On Saturday MohamedBob and I visited Memphis for a day. It was a quick trip due to MB's work schedule and my church attendance. It was an action-packed day and pretty exhausting but well worth it.
We first visited the National Civil Rights Museum which was a very well-done, chronologically organized presentation of the history of the Civil Rights movement. Most of the focus was on Martin Luther King, Jr., but there were presentations on Malcolm X and other important figures. The museum itself is set at the motel where MLKJ was assasinated. It was just a little creepy to see the reconstruction of his room, and then to visit the annex across the street where his killer stayed. The museum did a good job of presenting the civil rights movement as inspiration for other global movements, and the annex had an interesting presentation on political assassinations in general.
After lunch on Beale St. at the Blues City Café (bland fried catfish), we went on to Graceland. Elvis Presley's death was one of my earliest memories (my mom was a big fan and was extremely upset at the time) and it was a little weird to visit the actual palace of 70s extravagance. The tour itself was run like clockwork by indifferent staff who herded us all from shuttle to house and from room to room. We were all plugged into audio guides anyway. My only beef was that while waiting for the shuttle to the house a professional photographer took our photos in front of the Graceland logo without informing us that we'd have to pay $27.50 in the end.
I regret that we didn't visit the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, and we didn't go on a riverboat cruise. But MB saw the Mississippi which was important enough - but I suspect he was more impressed with Elvis' American Eagle jump suit.
We were both pretty pooped in the evening and had a few hours before the bus left so we watched Blades of Glory. I laughed the whole time. It was such a treat to see the ice-skating world parodied in a pitch-perfect way, just as Galaxy Quest did for the Star Trek universe, combined with all the stereotypes of heroic sports movies (the underdogs vs. the evil corrupt champions, hard-thumping theme music).
*of course it's Paul Simon
On April 20th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
I care less about Elvis than I do about the Rock 'n Soul Museum. Stax Records was there: Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and the entire approach towards soul music that made Aretha Franklin Aretha Franklin. (Back in Ehrman Hall you loaned me a tape of Aretha's Greatest Hits, many of which I hadn't heard, and I nearly wore it out.)
Gotta see it someday. Glad you had a good trip.