TRANSLATION: MEMPHIS 

TRANSLATION: MEMPHIS

Did you ever think about how awful it would be to show up at the Elvis impersonator contest only to find another Elvis in the same sequined jumpsuit? Me neither--at least not until this week when I found myself surrounded by a literal sea of Aloha Elvi. Now if, for whatever reason, the prospect of such a scenario appeals to you in any perverse manner, then there’s someplace you need to go this week. Just about every Elvo-type conceivable can be found in one ballroom at the 16th annual Images of the King impersonator contest, which runs every night this week at the Holiday Inn on Democrat. And yes, there is a bar. The adage that Moms have uttered since Mr. Presley was in diapers runs that imitation is--you know this--the highest form of flattery. Mathematically, of course, that would also mean that it could sometimes be the lowest. And herein lies the crux of this hip-swaggering, lip-snarling festival of polyester. Who, oh who, will be this year’s image of the King? When it comes to Elvis impersonators, I guess there’s power in numbers. Tuesday night offered about 20 amalgamations on the theme of King Presley. I’m talking a Prepubelvis who must have been all of 12 years old. About five 68’ Comeback Elvi. An Elvess--or Elvys for the feminists in the crowd-- who frightened me quite intensely. A sweaty scarf throwing Elvis. A Latin Elvis. A Black Elvis. The aforementioned gaggle of Aloha Elvi. There was even a Grandma Elvis. But my personal favorite was definitely the Bedazzlelvis. He, my friends, would be the contestant covered from head-to-toe in true rhinestone glory, and the walking dream of anyone who ever lusted after the Bedazzler, faux gem attaching marvel of the Eighties. Contestants are judged in the categories of vocals, stage presence, appearance, authentic movements and finally, connection with the audience. In the house to show the wannabee wannabee’s how it’s done was Irv Cass, World Champion Elvis from 1999. He scared me a little. It wasn’t so much the performance, which was pretty dead-on in a Seventies Elvis kind of way. It was the crowd. Ok, fine, I’ll admit it. The crowd scared me, not the Elvis. As Mr. Cass commenced with the swaggering of his Aloha hips, women all over the room were literally bouncing out of their seats in a fervor for the man who would be King. Sweaty scarves were draped around their craning necks. Kisses were thrown all over the place. But the real gem of the evening was when a woman came up to wipe the sweat from his brow, and then proceeded to place it gingerly in her pocket. Go ahead, picture it. Creepy, eh? The price of entry at the event is a bit steep, at $15 through Thursday, and $25 for the finals on Friday and Saturday. But if you’ve got the problem with curiosity that I have, it might be worth it. And like I said, there is a bar.

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