Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Fag Hags and Drag Queens and Judy Garland, OH MY!

Okay, so I know I promised to do a top five countdown and I promise I’ll get back to it, but I have to write about the most excellent adventure I had the other night at the hollywood bowl.

You see, years ago my best friend introduced me to a singer named Rufus Wainwright.  Now, those of you who don’t know Rufus a) should go out and buy one of his CD’s cause he’s awesome, and b) should know that Rufus is a fabulously gay man.  He’s not a ‘hollywood gay’ a.k.a. John Travolta (who stays married to a woman so no one will find out he’s gay), which I’m sorry, I just can’t respect that.  The second Rufus walks out on stage, it is blatantly and clearly obvious…it’s one of the things I love so much about him.  I mean, hello, I’m no one if now the worlds biggest fag hag.  I think I have some sort of fog horn like beacon that I give off that says, gay men come hither, so it’s really no surprise that I’d be seen at a Rufus Wainwright concert on a sunday night in Los Angeles.

I know a lot of you hate L.A.  And most of you hate it purely on principle.  You’re from Northern California, therefore you must hate Los Angeles.  You grew up here 30 years ago when it sucked (DAD), therefore you must hate it.  And you know what, I get it.  I really do.  L.A. is not for everyone.  I’ve learned to find humor in the ridiculousness, but I’ve also learned to embrace some of it.  I mean, sure, there’s doggy beauty salons (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some in Palo Alto too), people pay $300 for a pair of sunglasses, and everyone has ‘done a movie with ________’  There’s some beauty in it all too.  I mean, you have to appreciate the constant sunshine, the house that fell off the back of the truck on the 101 (that really happened), the fact that your servers live a double life.  I mean, there’s beauty and humor in the ridiculousness of L.A.  But even for all of you who can’t stand it, you have to say something about the acceptance.  The thing about L.A. is that it’s tolerant (I’m going to venture to say that it’s more tolerant than San Francisco even), I mean, we really and truly accept all kinds here.  We accept the vapid gold-diggers, the screaming queens, and even, more and more so, the real, not a size 0, not full of botox and collagen, people.  New Yorkers are intolerant of non-New Yorkers, San Franciscans can’t stand the plastic, bottle-blonde, gold-diggers, but L.A. is made up of non-Angelenos, some of whom would sell their soul for a piece of a rich executive.  I mean even Marilyn Monroe spent time on her back on a casting couch to get her dreams met.

Now, I’m not condoning that kind of action, I’m simply trying to make a point.  And it’s a point that I’ve only recently come to myself.  In fact, Sunday night is when this point was truly home with me. 

You see, one of my dear friends got tickets to see Rufus at the Hollywood Bowl.  But this wasn’t just any old Rufus Wainwright concert, this was him doing Judy Garland’s concert from Carnegie Hall in 1961.  And I must say, it was one of the most amazing concerts of my life.  Now, the Hollywood Bowl, for those of you who haven’t been there is outdoors (yes San Franciscans and Londoners and Washingtonians, we can have concerts outdoors because it’s only rained one day since April…and it’s been 80 degrees at night for the past two months), and it’s one of the most beautiful theaters ever.  The L.A. Philharmonic backed Rufus as he belted out Judy Garland numbers.

As I was sitting in the audience I was kind of thinking.  Why is this concert in L.A. and not San Francisco?  I mean, you think gay men, you think San Francisco.  And here’s the conclusion I came to…feel free to disagree.  As I was looking around at the audience, I realized that, yes, there were a lot of gay men, but there was an extraordinary amount of other people too.  I mean, there were old jewish ladies, young fag hags (points to self), middle aged executives, college students.  There was every kind of person imaginable, and I actually think that were this concert in the city by the bay, the demographic smattering may have been much smaller.  I think you could get the same amount of people (that number being approximately 18,000) to a Rufus doing Judy concert in San Francisco, but would it be the same kind of people.  And anyone who has performed anything knows that it’s all about your audience. 

Rufus, in his trying to be as true to the original show as possible, told the story of Judy walking off the stage to the audience to give Rock Hudson a kiss before walking off the stage himself to kiss Debbie Reynolds, who was in the audience, most likely wouldn’t/couldn’t have happened in S.F.

Of course, the biggest laugh of the night came from the encore, when Rufus, in all his glory came out in black tights, heels, a tuxedo jacket, and top hat in a very Liza in Cabaret ensemble.  Though it played very well in L.A. I’m sure S.F. would have gone apeshit over that number.  Lord knows I loved it.

Though it may not seem like it, this is not meant to be a who’s better kind of thing.  I just finally realized what it is I love about Los Angeles so much.  And who knew it would be at a Rufus Wainwright concert, while thinking about why he wasn’t in San Francisco.

I guess my final thought on it comes back to the fabulous miss garland herself.  She was a Hollywood girl, so how fitting that this tribute be at the Hollywood Bowl.  She was only sixteen when she shot the Wizard of Oz in Culver City and was owned by MGM for her entire career. 

I mean, what better bittersweet place to bring her back to than Los Angeles.  Than Hollywood, the town that made her and broke her all in one breath.  Because this may be an accepting town, but it can also be a brutal one. 

It’s funny because at one point Rufus talked about the fact that at that original concert in 1961, it was a room 85% full of gay men, but being gay was illegal back then…now, there’s a gay man on stage and it’s still illegal in some states.  And as Judy’s glamour was being celebrated, there was a little hint of tragedy in the background, not just for her, but for all of us who live in this world where people still aren’t accepted because of sexuality, race, size, age, whatever. 

In any case, it was one of the best nights of my life.  Topped off of course, by the rainbow lit hollywood bowl.

Peace, love, and over the rainbow,

Julia

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September 26, 2007 - Posted by | Friends, Gay/Lesbian, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Music

2 Comments »

  1. Rufus did the encore bit at Glastonbury this year and that went down a storm in an audience that just appreciated camp homage.I felt that he’s found his place with the last album. Love his voice. A million miles away from his Dad anyway.

    Comment by emalyse | September 29, 2007 | Reply

  2. I would like to see a continuation of the topic

    Comment by Maximus | December 20, 2007 | Reply


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