Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Emergency Elvis Explained

In December of 2004 (or 2003, I don't really remember right now), my high school choir teacher called me up and asked me if I would be part of their Winter Concert. This might seem like a weird thing, but I had M.C.'d their events five or six times after I'd graduated, because they knew I would do a good job and would do it for absolutely nothing, and because I was (and kind of still am) completely dedictated to the woman who put up with my shenanigans while she was giving up her lunch hour to teach me music. So, even though it was two years since I'd done anything for them, she gave me a phone call. This year, however, they didn't want me to emcee. They wanted me to swathe myself in polyester, style my hair into a pompadour, and swivel my hips as only a moderately overweight adult male with rhythm can do. For one night only, I would become: Elvis. They had an idea of having Elvis come in and sing to be the set-up one of their songs, and they also needed someone to stall for time. They wracked their brains trying to figure out who could do it, and at the ten-fifteenth hour, they thought of me.

I said yes immediately, without having considered what that would entail. I was momentarily concerned that I would look like a fool in the white polyester jumpsuit and huge sunglasses, but quickly got over it. After all, I've worn far more embarassing things onstage (black lycra bicycle shorts and jean cut-offs, as hard as that is to believe - my director in junior high was trying to be way too cutting-edge), and since Peach is a big fan of the Elvis, I figured I could get a couple of good photos out of the deal. I told people about it the next day, and I believe it was my dad who said, "You know that would mean you'd have to shave, right?"

I was stunned. Surely they would let me keep my beard, even though Elvis never had any facial hair aside from his luxurious sideburns. They'll let me keep my beard. That's not being too unreasonable, I said to myself. And then I realized: I would have to shave. Some people gain weight or lose weight for a part, some cut or dye their hair, and some - including me - shave their beards.

Less than a week later, I shimmied my way across the stage in the jumpsuit, wearing a big black wig because my hair just wouldn't hold a pompadour - but at least the sideburns were all-natural. The pictures came out okay (not digital, so you aren't subject to the inhumanity), and I was told I made a relatively convincing King. But nothing could have compared to the mixture of shock, concern, and happiness on Peach's face when I showed up at her door without a beard. She's gotten attached to it over the intervening years, but at that moment, I could see fear in her eyes as she couldn't decide whether to comfort me or clap her hands with glee.

5 comments:

Justice said...

So, did you show up at Peach's door merely shaven, or shaven and *wearing* the Elvis stuff already? Now that would have been stupefying!!

The Doc (in rhinestone-studded Elvis costume and wig): "Notice anything different about me?"

Peach: "You've *SHAVED*!!!"

Sylvana said...

Your are a true artist making such a sacrifice for your art.

The Doc said...

Justice - You laugh, but that's likely what she would have said.

Sylvana - Try telling the high school choir that. They wouldn't let me have my own dressing room, and my bowl of dried fruit had banana chips in them. I specifically said no banana chips! Philistines...

Jago said...

Apparently, the beard wasn't the only sacrifice. Banana chips were NOT PART OF THE DEAL!

Meh, at least they didn't ask you to do techwork as well during the show. Not that we're not used to it by now...

The First Joël said...

Jo-elvis appreciates your good work. This puts you in the same catagory as Robert de Niro for performers who suffer for their art!