The Hair Apparent

But for days afterward, Fiore's was besieged by women wanting to purchase a lock of that jet-black, fine, straight hair--not a shred of which Rupoli had saved. One year later, however, he came close to acquiring some. This time Elvis was staying at the Brown Palace during one of the last concert tours before his death in 1977. Once again, Captain Kennedy alerted Rupoli to the possibility of a high-profile 'do.

"This time I wasn't nervous at all," Rupoli recalls. "I was drivin' down there thinking, this time I'm gonna get me a Caddie. I was pumped!"

Sitting in the Brown Palace lobby from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., though, waiting on the call from Elvis, his excitement gradually subsided. "At the end of the day, some lady came down and told me Elvis was sorry--he'd been sleeping all day and they couldn't get him up, and now he only had twenty minutes to get ready for the show," Rupoli remembers. "I was real disappointed, but I went to the concert anyway."

His seats were terrible, and the show was typical of the later, bloated Elvis, lasting less than an hour and consisting mostly of slurred, forgotten lyrics and silk scarves thrown into the audience. "It was sad to see how much he'd changed in just one year," Rupoli says. "He had a much bigger belly on him, and he didn't look right."

Except for his hair, which in the years that followed, Rupoli was to consider over and over again, particularly when he took in an impersonation show. "Those guys dye it jet-black and try to comb it up, build it up, but they don't even come close," he insists. "The last time I saw Elvis, it was hard to get a good look, but his was much the same as I had cut it."

The Shelvis hairdo is complete, having taken three minutes max--not counting any sideburns. It's quite a trick. Almost imperceptibly, Muha raises a lip at herself in the mirror. Then she changes into black pants, a black shirt, white belt and shoes and a loud black-and-white sports jacket. It strikes just the right sartorial note during "Don't Be Cruel," which she performs right in the basement, to the astonishment of a US West repairman who has happened by with a pair of wire-cutters.

"So," she resumes, turning her soundtrack back down, "I definitely have the ponytail going on, and I have boobs, but you can't really tell unless you're looking--and so what? Everyone knows I'm female. You just turn your collar up and go out there and be Him.

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