Elvis Week Day 3: Where is Elvis in Memphis?

By Jon Waterhouse Memphis music history runs thicker than the barbecue sauce at Marlowe’s. Thankfully fans have the opportunity to sink their teeth into several historical music experiences and walk away with mouthfuls of blues, rock and soul knowledge. For Elvis lovers, there are plenty of kingly nibbles along the way. Yesterday I took to the streets to explore a trio of museums specializing in Memphian music lore. While I have a great appreciation and love for all of the music that sprang out of the Bluff City, it is Elvis Week after all. My Presley radar continues running full tilt. To help steer Elvis Week fans along the way, I’m listing my top three Elvis finds at each location. Sun Studio 706 Union Ave., Memphis 901-521-0664 www.sunstudio.com Thanks to its visionary original owner, Sam Phillips, the hallowed halls of Sun Studio captured world-changing music for the masses. The Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats tune “Rocket 88,” which many historians cite as the first rock ‘n’ roll song, was cut there. Phillips tracked blues icons Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas and others. And his label’s roster beamed brightly with the likes of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Of course it’s where the world first discovered Elvis, who obviously made the most noise out of all of Sun’s alumni. The Elvis Display The Sun Studio tour begins upstairs where glass cases spotlight a collection of memorabilia. Elvis fans should gravitate to the back right corner of the room where you can discover a sizable shrine to the young king. You’ll find the black Lansky Brothers sports coat Elvis wore on “The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show” in 1956, as well as the guitar case, complete with cow hide interior, that he used. WHBQ DJ Booth Dewey Phillips, the groundbreaking Memphis DJ, was the man who spun Elvis for the very first time. His show “Red, Hot and Blue” aired on WHBQ, and his actual DJ booth was rescued from the now defunct Hotel Chisca. It now lives upstairs at Sun. Take a look at the turntables that changed the face of music. The Studio Step into the intimate recording studio that shook the foundations of popular music. Look to the ceiling, and you’ll see the same tiles Elvis saw that legendary night in 1954 when he recorded “That’s All Right” with Scotty Moore and Bill Black....
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Elvis Week Day 2: Experiencing Graceland and Memphis

By Jon Waterhouse While covering Elvis Night at the Memphis Redbirds game on Saturday, Graceland photographer Robert Dye succinctly described Elvis Week as a roller coaster ride. “We’re just now going up the hill,” he said. “And now the ride begins.” Yeah it does, and on Sunday I had my figurative lap bar securely in place, ready and eager for every dip, twist, turn and gasp-inducing Elvis Week moment. My day began with an hour-long guest DJ set on Elvis Radio alongside DJ Argo, the always welcoming and incredibly talented maestro of the mike. Soon thereafter I was whisked away in a Graceland tour bus for my first tablet tour. This brand new interactive experience had me at click and drag. Each Graceland guest receives an iPad and headphones. Actor John Stamos, best known for his lengthy stint on the TV sitcom “Full House,” narrates this journey through a different kind of full house, one loaded with memorabilia and rock ‘n’ roll majesty. As you explore the mansion and its grounds, an image of each respective room and area appear on the tablet’s screen offering a slew of additional content. Let’s say you’re passing through Graceland’s kitchen. A video icon appears on your screen giving you the option to watch a home movie of a young Elvis walking through that very room. The wealth of the tablet material is seemingly endless. When stopping in the Jungle Room the tablet offers a photo of a tiny Lisa Marie chilling on that tiki-tastic couch. Visit the display of Priscilla’s wedding dress, and you can use your tablet to simultaneously watch actual footage of she and Elvis exchanging vows. And that’s just a smidgen of what’s available on the tablet. Movie trailers, audio interview clips, Elvis TV appearances, live concert footage and more take the tour to unprecedented heights. Having chalked up many a Graceland visit, the tablet tour makes it feel completely brand new and totally immersive, while retaining the charm of the classic experience. It’s simply like visiting the Presley palace for the very first time. The new Graceland Archives Experience adds yet another dimension. Just when you thought it was over, those who opt for the Platinum or VIP tour get access to the Archive Studio. Housed in its own facility just behind the mansion, the theater-like setting allows guests the opportunity to get a close look at Elvis...
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Elvis Week Day 1: Elvis Night with Memphis Redbirds

By Jon Waterhouse Elvis Week was starting off on the good foot, literally. I’d only been in Memphis for a few short hours, and there I stood in blue suede shoes getting a kingly dance lesson from Dean Z, the 2013 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist winner. Just outside the Memphis Redbirds locker room in the belly of AutoZone Park, Dean passed along some pointers. It was Elvis Night at the Redbirds game and among the activities: an Elvis dance contest. In the interest of blog fodder, I figured I’d give it a shot and sign up. Either the blog would recount the thrill of Elvis Week victory or examine the agony of da feet. Dean instructed me to flip my collar, quiver my lip in a snarl and replicate his Presley choreography. He glided across the stadium floor effortlessly like he was skating on butter. Dean Z exemplified cool. Cool as ice. That’s when reality struck. What was I thinking? I couldn’t move like that. There was a good chance I was about to become the laughing stock of Elvis Week in front of 10,000 people. Dance like the king? More like the court jester. But there was no time for anxiety. I had to follow Dean Z on the field to watch as he threw out the first pitch. A mesmerizing rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” followed courtesy of soprano Kallen Esperian, an opera singer known for having belted out vocals alongside Pavarotti. Thankfully the distractions kept coming. I struck up a conversation with Ben Thompson, a London, England-based ETA, who had never seen live baseball. “Back home we have sports,” he told me, “but it’s just the sport. Here there’s a lot of audience participation. And I love the tunes in between [the action] and the mascot running around. It adds a fun factor for people like myself who don’t understand the rules. It’s great!” Chatting with Ben helped calm my nervous, as did loading my belly with ballpark delicacies. Dance contest? What dance contest? Then the 8th inning came, and my escapism screeched to a halt. It was time to take the field and dance. Only one other person registered for the contest. Once I got a look at him, any sliver of confidence I may have had quickly fluttered away. Cody Giles, a senior at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., would be duking it...
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Elvis Week Survival Guide

By Jon Waterhouse Having another opportunity to serve as Elvis Week Blogger —the eyes and ears of fellow fans— and share my big hunk o’ love for all things Elvis remains a huge honor. Now comes the time to put on my game face and curl my lip, dive head first into the deep end of Elvisness and take care of business in a flash. EPE and Graceland have quite the celebration in store, blending tried-and-true experiences with new additions and enhancements. Expect more shiny bells and whistles than a tricked-out Stutz Bearcat. It’s more fun than a barrel of hound dogs for sure, but navigating Elvis Week 2014 takes planning. Consider the following tips and tricks. ELVIS WEEK SURVIVAL GUIDE The Elvis Week App Juggling all those Elvis Week activities almost requires the time management of your own personal Col. Tom. Good thing you can have one in the palm of your hand. Grab your smartphone and download the Elvis Week App. It comes loaded with a fully customizable schedule, maps, up-to-date Elvis Week news and more. You can even use the app to fire up your own virtual candle for the Candlelight Vigil.  Plus, they have this new Photo Booth deal where you can Elvi-size your photos. Download the app for free! Water In Memphis, the sun doesn’t strictly shine at the famed studio. Throughout Elvis Week, that flaming star will produce temps expected to reach the 90s. Make sure and stay hydrated at all times by keeping bottled water at the ready. Sunscreen With that said, Elvis Presley’s Graceland is breaking ground on the new Guest House at Graceland on Thursday, August 14. Gotta protect yourself from those UVs! Comfy Shoes Elvis Week can easily inspire fans to dress to the nines. Just save the blue suede shoes and high heeled sneakers for special events. Many fans find themselves on their feet hoofing it from one event to the next, not to mention standing in line for the Vigil. Comfortable footwear is a must, so make sure and love those tootsies tender. Power Up Sleep isn’t always a top priority among fans at Elvis Week, so always fuel up on food. Eating regularly and keeping snacks within reach is important. And don’t forget your cameras and mobile devices need power, too. Hit the events with phone chargers and camera batteries in tow. Fan Connections Countless attendees...
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20 Things You Might Not Realize About Elvis Presley’s Graceland

So you’ve visited Graceland or maybe you are planning your first trip? Check out these interesting tid bits about the king’s home! From touring like a VIP to drinking from the same water fountain as Elvis, there’s so much to do here! Over the years, we have discovered quite a few things visitors may not realize about Elvis Presley’s home. Don’t forget to visit Graceland.com and book your rock ‘n’ roll pilgrimage today! 1. Sign the Wall Elvis even encouraged fans to do this when he lived here. Break out those sharpies and leave your special message to the king.   2. Take An Epic Selfie Ok, this will have to be another blog because there are too many photo opportunities here at the home of the king! Check out Antonio Sabato Jr.’s Graceland selfie.                           3. Get Married The quaint Graceland Wedding Chapel in the Woods is the perfect setting for a wedding to remember. You can even get your wedding photos in front of the mansion.   4. Go on SiriusXM’s Elvis Radio Elvis Radio DJs are always welcoming Graceland visitors to sit inside the Elvis Radio DJ booth. They even have weekly trivia and contests in the Graceland Plaza. After all, it is one of the only SiriusXM radio stations dedicated to one artist and it broadcasts LIVE from Graceland!     5. Take Your Picture with Elvis Ok, its not technically Elvis – but it sure does come close! took a picture with #Elvis in #Graceland today pic.twitter.com/pWLin2xkBP — Isabel (@IsaabelDarling_) July 15, 2014   6. Tap into the Graceland Archives VIP and Platinum Tour guests can enjoy a live presentation at our new Graceland Archives Studio beginning August 8. Hosted by a Graceland studio guide, the presentation will showcase special artifacts from the Graceland Archives collection.         7. Buy Homemade Fudge Mmmmmm – just another fine southern delicacy that you can munch on while visiting Graceland.  Dining at Graceland Plaza offers many different menu options to satisfy everyone in your group.       8. Perform at Graceland Student choral and band groups are always welcome to perform in the Graceland Plaza located across the street from Graceland Mansion. Post by Elvis Presley’s Graceland.     9. Check in & Get a Free Poster During your visit to Graceland...
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