A ‘hunka burning’ fun

Slater to bring Elvis to the Vogue Saturday

By DAVID YARNELL
Special to the News Advocate

MANISTEE — Jake Slater, one of the country’s best Elvis impersonators, will bring the king back to life for “Viva Las Vogue” on at 7 p.m. Saturday at Manistee’s Vogue Theatre.

The program, a fundraiser for the historic movie house, will feature music by Slater and his fiance, Laura West, as Ann Margaret along with the showing of the 1964 Elvis-Ann Margaret film “Viva Las Vegas.”

Slater, who lives in Bellaire, said his career began when he found a stack of records in his grandparents’ attic.

“I’ve always been into older music,” Slater said. “It started with that stack of records that included three generations of music – my great-grandparents, grandparents and parents.”

That particular stack did not include anything by Elvis. Slater’s focus on the King began when he tuned into a 1950s Internet radio station at his grandparents’ house at age 6.

Elvis impersonator Jake Slater will perform on Saturday during the Vogue Theatre's fundraiser, “Viva Las Vogue.” (Courtesy photo)

Elvis impersonator Jake Slater will perform on Saturday during the Vogue Theatre’s fundraiser, “Viva Las Vogue.” (Courtesy photo)

“They just happened to play the Elvis song ‘You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care)’ and that’s what kicked it off for me,”he said. “From then on I became a huge fan. I did a lot of research, watched all the movies and documentaries and read all the books I could get my hands on.”

Slater, who is 27, started performing at age 16.

“I got my first show at a military club in Traverse City. I had no idea it would become a job or anything at all. That just kind of happened. The phone kept ringing, then I made a business card and started passing it out.”

Slater’s talent is 100 percent homegrown.

“I was in drama class in high school and in plays, but other than that no formal training, no vocal training, no choreography, just the stuff I learned in high school,” he said.

Slater has performed in Manistee several times – at the Little River Casino Resort.

“The casino had the Elvis show for five or six years and I was there for about four of them.”

Slater said he does shows that cover all of Elvis’ stages of life and outfits.

“In my full show I do all three eras – 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In this particular show at the Vogue I’ll be focusing on the music from his 1960s movies.”

In addition to Elvis shows, there are Elvis competitions all over the world. Recently Slater finished first at a Portage, Ind., competition.

“The competitions all lead to the big ultimate contest in Memphis in August during Elvis week,” said Slater, who qualifies based on his Portage, Ind., win. “It’s like the Super Bowl in Memphis when you go to compete for the big title and a prize of $20,000. I’ve been doing contests for a long time, but this is only the second time I’ve gotten to go to the big one in Memphis.”

Slater said he’s been to Elvis’ home Graceland in Memphis probably about 10 times.

“When I was 13 I told my parents I wanted to go to Memphis and they were a little bit surprised, but they knew how serious I was about Elvis. We went to all the places and on all the tours.”

Slater’s fiance West is a native of Greensboro, N.C. In addition to doing tribute performances as Ann Margaret, she also portrays Marilyn Monroe and Priscilla Presley.

“On Saturday she will be a part of the meet and greet and perform at least one duet with me as Ann Margaret,” Slater said.

Tickets for “Viva Las Vogue” are available at the Vogue, by calling (231) 222-5199 and at voguetheatremanistee.org. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and there will be full concessions including beer and wine.

Sports Ink and The Ramdell Inn & TJ’S Pub are sponsoring the fundraiser, for which 100 percent of the proceeds go to the operations of the Vogue.

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