Friday, October 15, 2010

I'll Be Looking at the Moon, But I'll Be Seeing You...

There's a bit of sadness as this week draws to a close in Las Vegas. A landmark in the city for decades faces the final hours of its existence. After 31 years, the Liberace Museum will be closing its doors indefinitely on Sunday due to low turnout.

The memorabilia, including his glitzy disco ball of a Rolls Royce and famous piano housed within it, will be placed into storage for now. Although the museum, which was opened by the famous pianist himself on the day I was born, will no longer serve the public the organization will continue channeling its money into the Liberace Foundation.

Over 2,700 students have been given scholarships since 1976 when Liberace began his foundation "to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts through scholarship assistance and artistic exposure." It was a scholarship which first allowed Liberace to attend the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and helped launch him into the musical career for which he became famous around the world. The foundation relies largely on donations to sustain its collection and grant programs. For anyone interested in donating please visit their website.

The adjacent Carluccio's Tivoli Restaurant formerly owned by Liberace will stay open, thankfully. After Liberace's death in 1984 the building stood vacant for a year until the Carluccio family purchased it and re-opened the musician's restaurant. It remains largely as Liberace left it which could be why his ghost has been witnessed on many occasions. The museum might be saying goodbye but Liberace--his legacy and, perhaps, his apparition--still lives on in Vegas. If you have a chance to stop by the museum before the doors close for good drop in for a bite to eat at the restaurant. You may have a chance to pay your respects personally to the glittery former owner and world-renowned entertainer himself.

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