I did not attend the ETA contest Thursday night, so someone else will have to report on that. Instead, I went to see Jamie Aaron Kelley perform at EP Delta. He’s such a talented artist.
I did not attend the sold out Blue Hawaii breakfast with Darlene Thomkins, so if someone was there, feel free to add a comment here.
Friday August 15th – Vigil Day
Vigil day for me started out slow and easy. I had breakfast with Joe Petruccio and then brought him over to Graceland Crossing where he had his gorgeous artwork on display. I think he sat there from 11:00am until midnight, autographing calendars, paper, t-shirts – whatever people put in front of him. Joe doesn’t just write his name when he gives an autograph. He does a drawing of Elvis on each and every item he autographs. What a special guy!
The big event of the morning was the David Garibaldi's Rhythm and Hue Performance Art Show. David created several 6-foot portraits of Elvis in under 7 minutes for each to Elvis music. He paints a little, comes forward to dance, goes back to paint some more, either with brushes, his fingers, and sometimes just throws some paint. He was fun. It was SO, SO hot at the time, but it was still interesting to watch him do this.
I decided to stay around Graceland all day. I was at Graceland Crossing where the tent had Elvis-wannabes singing to karaoke all day long. Some were pretty good, some, um, weren’t. There were a lot of people there.
And then the rains came. It rained HARD for hours! Some thunder and lightning, but mostly heavy rain. We were wondering what was going to happen with the vigil with all the bad weather.
Around 8:00 we went to the Sirius booth. They couldn’t go to the sound stage because of the weather. All the local DJs were there, including George Klein. I spoke to Argo about the time frame of my little interview. Then we went across the street to the gates to see the opening ceremonies. Guess what? IT STOPPED RAINING! Indeed, it didn’t rain for the next 2 hours (it was starting again when I was leaving).
Jack opened the ceremonies with a short statement. It was mostly about how he shouldn’t be there, it should have been Todd. He talked about how much Todd is missed, especially at times like this (note: understatement of the year). Then he introduced Kevin Kern to give the rules. I was torn between wishing they had used a little of Todd’s script (“if you’re here for the wrong reasons, you’d better hope security gets to you before these fans do…”) and knowing that trying to “be” Todd would probably not have worked either. No win situation.
One more note about Todd – many of us who talked about this felt that there was no mistaking the sense of a huge void, the deep sense of loss. He was truly a great man.
The ceremony went on with the theme “I Miss You” which was referring to both Elvis and Todd. It was the 30th year of Vigils organized by the Elvis country Fan Club.
The songs were "I Miss You" by Don H. Sumner. "I'll Hold You In My Heart", "Peace In The Valley" an d"Can't Help Falling In Love".
The sea of candlelight started to wend its way up the hill. It was a beautiful sight. Of course Elvis music was being broadcast for all to hear, no matter where they were.
I went back to the Sirius booth at that time because it was getting close to the time Argo said he thought I should be at the booth for my interview. There was a lot going on over there. GK was in the booth, all sorts of people were being interviewed and Doc Walker was limping (he dropped something heavy on his foot just before he came to work). Justin Morgan arrived and he was interviewed byArgo. He’s such a sweet person and you can just sense his sadness.
(Argo, Justin and Jenna)
Jack came by and was interviewed. Karen (KJ) was interviewed by Doc (which was funny because he asked her where she was when Elvis died – and her response – “in nappies (diapers)!)
I was finally interviewed by Argo at around 10:00pm. He’s really nice and makes you feel very comfortable and not too nervous.
At that point KJ, Marie, Tom and I got in line for the vigil. It still wasn’t raining. Each time I go to Graceland I am reminded just how large this property is and I try to imagine how Elvis must have felt to have all this land to enjoy, to play. I try to imagine what it was like to be here during Elvis’ life. Then I get a sense of sadness about what might have been.
The line moved fairly well. From the gate to the grave took just under 2 hours. There was no rain and the temperature was in the 70s. What a difference from last year. The floral arrangements this year are as spectacular as usual.
Here is the link to my vigil pictures, some good, some fuzzy. http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v143/seattlesusieq/Vigil%202008/?action=view¤t=b3ff9ff1.pbw