Marisa Gerber of the Los Angeles Times did a pretty good piece on the ups and downs of being down on the street near Hollywood and Highland. There has been some serious ugliness, but it has overall gotten better.

Still, if you’ve ever wondered about all the Costumed Fr–err, people out there:

Tourists don’t have to tip the actors — and some don’t, says Darth Vader impersonator Christopher Mitchell, who has worked at the intersection for eight years.


Things got hard after the summer of 2010, Mitchell says, when the LAPD did a sweep and arrested characters on various charges — including blocking a public sidewalk.V28-006


“Everybody out here is trying to pay the bills, pay the rent, feed themselves or their kids,” Mitchell says. “We’re all trying to be nice to people, you know? That’s always been that way.”


When Leron Gubler took the helm of Hollywood’s Chamber of Commerce more than two decades ago, he remembers only two characters working the boulevard: a woman who played Charlie Chaplin and a Michael Jackson impersonator. Now, two or three sequined Jacksons moonwalk the boulevard every day.


Gubler hopes to regulate the number of characters and implement a code of conduct.


“There’s just too many of them.”