Celebrate Elvis’ 75th Birthday at Graceland this week

Had he lived, Elvis would be turning 75 years old on January 8. Superfans can celebrate with a week of parties hosted Graceland from January 7 to 10.

Events include a day tour of Tupelo, where Elvis grew up, book signings from authors of books on Elvis, fan club events, and panel presentations from close friends and associates of Elvis. There will be musical performances, including a gospel concert of Elvis songs and a performance of tunes from Elvis done by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Several birthday and dance parties will also be offered. The Elvis 75th Birthday Bash on Beale is just $15 and includes a night of drink specials, live music, and partying at clubs up and down Beale Street on January 9.

Tickets for all events are available online until 5pm Central today. After that, you can purchase them at the door for each event (pending availability) or at the Graceland Guest Services office.

Happy 100th bday, hostelling!

Help me raise a glass to lockers, kitchen cubbies, dorm roommates, and bunk beds everywhere.

Yes, that’s right–we’re celebrating the 100th birthday of the hostelling movement, and the 75th birthday of Hostelling International USA!

Next week is Open Hostel Week, from August 23-30. Find a hostel near you and see what’s planned–it could be anything from hostel tours and good eatin’, to travel presentations and scavenger hunts.

And if you happen to be near Northfield, Massachusetts, join the dedication of an historical marker at the site of the very first U.S. hostel. Festivities will be Sunday, August 23rd, starting at 2:00 p.m.

If you want to take your celebration to the streets, enter HI-USA’s One World, Many Views contest to win a flight to Europe and a one-year HI-USA membership. Submit a photo or video that relates to hostel travel, or the organization’s mission of international understanding and stewardship. Enter by September 30th.

Save at Starwood hotels: your birth year equals your rate

Is it agist? (Or rather, reverse agist.) Or simply paying due respect to your elders?

In a new promotion at Starwood hotels, what you pay per night is determined by your birth year. You pay the last two digits of your birth year on your second and third nights. For example, if you were born in 1950, you’d pay $50/night.

Random, right? But hey, it’s a deal if you were born in 1935. Actually, I suppose it’s still a deal if you were born in 1980.

The rate is set for the first night (approximately $150-200, depending on the specific hotel). The promotion applies to the second and third nights, but not to additional nights after that (you’re subject to the best rate available).

Yep, sorry to say that they won’t take your word that you were born in 1910; you’ll need to present some valid ID on check-in.

The promotion is good on select US and Canadian Starwood hotels, which include Sheraton, Four Points by Sharaton, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, The Westin, and St. Regis. Guests are required to stay a minimum of two nights, and allowed a maximum of three night with this promotion. Valid on travel through December 31st, 2009.

[Thanks, OrlandoEscape.com]

Happy birthday, Brooklyn Bridge

As a New Yorker, I sometimes tend to get a bit jaded about the incredible sights all around me. Times Square might be cool to visitors, but to me it’s nothing but gaudy neon and schlocky souvenirs. United Nations? Pretty neat, but quite a headache when you’re trying to get to work on the East Side and some diplomat’s motorcade makes you take the “long walk” to the office.

But then today, I noticed that it was the 125th anniversary of the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge and I had to take pause. The Brooklyn Bridge is probably my favorite New York landmark – not only for the breathtaking views you get when you walk across it, but also for its historic importance to the city and to American innovation in general. First opened on May 24th, 1883, the 6,000 foot long bridge was considered one of the greatest American engineering marvels of its time. It is perhaps a fitting tribute that the bridge is still fully operational today, transporting pedestrians and vehicles much as it did when it first opened 125 years ago.

If you happen to be in New York this evening, take a stroll down to the old bridge and check out the festivities, which include fireworks, a new lighting scheme and even a U.S. Navy flyover. And if you can’t make it, make sure to stroll across it the next time you’re in town. It’s definitely worth the trip.

Bangkok to party King-style until December!

The biggest party I’ve experienced was when Sydney turned into an open air lounge during the 2000 Olympics. With biggest, I mean number of people. Such celebrations are overwhelming, exciting, and frustrating at the same time — just because of the hoards of people.

But the scale of celebrations planned for Thai King Bhumibol Aduladej’s (or Rama IX) 80th birthday on December 5, seem to take things to a different level.

Festivities will start early November, and will include royal cavalcades, elephant parades, the raising of candles nationwide to cheer the King, and firework displays.

Born in Cambridge, the King seems to be a modern cool dude who used to jam with the late Jazz king Louis Armstrong, so you can also expect to see many music concerts around the country at this time.

25 million commemorative coins will be minted, and the royal flag will be posted on the top of Mount Everest in the country’s first attempt to the peak of the world’s highest mountain. Effigies will start parading the streets, and the whole city will be decorated with lights.

The ‘Royal Barge Procession’ on November 5th is a major highlight where the King will present robes to the monks; if you get there before the 5th you can see a rehearsal.

So since the whole city will be rocking in celebration of their much adored King’s birthday until December 5, if you were thinking of where to travel — this might be a good option.

Yes I know, Thailand is poor, and lot’s of money will be spent for this celebration. But it truly seems like a fest done primarily for the locals by the locals — as opposed to some publicity stunt to attract tourism and rip off locals; it is therefore valid. Oh, and if you want to live this celebration like a local — wear a yellow shirt!