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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Elvis Blows Out the Cybercandles

A friend of mine reported that he celebrated Elvis Presley's birthday this week by dining on food cooked with the King's kitchen appliances at the U.S. Embassy cafeteria in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Apparently Elvis donated one of his kitchens to his old army unit in Germany. When this unit was recently disbanded, Russian media reported, the U.S. government sent the kitchen on to Kazakhstan, where unsuspecting diplomats now get a taste of rock and roll history with every plate of lasagna.


If you can't make it to Almaty or the produkty store outside of Chelyabinsk where Elvis and cosmonaut Yury Gagarin have been reported to have hung out together, you can still remember the King and his music on the Internet.


The most up-to-date and comprehensive, albeit unofficial, Elvis homepage with more than you ever wanted to know about the King can be found at http://sunsite.unc.edu/elvis/ elvishom.html. It includes a particularly good set of links, including record companies that offer downloadable bits of Elvis tunes. The administrator of this server treats it with love, offering birthday wishes Jan. 8 and updates almost daily.


This is a stark contrast to the "official authorized" Elvis and Graceland website maintained by Elvis Presley Enterprises at http://www.elvis-presley.com Not only is the site poorly designed and overloaded with big graphics that take forever to download, the information is largely sanitized and dull. Their "links" section only contains references to tangentially-related resources such as the Memphis, Tennessee, home page, as if to deny the reality that thousands of Elvis fans around the world have created various web tributes to the King. At one point these custodians of the Presley estate even sent a terse "cease and desist" letter to the creator of an unofficial Elvis home page who had apparently improperly used some copyrighted sound clips and photographs of Graceland.


If you are looking to pay homage to Elvis interactively, you can enjoy some virtual birthday cake and partake in one of the online forums listed by the ElvisNet fanclub at http://users.aol.com/elvisnet/index.html. If you have sideburns and are in search of a job having failed your audition for "Eugene Onegin," you should see the National Association of Elvis Impersonators at http://members.aol.com/nudeelvis/index.html.


I'm actually not a big fan of Elvis myself, so it's lucky that the Internet offers a rich array of other musical material. The Internet search service "Yahoo!" (http://www.yahoo.com) and MTV (http://www.mtv.com) are developing a "best of" Internet music listing at http://www.unfURLed.com. The actual listing won't be posted until later this month, but right now you can vote for your favorite music home pages.


A great recent addition was the appearance of Rolling Stone magazine online at http://www.rollingstone.com. In addition to regular magazine contents this site offers excellent annotated links to other musical resources on the Internet, including online record stores which deliver worldwide.


So, if you're tired of Bulgarian pirate disks from the rynok here in Moscow, you can pull out your credit card and visit http://www.cdnow.com or http://www.cduniverse.com. Some sites, such as http://emusic.com offer free downloadable sound samples, while others are devoted to specific genres such as "Jazz On-Line" at http://www.jazzonln.com. Finally, bargain hunters can test a nifty utility at http://bf.cstar.ac.com/bf/ that will automatically search as many as 10 online record stores for your selection and return comparative price and availability information.


Classical music lovers would be well advised to begin at http://www.classical.net, which contains a formidable array of documents and articles about music history but is, once again, most valuable for its annotated links to other classical music resources. The Classical Music Archive at http://www.prs.net offers over 3,200 uncopyrighted sound files for downloading, and provides an opportunity for you to submit recordings (but not original compositions) of your own.


Russian classics on the Web are represented by the Bolshoi Theater at http://www.bolshoi-theatre.com, where you can find the season's repertoire as well as photos and texts about the theater's history.


Music in general is still sparsely represented on the Russian web, but a few sites have started to appear. You might imagine that you have hit the jackpot when you discover a functioning web address at http://www.elvis.ru, but it turns out that "ElvisPlus" is simply a computer and Internet services company in Zelenograd.


The Sinetz record company has developed a home page at http://www.infoart.ru/art/company/sinetz/index.htm, but while it contains something akin to a catalog it seems unlikely that online ordering will be available soon.


And, proving that you don't have to be young to be hip, the first individual rock group website that I've seen in Russia was created by Akvarium at http://www.aquarium.ru.You can find a variety of cultural magazines and reviews at http://www.enjoy.ru, including the nightlife guide "Ne Spat" (which translates as "Don't Sleep"), "HiFi & Music" magazine, and a selection of music reviews covering Blues, Classical, Rockabilly and "Crazy-50s." If you're tired of reading about music and listening to recordings through your computer, these forums may be just what the doctor ordered. Pick a concert that sounds good, and I'll see you there for a live performance. Only wouldn't it be nice if you could order tickets online without traipsing through the slush?





Bill Fick welcomes any tips on interesting websites or questions concerning the Internet for response in future editions of this column. Fick is co-founder of Samovar Internet Consulting, LLC. Web: http://www.samovar.ru e-mail: bill@samovar.ru fax: 233-2261.