Elvis road trip has more stops than Graceland

Themed road trips can take on a whole different meaning than simply loading up the car and heading out on the highway. Choosing to stop along the way at everything from each National Park for a photo by the entrance sign, every major sports venue and coming away with a home-team ball cap or all airports along the way just to watch planes take off can transform a simple drive into a memorable road trip of a lifetime. Whatever your interest, a well-planned and themed road trip can be a lot of fun. Even a tour devoted to Elvis Presley can work.

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona will be All Shook Up next month with the introduction of an Elvis Presley exhibit in the museum’s newly renovated Artist Gallery on August 6th.

Guests will get to experience The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll through a collection of personal items, clothing, and musical instruments. One highlight of the exhibit will be the priceless 1975 Martin D-28 acoustic guitar that Elvis played during his 1977 tours, including his last concert on June 26 in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to displaying it, MIM has been chosen by Elvis Presley Enterprises to restore the guitar to the condition in which Elvis last played it.The new Elvis exhibit, opening August 6, 2011, will also feature a collection of items on loan from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee and is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix .

Other choices for stops on an Elvis road trip might include a stop by Elvis’ favorite roller coaster, a classic wooden coaster known as the Zippin Pippin in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Earlier this year, Gadling’s Joel Bullock told us:

“It was known to be Elvis Presley’s favorite roller coaster as he often rented out the park so that he could ride it without being bothered by fans. Reports are that Presley rode Zippin Pippin eight days before he died. To support the ride’s history, Bay Beach Amusement Park is working on adding Elvis’ favorite food, peanut butter and banana sandwiches.”

Surely no Elvis road trip would be complete without a stop by Las Vegas to visit the city’s official Elvis, Jesse Garon. Garon sponsored rescued miner Edison Pena in 2010 after the music and movies of the King including the 1960s Elvis movie Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock were to pass the time and keep up the spirits of all the miners trapped underground. Stick around Vegas for a while too, Cirque du Soleil’s show Viva Elvis at ARIA Resort & Casino is worth the overnight.

Even Branson, Missouri has a Elvis stop to consider with their Elvis and the Superstars show where they throw in Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder (impersonators) for a two hour show that AOLTravel says “you will forget that the people on stage are not the real thing”.

As with any travel, planning is half the fun and a themed road trip is no exception.

I remember a high school road trip I took once: stopping at (what seemed like) every Ford dealership between Kansas City and St Louis for repairs. That wasn’t the original plan, a theme we had thought of in advance or realization of any dream but one we won’t forget any time soon.

Photo courtesy Elvis Presley Enterprizes

Michael Jackson’s THE IMMORTAL comes to Cirque du Soleil

Michael Jackson fans, rejoice. His legacy is coming to a Cirque du Soleil show near you and tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday.

Written and directed by Jamie King, the Emmy-nominated director behind icons like Madonna, the production will combine Michael Jackson music and choreography with Cirque du Soleil creativity to give fans worldwide a unique view into the star’s art. The story? It’s a bit hokey, centering around Jackson’s “Giving Tree” and shows how his inner world is unlocked through music and dance, fairy tale and the beauty of nature.

Naturally, music lovers will come to the show for a dose of Jackson’s powerful music.

Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour will begin in Montreal in October 2011 and travel to select North American cities in the first leg, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver. Additional cities and dates will be announced.

Las Vegas announces dates for first-ever Cirque du Soleil week

Are you crazy about Cirque du Soleil? If so, this is just the experience for you. For the first time ever, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is sponsoring “Cirque Week,” a convention that will offer guests special behind-the-scenes access into some of the world’s most complex theater productions. From November 29 through December 5, 2010, guests will get to see what brings Las Vegas’ seven Cirque du Soleil shows to life every night.

For $160, guests can enjoy a two-show package, and mere $450 gives access to all seven shows.

Choose to experience a custom theater technology demonstration and Q&A at LOVE Theatre at the Mirage, a state-of-the-art sound demonstration through over 6,300 custom-made speakers, go behind the scenes at Zumanity to watch an exclusive dress rehearsal on stage and take part in a Q&A session with cast and crew, or relax in Gold Lounge at ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter as the Viva ELVIS musicians serenade you with an acoustic performance and explain what it was like to re-imagine music from one of the most notable entertainers of all time, Elvis Presley.

Or perhaps you’d like to meet Criss Angel following the show, watch a technical presentation to learn how KA is put together, or enjoy a special Q&A with the coaches for the cast of “O” at the Bellagio.

Plus, all guests will get an intimate look into what goes into making a Cirque du Soleil production from the people who work behind-the-scenes. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

Tickets can be booked at VisitLasVegas.com/CirqueWeek.

Photo of the Day (7.15.10)

At first glance, this image could be a skyline of a mysterious desert oasis, but it’s actually a Cirque du Soleil circus tent in New York City taken by Flickr user Gus_NYC. As a child, I used to clamor to be taken to the circus, finding the acrobats, dancing animals, and even clowns fascinating and a little magical. At some point, the circus became boring and then a little weird, though I still bitterly regret not going to the Moscow Cats circus when it was in New York.

Seen an interesting circus act in your travels? Upload a photo to our Gadling Flickr pool and we might it to feature as our Photo of the Day.

Feathers fall to floor for “Folies”

“Les Folies Bergere” is about to come to an end. The topless review, which has called the Tropicana hotel and casino home for 49 years is about to take its stripping off the Strip. The show will close on March 28, 2009, in order to make room for something new … though no details have been released. Ron Thacker, president of the Tropicana has not explained the decision, saying only that his company is “”extremely proud to have been part of such an iconic Las Vegas production.”

The demise of Folies leaves only one full-scale showgirl production on the Strop: Bally’s “Jubilee!” Once a distinguished tradition (with the exception of an awful movie, of course), these shows are being pushed aside by the likes of Cirque du Soleil.