Rufus Wainwright has been described as Canada’s most flamboyant man of music. Beneath the flash, though, there’s plenty of substance. Wainwright, who laughingly describes himself as a “gay troubadour,” will perform for a reduced fee at the third annual “Gayla,” a benefit for Pizza Klatch, an organization that supports LGBTQQ+ teens. Once known for his wild (and Oscar Wildean) antics as well as a diverse discography, Wainwright is now a family man, married to Jörn Weisbrodt and co-parenting a daughter, Viva, with longtime friend Lorca Cohen. He’s looking to make a difference in the world in ways that go beyond music. He came out as a teen himself and said something like Pizza Klatch could have made a real difference. “It was a different era,” he said, then corrected himself. “It was what seemed like a different era for a long time, but now there are disturbing echoes of the past. It’s really important to realize that gay rights are tenuous, and you have to be vigilant.”
Politics are at the top of his mind these days. He’s even discussed them with Viva, who turns 6 on Thursday. “I’m completely riveted by what’s going on right now,” he said. “What we’re experiencing as a nation is unprecedented in our history. Whether you are a plumber or a performer or a down-and-out person or a banker, we have to get out there and fight for this country.”
Though he’s well known for covering Judy Garland standards and has of late been focusing more on composing operas than writing songs, Wainwright has also penned political pop. His 2009 “Going to a Town” was recently in the spotlight when singer Lily Allen did a cover version at the Women’s March in London. “Sadly, it has become an anthem,” he said.
Saturday’s performance at The Washington Center will include songs from old to brand-new, he said, including some from his most recent album, 2016’s Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets.
What: A Slice of the Good Life Gayla With Rufus Wainwright
Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
When: VIP reception 5:30 p.m., auction 6 p.m., concert 7:30 p.m.,
Saturday, Feb. 4
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with VIP reception at 5:30 and auction at 6
How much: $25-$130
Learn more: 360-753-8586 | The Washington Center