Celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the

healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities

COMMUNITY ARTS ADVOCATES, INC.

Stephen H. Baird, Founder and Executive Director

PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030

Telephone: 617-522-3407

Email: info@buskersadvocates.org

www.BuskersAdvocates.org


Introduction and Services

Links, Festivals and References

Artists Directory

Photo-Journalism Project

Performance Locations Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas

Historical References

Books and References

Fine Arts Paintings, Photographs and Films

Legal Court Citations

Model Regulations

Sidewalk Democracy: Regulation of Public Space

The Malling of America: The Selling of America's Public Parks and Streets

India's Street and Transit Music

Avenues of Self Expression

Code of Ethics

Amplification Ethics

Subway Transit Artists

Women Street Performers and Sexual Safety

Email List

Stephen Baird's Home Page

Women Buskers of Boston


(Detailed site index at bottom of page)

Boston proposes new Street Performers Regulation April 2016

Dublin Street Performers Fight New Restrictions 2015

Rhode Island ACLU sues City of Providence to stop arrest and harassment of street sax player Manuel Pombo July 2015

Costa Rica - Supreme Court rules San Josť busking permits unconstitutional April 2015

Petition Supporting Key West Sunset Street Performers http://chn.ge/1xB0yMM?share_id=VsmfVTcXJf A Private Management company has proposed $100 per day permit fee that will essentially ban performances.  Petition created by Will Soto

How This Musician Made Seattle Street Performing Legal 40 Years Ago  by Gabriel Spitzer,  KPIU 88.5 FM NPR September 8, 2014

Robin Williams, former Street Mime and Oscar Award winning actor and comedian dies August 11, 2014

Santa Fe City Council proposes new time restrictions on Busking February 2014

Santa Cruz begins crackdown on street performers February 2014

New Orleans City Council considers new Noise Ordinance that would reduce sound level to 60 dB that would ban music in public spaces Dec 2013 then withdraw ordinance January 16, 2014

Two Performers with support from ACLU of Eastern Missouri  Challenge the Audition System, High Permit Fees and Performance Location Restrictions in Saint Louis, MO May 2013

New York City Curtails Street Performers and Street Artists in City Parks 2010-2011

Arrest and legal actions of Chris Drew for selling art on streets of Chicago December 2009. ACLU challenges Illinois eavesdropping act - Lawsuit cites cases of people charged with breaking the law for making audio recordings of police in action August 2010

Spokane Legal Battle Won January 11, 2010 and November 24, 2008

Ninth Circuit Appeals Federal Court Case won 8-3 Berger vs. Seattle June 24, 2009

Glen Hansard, a former Dublin busker, with singer Marketa Irglova win the 2008 Oscar and Grammy for the best song Falling Slowly

Wilmington, North Carolina, Law and Enforcement Practices Ruled Unconstitutional November 3, 2008

Boston Crack Down on Street Performers and Artists August 2008

MBTA-Radio Threatens Subway Performances Oct 2007

Jakarta, Indonesia bans donations to buskers September 2007

Kansas City Council attempts to ban street performances February 2007

The History and Cultural Impact

of Street Performing in America

by Stephen Baird © Stephen Baird 2016

 

Revival of Street Performances in Boston

1972-2015

The Badge -- "The license to sing"

(click on the images for new window to down load pictures)

 

Updates:

Boston proposes new regulation April, 2016
Boston City Council meeting Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 at 1:30 PM




Boston proposes new regulation on October 21, 2015
Boston City Council meeting Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015 at 12 Noon

City of Boston repealed Police Rule 75 and stated would not enforce old laws against street performers on December 23, 2004, under pressure of a Federal Law Suit. Threats and suppression of artists have been documented from March 2005 through May 2009. If this continues to frequently happen then I will return to Federal Court and seek damages.

No permit is currently need to perform or display and sell artwork in Boston. Contact us if you have a problem and document incidents with the form
here. See details of the court case and issues below. -- Stephen Baird

Three documents that may help prevent police or other authorities from stopping street performances and street art sales in Boston.

Legal Memorandum - Street Performers by City of Boston Law Department - Assistant Corporation Council Thomas Donohue - July 12, 2006
It was sent to Police Department, Parks Department and Downtown Police District Captains.  

Downtown Crossing Association aka Downtown Crossing Partnership was part of the 2004 Federal Law Suit.  Downtown Crossing Association president signed a legal stipulation that they respect the First Amendment Rights of street artists, do not issue permits and do not control street performances in Downtown Crossing area that was filed in Federal Court on April 27, 2006 in front of Federal Judge Nancy Gertner.

Affidavit of Captain Bernard O'Rouke of downtown Boston Poice District A-1 signed October 27, 2005 and filed as part of the Federal Law Suit

Summary of Boston area scene from Performance Location Page:






August 1, 2008

The City of Boston and National Park Service put a Fence Around One of the Premier Symbols of Freedom in America - Faneuil Hall.  The Fence actually blocks the Freedom Trail.  This was done to disenfranchise the civil rights of street artists and the general public who freely choose to peaceably assemble and support them.  The fence is a blight not only on the city, but the county.  The fence, similar to the old Berlin Wall, is a symbol of Mayor Thomas Menino and other government officials failure to develop intelligent and equitable public policies and regulations.

There was no warning or public process before this crack down.  Portrait artists, living statues and street performers were suddenly told they could no longer exercise their First Amendment artistic expression in this public park by the police. There are no written guidelines or laws, just the arbitrary whim of the police officers and government officials of where people can perform and audiences can gather.  

These actions are all being done in direct defiance of stipulation by Boston City Attorneys in the Federal Court case Community Arts Advocates, Inc. v. City of Boston et al Number: 1:04-cv-11618 (Dec 2004-May 2006) where they stated artists would not be stopped from exercising their First Amendment expression in Sam Adams Park, Also see Federal Court case that stated Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a traditional public forum for the First Amendment: Citizens to End Animal Suffering v Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Inc., US District Court, 745 F. Supp. 65; 1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11260


Background:

I sued the City of Boston 2004-2006 over arrests and threats of arrest in Boston Common, Downtown Crossing, Copley Square and Sam Adams Park.

The city repealed old Police Rule 75 (from 1850s) and a new law (403) that was just as bad on December 23, 2004 in front of Federal Judge Nancy Gertner.  I was threatened with arrest in Sam Adams Park while conducting an interview with Boston Phoenix about this court case.  See photograph and details below.

I argued and won that the city could not allow Faneuil Hall audition artists to use Sam Adams Park and not allow other artists.

I proposed an ordinance similar to the Cambridge ordinance, but city stated they would use other laws including the noise ordinance to control performances.  The police have since failed to monitor sound levels with decimal meters (Sound is also suppose to be inaudible at 100 feet which could control bucket drummers).  The city can not control performance location issues with out doing drastic, heavy handed and unconstitutional ad hoc use of other laws (The issue that was covered in the front page Boston  Globe story "A rhythmic, rocking Cradle of Liberty no more City corrals street artists at Faneuil Hall" by Donovan Slack on August 1, 2008).
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/08/01/a_rhythmic_rocking_cradle_of_liberty_no_more/

Also see Dan Kennedy Blog at http://medianation.blogspot.com/

The City of Boston put chairs and tables in the primary performance area in Sam Adams Park that pushed artists next to restaurant that caused the current complaints.

The closing of Filenes and construction of Downtown Crossing has pushed many artists to Sam Adams Park.  There are many conflicts of space, sound and other issues between artists.  Artists -- Balloon, Living Statues, Portrait Sketch, Bucket Drums -- started to set up on north side of Faneuil Hall facing Quincy Market that has curtailed and caused major tensions with Quincy Market artists. (See letter below from the Jim Show)

As long as the city fails to set up performance location guidelines, a lottery system to share the performance locations/time and enforce the noise ordinance consistently/fairly (The police and firemen union picket demonstration were 10 times louder then any performers at Sam Adams Park)...  Then the situation will flare up with arrogant abuse of power that is both mean spirited and unconstitutional.

I suspect the only way I will be able to bring a measure of equity to this situation is through the Federal Court.

Stephen H. Baird
Street Arts and Buskers Advocates
Community Arts Advocates, Inc.
PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Email: info@BuskersAdvocates.org
Web: http://www.BuskersAdvocates.org


Cultivating ongoing fundamental relationships between artists and communities by celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities

August 2, 2008

Stephen,

Have you been down to Faneuil Hall lately? Have you seen the cheap carnival that it has become over the last three years? This "crackdown" is a positive thing as far as I'm concerned.

I have not done a single street show in Boston since the spring of 2006. The main reason for my not performing is your lawsuit, and the subsequent flood of disrespectful, unprofessional balloon clowns, face painters, statues, bucket drummers and break dancers to the one pitch in Boston that was actually working. Faneuil Hall has become a symbol of what is WRONG with street performing... TOO MANY ACTS WITH NO REGULATIONS. It's anarchy; and the person with the loudest amplifier wins. It's the same thing that happened to Harvard Square; which is why I left there in 1998.

Was this your intention when you decided to sue the city? Did you envision 15 balloon clowns standing in a line selling balloons? Bucket drummers going head to head with bucket drummers for eight to ten hours straight? Eight-man break dance crews intimidating all other acts off a pitch, unwilling to share, rotate or turn their car battery amp down a bit from level 11? It is an ugly, ugly scene. One that I no longer want to be a part of. I am all for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but what about MY freedom of speech? Should I just go buy a bigger amp so I can be heard? Is that the solution? I hope not.

In a perfect world, there would be no rules or government crackdowns, yet all acts would share pitches, play at respectful noise levels, rotate time slots and entertain people in a safe, professional manner. But that is not what it going on at Faneuil Hall. It's a free-for-all. There needs to be some regulations. And the regulations need to be enforced because the swarm of 'acts' that has descended on Faneuil Hall over the past three years is not going to police itself.

I say good for the mayor for doing something to attempt to fix the problem. Hopefully this will make everyone realize that having 25 acts on one city block might not be a good thing.

Jim Show <jim@smirk.com>


Jim,

The Mayor is the problem.

I was threatened with arrest for playing an unamplified hammered dulcimer on Boston Common and Sam Adams Park. I was threatened with arrests while trying to film a documentary film (Discovery Channel) and conducting a newspaper interview with the Boston Phoenix about street performing at Sam Adams Park.

Faneuil Hall Market Place artists including yourself were allowed to perform in Sam Adams Park with amplifiers.  I assert this was an
unconstitutional and illegal monopoly of a public park which you and other Faneuil Hall Market Place artists profited exclusively from 1999 to 2004 to the detriment of artists from all over the world.  This illegal monopoly was sustained and enforced through intimidation by the Boston Police Department.

I can provide an extensive list of artists who will testify under oath that the Faneuil Hall Market Place "auditions" and "program" is poorly managed, not fair and has a racial bias.

The "First Amendment" does not say you have to be "good."  Artistic expression is not just about making money.  Entire new art forms were created on the street from blues to jazz and tap dancing to break dancing.  Artists develop both their talent and audiences on the street.

Between March and August 2004, I sent a draft ordinances and numerous letters to the Mayor and Boston City Law Department to negotiate a new policy that would be fair to all.  I was willing to explore options with anyone who was interested in the issue.

The mayor refused to negotiate.  During these negotiations I was repeatedly threatened with arrest.

The Federal Law Suit was filed in August 2004 because of the incompetence and arrogance of the Mayor and his administration.

The ugly scene at Sam Adams Park is the direct responsibility of Mayor Thomas Menino who was more interested in power and control then
intelligent and equitable public policies and regulations.

Stephen H. Baird
Street Arts and Buskers Advocates
Community Arts Advocates, Inc.
PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Email: info@BuskersAdvocates.org
Web: http://www.BuskersAdvocates.org


Cultivating ongoing fundamental relationships between artists and communities by celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities


August 2008 - Attorney Shane Early from Nutter, McClennen and Fish LLP represented Chance aka Bruce Pratt in Federal Court.  Chance was stopped from performing as  a "Living Statue" in Sam Adams Park by the Boston Police because of loud sound level issues.  Chance who is a silent performance artist living statue, portrait artists, balloon twisters and other silent or low volume spoken word artists were all stopped in the unconstitutional crackdown in Sam Adams Park by the Boston Police.  The City of Boston was forced to settle this case by the  Federal Court action in 2009.


"NOOSE ON SALE" -- by Milan Kohout (Web site HERE)
IN FRONT OF "BANK OF AMERICA" (Opposing the balcony where The Declaration of Independence was read in 1776), BOSTON, USA, "TREMOR" FESTIVAL November 2007



"Standing in front of the main branch of "Bank of America" in Boston, I offered a sale on nooses. This sale reflects the cynicism of the banking market which is willing to sell everything for the sake of profit include human life and suicide. As a practical illustration of the contemporary US "police state" it took only 3 minutes for the first policeman to appear on the scene and start to interrogate me. He was followed by another two policeman in a patrol car two minutes later. I was asked what country I was from and what language I spoke. I replied that I was from The USA and as they could hear I spoke English. I followed by asking them if they were "racially profiling" me. The policeman answered "YES". The nooses and a sign were confiscated as material evidence and I was told I would receive a court summons for breaking a law for not having a peddler's license."  -- Milan Kohout

Milan Kohout contacted me in January about his pending trial.  I referred him to Massachusetts ACLU and Volunteers Lawyers for the Arts. Attorney Jeffrey J. Pyle from Prince, Lobel, Glovsky and Tye responded and did a great job in court hearings and preparing briefs.  The police admitted they stopped the performance because it was "offensive."  Blatant illegal content suppression of a protected First Amendment activity.  The case should never of gone to trial.  The case was finally dismissed on March 7, 2008.


Attorney Jeffrey J. Pyle with artist Milan Kohout.  Plus supporters of artist collective Mobius.

Media Reports

BostonNow 02-20-2008 -- "Boston Police vs. political protest? Anti-bank protester slammed for sidewalk nooses" by James O'Brien HERE follow up article 03-09-2008 HERE

Boston Phoenix 02-21-2008 -- "The case of Milan Kohout - The right of a performance artist represents the rights of all Americans. "  HERE

Weekly Dig 02-2008 -- Offensive performance an offense? By LAUREN MAGNUSON HERE



OLD POLICE RULE 75 REPEALED DECEMBER 2004

To sing on the street of Boston one has to obtain the "Itinerant Musicians License" under Police Rule 75. It does not cover non musical performances and the law dates back to the 1850s. Notice section 8 on the last page which states that "A female licensed itinerant musician shall not play a musical instrument in a street unless she is accompanied by an adult male licensed itinerant musician." Police Rule 75 also has massive time and geographic restrictions that essential bans performances

Police Rule 75.

For a PDF version of Police Rule 75 please click here

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Restricted area: essentially banned street performances in downtown Boston. It was still being passed out by the Police Department with applications when I applied for a license in January 2004.

March 1973, Boston Globe photo by Charles Dixon. This is my favorite street performance photo, even thirty years latter. It shows two and one-half year old Leigh Fairchild dancing to my music on Boston Common by the Park Street Station MBTA entrance kiosks. The photograph captures one of those magical confluence. The entire gathering was sharing this exuberant early spring moment. A month latter members of my audience were arrested.

The police threatened to arrest me, arrested other performers and even arrested audience members when I first started performing on Boston Common in 1972. I wrote a series of letters to the City of Boston Law Department and the rest is history...

 

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Click for a PDF version of the April 1973 letter (306K two pages) here

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I wrote a series of letters to the City of Boston Law Department and sent copies to the media. I also distributed letters to my audiences. This is the second letter I sent to Mayor White in April 1973. The first letter was forwarded to Police District One office and the situation became even more hostile. A member of my audience was arrested. Ruth Anna was arrested twice. This second letter was forwarded to the Law Department and the Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City, John Fiske met with me. A new statement was typed on the paper permit to clarify the begging and soliciting restriction "Licensee permitted to receive voluntary donations but is not permitted to solicit." The police were not happy with the change and threatened to still arrest me many times. The attitude took more than a decade to change and still is not complete. Artists were arrested in Copley Square in the 1980s and another artist was threatened with arrest on Newbury Street in October 2002.

Ruth Anna was arrested twice

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Boston Street Singers Cooperative on the Passim stage in Cambridge in 1974

I formed the Boston Street Singers Cooperative with Paul Cole and Ruthanna in 1974, to join forces to fight the legal battles and also seek bookings at area clubs and colleges. Paul Cole was a one-man band and he often dressed up in a colonial costume and sang historic broadside ballads. It was Paul Cole, through his research, who first informed me about the street performances of Ben Franklin. Ruthanna was the "flower child" singer of Boston Common.
The Boston Phoenix writer, Charles Dawe came to me to write a story on street performing. I told him to go down to Winter Street and interview Ernie Sanders and his Great Pyrenees "Lady Bug." Ernie Sanders had inspired me to become a street performer. Charles Dawe took up this journalism challenge and wrote the best street performer profile I've ever seen written. The Boston Phoenix gave him five pages! It is a great read. Boston Phoenix, December 12, 1976, page 10. Click for a PDF version of the article (612K five pages) here
 

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August 13, 1978, All the Streets A Stage by Preston Grella, Boston Sunday Globe New England Magazine, overview after five years of being legal featured Brother Blue on the cover. Click for a PDF version of the article (918K five pages) here
 

Bob Gay was on hot sax player who went on to perform on tour with many bands.

Here he is with unknown guitar player in Downtown Crossing.

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Boston Globe Letter to the Editor complaint of police abuse by witness to the arrest of street performers, Lorraine Saltre and John Bigelow in Copley Square.

Signs posted on City Hall Plaza and Dock Square prohibiting street performances without a permit. The city does not issue permits to perform in these locations essentially banning First Amendment activities in these historic public spaces. Artists were arrested in Copley Square in the 1981 and another artist was threatened with arrest on Newbury Street in October 2002. I was threatened in both June and July, 2004 on Boston Common, plus Sam Adams Park (Dock Square) in August. I sent letters in 1980, 1981, 1990, 1991, recruited an attorney to request changing the law in 1992, and had a meeting with a Boston City Councilor in November 2002 complaining of this old discriminatory and unconstitutional law should be abolished and replaced with an ordinance similar to the Cambridge Street Performance Ordinance. All these efforts failed. I actively sought a large law firm since November 2002 to challenge the City of Boston in Federal Court. I submitted an application with The Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts of Massachusetts (http://www.vlama.org) and Testa, Hurwitz, Thibeault, LLP, 125 High St., Boston, MA 02110-2704 (http://www.tht.com) T: 617-248-7000 Attorney John J. Cotter, Attorney Thomas A. Turano, Attorney Jason A. Duva, Attorney Karen A. Schouten accepted the case in the spring of 2004. Additional letters, phone calls and proposed new regulations ignored March-June 2004. Proposed Ordinance PDF file HERE

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Restricted area: essentially banned street performances in downtown Boston. It was still being passed out by the Police Department with applications when I applied for a license in January 2004. For a PDF version of Police Rule 75 please click here

View Boston Park Department rules here http://www.cityofboston.gov/parks/rules.asp Notice that these rules ban stepping on the grass, playing any games, riding bicycles, begging for alms. Also bans all First Amendment activities around the Boston Common Frog Pond. These rules are used to stop all nonmusical performances from receiving donations. Artists are not allowed to sell their cds or artwork. The rules give total discretion to the Park Rangers to stop performances.

It is against the Park Rules to ride bicycles, but they have a vendor who rents bikes on Boston Common.

The bikes block nearly half the path on the Freedom Trail.

I was told by Park Ranger that people would trip over my hammered dulcimer and it blocked the path.

The park vendor kiosks and lemonade stand block most major intersections and take up 5-10 times more space.

The Park Department bans the sale of artwork and cds by individual artists.

The Boston Globe solicited subscribers with logo items, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company solicited donations, a chair company rented chairs and American Express Financial Advisors solicited clients at the Shakespeare on the Common performances.

August 27, 2004:

I went to Sam Adams Park (Dock Square) to do a photo shoot for the Boston Phoenix article.

I was playing my hammered dulcimer by the Sam Adams statue and the police officer showed up in 10 minutes and stated "I was not allowed to perform." "He would ignore me briefly, but would require I leave immediately if anyone officially noted I was there." All this was caught on camera by the Phoenix photographer, Eric Levin 617-283-4468 http://www.elevin.net eric@elevin.net I did not stay around after the photos were taken to be threatened further.

Click on pictures to see larger versions. Photo credits: © Eric Levin http://www.elevin.net eric@elevin.net

FLASH NEWS:

Federal Law Suit served to the City of Boston, Boston Police Department, Boston Parks Department on August 3, 2004

Media Alert Press Release August 2004 PDF please click HERE

Federal Law Suit Complaint served on August 3, 2004 (PDF file) Click HERE

Preliminary Injunction filed September 30, 2004 PDF versions:

Boston Response to Preliminary Injunction filed October 14, 2004 PDF version (Includes exhibits of Boston Park Rules, New Police Rule 403, Letter rescinding Police rule 75 dated September 30, 2004) HERE

NOTE: The original Complaint filed on August 4, 2004 included a letter dated June 29, 2004, from the city stating they would rescind Police Rule 75 and stop enforcement practices against street performers. The Boston Response included a declaration rescinding Police Rule 75 on September 30, 2004 only after the city received the Preliminary Injection court documents and after I was threatened by a Park Ranger and Boston Municipal Police Officer in July and August. Essentially the City lied to me and the media, including the New England Law Journal, that the Police Rule 75 would be rescinded in June. I actually applied for and paid $10 permit fee on September 2, 2004, for a Police Rule 75 license the City said they had rescinded.

Response to new Police Rule 403 and Moot Issues presented by the City filed December 2, 2004.

Preliminary Injunction Hearing Friday, December 17, 2004: NOTE: Hearing was Rescheduled to December 22, 2004

Preliminary Injunction Hearing Friday, December 17, 2004 at 2:30 PM: Community Arts Advocates, Inc. v. City of Boston et al Case Number: 1:04-cv-11618: Motion Hearing set for 12/17/2004 02:30 PM in Courtroom 2, United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, John Joseph Moakley U. S. Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02210 Telephone: (617) 748-9152 before Federal Judge Nancy Gertner. Court Web site: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/default2.html Directions: http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/General/Directbos.htm

December 22, 2004 Federal Court Hearing Transcript Text File Here

On December 23, 2004 in Federal Court before Judge Nancy Gertner the City of Boston repealed Police Rule 75, Police Rule 403, Boston Ordinance 16-12.24 and parts of the Boston Park Rules were determined unconstitutional.

Click on pictures to see larger versions. Photo credits: Stephen Baird

United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, John Joseph Moakley U. S. Courthouse as seen from the conference room of Testa, Hurwitz, Thibeault, LLP, 125 High St., Boston, MA. Attorney Karen A. Schouten, Attorney John J. Cotter and Attorney Jason A. Duva in front of the United States District Court on December 22, 2004. We were instructed to appear in court again the next day on December 23, 2004 at 2 p.m. if a consent decree was not agreed to and submitted by 12 noon.

Dear Street Artists and Supporters:

Today in Federal Court before Judge Nancy Gertner the City of Boston repealed Police Rule 75, Police Rule 403, Boston Ordinance 16-12.24 and parts of the Boston Park Rules were determined unconstitutional. No performer should be stopped for performing and receiving donations or selling their own cds in the city. No visual artists should be stopped from exhibiting their art work and receiving funds for their art work.

The text from the Federal Court:

Case Name: Community Arts Advocates, Inc. v. City of Boston et al

Case Number: 1:04-cv-11618

Date: December 23, 2004

https://ecf.mad.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/DktRpt.pl?93436

Judge Nancy Gertner : ELECTRONIC ORDER entered denying [13] Motion for Preliminary Injunction at this time. Preliminary Injunction is denied at this time because of representations made by counsel for the defendant to wit that the following ordinances and/or rules will be repealed and that pending repeal, they will not be enforced by the defendant: 1) Rule 16-12.24 (Boston Municipal Ordinance), Boston Police Rule 75, Boston Police Rule 403, 2) that section 1(b) of the Rules of the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission prohibiting begging or canvassing for alms is unconstitutional and will not be enforced, and that section 6 of the Rules of the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission does not apply to the activities of the plaintiffs herein.

 

Printable version PDF HERE

Printable version JPG HERE

December 23, 2004 Federal Court Hearing Transcript Text File Here

There was a story in the Boston Herald, Thursday, December 23, 2004 on page 2.

http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=60211 Sidewalk shows must go on: Hub gives street performers a pass - for now. By J.M. Lawrence. Thursday, December 23, 2004

Another story ran in the Boston Globe on December 24th on page B1

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/12/24/in_court_city_makes_promise_to_let_its_sidewalks_be_stages/ In court, city makes promise to let its sidewalks be stages ( Boston Globe, by Shelley Murphy, 2004/12/24 ) Strike up the band, pull out the magic tricks, and practice that mime routine: The shows will go on on the streets of Boston.

The battle is not over. Enforcement practices need to be carefully monitored. New regulations need to be adopted that fully protect artists. Additional hearings are scheduled at the end of January. If anyone has problems with police or park rangers please contact me immediately:

I want to publicly thank Testa, Hurwitz, Thibeault, LLP T: 617-248-7000 Attorney John J. Cotter, Attorney Thomas A. Turano, Attorney Jason Duva, Attorney Karen A. Schouten and their staff for the countless hours they have contributed to this cause.

I also welcome the new law firm who have agreed to do the ongoing work on the case:

Perkins, Smith and Cohen, One Beacon Street, 30th Floor, Boston, MA 02108-3106 T: 617-854-4000 F: 617-854-4040 Attorney Jerry Cohen, P.C.; Attorney Stephen Chow; Attorney Christine M. Griffin

My best,

Stephen H. Baird

Letter from Mayor Thomas M. Menino to Boston City Council dated December 27, 2004, requesting the body to repeal the Ordinance 16-12.24 enacted in 1850 because: (Note: This was not done until March 30, 2005, by the City Council and finally signed by the Mayor on April 4, 2005)

"It has become apparent in recent months that the existing law regulating performances by itinerant musicians is antiquated and has not kept abreast with the evolution of the law regarding pubic artistic expression."
 

Click image for larger 300 resolution copy for printing

Response to Motion to Dismiss on Moot Issues presented by the City filed March 18, 2005: CAA filed Motion to continue case and go to trial, because ordinance has not been repealed, Park Rules have not been repealed or revised and other Ordinances used to stop performances have not been repealed or revised.

Spring 2005 Enforcement practices continue to stop performances in City of Boston

Additional Affidavits and Surreply were filed with the Federal Court for Hearing in June 2005

Additional Affidavits in the Summer 2005 for next status hearing on September 15, 2005

Complete Brief with Exhibits and Affidavits for Federal Court Hearing on September 15, 2005 HERE

Amended Complaint filed on October 6, 2005. PDF version click HERE

Federal Court instructed us to obtain the names of Park Rangers and Police Officers who stop performances and art exhibits to pursue court case based on illegal enforcement practices. The form below can be used to document the incidents. Click on GIF image for larger version for printing. PDF version click HERE

Click on image for larger version for printing.

 

Legal Representative:

Perkins, Smith and Cohen, One Beacon Street, 30th Floor, Boston, MA 02108-3106

(Became Burns and Levinson, LLP in 2006)

T: 617-854-4000 F: 617-854-4040

Attorney Jerry Cohen, P.C.; Attorney Stephen Chow; Attorney Barbara Green Whitbeck

View of Boston Common from law offices of Perkins, Smith and Cohen (Became Burns and Levinson, LLP in 2006); Attorney Jerry Cohen, P.C.; Attorney Christine Griffin who now works at Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, LLP

ISSUES SUMMARY AND TIMELINE:

This court case was filed to resolve a thirty year battle to have the city laws and enforcement practices honor the First Amendment Rights of artists and the First Amendment Rights of Boston citizens to assemble and support community artists in public spaces. Please review these web pages on this site to obtain additional background on the issues.

Below is an issue summary outline:

MEDIA COVERAGE

Boston Globe July 24, 2004, article by Shelley Murphy:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2004/07/24/singers_sue_city_say_theyre_harassed/

Boston Phoenix September 3, 2004, article "Killjoy was here" - Boston has long relied on onerous regulations to kick street performance to the curb. Now itinerant artists are fighting back in the courts. BY HARVEY A. SILVERGLATE AND DAN POULSON

"Given the legal and cultural importance of public artistic expression, as well as the applicable judicial precedents, it is not difficult to predict that unless Boston cleans up its act voluntarily - and quickly - the city will undoubtedly lose this lawsuit."

http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/documents/04097841.asp

Cambridge Chronicle story August 12, 2004, By Amanda McGregor

http://www2.townonline.com/cambridge/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=66429

Associated Press AP picked up story in late July and was published around the country in various publications including the Metro West Daily News and in Burlington, Vermont, cities in Florida.

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=73977

Boston Globe September 9, 2004 "Musicians, T singing two-part harmony" by Jason Nielsen. Article on subway performers with update on the Boston legal case.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/09/05/musicians_t_singing_two_part_harmony/

Boston Herald, Thursday, December 23, 2004 "Sidewalk shows must go on: Hub gives street performers a pass - for now." by J.M. Lawrence.

http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=60211

Boston Globe, December 24, 2004 "In court, city makes promise to let its sidewalks be stages." by Shelley Murphy, -- Strike up the band, pull out the magic tricks, and practice that mime routine: The shows will go on on the streets of Boston.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/12/24/in_court_city_makes_promise_to_let_its_sidewalks_be_stages/

WB 56 News, Fox 25 News, and New England Cable News all covered the story on December 24, 2004.

Boston Metro Newspaper, December 27, 2004 "Judge rules for performers: Federal judge nixes rules prohibiting street performances" by Christina Wallace

http://www.metropoint.com/

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Boston Phoenix, January 7 - 13, 2005: FREEDOM WATCH Street musicians, one; Boston Police, zero BY HARVEY A. SILVERGLATE AND DAN POULSON VICTORY SONG: Community Arts Advocates founder Stephen H. Baird prevailed in his suit to overturn city restrictions on street performers. But he worries that beat cops might not get the message. http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/this_just_in/documents/04383305.asp

The National Law Journal, January 10, 2005, "Let the band play on, in public -- Judge overturns 1878 ban on street performers." By Lindsay Fortado http://www.law.com/

Daily Free Press, Monday, March 21, 2005, "Right to perform pursued -- Bill to remove permit requirements pushed" by Camille Rustici. http://www.dailyfreepress.com/media/paper87/news/2005/03/21/News/Right.To.Perform.Pursued-898430.shtml

Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, May 15, 2005, cover story "Let the Music Play," by James Sullivan with photos by Laurie Swope. Profiles of street and subway performers with references to Federal Court case: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2005/05/15/let_the_music_play/

Boston Phoenix Eighth Annual Muzzle Awards Issue Date: July 1-7, 2005 by Dan Kennedy http://72.166.46.24/boston/news_features/top/features/documents/04793546.asp

PETITION

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Click for printable PDF version of Petition HERE


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