Wednesday, August 8, 2007

E Is for . . .

. . . Elvis, of course! (Warning: the previous link has sound.) Too bad my "E" day didn't fall on August 16, which will be the thirtieth anniversary of the day Elvis died.

Elvis, how I love thee . . . I sincerely love all aspects of Elvisiana: the heartbreakingly (no pun intended) beauty and charisma of the young Elvis (my mom saw him at the Indiana State Fair [I think] in 1956, wow!); the whole American story of working-class Southern boy makes good; Priscilla and her bat-wing eye makeup and High Hair. Lost in all of the sideburns and jumpsuits and excess is that incredible voice . . . While I find his demise incredibly tragic, I do confess to loving the impersonators and kitsch that now accompany his name. Including the (warning, the website linked to here has rather loud sound associated with it) Flying Elvi, who we had the pleasure of seeing in, fittingly, Las Vegas. Fantastic!

The picture above was taken at Graceland, about six years ago. Graceland was really poignant; both B. and I were moved by it. Leaving aside the kitschy 1970s Jungle Room--think about it, what if someone had come into YOUR house in the 1970s and preserved it? Pink shag carpeting, anyone?)--you really get a sense that this was someone's home. We were there during so-called Elvis Week (i.e., the week surrounding August 16), and I found the fans fascinating: lots of impersonators (and I ALWAYS get my photo taken with impersonators--I have quite a little collection of such photos)--but also lots of ordinary people who seem to just genuinely love Elvis. There were women with Elvis tattoos, earrings, shirts, purses, jackets, as well as men who were not impersonators but who had adopted the 1970s be-sideburned Elvis look. Sun Studio (also has sound, be warned) . . .

The above photo was taken on the same trip (and what a fantastic trip it was; I'll save details about the glory that is The World's Longest Yard Sale for another post), at the otherworldly Graceland Too (oh yes, that is its name), in the lovely antebellum town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. It is too hard to describe Graceland Too in words--you just have to go look at the images. Wow. B. and I were the only ones on the tour that day--and we were there for almost two hours. Once Paul gets to talking, he never stops. Never. As "offbeat" (ahem) as this place is, there is also something about it that's hard to put your finger on. B. and I were speechless after we left, for about 15 minutes, but we also believe (seriously) about not making TOO much fun of such people and places. I can't recommend it highly enough, if you're ever near Holly Springs (which is close to Memphis, actually).

If you'd like to read more about Elvis, there are thousand of books, but one of the best (two of them, actually, are by Peter Guralnick, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love. Or cruise the Web--amazing Elvis sites abound.

On August 16 I'll be lifting a cold one to Elvis. TCB! In a flash!

(By special request, another "E": Elektra in a Box.)

1 comment:

Not So Anonymous said...

Or, E is for Excellent, Most.