Artbeat

Rock 'n' roll officially turns 50 on July 5. That is the day, half a century ago, when Elvis Presley recorded his first single for Sun Records, "That's All Right Mama." Needless to say, the event will be celebrated worldwide, and not just among musicians. Graceland's official artist, Joe Petruccio, has made his own contribution with a series of portraits that follow the King from his early days as a Memphis rockabilly man to his final days as a jumpsuit-wearing lounge act in Las Vegas. But though Presley has maintained the title of rock 'n' roll's musical monarch, any exhibit celebrating the genre's 50th anniversary would be remiss to exclude the many bands that took Presley's music to the next level. So in addition to the many Petruccio paintings and Graceland archival photos shown in "50 Years of Rock 'n' Roll" at American Royal Arts, there's a separate Beatles photo and cartoon exhibit, as well as about 50 miscellaneous photos from the Hulton Getty archive. The photos offer a candid glimpse of what rock stars look like when they're not posing for album covers. But they're not the same old pics we've seen a million times. These shots were snapped with a little less planning on the part of the subjects, which accounts for the random drug paraphernalia left in plain view, as well as the unusual assortment of stars in some of the pictures (e.q., a young Eric Clapton with the Stones' late Brian Jones, the Who's Roger Daltrey, plus John, Yoko, and Julian Lennon). All the artwork is for sale. So if you really dig it, dig into your pocket. (Through July 31 at American Royal Arts, 808A E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-767-0117.) -- Jason Budjinski

 
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