Metro Weekly


Rufus Wainwright offers an unscripted, intimate concert for fans

When he performs at the 9:30 Club on Feb. 12, Rufus Wainwright says his show ”will have a certain freshness to it.” It won’t be scripted or pre-recorded — in contrast, he adds with a laugh, ”to our dear friend Beyoncé during the Inauguration.”

The concert is a solo outing for the gay piano-playing pop singer/songwriter. It’s not intended to promote anything specific; he already toured last summer with a band, including a stop at Wolf Trap, to push his most recent release, Out Of The Game. Instead, the concert gives fans a more intimate, acoustic, ostensibly wide-ranging concert, with selections from all corners of Wainwright’s varied career.

Rufus Wianwright

Rufus Wianwright

(Photo by Barry J. Holmes)

Actually, there’s a more personal reason for his solo trek, says Wainwright, who lives part-time in Toronto and part-time in Montauk, N.Y., both with his husband Jorn Weisbrodt. But his 2-year-old biological daughter, Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, lives in Los Angeles with her mother, Lorca Cohen, who is Leonard Cohen’s daughter. ”I see [Viva] as much as I can,” explains Wainwright, half-jokingly referring to his solo shows as a way to fundraise for his visits: ”I’ve got to buy a lot of plane tickets.”

Wainwright calls the experience of being a father ”the most impressive and powerful transfer of energy known to man.” Though when asked if he’ll have another, he retorts, ”I don’t know. I’m a pretty busy guy. I feel like a child myself.” Yet Wainwright turns 40 this summer. ”I can’t deny a certain cringe,” he concedes over the prospect.

If nothing else, Wainwright is looking forward to coming back to the ”fantastic” 9:30 Club and to Washington, at a time when ”it finally seems that, in terms of us liberal-minded people, the country is at least attempting to … do something interesting. Maybe the president will come, that’d be really exciting.”

When asked what song he’d sing for President Obama, he laughs, ”Well, not ‘Out of the Game,’ that’s for sure. I’d write one for him if he comes. On the spot.”

Rufus Wainwright appears Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Nightclub 9:30, 815 V St. NW. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40. Call 202-265-0930 or visit Also visit to sign up for the club’s new Friends With Benefits rewards program.

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.