What does Elvis Presley have to do with a fight club, burlesque dancers, and political satire? Almost nothing. But as far as Kate Taylor Davis is concerned, the only guideline for the sixth annual Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club is to honor the King in the most madcap way possible.
“We love Elvis so much,” says Davis, the show’s creator and producer. “Even when we’re using him as a punching bag, it is with so much love.”
The idea for Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club, which plays at the GALA Hispanic Theatre Friday and Saturday, comes from Davis’ Elvis fandom and her desire to put on a production even wackier than a standard burlesque show. The idea for the show was born over a Thai-food dinner at which Davis, her husband, and some of their friends started kicking around weird, Elvis-invoking show concepts.
“Elvis’ birthday luau” and even “Elvis’ birthday cockfight” seemed too boring. “We [suggested] Elvis’ birthday fight club,” Davis says. “And my friend’s straight-laced husband said, ‘You know, I’d go to that.’ “
Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club features a series of choreographed fights hosted and commentated on by an Elvis impersonator and burlesque dancer Kittie Glitter. This year’s contenders will be kept a secret until showtime, but past matches have included “Diane Rehm vs. Stephen Hawking,” “American Indian vs. Dan Snyder,” and “the dollar vs. the euro.” There are also sketches between matches, from Elvis-themed burlesque routines and trivia to a game that recalls the King’s nasty Quaalude habit. The toilet Presley died on even gets a cameo at the beginning to narrate the fight club’s backstory.
Six years in, Davis still hasn’t concoted anything too raunchy to stage. (She thought the Snyder match might have pushed it, but says the audience wound up loving it.)
“We had a lot of internal dialogue about how to make that fight okay, but not too okay,” she says. “We wanted to hit a couple of nerves. Those of us in the audience [thought] it was really awkward, and then [the Native American] beat the shit out of Dan Snyder and everyone was so happy.”
Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club plays Friday and Saturday at the GALA Hispanic Theatre. Tickets $20.