Elvis Week Day 1 – TCB on the Dance Floor

By Jon Waterhouse There was rain in my shoes, but it wasn’t of the Kentucky variety. I could feel it seeping into my Varvatos kicks, my socks quickly soaking up the moisture. Moments before yesterday’s Elvis Fan Reunion Event at Elvis Presley’s Memphis, sheets of precipitation swept the parking lot as I splashed my way across it. Just like Elvis sang in “Kentucky Rain,” the stuff was indeed cold. Arriving at the Fan Reunion, the chill was quickly replaced. I soon began feeling warmth from the inside out. Connecting and reconnecting with fellow fans at Elvis Week really does resemble a family reunion. Making my way through the Soundstage, that instantaneous, unspoken bond felt more alive than ever. The familiar faces, hugs and handshakes came quick, a unique byproduct of Elvis’ impact. Special guests, including ever-amazing Elvis artist Betty Harper and legendary TCB Band axeman James Burton, shared their stories with fans. Co-hosts Tom Brown, Memphis Jones, Argo, Dean Z, and Joey Sulipeck asked trivia questions, doled out prizes, and visited with their fellow inhabitants of Elvis World. Joey, an ace Memphis meteorologist, eventually invited me onstage, giving me the chance to share my feelings regarding the Elvis Week fan connection. Carrying on my tradition of snapping selfies with Elvis Week celebs, I took one of Joey and I from the stage, before turning my camera on the crowd. MY MEAL AT VERNON’S SMOKEHOUSE After the Fan Reunion, I decided to duck into a restaurant, those gray clouds threatening to drop more rain. The choice: Vernon’s Smokehouse, a quick-service eatery at Elvis Presley’s Memphis where southern comfort food wraps your taste buds like one of Granny’s cozy quilts. Guests can go for the meat-and-two concept with items such as fried chicken tenders and fried or baked catfish buddying next to a choice of veggies. Knowing Elvis’ fondness for meatloaf, I requested a slab with sides of collard greens and mashed potatoes. The loaf provided a flavorful punch of protein, and the chunks of ham hiding beneath the bed of collards brought just the right amount of smoke to the table. After shoveling spoonfuls of the gravy-soaked taters, the idea of jumping face-first into a creamy vat of it crossed my mind. Yet, I have to say the BBQ sampler stole the show. The gentleman at the carving station piled a plate full of ribs, pork, BBQ sausage, and beef...
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Top 5 Things I Can’t Wait to Experience at Elvis Week

BY JON WATERHOUSE Primed and ready like the king before a big show, Elvis Week 2017 will be the biggest and best us fans have seen to date. No, I’m not channeling my inner game show host or over exaggerating. I’ll take the blogger’s oath on this one. It’s going to be huge, folks. Expect more shimmer than Elvis’ jumpsuit collection, more excitement than opening day of a Presley picture, and more camaraderie than 100 family reunions. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ passing. With a multitude of events spreading across nine days and Graceland’s largest expansion in full force, thousands upon thousands of Elvis lovers from around the globe will be walking in Memphis, celebrating the music, movies, and legacy of the greatest entertainment icon of all time. At this moment, my fingers tap across my computer keyboard, signaling the beginning of my fifth stint as Elvis Week Blogger. I’ll be diving into the celebration for the duration, covering events, interviewing some of the special guests, and giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Elvis Week an unparalleled phenomenon. For me, Elvis Week always elicits a range of emotion. Right now, I’m amping up on adrenaline and anticipation. Imagine Lucky Jackson behind the wheel in “Viva Las Vegas.” That’s me, and I’m about to shift into high gear. Seriously, I could write for hours about what I’m looking forward to at Elvis Week 2017. To bypass the carpal tunnel, I’m sticking to the top five things I can’t wait to experience – and check a few of my favorite photos from Elvis Weeks past. Elvis Presley’s Memphis This will be the first Elvis Week fans have access to this new state-of-the-art entertainment and exhibit complex. Many not-to-miss Elvis Week events will be dropping there. Having swung open its gates in March, Elvis Presley’s Memphis has 200,000-square-feet of entertainment and exhibits. Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, arguably the star attraction, serves as the most sprawling and extensive Elvis museum on the planet. Elvis Presley’s Memphis also plays host to the brand new home of Elvis Radio, the 24-hour all-Elvis station on SiriusXM satellite radio. Keep your ears open for me on the air, as I’ll be popping in periodically. Angie Marchese, the director of archives at Graceland, will be giving me a tour of the grounds and exhibits, so make sure and check out the blog...
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Guest Blog: Drawn to Elvis

Note: This week’s blog comes from Elvis artist Joe Petruccio. Get to know more about him, and you can meet him at meet ‘n’ greets during Elvis Week! He will be at the Haberdashery at Elvis Presley’s Memphis from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM August 12-15, and at Elvis Threads at Elvis Presley’s Memphis from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM August 12-15. Go to ElvisWeek.com to learn more. BY JOE PETRUCCIO I’ve been an Elvis fan my whole life. Just the idea that I became the first official artist for EPE and Graceland back in 2003 still amazes me. That is an honor I carry every day and I owe it all to his fans. Elvis has been an inspiration to me in my life as well as my art. I don’t think there is a day that goes by where I don’t think about or get inspired by something he did or said. I love drawing him. I try to bring freshness to his image that keeps him relevant to new, younger fans while being a special treat for people like me, who have known him for years. You can’t get too much Elvis.     As Elvis Week draws near, I get really charged up. This year, for the first time, there is an actual gallery of my work at the new Elvis Presley’s Memphis entertainment and exhibit complex. Here there are paintings and merchandise with my work available for all collectors and fans. I love being able to share my work and talk with all of my “Elvis family and friends.” Can’t wait to see you all during Elvis Week. Peace. Love. TCB. Joe...
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How Elvis Presley Spent His Summer Vacation

“Dreams come true in blue Hawaii…” Elvis Presley’s favorite vacation spot was actually a place where he did a lot of work, too: Hawaii. Elvis performed and filmed a few movies in the Aloha State, and it’s also where he spent a few much-needed vacations. Because, after all, even entertainers need a break between tours, recording sessions and movie-making. If you’re taking an Elvis-inspired summer vacation to “Blue Hawaii” any time soon, you may want to check out a few places where Elvis entertained, relaxed and made history. Three of Elvis’ 31 feature films were made in Hawaii: “Blue Hawaii,” “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” and “Girls! Girls! Girls!” A few of the locations used for these movies on the island of Oahu include Punchbowl Cemetery, Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, the road leading to Mount Tantalus, Ala Moana Park, Hanauma Bay, Waiola Tea Room, the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, the pineapple fields along the Kamehameha Highway near Haleiwa, Bumble Bee Tuna Company and the exteriors of the Honolulu Police Department (the “Blue Hawaii” jail scene was filmed on a set in Hollywood). A few scenes of “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” were shot at the Maui Sheraton Hotel in Lahaina, as well as the private airstrip near the Royal Lahina Resort on the island of Maui. The movie also featured footage from the Kona Coast near Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” also featured the Hanalei Plantation Resort on the island of Kauai, but the resort is no longer there. The waterfalls at Wailua River State Park were used in “Blue Hawaii,” as well as Lydgate Park, both located on Kauai. The famous wedding scene was filmed at the Coco Palms Resort Hotel, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The resort was then damaged by a fire in 2014. It has since been demolished and owners hope to re-open a new hotel on the site in 2018. Elvis’ first visit to Hawaii happened in November 1957. Elvis held a concert at Honolulu Stadium on November 11, followed by a performance at the Schofield Army Barracks on November 11 One of Elvis’ most famous performances took place at the Bloch Arena on the Pearl Harbor naval base on March 25, 1961. The performance was part of a benefit concert to raise money to create a USS Arizona memorial in honor of those...
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Elvis Presley is ‘Loving You’

“A rock-and-sock story about the rock and roll kid!” That’s one of the taglines for Elvis Presley’s second movie, the sort of, not really, maybe just a little bit autobiographical “Loving You.” In the film, Elvis stars as Deke Rivers, a young delivery man and singer who is discovered by a musician, Tex (Wendell Corey) and a publicist, Glenda (Lizabeth Scott). The pair help launch Deke’s career, but a few complications arise as another young singer, Susan (Dolores Hart) falls for Deke, while Glenda leads Deke on with promises of a bright future. There are similarities between Elvis’ life and the film’s plot: Like Deke, Elvis was a delivery man before launching his music career; Elvis and Deke’s music both had parents and concerned citizens worried that they were bad influences on kids and teenagers; Elvis’ band members, Bill Black and Scotty Moore, served as his band members in the film; Deke often broke his guitar strings, like Elvis did; and Glenda employs many Col. Parker-esque tricks to get Deke more publicity and fans. The movie isn’t an actual Elvis autobiography, though. Writer/director Hal Kanter visited with Elvis and his family in December 1956 to get a feel for the young superstar and what his life was like. He enjoyed Gladys’ fried chicken and joined Elvis on a sight-seeing tour of Memphis. He also traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to watch Elvis perform on the Louisiana Hayride. He incorporated a lot of elements from those performances into the script – including the twin girls clapping together one-handed, which actually happened during one of Elvis’ Hayride shows. In another art-imitates-life moment, Elvis’ parents are in the audience in the final scene – and they often watched their son’s concerts. “Loving You” is Elvis’ second movie, but his first in color. Elvis began dying his natural blonde-brown hair black for this movie because he thought it would show up better on film, like Tony Curtis’ hair. Elvis dyed his hair for the rest of his life – except for his time in the Army. Famous costume designer Edith Head worked on this movie, and many of Elvis’ movies. Head designed costumes for many movies and TV shows, including Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina” and “Roman Holiday,” Elizabeth Taylor in “A Place in the Sun,” Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard,” Bette Davis in “All About Eve” and Ingrid Bergman in “Notorious.” “Loving You” also...
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