Rufus Wainwright

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See, Hear, Read: April’s six can’t-miss cultural releases

See, Hear, Read: April's six can't-miss cultural releases

Rufus Wainwright chronicles a decade’s worth of drama and debauchery on his new greatest hits album, Vibrate (Images: Foley by Getty Images; Remedy courtesy of Global)

1. Vibrate by Rufus Wainwright

In June 2006, Rufus Wainwright donned silk stockings, a black tuxedo jacket and four-inch heels to recreate Judy Garland’s iconic 1961 Carnegie Hall concert. Liza Minnelli met the gimmick with scathing contempt (“What is he doing?” she scoffed), prompting a deliciously passive-aggressive celebrity feud—Wainwright told the press that Minnelli wasn’t talking to him and made catty barbs at her onstage. Wainwright’s latest track is a sly dig called “Me and Liza,” in which he begs for her ­forgiveness. “Come on, Liza, give me a try,” he croons. It’s the lead single on his new best-of album, Vibrate, which maps the songwriter’s development from waifish tweaker to campy bon vivant and, finally, to domesticated family man—he married Jorn Weisbrodt, Luminato’s handsome German artistic director, and fathered a child with Leonard Cohen’s daughter, Lorca. A deluxe edition features a second disc of bonus material, including a handful of rare live covers—songs by Noël Coward, George Gershwin and Wainwright’s father, Loudon Wainwright III.

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Sondra Radvanovsky’s current obsessions: five things the superstar soprano is loving right now

Sondra Radvanovsky's current obsessions: five things the superstar soprano is loving right now

Technically, the virtuosic Verdi soprano lives in Caledon, but she spends 10 months of the year travelling to the Met, La Scala and the Paris Opera. In April, she’ll sing in Toronto for the first time in four years, making her debut in the role of the aging, angry Queen Elizabeth I in the COC’s production of Roberto Devereux, an opera by the Italian composer—and Verdi progenitor—Gaetano Donizetti. We asked Radvanovsky what’s inspiring her, culturally speaking, outside the opera house.

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Toronto’s seven most important parties: an invitation is proof that you’ve arrived

Anyone can throw a party, but throwing a party of the year requires a precise combination of food, luxury, and notable guests. In 2013, these seven soirées struck that balance

Toronto’s seven most important parties: an invitation is proof that you’ve arrived

From left: Kate Alexander Daniels and David Daniels; Kim Cattrall (Images: Getty Images)

The Host

Kate Alexander Daniels, publicist, and David Daniels, exec producer of stage company Acting Up

The Party

The city’s most devoted arts patrons have a house made for entertaining (hence several major events every year). Last November, they hosted a lavish dinner for 30 as part of the annual Grand Cru fundraiser for the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation.

The Guest List

Actor Kim Cattrall, philanthropist Salah Bachir, real estate agent Jimmy Molloy, financier Joseph Shlesinger and Type Books’ Samara Walbohm.

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Best of Fall 2013: six Toronto concerts that are totally worth the lineup

Best of Fall 2013: six fall shows that are totally worth the lineup
Best of Fall 2013 Concerts: 1 | Peter Grimes, starring Ben Heppner
1 | Peter Grimes, starring Ben Heppner
Last season, Canada’s reigning tenor delivered a blistering performance in the COC’s production of Tristan und Isolde.This season, Heppner takes on Benjamin Britten’s chilly yet gorgeous opera about a fisherman suspected of murdering his apprentices. Oct. 5 to 26, Four Seasons Centre.

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TIFF

TIFF Red Carpet

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TIFF Red Carpet: Keira Knightley and Adam Levine are impossibly beautiful at Can A Song Save Your Life?

TIFF Party: Can A Song Save Your Life

Keira Knightley singing in a musical drama? Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine acting in a feature film? After the success of John Carney’s 2007 film Once, the director signed up the pair for Can A Song Save Your Life?, which tells the story of a young musician (Knightley) trying to make it big after being dumped by her celebrity boyfriend (Levine). Both outrageously good-looking stars hit the film’s premiere at The Princess of Wales Theatre last night, along with co-star Catherine Keener, Hollywood super-exec Harvey Weinsten and singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. Levine whizzed by the press gallery with nary a move like Jagger, but Knightley, in Mary Katrantzou dress printed with a fairytale forest landscape, paused to chat about singing on camera. She revealed that her rocker hubby James Righton gave her no advice beyond “Good luck!” and added that the experience was so terrifying enough that she’ll reserve her singing to the shower from now on.

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The Goods

Best Dressed

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Memoir: Luminato artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt on why he loves a bit of bling

Jorn Weisbrodt

One day, not so long ago, I was looking in a mirror after getting dressed for the Met Gala, and I was blinded by my reflection. I was wearing a sparkly brooch, an even more sparkly scarf and a gold and coral pin that resembled a fishing rod. Next to me was my husband, Rufus, waiting with more: a bracelet, skull cufflinks and a hawk feather from the beach in Montauk for my bowler hat.

How did I get here, I wondered?

When I was about five years old in Germany I used to sit in front of my mother’s vanity table and go through her jewellery. It wasn’t all that much, as she accessorized modestly. I was particularly fascinated by an amber necklace—I imagined it was from the lost Amber Room in the Catherine Palace outside of St. Petersburg, but it was probably just handed down from her mom—and a silver ring that looked like a blooming rose, which mysteriously disappeared one day.

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Events

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Luminato 2013 guide: 17 must-see events at this year’s arts festival

Joni Mitchell is performing and speaking at this year’s Luminato Festival (Image: Jack Robinson)

This year’s Luminato Festival, the first under the complete oversight of artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt, seems to have benefited from Weisbrodt’s Rolodex of celeb contacts: cultural icons Joni Mitchell, Atom Egoyan, Marina Abramovic and Weisbrodt’s hubby Rufus Wainwright all taking part. The 10 days of music, theatre, dance, and art start tomorrow. Below, our picks for the most buzzy free concerts, engaging art installations and memorable theatre.

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The Goods

Shopping

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Toronto’s Best Dressed 2012: the city’s 25 most stylish people

25 Most Stylish

Toronto is a good-looking town, with no shortage of beautiful people in beautiful clothes. But only a few are bona fide head-turners: city characters who take fashion to the next level. We celebrate them with our second annual list of Toronto’s best dressed.

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Culture

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QUOTED: Rufus Wainwright on his musical family’s trademark asset

(Image: Craig Barritt/Getty Images Entertainment)

Yeah! We have nice asses.

—Canadian pop icon and newlywed Rufus Wainwright tells Vulture about his famously musical family’s resemblance to the von Trapps (full context: sister Martha had just remarked that the family looks good in lederhosen). The two Wainwrights were at a New York screening of Sing Me the Songs that Say I Love You, a concert film documenting their tribute last year to their mother, the late and very great Kate McGarrigle. [Vulture]

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Behind the Scenes: The Art of Time Ensemble returns with Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds

Behind the Scenes: The Art of Time Ensemble returns with Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds

Nicholas Campbell (centre) and Marc Bendavid, who play various characters in the show, including a witness to the Martian invasion and a reporter who dies in the attack

The ultra-eclectic chamber orchestra known as The Art of Time Ensemble is always looking for ways to break through the stuffiness and predictability of classical music. To accomplish this, it has done things like arrange and perform an orchestral version of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album and collaborate onstage with Michael Ondaatje, R. H. Thomson, dancer Peggy Baker and singer Steven Page (with whom they also recorded an album of songs by Leonard Cohen, Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright and others). But the Ensemble’s obsessively faithful recreation of The War of the Worlds, Orson Welles’ notoriously fake 1938 radio broadcast about Martians invading rural New Jersey, is its most elaborate project yet.

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TIFF

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TIFF 2012 Insider’s Guide: top 10 places to eat

TIFF 2012 Insider’s Guide: where to eat

Amid the cocktail swilling and celebrity gawking, eating can be an afterthought during TIFF. Good news: there are plenty of excellent restaurants that let you do all three. Here, the glitziest places to dine, drink, and catch starlets cheating on their diets.

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People

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Rufus Wainwright and Jorn Weisbrodt are finally getting hitched tomorrow!

(Image: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment)

After getting engaged back in 2010, Toronto’s Annex-dwelling, star-powered couple Rufus Wainwright and Jorn Weisbrodt are finally tying the knot tomorrow night with a 250-person bash in Montauk, New York, featuring celebrity guests Princess Leia Carrie Fisher and Yoko Ono, among others. The event is (understandably) being kept hush-hush, but details have, of course, managed to emerge anyway: the duo will reportedly marry in a ceremony at the home of Wainwright’s father, Grammy-winning singer Loudon Wainwright III, then jump into the sea for a quick dip before heading to Shagwong Restaurant, where Wainwright is expected to perform (there is no formal dress code, which makes deciding what to wear for the nuptials–swimming–partying lineup considerably easier). The rumour mill also has it that the pair is asking for funds to put toward their new aluminum Airstream trailer in lieu of traditional wedding gifts, which, if true, is awesome. [Toronto Star]

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People

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Party Pages: the Diamond Gala was packed with society types and tutus (many tutus)

Anyone wondering where moneyed Toronto arts patrons were on Wednesday night should have checked the Four Seasons Centre, where the city’s old guard convened for the National Ballet of Canada’s 60th-anniversary Diamond Gala. Outside the centre, models posed in the sweltering heat, fanned by custom-designed tutus as white-haired doyennes, tuxedoed power brokers and a handful of devil-may-care party-goers in canvas shorts walked the red carpet. Inside, guests were treated to performances by the company (including the famously breast- and butt-heavy pas de deux from the ’90s contemporary ballet Herman Scherman)—although some members, like principal dancer Jillian Vanstone and first soloist McGee Maddox, were spotted in the audience, enjoying a night off.

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People

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SPOTTED: Jake Gyllenhaal hanging out with a gay power couple—again

Just last week, at Luminato, Jake Gyllenhaal took in the Rufus Wainwright concert at David Pecaut Square, hanging out with gay power couple Jorn Weisbrodt and Wainwright before bailing on the after-party. That one chat proved to be too little, however, as Gyllenhaal was spotted last night on the Harbord Room’s patio, drinking with the duo. Our question is, did he eat the city’s most delicious burger?

(Images: Harbord Room, gigglesyee; Jake Gyllenhaal, Prince of Persia)

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Spotted: Jake Gyllenhaal hangs out with gay power couple

Jake G. and K’naan at Terroni (Image: Twitter)

Jake Gyllenhaal is still in town filming An Enemy, and he spent last night as a VIP at Rufus Wainwright’s Luminato concert at David Pecaut Square. Gyllenhaal was spotted hanging out with two blonde women in the VIP tent, alongside Jorn Weisbrodt, K’naan and other guests. It’s not typical for power couple Weisbrodt and Wainwright to be under a tent with heartthrob Gyllenhaal in a public space in downtown Toronto, so we imagine there are many people this morning who wish they hadn’t gone to bed early last night. Gyllenhaal and K’naan enjoyed a dinner at Terroni before the show, but not until after they waited 15 minutes in line before getting a table.

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