SRL was invited to perform at the 2015 SF International Arts Festival, This is actually a theatre festival, with performers coming to SF from around the world. SRL agreed to perform for free; collecting revenues from ticket sales to the SRL show only.
This would have been the third major SRL performance at Ft. Mason. (SRL has also staged several small events over the years at FT. Mason). The director of Ft. Mason was certain that the Ft. Mason National Parks Service Fire Marshall could be convinced to allow the performance, based on his work with the Fire Marshall over the years.
However, when he approached the NPS Fire Marshall, he was told that under no circumstances would SRL be allowed at Ft. Mason. The Fire Marshall cited several videos of past SRL shows he viewed online. Specifically referencing the SF MOMA Groundbreaking show, where the SFFD was seen chiding Mark Pauline at the end of the video.
What he most certainly did not know was that the entire post show scene was a charade hatched by the SFFD brass themselves.
The morning of the SF MOMA show, Fire Dept officials drove me to the Main Fire Station for a “strategy” meeting. The SF Fire Chief himself told me that they were being forced to allow the show to proceed by the Mayors office (Frank Jordan) and that they needed cover. They said that after the show, they would make it appear that they were cracking down on me hard and I needed to play along.
At the end of the show, right on cue, I was harangued by various SFFD officials in plain view of the public. At one point, a city Fire Marshall (who had been at the morning meeting) was writing “tickets” to me. I looked down and saw it was just gibberish. He whispered to me “don’t worry, just play along”. The tickets were all fakes, of course, but the repercussions reverberate to this day.
SFFD is the finale of the SRL SFMOMA Groundbreaking Show