Hollywood Blvd Turf War

During a late dinner last night I caught on one of the local news channels that there was a turf war raging on Hollywood Blvd between the costumed characters and guys selling their hip hop CDs.  It’s a very one-sided war with violence being executed strictly by one group upon the other.

It seems that the music vendors think the characters are cutting into their profits when they roam around that small stretch of Hollywood Blvd rather than sticking to the area directly in front of the Chinese Theater.  In response, they have doled out some brutal beatings, including one that ended an actor up in the hospital with a skull fracture.  Reportedly, there have been around 6 of these incidents in the last few months.

The celebrity impersonators have asked the city for some form of protection or security.  They’ve even proposed the idea of everyone performing on Hollywood Blvd being licensed and creating a set of rules for street vendors.

Either way, it’s baffling.  I can’t for the life of me figure out how a guy in a Spiderman costume who makes $1 for every picture he poses in can be a threat to someone selling a hip hop CD.

9 Replies to “Hollywood Blvd Turf War”

  1. I’ve contacted a few of my friends who sometimes do that gig to find out more information. I have heard a rumor that the guy playing Batman finally decided he’d had enough and is going back home (to Canada, I believe).

    Sounds fairly intense to me.

  2. It’s because when a tourist says “oh gee honey it’s Spiderman, let’s have little Heather pose with him”… it’s then that stupid poser rap star cd seller runs up to said family and says buy this cd. Getting all in the business of family and Spiderman.

    Should Spiderman suggest the cd seller step back and wait his turn? It’s beat down time.

    I think a few costumed acts are alright but I don’t like the idea of tourists feeling that they are walking down a gauntlet as reported in the Times article.

    I like the idea of being licensed and regulating that aspect of the street vendors.

  3. The characters have never bothered me. Sometimes they try to engage me when I’m not in the mood but it doesn’t stress me out in any fashion. I don’t find them nearly as aggressive as other elements that have gathered there.

    I’ve had more than a few unsavory encounters with those music vendors that nearly turned ugly just because I said, “no.” One guy even pursued me through the crowd to try and insult me into a sale. He was a gem.

    I agree that during tourist heavy seasons this stretch of Hollywood Blvd becomes a kind of gauntlet, though the source of annoyance varies from person to person. Most of the time, I’m vexed by the actual tourists themselves suddenly stopping to stare at something while dead in the middle of a moving walk way.

    I can see the benefit of regulation, particularly as a local. I’m rarely there to just hang out. I’m on my way to a destination. It’d be nice to get there unmolested.

  4. Its tough times everywhere and though its no direct competition with product, its limited tourist dollars at stake and they are looking to get the biggest share.

    The CD guys can be annoying. The characters are unnerving in a pervy way with my daughter which bothers me.

    But, I can tell you its a lot more festive and safe than it was 20 years ago. Then that is where you went for your drugs, to use them and if so inclined get your hooker – and the latter had a different kind depending on the corner. Not a nice place after dark at all. I’ll put up with the cd sellers and the characters as they are a huge improvement.

  5. I witnessed the skull fracture incident and lemme tell ya, some of those CD sellers are straight up criminals. Unruly neanderthals with quick tempers and no sense of respect for others. Really? You’re willing to brutally assault someone in a costume with dozens of horrified witnesses looking on just to have the last word on a petty argument? Really? Sigh…

  6. I live practically around the corner from there and, for the most part, believe Hollywood would be better served if the costumed characters left completely. Some of them are decent guys and gals and take pride in what they do – even if they’d prefer to be doing something else. But many are belligerent, annoying, and I believe leave too many bad impressions on tourists there.

    Really, the only difference I’ve seen between the aggressive CD dealers and the costumed characters is that the CD dealers aren’t wearing masks. But I will say that while working an event on Hollywood Blvd., a crew guy I worked with bought a CD from one of those guys that a guy said was his demo… $10. We popped it in, and discovered it was a sampler CD that a label put out with its C level talent. Lame.

  7. We have the hip hop CD sellers along Venice Beach. I don’t know if it’s the same group as in Hollywood, but I also find them extremely annoying to the point of harrassing. They congregate along the narrowest parts of the path and stand in the middle, so there’s no way around them if they want to accost you.

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