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.

1 comment:

revere said...

power corrupts.

absolute power corrupts absolutely.

rent-a-cops are the most absolutely insecure of all. and then they think they have some semblance of power, to make up for that void.

nice job standing up to the institutionalized abuse of authority!