My Elvis Week started Sunday August 9th when I saw Blue Hawaii at The Orpheum, which was the first time seeing it on the big screen for me. The next day Monday August 10th I picked up my Elvis Week event tickets at Graceland.
Tuesday August 11th I went to the Elvis film festival at Studio on the Square. It was my third year attending this great event. This year I saw King Creole and Jailhouse Rock. That night I went to the Shawn Klush concert with The Sweet Inspirations (who used to perform with Elvis). I am not much on Elvis Tribute Artists, but he was fantastic! Sang and acted just like Elvis. And of course I loved The Sweets!
Wednesday night August 12th I attended the World Premiere of the documentary At the Gates by Larry Geller’s son Kiara. It took place at the old Memphian Theater (now Playhouse on the Square). Of course the Memphian is the theater Elvis used to rent out for his movie parties – they have his chair on display. Elvis’ friends Larry Geller and George Klein were there. I met Larry and had him autograph his book to me.
Thursday August 13th I attended the Fan Club Presidents’ Event, which was not that great but I learned a few things about Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Friday August 14th I went to the Shake, Rattle and Bowl Party where I met Elvis’ 1970s drummer Ronnie Tutt, and he autographed his drum stick for me – highlight of the day for me as it’s all about drums! I also met Darlene Tompkins from Blue Hawaii, and she autographed her photo. I also met and got autographs from members of the TCB Band, the Imperials, the Sweet Inspirations and Millie Kirkham. Then I bowled three games and was sore for two days. That night I went to the ’69 Concert Celebration at the Cannon Center.
Saturday August 15th I went back to the Cannon Center for Conversations with Elvis. In attendance were author Ken Sharp, journalist Gloria Greer, Elvis music producer and head of FTD Ernst Jorgenson, The Memphis Boys and Chips Momon (recorded with Elvis), Joe Guercio (Elvis’ orchestra leader), James Burton (Elvis’ 1970s guitarist), Millie Kirkham (sang with Elvis in the 70s), Terry Blackwood and Joe Moscheo of The Imperials (sang with Elvis in the 70s). Then we saw a little preview of the new Elvis Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas, which I saw the following year. After Conversations, I went to Graceland and saw the Sony Presentation and met Wayne Carman (Elvis’ karate instructor) and he autographed his book and dvd.
After meeting Wayne, I walked over to the Rock n Roll Cafe for dinner. I then went next door and spoke with Elvis artist Joe Petruccio, who is the sweetest! He was debuting his new painting of Elvis and Jerry Schilling (and I love me some Jerry!). I loved the painting, but could not afford to buy it, so Joe graciously allowed me to take a photo of it if I promised not to put it online, which I never did – until now. For eight years I have greatly admired that beautiful piece of art and often looked at the photo I took. Then finally I bought it eight years later the second day of the Grand Opening of Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Graceland on March 3, 2017 and now it hangs proudly on my wall.
After speaking with Joe, I went to the opening ceremony for the candlelight vigil, but did not get in line until about 10:30pm because I don’t like to be at the grave site until after midnight on August 16th – the actual anniversary of Elvis’ death. I was walking out of the gates and back on EP Blvd around 1:45am.
Even though I left Graceland around 2am, I didn’t get to sleep until almost 5am. So on Sunday August 16th I just drove by Lauderdale Courts (where Elvis lived growing up) and Humes High (where Elvis went to high school – it’s now a middle school). (I finally toured Elvis’ apartment at Lauderdale Courts this year – click here for those photos.) Then I went home and watched Elvis movies the rest of the day. And that was the end of my Elvis Week 2009.