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Discover new ways to stretch your imagination, be introduced to new artists, their exhibits, and books to read about them. Expect to excite your mind. Comments are very welcome! -- Rosemary Carstens

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ELVIS at 21: Remembering The King at the beginning . . .


There’s an exciting new Smithsonian traveling exhibition titled Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer at the GRAMMY MUSEUM in Los Angeles. On January 8, 2010, Elvis would have been 75 years old—can you imagine? Better for us fans to remember the sexy, iconic vocalist as he was when he burst onto the music scene long ago.

In 1956 photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer was hired by RCA Victor to shoot promotional images of a recently signed recording artist. The artist was ELVIS and Wertheimer tagged along with him after the assignment, continuing to photograph what would be a shooting star—brilliant, stunning, and, way too soon, disappearing into the dark sky. These images bring his early sweetness and sexy appeal back full force and, whether you remember those days clearly or have simply heard about them, you won’t want to miss this exhibition either in LA or when it comes to a venue near you.

Developed collaboratively by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and the Govinda Gallery—and sponsored nationally by the History Channel—Elvis at 21 will follow it’s Grammy Museum closing date of March 28th with sojourns in museums around the country through 2013.

Wertheimer spent time with Elvis on the road, backstage, in concert,

in the recording studio, and at home in Memphis, taking these photographs in the brief period before “Colonel” Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager, restricted access.

These were the days before Elvis was a celebrity hounded by paparazzi and fans everywhere. The hope and longing, the teasing good humor of a down-home boy from Tennessee, are readily apparent—and raise our own hopes and longing for unspoiled talent, real people achieving their dreams in a time before big media corrupted the system.

(Images: © Alfred Wertheimer. All rights reserved.)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

He might have been a hick with bad taste in food, but he was a hunk that could really move! Karen Lin

fosterh said...

You got that right, Karen! For anybody who's a fan, the Smithsonian's set up a comprehensive Web 2.0 presence, including a Elvis at 21 facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/sitesExhibitions

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Tamara said...

Rosemary, I can't leave your blog without saying "thanks" for anythng Elvis . . . . My mother was a huge fan and early in my life she introduced us to the King. Every time a movie of his came on, my little sister and I knew it was going to be a special evening at home . . . . My mother would light up candles all around the living room; we would have Rotel dip with Fritos, Hostess Twinkies and Fresca! We would turn the lights out and watch the movie together . . . dancing a bit and swooning a bit while my dad would predictably say "I don't know what the big deal is." My mom, of course, taught us that "Boys who say such things are only jealous."

Thanks for making me smile and reminding me of my sweet childhood and Elvis!

Tamara G. Suttle
http://www.TamaraSuttle.com
http://www.AllThingsPrivatePractice.com