COSTA MESA, CA. I’ve had a change of heart! An Elvis epiphany of enlightenment opening my eyes to understanding the mysterious spectrum of ETAs. It’s a philosophical opinion held by Elvis fans worldwide: good or bad, an ETA perpetuates Elvis’ memory and music to inspire generations to come. I didn’t really understand this philosophy until I saw Mark Olsiewski.
Mark Olsiewski, or Zeus, as he is known by his friends, is an ETA. He recently competed at the 6th Annual Rockin’ Elvis Fest Ultimate ETA Contest hosted by the Pala Spa and Casino in Pala, CA. Zeus taught me something about ETAs that long three day weekend. You see, I had strong opinions about the differences between ETAs vs. Elvis Impersonators (EI), but have rethought some of those opinions. In addition, I had misgivings about the fairness of contests and was on the precipice of giving up on attending contests all together until I saw Zeus.
Zeus is not a very talented ETA. He lacks the necessary ability to sing. His jumpsuit looks like pajamas, the wig looks like a cheap wig with sideburns held down by double-sided tape, and sunglasses that look like a novelty gift from a masquerade party. It puts Zeus in the realm of caricature instead of artist, but it does not deter him from performing or competing.
“It’s a lot of humility for me,” Olsiewski said as he looked in the direction of the more polished Elvises. He admitted to being the funny Elvis, but is happy to perform and be remembered.
Under the dime store costume, however, lies a heart for Elvis that beats for his fans and with a true desire to keep the memory of Elvis alive. Though Zeus may never perform at the level of other seasoned ETAs his hope is that his tribute will at least touch someone’s heart.
“If I can touch your heart,” Olsiewski said, “that’s pretty awesome.”
The lesson Zeus has taught me is good and bad ETAs all perform for the purpose of keeping the memory of Elvis alive and real, generation after generation. Zeus has the courage to do what I will never do: be an ETA. Moreover, I will enjoy contests for the good times they bring. As long as people like Zeus brave the stage I will continue going to contests, enjoy them to the fullest, and share the good times with friends, family, and fans.
You touched my heart and I’ve learned my lesson. Keep on rockin’ Zeus.