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Las Vegas Hollywood Boulevard

By MikeE on Saturday, 9th April 2011 3:32am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 32


There was a time when walking through the strip meant dodging pornslappers and the occasional timeshare hawker. It was annoying, but over the course of several trips, you'd overcome these annoyances and even become oblivious to them.

Then came the free nightclub passes guy. Okay. That's one more person to ignore. Then came the ultra-aggressive strip club passes guy and then the water-for-one-dollar dudes with their coolers blocking your path. Most recently, superheroes have started lining the streets. No bullshit. I saw Batman standing in front of Paris posing for pictures as Bellagio's fountains were going off. "I fight crime for tips," he'd say. Spiderman and Superman weren't far off. Even Mickey Mouse was in adult Disneyland to fulfill every surreal fantasy and accomplish whatever Alanis Morissette would incorrectly define as "ironic."

Combine all this with the panhandlers, street musicians, occasional coke dealers, and the ever-present people that stop right in the middle of a pedestrian thoroughfare, and the strip becomes even more of an unpleasant clusterfuck than it already was. The last straw? I saw a guy with a freakin' python around his neck standing in front of Caesars and blocking traffic just at the moment where the horrendous sewage smell taints your nostrils.

Look, I'm all for making a buck in one of the most desperate cities in America, but seeing the strip looking like a fourth world country isn't exactly going to help return visitation, especially from first-timers looking for the fantasyland they've seen on TV.

But who knows? Most of the carnival is a relatively new thing that hasn't seen a summer season yet. And I know not even Superman can withstand 110 degrees in polyester tights.

Tagged: batman   


Comments & Discussion:

couldnt have said it better myself

We just got back and I agree. Super annoying and they don't add anything to the experience. I can see Elvis, maybe some Blue Man Group people or some pirates in front of TI but otherwise it's just sad. Most of the costumes are cheap and have nothing to do with Vegas.

I actually like the $1 Bottled water guys, much better than some dirty fuck holding up a sign, begging me for money. Sell me something I can use..

Almost every trip someone tries to sell me coke or CDs on the bridge from MGM to NYNY. The first time, we were shocked (well, not too much), but the 3rd and 4th times was pretty finny. "Did he just offer you what I think he offered you?".. Guess I look like someone who likes to party. Yeah, so there have been a few trips where I hear "Wanna buy some coke?" almost as much a we get asked "Where are ya'll from?". lol

I think they should have someone dressed like Wynn, sitting on a big shitter with the "Wynn" logo on the side.

"2 years ago I was standing over there, now, I am sitting over here".

When I was out there the first weekend of March, on Sunday night I was over in front of Bellagio, and there was a guy with one of those rolling coolers selling beer. There were a few "living statues" on the sidewalk as well.

My first few days of my trip, I was staying on Fremont Street and saw a lot of these folks firsthand. I saw a guy in a Yoda costume that was a few sizes too small, a guy in a Superman costume that looked like the adult sized version of kids' PJs, a lady dressed in a homemade SpongeBob SquarePants costume (It was a cardboard box spray painted to look like him.), and various "showgirls", whose costumes ranged from looking like they stepped off the stage at say Jubilee to others that looked like they stepped off the stage at Olympic Gardens..... There were also a few living statues, a contortionist, a street magician, and a guy playing a plastic bucket.

I agree that these costumed characters are out of sorts for Las Vegas. I could see the need for folks that dress up as Las Vegas showgirls, Elvis, and the Rat Pack, but folks dressed up as a Teletubbie or in a cheap discount store costume of a superhero have no real place in Las Vegas. They ought to send the guy at the Las Vegas Mob Experience that looks like De Niro in Casino down to Fremont Street (maybe if they can find a Joe Pesci lookalike to tag along with him) and put a bit of a scare into these guys.

They should just make it like Knotts Halloween Haunt and just have a bunch of people dressed as knife-wielding psychos popping out nowhere to scare the shit out of you....
...oh wait, that already happens sometimes. Watch out for the fuckers with backpacks, that's all I gotta say.

he he you said taint

We saw some guys doing the 3 card monte thing, and the "find the bean under the 3 cups thing" in March. They were on the sidewalk just past Caesars. No cops to break it up, they were there for hours.

All these "people" is one reason why I stayed on campus at Aria for the majority of my trip last week. I did leave Aria but not too far and not too often.

They've been out there for over a year, as of last April they had already been around long enough to start getting into it with non tourists from a couple encounters I saw. They started showing up about November 2009, mostly in front of the Bellagio fountains at that point, there weren't a lot like it started to be last year, but it was enough that you noticed.

I personally hate this more then pornslappers or timeshares. It's panhandling plain and simple and much more likely to result in an encounter then pornslappers.

If you walk the strip some too, there are a variety of 3 card monte games being run on the strip as well, Caesars seems to have a fairly regular game

If I want to "...stay on campus" I go to Tunica or Biloxi. No porn slappers or coke dealers or dolla' water guys, just 75 year olds on their scooters suckin' down O2 and a Camel at the same time. (BTW, full disclosure, I love GoldStrike Tunica!) :)

I think the point is: How much crap should a person have to put up with? If that person is drunk, does the level of crap go up? And...What idiots are tipping a grown man in a Superman costume to begin with?

Totally agree. Thank you for saying something. Learned how to ignore those pornslappers, exactly, just totally ignore them as if they weren't there. The water people, annoyed me at first but considering a bottle of water costs way more than a dollar at the resorts and just more than a dollar at the drug stores, I learned to appreciate them and buy water from them all the time now.

Those disgusting, filthy creeps in the costumes... Get rid of them. Please. I live in LA and I so much hate it here and those morons in those Elmo-on-coke costumes are so pathetic and disgusting, really the lowest of low. The costumes they wear look filthy and as if they have fleas and as if the character they're suppose to be is strung out on heroin. Seeing that trash now littering the strip is really pissing me off. I noticed them first in front of Paris and assuming Paris is doing nothing to get rid of them decided I will no longer be going there anymore, as really, I'd rather no longer go to a casino than have to look at that filth.

I don't understand why these resorts don't ask them to leave. I hate the beggers and everyone else but that trash just irritates more than anything. It's so petty and pathetic. Worse though are the imbeciles who stop and give that trash any time of day. I'm more mad at those simpletons who give them reason to be out there than anything else. How stupid does one have to be to be at all intrigued by those lowest-of-lows in their cheap, filthy, flea-infested-looking costumes??!?! I mean really. Pathetic.

Is there any legal action? The pornslappers litter and the costumes are a fire hazard.

I love the rappers that get pushy with you to buy their CD. I'm 45, overweight, and if I was any whiter I'd be the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man. I'm thinking I'm not your target demographic. What would your tagline read on the cardboard signs you staple up to the telephone poles? MC lil PufnStuf: #1 requested DJ among old fat white guys from Jersey?

Oh, and I saw a guy in a full black latex Batman costume in front of the M&M store in 110 degree weather.

Unfortunately, they probably can't do anything about these folks, as proven with the fight to get rid of pornslappers. These annoyances are using their rights to "free speech" since they are on public sidewalks. They could consider these folks to be "street performers" and require a license, but I'm sure someone could figure out a loophole using the 1st Amendment.

I noticed when I was out there in March, there was a panhandler or two on the bridge between the MGM Grand and the Tropicana. Technically they're not panhandling if they do not make verbal request, so they hold up a sign instead. They also strategically place themselves in locations on the bridge that are essentially "no man's land" for the casino security staff.

It's bad enough that the folks on the inside of the casino are trying to shake you down before you've gotten into the door. I'm not just talking about the timeshare hawkers either. I ventured into Excalibur my last trip (so I could finally mark it off the list of properties I had yet to venture into) and had barely gotten into the place before I got shanghaied by some comely lasses for a photo op (in which you could buy copies of). They do a similar thing at the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Trop, and I remember a similar type racket at Star Trek: The Experience, as well as at the Stratosphere after riding the Big Shot.

So glad you brought this up. That was one thing that shocked me on my last trip to Vegas. I went on a whole rant about it in my journal, but haven't posted it to my blog. It was bad enough when we had to run the gauntlet of porn slappers and timeshare salespeople just to get down the street, but now it's almost impossible to push your way past every Tom, Dick and Harry panhandler and street hawker. It's effing annoying. And you're probably right. If Vegas can't stop the porn slappers, they're not going to be able to stop these guys, either...at least until they cause a tragic accident...say when someone gets hit by a car because they have to step out into the street because the sidewalks are too crowded by these guys, or when one of the pedestrian walkways collapses under the weight of them all. It's a shame, because it presents such a shitty first impression to Vegas visitors.

One of the characters who is in front of the Showcase posted a "Ask me about being a bootleg mascot..." thread in another, non-Vegasy forum that I go to.

According to him, blame LAPD because the city has been cracking down on the Hollywood Boulevard trade lately. Apparently some of the guys are sort of allowed (the guy who plays Superman, and is regularly on Jimmy Kimmel Live, thinks of himself like some kind of god apparently and even has his own biographic film) but overall unless you have a lot of friends who have friends who Know A Guy, you can't get away with it in LA anymore.

I asked him why he doesn't just apply at Disneyland Casting for a position as a costumed character and more or less do this business in a more legitimate setting, but apparently it makes quite a bit of money and you keep your own hours instead of having some Mouse House manager telling you to get back into the heat when you don't feel like it.

It's sort of like half street performer, half running away with the circus. I guess I sort of understand, but don't know why they all hustle in just one space.

Glad someone brought up the Cashman photographers in restaurants. They come up to you and ask if you want a photo...they don't say anything else. If you say sure, they pop a few photos and go away. At the end of your meal they bring all the prints back to your table and give you the price.

It's an emotion play because it's tough to say no with your girl right there and a semi decent photo in a nice little frame ready to go. They hit you with the price and if I remember correctly, it was like $40 or $50 for the photo.

These recent circumstances haven't really bothered me on my last couple of trips. To me, Vegas is such an otherworldly, dirty, gorgeous, hodgepodge of crap/beauty that I just take it as all part of the package. I think it is dangerous to take that city too seriously. "Panhandlers in front of the Bellagio asking for a quarter vs. Patrons at the Bellagio betting $500 per BJ hand" can turn into a pretty interesting conversation.
If anything, it will just make me take most of my strip-walking hikes through the casinos and not the sidewalks. I mostly prefer that route anyway.

Someone else mentioned "Superman's" documentary, it's worth a watch if you have Netflix, confessions of a superhero (or something like that).

One other point in addition to the costume characters, something else that has gotten bad, most of the overpasses (Bills to Bally's especially). At any given time there are water sellers, homeless beggars, and groups of musicians, in some cases again I've seen some aggression from the pan handlers, which for a structure that is isolated could make for a extremely bad situation. Last trip I did notice some bicycle cops up on the overpass, which is a start.

Actually, these guys are not the same as the pornslappers at all. The pornslappers get 1st amendment protections since they are handing out free literature. The characters and night club pass guys are selling something. The city absolutely can regulate that and require permits. They won't though. The politicians in this city are the laziest fucks on the planet. They make Chicago politics look flat out honest.
The 3 card monty guys are breaking the law. No police action. They would rather hassle strippers since it is easier and they strippers will pay the fines.
I'm just waiting for the guy from Chicago who stands outside of the Lyric Opera playing a really bad rendition of "In The Mood" on his saxophone to show up. It's quite jarring to hear that waiting at the valet after listening to 4 hours of Verdi. He would fit right in on the strip.

WTF is up with all the faux hippies hanging out on the new Harmon street overpass? It reaks like a mixture of Patchouli and ass!!!! Little hint: smoking weed, not showering, and pissing outside doesn't make you a hippie and as far as social movements go, the hippie movement was pretty much one of the biggest failures in history. You make the hipster doofuses seem like they have a point!

maybe when Chuck is elected mayor (since our other candidate, VegasRex, moved to the pacific northwest) he can have them "rounded up and secrety killed" the way Giuliani did to the homeless in NYC*

* - as reported by Family Guy

I agree it has gotten crazy with al teh sidewalk people. My last trip a guy started sing a song from a band that was on my wife's shirt. He was good , but we stood there for about 20 min and he talked, then he asked for a couple of bucks and took our pic.

Word of caution:

If you buy the dollar water, check the seal on the cap first. If it's already been opened, that plastic bottle was probably fished out of the trash and one point and refilled with tap water.

On the bridge from MGM to NYNY you say?

Ive got a whole side page on Facebook dedicated to the Elvis impersonators filled with a few dozen photos Ive taken over the last 8 months while running around town. Bad Elvis- Not Elvis behaving badly, just people being Elvis..... Badly. I shoot all the other "personalities" too- I think some of them are trying to be terrible. When I see the same costumes on different people each week though, its obvious theyre working for a company that supplies the costume.

Last time we were there , there was a dude dressed like Capt Jack Sparrow in the Paris Hotel.
Then two nights in a row, the same black dude outside IP yelling "CRACK!" as we walked by. It's wasn't the "Walk as you pass, non chalantly saying 'coke' or 'mdma'" it was just CRACK! as loud as he could in a crack head voice.

I've seen the "Jack Sparrow" character my last two trips. Back in June, he was hanging out in front of Treasure Island; when I was out there in March, I saw him on Fremont Street.

On my last trip in I noticed the goofs wearing costumes and ignored them (we do that here in chicago, ignore street theater) but at some point it is going to get out of hand.

The walkway from MGM Grand to New York New York is becoming an adventure I try to avoid..lots of musicians just sitting there for whatever reason...

The nightclub pass guys don't notice me, but they do notice women who dressed to go out that evening..that has to get annoying over time..

The dollar a bottle water guys I have no issue with..its cheaper than getting a $4 a bottle water inside the casinos..point taken from Dave 702..but I think some of the people doing the water thing are at least getting the water from nearby grocery stores and reselling it for at least a small profit..

The costumed beggers should be regulated and pass background checks. I have to get a permit to pour drinks, but they can dress up in a shitty costume that hides thier identity and hassle people for change? Its very bad in front of Showcase Mall and Hard Rock Cafe, just derelicts every few feet.
I've seen a few changing in thier cars in the parking garage, its not a stretch to assume they are living there too. Willing to bet there isn't a few pedophiled out there popping wood while tourists pay them to take pictures with kids? I know for a fact Minnie Mouse is a middle-aged man...
Make em get permits. We could use the tax money, and the statutes are already on the bookd. Strippers, bartenders, carnival workers all have to pay for permits, why not Freakin' Shrek?

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