Rufus Wainwright: Song in his heart

Extravagant, inspired and wildly romantic, the performer who takes his cue from Judy Garland walks his own yellow brick road

Cultural Life: Sian Phillips, actress

'I've just seen four plays in London in three-and-a-half days'

Album: Various, War Child Heroes (Parlophone)

For this latest of the War Child charity albums, music legends were asked to nominate a track of their own to be covered, and the latter-day act they'd like to cover it

Thompson Family Christmas, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

As "Winter Wonderland" inches to a chaotic close, the most striking image is that of stern folk veteran Bob Davenport sharing a mike with skittish transvestite diva Justin Bond. One of many memorable sights for people to take with them and one that sums up the evening's unlikely culture clash.

Joan as Police Woman, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

From backing musician to arresting performer

One Click Wonder: The Music Drags

With audiences flocking to ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ and ‘Wig Out!’, and a stage version of ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ opening in 2009, drag is taking the West End by storm. Here we celebrate the art form’s best (and worst) practitioners...

Wainwright commissioned for new opera

Singer Rufus Wainwright has been commissioned to compose his debut opera, to be premiered in the UK, it was announced today.

Observations: A change of mood for Rufus

Rufus Wainwright wants to "do classical". Where to start? At the top, of course: at the Verbier festival in the Swiss Alps, where Maxim Vengerov and Martha Argerich head a jaw-dropping roster of classical stars, and where he "feels like Heidi" in his little chalet. He admits that his classical training is limited, but reckons he "can bring something else to compensate". He makes his initial appearance before an audience of whom half are saying "who's he?" while the other half says "can this really be him?".

You Write The Reviews: Rufus Wainwright, Wollaton Park, Nottingham

It would be fair to say that festivals present challenges for an artist. First, they are not playing to a fully partisan crowd, and second, they are restricted by time constraints and the logistics of equipment and entourage. Festivals, then, are a measure of a performer's ability to make the conditions work for them.

Neil Young, Hop Farm Festival, Kent

Walking on in a paint-splattered jacket, Neil Young salaams modestly. Soon, he's bending over his guitar, trying to buck it into life. A large fan makes his long, thinning hair blow back, as if he's always in his music's hurricane. By the time he finishes two hours later with The Beatles' "A Day in the Life", the crowd have had exactly what they came for.

Joan As Police Woman, Classic Grand, Glasgow

Nice gig, shame about the amps

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac brings his stunningly bright, Pop art-inspired pieces to London

He has dressed everyone from Lennon to Madonna to the Catholic clergy. Now, as he opens a flagship London store, a new generation of bright young things are discovering Castelbajac's excessive style

Album: Martha Wainwright, I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too (Drowned in Sound)

The stuff comes out of her without filter, not so much stream of consciousness as unconscionable torrent: crossness, self-pity, indignation, wit, vision, witchy vituperation, vivid regret, terror.

Album Preview: Magnet, The Simple Life

Label: Hermetic

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, Geffen
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