NOTES ON BUSKING IN LOS ANGELES
Also reference How would you like to own a parrot? [Happy New Year]<CruiseShip.html> and <junglec.html>.
Interestingly enough Hepcat's question is precisely the same I have about the rest of North America - What are the best places to busk in your neck of the woods? I believe that question is on the minds of many of us. So in addition to introducing myself, I'll get things rolling and answer the 'Where do I busk?' for my alley of the urban jungle.
I would suggest visiting Universal City Walk (in your street clothes) and applying for an audition to perform there.
L.A. is big and busy at night, but the traffic is all in cars, not walking.
Santa Monica is good at night, even if it is very competitive. They only allow buskers in three very large areas (basically within each of the three blocks) and you must get a permit from city hall. The cost of the permit is $120/year, or $30 per quarter.
I have had some success during the day at the park beside the central library, downtown L.A.
Marginal success day and night have I had along Hollywood Blvd. but they have a new anti-panhandling law which allows musicians and not much else. I have seen a balloon twister walkabout in front of the Chinese Theater Forecourt, but my experience with the management there is that they feel it's too crowded already and they are aggressive at enforcing a broad interpretation of panhandling. This is where I grew up, back when it was more than just the usual tourist traps and T-shirt shops. I used to do much better there, but since the shopkeepers decided that buskers were taking too much money out of the pockets of their potential customers and made an effort to eradicate us, that now people no longer go there for the 'free' entertainment, and the business don't have potential customers at all. Will the shopkeepers never learn? They ended up eradicating themselves.
Westwood Village, twenty years ago, did the same thing. It was THE place to view buskers. Now; since banning buskers, the gang related shootings; street closures and construction- the merchants, realizing their mistakes are trying to regain the pedestrian traffic that they once had.
Venice beach is the most competitive during the day among buskers, and absolutely dead at night.
Most other beach communities consider busking as panhandling, including Hermosa, Long, Manhattan, Redondo, Huntington beaches as well as Torrance - you can do your show, but you can't ask for money nor even leave a hat out.
Don't go to Pasadena, I work Pasadena. I am The Wizard of Pinball, a magician ( http://www.a-vip.com/disneywizard .) There is another magician. There are too many magicians here. Oh, What the Heck! C'mon down! Maybe we can displace the panhandlers. Try in the alleys, or near the curb, but not next to buildings and don't block traffic, vehicular or pedestrian. No vending (I can't sell my CD's or video tapes.) We also have Joe "big balloon hat" Hardy who recently come out from retirement, the most creative and inventive twister, and a few other twisters such as Krazy Klown who juggles as well, Jack Gold who likes to incorporate unusual objects into his balloon creations, myself Wiz, who only makes a comic balloon rabbit to pull from my hat, and then there's Hoshi, the world's worst balloon twister, which is not a joke or title.
Maybe the joke is that he doesn't know that he is that bad. I DO know that which makes him so awful - three balloon shapes are all he knows how to make, four if pressed; he eats (which is ugly) while he sits on the window sill away from his pitch, or he just sits, looking bored; he complains about life; but mostly, his biggest failure is that ! he is not there to give away smiles! He is there to make money and that's all, it shows, and he drives people away.
So Zack, er.. HepCat, stop by and say hello, and maybe pass a smile or two around.
Have a Disney magical day! — Wizard.
From: "zackd" <hepcat @ ibm.net> Hi everyone, I'm a magician that has just relocated to the L.A. area. Can anybody give me some tips about busking out here? Where are the good places? I'm especially looking for places that I can work at night. Thanks, Hepcat
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