Just me and.... Liberace
You may not know this about me... I was an accomplished pianist back in the day. I learned how to play on my parents upright piano. I wish now that I could remember if they had it and I started playing it, or if they bought it specifically for me. What I do know, is that I actually really loved to play - through mandatory daily practice sessions and all! I know my favorite composer was Tchaikovsky for any recitals that I performed in. I know that I liked playing duets with my friend Sabrina. And I know that I loved hearing my grandmother play on her old player piano. An actual player piano like you see in the movies - not the electronic versions of today. She played ragtime and her fingers were so fluid - gracefully flowing from one end of the keys to the next. My teacher Mrs Prioste (I think that's how you spell her name) was fabulous and I loved going to her house for lessons.
But my favorite player / performer of all time (for all I knew at age 11...) was Liberace. I was too young to understand what was behind his huge personality - I just knew that every time I saw him I was in awe of the SHOWMANSHIP! My mom and I went to see him perform a number of times, and I was star struck every time. The cars, the furs, the sequins, all of those rings on his fingers when he performed. I was in love!
Flash forward to June 2015 and my first visit to Palm Springs. More on Palm Springs in a later post - but I do want to share with you that I took the opportunity to visit three of Liberace's homes. Two in Palm Springs, and one up in the Hollywood Hills in LA.
We drove past all three homes - not able to see inside. But just sitting outside of each of the homes took me back to the time when Liberace was larger than life to me. I still love to hear his distinct irreverence to the classics, and whenever there is a special or flashback show on TV I watch with a fondness for my time playing and also for the time I shared with my mom going to see Liberace perform. For me, it felt like a true honor to sit outside and imagine the glitter, the glitz, the glam of the time when Liberace lived and played in each of those homes. Unfortunately I stopped playing when high school and sports and life interfered with my time on the piano. When I build my dream house I'm going to design a space for a piano to live - so that I can tinker with it from time to time to see what I remember - and to bring out my inner Liberace.