YOU ARE GIFTED! Mx Bond’s Subjective Gift Giving Guide to Your Best Non-Profit Arts Organizations

Happy Holidaze!!!

I’m writing to share a few of my favorite non-profit arts organizations with you before the holidays.

Tis the Season fro Giving to New York's Greatest Arts Organizations!

Tis the Season for Giving to New York’s Greatest Arts Organizations!

Obviously it’s the season of giving and I’m writing to encourage you to give to a few of the most AMAZING non-profit organizations in NYC. These are institutions that make New York City the place I want to live in and I’m sure you love them too!!!

 

So, in no particular order please consider making your seasonal, tax-deductible contributions to the year end campaigns of one of the following:

Participant, Inc.

to make a year-end, tax-deductible contribution please click FIERCE!!!

Participant, Inc. is, in my opinion, THE most important visual art outpost in downtown Manhattan and has been since it’s inception on Houston St. Before opening Participant, Inc. Lia Gangitano ran another legendary arts venue in Soho The Threadwaxing Space but I feel she’s on the top of her game NOW!!!

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This year Greer Lankton: LOVE ME was named top show in a smaller gallery by The New York Times‘ Holland Cotter. It’s a mind-blowing show

photo: Conrad Ventur

Greer Lankton, LOVE ME, installation view, left to right, Diana Vreeland, c. 1990, Courtesy of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Trolls, c. 1982-1983, Collection of Francine Hunter McGivern; Eric Kroll, Greer Lankton surrounded by her sculpture, 1984, Chromogenic print, copyright Eric Kroll; Peter Hujar, 1934-1987, Greer Lankton in Bed, 1983, Greer Lankton in a Fashion Pose (I), 1983 and Greer Lankton in a Fashion Pose (II), 1983, vintage gelatin silver prints, from the Peter Hujar Archive, Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery. Photo: Conrad Ventur

as were M. Lamar’s NEGROGOTHIC, a Manifesto

M. Lamar, Badass Nigga, the Charlie Looker of Psalm Zero Remix, 2013

M. Lamar, Badass Nigga, the Charlie Looker of Psalm Zero Remix, 2013

and the week-long series of events surrounding the release of EDGEWISE: A Picture of Cookie Mueller Chloe Griffin’s brilliant biography of downtown art and performance legend Cookie Mueller.

Chloé Griffin, Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller, 2014, handmade collage, book layout. Photo: Rona Yefman

Chloé Griffin, Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller, 2014, handmade collage, book layout. Photo: Rona Yefman

And, of course, a few years ago Lia gave me my first solo show for which I will be eternally grateful!!!

Please donate generously!

For More info on Participant, Inc visit their website

 

PS 122

PS 122 has been performing miracles this year in various locations around the city as they await the completion of the renovations to the legendary red brick school house on First Avenue and 9th Street in the East Village aside from the annual COIL Festival which will be running January 2-17.

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Now is an exceptionally tenuous time for PS as they struggle to present the cutting edge work we’ve all come to expect from them and to keep the ball moving forward toward completion of the renovations on their home.

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I’m honored to be on the board of PS 122, to have made debut in New York City as a professional performer on the stage of PS 122, and to have been the recipient of The Ethyl Eichelberger Award. Please donate to PS 122′s End of Year Campaign to keep CUTTING EDGE PERFORMANCE ART alive and well and in The East Village!

 

 

Visual AIDS

Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.

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Their POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE Party and benefit auction will be held January 30-February 1, 2015 and I, along with many AMAZING artists, will be contributing postcards for the auction to benefit Visual AIDS. But in the meantime please make a year end contribution to this brilliant organization that is a guardian of our QUEER HISTORY!

 

“You Gift / We Give” to The Africa Conservation School Project

I am partnering with BURKLEMAN a wonderful new online company found by my friends David and Kevin to offer a limited edition print of V in Orange a limited edition photograph 100% of which will go to The African Conservation School Project!!

V in Orange by David Kimelman

V in Orange by David Kimelman

The Africa Conservation School Project is a joint effort between the MASS Design Group and The African Wildlife Foundation to build schools in environmentally threatened sections in Africa.

A 2012 portrait of artist and performer, Justin Vivian Bond, by BURKELMAN co-owner, David Kimelman. V and David have shot together on a number of occasions, including the cover of V's memoir, Tango, My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels. The image is available as a loose print or in a 1.25" wide, white, matless wood frame.  SIZE 12" X 18"

A 2012 portrait of artist and performer, Justin Vivian Bond, by BURKELMAN co-owner, David Kimelman. V and David have shot together on a number of occasions, including the cover of V’s memoir, Tango, My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels. The image is available as a loose print or in a 1.25″ wide, white, matless wood frame.
SIZE
12″ X 18″

 

Click to purchase “V in Orange” limited edition print by David Kimelman and 100% of the cost will be donated to The African Conservation Project as part of the You Gift / We Give offering by BURKLEMAN!!!

And finally…

Feel free to help ME out by purchasing a CD, Perfume or liimited edition LP of Dendrophile from my merch page. YES!!! 100% of the profits go to the Mx Justin Vivian Bond Rent and Maintenance Fund which is highly taxed a very necessary!

 

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Signed and Numbered Limited edition LP of Dendrophile

Signed and Numbered Limited edition LP of Dendrophile

 

ONE DAY ONLY 20% OFF TICKETS FOR JVB AT JOE’S PUB

For Friends and Family! Here is 24 hour only discount code for my holiday show “Star of Light” at Joe’s Pub!!!

BLACK FRIDAY SALE! ALL SHOWS AT JOE’S PUB NYC 20% OFF. USE PROMO CODE: JPBLACK

-BOOK NOW!!!

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Star of Light! photo by Mike and Claire

Star of Light! photo by Mike and Claire

 

Justin Vivian Bond: Star of Light December 17-23

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I just spilled coffee all over my notes for this update so let’s leave it at this. My holiday show “Star of Light” is going to be funny, heart-beaking, extremely spiritual, full of B.S.*, beautifully styled and JAWDROPPINGLY GLAMOROUS!!!!

If you are not going to be in New York City December 17-23 my heart (or what’s left of it) goes out to you.

Recently, I watched a documentary starring Charlotte Rampling and she reignited my belief in believing. I bet you can’t wait to hear how The Night Porter brought me to Jesus and if you really don’t care one way of the other see B.S.* above.

Star of Light! photo by Mike and Claire

Star of Light! photo by Mike and Claire

 

Most importantly you should know that I’m choosing fantastic songs for you and that my band – Musical Director Matt Ray on piano, Claudia Chopek on violin, and Nathann Carrera on guitar- well, they are extremely talented, charming and lovely to look at.

Guess Who!

Guess Who!

Most importantly, my new boyfriend “Hippy Jesus” said he’ll reward you handsomely if you show up to celebrate his “burfday”. Happy Birthday, Baby!  (Don’t tell him we’re really celebrating “The Return of the Light” because he’s pretty sure he IS “The Light” -I love a man with chutzpah and a good send of himself, don’t you?)

Celebrate the Return of the Light! Photo by Mike and Claire

Celebrate the Return of the Light! Photo by Mike and Claire

See you at Joe’s Pub!

 

Mazel Tops!!!!

Love,

Mx Bond

Ella Fitzgerald at The Kennedy Center Concert Hall 1987 or 1988?

Okay. It’s taken a few days but here is part two of my list of “fifteen or so” of the most memorable live music performances I’ve seen.

 

In the mid-80′s I was living just outside of Washington, D.C. in Prince George’s County in Adelphi, MD. I’d moved there because I had begun performing on the dinner theater circuit in that area as one of the brothers in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”  at a theatre called Petrucci’s Dinner Theater.

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I went on to play small parts in other shows there and at The Burn Brae Dinner Theater where my friend Donna eventually hired me to work in the kitchen and I ruled over the “meat board” on the buffet line. “Ham or Beef?  Au Jus? You’re welcome. Enjoy the show!” it was very fulfiliing work. The best part was getting my shift drink and then getting stoned in the parking lot and listening to Joan Armatrading as the cicadas descended on us that summer. As much as I liked being one of the King of Siam’s guards and serving meat to busloads of tourists -or maybe I should say busloads of meat to… anyway, at a certain point I decided it was time to move on. I had recently been in a play called, “Chang and Eng” in the Washington Fringe Festival where I played one of the famous Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, who had worked in the Barnum and Bailey Ciricus in the 1800s.

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My twin brother was Eric Dellums, an extremely talented African American actor who was from California and stood about 6 inches taller than me. At the time I was trying to decide if I wanted to be an actor and to really be honest with myself as to whether I had enough talent to make it my life’s work.  I decided that if Eric and I could convince an audience that we were Siamese twins (now called conjoined)  we could convince people of anything.  The play was well received and that really boosted my confidence. Another thing I needed to know was whether or not I could, if I had to, make a living in the “straight” world so I got a job working at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts working as an assistant to the Maitre ‘D of The Roof Terrace Restaurant where many big name Washington politicians and celebrities dined before seeing one of the shows at The Kennedy Center. I was trying to be a normal, middle-class, semi-closeted gay wiith a job and I had a cute 80′s haircut, showed up to work in a classic Calvin Klein houndstooth sport coat with black Willie Smith pleated gabardine trousers and shiney black tassled loafers.  It was an adventure which could only last for a brief period of time but it lasted long enough to give me the confidence to plunge into my life as a gender non-conforming queer in San Francisco a year later believing that I could -in case of emergency- break the glass ceiiling by returning to my closeted white male privilege again one day if need be. I’m happy to say I have managed to avoid that fate, thus far… And now that I’ve got breasts? Well, never say never!

One of the perks of working at The Kennedy Center was that i was able to sneak into a lot of great performances over the course of the 16 months or so that I worked there. I saw several operas, symphonies and concerts the most thrilling of which was Ella Fitzgerald.

I’m not sure of the exact date I saw Ella but I believe it would have been late 1987 or early 1988. I’m sure I have it in a journal buried somewhere in storage in my friend’s basement in Pennsylvania along with a bunch of angst-y missives about how my parents didn’t understand me and that I would never find ‘true love’ but who needs to go to Pennsylvania for that!?! I still keep a journal, hello, some things never change! Self-pity is a classic that never goes out of style!

 

Anyway!!!  I was very excited to see Ella because when I was growing up we only had a few 8 track tapes in our 1961 Buick Special Skylark. The Buick was the first car I ever rode in and it’s where I fell in love with music. I have so many fantastci memories which are associated with that car. The first vacation I remember going on was when I was about 3 or 4 years old and my parents took me to historical Williamsburg. I don’t remember Williamsburg but I do remember my friend Lori Hill hid some of her Barbie’s under the car seat for me to play with on the trip! What a pal!!!

The 1961 Buick Special Skylark where I felt my dreams come true., played with Barbie's and fell in love with music.

The 1961 Buick Special Skylark where I felt my dreams come true., played with Barbie’s and fell in love with music.

Here is a list of the 8 tracks we had in our car. I don’t think it ever changed until my parents sold the car when I was thirteen.

Hank Williams Greatest Hits

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Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass “What Now My Love?”

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Dr. Zhivago Soundtrack

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Sarah Vaughn with The Count Basie Orchestra

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Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Gershwin Songbook

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Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra “The Golden Instrumentals

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These were what we listened to in the car. My favorite was Billy Vaughn and his orchestra because it sounded like a movie soundtrack and when it was playing I pretended I was Cinderella or Bette Davis. Oftentimes I would hum the tunes as dance around on my tippy-toes imagining I was in high heels. I recently found “The Golden Instrumentals” on itunes and even though it’s awfully cheesey I still love it. Fortunately I don’t have to walk on tip-toes pretending I’m wearing high heels any more. I’ve got a lovely collection of high heels and with a slug of whiskey they barely hurt!  Over the years I came to realize what a genius Hank WIlliams was but, back when we were kids, my sister loved Hank Williams and I was NOT a fan so we used to have big fights over what we’d listen to. Neither of us were into Ella Fitzgerald but Ella was my Dad’s favorite. He used to tell the story about how one night he and his buddies were loafing around outside of some jazz club in Georgetown when Ella came outside and said, “Hi fellas!” and made their night.  So when I heard Ella was playing at the Concert Hall at The Kennedy Center I decided to go -if for no other reason than it would impress my dad.

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As I’m sure you know Ella had terrible health problems in her later years caused by diabetes.  By the time I saw her she had lost a tremendous amount of weight, could barely walk and had coke bottle glasses. After being helped onstage Ella leaned up against a stool in front of her orchestra and began singing. In spite of her obvious physical frailty her voice was still there and the joyful noise she made was overwhelming and all encompassing. She sang everything from her signature song “A Tisket, A Tasket”, which made her a star when she recorded fifty years before in 1938, up through “Mack the Knife”. Her voice soared and she caused the audience to go wild when she would scat, and she would scat whenever she forgot the lyrics -which was often. Seeing Ella was like attending a master class. Sometimes I’ve found the most interesting concerts to be the ones where the singer is struggling -either because of age or throat problems because it’s then that you get to see how they really work. One of the toughest concerts I ever sat through was when Marianne Faithfull sang at the Danny and Sylvia Fine Kay theater here in New York in the 90s. She had given a hell of a show the night before but had blown out her voice. Watching a singer maneuver their way through a show with a blown out voice can be very painful but illuminating and I learned so much from watching Marianne pull a show out of her soul that night because it wasn’t coming out of her throat. The same thing was true the last time I saw Anita O’Day at the Fez a few years later. It was Anita’s last appearance in New York before she died and although she couldn’t hit the notes her signature phrasing remained in place. But more on those two incredible women later…

Ella Fitzgerald in 1988 around the time I saw her perform in The Concert Hall at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Ella Fitzgerald in 1988 around the time I saw her perform in The Concert Hall at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

 

Back to Ella. She brought the house down and frequently mopped her brow with the handkerchief that never left her hand. I swear that as she was led off the stage I was afraid she might die that night but she lived several more years until she died in her home in Beverly Hills in June of 1996.  SIngers sing. My heroes are the people who do it until they drop. What could be better than singing your way into heaven? Lord knows listening to Ella was a spiritual experience.

Here is a link to a youtube video of Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé live. I really don’t think the Grammy’s ever got better than this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBBj4df1c-o

 

Next up? Divine!

If you’re in NYC this week come and see me in “The Drift” at Joe’s Pub Thursday and Friday at 7pm!

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My Bush Drifteth Over

 

Okay. I just got back from London where I had the unparalleled pleasure of seeing Kate Bush in concert TWICE!

Here I am in London last week having a word with Kate Bush. I was so nercous my hair went white overnight! I"ll be washing the grey away before my show at Joe's Pub on Thursday.

Here I am in London last week having a word with Kate Bush. I was so nervous my hair went white overnight! I’ll be washing the grey away before my show at Joe’s Pub on Thursday.

I came back to NYC because I’m returning to Joe’s Pub with my latest show The Drift which I put together with the Brilliant Scott Wittman (who has been pretty busy working with Bridget Everett on her hit new show ROCK BOTTOM -don’t miss it!) and premiered in the Spring. It’s my favorite show of all the ones I’ve put together so far and I hope you’ll come if you haven’t been able to make it yet. Here is a great piece written about it by THE HELIX QUEER PERFORMANCE NETWORK

Click the photo below for tickets to The Drift

1932640_10151894415880806_1373088554_oAnd Now For My Personal and Very Subjective List of the Top 15 Live Performances of All Time!

 

 

Since I was so overwhelmed by Kate Bush’s show I lay awake in my room at The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch the other night thinking about how lucky I was to have been there and making a list of the most memorable musical performances I’ve had the privilege of attending in my life.  I’ve seen some pretty amazing artists over the years so I decided to share some reminiscences of the top 15 or with you and why they were so important to me. I’ve put them in chronological order beginning in 1981 and I’ll be blogging a few each day (when possible) over the course of the next week or so.

 

Here We Go!

 

Judy Collins Christmas at Carnegie Hall, December 11, 1981

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When I was a kid my cousins were older than me and they were the people whose musical tastes I was first exposed to in the 1960s. The first record I remember falling in love with -even before my love affair with Karen Carpenter began- was Judy Collins’ Widlflowers album which came out when I was four years old and it belonged to my cousin Jan.  Fortunately for me my cousin Jan became devoutly religious some years later and gave me many of her “secular” albums which I cherished and  have kept throughout the years.  I wore out Jan’s copy of Wildflowers ages ago but because I’m a sentimental sap it has moved with me to every place I’ve lived since. It’s with me here in the East Village to this day and it still says “Jan Gamby” in black magic marker in the upper right hand corner.  Quite frankly, , I could write a whole essay on that album alone.

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Shortly after I started college at Adelphi University in the fall of 1981 I  saw that Judy Collins would be playing at Carnegie Hall and I convinced a girl a had a terrible crush on named, a dance major named Pam Schultz, to come with me.  Despite the fact that Judy Collins was really not thought of as very cool at that time Pam was game. We’d already been to an extremely memorable concert our first week of college when we went to see Simon & Garfunkle in Central Park but the Judy Collins concert begins my list because it was my first concert at Carnegie Hall. It was at this concert that I finally realized I had escaped my hometown and was finally beginning to live the life I’d dreamed of.  As we left the legendary venue the snow was gently falling on 57th Street. It was a magical moment indeed, like leaving church after you’ve been saved.

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I would never have believed that 26 years and a day later on December 12, 2007 I would be standing in the very same spot myself…

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Or that a year after that, on December 10, 2008 I’d be singing “Silent Night” while standing in between Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson during “The McGarrigle Christmas Hour”.

Dueting with Rufus Wainwright at Carnegie Hall December 10, 2008

Dueting with Rufus Wainwright at Carnegie Hall December 10, 2008

I still love Judy Collins.  I’ve seen her perform many times since. She’s the person who made me want to be a singer. THANK YOU JUDY!!!

Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music at The Adelphi Theatre, London, August 1984

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My dad had a great Lena Horne record when I was a kid. I thought she had the most beautiful smile I’d ever seen.  Aunt Judy, my mom’s best friend, had a gay brother and their mother Leola Miller was super nice to me. Looking back now, I think I know why. She had a gay son and she knew something about me even I didn’t know at the time. I loved Leola Miller, she reminded me of Lena Horne because they had the same smile.  Leola and I had the same birthday so we had a special bond. We were born on May 9th. Lena was born on June 30th but she died on May 9th. Circles…

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Lena was so beautiful and had been a real trailblazer as the first African American woman to be signed by a major Hollywood studio.  She fought for civil rights her entire life and has been a major role model for me as a transperson struggling for visibility and respect in show business and the media. I was a senior in high school when bought the double album for her Broadway show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music and I played it nonstop for weeks.  I must have driven my family crazy singing along with Lena, “From this moment on…” and dancing around my bedroom.  Her mixture of autobiographical storytelling, song and politics was potent.  Looking back it’s obvious that she had a HUGE impact on me as an artist. I went to see her with my friend Victoria Leacock in the summer of 1984. Victoria and I were both studying theatre in London that summer. I was at LAMBDA and she  was living in her grandmother’s townhouse near Camden Town.  Because Victoria was friends with Jenny Lumet, Lena’s granddaughter, we were able to go backstage and meet Miss Horne after the show.  As we approached her I was shaking. I’d never meet anyone so glamorous in my LIFE! She was icy, intimidating, beautiful and talented -everything I hoped to be one day. At the time she was 67 and from 8 feet away she looked as if she had no wrinkles AT ALL but as we got closer and she extended her hand I noticed that she had the finest wrinkles I’d ever seen -like an ancient Chinese crackled vase. She was exquisite. As soon as she found out Victoria was friends with Jenny she warmed up to us and began asking about our experiences in London and graciously signed our programs. After graduation I worked with Jenny Lumet at Details magazine for a short time and got to know her a bit and really liked her. Victoria was much closer to Jenny and I guess, knowing how much I loved Lena Horne, Victoria somehow convinced Jenny to find out if there was something her grandmother wouldn’t mind parting with and she very generously gave an old pair of earrings she no longer wore to Jenny who gave them to Victoria who then gave them to me. I couldn’t believe it -LENA HORNE’S EARRINGS!!!  I treasured them and kept them in a special box for years and eventually ended up wearing them as part of my costume when I created the character of Kiki Durane. The last time I wore them one of them flew off and broke while I was onstage in London at The Royal Albert Hall when Kenny Mellman and I were touring the UK with The Scissor Sisters. More circles…

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Wearing Lena Horne’s earrings as Kiki Durane with Kenny Mellman as Herb.

I still have those plastic hoops in a bag with the rest of my Kiki paraphernalia.  Lena’s magic inspired me and I’m sure the energy carried in those earrings helped carry us to the heights we achieved as Kiki & Herb.  Lena Horne was one of the greatest entertainers who ever lived.  Victoria Leacock Hoffman, who is still one of my greatest friends, has always been like a fairy Godmother to me.  Over the years she has made so many wonderful things in my life possible. I love you Victoria. Thank you for everything!!!

 

 

Come back soon for the next installment: Divine and Ella Fitzgerald

Super Summer Adventures of Mx Bond

 

 

I’m writing from my little “cunt tree house” (sp?) in upstate New York where I’ve been spending my summer merrily presiding over a series of spectacular performances my brilliant friends have been serving to the residents of the “Swish Alps” here in the beautiful Hudson Valley at The Spiegeltent at Bard College.

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I can’t believe there are only two weeks left before I pick up my pussy and highball it out of here!

 

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(what cat? there is no cat! shhhh!!!)

Before heading out I’ll have the pleasure of presenting a few more unforgettable evenings of performances by Erin Markey on a double bill with Cole Escola & Jeffery Self August 9th, Amanda Palmer August 15th and we’ll be finishing the season with my own show The Drift followed by a dance party with my beloved Sammy Jo spinning the locals into a FRIENDZY!!!!

THEN:

My summer really begins!

 

AUGUST 22

Saratoga Springs, CA

 

THE LUSCIOUS MUSIC FESTIVAL

I’m bringing my band including Matt Ray, Claudia Chopek and Nathann Carrera to the woods for a not-to-be-missed QUEER MUSIC FESTIVAL!

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AUGUST 29

Provincetown, MA

SOLO WATERCOLOR EXHIBITION at AMP GALLERY

Gold Mesh Cross-Body Bag

Gold Mesh Cross-Body Bag is a presentation of watercolors, photographs and installation details by Justin Vivian Bond inspired by v’s obsessional relationship with the model Karen Graham who was signed to an exclusive contract as the face of Estée Lauder between the years 1973 and 1985 when she retired from modeling to become a fly-fishing instructor. Estée Lauder (born 1906 as Esther Mentzer, Corona, Queens, New York) is credited with creating the “Free Gift With Purchase” marketing strategy which propelled her company to the top of the cosmetics industry. Karen Graham (born 1945, Gulfport, Mississippi), the face of Estee Lauder, was the epitome of the aspirational white woman of elegance.

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My friends Jill Pangallo and Liz Collins also have solo shows opening the same night at AMP so it’s going to be quite a WING DING!

 

SEPTEMBER 1

Provincetown, MA

LOVE IS CRAZY IN PROVINCETOWN

w/ Matt Ray at The Crown & Anchor

ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!

JVB

 

 

SEPTEMBER 3

BE JEALOUS!!!! I’m seeing Kate Bush in London -I know, I’M DYING!!!!!!!!!!!!

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SEPTEMBER 4

WE ARE HOI POLLOI -Ace Hotel Shoreditch, London

I’m the guest Maitre ‘d at We Are Hoi Polloi and wiil be doing a coupla numbahs. Why not?

So, YES! Mx Thing is gonna be busy laboring through labor day!!!

Then…

 

HOME!!!!!

 

NYC!!!

SEPTEMBER 11, 12, 18, 19 and OCTOBER 2, 3

THE DRIFT

I’m bringing The Drift back to Joe’s Pub for all of those who missed it in the Spring! It will be refined and refreshed and I CAN’T WAIT to get back on my home stage for SIX NIGHTS ONLY!

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SEPT 25th

LOVE IS CRAZY IN NEW YORK!

at THE FRENCH INSTITUTE ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE (FIAF)

This will be the premier of LOVE IS CRAZY in New York as part of Crossing the Line ’14 and because it’s such a special event I’ve asked my friend Miguel Gutierrez to be my extra-special guest. I’ve been dreaming of collaborating on something with Miguel for ages so I’m beyond thrilled that he’s agreed to join me.

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SO plan accordingly. Hopefully I see you somewhere on the ROAD-E-O CIRCUIT!!!

 

LOVE,

MX BOND

Announcing a Brand New Show! “The Drift” from Mx Justin Vivian Bond

Hello Friends,

I’m excited to announce the premier of a new show I’ve been working on with Scott Wittman and Matt Ray.  The Drift will premier next week at Joe’s Pub and will run for SIX SHOWS ONLY. It’s freshly written and I’m really excited to introduce a new original song called “Wild Card”.  Along my new song I’ll be introducing a bunch of new versions of truly beautiful songs written by Billy Strayhorn, Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell plus a few other surprise favorites. Most of these songs are songs I’ve never performed before and I’ve got a great band lined up to help me THROW. THIS. SHIT. DOWN!!! I’m really jazzed about this one.

The Drift! photo by Liz Liguori

The Drift! photo by Liz Liguori

 

The Drift is inspired, in part, by this quote from Tennessee Wiliam’s novella The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone which I read in my dressing room at The Classic Stage Company while working on the Brecht play I did over the winter:

Going into a room and drifting out of a room because there was no real purpose in going in, nor any more purpose in going back out again.  That was the drift.  The drift was everything that you did without having a reason.  But where was a reason for anything at all.  Oh, you could invent a reason, and some were plausible.  Some were plausible enough for being accepted the way a polite excuse is accepted for convenience or social policy.  But there had been nothing.”

I was feeling bored, uninspired and depressed. So I came home and began to look through notes and ideas I had been collecting for years and years: snippets of books, favorite quotations, poems, unfinished lyrics… I let my mind drift from one glittering bread crumb I’d left for myself to another until I’d written this show. I’m bringing a stack of books from which I, and several of the other songwriters, have taken inspiration. I can’t wait for you to see which books I’m going to bring, and I’m hoping you’ll be able to see this show which I think is beautiful, poetic and strong!

 

Love,

Vivian

The Drift at Joe’s Pub

7pm March 13, 14, 27, 28

9:30pm April 10, 11

Love Is Crazy in Paris

Love Is Crazy In Paris

 

Last wednesday I took my final bow in The Classic Stage Company’s Production of Bertolt Brecht’s A Man’s a Man in which I played “The Widow Begbick”. I had accepted the role for many reasons, not the least of which being that I was excited to be cast as a woman as opposed to a drag queen or a a man playing a woman or even playing a trans woman.  Within the first few rehearsals I learned that was not necessarily the case but because my soon to be wonderful friend Ching Valdes-Aran who is cis woman was cast as I man I went with the “non-traditional casting angle” and I must say I was treated with complete respect regarding my gender identity by the entire cast and crew throughout. Since I first hearing Judy Collins’ recording of Pirate Jenny I’ve been interested in the music of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill as well as the “personnage étrange” of Lotte Lenya so to be asked to be in a Brecht play was thrilling and the thrill was made even greater knowing that A Man’s A Man is one of Brecht’s early works and is rarely produced. This play also marked the first appearance of Leokadja Begbick aka The Widow Begbick who eventually went on to become one of Brecht’s stock characters in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and eventually Mother Courage.  PLUS, and this is a big plus, Duncan Sheik was writing the music and to put it clearly and succinctly, I am a fan! So I went for it and in the process -a very long, taxing, and underpaid process- I had the privilege of working with some really wonderful, dedicated, talented and fine actors. I hadn’t done a 7 show week since Kiki and Herb were on Broadway but fortunately the theater is only a few blocks from my  house and, since we’re in a polar vortex, what else would I really want to leave the house for? I am so happy I did it and even more thrilled to have done it now that it’s over!!!!

 

Backstage the final Night of A Man's a Man

Backstage the final Night of A Man’s a Man

 

The reason I left the show Wednesday night -several nights before closing- is because I before being cast in the role I was already scheduled to fly to what Kay Thompson’s fictional little girl Eloise called, “Paris France, France!” to give a Valentine’s concert at the Théâtre National De Chaillot called Love is Crazy or L’Amour Fou. It was one of the greatest weekends of my life and that’s why I feel compelled to write all this down and share it with you.

 

FULL MOON MADNESS!

 

FRIDAY

 

I travelled with a marvelous group of musicians; Matt Ray came along to Musical Direct and play piano, Claudia Chopek who is a brilliant violinist, and the lovely Nath Ann Carrera rounded out the group with his guitar. We also had Matt’s lover Mark with us because they needed a little romantic get away as Mark just go back from three months on tour and what better city could there be for a little romance?.

 

Upon landing in Paris we were met by our beloved hosts/producers/friends Mathieu Bonicel and Guillain Roussel of La Poursuite, who I was introduced to by Jay Brannon, one of my “Shortbus” co-stars, several years ago.  They have been instrumental in presenting me in France ever since.  The first few times I was there I played in what is essentially a cave near Place de Republique called Les Sentiers Des Halles -which I loved. But this time I was to play  at the Théâtre National De Chaillot in conjunction with Krzysztof Warlikowski’s Kabaret Warszawski. Quite a step up! In June I went to the premiere of Kabaret Warszawski in Warsaw because part of it was based on Shortbus and part was taken from my memoir Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels. It blew my mind the first time I saw it. Obviously, because it was partly inspired by my deeply personal story and history I was emotionally overwhelmed and could hardly be expected to take an objective perspective on it when I first saw it, but this time I was a bit more relaxed and the production had really settled into itself and the sold-out crowd went wild at the end of the four and a half hour long production. I was also very honored to be brought onstage for the final bow with Krzysztof  and the cast. Krzysztof Warlikowski is a genius and so is his entire company including the entire scenographic team. I pray that BAM will bring the production to New York at some point so everyone here can see it. IT IS ASTONISHING!

 

Jacek Poniedziałek (front) and cast members of Kabaret Warszawski

Jacek Poniedziałek (front) and cast members of Kabaret Warszawski

Afterwards we went out for drinks with the cast and I got to spend some time with the other “Justin Vivian Bond”Jacek Poniedzialek who I love and adore as much for his brilliant performance and for translating my book into Polish for it’s release in Poland as for his charm and good looks. This trans lady is flattered to be portrayed by such a gorgeous man. Go figure!!!

 

When I got back to my hotel there were some goodies awaiting me from Chanel that my friend Jerry Stafford had arranged to have sent over so I began playing dress up in the middle of the night because I wasn’t sure what I was going to wear for the concert. I settled on a pair of killer heels and when I say “killer” I mean the stilettos are like nails and could literally kill somebody. After prancing around the hotel for awhile I crashed.

 

Chanelegance!

Chanelegance!

 

SATURDAY

 

The next morning i got up and called the Hotel Georges V and made a reservation for lunch with the golden enchantress Catherine Baba! She’d been trying to get me to come to a party the night before but I wanted to be in good shape for my concert so I resisted her tantalizing texts. When I arrived at the Georges V she was resplendent in a full length Lanvin gown, a turban and Valentino sunglasses. As I had suspected, it had turned into a long night. We gossiped over Bloody Mary’s and cheeseburgers before she presented me with an exquisite beaded and leather Roberto Cavalli caftan to wear for the concert. Then we checked out the spa and pool because she felt like having a swim but it was not as enticing as we had hoped so we went shopping for lingerie on the Avenue Montaigne instead. It was all so decadent and extraordinary but I figure, if only it were possible, everyone should be able to have lunch at the Georges V and go shopping on the Avenue Montaigne at least ONCE in their life and this was MY DAY!!!

 

Baba!

Baba!

Then I ran to the Chailot for soundcheck. While there I learned that not only was the show sold out but they had added extra tables because the demand was so great. I wasn’t nervous so much as I was completely focused on the the pleasure I expected to have and give while singing the songs I had chosen for this audience on this occasion. I wanted to sing my favorite songs so I started with as smoky ballad to get everyone settled, Angel Eyes, which I first learned from a jazz book I bought as a teenager and later heard sung by Julie London. Then we got our WITCH ON! I was in front with my band behind me and behind them was the Eiffel Tower backed by the Full Moon!  The stars were aligned and we cast a powerful spell. I don’t know exactly what all I said during my set but I know that during our version of  Sinnerman when I sang “I went to the Devil, he was waiting, and I cried POWER!!!!” the Eiffel Tower lit up in sparkles at just the right moment and the audience GAGGED! I only learned this afterwards because I was facing the crowd not the moon. When it was over we were given three standing ovations and brought back for several encores. It was beyond anything I’ve experienced since the first sold-out Kiki and Herb show at Carnegie Hall!

 

Magie Noire.  Le Théâtre national de Chaillot!

Magie Noire. Le Théâtre national de Chaillot!

I am so thankful to Les Subsistences, who brought me to France in November which made it possible for me to meet with the wonderful Didier and Nathalie at the Chaillot and more gratitude goes to Karolina Ochab from the Nowy Theatre for her help and to everyone else whose machinations made the evening possible. Also I’d like to thank all the wonderful people who posted the great photographs: Vincent Gagliostro, @isatagada, and Matthieu Bonicel.

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After the show the Chaillot threw us a lovely cocktail party and then Catherine Baba hosted the band and a few of our friends at a little bar in the Hotel Mathis after which we went to a dance party where some cute, crazy-eyed boy talked to me until I couldn’t take it anymore and I went home happy and exhausted.

 

Sunday

 

Claudia had to fly back to New York on Sunday morning and Matt and Mark went off for vegan lunch so Nath Ann and I met our friends Quinn Cox and Stella Starsky the world famous astrologers, who also present the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown at Cafe Camille in the Marais for a delicious lunch before I had to run to meet Jerry Stafford for the matinee of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West.

 

I’ve turned into some kind of Opera lover this year. I’ve seen Einstein on the Beach and Anna Nicole at BAM, Two Boys and Die Fledermaus at the Met, Sergey Taneyev’s The Orestaia at Bard’s Summerscape, and Elektra and La Fanciulla del West at The Paris Opera.

 

I fully expected to sleep though half of it but it was so much fun and it was visually stunning because the sets by Raimund Bauer were full-blown kitsch fabulousness.  I was LIVING throughout the entire 3 hours!

 

The Act ll set for Fanciulla de West. Note the glowing eyes of the deer!

The Act ll set for Fanciulla de West. Note the glowing eyes of the deer!


After the opera Jerry suggested we “go round for tea at Marianne’s” by which he meant, “Let’s go for tea at the left bank apartment of Marianne Faithfull.”

 

GULP!

 

In 1979, when I had just turned sixteen, I was on my way to work at The Dairy Queen in my parent’s 1976 Buick Regal when “Broken English” came on the radio and I got work work late because I couldn’t stop driving until it was over. At that moment I knew there was a whole world out there I knew nothing about and I had to explore. Everything changed in that moment.

I’ve met Marianne before in dressing rooms, at parties and when we did a reading together in London but I’d never just really sat and talked with her so I was beyond excited and, quite frankly, nervous. I was nervous for no reason. She greated us at the door dressed in black cashmere and patent leather Roger Vivier flats. She made us tea with TONS of honey because she’s no longer smoking or using so “the only thing we can do it take our tea with LOTS of honey”! We sat at her table and she was everything you would hope for: funny, and bawdy, and smart. She gossiped with Jerry, we talked about family and how being an artist impacts that, about making a living as a singer, she allowed me to look at a scrapbook with pictures of her mother who has been a dancer in Berlin during the Weimar era but who had her work permit revoked which made it impossible for her to work effectively ending her career so she was forded to flee to Austria and became a part of the resistance during World War ll. Marianne is currently hard at work writing a new record so she read us some poems and lyrics she’s been writing recently. I nearly died. Imagine: I was sitting two feet away from Marianne and she was reading me her latest poems. I don’t think anything could be more amazing. I still can’t believe it. I’m so mazed at how many of my idols I have meet and none of them have been disappointing. Even as I sit here in my apartment and think about it, I’m stunned. I will love Jerry forever. I would have anyway but… Wow!

Weirdly, this has been my lapel pin since the New Years Super Moon. Meow!

Weirdly, this has been my lapel pin since the New Years Super Moon. Meow!

 

Katerina Jebb’s portrait of Tori Amos

After we said goodbye Marianne Jerry took me to the apartment of the artist Katerina Jebb who I had met after my concert. Katerina gave us fairy cakes and tea and I got to see some of her beautiful work. I can never remember anyone’s name which kind of makes me an idiot because I meet people and I have no idea who they are or what they do until they tell me. It turns out I’ve been a fan of Katerina for years. I imagine most of my friends would know her best for the amazing work she did with Tori Amos’ from The Choirgirl Hotel.  She’s amazing!

 

Sadly, I coulnd’t stay long because by now it was getting late and I had to meet the gang for dinner at Cafe Vivienne to say our goodbyes.

 

After all of that I could hardly sleep Sunday night because there was so much to process! Monday we got on the plane at Charles DeGualle bound for JFK and during the flight I finished reading Janet Mock’s incredibly important book Redefining Realness -which just became a New York Times Bestseller!!! CONGRATULATIONS JANET!!!

 

Go Janet!!!

Go Janet!!!

This morning I woke up in my own bed to the insistent sound of the cat meowing for food. The magic caftan and the Chanel stilettos have gone back to their respective Ateliers and my own clothes are unpacked and put in the drawers. Upon rising I went into the kitchen, Iooked in the cupboard and realized the cat sitter had opened up the last bit of cat food last night so what else could I do? I bundled myself up and trundled off into the polar vortex to buy Pearl her Fancy Feast. Everything is back to normal. It’s the cat’s world and I’m just liViing in it. Lucky me!


photo-5 Next up? I begin a residency at Joe’s Pub March 13th in The Drift, a new show I’m working on with Scott Wittman inspired by Tennessee Williams’ The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.  More on that later!

Friends and Family Discount for A Man’s A Man

Happy New Year!

Mx Bond here. I just wanted to quickly let you know I’m in a great production of Bertolt Brecht’s “A Man’s A Man” at The Classic Stage Company and we start previews January 10th. It’s going to be great. There are some amazing songs by the Tony Award winning superstar Duncan Sheik and Brian Kulick is directing and the cast is fantastic.

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Here is a friends and family discount code for those of you who would like to come:

Code     MXBOND

https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/929575/prm/MXBOND

 

The show is GOING TO BE GREAT and I’m proud of the work we’re doing -It’s going to be an outstanding production of a rarely staged work and I think it’s got really important things to say which are still tremendously relevant.

So Get your tickets today because the discount is only good during previews (January 10-30)

I hope to see you there.

Love,

Vivian

 

Happy Holidays From Mx Justin Vivian Bond

Happy Holidays Friend,

It’s my one day off until Christmas so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people in my life who have attended my shows and concerts over the past year, read my blog posts, laughed at The Drunk News or listened to my records. I feel so blessed to be able to continue to create work and am so thankful you are willing to go with me in so many directions and to encourage and support me in all my whimsical tranifestations.

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I also wanted to let you know about a few things that are about to happen.

First of all, I’ll be performing on the Solstice in New Hope, Pennsylvania this coming weekend at the newly opened Rrazz Room.

I’m really excited there is a new cabaret venue in my beloved Bucks County and that my first performance there will be on The Winter Solstice!

Snow Angel -Solstice Show at The Rrazz Room, New Hope December 20, 21

Snow Angel -Solstice Show at The Rrazz Room, New Hope December 20, 21

If you missed Snow Angel last year or were unable to get tickets to my sold-out Holiday shows at Joe’s Pub (sorry I’m only able to do two this year) then why not book a room in New Hope and come out to Pennsylvania and celebrate the solstice with us!!! I’m predicting a rollicking good time!

Secondly, I am happy to announce that I’ve recently joined the board of PS 122 -not because I’m a big money donor, but because I’m a dedicated artist who is really grateful for the amazing work PS 122 has presented over the years AND because I really feel their continued presence is mighty important to the East Village and the performance world AT LARGE!!!

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Currently PS 122 is “in exile” as the building on First Avenue is being turned into an amazing 21st Century venue which means PS 122 is presenting work wherever we can.  In January PS 122 is presenting COIL 2014 and there is some amazing programming you should really check out.

THIS IS MY REQUEST. If you have a bit of extra cash lying around I think it would be a great thing if you would donate something to the end of the year campaign for PS 122.

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Because of the difficulty of running an organization and presenting shows in borrowed venues it’s important to keep the coffers full until we can get back into our home space.

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PLEASE! make an end-of-year donation to PS 122!

 

PLEASE DONATE TO THE PS 122 End of Year Campaign!!! So far we’ve gotten 45k of our 120k goal. We’ve got a bit of way to go but with your help we’ll make it!

 

ALSO, I’m excited to tell you that I’m in an amazing show!!!!!

 

BERTOLT BRECHT’S A MAN’S A MAN, directed by The Classic Stage Company’s Artistic Director Brian Kulick, with original songs by Tony Award winning writer Duncan Sheik begins previews January 10th and is scheduled to open January 30th. I play the widow Begbick. It’s exciting for me because I’ve always wanted to be cast in a Brecht play and it seems my patience has been rewarded because in this piece The Widow Begbick is the only main character who is female. I never wanted to play Mack the Knife, if you know what I mean -and I think that you do! YAY!!!

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Every day of rehearsal is a joy, the cast is fantastic and I’m having a really wonderful time rehearsing with these great actors:

Jason Babinsky (Polly Baker), Bill Buell (Jeraiah Jip),Gibson Frazier (Galy Gay), Martin Moran (Uriah Shelley), Steven Skybell (Jesse Mahoney), Stephen Spinella (Bloody Five), Ching Valdes-Aran (Mr. Wang) and Allan K. Washington (Ensemble)

A MAN’S A MAN will perform Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7pm; Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets start at $60 and are available starting Thursday, December 12 at 12pm at classicstage.org, by calling 212-352-3101 or 866-811-4111, or at the CSC Box Office at 136 East 13th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues.

FINALLY!!!

Carol Channing and I are in our Barbie Golf Cart (okay, it's the Pink Panther) and heading towards Town Hall January 20th!!!

Carol Channing and I are in our Barbie Golf Cart (okay, it’s the Pink Panther) and heading towards Town Hall January 20th!!!

On my day off -MONDAY JANUARY 20th, I will be reuniting with my dear friend CAROL CHANNING!!!!!!!!!!!! at Town Hall.

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Carol and I had such an amazing time together on stage at The Ice Palace in Cherry Grove this past summer as part of Daniel Nardicio’s ICON Series that we’ve decided to to it again at TOWN HALL! I love Carol and am honored to be a part of the 50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF HELLO DOLLY!  I’m bringing my band and a bushel of raspberries and we’re going to PARTY with CAROL CHANNING!  I hope YOU can join us.

 

Have a blessed Solstice, a safe and celebratory New Years Eve! And, last but not least, a Merry Christmas to all my Christians and consumerist shopping junkies!  Buy me something!!!

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Much Love,

Mx Bond

 

 

 

 

 

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