Yesterday, I helped Jerry hang his prized painting of Elvis on his cubicle wall. It depicts Elvis singing, and a single tear is rolling down his cheek. It is painted on black velvet. It is simultaneously the cheesiest and most wonderful piece of art I have ever seen. Jerry claims to have purchased it at a roadside stand somewhere in the southwest; I think it would be at home both in the smoke-filled apartment of some aging prostitute in Las Vegas, and also in an exhibit of Twentieth Century pop culture icons at MoMa or the Tate Modern.
Here's a picture of Elvis and Jerry. Jerry is the person who is not singing or crying:
Shortly after helping Jerry hang Elvis, I went to Bank of America Plaza to interview some people for a story. While there, I stopped by to visit two good sources: Michael Hoffman and Phil Weber, the building's leasing managers. They had recently moved into new office space on the eighth floor.
What did I see hanging beside Michael's desk? A framed picture of a crying Elvis, painted on black velvet!
The paintings aren't exactly the same. For one things, the dimensions are off: Michael's painting is a little wider than Jerry's. For another, the Elvises look a little different: The scarves are different colors, and Michael's Elvis has a collar so big that a team of structural engineers must have worked for months just to construct it.
I don't know why Michael put the "Free Tibet" bumper sticker on his Elvis painting. (Also, I didn't read the fine print on the sticker, but I assume that you only receive the free Tibet if you purchase a Tibet of equal or larger value.)
It's quite a coincidence that I would encounter two velvet Elvis paintings on the same day, though. Perhaps the ghost of Elvis is trying to tell me something.
I am reminded of "Elvis is Everywhere," the song by Mojo Nixon. Some lyrics:
When I look out into your eyes out there,
When I look out into your faces,
You know what I see?
I see a little bit of Elvis
In each and every one of you out there.
Let me tell you. Wellllllll...
Elvis is everywhere,
Elvis is everything,
Elvis is everybody,
Elvis is still the king.
Man oh man What I want you to see
Is that the big E's
Inside of you and me
Elvis is everywhere, man!
He's in everything.
He's in everybody.
Elvis is in your jeans.
He's in your cheeseburgers.
Elvis is in Nutty Buddies!
Elvis is in your mom!
He's in everybody.
He's in the young, the old,
the fat, the skinny,
the white, the black
the brown and the blue
people got Elvis in them too.