Liberace was Gay Boogyman
The new trailer is out for Behind The Candelabra, HBO’s biopic about Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his boyfriend (Matt Damon), and damn if it doesn’t look like everything you could want it to be. Douglas playing into his naturally creepy old-man vibe, Matt Damon in a speedo (bonus Rob Lowe bulge!), plus coke, capes, and bathtub drama! A description of this movie reads like a Stefan sketch from SNL ie: Behind The Candelabra’s got everything. Beyond the spectacle though, I’m really excited to learn a little more about the man whose reputation haunted me throughout childhood.
I can’t say that this man was on the TV a lot in the McArthur house when I was growing up. As little as I was exposed to him though, I was still well aware that the worst thing I could grow up to be was a version of Liberace, and I think it’s probably safe to say this was true for a lot of gay kids my age.
Mercifully, times are changing but until recently there were practically zero out adult celebrities. There were no Anderson Coopers, Neil Patrick Harrises, or Andy Cohens. There were no beloved public gay faces. There were guys like Liberace (also Truman Capote, etc), flaming embodiments of things our parents feared we would become. Or at least that was the way it felt to me.
But now that I’m on the other side of the closet and a lot more secure in my sexuality, I see Liberace in a whole new light. The idea of a man who wants to drape himself in jewels and expensive fabrics seems like a less of a threat, and his former representation as my potentially doomed future has me fascinated to learn what the f*ck was actually up with this dude?
All of that said, it would have been nice to see even one gay guy in a starring role in this thing. Like maybe it wouldn’t have killed HBO to throw in a little Matt Dallas or Matt Bomer or some other famous gay Matt, right?