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Friday, June 27, 2014

A summer of Elvis sightings, and Priscilla, too, around Ontario



   One-Tank Trip for June 21/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   There will be plenty of “Elvis” sightings along with some Priscilla Presley ones as the summer music scene heats up.
   Along with 138 “tribute artists,” this year’s 20th anniversary of the Collingwood Elvis Festival from July 23 to 27 features Priscilla, who was the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s” wife from 1967 to 1973.
  Steve Michaels stars in Return to Grace, an Elvis show, at the Ed Mirvish Theatre  in Toronto.
   Even as Elvis has “left the building” for good with his death at age 42 in 1977, his aura and popularity continue unabated.
   This is partly due to Priscilla’s efforts in turning Graceland, his estate in Memphis, into a world-renowned attraction and Elvis Presley Enterprises into a highly successful entertainment, licensing and merchandising organization.
   Priscilla’s visit to Collingwood is in part to promote her new book, Shades of Elvis, with co-author Christopher Ameruoso whose photos showcase celebrities wearing Elvis’ iconic sunglasses.
   The opening event on July 23 is Elvis at the Village at Blue Mountain with Grand Champion Pete Storm performing on the Village Stage (free) at 5 p.m.
   The Shades of Elvis gala dinner ($250 a person) is on July 24 when Priscilla will speak at the Bear Estate at Cranberry Resort.
   The Elvis Evolution – The Anniversary Show ($20 to $40) is at the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena is also on July 24 along with the First Hurrah Karaoke Pub Crawl at various venues and the Roustabout Family Carnival throughout the weekend on St. Paul Street.
   On July 25 is the “Awesome Street Party and Tribute Artist Showcase” on Hurontario Street (free) from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Priscilla Presley
  That day includes numerous shows, roaming and performing artists as well as the qualifying round of competition at the arena ($5 to $15) from 4 p.m. and a From Memphis to Glory dinner and show ($38) at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
   The Tribute Artist Class Car Parade is on July 26 on Hurontario Street from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. while the semi-final competitions are at the arena ($10 to $25) from 11 a.m.
   On July 27, there’s Breakfast with the King, a gospel brunch and competition, and 12 artists performing Elvis’ movie songs at Mogul’s on Simcoe Street (free) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   The Grand Finals take place that night at the arena ($30 to $70) from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
   Cynthia Pepper who appeared with Elvis in the movie Kissin’ Cousins, marking its 50th anniversary, will be among the celebrities appearing at the festival.
   Others who were in Elvis movies and specials to attend are Anne Helm, Tanya Lemani, Gary Lockwood, Marilyn Mason, Victoria Page Meyerink, Chris Noel and Christopher Riordan.
   Details and tickets: collingwoodelvisfestival.com; 1-866-943-8849

   Movin’ and groovin’
   Steve Michaels (Kabakos), of Milton – who sings, moves, grooves and bears an uncanny resemblance to Elvis – stars in Return to Grace at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria St.), Toronto from July 8 to 20.
   The opening date is significant in that it was 60 years ago to the day that Presley’s first recording, “That’s Alright Mama,” was broadcast for the first time on WHBQ Radio Memphis’ “Red, Hot and Blue” show.
   This new theatrical concert production combines all the aspects of Elvis’ career and traces the greatest musical moments with song favourites that include All Shook Up, Are You Lonesome Tonight, Great American Trilogy, Heartbreak Hotel , How Great Thou Art, Love Me Tender and Teddy Bear.
   Backed by 30 musicians, dancers and singers, Return to Grace features Michaels performing every phase of the “King’s” career from his early years through the 1968 Comeback Special to the triumphant Aloha concert in Hawaii in 1973.
People from around the world travel to Memphis to visit the grave site of Elvis at Graceland. (Photo by Jim Fox)
   The show runs from Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. along with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $30 to $99. www.mirvish.com;1-800-461-3333

   King’s concert
   American Elvis tribute artist James Cawley brings his “The King in Concert” show to Casino Rama near Orillia on Sept. 27.
   Called one of the top Elvis artists in the U.S., reviews said his “amazing voice allows the audience the chance to relive the excitement of having seen ‘The King’ in person.”
   Show times are 2 p.m. and 9 p.m., with tickets starting at $25 or free for many Casino Rama Players Passport Club members. casinorama.com; 1-877-599-7262

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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