Liberace Exhibit in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – It’s been awhile since tourists have had a place to pay their respects to one of the city’s most colorful characters.

The once wildly popular Liberace museum, 2 miles from Las Vegas’ main tourist corridor, closed in 2010 after years of declining patronage. The famously flamboyant entertainer’s shimmering artifacts have since languished in storage.

Now, a Strip casino is bringing some of Liberace’s most decadent possessions back into the public eye.

Visitors to the six-week exhibition at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas will be able to see Liberace’s glittering piano, trademark European candelabras and so-called Rhinestone Roadster, an old-time car decked out in faux gemstones.

Also on display are the custom-made cowboy boots, sequined jumpsuits and jewel-and-ermine capes that powered Liberace’s catchphrase, “My clothes may look funny but they’re making me the money.”

The flashy pianist became the best-paid entertainer on the planet during his heyday from the 1950s to the 1970s. He was the forerunner to gender-bender entertainers including Elton John, David Bowie and Madonna, though he never openly addressed his sexual orientation, and his fans never seemed to catch on to his private gay life.

After his death in the 1980s, Liberace’s star faded faster than Las Vegas fixtures such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. But this year has been good to his legacy.

In August, a British businessman bought Liberace’s 15,000-square-foot Las Vegas mansion for $500,000 and said he would restore it to its former glory.

In September, Michael Douglas won an Emmy award for his performance as the entertainer in the HBO biopic “Behind the Candelabra.”

The Cosmopolitan casino tends to attract a younger crowd, and the exhibit will be hard to miss, with artifacts scattered around the casino.

The installation is titled “Too Much of a Good Thing Is Wonderful” and, like its subject, it will keep late hours. It will be open through 3-10 p.m. daily through Jan. 2.

From the Associated Press

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