Thursday, 23 June 2016

THE TRIUMPHANT MONTREAL HOMECOMING OF RUFUS WAINWRIGHT

Rufus Wainwright returns home to Montreal
(All photos courtesy Festival International de Jazz de Montréal)
Bugs' interview with Rufus Wainwright originally ran in the June 2016 issue of Fugues magazine.
Elton John once famously said Rufus Wainwright is the best songwriter alive. And for a while there, in the media, Rufus could do no wrong. His eponymously-titled 1998 debut album was named one of the best albums of the year by Rolling Stone, and he was the toast of the town everywhere he went, especially when he returned home to Montreal.
Elton John once famously said Rufus Wainwright is the best songwriter alive. And for a while there, in the media, Rufus could do no wrong. His eponymously-titled 1998 debut album was named one of the best albums of the year by Rolling Stone, and he was the toast of the town everywhere he went, especially when he returned home to Montreal.
But as fast as the media builds up celebrities, it is also quick to tear them down. So it was no surprise the claws were out when Wainwright’s first-ever opera Prima Donna debuted at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009. Wrote Warwick Thompson of Bloomberg, “There were tears of joy in Rufus Wainwright’s eyes when he took his bow after the world premiere of his opera… There were some in mine too, though the joy sprang more from relief that it was over.”
But Wainwright soldiered on. Prima Donna  made its North American debut at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre at the Luminato Festival and won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Musical/Opera in 2011, before being famously mounted the following year by the New York City Opera, with red-carpet friends Yoko Ono and Anjelica Houston in attendance – a fascinating turn of events since Prima Donna was originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera until a dispute over Wainwright’s decision to write the libretto in French led to an acrimonious split.

Most of all, Wainwright wanted Prima Donna  to play in Montreal. This summer, eight years after its debut in Manchester, Wainwright will get his wish when Prima Donna  will be performed at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.“It’s been a long and winding road to Montreal with Prima Donna ,” says Wainwright. “Having it performed in Montreal, especially at Salle Wilfred-Pelletier where I grew up going to the opera, is coming full circle in so many ways. I am also excited to be working with the great (Québécois) soprano Lyne Fortin, one of the first opera singers I ever saw perform, in La Bohème. I wish sometimes that Montreal had been more at the forefront with this project, but Montreal – and this is why I love this city – it is one of the great bohemian capitals and one of their traits is they like to be fashionably late. So this is exciting and it means a lot.”

Thursday, 2 June 2016

WAKE UP CALL! COMEDY LEGEND KATE CLINTON'S 2016 STATE OF THE UNION


American comedy legend Kate Clinton

Bugs' interview with Kate Clinton originally ran in the May 2016 issue of Fugues magazine

Without out American comedy legend Kate Clinton, there is no Rachel Maddow, no out Lily Tomlin, no Rosie, Ellen, Gina Yashere or DeAnne Smith. Kate Clinton was our first out dyke stand-up comic – in my book she is still the queen, and this is my 11th annual Kate Clinton interview – and, if Kate has anything to do with it, her namesake Hillary Clinton (no relation) will become president of the U.S.A.

“I wish Bernie Sanders well, but in my lifetime I really would like to have a woman president,” Clinton, now 68, says unequivocally.

It’s no understatement to say neither Clinton is “feeling the Bern” but at least Kate acknowledges Sanders has been a welcome addition to the Democratic race, despite the fact many Sanders supporters say they will refuse to vote Hillary if she wins the nomination.

“Let me say I am no longer allowed at dinner parties with young people, and that if the arrow in Hillary’s logo was weaponized, I would be using it!” Kate cracks. “But it’s a free country. I think that Bernie is certainly moving Hillary to the left… I am thrilled by the excitement of the youth and the tenor of the whole Democratic debate. Whatever happens at the end of the primaries, this is a very dangerous time, and if you say you’re not going to vote, then you didn’t get the point.”

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

OUT BROADWAY STAR KYLE DEAN MASSEY BREAKS THROUGH THE GLASS CEILING

American television and Broadway star Kyle Dean Massey


American television and Broadway star Kyle Dean Massey co-stars on the hit ABC television series Nashville, but has also drawn rave reviews for his roles in Pippin, Wicked, Next to Normal and Xanadu on the Great White Way.

Three Dollar Bill sat down with Massey – an instructor at such organizations as Camp Broadway and Broadway Artists Alliance – to reflect on life on Broadway and what it’s like to be an openly-gay entertainer in Hollywood.