Saturday, December 4, 2010

More hassles with security. I set up at 6:30. At 6:50 a guard came up to me and asked me to not play until 7:00 as that was the rule. I said I had been through this all last night and tonight "Kumbaya" was not on my set list. She said that she would have to call her supervisor. We are talking 10 minutes here, just so she could flex her authority. She said she would have to call her supervisor. I told her to skip the supervisor and to just call the cops because that is the only way I am not going to play. People passing by were yelling at her to just leave me alone. I started playing. She kept talking. I ignored her. She walked away. The cops never came of course, nor did her supervisor. After that, I had no problems and didn't see them the rest of the night. I'm glad this art event is over this weekend and I won't have to put up with these silly encounters anymore.
A guy I met last weekend who I talked with about music came by and introduced me to his future bride. I thought that was nice of him. We spoke of the Christmas spirit, how times are tough, and that he has a couple of prospects coming up next week in regards to work. He is a real nice guy and I really thought it was nice of him to stop by and say hi again. More children dancing to Christmas carols. That is perhaps the thing I love the see a new generation dancing to the same Christmas tunes that made me so happy to listen too when I was a kid.
Last night the most upsetting thing was them giving a hard time to an old woman who was sitting at a public bench at a bus stop. She listened to me play before they came over and told her that she had an hour to move. No buses running, she had no place to go, she just wanted to hear me play. She wasn't loud or obnoxious or bothering anyone. She came over and told me her story. Homeless and harassed. She was just sitting there, a right others had but, because of how she looked, was denied by this privatized militia.

I am also a security guard. I know that, unless deputized by law enforcement, their job is to observe and report. That is it. They have no more rights nor legal responsibility than does the average person on the street. They cannot detain nor arrest. Even if those hired tell them to do such things. The sponsors of an event cannot usurp the laws.

I see a lot of beauty and ugliness here on the street. I play music here and observe and occasionally report.

Friday, December 3, 2010

So they have the Tempe Arts festival this weekend, December 3-5. It runs from 10 a.m. to dusk. I went down to play on the street at 6:00, definitely dusky enough. All of the vendors had their booths canvased up and the streets were blocked off. They hired a local rental security task force, Team Security, to watch the booths as there are a lot of bars in the district, being a college town. I set up like I usually do. It is quiet, with no traffic, but pedestrians only. One guy comes over to me from this security task force and tells me I can't play. I tell him that this is still public property and I have just as much right to set up as the pedestrians do traveling on the sidewalk. He says that I cannot have a sign soliciting money. I tell him no where on the sign does it say anything about money. It says "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Thank you." Tempe police department has never given me any hassles and, in fact, cleared this with the department long before I started doing this a year ago. This security guard goes on his way. Five minutes later two more security guards come up to me and tell me that I cannot play with my case open. They say that is soliciting. I tell them they are wrong, that an open case does not constitute solicitation, it merely constitutes an open case, like an open coat. They start in and I tell them to call their supervisor.

The supervisor shows up and says that I cannot keep my case open because, if someone throws money in it, their act encourages other to do the same and, therefore, invites solicitation of money. I tell him that this is ridiculous logistically and I use the example of a person who jumps off of a bridge as a mass stimulus for suicide. Of course, he does not follow the analogy. He says that I can play and then starts with his condescending tone about how unique the accordion is, blah blah blah of which I just cut his pandering short and ask him the name of the event coordinator, as well as his name, which I write down. He leaves. It take the small amount people have already given me in the first 10 minutes and dump it at my feet. I close up my case.

I play Christmas carols for 4 hours. By the end of the night I have more money at my feet than I have ever made playing in a single day and night. No case open. The only thing missing was the sign wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays and the only way I had of thanking them for listening.