Advanced Elvis Course

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Soft Skull Press, 2009 - Music - 137 pages
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Part psychedelic road-trip travelogue, part “Overheard in Graceland,” part mystic-religious devotional, CAConrad's unabated love for the King puts him on a pilgrimage to Memphis; on anAdvanced Elvis Course. These bizarre, multifaceted short pieces are an homage bursting with love, oddball white trash, and twisted sincerity.

Using a mélange of breathless energy and flamboyant desire, Conrad ensnares his reader from the first vignette, leaving us no choice but to doggedly follow him around the backwaters of Memphis. Conrad blurs the distinction between real and fictional experience to create a transcendental portrait of the legendary Elvis—the man who changed music and America forever. Through sources as disparate as graffiti, talk-show interviews, phone messages, and poetry, Conrad (whose unfettered energy is about as reality-based as an evening at Graceland) constructs a semimystical collage both celebrating and laughing with the cult of Elvis.

Get ready for a surreal tour of a celebrity-obsessed, picaresque America from one of its most unusual guides. Conrad delights in turning his fantasies into our reality, making this frenetic fictionalized experience “as real as if it were real.”

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