angst and worry. As your holiday stress peaks, remember that some people would love to have your problems.

Burnkit is one of Vancouver’s top design companies, who felt like they could handle the challenge of making an ad campaign that is unlike anything the Union Gospel Mission has ever seen. They donated 12.500$ in creative services to make it happen.

The resulting ads feature photos of people who have used UGM’s services, and are now UGM staff members, appearing confident and offering unexpected comments like, “I wish I was stuck in traffic.”

“We wanted to jar people a little bit, and make them reevaluate their neighbour’s problems – and their own,” says Josh Dunford, Director at Burnkit. “So maybe next time, instead of being upset, they think, ‘Ok, I’m not going to let this traffic jam ruin my day. I’m thankful for what I’ve got. Some people would love to have a car to be warm and dry in, and a job to be going to.’

Little Mountain's Gentrification: An Interview With Vancouver City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth

Christabel Shaler
Dec 14th, 2009

Vacant Homes at Little Mountain, June 2009

I remember seeing Ellen Woodsworth at Main and 33rd supporting residents as they protested against the demolition of their homes. As time progressed, developers became more aggressive with their "relocation" tactics, desolation expanded, and demolition began.

In February, I interviewed Red1of the Rascalz to shine light on this issue. In July, I wrote a dense essay-like article about the injustices involved. Despite public out-cry, demolition proceeded.

I sat down with Ellen Woodsworth on December 11th, to discuss the loss of Little Mountain.

Over The Influence

Christabel Shaler
Dec 9th, 2009

Over The Influence consists of Yoshi Hisanaga, Jojo Zolina and Stewart Iguidez (above), and Kyle Vicente


As I sat in the audience watching Over The Influence perform at 604 DELITE, I felt like I was witnessing the dancer's equivalent to a Master's thesis. I caught up with this dance crew after their performance to discuss their ideologies surrounding dance, teaching, and building culture.

VO: Can you explain the name Over The Influence?

Stewart: Over The Influence is about having the ability to take everything that influences us…mash it together and take it over the top, so that we can show the world something new.

VO: Is it true that part of your mandate is to break stereotypes?

Vancouver's Top Dance Crews Take Over the Vogue Theatre with 604 DELITE

Christabel Shaler
Dec 9th, 2009

Photo Credit: Chris Guy

604 Delite contained theatrical elements and entertaining narratives that pushed the boundaries of traditional dance performances. On Sunday at the Vogue Theatre Vancouver’s top dance crews received a standing ovation for their flawless performances. Although the crews within this showcase are often travelling and gaining recognition on an international level, they felt it was important to come together for the sake of building community.

Over The Influence was a central dance crew of this showcase. In the first half of the show, they became ninjas, representing fire, earth, water and air. They covered numerous urban dance genres that were seamlessly blended over Wu-tang samples and house music. In the second half of the show, they covered thirty years of Hip-Hop history in about fifteen minutes. These pieces are discussed further in the VO’s interview with Over the Influence.

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