Elvis impersonators are all shook up over accused ricin letter-sender


Paul Kevin Curtis dressed as Elvis. (Northeast Mississippi Daily Jour/REUTERS)

Leaving aside for the moment the considerable worry the case has caused in official Washington, it’s also creating heartburn amid an unlikely circle: the small community of Elvis impersonators around the globe.

Jesse Aron, an Elvis impersonator and the president of Elvis Entertainers Network, a talent agency representing more than a hundred Elvis impersonators from Japan to Las Vegas, tells the Loop he’s heard from many of the performers he represents. They’re, well... all shook up.

“I’ve heard from some of the guys — they’re calling and e-mailing me,” Aron tells the Loop.

They’re wondering, he says, if it will be bad for business, if having one of their ranks accused of a nasty crime will reflect poorly on them. After all, videos of Curtis’s performances — which show his hip-shaking, lip-curling renditions of Elvis tunes as well as a particularly memorable Prince performance — have prompted plenty of Internet mocking. Wicker himself even recalled hiring Curtis for a party, and that he found him “quite entertaining.”

Aron says the Elvis impersonators he knows are good guys. “They do a lot for charity — they do free shows at old folks homes, that sort of thing. They put on shows because they’re just big Elvis fans.”

And he says he personally knew Curtis from Elvis-impersonation competitions in the ‘90s. The two were Facebook friends for a while, but Aron eventually defriended him because of his “negative” posts. “He was always really odd,” he said.

He’s reassuring his fellow Elvi (that’s an acceptable plural, no?) that the negative publicity surrounding Curtis won’t affect them. “There are crazy people in all walks of life, and people understand that one bad apple won’t spoil the bunch,” he said.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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