Vegas Oddity: Fight with Batman & Flirt with Spartacus

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Vegas characters.
Vegas Sign. Photo by Marco Verch.

So Many Vegas Characters

Over the past five years or so, a number of new entrepreneurs have taken over portions of the Las Vegas Strip & Fremont Street Experience. Officially called street performers, most don’t actually perform at all. A few do have small acts, but most of these performers dress up as characters and let you take their photo in exchange for tips.

Gene Simmons on Fremont Street. Vegas characters.
Gene Simmons on Fremont Street. Photo by Catherine Snodgrass.

Vegas Characters Will Pose for Tips

According to the laws in Vegas, these street performers aren’t actually able to charge you for their “services”. Hence the reason that they work for tips. Apparently this performing stuff has become very lucrative over the years.

In the beginning popular mainstays like Batman & Spiderman thrilled visitors, however today they have been joined by everything from Cupid to Spartacus and Playboy Bunnies. If you can think of a character, then it probably exists here in Vegas.

Vegas characters. Street performer downtown on Fremont Street.
Photo by Barely. Street performer on Fremont Street.

Then there are people who really aren’t characters like the person above, or a woman I have seen a few times whose only claim to fame are her enormous boobs. Just like anything that proves to be popular and profitable, this Vegas street performer thing has jumped the shark.

The Crack Down

Vegas characters. Drunk Homer on the Strip.
Drunk Homer. Photo by Dom Crossley.

Unfortunately this explosion of “street performers” has caused a number of issues. Fremont Street which unlike the Strip is actually in Las Vegas, has really made a come back the past few years. With an increase in tourists including families, a number of complaints began rolling in about the performers.

Earlier this year the Las Vegas City Council stepped in after complaints of street performers aggressively pursuing tips from patrons. The council beefed up the police presence, instituted a no touching rule and installed signs informing people that tipping performers isn’t mandatory.

The Batman Beat Down

Then there is the story of Batman. A few years ago this YouTube video went viral, when it showed a Batman impersonator getting beat up pretty badly on the Strip. No one filed a police report apparently.

Conclusion

People dressing up in costumes in tourist areas definitely isn’t unique to Vegas. I have seen similar characters in a number of places. What is unique to Vegas is the sheer variety of characters and the attitude of the patrons interacting with them.

Being a Vegas street performer must be a tough job, but no doubt they are doing pretty well. Either way you should look for them on your next trip. While they are just one of many oddities that make Vegas what it is, they certainly keep my people watching desires fulfilled!


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