Monday, August 10, 2009

Dead Cobblestones Week

It's Elvis week, when thousands of his fans come to Memphis each year to celebrate his memory.

Put yourself in their shoes and imagine this scenario: Suppose you arrive at Graceland only to find it locked up. You are unable to gain entrance, but you can walk around it on a sidewalk and view it from the perimeter. Signage tells you that the Mansion has been closed in order to better preserve it.

Instead going inside the mansion, you are redirected to a brand-new museum next door, where you will supposedly find replicas of Graceland's interiors.

Only they aren't actually replicas. They are interpretations of what Elvis's home might have looked like if it had been built today, using red steelwork and five, bustier-like "islands".

Even though it doesn't really look like Graceland Mansion, you are assured by your guides that it is a "world class" design. After all, it was conceived by some Argentinians, and selected by a jury* from among from many entries.

* The jury of seven included only three Memphians: Willie Herenton (a mayor), Diane Dixon (an architect), and Kristi Jernigan (a developer, who has since moved away).

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