Thursday marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death and fans of the crooning, hip-shaking sensation — whose songs first hit radio airwaves in 1956 — are honoring the King of Rock and Roll with everything from exhibits and tribute performances to special meals, drinks and banana-and-peanut-butter-laden desserts. Here’s a taste:
Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home and estate in Memphis, Tenn., has been the focal point of Elvis Week. Festivities continue through Aug.18 with special events that include the Elvis 35th Anniversary Concert on Thursday evening (a live band will accompany videos of Elvis singing), the dedication of the Hub of Rock ‘n’ Roll historic marker on Friday and an Elvis Week Farewell Dance Party on Saturday.
During Elvis Week, restaurants at The Peabody Memphis hotel, where Elvis attended the Humes High School Junior Senior Prom in 1953, are offering a special dessert called the Sweet Banana Peanut Butter Pie. The $6.50 dish has a flaky crust filled with banana custard and is topped with milk chocolate peanut butter cream. “You probably don’t want to know the calorie count,” said Kelly Earnest, spokeswoman for The Peabody Memphis. “We also have special Elvis Week drinks at the bars, including the Suspicious Mind Martini and the Burning Love Cosmo.”
The Peabody Memphis is also home to Lansky at the Peabody, a branch of the “Clothier to the King” store where Bernard Lansky fitted Elvis for his first and last suits. For Elvis Week, the shop has vintage clothing on display and commemorative clothing for sale, including Love Me Tender neckties and Jungle Room shoes.
Visitors to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, located at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, can hold the hand of a wax figure of Elvis year-round in the attraction’s Viva Vegas room. But on Aug. 16, anyone dressing as the late singer will get free admission to the attraction with the purchase of another ticket. Regular admission is $25.95 for adults and $15.95 for children ages 7 through 12, so that represents a potential hunka-hunka savings.
Elvis loved Las Vegas and Sin City has been loving him back with Cirque du Soleil’s Viva ELVIS tribute show, which tells the story of Presley’s life through film clips, photos, exuberant dance numbers, elaborate costumes and scenery and the company’s signature acrobatic acts. See the show at Aria Resort & Casino at City Center, but hurry: Elvis – and the show - leave the building on Aug. 31.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn., displays the 1960 "Solid Gold" Cadillac and a 1928 Kimball Grand Piano that once belonged to Elvis. Special programming to mark the anniversary of Presley’s death includes an Aug. 18 interview with songwriter, guitarist and studio owner “Chips” Moman, who produced some of Presley's 1969 comeback hits, including "Suspicious Minds and “In the Ghetto," and, on Aug. 19, a screening of “Elvis ’56,” a documentary about a pivotal year in Presley’s career.
The King in Phoenix
The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ariz., ends its Elvis Presley Week of events Thursday with activities that include an opportunity to play Elvis music on the museum’s Steinway piano (sheet music provided) and to see a screening of “Charro!,” a movie filmed in Arizona starring Elvis Presley as a former outlaw — his only non-singing role. Just in time for Elvis Week, the museum added some new treasures to its Elvis Presley exhibit, including Elvis’ Charro! script and a costume he wore in the movie, as well as two jumpsuits Presley wore during performances in Phoenix. "One of them is known as the 'Flower Jumpsuit,'" said museum spokeswoman Erin Miller. "It has a cape, red jewels and weighs about 50 pounds."
Miller said Thursday is also the last day to order menu items such as “Devil in Disguise” split pea soup and “Don’t Be Cruel” to the Sweet Potato Pie in the museum’s café.