Monday, May 12, 2008

SOTW: Cultural Poster Boy, Gay Musical Genius

Of course I refer to Rufus Wainwright, the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, the pride and joy of gay music fans. This weeks's Song of the Week is 'Rules and Regulations' from last year's excellent 'Release the Stars.' Rufus has a uniquely erudite, operatic, languid diva persona that ensures that while he embraces his gayness, he's not exclusively defined by it.

Rufus has five excellent albums to his credit that show steady musical growth, always expanding melodies and arrangements, his lyrics always looking inwards and outwards and finding new insights.

Here's the video clip for 'Rules and Regulations':

Rufus has a musical pedigree, since his (now divorced) parents are respected music veterans in their own right: his dad is early-70s folkster Loudon Wainwright III of New York, and his mom is Canadian twee-folk singer Kate McGarragle of Montreal. Poor Loudon is best-known, much to his chagrin, for a novelty song called 'Dead Skunk.' When Rufus was an infant, Loudon observed his mom breast-feeding him and was inspired to write a song called 'Rufus is a Tit Man,' obviously a premature conclusion!

Rufus last year pulled off a momentous feat: he re-created and restaged the 1961 Carnegie Hall concert of gay icon Judy Garland, respecting Judy's imprint while adding his own. This was released on both CD and DVD, and below we offer you a sample of this splendid performance:

Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: These signs get sullier and sullier...

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