There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
El Vez is the best goddamn “novelty act” I’ve ever seen and arguably one of the hardest-working men in show business. His stage show has more costume changes than a Vegas dance revue as he unveils—and I hesitate to blaspheme here—a more inspired tribute to the King than Blelvis himself could muster. Simultaneously reverential and irreverent toward El Rey, El Vez is no mere “Elvis impersonator”; for him, Presley’s songs are merely the jumping-off point for a big-brush satire of pop music, fused with a healthy dose of old-school Brown Power politics. You can dismiss it all as postmodern archness, but you can’t walk away without feeling that you have spent 90 sweaty minutes in the presence of genius, however wacky and sui generis. After his tour as one of the Zeros, a seminal L.A. punk band, El Vez (aka Robert Lopez) decided to pay homage to America’s first punk and, at the same time, send up the King’s homeland with plenty of immigrant humor. On his new record, G.I. Ay, Ay! Blues, dedicated to the memory of Cesar Chavez, he explains, “Well I am a Mexican, and I am hardcore/I don’t speak Spanish but I know the score.” See it, then believe it tonight at the Gato Negro. El Vez performs with the Machetres at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (David Carr)