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Artist shafted



As Detroit winds down from its annual Hart Plaza electronic music dance party — now dubbed Movement 2003 — Eddie Birtulescu is still smarting from last year’s event. Back then, the event was known as the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, and Birtulescu agreed to do the artwork to market the event. The College for Creative Studies grad’s poster of a metallic figure with a big hand manipulating a record ended up everywhere: on DEMF T-shirts, schedules, etc.

Problem is, Birtulescu says, he never got paid. He claims Carol Marvin, president of Pop Culture Media, producer of the event for its first three years, said she’d pay him $1,500 if he could complete the artwork one week before it was set to be unveiled; he agreed.

“It’s trashy the way they treated him,” says his lawyer, Paul Hughes, who’s working for free. “The little guy really got shafted.” Hughes says.

“I’m not a money-hungry guy,” says Birtulescu, who claims Pop Culture agreed to use his work only for posters, not for other merchandising. “I thought, OK, this is the DEMF, nobody would pull a stunt like that. It backfired in my face.”

Meanwhile, Marvin is threatening to sue the city, claiming she alone has a permit to use Hart Plaza during Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately for her, Birtulescu joins a litany of festival workers who claim they didn’t get paid on time, if at all — and that group of disgruntled people certainly won’t help her bid to regain control of the festival.

Marvin could not be reached for comment.

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