Monday, February 26, 2007

Elvis has left the building


My first trip to Las Vegas was back in 1990 or there abouts. I was on a pilgrimage of sorts, seeking the holy spots where Elvis had been during his Vegas years just before he became the fat and bloated king who died on the toilet. And the holiest of holies in Las Vegas is the Las Vegas Hilton. This is where Elvis stayed and performed while he was in Las Vegas. And this is where I am staying 17 years later attending a conference.

On my first trip to the Hilton I was in awe of a statue of Elvis the Colonel and Priscilla had donated to the Hilton back in 1978. It sat in a place of honor near the main entrance next to a glass case that housed one of his jump suits and guitars.

As the flame of Elvis' memory begins to flicker, the Hilton has followed suite. They have moved the statue out of the hotel and onto the sidewalk. So Elvis has literally left the building. The jump suit and guitar are nowhere to be seen.

To add insult to injury, Barry Manilow is headlining at the Hilton and has his own gift shop in the lobby. Oh, you can still buy Elvis memorabilia next door in the Vegas shop, but it has settled into the kitsche category (though I did snag myself a cool TCB money clip for good luck...it didn't seem to help me on the Elvis slot machine however).

It is sad. The old Las Vegas is dead. Elvis has become a joke and they honor people like Barry Manilow and Celine Dion instead.
Even the slot machines have changed. They no longer have handles and you get your payout in a coupon instead of the clinking of dirty quarters. There are no more $1.99 steak and egg specials. A cup of coffee even costs $4.25. And if I hear one more person say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" I am going to puke.


Oh well, at least when the sun goes down the lights of Vegas still shine. And if you squint, you can imagine you are in the old Vegas and downstairs in the showroom, the King is singing "hunka, hunka burnin' luv."

I miss you Elvis.






16 comments:

Hayden said...

yes. the vegas you describe is the one I know. Never understood the frenzy and adoration. Rather detest the place.

Sorry, though, that the king has died.

Miss Bliss said...

I too am enamored with the old school Vegas that I have always seen in the movies...brat pack crooners, cigarette girls, smoky lounges and martinis clinking, skyscraper hair styles and polyester....I like your suggestion of "...and if you squint, you can imagine you are in the old Vegas..." It shows that you house some good old fashioned drive for keeping the past alive.

I remember when Elvis died. It was the summer before 7th grade and even though I was listening to Fleetwood Mac and Heart that summer, I had grown up watching old Elvis movies with my sisters, so he meant something to me. I remember my Dad being surprised, then sad. I remember him being angry at "that Tom Jones", an Elvis-wannabe. I recall my Dad saying, "Ladies throw their panties up on stage at him - it's not right."

When I think of Elvis I do not envision a bloated, overweight entertainer. I see him as he was....a fresh faced, uneducated kid who beat the most incredible odds and became the most famous entertainer in the world. It is an unbelievable feat to have a name that conjures images of no one else, but Elvis.

Actually, calling him The King is an understatement.

Enjoy Las Vegas.

Whitesnake said...

I keep hearing this stuff about Elvis.

Who the fuck is Elvis...?

Miss Bliss said...

Whitesnake - Elvis invented sex and post-its. Not necessarily to be used together, but that's a private matter.....

Lights in the wake said...

Damned foriegners and their non Elvis recognizing ways.

Coincidentally, I'll be going to Vegas two weeks from Friday. Been saving up for the trip. They don't like it if you don't leave lot's of money there when you're done.

Tim ID said...

Hayden,
The King never dies. One of his slot machines coughted up $114 big ones. Long live the King!

Miss Bliss, You'll love Oceans 13.

Whitesnake, Hablo Ingles?

Lights, Damn. You should have told me. We could have synchronized our trips and walked around on the Strip with Yards of Beer screaming, "Vegas Baby." Oh, and I just had a drink in the Star Trek bar at the Hilton. A family of Klingons were having a drink. Turns out they don't work at the Hilton. Vegas Baby!

Lights in the wake said...

Did you photoshop your face onto the Elvis statue?

Whitesnake said...

Miss Bliss was that post tits?

I do how ever know about sex....I think?

Tim......No Habla!

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

It's sad to see Elvis reduced to a Sprint advertisement ... wouldn't it have been better if it was Verizon with Elvis' voice doing, "Can you hear me now?" Cheers, JP

Tim ID said...

Lights,
Uncanny resemblance, eh?

Whitesnake,
I didn't think so.

JP, Glad you are out and about. TCB!

kristy said...

You have dizgraced the Alaska Airlines eskimo. I'm too stunned for words.

Hayden said...

you coming back? (I hope!)

Tim ID said...

Kristy, Alaska Airlines does a pretty good job of doing that themselves. You've got to love an airline where the flight attendants begin each preflight announcement with, "you want the good news or the bad news."

Hayden,
I'm back. I've just been fighting a nasty sinus infection and fever. Thanks for asking, though.

Kindness (disarms the difficult) said...

Tim you shoulda gone downtown! They do a great light show on the Fremont Street Experience that blast Elvis tunes and you kind of feel him there...

anna said...

Please don't hate me - I never really liked Elvis much and I've never been to Vegas. Sorry to hear of your disappointments though.

Tim ID said...

Anna, My relationship with Elvis is more metaphoric than real. I was never actually a fan, just an obsessed observer of the phenomenon. As for Vegas, well, I just have to accept its excesses and admire the pretty lights.