Join our STARLITE PAGE mailing list.
Hollywood superheroes
get helping hand from federal judge


November 20, 2010
By Robert Jablon, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES Batman, Superman and other superheroes are getting some help from the feds for their caped crusades along Hollywood Boulevard. U.S. Judge Dean Pregerson on Wednesday blocked police from cracking down on the costumed characters who perform and pose for pictures for tips along the fabled street. It may not seem like a traditional form of free speech, but their right to perform is protected under that provision of the U.S. Constitution, Pregerson wrote in the ruling that was welcomed by the performers. "If cops want to do their job correctly, go find a real criminal," Michael Jackson impersonator Sean Vezina said Thursday. Reports of aggressive panhandling and even fights involving unlicensed street performers led to a crackdown in May and June that led to about two dozen arrests for petty crimes such as blocking the sidewalk. Since then, some performers said, police have threatened to arrest them if they didn't leave although on any given day Superman, Spider-Man and Capt. Jack Sparrow can still be seen preening and flexing. "This is a cultural activity," said Fikret Sahin, 40, a Turkish immigrant who studies music at Los Angeles City College and occasionally portrays Yoda from Star Wars. The federal injunction was issued in a lawsuit brought by some of the characters. Police have not decided whether to appeal. Officers stepped up their presence after receiving numerous complaints from business owners and the public that costumed performers had made violent threats against tourists who refused to hand over cash after snapping photos, said Hollywood area police Sgt. Robert McDonald. The Chamber of Commerce disagreed with the judge's decision, noting that police are sometimes needed to protect tourists from large crowds of impersonators. Chamber President Leron Gubler said as many as 60 characters sometimes congregate before dawn in front of the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where they crowd tourists into the street and refuse to move unless their photos are taken. "We think that the judge did not bother to take into consideration the situation on the street," Gubler said. "I would just say it's basically a license for these characters to harass the public. "We have had no one and I repeat not one person who has said they miss the characters," he said. Vezina, who has been a Jackson impersonator for six years, said he takes pains not to be aggressive when asking for tips. Yet on Wednesday, an officer still told him to beat it, he said. Vezina said police legitimately arrested a Batman impersonator who got drunk on his birthday and a Shrek who fought a homeless man. Performers say they offer a valuable service in an area with little more than stores, souvenirs and cheap eateries. "It's like a souvenir for the people," Jordi Bellon, a 26-year-old from Spain, said, peering through his black Zorro mask as he wielded a rose and a plastic sword outside Grauman's. Yvonne Haug, 53, a visitor from Ontario, Canada, agreed. "It's kind of neat, having Zorro standing next to you," she said. "This is what we came to see."




TO VIEW VINNIE'S OLD BLOG PAGE CLICK HERE
Join the i-revewmovies.com website for industry friendly movie reviews. Link your reviews to our site. fans turn out 							new episodes of Star Trek for you to enjoy. Find everything 							STAR WARS Animated 							bunnies star in 30 second versions of famous movies 							you would have seen at the starlite drive-in Watch some public 							domain movies online...these will change often; so 							come back often and see what is new. Watch 							vintage televsion shows Watch some 							interesting video shorts for fun A collection 							of short video clips Be Patient 								While Superman page loads The great BETTY BOOP 							in some of her 	artoons Curly, Larry, Moe, 								Shemp and Curly Joe ham it up in complete shorts Watch complete 							cartoons of Bug Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and more Join the entire POPEYE 							gang in some great cartoons Here is a 							collection of various vintage cartoons. HAVE A 							DRIVE-IN THEATRE IN YOUR BACKYARD FOR PARTIES