Whitney Houston deserves better than Whitney!, the commemorative exhibition that opened yesterday at the Grammy Museum in downtown L.A. It’s small, hastily thrown together, and doesn’t add much to what you’d learn about the singer from scanning her Wikipedia page. It does, however, feature some terrific eye candy.
Bookending the exhibition is a sound booth where museumgoers can record a demo of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (good luck hitting those notes) and a trophy case holding dozens of Houston’s statuettes. Between are the most interesting elements: a handful of mannequins are dressed in the singer’s stage costumes. Some outfits, like the intricately beaded, cream colored shift dress Houston performed in at the 1989 Soul Train Awards are gorgeous. Others, like a bright green fur coat or the multicolored, velvet bodysuit covered in faux gemstones from her I’m Your Baby Tonight tour, are outlandish. All of them are worth seeing. In fact, they’re so good we want to see more. Lots more.
While film nerds will enjoy a ltter from Clive Davis with extensive notes on how to improve The Bodyguard, devoted Whitney fans will want more. More costumes. More pictures. More stories. More material we can’t see elsewhere. That’s the “story behind the story,” and those are the sort of details that fans want — and deserve — to see.