Let’s not forget, especially since this is Pride Month here in the lusty U.S. of A., that so many of the things that we adore about the gays are tied inextricably to Judy Garland. She gave us fashion, she gave us music, she gave us hope. And her final act on this earth, her funeral, occurred in the summer of 1969. It was hot, it was a horribly sad day as many had lost their idol and were watching the last performance she’d ever give (C.S.I. wasn’t around then. I know it seems like they were, but no.) When the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, the drag queens and street boys were gathered inside to watch the funeral, to weep with Liza, and to click their heels three times and wish that she’d come back from Over the Rainbow. Instead of not-resisting, they stood up, stood tall, and fought back. Stonewall is the beginning of the modern GLBT movement, and one great lady was the catalyst. So it seems only right that a big queen from 2006, Miss Rufus Wainwright, would pay tribute in the only appropriate way for any gay man – by singing the entire concert to everyone he can get to listen!
Wainwright’s reverence for Garland aside, the concert was as much as about Wainwright and his own aspirations. Of course, there was the symbolic importance of a gay performer saluting a pivotal gay icon. Yet this wasn’t an evening of reinvention, but rather heartfelt homage, right down to Wainwright forgetting some of the words (as Garland did) on “You Go to My Head” and resurrecting some of her original stage banter.
I shall one day be that gay, too.