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Old 07-08-06, 02:31 AM   #1
LarsLarsen
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Default Idiots stealing your performance area

I am very new to street performing, and I barely have an act put together, but I am drawing crowds and getting a positive response from them. The thing is I've already run into a serious problem.

A group of hippies (the kind you can smell from 50 feet away) from a local commune have started showing up every week where I perform and just set up and do their show right in my spot. They just assume I want to "join their circus". The first time they showed up I thought it might help me to build a bigger crowd having all these hula-hooping and poi spinning freaks around, so I agreed to take turns with them, they do their act, then I do mine and so on. This was a colossal beginners mistake, but now I am too polite to ask them to find their own spot. I even moved to a different spot this week, and they followed me there! I think they see my minor success and are trying to latch on to me or something.

The problem is although I am just learning how to do a show and handle a crowd, they do the worst possible job imaginable. They dont have a structured show. They do a build, but then just keep doing the same acts over and over, with hats out on the ground instead of building up to an ending and passing the hat. They run their show FOREVER (I'm talking hours) so the crowd doesnt ever disperse, so even if I wait for them to stop their show and do mine, the people watching have already paid them, and dont want to pay me when I pass my hat. I cant wait until after their show because if I dont perform, they just start their show over immedietly for fear of loosing the crowd they've already bilked and who's already seen their show once (I told you they were bad). They also scream about how they are poor hippies and need money for food, which makes them look like beggars and not professionals. This makes me look bad because it appears I am with them (and they do everything possible to make it appear as if I am with them). My hat line is more along the lines of "I'm a professional performer, this is my full time job, I take it very seriously, and I have to make my BMW payment". Just about the opposite of theirs. They not only take up time I could spend doing my act, but they make me look like a beggar, and they make it impossible for me to build my own crowd since they never stop long enough for me to build a new crowd.

The problem is, I show up early in the day and stake out my spot. I even juggle behind a hat for HOURS before there are enough people there to build a crowd, just to save the space. There are a lot of musical acts where I perform who would take it if I didnt get there early. By the time they show up in the evening my only option is to steal someone elses spot if I want to move!

I'm making 1/2 or 1/4 of what I normally make when they weren't there, and I'm afraid that some people are confusing me with them and paying THEM for my act!

The worst part is they're doing fire now because they saw that I got permission from the fire marshal to do fire. I have a bucket of water and wet towels, as well as a fire extinquisher. They have NOTHING to put their props out with, and tonight one of their crappy home-made flaming hula hoops burned out dry and started throwing flaming bits of towel all over the street, some large flaming pieces even landed right next to their fuel dump! Guess who had to put the fires out? Thats right, me. I'm afraid their incompetance will get fire performing made illegal here, and destroy my livelihood in the process.

I dont know what to do. I made it clear I dont want to be part of their act, but they keep setting up in my space anyway, and they keep barking for me when I go on even though I asked them not to, making it look like I'm one of them.

Any suggestions as to how I should handle them? Has anyone else had a similar experience?
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Old 07-08-06, 01:00 PM   #2
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Default Random thoughts

Have a nice talk with the fire marshal for starters.

pay them to stay away. ;>)

pay someone else to encourage them to stay away. ;>)
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Old 07-08-06, 02:52 PM   #3
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Good idea. If I can get the fire marshal to shut them down, they suddenly become a bunch of no-talent hippies with hula hoops and leotards.

The problem is, if I point out how dangerous they are, it might get ALL fire banned.

Also, it doesnt stop them from just setting up shop in my space and claiming me as part of their act. It may be rude to steal my space, but it is the street and I cant stop them, but its REALLY rude to claim me as one of them when I'm not at all.
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Old 07-08-06, 04:14 PM   #4
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Default Try more Hippie Jokes

Hi,

Try insulting them more during your show:


Why don't hippies like to go swimming? It's too much like bathing.

What did one hippie say to the other hippie when they ran out of drugs and alcohol at Grateful Dead Concert? Hey man this music sucks.

"Bad Hippies, No Weed" Etc. I am sure you can come up with much more and better.

In the end you might just have to tell them to 'piss off', I know it not so polite but hey if it's hurting your hats.

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Old 07-08-06, 06:48 PM   #5
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Yeah, You're probably right.

I am just to nice to tell them to fuck off or heckle them during my act. Its a bad habit of mine. I just tell them I dont want to perform with them. And I dont feel like I have any right to tell them to leave just because I was there first. Its a free country and all that.

They're pushing my limits though.

I am going to have some "plants" in the audience next time to heckle them, and cheer on my tricks, hoping for a sheep-like response from the rest of the audience.

Their hat line is that they're poor hippies and need money for food. In reality their commune not only gives them $75 a month in spending money, but provides them with all the food, clothing, and personal items they need.

One of them is FAT. Thats heckling GOLD right there. A fat girl begging for money for food? Oh man.

I'm downright anorexic looking. And I dont even stoop so low as to beg for food. Even though I do buy my food and py my bills entierly by performing, and they DONT.

They smell so bad, you can smell them from 50 feet away. I'm not stereotyping hippies or anything. Its the honest truth.
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Old 07-09-06, 05:01 PM   #6
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Why do hippies wear patchouli and burn incense?

Because they smell like cat shit.
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Old 07-09-06, 06:59 PM   #7
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Cool it's a bird ...it's a plane ... what the fuck is that!

Buy me a ticket and I'll take care of the problem.
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Old 07-09-06, 09:02 PM   #8
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I think you shoulod take Butterfly up on that offer, but you might save the airfare by taking a step away from the low regard you hold these people in, and talking to them as equals.
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Old 07-10-06, 12:03 AM   #9
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Equals who follow me around and hijack my show? I think anyone here would consider that to be rude.

I dont think you'd like it if I showed up at your show with a hula hoop and a leotard and started passing a hat to your audience.

I think they have equal rights to perform in public. I dont think they have a right to walk into the middle of my show and start performing in my circle. I also dont think they have the right to claim I am part of their show especially when I explicitly told them not to.

They nearly blew up their fuel dump last week. If not for the fact that I put the fire out, people could have gotten seriously hurt. If thats equal to you taxi, I feel really sorry for ya man

(Just kidding... I've seen your act, you put them to shame)
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Old 07-10-06, 05:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
I think they have equal rights to perform in public. I dont think they have a right to walk into the middle of my show and start performing in my circle. I also dont think they have the right to claim I am part of their show especially when I explicitly told them not to.
Tell them! Again, again, and again if you have to. Being 'nice' doesn't mean allowing people to walk all over you and talk about them to others afterwards... Why do you want to be 'nice' anyways, you don't really seem to like them, so why should they like you? Just be honest and straightforward.

The risk of fire getting banned from the place is all too real. It sucks, but unfortunately it's pretty understandable that some people just shouldn't be allowed to work with fire on a busy spot. A system with permits should do. You have one, they don't. Spot the difference.
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Old 07-10-06, 10:07 AM   #11
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Well, you asked for advice, and what you are doing isn't working. Why don't you try it? The tone of the thread, from it's title on, just sounds condescending to me. If I was a hippie annoying someone, I'd be far more likely to go annoy someone else if I was treated respectfully.

I used to run into your problem working the parking lots at dead shows. When someone would start playing devil sticks nearby, I would walk over, tell them what I was up to, and ask them to play somewhere else. They left, partially because there was no juice in teasing me: I had treated them as an equal.
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Old 07-10-06, 11:24 AM   #12
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Default Stake out own spot

If I understand what Karl is saying I think, he means being equal as people. but we must look at this in terms of Justice. The mis-quoted British Philosopher John Locke who never said "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” but rather "life liberty and the pursuit of property”. The pursuit of property meant that you mix your sweat and blood into the land and then the land is yours. ‘all men created equal, with rights.’

If I get you right Lars; you get there earlier then the ‘hippies’ and have what is called “squatters’ rights. Exactly like Early Americans, what is right not clear. As is the case with Street performing Etiquette. With no rules there is somewhat of a Machiavelli thing going on (might makes right), not much social compact. Karl is right you need to talk to them make social compact: agreement.

And I also agree with Pyro you might try working the Fire Permit angle. If you are talking about Charlottesville there is only really two good spots to put up a show. I was once visiting a local well know juggler (who will remain nameless, because he pretends not to know in public) and did a few shows there. Anyway I was told not to use Fire, but they still let me perform. Tell them get there early, get own permit, and stake out other pitch.

PS Most not all “Hippies” or fire spinners use oil not colemens which has lower flash point and is less dangerous if exposed to flame.
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Old 07-10-06, 01:49 PM   #13
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Well you dont need a permit, but you're not allowed to use open flame devices in public if you are not doing so safely. The fire marshal's quote was "its usually allowed outdoors", I had him personally inspect my equipment and safety devices, and he said I was fine. They havent even talked to him.

Cville has a new fire marshal, the rules have changed. Fire used to be not allowed at all, but the cops tolerated it if they thought you knew what you were doing, or got in and out before they could notice.

The problem is I was treating them as equals. I let them share my space. When I realized it was a bad idea, I decided to move instead of asking them to move. They FOLLOWED me.

I have given them too much respect, and they've walked all over me.

I'm going to ask them to leave. Tell them I've staked out this spot for hours, and if they dont agree, I'm just not doing my show. If I can find another spot, great, if not, I'd rathar not perform and not make any money, than perform and make them money instead.

You're right, there arent many places you can perform here, and last time there was nowhere else for me to go, and so asking them to go somewhere else was basically asking them not to perform. Sharing the space would have worked fine if they EVER stopped their show, which they didn't. I tried asking them nicely many times. Not to announce me, not to leave their hats out while I performed, not to continue repeating their act so the crowd dispersed. They didnt do anything I asked.

I was very nice and respectful, and thats why I'm asking for help, I dont know what else to do other than that. I cant be a bad guy. The heckling advice is good, but I cant do that (at least not without hiring goons to do it for me).

A very good performer, who may be the one you mentioned (If it wasn't I'm sure I know him anyway, I know them all) showed up last week before the hippies. I handed my spot over to him willingly, and he was in and out in 2 fifteen minute shows. He was very respectful and courtious. He didnt cause me any problem at all, and I was treated to a great show as well.

This was a busy night. Normally there are 1 or 2 other spots available if you get there early enough. I cant stake out 2 spots. If they're too lazy to show up in time to get one, they dont deserve to steal mine.
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Old 07-10-06, 02:43 PM   #14
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Default classical music?

maybe if you start playing classical music they will move on?
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Old 07-10-06, 07:41 PM   #15
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Default the solution

Just carry soap on you at all times. It's like kryptonite to hippies.
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Old 07-10-06, 08:59 PM   #16
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Brilliant! I'll bring a super soaker full of soapy water!
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Old 07-12-06, 11:27 PM   #17
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Maybe if you tried explaining the problems you have with them they would be cool. Like, "hey, you guys... This isn't working for either of us. I'll give you some pointers on how to make more out of your show if you will agree to leave me alone during mine and be respectful when I'm doing it."

I don't know but it seems like it would be along the lines of being "not mean" but letting them know where they stand.
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Old 07-13-06, 05:00 AM   #18
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have you looked in to becoming a hippie your self ......

.....and doing this to some one else

it likely the right way to go
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Old 07-13-06, 08:49 AM   #19
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Default glue traps

Get a bunch of giant sized glue traps for rats. That'll keep them in their place!!!
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Old 07-13-06, 03:16 PM   #20
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I've given them tips on how to make more money, but they still dont do them even after I repeatedly tell them.

I've also asked them not to incporporate me into their act, and that if they're going to use my space they have to end their show before I'll go on. They refuse to do this. Going on before they end their show netted me an EMPTY hat. So that clearly isnt going to work. The alternative? Not perform at all and make nothing. Better, but it doesnt pay the bills.

Thats why I need help, if asking them to stop worked, I wouldnt need help.

Either they're just set in their ways, or just disagree with me. Thats fine, I dont care if they dont make any money. But its clear that they want me in their show because they dont have much of an act, and they want to hijack my talent (little as it may be).
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