4/100 Liberace

I know that Liberace was crazy. I have yet to see the Behind The Candelabra TV movie, because it will either be so wonderful that my head explodes or so awful that I cry. I love Liberace because he slid down the slippery slope of camp from a single gold lamé jacket to sequin capes with matching cars. I love glitter, I love sequins, and I love sparkle. So of course I love Liberace.

I grew up the child of one straight set of parents and one gay. My biological dad came out of the closet when I was just one year old. In the 80’s my dad worked for various community AIDS organizations. I met many amazing people because of this, and was well educated about the disease at a very young age.

When I was 11 the NAMES project AIDS memorial quilt came through our town. Through my dad’s organization I had the opportunity to volunteer at the event and spend a lot of time looking at each and every panel. The ones for Liberace always caught my eye. They were so bold and garish, usually with some sort of sparkle involved. I had just a peripheral knowledge of who this Liberace was, but for as many panels as people devoted to him, I knew he had to be something special.

I was lucky enough to visit the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas on many occasions. It was a place where they both reveled in and tried to tone down Liberace’s camp. The museum never even discussed his sexuality or the fact that he had his lover get plastic surgery to look just like him (my number one favorite fact about Liberace). They wanted you to glory in the magnificence of his costumes, but didn’t want to address the rest of his life.I think it was that schizophrenic attitude that probably caused the museum to go under just a few years ago. I LOVED visiting though. I was delighted to be able to see Liberace’s costumes, his cars, and shoes from his performances. I definitely got a pink feeling all over when I was there marveling at all of the sparkle.

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