Elvis Presley’s Graceland opens a new $45m complex

Visitors take a selfie in front of Elvis Presley’s pink 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood on display at the “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” complex in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday. (AP)
Updated 03 March 2017
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland opens a new $45m complex

MEMPHIS, Tennessee: Nearly four decades after Elvis sang his last tune, his legacy got a $45 million boost with the recent opening of a major new attraction at his Graceland estate — an entertainment complex that Priscilla Presley says gives “the full gamut” of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
About 200 people streamed into “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” after the late singer’s wife cut a ribbon and allowed fans to see the $45 million complex for the first time.
Resembling an outdoor mall, the 200,000-square-foot campus sits across the street from Graceland, Presley’s longtime home-turned-museum. The complex features a comprehensive Presley exhibit with clothing he wore on stage and guitars he played; a showcase of the cars he owned and used; a soundstage; a theater; two restaurants and retail stores.
“You’re getting the full gamut of who Elvis Presley was,” Priscilla Presley said during an interview after the grand opening. “You’re getting to see and participate a bit in his life and what he enjoyed and what he loved to collect.”
It is part of a $140-million expansion, which also includes a $90 million, 450-room hotel that opened last year. The complex replaces the aging buildings that have housed Presley-related exhibits for years. An old, gray, strip-mall style visitor center will be torn down to make room for a green space along Elvis Presley Boulevard, the street that runs in front of the house.
Graceland has been updating its tourist experience. Visitors now use iPads for self-guided tours of the house. The new Guest House at Graceland, with modern amenities like glass-encased showers with wall-mounted body sprays and Keurig coffee makers in room, has replaced the crumbling Heartbreak Hotel, which is scheduled for demolition.
“We want to keep updating ... If you don’t keep up with what’s going on in the times, you get left out,” Priscilla Presley said. She was joined at the ribbon-cutting by Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden and Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Graceland Holdings.
The opening comes just before the 40th anniversary of Presley’s death on Aug. 16, 1977, at age 42.


Banksy ‘snow’ pollution mural sold for over $130,000

Updated 18 January 2019
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Banksy ‘snow’ pollution mural sold for over $130,000

  • The ‘snow pollution’ mural appeared in the town of Swansea Bay, home to one of the biggest steelworks in the world
  • The buyer will lend the mural to Port Talbot in hopes it would attract international artists to the area

LONDON: A mural by elusive British street artist Banksy depicting a child enjoying falling snow that is in fact pollution from a burning bin has been sold for over $130,000 to a British art dealer.
From one side, the “Season’s Greetings” mural on a concrete block garage in Wales shows a small boy with his tongue out to catch snow that, when viewed from another side, turns out to be ash from an industrial bin.
“I bought it and it cost me a six-figure sum,” John Brandler of Brandler Galleries, told Reuters by telephone.
“I am lending it to Port Talbot for a minimum of two or three years. I want to use it as a center for an art hub that would bring in internationally famous artists to Port Talbot.”
The mural appeared last month in the town on the edge of Swansea Bay, home to one of the biggest steelworks in the world.
Brandler, 63, said the entire mural — on the corner of a garage — had to be moved in one piece. He declined to give a specific price for the piece.
When asked how he could afford such luxuries, he said: “I am an art dealer. I own several Banksies, I also own (John) Constable, (Thomas) Gainsborough, (Joseph Mallord William) Turner, I’ve got (urban artist) Pure Evil — I’ve got all sorts of art.”
“My hobby is my business. The last time I went to work was when I was 18,” Brandler said.
Banksy, who keeps his real name private, has become the most famous street artist in the world by poking fun at the excesses of modern capitalism and lampooning hollow icons, slogans and opinions.
Previous works include “Mobile Lovers” which shows an embrace between lovers who stare over each other’s shoulders at their mobile phones and an abrupt warning near Canary Wharf in London that reads “Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock.”