LETTER: Did Highline Historical Society Steal “Night Of 1,000 Pumpkins” Idea?

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The Burien/ Interim Art Space was close to two years of Kathy and my life and we closed with one of the most successful events of its kind to ever happen in Burien, The Night of 1000 Pumpkins. This event was not only our largest but included our largest number of collaborators. We are very proud about the event and its effect on the community at large.

Now how would you feel if one of the invited collaborators just took the name and the event for themselves, no communication, no coordination and no professional courtesy ? Well that is exactly what has happened to us. The Highline Historical Society has taken the name for their own event and has moved the event to SeaTac (download the newsletter here as a PDF file, and look at Page 3).

We are very thankful to the Highline Historical Society in accepting our invitation to participate in the Nof1000P event last year. Their contributed sponsorship of the altars along with the United Latino Association of Highline Community College was a great addition to the event. We invited HHS to participation in the Nof1000P because we felt the previous year’s Day of the Dead altars at the Burien Community Center deserved a broader audience and we felt we had the venue for that.

Overall the event and the night was about the sum of the whole not just one contributor.

Shame on you Highline Historical Society,
Dane Johnson and Kathy Justin

Founders of the B/ IAS project

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10 Responses to “LETTER: Did Highline Historical Society Steal “Night Of 1,000 Pumpkins” Idea?”
  1. Gretta Graves says:

    I have had this happen to me twice in the last decade in Seattle. The events I named and put on were nowhere near that size and it all got swept under the rug, but it was very upsetting to me.

    The event name “Night of 1000 Pumpkins”, much like a band name or art, if used in commerce (insert any advertisement with city and date here) belongs to the person or persons who coined it. If that is you, then this name is not supposed to be used unless you are using it. The use in commerce has to be in an area that could/would effect your use of the title. That is the case here, so they are not allowed to use it.

    The question is…will you ever use it again? Do you care because the principle of the plagiarism offends you? Would you sue to stop them from using it?

    When this happened to me, the first time I had a chat with the people using it. They were oblivious to the issue and dropped it immediately. The second time, I let it go entirely because I was never going to use the name or do that event again.

    How much does it hurt? Fight to that degree. You have a community of support, but so will they.

    Gretta Graves

  2. Marco says:

    Wow – how lame is that? it would be so easy just to ask permission first, but maybe they are Jesuits and they are going to beg forgiveness later?

    B/IAS was an awesome project and the Night of 1000 Pumpkins was a huge success. Perhaps the name should have been registered. I know a good copyright lawyer…


  3. I am sure a public mea culpa is in order to assuage the feelings of Burien’s most visible recent artists and I write to do just that… apologize for stepping on their sensibilities. I wish they had contacted us for information or clarification. We have never heard from them.
    This offending event was proposed several months ago with the City of SeaTac, but in talking with them since we decided to go with something else (that they and the City of Burien and our curator have been talking about). We certainly never thought the Night of 1000 Pumpkins was “Dane and Kathy’s event.” I personally always thought it was a City of Burien event. Google shows thousand of hits on the name so how could one expect it to be a privately owned name? Its like the name “halloween” and is celebrated across the country. We probably would not have participated last year if we had understood it was not a City event. It would have never entered my mind to contact them for information, certainly not permission, because I never perceived the event as being done in their name. I just thought the transient statues thing had their names on it. I’m sorry they’re upset. A simple telephone call might have made them feel better. I’m certainly willing to talk.
    Cyndi Upthegrove
    Highline Historical Society

    • Katryna says:

      I have lost a lot of respect for the Highline Historical Society either you are saying you were too dumb and/or lazy to find out who as putting on an event that you took part in or you are lying. Either way it doesn’t make you look very good.

      You have greatly lowered my respect for your organization. How can I trust you to find correct historical information when you can’t even figure out what is happen right now?

  4. It’s all about professional courtesy. Whether it was a B/ IAS event or a City of Burien event, it was an event you were invited to participate in. If you choose to use the name and thus the legacy of that event again it is just common courtesy to talk to the original partners. The time for communication is before you publish an event schedule and since you published a schedule stating that you were reusing the name and event without talking to the original partners there was not much to talk about.

    We claim no ownership to the name, even though we have used it off and on for almost 20 years, I know of at least a dozen other events named the same across America.

    I am sorry to hear that you would not have participated if you knew the event was B/ IAS based I am not sure how we could have made it any more clear to the HHS that the event was a Holliday and closing celebration for B/ IAS. ( you can view its web site here http://www.nightof1000pumpkins.com )

    As for our part , Kathy and I enjoyed working with Nancy from the HHS along with the other participants on the event and felt it was a good collaboration, good event and ultimately very good for Burien and isn’t that what really counts the most ?

    This is a small community with lots of Arts and Cultural opportunities that best serve the Highline area if they work and communicate together.

    Dane Johnson Co-Founder of the Interim Art Space,

  5. Chris Bell says:

    I hear that next year HHS will be producing Bumpershoot in Seatac.

  6. unclewoo says:

    kathy and Dane: I wish you were still here. The town square is certainly boring without your contributions. The half baked farmers market, one day a week don’t cut it.

  7. Eric says:

    Having been involved in live theater in one way or another for over 35 years, I have paid my share in royalties and fees. I have sent out and received cease and desist letters. But for some reason, I find this a bit troubling. If there is a valid issue, a private communication rather than a public one may have better served.

    B/IAS was great. But it is over. As far as I know there are no immediate plans to bring it back. It may have brought fame, if not fortune, to its founders. That is well and good and as it should be. But once over, it is over.

    I did a very short google search on “night of a 1000 pumpkins.” I see the SIXTH annual Night of 1000 Pumpkins will take place in Greene County, New York this year. Its Night of 1000 Pumpkins started in 2004. http://www.greenetourism.com/events/4th-annual-night-1000-pumpkins-catskill

    The facebook page Night of 1000 Pumpkins celebrates the festivities in Rochester. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Night-of-1000-Pumpkins/120174094531

    And there is a children’s book called “Night of 1000 Pumpkins.” http://www.mikemotz.com/1000_pumpkins.html

    I don’t know which came first, and I don’t see how it matters much. I see the role of art to entertain, challenge, make us think, and with any luck to see the world with new eyes. A night of 1000 pumpkins did that regardless of who thought of it or who used the name next, with the apology above noted.

    i vote for more support for the arts in Burien.

    • Coverofnight says:

      I agree with Eric where he states, “If there is a valid issue, a private communication rather than a public one may have better served.” I thought some of the comments were a bit harsh, but it makes for interesting reading – even unclepoo’s comment regarding our beloved farmer’s market.

  8. Stan says:

    Oh jeez, does it really matter? Why is there being made such a big deal over it? It`s not like it was an original name you came up with all on your own, and you were done with it anyways. Making mountains out of molehills, that`s all this is.

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