Damned Fools

Haha, do you believe someone actually wished me a Happy Rufus Wainwright Month yesterday?  I love it, especially since I only started this routine as a way to stay in touch while I was working on a longer post and figured no one would pay attention as usual.  But no, quite a few people have been checking in compared to my usual trickle, so the pressure is on.  One of these days I might actually have to announce a break from this project to go back to the one I was supposed to be working on in the first place, but for now the game is on.

Traveling back in time to Los Angeles in 1998, let us revisit that 100-degree day when Rufus and crew teamed up with noted video director Sophie Muller to create a video for “April Fools,” the first single from his self-titled debut album.  Not one to enter softly, Rufus chose to depict himself hanging out with some of opera’s greatest tragic heroines and then trying in vain to save them from their scripted fates.  The heat was hot and the costumes were bulky, but the biggest problems mostly had to do with trying to accommodate people’s schedules whilest coordinating and filming scenes for six separate storylines near Hollywood, using only available light.

The results are worth it, as this is arguably the best music video Rufus has ever made.  Everything comes together perfectly, from the cast (with sister Martha Wainwright and Hole’s Melissa Auf der Maur as two of the doomed heroines and a barely recognizable Gwen Stefani as the waitress) to Rufus’s histrionically engaging performance, to the effect of the elaborate period costumes in a stark modern setting.  If you’re reading this you may very well have seen it more than a few times, but if you would like to watch it I recommend you do so on Rufus’s official Web site where there is a nice high-resolution version: CLICKY.  I quite enjoyed this little article on the video shoot, which is from an unnamed source but appears to be a press release.

Like I said, you may very well have seen that one before.  I know I had, but I hadn’t seen this live acoustic performance of the song with just Rufus and Martha:

I have no idea where or when this was recorded, but I must admit, my first thought was What in the name of Pippi Longstocking is going on with Martha’s hair? Once I got over that, it was nice to hear her voice so much more prominently featured in the song.  One of the things I appreciate most about Rufus is that he is constantly reframing the same songs with different  lineups and arrangements, never getting bored or stagnant.  It’s hard to believe we’ve now lived with this song for ten years now, because it still sounds and looks as fresh as ever.

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

I agree with you that this is the best video Rufus has ever made. Every subsequent video (with the exception, perhaps, of The One You Love) has been increasingly solipsistic, which is a shame because April Fools shows that Rufus has a good sense of humour and plays well with others. (Good grief, that sounds like a school report! *adjusts horn-rimmed glasses*) Also, April Fool’s has all the usual fail-safe ingredients — A STORY (i.e. , a beginning, a middle and an end) plus Martha killing herself with a breadknife (there’s that wacky Wainwright humour again). Rufus knows how to , erm, ‘extract the urine’ out of himself — this was apparent in the Release the Stars tour — so it would be cool to see a bit more of that in his videos. Plus he has a killer grin. *licks tip of pencil* “Could try harder. B+”

Comment by OurHorsesinEgypt

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: