Posted by bmac on April 26, 2008
I kinda knew this. A good spot on a freeway exit can be pretty lucrative.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I spent a lot of time at Venice Beach, and there were some world class panhandlers out there. At Venice, there was a guy, probably still there, that juggled a chain saw, an apple and a bowling ball. He had a cardboard box out for “donations”, and I looked in it. Musta been 2 or 300 bucks in there. And he probably did 3 or 4 “shows” a day. That guy was making great money, tax free. He was really good though. At least he worked for it, but his schtick was complete bullshit, and tourists ate it up. In fact, here he is:
He’s been out there for years. Although, when I used to see him, it wasn’t this elaborate, with the fire and everything. Here”s another guy you may recognize, a total fixture on Venice Beach, Harry Perry:
This guy has been there at least 25 years, so it must be working for him. We used to talk to him, and I have a feeling he goes home to a nice house. He sells his wacky CD’s. He’s not real aggressive about it, but I bet he sells enough to make a decent living. He acts all crazy, and he’ll skate around you in circles singing songs about aliens. Most people just get annoyed with him, but if you are ever in Venice, and you see him, (Trust me, you’ll see him) ask him to sing “Invaders” and he’ll launch into his “greatest hit.” And then he’ll be all normal and ask if you want to buy his cd, and tell you all about the new one he’s working on in “his studio.” Pretty funny.
These guys are harmless, and I’m pretty sure their system of “Panhandling” is just kind of an alternative job. They never seemed like druggies or alcoholics to me. Unlike the super aggressive bums on Hollywood Blvd, that used to threaten and harass people, or scam artists like this girl in the link. Anybody that’s dealt with big city bums has probably lost a lot of empathy for the homeless, and for good reason. Myself included.