ROOMS: 464 ROOMS
CHAT UP BERNARD LANSKY, ELVIS'S PERSONAL TAILOR, WHO OWNS FIVE HOTEL SHOPS
The highlight of
the SI swimsuit crew's grand tour of Memphis was unprecedented access behind
the ropes at Graceland, where we were allowed to throw off our shoes and dig
our feet deep into the shag carpeting of Elvis's Jungle Room. Everyone took
snapshots of each other against the backdrop of the animal-skin furniture and
came away convinced that the floating white dots in our images were due not to
cheap flashes but rather the presence of the ghost of the King.
We found treasure
in less obvious Memphis-area locales, too, such as the shoot on the old
railroad bridge that traverses the Mississippi. First-year model Tori Praver
was flanked by crunk pioneers Juicy J and D.J. Paul of Three 6 Mafia, and
photographer Walter Chin said, "Make it real sexy." His instruction was
meant for Tori, but Juicy J took it as a cue to flash his full grill. Craig
Brewer, a Memphis resident and director of Hustle & Flow, which featured
the Academy Award--winning Three 6 Mafia song, It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,
grinned as he watched. "This is a perfect moment," Brewer said.
"That girl, these guys, this bridge." Brewer liked having the rusty
bridge in the shot, he explained, because it reveals that Memphis is more than
Graceland and the usual tourist-brochure destinations.
From a music
standpoint the city is an aural mosaic of blues, rock, country, crunk, hip-hop
and '70s Memphis icon Isaac Hayes (also a participant in the shoot) branded
"hot-buttered soul." SI's crew had set up at the Peabody Memphis, which
is within walking distance of B.B. King's and other Beale Street music clubs,
making it the perfect home base when you're getting to know what Memphis is all
Peabody's all about is Southern comfort: big rooms, plush beds, attentive
service and an in-house tourist attraction. Every morning at 11, trained ducks
file into an elevator to make the trip from the rooftop to the lobby fountain
before returning to the roof (via elevator) at 5 p.m.