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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Busker poll online

Hey, I did a new thing today on the Seven Days website. Zoe

Dan Bolles, our new music editor, wrote a story this week — Busker Dos and Don'ts — on the hoops musicians have to jump through to busk on the Church Street Marketplace. The "poster girl" is Zoe Christiansen (shown here, in a photo by Matt Thorsen). She's a clarinetist who has had a tough time navigating the bureaucracy at the Marketplace.

I had Dan record a short audio clip of Zoe playing on the street in Burlington, which you can hear on the story. And I put up a poll, which asks if you think Zoe should be allowed to play on Church Street.

I've never put a poll on the site before. I used Vizu to do it, because Mistress Maeve recommended them. I like Vizu, it was easy to set up. But it doesn't let everyone see immediately how  many people have voted, which is a bummer. Anybody else have any polling widget recommendations?

May 16, 2007 at 01:08 PM in House Rules | Permalink


The Marketplace has always ridden this dumb line between public street and private mall. It can't be both w/r/t to citizen's rights. The article actually made me angry. It's the same old bullshit on Church Street -- it hasn't changed since the early 80s when the street was first closed to traffic. I've met Redmond and he seems like a nice guy, but what the hell is he doing giving musicians advice about anything??? Either musicians are granted a permit or not, and if not, the Marketplace better be able to say why and be consistent about how they enforce that. It's not American freaking Idol. For some of those folks it's how they eat.

Posted by: Bill Simmon | May 17, 2007 3:34:40 AM

Yeah, this article pissed me off so much I had to rant.

Posted by: odum | May 17, 2007 10:30:12 AM

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I had the chance to enjoy Zoe's music while we ate our brunch outside at Leunig's. It was wonderful and reminded me how much I love Burlington as a welcoming and diverse art community. I was really saddened to read the article in Seven Days about Zoe's problems with the authorities. Zoe and others make the world more beautiful--permit or not. There are other issues regarding the atmosphere on Church Street where the Church Street Marketplace authorities would do well to focus their energies. The loiterers outside the mall entrance, for example, are constantly bickering, swearing, and making crass comments. It's not the kind of atmosphere I would consider as welcoming or inspiring.

Posted by: Penelope | May 17, 2007 10:39:29 AM

Oy vey.
Street preformers give the CSM atmosphere. Makes Burlington feel like it is living up to the 'branding' they have tried to accomplish over the years.
This whole thing reminds me of the 'punk rock' drama years back.
It stinks of hypocracy if you ask me. ("we are progressive! OH! BUT, NO!! you can't do this, you can't do that and you need a licence + background check to do the other." sheesh!)

Posted by: pippi | May 17, 2007 2:19:21 PM

Zoe sounds like Benny Goodman trying to charm a cobra out of a basket somewhere in Arabia after drinking seven espressos. Let her play!

Posted by: Spine | May 17, 2007 4:46:00 PM

I know I'm a lame duck, but I gotta chime in. Unfortunately, I already said what I needed to about the matter over at Candleblog. So here's a summary:

What irks me the most about Burlington (and something I can't frickin' wait to leave behind) is that the city claims to be arts-friendly,
yet makes it nigh impossible to hold public performances. My wife has spent the last year and a half as the exeutive director of one of the
largest arts non-profits in the state (SEABA -- the Art Hop folks) and has dealt with the frustrations of trying to organize a major arts
attraction in a town hell bent on making it twenty times more difficult than it would be in nearly any other metropolis.

Hey, Burlington: you can't be both a tourist-friendly, "it's all good" boho mecca AND a puritanically micromanaged village. It just doesn't work.

I respect the folks that fight to make Burlington a more livable community. But gawd, this place is ridiculous sometimes.

Posted by: casey | May 17, 2007 9:34:30 PM

Well, the article did clear up a question I've often asked myself: why is it that the walk from Church & Cherry to Brook's Pharmacy(note the TOTALLY WRONG SPELLING, coughcough) is fraught with panhandlers and the transient-looking buskers. But I'm with Penelope, telling someone that no, I'm sorry, I don't have any change today, but have a nice day, is a WHOLE lot more pleasant then the mall-entrance rats. I've always been a bit disturbed by the inevitable young-child-playing-a-violin/viola/whatever while a Momma Rose-type parent hovers nearby. Sure, I get that it's probably so the kid has the opportunity to perform, but...it's performing for money. It's pimping your kid out for Suzuki lessons. It's creepy.

The break dancers, however, are totally fly. I was shocked and delighted that they got a permit in the first place, it seems in direct conflict to exactly the same issues that seem bother most of us about CSM. (The evening that the Jazz Guys got kicked off of the CSM FOREVER during Jazz Fest for being too loud comes to mind, I still giggle when I think of the red-faced, self-important CSM representative screaming at them...)

I guess what I think it breaks down to is that there are some people in this small city who forget that it's a small city and seem to be drunk on what they consider to be power. Zoe's banned forever? Because the popcorn dude says she's a rule-breaker? And they called the cops on her? Come on. Can't we be grown ups, and use our words here? Words like "Excuse me, totally rad blowin', there. But could you do me a huge favor and not blow quite so hard? It makes the kernels uneasy."

Posted by: brookezilla | May 17, 2007 10:54:06 PM

based on the clip of her playing, zoe is exactly the kind of busker who would get some of my attention and pocket change. and for what it's worth, based on the info. (in dan bolles' story) re: the stupidly unfortunate actions taken by proprietor of amazing kettle corn, he is exactly the kind of merchant who will never, ever get any of my pocket change.

Posted by: rws | May 18, 2007 5:01:19 PM

I loved the poll, Cathy! It was great to see reader comments, too. I'll let you know if I find a better widget. Although, that Vizu marketing guy makes it hard to stray (hehe).

Posted by: Mistress Maeve | May 19, 2007 3:21:22 PM

Well I can smell the burning popcorn three blocks away from the popcorn guy. Can that get him banned?

Posted by: | May 19, 2007 7:48:25 PM

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