If not for lowbrow art and a lackluster Elvis impersonator, El Vez might never have been born. But history conspired to have Robert Lopez the man behind the Mexican Elvis curate an Elvis-inspired exhibit at the lowbrow Los Angeles art gallery La Luz de Jesus. A former vocalist for punk band the Zeros, Lopez felt he could outdo the Elvis impersonator hired for the opening. He followed his gut and his gyrating hips and hopped a bus to the annual Elvis Week in Memphis one August. I dared myself to do it. No one knew me in Memphis, Lopez reminisces. But it kind of backfired, because here I still am, almost twenty years later.
He may be getting older (48!) and more settled (he left one border town, Chula Vista, for another, Seattle, and settled into a theater routine based around his act), but you wouldnt know it from his high-energy show. Hes turned the kitschy Elvis-impersonation business into a satirical spectacular thats both enlightening and entertaining. The music has its foundations in the Kings repertoire, but expands to include a sort of a history of rock and roll, Lopez explains. El Vez is a social, political, sexual, spiritual, Las Vegas and Chicano experience.
Tonights El Vez for Prez stop at the Bluebird Theater is cause for debate musical debate with El Vez fielding the audiences questions through song and the Elvettes and the Memphis Mariachis backin his ass up. The show starts at 8 p.m. at 3317 East Colfax Avenue; tickets are $15 in advance, $17 at the door. El Vez is one of those musicians you just have to see live, so dont be lonesome tonight get all shook up instead! You cant help falling in love with El Rey! Call the Bluebird at 303-377-1666 or go to www.bluebirdtheater.net.
Mon., Aug. 4, 8 p.m., 2008