Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No Grace in Graceland

I left Graceland feeling oddly saddened and I'm really not sure why. I expected kitchy and even tacky. And I love nearly all things pop culture. But being in the house that Elvis called his sanctuary was just...odd. It was a testament to his life I suppose, but I think that's what was so sad about it. Maybe I went in thinking the tackiness was just for show, for display only, to bring in the paying tourists. But his house portrayed his life: tacky. It was decorated that way because Elvis' life was bizarre. And being in that space really made me believe he was bizarre, not just a little eccentric. The man did amazing things to change our musical history. I truly enjoy his music. I'm not a superfan or anything, but I like his stuff. There's no doubt that he was a pioneer to "Bridge black music and white music, rhythm and blues and gospel with rockabilly and country". I have to believe that the bizarre Elvis took over when the drugs and alcohol also took over. Sad. A beautiful Georgian Colonial style house. It was built in 1939 by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Moore. Mrs. Moore named the house "Graceland" after Grace Toof, her aunt. Elvis bought Graceland in 1957 and lived there till he died in 1977.

The living room.

The billiards room. Pleated fabric covered the walls and ceiling.

The jungle room: an odd collection of unusual exotic furnishings and accoutrements. Yes, there was green shag carpet on the ceiling.

With all that said, I'm still really glad that I went. But as I've told nearly everyone who's asked since I've been back, I wouldn't recommend putting it on your top 100 list of things to do unless you are a superfan.


Ragged Around the Edges said...

I had the same reaction: it was bizarre, but not in a time warp, flashback sort of way. It was rather sad and a little overdone for no purpose. And so small.

Nan said...

It happened again. I typed in my comment, then put in my user name and password and it went somewhere in the great unknown.

What I think I said was:

I was fascinated by the pictures. Is that a panda sitting in the chair in the jungle room? And are the peacocks stained glass or painted?

It's like looking in someones window when they aren't there, but they've left just enough lights on to keep the burglars away. Is it really that dark inside all the time?

madretz said...

Yea, it was small. Which is a gracious part, that he didn't need something completely ginormal. And through it all, I don't think he ever forgot his roots. It's endearing that his parents lived with him.

Jimmy and I were chatting about my post and he mentioned that from the photos, it wasn't really tacky for the era, it was trendy and he was stylish so he just decorated the way the trends were and he had the money to do it all the way. But it wasn't just that. Actually being there, I could somehow feel his presence or his aura or just invision him living there or something that just made me feel sadly odd about his way of life, or the way his life headed towards the end.

Yep, it's dark and no flash allowed either. I'm just glad I could take photos at all. There were 3 Christmas trees total which were tastefully done.

Yup, that's a panda the Lisa Marie used to play with. She loved sitting in that chair. And the peacocks are stained glass.

I'm hatin' that Blogger is being so finicky on comments. When I posted this last night, it took me over an hour and a half to write because it's still hard for me to put into words how I felt after visiting Graceland. I forgot to save it before I tried to publish and I was paranoid that the whole post would be lost during the transfer. But at least there's confirmation that they know about the problems are work on them as quickly as possible.

Ginnie said...

Hmmm. I've never heard anyone's reaction to Graceland and I've never been. I'll definitely keep your perspective in mind, not that I've ever planned to go!