TORONTO — Singer Rufus Wainwright says he introduced his mother, Canadian folk musician Kate McGarrigle, to alkyl nitrates — a chemical inhalant commonly known as “poppers” — inside a seedy New York gay bar.
“She’d never really done them before. I think she was a little scared,” Wainwright told Out magazine contributor Michael Musto.
Alkyl nitrates, commonly sold as leather cleaner and liquid incense, can be inhaled to heighten sexual arousal.
It was apparently a one-time experiment for McGarrigle, though.
“Once, I said, ‘Let’s do them again.’ She said, ‘Yeah, I really want to do them again’ and then she grabbed them,” recalled Wainwright, “and threw them out the window.”
McGarrigle, who died in 2010 after battling cancer, is featured in the documentary Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, which screens Wednesday in New York.
Wainwright also told Musto about how the Montreal-born folk singer reacted when he came out to her in 1987.
“She was awful about it,” he said. “She threatened to kick me out of the house. It was completely horrific.”
Wainwright said McGarrigle eventually came around.
“Once things calmed down, she took full advantage of all the perks. She went to Venice with me and Paris Fashion Week, and I think I showed her a good time.”