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Memory Lane (January 25, 2007)

Two Christmases ago, I attended a work Christmas party. It was a steak night at a local bar. It was an amusing and educational evening for several reasons; for one, I learned that if you write “chicken” down on the form that asks how you want your steak done, you will actually get chicken. This is knowledge that will serve me well some day.

More importantly – at least in terms of this story – I also learned that I work with an Elvis impersonator. This was not as shocking as you might expect, as I’ve known the guy for a while, and he always had a dyed jet black pompadour and sideburns. If his fondness of Elvis was supposed to be a secret, he failed. And he revealed more of his fandom that night, during the post-dinner karaoke. He pulled out the sunglasses, turned up his collar, and performed a quite decent rendition of… well, some Elvis song. I forget. It was quite a while ago.

Fast-forward a bit, and my coworker – Gil, or “Gilvis” (of COURSE he performs as Gilvis) – was headlining an all-tribute show at Casino Regina. Gil belongs to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (they like shooting guns), who rented the Casino show lounge and put on this show as a fundraiser. Gil works in a group with my boss, and said group decided to attend. Somehow, this meant that I got to go and see a free show and eat a free meal. I approve of free food and entertainment, so I went.

The meal, also at the Casino, was perfectly okay. I had chicken (official concert!) and a baked potato and veggies. Pretty boring but fine. I skipped dessert in an attempt to behave, which saddened me until the people who ordered the chocolate fudge cake things received what was termed “chocolate pucks.” They looked like cake but could not be cut with knives. This was greatly amusing.

Off to the show lounge. Before the show began, the Regina Community Orchestra played. One of the managers at work plays the trumpet for them. He might run the whole thing too, I don’t know. We tried sending him text messages while he was on stage in hopes that he’d drop the trumpet and race for his BlackBerry, but no. Which was a bit surprising. Dude really likes his BlackBerry.

The host for the evening was an old guy from a local radio station. I don’t know who he was. He made jokes that weren’t funny.

The night’s first tribute act was a Neil Diamond impersonator. I sure know a lot of Neil Diamond songs. Thank you, Dad. The songs as specifically performed on this night? Not abysmal, not great. One member of our party suggested that “the years have not been kind to Neil.”

Next up, “Roy Orbison.” For a local kid who got his start singing at a Telemiracle, he was pretty great. He did an excellent Roy Orbison, hitting all the high notes (and only occasionally stumbling over the words). He was born with a rare chromosomal disorder which can cause, among other things, exceptional musical ability. Really. This is the best disorder you could possibly get, I figure. At the very least, it’s better than any I’ve ever heard of.

Finally, Gilvis. Clad in full jumpsuit, at least for his second set. This was fun. Self-described as “not Elvis… not even Rory Allen,” Gil seemed to be having the time of his life on stage. We noted that he said more to the crowd than we’d ever heard at the office. For one song, Gil’s brother stood in front of the stage, acting as security while girls crowded around to get scarves. Fun stuff. Back in the office about a week later, I made Gil sign my ticket stub. This seemed to delight him. You could tell that at least for one night, Gil was living the dream. And that was really the best part of the evening.

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