As we begin our second year, I am happy to announce that there are many exciting things coming up soon. There will more interviews, bios, photos spreads, flyers, recaps of shows, and articles in the months to come. We will continue with Trivia Tuesday (on occasion aka Whacky Wednesday and Fact Friday), Photo Feature, and big event slideshows. And there is a new contest coming up very soon that will offer you a chance to win free tickets!
Thank you, everyone, for liking, following, and sharing SIDEBURNS Magazine, and making our first year so fantastic. You are totally awesome!
Recapping the Inception of SIDEBURNS Magazine
It has been a wonderful year since SIDEBURNS Magazine was launched on September 10th, 2017. The experience of editing and running my own online magazine has been an amazing journey.
I had no aspirations to become an editor of a magazine. I was a writer looking for somewhere to publish my writing. The Hamilton Spectator editor expressed interest in my writing, but said my 5000 word article about my experiences in the ETA world was too long for any newspaper to consider. What I had to say could not be edited to fit an arbitrary space, so I needed to find a different method of publishing. I discussed the possibilities with my three daughters. Lori suggested that I start a blog where I could post my writing. It sounded interesting, but my computer knowledge was limited at the time and I would need a lot of help getting started. I questioned whether it was something I could really do.
On a Friday, September 9th, 2017 at one of the Flamboro Casino shows where ETA Matt Cage was performing and ETA Brent Freeman was in charge of sound, I asked Brent if he would have a look at my article and give me his honest opinion. I expected Brent to give a consolatory glance at my writing, but he surprised me by taking his entire break to read several pages. It was encouraging when he laughed at parts, and turned me and said, “That is so true!” I told him that I was thinking of starting an ETA inspired blog, and his response made me think that Lori’s suggestion had potential.
The next day, I met with my second daughter, Lisa, who explained a lot about the process of how things get sent around in social media. She used a saltshaker, a pad of paper, and a pencil to lay out a demonstration of how the process works. She helped immensely with her support and help in explaining how I might create a website that could reach out to everyone in the world of ETAs. She is a big thinker, and I left her house feeling high on her enthusiasm.
On Sunday, September 10th, 2017, I met with Lori, who is so talented when it comes to the artistic aspects of a computer, to discuss how to set up what intially was going to be just a blog. We started at 10 am searching for a suitable provider, and when we came to Squarespace, we knew we found a good match. Over the course of the day, the idea of a blog somehow grew into a magazine. Respecting copyright laws, we had to choose a name carefully. We started jotting down what images came to mind when we thought of Elvis Presley, and “sideburns” stood out.
Twelve hours later, and with the help, input, and support of Lori, Lisa and Heather, my youngest daughter who acts as a consultant along with Lisa, SIDEBURNS: The Ultimate ETA Fan Magazine was created. We encouraged followers to engage in “A Little More Conversation”. The first cover photo we used was one I had taken of ETA Steve Michaels. I wanted to use that particular photo for two reasons: It is rather nondescript. The facial features are not entirely clear and it could represent any ETA. It was an important moment in Steve’s performance when he honoured Elvis Presley by kneeling and bowing his head. Secondly, Steve Michaels was the first ETA I met, and along with ETAs Matt Cage and Gordon Hendricks, was one of the reasons why I wrote the article, “Keeping His Memory Alive”.
The first few weeks of SIDEBURNS were slow going. It was not until I posted my interview with ETA Brent Freeman that things started to move ahead. I am forever grateful for Brent for agreeing to be interviewed. “I have nothing to do this morning, so let’s do it,” was Brent’s response to my request. I still chuckle when I think of him saying, “These questions are really hard!” Yes, indeed, they were. I didn’t want a run of the mill interview. I wanted to know the person behind the performance. And Brent gave me wonderful answers. Since that first interview, I have had the privilege of interviewing ETAs from around the world, and promoting young ETAs by posting their bios. And I continue to ask “hard” questions…lol.
Lori-Anne, who is SIDEBURNS’ photographer and web manager, and I went to our first festival in October last year. The Flaming Star Elvis Festival was an amazing competition and festival. It was a cornucopia of talent and experiences. I recognized a few ETAs from the wonderful ETA shows that Sandra Gold booked at Flamboro and Mohawk Casinos. We also met new ETAs whom we thoroughly enjoyed seeing throughout the competition, during their performances, and later at the open mic wrap-up party. Sue Harris and Pam Pettit who work tirelessly to ensure the success of the Flaming Star Festival each year, and Sandra Gold, who is an extraordinary promoter and business woman, were the first three non ETAs that I posted, and I am grateful to each of them for their contribution. They inspired me to interview and post others who, while not ETAs themselves, work in some meaningful way to make the ETA world go around.
The list of people whom I would like to thank, in addition to those mentioned above, would be pages long. The ETAs I have met this past year have been outstanding. Pros and non-pros alike, their dedication in paying a true tribute to Elvis Presley warms the hearts of everyone who comes to see them perform. They have been gracious and kind and letting us take and post their photos, and in answering my questions with candid honesty. A big, big thank you to all the fans who follow SIDEBURNS Magazine. Their comments are much appreciated, and I value their friendship beyond words. Thank you to Elvis Presley, who has given meaning to the last chapter of my life in ways that I could not have possibly imagined. And thank you to my family for their support, help, and love. They mean the world to me.