Back by popular demand!
Here’s the latest update from The Drunk News! Learn all you need to know about guns in schools, Jodie Foster’s “coming out?” speech and the seafood crisis!
Have I Been “Hate Crime-ed” By The New York TImes?
I woke up on Christmas Day with more than a lump of coal in my stocking. No, instead it was an offensive, transphobic review from the paper of note’s increasingly out of touch music critic Stephen Holden:
Several months ago in an overview of the current cabaret scene Mr. Holden wrote,
“With its embrace of drag and transgendered performers, the downtown scene illustrates what might be called a crisis of masculinity throughout cabaret.”
As my friend Elizabeth Koke, P.R. Guru for The Feminist Press, said, “An Absence is not a crisis.”
And yet Mr. Holden’s violent language toward gender variant performers has not only continued but escalated. With his latest review of my holiday show, Snow Angel, he has really crossed the line.
It may look rather innocuous at first so let me break it down for you.
Mr Holden decides to open his hate-fueled review with this gambit:
“at 54 Below, Mx. Bond imagined that his/her self-described freakishness was caused by…”
I never called myself a freak during the show but with his twisted worldview Mr. Holden translated my observations about the “nature vs. nurture” argument and my open and direct discussion of my life as a transperson and my queer identity as “self-described freakishness”. I do not have a problem with the use of the word “freak” but when it is used as a tool to pave the way for a blatantly transphobic personal attack cloaked as a “critique” it gives me pause.
According to Mr. Holden once I have described myself as a freak I continue with my “proudly abrasive” performance in a “blonde chignon hairpiece”. (I only mention the “chignon hairpiece” because there was no hairpiece and it was not a chignon. I style my own natural hair into a French Twist.) Like my hair, I am real. Mr. Holden continues with a vague reference to a character I portrayed very successfully on Broadway several years ago and for which I received a Tony nomination, then goes on to compare me to Kim Novak -all of which is apropos of nothing. Except for the constant barrage of insults most of this ridiculous piece is, in fact, apropos of nothing because Mr. Holden shouldn’t be writing about contemporary cabaret. He has no understanding of it and he has no context for it.
There is nothing wrong with being ignorant. But the arrogance behind this ignorance is damaging to the Times and is extraordinarily hurtful to me and to transpeople everywhere. There is a difference between being a drag queen and being a transgender cabaret performer. There is a difference between portraying a character and singing from a deeply personal place. There is a difference between referring to yourself as gay or as a transperson or even a freak and having a clearly hostile critic lead their review with, “his/her self-described freakishness”.
And where did this “his/her” business come from? I am transgender and I prefer the pronoun “v”. If you can’t honor my preferred pronoun then it’s best not to hazard a guess. If you aren’t sure what pronoun to use then don’t use one!
“The show is a caustically sarcastic holiday celebration in which this eager-to-offend transgender diva sings aggressively and mouths off about everything. Sample: “The Tea Party is the Klan without sheets.”
I’ll admit his section is confusing to me. Is it that I’ve said something derogatory about the Tea Party that makes me an eager to offend transgender diva? Or is he asserting that I should be more aware of “my place” and exhibit more respect for my oppressive elders? Perhaps he thinks I should just, you know, camp it up a bit. Maybe he believes that the cabaret is no place to “mouth off” about politics. But according to Mr. Holden I don’t just mouth off about politics, I mouth off about “everything“. He hates queers and wants us to be quiet and go dance in the chorus. We embarrass him. Evidently, by taking two slots a week and selling them out at 54 Below I am preventing other performers -the ones who know their place and who will stick to the nostalgic songs Mr. Holden treasures- from the opportunity to drive yet another venue into the ground.
Mr. Holden reveals his transphobia just as equally with his praise:
“Mx. Bond has a harsh voice with a deep baritone lower register that sounds a little like a more forceful David Bowie. The bigger the vocal sound, the more commanding the vocal presence. And there were moments, especially in the Killers song “This River Is Wild,” when Mx. Bond, aiming for the rafters, became a ferocious, full-scale rock belter.”
In other words I sound best when I sing like “a man”.
And then there is this:
“The bone-deep ambivalence that is the essence of Mx. Bond’s being was distilled in a single observation: “I’m an optimist, even though I see the worst in everything.”
Just because I refuse to dismember my brain and see the world through a one-dimensionally fundamentalist perspective does not make me ambivalent. And how dare that dodo bird presume to define my “essence”. He has no idea.
Maybe I do see the worst in everything but there is no way for me to just let this kind of bile go unaddressed because the internet doesn’t allow it to just hit the stands on Christmas Day and then disappear. It will be around forever. Fortunately for the cabaret community and The New York Times Mr. Holden won’t.
Other cities have thriving, diverse cabaret scenes. As luck would have it TimeOut and other publications have done a terrific job of supporting the ever expanding cabaret scene here in New York. But as it stands The Times is placing itself in a very untenable position by continuing to give Mr. Holden this platform on which to exercise his out-moded bigotry and to display his contempt for the genre on which he has been assigned to report.
I realize I have chosen to present my work in commercial show business venues and I want my performances to be seen and discussed by as diverse an audience as possible but I refuse to be be bullied by the pseudo-intellectual, biased garbage put out by an arrogant writer whose time has passed. Let him review what he understands but please don’t send him to review anyone who has been exposed to any advances in intellectual or cultural theory since 1976.
I am indeed an optimist. I think that in general humanity is evolving and progressing toward a more holistic and loving way of experiencing and appreciating the diversity within all of us. But as someone who is capable of critical thought I am also capable of seeing the worst in everything and this ridiculous “critique” is a tiresome example of the worst.
The headline for the piece was “The Sun Pokes Through the Rage”. I am not an angry person. I would prefer not to be responding to this today. But if I let this kind of thing just pass by as if it’s okay then violent haters like Mr. Holden would win and I don’t want to end up with -and here’s Mr. Holden’s final flourish:
“a tiny, crumbling candy heart.”
The supremely talented photographer David Kimelman has made some love famed prints of the Mx America photo he took of me available on his website. I just wanted to share this in time for you to order one if, for some reason, you needed a little dose of transcendent patriotism over the holidaze.
Give the gift of V. Limited edition prints of “V & Old Glory” for sale. Available framed. Prices start at $45. http://davidkimelm/Users/houseofwhimsy/Desktop/V & Old Glory framed.jpeganphotography.bigcartel.com/product/v-old-glory — with Justin Vivian Bond.
Merry Kool-Aid Everyone!
I just wanted to let you know that my holiday show SNOW ANGEL opens THIS weekend and runs through December 30th and the lovely people at 54 Below just sent me a message saying they’d like to offer my friends and family $10 off the cover. YAY!!!!
See you there!
Bond10 (yeeeeah, you like that right?)
We just wanted to thank you so much for making the benefit for the ALI FORNEY CENTER at Joe’s Pub such a big success. Whether you were there on Sunday (lucky you) or you supported the cause from afar (bless you) your efforts made a difference. We raised over $20,000 in contributions and ticket sales. All of which will go a long way in getting the Center up and running again and providing shelter for our LGBT youth. Special thanks to Joe’s Pub for donating 100% of the ticket sales, Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids and The Colin Higgins Foundation for their big-time support.
Thanks to you and we wish you 20,000 blessings on your home.
Let’s continue to MAKE it better.
James and Vivian
P.S. Pictured below: Lady Rizo, Justin Vivian Bond, Cole Escola, Dan Fishback, Amber Martin, Taylor Mac, Nath Ann, Bridget Everett.
Not pictured, but most definitely there: Joseph Keckler, Quinn Cox, Bret Every, Yair Evnine, Matt Ray, and Christine Vale.
And our Stage Managers, Michelle Renkovski and Elizabeth Koke.
[xyz_lbx_custom_shortcode id=1]I am thrilled to announce the release of a new scent I have created in collaboration with Ralf Schwieger and the French perfume house Etat Libre D’Orange:
The Afternoon of a Faun
For the Person Who is Everything
by Mx Justin Vivian Bond
To be a Mx is to access the ecstatic, orgiastic cult of the ancient Goddess Cybele whose followers were known as the Galli, the sacred whores of the temple. These gender-variant spiritual revolutionaries used glamour and the power of their forbidden sexuality to honor the “Mother of the Mountain”, the “Lady of the Trees”. There is a thread that has travelled across the centuries to connect the Galli – through the arts of dance, drumming, singing and eroticism – with such legendary provocateurs as George Sand, Claude Cahun and Vaslav Nijinski, who scandalized the world with his flagrant sexual appetite in Mallarme’s “The Afternoon of a Faun”. The radical fairies and gender outlaws inhabiting our modern world are contemporary tranifestations of the “divine androgyne”. When we make love in the afternoon, on the ground, in the woods, surrounded by flowers we, too, honor the ancestors who have set us free.
To be a Mx is to be sexy, earthy, transgressive, and not just a little dangerous. Mx is for those who have achieved the golden mean – to be both a man and a woman – to be a Mx is to be Everything.
I’ve been working on perfecting this scent with Ralf for several years and today I am finally able to make the special edition version of it available exclusively on my website.
The commercial version is available in stores and on the website of Etat Libre D’Orange.
But only on my website can you purchase a signed and numbered version featuring the original text and the glorious photograph taken of me by the brilliant Matthu Placek.
The first shipment of 75 bottles is scheduled to arrive from France by December 9th and I will ship them out to the first 75 customers as soon as they have arrived. I can’t guarantee that more than the first 75 bottles will be shipped in time for Christmas but I will do my best!!!
The Afternoon of a Faun Inspired by Mallarme’s poem and the Nijinsky ballet which scandalized Europe in 1912. The scent of fauns, nymph, fine soft leather and animal sexuality. Bergamot, pepper and cinnamon give way to a glowing heart of incense, immortelles and orris on a base of myrrh, leathers and benzoin. -Les Senteurs
IT’S CELEBRATION TIME!
To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to another holiday show. I was feeling uninspired but not anymore after all we’ve been through, and all the wondrously inspiring help I’ve had working on the many benefits I’ve been involved with recently I CAN’T WAIT to get onstage and do my thing. Plus Momma’s gotta make some coins! Can I get a “Halo”?
So grab some friends, bring the girls from work, your newly socially progressive mother, your priest, trick, gay husband, or even the trick you’re hoping will soon be your new husband! Bring ONE OF THE NEWLY ELECTED WOMEN SENATORS… BRING THE WHOLE GANG!
I’m also touring this show and will be playing
In NYC I’ll be sharing the stage with my traveling companion Nath Ann Carrera, Miss Amber Martin and Brett Every. I’m also hoping to bring in some surprise guests too.
So flap your arms and spread your legs cause there’s a SNOW ANGEL inside you just waiting to be set free!
I realize I’ve been blogging more that usual but I thought you’d like to know that this coming Monday I will be hosting another Hurricane Sandy Benefit with a fantastic line-up including my beloved Sandra Bernhard and so many more which is being presented by Matthu Placek at The Boom Boom Room at the top of the Standard Hotel! Hope you can make it!
From Matthu Placek:
Over the past month I have been wrangling a few friends to perform a concert for my birthday on November 19th. When Sandy came crashing through I decided to switch gears and turn the birthday concert into a benefit. Last week, I headed out to the Rockaways with the ’RSR” Renegade Sandy Relief to lend a hand. There is much work ahead for the Rockaways and the RSR needs our help to ensure they can continue their relief efforts in the coming months.
It is my goal to raise a minimum of $10K on Monday, November 19th for the RSR with YOUR help!
Please join me for a star studded line up at the Top of the Standard with host MX. JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND, musical direction by THOMAS BARTLETT and performances by New York’s finest, including none other than SANDRA BERNHARD!
If you can not attend, donations in any amount are welcome and can be made HERE.
MATTHU PLACEK PRESENTS
A PRIVATE CONCERT IN SUPPORT OF THE
RENEGADE SANDY RELIEF
MX. JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND
With performances by
HANNAH COHEN, ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO, ANGELA DI CARLO, BRIDGET EVERETT, JAMES KALIARDOS, JOSEPH KECKLER, CLARA KENNEDY, TAYLOR MAC, SCOTT MATTHEW, LADY RIZO, TRIXIE WHITLEY
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2012
TOP OF THE STANDARD
442 WEST 13TH STREET
NEW YORK, NY 10014
$50 IN ADVANCE
$75 AT THE DOOR
TICKETS & DONATIONS MAY BE MADE AT
•Renegade Sandy Relief• •Hurrican• •Benefit• •Concert• •Matthu Placek• •Mx. Justin Vivian Bond• •Thomas Bartlett• •Doveman• •Sandra Bernhard• •Hannah Cohen• •Anthony Roth Costanzo• •Angela Di Carlo• •Bridget Everett• •James Kaliardos• •Joseph Keckler• •Clara Kennedy• •Taylor Mac• •Scott Matthew• •Lady Rizo• •Trixie Whitley• •Jauretsi• •Top of the Standard• •The Standard Hotel• •New York City• •iO Tillett Wright•
As many of you know for the past week I’ve been working with the After the Storm Foundation on a benefit for the Ali Forney Center -an organization that shelters and advocates for HOMELESS LGTBQ YOUTH- which will take place at Joe’s Pub November 25th. Our goal was to raise 10k with this benefit. SO FAR WE’VE RAISED OVER $20,000!!!! What else could we do? We’ve raised our hopes and set a new goal of 30K.
As of today general seating for the benefit concert is sold-out! But we still have FOUR VIP TABLES LEFT!!!
There are 3 four tops available for $400 and one table of 6 for $500. You can reserve one of these table as a Thanksgiving treat for you and your friends by contacting James Lecesne directly at:
IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE SHOW YOU CAN STILL HELP!!!
A $1,000 donation will win you a free “Glamour Pass” to The Afterglow Festival in Provincetown!
If you donate more that $1,000 The Afterglow Festival -a really amazing arts festival that happens in Provincetown each year in September- will give you a “Glamour Pass” which will allow you to see every show in the festival for free. Most of the artists performing in this benefit plus John Cameron Mitchell and a few others played at the Afterglow Festival this past season and many of us will be returning next fall with new full-length shows so even if you didn’t get tickets for the benefit you’ll still be able to see everyone you’ve missed during your holiday in Provincetown next September!
I’m beyond proud that so many of you are stepping up to the plate to help protect the HOMELESS LGBTQ Youth of New York City.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!
I would also like to add a special thanks to SHANTA THAKE at JOE’S PUB who donated the space for this benefit and to my co-producer JAMES LECESNE along with my family of brilliant artist who are donating their talents to make this night a HUGE SUCCESS:
Nath Ann Carrera