Threatens Subway Performances
regarding T Radio,...
thanks once again for being such an amazing coordinator,....
I echo many of the other comments I have read from the other performers and T passengers,...
Perhaps i missed it,.. but one thing that is most disturbing to
me is the whole concept of selling the public space as a commodity and
the identification of corporate interests as having equal or similar
rights and interests to the individual citizen, for the use of that
If an individual wants to express themselves in any sort of unique and
varied way, there needs to be sufficient access to the public to
encourage this variety of expression to flourish.
Out of this variety of expression an artist develops and the culture as a whole is expanded and redefined,.....
This should be placed at the top of the list for uses of public
space,.... because its value for the regeneration of culture in the
community is priceless.
Public space should not be seen solely as a community resource to enhance a dollar based bottom line.
Additionally,.. it is frightening to consider that if I need to
ride the T, i will now be required to listen to one continuos message
from one part of my trip to another. It is somehow frightening to the
core. I will now be unable to shut out this message,.. and the
question is, who controls the content of this message,.. and when
hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people have involuntarily
heard this message repetitively for months or years. How will their
patterns of thought and belief be influenced.
If individual performers express themselves, people can get away from
their message if they do not like it, and individuals come and go over
time,... they are an organic expression of the community. many
great artists - known and unknown have developed through the T system.
They reflect the immediate diverse ideas and in influences within the
community at large.
A centralized control of this message continuously throughout the T
system takes the power to influence public awareness and culture out of
the hands of the community at large and puts it in the hands of a few,
whose interest is mainly to further commercial or corporate goals.
T Radio is an overwhelmingly bad idea for so many reasons.
Sincerely, Ned Landin
I have noticed that the overall response to the T Broadcast is "No
concessions." I believe that if we succeed this time, we may not be so
lucky next time. I have read the proposal of the T Radio Management. It
does make sense but I think that we can have what they offer without
losing anything that we have already gotten from the T. The most
important thing is to secure it for the future.
For example, I want to remind everybody that the T has alreaday decided
arbitrarily where we can play by posting those T designated performance
areas on the platforms. By the way, some of those signs have been
removed--the one in Central Square and the one at Porter Sq. I have
been removed from Central Sq. not by the supervisor, but by some high
ranking T employee. He did call the supervisor in order to have me
From the listing we received from the T last time, we can propose that
the T radio can be on at the T Stations where we are not playing
anyway. We can protect and reclaim South Station and North Station
since most performers do well there.
The big question mark for me is about the T decision next time around
since their management has already given the green light for the T
broadcast test without our knowledge.
When a party approaches the table ready to compromise, it is pretty
hard to come up with a unilateral decision. This is my personal opinion
on this matter.
Best regards, Gifrants
Some comments from the letters at Boston.com
"Would the GM agree to have the same station piped into his office at all times?"
"Apparently they don't get enough money painting buses to look like Snickers bars and gin bottles."
"Hey the T can make even MORE money by selling earplugs. Two rackets for the price of one."
I think we should all ask the GM the first question and watch his face fall.
The Boston Accordion Lady
I find this e-mail to you from Pyramid Radio inc. to be disingenuous. I
think its magnanimous tone betrays its true intent. The business of a
corporation is to maximize profit. How naive we would be to entertain
this pipe dream they have presented to us. These noble ideas of theirs
is nothing more than a veiled attempt to co-opt the subway performers.
Thanks for keeping on top of this issue! I have read much of what
the other musicians have written on the topic of T Radio and Pyramid
Radio's proposal and I have to admit that I was premature in my
original evaluation of the situation - especially now that I have read
the information supplied by you about the sound levels. Others
who wrote in were wiser in their assessment of the proposal as the next
step in the private sector's incursion into what should be our public
space - for conversation, contemplation and self expression - not to
mention the workplace of many dedicated musicians and
entertainers. I apologize to them for my original opinion.
I signed the on line petition. And, if I have the opportunity,
I'll come to the public meeting, once the location and date have been
I received your emails about T-Radio while performing at the Kim Tom
Clown Festival in Shanghai. I followed the story as your emails
came in, but I didn't have an opportunity to respond. I just got
back to Boston last night. I read the letter from the Pyramid
Radio folks this morning. Their ideas seem respectful and
promising to me. Please keep me informed as you move forward with
your negotiations with them.
Thanks for keeping me abreast!
Thanks so much for sending this our way! We are out in Indiana at the
moment, but will be back soon & eager to participate by more than
just the computer. My thoughts (and Dave's) are that live performance
is vitally important to subway musicians, and one of our best spots to
play, South Station is the one they were testing for their program.
While any musician is always very happy to be played and interviewed on
the radio, kicking them out of the spot where they have their daytime
(or night time) "gig" where they make money, interact with people, and
provided live enjoyment and entertainment to people and instead provide
a half hour recorded spot on T radio is still extremely harmful to the
If the radio was set up to play only at spots where musicians do not
& cannot play (are there any?) maybe this would work out & then
radio interviews with musicians might be helpful. But there is also, of
course, the rights of the passengers, whose right to commercial free
ride is being threatened.
I think that it is considerate that the radio show is looking for ways
to support subway artists financially, but honestly it seems to me that
making it impossible for us to make a living street performing and then
providing a fund for emergencies instead is not ultimately extremely
Let me know what other people's thoughts are....and please keep us
posted. We are deeply concerned about this issue and will be there in
person by the end of October.
Thanks so much for all you do,
Lisa Housman & Dave Falk
performance spaces (locations within the stations where the radio is
blacked out) This sentence arouses all my sensitivities about being
corporate interests and having our first amendment rights hijacked.
Sounds likely their plan is to take over our performance spaces and
assign us a few token spaces that are still allowed. This is not
This feels to me like we're coming onto their 'game board' (they being
Pyramid Radio), which makes the street performers more or less at their
mercy and no longer in the strong position of autonomy we have enjoyed
to date thanks to the agreements we have forged with the MBTA. I'm not
sure what the answer is. We will certainly need to very carefully
consider what our legal options are in crafting our response. And
if our free speech position isn't strong enough to circumvent Pyramid
Radio, we may need to use a strong 'court of public opinion' PR
approach to respond to this latest threat, similar to the one we used
in the past when the T started installing televisions at various
reminds me a bit of when Mike
(owner of hidden sweets) first opened. he reached out to buskers,
he encouraged them to keep their amps or heavy gear in his basement, he
would put an office chair out for Mare, people would call ahead when
they wanted to play etc. then he put out his radio and would turn it
off if ya came by to play. But he started to have favorites and
would leave the radio on when some performers came to play if he didn't
think they were good for business, he started putting stuff out where
buskers have alway set up. and of coarse now he thinks he should have
the right to say nobody can play in front of his store.
One of the most important virtues of busking to me, is its complete and
utter independence from corporate media, and that it's free from the
influences that usually follow any such partnerships.
I do imagine the community should want to offer some of the
benefits pyramid radio is offering, and it up to us to call attention
to our value to the community and what ever our need might be. I
would rather pursue that avenue regarding pyramid's offer if those are
things buskers are seeking.
thanks for the update and i'm sorry if this is too much for e-mail and
comes of as ranting, i imagine you have a lot to do. i hope to
come on Wed. i to try to shuffle my schedule a bit.
I just skimmed the letter of suggestions from the T. It
sucks. (First time I ever used that word in print or in speech
for that matter. I don't want to play on radio.
I think I speak for ever busker, if they have a modicum of taste or
common sense in their heads. This is not live music.
Theywill never compensate us for what we can make busking. I make
on average 15 per hour and on MY schedule not on their schedule.
They will never compensate us for our going rate
This is attempt to capitalize on us. This is an attempt to commercialize us.
This is an attempt to silence us and to placate us for the time being
until they finally squeeze us out entirely. And mostly they will never
provide anything more than tokenism for the time being and eventually
nothing, because frankly, they don't give a damn about us.
What can be more distasteful than using serious musicians to sell
scratch tickets. Commercialization is everything busking isn't about as
I'm sure you know.
This letter from the T has me absolutely steamed.
Thanks for listening,
The Boston Accordion Lady
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Citations article by Stephen Baird
- Goldstein v. Town
of Nantucket, 477 F. Supp., 606, (1979)
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Alexandria, VA 683 F2d 853 (1983), 710 F2d 148 (1983), 748 F2d 208
- Friedrich v
Chicago 619 F. Supp., 1129. (D.C. Ill 1985)
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Metropolitan Transportation Auth., 903 F2d 914 (2nd Cir. 1990) (Subway)
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Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (1991) (Subway)
- Bery v. New York,
97 F. 3d 684 (2d Cir. 1996)
- Turley v. NYC 988
F.Supp, 667 & 675 (1997). See US 2nd Cir Appeal 98-7114 (1999)
- Perry v. LAPD, US
9th Cir Appeals 96-55545 (1997)
- Horton v. St.
Augustine, Florida US 11th Cir Appeal No. 00-16220 (2001)
Mastrovincinzo (a.k.a. "MASTRO"), and Kevin Santos (a.k.a. "NAC" OR
"NAK") v NEW YORK CITY 313 F SUPP 2D 280 (2004)
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