Otis Day will rock the Silver Queen Ball
When the festivities for the second annual Silver Queen Ball gets rolling at the Montage Deer Valley on Thursday, Dec. 27, everyone will get a chance to "Shout."
The event, a fundraiser for the Park City Museum, will feature dinner, dancing, an auction and live music, including that trademark Isley Brothers tune, performed by Otis Day and the Knights.
The band made its debut in the John Landis’ 1978 comedy "Animal House." Although the lead vocals were dubbed by Lloyd Williams, Day, whose real name is DeWayne Jesse, and his band have been playing live and entertaining audiences ever since.
In 2008, the Biography Channel did a special on Jessie, and he is currently working on a documentary "Otis Day: Band on the Run" that is scheduled to be released early next year.
Jesse thanks "Animal House" for giving him a solid career.
"You know, it’s to the point right now, that if I had a penny for every time someone said, ‘Otis, my man!,’ I’d be talking to you from somewhere on the Riviera.
"It’s really cool that the act has lasted so long, and we are in demand all the time," he said. "A lot of acts go out and have a lot of good things happen, but after a while, no one remembers them anymore. That makes me feel great, because it helps me feel good about what I did in the film."
Before Jessie debuted Otis Day, he was a character actor for Universal Pictures and appeared in TV shows such as "Kojak," "Firehouse," "Love American Style," "Police Story," "Starsky and Hutch" and films such as "Car Wash" (1976), "Fun With Dick and Jane" (1977) and "Bingo Long’s Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings" (1976).
"I actually won the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Image Award for ‘Bingo Long,’ the film I did with James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor and Billy Dee Williams," Jessie said. "I played the deaf mute and won that award. I’m so proud of that. because it was like a Black Man’s Oscar."
Jessie won the year before the award show was televised.
"Sammy Davis Jr. was the host," Jessie said. "Stevie Wonder won, Billy Dee Williams won and it was really great."
These days, Jessie is happy to be out there playing, but also knowing he’s not Otis Day when he’s around family.
"The big challenge is not to get caught up in the enigma that is Otis, you know what I’m saying?" he said. "Because it’s so easy to fall into that, and I’ve tried to avoid that all my life.
"I’m a family person and we are close with each other and have barbecues every day, because that’s how we were raised," Jessie said. "When I put on shows, I become Otis and will stay him until I finish the show. Then I go home and become the peewee everyone knows as DeWayne."
Jessie has four reasons why he needs to keep that balance.
"I have grandchildren," he said. "I need to be real around them. And there are real people around me, so I can’t stop being real."
The second annual Silver Queen Ball, a fundraiser for the Park City Museum that will be held at the Montage Deer Valley on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $300 per person at http://www.parkcityhistory.org/events/silver-queen-ball/ . Otis Day & the Knights will provide the event’s live music.
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