Sunday, September 27, 2015
The Sunburst Convention For Professional Celebrity Impersonators is being held in the Florida Hotel in the Florida Mall, 1500 Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL. The Convention's website explained, "The Sunburst Convention is a great and friendly environment helping promote the careers of Professional Celebrity Impersonators and Look A Likes. This is a rather unique profession and we take it seriously. You can NOW see what it's about on NETFLIX! Look for the movie/documentary "Just About Famous" and you will see what we are about!
I went to a Love Boat themed party on the second night of the convention. Greg showed up dressed up as Captain Stubing and all the attendees were encouraged to come in costume. Ginny Soskey a Hubspot section editor came to the convention from Boston. Before we were let in to the Hospitality suite she explained that there are 3 tiers in the celebrity look alike field. The first tier are the look alikes, they don't necessarily need costumes to resemble a celebrity. then there are the Celebrity impersonators. They research their celebrity's every mannerism and they often create their own costumes. The final tier are the tribute artists, they have the look, the costumes and they develop a complete act that they perform on stage.
One whole meeting room in the hotel had rows of tables with celebrity impersonators cards and promotional materials. Agents show up to the convention to scout for talent and Ilene Lieber who does PR for the convention told me that there were more agents than ever this year. Colonal Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame arrived and shook my hand. I thought his presence was appropriate since KFC is running ads now that have a Saturday Night Live comedian doubling as the Colonal. The actor didn't look like the Colonal so I suddenly lost faith in the brand. It was like they stole my belief in Santa Claus. Another look alike showed up is a stunning outfit with jewels and a fur lined hood. Her lips sparkled orange. I thought she was Lady Gaga but it turned out she was Cher. Captain Jack Sparrow staggered about with some thick brown swill in a bottle. It wasn't beer, perhaps it was a thick fermented cider.
The party was a blast. A tropical billboard was against one wall with a rail so celebrities could take a photo in an exotic island setting. As the room filled, people took selfies together. The Blues Brothers hung out at the corner table. Dolly Parton later sat at the table to check her phone. The whole fun in attending the convention was trying to guess who was being impersonated. Yet this is a skill set I haven't developed. The last thing I wanted to do was walk up to someone and say "So, who are you supposed to be?" I kept my guesses private
Apparently Charo had appeared quite a few times on the Love Boat, so there was a rather hilarious hoochie coochie contest. On stage, The Ladies of Soul performed along with the L.O.S. Band from Vero Beach. They definitely got the attendees out on the dance floor. This was a rare instance where I didn't sketch the stage. Instead, I had to focus on the celebrity audience.