- Paul Newman: a life
By Shawn Levy
(Kansas City Star, May 19 2009)
Readers who care naught about an actor's private life but care greatly about an actor's acting will value Shawn Levy's "Paul Newman: A Life." ...
- Signed Elvis jacket comes to Tupelo
By Galen Holley
(NEMS Daily Journal, May 19 2009)
For a man who never actually met Elvis, the Rev. Ulf Fritz Sanned has made the acquaintance of a lot of the King's inner circle. "I've traveled all over Northern Europe and the United States, meeting Elvis' friends and fellow performers," said Sanned, 58, a Lutheran chaplain and Elvis historian from Jonkoping, Sweden.
On Friday, Sanned and his wife, Irene, made one of their semi-annual visits to the King of Rock 'n' Roll's birthplace, bringing with them a black denim jacket signed by several of Elvis' confidants as well as musicians with whom he worked, like the Jordanaires.
Tupelo residents James Ausborn and Guy Harris, both childhood friends of Elvis, added their signatures to the collection of 50. "I sat behind Elvis at East Tupelo School," said Ausborn, 76, adding that he and the Presley used to eavesdrop on neighborhood jam sessions in a black section of Tupelo called Shakerag.
Harris, 71, said he and Elvis used to go swimming in Mud Creek.
Sanned works with museums and cultural organizations that trace the influence of American music, particularly rockabilly, in post-World War II Europe. He said that for many Europeans in the '50s and '60s, Elvis' music represented a sense of rising optimism. Sanned started collecting signatures on the jacket a couple of years ago while traveling with the TCB Band, a group of musicians who once played with Elvis.
Today the Sanneds will take the jacket to the International Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson, Tenn. Then it's on to California where Ann Margret and other stars have promised to sign it.
Sanned estimates it will take a year and half to collect all the signatures, about 150 total. When he's finished he'll bring the jacket back to Tupelo, where it will be on display in the birthplace museum. "I see clearly why Elvis loved this place," said Sanned. "It is relaxed, hospitable, not unlike my childhood Sweden."
- Hawaiian shirts, big business even in academia
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
(nwitimes.com / AP, May 19 2009)
Spring is here, and that means the season has arrived for tropical print camp shirts, better known as Hawaiian shirts. ... Hawaiian shirts have been riding one of their periodic waves of popularity in recent years, thanks to the influence of surfer chic. Despite their humble 1930s origins and iconoclastic image, Hawaiian shirts are a serious business and subject of academic study. And they are popular everywhere, said Linda Arthur, a textile professor at Washington State University in Pullman who has written several books about Aloha shirts, the preferred name among aficionados.
Aloha shirts were invented in the 1930s, when mom-and-pop tailors in Hawaii began making Western-style garments out of a common material, colorful Japanese kimono fabric. The shirts at first were sold to tourists, but eventually caught on with locals.
Students at the prestigious Punahou School on Oahu, whose graduates include President Obama, started ordering such shirts to wear at school functions.
The shirt industry grew during World War II, when products from the mainland were in short supply in Hawaii and people had to create their own fabrics and make their own clothes, Arthur said.
This sparked the heyday of Hawaiian shirt genius Alfred Shaheen, who developed methods that allowed the shirts to explode with multiple colors and built his own fabric factory.
Shaheen, who died last December at 86, is crediting with transforming the shirts from tacky souvenirs into works of art, and spurring mass production. Brightly colored rayon shirts made by Shaheen and others in the 1940s and 1950s, known as Silkies, have become collector's items, selling for thousands of dollars today.
... Hawaiian shirts loom large in popular culture. The movie "From Here to Eternity," set in Hawaii, featured stars like Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Ernest Borgnine wearing the shirts. Elvis Presley wore a Shaheen-designed red one for the cover of his 1961 album "Blue Hawaii." ...
- American Idol: Glambert vs. the boy next door
By Shelly Fralic, Canwest News Service
(National Post, May 19 2009)
Adam Lambert may or may not be gay. Adam Lambert may or may not be the first gay winner of American Idol. Adam Lambert may or may not be following the lead of former Idol runner-up Clay Aiken, a gay man who didn't "out" himself until long after the final votes were counted.
Now that we're down to the top two - Lambert, the showman with the power pipes, and Kris Allen, the strummy boy-next-door - squaring off tonight and Wednesday in Idol's season eight finale, pundits are scrambling for something, anything, to say about a seven-year-old hit show that is at once compelling, with some of the consistently highest ratings on television, and boring, as it blurs from one year and one winner to the next. And so it comes down, not to a finalist's fine voice or Paula Abdul's potential pill popping, but to a would-be winner's sexuality.
... Lambert, a 27-year-old Californian who once played Linus in a musical production of Charlie Brown, is certainly the most interesting and gifted singer the show has seen in some time. Just Google his haunting version of Mad World, close your eyes and you will be forgiven for recalling that other famous nobody with the big voice, Susan Boyle of Britain's Got Talent, whose current star trajectory is similar even though Lambert is younger and prettier. And while he looks the spawn of Elvis Presley and Joan Jett, there is about Lambert a distinct feyness that no amount of spiky black hair, studs, chains, python boots, tight jeans and goth makeup can disguise. ...
- Humanitarian Awards to be presented to 5: Memphians recognized for accomplishments
By Sara Patterson
(Denver Post, May 19 2009)
One spent time with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the last hour of his life. One helped bring the Grizzlies to Memphis. One was Elvis' doctor. But the five honorees at the 4th annual Diversity Memphis Humanitarian Awards dinner aren't being recognized for whom they once knew, but who they are now. Samuel B. Kyles, Teresa Sloyan, Lawrence Wruble, Craig Strickland and Alim Khandekar will receive a medallion and scroll before an anticipated 350 people at 7 p.m. today at The Peabody.
"We recognize people in the community who have reached out across lines of race, religion and culture and made our city better," said Jim Foreman, executive director of Diversity Memphis. Foreman said this year's group of honorees is an interesting mix because each comes from a different religious background. ... Diversity Memphis is a human relations organization that Foreman defines as an entity "that works to bring people who are different together." The organization promotes tolerance, said Foreman, by providing opportunities to meet others from all walks of life.
"There aren't tremendous opportunities in life, unless you step out of your comfort zone, to meet people who are different," said Foreman. "We work to be a resource in the community so that if people have questions about diversity or are looking for information, we connect them to the right people."
Rev. Samuel B. Kyles has been pastor of Monumental Baptist Church since 1959. Kyles has appeared in several television documentaries about the life and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as he is one of the few people to have spent time with King in the hour before his death. "I feel so honored and so blessed because very often pioneers are not around to walk the trails they blazed," he said. "I walk the trails I helped to blaze."
Kyles worked on Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns and was a delegate to the First African National Congress. He was appointed to serve on the advisory committee on Religious Freedom Abroad under former President Bill Clinton and received the Tennessee living Legend Award in 1992.
... Dr. Lawrence Wruble admitted the first black man to Baptist Hospital in 1964, ushering in the local integration of the medical field. ... A gastroenterologist and Jewish communal leader, he was past president of Baron Hirsch Congregation and the Memphis Hebrew Academy and vice president of Memphis Jewish Federation.
He is a member of the Memphis Chapter of Hadassah and the recipient of the Myrtle Wreath Award and the Maimonides Award from Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. A professor of internal medicine, Wruble spent several years as acting chairman in the Department of Gastroenterology at the University of Tennessee Medical School. In 1970, he established the Memphis Gastroenterology Group, and when one famous Memphian by the name of Elvis Presley was hospitalized with digestive problems, Wruble treated him. In 2006 he received the UT outstanding alumnus award. ...
- Helton's easy call: It's a hit
By Troy E. Renck
(Denver Post, May 19 2009)
Todd Helton has more hits than Elvis Presley. He knows one when he sees one. And his ninth-inning shot past Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar on Monday night left no doubt in his mind. "I have never seen that ball ruled an error," Helton said. "I received 40 text messages saying it was a hit." Official scorer Jack Wilkinson disagreed, leaving Helton's entrance into the 2,000-hit club in limbo. ...
- 'I Do' Brazilian style
By Chasity Brown
(Daily Sentinel, May 18 2009)
When Roberto DeSa and Adriana Bamback decided to marry, they chose an unusual location - Vintage Vows Wedding Chapel in Hollywood, Ala. While this might not seem so unusual to most people here in Jackson County, it is a very unique considering the couple lives in Brazil. ... On Monday, May 11, Rev. Don Cooper performed the double ring ceremony, joining Roberto and Adriana in holy matrimony. ... Before returning to Brazil, the couple visited Memphis, Tenn. on a honeymoon trip. Both are huge fans of Elvis Presley and wanted to see Graceland and all of the Memphis landmarks.
- Rwanda: Make Sure You Are Inspired Before You Think of a Career in Music
By Troy E. Renck
(allafrica.com, May 15 2009)
Can you be inspired by the likes of Kofi Olomide and Elvis Presley, yet at the same time be a traditional Rwandan musician? As singer and poly-instrumentalist Patrick Gihana explained to The Rwanda Focus, it is no problem. ...
- Star Claire Bloom romanced by icons of Hollywood
By Catherine Mary Evans, Western Mail
(walesonline.co.uk, May 15 2009)
... SHE’S been romanced by Hollywood greats Richard Burton and Laurence Olivier, rejected Elvis Presley and enjoyed a glamorous life and glittering 57-year career. And now, at the age of 78, award-winning actress Claire Bloom is to appear on Doctor Who – as the Time Lord’s mother. ... When Laurence Olivier invited the young actress to co-star with him in his film of Richard III, Bloom said that acting alongside him was “like being caught in an electric current”. They began an affair, while he was still married to Vivien Leigh. Bloom claims to have dodged the sexual advances of Elvis Presley when she was 27, before beginning an affair with Yul Brynner, her co-star in The Brothers Karamazov.
- Retired waitress returns to work
By Bernie Delinski
(montgomeryadvertiser.com, May 15 2009)
... Stories like that filled JJ's Restaurant on Tuesday, as a crowd packed the U.S. 72 business to have Evans take their order one final time. Evans, 87, worked more than 40 years at Cherokee restaurants, most recently JJ's, where she retired about 10 years ago. She loved the customers, and the customers certainly loved her. That's why they arrived in droves Tuesday for lunch with a side order of nostalgia: For one day, Evans was back at work. The event was made possible through the Twilight Wish program, which is similar to the children's Make a Wish program, but for senior citizens.
Evans''s uncle, Frank Whitaker, said his aunt had a famous customer or two at Evans Cafe.
"Elvis Presley stopped in one day in his big Cadillac and ate there," Whitaker said. "All the girls would come around and kiss the counter after that." Evans recalls that day, as well. "If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have had his picture made with me," she said. ...
- Rock's roots? Begin with Chester
By Laura Wiseley
(delcotimes.com, May 15 2009)
There's no question in Johnny Kay's mind where rock 'n' roll really began. "I've heard people saying Elvis Presley started rock 'n' roll, that the Beatles started rock 'n' roll," he said.
"Chuck Berry and Little Richard said for years that they started it. But I'm tired of everyone rewriting history."
Where it began, Kay said, was right here in Delaware County, in a little city called Chester.
"This is the place rock 'n' roll started," he said. "This is where rock 'n' roll went worldwide. And this is the area that's being overlooked."
And that's why Kay titled his latest album "Songs from the Cradle of Rock 'N' Roll: Chester, PA." The album, on which Kay sings and plays lead guitar for his band JK Rockets, was released this month.
Kay, the former lead guitarist for the Chester-based band Bill Haley and the Comets, said that it was one of Haley's signature songs, "Rock-A Beatin' Boogie," that first used the term "rock 'n' roll," making the city the birthplace of the term.
"Bill Haley and the Comets - we were all local Chester guys," he said. "That's why Chester is the cradle of rock 'n' roll." ...
- Meghalaya celebrates Elvis Presley 75th anniversary
By Hempi D. Henpilen
(newkerala.com / ANI, May 15 2009)
To mark the 75th birth anniversary of Elvis Presley, the legendary figure in the history of rock and rolls, recently a concert was organized by his fans in Meghalaya.
The Elvis Presley fan club in Shillong has over 10 members. Although Presley's birthday falls on January 8th, the fans performed the evergreen Elvis hit number on stage to revive the old glory of the rock star among the Elvis fans and people in the city.
Another objective of the concert was to aid a voluntary project, 'CHILDLINE', as a part of extending support to the organization for the welfare of children in distress. ... The concert also attracted several international Elvis fans that were cheering among the crowd. ... Elvis Presley may have died 32 years ago but there are music lovers in Shillong who can sing like him with a voice and music that is more or less like the 'King of Rock and Roll'. Shillong is also home to the Elvis Presley imitators.
- Evidence dismissed in fraud case against celeb pathologist Cyril Wecht, who probed Elvis death
By Dan Nephin
(startribune.com / AP, May 14 2009)
A federal judge on Thursday dismissed evidence gained from search warrants prosecutors used to build their fraud and theft case against celebrity pathologist Cyril Wecht, who has investigated the deaths of Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey.
The ruling should effectively end the prosecution's effort to retry Wecht, whose previous trial ended in a hung jury, one of Wecht's attorneys said after the ruling was issued.
"They used all this evidence in the first trial against Dr. Wecht ... and they couldn't get a conviction with it," attorney Jerry McDevitt said at a news conference. "Without this evidence, they don't even a have a case, in my opinion."
Wecht, of Pittsburgh, is accused of using his former Allegheny County Coroner's Office staff and resources to benefit his lucrative private practice, which also probed the suicide of Vince Foster, the deputy White House counsel under former President Bill Clinton and a longtime law firm partner of Hillary Clinton, among other cases.
Wecht, 78, also is accused of overbilling private clients for limousines and air fare and of ripping off prosecutors in surrounding counties for mileage fees when he appeared as an expert witness.
Acknowledging that the judge did not outright dismiss the case, Wecht said he had a "sense of temporary or partial relief."
Wecht's attorneys have maintained that the allegations are, at best, minor abuses, not federal crimes.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said in a statement that the office would review the opinion and decide what to do.
McDevitt said he didn't think prosecutors had much of a chance of getting the ruling overturned on appeal.
"Now is the time to end this thing and let this man get on with his life," he said.
During a March video conference with U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin, McDevitt argued that warrants for Wecht's private office and a county employee's laptop weren't specific about what authorities were seeking and, therefore, should be declared invalid.
The prosecution acknowledged the office warrant might have been overly broad but said officers who conducted the search acted in good faith so the evidence should stand. The prosecution maintained the computer warrant was specific.
In his 55-page ruling, the judge agreed with Wecht's attorneys.
"... the result reached here today is not based on what amounts to constitutional hair-splitting or what is sometimes referred to in common parlance as a mere 'legal technicality,'" the judge said. "Rather, these rulings are grounded in well-established Fourth Amendment principles which serve as a bulwark against unwarranted governmental intrusion into the private affairs of every citizen, not just this defendant."
However, the judge refused to dismiss the case, which Wecht's attorneys also wanted.
Wecht resigned his government office when he was indicted in January 2006 on 84 counts of mail and wire fraud and theft charges. The government whittled that down to 41 counts for his first trial, and now just 14 counts remain.
- Elvis shakes up iPhone
(Yahoo! Tech / AFP, May 13 2009)
Elvis is shaking up Apple's iPhone. Elvis Presley Enterprises announced on Wednesday it was releasing a free iPhone application which will allow fans to view newly released pictures and videos of the "The King" and listen to podcasts from Elvis Radio.
Fans can also use "Elvis Mobile" to "report Elvis sightings around the world" to elvis.com or view footage from a live camera at his longtime Memphis, Tennessee, residence, Graceland.
"Elvis always believed in embracing new technology and this new Elvis Mobile application is another unique way to continue Elvis' legacy," said Scott Williams, vice president of marketing for Elvis Presley Enterprises.
"We're giving fans of the King of Rock 'n' Roll another tool to experience Elvis in a new and interactive way," he said.
Tens of thousands of applications for the iPhone have been created by developers and the California-based Apple recently celebrated the billionth application download from its online App Store.
- Bono's Elvis tribute, American David, unveiled on Radio 4
By Veronica Schmidt
(entertainment.timesonline.co.uk, May 13 2009)
Few would dispute that Bono knows how to write a song, but can the U2 frontman pen a poem? This morning, he offered his skills up for public scrutiny by unveiling an ode to Elvis Presley on Radio 4. In his familiar gravelly voice, the 49-year-old rock icon delivered a fast-paced, 14-minute tribute to The King.
Recorded two years ago, but written in 1994, the poem, entitled American David, contained an array of strange and risqué rhymes set to a musical backing track made up of Elvis tunes and other pop culture recordings from the last 50 years.
A warning about the poem's language preceded the airing, as a series of offensive words including "nigger" and "spastic" were employed. While Bono considers himself a "super fan" of Elvis, he didn't shy away from his famous flaws. One rhyming triplet played on the singer¹s long weight battle: "Elvis the bumper stickers/ Elvis the white knickers/ Elvis the white nigger ate at Burger King and just kept getting bigger." Another took aim at his iconic dance move: "Elvis the ecstatic/ Elvis the plastic/ Elvis the elastic with a spastic dance that could explain the energy of America." But other lines told of the U2 singer's admiration, as he called the late pin-up "pharoah-like", a "genius" and a "psalmist".