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It Started with Karaoke in Krakow

“As a singer, I sound like Elvis Presley, no matter how hard I try not to,” says James Kruk, who disbanded his former group Fake Booby Judy and became, for a time, one of Poland’s top Elvis impersonators.

“The Elvis show happened from a karaoke contest in Krakow [around 2004],” says Kruk, who was teaching English in Poland at the time. “I went up on stage and the crowd went crazy, like I was really Elvis. They made me sing every Elvis CD they had, and the crowd loved it. I was shocked! I won the karaoke contest that night.… The prize was some Russian champagne.”

Though popular, Kruk says Poles didn’t pay much for his Elvis act.

“The most I got was 200 Polish zloty for a 45-minute gig. That was around $70 U.S. Now, it’s worth something like $120.”

Before settling in San Diego with his Polish-born wife, Kruk spent two years touring the U.S. as Elvis in Steve Martin’s stage play Picasso at the Lapin Agile, about Albert Einstein meeting Pablo Picasso in a bar before they become famous.

“Elvis shows up as a time-traveling deus ex machina, to juxtapose the impact of fame and genius. I was paid $1500 a week, plus $600 weekly per diem for food and hotels.”

Comedian Steve Martin authored the play but didn’t appear in it. “He was around for rehearsals and for some shows, though,” says Kruk. “He had the cast over for dinner when the tour stopped in L.A., which was cool. Some cast were swooning and telling him his greatest movies. I told him mine was The Muppet Movie. He was not amused.”

– Jay Allen Sanford

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“As a singer, I sound like Elvis Presley, no matter how hard I try not to,” says James Kruk, who disbanded his former group Fake Booby Judy and became, for a time, one of Poland’s top Elvis impersonators.

“The Elvis show happened from a karaoke contest in Krakow [around 2004],” says Kruk, who was teaching English in Poland at the time. “I went up on stage and the crowd went crazy, like I was really Elvis. They made me sing every Elvis CD they had, and the crowd loved it. I was shocked! I won the karaoke contest that night.… The prize was some Russian champagne.”

Though popular, Kruk says Poles didn’t pay much for his Elvis act.

“The most I got was 200 Polish zloty for a 45-minute gig. That was around $70 U.S. Now, it’s worth something like $120.”

Before settling in San Diego with his Polish-born wife, Kruk spent two years touring the U.S. as Elvis in Steve Martin’s stage play Picasso at the Lapin Agile, about Albert Einstein meeting Pablo Picasso in a bar before they become famous.

“Elvis shows up as a time-traveling deus ex machina, to juxtapose the impact of fame and genius. I was paid $1500 a week, plus $600 weekly per diem for food and hotels.”

Comedian Steve Martin authored the play but didn’t appear in it. “He was around for rehearsals and for some shows, though,” says Kruk. “He had the cast over for dinner when the tour stopped in L.A., which was cool. Some cast were swooning and telling him his greatest movies. I told him mine was The Muppet Movie. He was not amused.”

– Jay Allen Sanford

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Comments
2

I saw this guy in danmark a few years ago. He may have been touring with Larry Garner. It was a Thanksgiving get together (the danes do not shy at hijacking others countries holy days) and James performed Night Train (maybe) and he was bloody good! Well at least that's what i heard the next day.

Anyway, with such a following in central and northern Europe the question is, "when are you returning"?

June 20, 2008

Hey everybody Kruk Here, I don't know when I will return to Europe there are rumblings of some producers trying to get together a tour in September. But I may be too fat to fit into my Jumpsuits. I was looking for a band in the San Diego area to revitalize the show and perhaps bring the show to Europe. If your a musician interested in a truly different Elvis Show drop me an e-mail Or If your band is ready for a new singer I will fit the bill. This is not an impersonation show really its kind of the opposite. and just to let you know 200 polish zloty is a fortune for a 45 minute show. listen to me at www.myspace.com/fakeboobyjudy Big thanks to JAS! King Kruk ([email protected])

June 21, 2008

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