Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 18

Curious GEORGIA

By Pamela A. Keene

I

KELLY LUDWIG

t may sound strange, but you can view legendary musician Elvis Presley's wart at the
Everything Elvis Museum in Cornelia. Joni
Mabe, who's known as the Elvis Babe, operates the
museum, which is filled with Elvis-related art and
memorabilia, including its most unique artifact.
"Really, it's the wart that a doctor removed from
his right wrist in Memphis in 1958," says Mabe, who
opened the museum in 1999. "At first I thought it was
a joke, but I did some research, plus a friend of mine
in Memphis told me about it, too."
Mabe was a sophomore in college in 1977 when
Elvis died; she started creating Elvis art right after
his death.
As a graduate student studying fine art at the
University of Georgia in Athens in 1983, she chose
"A Tribute to Elvis" as her thesis show.
"From a plaster bust and original art to lithographs decorated with sequins, glitter and rhine-

Museum operator Joni Mabe models an Elvis-themed
outfit. The Everything Elvis Museum features more than
30,000 artifacts associated with the late singer.

18

Georgia Magazine

September 2020

stones, it highlighted everything Elvis and showed the
wide range of my work," she
says. "Some of these are in
the museum, but they're also
on display in other museums
and private collections."
Four of her works are in
the permanent collection of
Atlanta's Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, including "The Official Elvis Prayer
Rug" and "Jailhouse Rock," a
textile color lithograph creation of black velvet, sequins,
Joni Mabe, who operates the Everything Elvis
glitter, bric-a-brac and lace.
Museum, creates Elvis-themed artwork that
From 1983 to 1996, Mabe
mixes photos, painting, sequins and glitter.
traveled around North AmeriThis one pays tribute to his Army years.
ca and Europe to acquire Elvis
items. She also purchased
items on eBay. When she returned home to Cornelia, she opened the museum on the top floor of the Loudermilk Boarding House.
The house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places,
belonged to her great-grandparents. The downstairs and a second-floor
bedroom showcase the history of Cornelia. Five rooms upstairs and the
wide hallway are filled, floor to ceiling, with more than 30,000 pieces of
Elvis memorabilia, including paintings, posters, figurines, books, costumes
and photographs.
She says people who visit from around the world sometimes donate
their own Elvis memorabilia to her.
"They just want to make sure that what they have doesn't get lost or
forgotten," Mabe says. "And they just want to share it with other Elvis fans
who visit the museum."
Each August for the last 16 years, Mabe has produced the Big E Fest
in Northeast Georgia. The event brings together fans, Elvis tribute artists
and generations of people who remember the King of Rock 'n' Roll and his
music. The festival outgrew its original location on the front porch of the
Loudermilk Boarding House and now is held at the Rabun County Civic
Center. Because of COVID-19, it was canceled this year.
"There's plenty more to see at Everything Elvis than [just] Elvis' wart,
but it seems to be a big draw," Mabe says. "It may sound weird, but I've had
people come by and ask if they can have a little piece of it to clone Elvis. Of
course, I say 'No.' That's just not right."
Pamela A. Keene is a freelance writer who lives in Flowery Branch.
Everything Elvis Museum, Loudermilk Boarding House, 271 Foreacre St.,
Cornelia. (706) 778-2001. bit.ly/corneliamuseum.

JONI MABE

Cornelia museum is a quirky
tribute to Elvis Presley


http://www.bit.ly/corneliamuseum

Georgia Magazine - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - September 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 8
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 9
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 10
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 11
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 12
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Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 14
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 15
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 16
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 17
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 18
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Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 20
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Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 24
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 25
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 26
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 27
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 28
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 29
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Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 42
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover4
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