joy magnetism: Will the real Wladziu Valentino Liberace please stand up? Please stand up.




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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Will the real Wladziu Valentino Liberace please stand up? Please stand up.

Magnet #222 - Liberace Museum

Awww, yeah. The heights of cheesiness, baby!

Actually, I know Liberace was this bigger than life guy, and toward the end he was more of a caricature of himself. But this funkily-designed museum off the beaten path in Vegas gave me a different perspective on the real Liberace.

Behind the candelabra, funny outfits and razzledazzle jewelry was a musical genius. No, I swear!

He came from a musical family (heh, band geeks would get this, but his dad played with Sousa. Sousa!), and started playing at four years old. I dimly recall there being a giant ring at the museum - there was some story about how he deliberately practiced with big, fat heavy rings, in order to strengthen his fingers. I mean the guy played to capacity crowds the world over, television shows and accolades left and right. Dudes, he even has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (ok, ok, that's twice the maintenance his estate has to do)

Anyway, as a child growing up in the 80s, I just remember the exaggerated version of Liberace. Apparently, that whole ring thing worked out for him, since everyone between the Hiltons and the Queen Mum contributed to his collection of big-ass rings. The guy wore outfits with monkey fur, for goodness sake.

But, like I said, he started out and was a serious musician...and a serious superstar. No. Really, just ask any of the many little old ladies who visit this museum - every day. They don't play, man, they luuuuurve that guy.
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2 comments:

GoldenGait said...

When my musical genius sister first started playing the piano, my mother decided to rent one for her to practice on and put it in the living room. A white piano was the cheapest per month, so she got that one. My dad immediately said he'd fork over the extra $15/month so he wouldn't "have to have that Liberace instrument in my house!" Mom kept the white one (to bother him), but I didn't really get the joke for years... Now I think the whole thing's hysterical. :-)

joy said...

Hahaha - that's a great story!

When I first started playing, and we hadn't yet bought our piano (from Mr. Kluttz down at Kluttz Pianos in Rockwell, NC), I used to have to practice on the kitchen table.

It couldn't have been for more than a week or two, but man, did my piano teacher, Mrs. Pinnix, just loooved to tell that story. Heh.