Happy Halloween!

We’re visiting friends who recently moved from Orlando to Dallas, so we don’t have much Halloween stuff going on this weekend.

Pumpkin shit pies

I don’t know who made the display above – but it’s my favorite.  We didn’t have our annual pumpkin decorating contest at work this year, so I didn’t have a chance to borrow this idea.

Because everyone needs a superhero
We’re not dressing up, so I’m sharing a photo my sister-in-law took of her youngest. I have photos of all three boys on my Flickr site if anyone is curious.

Happy Halloween.  Now on to Thanksgiving!

HTML5 Kaleidoscope Experiment

This is so freaking cool! I’ve linked it to my Flickr account and have been playing with it all through lunch today.

I started off with this:

I will kill you while you sleep...

Pulled it up at HTML5 Kaleidoscope Experiment – Experience Bureau

Nemo Kaleidoscope

And now I have a kaleidoscope image of a very pissed off cat.  See?  This is what you do when you don’t have your own kids to torment.

Day 2: Liberace’s Museum

After lounging around the hot tub for a while, Steve and I headed out to the Liberace Museum. I was kinda surprised that he was willing to add this museum to our list of places to visit this trip, but then I also didn’t know that he was interested in the museum until I mentioned it.

If you want to know more about Liberace’s life and accomplishments, you can visit their website at www.liberace.org, but for today, I’m just going to post a few photos of some of his pianos and costumes that I enjoyed (a few may be a little out of focus since I couldn’t use a flash, and all quotes are from the museum).

Piano Collection

1788 Broadwood piano

1788 Broadwood piano made by John Broadwood of London (one of the oldest pianos in existence). They put the damper pedals on the front leg supports.

1885 Pleyel Art Case Grand Piano

1885 Pleyel Art Case Grand Piano with hand painted scenes of the French countryside (can be seen reflected in the mirror next to the piano). “It can also be seen in the 1945 movie A Song to Remember, which was based on the life of Chopin and is the movie where Liberace got the idea for his candelabra.”

1857 Kuhn and Ridgeway Harp Piano

This one’s for Alaire. 1857 Kuhn and Ridgeway Harp Piano made in New York. They didn’t make this style for long because they were difficult to keep in tune, or even in good playing condition.

1850 Collard &Collard Inlaid Upright Piano

1850 Collard & Collard Inlaid Upright Piano made in London. One of the museum volunteers closed the keyboard cover so we could see all the inlay work – over 50 different types of wood was used for this piano. He also told us that the keyboard cover is left up on pianos with real ivory keys as the air flow keeps them from turning yellow.

Liberace’s Costumes

It all started with a white suit of tails. “After wearing the white suit of tails at his record-breaking Hollywood Bowl performance in 1952, fans were curious to know what Liberace would wear next. Up until that time, concert pianists usually wore black tuxedos when performing. Liberace wore a gold lamé jacket for the grand opening of the Riviera Hotel in 1955. From that point on, Liberace costumes were an expected part of his “live” performances. Liberace would later say that the costumes had “become an expensive joke.””

Costume Repair

This is Hilda, who was kind enough to talk to me about all the repair work needed on Liberace’s costumes. She also asked if I wanted to try on a cape. Since I know a little bit about the difficulty maintaining antique clothing, I was trying to be polite and not freak out about it, but I probably wasn’t very good at hiding my reaction because she laughed and explained that she made a huge cape for guests to try on. Once I got it on, everyone else came over to take turns posing in it, which was a lot more fun then it sounds. The demo cape was only about 20 lbs, which is a fraction of the weight of the real thing (sometimes up to 200 lbs.) It wasn’t a surprise to find out that Liberace worked out so he could wear them.

There were about 20 to 25 costumes on display. Some were out in the open, but still out of reach, while others were in temperature-controlled glass cases. They have hundreds of outfits they rotate through so that they all can be stored flat for a six-month period to keep them from falling apart from the weight of all the beadwork. But even that isn’t enough to keep things from falling apart, so there’s a lot of work for Hilda and the other volunteers to do.

Czar Nicholas Costume

The Czar Nicholas Costume was inspired by a uniform worn by King George V of England. Liberace wore this for his 1971 performances while accompanied by two Russian Wolfhounds. I’d love to see Steve in something like this for Halloween one year.

Liberace's Blue and Gold Rococo Costume

The Blue and Gold Rococo Costume was created Liberace’s Radio City Music Hall shows. It matched the blue and gold Steinway grand piano he used to play his Strauss medley. Costume design by Michael Travis. Fur design by Anna Nateece.

Liberace's King Neptune Costume

The King Neptune Costume was the heaviest of the non-fur costumes, weighing over 200 pounds, which makes you wonder how much the fur costumes weighed. It was designed by Michael Travis for Liberace’s appearance at the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans.

Liberace's King Neptune Costume - beadwork

Violet Costume with Ostrich Feathers

The Violet Costume with Ostrich Feathers: “One of Liberace’s greatest stage entrances featured this five-tiered cape which was created for the 1986 season at Radio City Music Hall. Liberace made his entrance wearing this cape suspended on a wire 25 feet above the stage.” Cape design by Michael Travis.

Violet Costume with Ostrich Feathers - closeup

I do want to take a moment to mention all the volunteers we met at the museum. Everyone was willing to answer any and every question we had, and we had a lot. It was a very enjoyable experience and I had a great time.

Halloween

Halloween was busy for not going out and doing anything.  I spent the week making cupcakes for the hubby-love and I to take in to work, as well as a cupcake cake for a friend (to be posted later).  I also dressed up for work so I could compete in the company costume contest.

The wolfmen are chocolate with chocolate cream cheese frosting, and the mummies are marble cupcakes with regular cream cheese frosting. The orange cupcakes were boring, so they didn't make it into the photo.

I did the zombie thing again this year, but this time I won a prize for the scariest costume.  I ended up with a nice stoneware set that I'm looking forward to using during the holidays. I also managed to convince my husband to purchase one of those silly hats for the cats and we spent an afternoon tormenting them.  We had so much fun that we went out and bought two more hats for next year.

You can tell Molly isn't very happy with us.  We tortured Nemo and Kuro as well, but left Miette alone because she's all muscle.  That, and she took off the moment we pulled out the hat.

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