Have you ever wondered what you give as a gift to the Liza Minnelli lover in your life? The Liza Minnelli Box, or Box O’ Liza as it is sometimes called, was an obsessive labor of love that I created during a stretch of unemployment back in 2001. I cannot say exactly what the impetus for a massive Minnelli decoupage project was, only that at the time it seemed to be a worthwhile pursuit of sequined scholarship. Looking back I can see that it was certainly the prototype for the more refined and not altogether unimpressive Natalie Cole Box, which I gave to Miss Cole for her 60th birthday.
I ended up gifting the finished Liza Box to my little brother Robbie for Christmas that year. To gild the Minn-lily, I filled the box with all matter of Liza loot, including VHS copies of Rent-A-Cop and Arthur 2 from my personal collection and a customized Liza snow globe that played New York, New York. Though he is heterosexual and not a particular Liza fan, Rob is the kind of straight guy that will gladly sing Liza With a ‘Z’ with nary a moment’s hesitation. In other words, he is a really great brother to have if you’re gay. He appreciated the randomness and uniqueness of owning a one-of-a-kind Liza box and I believe that he and my sister-in-law Kim grew to appreciate the gift as a family heirloom. To wit, the box has occupied a lofty spot on their bookshelf—prime real estate—ever since and acquired an almost mythical status in my family.
A few weeks back I was visiting Robbie and Kim’s apartment and I was saddened to see that the Liza Box looked a bit down on its luck—dusty and in need of some T.L.C. I picked it up and examined it closely. “What are you doing with the Liza Box?” Robbie asked suspiciously. “I’m going to take it home with me to freshen it up,” I replied. He did not seem convinced. “What’s wrong with it?” he asked. “Well Rob, she’s dusty and she needs some work,” I said. “Well you have to bring it back—you can’t take the Liza Box for good!” It was borderline hurtful to not be trusted with the object that I had created; as if I couldn’t just make another one—I’m even unemployed again! But it was also gratifying to know he still cared. “Don’t worry Rob, I’m not gonna steal your Liza Minnelli box, that would be a horrible thing to do and I can’t believe you even said that!”
Of course I restored it—with my customary painstaking attention to detail—and I returned the Liza box to Robbie and Kim on Christmas Day. They were duly appreciative and probably somewhat relieved. I guess I never realized how attached they gotten to the box even though it never did anything but sit on the shelf. I’m glad to report the box, just like the lady herself, is still going strong and looking fantastic!
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