This weekend's Elvis Presley activities mark not only the entertainer's birthday -- he would have been 77 on Sunday -- but also the beginning of what Graceland is expecting to be a big year.
"Elvis Week in August will mark the 35th anniversary of Elvis' death and landmark years usually bring larger than usual numbers of fans to Memphis," said Graceland spokesman David Beckwith. Beginning this week, Graceland is offering the usual attractions along with some new ones for fans, whose numbers are expected to swell to about 75,000 during Elvis Week, Aug. 10-18.
This week is the opening of the new exhibit "Elvis On Tour," based on the 1972 Golden Globe-winning documentary of the same name by filmmakers Robert Abel and Pierre Adidge. The documentary shows concert and behind-the-scenes footage from a multicity tour Elvis did in April of that year. The exhibit displays jewelry and stage apparel worn by Elvis, photos, videos and the producer's Golden Globe award.
Other attractions include the perennial favorite, Memphis Symphony Orchestra's Elvis Birthday Pops Concert, at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts (255 N. Main). Guest conductor Steven Reineke and musician Terry Mike Jeffrey and his band are back to perform several Elvis hits.
Graceland Plaza will host musical events Saturday; a gospel concert at 8 a.m. with former members of J.D. Sumner & The Stamps, and Elvis music performed by Jeffrey at 11 a.m.
Beckwith said that upcoming Graceland events include the exhibition "Elvis ... Through His Daughter's Eyes" opening Feb. 1, about the relationship between Elvis and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley; and "Icon: The Influence of Elvis Presley," opening March 1 with items on loan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
Hundreds of items from Graceland are on loan for the largest international Elvis exhibit, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this year. And "Elvis Presley In Concert," which features former Elvis musicians live with a video-projected Elvis, returns in March for a 16-date tour through Europe and Brazil.