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Old 02-07-04, 05:24 AM   #1
mnozzolio
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Default South Street Seaport

Anyone hear that performers at South Street Seaport in NYC will be charged a $500 fee this year? That seems pretty steep, if it's true. Will they still have the auditions or will they open it to anyone who pays the fee?
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Old 02-07-04, 12:23 PM   #2
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Hey!

That seems ridiculous. Where did you hear this rumor? I can't imagine they would charge people to work down there because if they did I'd be surprised if you'd see anyone working.
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Old 02-07-04, 01:19 PM   #3
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A NYC magician on the Yahoo busker group posted that he had received the folowing letter. Here is the quote.

To: South Street Seaport Street Performers:

I hope you all had a great holiday and winter season. As we are counting
down the days to our summer season, we are starting to make
arrangements for our 2004 Street Performer Program.

This year, due to rising costs to sustain the street performing program,
we are incorporating a $500.00 registration fee for all street performers.
This fee will cover all costs associated with personnel to run the program
including administration costs.

Payment must be received by Monday, March 15, 2004 and no "2004"
I.D. badges will be issued until payment is received.

Thanks, and we look forward to another exciting street performing
season."


I'm not identifying the magician because I didn't get his permission. Also, SS Seaport is by audition. Does the permit carry over for more than one year?
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Old 02-07-04, 02:43 PM   #4
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Solidarity is the only thing that will impress a corp.
(and bad publicity, and anything that threatens profitability)
Unfortunately it only takes one non participant to nix the situation.
Does anyone get substantial income from this place? ie majority of their income?
e-mail them collectively and inform them that due to rising costs in sustaining your lifestyles as performers you will be incorporating a $500 fee per month to cover expenses related to the service you provide them and the added value you bring to their commercial enterprise.
Remind them that your first amendment rights allow you to work in any public place and after consideration you have agreed that an incentive on their part is required to sustain your participation in their business which has until this point been built on a foundation of mutual benefit and goodwill.
Ask them whether they have formulated any commercial alternative to having performers work their property and suggest that perhaps now might be a time to do that. (give them a list of agencies)
Ask them also whether their media/marketing depts have preplanned responses to media inquiries regarding the dramatic increase in their admin costs and the subsequent decline in the entertainment and atmosphere at their venue.
Suggest to them that perhaps the corporate dildo who's brainwave this was should dip his/her toe into the bracing waters of reality before suggesting a textbook form of 'income stream maximization'
that amounts to little more than extortion.
Bid them fairwell.
Contact media, do your own press releases, wait for publication, wait for their 'reassesment'
Or simply look for alternatives and don't work there any more.
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Old 02-07-04, 03:52 PM   #5
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I have never paid a fee to perform anywhere, and as long as I'm not a "vendor" I would not consider it.

I would send SS Seaport a brief "f#@k you" letter and find another venue. If every performer did this to venues that expect a "fee", these venues would wake up & smell the coffee in a New York minute.
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Old 02-08-04, 12:23 PM   #6
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Thumbs down

I got the letter from the Seaport just yesterday after I read and responded to the post.
It is absolutely crazy what they are asking!
I cannot believe they need $500 per performer to cover the costs "associated with personel to run the program including administration costs"!?!
Even at $50 per performer I think it's ridiculous. It's not like it's a goldmine to work down there.
I will be writing a letter to the director, Joan Cooney, explaining that she will not be getting a check for $500 from me. I did not plan on auditioning this year anyway but cannot let her letter go unanswered.
I encourage any other Seaport performers to do the same, sending them a message. They are destroying street entertainment in one of the greatest cities in the world.
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Old 02-08-04, 12:37 PM   #7
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Default No word from Boston, yet...

I believe S.S.S. is a Rouse company... the same people that own/manage Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market in Boston. I have not heard anything from The Faneuil Hall management yet, but I would not be surprised if they pull something like this.

For the last few years, FH management has been jacking up rents of the merchants and the performers have always feared that we would be the next "revenue stream" they would exploit, er, I mean, explore.

If anyone has more details about South St. Seaport, please share. I'll keep tabs on the Boston situation.

Jim
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Old 02-08-04, 12:39 PM   #8
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whats joans e-mail
(don't post it here, thats spambait)
drop me a note.
for additional info
how many performers 'work' there
how often, weekends? or weekdays as well.
what are the current rules & regulations (scan the permit and send it me)
I'd enjoy arriving in her world from left field.
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Old 02-08-04, 04:35 PM   #9
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Default Action Stations n The Double!

Before some idiot actually pays the $500 the thing to do is get the media involved. This is something they can use and it will get a lot of reaction from readers/viewers. But first make sure the $500 wasn't a typo- $50 maybe?

Get off your butts and write the facts, headline it something catchy (post your suggestions here?) Label it For Instant Release and email it to all local media.

Anyone anywhere who is against paying fees should act now before the cancer takes hold. Especially with the Rouse Company as they own 50 shopping Centers and 125 mixed use facilities all around the country. Once the fee deal is entrenched, it will be very difficult to roll back. Others will follow.

If there is a lot of media attention, they will be forced to scrap the idea, or at least bring the amount down to something reasonable.

Bring it on!
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Old 02-08-04, 05:55 PM   #10
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perhaps also, if all these places are in fact linked by the same umbrella corp, use the network that has already had success in modifying heavy handed changes in the status quo.
The muso's union, wasn't it? in Boston who took on the subway guys with some success. Get a liason going with them and see if you can get acces to their media contacts. That story made the new york times and was sympathetic.
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Old 02-08-04, 08:28 PM   #11
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Sell timeshares!
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Last edited by Stretch; 03-23-04 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 02-10-04, 10:20 PM   #12
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Just so you all know, the $500 fee is confirmed, not a typo.
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Old 03-11-04, 01:00 PM   #13
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Default The South Street Seaport, New York City

To Whom it May Concern,

Hi, my name is Josh and I have been a street performer at the South Street Seaport in New York City since 1992. The South Street Seaport is one of the largest tourist attractions in the city, and the street performing program is similar to the ones at Fanieul Hall, Pier 39, Harborplace and other cities in the United States.

The performers in the program have recieved a letter from the administration asking for a fee in order to return as a performer this year. This is an unprecedented request, and no such policy exists at any other street performing program in the country. The management, the Rouse Corporation, sent the letter without meeting with the performers beforehand and requested the fee by the 15th of March.

For most of the performers this is a financial burden that they cannot afford. The street performers, after passing the audition to work at the South Street Seaport, are not paid and earn money only passing the hat. Many, myself included, depend on this income for our livelyhood.

Several of the performers have already made phone calls, sent emails, written letters and gone to the offices in person to protest this fee.

I called the AFLCIO local 802 musicians union in New York City, and one of their representatives, Mr. Joe Eisman, spoke with thier lawyers. After doing so, they graciously wrote a letter of support for the performers to the South Street Seaport, and did so pro bono, without requesting a fee.

The lastest news is that the South Street Seaport has extend the deadline and also has begun a negotiation over the requested fee.

I also spoke Mr. Stephen Baird at Communityartsadvocates.org, who after mentioning a administrative case at Fanieul Hall in Boston last year, mentioned several courses of action such as contacting the ACLU, CCR, local media and politicians.

On monday, March 15th, the date of the original deadline, I'm also going in to speak with the South Street Seaport management.

My stance, and that of several of the other performers in the program is that the requested fee be recinded.

It would set a precedent for the Rouse corporation, and the program, that has been highlighted in South Street Seaport Advertising as the premier acts in the country, would be asking the performer to pay in order to pass the hat. The performers do not recieve wages from the South Street Seaport.

Many well known variety acts began their career as Street Performers, which I regard as one of the Hallmarks of a Free Society.

Letters of support can be written to:

South Street Seaport Management
19 Fulton Street
New York City, New York

I'll continue posting about the South Street Seaport Street Performing program as the event unfolds.

Best Regards, Josh Weiner
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Old 03-12-04, 12:42 PM   #14
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Default $500 Fee Update

To Whom it May Concern,

The South Street Seaport Management, the Rouse Company, has requested a $500 fee for all returning performers for the 2004 season.

This fee is unaffordable to most of the performers in the program, myself included.

According to another peformer in the program, the Seaport also intends to downsize the performers in the program from it's roster of 40-50 acts to 20-30.

Mr. Stephen Baird at communityartsadvocates.org mentioned concern that the performers keep a cohesiveness. He stated that if one performer pays the $500 fee than it would make it very difficult for the rest of the performers.

The dialogue is now of a reduced fee between $50 and $200 per performer.

My stance is that the performers must not pay $1 because it would set a precedent that could be increased in future years.

We must not be shortsighted in what the fee would mean to Street Performers in the future at the South Street Seaport as well as on the other Rouse company properties.

There has never been such a policy at the South Street Seaport in the history of the program. I have been in the Street Performer Program since 1992.

There will be a support meeting on Friday, March 19th, 2004:

South Street Seaport Support Meeting
Meet at 19 Fulton Street
South Street Seaport, New York City
1:00pm

Letters of Support can be written to:

Joan Cooney
Michael Piazzola
Jay Pearly
Andrea Friedland
South Street Seaport Management
19 Fulton Street
New York City, NY 10038


Best Regards, Josh
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Old 03-23-04, 08:18 AM   #15
Magic Brian
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Question Wha' happened?

I've been on the other side of the world in Australia for the last month - what happened with the meeting?
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Old 03-23-04, 12:09 PM   #16
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Default Seaport Update

To Whom It May Concern,

I had a meeting with Joan Cooney, Andrea Friedland and Michael PIazzola on Monday March 15th . We talked for about a hour about the requested $500 fee for street performers at the South Street Seaport.

The fee is unprecedented an the program at the seaport and is unaffordable to many who work there, myself included.

The only common ground we had was the idea of a Street Perfromers Festival as a fundraiser for the program. Then sposorship for the program whould be for the event and administrative costs.

I said that I'd volunteer for getting an event together, Several performers have already responded that they would work on the project of a festival also.

I recieved info for Mr. Robert Nelson that I'm passing along to the management.
My stance is still that the requested fee must be withdrawn.


I contacted the AFLCIO local 802 who sent a support letter pro bono. After recieving the letter , there was talk of a negotiated fee.

The NYCLU also asked for info that I sent to a lawyer there who said that the issue is if the thoroughfare is a public or private space.

The letter was sent without a meeting with the performers beforehead and without a meeting about the fee since.

Performers are responding individually and are contacting performers that they know.

Support letters can be written to :
South Street Seaport Management
19 Fulton Streeet, 2nd Floor
NYC,NY 10038

Best Regards, Josh Weiner
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Old 03-24-04, 06:50 PM   #17
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Angry

Wow! I've been painting faces in Seaport since 1993, and a couple of years ago a Tatto-You or something Co rented vending spot there, so first they started doing this little temp-tattoos, next thing - they kicked out all face-painters out of the main circle near the stage, and from what I heard -they will not allow it anymore....Next thing you know - it will be a juggling Co and clowning Co, balloon-vendors, magicians working for magic-kit-selling Co etc etc...Capitalizm Rules! What are we gonna do about it?
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Old 03-25-04, 11:31 AM   #18
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Default South Street Seaport Update

Dear Irina,

Face painter Nancy Lyon mentioned the same. Apparently, the tattoo/henna folk pay rent for the cart that they have at the Seaport. So, they then requested that their competition be moved elsewhere.

The other locations on the peir apron or entrance away from the cart and did not interfere during their business hours could be requested for scheduling.

The South Street Seaport Street Performer program is still in limbo about the $500 fee requested from returning performers.

The Seaport is now talking of possible downsizing of the number of acts on their roster.

I contacted the AFLCIO Local 802 who sent a support letter. The ACLU said that the legal issue is whether or no the performing is on Public or Private property.

Letters or support and objection to the $500 requested fee can be written to:
South Street Seaport Management
19 Fulton Street , 2nd Floor
New York , NY 10038

The common ground of having a Street Performing festival to fundraise for the program is in the works.

Best Regards, Josh
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Old 03-29-04, 06:04 PM   #19
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Love opened letter to the Seaport Management

What we should do, I guess, is to write an opened letter the the administration if the Seaport with carbon copies to all NYC major papers and TV/radio stations. Robert Lederman, the leader of the ARTIST group may have a list of them all, addresses, e-mails etc - he have been fighting for the rights of the street artists in NYC for a long time...The link to his web-site is on the openairmarkets - either .org or .net - I can try to get in touch with him, but i am on the road and don't have net-access all the time - and English is my second language...so if somebody living in NYC and having computer at home could catalyse this situation - it would be much easier. Look, the same happened with Pier 39 in San Fran, now they don't even let you work at Pier 41 anymore. Of course. Seaport is a private property, but they advertise it as public space and may want good PR.

I wonder - can we use this billboard as a way to collect signatures from street performers all over under any kind of petitions? It may be a step to Buskers Trade Union...
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Old 03-30-04, 11:37 AM   #20
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Default Seaport NYC

Dear Irina,

The more support the better.

In my last conversation with AFLCIO Local 802 with Mr. Eisman , he suggested that we protest with the big inflateable rat that they have for union disputes. Had out flyers about the situation and contact local media.

The Seaport has NOT been established as either public or private property, and that is exactly the issue. The NYCLU mentioned that the legal stance, and the performers rights to perform there are whether the thoroughfare is public or public property.

There is a Seaport Street Performers Festival and fundraiser for the program, that has now been approved by administration.

The deadline for the requested fee has been extended. If it is not resolved, then contacting local media and other performers is what the performers need to do next.

I'll write a group support letter to e-mail and have sent around the internet.

Best Regards, Josh

p.s. Communitysadvocates.org
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