enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Monday, May 10, 2010

The King of Bling Celebrates 31 years...

For 31 years the Liberace Museum an icon of the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas has stood the test of time. Through the ebb and flow of Las Vegas History this monument to one of the most under appreciated entertainment icons has showcased one of the most remarkable costume collections in the world; aside of all the other artifacts that the museum houses. When you mention museum and Las Vegas in the same sentence people automatically assume Liberace. This has been the staying power of a name that epitomizes showmanship and entertainment respectively.

Liberace's life was a classic American Rags to Riches story. Born of modest means in West Alice, Wisconsin on May 16, 1919 he was the son of Salvatore and Francis Liberace. Originally named Walter Valentino Liberace he later dropped the first two names in favor of his more impacting last name. Though early on his name was mispronounced, "Libor-Race," eventually his fans and media got it right.

As the former Collections Manager/ Curator of the Liberace Museum I will state this unequivocally that Elvis had nothing on Lee (Liberace's nickname). Lee's talents as a trained concert pianist metamorphosized into a showman that was covered in works-of-art to please his fans beyond imagination. With statements like "see what you get when you practice," while showing off his rings to children or his capes dripping in rhinestones Liberace was able to connect with his fans far beyond any entertainer had done before or even today. Liberace loved his fans and in turn they adored him. They sent him tons of gifts in appreciation and since he never threw anything away his solution was simple, just buy another house to fill up with stuff.

Though I could go on writing about Liberace for days and my memorable three years (2000-2003) at the Rhinestone Ritz I will save that for my book.

Today the Liberace Museum celebrates 31 years of history as a mainstay of the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas. With a week long series of events planned the museum invites the community to celebrate the life of Liberace. If you have not made it to the Liberace Museum you are truly missing out on what Las Vegas was like many years ago. There is no museum that represents Las Vegas Entertainment better than this one.

For more information about the Liberace Foundation and Museum please visit their site at http://www.liberace.org/

Tell Lee Paco sent you; I am sure he is still hanging out...

"As its emblem, I cite my favorite objet in his collection - it's keystone in fact - the secret heart and sacred ark of Las Vegas itself: "The Worlds Largest Rhinestone..."
- Dave Hickey, Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy 1997

Nevada Public Radio
For more information on the Cultural Arts in Las Vegas please visit Nevada Public Radio. NPR has detailed listings of many cultural and civic events hosted by area non-profits click on this link http://www.knpr.org/common/psa/listNEW.cfm and if you are planning an event in the next few months, be sure to get your free listing in Nevada Public Radio's Desert Companion magazine by submitting the information here at http://www.knpr.org/culture/eventaddnew.cfm

Have You donated to KNPR? Pledge Now at http://www.knpr.org/index.cfm

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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