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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 27, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 04
Rufus Wainwright performs at Pizza Klatch fundraiser in Olympia February 4
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Rufus Wainwright performs at Pizza Klatch fundraiser in Olympia February 4

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
IN CONCERT
PIZZA KLATCH GAYLA
WASHINGTON CENTER
FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
(OLYMPIA)
February 4


Rufus Wainwright is a busy, busy man, which explains why I only got a few minutes to speak with him this week, as he wrapped up a European tour and hops across the pond to begin a fresh set of dates in North America, delivering him to Olympia's The Washington Center for the Performing Arts next weekend.

When the theatrical pop artist isn't recording new music, he's performing in front of sold out theaters around the globe, or penning a musical or opera, or composing a track for a feature film or ballet production, or appearing in a viral online video. He's always working on something, constantly keeping his audiences guessing what his next project will be.

Last year, Wainwright released the album Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, an album that features nine adaptations of Shakespeare's sonnets and intriguing collaborations with Carrie Fisher, Florence Welch, William Shatner, Helena Bonham Carter and his own sister, fellow musician Martha Wainwright.

Asked by phone if he'll include a lot of songs from the new album for his upcoming concert in Olympia, Wainwright replied, 'No, I don't think so. That last album I released was the Shakespeare Sonnets record and I'll definitely sing a couple of those numbers, but I'm coming to you guys as myself, as an old-fashioned Gay troubadour tripping through the forest. (laughs) So I'll be singing a bunch of songs from different eras. But I will sing a few new songs and even some brand new ones.'

That's great news for longtime fans who are hoping to hear vintage Wainwright music, such as 'Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk,' 'California,' 'Grey Gardens,' 'The One You Love,' 'The Art Teacher and 'Going to a Town,' as he's likely to perform these favorites during his upcoming performance.

Speaking of 'Going to a Town,' it was recently performed by Lily Allen at the Women's March in London.

'I was very touched and really, really appreciated the nod,' said Wainwright when asked if he'd heard her version of it. 'But it's also, sadly, a reminder that that song seems to be a perennial at this point.'

With so much happening politically these days and emotions intensifying between people with opposing opinions, I asked Wainwright if he's impacted by any of it while he's on tour, or if he's able to set it aside.

'I'm completed riveted by what's going on right now,' he stated firmly. 'And I feel that essentially what we're experiencing as a nation is unprecedented in our history, in terms of what's happening in the United States. So, yes I'm very much affected by what's going on and I try to translate as much of that to the audience. It's paramount that everybody, whether you're a plumber or performer or a banker, you've got to get out there and fight for this country.'

The Olympia performance on February 4 is a benefit for Pizza Klatch, a support organization that fosters resiliency in LGBTQ+ youth and creates a safe and positive school experience through support, education and empowerment.

Being a Gay youth is something Wainwright remembers all too well, the main reason why he signed on to be a part of the fundraising event. His own coming out story wasn't the most celebratory.

'I can't say my parents were stellar,' he recalled. 'But that being said I believe that historically there's a lot of precedent to draw from, in terms of the arts and literature. My escape was to read great novels, listen to great operas and look at great paintings, which were all deeply rooted in homosexuality and its history. If I'd had more support, it would have been great, but I think the support is out there and I'm just here to advocate for both helping young people and challenging them.

He's quick to mention that support can come from the least expected places and people.

'Oddly enough, my grandmother, who was from the South, from Georgia, and who was pretty much a racist and pretty much a bigot (laughs) - a wonderful woman and a loving grandmother - but she was not someone you would think would be the most supportive person, but she actually ended up being the most there for me and the only one who told me that she loved me and that everything would be okay. And that's often the surprise, not really knowing who's rooting for you.'

Wainwright also remembers how different it was being a young Gay person himself versus being young and Gay right now.

'I'm amazed now at how young Gay people are so articulate, cutting edge and advanced they are with things like gender fluidity and stuff that I would have never dreamt of thinking about at their age' he noted. In my day, you were pretty boxed in.'

Standard tickets to see Rufus Wainwright at the Gayla range between $25 and $85, while VIP tickets priced at $130 include the pre-performance reception and the best seats in the house. VIP reception at 5:30pm; silent auction begins at 6pm; main stage concert at 7:30pm. You can purchase concert tickets directly from the artist's website, rufuswainwright.com/tour, from Pizza Klatch at pizzaklatch.org/gayla from the Washington Center for the Performing Arts at washingtoncenter.org or by phone at 360-753-8585. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is located at 512 Washington St SE in Olympia.

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