Who doesn’t love the King? Who wouldn’t love a place you could go, pop a shiny quarter in a slot and channel Elvis himself to answer questions, marry you or just provide advice with a “thank you very much”? I would argue no one in their right mind.
In an alley on the outskirts of downtown Portland, Oregon YOU can find the spirit of The King, or at least a creepy, robotic-voiced version trapped in a 1980s television set.
You’re welcomed to the 24-hour Church of Elvis by TV screens burnt-in deep with years of Commodore 64 graphics, fake flowers and a variety of other “Elvis” related artwork. Just below is a coin slot with buttons that offer instructions on how to operate the “church”.
We collected a few quarters from the car, and popped our money to get some wisdom from the Elvis Chapel. I wanted to renew our vows but we didn’t have enough quarters. At $25, getting married by Portland Elvis is much cheaper than the Vegas Elvis, and they offer a cheap, non-legal wedding for $5 a pop. What a deal! But, for our quarter, we did get to watch some wisdom off the craggy old TV.
In the past, each quarter got you a one-inch square original piece of art designed by the church’s founder and a live Portland Elvis actually sometimes sat in the installation and sang songs live, but today you must be satisfied with whatever it is you can understand from the creepy voice in which Elvis chooses to use to speak to you from beyond.
This 3rd incarnation of the art installation is located at 408 NW Couch Street is the brainchild of Stephanie “Stevie” G. Pierce who herself has a mysterious, and sort of ridiculous story. “Stevie” calls herself the “Artist to the Stars” and purportedly won a $45,000 damage award from Tri-Met, Portland’s public transportation authority after claiming she suffered mental damage after a police officer gave her a $15 fine for not paying a fare. Some say she used this money to start the church, but apparently, there’s not even any paperwork that the Church of Elvis exists.
But it does. It so does.
If you are in Portland, it is worth stopping by to see this unique art exhibit on the street, but we suggest having a few beers so you can enjoy it to its maximum benefit.