BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
Yes, Miss Liberace. Quite the Queen Bee. I've seen the movie several times. What's marvelous and amazing is that a movie like this is possible now after all these years. Closetry is bad enough wherever you are, especially back then. Professional closetry even more difficult it seems, but then Liberace covered it all up with his flamboyance and Las Vegas act. It was just all show-biz, dontchaknow. Even so, was the price worth it? Liberace, Rock Hudson and all those thousands of SF & NYC young gays dead of aids. Jimmy Stevens one of them.
It's lucky I was married to Frank all those years and didn't do the bar or dance club scene. The booze and drugs. It's a wonder the gay movement even survived. Of course, there was Act Up and now retro-virus medicines. The obits in the Bay Area Reporter in SF back in the 80's and 90's went for pages. Now it's down to one or two. Most young gays don't even know about or care about that era that some of us went though anymore.
The Liberace movie is excellent because it's an actual 'uncloseted' documentary melodrama of the way things really were. The struggles of an artist and pianist to be true to his art, even if he is gay, and still perform his dream. Even though they've closed the Vegas Liberace Museum and all the blue-rinse ladies that flocked to his shows are all dead now...
My imagination is like that. I know the FFA boys back in the Midwest were all mostly ugly and had bad teeth. But I try to publish a midwest-noir blog world of fantasy, romance and beauty like Liberace did. It's the only way I can keep from having nightmares about that little Shit-hole of a Kansas Cow-Town down by the tracks. They did to the Hispanics & Somali at Iowa Beef what Bloxom did to Rodriquez there in that hellish corner room of the EHS tomb. They're still doing it, nothing really changes back there, does it?
It's amazing to me, Connie, that we even survived back then. Some didn't, they succumbed by stoically getting married and just simply living & dying there. I read the Gazette obits and feel sorry for all those lost lives who stayed there, lived there, had kids there, paid taxes there, then just died there. It's the same with my grandparents, my mother & her second husband from Olpe. Somehow trying to compensate for their despair and unhappiness, they slaved all week. Then smoke and drank themselves to death at the VFW nightclub every Saturday night.
I fled from such futility like you did into Jane Eyre and literature. That's why I'm fond, I suppose, of that 9th grade Gazette photo of you, me, Roberta and Jan Tholen. It's like I felt Elsie Pine, Louis Jaquith and Marjorie Sullivan sensed that fleeing despair in me and gave me that award. Why? What did they sense in me? A poet who didn't know it, ha ha???
It was just a young gay confused fag who hadn't found the trick of being a Miss Liberace yet.