Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

Long live “The King”

Didn’t get to celebrate “The King’s” passing like we normally do yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that Mr. Elvis Presley was not in our thoughts. And then, we saw this super cool billboard in Times Square and we knew that it was a sign, um, you know, like a spiritual sign…from beyond and everything.

Anyway, it made Greta and I smile. Long live “The King”! Oh yeah, and if you’re interested in reading SAHD-centric, semi-real time updates of our adventures in NYC this week, click here.

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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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Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

First Ed McMahon, then Farrah, and then, inexplicably…Michael Jackson? Yikes! What a lousy week to be a 1970’s icon. Not only is Jackson’s death completely shocking, but, it’s also very sad to me for one key reason.

See, I loved Michael’s early stuff with the Jackson 5 and his groundbreaking music videos are literally seared into my memory banks from watching them so many times, but the thing I’m most sad about today is that Michael Jackson never got to truly come back from crazy town.

Michael Jackson #1

The upcoming farewell concerts (that, sadly, will never be) in London aside, Jackson never got to have the true career resurgence I always felt he was owed. I mean, love him or hate him, the dude was a freaking musical genius that we will probably never see the likes of again.

Not only could he sing and dance with the best of them, but the dude knew how to write and market amazingly beautiful pop songs. I defy you not to move your body when “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” is playing. I mean, seriously, his music shimmered!

The problem with Jackson was always his personal life. And while a huge chunk of Jackson’s personal problems can be laid square on the bulky shoulders of Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson, I gotta say that a lot of the craziness that haunted Michael Jackson in later years was sorta self-inflicted. Sure, he had a hard-ass childhood, but that doesn’t excuse everything.

And whether he really was guilty of all the stuff he was charged with over the years or not, the fact remains that Jackson was a very strange dude who long ago lost touch with reality. My sincere hope for him was that someday he would put out an album on par with some of his best early solo work. You know, something that would make even the most jaded Jacko hater remember what he was famous for in the first place.

Michael Jackson #2

Michael Jackson #3

Michael Jackson #4

I mean, shit, if Britney Spears can come back after shaving her head and going batshit crazy on a nightly basis for years, why couldn’t the King of Pop? Sadly, the answer to that question is that he just didn’t have enough time. And while the grand Michael Jackson comeback I always hoped for will never be, I can take solace now in the fact that the music he left behind is pretty damn spectacular.

So, rest in peace, Michael J. I know your time here was brief and not always sunny, but I can assure you that the worst days are behind you and that your legacy as the once and future King of Pop is pretty rock solid in our book.

Keep on rocking, amigo, and, by all means, make sure and say “hey” to your ex-father-in-law, Elvis, for us…

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Lux Interior (1946-2009)

Found out late last week that Lux Interior, the “Godfather of Psychobilly”, and lead singer of The Cramps died at the age of 62 in Glendale, California. Yes, that Glendale, California. Who knew that a rocking dude like Interior lived and died a few blocks from the place my brother calls home. Crazy…

Crazier still was the fact that it was my brother, Ryan, who first introduced me to Interior and The Cramps’ strange brew of classic rockabilly, punk, and straight up hilarity. I kid you not, amigos, the distinctive sound he created with founding bandmate, wife, and only permanent Cramp member, Poison Ivy, was insane.

RIP Lux Interior!

RIP Lux Interior #2!

Their music was gritty, raw, beautifully written, and filthy as the day is long. And though I loved a lot of the stuff my brother was grooving on in the mid-to-late-80’s (and still do…long live Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds!) The Cramps had a sense of humor that truly set them apart from some of the other dark-ass shit Ryan listened to back then.

I think he probably has all their best albums on vinyl or, horror of horrors, on…cassette tape, but the one Cramps CD I have is “A Date With Elvis”, and it rocks! I’m sure hardcore Cramps fans would tell you that “Elvis” was the band’s sell-out record, and maybe it is, but to me it was their most polished, lushly musical album and if you haven’t heard it, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Christine and I have spent the whole weekend rediscovering it and, trust me, “A Date With Elvis” still packs a serious punch. From the jangly opening chords of “How Far Can Too Far Go?” to the children’s chorus is “People Ain’t No Good” and the swinging “South Pacific” vibe of the hilarious “Kizmiaz”, Interior and company prove themselves to be masters of not just the psychobilly genre, but straight up rockabilly as well.

And the way they recall some of the early Sun Studios work by fellow madmen like Rufus Thomas and The King himself in such songs as “It’s Just That Song”, “Cornfed Dames”, and “Can Your Pussy Do The Dog?” is freaking ingenious. And best of all, it’s just really good music. Seriously, you could dance all night to these songs. Hell, we did!

I guess the thing I found most shocking about Interior’s death was that he was so young, I mean, Joe Strummer, most of The Ramones, and then this…what the hell? Why all the good punk rockers gotta die so young, man? Sad…

Our thoughts go out to Interior’s widow, Poison Ivy, right now. I know it’s small consolation at a time like this, but here’s hoping you know what a huge impact you and your husband’s music had on these three impressionable youths. RIP, Lux Interior…long may you rock!

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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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