Collisions at the Corner of Art and Commerce

Elvis on the Dock - Part 1

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I saw Elvis fishing off a pier in Key West...honest, there he was, almost ready for the stage, dressed just short of the full sequined jumpsuit while he sat drinking beer, casting his line.  He bore a strong physical resemblance to Elvis.  But apart from that, I was amazed to see an Elvis impersonator so dedicated to his craft, really taking on his character, owning it, living it... then it occurred to me that he was pretty old to play the Vegas Elvis, and way too old for the black leather clad Elvis, heck, he was maybe even as old as Elvis would be, which got me thinking, "what if this really *was* Elvis"?  There are loads of conspiracy theories about Elvis' death, but it struck me that hiding in plain sight could be the best strategy for an Elvis who had soured on *being* ELVIS and all that that entailed.

So the schemer in me got to working on this whole thing - certainly there are difficult aspects of such a plan,  paramount among them finding a suitable dead body to put the authorities off the trail.  However, the application of a sufficient amount of cash, in the amounts Elvis could  easily muster,  could probably secure the help to making this work. First put piles of money into Swiss bank accounts,  fake the death, let some time pass, and then go fishing.  

But the other jump I made after seeing the Elvis impersonator on the dock was to imagine the newly freed Elvis eventually tiring of life without performing - divorced from what defined him.  What if Elvis liked  aspects being 'Elvis', maybe it was just the pressures of the whole huge industry and persona created around him that got to him?  He could check out of the rat race of being him, take a break,  and then go back to the simple part of it that perhaps he loved best?  Being on stage.... sure the crowds were smaller and all, but  you've got to think he'd be able to get the best gigs available to an Elvis impersonator, given how good he'd be at faking himself. But imagine the pieces of his life that he could experience that he could not during his old life in the gilded cage of fame and notoriety.  The new, 'not Elvis' could go fishing, walk down the street un-accosted, meet people and talk to them as only a faux Elvis. Maybe hiding in plain sight is the best strategy for Elvis wanting to escape being ELVIS?

Pure fantasy and speculation to be sure, but it got me thinking of a number of topics relevant here - like what sort of opportunities are hiding in plain sight for you in the building of your career - good possible gigs you don't know about, people that may be able and interested in helping you?   This isn't a treatise on how to find them per se, as I couldn't suggest any one size fits all solution in this context.  But my reason for writing this is to encourage you to take a different view of what opportunities and options are before you - a sort of beginners mind assessment of you, your career, and options that might exist that have thus far remained out of your field of view.  

As one quick illustration, you say there are no good gigs or venues for your music?  Make one - I don't mean open a club, but there are plenty of halls for rent, and plenty of other musicians to join forces with to plan and present a show.  If you're not finding the kind of gig opportunities you seek - make them for yourself.  Not simple, not easy, but potentially worthwhile.  The preceding is merely an example of one small area to reframe, and re-view the landscape around you and your career.  What are the new vistas unseen, or opportunities hiding in plain sight around you?

More to come....

updated: 10 years ago