Archive for Monday, June 27, 2011

Lawrence Busker Festival organizers try to recoup money from Kansas Arts Commission

A crowd watches as Valerie Wolf pulls sharp razor blades out of her mouth during the 2010 Busker Fest. Wolf was one of many performers putting on street shows during the annual festival.

A crowd watches as Valerie Wolf pulls sharp razor blades out of her mouth during the 2010 Busker Fest. Wolf was one of many performers putting on street shows during the annual festival.

June 27, 2011, 6:01 p.m. Updated June 28, 2011, 12:24 a.m.


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Organizers of Lawrence’s Busker Festival are feeling the effects of Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to eliminate funding for the state’s arts commission.

The decision left a $3,500 hole in the budget for the festival, said Richard Renner, a Lawrence artist and the event’s organizer.

The busker festival is an annual event in Lawrence that brings together and celebrates the art of street performers.

Renner is trying to recoup the $3,500 loss of public funding by starting a pledge drive.

As of Monday afternoon, 12 people had donated a total of $255 on an online pledge site.

Prizes are available for people who pledge at certain levels, Renner said.

“This is what the governor wants us to do,” Renner said. “We’ll see if it works.”

He said that the festival’s total budget is somewhere around $10,000. The money he is trying to raise would pay for things like artist’s fees, shade tents for spectators and production fees.

This year’s festival will include a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County and is scheduled from Aug. 19-21 in downtown Lawrence.

On Monday in Topeka, the Kansas Arts Commission postponed its first meeting since Brownback vetoed its budget and made Kansas the first state to eliminate its arts funding.

The commission had planned to have a telephone conference call meeting, but technical difficulties prevented it. The meeting is now set for Wednesday afternoon.

Brownback wanted a nonprofit foundation to take over financing arts programs, relying heavily on private dollars. Legislators rejected his plan and set aside $689,000 for the commission. The governor vetoed that money as well as a budget line authorizing staff for the commission.

The commission still exists by law, and it’s required to meet at least once every three months. Chairwoman Linda Browning Weis is a recent Brownback appointee who’s promised to come up with a plan for supporting the arts.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Multidisciplinary 6 years, 11 months ago

Wouldn't pay a cent for a person to pull razor blades out of their front of children who may try to copy that at home. What happened to people having brains?

Jaminrawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, that rash of children dying via razor blade gashes in their mouths last year was crazy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

There are probably a lot more kids seriously injured every year copycatting professional football and basketball players, and public subsidies to those "art forms" are in the $billions.

LadyJ 6 years, 10 months ago

My son was in downtown Lawrence when a friend decided to try to copy a fire eater. He was sure he knew how to do it. He has never forgotten the sight of his friend catching on fire and seeing the skin "melt" off his arm and face.

Rae Hudspeth 6 years, 10 months ago

A person.. their mouths..

Whatever happened to education? g

I'd pay a sideshow carnival price to see that person with several mouths.

Carnival stunts are clever and fun.. much more so than Hollywood magic tricks done with computer imaging, or political maneuvering done with clams and balls. Yes, puns deliberately intended.

Mandie Eutsler 6 years, 10 months ago

It's a magic show, lighten up! It's up to parents to teach their children. Last year, my son was chosen to be an assistant. He stood on a magician's head while his face rested in a pile of broken glass. They are smart enough to know that it isn't real and haven't tried it themselves....

Brock Masters 6 years, 11 months ago

Guess those that complained about the cuts to KAC will have an opportunity to step up and put their money where their mouths are.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, government is capable of doing worthwhile things, often at very low cost.

The 29 cents apiece a year it cost Kansans to fund the KAC, (and the Buskerfest among many other things)is a prime example. But let's face it, that's why the funding was cut. Brownback can't allow any good examples of worthwhile things that government had any part of (unless it subsidizes the already wealthy in some way or other.)

EarthaKitt 6 years, 11 months ago

Please tell me you're not serious, Multi. If your kids are that young or that dumb I would hope you're keeping the razor blades locked in a very high cabinet.

The Busker Fest is amazing, and not one of my kids has tried to tear a phone book in half. Phone books don't kill people, people kill people.

Brock Masters 6 years, 11 months ago

Who has razor blades around the house anymore?

Chris Phillips 6 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

LadyJ 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe you shouldn't make assumptions about people you really don't know.

Godot 6 years, 11 months ago

Pulling razor blades from one's throat is true art! How many of you can (or would) do that? Without government support, the art of razor blade swallowing would disappear from our culture; our children would no longer aspire to control their gag impulse in an effort to emulate these great artistes of swallowing; our society would wilt, not having the benefit of viewing the undulating throats of blade swallowers practicing their priceless craft on our street corners and in sight of out-door dining. Where would our society be without government funded art?

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

The KAC also helped get the Symphony in the Flint Hills off the ground, now that event is touted as "private support for the Arts".

That's why this funding is important, to get events like this started. Judging from the photos, this event drew plenty of folks to downtown Lawrence on a hot summer's day.

But heaven's to betsy, that's not what we spend tax dollars on! If we would just cut taxes, the people would come anyway. Because people like heat and lack of things to do.

But since it is labeled "arts" then it must be cut. Now there's a solid line of thinking.

think_about_it 6 years, 11 months ago

"As of Monday afternoon, 12 people had donated a total of $255 on an online pledge site"

You arts people crack me up. You're all about supporting the arts as long as it's someone else's money. Put up or shut up.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

Ftw. I wonder how much bozo has donated.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

I'd have had no problem donating my 29 cents for this and other KAC subsidized arts events.

But it'll get sent to the Koch brothers instead. Talk about a waste of money.

Zachary Stoltenberg 6 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, but EVERYONE donated 29 cents. Typical Liberal, do as I say not as I do. Like Thinkaboutit, put up or shut up.

Centerville 6 years, 11 months ago

So the state is wildly WRONG for not giving $3,500 in OPM (other peoples' money) to support an event that can only garner $255 from its most fervent supporters?

You guys are going to have to do better than that, I don't care what that guy can pull out of his mouth.

Jaminrawk 6 years, 11 months ago

Glad the state can save all of that money by threatening an event the draws so many people downtown to spend money at local businesses.

xclusive85 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh, come on, the retailers downtown don't really want people down there because of an event. Surprised the busker fest ever got started!

Clovis Sangrail 6 years, 11 months ago

I thought that buskers were people who performed in public places to get donations.

"Donations" is the operative work here.

If these are really buskers, why does the Busker Festival have to provide "artist's fees"?

One would think that all the Busker Festival would have to do would be to provide the entertainment a place to stand and entertain.

Clovis Sangrail 6 years, 11 months ago

I will not give a dime to the Busker Festival, but I will contribute directly to the street performers. The little guys who set up on the sidewalk in front of stores, not the name acts in the intersections who are obviously receiving a fee for appearing. I walk right by the name acts because I don't think a stage show should be considered busking.

But if I stop to watch an indivual performer, I'll toss him or her a buck or two just for trying and a bit more if they are any good.

I even give the homeless-looking folks with their out-of-tune guitars and pickle-barrel percussion a buck or two. To me, they are not begging; they are working for that donation, even if they aren't very good at it. They are true buskers.

But artist's fees and tents and temporary grandstands -- those are not what the spirit of busking means.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

Never trust anyone who wants less art in our daily lives.

pizzapete 6 years, 10 months ago

Why do people think the government should support the arts? I mean what has art ever given us?

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

I don't plan to donate to the arts this year. All my donations are going to defeat the hater Brownback. I don't want a governor who sacrifices the infirm, elderly, education, health, environmental safety to pad the Koch Brother's bed.

weeslicket 6 years, 10 months ago

i simply loved the closing to the article: Chairwoman Linda Browning Weis is a recent Brownback appointee who’s promised to come up with a plan for supporting the arts.

Ms Weis promises to come up with a plan. (thanks brownback. wink. nod. wink.)

oldbaldguy 6 years, 10 months ago

I was down in Tulsa awhile back. In the Sunday paper, the Okies were making fun of Kansas because we are now one of two state that do not have a public funded arts council/commission. I believe public funds should be used wisely, the arts commission was doing so.

Clovis Sangrail 6 years, 10 months ago

Jeezus -- When you have the Okies calling you no-class and unlettered, something is seriously amiss.

weeslicket 6 years, 10 months ago

officer barbrady (south park, CO): "move along. nothing to see here." (you'll have to google your own clip.)

Scott Morgan 6 years, 10 months ago

Why would a Busker by definition earn his/her money from street performances? Me thinks there is a great deal of freebees given out in any of these events.

These are traveling professionals, and do not add of our tax revenue. Now a tip o hat to the organizers of the girls softball tourney. Wow, the motels were filled, resturants booming, and money being spent.

Sadly, we pay for the freebees. We just had a bike race in town. This is the time to raise money for next years event.

Time to pull the teet out and use money for better causes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

"Time to pull the teet out and use money for better causes."

Like what? And better for whom?

Scott Morgan 6 years, 10 months ago

bozo, Times always change, somebody once quipped why do you not see blacksmith shops on Main street anymore.

When I first saw Lawrence decades ago I marveled at everything. For some reason, who knows, not one group or person's fault Lawrence stopped being progressive.

I do know Lawrence tried to stop change, the result is what we have now. Few good jobs which are not tax based. High property taxes, low services. Our tax revenues the magic which make us what we are is drying up, being stolen, whatever.

Good grief can you imagine the Mars Candy execs being stuck on 23rd street while making a decision where to build a new plant? Bet they looked at each other and laughed. Sadly our reputation is far ahead of us in being anti business.

I mentioned the girls softball tourney in town a few weeks ago for instance. Just a short sample, but Dillons on 23rd was buzzing with teams shopping for snacks and not in small quantities the Saturday of the tourney. The motel on 23rd and Holiday Inn Express had vehicle after vehicle marked up with shoe polish.......go team.....yea, and the license plates were from all over the Midwest.

We have the infrastructure for holding big national youth sports events. We should be nurturing these type of things, instead of Buskers who sleep in cars.

Kontum1972 6 years, 10 months ago

who cares..its just like KU basketball.......SoS...diff year....

if that person want to impress me instead of razor blades how about a Hot frying that would be entertainment.....

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