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PLATFORM : Merchants of Magic Keep Venice Beach Special

October 29, 1991|TONY VERA | Some Venice merchants want authorities to prevent street performers along the boardwalk from collecting money from beachgoers. TONY VERA is a Venice Beach boardwalk performer who "eats fire" and tells jokes. Commenting on the situation, Vera told The Times:

Most of the merchants along Venice Beach support and appreciate us. The merchants are having a difficult time making money because of the recession. About 30% of the merchants blame the street performers for the drop in business; but they're just looking for a scapegoat.

A lot of the street performers use Venice Beach to display their talent. Venice is a potential stepping stone to the big time in the entertainment field. We're out here in search of fame and some of us are finding success.

Also, beach performers spend money between acts. I buy food and T-shirts from vendors at the beach.

The merchants aren't losing sales because of the performers. The performers attract people to Venice Beach. We bring happiness and laughter. We have followings.

Without the performers, Venice Beach wouldn't be very different from Santa Monica Beach. The performers make Venice special. We bring the magic to this beach.

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