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Las Vegas: Liberace Experience to open in downtown's Neonopolis

February 01, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • Liberace opens at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Liberace opens at the Las Vegas Hilton. (Liberace Foundation )

Liberace is poised for a comeback in Las Vegas. The pianist known as Mr. Showmanship will again take center stage with the expected January 2014 opening of the Liberace Experience downtown.

The attraction will be housed in Neonopolis, the Fremont Street center that is to be home to Krave Massive, a venue that is set to open in March and bills itself as the world's largest gay nightclub. Liberace, whose sexuality was often the topic of discussion, never publicly acknowledged he was gay. He died of AIDS in 1987.

The new attraction is to showcase the longtime headliner's rhinestone-studded, mink-draped lifestyle. The exhibits will come from the museum that Liberace himself created. Faced with financial trouble, it closed in October 2010.

"We'll have the 'best of the best' of the collection," said Brian "Paco" Alvarez, chairman of the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts. Alvarez, a former employee of the museum, has admired Liberace since the early 1980s when Alvarez, then a young boy, met the piano-playing star at a Las Vegas supermarket.

"We have eight cars, 18 pianos, a hundred costumes," Alvarez said. "We have antiques and art and jewelry and shoes and so much opulence.

"We want to give people a taste of what Liberace's life was like when he was performing."

The Liberace Experience will strive to introduce the classically trained pianist to younger generations. Those efforts are certain to be aided by the upcoming HBO movie "Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his young lover. It is scheduled to air in the spring.

Even Cee Lo Green is hoping to capitalize on Liberace's fame. In late February, the hip-hop artist is to unveil a new show called "Loberace" at Vegas' Planet Hollywood resort.

Alvarez said he hopes the new attraction will generate enough revenue so the foundation can revive its scholarship program for students of the arts. It shut down when the museum did.

Later this year, Liberace fans will be able to follow the progress of the new attraction on the foundation's website.

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