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Friday Night Dialogues: Long live the King

Forty-two years after his death, Elvis Presley is still a strong presence in Las Vegas. You may have an Elvis impersonator escort you down the aisle and preside at your wedding. You can attend an Elvis tribute show or go to Madame Tussauds to have your picture taken with one of two Elvis wax figures. But do you know the real story of Elvis in Las Vegas?

On Friday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m., author Richard Zoglin will share the story of how Elvis created one of the most exciting shows to ever come to Vegas. In the late 1960s, Elvis Presley’s career was on a downward spiral and he had not performed live for many years. On July 13, 1969, he brought a new sound to Las Vegas, with a rock and roll show that resurrected his career and changed the way Las Vegas entertained the masses up to this day. In a recent article in the New York Times, Mr. Zoglin said “Elvis brought something new to Las Vegas: not an intimate, Rat Pack-style nightclub show, but a big rock-concert extravaganza. He showed that rock ’n’ roll (and country and R&B too) could work on the big Vegas stage.”

Mr. Zoglin did first-person research and conducted many interviews in writing this book. The Wall Street Journal describes it as “a smart and zippy account of the watershed moment when the King of Rock ’n’ Roll came to Sin City to reclaim his squandered talent.” In the book, Mr. Zoglin explores not only Elvis’ career revival but the ways in which Vegas was radically changed.

“Elvis in Vegas” is Mr. Zoglin’s third book. He previously wrote about stand-up comedy and the iconic Bob Hope (which he spoke about at the library’s 2015 Book and Author Luncheon.) He is a contributing editor at Time magazine, where he is the magazine’s theater critic. Come to the library on Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. to learn more about this classic comeback tale and the golden age of Las Vegas. 

Up Next: On Friday, Sept. 6, the library will welcome NPR’s David Bouchier.