2B - Thursday, February 14, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com .
2B - Thursday. February 14, 2013The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
The King croons on in A2
to perform on
By ANDREW ECKHOUS
Daily Arts Writer
"I sound 85 percent like (Elvis),
but if somebody's been drinking,
it's 95 percent."
And he's right. When I sat
down with 70-year-old David
Joseph - the Elvis aficionado in
question - in the University Hos-
pital's lobby, he gave me a short
preview of what to expect from
one of his performances.
Softly crooning lines from
"Memories," his favorite Elvis
song, Joseph transformed. His
voice quivered as he emulated his
icon, encapsulating, well, about
85 percent of what made "The
King's" baritone so distinctive.
Joseph's velvety tone ain't quite
as deep as Presley's, but it was
pretty damned impressive none-
Joseph has been an Elvis Trib-
ute Artist (or ETA, for you pro-
fessionals out there) since two
decades before most current col-
lege students were born. He has
played music since he was 13, and
has been part of a few bands, but
it wasn't until 1972 that he began
his rhinestone-encrusted hobby.
Joseph had watched local Elvis
Tribute Artists for a few years,
and decided to give it a go at the
Bell Bar in Ypsilanti, one of his
"It was scary, but it went
alright," said Joseph of his first
time performing. "It felt good;
the audience liked it; the people
in the bar liked it. I felt good since
I sound a little bit like Elvis, so it
went pretty good, you know."
A little bit is an understate-
ment. But Joseph radiates mod-
esty. Contrary to the ostentatious
decadence of Presley, Joseph
speaks relatively quietly and was
dressed simply when we met.
Aside from the Graceland hat on
his head, you'd never know that
Joseph moonlights as an enter-
tainer, though he has slowed
Joseph was born as the eighth
child in a family with 16, and
works part-time as a stock keeper
in the very same hospital where
we spoke. Joseph has lived his
entire life in Washtenaw County,
and has been a part of the Univer-
sity of Michigan Health System
for about 30 years. He always
loved' Elvis, and as a kid, he had
a hunch that they sounded alike.
Eventually, he decided to test out
"With a tape recorder, I would
have an Elvis record playing, then
I would sing into the tape record-
er. Then the tape recorder would
Through the years, David Joseph has found peace and relaxation through listening to Elvis's music.
pick us both up and we sounded
pretty good, as a duo."
Elvis has helped Joseph
through some daunting times as
well. Joseph joined the Navy as a
young man, and was stationed in
Guantanamo Bay during the 1962
Cuban Missile Crisis.
"We thought Castro was going
to incinerate us," Joseph recount-
ed. "We were scared; we were out
there on the base, (and) every-
body did their own thing, what-
ever comforted them."
For Joseph, that was play-
ing Elvis songs on his guitar. It
helped him relax in the face of a
situation with seemingly life or
death implications. In his post-
service life, Elvis's tunes have
played a therapeutic role as well.
"It's therapy for me; some
people do other stuff for thera-
py, but this, it just relaxes me -
makes me feel good, and I know
people enjoy it because they're
singing along with me," Joseph
said. "It's just fun."
It might be "just fun" for him,
but for others, it can be mean-
ingful. He performs in nursing
homes and Veterans of Foreign
Wars halls, and his Valentine's
Day performance will be in the
lobby of the University Hospital
starting at 12 p.m. He especially
likes to sing the song "Teddy
Bear" at his performances,
because it gives him a chance to
do something kind for his audi-
"Elvis had a song called 'Teddy
Bear,' and after he recorded
that - his first birthday after he
recorded that - he got thousands
of teddy bears in the mail. So now
whenI singthat, my granddaugh-
ters hand out teddy bears to the
audience, to the kids. That's why
I went to all the different depart-
ments and told the nurses that
the kids can come down (for this
Karma has reimbursed Joseph
for his charity work. He's made a
pretty decent second income for
his performances and he even
won a Minor League Baseball
contest that flew him out to Las
Vegas for an Elvis-themed festi-
Joseph has an unparalleled
knowledge of all-things Presley,
leaving little wonder as to why
he's been so successful at imper-
sonating The King. While the
official numbers vary, Joseph
claims that there are about 748
Elvis singles, and that he knows
"about 600 of them." Joseph
never stops improving his tech-
nique though, even after over
half a century of playing Elvis
"Each time you learn more,
and by watching other people,
you can learn a little bit more,
As much as Joseph reveres
Presley's music, though, he
wants no part of Elvis's drug-
"I think that before he got into
all the drugs and stuff, he was
great," Joseph emphasized. "If
you looked at him in 1969, he was
in tip-top shape, but at his last
concert his face was all bloated.
He couldn't pronounce his words
because he was so drugged up."
Our conversation became seri-
ous as Joseph addressed the all-
too-familiar lifestyle of Presley
and his other musical heroes. His
easygoing mannerisms hardened
a bit, and his speech became
"It makes me mad that he did
that. It makes me mad that Jimi
Hendrix did that. Michael Jack-
son, too," said Joseph. "I've had
a chance to go on the road, but
I didn't want to. I never wanted
to; I didn't want that kind of life.
I never wanted to do it because
I've seen what happened to
Joseph prefers to think about
the good Elvis - the admira-
ble Elvis that treated everyone
equally in a time of suffocating
segregation; the goofy Elvis that,
upon trying his first-ever fried
peanut butter and banana sand-
wich, bought the maid who fried
it a brand-new Cadillac. And
the charitable Elvis who raised
$75,000 for cancer research at
his "Aloha from Hawaii" concert
following the death of a friend.
Joseph has profited both eco-
nomically and in life experience
from his three decades as an
Elvis impersonator. He's made
a lot of friends, sang almost as
many Elvis songs as Elvis him-
self and has even wooed a few
Elvis fans of the fairer sex.
"You ain't kidding," Joseph
laughed. "When you're in a bar
or something, some lady's gonna
try it just like you're gonna try it
if you're in a band."
When Joseph performs at
the University Hospital, he'll be
singing Elvis's romance songs to
celebrate Valentine's Day, and
his own romance is goingastrong.
He's happily married to a woman
who loves his unique pastime,
telling me that "she gets mad if I
don't do it every once in a while."
She even participates in the glitz
and glamour of it all, as she hand-
makes all of his costumes.
The stereotypes about celeb-
rity impersonators generally
revolve around desperate artists
vying for money and hungry for
attention, but those tropes sim-
ply don't apply to Joseph. He
doesn't crave the spotlight; he
just enjoys making others feel
better. While Elvis might have
left the building, David Joseph
still hangs around, and maybe,
if you have just a few drinks too
many, you might be lucky enough
to confuse the two.
s awards season winds presenters change for every
down in Bollywood and award and the format becomes
LHollywood alike, we're immeasurably trying.
ded of everything we love But if there is one thing at
athe about media awards. which Bollywood awards excel,
ably, I it's the factor of pure entertain-
yself ment. Above all, awards shows
ring celebrate the year's best in
ional entertainment; watchingthe
wood ceremony shouldn't feel like
is a chore. For one thing, none
onies of the Indian awards func-
olden tions are encumbered by time
s, SAG PROMA restrictions. Speeches have
is, KHOSLA no set limit and neither do the
s) to _ _ telecasts. This could lead to a
wood parade of pseudo-stars pontifi-
Stardust, Zee Cine, eating for hours, but instead
are). They're as flawed establishes a healthy balance
Idictive as their Western between the short, sweet
erparts, and as usual, both speeches and those more prone
tries could stand to learn a to verbosity.
m each other. Another aspect that adds
starters, there's the sim- both to entertainment and
ttter of hosting. In Holly- length is the item numbers. In
hosting is a much bigger an industry that celebrates ran-
ut also a significantly dom song and dance, what more
ed responsibility. The one could you expect as awards
hosts of an awards func- show filler while the hosts
r five, like those Emmys change outfits and practice,
ll tryingto forget) appear their next jokes? Every Bolly-
lically throughout the wood awards function includes
in different outfits to several performances by the
uce awards or present- year's biggest stars to hit songs
d make some carefully from their latest movies. If
rd comments and jokes. anything, the monotony comes
imes the hosts steal the from having the same stars
- like Tina Fey and Amy invited toperform at every
r at this year's Golden function, but the performances
- and sometimes they're themselves highlight the most
tough to blend into the recognizable characteristics
ure (sorry, James Franco). and flare of the industry.
I'm not sorry. But the most annoying
t much is true in Bolly- part of the dances for me by
as well, where successful far is the fact that they - and
ike the pair of Shahrukh the entire ceremony - are so
and Saif Ali Khan have highly edited. Everything is
the Filmfares as many pre-taped, so post-production
as Ricky Gervais has adds boisterous crowd noise
the Golden Globes, and at unpredictable intervals.
such better results. The Camera angles change every
improved every year with few seconds from extreme
lous gags between award close-ups to jaunty shots that
tries, including their own just make everything harder to
up awards for the worst see. Show editors don't seem to
of the year and invented understand that there's a time
enes about their beautiful and place for music video imita-
nce, tion, and that this isn't it.
Duringthe functions, the
excessive editing is less notice-
Bolywood able, but just as irksome. Jokes
0 yWand comments are met with a
mows how to predictable laugh track, which
falls especially flat when reac-
ave more fun tion shots don't show the audi-
ence laughing. And speaking
n Hollywood of reaction shots - those are
recorded separately and then
randomly placed wherever the
showrunners deem appropri-
t's where Bollywood ate. So that clip of Priyanka
g becomes so much more Chopra laughing raucously at
than Hollywood. The Imran Khan's last joke PROBA-
aren't just announcers BLY DIDN'T HAPPEN. Worse
ceremony; they are yet, it's not uncommon to see
mers, and their job is to the same reaction shot repeated
he audience engaged and multiple times during a show.
ained enough to justify Even on the most basic level,
tuting a sound editing like dress code, Bollywood
on national television. awards shows are inconsistent.
is has received end- On one end of the spectrum
tk for his routines at the there's Rekha and Vidya Balan,
s and Globes, but before who will show up in elaborate,
ot tedious, they were elegant saris without fail. Then
shing change of pace. there's the generation of aspir-
;h these evenings were ing young actresses, the new-
ished to honor the wor- age "modern" women whose
works of film and televi- dresses wouldn't be out of place
here's nothing wrong at a Greek life date party.
oking a little fun at the And the men - good god, the
the room. men! Generally it doesn't matter
lollywood, making fun whether they wear a traditional
sts is all but a staple of Indian kurtha or a classy black
s shows. Every once in suit, but neither matters when
e, a stoic director like there's always some idiot wear-
osh Gowariker or lucky- ing jeans and chewing gum as
n-be-here rando like Neil he accepts his award with nega-
Mukesh will tell the hosts tive modesty. Clothes might not
tey're going too far, but seem important, but they are
most part everyone is a striking visual cue to how an
ng enough to stand being audience should view the event
about when they're nomi- and how guests in attendance
as best of the year. For should comport themselves.
tces, it grounds the cer- Bollywood tabloids don't even
, making it feel more like have the joy of a proper best
ering of friends than an and worst dressed list because
tant party in a world to it would be unfair to include the
we don't have access. outliers.
t being said, the Bol- What it comes down to is
d hosting model needs this: Bollywood could stand to
efining. The emcees still learn from the professionalism
he brunt of the work. and authenticity of Hollywood r
ntroduce awards by awards shows. Hollywood, in
bing the category and turn, could stand to loosen up,
.g all the nominees, and take a joke and indulge in more
all on presenters. At that nights of pure entertainment.
the two presenters have After all, they say it's an honor
tg to do but give out the just to be nominated - might
,so one of them ends as well make the party worth-
'ning the envelope and while.
IM i d nNatalie:What made you choose "Eternal Sunshine"for a midnightrmovie?
Brian: It felt kind of perfect to have this very romantic but very un-romantic movie, right after Valentine's Day. It's
also a film that we have gotten a lot of people askingus to show, so itcosmic ally worked out for us.
P review Natalie: I don't know movies from this time as well as some, but itseems torme like this movie kind of led into the
genre of memory warped, twisted but realistic films, the "Inception" type of stuff.
Daily Arts Writer Brian:Icould agree with that. I think that that movie came out at a time when young Hollywood -,which I think
Natalie Gadbois is a stupid term - was really into self-reflection, and you seethese young directors working with talent and taking
talks with Facility chances on movies.I'mnot going to sit here and say that "Eternal Sunshine"is the great love story of our generation,
there are other movies that havecomeout that have made really honest, really to-the-point looks at the way being
and Programming youngandbeinginloveislike.Ifyoucouldactuallygobackanderaseyourmind, everyonewoulddoit. Intermsof
Manager Brian Hunter the zeitgeist of what was going on at the moment, it seems like that movie was in theright place at theright timefor
that audience.Youhad Generation X-ers and Millennials that werecominginto their own, and thiswas the film for
of Ann Arbor's State them,representingemotionally what was going on in their lives.You can watch a classic romance movie and it will
Theater about the stillmeansomethingSoyearslater,but it will probablymeanmore inits time.
upcoming screening of Natalie: I agree with that, and it's very unique and different from all the other love stories, but it still has that
"Eternal Sunshine of groundingin boy-meets-girl-and-falls-in-love sort ofmentality.
the Spotless Mind."
Brian:And Ithink that there is something to besaid about the way "Eternal Sunshine"is filmed. Thereis a certain
magic to it, a certain sleight of hand, in terms of the actual scenes in the movie. And it lends itself~to how themovie
is viewed. There is this scene where Jim Carrey is a little kid, but he actually is a mini-sized Jim Carreyand there
is something about the magic of that, that contrasts with what you said, about the magic about being in loveagain.
There is a lot of crossover between that traditional romance, and theexecution of the film. That scene is so visceral
about the way your brain remembers being a little kid, and the way parents talk and they felt around you. I think
that's probably my favorite scene. Although I do like thestuff ofthem on the beach, allthe tender, surreal moments.
Natalie: And that senseof trying to figureout is this in the past, or recreating the memory he had, or is it allin his
Brian Exactly. That movie came out around the same time as "Memento," so it reflects more on that theme of
struggling with your past and your future at the same time.
Natalie:It's one of my all-time favorite movies.
Brian: I love it. I do thinklit probablynmeans a lotto somebody my age who saw it whennthey were 20 or 21, than to
people who are now in theirfifties. It resonated so much with that audience. I mean everyone thinks "Oh, it sucks
to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend," but your brain goesthrough a process, and I think this filmcaptured
ncing the name while the
simply stands on stage
g awkward and handing
e statue. Add the fact that
Khosla is winning literally
all the awards. To join, e-mail