Action Against Loud San Jose Sidewalk Violinist Causes Stir, Backlash

by Carlos E. Castañeda
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Union re-enactor plays fiddle during during down time in the Union camp, July 5, 2013 at the 150th Gettysburg celebration and re-enactments in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg is underway for the second time in a week and tourists turned out in droves even though the outcome of the Civil War's pivotal encounter has been known for 150 years. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A nasty spat over violin music outside a San Jose business has led to a couple of citations and plenty of hard feelings in the Willow Glen neighborhood.

Violinist Gabriel Partida has been a fixture on Lincoln Ave., playing classic tunes for tips and backed up by a small amplifier connected to his smartphone, according to a San Jose Mercury News story.

However, Partida apparently played too loud for the managers at Peninsula Beauty, where he normally stood in front at 1140 Lincoln Ave.

When attempts to find a happy medium were not successful, a supervisor at Peninsula Beauty called police and had Partida cited. The Mercury News quoted a Peninsula Beauty clerk who said she had asked Partida to turn down the music several times and that Partida was confrontational.

A police spokesman said Partida was issued two citations: one for having amplified sound without a permit, the second for disturbing the peace.

Partida was briefly detained but released after being cited, police said.

The incident created an outpouring of comments on the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association Facebook page which at first took the side of the violinist. The action against Partida – who is currently homeless and lives out of his car, according to the WGNA – was “disrespectful and petty” said the association’s original Facebook post.

The post prompted wave of comments, both in support of the violinist and in support of the store, on the WGNA Facebook site. Many commenters called out the association for taking sides without having the full story and creating negative press for the store and the Willow Glen area.

On the Peninsula Beauty Facebook page, President and CEO Lori Silverstein, said Partida became angry screamed at an employee who felt threatened. Silverstein said she fully supported her employee’s decision to seek police help and that noise ordinances are in place for a reason.

Silverstein said her company also supports Partida and other street artists and was trying to find a solution for all parties, including having Partida play again in front of the store at a lower volume and without amplified sound.

In a subsequent post, the WGNA conceded Partida may have created the situation that led to him being cited and apologized for inadvertently misrepresenting Peninsula Beauty’s role in the spat.

Partida was reportedly scheduled for a court appearance on the citations in May.

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