Elvis Resurrected: A Celebration of the King’s 71st Birthday

The steamship the S.S. Mount Vernon could reportedly hold “1,000 dancing couples” as it glided along the Potomac on its moonlight cruises. In the mid-’50s it seemed like an unlikely location for a rockabilly show, particularly since the nascent genre, like a certain subsequent D.C. music craze, wasn’t welcome in many places other than a few in-the-know P.G. County bars (including one Chick Hall’s Surf Club in Bladensburg). But entrepreneur Connie B. Gay had enough clout to book Elvis Presley, then cresting the wave of his hit “Heartbreak Hotel,” to play on the Mount Vernon on March 23, 1956. (Imagine the pandemonium today if Usher were booked to play on a D.C. Ducks vessel.) The mechanical problems that kept the Mount Vernon at the dock have been altered, through legend, to fears that the boat, laden with hundreds of teenyboppers, would sink. Either way, the concert went on, despite the grousing of one fan about wasting his four bucks when he wanted to “cruise along the river and dance with my girl.” The Mount Vernon sank in 1964, a little before Elvis himself did, and it’s a fair bet that Chick Hall’s will have some elbow room when the Hula Monsters (pictured) play in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the cruise that wasn’t and the rock legend’s 71st birthday. Then again, the venerable honky-tonk has its own ghosts, and with a title like “Elvis Resurrected,” this dance party should be pretty spirited. Dress like the King—prizes will be awarded—and see whether he drops in to T.C.B. when the fun starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at Chick Hall’s Surf Club, 4711 Kenilworth Ave., Bladensburg. $10. (301) 927-6310. (Pamela Murray Winters)