Initiative promoted by the local barber and fan, Aníbal Simão, takes place during today's afternoon. - Milene Marques.
The life and legacy of Elvis Presley is celebrated today in Oliveira de Azeméis, in a social lunch that will gather 130 fans of the king of rock'n'roll and musicians. The main promoter is the local barber, Aníbal Simão.
At 63 years old, it is the barber Aníbal Simão, more well known as the Elvis from Oliveira, who will be the host of the afternoon meeting, for which he has mobilized great part of his customers.
"Everything started as a joke, but it's the first time that so many people gathers to celebrate Elvis in Portugal," rejoices Aníbal Simão, who is already thinking abou the next event in a bigger location. Everything started when, around 2 months ago, he met the artist Francisco Peças, through the president of the Portuguese fan club, "Elvis 100%", that the idea for this "inedit meeting" in Oliveira de Azeméis started to take shape.
The motto was for the artist to go and visit the barbershop owned by Aníbal Simão, at Dr. Salvador Tavares Machado street and that, 4 years ago, adopted the name "Elvis Museum". "Museum" by suggestion of many customers, according to the barber. "To me is more like an sancturay," he adds. "Elvis gives me the will to live," underlines Aníbal, who would lose his father on the same date the "King" was gone.
Throughout the years, he kept on exposing everything that he collected regarding Elvis Presley (1935-1977), from albums, books, stamps, coins, t-shirts, bibelots and china to photos and portraits. He even had an altar made for him, having on the wall behind it an official frame of the singer of "Jailhouse Rock", with an autograph, a small hair lock and a piece of the towel he wore at the barber. Beside it, on the LCD next to the sofa, concerts and movies of the north-American musician and actor are played endlessly. "I wish I had been his barber," the rockabilly fan confesses, showing off his long and thick sideburns and hair pulled back, a style he has adopted as a kid.
It was with "Love Me Tender" that this love story for Elvis began. He was 12 years old when he heard him for the first ime on the radio and he never forgot that "powerful voice", that he thought "belonged to a black man". Later on he found out he as a white man, when he bought a book on the singer in a tabacco shop in O'Porto. Therefore, with 15 escudos (old Portuguese currency), he started his collection.
The faithful customers of Aníbal already know all the stories, inclusively his travels in 2002 through Graceland, the mansion-museum of Elvis in Memphis (USA), where he would like to return this year.
The customers like the way the barber cuts their hair and the way he shaves and also the environment of his place. "While in the other barbershops there's monotony, here there is joy," Álvaro Correia says. "He just talks about Elvis. He has given us the bug," another old customer admits, Belmiro Marques, who will attend the aficionados meeting.
Simão who, together with the fan club "Elvis 100%" is promoting the meeting. Francisco Peças pays tribute to Elvis since 2008 and he has won the TV competition "I Wanna be Elvis". As for the musician António Carlos Coimbra, he won the prize of "Best Appearance" at the Elvis Fest in 2001, in Las Vegas. There will be a moment for a karaoke animated by the barber's daughter, who sings and has inherited from the fanatism of her father the name of Lisa Maria (as the Presley's daughter).