Published on October 24th, 2013 | by Editorial Staff0
We love you, Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Wainwright will take the stage at the Pantages Theater on October 30, 2013. Here, three of Rufus’ Tacoma fans share how they first fell in love with the bewitching baritone.
When I think about Rufus Wainwright, I think about one of my best friends, Adam.
The first time I listened to Rufus was in high school, because Adam made me. It was just one of many times that we stayed up all night talking and sharing music – that was pretty much all we did. We poured over his songs in Napster (the bygone era I grew up in) and it was so fresh and new – both Rufus and the internet.
Rufus reminds me of sharing music, and of that very special kind of high school perspective: feeling like everything is in front of you, that you have the freedom to explore and do whatever you want.
I met Rufus Wainwright in 2001 when I was an intern for One Reel and working at Bumbershoot.
Rufus was playing so of course Adam and I had to see him. We were obsessed: we knew all of his songs and would sing them to each other. Yes, it was dorky, but it was our thing.
Rufus didn’t disappoint – he was entertaining and hilarious. Living up to his reputation, he would say something clever mid-song and have us in stitches, but then go back and finish the amazing song in his mesmerizing voice. After the show, he went out and met the crowd, shook hands, and signed autographs.
And I just thought, “Rufus, I love you, I’ll always love you, and I’ll be your fan forever.”
When I was 20 I got a fancy summer internship in St. Paul, so I went to live in Minnesota for a few months. It was a weird summer: for three months I lived with my college roommate and her family in the suburbs of Minneapolis.
My roommate and I were both going through kind of a rebellious phase that year, made clear based on the fashion trends we were exploring and all of the angsty poems in my journals.
So, as two underage Lutheran college girls drifting through a suburban summer in Minnesota, naturally we spent a lot of time driving around in my Volvo, going to Lake Harriet to sunbathe, trying to look cool, and buying CDs at Electric Fetus in Minneapolis.
I had a boyfriend back in Tacoma at the time, and he made me this very emotional we-have-to-be-apart-for-three-months-and-we-might-die mix CD that included a lot of very heart-wrenching ballads on it: Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, and the like.
In the summer of 1998, my best friend Janice and I decided to consummate our years-long obsession with the Beatles by seeing Sean Lennon play live, regardless of his actual talent. We saw it simply as an opportunity to be near Lennon DNA.
Turns out, Rufus Wainwright opened the show. We had never heard of him (and clearly few others in the crowd had either) but we were immediately transfixed by the gorgeous boy at the piano, filling the RKCNDY with his exquisite, soaring utterances. Rufus’ fervent songs, shared beautifully and without apology, found an immediate place in my heart and have stayed with me ever since.
My appreciation for Rufus has only deepened, and in 2009, found a new place of profundity.
That year, Janice, that same best friend who had discovered Rufus with me 13 years before, died from sarcoma. Just one year later Rufus lost his mother, musician Kate McGarrigle, to the same cancer.
Both were taken too young and both suffered from a very rare, very deadly cancer that does not receive the kind of scientific consideration and study as more common cancers.
Before his mother passed away, Rufus had said that “when certain people tell me their friend has breast cancer, on one hand it’s traumatizing and I feel bad for them, but there are moments when I wish my mother had breast cancer because what she’s got there’s no funding, there’s no research, and not a lot of people get it.”
It was just how I had felt for Janice. Knowing someone else felt the same gave my grief some desperately needed company.
Shortly after Kate was diagnosed, she established the Kate McGarrigle Fund to raise awareness of sarcoma. Kate’s children – Rufus and Martha Wainwright – carry on her both her musical legacy and her advocacy by supporting sarcoma research and awareness, for which I cannot thank them enough.
Rufus has always struck me as an explorer in both life and music, and it’s impossible to not fall in love with him and embrace the journey. He is a wit and a philosopher; a trickster in his early music-making days, now creating as an artist interpreting and learning from tragedy and experience. And he just keeps getting better.
We love you, Rufus, and can’t wait to see you on October 30.
Join these and other fans at An Evening with Rufus Wainwright. Use the discount code DEFIANCE10 and receive 10% when you purchase a ticket to the show.
Rufus Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche, Wednesday, October 30, 7:30 pm
The Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, WA