WATCH: Rufus Wainwright’s “Out of the Game”

While the public awaits the release of Rufus Wainwright’s newest album Out of the Game this spring, he has released the title track as the first single and video. He ventures back into the pop music side of things on this seventh studio album of original work.

The video stars Helena Bonham Carter as a frustrated, maybe even repressed librarian “singing” Wainwright’s words. Wainwright gets in on the action in a multitude of characters include one in some Dressed to Kill drag. He even makes love to himself. Ironically, I think Carter anchors the video more and Wainwright is somewhat distracting in his own little movie. But you decide for yourself after the jump.

Out of the Game is scheduled for a May 1 release.

—  Rich Lopez

Rufus Wainwright to (finally) release a pop CD

Rufus Wainwright is one of those recording artists about whom his fans always assume he is more popular than he probably is. His lushly overproduced albums — portmanteau CDs of lush, wrenching ballads and retro-glam set-pieces — are beloved by his supporters, but probably lead to head-scratching among the rest of the music-buying public. I can’t recall the last time I heard one of his songs on the radio.

But apparently Rufus is aware of that — and wants to fix it. His new album, produced by Mark Ronson, will be his “most pop album … ever,” he says. Out of the Game will be released May 1.

Not familiar with Rufus? You should be. Watch this performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’”

The eagerly awaited new single from Madonna’s new album M.D.N.A. is now official. She teased us with the album art a few days ago and now her first single and video. She dropped her single “Give Me All Your Luvin’” today. A smart move as usual to tease her halftime performed at Sunday’s Super Bowl, especially since she centered the video around cheerleader back up dancers and very assisting football players along with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj along for the ride. She’s looking good with a sort of brushed out Adele-ish do. The song is both cute and cool thanks to its beat. She seems to be vying for her more pop-friendly days of True Blue and Like a Virgin than her more exploratory, complex stuff like Ray of Light and Confessions on a Dancefloor, so she may be coming full circle to her early days. Either way, she’ll likely score with “Luvin.’”

But enough about my thoughts on it. Here’s your new Madonna.

—  Rich Lopez

LISTEN: Of Montreal’s “Dour Percentage”

Following up their music counterparts Scissor Sisters, Of Montreal drops a peek of its new album Paralytic Streaks which is slated for an early February release. Pitchfork posted the preview song “Dour Percentage” and linked to an interview with singer (and sexually liberated) Kevin Barnes about the album.

The band also hits the road this year coming to Dallas to play at Trees on March. 13.

Spin analyzed the hell out of the song here, but I thought it was an admirable effort. I don’t see too much of a difference as Spin does save for a lack of high energy punch, but it has that certain motif OM is famous for.

of Montreal – “Dour Percentage” by Some Kind of Awesome

—  Rich Lopez

LISTEN: Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself”

Although Adam Lambert isn’t releasing his new album Trespassing until early 2012, he’s getting us ready with his first single, “Better Than I Know Myself,” that digitally dropped today.

The track mixes some hard edge with some radio pop sensibilities, but its a good listen and there’s a maturity here that means he’s growing. We’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the album sounds.

Trespassing is set for a March 20 release.

—  Rich Lopez

Singer Matt Alber offers free music via Scruff app

To celebrate the release of his new album Constant Crows, singer Matt Alber is generously offering it up for free for Scruff fans. Well, the first 1,000 that sign up to receive the 10-track album. Just click on to the app and wait for the pop-up. He works his inner-Madonna by covering “Take a Bow.” You should see the boys loving that one with the comments on his Facebook page.

So start up your apps and hopefully you’re still within the 1,000 mark to get Constant Crows for free.

—  Rich Lopez

Kristen Chenoweth comes to N. Tex. for CD signing — and you’ll need a wristband for it

A few months ago, we wrote about Broadway and TV star Kristen Chenoweth‘s new album of country songs, Some Lessons Learned — a left-turn for the opera-trained singer of pop standards and showtunes. But Chenoweth is just an Oklahoma gal at heart, who grew up on country and church music (but has remained open-hearted and gay-friendly for years).

Well, she’s bringing that music to Frisco for a CD signing at Barnes & Noble at Stonebriar Center on Dec. 9. Chenoweth won’t be appearing until 6:30 p.m. that evening, but you can get a wristband starting at 9 a.m. — they are available on a first come, first served basis. You have to buy the CD at that location, and can only get it — and not other Wicked or Glee memorabilia — signed, though you can buy as many CDs as you want.

Of course, Chenoweth has another strong tie to North Texas — her upcoming ABS series, Good Christian Belles, is set in Dallas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Could this be Madonna’s new single?

The interwebs are gaga already over this “leaked” clip of what could be Madonna’s new single, “Give Me All Your Love” on WAT.tv. This seems pretty early considering her album is set for a spring release, but perhaps, things are getting done quicker than planned. Which could be good news for Madge fans in anticipation for some new material. Plus, there’s been talk that she’ll be next year’s halftime performer at Super Bowl XLVI and maybe she just wants some new material by then.

In this song, she reliably delivers her straight up pop and while it may not be as challenging as previous work, it’s completely Madonna and that’s all anybody wants, right?

What do you think? Listen after the jump.

UPDATE: The original leak had been removed since last night, but Perez Hilton had the song in full on his site.

—  Rich Lopez

Starvoice • 09.16.11

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Twiggy turns 62 on Monday. Known mostly for her mod, androgynous look of the ’60s, the style icon was one of fashion’s first supermodels. She returned to fashion somewhat as a judge on America’s Next Top Model, but left in 2007. Also a singer, she is working on a new album of ballad covers due in November.

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THIS WEEK

Mars entering Leo inflates energy and egos, and trine to Uranus in Aries, will lead to unexpected results. Stubborn assertion will lead to wacky disasters. Be bold, but adaptive and humble for best results.

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VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Self-consciousness leads you to fashion disasters. Play with a new look where nobody except a trusted friend can to see it, just so you can be satisfied that it is indeed wrong for you.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Domestic victories make you cocky.  Better to offer an olive branch and build reconciliation. Don’t dread the cake with all those candles. Focus on accomplishments and goals.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Count on your friends to help you get ahead. Keep your eyes open to colleagues who might double-cross you. Don’t worry: A rude surprise can prove a blessing in disguise.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Teamwork gets anything accomplished, so be attentive to those who can make or break your efforts. They’re inclined to support you, but they want credit and generally deserve it.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Focus on your career and getting ahead. You can focus on your goals with little interference. The boss is about to take notice and is likely to be very supportive. Just let your work speak for itself.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Connect with older, well-educated people. You can learn a lot and get a clearer idea of your direction in life. You can’t help but say the wrong thing to your partner, but you’ll be fine.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Even sweet, affable chatter can get annoying. Staying between the extremes is your biggest challenge. Lean to the quiet side. Letting them wonder will arouse more interest in you.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
You want to have fun, but work demands time and energy. Getting boisterous upsets things and exposes resentments. It doesn’t matter if they’re jealous. Focus your energies productively.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Be as productive as possible while your discipline and drive are especially sharp. Worries about the future are distractions. Just stay the course; keep putting one foot in front of the other.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
The coming social season puts you in greater demand. Fix up your home now to be ready for company then. Friends’ one-upmanship will throw you off your game. Ignore it.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Social opportunities abound. You’re happier at home with your dearest and nearest, and some of your favorite recipes, but get out and develop connections. They’ll serve you well.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Your state of mind changes more than your finances, but you can relax. Your energy is cranking up and leads you into interesting adventures. Look for new ideas, not arguments!

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi

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Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens