Saturday, November 05, 2005

A hunka burnin' karaoke love

Okay, I'll fess up: I'm an Elvis Impersonator.

This isn't something I'm ashamed of. It's not a 12 step program ala 'Hi. My name is Craig. I dress up as Elvis.' Nothing of the sort. I just didn't want to scare you.

The fact is, I'm missing karaoke right about now. Normally on Friday nights around midnight I'd be getting my Elvis freak on. But the clubs the kj and myself normally play are on hiatus, on vacation, or just overtaken by those Limey hooligans I mentioned earlier in my blog. I host karaoke with my kj friend and partner in karaoke krime, Killer Karaoke Ken, the KJ with the AK, the Master of Disaster, etc, etc. I dress as Elvis. He dresses as a gas station attendant. Together we rock the karaoke universe as it is known in Prague, Czech Republic. I am known by the karaoke alias 'Melvis.'

It all started in 1994 as a gas, a goof, a bit o' the old fun in a London bar. Why not? I was in kollege and krazy, my first trip abroad, and most of the kids in the bar were singing with me. I sang Frank. I sang other things. But I didn't yet sing The Elvis. Karaoke is a long and winding road.

Years and yards of custom tailored polyester white jumpsuit later, I kroon on the karaoke stage in Prague clubs. Sometimes they cheer for me. Other times they call me names (well, they're mostly those Limey piss up hooligans, whaddaya want from inbred Island Monkeys?). But I get into the jumpsuit and I get caught in a trap, I can't walk out, because I love karaoke, baby. Sometimes middle aged couples who actually remember The King get up and dance. Sometimes the younguns get up and shake their booties to the radical swing of my Melvic region. I've even been on stage twice at the Czech karaoke championships held in Prague. The first year I was 4th place. This year I was a close 2nd. Hey, the suit only gets you so far in the kutthroat kompetition of karaoke life.

I chose the white jump suit because I admire the Viva Las Vegas Elvis. The Vegas Elvis is probably a metaphor for the American idol in decadent decline or something. Not for me. I just happen to be closer in appearance to the the bloated greasy dude in the jumpsuit than to the young pompadour in tight leather.

Once I rode a tram through Prague all the way from the airport dressed as Elvis. I had an interview there with some karaoke kids. On the hour long ride back nobody even bat an eye at me. Most Czechs on the tram are taciturn and grumpy even in the face of absurdly dressed people. I managed to plop myself down next to a nun on the Prague Metro. She seemed a bit put off. Maybe my white costume and rhinestones clashed with her black robes and rosary. I'll never know. Maybe she hasn't had the divine pleasure and the very religious experience of singing karaoke. How sad for the poor sister.

Karaoke in Prague:

Karaoke film: 'Duets' (Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. All actors sing in their own voices):


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