During the trip through the southeastern United States we passed two days in Memphis, Tennessee. One of the priorities was to go see Graceland, the house of Elvis Presley, in his homeland. Because, although it is true that Memphis It has a lot of "vidilla" (barbecues and live music, basically), it is not a particularly beautiful city or endowed with excessive incentives in terms of cultural visits. He National Civil Rights Museumin the old Lorraine motel, where Martin Luther King was murdered would be another possibility. I say this because when I returned I found many people skeptical about this visit, considering it simply morbid, or for very fans of the king of rock. Nothing is further from reality. Visit Graceland it's not just visiting the elvis house, is to transport you to another era at the historical and aesthetic level (like getting into one of the episodes of Mad men almost), and they have already made sure that the visit is a more interesting trip, especially at the musical level. So take it as a must visit to a museum, and not as a frikada unnecessary
Our passage through Memphis coincided with the weekend, so we booked at the Web our visit for 9am on Sunday, in case that was put to the top. Although after seeing how the visit is organized, and the amount of spaces to be seen, very badly it has to be given so that the tumult prevents you from enjoying it.
The truth is that when we were heading towards Graceland, it was inevitable for me to think why the biggest rock star of the moment liked to live there, on the outskirts of Memphis. That feeling was increased when we saw the entrance, on the foot of an ugly and cold road, and giving the feeling that we were entering an amusement park (toll included in the parking lot), instead of an altar of rock.
The arrival at the visitor center improved only in part, since that seemed like the inner courtyard of a large shopping center, with Elvis's voice ringing in every corner, and a huge sign that read «Welcome to Graceland». In that building they welcomed us and made us go to a projection room where they give you an introduction of the visit, with a very elaborate assembly (for this, the Americans, they are left over and they are enough) finished with the fragment of an interview in which they ask Elvis if he intends to always live in Graceland, and he responding categorically: «I will live in Graceland as long as I can» accompanied by a laugh, implying that it will be while economically I can do it, but making it clear that if it is for him, it will always be so. That began to dispel my doubts as to why I would want to live there, beyond the fact of being raised (not born) in Memphis. Graceland was more than Elvis's house. It was his refuge, where he met his lifelong friends, and also his parents' house.
Once the video is finished, they get you on a bus and take you to the Mansion up hill. You are given a iPad and ones headphones of the most practical. There you can select the language you want, and the space of the house in which you are, so that each room and possible anecdotes explain to you, complemented even with statements by Elvis himself, his wife Priscilla, and his daughter Lisa Marie, speaking of Some specific spaces of the house. All very complete.
The visit begins with the living room and the dinning room. The living room is a pure white (the maintenance is excellent) and looks very cozy, with a television of the time, one of the many pianos that adorn the house, and a sofa and a table made to measure for «the king". The dining room, meanwhile, is Graceland's most elegant and conventional room. Apparently Lisa Marie still organizes dinners in that room when she returns to Memphis.
I say "conventional" because one thing you will discover in your visit to Graceland it is the combination of two elements so powerful to mix, as dangerous at the aesthetic level: technological advances (which is what later becomes obsolete more prematurely) and the compulsive need for a new rich to fill his life with objects that he could never have Imagine you would own. Elvis grew up in a small shack in Tupelo where hot water and electricity seems to be in short supply. Inside Graceland there is a small model of her original home, a nice reminder for us to realize the contrast between the two lives that Elvis Aaron Presley lived.
The kitchen It is big and cozy. With abundant wooden furniture and a beautiful maroon carpet. And the only bedroom that can be seen, but not enter (in fact everything must be seen behind the safety laces, logical) is that of their parents. Elvis was an only child, and after a difficult childhood at an economic level, he promised that his parents would not lack anything if he earned money. Said and done, a beautiful light colored room and lilac bed on the ground floor of Graceland. That way they didn't have to climb stairs.
The total morbidity (in this case yes, morbo) would be to see the king's bedroom, but access to the upstairs, and its private areas, is prohibited, since they have decided to preserve the privacy of the place where Elvis's body was found for the last time. A beautiful detail, which has further fed the rumorology of those who believe that Elvis simulated his death to escape fame, and still lives comfortably in Graceland, in areas of the house that cannot be visited.
The best of the house is in the «basement»: A billiard room as cozy as it is strident, for its mix of colors, and above all, the television room: a kind of hiding place that would delight any villain in James Bond (of the Roger Moore era, of course ). A room of yellow and black tones with large sofas to relax and three televisions put online. It seems that Elvis learned that the president of the United States (at that time Lyndon B. Johnson) had three televisions to follow the information on the only three channels at the time, and he did not want to be less. In this kind of secret control room you could not miss an elegant bar counter. You can almost imagine the villain of Bond, serving a martini to the elegant English spy, at that moment in the movie in which they are still testing, and sending, verbally, underlying threats in each sentence.