Return of King week positively `Elvilicious’
Some glue in the hair, some money for charity
Mike Mazza and his wife, Lisa, celebrated their first wedding anniversary Saturday night at the Elvis 50th Anniversary Special Dance Party at The Peabody. The Mt. Vernon, Ohio, couple were married at Graceland Chapel, Aug. 14, 2003. They have a son, Aron, whom they named after the King.
Elvis “always reminded me a lot of my dad, a guy’s guy,” Mike said. “He liked his music, fast cars. Loved the ladies. A ladies man.”
Fans packed the Memphis Ballroom to dance to the Terry Mike Jeffrey Band, watch photos and footage of Elvis and swap stories at “Dare to Dance! - A Celebration of 50 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Style.”
Rick Grayson, wearing a gold lame suit, and his wife, Lindy, from Springfield, Mo., were in Memphis celebrating his 50th birthday. Lindy said her present to Rick was a ‘64 red convertible Cadillac.
Special guests included Memphis Mafia member Jerry Schilling and Jack Soden, chief executive officer of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Jerry, former head of the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission now living in Los Angeles, said he’s working on a network special on Elvis, which has a working title of “Elvis by the Presleys.” The documentary, produced by David Saltz, is “from the family’s point of view,” he said.
Noted Elvis photographer Alfred Wertheimer was another special guest. Alfred’s classic shots of the King include a shoeless Elvis in argyle socks lying on a couch on his fan mail and a shirt-less and shoeless Elvis listening to one of his records at his home on Audubon Drive.
“Elvis permitted closeness,” Alfred said. Getting close creates “a tension that brings out the personality.”
Images of the King
In Army uniforms, gold lame jackets, multicolored jumpsuits, black leather and hip 1960s-looking jackets and slacks, Elvis tribute artists honored their hero at the Images of the King Elvis impersonator contest Tuesday through Saturday at the Holiday Inn Select on Democrat.
“This is the ultimate stamp of approval to show you’re doing the right thing,” said David Lee, a tribute artist from Birmingham and the winner of this year’s contest. He also won the People’s Choice award.
Dwight Icenhower was second-place winner and Todd Martin was third. Rick Fary won the Spirit of Elvis award.
Franz Goovaerts, known as “Elvis Junior,” wore a black leather outfit to portray the 1968 comeback special Elvis. Being able to sing is a must if you’re an Elvis tribute artist, said Franz, who is from Belgium. But, he added, “If you’re cute, it’s better.”
Fernando Rodriguez, 21, from Hammond, Ind., made it to the finals Friday night. His hair was a bit too unruly duing his preliminary performance Tuesday night, but his friend, Chas Scymanski, took care of that. “We glued his hair to his head so it wouldn’t fly everywhere,” Chas said.
When he returned a handkerchief to a woman who wiped his head during his performance, Kavan, the 16-year-old tribute artist from Hilliard, Ohio, added a line Elvis probably would say if he were alive today: “She’s gonna sell that on eBay or something.”
Benefit gospel brunch
Suzanna Leigh, who starred with Elvis in “Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” hosted a gospel brunch Friday at her home. The party was a benefit for the Elvis Presley American Legion Post in Memphis. The event was given by D&N’s Elvis Presley Fan Club.
Guests drank tea and enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather as they listened to Chris MacDonald, an Elvis tribute artist, perform in Suzanna’s backyard.
Fans from around the country shared Elvis stories. Ann Anders from Tucson, Ariz., remembered seeing Elvis, dressed in a wild-looking shirt, at the Fort Worth train station in 1957. First somebody took his shoelaces and then “somebody yanked his shoes off,” she said. “He stood there. He had on socks, thank goodness, and they were wild, too, like his shirt.”
Mori, 42, an Elvis tribute artist from Tokyo and 1992 Images of the King contest winner, was among the guests. He became an Elvis fan when he was 18. “I recognized the beauty of Elvis and started to sing,” he said. “When I was small I knew his name, but I didn’t know what Elvis was all about.”
Mori originally was trying to be a baseball player. “I lost my dream. My next dream was to become a singer.”
He then began listening to more Elvis music, read about him and was hooked. “Elvis started it all.”
Dead Elvis Ball
Describing what it’s like to portray Elvis, Kim Richardson said, “It’s `Elvilicious.’ It feels suave and debonair with a little bit of gospel in it, a little `hallelujah’ in there somewhere.”
She was the King at the “Dead Elvis Ball” Saturday night at the P&H Cafe. This is the 24th or 25th ball, said Nancy Heaton of the P&H. The Rhythm Hounds performed.
Kim wore a white and red jumpsuit, a wig and shades. She also wore New Balance tennis shoes. “It’s tough to walk around when you’ve been dead for all these years,” she said.
Jeff Seidman and Jennifer Roberson shot darts with Shawn Sullivan and Meriwether Nichols. Jeff wore Old Navy flip-flops with his purple and black velour jumpsuit. “I just happened to have the jumpsuit (but) no shoes to match,” he said.
Chris Ellis designed this year’s T-shirt that showed Elvis with his eyes closed and the caption: “Resting up for the next 50 years.” Of rock and roll, of course.
Call 529-2797 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with party news, celebrity sightings or information about Mid-South personalities. Or fax details to 529-2787.
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