Oh Lady Who?
June 14, 2007, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Rufus Wainwright, Uncategorized

It seems I have a number of things to feel happy about, not the least of which is that I’m planning a trip to Nashville in August to see Rufus Wainwright perform at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Having ruled out local venue Ravina due to a wretched ticketing system and the fact that entering the place felt like a descent into hell, I figured it’s just about as easy for me to get to Nashville, TN as it is to get to Highland Park. I managed to snag a single ticket in Row D, which translates to fourth row center. As much as it can be a bit socially awkward to attend a show alone, the advantage is that I can take in the performance and surroundings rather than having to pretend to be interested in a companion.

Going to the Ryman is a big deal for me, as I have long been a fan of Hank Williams, Sr. ever since I fell under the subversive influence of my ex-husband and reclaimed my hillbilly roots. When I got divorced in 1985 and no longer could play my husband’s records, I bought myself a 2-cassette collection of Hank’s 40 Greatest Hits to play on my new Sony boombox. In my $240-a-month studio apartment on Dakin Avenue in Wrigleyville, I played those tapes and guzzled straight Jim Beam when I was consumed with fits of melancholy. This was often, because at the time I was a rolling stone, all alone and lost. Thanks to ebay, I have since upgraded to a box set of the Complete Hank Williams. I no longer have the time or self-indulgence to drink and be melancholy, but fortunately the music sounds just as good when it comes up on shuffle whilst I’m sorting laundry or packing outgoing ebay items as it did as background for depression and the dissipated lifestyle.

The Ryman was the site of the Grand Ole Opry when Hank Sr. played there, but the Opry moved to other digs in 1974. The recently peripatetic Mr. Wainwright will be playing there on August 14 and generally all over the place for the next few months, spreading the joy and the Judy to both old fans and new converts. The word on the street is that the shows have been amazing, with Rufus in fine voice and the band (including both horn and string sections) kicking ass. But don’t take my word for it. The NPR web site now has last Saturday night’s show from the Gramercy Theater in New York available in its entirety for your listening pleasure. I sang along to the live webcast whilst cleaning my blinds thanks to my beloved Oregon Scientific iBall, the best $70 I ever spent and my first (and thus far only) woot ever.

Another thing worth noting about Rufus is that he refuses to be stuck in a fashion rut. Having posed as Sleeping Beauty and performed in a diaper and tiara for Want Two, he has more recently been caught posing in monogrammed lederhosen as a consequence of being immersed in all things Bavarian whilst recording his latest album. I’m wouldn’t be surprised if he has singlehandedly caused sales of lederhosen to skyrocket, and I was amused to see that googling Rufus Wainwright and lederhosen now brings several pages of results. I would venture to guess that this is one aspect of Mr. Wainwright’s career that he could not have foreseen when he started, but it is certainly one of the more diverting ones.

In addition to posing in lederhosen, Wainwright has been performing his last encore of the night dressed as Judy Garland dressed as a man to perform her Get Happy in a choreographed routine. Booth the look and the song are from Garland’s classic 1961 Carnegie Hall performance, which Rufus has reprised in several shows in New York, San Francisco, Paris and London. Another show is planned for Los Angeles in September, the same time that a live recording is scheduled to be released. I am pleased to see Rufus indulging his more theatrical side and must observe that he looks really hot in nylons, lipstick, and a guitar. Well played, Rufus, well played. If he brings this segment of the show to the Ryman–and of course I’m hoping he will–I’m guessing it won’t be the first time a man has performed in drag there and I’m hoping it won’t be the last.

I am pretty excited to be returning to Nashville, as I like that part of the country and have stayed in Nashville a couple of times before. My fondest memories are of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is where I bought my beloved Hank Williams 1948 Packard Limousine mug. God forbid if I should ever break the thing, because I don’t know if it’s replaceable. Yet another Nashville landmark is Hatch Show Print, where they have been making amazing art for over a century. I am salivating over the prospect of them possibly doing a poster for the Rufus show, but that might be too much to hope for.

It’s taken me three days to finish this post thanks to post-party exhaustion and my efforts to adapt to my daughter’s new day camp schedule, but I’m pretty sure all the cake has been scraped off the basement floor and I’m very grateful that it’s over for another year. Now I can not only manage to post this but hopefully find a few words later to say about Michael Gorman’s latest technophobic grumbles, about which I am fairly riled but looking forward to debunking.

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: