An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

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An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 4:29 pm

I am Todd Robbins. Many of you know me as a magician, sideshow performer and one of the producers of New York's Monday Night Magic.

One of the other duties I have is being the Executive Director of Coney Island USA. We are the organization that
has been working to keep Coney Island, NY alive for the last 27 years.
One of the ways we have been doing this is with performance series
like Sideshows by the Seashore and our Burlesque at the Beach.

The reason I am posting this message is that I need your help in resolving a matter.

25 years ago, the founder of our organization, Dick Zigun, created
and produced the original Mermaid Parade. There has been a Mermaid
Parade in Coney Island every year since then. The original Mermaid
Parade was conceived as an event to bring together the community out
here with a day of joy, love and laughter. It has become an
important signature event of our organization. We have also
trademarked "Mermaid Parade".

Unlike parades created as a public celebration of a national,
religious or ethnic holiday, the Mermaid Parade was created as a
unique event. Unlike a "Thanksgiving Day Parade", the name "Mermaid
Parade" is not in the public domain.

Three years ago, magician Stephen Baker, also known as Mystic Marlow, started
up a parade with a mermaid theme in San Francisco. When it was
pointed out to him the original Mermaid Parade had been in existence
for more than two decades, he started making statements along the
lines of, "What was started in Coney Island is now being brought to
San Francisco."

This distresses us greatly. The use of the Mermaid Parade name and
these statements imply a connection between the two parades that does
not exist. Stephen never ask us for permission to use our name. I
don't feel that Stephen has done this out of malice, but the mistake
was made and it continues.

Having two Mermaid Parades is confusing to the public. It also puts
us in an awkward situation because we have no involvement in the San
Francisco parade and what is done in that parade will reflect back
upon our organization. And we have no desire to be involved in
running the San Francisco parade. We have more than enough to do
with keeping our organization going in Coney Island.

Let me put forth right now that we do not want to stop the parade
from happening. A parade is a wonderful thing and great things can
come out of it. The only thing at issue is the name.

Calling the parade the San Francisco Mermaid Parade is the problem.
The issue is the use of term "Mermaid Parade". It is a protected
trademark and using it in a different locale does not change that.

"Mermaids on Parade" or even Mermayd Parade would also violate that
trademark since it is close enough to the name "Mermaid Parade" for
the origin to be confusing. This is the advice from our lawyers.

The reason I know this is because I am working on keeping the peace
here in our organization, while our founder wants to unleash our
lawyers. Since it infringes on a trademark, the lawyers are champing
at the bit to take this all to court. I have asked that we hold back
for awhile on this as I am trying to resolve this in a civilized
fashion and avoid heavy handed solutions for this situation.

I have written to Stephen asking that he change the name. I have
suggested that we would have no problem with:

"Inspired by the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, Mystic Marlow presents
the San Francisco Sea Nymph Parade"

or the Sea Siren Parade, or the Neptune Parade, or the Nautilus
Parade, or the Poseidon Parade, or the Under Sea Parade or anything
else that allows him to keep the nautical theme.

We have even offered to help promote his parade if there is a name
change.

Stephen still insists on using the name Mermaid Parade.

So I am reaching out to the San Francisco magic community and
asking anyone that knows Stephen/Marlow to speak to him about
changing the name of his parade.

I would think that he would want to change the name. While it is
important for us to maintain the integrity of our event, I would also
imagine that as his event grows it will be important for it to
develop it's own identity and not be confused with ours.

All of this could be cleared up with a simple action. And once
again, if that action of changing the name of the parade was made,
positive things would come of it.

You should know that the kind of situation we are in, with two events
having the same name, happens often. Organizations find themselves
having to change the name of things all the time because of prior
usage. It's not a big deal.

So, if there is anyone out there that can help us by speaking to Stephen/Marlow and urge him to change the name of his parade, please do so. If you wish to contact me with any questions please email me at
coneyislandtodd@....


Thanks,


Todd Robbins
Executive Director, Coney Island USA
www.coneyisland.com

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 14th, 2007, 4:33 pm

Sounds like lawyer time to me. If you don't legally protect your trademarks, you'll lose them.
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Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 4:48 pm

Yep. Unleash the attorneys. If its any consolation, I've not heard of anything 'round here on Mermaids.

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 5:27 pm

This is a last ditch effort to get the message across to this guy before he is handed a cease and desist. It's sad really,in that if he had just asked, none of this situation would exist.
We'll see what has to be done. It's true about protecting trademarks. I just wish we could use the money we will spend on a lawsuit on something really beneficial to Coney Island.

Todd

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Pete Biro
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Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Pete Biro » February 14th, 2007, 5:35 pm

Baker once sued our group (the IBM convention committee and a co-promoter) after a publicity stunt he did (which we hired and paid him to do) because he was injured.

The reason for his injury was his own doing and he lost the suit.

He has been bad news as long as I can remember. I got him a Major TV show and he NEVER paid me the commission. The late Mike Caldwell loaned him money to buy a car and wardrobe and he NEVER paid that back.

Just shows you a few things about his character.

I suggest a letter to him from your lawyers be the start.
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 6:04 pm

Pete,

Are Stephen Baker and Steve Baker one and the same?

I was at that convention you mentioned where Steve suffered his injuries. He was scheduled to perform at one of the evening shows after the stunt went wrong, but was unable to do anything due to the burns to his hands.

He appeared on the show anyway, described how he had gotten injured, and since he was unable to perform, would use his allotted time to answer any and all questions from the audience about escapes.

Well, this was a public show, people wanted a show, few knew of Steve Baker and even fewer cared about him. He was met with complete silence.

He continued to stand on stage asking for questions which wouldn't come, and the audience began squirming in their seats uncomfortably in reaction to a bad situation which wouldn't go away.

Steve continued to die onstage, as he stood there
resplendent in his black and maroon velvet dinner jacket, with each of his hands wrapped in just yards and yards and yards of white gauze, his fists thus assuming the oversized proportions of boxing gloves.

Finally, in response to yet another plaintive plea from Steve for a question, someone from the audience shouted out, "How did you get your coat on?"


Well, it was funny at the time, and he did leave the stage...

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 6:37 pm

Mr. Robbins,
I would like to echo audioslaves comment in that I likewise have never heard word one about a Mermaid Parade here. (Aside: there are more parades in tis town than you can shake a stick at...)

Some people who aren't very creative get ONE idea stuck in their mind, and refuse to or can't possibly imagine a change.
(One of the reasons graphic design clients are so infuriating sometimes, but I digress...)

Lack of creativity is one thing, but when someone is being deliberately obstinate, it is time to call the lawyers.

--P.S. I actually think "the Poseidon Parade" is a pretty good name...BUT NO!!

Good luck skewering this uncooperative putz.

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 6:39 pm

Once a magician.
I know this is way off topic, but you told that joke very, very well.
Just thought I'd mention it. Sorry.

Gord

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Pete Biro
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Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Pete Biro » February 14th, 2007, 7:46 pm

It wasn't a joke. He really had these HUGE BANDAGES on, which means he put them on AFTER he put on his jacket.

At the time of the "stunt" and he left in an ambulance I asked his wife if he was OK. (Most escape guys often fake injury)... and she said "He's OK."

I won't go into the details but one thing in his testimony he said "I forgot to put on my fire retardant gloves."

Another point he said it was a HOT DAY and we failed to provide him an air conditioned motorhome.

Wrong. We did supply the motorhome and our lawyer checked the weather that day (It was a couple of hundred yards from the ocean in Long Beach) and it was CHILLY and OVERCAST.

The judge threw the case out. And later, off the record told me "this was stupid".
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 8:10 pm

Pete,
Stephen Baker and Steve Baker are two different people, but they sound like they were cut from the same cloth...and it was a bad day at the loom.

Here's the website for this event:

www.mermaidparade.us

Todd

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 8:24 pm

Lets see.
No photo's, no route map, no list of sponsors, but he sponsorship application form works.
Classy.

Gord

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 14th, 2007, 10:27 pm

Yeah,

I've never heard of it or read about it in the Chronicle or any other local papers.. likes been said, there's much oddball stunts out this way but it doesn't seem like this one is making any impact..

(I'd still consult a sideshow lovin' lawyer though)

Best to ya,
Tim

(now the St. Stupid parade on April Fools Day.... that's gotta be my favorite!!)

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 15th, 2007, 12:55 am

The best line I have heard in ages:

"Cut from the same cloth...and it was a bad day at the loom."

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David Scollnik
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Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby David Scollnik » February 15th, 2007, 5:44 am

It was written:

"Here's the website for this event:

www.mermaidparade.us"

I observe that the link above actually redirects to sfmermaydparade.org

and the parade name is being advertised as the SF MermaYd Parade. Is that a recent name change?

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 15th, 2007, 7:08 am

Totally 2 different people, Mystic Marlow is not an escape artist though he should escape out of performing <slapping hand>. Sorry this is happening, will pass this on to folks I know in San Francisco.

Charlie

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 16th, 2007, 7:57 am

When you air your dirty laundry in public, YOU wind up looking sad and pathetic.
If your name is trademarked, then call a lawyer to do your dirty work. We all got problems of our own, fight your own battles, were busy

Good luck!

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 16th, 2007, 8:06 am

:eek:

Jim Morton
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Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Jim Morton » February 16th, 2007, 2:24 pm

I'll join the other San Francisco posters who say they've never heard of this event. It's news to me. I only see one photo on the site, Looks like about 30 people. 'Probably all know each other.

Jim

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 16th, 2007, 8:23 pm

Wow, this 495 guy is something. His email is awholemagician. That sounds right, but there is no need for that w.

I'm glad he is busy and can't be bothered with us sad and pathetic folks that aren't afraid to post our real names.

Todd Robbins

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 17th, 2007, 5:16 am

I want to thank all the SF folks that have posted and/or emailed me.

Todd

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » February 18th, 2007, 1:42 pm

I just moved from the SF area and also never heard of the Mermaid Parade. Good luck at getting your name back.

Guest

Re: An Open Letter to Magicians in the San Francisco Area

Postby Guest » March 4th, 2007, 3:19 pm

The good news is that Stephen Baker has changed the name of the parade to the Sea Siren Parade. I want to thank anyone that read might note and spoke with him about this.

Todd Robbins


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