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Kevin Kern, director of public relations for Elvis Presley’s Graceland, is standing in the hallway of YES! Weekly’s Greensboro office at 9:30 a.m. with Archives Manager Danielle Forbes at his side. She’s pulling a wheeled luggage case behind her. It’s not exactly the Memphis Mafia, but a tour all the same. They’ve been on the road drumming up tourist interest in Graceland, which has three exhibits going and is preparing to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Elvis’ death.

The highlight comes Aug. 10-18, known as “Elvis Week.” “It sounds morbid to an extent,” says Kern, whose resemblance to Elvis includes both the pout of his lips and swoop of his dark brown hair from his forehead. He goes on to say that the commemoration celebrates the King’s influence on music, movies and culture. “It was so much more than a music revolution,” he says.

“It was a sex revolution and a race revolution, all in one.” Forbes unpacks some items from the luggage case: Elvis’ wallet, Lisa Marie’s baby footprints, Elvis’s iconic sunglasses, a pair of Elvis-inspired gold bejeweled shades on loan from Katy Perry, and the Golden Globe for Elvis on Tour, the 1972 film that won Best Documentary. “We brought a little bit of the King’s bling,” Kern says. I’ve commandeered Editor Brian Clarey’s office for the event, and the treasures are laid out on his desk. What’s new (or news) about Elvis, you might ask — and I did. But what a visceral thrill to behold something tangible from such a giant of American culture, someone who breathed his last when I was barely out of diapers.

After pulling on a pair of white gloves, Forbes opens the simple, black leather wallet to reveal a snapshot of a doting Elvis holding a toddler Lisa Marie. She thumbs through it, pulling out his American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union card, his Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance car, his signed Bank Americard, a homely ticket stub and business cards, including one from the chief of police of Beverly Hills, Calif. and a drug abuse control agent with the city of Denver.

“Elvis was into law enforcement,” Forbes observes dryly. She doesn’t need to mention that Elvis visited Richard Nixon in the White House and suggested that he be made a federal agent in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. We don’t discuss the drug abuse that led up to Elvis’ death. We don’t need to. What I didn’t know is that Elvis on Tour features some phenomenal footage from Greensboro Coliseum. As it turns out, that concert took place exactly 40 years ago on April 14. Everyone has their favorite Elvis period, and right now I’m celebrating April 1972. In this celluloid time capsule Elvis brims with fitness and energy.

His manner and look is both Southern gentleman and agent of high counterculture weirdness. He is both humbly self-deprecating and wildly flamboyant. That’s why he was the King. Behold the grand entrance at the coliseum before the concert. Elvis goofily wears his sunglasses upside down. It’s chaos with frantic female voices calling his name.

There is laughter and camaraderie among members of the entourage. Elvis turns to someone and says, “You know that girl I was with last night? Oh man, I’m gonna tell you: She could have raised the dead.” (For what it’s worth, a YouTube commenter says the dialogue was dubbed over by an actor to conceal the real comment, which was much more explicit.) “Elvis did visit here quite often,” Kern says. “It goes to show there’s a base of fans here.

North Carolina was good to Elvis, and I guess you could also say Elvis was good to North Carolina.”

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