Yesterday I purchased an old vinyl called "Liberace At Home" and it reminded me when I met Liberace some years back. I was a young man around 20, and it was my first trip to Las Vegas. I was wondering around the Fremont Hotel, checking out the one-arm bandits, when I was approached by a gentleman who told me I shouldn't really spend a lot of money on these things. I told him that I was just passing time, with no purpose or plan. He then told me that he is a friend of Liberace the entertainer, and would I like to go to his home with him. I said sure. He told me to meet him in the front of the hotel in a hour, and I did so.
He came by with a small van, with three other guys. All the guys were like me, alone, and it seems all of us never been to Vegas before. it was a fascinating trip to Liberace's house, because we left the bright neon lights of Vegas for the desert highway. One of us had to take a pee, and our host pulled over to the road, and we all went out of the van. What struck me was the total silence of the desert, except you can hear something out there in the dry bushes. Maybe a snake or some sort of larger animal. I don't know, because I can't see anything in the pitch black landscape. The only lighting was the headlights of the van and once in awhile a passing car.
We eventually made it out to the house, and it was incredible looking. It was an one-story mansion that's for sure. A butler opened the door for us when we knocked. He seemed kind of young to be a butler. When I think of butler, I picture Jeeves from the great series of PG Wodehouse novels. Someone older and British. But he seemed to have a strong Southern California accent, and his hair looked like it was bleached blonde, not natural blonde. In fact nothing in this household looked natural. I immediately flashed on the novel "À rebours" (Against Nature) by the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans. Some would be creeped out by this, but I actually prefer artificial environment than something natural if you know what I mean.
He offered us drinks, and as we sat around the living room, he wondered over to his piano. We're all talking and eventually he became totally lost on the keyboard. It was amazing to see his concentration on the music he was playing. If memory serves me correctly he was playing Beetoven's "Moonlight Sonata, 3rd Movement." Such a beautiful melody, and his playing was so passionate. Everyone became quiet, and when he finished the piece we all had tears in our eyes. Including Lee, as he was called among friends.