featuring The Fabulous Blues Brothers
VFW Post 2093, Orlando, FL • February 16, 2001
Carl F Gauze
Somewhere on the less fashionable stretch of Edgewater Drive, past the Mark 2 Dinner Theater and near the Temple of Faith (formerly Orlando Sailing Supply), we find the most patriotic implementation of D.I.Y. entertainment — Karaoke Night. Now, not just anyone is allowed into Post 2093 — you need to be a member or at least a guest of a member. I pulled my best line — “I’m with band” — and that seemed to satisfy the bartender. With a $1 NASCAR beers on tap, all the potato salad and wings you can eat, and some very enthusiastic entertainment, you can’t beat it for a cheap date. And if the spirit moves you, you can even sing for your supper. I didn’t have THAT much beer, but others did.
But let me tell you about the pick of the litter, Jake and Elwood Blues (Tom and Judy Struble), who wowed the crowed with their repertory of white folks’ versions of the blues classics. It’s not just their sideburns — Jake’s grown the Chia variety, and Elwood used some grease paint — but add the mortician serious suits coupled with a pure enthusiasm for being slightly silly in public, and it’s an act with legs. Jake and Elwood project the sort of enthusiasm that takes you from embarrassing the kids to being asked to entertain the Elks, who pay real cash. While lesser singers struggled through “Rocky Top” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” these semi-pros hammered out “Jailhouse Rock” and “Going Back to Miami” and “Hey Bartender” and “Shake your Tail Feathers,” singing and dancing and wisely not trying any back flips. It moved me, and they did it all for just as many Coronas as a husband and wife team can sink.
It’s America, as we sit on Baptist chairs around a folding table, with beer signs extolling our armed services and a Skill Crane game that sometimes turns dollar bills into sawdust stuffed dolls. Is this what they fought and died for? Hell, yes — cheap beer, a Budweiser clock spinning round, and your best friends impersonating two guys who impersonated Sam Cooke, and not doing half bad. It’s the fifth level of Maslow’s self-actualization pyramid. And they out-sang and out-danced Hawaiian Shirt Dude and his Jimmy Buffet songs. Jimmy didn’t really suffer enough — not like Sam Cooke did. It’s worth looking up to people like that.