Las Vegas Entertainers Take to the Streets

Elvis Sighting
Las Vegas NV Blog: Las Vegas for years limited what street performers could do along its bustling Fremont Street, a pedestrian mall downtown bathed in LED-lights as well as lined with geriatric casinos. That process was relaxed in February after a series of court rulings determined city officials could not black-list certain people from public land.

The city didn't entirely back down. Under City Hall's new rules, costumed characters upon Fremont Street must still keep away from doors, ATMs, crosswalks as well as outdoor cafes. Mayor Oscar Goodman opposed changing a ban, claiming a street performers could attract alternative unwanted peddlers, specifically a men as well as women who pass out sexually explicit leaflets upon a Las Vegas Strip advertising escort services.

"I'm not mad, I'm angry," Goodman said at a time. "I don't like it."

On Fremont Street upon a recent weekend night, visitors did not seem to share Goodman's concerns. They gleefully lined up to pose for pictures with a parade of celebrity as well as character impersonators.

There was a Wolverine from X-Men lore, a twirling Michael Jackson as well as at slightest two Captain Jack Sparrows from Disney's Pirates of a Caribbean franchise. The costumes ranged from a cheap polyester garments found at discount Halloween shops to elaborate homemade concoctions emboldened with handfuls of satin, lace as well as red fur, depending upon a character.

"He sang to me," Leticia Holmes, a 57-year-old Utah mother, boasted after posing with a crooning man dressed as Prince. Holmes also posed alongside a Rod Stewart doppelganger, noting: "My sister-in-law is going to be jealous.

"The merriment of a crowd can belie the desperation of costumed performers who need to make rent. The impersonators cannot demand money for their services, but must strictly rely upon tips. A man who gave only his stage name as G.B. Entertainer is a 55-year-old Rick James impersonator who moved to Las Vegas 11 years ago with dreams of starring in a celebrity impersonation show. The entertainer claimed he began hustling up on Fremont Street last year after nearly all his paid gigs disappeared.

Impersonation jobs are increasingly limited. "American Superstars," one of the longest-running shows in Las Vegas, closed at a Stratosphere casino in March. As Rick James, Entertainer said he earns $75 in tips upon his best days. When it's slow, he might make $14. He poses in a red sequined suit as well as zebra-printed boots six nights a week."You're a baddest brother upon a planet," a passing fan told Entertainer upon a recent night. But the man didn't give Entertainer a tip. Few people do.

"I'm tired of it really, because I belong upon stage," Entertainer said as he collected a few $1 tips. "It's fun sometimes, but mostly it's degrading. It's embarrassing."


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