Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Clownvis Presley @ Zanzabar

On a sleepy unassuming sunday night, the miracle of a second coming took place at Zanzabar. The King isn't dead after all, but reformed in the image of a clown.
Clownvis Presley got his start more than 5 years ago in the Saint Louis area, performing around town at music venues or on the street in front of Vintage Vinyl  in a guerrilla karaoke style before making the leap to Hollywood in a full on push for comedy stardom including a memorable, yet orchestrated for failure by the producers, performance on America's Got Talent in 2011.

Clownvis used the infamous appearance on AGT to launch a full scale attempt for a comedy career with his own web series, Clownvis Time, which included a full universe of characters including his manager Narvell P. Tuffnuts, sidekick Duke Karate, DJ Weenie D (his personal DJ and pet dog) security guards Stanley Suede and Bruce Bagwell and a slew of groupies, rival musicians and oddballs.  Most successful during this time was his highly produced music videos, directed by Sean Barrett, such as Barack O's Tacos, The Cursive Song, Dancing with the Wolfman (in a non-gay way),  and Jesus Christ eating on a Chicken Wing.

In the past year, Clownvis has relocated back to Saint Louis, mostly appearing occasionally at special events, without his entourage, save for manager Narvell. Rob Crow, of Pinback and Goblin Cock, played in Saint Louis on Saturday March 5, and the following day in Louisville, bringing with him Clownvis Presley on both dates.
Clownvis opened for Rob Crow and his Gloomy Place, from 9pm-10pm at the Zanzabar, for an ecstatic crowd (larger and more enthusiastic than for Crow) with the Zanzabar staff pulling out all the stops, including dinner specials in Clownvis' honor including Sweet Jesus Hot Wings and Barack O's Tacos.
Head Chef Ally Trusty in clown make up
Barack O's Tacos in the shape of a clown face

Clownvis inspired dinner specials
   Clownvis took the stage with fervor and fanfare as Narvell lit the way with a spotlight as the crowd cheered, jumping straight into a rendition of Viva Las Vegas, followed by America the Beautiful, and then abandoning the 'Elvis Impersonator' act for the full on 'Clownvis' universe filled with original songs and dialog, including Barack O's Tacos (as he explained beforehand Barack Obama plans to open a family style restaurant chain but needed a recognizable face as spokesman and asked Clownvis to help out), and Jesus Christ eating on a Chicken Wing (including the story of how 5000 years ago Santa Claus gave the new born baby jesus a chicken wing and then they wrote the bible together).

Missing from the act was some of his staple songs such as The Cursive Song and Dancing with the Wolfman, and many of his Christmas related numbers such as Mutant Boy Christmas Song and Coming for you on Christmas, but he included many re-imagined songs such as singing In The Ghetto while changing the lyrics to explain the plot of Fresh Prince of Bell Air. Clownvis also did a few straight of covers such as Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give you Up, and 4 Non Blondes What's Up, as well as the theme from The Golden Girls after asking the crowd if they would move to Florida with him to retire. As his finale Clownvis returned to the Elvis songbook to do a spot on cover of the Elvis Presley showstopper An American Trilogy to crowd delight.

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