- Elvis Presley statue, taken from diner's roof, found in cemetery: 6-foot fiberglass figure is slightly damaged, but owners will try to repair it
By Nick Madigan
(The Baltimore Sun, July 20 2010)
Ever since Elvis Presley's death 33 years ago, people have breathlessly reported Elvis sightings here, there and everywhere. On Tuesday morning, he was spotted again, hanging out in a cemetery with a pair of angels.
As it turned out, it was a fiberglass Elvis, a 6-foot-tall statue that had gone missing a couple of weeks ago from the roof of a diner on Pulaski Highway in Baltimore County, much to the consternation of the restaurant's owners and regular customers.
When found, the white-suited Elvis, his coiffure intact but his microphone gone, was propped between two angelic statues in the Gardens of Faith Cemetery, a few miles north of Rosedale's Happy Day Diner, whose roof he had graced for a decade.
Whether or not the real Elvis is communing with angels, his earthly appearance in the cemetery's Garden of Wisdom was a brief one, according to the man who found him, George Kropkowski, who lives nearby. He called his son Steve, who provides uniforms to the diner, said he thought he'd spotted the missing statue, and told him he'd better come and take a look.
"It was put there last night," Steve Kropkowski said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "My dad would have seen it if it had been put there before that." Steve Kropkowski, whose grandfather is buried at the cemetery, drove over, verified that the statue of the rock 'n' roll legend was indeed the diner's -- it was missing its right foot, which had remained bolted to the building's roof when the thieves yanked Elvis free -- and called Maria Pigiaditis, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Dimitrios.
... The statue had been placed atop the entrance by the restaurant's previous owner, who purchased the figure for $1,500 from a Harford Road antique shop. Pigiaditis, who also owns a construction business, said his insurance company has agreed to cover the cost of the statue's repair or replacement as well as the approximately $4,000 it will take to replace the neon lights the thieves broke during the abduction.
Whichever Elvis ends up on the roof, Pigiaditis is not taking any chances. "I'm going to put two cameras up on the roof," he said, "so if they try to do it again they'll be on camera, big time." In any event, Pigiaditis will not be addressing the Elvis issue anytime soon. On Thursday, he is leaving for a month's vacation in his native Athens, which he left in 1978. "I was always a fan of Elvis, even before I left Greece," said Pigiaditis, who remained perplexed by the theft, especially since it occurred next to a busy road. "I would like the police to find out who did it and why."
His daughter Georgia, 15, who works at the diner on weekends, had a theory. "I think it was kids," she said. "They just wanted to be cool by stealing a statue of Elvis."
Alice Rader, who has worked at the Happy Day for eight years, was relieved that Elvis was back, even if only leaning on a table in the diner's smoking room. "I'm glad they didn't break him up and put him in a trash can," she said. "Elvis is in the house."
The Elvis Presley statue atop the Happy Day Diner in Rosedale.
(Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun / January 20, 2009)
- Cockroach, porcupine but no broccoli on celebrity menu
By Nick Allen
(canada.com / The Daily Telegraph, July 19 2010)
Angelina Jolie ate cockroaches as protein snacks in Cambodia, Elvis Presley never cut up his own food, and Ernest Hemingway once consumed a porcupine, according to a new book about the eating habits of the rich and famous.
... Matthew Jacob, and his brother Mark, the authors of What the Great Ate: A Curious History of Food and Fame, spent two years ploughing through records to find epicurean oddities about actors, singers, and politicians, throughout history. ...
- Elvis drummer revisits La
By STEVEN K. LANDRY
(The Advocate, July 19 2010)
If you talk about the proverbial "big bang" of rock 'n' roll in the mid-1950s, drummer D.J. Fontana was at its explosive epicenter.
Think "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock" -- that was Fontana up front and center on the skins. The Shreveport native was Elvis Presley's first drummer on the radio staple "Louisiana Hayride," broadcast from that north Louisiana city. No one knew the madness, the genre-bending blues-country-rockabilly swell that was to follow.
"No, no -- I don't care who you are," Fontana, 79, said from a hotel room a couple of days before a recent Crowley gig backing Elvis impersonator Donny Edwards. "You never know what's going to happen. You have no idea. You just gotta be there first with the most."
Fontana, his Shreveport twang still evident, said he stayed with Presley up until the famous Elvis 1968 Special that resurrected Presley's career. Fontana did not play on those early Sun Studio sessions in Memphis that brought "Heartbreak Hotel" to living rooms and bedrooms across the U.S. and England. In that little room, it was only Presley, guitarist Scotty Moore and upright-bassist Bill Black -- no drummer. Then they added Fontana, just after Presley switched to RCA Records. ... "We (Presley, Moore, Black and Fontana) worked Crowley, Baton Rouge, Texas. A couple of years we worked Texas. We went all through north Texas, all over the place," he said. "I had joined Elvis for 'Hound Dog,' 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'All Shook Up,' and somewhere along in there before that, the 'Louisiana Hayride.' ... "
... "Hound Dog" -- backed on 45 rpm with "Don't Be Cruel" -- topped the charts for 11 weeks, a streak that would reign for 36 years. Presley's voice was a mix of smoldering, close-miked allure that shocked the world. ...
D.J. Fontana, 79, plays drums with Elvis impersonator Donny Edwards during a recent performance at the Grand Opera House of the South in Crowley. Fontana was Elvis Presley's original drummer.
- Graceland Too Much
By Sheena Barnett
(nems360.com / Daily Journal, July 18 2010)
Don't let the Elvis curtains, Elvis carpets, Elvis blankets, Elvis cut-outs, Elvis movies, Elvis plates, Elvis dolls, Elvis phones, Elvis records or Elvis posters fool you into thinking Graceland Too is about Elvis Presley.
It seems that way, since the house in Holly Springs is absolutely covered in everything Elvis, from floor to ceiling.
Really, the house is about its owner Paul MacLeod's fanatical fascination, obsession and devotion to the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Really, Graceland Too is as much a man's state of mind as it is a place. Really, Graceland Too is about Paul MacLeod. ...
- Heat changed unwritten rules
By Dave Hyde
(www2.ljworld.com / Sun Sentinel, July 18 2010)
What Elvis Presley's swiveling hips did, what Joe Namath's pantyhose advertisements did, what Michael Jordan did in remaining allergic to politics because "Republicans buy sneakers, too," the Heat did to sports this past week. ...
- Acclaimed country songwriter Hank Cochran dies
(tulsaworld.com, July 16 2010)
Hank Cochran, the esteemed country music songwriter revered for the poetic economy and power of such enduring hits as Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces" and Eddy Arnold's "Make the World Go Away," died Thursday at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn., after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.
In a career spanning more than half a century, Cochran wrote or co-wrote hundreds of songs recorded by Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Ray Price, George Strait and numerous others.
Cochran's name also can be found on the credits for Cline's "She's Got You," Strait's "The Chair" and "Ocean Front Property" and Ronnie Milsap's "Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me," the latter being the one he usually cited as his favorite of his own songs. ...
- Best Beach Movie No. 4
(wgal.com, July 16 2010)
Elvis Presley is remembered for dreamy love songs and establishment-rattling rock-and-roll. But he was also a Hollywood beach stud, appearing in the likes of "Girls Girls Girls" (1962), "Paradise Hawaiian Style" (1966) and "Clambake" (1967).
"Blue Hawaii" was the first of his beach-bod-bearing roles and was perhaps the biggest commercial success of his film career. Sure, the story is kind of lame -- Presley's Chad returns from the Army and rebels against his father, refusing to go to work at dad's [eye roll here] ... pineapple business.
But the musical comedy is a time capsule of a simpler era, brilliantly lit by sunny nostalgia, and it amounts to a cheesy but fun bit of film.
It also has some beautiful beach scenery for its time and includes 14 songs that helped make the soundtrack a Billboard chart topper, including "Can't Help Falling In Love." Angela Lansbury co-stars in an over-the-top role as Elvis' mother.
- Elvis Presley show coming to Kennett Square
(southernchestercountyweeklies.com, July 16 2010)
The King of Rock and Roll has been dead nearly 34 years now, and fans who have always wanted to see him won't want to miss a special show at the Kennett Flash Aug. 13.
That's because "Memories of Elvis Live" featuring the TCE Band, is so good, it appears Elvis Presley himself is on stage.
"Our sound is identical to Elvis'" said Vince DeBlasis, lead singer. "I don't try to act like Elvis because there will never be another Elvis, but we replicate the sound perfectly. If you're at the show and close your eyes, you'll swear it's Elvis himself."
DeBlasis isn't bragging. His band has received acclaim up and down the East Coast, and even those who attended his concerts have posted raves on his web site, www.memories oflevislive.com.
Most of the musical instruments the 7-piece band uses are vintage Elvis-era. And with DeBlasis wearing a $7,000 Elvis replica suit, fans often walk away from a concert with a feeling they have just seen the King himself.
"It's an incredible show," DeBlasis said. "Elvis didn't do a lot of talking during his concerts so most of what we do is music. There will be a minimum of 35 songs, a 90-minute show.
DeBlasis still vividly remembers what he was doing Aug. 16, 1977, the day Elvis died. He was 13 years old when he turned on a transistor radio with one of Elvis' songs playing. "I started singing to it, and this girl said I sounded exactly like Elvis," said DeBlasis, a graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School.
It wasn't long before DeBlasis formed a band with friends at George Washington High School in Philadelphia. They became an instant hit. In 1979, they played for Phyllis Diller and the Hudson Brothers, and in 1980, they even auditioned for the Al Alberts Show.
But they were kicked off the set because the crew at the Al Alberts Show was convinced DeBlasis was using taperecorded songs of Elvis. They were called back a second time, and this time equipment was used to ensure DeBlasis wasn't lip-synching. He was vindicated. ...
- Elvis hasn't quite left the building
(thenewstribune.com, July 16 2010)
A musical comedy salute to Elvis Presley that is a loose retelling of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" would be downright audacious, and that's just what "All Shook Up" at Tacoma Musical Playhouse is. Written by Joe DiPietro, who is probably best known as the author of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," this lighthearted tribute to Elvis is delightfully fun and energetic.
TMP artistic director Jon Douglas Rake is emphatic that "All Shook Up" is not a show about Elvis. But Steve Barnett as the roustabout musician Chad is clearly an Elvis-type character. His costumes and his moves are intentionally patterned on The King -- with a little hint of Marlon Brando in "The Wild Bunch" thrown in. Even the main comic sidekick, Matt DelaCruz as Dennis, throws in a little Elvis "Thank you very much."
Despite emphatic denials, this show is all about Elvis -- which is what makes it sparkle and, simultaneously, brings it down in places. There are so many wonderful songs, but the ghost of Elvis hovers over the stage and no one can sing "If I Can Dream" and "That's All Right" and "Can't Help Falling in Love" like Elvis.
Barnett has the sultry good looks and the voice to carry off the role of the rebel singer, but his Elvis gyrations seem strained and unnatural. Ironically, Micheal O'Hara does those same moves much more naturally and comfortably. O'Hara plays Jim, an older man who recaptures his youth by copying Chad's moves, and he steals every scene he's in. He is probably the most accomplished actor in the cast, and it shows.
Other actors who bring fire and peals of laughter every time they take center stage are DelaCruz and Heather Malroy as Miss Sandra. DelaCruz's Dennis is a 1950s-style nerd with a decided lack of self- confidence. He is not only hilarious, he has a great voice. His solo on "It Hurts Me" is one of the best solo performances in the show. Malroy as the intellectual Miss Sandra is big, brash, and stylishly sexy.
Other outstanding actors are Lauren Nance as Natalie, the female mechanic who is in love with Chad and disguises herself as a man named Ed to get close to him; LaNita Hudson as Sylvia; Jasmine Carver as Sylvia's daughter, Lorraine; and Jon Huntsman as Lorraine's boyfriend, Dean.
Highlights include the great ensemble performance of "Can't Help Falling in Love" that ends the first act, the wonderful running joke of everybody singing "One Night With You," and the great dueling guitars on "Devil in Disguise."
The set design by Rake and Will Abrahamse is excellent, and scenes are easily and unobtrusively changed. The simple scaffolding in the fairgrounds scenes highlighted by John Chenaultıs lighting is especially nice, as is the beautiful drop curtain in the final scene. Also noteworthy is the theater magic of faces of the cast popping out of the museum and of paintings of belly dancers at the fair becoming live dancers. These are the kinds of touches that make musical theater come alive.
'All Shook Up'
When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 1
Where: Tacoma Musical Playhouse at The Narrows Theatre, 7116 Sixth Ave.
Tickets: Adults $25, students/military $23, children 12 and younger $18
Information: 253-565-6867, www.tmp.org
- Bill Porter, Sound Engineer for Elvis Presley's Early RCA Sessions, Dies at 79
(cmt.com, July 9 2010)
Bill Porter, the sound engineer whose credits include Elvis Presley's early RCA sessions and a role in the lush "Nashville Sound" of the 1960s, died on Wednesday (July 7). He was 79. Porter also worked as the chief engineer for Chet Atkins, and both men are often cited for their contributions to the Nashville Sound that started in the late 1950s. Porter's engineering credits include the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown," the Browns' "The Three Bells," Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" and "Only the Lonely" and Presley's "Stuck on You," "It's Now or Never," "Are You Lonesome Tonight," "Surrender," "Good Luck Charm" and "Suspicious Minds." In the 1970s, Porter served as sound engineer for Presley's concerts, with several of them later released as live albums. He spent his later career teaching audio engineering courses at Webster University in St. Louis.
- Three photos of Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis are available on Business Wire's Web Site and AP PhotoExpress. ...
Source: Elvis Presley Enterprises
(Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance, July 2010)
Four photos of Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis are available on Business Wire's Web Site and AP PhotoExpress.
Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis is glowing in bright red, white and blue in honor and support of the United States National Soccer Team and its success in the World Cup competition. Memphis area youth ranging from ages 8 to 12 years old who play in the Mid-South Futbol Club flipped a ceremonial switch in front of the mansion, which will remain illuminated in color through the July 4 weekend.