Artist’s “Save On Meats” Sign Has Allegedly Been Stolen By Anti-Gentrification Activists

This image is from Save On Meats’ owner Mark Brand’s Instagram feed tonight, with the following note:

“These anarchists stole our sign. Yes I’m serious. They won’t stop until the capitalists leave the neighbourhood. I’m serious. They will be embarking on a mission to close save on meats. I’m serious. Japanese peace pose. They’re serious. In all seriousness this sign is a real heart felt piece for the people who work with us. It makes them really sad that people would steal it and disrespect their living. Therefore making me upset. Help me find it and spread the word fast. I’m serious.”

Since it’s not April 1st, I’m assuming Brand is serious, however much it might seem like a stupid prank. The sign is the work of local artist Dan Climan who is, incidentally, a pretty awesome cat. It’s unclear if the thieves are the same folks who vandalised the Famoso pizzeria on Commercial Drive and sent out the following press release:

For all too long now yuppies have been peacefully going about their gourmet dinners, buying up their lucky condos and flaunting their wealth by driving around in expensive cars. We thought it would be great to remind them AGF is still here. So last night, for the third time, Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria was attacked. Several of its windows and one of its cameras were smashed. Famoso thought that putting up their pathetic cameras would stop our attacks. They haven’t and never will. We are also inspired by the picketers of the new yuppie restaurant in the downtown east side called Pidgin. They have been giving yuppies a taste of the class war for weeks now.

Over the last week City of Vancouver, who promotes gentrification with their Grandview Woodland community plan, were also were visited by the AGF. Two of their trucks had their windows smashed (6 all together, including 2 windshields) and one of their tractors had their huge window shattered.

This is a fucking class war and we will not stop until we are free from class, the state and all others who oppress us. Your time will come.

Pidgin its time you fly away or face the consequences.

Even if they aren’t the same perps…jeez, who steals a work of art to launch a class war?

UPDATE: So it appears that the sign was allegedly ripped off a while back. The photo appears in a release on the Vancouver Media Co-op page, date-stamped March 14th. The tract reads a lot like the one detailing the attacks on Famoso…

On a recent eve, a small group of merry mischief making anarchists made off into the night with a prominent piece of gentrification propaganda:

the Save-on Meats a-board. The act was meant to let the gentrifiers know that they have entered an area with a long history of class warfare. The ghetto revolt will not stop until every capitalist enterprise has ceased to destroy daily life. This small action is one facet amongst many. It isa symbol of the slow and deliberate dis-assembly of the capitalist machine.

Gentrification: the civilization of wild terrain, colonization, the shift; scary/undesirable/unknown to “the new frontier in fine dining”, the process that makes the displacement of a social class inevitable and acceptable, even to the displaced.

Two capitalist endeavors, Save-On Meats and Pidgin, have pasted “ethical consumerism” veneers onto their schemes (so have many others, but for now here’s a rant about these two). Brandon Grossutti’s Pidgin is a restaurant for the wealthy and well-dressed bourgeois/up-and-coming class, and was designed to allow the patrons to sneer out the huge windows at the vibrant life of the lower class beyond those windows. The restaurant lent a hand and hired someone “from the community”: a dishwasher who gets paid minimum wage, and with that, Pidgin must have become the only restaurant to ever be publicly applauded for hiring a wage slave.

And entrepreneur voyeur, Mark Brand of Save-On Meats, continues his crusade against the poor; masquerading as a savior with his paternalistic, segregating token program, and his multiple gentrifying businesses in the DTES-area. Save-On also sells cheap meals to many DTES housing corporations like Atira, which Brand brands as “supporting the community”, but he fails to mention that the meals he sells are usually containers of potato salad, hot dogs, sloppy joes, macaroni, and other anti-nutritional choices which promote neither physical nor mental health.

These businesses gloss over the most vilifying fact: by catering to the wealthier elements of this fucked up city, they are raising property values in the poorest neighborhood of all, and their very existence has rendered much housing already unaffordable to those getting by on piddly welfare cheques. Buniness owners like Brand and Grossuti claim to want to “start a conversation”. This conversation has been going on for years.

EVEN IF the gentrifiers think they are doing right by the present residents of the DTES, their very presence is a key ingredient in an ongoing movement to displace the existing residents and create a newly fashioned enclave for outsiders.

We will not stop. We will take their property apart bit by bit if we haveto, and we’ll have fun doing it.

So there you go. Mark Brand is anti-nutritional, too. Also, fun.

Via Reddit: “Whoa guys…They stole a sign. Guess we’ll just have to rely on that HUGE NEON SIGN WITH A PIG ON IT THAT SAYS SAVE ON MEATS. Idiots.”

There are 24 comments

  1. I heard Save On Meats was bombing; it can’t afford to stay open. Scout get your shiz together, its pretty poor journalistic standard to conflate two scenarios which do not have a link other than the claim of the guy who’s business is doing poorly.

  2. I lived in the V6A postal prefix for 12 years.

    The thing I have NEVER understood is the amount of effort that anti-gentrification protesters put into trying to keep the DTES a ghetto. The place looked like Beirut until the last 5 years, when merchants finally stopped failing and closing.

    There is no viable community unless there is a MIX of incomes in an area. For the love of god, clue in and start protesting the lack of social housing and services in the rest of the lower mainland. If you feel you have to go after Vancouver, then protest the lack of social housing and services in the 20 areas of Vancouver outside of Downtown and the DTES.

    Then protest the lax enforcement of the criminal code that pervades the DTES.

    Wake up you morons, you are helping maintain a ghetto for the poor.

  3. Can we stop pretending these people are activists? We all now that they’re likely nothing more than a bunch of suburban kids with nothing to do after school.

  4. Wait. That may not have come across as sarcasm. Damn hipsters have even ruined that now.

  5. It’s not clear to me that posting their manifesto in full is an appropriate response to criminal activity. Please don’t be part of a positive feedback loop.

  6. They think stealing a sign and breaking a few windows is “dismantling capitalism”? What a joke! Wonder how they make their living: dishwashing? Or more likely welfare (paid for by the taxes of “wage slaves”), student loans, or the misguided charity of Mummy and Daddy.
    And sorry to disappoint you, Sheila, but Save-On is doing quite nicely and isn’t going away, no matter how many signs get stolen.

  7. On a more positive note this Thursday morning: Ramen place on 1 Cordova in April!

    “Ramen restaurant plus dumplings, chicken wings, banh mi, bao and drinks. We’re in the old Boneta space.”

  8. the two “press releases” do not read similar at all. one reads like 18 year old uneducated “punks” wrote it. the other is college activists. it is not the same folks at all. also it is a fucking sign the other is $$$ in damage, very different in my books. one is straight up thuggery and the other is a prank. brand and his ‘family’ are all former or current graff writers, who i am sure have done much property damage in their youth. it sucks being a grown up on the other side of the fence though, dealing with the prankster youth.

  9. If you wanna catch them just get the guys at zulu to red flag anyone buying Crass, Confict or Discharge records…Actually they’re probaby not that smart…What a sad excuse for “class warfare”…

  10. @Lindsay,
    Pranksters don’t issue manifestos, and whether or not the two were written by the same person is irrelevant: both are using the same anti-gentrification-black-block-poverty-activst which falls at the feet of the usual suspect DTES puppet masters lobbying for class warfare and ghettoization

    and @Darcy McGee your “sarcasm” is a poor cover for your “assholeishness”. It may not be perfect, or your idea of community, but there certainly is community in the DTES despite efforts to marginalize and minimize it.

  11. Aren’t college activists 18 year old uneducated punks? 🙂

    BTW, for anyone that missed it Anthem bought the Save on Meats building and are going to convert the other floors to condos/office space.

    “Mr. Brand, who was the star of reality TV show Gastown Gamble, which was shot at the diner, said he brokered a deal with the new owners that will slash his rent by two-thirds as part of a five-year locked-in agreement. As part of the deal, he’ll reduce his kitchen operation to the ground floor only, where he’ll reduce the butcher shop and increase the diner and kitchen. Anthem will take over the remaining upper three stories of the property at 43 W. Hastings St., which will potentially be used as office space.”

  12. Yes! Down with capitalism! Down with private land ownership! Down with private business!

    WTF? Are they not teaching economics in schools anymore?! It’s called Communism; it’s been tried, and it sucks. Our system of capitalism with a healthy dash of socialism is far from perfect, but it’s the best we have. I’d wager dinner and a good bottle of wine at Pidgin that none of these guys will vote in the upcoming election.

    If there’s any true Karma in the world, one or more of these petty misguided criminals will get run over by some douche-bag in his BMW 525i, who’s not paying attention because he’s texting his mistress.

  13. Think it’s time for VPD to roll out it’s Bait Sign program. Just convert the signs to giant mousetraps and wait to catch the rats.

  14. Boy that sure was a well written piece with big words. Paternalistic, segregating, anti-nutritional. You’d think someone that intelligent would easily find work and not live on piddly welfare cheques.
    Gentrification happens in every big city and will continue to happen in this one. Especially one with a mayor who is in the back pocket of developers. You’ll just keep moving further east along Hastings until you get to Burnaby, and nobody cares much about Burnaby.

  15. I am firmly planted on the left but reading about these crimes made me pause and think: these hard working business owners provide employment and food to their communities, what do these anarchists do for their communities? Nothing. I am tired of the sense of entitlement of this group and others like it. If a person works hard to open a business, why shouldn’t they be able to open at the location of their choosing?
    Further, let’s say all of the business owners were to leave the DTES. Is that what these groups want? A ghetto? I’m really scratching my head here trying to understand their position… But I guess when an idea is illogical there is no right way to look at it.

  16. Blaming small businesses for all your woes, Instead of taking stock of your situation, seeing what is wrong in your own lives and fixing it. These people have taken the very serious problem of gentrification and turned it into a joke.

  17. @ Greg – explain to me again how gentrification is a “serious problem”.

    if your perfect Utopia involves a urine soaked, disgusting, crime ridden, needle strewn, hellhole that would make Oscar the Grouch projectile vommit then i suppose i could see how such an urban renaissance would upset you.

  18. @pablopicante Not everyone can afford to live in a nice neighbourhood, the sad truth is some people are just poor, Its a genuine concern that raising the property values in the DTES side will push more of those poor people who are on the fringe, barely getting by as it is into homelessness. Have a quick read about the disgusting practice of “Renovictions” for more information.

  19. @ Greg,

    The likelihood of higher rents forcing some people to relocate is indeed high. I feel the same sympathy as you do for the poor, mentally ill and addicted residents of the neighborhood. Not everyone in life is dealt the same hand – I get that.
    I just need to disagree with you that gentrification is a problem. Most of humanity would like to see a neighbourhood returned to its former glory and beauty than throngs of people living in abject squalor.
    The fact is the city (like the rest of the globe) is growing in population & needs to fit within the same finite amount of space. There is no reason to believe that people from two or three disparate tax brackets can’t co-exist in the same area.
    Ask New York how it’s working out for them. One example of many: The East Village was up until around the mid nineties a dirt poor, largely Puerto Rican ghetto that even cabbies wouldn’t dare take you. Today the area is a vibrant community that is home to the well heeled & government assisted alike, and still retains a distinctly Puerto Rican flavor.

    The burden of providing for the residents of this neighborhood lies squarely on our govenment’s shoulders, don’t blame the gentrification process or its agents who are doing nothing but excellent work in the rehabilitation of one of the city’s most historical areas.

  20. @ pablopicante makes some excellent points, which I agree with.

    If any group wants to take action, what I’d appreciate is for some disinterested party to determine who provides what services to whom. The reason I say this is because some resources are likely being wasted through duplicate / triplicate provision or administration costs. If you had a hockey team with 7 forwards and no goalies or defencemen, would you expect to win games? Even the extra resources might not help get results.
    The second thing I’d like is more scrutiny and fines for all the slumlords that own some of these rat-infested buildings. Why do AGF folks not go after or shame them? The third thing I’d query or challenge is why folks like Gregor Robertson routinely cheer when some old rat-hole is sustained or refurbished, when more and better services could be provided if the decrepit buildings were torn down and replaced with something better. Is this the best he can do? Targeting new enterprises is stupid, as no residents could or would have lived in these areas anyway. I’d encourage the AGF or similar groups to find some way to embarrass the slumlords and governments to yield better outcomes.