Denver Fashion Weekend just wouldn’t be the same without its extravagant host, George Peele. As a follow-up to this year’s grand event, 303 grilled him on his history with the brand, his contributions to DFW, and his life as an entertainer and bearer of singing telegrams.
303: How many years have you been emceeing DFW?
George: I believe I’ve been emceeing and/or co-emceeing DFW for at least two or two and a half years now. My first time was as a ringmaster on jumping stilts.
303: What else do you do with 303? What’s your history with the magazine?
These days, I blog mostly about yoga and health. I wrote for 303 before it was 303, though, when it was still called E-Gen (Electronic Generation). Then I re-joined the staff in 2009, I believe, and became 303‘s first blog editor. Eventually, I became Music Editor and held that position for a couple years.
303: For those who missed DFW, what was special about your performance this year?
My Ducati/Kimye joke got a good laugh on opening night. People commended my confidence and presence on the mic. I also got a few compliments on the way my butt looked in my white skinny jeans.
303: How involved are you behind the scenes of DFW? Do you do anything else for DFW?
I do my homework. I read about the labels, designers, stylists and sponsors. When I have a co-host like Chris Parente (or Kathie J.), I verse myself on his or her career highlights and stuff, so I can give him or her a fitting introduction. Last fall, I dressed as Chris Parente’s alleged, never-before-seen unicorn tattoo.
303: Outside of emceeing for DFW, you also do singing telegrams. What are they? Who orders them? How many do you do?
A singing telegram is basically a message delivered in musical form. Sometimes we simply sing an existing song in a costume, and other times, we write a custom parody of a song that’s all about the recipient. The majority of singing telegrams are for birthdays, but we also do pranks, proposals, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, Fourth of July, anniversaries, promotions, going away parties and more. Customers either want to embarrass or celebrate someone, or they can’t be in town and send me in their place. On a slow month, I do 15 to 20. In February, I did a record-setting 53 (14 on Valentine’s Day alone).
303: How did you get into singing telegrams?
Excellent question. I was writing poetry and studying music from a fairly young age. I started writing songs on acoustic guitar in high school. Around that time, I remember imagining delivering a personalized song to someone in their living room. Even though I’d seen Ferris Bueller many times, I still didn’t know exactly what a singing telegram was. Years later, I was dating a belly dancer who occasionally did belly grams for bachelor parties and Middle Eastern families. She worked for a singing telegram agency and I needed a job. I was really born to do it, it just took me a while to get started.
303: Are there any other times when your performance art and work with 303 overlap?
Most definitely. Sometimes I’ll get booked to stilt at a music festival, and I’ll also do a review for 303. And like I mentioned earlier, the first time I emceed DFW I was on jumping stilts because we had a circus theme.
Written by Addison Herron-Wheeler of 303 Magazine.
Photos courtesy of George Peele. Header photo by Eric Tsao