It’s true, I’ll admit it: every so often, my life turns fabulous for about a night. Lately, these fabulous evenings have been engineered by my cousin N (who is fabulous every day and night of the week). One of them occurred just last night.
You see, as you may or may know, I’m a big fan of Rufus Wainwright. My aforementioned cousin does PR for Mr. W., and got us onto the list for last night’s show at the Casino de Paris. We arrived at 7, sauntered to the front of the line, to the guichet marked invités, and informed the young girl behind the glass that we were sur la liste. She shrugged apologetically and told us "the list" was on its way over from the Universal offices and would arrive shortly. We stood aside, feeling a little less fabulous at being made to wait.
Until I noticed a very tall, very effeminate man, positively swathed in some kind of gorgeous fur that was probably once a very adorable fox or mink, that now had giant LV insignia imprinted all over it. There was no doubt who was underneath all that Louis Vuitton: it was the Stylefaxer himself, Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley, in the flesh.
I poked Rob and asked in a stage whisper if he read Vogue. He did not. I looked around. No one to share the moment with. (Of all the nights for Coquette to be out the country!) I sighed and contented myself with ogling ALT from afar, relieved I’d worn a style-y kind of ensemble– brown Isabel Marant skirt, nude fishnets, brown t-strap pumps (total Ferragamo knock-offs)– I clutched my Prada tote like an overpriced life-preserver and hoped my wool coat didn’t scream "Banana Republic" too loudly. Not that there’s anything wrong with Banana– but it falls a measure short of Vuitton, no?
It was then that I realized the diminuitive man in the plastic-framed glasses standing at ALT’s elbow was Marc Jacobs, and I really started kvelling. There was also a tall brunette with them, wearing a silver version of ALT’s fur stole, who I identified as Camille Miceli, who according to this website is MJ’s personal "hand-holder" at Vuitton, attended by a very attractive man in an olive army-style jacket. [NDLR: Attractive man attached to Camille Miceli: if it doesn't work out with her, I'm the cute blond you joked with at the end of the show, email me.]
They got into the show right away; as for us, "the list" showed up an hour late, causing us to miss Rufus’s sister Martha’s opening set. Major disappointment– she’s a regular feature on my playlists.
When we finally were allowed in, we found ourselves seated in the prime front section of "reserved" seats, where we made friends with Rufus’s adorable aunt Teddy and were seated a row behind the Vuitton crew. The show was amazing; Rufus was in top musical form. He, joined by his band, opened with a rocking, fully fleshed out "Oh What a World," and went right into "The One You Love." Listening to "Poses," it occurred to me: he has a voice like a cello.
He played "Little Sister" and dedicated it to our new friend Aunt Teddy; tried to dedicate "I Don’t Know What It Is" to Marc Jacobs but forgot the words and had to start over a couple of times. One he got going though… it was symphonic.
A full-band rendition of "The Art Teacher" was less successful, in my opinion–I prefer just Rufus and the piano, as on the album. He performed a couple of new songs– "Between My Legs" and one called "Leaving for Paris," for which he was joined by–drumroll, please– Jane Birkin. (If you don’t know who she is, you might be more familiar with the bag Hermès named after her). As Rufus began his tribute to Jeff Buckley, the Debussy-esque "Memphis Skyline," some non-English speaking fan who didn’t understand Rufus’s earnest introduction to the song decided it was a good moment to throw a box of edible panties onstage.
The climax of the evening was "Old Whore’s Diet," which led into "Gay Messiah." The whole band donned togas and danced in sync:
Then they crucified Rufus:
Then he came back for the resurrection (that is, the encore) and played "Complainte
de la Butte," "Hallelujah," and "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk."
When the show was over, after I had my moment with Miceli’s man, we went backstage, and Rob and Rufus were reunited (they used to hang back in the Montreal days). All the boldfaced names were there; I recognized Jane Birkin’s daughter Lou Douillon loitering around, all skinny denim legs and cowboy boots; we drank, chatted with the backup singers, chatted with Rufus, chatted amongst ourselves, and basically felt pretty fab all around, especially having been bisoused by Rufus on our way out.
When we finally stumbled out of there around midnight there was a crowd of dedicated Rufus fans waiting out in the cold, even an hour and a half later, for him to emerge. I happened to be singing "Complainte de la Butte" at the top of my lungs just as we came out of the stage door, but at that point, considering where I had just been, I had nothing to complain about.
Keep those tickets coming, N. And thanks again.
[NOTE: Thanks to Lottie, I now realize why I recognized one of Rufus's backup singers, Joan Wasser!]