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Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:26 am

brian wrote:I don't think having objections to the Candle light vigils is elitist and it's not surprising that some feel uncomfortable about it.

All the points made in this thread against it are valid.

Some of the comments by the people who are for the Candle light vigil don't really seem to understand the opposition to it.

It doesn't mean that if you are opposed to the Vigil that you aren't a fan, are being a snob, or you hate Elvis or your fellow fans.

The posters on this board that have stated their opinion about it are bigger fans than a lot of the fans that do participate in it.

Disagreement is fine but it's not right to say that they aren't fans or are just being snobs about it.


Given the nature of the first posts on this thread, I'd say the reverse is true.

Some are uncomfortable with the "idea" of it - fine. Ask questions. That's rational and more than fair. I get that. Likewise, when people who know what it truly is (and not what others think it is) give answers, it'd be good to pay attention to what they say (and not just pieces of it to twist, as some on here had a mind to do).

That's not what has happened here, in part. A comparison:

This is voicing opinion, and more than fine, even if I disagree with all or some of it:

This is goods news!


It seems silly to some that there are people mourning a man like this that they never actually met.


Again not liking the candle light vigil and saying so doesn't mean you aren't a fan.


I don't find any appeal in the candlelight vigil and have no interest in attending, but for those fans who enjoy that type of thing it would be sad to see it go.


Like I said, I disagree mostly - and there may be misunderstanding at the root of how they feel, but fine.

This is judging your fellow fans:

Come on folks, it's been 37 years, time to finally let go. Stay at home and watch repeats of Storage Wars or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on TV, maybe see if you can spot one of your relatives.


That's the saddest thing about these so-called fans at the vigil's, they know jacksh*t about the music and i thought that's what being an Elvis fan is all about - the music. And not only that, it's all very embarrassing, standing with a load of people who know nothing.


Admiring an artist and liking his music is one thing, yearly religious-style pilgrimages are another thing entirely.


So, like you say, most people at the vigils don't know much about the music, that's not an "Elvis Fan", they go just for the sake of being at an event.




So, let's break this down... assuming that these points were questions and not just blanket statement judgement of fellow fans, let's take care of the list:

1: The Vigil is only attended by southerners who are stupid/inbred/etc?

This shouldn't require an answer, but no. Not only is that an untrue and terrible stereotype of our southerners, but fans (and collectors) from many places worldwide attend the vigil - and they're from all walks of life. For instance, I'm from Iowa, so technically I'm a "Yankee". :) (and of course, after typing "Yankee", I can't get lines from "Tommy Boy" out of my head... lol)

2: A yearly pilgrimage seems a bit much, doesn't it? That's a bit odd.

There' are many reasons to go to Elvis Week, and they're not anything like that. All of the events and activities are a big reason to go, which leads to the main reason most go: to see friends they've made who share interests. No different than a comic convention (in spirit if not practice), people come and make friends and connections, and this way they get to see them and geek out on their shared interests together. That's not a pilgrimage. You can't pick your family, but you can pick your fan-family - and the reunions are a LOT more fun! :)

3: But these people aren't real fans, right? They don't know much about Elvis' music - why are they even there?

That's not true. Most who are there do know Elvis and even have personal stories to share.

3b: But there are still some people there who don't know his music totally, right?

Not everybody knows everything about Elvis - they all have different levels. But something in his music (however much they've seen of it) connected with them, so there they are. And there are always a few gawkers, but they get bored and leave pretty quickly. They don't spoil much. And you can have an interest in something and still be a new fan or a fan that has more to learn (and there's a lot of Elvis info out there!). But exclusion is silly - I set a world record when I was 19 for singing every Elvis song from memory. So if we're setting a bar for Elvis knowledge before you can go to Elvis events and be considered a fan - it'd be me and.. oh... 20 other people at most? :P

I get the idea behind it, but it's painting with too broad a brush. The (98%) majority of those who go to Elvis Week and the vigil are there because they're fans. Some have more to learn than others, but isn't that what us uber-geeks are for?

4: It's been 37 years - and vigils are usually a sort of wake/religious-type of event, right? Isn't that a few too many years for something that's usually reserved for funerals?

It would be if that was the overwhelming direction of the night. Partially, it's tradition; the Vigil is the start and centerpiece of Elvis Week, and this large tourist boom to Graceland and the city of Memphis would not exist if it weren't for this. A big, almost "Mardi-Gras"-esque party takes place all week, with concerts and dance parties and several large conventions. So, there's a night of more quiet respect on the 15th. It's not a wake by any means - almost a cross between an "Elvis-family" reunion (since you might miss friends at other events but usually see them at the vigil if nothing else) and a zen sort of calm respect to culminate the week. Yes, there's a poem and a prayer, and the ceremony has the torches lit from the flame in the Meditation Garden. It's certainly the most somber part of the night, but it's also the one and only piece of Elvis Week that is the same now as it was back in the 80's. I can see how some might not have a taste for that part and that's fine, but it's a really awesome sight to see all the people with candles and singing "If I Can Dream" all together. As an Elvis fan who took a LOT of crap for BEING an Elvis fan, seeing a whole sea of Elvis fans together has a sort of "fellow-fan solidarity" to it. No bickering, just a very cool (and even some have been surprised by the emotion it brings) enjoyment together of the song.

After the ceremony, more music is played - softer ballads/Gospel songs/etc, and some get in line and the rest of us say hi to people we haven't seen in at least a year. Friends from around the country who we know specifically because of Elvis. We catch up, hang out, and go see everybody else. We also make sure to watch a number of our fellow fans that are artistically inclined create amazing Elvis-themed art on the street and sidewalk - amazing drawings in chalk, wax, and many other things that'll all get washed away at the end of the night. And some of these are really beautiful.. always had to have pictures of the best ones. People bring chairs or sit on the grass, the sidewalk, the street, or go back to the diner.

Walking up to the garden is a fascinating experience in itself: you get a candle for free (but you don't have to have one) and the program for the year (made by the fan club, as they've done from the beginning). The programs are simple and pretty, a nice (free!) momento of the night/week. The people going up are generally much more quiet, and it's a wonderfully reflective, surreal experience. Hearing the music echoing through the grounds gives it a warm yet haunting quality. And my thoughts generally turn to the time (usually around 3-4am) wondering about the history and what Elvis may have thought while walking the grounds at this time of night at different points in his life. Seeing the house's and the grounds' lights up close is awesome as well, and it has a different kind of calming feeling than it does during the day - the sounds of nature at night mixed with the sounds and echos of the music.

It also gets me thinking about Elvis' imact on people, personally, that he never even met! For instance: I met my wife, a good third (at least) of my best friends, and been able to experience some pretty awesome things (including being inspired to have a music career in my own right) just because I like the music of and have an appreciation for (while, yes, understanding the flaws/failing of) a man I've never met. Many fans can say the same or more. It's not a religious thing, it's a respect thing.

At the grave, some people - especially those who came a long way to be there for their first time - leave flowers and/or say a prayer. Again (I stress, for most of them) it's a respect thing. The closest in this life that they'll get to being able to "say that one thing to Elvis if they had the chance", or just to say thanks. It's the yin to the yang of all the threads on this board and others of "what if" - the same core motivation, but a different expression of it. Both are still strong for a reason - the emotion still resonates.

Then it's back down to the street for more catching up with the fan-family, to enjoy the fascinating zen-like cocktail of thoughts and emotions that permeate the night.


It's hard to convey everything, but while I understand that the Vigil has been painted as this sort of hysterical pagan ritual for the crazy - that's only from those who either haven't experienced it for themselves or came in with a negative idea and are looking for things to back it up.

I'm sure there are some who take it too far. But if the requirement for having an Elvis event was that not one person could "take it too far and make Elvis fans look like fools", then I'm afraid we'd have no Elvis events at all.

Hopefully that sheds some more (candle)light on things, for those who care to listen. :)

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:17 pm

Well stated Jamie.

MT

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:22 pm

Mr.Kelley,

You see it one way and I see it another.

It is still ridiculous for anyone to say on this board that you aren't fans because you criticize the ceremony.

Don't be so sensitive about it because I think you are taking the comments the wrong way.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:23 pm

brian wrote:
MaryAnn wrote:
brian wrote:I don't think having objections to the Candle light vigils is elitist and it's not surprising that some feel uncomfortable about it.

All the points made in this thread against it are valid.

Some of the comments by the people who are for the Candle light vigil don't really seem to understand the opposition to it.

It doesn't mean that if you are opposed to the Vigil that you aren't a fan, are being a snob, or you hate Elvis or your fellow fans.

The posters on this board that have stated their opinion about it are bigger fans than a lot of the fans that do participate in it.

Disagreement is fine but it's not right to say that they aren't fans or are just being snobs about it.


Brian, have you participated in the Vigil?



I'm still trying to understand your concept of "bigger fans."

There's a "put down" factor here in some of the posts on this thread that makes me uncomfortable. It always goes back to Elvis and where it all started.


I have not participated in the actual Vigil because for one thing it goes way past my bed time and it's not my cup of tea.

I mean by bigger fans is that the people on this board are all hardcore die hard Elvis fans that are very knowledgeable about him.

Not every Elvis fan that goes to Graceland for Elvis week or participates in the vigil is a huge fan.

Therefore it isn't right to have this attitude that if you do participate in the vigil you are a true Elvis fan and if you have opposition to it you aren't.

That's not true.



i think its fair to say nobody is going to agree on this. Fans come in many shapes & forms from fat old men to innocent children, from the very poor to millionaire collectors

Fact is the Candlelight Vigil has become a place to meet/pay respects, or your own tribute for a man that has touched most/all of the lives of the people there. Whether that person is of great knowledge or only knows they like his films & music, does it matter if they don't know what take 'He Touched Me' was used? At the end of the day, something made them drive/fly to be in Memphis for the 15th. He did in fact Touch those lives.

I've been to Memphis/Graceland about 10 times since 1979, BUT it took me 30yrs to actually feel that i wanted to give Elvis Week a go. The reason being, like many here, was that i had no interest in the media circus that was portrayed to surround Elvis Week. I was wrong!
As been mentioned higher up the thread, the Media/TV/Press are ONLY interested in the more, 'shall we say' special visitor, & yes there they are there. There is nothing that riles me more than some c u next tuesday standing at the vigil in his halloween costume like he's on a beano to Blackpool thinking 'this' is what its all about. Those people ARE a minority & generally just 1 or 2 - there are 'day clothing' Elvis dressed people, but again such a small minority of maybe less than 20 that they just look a bit silly on their own.
The fact is, everybody there are just very much normal everyday run o the mill people, same as all of us! I've now been to 3 Elvis Weeks & yes the Vigil is the absolute highlight to finish the week off (generally). It can be quite moving & really remarkable to see how this, (generalization quote from this thread) 'justa singer' guy still reaches out to so many that we want to be there every year.

Unless you go it's pretty hard to explain it. Much the same as you'll never win an argument with someone that just likes to rip the shi# outta stuff they don't quite understand theirselves

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:54 pm

I attended one, in 1996. I must say I just basically stood there with a friend observing, and it was pretty sad in a way, to see these middle aged women (mostly) carrying candles with tears running down their cheeks over a man they didnt even know personally. Certainly not my cup of tea and I will not attend another. However I did meet a pretty lady when it was over and we shared a 'cup of tea' afterwards. BTW, I can see why the media can portray this as Elvis being some kind of religious cult figure because that is exactly the feeling of the whole affair. I thought it all a bit strange and even somehwat amusing.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:34 pm

brian wrote:Mr.Kelley,

You see it one way and I see it another.

It is still ridiculous for anyone to say on this board that you aren't fans because you criticize the ceremony.

Don't be so sensitive about it because I think you are taking the comments the wrong way.



I'm sorry, but there's no other way to take comments like

"They don't know $#it about Elvis and aren't really fans".

That's not just vigil criticism, that's fan criticism. Plainly. It wasn't even the most blatant one.

And for the record, I've never said that people who don't have a taste for it aren't fans. In fact I went out of my way to say that wasn't the case (repeatedly) I DID say that most of the criticism comes from misunderstanding. And that's true - since most of those (though not all) who've criticized it haven't gone. To say that "all criticisms raised are valid" treads the equally false line that those that do go aren't real fans - so you see my problem with it.

My goal in that last post was to provide insight - so those that haven't been can get a sense of what most of us who do it get out of it. Of why it isn't (at least to us) what they think it is. To that end, I've been honest but have overall pulled my "punches" to try to ensure that it remains the focus for most readers.

It may not be your way to express your fandom - I've said it (again) repeatedly, that's fine. But there's a difference between a difference in taste and an outright slander of fellow fans. That's not to say that everybody who isn't a fan of the vigil has done that - and I've also never said that.

I see it the way I see it because I've been there multiple times to experience it first-hand - enough to really grasp what it is (which I'm sure is different for everybody, but everything is). Much like others in other threads who've said it's harder to pass judgement on an album before you've heard/experienced it all, my personal feeling is that a similar idea would apply here.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:53 pm

JamieAKelley wrote:
brian wrote:Mr.Kelley,

You see it one way and I see it another.

It is still ridiculous for anyone to say on this board that you aren't fans because you criticize the ceremony.

Don't be so sensitive about it because I think you are taking the comments the wrong way.



I'm sorry, but there's no other way to take comments like

"They don't know $#it about Elvis and aren't really fans".

That's not just vigil criticism, that's fan criticism. Plainly. It wasn't even the most blatant one.

And for the record, I've never said that people who don't have a taste for it aren't fans. In fact I went out of my way to say that wasn't the case (repeatedly) I DID say that most of the criticism comes from misunderstanding. And that's true - since most of those (though not all) who've criticized it haven't gone. To say that "all criticisms raised are valid" treads the equally false line that those that do go aren't real fans - so you see my problem with it.

My goal in that last post was to provide insight - so those that haven't been can get a sense of what most of us who do it get out of it. Of why it isn't (at least to us) what they think it is. To that end, I've been honest but have overall pulled my "punches" to try to ensure that it remains the focus for most readers.


When Mysterytrainrideson made that comment he was talking about some of the fans that he has seen on the news.

He made the mistake of calling them idiots because that's not polite and it's not representative of every single fan that goes.

I wasn't talking specifically about you when i mentioned that there are fans implying and criticizing those that don't like the vigil as not being real fans.

You don't have to go to the vigil to know that you don't like it or that you are uncomfortable with it.

So therefore it's not the same thing as saying that if you don't like the vigil that you aren't a real fan.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:58 pm

brian wrote:
JamieAKelley wrote:
brian wrote:Mr.Kelley,

You see it one way and I see it another.

It is still ridiculous for anyone to say on this board that you aren't fans because you criticize the ceremony.

Don't be so sensitive about it because I think you are taking the comments the wrong way.



I'm sorry, but there's no other way to take comments like

"They don't know $#it about Elvis and aren't really fans".

That's not just vigil criticism, that's fan criticism. Plainly. It wasn't even the most blatant one.

And for the record, I've never said that people who don't have a taste for it aren't fans. In fact I went out of my way to say that wasn't the case (repeatedly) I DID say that most of the criticism comes from misunderstanding. And that's true - since most of those (though not all) who've criticized it haven't gone. To say that "all criticisms raised are valid" treads the equally false line that those that do go aren't real fans - so you see my problem with it.

My goal in that last post was to provide insight - so those that haven't been can get a sense of what most of us who do it get out of it. Of why it isn't (at least to us) what they think it is. To that end, I've been honest but have overall pulled my "punches" to try to ensure that it remains the focus for most readers.


When Mysterytrainrideson made that comment he was talking about some of the fans that he has seen on the news.

He made the mistake of calling them idiots because that's not polite and it's not representative of every single fan that goes.

I wasn't talking specifically about you when i mentioned that there are fans implying and criticizing those that don't like the vigil as not being real fans.

You don't have to go to the vigil to know that you don't like it or that you are uncomfortable with it.

So therefore it's not the same thing as saying that if you don't like the vigil that you aren't a real fan.



Perhaps, but he doesn't say that he's judging what he saw on TV (at least not initially, and later not directly) with the phrase
That's the saddest thing about these so-called fans at the vigil's
.

Likewise, I got the impression that the fans who said "if you don't like it you're not a fan" said it as more of a defensive stand against accusations like the above that started with no qualifier. (Doesn't make it right, either, but I understand - or believe I do - where it comes from)

Then, when I tried to correct that misunderstanding with:
The vast majority of fans who go to Elvis Week may not be the massive geeks that we are, but they're not ignorant. They approach fandom differently, but that's not the same thing.


he said:

So, like you say, most people at the vigils don't know much about the music, that's not an "Elvis Fan", they go just for the sake of being at an event.


But that isn't at all what I said. The most logical conclusion is that he pulled out what supports his opinion from what I'd said. And when I read something that gives me that conclusion, I generally bend over backwards against that out of knowing that reading just the words can change the intended meaning.

He then speaks about seeing people on TV, and later says
I couldn't careless about the vigils, just giving a few facts about them.
But there's no fact - it's assumption and opinion lead by trace (at best) amounts of evidence. Things like that lead to some of the fan reaction seen, myself included, to try and straighten that misunderstanding out (admittedly, some just started swinging, which is unfortunate even if I get it..).

I agree up to this point - you don't have to go to know that you're uncomfortable with the idea of it. But there is a difference between the idea and the impression of the idea, and the thing itself. That's not to say that they absolutely won't be the same, but that you don't know until you know.

It also depends on who you're there with (like all "family reunions", there's always some family that you don't really spend too much time with.. lol). If some of you folks were hanging with us, I'm sure there would be very few who would find absolutely no part of it enjoyable. Everybody's different, of course, but I have some very good Elvis collector friends who never went for many of the same reasons listed here. They said almost exactly the same things. They're not big on all of it and they've said so, but they have found parts of it (or more) to be enjoyable and very different from what they initially felt it would be - something that further informs my position that others who feel the same may (not will but may) be in the same boat as they were.

...if that makes any sense. :)

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:09 pm

you can become uncomfortable with the event itself not just the idea of it.

There were several other people that you aren't bothering to quote that were saying and implying that the people who don't like it aren't real fans.

You are just trying to suit your argument and a lot of posters are thanking you for what you say just because they happen to agree with your point of view.

That's messed up.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:25 pm

brian wrote:you can become uncomfortable with the event itself not just the idea of it.

There were several other people that you aren't bothering to quote that were saying and implying that the people who don't like it aren't real fans.

You are just trying to suit your argument and a lot of posters are thanking you for what you say just because they happen to agree with your point of view.

That's messed up.


I don't have to quote them - I've already said I don't agree with those statements (several times, including more than once in my last post). That should be more than enough. I've also thanked someone who said they had no interest and didn't want to go but respected those who did.

Messed up? I'd thought our conversation up to this point was (overall) civil.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:30 pm

r&b wrote:I attended one, in 1996. I must say I just basically stood there with a friend observing, and it was pretty sad in a way, to see these middle aged women (mostly) carrying candles with tears running down their cheeks over a man they didnt even know personally. Certainly not my cup of tea and I will not attend another. However I did meet a pretty lady when it was over and we shared a 'cup of tea' afterwards. BTW, I can see why the media can portray this as Elvis being some kind of religious cult figure because that is exactly the feeling of the whole affair. I thought it all a bit strange and even somehwat amusing.


I was in Memphis for the 25th Anniversary and didn't even attend the vigil. I had obviously known about it for many years but had absolutely zero interest in it and my thoughts then (which have remained the same today) echo yours. I'm not sure attending the vigil either certifies or demotes any fan's "status." At the end of the day, Elvis was a singer: not a world leader, or an activist, or religious figure or any label that would even remotely come close to justifying a candlelight vigil in his honor 40 years later. I mean, when the tradition began, these were fans that were alive when Elvis was alive. But today, most of the fans from that generation have left us. Fans who weren't even alive when Elvis was on this earth are attending the vigil and that strikes me as extremely peculiar.

I'm afraid to say that it's just one of many kiss of deaths for being an Elvis fan. It promotes the idea that being an Elvis fan requires some kind of complete "devotion." People will disagree but this is sadly the perception to many fans outside the Elvis world--I've heard it firsthand. It's yet one more distraction to Elvis' legacy that turns people away from what matters the most: the music. Sadly, this will be another topic that separates us within the fandom just like other subjects like Elvis In Concert. Even if EPE ordered the vigil to end, people would still show up. It won't ever go away.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:36 pm

Nicely put as always Justin.

I wouldn't want any part of the vigil either. Not my thing at all.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:54 pm

Justin wrote:
r&b wrote:I attended one, in 1996. I must say I just basically stood there with a friend observing, and it was pretty sad in a way, to see these middle aged women (mostly) carrying candles with tears running down their cheeks over a man they didnt even know personally. Certainly not my cup of tea and I will not attend another. However I did meet a pretty lady when it was over and we shared a 'cup of tea' afterwards. BTW, I can see why the media can portray this as Elvis being some kind of religious cult figure because that is exactly the feeling of the whole affair. I thought it all a bit strange and even somehwat amusing.


I was in Memphis for the 25th Anniversary and didn't even attend the vigil. I had obviously known about it for many years but had absolutely zero interest in it and my thoughts then (which have remained the same today) echo yours. I'm not sure attending the vigil either certifies or demotes any fan's "status." At the end of the day, Elvis was a singer: not a world leader, or an activist, or religious figure or any label that would even remotely come close to justifying a candlelight vigil in his honor 40 years later. I mean, when the tradition began, these were fans that were alive when Elvis was alive. But today, most of the fans from that generation have left us. Fans who weren't even alive when Elvis was on this earth are attending the vigil and that strikes me as extremely peculiar.

I'm afraid to say that it's just one of many kiss of deaths for being an Elvis fan. It promotes the idea that being an Elvis fan requires some kind of complete "devotion." People will disagree but this is sadly the perception to many fans outside the Elvis world--I've heard it firsthand. It's yet one more distraction to Elvis' legacy that turns people away from what matters the most: the music. Sadly, this will be another topic that separates us within the fandom just like other subjects like Elvis In Concert. Even if EPE ordered the vigil to end, people would still show up. It won't ever go away.


I agree with londonflash, your thoughts are nicely put, even if I highly disagree. It may have started out as you said (and for a few may still be), but for most of us, "devotion" isn't what the expierience is. It certainly hasn't been for me, and I hope I've been able to convey that.

If it helps any, I would say that I see it (and it's perception) as sort of a microcosm of the way Elvis himself is largely seen. It's huge (still, amazingly) and everybody knows about it, but much like Elvis (I feel) it's very misunderstood. It's not (or at least wasn't) marketed, it just happened, grew, and is still happening. I've heard the same things you have, and try to set them straight when/how I can. But just like people have preconceived notions about Elvis, the vigil is the same. But no matter what people say, Elvis still connects with people. And, generations later, some still connect with this. It's largely a natural thing. I'm sure it'll change here sometime, likely in the next 20 years. And it'll continue to happen naturally and gradually as it does now, just as it grew the same way.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:58 pm

JamieAKelley wrote:
brian wrote:you can become uncomfortable with the event itself not just the idea of it.

There were several other people that you aren't bothering to quote that were saying and implying that the people who don't like it aren't real fans.

You are just trying to suit your argument and a lot of posters are thanking you for what you say just because they happen to agree with your point of view.

That's messed up.


I don't have to quote them - I've already said I don't agree with those statements (several times, including more than once in my last post). That should be more than enough. I've also thanked someone who said they had no interest and didn't want to go but respected those who did.

Messed up? I'd thought our conversation up to this point was (overall) civil.

You really need to get off your high-horse about these vigil's. So you like going to them, fine, but don't accuse other people of not being "real fans" just because they don't go to them.

The fact that earlier in this thread you agreed with me that a lot of fans that go to these vigil's don't know much about his music proves that they are not real fans. So some of your posts on this thread don't make sense to me.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:59 pm

Justin wrote:
r&b wrote:I attended one, in 1996. I must say I just basically stood there with a friend observing, and it was pretty sad in a way, to see these middle aged women (mostly) carrying candles with tears running down their cheeks over a man they didnt even know personally. Certainly not my cup of tea and I will not attend another. However I did meet a pretty lady when it was over and we shared a 'cup of tea' afterwards. BTW, I can see why the media can portray this as Elvis being some kind of religious cult figure because that is exactly the feeling of the whole affair. I thought it all a bit strange and even somehwat amusing.


I was in Memphis for the 25th Anniversary and didn't even attend the vigil. I had obviously known about it for many years but had absolutely zero interest in it and my thoughts then (which have remained the same today) echo yours. I'm not sure attending the vigil either certifies or demotes any fan's "status." At the end of the day, Elvis was a singer: not a world leader, or an activist, or religious figure or any label that would even remotely come close to justifying a candlelight vigil in his honor 40 years later. I mean, when the tradition began, these were fans that were alive when Elvis was alive. But today, most of the fans from that generation have left us. Fans who weren't even alive when Elvis was on this earth are attending the vigil and that strikes me as extremely peculiar.

I'm afraid to say that it's just one of many kiss of deaths for being an Elvis fan. It promotes the idea that being an Elvis fan requires some kind of complete "devotion." People will disagree but this is sadly the perception to many fans outside the Elvis world--I've heard it firsthand. It's yet one more distraction to Elvis' legacy that turns people away from what matters the most: the music. Sadly, this will be another topic that separates us within the fandom just like other subjects like Elvis In Concert. Even if EPE ordered the vigil to end, people would still show up. It won't ever go away.

Well said.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:20 am

JamieAKelley wrote:
brian wrote:you can become uncomfortable with the event itself not just the idea of it.

There were several other people that you aren't bothering to quote that were saying and implying that the people who don't like it aren't real fans.

You are just trying to suit your argument and a lot of posters are thanking you for what you say just because they happen to agree with your point of view.

That's messed up.


I don't have to quote them - I've already said I don't agree with those statements (several times, including more than once in my last post). That should be more than enough. I've also thanked someone who said they had no interest and didn't want to go but respected those who did.

Messed up? I'd thought our conversation up to this point was (overall) civil.


it is civil but I thought you were being a little sneaky.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:57 am

JamieAKelley wrote: But no matter what people say, Elvis still connects with people. And, generations later, some still connect with this. It's largely a natural thing.


Of course he connects with people. But all artists connect with their fans. No doubt fans of John Lennon or Michael Jackson all feel a connection too. One could argue that there is a more "special" connection for Elvis fans but that distinction alone is exactly the uneasy feeling people get regarding Elvis and his fans. Why are Elvis fans the only ones that feel this extra, beyond natural connection to their favorite singer? The fact that fans boast about this other-worldly connection only solidifies the idea that Elvis fans are apparently working on a "whole other level" from any other fan base. Many fans are proud of this connection. Sadly this pride is exactly what turns people off towards Elvis Presley and his group of fans. "They are part of some club that I don't understand." Obviously that isn't the intent but everyone must understand that this is the image being portrayed. This unflattering image has been around for decades.

Events like the vigil are apparently enjoyable for those in attendance but the message being broadcast throughout the world yearly is being lost in translation. I personally believe it has done more harm than good.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:28 am

Justin wrote:
JamieAKelley wrote: But no matter what people say, Elvis still connects with people. And, generations later, some still connect with this. It's largely a natural thing.


Of course he connects with people. But all artists connect with their fans. No doubt fans of John Lennon or Michael Jackson all feel a connection too. One could argue that there is a more "special" connection for Elvis fans but that distinction alone is exactly the uneasy feeling people get regarding Elvis and his fans. Why are Elvis fans the only ones that feel this extra, beyond natural connection to their favorite singer? The fact that fans boast about this other-worldly connection only solidifies the idea that Elvis fans are apparently working on a "whole other level" from any other fan base. Many fans are proud of this connection. Sadly this pride is exactly what turns people off towards Elvis Presley and his group of fans. "They are part of some club that I don't understand." Obviously that isn't the intent but everyone must understand that this is the image being portrayed. This unflattering image has been around for decades.



It certainly does appear that, for decades, Elvis fans have been portrayed as a bunch of kooks and weirdos. We see this in the two concert documentaries from 1970 and 1972, and it may even have been around before then. The hysterical fans etc are portrayed as "normal Elvis fans" in those two films. Yes, hysterical fans are kicking around for other artists, and there's plenty of footage of them. We see them at footage of Beatles concerts and appearances, or even of Sinatra concerts in the 1940s. However, those were teenage fans caught up in the moment. That's not what we see with Elvis fans in those documentaries (or even in Elvis in Concert) - these are grown adults, often middle-aged, whose life seems to be totally devoted to their idol. Teenage hysteria is one thing, never growing out of it is another.

The problem is that, while the kooks and weirdos aren't in the majority, they are certainly a significant minority - and these boards (and in particular the Elvis facebook groups) attract their fair share of them. The minority is significant enough to have resulted in ALL fans being tarred with that same brush by the media. The candlelight vigil adds to that image of Elvis fans being obsessed, unhinged or both.

People here often wonder why Elvis isn't attracting new fans, and part of that is because many people don't want to go near his music because of the associations that are made with Elvis fandom. In other words, the actions of fans in wanting to keep Elvis's memory alive is partly responsible for slowly but surely killing that memory. Sure, the potato heads and the impersonators don't help matters, but neither do religious-type vigils more appropriate for a recently deceased pope.

The potato heads, the impersonators, the vigils, and the obsessive fans associated with all three (rightly or wrongly) means that the mention of Elvis's name in public conjures up images of everything...except his music. It's the one thing that has been largely forgotten. There has been more Elvis fans upset by the possibility of no more candle light vigils than by the fact that the 60th anniversary of 5th July 1954 was not marked by Elvis's record label! The Elvis world continues to have a cult-like, obsessive aura that no doubt drives people away from Elvis's legacy by the truckload. Albert Goldman's name is blamed here time and time again for ruining Elvis's image - but, in the end, the fans are far more responsible for that than Goldman.

(wow, that'll make me popular!)

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:57 am

poormadpeter wrote:
People here often wonder why Elvis isn't attracting new fans, and part of that is because many people don't want to go near his music because of the associations that are made with Elvis fandom. In other words, the actions of fans in wanting to keep Elvis's memory alive is partly responsible for slowly but surely killing that memory. Sure, the potato heads and the impersonators don't help matters, but neither do religious-type vigils more appropriate for a recently deceased pope.

The potato heads, the impersonators, the vigils, and the obsessive fans associated with all three (rightly or wrongly) means that the mention of Elvis's name in public conjures up images of everything...except his music. It's the one thing that has been largely forgotten. There has been more Elvis fans upset by the possibility of no more candle light vigils than by the fact that the 60th anniversary of 5th July 1954 was not marked by Elvis's record label! The Elvis world continues to have a cult-like, obsessive aura that no doubt drives people away from Elvis's legacy by the truckload. Albert Goldman's name is blamed here time and time again for ruining Elvis's image - but, in the end, the fans are far more responsible for that than Goldman.


I was going to write as well but didn't have time to formulate my thoughts. I find it ironic that something like the vigil which is a way to celebrate Elvis' memory--in many ways scars Elvis' memory to the mass public. It alienates Elvis fans from other fan bases and not necessarily in the best possible way. How could it not? Again, I understand that being in attendance is probably different since there is a social aspect to it--like Jamie described but fans walking around with candles, in the dark, in solemn silence, and group prayers being said to quiet gospel or love songs playing through speakers are all the ingredients of a religious ceremony. Fans can try to explain that it's not but any person would make that distinction just by glancing at a picture or video from the vigil.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:36 am

poormadpeter wrote:The potato heads, the impersonators, the vigils, and the obsessive fans associated with all three (rightly or wrongly) means that the mention of Elvis's name in public conjures up images of everything...except his music.


You are overstating the amount of interest, or knowledge, the "public" have for the potato heads, impersonators etc.

I suggest the "mention" of Elvis' name, still conjures up the King for most.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:05 am

poormadpeter wrote:
Justin wrote:
JamieAKelley wrote: But no matter what people say, Elvis still connects with people. And, generations later, some still connect with this. It's largely a natural thing.


Of course he connects with people. But all artists connect with their fans. No doubt fans of John Lennon or Michael Jackson all feel a connection too. One could argue that there is a more "special" connection for Elvis fans but that distinction alone is exactly the uneasy feeling people get regarding Elvis and his fans. Why are Elvis fans the only ones that feel this extra, beyond natural connection to their favorite singer? The fact that fans boast about this other-worldly connection only solidifies the idea that Elvis fans are apparently working on a "whole other level" from any other fan base. Many fans are proud of this connection. Sadly this pride is exactly what turns people off towards Elvis Presley and his group of fans. "They are part of some club that I don't understand." Obviously that isn't the intent but everyone must understand that this is the image being portrayed. This unflattering image has been around for decades.



It certainly does appear that, for decades, Elvis fans have been portrayed as a bunch of kooks and weirdos. We see this in the two concert documentaries from 1970 and 1972, and it may even have been around before then. The hysterical fans etc are portrayed as "normal Elvis fans" in those two films. Yes, hysterical fans are kicking around for other artists, and there's plenty of footage of them. We see them at footage of Beatles concerts and appearances, or even of Sinatra concerts in the 1940s. However, those were teenage fans caught up in the moment. That's not what we see with Elvis fans in those documentaries (or even in Elvis in Concert) - these are grown adults, often middle-aged, whose life seems to be totally devoted to their idol. Teenage hysteria is one thing, never growing out of it is another.

The problem is that, while the kooks and weirdos aren't in the majority, they are certainly a significant minority - and these boards (and in particular the Elvis facebook groups) attract their fair share of them. The minority is significant enough to have resulted in ALL fans being tarred with that same brush by the media. The candlelight vigil adds to that image of Elvis fans being obsessed, unhinged or both.

People here often wonder why Elvis isn't attracting new fans, and part of that is because many people don't want to go near his music because of the associations that are made with Elvis fandom. In other words, the actions of fans in wanting to keep Elvis's memory alive is partly responsible for slowly but surely killing that memory. Sure, the potato heads and the impersonators don't help matters, but neither do religious-type vigils more appropriate for a recently deceased pope.

The potato heads, the impersonators, the vigils, and the obsessive fans associated with all three (rightly or wrongly) means that the mention of Elvis's name in public conjures up images of everything...except his music. It's the one thing that has been largely forgotten. There has been more Elvis fans upset by the possibility of no more candle light vigils than by the fact that the 60th anniversary of 5th July 1954 was not marked by Elvis's record label! The Elvis world continues to have a cult-like, obsessive aura that no doubt drives people away from Elvis's legacy by the truckload. Albert Goldman's name is blamed here time and time again for ruining Elvis's image - but, in the end, the fans are far more responsible for that than Goldman.

(wow, that'll make me popular!)



This will surprise you, but I don't have any major qualms with this. I don't agree with all of it, but this post and others I've just read now are much more thought out than the more accusatory remarks that got myself and others riled up (and I mean no offense by that).

I completely agree that his music gets lost in the shuffle. Goldman's book attempted to further marginalize that music, and it reinforced and "made true" the stereotype that the media was already aiming for since it was easy to publicize. I don't feel it's as bad as it used to be, and what we're seeing now is just the residual of how Elvis was slandered by the media (and books) in the 80's. Certainly Elvis has more respect now, even if he could have more.

The question is, though, since those of the more obsessive nature aren't relegated to the vigil... how far does it go? How far do you bend before those outsiders will listen? On paper, and just looking at outside impression, it looks fairly cut and dried. But in the middle of it when the axe has to come down, it's (imo) less so. And who writes that line, based on what level of opinion - where do you draw the line and say to them "No this is good, you're not really looking"?

And to follow your point (if I've gathered it right): if fans are the problem... who's telling them to leave? Who decides and how many have to go before the outsiders feel "comfortable" with Elvis and drop their perceptions of him? The questions are just a thought exercise (and again, no offense intended at all) since we'll never know for sure, but as I get older I've relaxed a bit (though it probably doesn't look like it here lol) to realize that Elvis has made new fans just fine for 37 years as things are - and while I would love to see people flocking to his music again there's little I can do about it (though I do what little I can), things will happen as they happen. For instances like this: if I enjoy something, I'll enjoy it for what I enjoy it for and try to get others to see what I see, but we're all different.

And maybe defend it a little, if I feel the need. ;)

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:20 am

mysterytrainrideson wrote:
JamieAKelley wrote:
brian wrote:you can become uncomfortable with the event itself not just the idea of it.

There were several other people that you aren't bothering to quote that were saying and implying that the people who don't like it aren't real fans.

You are just trying to suit your argument and a lot of posters are thanking you for what you say just because they happen to agree with your point of view.

That's messed up.


I don't have to quote them - I've already said I don't agree with those statements (several times, including more than once in my last post). That should be more than enough. I've also thanked someone who said they had no interest and didn't want to go but respected those who did.

Messed up? I'd thought our conversation up to this point was (overall) civil.

You really need to get off your high-horse about these vigil's. So you like going to them, fine, but don't accuse other people of not being "real fans" just because they don't go to them.

The fact that earlier in this thread you agreed with me that a lot of fans that go to these vigil's don't know much about his music proves that they are not real fans. So some of your posts on this thread don't make sense to me.


That's two misunderstandings of my posts. I'll say again: 1, I never said that you weren't a fan for not liking, just that there was likely misunderstanding of what people generally get out of it; and 2: I said that they don't all know our level of things, but THEY DO KNOW Elvis, and they are definitely fans. I still don't understand how you got what you got from what I said.


brian wrote:it is civil but I thought you were being a little sneaky.


No sneakyness intended (truthfully), but I'll freely admit that some of the early comments pissed me off and I started out more defensive. I was joking around a bit, but the intention was levity, not snark.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:51 am

poormadpeter wrote:
Justin wrote:
JamieAKelley wrote: But no matter what people say, Elvis still connects with people. And, generations later, some still connect with this. It's largely a natural thing.


Of course he connects with people. But all artists connect with their fans. No doubt fans of John Lennon or Michael Jackson all feel a connection too. One could argue that there is a more "special" connection for Elvis fans but that distinction alone is exactly the uneasy feeling people get regarding Elvis and his fans. Why are Elvis fans the only ones that feel this extra, beyond natural connection to their favorite singer? The fact that fans boast about this other-worldly connection only solidifies the idea that Elvis fans are apparently working on a "whole other level" from any other fan base. Many fans are proud of this connection. Sadly this pride is exactly what turns people off towards Elvis Presley and his group of fans. "They are part of some club that I don't understand." Obviously that isn't the intent but everyone must understand that this is the image being portrayed. This unflattering image has been around for decades.



It certainly does appear that, for decades, Elvis fans have been portrayed as a bunch of kooks and weirdos. We see this in the two concert documentaries from 1970 and 1972, and it may even have been around before then. The hysterical fans etc are portrayed as "normal Elvis fans" in those two films. Yes, hysterical fans are kicking around for other artists, and there's plenty of footage of them. We see them at footage of Beatles concerts and appearances, or even of Sinatra concerts in the 1940s. However, those were teenage fans caught up in the moment. That's not what we see with Elvis fans in those documentaries (or even in Elvis in Concert) - these are grown adults, often middle-aged, whose life seems to be totally devoted to their idol. Teenage hysteria is one thing, never growing out of it is another.

The problem is that, while the kooks and weirdos aren't in the majority, they are certainly a significant minority - and these boards (and in particular the Elvis facebook groups) attract their fair share of them. The minority is significant enough to have resulted in ALL fans being tarred with that same brush by the media. The candlelight vigil adds to that image of Elvis fans being obsessed, unhinged or both.

People here often wonder why Elvis isn't attracting new fans, and part of that is because many people don't want to go near his music because of the associations that are made with Elvis fandom. In other words, the actions of fans in wanting to keep Elvis's memory alive is partly responsible for slowly but surely killing that memory. Sure, the potato heads and the impersonators don't help matters, but neither do religious-type vigils more appropriate for a recently deceased pope.

The potato heads, the impersonators, the vigils, and the obsessive fans associated with all three (rightly or wrongly) means that the mention of Elvis's name in public conjures up images of everything...except his music. It's the one thing that has been largely forgotten. There has been more Elvis fans upset by the possibility of no more candle light vigils than by the fact that the 60th anniversary of 5th July 1954 was not marked by Elvis's record label! The Elvis world continues to have a cult-like, obsessive aura that no doubt drives people away from Elvis's legacy by the truckload. Albert Goldman's name is blamed here time and time again for ruining Elvis's image - but, in the end, the fans are far more responsible for that than Goldman.

(wow, that'll make me popular!)

I think you've nailed it.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:06 am

intheghetto wrote:. Should they get rid of it? At this point I don't think they can. But if they do, they're going to have to meet in the middle with the fans with some kind of event that's a compromise of sorts. I'm all in favor keeping the little festival going on EP Boulevard in the evening. But waiting on line in the middle of the night to walk past the graveā€¦not so much.


Won't the event start to fade away after a few more years.

I would think the crowds are going to start getting thinner at some point.

Re: No more Candle light Vigils after this year?

Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:23 am

The Vigil will go on as long as Elvis' music goes on. They're directly linked.