08.08.05

August—People, Places, Events, Attractions

08.08.2005

To celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, the Inprint Brown Reading Series has invited a writer whose penchant for eccentricity, outspokenness, and outlandishness (in print at least) equals that of his host city. John Irving, that master of weirdly irresistible characters and extravagant, tragically comic plots (or is it comically tragic plots?) returns to Houston after a twenty-year absence to read from his new work, Until I Find You. The author of eleven novels, including The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and A Widow for One Year, is known as a man who doesn’t mince words in fiction or fact—in person he’s taken on pro-lifers and censorship-loving feminists—and so following the reading will speak his mind in an interview conducted by Inprint board member yours truly. No circus dwarfs or dancing bears allowed; everyone else is welcome. Mimi Swartz

(For directions and more information, see Other Events, Houston John Irving).

COMING ATTRACTIONS | The month in Elvis.

Always on My Mind

Every Elvis fan has his or her reasons for being so, well, enthusiastic. Why does Los Fresnos resident Simon Vega hold two Elvis memorial festivals—in January to mark the King’s birth and this month to mark his August 16, 1977, demise? First, you should know that Vega got to know Presley in the Army. Second, Vega likes to show off the extensive collection of Elvis memorabilia he’s gathered in an upstairs room of his house, which he’s dubbed Little Graceland. Third, “I like making people happy,” he says, “and they’re happy when they remember Elvis.” The theme at the celebration on August 13 is the 1963 movie Fun in Acapulco, in which Elvis dives off cliffs and romances Ursula Andress. There’ll be an unprecedented eight impersonators in attendance and plenty of food and drink to go around. “A lot of people come and get real emotional,” says Vega. “Elvis had something in him I don’t think anybody else ever had.” Michael Hall

(For directions and more information, see Other Events, Los Fresnos Elvis Memorial Festival).

It’s Good to be The King

Identity theft may be a criminal offense, but for Elvis Presley tribute artist Donnie Roberts, it’s a way of life. On August 8 the Austinite will head to Las Vegas and vie for a spot in a worldwide reality- TV contest for the best Elvis impersonator.

What’s your favorite part of your routine?

Getting people involved. I’ll get down in the audience, tease them with scarves. I’ll wipe my head and say, “You want some Elvis sweat, do ya?”

How many outfits do you have?

Eight. I like to switch out. Elvis had two or three hundred, I think. Maybe four hundred. One costume I have is called the Aloha, and it has over three thousand studs on it.

You must practice your dance moves.
Every day. It’s a workout, I tell ya. They oughta make an Elvis workout video.

What about the singing?

I’ll listen to Elvis and sing along with him to learn a song. When I first started out, I was pretty stinkin’ bad. But now I’ve got one of the closest Elvis voices in the world. There’s about ten of us who do.

Do you grow the sideburns?
Yeah. And I dye my hair once a month to keep it jet-black.

You’re hoping to compete for the title of best impersonator in the world. Ultimately, what makes a good Elvis?

Good looks, a good voice, and good moves—you’ve got to have all three. If you’ve got all three, you’ve got it made in the shade. Tasha Petty

He’s left the building: Where else to commemorate that other day the music died.

Dallas: Don your best sequined bell-bottoms and warm up for the 5K Elvis Run on August 13 with a few pelvis thrusts and air guitar riffs. No blue-suede running shoes? Check out the area’s best impersonators and a classic-car show of sweet rides.

(For directions and more information, see Sports, Dallas Elvis Run).

Denton: National Elvis Week kicks off here on August 6 with the Elvis Is Rockin’ Downtown Scavenger Hunt. Chase down the life-size cutouts, souped-up sunglasses, and spangled jumpsuits

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