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Minnesota Elvis Impersonator & Tribute Artist Art Kistler!
Elvis Impersonator and Tribute Artist
Links, Tricks, Advice, "Trade Secrets" and Tips!
Jumpsuit, sideburns, teeth... AND MORE maintenance tips below!
LINKS to E.T.A. RESOURCES AND Up-and-Coming ETA Sites!
(We don't necessarily endorse them all, we just share the links...)
ART'S FACEBOOK LINK
ART'S GIGMASTERS LINK
PROFESSIONAL COSTUMER MADE SEVERAL OF ART'S JUMPSUITS!
CHECK OUT DAWN MARIE'S ELVIS SHOW SCARVES HERE!
KAY MURPHY AT RIGHTSTITCH MADE ART'S PEACOCK AND SUNDIAL JUMPSUITS!
ART'S FAVORITE E-BAY SELLER
ETA'S CONSTRUCTIVE ADVICE
ETA AND ELVIS RESOURCES
KING TRACKS ACCOMPANIMENT CD'S
GOLDEN VOICE ACCOMPANIMENT CD'S
ELVIS WIGS: NEW ROOTS STUDIO!
B&K ELVIS JUMPSUITS
OTHER COOL ELVIS SITES
Elvis Presley Enterprises
Awesome Elvis fan sites
ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTIST/IMPERSONATOR TRICKS AND TIPS OF THE TRADE:
Still have your own hair but have a few thinning spot on top? Check out a product called "TOPPIK." Amazon has it.
DO YOU USE SPIRIT GUM FOR SECURING SIDEBURNS OR WIGS? There are a few decent solvents out there to remove the residue from your skin, but I've had good luck using a small amount of non-acetone fingernail polish remover and a tissue; otherwise Ben Nye's products seem to be excellent in general. Get away from using glue: ProFlex tape at the temples is the best. Sew in side and rear wig clips to secure to your own hair, too. Uxe rubbing alcohol in a little spray bottle for tape removal, or use "Lace Release" by Walker - it's even better. See more about wigs below!
Having your own 'burns is best if possible, but maintenance before a show has its tricks of the trade. I've had the best luck keeping them dark enough black using Clairol's "Just For Men" real black mustache and beard coloring kit. Be sure to read and follow all label cautions in case of skin sensitivity.
1. Shave the rest of your mug and sculpt/shape/trim your 'burns BEFORE the next step.
2. Using a product like Aquaphor or Vaseline, carefully outline the skin around your sideburn lines, temple areas - whatever - with a thin layer, avoiding the hair you want to darken. This will ensure that only the sideburn areas you WANT to darken will BE darkened, and give you nice, straight lines without dark, over-lapping blotches on your skin.
3. Follow the directions on the box. I use a retired toothbrush instead of the little mustache brush in the kit. I also leave it on longer a few minutes longer than is recommended: there will be some coloring of the skin under the 'burns (etc.), but this will make the sideburns appear thicker. This can result in a not-so natural look/contrast at the temples (but typically fine under stage lighting), so caution is advised. Try a little toothpaste on over-lap areas you don't like; if it doesn't work, don't worry - everything will be fine within a couple of days as a rule.
TAKE IT EASY AT FIRST and don't rush; PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!
LACE FRONT ELVIS WIG MAINTENANCE tips (thanks to Michael at www.WindyCityElvis.com:
At first I would wash it every other wear; the solvent that I used to take off the tape was oil based so after the first wear, it lost it's fresh look and just didn't look good anymore. After two wears, fughetaboutit.
Washing my wig was a drag and I was looking for ways to avoid this after a while, especially since the more you wash it, the quicker it will degrade just due to the stresses of shampooing, additional styling, blowdrying, etc. I found that rubbing alcohol also worked well to remove tape and clean things up so I began using that instead (extra bonus: it's very cheap). This took care of the "oily" issue.
My next problem was having excess lace on the hairline. Makeup would build up after the first wear and it was noticeable after that, especially in the daylight. SOLUTION: cut off the excess lace. I did so and it hasn't affected the hair in the hairline any, plus it looks a helluva lot better/more realistic now.
WASHING: keep the wig on a wig head and stroke the hair downward with some shampoo (don't tousel the hair otherwise you risk knotting it and pulling out hair). It's best to use a kitchen sink spray hose, if you have one.
STYLING: you need to use a blowdryer otherwise the hair will remain matted down. Use a roller brush, along with the hair dryer to give it volume and style the way Elvis styled his hair. You can use a little mousse when the hair is still damp to help in holding form.
TAPE: you apply tape only to the temple and sideburn areas of the wig (on the wig, not on your skin)- nothing is needed on the hairline itself, which is great, because you want avoid this area as much as possible. The tape will adhere to your skin and hair once you put the wig on- just pat down firmly on the taped areas once the wig is in place on your head.
When taking off the wig post show, you spray on some alcohol, give it a few seconds, and then remove very carefully. It takes some practice but you'll get the hang of it.
Let's face it, movie-star white teeth are sexy: ELVIS HAD VERY WHITE TEETH AND YOU CAN, TOO (and many of us can accomplish this without veneers, caps, etc.): I've had excellent results using CREST WHITESTRIPS SUPREME usually purchased from ebay sellers or Amazon (otherwise the SUPREME whitestrips are also available from your dentist but these are NOT available at retail stores). Follow package directions.
MAKE-UP remover: the best eye make-up remover is "MARY KAY Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover!"
Neutrogena wipes have been improved over time and are one of Art's favorites.
Your jewelry - especially pendant chains can get nasty over time. Simply cleaning them with household variety amonia will usually make an amazing improvement. Be sure to rinse ands dry well.
Make your own "ELVIS" sign! I made the sign you see in many of my photos: it's 4-foot by 4-foot square, framed in with 1"x2" pine trim type boards and reinforced with metal hardware brackets; face is 3/8" plywood or hobby board (same thing?), lettering is red rope lighting. I drew the pattern for lettering on face and drilled holes along it before painting it flat black. Then ran rope lighting which is held in place with clear nylon electrical zip-ties. It's all one length of rope lighting: where spaces are needed between lettering the rope lighting is just behind face board. It's hung on HD metal eyelets to a pair of speaker stands with nuts and bolts run through the top. So there you go!
A Few suggestions about JUMPSUIT MAINTENANCE:
This is from the wonderful Janet Tegels at Professional Costumers and applies to her amazingly constructed jump-suits:
If you have a fairly new washing machine it most likely has a hand wash or delicate cycle on it with a slow spin. Putting the suits in a washing machine using cold water and liquid tide plus one of the new stain remover products (either Tide or Clorox stain removers) is the best way to clean your suits. Use a tooth brush dipped in Dove dish detergent to get rid of any make up stains on the collar before you wash the suit. Don't be afraid to scrub the suit, it won't tear up.
The black marks that come off the chain are a real pain. It's from the chain rubbing against the fabric which takes the gold finish off the chain and then there's only the aluminum and that's what turns the suit black. The first thing you need to do is wash the chain on the belt and let it dry. Then give the back of the chain (up by the grommets) a good coat of clear nail polish. Try not to get the nail polish on the back of the belt!! This will help to keep the suits clean in the future.
On the fabric!!!! I've tried everything, all kinds of cleaners and found out that it takes elbow grease and a slightly abrasive brush covered with detergent to get the suits as clean as they're gonna get.
Also, don't forget to clean your belts because they get dirty too. I've use a sponge and a spray cleaner (Fantastik or Clorox Clean-up) to clean the belts and they look brand new when I'm finished. When you're finished cleaning the belt give it a good rinse with a clean sponge and cold water and hang it up to dry. Don't submerge it in water because that will make the nail heads rust. The larger belt parts are coated with 14K gold, they won't rust.
THANK YOU JANET! Click HERE to check out the Professional Costumers Website!
The Hard Way...
High standards, depicting the King in an appropriately professional manner and looking the best you can for your audiences all call for proper suit maintenance. The folks who make the pro costumes will advise you as to how to wash the suits on a regular basis, but sometimes more intensive attention is needed. Here are some things that have worked for me, plus some GREAT input from fellow "Elvii"...
Stuff: 3M Tarnish Shield, Q-Tips, a soft clean brush.
Apply Tarnish Shield as described on label, using a Q-Tip to every stud. This takes awhile. Allow to dry.
Wash the suit as you usually would. I hand-wash in the machine, because then you have your wash water supply, rinse water supply, drain and spin-cycle to speed drying. MONITOR MACHINE AT ALL TIMES and don't allow it to agitate as this may damage your suit! Be very careful when putting suit into and removing it from the washer, so that studs don't catch on edges, etc.
Hang to dry and spot-press as (if) needed.
I can do a highly studded jumpsuit like the one above emulating the black "Butterfly" suit in about two hours, after which it will look great for about six shows/washings between treatments.
HERE'S ANOTHER EXCELLENT and QUICK JUMPSUIT CLEANING, STUD POLISHING METHOD SUBMITTED BY "BRANDON E" IN ATHENS, TN:
"To clean the studs on your suits, all you need is 'The Works' (WITHOUT BLEACH!) which is a tub and shower cleaner. It comes in a white bottle with a green label. When you wash your suits, just spray all of the studs with "The Works" and they will brighten right before your eyes like magic. After you spray all of the studs, place your suit in a king size pillow case and place in the washing machine on gentle/hand wash cycle, then add Tide with Febreeze. They make different kinds of Tide, but I use the one with Febreeze in it. It makes the suits smell really nice. After you suit finishes washing, take it out immediately and hang it up to dry on the shower rod or anywhere you choose. Your suit will look brand new."
A word from Art: I tried this with my black suit (same as one in pics above) and it worked VERY well and it's MUCH faster! So far the shine has lasted just fine and the black polyester fabric was unaffected! Several fellow "Elvii" have tried this and have been thrilled with the results!
Thank you; thank-you-very-much for visiting ElvisTributeArtist.com!
God bless you and goodnight......
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