By Lola Rossi-Meza
It is no secret that the Forever Marilyn Statue will soon be on its way to her next home. The Palm Springs Follies will be here for one more season, then what? I say, Elvis. What better way to fill the void then with Elvis and Spirit of the King?
Performance Artist Steve Connolly and “Spirit of the King” is the Spirit of Palm Springs. He captures the essence of the “1960 Glory Days” of Palm Springs, the playground of the stars. This amazing showcase is the perfect way to carry the message to the world market and deliver multiple benefits to the Tourism in Palm Springs.
Most recently, Rachel Dodes of The Wall Street Journal, wrote an article, “In Search of the King” and talks about her visit to Palm Springs, mainly to walk in the footsteps of Elvis Presley. She visited his favorite places to shop and eat, however, she was most impressed by The Honeymoon Hideaway, and felt she had “fallen completely under Elvis’ spell.” With only a desire to visit Palm Springs to feel the “Elvis” vibe, personally, I think she would have raved about this spectacular show, and really felt the true essence of The King.
The show opens with Fleet Easton and his tribute to Bobby Darin. Then Connolly takes the stage and all immediately feel the “Spirit of the King” with his opening song, and all remember the days back when Elvis was alive and feel his presence. He sings like Elvis, he talks like Elvis, he looks like Elvis, he moves like Elvis and captures the undivided attention of his audiences. “Every performance is different,” said Connolly. “I am a Performance Artist, not an impersonator, and I don’t try to be.” He interacts with the audience and gives them a personal thrill.
Connolly leaves the stage and a video montage brings us through the old and new Palm Springs. When he returns to the stage in his ”Palm Springs White” outfit, the famous black leather suit in white, he goes in and out of “character” from the perspective of tapping into all the conspiracy theories that Elvis may still be alive. He now becomes Elvis as an artist, and brings the audience to fantasyland. He faces a black canvas positioned on stage and takes a paint brush, begins to apply white paint and begins to sing an assortment of songs, feeling each stoke with the mood of the music. As the painting is created in 10 minutes, we realize it is a portrait of Elvis. He didn’t even get one drop of paint on himself. It was amazing. This performance is like none other.
The next video is “Direct From Palm Springs” a summary of the unbelievable painting and performance that was just witnessed by the audience. It leads into a Marilyn Monroe video segment followed by an appearance by Cat Lyn Day as Marilyn Monroe. She sings “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” She is then joined by Elvis as he sings to her, “Are you lonesome tonight”, it gives me chills as I remember the evening I saw the show. More audience pleasing songs are flawlessly performed.
The final video clip, “The Souls of Palm Springs” honors those who gave Palm Springs its identity as Elvis sings, “Always On My Mind”. Soon after, the show ends with “Suspicious Minds” leaving the audience wanting more.
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Steve Connolly was born with talent in many areas. “When I was nine years old, I remember going to see shows with my family, I loved everything about entertainment.” He has sung in many different bands, performed in theater, and has been a talented artist since childhood. He was featured on Boston TV as he painted God on the ceiling and angels on the walls of a church. He even restored over 700 statues and 50 paintings in various churches along the East Coast. He is a family man and loves what he does for a living, entertaining.
Most recently, Connolly appeared in the Second Season premier of “House of Lies” on ShowTime. He was one of the featured actors as an Elvis Impersonator in the movie “3000 Miles To Graceland” and appears as Elvis, in a new Palm Springs movie “Sushi Anyone?” written, produced and directed by Brad Mercer. As a Fine Art artist, his work is on display at the Michael H. Lord Gallery located at 1090 North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, as well as, in many private collections throughout the United States. Michael Lord himself is a world renowned Fine Art Dealer. (760) 699-8957. Connolly is also a published cartoonist and writer.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival, The Palm Springs Follies, the Coachella Fest, Stage Coach, the various tennis tournaments and golf tournaments, lure visitors from all over the world to this destination. Having “Spirit of the King” as one more reason to visit Palm Springs would attract even more tourists to the Coachella Valley.
You will have one last opportunity to see this show at the season finale on Saturday, June 22, at 6 p.m. Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet will be in attendance to award one of the participating charities the painting of Elvis created that evening by Steve Connolly. Tickets are available at the door that evening or at a discounted rate online at SpiritOfTheKingPalmSprings.com.