1- Liberace, Television, and Female Fans: An Exploration in Queer Theory - Jessica Todd, York University

4:00 PM, Saturday 25 May 2019 (2 hours)
Guided tour "Montréal in jazz"   06:00 PM to 08:00 PM (2 hours)
In the fields of popular music and gender studies, much scholarship has been produced that deconstructs the normative gender binary by analyzing constructed images of gender in popular media. Until recently, more scholarship has been produced on constructed femininity than constructed masculinity. This exploration of the American actor, singer, and pianist Liberace, a popular performer who rose to fame due to his television series “The Liberace Show” (1952 - 1955) and was perhaps best known for the flamboyant costumes during the later part of his career in the 1970’s and 1980’s, discusses the relationships among the rise of television as popular entertainment, how Liberace performed (and performed his masculinity), and his predominantly female fan base, within the framework of queer theory. Using five short video clips from “The Liberace Show” as exemplars to support Ashbury Pyron’s substantial research on Liberace, in conjunction with Freya Jarman-Ivens’ theories about queer masculinities in popular music, I analyse television as a “feminine” entertainment medium (against the rigid 1950’s masculine/feminine gender binary) and discuss how this medium magnified Liberace’s unique masculinity to create an attraction-identification balance with his heterosexual female fans.
York University
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