Tag Archives: Liberace

Musical camp


mein herr

There are specific musical gestures with which listeners can identify in camp ways, or use to explain the presence of camp. Even if these are not inherently camp, they may invite a camp interpretation of the text by a performer or a camp reading by a listener.

Useful examples of musical camp include Liberace’s performance of Čajkovskij’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Liza Minnelli’s performance of “Auf wiedersehen mein Herr” in the film Cabaret.

This according to “Notes on musical camp” by Freya Jarman-Ivens, an essay included in The Ashgate research companion to popular musicology (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009) pp. 189–203.

Thanks to Improbable Research for bringing this article to our attention! Above, Ms. Minnelli in action; below, Liberace in 1969.

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Filed under Curiosities, Humor, Popular music, Romantic era

Liberace’s taste

Władziu Valentino Liberace’s Las Vegas home represented the democratization of aristocracy, a do-it-yourself coronation, the people’s palace. It is the apotheosis of décor as persona and persona as décor.

The Moroccan Room (above, click to enlarge) is a tile-and-glass atrium with Tivoli lights made from a sundeck that Liberace had always found either too hot or too cold. The large convex sofa in flame-stitch upholstery (foreground) sounds a proper note of sloe-eyed languor, while pairs of Italian-Baroque-style blackamoors—referred to by Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson as “harem boys”—support the fireplace mantel (left) and the candelabras that flank the bar (rear).

This according to “Liberace’s taste” by Grant Mudford and Susan Yalevich (Nest 10 [2002] pp. 588–590). Below, Liberace plays Tiger rag in 1969, when he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world.

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Filed under Architecture, Curiosities, Popular music