Monday, December 15, 2008

Elvis impersonators and wine

I know three Elvis impersonators pretty well.

What, only three?

One is the 'real' thing; though I met him twelve years ago when he was selling vineyard equipment, and he and his family own a Mexican restaurant in Gilroy. He derives a significant portion of his income from appearing as Donald 'Elvis' Prieto, and he offers an excellent Orthodox Presleyterian experience. He's also a Protestant minister and one of the nicest, best people I know, which is saying something. He has childhood diabetes, which he has only survived thanks to a pancreas/kidney transplant that turned him from the young into the middle-aged Elvis in the period of about a year, and though he can't drink much wine, he will certainly outlive the original King.

The second is my friend and webmaster, which means he does all my websites (except for this one, of course). I met him, also twelve years ago, when a wine critic friend of mine suggested that we find an enthusiastic amateur to taste with us as a 'control palate' and I suggested a rock star I'd been emailing and exchanging CDs for wine with, who lived a few miles away. He's Greg Tortell, better known as Tortelvis of the reggae/metal band Dread Zeppelin, and he too is a professional Elvis impersonator, though more Rastafarian than Orthodox. He can drink quite a bit of wine, or indeed, anything, and has already outlived E. A. Presley by several years.

The third is my best friend, Jeff Graham of Sedona, Arizona. A lifetime professional wine retail/wholesaler, he has a collection of official and extremely unofficial Elvis objects in his party hacienda, Graceland Southwest. There he writes original Kingly poetry, some of it rivaled only by the best songs sung by the original (Presley never wrote lyrics or music) but far funnier. He has several Elvis jumpsuits, and recites the poems in them. He can almost outdrink me, and is a few years older than I.

Is there a lesson here? Help me out.

Band practice

Band practice