One runs out of words to describe Liberace. No dictionary is big enough, no vocabulary is shiny enough. All you can do is stare at the rhinestones, feathers and mirrors until someone walks past, picks up your jaw and moves you along. But with the museum closed, we’ve sadly been denied this experience. Fortunately, there’s a new coffee-table book, Liberace Extravaganza!, by Connie Furr Soloman and Jan Jewett, landing on shelves this month to help satiate fans. The book’s more than 260 color photographs of costumes, including detail shots, deliver the full experience of the showman on a silver platter. And quite literally—an image of the late entertainer, posing in an outlandishly bedazzled cape and suit (think jeweled conch shell), is emblazoned across the shiny silver cover. How many times have we stood before these costumes in the rinky-dink museum off Tropicana with the last of the showman’s notoriously dwindling audience, grateful that this was in our town? Soon, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas and Steven Soderbergh will introduce Liberace to much younger audiences with HBO film Behind the Candelabra. The new fans will want to scour Google for every last image and tidbit of information about this blinged-out piano player from Wisconsin. We can only hope that the museum will have its doors open when they do. Until, then, grab a copy of Liberace Extravaganza!
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“Compared to my Ohio life, people are more positive here, more responsive to literary things.”
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