Justin Bonding

  • by Roberto Friedman
  • Tuesday February 22, 2011
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Out There was brimming with pride recently when we opened up the pages of our weekly New Yorker to see a two-page spread (avec cartoon) by critic Hilton Als exposing the glory that is Justin Bond. Als crowned JB "the greatest cabaret artist of his generation, an artful truth-telling illusionist," but we remember our Mx. Bond just hanging out at the Cafe Flore and pushing books at A Different Light in the heady days of Queer Nation. Now she's the queen of the NYC underground. Hot!

So we are absolutely delighted to report that producer Marc Huestis has snagged oh-so-famous Bond, now billed as Justin Vivian Bond (or more simply V), for a full-fledged concert event, Sat., April 9, at the Castro Theatre. The gay-la event celebrates the release of V's first solo full-length CD, Dendrophile. The title, btw, refers to a person who derives an erotic charge from nature, and according to the press release, many of the original compositions were written while "straddling a moss-covered log" in Tennessee. OT hopes it was real big, hard and sticky wet!

We're told that V will croon cuts from the groovy new disc, and spin a magical web of spellbinding stories. Those who were lucky enough to attend Bond's Carpenters concert last year at the old 'Stro will tell you a Bond concert is not to be missed. Call (415) 863-0611, ask for Hostess Hue, and get a dendro-phallic discount. We're heard that before.

Golden girls (& boys)

Like every other culture vulture in town, OT will be tuning into the ritual inanity of the Oscars this Sunday night. And, like everyone else, we already know who's going to get all of the major awards. So while we play along with the home game, we like to fantasize about giving out a few sparkly trophies of our own, to great film performances that were inexcusably overlooked. For example, as deserving of recognition as Annette Bening is for her turn as a lesbian control-top in Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, we can't imagine the film without Julianne Moore's brilliant turn as a sort of 2010s lesbian Diane Keaton , or without Mark Ruffalo as the seminal inseminator �" or, for that matter, without Mia Waskikowska and Josh Hutcherson as the all-right kids. So to the entire cast: Here's your gold nude guys, peeps!

Next we would award a lot of the golden hardware to the principals of director Mike Leigh's latest film, Another Year, still showing in its first run in Stateside theaters. It's no surprise that the British naturalist and his cast were overlooked for the shiny prizes: their portrayal of domestic life feels real and true to human nature, in other words as far from Hollywood values as possible. Slow and stately, the film unspools a year in the life of middle-aged married couple Gerri (Ruth Sheen ) and Tom (Jim Broadbent ), their family and friends. Tom and Gerri are happy with their lot in life, but others here are not. The acting is uniformly excellent, but one performance really stands out. Lesley Manville , as Gerri's work colleague Mary, finds all sides, from sympathetic to horrific, in her portrait of loneliness unconvincingly concealed by cheer. Our imaginary Oscar goes to her.

Unsolicited limelight

Theatre improv enthusiast Pepi lured OT along to the StageWerx underground theatre in SF last weekend to experience Your Feelings Are the Most Special Feelings, a new entertainment from improv comedy maestros Gerri Lawlor , Christopher Gray and David Norfleet . OT was wary.

"But you know how OT feels about compulsory audience participation."

"We'll sit in the back, it'll be fine!" assured the imp P.

"Well OK, but remember: OT's not a performing seal!"

Sure enough, promptly at "Any volunteers from the audience?" our theatergoing pal Jonathan Goldman raised our paw high in the air for us, with Pepi cheering us on. Then sure enough, we were put in the spotlight onstage, prevailed upon to bounce up and down on an inflatable ball while acting "silly." They might as well have given us a squeeze-ball horn and beachball for balancing on our snout while clapping flippers. But the show was hilarious, Lawlor and Gray spontaneously combusting with invention while Norfleet made musical choices. It happens again Feb. 25-26, info at www.stagewerx.org.

His story

Recently at BookShop West Portal, historical fiction writer C.W. Gortner gave a brilliant lecture about the Tudor era at the release party of his new book The Tudor Secret (St. Martin's Press). Photojournalist Cornelius Washington was there to get the facts behind the fiction.

Cornelius Washington: Congratulations on an excellent book, from the front-cover image on through.

C.W. Gortner: Thanks, that's very sweet. The cover illustration is by Larry Rostant, one of the best and most expensive in the business. Within the book, I wanted to show the grittiness of the time, too: no hot and cold running water, no toilets, no dental plan or dry cleaning, and everyone's in heavy velvet!

The story's intrigues and suspense are great. You don't know who to trust, and nobody's head is safe! Hollywood is eventually going to come calling, because they love big, lavish costume, period dramas. If they were to pay you to write a screenplay, who would it be about?

My favorite historical figure, Catherine de Medici .

Who would play her?

The only person who could do her justice would be Minnie Driver.

Who would direct?

Joel Schumacher, and I'd let him do whatever. I wouldn't care!