Rufus rocked out at the Rock-It Science Festival. I failed every science class I took! he lamented.

Rufus rocked out at the Rock-It Science Festival. "I failed every science class I took!" he lamented.

The hipster cache of ‘geek’ culture was put to the test at the Highline ballroom Tuesday night. Something called the “Rock-it Music Festival” or “Rockin’ Science Festival” or some other pun gathered scientists and the folks who love them to listen to a line-up that, somewhat incongruously, had absolutely nothing to do with science. That is, except a band that sang songs about how love, heartbreak, and infidelity were all malfunctions of the amygdala. They were … amusing.

But the whole night was redeemed by the act everyone came to see: Rufus Wainwright, in the full-flush of amygdala-addled love, looking and sounding fantastic, as he rocked through a brief but perfect set that included the wittiest and yet, most affectionate response to his setting: “The Art Teacher.”

He also performed a post-Obama “Going to a Town” (NB the above clip is not from the Highline performance)  that mixed newfound hopefulness for our benighted land electing a black man president with an appropriate scorn for the passage of Prop 8. Why can’t the  mainstream gay rights movement response to Prop 8 capture as adroitly as this single song  managed to the viccissitudes of “one step forward, one step back” and of attempting to live one’s life in the middle of that two-step while retaining a shred of dignity?

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