Every red-blooded American loves an Elvis imitator -- the rhinestone-studded jumpsuits, the sideburns and Foster Grant sunglasses, those lazily elided lyrics and rolling hips and, of course, the cheese. The cheesiness of Elvis imitators has yielded a new generation of cheesy tribute acts, though -- Neil Diamond, Wayne Newton and even Journey imitators clog the casinos and strip joints of the land.
But just as Elvis was larger than life (and larger than the butt of those white slacks he was so fond of), Elvis imitators rule the roost, too. Feel the debauched power of the biggest cheese of all by bowing before his imitator-minions on New Year's Eve.
Venerable Elvis imitator Steve Davis and his TCB band shake the craps tables of the Casino Queen (Club Seven, 200 South Front Street in East St. Louis) at three shows (8:30, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m., $10 per show, 800-777-0777, www.casinoqueen.com). Farther south, Elvis imitator Ron Furr and his band perform "A Touch of Elvis" at the Arnold Eagles Hall (8 p.m., 1725 Jeffco Boulevard; call 636-931-3938 for reservations). The $40 admission includes dinner, two shows and dancing.
What we'd really like to see is a jelly doughnut-eating contest between Davis and Furr, wearing the eagle jumpsuits, with their hands tied behind their backs. That would truly make us say, "Thank you, baby." -- Byron Kerman
For a Western New Year
There are only two good things about staying home on Saturday night: not being hung over on Sunday morning and being around to watch KMOV's country line-dancing show (which is actually filmed on Thursdays at Wild Country, 17 Gateway Drive in Collinsville, 618-346-6775 or 800-551-5133). If you go Wednesday, you'll be a day early for the filming, but you'll be just in time for the New Year's Eve celebration at the infamous bar (well, at least on the St. Louis side it's infamous). For only $10, you get a personal bottle of Champagne, hats, noisemakers and entertainment from Rockin' Horse. Maybe you can practice line-dancing or scope out the best spot to get on television next time you visit. Just don't two-step around in a wide circle -- the middle of the dance floor is much more fun. -- Alison Sieloff
Hippie Hippie Shake
Rhymes with "bake"
You too can celebrate New Year's Eve with veteran Grateful Dead interpreters the Schwag at Cicero's (6691 Delmar Boulevard). Also slated to noodle are Liquid Groove Theory, EKe and Crescent Moon Connection. This show may be your best chance to hear a twenty-minute version of "Auld Lang Syne," complete with egg-shaker solo and didjeridoo breakdown. But New Year's Eve is all about excess, so no one will even bat an eye as the evening stretches into next year. It all happens on two stages with a Champagne toast at midnight, balloon drop (they've already been inflated) and plenty of party favors (sweeeet, bro). Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; the show starts at 8 p.m. This night of groove and jam is suitable for ages eighteen and older. Tickets are $10 ($20 for those younger than 21). For more information call 314-862-0009 or visit www.ciceros-stl.com. -- John Goddard
Big Mound of Clown
So, cavorting with an obese man isn't in your New Year's Eve plans? It should be, as long as that man is Ralphie May, a half-ton of funny whose Web site (www.ralphiemay.com) describes him as both a "comic" and an "exotic male dancer." Though size does matter, May avoids the traditional "fat man" shtick in favor of a riotous, crude, hip-hop vibe (December 31 and January 2 through 4 at the Funny Bone Comedy Club-Westport, I-270 at Page Avenue, 314-469-6692, $15-$55). -- Erik Carlson