Dear Someone: Elvis, Austin Tourism, and Folkaphobia


Walker Lukens is a musician living and working in Austin, Texas. His latest album is called Devoted. His advice column Dear Someone runs semimonthly on Pop Press International. You can send in your own inquiries by emailing Walker here. He’ll give you advice if you ask. 




Dear Someone,

My fiance will not be married by an Elvis impersonator. As a half Mississippian, a marriage by Elvis has been a dream of mine ever since I sang along with the backup on “Teddy Bear” from the car seat. I can’t just give up on it. This is a big sale, so I need your help if I’m going to be wed by The King. What are the merits of an Elvis-led ceremony? Any suggestions for Elvis-themed vows? Did The Pelvis officiate any weddings in his movies?

Servant of the King

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Dear Servant of the King,

Without knowing your bride, it’s hard to imagine that any sober female, not-currently-gambling-in-Las-Vegas, would consent to being married by Elvis, which is a shame since he’s our once and future king and we live in America and we don’t need monarchs except for Elvis Aaron Presley. I’ve been to Graceland three times. I’ve been to Graceland Too. I’ve been to his childhood home. I once attempted to make an Elvis-themed concept record. I’ve hosted birthday parties for him.

Elvis did not officiate any weddings in any of his films, although he did get married in Blue Hawaii. He also did not seem particularly fond of monogamy in his personal life, living a proto-Clooney lifestyle while managing to avoid public suspicion about his sexuality.

If his song choice was any indication, Elvis also seemed to have a little of that good girl / bad girl complex so many male singers are afflicted with. The women in Elvis songs tend to be fundamentally suspicious, talkative, cruel, two-faced, and worth doing anything to sleep with—like “Blurred Lines” (albeit less overtly sexual and aggressive.)  While it pains me to acknowledge this fact, I think it’s also a pretty good reason why you shouldn’t let an Elvis impersonator officiate your wedding. He’s our king, maybe, but no relationship model. Elvis always gets the girl and the next girl and the next girl…

There are other ways to include The King in your wedding and I hope these lesser options can save your relationship from landing you in Heartbreak Hotel. (I had to.)

  1. Go to Memphis for your honeymoon. Graceland is awesome. Sun Studios, awesome. The Stax Museum might be my favorite history museum in the world. Eat at Central BBQ. Go to Gus’s Fried Chicken.
  2. Make an Elvis song your first dance. I suggest “Hawaiian Wedding Song” if you want to go superfan on everyone,  “Crawfish” if you want to weird everyone out,” “One Night” if you want to rustle your father-in-law’s feathers, and “Love Me Tender” if you want to go classic.
  3. Get an Elvis impersonator-led wedding band. You’re welcome.
  4. End your vows by singing the chorus to “I want you I need you I love you.” Or, recite the monologue from “Are You Lonesome Tonight” but when you get to the part where he tells us how he’s been left (act 2,) tell us about how you proposed and will live happily ever after.
  5. Have someone sing “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” as you walk down the aisle, like me. This way you get Elvis in the building without upsetting your fiancée like you will with #4.

Ain’t The King for Nothing Playlist:





Dear Someone,

I met you after your show at The Basement in Columbus last year.  We talked about road trips. You told me your song “year of the dog” was about a taking a road trip with your friends when you were in college.  Anyway, me and my girl are planning on going through Austin on our way to California in August. Not sure how long we will be there. What should we do?


Easy Rider

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Dear Easy Rider,

I remember you and our discussion! God knows there were not a lot of you that night. Road trips are the best and you’ve made a good choice heading to Austin and not setting too strict of a schedule (although it will be really hot in August.) Every time I try to type out one of the famous Austin activities, my eyes roll so far back in my head that I can’t see the screen or finish typing the sentence. The best thing about this place is the friendly people so put your self in a position to meet them. Since you’ve made it all the way down to Texas, I’m going to suggest activities that might make you’ think this place is what it is not really anymore: weird, scummy and cheap.

  1. Buy a taco from a window.
  2. Don’t swim in a pool that we made out a creek. Go drink, smoke drugs, and deal with a bunch of dogs at the two cent version of the pool we made out a creek.
  3. Buy amazing BBQ from a food trailer.
  4. Play chicken shit bingo at Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon.
  5. Learn how to two-step from a local.
  6. Eat Jamaican food really late at night and meet all of Austin’s Jamaican population.
  7. Do karaoke until the sun comes up.

The rest of the stuff you can find on the internet or from all the nice people that you meet when you’re out and about.





Dear Someone,

Everyone I know likes Wilco or, at the very least, pretends to like Wilco. You could also substitute in Bon Iver, Tallest Man On Earth, Angel Olsen, Mountain Goats for Wilco in that last sentence. Is there something wrong me because I just don’t like this style of music? I’m forced to listen to it all the time. I’ve given it a chance.


Not a Wilco Fan


Dear Not a Wilco Fan,
No. Do not waste your life trying to or pretending to like something you don’t like. I could maybe argue with you that these are not the same styles of music (or that you just don’t like the acoustic guitar,) but do we need to put a fine point on the hate?

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