Get ready to shake, rattle and roll at the Night of 100 Elvises

Lithuanian Hall is the place to be king for a day

Scene

December 04, 2003|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Although he shares his surname with the king, Chris Presley isn't related to Elvis.

And while wearing his usual jeans and T-shirt, the Baltimore County resident and full-time Elvis impersonator doesn't look much like him, either.

But when Presley takes the stage tomorrow at the 10th annual Night of 100 Elvises, he hopes to connect with the late lip curler on a level that's deeper than bloodline or dress.

For a few moments, Presley believes, the "power of Elvis" will be with him as he swaggers, gyrates and croons for the hundreds who will gather to watch him and others perform at the Lithuanian Hall on Hollins Street.

The audience may even suspend its disbelief long enough to think that he is the real deal, said Presley.

That was the case during some of his past Night of 100 Elvises shows, when, backed by his band All the King's Men, he was met by excited women who rushed the stage to swoon and tear at his clothing, as if in the presence of the legend himself.

King-induced mania is accepted - and even encouraged - at this annual grouping of fantastical experiences and sequined spectacles.

In fact, the yearly celebration is all about being over the top, said co-organizer Carole Carroll.

"I think we almost aim for over-stimulation," said Carroll of the performers and planners who help to make the decade-old gala a commemoration of all things Elvis.

Enthusiastic crowds have responded to their sentiment and, in recent years, have themselves conjured new ways to celebrate the man, Carroll said.

"People attend in really wild and wonderful retro duds, but many more are coming in jumpsuits and gold-rimmed sunglasses."

"They're not entertainers, they're just wearing their Elvis," she said.

In addition to an Elvis-inspired ice sculpture, casino games and a Southern buffet (think meatloaf slices and made-to-order peanut butter and banana sandwiches), this weekend's event will include plenty of live performances.

Both fans and performers will have hours to circulate among three themed rooms, the Ballroom, the Jungle Room and the Viva Las Vegas Lounge.

Each performance space will outline a distinct chapter in Elvis' musical and personal history - and the rooms' atmospheres will "make [for] a really diverse musical type of event," said Carroll, who noted that the Jungle Room is where "some of the coolest cats in Baltimore" will be mixing and mingling.

"The thought behind it was Elvis hanging out at his house as a younger man with his friends, listening to music," said Carroll.

Only "young Elvis" impersonators and rockabilly-style bands will perform in the Jungle Room setting, and the music heard will be drawn from his early recordings from the late-'50s.

In contrast, the Viva Las Vegas Lounge, which is for Elvis entertainers of all ages, shapes and sizes, is where fans can get up-close and personal with their favorite artists as they sing numbers that span the king's entire career, though most songs will be from the late-'60s and early-'70s.

"They'll look right into your eyes and sing to you. You'll get the scarf and all that. They're right there; it's very intimate," she added.

And for those who dig more upbeat environs, the grand Ballroom will feature rock-'em, sock-'em performances by bands and tribute artists alike.

Groups get seven minutes and king impersonators are allowed 10 - but no one can play a song once it's been performed in the room. The quick turnover and strict no-repeat policy ensures that everyone will have a good time, Carroll said.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Night of 100 Elvises will take place tomorrow and Saturday at the Lithuanian Hall, 851-3 Hollins St. Doors open at 5 p.m., and shows begin at 6 p.m. For tomorrow's show, a limited number of $75 reserved seating tickets will be available at the door. For information, call 410-494-9558 or visit www.nightof100elvises.com.

Concert

This year's Night of 100 Elvises is a two-day event with a wide variety of performers. Here is a list of just a few who are scheduled to play this weekend:

Tomorrow: Atomic Mosquitos (surf-rock), the Beltways (power-pop), Circle 9 (straight up rock), the Graceliners (a female dancing and singing troupe), Jeff Sarli (rock n' roll bass), Chris Presley & All The King's Men (local Elvis impersonator and his backup band)

Saturday: '52 Pickup (rockabilly), Monsters From the Surf (garage/surf/rockabilly), Honky Tonk Confidential (Americana/honky tonk), the Fabulettes ('60s-style female trio)

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.