Pravda may have crossed the line on this one. Americans usually don't like what the Communist Party daily says about things, but this time it has had the temerity to criticize Elvis Presley. The newspaper opined that the "king of rock 'n' roll" was an overfed "monster" whose songs were mediocre and had been stolen from black American culture. The attack was part of an article on western, especially American, decadence.

"The fact that the singer was adored by so many Americans is a sad illustration of what Americans are," Pravda continued. "In the space of two years he became the idol of the public, and 20 years later the public turned him into a winded dog." Winded dog? The crowds at Graceland are going to want to speak sharply to someone at Pravda about this one.

Out and About

Alan Keyes, the assistant secretary of state who resigned over what he saw as racial snubs, will leave his post six weeks before he had planned to. "Given the controversy that surrounded my resignation, they asked me to leave earlier than scheduled, and I agreed because I couldn't be very effective," Keyes said yesterday. Keyes, who was the highest ranking black official at the State Department, is a close associate of former U.N. envoy Jeane Kirkpatrick and will join the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy group here ...

Silent-film star Buddy Rogers will be in town next month for a Library of Congress salute to the 60th anniversary of the Academy Awards. The library is organizing a reception at its Madison Building for a screening of the newly restored 1927 film "Wings," which won the first Best Picture Oscar. The 83-year-old Rogers starred in the film, which is about World War I fighter pilots. Library officials learned that the Smithsonian has a World War I biplane that was used in the movie and thought it would be fun to display the plane in the Madison Building lobby the night of the showing. The Smithsonian gave its permission, but when measurements were taken, the old plane was found to be 2 1/2 inches too large to fit through the doors, and the Office of the Architect of the Capitol said no to a request to remove some molding. Sometimes the best ideas end up that way ...

Rock superstar David Bowie, who is appearing at Capital Centre with his "Glass Spider Tour," has spent the weekend dropping in on fellow performers around town. On Saturday night he stopped by the Warner Theatre for British comedian Billy Connolly's performance, then with Connolly and much of Bowie's band, spent the remainder of the evening at Cagney's, a Dupont Circle nightspot. Sunday night, Bowie and fellow rocker Peter Frampton sat undetected in the audience at Blues Alley in Georgetown listening to legendary blues guitarist Albert King and singer Koko Taylor. King introduced Bowie at the end of the show, and the singer raced for the exit ahead of a rush of fans ...

Betty, the "rockapella" trio that has played several clubs in the Washington area, is featured in the "Lookout" section of People magazine, which focuses on up-and-coming performers. People says that Betty -- made up of twins Bitzi and Amy Ziff and Alyson Palmer -- may be one of Washington's "most striking musical contributions since it gave birth to John Philip Sousa" ...