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Topic: Caught by the fuzz
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Jun 3, 2004 10:13AM)
How many of you have had problems with the police while performing? Or what kinds of problems have they ever presented you with? How did you handle it?
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Jun 3, 2004 10:41AM)
I work in Harvard Square Cambridge MA. I have all the proper permits and have never had a problem with the local police. On several occasions I have even been tipped by them. They LOVE jokes involving Dunkin' Donuts :)

Best,

Dan-
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Jun 3, 2004 10:56AM)
I personally have never had a problem. I had two policemen come along just as I happened to be doing a 3 card monte routine, and became slightly nervous just because of the initial appearance it must have given. But I brought up the topic because of a story that Cellini told in a lecture he gave in my hometown. Cellini talked about how passing the hat caused him to be arrested.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Jun 3, 2004 11:37AM)
Ooooooo... Yeah, the three card trick is not a great trick to do on the street. Well, let me rephrase that, it is absolutely a GREAT trick but the appearance it can give the performer on the street can put you in a lot of hot water.

I know buskers who have been arrested for doing the Monte as an exhibition and not a con on the street.

If it were me, I would find another trick or a Monte style routine that does not give the classic appearance of a swindle. You are the boss of your show though :)

Harry Anderson's Monte Gras is an excellent choice and a fantastic trick.

Your street products look great by the way.

Best,

Dan-
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Jun 3, 2004 01:35PM)
I never had a problem with police until I teamed up with a fire eater for a weekend. When he was waving the torch after a particularly huge plume, the tip flew off and caught a vendor's table on fire. I didn't know whether to laugh hysterically or feel bad about it. After the cops showed the decision was pretty much made. Fortunately, the vendor didn't hold it against me. Haven't seen the fire eater in a while though.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 3, 2004 03:59PM)
I have never been arrested for street performing; I have rarely been hassled in terms of an officer being rude and threatening to me. However I have been politely, but firmly “moved along” a number of times.

This has happened in Mexico, Holland, Italy as well as in the USA over the course of years. In most cases it was move to a different spot and set up there. In one case (Rome Italy) it was close up the store and don’t come back. But then I wanted to see Spain anyway!

Most recently, I was “moved along” in Washington, D.C. (this past weekend to be exact). I attended the Memorial Day festivities and thought that over 700,000 people were in attendance that a street show was in order. I set up and started a pitch and managed to get a few turns in before an officer (who watched an entire show) came over (speaking into his radio) and “suggested” that I needed to “move along to another spot.” I asked where he had in mind and he told me of two spots that would have good foot traffic and where I wouldn’t be “a bother to anyone.”

Needless to say, I took his advice and moved to one of the other spots. Day was perfect for busking, crowds were lively, looking for fun, and tipped OK.

I did get a bit of hassle from some well-dressed, younger folks who felt as if they needed to talk loudly about “beggars” as they passed by!

Of course I always use my standard line for this type of thing…”Ain’t it sad that a clean, little, old man has to stoop to this to make a living?” (Yes I know it is not proper English!) It gets laughs from the crowd and sometimes from the insulter. Not this time.
Message: Posted by: wayno (Jun 3, 2004 04:15PM)
Speaking of doughnuts, has anyone come across sponge mini doughnuts for spongeball manipulation?
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Jun 3, 2004 04:46PM)
Harry,
I wonder who those "well dressed young people" were? Well dressed, upper class, and rude. Snot-noses, I'd call them.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Jun 3, 2004 05:03PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-03 17:46, JamesinLA wrote:
Harry,
I wonder who those "well dressed young people" were? Well dressed, upper class, and rude. Snot-noses, I'd call them.

Jim
[/quote]
Interestingly I have found that often the upper eschelon of society, or rather, when I or another performer are given a hard time, it is typically someone that is well-to-do financially. And they will resort to demeaning behavior because, with all their successes, they fall victim to a "cheap trick." Of course, this is not to typify (sp?)these people by any means- nor to stereotype them. But often aside from kids, hecklers fall into the above mentioned category in what I have seen.
Message: Posted by: Partizan (Jun 4, 2004 01:07AM)
Harry, I don't think it was meant as an insult. They just gave you the highest compliment they could according to General Practitioner. You should have felt great and wonderous glee to be called that. Everyone wants to be called that (apparently).
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Jun 4, 2004 01:47AM)
Those kids were too ignorant to understand the historic origins and signficance of street theater and of street magicians in specific.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 4, 2004 06:19AM)
Partizan you have to take what Mark Lewis (General Practitioner) says with a big grain of salt! LOL! I’ve worked enough open venues (bars, street, small platform, carnival) over the years to not feel insulted when being hassled. My goal is to deflect it and turn it into part of the show. I always want to keep the crowd on my side.

Name-calling has never bothered me. I see it as the name caller’s personal problem. To my way of thinking it is simply the name caller showing himself or herself for who (what?) they are, and it isn’t pretty!

The kids were young 20-somethings! I must admit that the rocks that one of the young women was wearing could have paid for my car! LOL!! They were much too busy being “cool” and impressing each other to appreciate a good, fun show. Sense of history? I doubt if they even knew the origins of the holiday that was giving them the long weekend!

At least the police were polite!
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Jun 4, 2004 10:22AM)
Back to topic. Things I have seen that get you busted..

Fire, most places have safety laws about fire. Unless you live in Transylvania, running around with torches is not looked well upon.
Three card monty or the like.. Funny thing is the cop tend to bother the performers more than the hustlers?!?!

Sharp things, flailing weapons around will get their attention :)

Asking for money. Panhandling is a no no in most places in the U.S. Again the cops seem to bother the performers more than the beggars.

I have never been busted, as in go to jail, but have come CLOSE, on occasion.

As for the yuppie problem, you will not get a tip from them. They are the kind to call the cops on you as they are more important than you and have the need to show this to the world. Don't worry they are just as rude to the cops, as cops are lowly civil servants, and should be treated as servants. Money can't buy manners so they don't warrant any.
RANTRANTRANTRANTRANT!RANT!RANT!RANT! Ok I'm better now. :)
Message: Posted by: RandomEffects (Jun 4, 2004 02:23PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-03 12:37, Danny Hustle wrote:
Ooooooo... Yeah, the three card trick is not a great trick to do on the street. Well, let me rephrase that, it is absolutely a GREAT trick but the appearance it can give the performer on the street can put you in a lot of hot water...Harry Anderson's Monte Gras is an excellent choice and a fantastic trick.
Best,
Dan-[/quote]I find the Color Monte is simple, entertaining and has yet to be confused by anyone for the actual 3 card monte.
Message: Posted by: celloboo (Jun 6, 2004 08:36AM)
I am a English policeman with nearly 30 years service. I have always found the police to subscribe to "the initiative test," that being if you use your initiative and be polite to them they in my experience will always remain polite back; they may ask you to move on yes, but I think it is very rare that one will find him or herself being arrested. In general I have found colleagues to be very receptive to magic. They love the escapism of watching any skilled performance whatever the effect. However I must concede that I do not believe they would prescribe to any form of street hustling. As a matter of duty we are there to protect the public. Tipping to me and many is fine.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jun 6, 2004 06:48PM)
[quote]On 2004-06-03 11:13, jwilder wrote:
How many of you have had problems with the police while performing? Or what kinds of problems have they ever presented you[/quote]The first time I performed, I got stopped by the police. I started to break down the props and put them away and he actually stopped me! He didn't want me to perform, he just wanted to give me a lecture on how he was justified in stopping me and he had the right to arrest me if he wanted to. While he was talking, the audience drifted away except for the first person who had stopped. The cop looked at the guy and said; "You don't have to stay, he isn't going to jump me." *cy*
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Jun 7, 2004 11:06AM)
There are a lot of legal issues that can come up in street performing. For example, using a line like this is illegal and could get you in trouble: "up to this point it has been a free show, but if you want to see the next trick you hafta place a tip in the hat" ... if you are on public land, then it belongs to the public and they have as much right to be there as you do. I know others that use that approach, but I avoid it for that reason.

Check out this link:

[url]http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/twister_busking.html[/url]

And of course, the best place for legal info on busking. including the docket from Goldstein vs. Nantucket:

[url]http://communityartsadvocates.org/[/url]
Message: Posted by: crashfreze (Jun 9, 2004 10:17PM)
Hey! Fellow South Carolinian. Do you frequent Conley's? Also do you perform in Myrtle Beach a lot?
Message: Posted by: illuzns (Jun 14, 2004 01:14AM)
Just thought I'd put my 2 cents worth in. I too perform in the DC area like Mr. Murphy. I have yet to personally get "moved on" or spoken to by the police in the area. I was around two years ago when some other street performing friends of mine were harrassed by a single particular under cover officer.

This incident happened in old town Alexandria, VA when a police officer in plain clothes walked up to a guy a lot of us call "Carl the Moron." His "ACT" is really not any true talent other than him acting like a moron with a bunch of stuffed and mechanical toys. Anyway, this guy walks up to him and asks him "how much he could buy one of these toys off of him for" and Carl responds with, "they aren't for sale" So the guy asks him again, "Well, if I wanted to buy one off of you how much would it cost?" So Carl says, "I don't know, $20.00???" Then the guy pulls a ticket pad out of his back pocket and proceeds to write him a warning citation for conducting business without a license.

The same happened later that day with a juggler who asked for tips. When I came down later in the day I noticed that no one was performing on the streets, which was not normal at peak tourist season in old town. So, when I started setting up, my friends decided to warn me about this guy. I decided to perform anyway with the thought that if I did get arrested that I would at least make an attempt in court to try and fight this issue for the benefit of all street performers and our rights to the first amendment.

When I heard about all this I quickly got in touch with two of my very good friends, one of which was a legal assistant and the other which was a US Dept. of Justice trial attorney here in DC. Both of these guys are street performers themselves and both were instrumental in getting an emergency town meeting set up with Alexandria's town hall citizen's assistance manager. Because of a few past legal incidents involving a bag piper which had occured in old town they decided that it was legal for us to perform there and ask for tips, but we are not suppose to be allowed to sell a product such as musicians selling CD's of themselves on the streets, although many still do this anyway.

Just for your knowledge David Grove's book "How To Be a Street Magician" has additional insight on some of the other legal cases which have occured in other parts of the country as well. If you need to look up any of the statutes in certain areas of the country this is a good source. I will add that although David is a really nice guy, I personally did not get a great deal of useful performing info out of this book, but the legal info was quite worth the price of the book. Hope this helps you.
Your friend in magic,
Illuzns
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 20, 2004 09:34PM)
A couple of things to bear in mind about these cases are as follows:

In some states, even if you do not charge for the balloons you give away, you have to pay sales tax if you get tipped. It counts as a sale. Texas is like that.

Also, decisions in one area do not necessarily apply to another. A federal decision in Boston will not necessarily apply in Texas. But as federal decision in New Orleans will, because Texas is in the same Federal district.

Also, a bad settlement is better than a good case. You may have a perfect case against the local police, but if you don't have the funds to pursue it, and the ACLU doesn't feel that you have a landmark case, drop it. You won't win without real legal representation.

Have you ever been picked up by the fuzz? It hurts!
Message: Posted by: waveman (Jul 5, 2004 08:16PM)
Hey Mandrake,

Where were you performing? I live in RI, do you do the water fires?
Message: Posted by: nick nickolas (Jul 5, 2004 09:33PM)
San Francisco rail system is called the BART.
It is designed to transport passengers, not designed to be used as a performance venue as me and my juggling buddies Sean and Dave found out.

I must admit it was my idea to get off the cold streets and earn some cash playing the carriages I had done it in London. It took me a few days to convince my new friends but finally one cold morning we went underground.,,,,

Some people looked from behind their newspapers and others turned away, but on the whole most were happy to have there routine broken by a young English lad cracking jokes and escaping from a straightjacket. I certainly pulled a few laughs as we pulled into the next station maniacally staring at the newcomers twitching my canvas bonded body. A 3 stop show made $20 or so not bad.

Sean and Dave passed clubs and pulled in dollars and laughs. We’d done a couple of shows each and were feeling rather proud of ourselves when Sean and Dave jumped up for another hit of the wicket.

Full attention was gained and 6 pins were being tossed back and forth down the carriage, “ If one of these hits you watch out ‘cos there is 5 more behind it” Dave announced. A blue haired, handbag clutching, old lady stood up, threw a prunie scowl and walked into the next carriage. “We didn’t leave when you got here” the jugglers shouted.

Three minutes later a voice of base boomed throughout the whole train “The’ll be NO juggling in car 57, I repeat. They’ll be NO jugging on this train!!”

Oz had spoken !!
We were on our knees bowing to the voice.
The people laughed, the people paid.

Exiting the carriage discussing our performing future, maybe next busking on the greyhound, then aeroplanes and cruise ships ahhh cruise ships. we were flanked by two cops and two train security. Then taken aside into a room and talked to.
They were not happy at all but couldn’t do anything as there were no rules about busking on the trains, but unfortunately now there is and what a shame.....
Message: Posted by: Zack (Jul 6, 2004 01:25AM)
I've had problems. In spite of the fact that the city attorneys have REPEATEDLY declared that busking is free speech, certain members of the LAPD are on a crusade to shut us down. Remember, these are the people who brought you Rodney king and Rampart. (I actually live in the Rampart division.)

I've been ticketed, been to court, had the ticket thrown out. The local fuzz now know that I'm a guy who can't be intimidated, and they leave me alone. THIS IS THE DRILL. Stand your ground, be polite but firm and say the magic words, "Goldstein vs. Nantucket.

Keep the faith.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 6, 2004 05:36AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-05 21:16, waveman wrote:
Hey Mandrake,

Where were you performing? I live in RI, do you do the water fires?
[/quote]

Dude! I was performing in Times Square YEARS and YEARS ago. I currently live in Providence and no, I don't do waterfires. (I don't actually do much of anything at the moment. I seem to be having a problem scheduling practice and rehersal time so my stuff just isn't ready.) I'd like to do a waterfire though, do you know if you need a permit or not? (I keep meaning to go to city hall and ask, but I haven't gotten around to THAT either!)
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Jul 6, 2004 05:44PM)
I agree, we shouldn't back down. Us magicians have been tortured, executed, and even burned at the stake ... freaks with guns and badges will not put an end to magic either!

But please, educate yourself! If your in a hostile area, talk with a lawyer first ... know the city's laws - not just busking laws, but all of them. Don't verbally accost persons trying to get them to tip. Don't block roads/businesses with your crowds and stuff like that. Use common sense. And again, (can't stress this enough), educate yourself!!! Don't be the idiot that gets Goldstien vs. Nantucket overturned because you think it's legal to juggle six flaming clubs on a unicycle on a 4 foot sidewalk with a rabbit balanced on your chin!

These links provide a lot of info:

[url]http://communityartsadvocates.org/[/url]
[url]http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/twister_busking.html[/url]
Message: Posted by: waveman (Jul 6, 2004 07:57PM)
I think there's a couple people doing water fires. There's a Paw Sox Fan night comming up too.

With the state RI is in, I'm sure you need permits out the wazoo.

And leave the pyro effects at home too.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 7, 2004 04:23AM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-06 20:57, waveman wrote:
I think there's a couple people doing water fires. There's a Paw Sox Fan night comming up too.

With the state RI is in, I'm sure you need permits out the wazoo.

And leave the pyro effects at home too.

[/quote]

Oh yeah, no pyro for me. I always think of Gene Simmons who learned under a professional fire eater, and still managed to set himself on fire five times! No way am I messing with that stuff!
Message: Posted by: Devoted (Jul 7, 2004 08:04PM)
I was putting together a video for promotion a couple months ago so we were doing some of our best effect out there. We stoped into a local coffee shop saw some old friends and decided to do Voodoo Needle. My partner started doing "pushing" the needle through his arm. Fake blood everywhere the camera guy was wincing it was marvalous.

10 minuets later, this officer walks in so we go out side. We explain the trick in it's entirety. ( I know exposer, but it was looking like that or jail so ...) They both start laughing we showed them a quick couple of tricks. Joked with them and finally got them to be filmed by with us doing magic. I swear it wasn't the best lighting for the filming but it was well worth it.
Message: Posted by: Zack (Jul 9, 2004 01:05AM)
Well said Joe joe! I'd add to that: be a good citizen. Never ever leave litter in your pitch, try to leave it cleaner than you found it. Be nice to the local businessmen, don't interefere with their flow of business...these are the guys that can draw heat to you.
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Jul 14, 2004 02:21AM)
[quote]
I did get a bit of hassle from some well-dressed, younger folks who felt as if they needed to talk loudly about “beggars” as they passed by![/quote]

Believe it or not, I've had the 'beggar angle' rebound nicely in my favor! Check out my post in street magic!

And as for me, I've had a run-in with the constabulary in Germany, but the cops in Amsterdam are unbelievably laid-back. As for the cops here, by all means, take it to court if you can, but remember, when on-the-spot with the brave boys in blue, be HUMBLE...be RESPECTFUL...they feel all big & invincible on the street where it's simply "I have a gun & a badge and you don't", which makes it very satisfying to watch them stripped of their power in a courtroom, and see how they fume when they lose. (It was a traffic ticket I beat him on....but I'm sure the satisfaction would be the same in a busking case)
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 15, 2004 11:10PM)
[quote]
On 2004-07-05 22:33, nick nickolas wrote:

San Francisco rail system is called the BART.
It is designed to transport passengers, not designed to be used as a performance venue as me and my juggling buddies Sean and Dave found out.

[/quote]

I remember a steel drum player on a subway train in NYC. Talk about feeling trapped!
Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Jul 20, 2004 04:34PM)
Are there any UK people here who can tell me the law and rules for street performing in Britain? I want to start but I need to know the law.

Matt
Message: Posted by: Zack (Jul 20, 2004 05:55PM)
From what I UNDERSTAND and you will want to double check this, busking is illegal everywhere in Britain, except for Covent Garden. However, the law is not well enforced and people ignore it all the time.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Jul 21, 2004 12:24PM)
Zack that is not true, most places you can busk in the UK. Except private property and Covent Garden is private on private property you need to gain permission if you can.
Matt the best advice I can give you is suck and see. If you are told you need permission just say sorry and get it. It is normally the local council that may get on your case as oppose to the Police and you wont get arrested unless you are really daft. I add it is really rare where you get hassle I have had no hassle for years.
Leagarly you can be asked to move on and that's it.
Some towns/city’s may have a policy towards buskers that you will discover when you start busking there. Most cities like buskers as it improves tourists and so on.
There are the odd place where there is an exception to this role, London is well controled in the tourist places (where the money is). South Bank near the big eye is not bad. Covent Garden is by audition which is held the last Monday of the month I think I remember right between 9.30am and 10.30am.
Mario
Message: Posted by: Police Magician (Oct 19, 2004 02:42AM)
Here is some advice from a cop in Georgia. Regarding the Three Card Monte, it is a known con game. However, for you to be arrested for it, the cop has to show "CRIMINAL INTENT" on your part. They must have Probable Cause to arrest you. Without it, there is no case. Any cop worth his salt will step back, observe and then make a determination if a crime is being committed. I am saddened to hear about the bullies in blue in your areas. I agree that you should check the local laws and ordinances of the venue you will perform. Each municipality is different. I have, on occasions, spoken with fellow law enforcement officers about issues such as this to enlighten them. Since I am only versed in Georgia law, I cannot speak for other states. If you have any questions regarding this, please email me at ghester144@yahoo.com and I will try to answer your question. If it needs research, I will let you know and get back with an answer asap.
Glenn
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Oct 21, 2004 10:11AM)
[quote]
On 2004-10-19 03:42, Police Magician wrote:
Here is some advice from a cop in Georgia... [/quote]

Nice to have a man on the inside! Thanks for the broadcast advice and your willingness to assist.
Message: Posted by: Police Magician (Oct 21, 2004 09:17PM)
No problem. Being a cop and a conjurer, I have insight that many cops do not. Some are eager to make an arrest yet look like idiots in court when they cannot prove "intent". Just to let you know, we have had a rash of three card monte teams in our area at the rest area and truck stops. They are not magicians, just criminals. A new twist with some is having the victim lose their watches. If I can be of help, let me know.

Glenn
Message: Posted by: Dave Le Fevre (Oct 23, 2004 01:56PM)
I was intrigued by the title of this thread.

[i]"Have you ever been picked up by the fuzz?"

"No"[/i], she replied, [i]"but I bet it don't half hurt!"[/i]

(With apologies to the Moderators - but I couldn't resist it)

Dave
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Oct 24, 2004 02:58PM)
In New York City, in 1969, I worked a spot on 8th Street near 6th Avenue. It was a jewelry store that was closed in the evenings, and had a nice windowed entryway that made a perfect stage.

I would draw a crowd and perform with a shill in the back--a ten year old kid named Angel--who would watch out for the cops. If he signaled me, I would put the cards in my pocket and turn around and become part of the crowd. Everyone thought it was very funny when the cops couldn't figure out what was going on. One day, Angel took off to get an Orange Julius without telling me.

I turned to have a card chosen, and there in the front of the crowd smiling at me was one of New York's finest. He said, "Let's take a walk, kid." We went up the block, and he led me into a coffee shop. Another cop was at the counter having coffee. The officer with me said, "Hey, Charlie, look who I got! This is the kid that has been drawing that crowd on 8th Street."

"Yeah? What was he doing?"

"Card tricks. Show Charlie a trick, kid."

I did some magic for the two of them, and they loved it. Finally, they both tipped me a couple of bucks. They told me not to come back there anymore, but gave me instructions on where to go a few blocks away that would be just as good. They said it would drive the guys in the other precinct crazy, and when I got caught, I was to tell them that Charlie and Jack from the __nd precinct had sent me.

In London, in 1973, I was stopped from performing in Hyde Park by a constable. He politely informed me that only speakers were allowed, and that performing for money in the park was an "Offense to the Queen."

I told him that I didn't see how it could be an offense to the Queen if she hadn't seen my act, and he told me again firmly to leave. Later, Ken Brooke told me that the only way to get by on the London streets as a busker was to be a disabled vet. I found an Irishman, a disabled veteran, who had a one man band. His name was Johnny Magoo, and he and I teamed up together successfully for a while.

We worked the Derby (made great money) and various streets in London. He would draw a crowd with his music, and then introduce me and I would do magic. I pretended to be his son, and we never had any trouble with the police.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Dec 18, 2004 10:16AM)
I have learned a lot from reading this thread. Mainly that one must be very careful and educate themselves in this performance venue.
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Dec 18, 2004 10:33AM)
In an odd (but lucky) twist of circumstances, a police officer, who has 30 years with the police force in my city, moved in across the street from me a few months ago. We have become quite good... neighbors/friends?

He actually is over the precinct where my partner and I work. He told me that we need not worry about being bothered as he would tell the other officers that we are not out causing trouble, but rather entertaining.

Kind of wild I thought.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Dec 18, 2004 02:08PM)
Bill Palmer: Madame (Waylon Flowers puppet) use to say: "I've never been picked up by the fuzz...but I've been twirled around by the t*ts a few times!"

hhaha

Doug
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Dec 18, 2004 10:01PM)
So that's where that joke came from! I heard the joke at work the other day, and had no idea of the provenance of the thing! It made me laugh, though. Pretty durn funny.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Dec 21, 2004 01:17PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-04 11:22, Pokie-Poke wrote:
Back to topic. Things I have seen that get you busted..

Fire, most places have safety laws about fire. Unless you live in Transylvania, running around with torches is not looked well upon.
Three card monty or the like.. Funny thing is the cop tend to bother the performers more than the hustlers?!?!
[/quote]

Probably because the hustlers have people looking out for the cops so they can vanish before the police get close enough to snag them!

[quote]
On 2004-06-04 15:23, RandomEffects wrote:
[quote]
On 2004-06-03 12:37, Danny Hustle wrote:
Ooooooo... Yeah, the three card trick is not a great trick to do on the street. Well, let me rephrase that, it is absolutely a GREAT trick but the appearance it can give the performer on the street can put you in a lot of hot water...Harry Anderson's Monte Gras is an excellent choice and a fantastic trick.
Best,
Dan-[/quote]I find the Color Monte is simple, entertaining and has yet to be confused by anyone for the actual 3 card monte.
[/quote]

My very first attempt at busking, I was doing fine with a small but happy crowd when I started Color Monte and a policeman broke up the whole shebang and suggested he could have me run in for loitering! Took me awhile to rebuild my nerve!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 21, 2004 04:14PM)
[quote]
On 2004-06-07 12:06, JoeJoe wrote:

There are a lot of legal issues that can come up in street performing. For example, using a line like this is illegal and could get you in trouble: "up to this point it has been a free show, but if you want to see the next trick you hafta place a tip in the hat" ... if you are on public land, then it belongs to the public and they have as much right to be there as you do. I know others that use that approach, but I avoid it for that reason.

Check out this link:

[url]http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/twister_busking.html[/url]

And of course, the best place for legal info on busking. including the docket from Goldstein vs. Nantucket:

[url]http://communityartsadvocates.org/[/url]

[/quote]

The legality of that line depends entirely upon where you are working. In some areas, it may be illegal for you to perform at all, no matter what you may think your constitutional rights are.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Dec 22, 2004 03:23AM)
In Chicago, we actually have a license system for buskers and, on the Chicago transit Authority stations, especially the subway portions of the 'L,' there are clearly marked areas for perfoemers to work. While I don't busk, it seems to me that the $50 for a one year license that allows you to work in any legally noted area of the city is a pretty good deal!

But the cops will look at you QUITE hard if you are "tossing the broads" (3-card monte). Trust me on that. And Watch steals and pickpocketing routines are most emphatically a NO-NO.

Just some comments from a city that seems to be a bit more "busker friendly" than many...

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: Ignore me... (Jan 2, 2005 02:04PM)
I live in the DC area, and used to do street magic to smooth out routines under intense scrutiny. DC itself allows street performing without a license, as a form of protected free speech. (Thanks to Frank Cassel, incidentally, who was the one who really pursued it to the point of DC Corporate Counsel issuing a letter defining it as such.)

I would always approach officers in high-traffic areas, explaining that I was going to do some street magic, and asked if they had an opinion as to where I could attract a crowd without blocking the sidewalks, thus forcing foot traffic into the street. I would explain that I understood that safety was paramount, and the officers would be appreciative of being approached and talked to.

The only money I have ever won (literally) was when I was working in Georgetown, and had gone to where the sergeant was in a parking lot with a bunch of officers. I gave the standard spiel, letting them know I was doing magic and not molly (for some reason, monte is called that in some areas here). The sergeant asked me if I know how to throw the cards, which I did admit to, "but only for entertainment, and never on the street or for money." I was invited to do some monte for them, and when the bent corner came into it, the sergeant put a $20 bill on the bent corner, uninvited. When he turned it over, everyone started laughing, and when I tried to return the bill, he told me to keep it. *laugh*

There was a few times where I was grateful for having brought a small microcassette recorder, for situations wherein either police or spectators seemed to be on the verge of doing something unlawful. It came in handy when one officer was on the verge of unlawfully arresting me on false charges. I first entrusted a spectator to take it with them (large label on the back with my contact info), and then told the officer that he had been recorded looking for things to charge me with before telling me he could just make something up to make it stick. I imagine that it would have been useful if someone entrapped me into selling a prop as well, like the Old Town Alexandria story from earlier in the thread.

Going further from home, I've also done some busking in the Basque country, which has quite a few international tourists. It definitely forces one to work on more visual magic and pantomime, to communicate with spectators with whom one doesn't have a language in common. I got to talk to an undercover policeman in one city, and he asked me about monte and shell games. It turns out that the old part of San Sebastian has a few crews who work the tourists. I did the fast-and-loose for him, which he hadn't seen.

As Whit notes earlier in the thread, a store entryway is a great place to set up. It definitely gives more control over the crowd, and some are very well illuminated.

(Hey, Whit! I loved the book on F&S, and although I hadn't worked with it for a while before buying it, reading it inspired me to take another look. I came up with 4 configurations that can be tossed from the hands onto a surface, looking identical while tossing and when laid out, but being F/F, L/L, F/L, and L/F. Thanks for the inspiration!)