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Old 06-02-05, 09:17 PM   #1
ALAKAZAM
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Thumbs down IT'S NOT FAIR!!!

Hey
I was on pitch last weekend and an argument started between acts.
The spot is a que system,1st in 1st served,finish your show ...end of the que.Right?
Well one act arrived much earlier than anybody else and figured they should set the rules for the day.
They demanded that no matter how many acts showed up that they would be on every 3rd show [finish your act,wait 2 shows ,start again]
But there were 5 acts lining up,so after a couple of shows the argument begins.
The act in question say that because there are more people in their act [3] that they have to do more shows to make the same money as a solo act [everybody else on the pitch]
My argument was that it is your choice whether you perform alone or with someone else,other acts should not lose out because they have to split the hat.
His argument was that their act has to support not only the 3 in the show but another 6 people at home. So they should get to do more shows.
This went on for over half an hour and i ended up writing times out to see if it would work,it turned out that the solo acts would get 2 shows and the triple act would get 4.
Then it rained and it all went out the window.

But....
It's gonna come up agian this weekend,i don't want to screw anybody over but what do you folks think about this.

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Old 06-02-05, 10:24 PM   #2
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Sounds like Harvard Square, back in the day. The first guy on the pitch would set the rules and if it was one specific person, he'd want every third show. At the time, it didn't seem fair, but I guess I understand where he was coming from. He had a family to support and no one else on the pitch did.

Seriously, Al. You know you can go anywhere in Boston now, right? And you know that anywhere YOU go, you'll probably have a mega show. Why get all up about Sam Adams? Just go around the corner or down the street a bit and do your show on a spot all to yourself... all day long.

Sam Adams is only going to be good for a couple more weeks anyway. Once it gets hot, that pitch sucks.
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Old 06-03-05, 12:03 AM   #3
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With all due respect to everyone, I feel that regardless of how many people are in an act, or how massive a particular act is, what they did was not by any means fair.

It's your choice to split a hat. Don't like it? Do your own show. Got people to support? Well, sorry pals, but this is the job that we chose. I agree with you Al, I don't really think that's a fair call on their part at all. It's not YOUR fault that they have a lot of people at home to support, so you (or anyone else) shouldn't have to suffer for it. They obviously have financial obligations to meet, but we all do... Nevertheless, I still feel bad for them if they're hard up for cash.

If the amount of shows performed on the street was proportional to how many people were in our acts, we'd all be in group shows because the volume would be so much higher. It doesn't work that way though...

Sucks that it rained out though.
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Old 06-03-05, 10:00 AM   #4
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He's got three arguments.

One: He got there first, he gets to make the rules.

----Tell that to the native americans pal, This is the USA. WE outnumber you, YOU lose. Its called democracy
---- You only have authority to dictate rules to us if we agree to accept your authority and we don't. We 're equals and we're quite happy with that. Your no more or less equal that us and were not accepting for any reason we're less worthy of the pitch than you. The reality of the situation is that YOU are not in charge.
---- You got here first so what, I'm wearing a blue shirt, the new rule is that blue shirts get to make the rules. Actually blue shirts combined with red underwear. No actually blue shirts, red underwear and green socks.
We cooperate or we blow you out with our amps. Its that simple. Nice try, your welcome but no thanks we're happy with things the way they are.

Two: There's three of us in one act, we want triple rights for our show.

----Then get separate shows, its not our problem your inefficient, You have one show, one shot at a hat, we don't owe you anything but the same cooperation you owe us.
----Your presuming we care about your income.
Why should we care about your income? Your income is your business. All we care about is the equality of opportunity to make an income. You want to use 3 people fine. You can use as many people as you like. But its about shows not staff and your trying to change the rules and its pointless.
---Under your rules we could do combination group shows between our solo shows to match your shows. Unless you made a new rule that forbade it which just illustrates the arbitrary bullshit you expect us to put up with. One more time...YOU DON"T MAKE THE RULES. They're mutually agreed on.

Three: I have mouths to feed and my grandmothers in an iron lung and the electricity's about to be cut off if I don't pay the bill and a shylocks going to break my leg if I don't pay him today and my children look up at me at the end of my day with tears running down their faces and their little starved swollen bellies poke out from their third hand thrift shop fruit of the loom T shirts etc etc etc etc etc etc.

----We're not responsible for the choices you make.
We don't bore you with our money troubles, why should you care? Why should we? You don't deserve any more or less than we do. Your trying to imply that we should cut you some slack because you've got kids to feed but your not implying, your demanding extra rights to feed your kids. You come down here, try and run the show and take away part of our ability to earn based on a system we're quite happy with and then have the nerve to suggest that by the virtue of you having breed like mindless slugs, that we're somehow responsible for making sacrifices to feed your maggots back home.



----------
This whole Boston things bullshit, its a numbers game. You get enough performers down on the pitch to support the system as it stands and this trio will just have to accept it. Nice try, come again.
But what I've seen happen before is some performer pulls off a parental attitude and sells the other performers their version of reality. "we're not all equal, I'm a grown up with grown up responsibilities and your just kids and so this is how it's going to be."
Performers are just kids in a lot of ways and they sort of respond to being treated like this and having their toys (shows) rationed because they are having too much fun.
They grumble but either adapt by accepting the new rules or moving elsewhere.
And the parent performer gets to be a successful hypocritical leach selling the public a lighthearted celebration of themselves while flogging the other performers with their pathetic desperate existance.
The system as is works internationally and the only way it endures is that people recognise its basicly fair.
One show= one measure of respect.
America's the only place in over 20 countries I've worked where the loudest, most selfish, most intimidating and often psychotic, bullies end up being tolerated because other performers cannot recognise that collectively they have any power.
Stark choices folks. Wimp out or make them recognise that you'll blow them out till they get with the program. Who is it anyway?Come pick me up, I'll take them on if someone films it.

(PS Al, Thanks for the marrage congrats, sorry I havn't got back to you, if you need some leafy boredom I'm 3 hours away in the forest)
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Old 06-03-05, 11:06 AM   #5
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I'll chime in on this one on the off chance that as a complete outsider I might influence the discussion into an otherwise unexplored direction.

I'm assuming that direct conflict should be only considered a last resort. If there is friction on the pitch, everyone risks having administration come in and shut it all down. Don't expect the city to care who started what - it is far easier for a committee to simply pass a no performing ordinance than to sit down with individuals to assign blame. So I would guess that trying to schedule the pitch through force is not a viable solution.

The first thing I would do is to find out what the three person act really wants. Why do they want to do so many shows? On the surface it would seem that it is a money issue, but there may be other factors as well. Check into that. Find out if there are any additional issues that have not been stated.

If money is really the only issue, you could offer to actively give the act following your own a pitch at the end and ask that the audience hang around while they switch places? Can you arrange it so that during your hat pitch the next act is setting up so that there is a seamless transition between acts?

You may be able to diffuse the situation by accepting their need to do more shows, but also improve your own standing by adding some needs of your own. The number of shows isn't the only factor in end-of-day take home. Depending on the pitch dynamics, certain show times may bring in higher paying crowds than others. Time of day, nearby events, weather etc. can influence the hat. By just arranging the trio's schedule so that their shows don't fall on any of the prime time spots may satisfy their condition of doing more sets but satisfy the other acts with the sweet times.

Perhaps the show duration could be a factor as well? Let them do every third show but have them cut their set time in half. They would still pass the hat more times, and would probably pull better money than they would with fewer but longer sets, but it might leave more time for other acts to make up their lost shows.

If the trio act were to do four shows to everyone else's two, what if you arranged for them to do every other show, but for a shorter period of the afternoon? For example, they may find it more appealing to do three shows over four hours (then go home early) than four shows over eight hours.

As Jim points out, you may be able to circumvent the system entirely and agree to do only two spots on the square but pull a half dozen more sets just down the street.

Not all acts are created equal, and acts all get paid different amounts. FOL. But it doesn't do anyone any good to try to dominate a show or a pitch by force. Everyone looses then.

Steven Ragatz

PS. If you want to get really sneaky, ask them for a favor. Tell them that you need to work on your show and you want them to watch it and give you their feedback. Let them tinker with small parts of your routine (that probably don't really matter) and work it with them. Agree with them when you can. Get them involved in your act in a behind-the-scenes sort of way. Turn it into a "collective effort". At the end of the day you don't actually have to listen to them, but you may be able to get around the money thing if you can make them feel more important and empowered. In some sense, you become part of their ensemble, and consequently, are entitled to the benefits.

Just some thoughts.
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Old 06-03-05, 11:45 AM   #6
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They want some basic things
They want power and control over the pitch.
They want to make more income than the present collective agreement allows.
The situation as it's presented has not got anywhere near "letting them" do anything.
They are attempting to dictate terms because,
they got there first.
there are three of them.
they have mouths to feed.

Al states they accepted a deal where they got double the amount of slots than any of the other acts.
The fact that al mentions this situation at all suggests that its a compromise that doesn't sit well.
It amounts to a significant amount of earnings sacrificed to one performance.
By all means compromise, pretend your bright and their not and give them more shows but not in peak times, try a bit of devious psychology where you pretend to be their friends, try and find out more about their REAL motivations. Its all transparently patronising and in the real world with real people who themselves use primitive but effective political means, ultimately useless.
Its easy, its simple, One show/one slot.
Take that to the admin and get it certified .Tell them neither you or they need the hassle of politics, its neither of your jobs. The policy of this establishment is One show/one slot with no exceptions, signed blah blah.
Its over in minutes. Email it to them, ask that they print it out on their letterhead and sign it and game over.
You don't need the agitation and the admin certainly don't and if you take it to them before it becomes a real problem and a public display of any sort you are helping them do their jobs and that should be appreciated. These other guys are a threat to the system the admin thinks they own. It shouldn't be difficult to nip it in the bud.
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Old 06-03-05, 11:52 AM   #7
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Where is Blue during all this. Are the moderators out yet? It say on the perfmit for harvard sq. that they have to share the spot with other acts that come along. Remind them that they could go do shows anywhere in Boston too. Man Cambridge needs to get the system figured out and stick to one way. Having a rule where the first person on pitch makes the rules is crap. Didnt some people hold a meeting of a group of buskers that work Harvard sq to try to figure out how to run that pitch? Did that come out with anything solid? Personaly I like the cue system but Harvard could also hold a draw and pick 45- 1hr slots. so that covers the show times and show length. for someone to do a 1.5 hour show at Harvard is obscene with 3 other shows in line just plain rude. With a place like Harvard where there are only 4 or so night shows anyway length of show is important. You are right AL its not fair.
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Old 06-03-05, 12:28 PM   #8
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Brendan,

Al is talking about the Sam Adams spot around the corner from the main Quincy Market pitch, not Harvard Square... I'm not sure what's happening in Harvard Square these days.

For the most part, I think that no one should dictate what happens on a pitch if that pitch is traditionally a SHARED, queue system (like Harvard Square)... However, this thing in Boston is brand spanking new. The spot everyone is talking about has only been 'open' for the last couple months. There's no history there yet. The kinks are still being worked out.

Plus, we're talking about the street here. Technically, it's a first come, first served world. If someone wanted to walk out on a pitch one Saturday morning and do continuous shows all day and night WITHOUT sharing, they could. (Even in Harvard Square.) Sure, every other performer would protest and the offending act would never be invited to share a pitch again, but they COULD do something like that. They could simply camp on the spot every night and never share. That's the deal. I'm not saying I think it's a good thing, I'm just saying, that's the reality. So if a person gets to a pitch FIRST and they decide they only want to share with one other person or two other people or do every third show... they can. Don't like it? Fine, tomorrow, YOU get to the pitch first and then YOU can make the rules for the day. That's how it was for YEARS in Harvard Square.

I'm not defending people who do this kind of thing, but that's just how it is. Especially these days. I've really noticed an incredibly selfish, hungry vibe around Boston lately. (Al, do you realize you're complaining that after you do your SCHEDULED, TWO shows at Quincy Market, you are then being limited to only ONE more show instead of TWO on the fly pitch? No, it's not 'FAIR', but really... look at the big picture.)

There must be dozens of potential pitches within walking distance of this spot Al is talking about. Why is no one venturing out to try other places?

Jim
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Old 06-03-05, 01:44 PM   #9
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On the day in question [memorial day] i didn't have any scheduled spots and even if i did ,so what,I took the initiative to fly here from Australia and audition at faneuil hall,they could have auditioned too,in fact this group were even at the auditions watching.
At home in Sydney we have 2 seperate spots that are both very good,one you have to audition for and one you don't,same as here.One has a draw and the other is a Que.You can draw,choose a show and go off to work the other spot until your show comes up,pretty fair system.Every body still gets to do as many shows as they want.
Back to last week.....
The other point i want to make is this act is new to the pitch,just started working here a couple of months ago,why should they have the power to make up rules.You can't just show up and throw your weight round,i respect the rules of any pitch i am a visitor to. The que system has been proven for years all over the world....it works.
My last point is,they say they will be gone in a month ,off somewhere else,so why should we change things up just for their convenience while they are in boston,doesn't seem cool.Also they could go off and work somewhere else too,why am i the one that has to give up the spot i've worked for 7 years.

Lets see what happens tommorrow,the main faneuil hall spot is shut for the pride parade so alot of faneuil hall performers will be looking to work the secondary spot.
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Old 06-03-05, 02:02 PM   #10
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Beware the 'we're only here for a month' gambit.
What, they're leaving their FAMILIES!, Their CHILDREN!
I've been scammed with the "leaving in a short time anyway" line.
So what. Get in line.
Take photos get back to us.
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Old 06-03-05, 04:50 PM   #11
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I should've been getting 4 shows between every slot because my show sucked and it would have taken me more shows to make an equal amount of money.

I think they are alowed to do whatever they get away with. That's how it works. If they want to limit the pitch to two acts, that's they're privilage... if it works.

You can make it not work for them. You can push your own rules. Using force, politics, money, women, drugs, cops, stink bombs. Anything. It's the street.
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Old 06-03-05, 05:46 PM   #12
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hire a bum to be your "manager" and show up on the spot at 4am. That's what alfred and seymore do on venice beach, and it works!
Then you can set fair rules for everyone, including them.
if you can't hold a crowd, that's one thing, there should be some pressure on you to keep up a certain standard while on the prefered big pitches during good times of the day. I'll even step aside at times and I think I have a very solid show these days. But I don't like the line of "we can't make ends meet, so we need to handycap the rest of you". Man, there is this performer in Boulder who will do a show in between every single act on the main pitch across the street, which is directly competing with the other (sancitoned) secondary pitch in the other direction, thus making it harder for the sanctioned pitch to catch crouds. He won't follow the rules, but he will use them to his advantage. We all hate him because of it and he runs around singing about how we hate him becuase we are racist. But whatever, he's getting the best deal out of it.
Everybody knows that the more people are in the show the less everybody gets paid. At least it's one of the first concepts I picked up on. ya know, corporate downsizing.
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Old 06-03-05, 08:13 PM   #13
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This whole idea of "we have more people in our group so we need more opportunity to make money" is wrong! First of all, the reason that you made the choice to have a group show ought to be that it gives you the highest quality of show you can have. Evan just said that it is well known that the more people in the show, the less people get paid, I simply don't agree. If I were to try and perform our show as a solo, I would get paid much, much, much less than I do as a trio. Its simply the best way for what we do.
Taking that perspective, maybe you can let them know, that yes they do have to split the hat three ways, but they also have three diffrent perspectives on the show, they have three times the ability (at least body wise) to convince the audience to give, they have three times the energy, and they have three diffrent people to pass the hat physically at the end of the show, send two people to the outside of the circle to guilt the walk-aways. This is all very theoretical but, in theory, who has the advantage? Seems it should all even out to me.


Evan, is the person calling you a racist also the person not affraid to light a joint surrounded by children in the middle of the mall? If so, we should swap stories!
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Old 06-03-05, 08:22 PM   #14
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same guy
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Old 06-03-05, 09:14 PM   #15
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Don't worry
Tommorrow will be a different story
Only the strong will survive.......
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Old 06-03-05, 11:33 PM   #16
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Hey All,
I really appreciate what AL is doing. I am one of the other performers that had to deal with that specific group last weekend. AL was nice enough to appease them last weekend. I have a feeling that after these posts we will think otherwise.
Yes, it may be true that AL can go anywhere and do a great show but for me, the Sam Adams spot is a great opportunity to improve my show by performing for nice "festival type" audience members.
By giving another group of performers more shows because they have more people to feed (which was basically the argument) I have LESS opportunity to IMPROVE on my show, and earn a living as well.
AL humbly did not mention that this leader of the group also offered us both potential circus gigs within 25 years (not a typo) if we cooperate. Oh the ego....
I just want to say that I am greatful for performers and friends like AL who are brave enough to stand up for PRINICIPAL. The fact that AL is successful is not the point but it does add extreme validity and experience to this scenario.
It was mentioned that Americans have trouble standing up for themselves...stange, we have the loudest mouths yet we dont know when to open them up sometimes.....

peace always,
Jason
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Old 06-06-05, 02:39 AM   #17
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I'm curious; what happened this weekend just past? Did this same trio try to hog the spot?
You know, legally they can set up and play all day without sharing. and also legally speaking, you can set up 10 feet away and do your show.....so the law is not helpful here.
These types of issues arise on a fairly regular basis. Since about 1988, there were problems like this only in Harvard Square, because the Boston authorities were kicking EVERYBODY out.
There have been many meetings over the years between performers tryting to peacefully address these issues with each other - see COMPLICITY on this site. Perhaps a representative of this trio (must they remain nameless?) could be invited to such a meeting; I would be happy to attend, schedule permitting.
Oh well, have fun everybody. Ciao - Kevin M.
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Old 06-06-05, 09:38 AM   #18
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Cool all good but in theory....

Hey,
This past weekend, allthough hot, worked out well. The group with issues was only there part of the time and got in the cue like everyone else.
I think that this thread was presented more in theory than as an actual problem. As AL mentioned, only the strong survive. Performers who are at the pitching working are there to work equally with everyone else. Those with issues should be squeezed out. How? Once said to me, and ill never forget this: "Noone gets fired, they fire themselves." Think about it and how that applies to the street, my friends.

peace,
Jason
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Old 08-07-05, 06:41 PM   #19
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and it's definatly not fair... seems that just cause your making money on the street people in authority think that all of a sudden that they have the right to pull the rug from underneath you cause they aint' gettin their fair share....well they aint out here helping do the work ar they??? I tell you what it's time the people took our streets back from the oppressive regime that thinks public property is private property(theirs and the deep pockets who own (aka. the establishment.)) and give it back to us to play on and make dreams come true . angel
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Old 08-07-05, 09:40 PM   #20
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Jason...great pic.

Just curious who this Boulder busker is. I didn't know anything was sanctioned in Boulder.

Was there any resolution to the initial posted problem or did you resign this day only to return the following?

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