Tag Archives: Elvis

Happy 43rd birthday, Lisa Marie!

Wow…who knew that Lisa Marie Presley shared the same birthday (February 1st) as our BFF, Ginger? It got me to thinking about what other celebrities share our birthdays. As I’ve mentioned before, I can claim Doc Martens, Debbie Reynolds and Susan Boyle on April 1st, but what about the rest of you? Any cool (or better yet, uncool!) celebs born on your birthday? Let me know…

And in the meantime, here’s hoping our two favorite early-February birthday girls had a blast on their big day, yesterday. Much love to you both!

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The Elvis Sandwich @ Peanut Butter & Co., NYC

Last Saturday would have been Elvis Presley’s 76th birthday, and though we didn’t get to celebrate his big day like we usually do, we did ring in Elvis’ 75th birthday in high style last year. So, let’s just consider this post my 2011 birthday tribute to the King. Happy birthday, dude!

Last January 8th, Christine, Greta and I had just arrived in New York City for a friend’s wedding. There was snow on the ground and a definite chill in the air, but, it was Elvis’ birthday and we were determined to try the Elvis sandwich at Greenwich Village’s legendary Peanut Butter & Co..

I mean, sure, we’d had peanut butter and banana sandwiches before (at Graceland no less!) but the fine folks at Peanut Butter and Co. add two key ingredients which really set that freaking sandwich on fire: honey and bacon. It sounds kinda weird, I know, but, trust me when I tell you that this tasty-ass sandwich is a thing of rare beauty, amigos. Incredible!

Washing the whole thing down with a truly decadent Fluffernutter Shake — which consisted of peanut butter, milk and Marshmallow Fluff! — we scooped up a few jars of dark chocolate and honey-infused peanut butter to go, wished the King a happy birthday and set about touring Manhattan.

And when it came time for our last meal in NYC a few days later, guess where we headed? You guessed it, right back down the street to Peanut Butter & Co. for more of their savory/sweet Elvis-y goodness.

Now, if book-ending your first big family trip to New York City with Elvis sandwiches doesn’t spell true fan devotion, well, I don’t know what does.

Happy birthday, EP. We love you!

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Strawberry Fields, NYC

Had he not been so suddenly and violently taken from us at the age of 40, the late, great John Lennon would have turned seventy years old last month. That’s right, seven-zero. Crazy, huh?

In honor of John’s 70th, Christine and I wanted to post some pics we took last summer during our visit to Strawberry Fields, the Lennon memorial in New York City’s Central Park. Located on 2.5 acres of sprawling parkland just across the street from the legendary Dakota apartment building where Lennon lived, and died, Strawberry Fields can only be described as peaceful.

I’m not saying the rest of the park isn’t peaceful, because…wow…Central Park in August is all kinds of breathtakingly peaceful, but, Strawberry Fields just felt almost magical in its stillness.

A designated quiet zone — Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono still lives in the Dakota and apparently grew weary of the singing of the fans in the park — Strawberry Fields has a serenity that truly sets it apart from the rest of the park.

Sure, there were tons of fans milling about, and the crowd taking pictures around the stunning “Imagine” mosaic that serves as the areas centerpiece was pretty intense, but, despite the sheer volume of people there, Strawberry Fields was a very chill place to spend the afternoon.

And though I was a bit disappointed to discover that there were no actual strawberry plants in Strawberry Fields (I know, I’m lame, but, it would have been nice) I gotta tell ya, I haven’t been that moved by a memorial since our 2007 visit to Graceland.

It’s like John’s aura was all around you, and though there was none of his actual music playing anywhere (designated quiet zone, remember?) you didn’t need to hear it to know that it was there, in our hearts. I know that sounds hopelessly cheesy, but, it’s how we felt.

So, happy birthday, John. Seventy years on, you continue to rock the world…

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Mr. Potato Head Elvis

Whoa…could this summer get any cooler? I just got an email from my friends at Elvis.com announcing the upcoming launch of a super cute Mr. Potato Head Elvis! Yay, now my Darth Tater won’t be so lonely.

Introduced to the world by a rocking Elvis tribute artist in a sparkly Elvis jumpsuit, Mr. Potato Head Elvis’ debut is timed to coincide with Elvis Week 2010 and will be followed at Christmas time by a ’68 Comeback Special version in black leather! Whew, now I finally know what to ask Santa for!

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Happy 25th Birthday Tetris!

Saturday marked the 25th birthday of one of our all-time-favorite video gamesTetris! Yep, that crazy-addictive block-stacking insanity has been making our fingers hurt for twenty five years now. Crazy, huh?

Tetris #1

I remember first seeing Tetris on my stepmom Wendy’s Gameboy in the late-80′s and thinking: “Wow, what is one boring-ass game…this thing will never catch on!” Hmmm…I guess that shows what I know about gaming.

And even though Christine and our friend James went crazy for Tetris when we first moved to L.A. in the early-90′s, I must admit that my fondness for the game peaked much more recently. Looking to fill up our then-new iPod, Elvis with some cool games and stuff when we first bought it, I downloaded two games: The Sims Bowling, which totally sucks, and, you guessed it…Tetris.

And guess which game I play almost nightly before going to bed? T-E-T-R-I-S! It’s crazy, I know, but there is something so freaking comforting about strategically stacking those stupid blocks over and over again every night. And I can’t even begin to tell you how many times that game has saved my life on punishing airport layovers or insanely-long days on movie sets. Yikes…

Tetris #2

Tetris #3

So, happy 25th birthday Tetris and many thanks to the mad Russian techie, Alexey Pojitnov, who made all of this possible way back in 1984. History may find more deserving Russians to celebrate, but you’re the king of Kremlin Kool our house, dude!

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Birthday cupcakes for Elvis!

Yesterday was Elvis Presley’s birthday, and keeping with a tradition we started last year, Christine and I celebrated what would have been The King’s 74th birthday with some sweet Yummy Cupcakes! Yee-haw!

Cupcakes for Elvis #1

Last year, we were kind of bummed that Yummy Cupcakes didn’t feature their rocking Elvis cupcake on his actual birthday — they missed it by like, two or three days — and we told them so. Well, I guess the power’s that be made note of his actual birthday this year, because, lo and behold, guess which special cupcake they featured yesterday afternoon? You got it, the Elvis cupcake!

A sugar coma-inducing blend of peanut butter cake and chocolate/banana buttercream frosting, this cupcake was so sweet, and so totally Elvis that we were both kind of blown away. It was so rich, in fact, that we actually had to cut the sweetness with vanilla ice cream, something I’m sure Mr. Presley would have heartily approved of.

I think he also would have dug the other two cupcakes we purchased in his honor…a very tasty Chocolate Raspberry number with chocolate frosting and a raspberry filling and our old standby — and my Stepmom Wendy’s favorite! — the Peanut Butter Cup cupcake! If you haven’t tried it yet, get thee to Yummy, amigos, because this cupcake rocks!

Elvis cupcakes at Yummy Cupcakes, Burbank!

Elvis cupcakes @ Yummy, Burbank!

The Peanut Butter Cup cupcake consists of chocolate cake topped with vanilla frosting, chocolate and peanut butter sprinkles and a wedge of an actual peanut butter cup on top…but the secret to it’s success is a dollop of peanut butter filling inside the cake itself. Man alive, Elvis would have loved that shit…amazing!

So, as we blow out our Graceland “Forever Elvis” candle one more time…we wish the King nothing but love on his big day. Happy Birthday, dude, we’re already counting the days till your 75th…

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Elvis movies: “Viva Las Vegas”

Nerdy as it sounds, ever since our memorable trip to Graceland last year, Christine and I have been trying to see all 31 of Elvis Presley’s movies. Now, if you’ve seen even one of them for yourself, you know how truly difficult this task really is. Because, well…most of them kinda suck.

But with the lone exception of the King’s first movie “Love Me Tender” (1956), which I think was an outright bomb, everything else we’ve seen has at least one or two elements or songs that make them fun and totally worth watching. And despite some awkward turns in a few of the clunkier pictures, Elvis is still freaking Elvis, baby, so…he still totally rules!

For example, “Kissin’ Cousins” (1964) has the King playing a military man and his blond hillbilly cousin, and better yet has not one, but several scenes with a fleet of hooting, hollering mountain gals called the “Kittyhawks” descending upon the homestead to steal single men. I kid you not, that happens at least two or three times in the movie. Crazy!

“It Happened at the World’s Fair” (1963) has a funny cameo by a pint-sized Kurt Russell and some gorgeous shots of Seattle and it’s then brand-spanking-new Space Needle. “The Trouble With Girls” (1969) is a period piece set in and around a traveling roadshow type of deal called a Chautauqua — don’t feel bad, we’d never heard of a freaking Chautaqua either! — and features some of the strangest camera angles you’ve ever seen in a Hollywood movie. It’s downright groovy, man. Gotta love those late-60′s filmmakers…wow!

“Girl Happy” (1965) and “Clambake” (1967) both feature a super-cute Shelley Fabares playing basically the same role in basically the same movie, but “Clambake” has a way better theme song!

“Blue Hawaii” (1961) has Elvis surfing with a bunch of adoring Hawaiian kids and a strangely-sinister Angela Lansbury playing his mom. Yes, his mom. I don’t know if Lansbury was gearing up for her iconic role in “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) or what, but she is crazy weird in this movie…yikes!

And of course, the best of bunch we’d seen to date was “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) which is not just a great Elvis movie, but is also a really great movie in its own right. Cinematic, funny, dark, and beautifully shot in a brooding black and white, there is a reason Elvis fans love this movie. For not only is this probably the King’s best role — playing essentially, a twisted version of himself — this movie is just plain awesome! Seriously, if you were ever gonna buy an Elvis movie on DVD, this is the one to get!

Which brings me, finally, to the most recent Elvis movie on our list…“Viva Las Vegas” (1964). Christine had already watched — and insanely raved about! — this movie without me when I was in Santa Fe, and now we finally caught it again on TCM…and let me tell ya, this is the only other Elvis movie that you simply must have on DVD!

I think Elvis is usually better in his comedies, and here again, he shines playing a gambling race car driver/waiter at the Flamingo Hilton. But this time, the King is joined onscreen by the spectacularly gorgeous Ann-Margret. I don’t know exactly when the term “knockout” came into favor, but I can guarantee you it had something to do with Margret. Seriously, that face, that hair, those legs, that um…posterior…wow, this chick has it all.

And not only can she hold her own with Elvis in the singing and dancing department — actually, I think she’s a way better dancer, but that’s just me — but Ms. Margret can act too. And as written by Sally Benson — who also co-wrote my favorite Hitchcock film, “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), yay! — her character is no throw-away girlfriend role, but rather a living, breathing firecracker-of-a-swimming-instructior to be reckoned with.

And the chemistry between her and Elvis…wow, I kid you not, you can almost see the sparks crackling off these two onscreen. They are incredible together, and though the first five minutes of so of the movie kinda dragged a bit, the minute Ann-Margret showed up in those skimpy white hot pants…it was on, baby!

Yes the movie has some crazy shit in it — their first date includes a dance class, skeet shooting, water skiiing, a helicopter ride over Hoover Dam and ends on a houseboat, where Margret lives with her father! — but the chemistry between these two keep everything rolling at such a crackerjack pace that you hardly care.

And the extended race car sequence at the end of the movie is really something to behold, especially when you consider the fact that they didn’t have CGI back then! Those are real cars, driven by real stunt men, yo!

I know that George Lucas has said that the chariot race sequence from “Ben Hur” (1959) inspired little Anakin’s pod race scene in “The Phanton Menace” (1999), but I swear to you, there are more than a few similarities between the race in “Viva” and the one in “Menace”. Don’t believe me? Read a hilariously geeky break down of the similarities here.

Anyway, another thing we both loved about “Viva Las Vegas” are the songs! This is one of the first Elvis movies I’ve seen that featured so many rocking duets, and though the title track is still the star, the rest of songs seriously kick ass. And when you factor in two (!) smoking solo songs for Ann-Margret, well, how can you go wrong?

So, if you like your movies loud, fun and loaded to the gills with out-of-control star wattage, check out “Viva Las Vegas”. And if you have a favorite Elvis movie you’d recommend we check out, by all means, let us know.

We’re still dying to see Presley’s last movie — “Change of Habit” (1969), with Mary Tyler Moore as a nun! — but they never play it on TV and the old-ass versions on DVD look pretty crappy. Here’s hoping a deluxe edition is in the works! And in the meantime, we’ll busy ourselves with some of the other movies on our list…next stop, “Harum Scarum” (1965)!

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A sad day in Memphis…

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. And though we didn’t get to travel to Memphis this year for Elvis Week, Christine and I did sign up for a free three-day membership to Sirius Radio so we could listen to the live broadcast of the candlelight vigil last night from Graceland.

And let me tell ya, not a dry eye in our living room. I know it sounds crazy, but that candlelight vigil is way up there on our list of life-changing events. It was just beautiful, and even hearing it on the internet feed this year was awesome.

Not only could you hear the crowd singing along with the music on Elvis Presley Blvd., but they also took some time to interview fans, friends and even an ex-girlfriend of The King as well. Touching stuff, baby!

And since no Elvis Week celebration would be complete without some major Elvis announcements, this year’s celebration has two really cool Elvis-related surprises up their sleeve.

One, is the upcoming release of Elvis Presley’s first duets album, “Christmas Duets” featuring current stars like Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and Anne Murray — whose own Christmas album is one of our favorites! — singing along with Elvis’ old tracks. Hmmm…normally, I frown on this kind of thing, but hello, it’s Elvis. So it could be either really cool or really creepy. I’m hoping for more cool than creepy, but you never know…

And the other major announcement from Elvis Presley Enterprises is the upcoming release of a Graceland-approved Elvis and Priscilla Wedding Day Barbie set. Holy crap! Could anything be cooler than that? Two words: Amazon wish list. Actually, I think that’s three words…

In any case, just glad to have some new Elvis stuff to buy in the months to come. And with Lisa Marie rumored to be expecting twins sometime soon — bringing the grand total of Elvis grandkids to four! — wow…this really is a good week to be an Elvis fan. Long live “The King”!

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Wii Fit Jams: Music to sweat by…

OK, let me start by saying that the one and only complaint I have about our beloved Wii Fit so far is that several of the workout “games” don’t have any musical accompaniment. Sure, the hula hoop workout has some music and the yoga has some dreamy sounds floating by in the background, but the jogging is totally devoid of music.

Now, the visuals on the island jog are gorgeous and the sound effects are awesome, but I like me some music when I jog…so rather than dash off an angry letter to Nintendo, I made an iPod playlist especially for my Wii Fit workout!

These aren’t the best songs on my iPod — and lord knows they aren’t the worst! — but if they get me moving and get the old blood pumping, then, good, bad or totally cheesy, they made the list. That said, I’m warning you ahead of time that this is definitely not the kind of music I recommend blasting from your car stereo as you cruise Hollywood Blvd. with your homies.

But if you’re working out in the comfort of your own home in the middle of the night, then have at it, amigos. This Wii Fit playlist is for you!

Before I list the songs, I should also add that this list is by no means permanent. I dumped about 5.5 hours worth of Wii Fit worthy music into the playlist and really only use the first 42-45 minutes worth of tunes, so, needless to say, I change the list up a lot. But as of right now…this is my list…

Since I usually start with about ten minutes of hard core hula hoop-ing — don’t laugh, that shit is harder than it looks and man, does it make you sweat! — I begin my workout with Van McCoy’s roller rink classic “The Hustle” (3:47). I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, disco and hula hoops are kind of like peas and carrots…they just work.

Next up is another glittery, disco-era jam, Sister Sledge’s “He’s the Greatest Dancer” (3:25). I know it’s lame, but when I’m mid hula, it’s fun to imagine that the Sister’s Sledge are singing about me. That’s right, for a little over three minutes…I am the greatest dancer! Or, you know, hula hooper…

From here, I transition to classic, mid-60′s Elvis Presley for 2.07 minutes of “Bossa Nova Baby”. Dying for the hula hooping to end, I finish up the session with 2.38 minutes of Neil Diamond’s jangly, and, dare I say, “cracklin” good, “Cracklin’ Rosie”.

This next song was tricky as I needed something to bridge the hula hoop workout and the jogging program…music to put your jogging shoes on to. So, what better transitional tune than The Doors’ “Break on Through” (2:27). It doesn’t really take me that long to tie my shoes, but since pressing all the buttons and stuff does burn up some time, I figured, why not have some music to do it by? Right?

Now, the first song in the jogging program is the one I have changed the most. It’s hard to get the right balance of a great song and one that offers a nice, slow-build to the workout. So, as of right now, that song is Barbra Streisand’s “This is One of Those Moments” (4:04) from “Yentl”. I know it’s a pretty gay-ass jam, but hey, it does build up momentum and that’s all I was looking for.

Following “Yentl” is Mama Cass’ rocking “Make Your Own Kind of Music”. I have had that song on CD for years but only started really enjoying it since it was used on “Lost” a couple seasons back. If you haven’t heard this song yet, you’re missing out, amigos. Mama Cass rocked as a solo artist! Too bad they didn’t have Wii Fit in her day…know what I’m saying?

Next up, I am loathe to admit, is another embarrassing song: Alanis Morissette’s “Front Row” (4:13). Yes, it’s true…deep down I am a sulky twenty-year-old Liberal Arts chick with a Lilith Fair fixation. But seriously, despite the cold, disapproving glares from my wife and friends over the years, I have always dug Alanis. So…suck it, haters.

By this time, my heart is pumping and it’s time to turn up the volume, and since nobody does that better than Courtney Love, the next song on the playlist is Hole’s “Violet” (3:23). This song is like smelling salts to me…seriously, I could be out cold, hear those opening chords and be totally revived in seconds. It’s that good! And speaking of good, next up is Ben Fold’s equally-jamming “Zac and Sara” (3:10). What can I say? Nothing keeps fatty jogging more than some sweet, smoking, Southern piano! Go, Ben!

The next spot on the playlist is another one that has been changed several times. I think I started out with some Nick Cave and Avril Lavigne but have somehow ended up with Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell’s one solo hit “Look at Me” (2:44). I know, cheese-tastic. But I’ll tell you what, that zippy, UK trash-pop ditty keeps me moving, baby. So, rock on, “girl power”!

By this point, my little Mii has already made several laps around the Wii Fit island and is desperately in need of some inspiration to carry him to the 30 minute mark. This time, that inspiration comes from The Killers’ lush, almost insanely beautiful “Read My Mind” (4:06). Wow…this song shimmers almost as much as that virtual surf in the distance of Wii Fit island…amazing!

With the Wii FIt finish line in site, I segue back to The King for Elvis Presley’s kick-ass cover of Chuck Berry’s jaunty “Memphis Tennessee” (2:10). Wow…nothing like an ice cool song to counteract the sweat rolling down my shiny forehead! Yee-haw!

And then, as the clock ticks down the minutes in the upper right hand side of the screen, Neil Diamond returns to play me on home with “America” (4:17). When I have timed everything just right, I actually sweep across the finish line just as Neil belts out that “My country tis of thee…TODAY!” action. Man…what better way to end a workout? Thanks, Neil.

And just like that, it’s time to tally up my 42 Wii Fit fitness points — you get one point for every minute you work out — and hit the showers. Like I said, my playlist is a strange and ever-evolving beast right now, so if you have any cool tunes to add or, more likely, subtract, please, feel free to leave me a comment…

In the meantime, que viva los Wii Fit jams!

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Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Today would have been Elvis Presley’s 73rd birthday, and since Christine and I are still in our first full year of crazy Elvis fandom, we were a little unsure of how to celebrate. There was never a question of celebrating, mind you, just what exactly to do?

Elvis Presley birthday shrine! (Jan. 8, 2008)
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So, just after midnight last night, I gathered all the Elvis paraphernalia I could find in our place, set up a shrine to The King and finally lit that rocking “Forever Elvis” prayer candle we bought last August at Graceland.

And that’s just the beginning…Christine has toyed with the idea of making a cake later tonight and possibly even peanut butter and banana sandwiches — done Cali-style, with crunchy peanut butter NOT smooth — but trust me, nothing we could do, could possibly compare to the celebration happening today at Graceland.

Elvis paraphernalia on parade! (Jan. 8, 2008)
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Apparently not as well attended as the Elvis Week festivities held each August (culminating on August 16th, the day he died in 1977) the annual Elvis Presley birthday celebration at Graceland is nothing to scoff at.

According to Elvis.com, the annual cake cutting on the front lawn will be even more festive this year with the appearance (for the first time EVER at this event) of none other than the ex-Mrs. Elvis herself, Priscilla Presley. Very cool!

Then, complimentary birthday cake and coffee will be served at the Chrome Cafe across the street from the mansion! Wow…we didn’t get no free coffee for Elvis Week! And even cooler still, the cake is being designed by the “culinary artists” at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis, so it should be pretty cool looking.

Anyway, wherever you are and however you chose to celebrate Elvis Presley’s 73rd birthday, have a good one…and long live The King!

Elvis Presley birthday vignette by T. Romero! (Jan. 8, 2008)

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Graceland: Part V

The sun setting over Graceland, we enjoyed the remarkably good Elvis “tribute artists” in the plaza — practically all of whom were non-native English speakers! — and mingled with the crowd of super cool Elvis look alikes. My favorites were the late-Elvis super fan couple pictured below.

Me and the Elvis Couple!

This dude was so devoted that he was braving the crowds and the heat (in costume!) while toting an oxygen tank!

Unfortunately, he disconnected from his tank for the picture, but he was really cool and when I asked his wife if she was hot in that plastic wig she had on, she answered: “Yeah, but it’s for the King.” Awesome!

Christine, Italian Elvis and bad-wig Elvis!

Christine loved the Chris-Isaak-ish Italian Elvis (pictured above) and then just before I snapped the pic, that old grizzled Elvis in the blue jumpsuit appeared. Wow, two Presleys for the price of one!

Snuggled up behind the girls in the next pic was the best singer of the bunch, another Italian Elvis who really rocked the tent!

The girls and the best singing Italian Elvis @ Graceland!

But I think our favorite guy there was the Indian Elvis (not pictured) who kept checking his hair in a mirror. Hilarious!

Despite the withering heat — Courtney and Mom tried to sit down on the curb and actually burned their butts! Seriously! — we were enjoying the Elvis parade in the plaza and then, before we knew it, 8:15pm was upon us. The candlelight vigil, arguably the defining moment of Elvis Week 2007, was about to begin outside the mansion!

An annual event for years, the candlelight vigil begins at nightfall, on the eve of the King’s death on August 16th, 1977, with the closing of Elvis Presley Blvd. to thru traffic. Almost instantly, the street floods with candle-toting fans who gather around the gates for a series of speeches by specially-selected members of Elvis’ many international fan clubs.

The candlelight vigil begins!

The speeches were surprisingly moving but the kicker was when they started playing actual Elvis songs over the deluxe speakers on the lawn. I’m not kidding you, not a dry eye on the boulevard!

Lighting our candles — generously supplied for free at little tables all up and down the block — we held them over our heads and began to sing along.

Honestly, you haven’t lived till you’ve heard 75,000 weeping, candle-toting Elvis fans singing along to “If I Can Dream”. Probably one of the coolest things any of us has ever experienced…really, profoundly beautiful!

Candlelight vigil @ Graceland!

So, holding our candles high, we sang along through “Love Me Tender” and “The Wonder Of You” before finally succumbing to the heat — not to mention the frenzied emotion! — and making our way back to the car.

The vigil continued throughout the night with the snaking line outside the gates making their way onto the property to pay their respects at Elvis’ grave. We didn’t stay for that, but the sight of all those flickering candles in the rearview mirror as we drove off was really something to behold.

A fitting end to a truly amazing day at Graceland. Thank you, Elvis!

Our last emotional pic @ Graceland!

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Graceland: Part III

Since we lacked the foresight (or the space in the back of Mom’s car for that matter) to actually bring a cool homemade memorial wreath with us to Graceland, I begin this post with something I created after our visit.

Red Elvis #1

Featured above is my lovingly-rendered comic book-ized tribute to Elvis Week 2007. I call it RED ELVIS #1, and yes, I know I am a total nerd bird. All I can say in my defense is that perhaps once you experience the genuine outpouring of crazy fan love and devotion at Graceland for yourself, you’ll be moved to create some Elvis “art” of your own as well. Or…maybe not, who knows?

Flowers For Elvis #1

In any case, the rest of the pics here are of the actual arrangements, wreaths, cards and photo collages that fans from around the world sent to Graceland in honor of the King’s passing.

Imagine the shipping costs on some of these things…yikes.

Flowers For Elvis #2

The groundskeepers at Graceland (who are legion) said massive floral arrangements like these arrive every day of the week all year long.

Flowers For Elvis #3

Flowers For Elvis #5

Flowers For Elvis #4

Of course, the number of arrangements arriving increases dramatically during Elvis Week and around his birthday in January, but regardless of the time of year, whatever floral craziness arrives at the front gates is immediately put on display and tended to until it fades and/or dies. Pretty amazing, huh?

Flowers For Elvis #6

Flowers For Elvis #7

Anyway, hope you dig the pics, my favorite is the last one, the swinging crown with the golden guitars on it…so cool!

And hey, if any of you cats have some Elvis “art” you’d like to add to the gallery here, send it my way and I’ll slap it up on the virtual wall next to my boy, RED ELVIS #1.

Flowers For Elvis #7

Flowers For Elvis #8

Flowers For Elvis #9

Flowers For Elvis #11

Flowers For Elvis #12

 

 

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Graceland: Part I

Before we left for our trip, we were warned by my brother Ryan — the only person we knew who had ever actually been there — to plan on spending a LOT of time at Graceland.

And man, he wasn’t kidding. One day wasn’t nearly enough!

Main Entrance to Graceland!

Everything we did at Graceland was so cool and fun that describing our experiences there could literally fill volumes, so in the interest of time, I’ll condense the visit down into small, bite-size chapters (hence the ominous “Part I” mentioned above) for your reading pleasure.

That said, let’s start at the beginning. We arrived at Graceland just after 1pm and were stunned by the totally rinky-dink infrastructure. The parking lot was tiny and not even remotely as organized as it could be — you know, “You are parked in Section H for ‘Hound Dog!’” like they used to do at Disneyland — I mean, even just numbered sections would be nice.

It was pretty much a hillbilly free for all, but somehow in the flood of cars surging through the gates, we found a sweet parking spot near the main entrance. Thank you, Elvis!

Graceland Parking Lot!

Armed with our cameras and Elvis fans (embossed with the slogan “#1 Fan”, they were Courtney and Christine’s saving grace since we couldn’t find matching t-shirts in our size range) we followed the scent of BBQ hamburgers towards the only restaurant around.

Which brings up another infrastructure problem, there is practically nowhere to eat at Graceland. Seriously, my inner Walt Disney was screaming to slap up a couple themed restaurants — you know, “Colonel Parker’s Chicken Shack”, “Priscilla’s Rib Hut”, etc. — but my dreams of modernizing the food court at Graceland would have to wait as we were absolutely starving!

The only place to eat @ Graceland!

Ducking into the only restaurant in the area, we were instantly overwhelmed by the crowd. The picture above does not do that joint justice…because, let me tell ya, that place was packed!

And with upwards of 50-to-70,000 people in attendance that day alone they actually ran out of food about ten minutes after we ordered. Yes, they literally ran out of food to sell. Insanity!

A couple of the surly waitresses locked the doors to keep the hungry throngs at bay, but I swear to God, I thought people were gonna riot.

The infamous fried Peanut Butter & Banana sandwich!

Lucky for us we had secured a safe haven (a row of four barstools at the back of the restaurant) so we were able to avoid the fireworks out front. And then, our lunch arrived!

Picture the most ordinary hamburger you’d find at any theme park and you have this place pegged. Nothing fancy, but here at this no name restaurant near the parking lot, with people banging on the doors out front, we experienced one of the true culinary highlights of our trip: Elvis’ late-night favorite, the legendary fried peanut butter and banana sandwich!

Pictured above with a side salad, though it usually comes with fries (!), this sandwich is so grease-tastic, you can almost hear yourself getting fatter as you eat it. And yes, that’s a compliment!

Elvis had the right idea, baby! This sandwich rocks!

The girls each had the obligatory bite, followed by the obligatory gag, but I thought it was pretty damn tasty…if not exactly marriage-worthy on my food scale, then surely worthy of a trip to the drive-in in my van.

My only complaint is that they used smooth peanut butter and mashed it together with the bananas. Chunky peanut butter and whole slices of banana would have been much better and way more rustic to boot.

Inside Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich!

But hey, we were eating Elvis’ favorite fried food mere steps away from his final resting place…who were we to complain?

So, our bellies full, we checked in at the ticket booth (thankfully I had pre-ordered our tickets online weeks earlier, which allowed us to cut to the front of the reserved ticket line!) and joined the rabid fans waiting for the next Graceland shuttle bus.

Gigantic Graceland Ticket!

We purchased the mid-level Graceland Platinum Tour (a steal at $27.00 per person!) which includes an audio guided tour of the mansion and grounds along with a self-guided tour of Elvis’ two custom airplanes (yes, he had two!), Elvis’ automobile museum, the Sincerely Elvis Museum (mostly filled with his super cool jumpsuits!) and finally, the Elvis After Dark museum which I’ll tell you more about later.

Courtney, Christine & Mom in line @ Graceland!

And even though it was roasting outside — we later heard that the temperature peaked at 115 degrees that day! Yikes! — we were so excited to be waiting in line to see the home of the King, that the gentle Southern breeze generated by our matching Elvis fans was more than enough to keep us cool.

Courtney, Mom & Me in line @ Graceland!

Me & Christine in line @ Graceland!

Having finally reached the gates of Graceland, we were ready to step inside!

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