If you’re planning a visit to Las Vegas in the coming six weeks, consider the words of the late, great sultan of sequins, Liberace: “Why don’t I just step out and slip into something more spectacular?”.
Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Wonderful is a full-circle moment for the Wisconsin-born virtuoso, and, indeed, for modern-day Las Vegas. The exhibit, which opened last night (November 26) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas, brings some of The Glitterman’s most exuberant show pieces to the Strip.
In a year in which DOMA was defeated, and Michael Douglas and Matt Damon gave moving performances as Lee and his lover Scott Thorson in Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, what a neat fit the Cosmopolitan’s ‘Pop-Up Chapel’ is to house the exhibit.
Curated by Dr. Deirdre Clemente, fashion historian and assistant professor at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, in collaboration with the hotel and the Liberace Foundation, the show celebrates the pianist’s life-long commitment to luxury and excess.
Coding flamboyance for future generations of performance artists, such as Elton John, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Lady Gaga, Liberace’s deliciously-distracting costumes and elaborate staging were as much of the attraction of his act as his pop-baroque music and infectious personality.
This spectacular installation includes pieces and looks created by some of Lee’s costume collaborators, Frank Acuna, Michael Travis, Anna Nateece and Fabrizio Pasquale, during a career spanning four decades – the patriotic red, white and blue hot-pants suit, the gilded Hapsburg costume, the blue and gold Rococo suit and that infamous virgin fox fur-trimmed Christmas cape.
No Liberace show would be complete without those extra touches – an etched-mirror embellished Rolls Royce, a rhinestone-encrusted Baldwin grand piano, and, of course, a pair of matching, gold-tone candelabra.
The epitome of all that Las Vegas has to offer – hedonism, extravagance and all that glitters – Liberace is an icon of this modern city which goes from strength to strength by embracing what it is at its core, a fantastically gaudy distraction from reality.
As the “one-man Disneyland” makes his posthumous return to the Strip, a less prejudicial society can appreciate him for who he really was – a gay entertainer who expressed himself through his work – with a wink and more than a touch of sparkle.
Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Wonderful runs through January 2, 2014 3pm to 10pm at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas, NV.Powered by Sidelines