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Elvis Presley Week Kicks Off at The MIM

Growing up, my grandma had a room in her house dedicated to Elvis Presley. We called it "the Elvis Room," and I remember not being allowed to touch anything on display, and boy, there was plenty I wasn't allowed to touch: posters, dolls, records, and commemorative plates.

Coinciding with both Elvis Week, which marks the 34th anniversary of The King's death, and the reopening of the famed Artist Gallery, the Musical Instrument Museum previewed its expanded Artist Gallery and showed of a new Elvis exhibit, featuring items on loan from Graceland, the headquarters of Elvis Presley Enterprises. It's kind of like my grandma's Elvis Room, but whereas her collection was comprised mostly of cool knick-knacks and trinkets, this Elvis Room had guitars, jumpsuits, gold records, and jewelry on display.

The exhibit officially opens tomorrow, with a full day of activities planned, including performances from Elvis impersonator Donny Edwards, "The Next Best Thing to The King." exclusive Q&As with Kevin Kern, Graceland's director of public relations, Elvis trivia, and more. The MIM Café will feature Southern treats (check out our sister blog, Chow Bella's recap of the food -- including, you guessed it, a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich with bacon). See the MIM's official site for pricing and details.

Kern addressed the crowd of press folk, detailing the three decades on display: Elvis' time as as Private Presley in Germany, his movie era, and his return to public performances. He showed off his favorite piece, the "Red Ladder" jumpsuit, and well as shared the details of the MIM's restoration of Elvis' Martin D28 acoustic guitar. The guitar was found in a state of disrepair, but was given some TLC by the staff at the MIM.


The exhibit will be a permanent one, and Graceland and MIM will swap out artifacts on a routine basis.

I've been listening to the Legacy Records forthcoming Elvis set, Young Man with The Big Beat: The Complete '56 Elvis Presley Masters, pretty much nonstop since it showed up in my mailbox a couple weeks ago. It's got me thinking that I agree with Steve Buscemi's conspiracy theory in Coffee and Cigarettes.

The exhibit is worth checking out regardless who wore the jumpsuits -- The King or his evil twin. Also worth noting -- checking out the expanded Artist Gallery offers a sneak peak at future exhibits, including instruments from Buck Owens, Toby Keith, John Denver, Roy Orbison, and Stevie Nicks.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.