Monday, May 27, 2013

In Which I Discuss Liberace, War, And Yes, Even Religion. A Little Bit

So last night we watched the HBO movie Behind The Candelabra starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas and I have to say that it was pretty fabulous. For you young folks who did not grow up with Liberace, the movie may appear to be way-over-the-top. The clothes, the jewels, the chauffeured car driven onstage to deliver the maestro to his piano wearing a ten-foot fur train, his hair gleaming and frappeed, whipped into a lacquered froth, his face covered in make-up, his fingernails polished to a gemlike degree. Let me tell you though, the real, living Liberace would have put that to shame. The man made Elton John look drab, made Rupaul look positively butch.
And yet, to his dying (of AIDs) day, he insisted he was not gay.
He had to have had balls the size of Nebraska to make that claim while dressed like this:

Or while posing for album covers which looked like this:

And yet, he made the claim repeatedly. And women adored him. ADORED HIM! 

I remember once his show was on (and the man was a monster at the keyboard) and my mother said, "Do you think he' of them?"
"One of who?" I asked, knowing absolutely what she was saying.
"You know," she said. "The gays."

I cracked up.

Ah, different times. 

But I loved the movie and I thought that Douglas was fearless in it and Damon was fine too. The scenes where he cocaine-ranted made my stomach cramp and my skin crawl. And Rob Lowe- good god almighty! 

He looked like Michael Jackson, the end-years. Scary shit there. 

I tell you what. Growing up when I did was strange. Liberace was hot at the same time as the Stones were coming on big. Could Mick Jagger have worn eyeliner if not for Liberace? And hell, you have to give a nod to James Brown and his stage persona, too. And really- wasn't it all about sex? Confused and confusing sex, perhaps, but still. Throw in the Viet Nam war which was being broadcast into our homes via TV every fucking night of the week and it's no wonder my generation was a little...uh, apt to want to move to the country and smoke a lot of pot.

Ooh boy.

Well, it's really too early to be all analytic and shit. It's Memorial Day so we're supposed to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers who died protecting my freedoms but I have a hard time doing that. To me, it's a little like paying tribute to Jesus, who supposedly died for my sins. I didn't ask those poor souls to go fight in wars and I wish they hadn't. I didn't ask Jesus to get nailed to a cross and I would rather that have not happened either. If, in fact, it really did. Soldiers surely and in fact did (and do, probably right this very second) die in horrible wars and if none of them accepted their governments' mandates to fight, wars wouldn't happen. Of course, that is not how it works and I'm an idiot for even suggesting it. An unpatriotic idiot and as I have said many times before, I did not get the patriotism gene any more than I got the religious gene and I'm not going to pretend I did. We are who we are. 

Liberace was certainly who he was although at the time, he was afraid to admit it in words to the world, even as he lived a screamingly loud life proclaiming exactly who he was. And who seemed, in a strange and baffling way, to be incredibly proud of who he was. 

It's a crazy world. Watch that movie if you get a chance. 

I think my mission today is to dig up potatoes and so I shall. 

Good morning from Lloyd.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Our world was strange, but what's even stranger (to me) is today's world-- now that we talk about everything and photograph private moments for public view and sink into our couches for hours of reality TV, we tolerate our differences even less even though we are not as hidden. All the openness has had a weird polarizing effect.
    As for Liberace, we loved him in my house, too. Kind of in the same way we love Phyllis Diller. It wasn't okay to BE like either of them (gay, loud-mouthed and wild), but we sure turned on the TV when they were on. Go figure.

  2. And glad you're back from the island. Yes, it's a weird ole day, honoring all the dead from pointless wars. And the remaining maimed, disturbed, not right in the head former soldiers...reminds me of my dad falling asleep in front of old B and W war movies.

    Liberace-jaw dropping kind of shenanigans. He wasn't gay at all, just *artistic* like my high school art teacher.

    XXX Beth

  3. Ah Ms Moon! You are in rare form today. "Balls the size of Nebraska" I'm still chuckling.

    I hope your day continues to float on a smooth and gentle, slightly goofy breeze.
    xo m

  4. I was kind of horrified by Liberace's outfits and felt the same about Elvis in the later years. Too much--I much prefer the Neil Young kind of slouchy fedora and jeans and flannel shirts.

    As for wars, I like the James Lee Burke quote:
    We decry violence all the time in this country, but look at our history. We were born in a violent revolution, and we've been in wars ever since. We're not a pacific people.

  5. There's nothing like reading a Memorial Day post that includes Liberace.

  6. Well said, Ms. Moon. Though we are of different generations, I remember seeing Liberace on television and thinking he was cool because he was so "out there."

  7. Just to let you know, both you and Elizabeth inspired me to post today. Take a look if you are so inclined.

  8. Denise- I don't know. I don't know if any time is actually weirder than any other. They differ but damn, humans are just odd.

    Beth Coyote- He may, in fact, have been the most "artistic" man who ever lived. Ha!

    Ms. Fleur- Well, I dug a lot of potatoes and it exhausted me so not so much floating around here today but it is nice and cool-ish.

    Syd- Oh god. You are right. Elvis borrowed much from Liberace. They may have had the same stylist. I do like that James Burke quote. Thank you.

    Elizabeth- Well. You know.

    e- I don't know that I thought he was cool. He frankly sort of weirded me out. But he was a pretty good piano player.
    Thanks for sending me to your blog.

  9. Yes, yes, I love you Ms. Moon. In school it was drilled into my head how evil Vietnam protesters were for criticizing the soldiers that up until recently I would repeat that all back to my husband every time he said something unpatriotic along these lines that you have laid down here. But then I came around. Anyway. BALLS LIKE NEBRASKA what better sentence could I have possibly read, today?

  10. Ms. Vesuvius- I wanted to point out that Liberace probably had bigger balls than John Wayne but what in hell would that mean and why should we care? I don't know. But still. I think it's true.

  11. It's interesting that movie has already aired in the states. It doesn't come out here until June 9, and then it will be in the theaters! I am DYING to see it. It seems completely mystifying now that anyone would even question Liberace's sexuality, but those were more innocent times, weren't they?


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