Elvising King became The God of Excess. The gaudy Graceland with its overthe-top décor of jungle prints and smoked mirrors, just every example of poor taste, became a sort of camp icon ref lected in John Waters’ films. Campy, f lashy, trashy bad taste was suddenly in fashion. Divine is a cousin to Elvis when it comes to dubious couture. Restrained, elegant style was out. Inyour-face, breathtakingly glitzy, clashing awfulness was in. As John Waters himself has said, “There’s good bad taste, and there’s bad bad taste.” And Waters lovingly parodied animal prints and pink f lamingoes and Jungle Rooms right into the mainstream.
in his chest hair. So worshipped was he that scarves he used to wipe his sweaty brow were fought over by his screaming, hysterical fans. Elvis was, indeed, The God of Excess, and if you were sick and tired of the restrained, constipated taste of our parents, you dove right into it like an ageing drag queen in a Miami thrift shop. Elvis’ show biz schtick was just so fabulous, it was divine. He and Las Vegas were meant for each other. Neither knows the meaning of restraint, and it was and is an eternal Saturnalia of neon, trash, f lash and lights. To this day, Vegas is filled with Elvii. Some friends of mine were married by an Elvis. The marriage didn’t last, but it was a terrific gesture. Of course, if the man weren’t a great entertainer and musician, it wouldn’t have meant much. Plenty of country singers in embroidered Nudie suits have come and gone,
Elvis was a great entertainer, and he was able to play to sold-out arenas and venues everywhere, but he was best known for his spangly, glittering, over-the-top costumes with their beading, fringes, f langed collars and huge golden belts. Huge rings sparkled on his fingers, and gold necklaces nestled 18
March 2019 Tidewater Times