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LA’s costumed characters find the going rough

Holy Hollywood ending,Batman! Maybe this is a job for Superman!

Written by L A Times,Washington Post | Hollywood | Published: February 16, 2009 12:28 am

Holy Hollywood ending,Batman! Maybe this is a job for Superman!

That’s what Robin was probably thinking after the superhero sidekick was attacked as he strolled in his mask,cape and tights among tourists on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

A series of assaults has led to a plea for a licensing system that costumed characters who pose for visitors’ photos hope will protect them.

Actors who dress like movie and TV personalities contend that vendors selling compact discs of music on Hollywood Boulevard have attacked them and beaten them without provocation. Dozens of the colourful street actors show up daily on the north side of the boulevard to pose for pictures in exchange for tips.

In complaints to Los Angeles police,the characters have blamed the attacks on music disc sellers who congregate near a record store on the block. Since late fall,more than a half-dozen street performers have reportedly been beaten,including one costumed character who was hospitalized with a skull fracture.

At the Walk of Fame,CD sellers had little to say about their relationship with the performers. “I don’t know anything about that,” said one,walking away with his stack of discs. “You’ll have to talk to the characters,” said another,who also turned away.

In a letter to Villaraigosa and the City Council,impersonator Christopher Mitchell asked police and security guards be assigned to patrol along the block. The city should create a licensing system for characters and other performers,and institute rules for sidewalk CD sellers,proposed Mitchell. A spokeswoman for Villaraigosa said his office is looking into the matter.

Alex Brovedani,an impersonator who portrays such characters as Batman and Robin,said he has been assaulted four times by CD vendors. Being dressed as a super hero doesn’t help,he said. “With costumes on it’s hard to fight back,even as Batman. Our costumes are so clunky we can’t catch them when they run away.”

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