December 13, 2001 Many people I've spoken with lately would rather endure a full body wax (scalp included) than whoop it up for the holidays. These people need to see the El Vez Christmas Show (also known as Mex-Mas). You're probably one of them. You need to get your pipers piping, your figgy pudding boiling, your maids a milkin'. But first you need to genuflect before opening act Tammy Faye Starlite and the Angels of Mercy.
Gussied up in a little red Santa nightie with furry white trim, black fishnets, a giant, rhinestone crucifix around her neck, and big, white go-go boots, the slight, blonde Tammy Faye Starlite and her Angels of Mercy proclaimed the beauty of Jesus Christ and the appeal of salvation in His name. Starlite promised Jews and Catholics alike that life as a Protestant would be much more fulfilling. With a high-pitched country drawl, Starlite opened with "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," before continuing to use the stage at the Mercury Lounge as her pulpit.
The Lord, she said, could look like anyone we want Him to look like. Ladies, if you want Him to look like George Clooney, He can. Men, if you want Him to look like Pamela Anderson-Lee, He can. And, for those of you who aren't attracted to men or women, Starlite offered Sarah Jessica Parker as a suitable incarnation. Starlite's original songs were lusty, naughty tales of both woe and perverted joy.
One of her songs implored Jesus to "come all over" her... not just figuratively, either.
She took a guy from the crowd, brought him on stage, stripped to a tube top and g-string, sat on his lap, and sang a song about her daddy's hands (I'll let you draw your own conclusions). "Are you a Jew?" she asked one fellow in the crowd. Yes, indeed he was. "Not for long!" Starlite giggled. She warned that if we don't convert, we'll be struck with the worst yeast infection we can imagine, "and there's no Monistat in Hell." (Guys, you'll be stricken, too.) Whether she was slow dancing with a butch dyke from the crowd, going off on Amy Grant ("motherfuckingcuntbitch"), or getting a loveable, nerdy guy to kneel before her while she gyrated in his face, Starlite was an unstoppable riot. Her closing song, about being disappointed by her drunk husband, was a spin on Deana Carter's "Did I Shave My Legs for This?" Instead Starlite sang, "Did I Shave My Vagina for This?" I've been saved. Praise the Lewd!
|Tammy Faye Starlite|| |
The Mexican Elvis was delayed. Fans paid to have their picture taken with him, and it was taking longer than anyone expected. It got very warm and crowded. People were trying to make their way to the front. "'Scuse me, my friends are up there." Honey, it's so crowded in here that I can't even lift my hand to smack you in the head. Five minutes later, the same chick taps me on the shoulder, pushes her empty beer glass in my face and says, "Can you put this on the stage?" What the hell do I look like? I think the look of grotesque irritability on my face got the point across, because her gentleman friend took the glass away. Holiday spirit, my ass.
The grinch in me dissolved as soon as I saw him. El Vez whipped through the crowd, dressed as a toy soldier in platinum pants (no top hat his pompadour was much better) and was more electrified than greased lightening. Backed by his Memphis Mariachi band and singers, the El Vettes, El Vez turned the room on its noggin. The man is a rock 'n' roll tsunami.
"O Taliban, O Taliban, how ugly are your branches," he crooned before unleashing one of his more famous tunes (albeit, with a new beginning). "Osama bin Laden, you ain't nothin' but a Chihuahua!" he screamed. The audience howled and shook its collective hips.
El Vez doubled as a stand-up comic. According to him, one of the El Vettes (Lisa-Maria) recently converted to Judaism, and a new holiday was born: Chicanukkah. A lot of laughs came as a result of El Vez's musical formula, as well. He marbled modern rock into traditional and original material. Fans were encouraged to sing along to "En El Barrio" and "Santa Claus is Sometimes Brown." Along the way, El Vez broke into "Someday" by Sugar Ray and "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis. The latter was given a makeover to honor his hometown, East L.A.: "Someday you will find me, trapped beneath the landslide, in a suped-up Chevy Nova in the sky." A punk rock version of "Feliz Navidad" brought down the house.
As if you need another reason to love El Vez, he changed his wardrobe approximately five times during the set. He retreated backstage (behind a curtain) and returned in a black patent-leather outfit. "We're gonna put the X back in Xmas!" he shouted. "You know," he continued, "Christmas isn't just about sex." The next outfit was dark green patent leather, with snowflake decals and white tassels (icicles) hanging from the arms. "I'm so glad Britney and J. Lo brought back the jumpsuit!" he said. What's more eye-popping is how El Vez can do a split in mid air and land in said position in these jumpsuits.
The crowd wouldn't accept that El Vez's set was finished. They chanted his name, stomped their feet, and clapped until the band returned. El Vez emerged wearing all white, and giant white wings strapped to his back. The spotlight was on him as he sang "(I'm Dreaming of a) Brown Christmas" with more endearment than Bing Crosby in his finest hour. As El Vez gracefully walked off the stage, you could hear the El Vettes singing the Tears for Fears classic, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Ladies and gentlemen, El Vez has left the building.
Well reader(s), in lieu of some of the inevitable griping, try to channel the energy of El Vez, and enjoy the holidays and new year. J. Fury
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