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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Street performance licenseing @ San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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gaddy
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Agent of Chaos
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Well, they've gone ahead and done it. The port authority has instituted it's 1st street performance licensing program. The pandora's box has been opened.

I've looked at the program and I think it sucks- the insurance requirement really, REALLY chaps my behind; but the whole thing's got loopholes so wide that the only thing this program will do is punish those choose to participate. I'm opting out and hoping that I'm not cutting my own throat by losing out on all the "prime" locations and time slots covered by the program. I don't think I am, though. I've never fought for prime spots in the past anyhow- somehow the thought of confronting a bunch of breakdancer thugs or the army of living statures has never appealed to me...

I encourage those of you who have experience with busking licenses to check this out and voice your opinions- I've only ever busked without a license, so I don't have a basis of comparison.

Specific info can be found here
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Wayne Whiting
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Thanks for posting this Gaddy. I saw this story on the national news. One street magician who was interviewed thought it was a good thing.

I didn't know that the First Amendment allowed public agencies to control the time, place and manner of designated performance areas. I need to look into that.

It sounds to me like you are punished if you don't participate. While you still can perform without a license, you will not be able to perform in the prime locations unless no one is scheduled.

It is also interesting that they have regulations on the decibel level. The City of Alexandria lost their street performing case in the 1980s and the defendant was a bagpipe player.

If someone chooses to fight this, I think it would take a good First Amendment lawyer. The City of Burlington, VT, also controls their street entertainment in their downtown mall. They even require an audition. Perhaps their "pilot" program is only for 4 months to see whether or not they get sued.

If there are any attorneys on this forum, I would be interested in your interpretation of the "time, place and manner" clause.
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Genghis
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What are 'Additional Insureds'? Does this mean that you have to also insure on your policy all those other people named also? Wouldn't such Insurance be expensive?

Is Fisherman's Wharf a particularly lucrative place?

Genghis
RobertBloor
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The Socialist Republic of the USA.
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It's San Francisco. The city that gave you Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The city the previously voted to nullify the 2nd Amendment as well.

Funny - New Orleans did the same thing.
Jack@ss Clarkson hassled street performers.
Then Katrina came and Mayor Nagin and his NOPD tried to nullify the 2nd Amendment.

Funny how both are brothels for extremism.

The good news is - San Fran's nullifcation of the 2A was overturned in court. Hopefully the 1A issue will be as well.

-Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
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TheAmbitiousCard
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$50 buckeroos a month.
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gaddy
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As I understand it from talking with interested parties, this plan was conceived by the musicians. If you read into the middle of the rules you'll see a provision that allows for the selling of "recordings and other performance related materials".

Quote:
On 2007-11-01 06:48, Wayne Whiting wrote:
Thanks for posting this Gaddy. I saw this story on the national news. One street magician who was interviewed thought it was a good thing.

.... It sounds to me like you are punished if you don't participate. While you still can perform without a license, you will not be able to perform in the prime locations unless no one is scheduled.

.... Perhaps their "pilot" program is only for 4 months to see whether or not they get sued.




National news, eh? Interesting...

The fellow they got to tout their program is a little... off... shall we say. Also, he's not really involved as he has a small show that uses an off prime location exclusively. It's like a hollywood actor talking about how the Grammy's are awarded.

No. People will now be punished to the tune of 500$ a year + insurance costs for the "right" to be put in a lottery that will assign them a random spot on the wharf. But at least they will know where/when they can perform, even if it ends up being a spot that is not suitable to their show. Jugglers are OUT if they do not "choose" to participate, as they need a large circle- on the wharf there are 2 such circles, and those always have hordes of living statues/ "dancers" there. Also they can have a max of 3 hours per day. How much money can you make in 3 hours as compared to 8 hours? Yay!

Those who "chose" not to participate will be able to perform wherever they chose, including the prime spots for free (assuming there are no scheduled performers there at that moment). Groups of "performers" (IE- the breakdancing thugs) will be able to horde all the unscheduled slots en masse shutting out all competition. Lack of enforcement will all but guarantee that this will be the case.

If I am denied a viable way to make my money, they will be looking at a lawsuit...

Quote:
On 2007-11-01 09:03, Genghis wrote:
What are 'Additional Insureds'? Does this mean that you have to also insure on your policy all those other people named also? Wouldn't such Insurance be expensive?

Is Fisherman's Wharf a particularly lucrative place?

Genghis


Additional insureds are other parties indicated on an insurance policy as able to submit a claim "upon your behalf"...

...and yes, insurance is expensive to the tune of 200$ a year.

Fisherman's wharf is one of the only places in SF that you can be sure there will be people (IE- "tourists", as a rule, the locals here do NOT tip) who want to be entertained 365 days a year. There is a lot of competition looking for the same $$$, but there is a lot of $$$ there to be had.

Quote:
On 2007-11-01 09:19, RobertBloor wrote:
It's San Francisco. The city that gave you Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The city the previously voted to nullify the 2nd Amendment as well.

Funny - New Orleans did the same thing.

Funny how both are brothels for extremism.

The good news is - San Fran's nullifcation of the 2A was overturned in court. Hopefully the 1A issue will be as well.

-Robert


Well... politics aside... This could very well be spun as a 1st amendment thing if it comes to that, but right now it's logistics/ enforcement thing and a money thing as far as I am concerned.
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
TheAmbitiousCard
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I was just there last week or so and saw nothing except the tail end of the juggling show at the end of the pier.

I spoke with Jerry Salazar today but forgot to ask him what he thought of this new rule. How does he feel about it Gaddy?
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gaddy
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Well... er... um... we've talked about this at length, him and I. You see, he's not really involved as he has a small show that uses an off prime location exclusively... He's pretty happy about it as they gave him a pat on the back and a (purely metaphoric) gold watch, and didn't include his pitch as a prime spot.

Jerry told me he's going to get a computer... So maybe he'll voice up soon enough!
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
MagicSanta
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$50 a month???? Tell the city that you consider 'magician' to be an alternate lifestyle and demand protection and a free license. I bet you'll find a couple hundred people willing to protest on your behalf.
Wayne Whiting
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Gaddy, have you checked the IBM for insurance? Cost is based on gross annual receipts.

If it does come to a lawsuit, can the ACLU help?
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Noel M
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Who does SF plan to have out there watching the clock? I can't see the police being very happy about having to intervene between a squabbling magician and juggler over whose turn it is.
Rymagician
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I don't see how such a system will stand for very long in San Francisco. I mean...it's San Francisco.

I've talked to some of the busker's down there, particularly one of the statues. He's happy about the permit system because it will guarantee him pitches. He's white, and since the overwhelming majority of statues down there (actually of all performers) are black, he gets bullied of pitches frequently it seems.

I've just recently moved to SF, and have been diligently studying the performing situation down at the Wharf. It's astounding to me how unfairly the pitches are used. The army of statues Gaddy mentioned set up shop around ten or so on the main pitch and just don't move until close to sunset. They arn't even performing the whole time. Usually its them chilling on the benches chatting while thier tired boombox blasts tinny sounding music in the center of the pitch. There are anywhere between one and four of em at a time.

It's also amazing to me how rudely they treat thier audiences. Especially the breakdancers. They set up, blast music and chill until a crowd gathers. They pay little attention to the crowd, usually directing most of thier attention towards each other. When finally the show starts, they engage in a little bit standard audience by play, (much of it insulting the audience), and then organize the audience. The show is short, and, in my opinion, unimpressive. Then they pass the hat.

It astounds me how these performers managed to maintain a crowd and extract money from them. I look at how much I love my audiences, and how, although I do joke around with them, they understand how much I put into making sure they enjoy themselves and my show. Sadly, I think much of the audience's willingness to engage in these other performer's shows, and pay them, is a lack of knowledge on their part of what a street show can be like, and how they, as an audience, should be treated.

I doubt the permit system will make a difference in this, but those are just my observations. Noel makes a good point about the enforcement. I don't know if it will make much of an impact. Also, how many of these statues you think will opt into the permit system? For all we know, no one will and it won't matter. Only time will tell I suppose.
)2yan
kaigan
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Quote:
On 2007-11-02 11:58, Noel M wrote:
Who does SF plan to have out there watching the clock? I can't see the police being very happy about having to intervene between a squabbling magician and juggler over whose turn it is.


I don't know, if it's between that or Castro street fair duty...
MagicSanta
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Considering the SFPD I think they looooove the Castro Street fair duty and rastlin' magicians.
trombley
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I was just in SF down at the warf and all I saw was the huge group of breakdancers just sort of walking around not actually doing anything. There still seemed to be open spots to do a show although the foot traffic seemed less. I was only there for a weekend and didn't bring my gear but it still seemed to me there was places to make money.

How about down by the cable cars near union square? seemed to have a fair amount of tourists there.
Dustin Baker
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Let's remember guys, it's San Fran. The law will be completely ignored, and none of the buskers will give a rat's pitoutte. They've always been there, so the cops aren't going to care either.

On a related point:
Some time ago I was told that you had to be 'invited' to busk on pier 39. I find that strange, since to my knowledge it's public land and requires equal treatment for anyone walking on it.

Anyway it goes, there's always the old excuses:
"No officer, I'm not working for tips. I'm doing a FREE magic show."
"Waht about this overturned top hat?"
"Oh, what this hat? No. The wind must have blown it upside down."
Think inside the box. . . it's less crowded.
gaddy
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Pier 39 is private property. They've got a cute little performance stage that is sponsored by Crystal Geyser Water.

Fisherman's wharf is public property under the control of the SF port authority (which in turn gives them A Lot of power over what goes on on said property)... They've got little brown squares that you now have to stand in while performing or you might get hassled by the beat cops.

Just to clarify Smile
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Dustin Baker
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Oh.

Learn something new every day, I suppose.
Think inside the box. . . it's less crowded.
Danny Hustle
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Contact Steven Baird. Do an internet search for him and street performers. He is an advocate with friends in very high places. He is the guy that opened up Boston.

Just be careful what you wish for. Smile
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Faulkner
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Sad to say, Clarkson is back in on the city councel in New Orleans. It some performers are starting to think of other things to do to pay bills.
This woman/thing has destroyed more music establisments and street locations. As of late it wasn't bad and the cops let most performers alone but since she was elected this weekend the boot has already started to fall.
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