Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo Walking

City Centre Market
Originally uploaded by raise my voice
On Saturday, I took part in my first organized photo walk. It was one of three such walks going on in Edmonton the same day, part of the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk 2010. I was part of Edmonton Group #3, a downtown walk from Rice Howard Way, to the City Centre Market, and then back to Churchill Square for Taste of Edmonton.

Rice Howard Way was full of great buildings and shapes, as well as some of the cars from the Honda Edmonton Indy that took place this past weekend. Heading down Jasper Avenue, I photographed many buildings - I found it interesting how I have been in this area many times, but suddenly everything takes on a different shape when I am looking to photograph it.

The Farmer's Market was an excellent place for shots, as always. I would have headed here anyways. Ditto for Taste of Edmonton, although I would not have gone back along 103 Avenue, which also made for some interesting architectural shots.

Although I arrived late, ended up getting separated from most of the other photographers in my group, and never had a chance to meet the leader (I opted to stay at Taste of Edmonton rather than venture to the restaurant for the get-together afterwards), I had a very memorable time and took many photos. In fact< it ook so many that I made a separate set for each area I was in, and put it all together under this collection.

River Valley Horse Show

I am not a horse fanatic, but I do appreciate equestrian events from time to time. Due to the construction on the Whitemud, I haven't been able to bike down to the Whitemud Equine Centre in a couple of years to see any of the summer horse shows that go on. Thankfully, thanks to a combination of ETS and a free shuttle the City set up near the Quesnell neighbourhood, I managed to make it down on Sunday for the final day of the River City Horse Show. I'm always amazed by how high these huge horses can jump. I took some pictures and was thankful there was a concession set up for cold drinks. Iced chai never tasted so good - it was hot out! A woman ahead of me in line ordered a hot chocolate. Takes all kinds!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Whyte Avenue Art Walk

The Whyte Avenue Art Walk is an annual event that I look forward to. Hundreds of working artists line the sidewalks, both selling their art and making at. I met many new and familiar faces, listened to some great music at the U22 stage in MacIntyre Park, and saw some incredible art in a variety of styles. I even bought something for the first time - it was a button with a cartoon on it of cookies and milk - the cookies all have different facial expressions. Trust me, it's going to look cool on my hoodie. The only thing I found unusual was how little photography there was this year. Lots of crafts, sculptures, painting, sketches, and mixed-media - but very few photographs. Here is my photo set from the event, and my iReport for iNews880.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I went to my very first baseball game ever yesterday. It took place at Telus Field, between the Edmonton Capitals and Yuma Scorpions (Yuma is in Arizona). This was also my first time at Telus Field, and my first time enjoying a hot dog at a ball game (if you go to a ball game, you have to have a hot dog - I think it's a law somewhere).

Yesterday was my second time volunteering with Edmonton's Food Bank by helping gather donations of money and non-perishable food items. Most of the donations came as people were entering Telus Field. People were extremely generous - we filled up nearly three large boxes with food. Many people apologized that they did not bring food, but filled our jugs with money instead that will be used to purchase food hampers at Sobey's

After the game started, our table relocated to the second floor where people donated in between innings. We wrapped it up after the fifth inning. I am eager to find out how much money and how many kilograms of food were collected.

As for the game - I am not really into organized sporting events, but I always enjoy new experiences. It was interesting watching the fans - and at around $10 a ticket, I am surprised there were not more people there. Other than my co-volunteers, I knew absolutely no one there, which is another rare thing for me. It was a completely different slice of life.

Oh, and we won - 11-0.

Here is my complete photo set from the game.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boyle McCauley News: July/August 2010

The Summer issue of Boyle McCauley News is now online! Here is a look at just some of what is inside:

* New Mural Unveiled in McCauley
* U10s Fought the Law - And Won!
* In Memoriam: Frank Roccia
* A Skateboard Park in McCauley!
* McCauley Church Celebrates 100 Years
* BRAC II Report Accepted by Council
* ICYDA Withdraws From Boyle Renaissance
* Heart of the City Music Festival 2010
* Cans of Hope
* McCauley Revitalization: A cultural experience
* Letters To The Editor
* Community League Updates
* Dining Out

To download the entire issue in PDF format, point your browser to this link.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Protesting the G20 Fiasco

The G20 took place in Toronto last week and with it came the expected organized mass demonstrations against globalization and its resulting effects of hunger, poverty, homelessness, and damage to the environment. What was not expected was the mass arrests, including street sweeps that took in people who had nothing to do with the protests. The reason? A few black-clad "anarchists" dubbed The Black Bloc smashed some storefront windows and set a police car on fire. More damage was done in the 2008 hockey riots in Montreal than here, and yet orders came from on high to arrest, detain, and suppress - including in areas designated as free speech zones. Perhaps the most shocking news came from those who were arrested and found themselves in cramped quarters with little food and water, denial of medical attention, no sanitation, and other deplorable conditions.

Vandalism (notice I am saying vandalism - not violence, as inanimate objects, not people were targeted by the Black Bloc) has a tendency to detract from the issues being protested. The media shifts its focus to that, and away from the issues being protested. As well, we heard little about the thousands of people who marched and protested peacefully, without incident.

As an activist, I found what happened in Toronto frightening. We do not live in a police state, yet the random arrests and conditions of the detention brings to mind Big Brother and gulags. With the sheer number of police available, it is astounding as to why the people really responsible for the vandalism were not dealt with immediately. There needs to be an independent investigation into the police actions to find out what went wrong and where. Over a hundred police officers from Edmonton went to Toronto (on our dime) - I personally would like to know what they were up to over there.

On Saturday, July 3, around 200 people took to the streets in Edmonton and marched from City Hall to Edmonton Police Headquarters in solidarity with those arrested during the G20. Here are some photos. As well, here is the video playlist of speeches and music.

Second Genocide Memorial Service

Last year, I attended the dedication ceremony of a Genocide Memorial Garden. Rev. Audrey Brooks, clergy in the Unitarian Church, built a beautiful dry riverbed in front of her home for this purpose. We wrote the names of victims of genocide on stones, and placed them in the garden. Rev. Brooks has decided to make this an annual event, so on July 4 we gathered at her home again for prayers, meditations, readings, and personal tributes to victims of genocides from different cultures and walks of life. Lewis Cardinal began the service with a traditional Aboriginal prayer blessing the Four Directions.

Most of the service was led by Rev. Brooks, Mr. Cardinal, and Rabbi David Kunin from Beth Shalom Synagogue. People either placed another stone, or talked about the stone they place last year. Last year, I placed a stone for victims of the Holocaust (Jewish and otherwise). The Holocaust was brought up during a meditation about genocides that have occurred during history, so I decided not to re-dedicate the stone. I did say a few words on behalf of the March for all of the Missing and Murdered Women of Edmonton - the organizers were invited to attend but were unavailable.

Here are some photos from the event. I also had the privilege this year of performing a song with The Raging Grannies. Given the interfaith aspect of the event which dealt with human right, I could think of no better song to sing than "I Only Ask of God."