In Air Guitar, Dave Hickey wrote an essay about truth and beauty and Liberace in which he asks the reader to decide if they prefer “the genuine rhinestone or the imitation pearl.” He writes, “Most prominently, Liberace was, without doubt and in his every facet, a genuine rhinestone, a heart without malice, whose only flaw was a penchant for imitation pearls—a certifiable neon icon, a light unto his people, with an inexplicable proclivity for phony sunsets. Bad taste is real taste, of course, and good taste is the residue of someone else’s privilege – and Liberace cultivated them both in equal parts and often to disastrous effects.”

I am blessed with showers of genuine rhinestones – the subcultures and undergrounds where the rules of abundance and affluence are rewritten. Lush fake furs worn with pride and rhinestones carefully glued on for glitz as if to show the wealth of our own created fantasy world. I have found more joy with genuine rhinestones than diamonds could ever provide.

This work is a tribute to those stories, of the traps and pitfalls, of the peace and beauty, and, of course, of the cost.