A Notable of the Year (2013) for Best American Essays and a Long Reads Member Pick, “‘Don’t Be Cruel’: An Argument for Elvis” was first published by The Normal School in 2012.
One weekend we stayed in the Presley family’s old apartment in the Lauderdale Courts. But following Elvis around town means going everywhere—to the city’s blues clubs and barbecue joints (not the ones on the now gussied Beale Street, the real ones), record stores, the lobby of the Peabody Hotel, and Lansky’s for shirts. Everywhere there is the residue of the past—a past still hoping for a future that hasn’t arrived. Neon lights that seem to speak from the Fifties—Prince Mongo’s Planet, Walker Radiator Works, and a glowing shirt (with bowtie) waving you into Happy Day Cleaners.
You can find more of the essay here.