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Elvis at 21 Exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

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at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Barbara Gray of famous "The Kiss" photograph at VMFA Jan. 8 for Elvis birthday party

Richmond, VA (December 8) - This winter, visitors are invited to Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) to view 56 dramatic photographs of Elvis Presley from 1956, when the performer was on the brink of international superstardom. Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer will be on display December 24, 2011 - March 18, 2012. The collection includes intimate images from Elvis' 1956 performances at the "Mosque" (now Landmark Theater) in Richmond, including The Kiss , just days before he recorded "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog." Elvis at 21 is the first national traveling show of Wertheimer's photographs, which have been described as the stuff of music legend.

Visitors will have the opportunity to join the VMFA in celebrating Elvis's birthday Sunday, January 8 from 1-3 p.m. Barbara Gray, the "Mystery Woman" in The Kiss, will be on hand to sign books and pose for photographs. On Friday, January 20 at 5:30 p.m., photographer Alfred Wertheimer will sign copies of the exhibition catalog before the 6:30 p.m. showing of "Elvis '56," a documentary capturing that magical pre-stardom year. A panel discussion follows the film. On the weekends, VMFA's Best Café will include peanut butter and banana panini, Elvis Blue Suede Chardonnay and specialty Elvis cocktails on the menu. Elvis books and souvenirs will be available in the VMFA gift shop. Exhibition tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65+, students with ID, and youth ages 7-17.

Guests can follow in The King's footsteps and stay at the five star, five diamond Jefferson Hotel, where Elvis stayed during his 1956 trip. The hotel is currently offering the Elvis at 21 package that includes a superior guestroom, two tickets to the exhibit, traditional Southern breakfast for two, breakfast gratuities, a bottle of Elvis Blue Suede Chardonnay, valet parking and complimentary transportation to and from the VMFA for $265 per night.

Be sure to visit http://www.visitrichmondva.com/Elvis for more information, to book the Elvis at 21 package and to view Prelude to a Kiss , a three-minute video about Elvis's 1956 trip to Richmond produced by Richmond Magazine and Richmond.com. Additionally, Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (RMCVB) will launch a Facebook contest December 27 at Facebook.com/VisitRichmondVA that will include a chance to win a trip to Richmond to see the exhibit and stay at the Jefferson.

About the Elvis at 21:Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer exhibit

Wertheimer was hired by RCA Victor in 1956 to shoot promotional images of Elvis, who had just been signed to record for the label. Wertheimer's images provide viewers today with a look at Elvis before he exploded onto the rock-and-roll scene. Wertheimer was given total access to Elvis on the road, backstage, in concert, in the recording studio and at home in Memphis. Shortly after Wertheimer had completed his assignment, "Colonel" Tom Parker, Elvis's manager, restricted contact with his star.

"Henri Cartier-Bresson was known for photographing what he called the 'decisive moment,' that moment when everything falls into place," says Wertheimer. "But I was more interested in the moments before or after the decisive moment."

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The Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (RMCVB), the official destination marketing and tourism organization for the Richmond Region, is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Region to meeting planners, tour operators and leisure travelers. RMCVB operates three Visitor Centers located at the Greater Richmond Convention Center downtown, the Richmond International Airport and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Hanover County.

More than 5.7 million people visit the Richmond Region annually, contributing more than $1.7 billion to the local economy. Tourism generates nearly 20,000 jobs in the Richmond Region. For more information, visit VisitRichmondVA.com.