ALL TIPS SUPPORT THE LIBERACE FOUNDATION, SUPPORTING THE ARTS.
Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco,
Chairman of the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts,
50 years in Las Vegas,
Citizen of the world.
The steel drum, also simply called "Pan," was developed in the Caribbean island country of Trinidad & Tobago, during World War II. The instrument is fashioned by hand from various forms of sheet metal, with the best having been the empty oil drums that littered the country just after the war.
Known the ultimate showman of the stage, Liberace had other passions as well. He opened his restaurant in Las Vegas in 1983. It was named in part for the gardens at the Villa d' Este, in Tivoli, Italy, and in part for Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, an amusement park built in 1843. The name combines his love of the grandeur of the land of his Italian heritage, and also the fact that he enjoyed being described as a "one-man Disneyland."
At the height of her career as a fashion and fur designer, a former Royal Couturier of Queen Frederica of Greece and many other notables, Anna Nateece married renowned furrier, Ray Le Noble, and arrived in Las Vegas in the early 1970's. Her husband had recognized Anna's incredible talent and style in fashion and fur design, and immediately created the Anna Nateece brand. The Anna Nateece fur studios opened at the Dunes and Riviera Hotels, beginning in 1974. That's when Liberace discovered Anna's work, and began buying furs from her. Then in 1975, Liberace ordered a fur cape for the stage. Constructed of black diamond mink, it's entire interior was lined with thousands of large round cut, individually mounted, Austrian crystals. This look was later copied by Liberace's glazer John Hancock, for a car and two pianos in Liberace's 1985 Radio City Music Hall performances. Anna Nateece had virtually created what we now know as "bling."
Donald Trump met Liberace when the Entertainer was in Manhattan for his 1985 Radio City Music Hall residency. The show sold out seventeen weeks of bookings, all in advance in the spring of that year.
Liberace made his first trip to Europe in 1955. He was in Paris at the behest of Jack Warner, to promote his upcoming film, called "Sincerely Yours." But he was an unknown in France. So Warner asked Line Renaud to introduce Liberace to the press.
The news came yesterday that we have lost the last of the great Las Vegas Showmen. Eight months ago we said goodbye to Roy Horn due to Covid 19. Now Siegfried Fischbacher has left us as well. Siegfried and Roy are gone.
When I joined the board of the Liberace Foundation, I had never been in the Liberace Museum, nor the Liberace Museum Gift Shop. I knew of the museum, but as a young man I had heard that the staff denied that Liberace was gay, or that he had died of AIDS, which I felt that did a disservice. Whether or not staffers were actually denying these facts I never found out for myself, but the societal denial surrounding his legacy had a negative feeling about it, and I was, unfortunately, not inspired to visit.
Liberace created the brand of showmanship on which the Las Vegas Strip was built. The Las Vegas Weekly in 2013 called him the greatest Vegas headliner of all time, noting he had so many 'firsts,' that virtually all Las Vegas Headliner acts could be traced to, or through Liberace.