Justin Vivian Bond: Silver Wells
Until Sun Nov 25 2012
Photograph: Courtesy A.L. Steine
Not yet rated
Time Out says
Fri May 25 2012
Last year was a whirlwind for performance artist and gender activist Justin Vivian Bond. On the career side, Bond—who initially came to fame playing a boozy over-the-hill chanteuse in cabaret duo Kiki and Herb—published the memoir Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels; mounted the art exhibition “The Fall of the House of Whimsy” at a Lower East Side gallery; and released a debut solo album, Dendrophile. Personally, things were more complicated, including a forced move when the artist’s longtime abode was razed, and an enlightening online feud with a New York magazine writer who referred to Bond as “he” in an article.
Underneath the outré trappings and outrageous humor, Bond—who uses the pronoun V to reflect life as a trans person—is an individual of conviction and culture. This is reflected in a new self-released solo CD, Silver Wells, inspired by Joan Didion’s seminal ’70s novel about a self-destructive artist, Play It as It Lays. Bond’s voice isn’t beautiful; it’s raw, piercing and full of purpose. The songs, mostly covers with Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett’s piano the sole accompaniment, include many classics that sound little like their original incarnations. Brecht-Weill’s “Alabama Song” is raspy and chilling, while Joni Mitchell’s “Lesson in Survival” is grounded and introspective.
Most memorable is Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ ’Bout a Revolution,” which loses its poppy quality and becomes an impassioned call to action. During a six-week Monday night engagement at recently opened cabaret venue 54 Below, Bond will have plenty of time to explore the mixed emotions of the album and of life.—Raven Snook
54 Below 254 W 54th St
- Event website:
- Date Time Price information
Mon Jun 25 20129:30pm$25 plus $12 minimum