The Human Trampoline

When we finally got down to Memphis it was hot. Really really hot. We were lucky enough to get out of the heat quickly and into the home of our friends Mike & Theresa (and their two excruciatingly cute children) where we got insider tips on Memphis food (without Mike's slight southern drawl we probably would have been denied access to a lot of serious Tennessee BBQ!), photography, music and Southern hospitality in general. Leading up to the show we had some downtime which we spent with said BBQ and visiting Graceland, the tackiest music destination this side of the Mississippi (actually, now that Liberace's museum is gone it might win for nationally tacky!).

I made the trip band mandatory (pictured below, minus a busy Brendan) because, well, I don't know why. Maybe because we all watched The Burger and the King recently and I thought we should extend our Elvis bonding experience/knowledge? Maybe because there is something about the rise and fall of a musical legend that is really pretty interesting? Regardless, I wanted to share this experience with those musicians I play with often and who I thought might get something out of this insane microcosm!

As the original pop icon, Elvis took exploitation and the political agendas that go with it to a whole new level, one that paved the way for the current type of stardom that is really rotting our culture away (and one that is deftly portrayed in my favorite film of all time, Nashville). Being in his super manufactured home and seeing Elvis' own building of his American dream made me sad yet slightly hopeful for some reason, seeing how creativity can be manipulated into a giant (public) burden is an odd thing to comprehend I guess...I don't really know if I ended up learning much on this excursion other than how much shag carpeting is too much shag carpeting, but I do have this eerie feeling now when I see a tabloid cover or find myself interested in some breaking, scandalous news headline: we all helped make Elvis who he became and we should think about that in our current forms of icon making and idol worship.



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.