“Saw You in the Dark”: Exploring Rufus Wainwright’s Emotional Vulnerability in Fan-Captured Live Performance Videos
A Victorian-inspired, deplumed, black mourning gown; a video of a kohl-painted eye, staring, blinking, and weeping; and a baritone voice mingling with solo piano are the audio and visual touchstones of Rufus Wainwright’s 2010 live tour of All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu. Using performance analysis of fan-captured performances posted on YouTube, this article argues that digital viewership queers, or alters, the audience’s experience, thus empowering spectators to engage with the emotional vulnerability, grief, and genre-bending of Lulu. For a work like Lulu, performed as a song cycle and without official music videos or a professional live recording, fan videos fill a void, at once cutting a major expense of the artist/label while empowering the audience to capture and share what they find to be meaningful online. In this study, four fan-captured live Lulu performances reveal moments of elision, uncertainty, and the blurring of the artist and the artist’s persona within digital “third space.” Through this lens, persona and grief are read within digital viewings of Wainwright’s live performances while framing online spectatorship as a queer practice of meaning-making.
Copyright (c) 2019 Stephanie Salerno
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.
Manuscripts submitted to Performance Matters should be original works that have not been published elsewhere. Note that authors are responsible for obtaining permission to include copyrighted material in any article or review published in Performance Matters.