Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A Star is Born - A Missed Opportunity for Elvis?

The Premise


In 1975 Barbra Streisand offered Elvis Presley the roll of the leading man in A Star Is BornThe story goes that in 1975 Barbra Streisand offered Elvis the role of the leading man in A Star Is Born, a movie she was about to make, but that the deal was nixed by our old friend Colonel Tom Parker - either on the basis that Streisand was getting star billing over 'his boy', alternatively that there was not enough money involved. 

It seems in retrospect that Elvis was in fact not all that concerned about the money, but had hoped that a part in a movie with a super-star such as Streisand would have given his career a boost. In the event the role went to Kris Kristofferson. 

Until quite recently I had not had an opportunity to see the movie but managed to catch it on TCM the other day, and thought it might be an interesting exercise to examine to what extent Elvis might just have missed a trick here.  

The Plot

The film is the story of two singers, one on his way down (Kristofferson), the other on her way up (Streisand). After one of his concerts Kristofferson goes into a night-club where Streisand is singing. He

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Private Presley Returns

In 2013 Bovim Ballet presented the stunning rock-ballet Private Presley in Cape Town and Joburg, to critical acclaim. Some of our club members attended the show repeatedly, especially because Bovim made use of Elvis' own recordings as musical backdrop. What more can you ask for, than to hear Elvis' extraordinary voice during a superior show? Except for Elvis appearing himself, this is as good as it gets! 
From a technical point of view, this ballet is ground breaking in that the cast had to incorporate an entirely new technique to sustain the girl dancers through some difficult 1950s and 60s technical dance styles. In my experience, if any choreographer of an Elvis performance is/becomes an Elvis fan, it shows. Here is what Sean Bovim says - in part - of his journey in creating this show, as stated in the 2013 program booklet: 

Embracing all that Elvis achieved as well as his reluctance to fame, I was able to delve into his private life and discover a dance vocabulary to portray the era that he lived in and the many iconic moments that made the singer one of rock 'n' roll's greatest legends.

Although the star's life was cut short, he jammed more into his 42 years than most, having recorded more than 700 songs and starred in over 30 movies. As a result I have had to be selective as to what I am able to portray. 

This daunting yet rewarding job has led me to reflect on the more intimate, but also fun-loving side of Elvis, revealing memorable nuggets of his life. 'Private Presley' looks through a window into the life of the star from the mid 1950s through the early 1970s. Through my research on Elvis' life as well as becoming far more familiar with his songs, I just Can't Help Falling In Love with the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Now this sensational production is back! We've gotten word from the Bovim Ballet manager, Fran├žois Arzul, that they are taking the show to Johannesburg for a 3-week season at Joburg Theatre. And it is being followed by another 3-week season at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town from 9-28 November 2015. 

In my opinion, with a two-act set, a cast of more than 20 top-notch dancers plus more than 40 of Elvis' most memorable songs (including a few rare gems), this modern ballet will (again) knock the socks off of audiences.

As Francois concludes, hope to see you all at the show! 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Best. Elvis. Tribute. Ever.

The Steyn Family Band, Cape Town, with Nicholis Louw in the Elvis On My Mind show

A BIG thank you to The Steyn Family Band, for bringing the Nicholis Louw - Elvis On My Mind Show to Cape Town. Boy, did the Quarry rock!

This morning, spontaneous feedback from EPFCA members found their way to our local Whatsapp group:

Was I pleasantly surprised by the Elvis Tribute yesterday evening! Thank you for encouraging us to attend the show. Nicholis is actually a really good singer.

It was awesome. The band is incredible. I yearn for more tributes to Elvis' music where nary a jumpsuit is in sight. We have to support such rarities in bigger numbers.

I loved the show and now have a different perspective on Nicholis.

Recently the following tongue-in-cheek saying did the rounds on the social media: "I don't judge people based on race, religion, gender or sexuality. I judge people on whether or not they're an ELVIS fan!" In the same vein I want to add that I like and admire any performer in their own right in our country who is a fan of Elvis and his music, because anyone who "gets it", must be a great human being.  

On Saturday night, Nicholis' love and respect for his musical hero came to the forefront in what he said about Elvis, as well as how he said it, coupled with the unique presentation of the music. Elvis was the punk rocker of his time and Nicholis and The Steyn Family Band proved it!

Photo: The Steyn Family Band

Monday, 7 September 2015

How Elvis Really Died

Conspirathy theories regarding Elvis' death were put to bed when Dr Stephen Kingsmore found Elvis died from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. .
Finally. Someone whose work and word can be respected by the general public gives his verdict re Elvis' cause of death. 

Dr Stephen Kingsmore, a genetic scientist who has been named one of Medscape's physicians of the year and has had his work featured among Time Magazine's Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2012, has established the exact cause of Elvis' death - and ultimately put to rest the commonly accepted drug-related death theories, often smugly alluded to by authors, the media, and also, fans.

Dr Kingsmore's DNA-based findings - now being accepted in medical circles as the definitive explanation as to why Elvis passed away - were featured in the UK Dead Famous DNA TV program. The doctor analysed a sample of Elvis' hair which pointed to the singer having suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a disease which causes the thickening of the heart and weakening of the heart muscle.

Elvis displayed many of the symptoms of this disease, including an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, fainting and high blood pressure. Although it was officially recorded that Elvis had died of heart failure, constant speculation about his demise has continued for nearly 40 years.

Dr Kingsmore stated: There has been so much speculation about cause of death, and so much ill spoken of his lifestyle, and we had this intriguing finding that possibly Elvis had a medical illness, and all of the stuff about how he killed himself with his lifestyle might have been very unfair. 

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Elvis - An Army Trilogy Volume II

The soon to be released Elvis An Army Trilogy Volume 2 by Andreas Roth, famed author of The Ultimate Elvis In Munich Book.

No, you did not miss Volume I. It is still in the making, as is Volume III. 

Which makes me think ... who of you have, since becoming fans, also read piles of books on Elvis? At first perhaps mostly those available via normal retail outlets, then moving on to the loads of quality self-published gems, which - it seems - are not going out of fashion any time soon. Elvis fans are indeed in need of long arms and deep pockets. Local folk singer Lucas Maree said it best: Ek sou kon doen met 'n miljoen!

Maybe you remember one of the treasures from 2004 - the stunner, The Ultimate Elvis In Munich Book. The author, Andreas Roth, from Munich, Bavaria, will luckily release his second book soon.

Elvis - The Army Trilogy Volume II is a 240-page, hard-bound coffee table book covering Elvis' army period from November 1958 - June 1959. According to the author this book features some 300 rare photos and documents, including more about Elvis in Munich.

The price will be €55 plus S&H. I'm looking forward to this one.