That time the Liberace estate loaned costumes to Kesha and Macklemore
When in Vegas...
The influence of Liberace was evident again in 2018, when recording artist Macklemore spent a morning at Liberace Garage, during his Gemini tour.
An aficionado of nostalgia, the singer was enjoying a successful tour with Kesha. The pair would be playing Mandalay Bay Event Center that night. I took advantage of the time Macklemore had allocated, and provided a private viewing of the Liberace Jewels, as well as various artifacts in the Liberace Garage, including, naturally, the cars.
Blown away by the costumes and over-the-top luxe of Liberace's life, my guest became intrigued by some of the costume artifacts from HBO's Behind The Candelabra, which are exhibited at Liberace Garage. He spotted a crystal tailcoat, and I suddenly got an idea of how persuasive Macklemore can be. He didn't let up until it was on his back. We did the same with the giant white fur coat. But he was also very much looking out for his co-star, Kesha, who was off rehearsing. The Coral Cape from the film had attracted Macklemore's attention. He was determined to wear the Crystal jacket, and have Kesha wear the Coral Cape, on stage that night.
Given the notoriety this would bring, I was probably a pushover. It was also fortunate for us that all of this had been arranged by my dear friend Whitney Middleton, a costumer famed for styling Chance The Rapper. She jumped in and took action to make temporary modifications which would protect the costumes during their evening of use. That night, we loaded it all up with a team of volunteers and headed to the backstage door at Mandalay.
I was sure it would be a hit, but I had no idea, and was not prepared for the roar of the thousands of people in the audience, when Macklemore uttered the name "Liberace" in explaining his coat. Liberace was again drawing cheers on the Las Vegas Strip.
A few minutes later we brought to the stage Macklemore's surprise for Kesha, the Coral Cape. The two of them then preformed their massive hit, Good Old Days, in Liberace costumes, on stage in front of thousands.
I was so glad that Macklemore and Kesha had a production team which captured all of this, for an episode of "The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore," which was filmed during their tour.
The pieces borrowed by Kesha and Macklemore are part of a collection designed by Ellen Mirojnick for Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, in Behind The Candelabra. Ellen has become a friend, and has been very good to the Liberace Foundation. She has been Michael Douglas's costume designer for over three decades. Ellen studied the real versions of Liberace's costumes before taking on the monumental task of making the film versions. She succeeded, and holds the EMMY Awards, Golden Globes, and lifetime achievement award from the Hollywood Costume Design Guild, to prove it.
The visit of Macklemore and the use of the costume items by Kesha and Macklemore points to the influence of Liberace on pop culture, showmanship, show business and Las Vegas. Our popular exhibit entitled "Ultimate Influencer" shows the genesis of this influence, through three generations of performers.
Important in various commercial channels, Liberace's brand is licensed now more than at any time since his passing. Witnessing the collections and taking in the narrative, it is easy to see why.
The Liberace Garage houses a substantial part of the Liberace Museum Collection, all part of the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts.
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