Justin Vivian Bond
Justin Vivian Bond
|Born||May 9, 1963|
Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S.
|Associated acts||Kiki and Herb|
Justin Vivian Bond (born May 9, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Described as "the best cabaret artist of his generation" and a "tornado of art and activism", Bond first achieved prominence under the pseudonym of Kiki DuRane in the stage duo Kiki and Herb, an act born out of a collaboration with long-time co-star Kenny Mellman. With a musical voice self-described as "kind of woody and full with a lot of vibration", Bond is a Tony-nominated (2007) performer who has received GLAAD (2000), Obie (2001), Bessie (2004), Ethyl (2007), and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists (2012) awards. Bond is transgender and uses the gender-inclusive honorific Mx. (in place of Ms./Mr.) and pronoun v (with vself instead of her/himself), a reference to Bond's middle name.
As "a trans kid in a small town", Bond recalls feeling that "I wasn't being accepted for who I was, but at the time I didn't even have the words to express who I was." Meanwhile, Bond was taking voice lessons and singing in church and in the local community theater.
Bond studied theater at Adelphi University on Long Island from 1981 to 1985. Bond saw Simon and Garfunkel in concert in Central Park, but it was visiting Carnegie Hall for the first time to see Judy Collins that invoked the realization that "I had escaped my hometown and was finally beginning to live the life I'd dreamed of."
After graduation, Bond worked briefly at Details magazine with Lumet. Returning to Maryland, Bond found roles in regional dinner theaters, often doubling as a server. Bond moved to San Francisco in 1988.
A turning point occurred when Kate Bornstein cast Bond in her play Hidden: A Gender, using the life of the French, intersex person Herculine Barbin as an autobiographical device. Bond "was not sure he could really pull off playing a girl," according to Bornstein, and feared the censure of "his gay male friends." With the assistance of Kenny Mellman, Bond created the lounge act Dixie McCall's Patterns for Living around the persona of actress and singer Julie London. The duo played a number of gigs, both in and out of character; three years after attending Pride for the first time, Bond was hosting the show at the end of the parade. In 1993, Bond hosted the first San Francisco Drag King Contest at the DNA Lounge with Elvis Herselvis. In 1994, Bond appeared on film for the first time, as Amphetamine in John Moritsugu's Mod Fuck Explosion, and again the following year in Fanci's Persuasion.
Kiki and Herb: 1993–2007
Bond is best known for originating the role of washed-up lounge singer Kiki DuRane, "an alcoholic battle-axe with a throat full of razor-blades." Kiki's equally-damaged accompanist Herb, played by pianist Kenny Mellman, made up the other half of the duo, billed as Kiki and Herb. Critics lauded both the performance and the edgy, eclectic repertoire. Described in one place as "tragically hip", the inspiration arose "out of my own trauma regarding AIDS and so many people dying," according to Bond. "All our friends were dying of AIDS, and it was a way to get out all our rage," said Mellman.
Bond moved to New York City in 1994 in the midst of crackdown on queer clubs by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani. Journalist John Russell saw in Kiki "an icon to rival Hedwig." The New York Times called Kiki "the town's most endearingly unhinged chanteuse", comparing Bond favorably to more conventional performers for whom "the point is never the prettiness of the voice." Bond has said that "I think that the reason people liked Kiki so much is that she had just about everything wrong with her."
Kiki and Herb met with more critical acclaim and developed a cult following. They received their first New York Times review for Have Another, (1999), a show that earned a GLAAD media award the following year. They performed extensively, namely in London's Soho Theatre and Queen Elizabeth Hall and New York's The Knitting Factory and Carnegie Hall, as well as a host of other venues worldwide. Their numerous collaborators included Debbie Harry of Blondie, comedian Sandra Bernhard, and Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. Their recordings included the Christmas album, Do You Hear What We Hear? (2000), and Kiki and Herb Will Die for You: Live at Carnegie Hall (2005). In 2004, Bond and Mellman did a cameo in the Sony Pictures release Imaginary Heroes, with script by Dan Harris. Appearing alongside Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels, and Emile Hirsch, the duo reprised the Melanie Safka composition Tonight's the Kind of Night from Do You Hear What We Hear? Their stage act was captured on video in Kiki and Herb Live at the Knitting Factory (2007). They toured twice in the U.S., including the 2007 'Year of Magical Drinking Tour.'
The duo traveled repeatedly to London, where Bond continued to work on an MA in scenography at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design when not performing. London shows included Where Are We Now?, Kiki & Herb: There's a Stranger in the Manger, and Kiki & Herb Mount The President, the latter performed aboard HMS President in the River Thames. Bond had a Top 20 Single on the UK alternative chart and was named one of England's fifty funniest people by Time Out London. The mockumentaries titled Kiki and Herb on the Rocks (2005) and Kiki and Herb Reloaded (2005) followed the pair to London and around the UK, respectively.
Their show Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway ran for five weeks in 2006, and was nominated for a 2007 Tony for Special Theatrical Event. One critic noted that onstage they are "Alive with a capital A, with all the human vitality and fallibility that that implies." A poster on tribe.net reported hearing them mentioned on an episode of Will and Grace early in 2006, noting that "now they have crossed over."
After closing on Broadway, Bond returned for the final, American tour. This was followed by a return to Carnegie Hall for a one-night show on December 12, 2007, billed as Kiki and Herb: The Second Coming – A Christmas Concert.
Solo career: 1993–present
Before retiring Kiki in 2008, Bond was touring nationally and abroad, appearing in film, and recording under the name of Justin Bond.
Bond's first album was the result of an improvised concert with experimental, electronic sound artist Bob Ostertag and a Japanese turntablist from the Tokyo noise underground, Otomo Yoshihide, at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall in 1997. Bond already appeared on two tracks ("Not Your Girl" and "The Man in the Blue Slip") on Ostertag's 1995 album "Fear No Love", sharing co-lead vocals duties with Mike Patton. Other guests on the record were Fred Frith and Lynn Breedlove. At the behest of the record label Asphodel, an album was recorded in this location and in studio at Toast, with additional tracks and musicians added later. Because Otomo spoke little English and could not understand what Bond was saying, he watched the recording engineer through the glass and "when I see he laugh, I play something funny." The album was released under the Seeland label in 1999 as PantyChrist, with a European, promotional tour. Although it failed commercially, Ostertag viewed it from an artistic standpoint as "one of my most successful projects."
Bond released a five-track EP Pink Slip in June 2009 featuring four original songs ("The New Depression", "May Queen", "The Puppet Song", "Michael in Blue") and a cover of Radiohead's "Arpeggi/Weird Fishes". Pink Slip was recorded at Le Poisson Rouge and Bond hoped income from the EP would help fund the recording of an album. Both of the albums were self-financed, and both were the result of a collaboration with pianist/producer Thomas Bartlett of the band Doveman. The first, Dendrophile (2011), contained a mix of original compositions and covers modeled on a type of "early-'70s folk-pop variety album" in the spirit of Judy Collins, featuring a duet with English singer-songwriter Beth Orton. Bond used Kickstarter to finance the release of a second album, Silver Wells, in 2012. The album was conceived as an homage to the 1970 Joan Didion novel Play it as it Lays.
In June 2006, Bond appeared with David Hoyle in When David Met Justin at London's Bush Hall. Performing with the House of Whimsy Players at The Kitchen in October, Bond staged Re:Galli Blond (A Sissy Fix), "a self-penned musical spectacle of transgender oppression and uplift." Bond also appeared in Paul Festa's Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006).
Bond has hosted the Weimer New York variety show since its inception in 2007. Justin Bond Is Close to You reinterpreted Karen Carpenter's album Close to You as part of Joe's Pub in the Park in Central Park in 2007, later moving to Australia's Sydney Opera House.
In 2008, the GLAAD-nominated show Lustre premiered at PS122 in the East Village, then toured the UK with stops in London and Manchester as part of the It's Queer Up North Arts Festival. In December 2008, Bond appeared at London's Southbank Centre in Sinderella, written by Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lillies.
Justin Bond: Christmas Spells opened in December 2010 at Abrons Arts Center on Grand Street in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The two-part show included a trademark cabaret performance of holiday tunes, showcasing an original composition Could Baby Jesus in His Manger Foresee the Hate Sprung from That Night? This was followed by a theatrical adaptation of a short story by gender-theorist Kate Bornstein. In December 2015, an EP titled Christmas Spells was released, including three songs (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Remember (Christmas) and Christmas Spells).
Bond starred as Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis in Jukebox Jackie as part of the 50th anniversary season of La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club between May and June 2012. "I've always been really interested in Jackie, Holly Woodlawn, and Candy Darling," Bond recounted in an interview at the time, "because they, along with Renee Richards and Christine Jorgensen, were the first famous trans people. When I was young, they were really the only trans people to which I had been exposed." According to Bond, the project originated as a revival of one of Jackie's "crazy, amphetamine-fueled" plays, but Bond (and director Scott Wittman) "couldn't really make sense of them" and turned to reportage instead. "I always liked Jackie," Bond said, "because Jackie wasn't willing to say 'I am a woman trapped in a man's body,' she'd say 'I'm trans, I'm not a man. I'm not a woman. I'm Jackie.' Which, by the way, was the last line of the show."
Bond's show Mx America was slated to open in Australia in February 2013.
Beginning in January 2014, Bond appeared alongside Stephen Spinella in the Classic Stage Company production of the Bertolt Brecht play A Man's a Man (Man Equals Man), with new music by Duncan Sheik. The show ran Off-Broadway at the Company's theater on 13th Street in Manhattan's East Village, with Bond playing the part of Leokadia Begbick, a role originated by Brecht's wife Helene Weigel.
In 2006, Bond appeared in the film Shortbus. In the movie, directed by fellow Radical Faerie John Cameron Mitchell, Bond played the mistress of ceremonies at the eponymous avant-garde salon Shortbus, singing the Scott Matthew number "In the End" to the music of the Hungry March Band.
Jake Shears, lead singer of Scissor Sisters, has cited the Kiki and Herb Christmas Show as inspiration. Bond and Shears became friends, with the Scissor Sisters fronting for Kiki and Herb at The Knitting Factory. Bond appeared in the 2017 Music Box Theatre performance of the Tales of the City musical, with score by Shears.
In 2008, Bond participated in a Christmas show at the Knitting Factory that included Rufus Wainwright, members of Wainwright's family, Emmylou Harris, Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, and performance artist Laurie Anderson. Revelation Films released the concert DVD in November 2009 under the title A Not So Silent Night (Kate & Anna McGarrigle/Rufus & Martha Wainwright). In May 2011, Bond appeared with various artists in A Celebration of Kate McGarrigle at New York City's Town Hall to commemorate the passing of the Wainwrights' mother, who had succumbed to cancer the previous year. A DVD was released in 2013. In August 2012, Bond officiated at Rufus Wainwright's Long Island wedding.
Bond participated in the original Gay Shame event in New York in 1998, performing as Kiki and Herb and recorded in the Scott Berry documentary Gay Shame '98. On September 25, 2012, Bond hosted a special edition of Weimar as a fundraiser for the reelection of U.S. President Barack Obama. In November, Bond announced a performance to benefit the Ali Forney Center for LGBT youth in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Ahead of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Bond appeared in a video by Brooklyn-based Potpourri of Pearls, protesting Russian mistreatment of LGBT persons.
In 2012, Bond announced the creation of a signature fragrance by Ralf Schwieger, a "trans-scent" for all genders named The Afternoon of a Faun after the French poem and modernist ballet of the same name, and issued under the French label Etat libre d'Orange. It was launched in February 2013, at Manhattan's Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle.
Bond received a 2012 Lambda Literary Award for the memoir Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels. Also in 2012, powerHouse Books released Susie Says, a picture book combining Gina Garan photos of the 1970s fashion doll, Susie Sad Eyes, with bon mots from Bond's Twitter account.
In the summer of 2014, Bond curated and emceed a cabaret season at the Spiegeltent at the Bard SummerScape Festival in the Hudson Valley, New York. Bond is set to reprise this emcee role in summer 2015, with guests including Alan Cumming, Suzanne Vega, Martha Wainwright, Stephen Merritt, and Lea Delaria.
Bond has decided to clarify an identity as a trans-person, explaining that "for me to claim to be either a man or a woman, feels like a lie. My identity falls somewhere in the middle and is constantly shifting." Bond undergoes hormone treatment to appear more feminine, and reported feeling great as a result, noting that "I like the way my body looks. Emotionally, it's evened me out." Eschewing gender reassignment surgery, Bond explained that "I like my penis, and I am keeping it, but I am creating a transbody—a physical record on my body and a medical record that I am a transgendered person." In 2011, Bond also adopted the middle name of Vivian, identifying as Justin Vivian Bond instead of Justin Bond.
In concert at the end of 2014, Bond disclosed having received an invitation to return home for Thanksgiving, conditional upon leaving behind "that fake woman." Acknowledging that "a lot of trans-kids get kicked out of their homes," Bond mused "I didn't until I was 51. So I think I'm gonna make it." Elsewhere, Bond has said that "if it wasn't for my family and the rage they engendered in me, I wouldn't be here."
Recognition and influence
|Fear No Love||1995||Album||With Bob Ostertag, Mike Patton, Fred Frith and Lynn Breedlove|
|PantyChrist||1999||Album||With Bob Ostertag and Otomo Yoshihide|
|Do You Hear What We Hear?||2000||Album||With Kenny Mellman as Kiki and Herb|
|Calling All Kings & Queens||2001||Album||Various artists compilation with Kenny Mellman as Kiki and Herb|
|Kiki and Herb Will Die for You: Live at Carnegie Hall||2005||Album||With Kenny Mellman as Kiki and Herb|
|Broadway's Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure Volume 8||2006||Album||Various artists compilation with Kenny Mellman as Kiki and Herb|
|Shortbus||2006||Soundtrack||With The Hungry March Band|
|How Do You Dance to Techno?||2008||Single||Plush label, France.|
|Sinderella||2009||Album||With The Tiger Lillies|
|Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle||2013||Album||Various artists live recordings|
|Whitey on the Moon||2020||EP||Live performances previously recorded with Kenny Mellman as Kiki and Herb; title track based on the 1970 poem by Gil Scott-Heron|
|Dido's Lament/ White Flag Medley||2021||Single||With Anthony Roth Costanzo|
|1994||Mod Fuck Explosion||Amphetamine||Jon Moritsugu|
|1995||Fanci's Persuasion||Irene Wiesenthal||Charles Herman-Wurmfeld|
|1998||Gay Shame '98||Kiki||Scott Berry|
|1998||Downtown Darlings||Justin Bond||Daniel Falcone|
|2004||Imaginary Heroes||Kiki||Dan Harris|
|2005||Kiki and Herb on the Rocks||Kiki||Mike Nicholls|
|2005||Kiki and Herb Reloaded||Kiki||Michaline Babich, Chris Gallagher, Matt Gallagher|
|2006||The Banana Monologue||Justin Bond||Ian Rodney Wooldridge|
|2006||Shortbus||Justin Bond||John Cameron Mitchell|
|2006||Apparition of the Eternal Church||Kiki||Paul Festa|
|2007||Kiki & Herb Live at the Knitting Factory||Kiki||Gerard Schmidt|
|2007||Gifted and Challenged: The Making of Shortbus||Justin Bond||M. Sean Kaminsky|
|2008||SqueezeBox!||Kiki||Steven Saporito and Zach Shaffer|
|2009||A Not So Silent Night (Kate & Anna McGarrigle/Rufus & Martha Wainwright)||Justin Bond||Gerard Schmidt|
|2009||The Mystery of Claywoman||Disco Delilah||Rob Roth|
|2010||Justin Bond Is Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex||Justin Bond||Mark Huestis|
|2012||Sunset Stories||Miss Lana||Ernesto Foronda and Silas Howard|
|2013||Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle||Justin V. Bond||Lian Lunson|
|2014||Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger||Justin V. Bond||Sam Feder|
|2014||Club King||Justin V. Bond||Jon Bush|
|2014||Golden Age of Hustlers||Justin V. Bond||Silas Howard and Erin Greenwell|
|2014||The Size Queens: 50 Shades of Pale||The Swan||Chuck Mobley|
|2016||Danny Says||Justin V. Bond||Brendan Toller|
|2018||Can You Ever Forgive Me?||Lounge Singer (as Justin Vivian Bond)||Marielle Heller|
|2009–10||Jeffery & Cole Casserole||Principal Agnes||Season 1, Episode 4: "The Election" |
Season 2, Episode 4: "The Becky"
|2010||Ugly Betty||Manna Wintour||Episode 13: "Chica and the Man"|
|2011||Threesome||Justin Bond||Season 1, Episode 7: "Closeted Actors"|
|2012||She's Living for This||Justin V. Bond||"The Justin Vivian Bond Episode"|
|2016||High Maintenance||Pam||Season 1, Episode 6: "Ex"|
|2021||The Sandman: Act II||Desire ||Audible|
- Als, Hilton (January 10, 2011), "Life is a Cabaret: Justin Bond performs his life and ours", The New Yorker
- Bustillos, Maria (January 17, 2014), "Justin on Carol", OUT
- Russell, John (July 23, 2009), "The name's Bond... Justin Bond", EdgeNewYork.com
- Hoby, Hermione (June 28, 2011), "Justin Bond: 'I think everybody's trans'", The Guardian
- Ordonez 2011.
- "Justin Bond on His First Solo Album, 'Dendrophile,' and Breaking Out of His Kiki DuRane Character". New York Magazine. May 6, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
- Varrati, Michael (June 25, 2012), "An Interview with Justin Vivian Bond", Huffington Post
- Albo 2011.
- Bond, September 10, 2014
- Als, 2011.
- Perry, 2012.
- Swanson, 2011
- Wilson, James (2008), "'Ladies and Gentlemen, People Die': The Uncomfortable Performances of Kiki and Herb", 'We Will Be Citizens': New Essays on Gay and Lesbian Theatre'(pp. 194–212), ISBN 9780786452385
- Lamble, 2010
- Timeline of SF Drag King Contests (2013), "19th Annual SF Drag King Contest", Dragstrip, archived from the original on November 20, 2012, retrieved January 26, 2015
- KIKI & HERB | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos
- Wilson, 2008
- Calhoun 2004.
- Strauss, Neil (August 10, 1999), "Cabaret Review; All Washed Up but Knows the Score", The New York Times
- Hoby, 2011
- Russell, 2009.
- Isherwood, Charles (September 12, 2004), "Once More, With Too Much Feeling", New York Times
- Brantley, Ben (August 16, 2006), "'Kiki and Herb': The Road to Catharsis With Those 2 Immortals", New York Times
- Feldman, Adam (September 24, 2008), "Kiki and Herb: Cabaret Duo", Time Out New York
- Strauss, 1999.
- PRNewswire (April 3, 2000), "Elton John, Marlo Thomas, 20/20, Boys Don't Cry, The New York Times, And Many Others Honored at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented by Absolut Vodka", PRNewswire
- Ebert, Roger (February 24, 2005), "Imaginary Heroes", RogerEbert.com
- Hernandez, Ernio (June 13, 2007), "Year of Magical Drinking: Kiki and Herb Kick Off 'Alive from Broadway' National Tour in Boston", Playbill
- BWW News Desk (October 15, 2007), "Kiki and Herb Make a 'Second Coming' at Carnegie Hall Dec. 12", BroadwayWorld.com
- Gans 2007.
- Brantley, 2006
- Siz'L (February 19, 2006), "K&H honorable mention", tribe.net, archived from the original on May 29, 2006, retrieved January 2, 2015
- Albo, 2011.
- BWW News Desk, 2007
- Ostertag, Bob (2009), "Creative Life: Music, Politics, People, and Machines", University of Illinois Press (p. 129), ISBN 9780252076466
- Ostertag, 2009 (p.130).
- Angelo 2011.
- Varrati, 2012.
- Walters 2010.
- Murphy and Bond 2010.
- Lee, Nathan (February 26, 2008), "Music is Religious Experience in Apparition of the Eternal Church", Village Voice
- Maerz, Jennifer (February 6, 2008), "Weimar New York Variety Show Encompasses Drag Queens, Divas, and Artistic Derelicts", SF Weekly
- Pincus-Roth, Zachary (January 19, 2007), "Cerveris and Bond Visit Joes' Pub with Weimar New York Jan. 19", Playbill
- Bacalzo, Dan (December 9, 2010), "Christmas Spells: Justin Bond and the Pixie Harlots deliver a fabulously unforgettable gender-bending holiday spectacular", TheaterMania.com
- Wong, 2012.
- Classic Theater Company (October 23, 2013), "Justin Vivian Bond to Star in Brecht's 'A Man's A Man.'", CSC, archived from the original on January 20, 2015, retrieved January 19, 2015
- Hetrick, Adam (March 27, 2017). "Justin Vivian Bond Makes Broadway History with Tales of the City". Playbill. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
- "A Not So Silent Night (Kate & Anna McGarrigle/Rufus & Martha Wainwright) [DVD]". amazon. 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
- Nudd, Tim, and Boehm, Kristin (August 24, 2012), "Rufus Wainwright Weds Jorn Weisbrodt", People
- Bond, Justin (November 8, 2012), "GOOD NEWS! You are About to help Tranifest a DREAM!!! Werque!", justinbond.com
- Nichols, James (January 29, 2014), "Potpourri of Pearls Releases 'Sochi' Featuring Justin Vivian Bond", Huffington Post
- Kessler, 2013.
- Giardina, Henry (April 10, 2012), "Gina Garan and Justin Vivian Bond talk about 'Susie Says' and the Art of Collaboration", Bullett
- "Spiegeltent at the Fisher Center".
- Robinson, Tasha (July 15, 2020). "How the new Sandman audio drama cast Dream, Death, Desire, and Despair". Polygon. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
- Holgate, 2011.
- Stewart, 2014.
- Oler, Tammy (October 31, 2019). "57 Champions of Queer Feminism, All Name-Dropped in One Impossibly Catchy Song". Slate Magazine.
- Bond, Justin Vivian (2011). Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels. New York: The Feminist Press. ISBN 978-1-55861-747-6.
News and magazine articles
- Albo, Mike (April 11, 2011). "The Official Justin Bond". Out. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
- Calhoun, Ada (September 18, 2004). "Swan Songs as a Duo Plan Life's Second Act". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Gans, Andrew (May 15, 2007). "2006–2007 Tony Nominations Announced; Spring Awakening Garners 11 Noms". Playbill. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Ordonez, JD (January 3, 2011). "The Singer's Name Is Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, And V Is Trans". Queerty. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Pitillo, Angelo (April 6, 2011). "Genre Bender". Paper. New York City. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
- Walters, Ben (March 24, 2010). "Welcome back David Hoyle: you're a divine director". The Guardian. London. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Murphy, Tim (December 7, 2010). "Asked and Answered: Justin Bond". T. New York City. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Russell, John (July 23, 2009). "The name's Bond... Justin Bond". Edge New York. New York City. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
- Voss, Brandon (July 2009). "Justin Time". The Advocate. New York City. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- JustinBond.com, official website
- Justin Vivian Bond at the Internet Broadway Database
- Justin Vivian Bond at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Justin Vivian Bond at IMDb
- BroadwayWorld.com interview with Justin Bond, June 9, 2007
- "The Story of V", feature story in New York, May 2011
- Justin Vivian Bond by Joy Episalla, Bomb