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Pelvic Elvis

Impersonator shakes the State for the King's birthday.

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As the official "ultimate Elvis-tribute artist" at Graceland, Shawn Klush wants fans to take his act seriously at tonight's Elvis Birthday Tribute at Playhouse Square. And he's up to the challenge as he leads the celebration on Tuesday, which would have been the King's 73rd birthday. "People don't take too kindly to guys in jumpsuits," says Klush, who's the resident Elvis impersonator at the late singer's Memphis estate. "Give us a chance. We're real."So are his memories of hearing Presley sing on the radio as he grew up in a small mining town in Pennsylvania. Today, Klush is convinced that it takes more than a flashy costume and southern accent to keep the Elvis mystique alive. The legacy, he says, is rooted in the music itself. "I love his songs for a billion reasons," says Klush. "He wrote words about brotherhood and love. They speak volumes about the human condition."The birthday bash also brings to the stage fellow Elvis disciple Donny Edwards, Presley's longtime drummer D.J. Fontana, and the King's original backup singers, the Sweet Inspirations. They'll go through a catalog of songs, from early hits like "Blue Suede Shoes" to the Vegas-era "If I Can Dream." "Elvis was an innovator. He had a keen sense of what worked musically," says Klush. "His songs spoke to the times and spoke to me as an artist. That's why he's the King." Hips gyrate at 7 tonight at the State Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $10 to $45. Call 216-771-4444 or visit www.playhousesquare.org.
Sun., Jan. 6, 7 p.m., 2008

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