The King, a new documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Eugene Jarecki takes Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce for a road trip across America to retrace Elvis’s life, talk to fans, acolytes and non-believers, and determine the King’s trajectory from electrifying country bad boy to Las Vegas celebrity. The film will open at Vancity Theatre on August 3 and local Elvis tribute performer Aaron Wong will be putting on a show for us before the screening.
We had a chat with Aaron about his own Elvis journey, what it takes to become an award-winning tribute performer, (the preferred term for professional Elvis impersonators), and his take on Jarecki’s documentary.
VIFF: When did you first encounter Elvis?
Aaron: It was when I was about 3 years old watching the Andy Kaufman show, he did a series of impersonations on a TV special and finished with a pretty great Elvis performance. It stuck with me.
VIFF: How did you become a professional Elvis Tribute Performer?
Aaron: I met a group of fellow Elvis fans through a karaoke bar, which was run by a professional Elvis performer and he was giving lessons to some of my friends. Well at a karaoke bar you eventually have to sing and everyone encouraged me to compete at the Annual Penticton Elvis Festival. My first year, I came in second place and in my third year in the competition, I came in first place in my category. From there it just snowballed.
VIFF: What is your favourite era of Elvis?
Aaron: To perform, I most enjoy the early stuff from the 1950’s and 60’s, it suits me best and I don’t need to wear a jumpsuit.
VIFF: You’ve previewed the new documentary The King. As someone with detailed knowledge on the subject, why should people come to watch the film?
Aaron: It’s a very good introduction to the career of Elvis and also relevant to the current political state in the US. It proves that history is cyclical. I never would have expected to see Donald Trump and Bernie Saunders in the same documentary.
VIFF: Where else can we see you perform this summer?
Aaron: I have lots of shows coming up in the next few months:
July 24th at the Admiral Pub and Grill, 4125 Hastings St. Burnaby – 8:30pm show, 9:30pm appearance
Aug 16th Loving you Elvis Fan Club Annual Party at the Admiral Pub and Grill 4125 Hastings St. Burnaby – 7:30pm
Aug 24-26 at the Blue Suede Music Festival, Busby Alberta
Sept 15th, Aaron Wong: Elvis with Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline at Bar One, 1759 West Broadway, Vancouver – 8pm
Oct 12-13, Elvis, Connie Francis, Roy Orbison – Lantzville and Duncan BC on Vancouver Island
Oct 25, Elvis and Rock n’ Roll duo Cheek to Cheek at Elements Casino
For more details check…. Lovingyouelvis.com
Aaron Wong will be bringing his Elvis Tribute Act to Vancity Theatre on Aug 3, prior to our first screening of The King. Don’t miss his hunka hunka performance in the atrium from 7 pm.