Elvis hasn’t left the building

It’s Elvis week on Good Morning America, with all sorts of interesting sound bites guaranteed to make me late for work because I just have to watch.

Yesterday it was Priscilla Presley recounting how she met the music star was she was a mere 14 years old. (Now, 48 years later, she looks to be nearly 25.) She also insisted, misty-eyed, that Elvis was only taking prescription drugs, nothing street.

Today it was a review of Elvis’ movie career (about which, Priscilla informed us on Monday, the King feared people were laughing). Tomorrow it could be anything: An Elvis fashion retrospective, perhaps? Or a run-down of the many musical genres in which he dabbled? A rehashing of his daughter Lisa Marie’s inexplicable marriage to Michael Jackson … well, maybe not.

Thursday of this week marks the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ passing. He was 42. Had he not succumbed to pills, an enlarged heart, paranoia and any number of other ailments, he’d be 72. (Three years younger than Willie Nelson, by the way. Possibly — though not likely — still on tour, he’d be riding around the country in a bio-diesel bus.)

Author Samuel Roy wrote, “Elvis’ death did occur at a time when it could only help his reputation.” It’s true that in 2002, the King had a minor comeback from beyond the grave with the club remix of “A Little Less Conversation.” While it’s hard to imagine a 72-year old Presley in plastic leis and a polyester jumpsuit putting out a dance album, his sexy, forward lyrics on that particular song manage a level of modernity rarely achieved by throwbacks. 

Speaking of throwbacks, this week is all about Elvis, so local R&B artist Peggy Ratusz is hosting a birthday tribute party to the King at Westville Pub (777 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 225-9782) on Thursday, Aug. 16. This is a little hard to explain, since the singer, musician and actor was born in January. Still, when one is the King, one’s birthday can be celebrated year-round.

The festivities include an Elvis look-alike contest, so dig out those sequin jumpsuits. The Pub’s website lists the cover charge as “it’s probably nothing. No, really.”

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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One thought on “Elvis hasn’t left the building

  1. English Dave

    Alli,
    Peggy Ratusz celebrated her 50th birthday on Thursday at the Westville Pub. She also ackowledged the date of Presly’s death with a tribute set at the beginning of the evening. So, it wasn’t quite as hard to explain after all.

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