By Kurt Brown
Kurt Brown posted an interesting, insightful op ed article on his personal Facebook page about Priscilla’s perception of ETAs. He allowed Pompadour to post it as a contributing author. Pictures are courtesy of Pompadour.
I’m putting this on my personal page because it’s my personal opinion. My comments are for Elvis and ETA fans. Please make sure you read the entire post.
I’m a die-hard Mac/Apple user. Love their products. They work great and I rarely have any problems. One of the things that makes my Macbook Pro so appealing is the ability to use Microsoft products designed for PC’s on my Mac.
Now imagine if the CEO of Apple started bashing the very “sub” product that made his computer appealing. What if he started saying things like; Microsoft is cheap or cheesy. Do you think it would have any effect on people purchasing his product?
Furthermore, Apple understands how important Microsoft is to their product. They realize that the Mac users need Microsoft software. If they bash Microsoft, Google or other companies that users like to use, it would certainly have a negative effect on their sales.
Now, this brings me to Elvis. I’m, as many of you are, witnessing a very interesting dynamic going on within and around Graceland and EPE. At the same time EPE is using the ETAs as a profit resource during the year and at Elvis Week, they seem to be pushing them away through comments made by Priscilla. I don’t know if she is in charge of EPE, a spokesperson or simply the former wife of Elvis, but these comments seem to be causing some confusion. Does EPE want to work with ETAs or not.
While I can respect Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino‘s decision to not have ETAs or impersonators perform ceremonies in their wedding chapel, I’m not sure that calling them cheesy was the right word to use. And to say they will not have any impersonators (ETAs) perform in their showroom and the “actor” in the show will not try to sound or act like Elvis but still comes out and tries to sound and act like Elvis is very confusing to me. He wears and uses Elvis’ jumpsuits, sideburns, mannerisms, moves, vocals. In fact, he even pulls out just about every cliché line that Elvis was known to say on stage. Just because he wears a wig and make up does not automatically make him an “actor”. Just saying; many ETAs today do the same thing.
Many actors have portrayed Elvis in movies over the years. But remember, they get to do multiple takes on every scene to get it right. ETAs don’t have that luxury. So it’s a bit harder than one might think. I’d love to see Kurt Russell do a 90 minute show as Elvis live.
Perhaps if Priscilla would have actually gone to see some ETA shows, she would have known better than to say this was different then other shows. Fact is, it’s not. Just look to the 9 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champions performing today. Their shows are spectacular. They travel the world performing shows very similar to the one Priscilla has personally endorsed as not an ETA show. If it looks like Elvis, acts like Elvis, sounds like Elvis, then it must be an…(you finish it it for yourself)
While I know and see a lot of people dressed as Elvis today, that doesn’t make them ETAs. Most are fans and are simply paying tribute by dressing like Elvis. This happens with many artists. Fans love to emulate as part of paying tribute, but that doesn’t make them an “artist.” And there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Perhaps she’s simply trying to bring Elvis fans, the ones that don’t like ETAs into the ETA world by creating a new definition to the name. ETA sounds better than impersonator and “actor” sounds better than ETA. Elvis Tribute Actor? Sounds interesting.
The fact is, what ever your call them, ETAs work very hard to perfect their portrayal. They’re also huge Elvis fans and respect him. So it would be nice to see the same respect shown back.
I’d ask Priscilla to think about this; There’s no other celebrity, dead or alive, that has a memorabilia and product line in comparison to the size EPE has for Elvis. And it wasn’t the ETAs that created the huge gift shops, online stores and all the “tacky” Elvis bobble heads, hats, t-shirts, packaged costumes, perfumes and Mr. Potato Head Elvis memorabilia that EPE license and sells. Items which can be purchased at the huge gift shop located in Westgate. But I didn’t hear Priscilla call those “tacky”.
So just a note to Priscilla, please stop blaming the ETAs for the perception you think the world has for Elvis.
Kurt Brown is President of Brown Productions, a leader in the production of tribute shows who represents hundreds of tribute artists.