This "deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love" rose to stardom playing "classical music without the boring parts" and didn't need to stay in the closet because he wore its entire contents. How could he become an emblem of Middle American family entertainment? The United States of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s was undergoing enormous social change –– the Civil Rights Movement, the Summer of Love, Women’s Lib, the Stonewall Riots, Gay Liberation, and the beginning of the AIDS movement –– and Liberace was an entertainer who appealed to precisely those parts of the country who sought to resist those changes. Hated by classical music critics, he was beloved by audiences precisely because of the openness of his secret and the way he performed a kind of minstrel act that nevertheless won him fame, riches, and glory.
Gabler, Neal. “Robert Harrison’s Scandalous Confidential Magazine.” Vanity Fair
, April 2003. https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2003/04/robert-harrison-confidential-magazine
Liberace Music Video & Entrance 1981
, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dioRwB4RvrQ
O’Connor, Pauline. “Mapping the Many Razzle-Dazzle Homes of Liberace.” Curbed LA
, May 24, 2013. https://la.curbed.com/maps/mapping-the-many-razzledazzle-homes-of-liberace
Pyron, Darden Asbury. Liberace: An American Boy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.
Thorson, Scott. Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace. Head of Zeus, 2013.
Our intro music is Arpeggia Colorix by Yann Terrien, downloaded from WFMU's Free Music Archive and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Our outro music is by DJ Michaeloswell Graphicsdesigner.