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Cole, it's business. It would be nice if it were cut and dry however, it isn't. If I take a trip to London and take photos, then come back here I can sell them to London. However, I have to pay taxes on that as well as (depending on the merchandise) a fee.
The problem with services (like teaching) is that the taxation of them is difficult, at best. What the governments do is charge those fees to make up for the taxes lost.
Which is why sponsorship is better.
Whenever money changes hands, the gov't wants a piece of it. In this type of situation, it isn't happening.
The thing with small arts communities is not only are they not strong enough for the federal gov't to recognise, they tend to not have money enough to justify needing an international visit, which usually comes with a good pricetag.
Also with the "smaller" arts communities, and the size of the country, there are usually people who already know how to do such things here. For example, Nick is not the first to spin the way he does. He is the first to market upon it and you are right, he did focus mostly in one area of the country boucning from small group to small group. However, had the screening process for him started for him to come in, they would have found spinners in Florida and the South who spin similarly, and so he would have not gotten through. It happens all the time with dance and circus instructors, sadly.
The other way this can be achieved, which is how alot of international bellydancers do this, is to start a business here (with an American partner). I know two bellydancers who do this. Their businesses are schools, which they then teach at when they show up.
I know this wouldn't suit someone like Nick but it is still something I know people do.
Also, I would like to say that I didn't say be paid in advance or after you get home, but to have your trip paid for you. Here's why. Most spinners are not their own licensed business. International monies transferred very often have to be explained, depending on the sum.(Each country has a maximum allowance btw) However, if it is a small sum, it can be "gifted" before or after the fact. (*cough*hint*cough*) Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir "Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall "And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK
Wow, usually my posts drop of the radar pretty quick. I guess it's true about contraversy :P
Let's clear the air a bit: Jeff (fake)'s response did seem a bit harsh at first, but it's actually a good point. Settling curiosity was the easiest motivation for me to justify and follow, but I'm now forced to admit (to myself) that there were other motivations.
As for the law breaking stuff: Lots of people say it's ok to lie to border guards, but it still didn't feel good, and that was one of the interesting things: It showed me that I really don't like lying... but it also seems really wrong that I'm not allowed to go teach workshops. What if me and some friends want to bring somebody to Vancouver to teach us... heck, to teach us bottle cap tossing or something. Why can my government tell me we can't? It's silly. It's like the government telling me I can't smoke pot. I don't really smoke it much, but they have no reason to tell me not to. I don't care if there is a law. It's an unjust law based on historical racism and I refuse to take it seriously (pot smoking). I also feel like all the border stuff is based on misrepresented motivations, historical atrocities, etc.
Now, I could quote Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr and Gandi and all the other people who say you actually have moral duty to stand up to laws you think are unjust... but I didn't do that with the border laws. I didn't *stand up to the law*, I just broke it, in a somewhat nervous and pathetic manner no less. So I'm not on any moral high ground. I am happy that I got to post a link to Thoreau, although I admit I had to look up the spelling of his name.
Ethically, It's a great dillema. Smoking pot is easy. I don't have to lie to anyone to do it, so it feels ok (until I'm stoned that is, and then I usually don't feel so good, which is why I don't smoke it very often.) Lying to the border guards didn't feel good. What bugs me is that I want to be an honest person. A truly honest person. But most dishonest people are just doing the same thing: As long as they feel they can justify the dishonesty then it's ok. This is what bugs me. If I can justify lying to border guards, then can I be trusted? Won't I just keep lying whenever I think it suits me? This is a really good point. I'd love to be a completely trustable person. But I digress.
As for my motivations, Jeff (fake) is probably right, I was very unhappy the last couple of years, and have gone into some unhealthy cycles of feeling sorry for myself, etc. Maybe I just feel it's weird the way there's all these people I don't know who think I'm a happy successful fire spinner dude and they go, "wow, I wish I could spin fire like you" and I want to go, "no you don't, you'd have to be as up as me to spin like me. Spin like you." I.e. maybe I don't want sympathy as much as I want to be understood, which I think a lot of people want. Right now I don't need sympathy as I'm actually feeling happy and I'm seeing everything in a much better light.
As for the laws: There are visas related to "cultural significance," and there is a procedure, but the expense and difficulty of the procedure means it's out of reach of small artists. Also, a community group can't apply, only a company can apply for the artist's visa. This really just means the community has to find a company to do it... but it's not a simple matter. What Pele suggests is OK if you just want to visit and get your flight paid, but not make money. You have to be careful though, as even working for food and lodging will be seen as "working" by the US authorities.
I think it was good to pick up on the title of my first post. I posted it with a question mark because I knew I wasn't really barred for teaching poi... but it just rolls off the tongue so much better than "barred from the USA for lying."
So, it's very late as I write this. This thread is huge so I won't be able to even read everything until tomorrow, but I felt like I should post something at least.
Ok, thanks to everybody, including those who've expressed some very kind thoughts and those who are catching me in my [censored]. EDITED_BY: Meenik (1162323062) "They're interdimensional fractal intelligences. That's why they wear funny shoes."
Nick, your posts don't drop off the radar anymore than anybody else's, they just get moved.
The US gov't isn't telling you that you can't go teach workshops, they're just telling you can't do it for money. Likewise with your bottle cap tossing idea, you could bring in a professional, but it's way easier if he crosses the border as a tourist.
You know, all you had to tell the border guard was " I'm going to a workshop" technically, that's not lying, you were indeed attending a workshop, just neglecting to reveal in what capacity. It wouldn't have worked in your specific case, seeing all they had to do was google you to get the missing information.
You weren't barred for lying, you were barred for trying to work without a visa.
Careful with that "your pot laws are silly" stuff in Thailand. The Thais don't play nice like the Canadians do.
Pele, great point about taxes and fees. I hadn't made the connection myself.
If I lie to an official, when crossing a border in particular, it is only by omission. And if I do that, I would have to seriously consider before- hand if I fully understand the risks, and am willing to accept the consequences of my choice . If not, I don't do it. If yes, then, I do -- and well, one day I might just find myself in Nicks situation... or worse. But I would be prepared mentally for that eventuality. Though it might still suck, rather extremely!
I don't find lying to the government to be in the same moral cateogory as lying to individuals. Still, I am not comfortable with it, and avoid it if at all possible. I guess I feel differently about it because I did not actually agree to the making of so many of the laws I have to deal with.Yes, I do what I can to change them. But they make it bloody difficult to play by the rules,and some of the rules I have no respect at all for-- so frankly, sometimes I just don't jump through all the hoops. One day, that may bite my ass. I will try not to complain too much when it does!
I think Nick's sharing his experience is important in that it makes us think about these choices, and the potential for consequences... All the peoples comments and contributions to the thread can help us better organize if we are faced with similar situations and want to avoid banishment ! "God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."
Well look at the bright site and you're probably much better off in Thailand ... where even after Taxin gone you should absolutely not touch any drugs, they have a record of whole nightclub raids with urine tests ...
Hope you get to work on the Scales of Poi Sequel soon (please orbitals hyperloops and choreo). Lush green rice paddies would be a nice setting, no ?
The ban story is shoking and somewhat surprising. I mean it wasnt tax evasion since this was in pre-earning hence pre-tax situation ... I was also always under the assumption artists can be hired from abroad ... do sport guys, rockbands etc have a work Visa ?
US immigration can be true bastards, I have my own story of being pulled off a bus in Laredo as only Non-Mexican, body searched, given a Visa form in Spanish, refused a sheet in English despite claiming it was the national language, having the Spanish sheet deleted 3 times as filled out wrong, missed bus had to walk 10 blocks at night, fined for importing a bottle of Tequila ...
Maybe that's the way to get US troopers out of Iraq ... I doubt they have Iraqui work Visa.
Stout: Lying is very specifically part of why I was banned, and also part of the hoops I have to jump through to get back in. (Oh, and about my posts: I also have to admit that if they do drop off the radar, it's because I'm really not as involved in the forums as I would sometimes enjoy. You get from the community what you put into it!)
Once I admited I was going to teach poi workshops they took me into a room and put me undet oath. At that point I was in a much more serious legal situation, and I answered their questions as honestly as I could, which included telling them that yes, I had taught poi workshops in the past. I was banned because a) I had taught poi workshops for money and b) I had lied to the primary border guard.
Gomorrha: Almost all the small artists you see in the USA who are from other countries told the border guards they were visiting friends. When I get some time I'll track down a document that explains what you have to go through to perform legally for money in the USA. There is no procedure to do it independently. So, until a touring agency wants you enough there is no legal way to do it. Most talent companies are pretty hesitant to look at Canadians because they know how much work it is to get them into the country. It can be done, but you need a company in the USA that's got their act together, and who can work with lawyer.
I'll report back with some more details and links related to borders and immigration for artists. American border guards will sometimes turn people away just for having a guitar, if they think he or she is going to try to busk or make money somehow.
This is great thread, but perhaps we should start a "ethics and legalities of artistic touring and borders" thread? "They're interdimensional fractal intelligences. That's why they wear funny shoes."
Ok, here's a bit more info: U.S.A. VISA GUIDE FOR CANADIAN ACTORS AND MEMBERS OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
The things that I didn't have were:
a) A sponsoring company b) time c) money
I would love to go the USA one day and make it all legit. I also thought there was a way to do it, and then I found out, after lining up those workshops, that you need to start six months in advance with a sponsoring company, etc.
That's where the "enough people and money" come into it. Most struggling artists alread hardly make anything, myself included. If I had to share the workshop money with both the sponsoring company and the US government, then it's just not worth it, especially with all the unpaid time of the applications etc.
At the time I was a little desperate, and didn't know where else to turn.
And on a totally different point: I do think there is value to art, and to sharing art. I have put a lot of devotion into what I do with poi because of this. I think art and beauty feed people's souls, which is ultimately what I would like to do. I also think that activities like poi keep people healthy and positive, so I think there is a lot of value to it.
My concern about the immigration laws is that it encourages artists to "sell out," as it's tough to do it without taking a corporate, making-as-much-money-as-we can approach. I still believe it's possible, I just wish they didn't put so many obstacles in the way.
n "They're interdimensional fractal intelligences. That's why they wear funny shoes."
wow lots of posts... i can't be botherd to read all of them.
i seem to accidentally p!ss alot of people off lately
i'm going to agree with majestik here:
Written by: Mr Majestik
but i think the most important lesson learned here is that everyone should forget about going to the US and come to australia instead
"i am exotic, and must keep my arms down" - Rougie
"i don't understand what penises have to do with getting married" - Foxie
colemanSILVER Member big and good and broken
7,330 posts Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay, United Kingdom
thanks everyone - especially nick, pele, stout and mr nyc
there's some very handy information in this thread and some even better advice.
sorry if i seemed antagonistic at all yesterday - i didn't mean to be.
i was interested as much in the 'is the law right' aspect as i was in the 'ways to legally do what nick wanted to do'.
pele's bellydancing stories i found especially relevant.
i suppose as poi and the spinning arts become more and more popularised, the immigration laws become more and more applicable to them (and thus my arguments against the laws being inappropriate fade away).
cole. x "i see you at 'dis cafe. i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself. they do porridge." - tim westwood
newgabeSILVER Member what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
4,030 posts Location: Bali, Australia
Written by: Mr Majestik
but I think the most important lesson learned here is that everyone should forget about going to the US and come to Australia instead
Well chaps, the lovely Nick did indeed come to Australia, already. UberOz. Ya shoulda been there
Now this is an interesting topic from my point of view as one thing I intend to in the next year or so is set up to facilitate small scale performers to come to Oz more easily.
All part of the Grand Plan .....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....
I don't. I solidly agree with both Jeff and the U.S. Government. (And if you know me, you'll agree that that statement is a very rare one!)
If you enter a country on false pretenses, whether to teach poi or to sell drugs or to engage in prostitution or raise someone's kids for them or to sell flowers on the street, and you get caught at it, expect to get kicked out. It'll happen in most any country, including, Mr. Mjk, Australia.
Nick wasn't deported for teaching a poi workshop. He was deported for working without a permit.
And I'd enjoin him to apply for the proper permit next time. It's not as expensive or impossible as you think. Especially not when you're a Canadian citizen. And you're lucky that they didn't go zealous on you and brand you a "terrorist" and slap you in irons, because were your skin a different color, that might have happened. -Mike
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella
Doc I was actually referreing to argument ABOUT the perceived overly hostile nature of the arguments from both Jeff and MCP rather than the topic at hand...
Written by: Neon_Juxtaposeur
I definitely see both sides of this arguement.
Meg. If if one of your best friends (pillar of the community or not) was doing/has done something stupid wouldn't you tell him so or will you forever remain a sycophant?
Though Jeff, Nick wasn't posting it for sympathy, just informing people of why he hasn't been visiting the USA lately. So though your comment though valid was a bit moot by that point.
Bottom line is that Nick was attempting to earn money under unlawful circumstances. He got caught, he learned, he even said 'it showed me a lot about honesty, responsibility'.
So LET that be a lesson to you kids!
It's all sorted now... (I think...) EDITED_BY: Neon_Juxtaposeur (1162390698) "I used to want to change the world, now I just wanna leave the room with a little dignity..." - Lotus Weinstock
jeff(fake)Scientist of Fortune
1,189 posts Location: Edinburgh
Written by: Neon_Juxtaposeur
Doc I was actually referreing to argument ABOUT the overly hostile nature of the arguments from both Jeff and MCP rather than the topic at hand...
This seems to be a sticking point.
I have not expressed hostility. Please do not suggest that I have. If you have interprated hostility in anything I have written here, it is the product of your own mind. According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...
I didn't see Jeff's first post as being hostile and I probably would have said the same thing were I the first person to respond to Nick's OP. Really, it was unclear as to what was actually the topic up for discussion, and a plea for sympathy was a very distinct possibility.
And moving on to be back on topic please.....
BTW...No problem Cole
Mike, here's something I don't do...disagree with you. For a small, starving artist it actually is a difficult thing to come here to perform, teach art, etc. It is why we don't have any high end International Busker Festies actually, like many places in the world.
I agree that people should go through proper channels, however, I know it is not as easy or affordable as you say it is. Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir "Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall "And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK
Actually FireTom, I did got to one of his workshops in Arizona (we were actually both hired in to teach at the same studio the same weekend and didn't even know it...How weird that was!! And yet...AWESOME!)
Anyway, he didn't charge, the studio took the money...then paid him. It was worded as a donation. You still can not get away with that, sometimes even if you are an American (depending on what you are doing). Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir "Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall "And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK
Pogo69SILVER Member there's no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness
3,764 posts Location: limbo, Australia
damn... it is a page back in the thread now, because this topic has taken off so fast... but...
gabe, I cannot wait to hear/see more come of your ideas of facilitating the bringing of spinner/juggler people to oz... YAY!
I knew nick had come over for uberoz, but that was the beginning of the year, before I discovered the wonderful world of spinning... --pogo (pat) [forever and always]
Doc Lightning: Canadian's can't apply for non-immigrant work visas. It doesn't work that way. American companies can apply for non-immigrant work visa's for Canadians, in order to employ them. I maintain that it IS both expensive and time consuming, so it's not something companies will take on casually. Have you ever hired a Canadian? Do you have experience with this? If you do please share.
I would still love to come legitimately next time, but I know for a fact that I was not in a position to do it that time. I had the option to bail, but I went anyway and yes, I knew the risk. Ethically the only issue I had was the lying.
One of the reasons I'm publishing DVDs is that it's a more legit income. If the DVDs work out I can travel, teach free workshops, and make my money by selling DVDs to homeofpoi.com. To my knowledge this is legit, as long as I don't sell DVDs myself.
FireTom: Asking for suggested donations isn't any better. The authorities don't care how you word it. If you say you're teaching workshops for donation they will not let you in. If you say you're teaching for free and they don't believe you and find out that there is money involve, even by donation, they will not let you in. Even if they find out you are teaching in exchange for food and lodging, they might not let you in. There opinion is "Rubbish, you're getting something in exchange for something so we're not letting you in." The authorities don't like trades, they will simply consider that working for the market value of the trade... although sometimes they'll let this pass.
As an example, there is NO LEGAL WAY TO BUSK IN THE USA. There is no visa. There is no permit. There is no loophole. As a Canadian you cannot (legally) pull out your guitar, play music, and accept money. It doesn't matter that the money is donated. If the border guards think you have a guitar because you're going to busk, they turn you back. They don't care that buskers don't charge money.
It comes down to the perceived (and arguable) need to track all financial transactions. Canadian's can't work independently in the USA because how would the government get them to pay taxes? It has to be done through US companies because then the government gets their cut. But that's also why the community has to get to a certain level, because once the government wants a share, and once there is so much paperwork and administration that the organizers also need a share... then the money's really getting divided several ways so there needs to be more of it... I already work a lot for very little money, and I can only work so much for so little before I burn out. I'd already hit that wall before that tour, so that's what I mean when I say I wasn't in a position to do that tour legitimately. I could have canceled that tour when I found out how hard it would be to do it legitimately, but like I say, the offer came at a time when I was a little desperate so I took it.
At the end of the day, I enjoy teaching for free more. I feel too much pressure when I charge money and I end up trying too hard to give everybody there money's worth. When I teach for free I can relax, and if somebody has a bad attitude I can just walk away. For me teaching workshops is very taxing. Workshops tours are the most exhausting things I've ever done, and this comes from somebody who used to spend 12 hours/day planting trees on clear-cut mountains for 12 cents/tree at machine speed with no breaks for months at a time.
Sometimes I wish I had another income that left me time to pursue my vision. I've been trying to make a living from poi because I thought it was the best way to let me train and study and develop skills the way I wanted, but in many ways that backfired.
It was great to go to Europe, because I saw how it's much easier to be an artist there. This made me feel better about what a flop my poi career was in Canada. I'll be looking into a legit way to work in Europe over this winter. Meanwhile I'm happy to be in Thailand legitimately. I feel no need to make money off tourists or Thai people. I'm finishing up lots of "work" here, but I'm not "working in Thailand."
Oh, my kingdom for an agent! EDITED_BY: Meenik (1162444744) "They're interdimensional fractal intelligences. That's why they wear funny shoes."
My friend Belva just wrote to me with some details of what it took The Crucible to bring her into the USA. Please note the "$2500 in fees bit." Also note that they went through this so she could be permanently employed, not for a one-time thing, which is why they were willing to do it. Also note that The Crucible is a very professional organization and worked hard from their end to figure out what had to happen:
"To briefly answer your question about getting my visa....in reality it was a lot of 'paperwork' that wasn't all that difficult. It was a matter of downloading the forms from my immigration office in Montreal and filling in the blanks. I had to create a resume of all the work I'd done in the last five years to prove that I was 'worthy' of being a Management Consultant for the Crucible. Technically i don't have a 'visa' I have a 'TN Status' in the US with multiple entry meaning that I can come and go as I choose. I've been brought down here to be a Management Consultant for the Crucible to help beef up their Fire Arts Program for adults and youth alike. Overall it was a lot of time spent on the phone with my immigration lawyer and about $2500 CDN in fees PLUS the cost of the flight ticket to go to Montreal and then fly to Oakland immediately afterwards. The most stressful part of the whole journey was sitting in front of the Border Official trying to explain to him what 'poi' was. Management Consultant 'visas' are very broad and wide ranging. it's the easiest way in to the country in some ways. You have to prove that either a) you have a Degree or b) that you've been practicing in your field for at least five years. i was sweating bullets to say the least as this man held the ticket to my life for the next year...needless to say i was overjoyed when he returned from his office...leaned across the counter to look me straight in the eye and said, "Just remember that management consultants aren't always stuffy old men in suits"....
So yes, it's possible, but no, it's not easy, and it's not something you can do for a one time thing or for a little casual tour. "They're interdimensional fractal intelligences. That's why they wear funny shoes."