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Old 11-02-02, 03:12 PM   #21
Jonathan Park
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I don't know what chance Jerry has of being reinstated at a "Family Attraction" such as Harborplace. But I hope it all resolves well for Jerrry and soon.
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Old 11-02-02, 03:14 PM   #22
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I would also suggest a writer from JUGGLE magazine do a story on this soon and call harborplace for comment, as well as Genii and Magic magazine.

Plus, if all the IJA members emailed harbor place and wrote them as well, we could start an "amnesty international" type of action.
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Old 11-03-02, 11:10 PM   #23
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A previous post here implied I have certain feelings towards management at Harborplace. That post was inappropriate and its implications inaccurate.

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Old 11-06-02, 10:13 AM   #24
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Jerry Got Press....,0,1968485.column?co ll=bal-local-headlines

(Thanks to mnozzolio for the link.)

Here's the text of the article...

Harborplace comic's jokes no laughing matter to some
Dan Rodricks
Originally published Nov 4, 2002

Dan Rodricks
THE COMPANY that manages Harborplace has told Jerry Rowan, its most popular and interesting performer over the last two decades, to pack up his unicycle, flaming torches and snappy one-liners, and find another place to do his act.

Rowan, a juggler-comic who frequently draws the biggest crowds to Harborplace's outdoor amphitheater, complains that he's a victim of corporate overreaction to his sometimes biting, New York wise-guy comedy. (He thinks a couple of cracks about law enforcement's efforts to catch the Beltway sniper angered some police officers who were watching a recent performance.)

The Rouse Co., which dropped Rowan from its list of street performers for Harborplace, says the juggler cracked too many offensive jokes in the last year or so, and that warnings to tone down his act were ignored.

Having seen Rowan's act, as thousands of Harborplace visitors have over the years, you can understand how this talented and funny guy might have provoked a few phone calls and letters to the Harborplace management.

Rowan juggles while standing. He juggles while riding a unicycle. He juggles while riding one of those tiny circus bikes. He'll put a 5-year-old boy on his shoulders and unicycle while blindfolded. I believe I saw the man balance a full-sized adult bicycle on his nose.

Rowan is wired -- boy, is he wired! -- with a microphone and almost never stops talking. He pokes fun at people in the audience and makes sometimes stinging comments about passers-by -- especially people who are ignoring him or heckling him. Anyone who strolls by is fair game.

Some people find that hilarious and charming. Nine years ago, a Rouse Co. official wrote Rowan a letter of appreciation for his "moxie" and his "outrageousness" at Harborplace. The letter wished Rowan well as he set out to entertain corporate clients who "can sure use some of the freeing up your wit will bring."

But some people have found the words coming out of Rowan's mouth offensive. They apparently have complained to the Rouse Co., too.

In February, as the new street-performer season was about to begin, Rowan and other acts received a letter from Harborplace management that warned that "jokes that make reference to an individuals (sic) race, gender or sexual preference are NOT permitted, specifically in reference to the events of September 11. ... The use of off-color humor or profanity will not be permitted as part of any performance."

The letter threatened suspension of any of the unpaid-working-for-tips performers who violate the policy, and Rowan received a personal warning from Harborplace's marketing coordinator.

But, of course, the judgment about what constitutes an offensive remark is highly subjective -- especially in the context of public comedy -- and apparently that judgment is in the hands of the Rouse Co.

To find out, from Harborplace management's view, what Rowan did to warrant his termination from the program, I called three people at Rouse on Friday before being referred to a fourth -- David Tripp, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications. Tripp wasn't exactly helpful in the pursuit of truth.

What did Jerry Rowan do or say to get the hook?

"I'm not going to discuss it," Tripp said.

You can't tell us what Rowan said that was so offensive that you had to ban him from performing in the amphitheater?

"We've had numerous complaints about Jerry, and they're all documented," Tripp said. "We warned him. He went too far."

OK, but what's "too far"?

"I'm not going to discuss it," Tripp said, "Jerry can tell you. He can explain it in the newspaper if he wants. We're not going to get into it."

I asked Tripp if Harborplace had a contractual relationship with Rowan, and he refused to get into that, either. I was trying to determine what legal basis the Rouse Co. has for removing a street performer and generally controlling what goes on in the amphitheater. I told Tripp I didn't understand why he didn't want to explain this.

"I don't care that you don't understand," he said, and that was about when I gave up.

Tripp called back the next day to say: "I would offer you one thought: Since we don't pay Harborplace street performers -- they simply perform and collect whatever they can -- what do you suppose would be our motivation not wanting Jerry Rowan to perform? Wouldn't it seem logical that there must be some good reason and that reason is we've had a lot of complaints? We don't want to drag Jerry through the mud; he's been a long, loyal performer. But in the past year or so it's really gone downhill and we can't put up with these kind of complaints in a family environment."

Rowan, Tripp said, refused to understand that he can't use the same humor he'd use in a comedy club -- or on Late Night with David Letterman, where he once appeared -- as he would in the "family environment" of Harborplace.

I guess I understand that. My 12-year-old son reminds me that, two summers ago, when we caught Rowan's act, we thought he was hugely entertaining but maybe running on the edge of good taste a couple of times. But I don't remember it causing anyone to boo or walk away from Rowan's performance. In fact, the crowd was huge and roaring with laughter.

Maybe Rowan's brand of street performance -- spontaneous, fluid, sharp-witted -- doesn't work in such a contrived family environment. Maybe he just needs another location, free from corporate oversight.

I bet Jerry Rowan will draw a crowd wherever he throws flaming torches and one-liners.

Copyright 2002, The Baltimore Sun

[ 11-06-2002: Message edited by: Jim ]</p>
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Old 11-06-02, 01:15 PM   #25
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Interesting column.
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Old 11-07-02, 12:33 PM   #26
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Well on the upside, if he was making jokes that pissed the Balt. PD off, at least he was protected by Harbourplace and didn't get arrested for something they trumped up. Most street performing venues he'd of been handcuffed in the back of a patrol car and his stuff conviscated (and perhaps lost in the system).

It doesn't look like Harbourplace will be backing down on this one. Like Steven and I said, he can try the ACLU, but I don't know if it will work. [img]frown.gif[/img]
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Old 12-19-02, 03:06 AM   #27
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Just to keep you posted:

This letter (which is a cut and paste version of the same stuff I sent to Adair Fogarty) was published in the Baltimore City Paper ... sorry I don't have the link)... I deleted the last sentence before sending it as I didn't want them to know I'm just a scumbag street act like everyone else.

Baltimore City Paper "The Mail" section 12-6-2002

Although currently based in Los Angeles, I am a Baltimore native. Since the early '70's, I have worked closely with the Rouse Corporation setting up the street performing programs in Baltimore (Harborplace), Miami (Bayside), Boston (Faneuil Hall), as well as the short-lived programs in Tampa & Nashville. I have also helped start several performing programs throughout the United States, including Pier 39 in San Francisco and Universal Citywalk here in Los Angeles.

Ive been familiar with Jerry Rowans act for over 20 years and feel lucky to have watched him grow into the marvelous comedic performer he is today. I have also had the opportunity to book Mr. Rowan at various times though out his career. Besides his obvious comedic talent he has always exhibited extreme professionalism, both onstage and off. He is a master of his craft and a superb comedy entertainer.

Upon hearing of Rowans dismissal, I flew to Baltimore in early Nov. to meet with Ms. Adair Fogarty. My intention was not to compromise her authority, only to facilitate artist and management communication. She refused to meet with me or to discuss the matter. She politely referred me to her legal department.

In my humble opinion, this is not a matter of political correctness or questionable comedy. It is simply a matter of power & politics. Ms. Fogarty found Mr. Rowan unmanageable and dismissed him, its as simple as that. She may have done it under the guise of being PC, but the reality is, she did it for herself. She is not out to protect anyone else, certainly not anyone in Mr. Rowan's audience.

There is an old saying, if there is no victim, there is no comedy. This certainly holds true, no matter what your ethnic persuasion might be. Im sure its tough to do comedy and not offend anyone but Im sure its even more difficult for a person not to abuse what little power they might possess. Instead of firing Jerry, perhaps Rouse should have fired that bitch for not doing her job properly.
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Old 12-20-02, 02:29 PM   #28
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Re: Jerry Rowan's dismissal from his unpaid job --

"Freedom of the press is applicable only to the person who owns one." I don't know who said that, but I know that great anthropologist Tommy Smothers once suggested that he could tell how rich or poor a person was by the amount of clothes he/she wears. Poor people might, then, be called less-ons whereas rich people are....
The GlassHarper (I play glassical music)!
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Old 12-20-02, 05:07 PM   #29
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These are the Jokes. The first I read in a free weekly paper in Baltimore and have heard from several other people. The second joke is probably a regular in Jerry's show.

"Turns out they put a composite [of the D.C. area sniper]together from sightings, it seems he's a white guy who speaks Spanish and looks like an Arab."

The other joke: " I thought about being a cop, I even took the physical but it won't work out. Turns out I'm allergic to donuts."

only mildly amusing and utterly innocuous, IMHO.

The Keith Show!
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Old 06-19-03, 04:33 AM   #30
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Any new news on this situation with Jerry?
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Old 10-19-03, 10:35 PM   #31
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El Gleno Grande (Glen Singer) emailed this info to me... Looks like Jerry has gotten some press. --Jim


Volume: 4 spam Number: 84_wednesday spam October 8, 2003
Comedian sues city after being barred from Inner Harbor

Daily Record Business Writer

The joke is on the city of Baltimore. Its been sued by a comedian. The
American Civil
Liberties Union has added street performer Jerry Rowan to a lawsuit
claiming the citys
rules governing the street performer program at the Inner Harbor violate
the First
- Ezra K. Fieser

Comedian's wisecracks no cause for censorship
Dan Rodricks
Originally published Oct 9, 2003

Dan Rodricks

IM GLAD the American Civil Liberties Union is taking up for the
comic-juggler Jerry
Rowan. Remind me to send these people some money. I want to remain a
member of any organization that stands up for a standup comic's right to
balance a bicycle
on his nose and tell jokes in the town square -- in this case, the Inner
Harbor -- even if
someone in the crowd takes offense.

This is Baltimore, not Beijing.

This is the land of the free, where the first lady of Maryland can
announce she'd like to
shoot Britney Spears -- and not even apologize!

This is a great country!

Rush Limbaugh is an overrated talk-show host because the media in this
country have been
very desirous that a middle-aged white blowhard do well.

There, I said it!

Vive la liberte! (That's French. I used it just then to annoy the
French-haters out there.
Pretty funny, huh?)

But what we have here in Rowan vs. City of Baltimore is a comic being
deprived of a
livelihood -- and a public deprived of his humor -- because of some
arbitrary judgment that
a couple of jokes he delivered during his juggling act a year ago near the
Rouse Co.'s
Harborplace were offensive to persons unknown.

As one of the most popular performers at the Inner Harbor over the past
two decades,
Rowan, a New York wise guy and graduate of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Clown College, has told a million jokes while pedaling a unicycle and
juggling flaming
torches in the amphitheater between the Light and Pratt street pavilions.
He has a very
strong act, with lots of clever improv. He is blessed with great timing
and the instincts for
working a crowd into big laughs.

The jokes that got him into trouble with the Rouse Co. last October were
more wisecracks
than anything else -- the kind of thing you might get from sarcastic
deejays on FM rock
stations during morning drive time -- and they had to do with the sniper
shootings in the
Washington suburbs.

Now, a string of random killings might not have been a wise choice as
subject matter for
Rowan, but he has frequently spiced his act with a little edge and some
topical references.
That kind of comedy always generates complaints, and the Rouse Co. got
some. But
Rowan remained in place as the top act in the amphitheater.

Then, last October, he made some cracks about the snipings.

"I was driving downtown this morning," Rowan said, "and on the radio I
heard that they've
finally come out with a composite of the sniper, so there should be an
arrest forthcoming.
Apparently, he's a white guy that speaks Spanish and looks like he's Arab."

He thinks he might have then quipped: "Five thousand cops and they can't
find one guy."

As I said, wisecracks, and not even that funny -- in the world of
contemporary live comedy,
tame stuff. Rowan can't remember the crowd booing or grumbling about these
What he heard was laughter.

But apparently some city police officers took offense and complained to
management. A short time later, the Rouse Co. removed Rowan from the list
of approved
street performers. He hasn't worked at Harborplace, his bread-and-butter
venue, since.

Harborplace was built on city parkland. The amphitheater is a public
space. But the Rouse
Co. generally controls what happens there -- as if it's Disney and the
amphitheater Disney
World. In administering the street-performer program, it holds public
auditions -- for
several years with its once-top performer, Jerry Rowan, as emcee -- and
apparently has
considerable authority over who gets to sing for their supper. (The
performers are not paid,
and work for tips.)

Rowan made plenty of tips but, more than that, his performances at
Harborplace generated
other jobs, including many corporate parties, at $1,000 a pop. All that
has dried up in the
year since he was blacklisted.

"I'm sitting here reading Inside Lacrosse magazine," Rowan said yesterday.

Rowan's wife is a physical therapist. He's a stay-at-home dad with two
little kids, and he
doesn't have much time during the week to promote himself or run out for
jobs, even if he
got them. The fabulous, good-weather weekends at Harborplace generated
most of his
annual income as a street performer, $20,000 to $30,000.

The hardship on Rowan might not be our concern.

But every fan of free speech should be outraged that, based on a couple of
some fraidy-cat with a degree in marketing can ban the likes of Jerry
Rowan from a public

"By allowing speech to be banned solely because of its content," said
Rajeev Goyle, the
ACLU attorney representing Rowan, "the city of Baltimore has transformed
the Inner
Harbor, a large public gathering place that is Baltimore's main public
square, into an area
where only approved speech is permitted, in direct violation of the First

The "Rousting" of this guy out of Harborplace is an outrage. I'm glad the
ACLU is suing
the city on Rowan's behalf.

But I'm a taxpayer of the old palatinate and I don't want to pay for a big

So let's put the man back to work -- in Harborplace, in prime time, on
busy weekend
afternoons -- and let him work for laughs, and for his supper.

[ 10-19-2003: Message edited by: Jim ]</p>
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Old 10-19-03, 10:45 PM   #32
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Even More news (see post below, as well) Steven Baird wrote me the following email. --Jim



I've recently updated the legal section on Street Arts & Buskers Advocates web pages with two pages. The ACLU has just taken on Jerry Rowan's challenge and there were a number of articles and editorials this past week including one in the Washington Post. spamThe two pages are:

1. Tom Noddy emails and documents about his recent civil disobedience act of being arrested for juggling on the streets of Santa Cruz on June 26, 2003.
2. Jerry Rowan documents and online references about the banning of his street performances from Baltimore Harborplace by the City of Baltimore and Rouse Company on October 21, 2002 for telling a joke about the DC sniper case.

Jerry asked me to urge folks to write letters to the editors to the Baltimore publications The Sun and City Paper. spamThanks to the Butterfly Man and Glenn Singer for past letters of support.

I am also preparing to sue the City of Boston in Federal court for limiting performances. spamAny artists who have been shut down for performing in Dock Square (front of Faneuil Hall by the Sam Admas statue) or other areas of the city should contact me asap.


Stephen H. Baird
Street Arts and Buskers Advocates
Community Arts Advocates, Inc.
PO Box 112
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Street Arts and Buskers Advocates: Celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities
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Old 02-12-04, 12:41 PM   #33
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Here's an update on the latest in the Jerry Rowan/ Baltimore/ Harborplace saga...

I just spoke to Jerry on the phone. He's trying to stay warm and patiently waiting for the ACLU to get the time to look at his case.

This was taken from Steven Baird's web site:
February 4, 2004 -- Thje City of Baltimore is considering a new street entertainers ordinance with an application fee of $75. See article in Baltimore City Paper

February 5, 2004 -- Received call from Jerry Rowan with an update on the status of his legal case against the City of Baltimore. The joining of Jerry Rowan's case with the Woman in Black war protest case by the ACLU was challenged by the city and the court agreed the cases need to be argued separately. The ACLU and Jerry Rowan are actively seeking a large law firm to support a First Amendment federal court case. Jerry has been unable to perform in Baltimore for over 16 months.
More information will be here when it comes in.

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Old 07-26-04, 02:30 AM   #34
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Default Uncle Jerry vs. that bitch

Talked with Jerry Rowen today ... he reports steady progress has been made with the ACLU and his pending action against Harbourfront ... as he put's it:

"Never start a fight with an ugly man, Robert ... they've got nothin' to lose."

...words to live by!

P.S. That book Gazzo is selling has a bunch of Jerry's lines in it ... (amongst a host of others) ... no one gave him permission to use any of them ... Gazzo should be drawn and quartered.
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