Friday, February 1, 2008

February Take It Further

I love this month's Take It Further challenge! It's really got the memories flowing. I had all sorts of ideas from 1950's cars with fins to Roy Rogers to rick-rack (I had a dress with a full skirt and rows of rick-rack that I loved and wore to bits!). I was really surprised that many of my ideas were related to early television, because television wasn't all that much a part of our lives back then. I think perhaps it's the visual aspect.

It hit me very quickly what my project would be: I remember Liberace! Oh, as a child I sooo hated him. When he came on TV, I had to go to bed for a nap. I had this feeling that if he was gone, naptime would go, too! Whatever you say about him, in the U.S. he was very visible. (as he said, he didn't dress like he did in order to be overlooked!) In the 50s he was somewhat revered, I think as a bit of glitz after the war. In the 60s he became a joke and in the 70s rather pathetic. In the 80s I remember thinking more positively about him--simply because he was who he was and he stuck to it no matter what. He did put on a real show and his fans adored him (still do). And he seemed dedicated to them.

I also think he's a sign of my childhood and the post-war years of glossing over and hiding reality. Every family was perfect, all mothers wore high heels and pearls to clean, all soldiers integrated perfectly back into society, and Liberace wasn't gay.
He was glitz and glamor and the very definition of "bling."
Here are some Liberace links I found. I rather suspect he was a totally American phenomenon.

Liberace is rather icongraphic: white and gold and crystal (he used to wear a white tux in his early TV shows, long white fur coats later on) . He always had a candelabra on his piano, which in later years was covered in mirrors. He wore lots of gaudy rings. And he always played a grand piano.
My basic design will be based on the curves of a grand piano. I think I will piece it, perhaps with a piping between the seams. White fabrics, of course. Or, perhaps some gold. I must have a five-branched candelabra. I'm not quite sure how I'll represent that. Lots of beads: clear, gold, silver and sparkly. Shisha mirrors come to mind, too. I can't wait to get started. The first step will be a trip to the basement boxes to see what I can dredge up.


terryb said...

Unlike you, apparently, I never hated Librace (no enforced naptime, I guess). I remember him performing on the variety shows of the 50s and 60s. I'm not sure "gay" was ever mentioned by my mother or grandmother (actually I'm pretty sure it wasn't). I think he was not given credit for being the entertainer that he was. The "bling" probably overshadowed his talent. It wasn't until much later, after I moved to Wisconsin, that I learned he was from Milwaukee. Is there a museum in his honor--it rings a bell.

Lelia said...

I was very fond of him. I was in the 3rd row of one of his shows. I remember his PINK cape. It was really something, pink fur & the tie had pink puff balls on the ends of each tie, and there was some sort of joke about the pink balls -- and another cape, perhaps white fur on one side and crystal on the inside - or rhinestones. It was beautiful. He was quite a showman & seemed to enjoy himself. Didn't he start out being Mr. Busterkeys, orsomething like that? I saw him perform live, only once, and never forgot it! Enjoy the challenge : )

Wawanna said...

You will come up with something just perfect for the challange. Can't wait to see what it will be, perhaps full of glitz and bling and very glamorous. It will be fun.

cindy said...

I didn't like him either when I was a child, but thought better of him later. Can't wait to see how you execute this idea. I think it's great.

Meg in Albuquerque said...

I remember him, but not with any kind of emotion, he was just someone strange that I would see on TV once in a while. Now Guy Lombardo - we heard him all the time, of course his show was just down at the beach a few miles away. I like you spin on the piano, its going to be fun to watch it all come together.