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Review: Sandra Bernhard is #blessed at Joe’s Pub

December 28th, 2014 Comments off
Sandra Bernhard (photo provided by James Sliman.)

Sandra Bernhard (photo provided by James Sliman.)

Sandra Bernhard entered the stage last night at Joe’s Pub, where she’ll be performing her latest theatrical incarnation, Sandra Bernhard is #blessed through December 31, and released an exasperated sigh as if to say, “This world is so f*cked. What are we going to do about it?” The actress/comedian/author/singer has been on the scene (make that many scenes) since the early ‘80s and her latest rant is both a culmination of her professional experiences as well as the earnest and humorous embrace of her life as a mother.

A three-piece band, led by longtime musical director Mitch Kaplan and featuring the adorable Kevin Andreas on guitar and synthesizer, backs Bernhard. Vocally, she is in good form with a soaring belt that hovers but rarely hones in on pitch, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s Sandy B. and she owns every moment.

JOES PUB POSTER JPEG 12-1-14Performing with a music stand and a stack of material that she flips through on a whim, today’s Bernhard may polarize some LGBT’ers as she pokes fun of the term “partner” when referring to her longtime girlfriend, saying that it sounds like a phrase better used for “litigation and light lovemaking.” She also shook up the crowd when recounting her recent visit to the Barclays Center for a Nets game. A sly comment about the rioters outside in reference to the Eric Garner case caused one audience member to scream out “black lives matter!” Bernhard promptly addressed the heckler, saying, “I earned my stripes,” citing her three decades of activism and beginnings in Los Angeles’s black clubs.

On a more sentimental note, Bernhard speaks of her teenage daughter, her mother’s recent death, and remembrances of a failed childhood road trip through the southwest with her now semi-estranged father. “I have always liked who I am but I’ve gone through periods where I haven’t felt secure,” said Bernhard in an interview with The Independent, “that’s part of growing up, to have experience to force you through the meat grinder and come out fully formed.”

She is in full form at Joe’s Pub, unafraid to stumble over new material and push the audience’s comfort zone as well as her own as she reads a self-deprecating message from Jane Fonda, who mistakenly responded to an email thinking she was Sandra Bullock. Another fun, imaginary riff places Bernhard at a rural diner where she encounters Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie as the band member takes some time off from show business to work as a hostess. And for a final flourish, Bernhard delivers her signature reading of excerpts from The New York Times as well as ridiculous advertisements that poke fun at our culture’s obsession with youth and beauty.

For dedicated fans, Bernhard makes herself available after each performance to sign T-shirts, posters, and DVDs/CDs, unabashedly capitalizing on her #blessed life.

Sandra Bernhard is #blessed
Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
Through December 31

Matthew Wexler is The Broadway Blog’s editor and a regular contributor to Passport Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @roodeloo

Don’t Miss: Sandra Bernhard at Joe’s Pub

December 19th, 2014 Comments off

JOES PUB POSTER JPEG 12-1-14Before there was the bawdy and delicious Bridgett Everett or the foul-mouthed Pam Ann, there was the witty and purposefully irreverent Sandra Bernhard. The inimitable performer returns to Joe’s Pub at The Public with her all new show, Sandra Bernhard is #blessed, for her annual year-end residency, which starts December 26 and leads up to her New Year’s Eve spectacle.

The new show will contain Bernhard’s unique, sharp blend of hysterical insight and outspoken views, with rock-n-roll, cabaret, stand-up and a little burlesque. Sandra Bernhard is #blessed also features Bernhard’s band The Flawless Zircons, who perform with her at sold out venues in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and all points in between.

Of last year’s shows at Joe’s Pub, The New York Times wrote, “Just below the surface, you sense the same roving critical eye that misses nothing and the same sensibility compelled to puncture fantasies And, Ms. Bernhard’s ear is as perfectly attuned as ever to music that you’re embarrassed to admit you might like.”

The always entertaining Bernhard has been wowing, and sometimes shocking, audiences since starting her career at LA’s famed Comedy Store in the 1970s, going on to become a favorite on the live-show comedy circuit nationally, while also forging a career in film, television and on Broadway. She is also now guest starring on episodes of Fox TV‘s Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the character Gina’s “eccentric” and “offbeat” mother, Darlene Linetti.

Sandra Bernhard (photo: Kevin Thomas Garcia via The Broadway Blog.)

Sandra Bernhard (photo: Kevin Thomas Garcia via The Broadway Blog.)

Bernhard made television history as the first openly gay character on a network sitcom (Roseanne), and has more recently appeared on the TV Land comedy Hot in Cleveland, on Logo’s DTLA, CBS’s The New Adventures of Old Christine, FOX TV’s American Dad, NBC’s Crossing Jordan, The L Word, etc. and has appeared more than 30 times on Late Night with David Letterman.

In addition to her numerous television and film appearances, audiences have raved about her work on the Broadway stage, including the critically acclaimed I’m Still Here… Dammit!, which opened Off-Broadway in 1997, moved to Broadway a year later, and was filmed for an HBO special. In 2006, Bernhard’s Everything Bad and Beautiful also opened to rave reviews. Her most recent show, I Love Being Me, Don’t You? played to sold-out crowds for an extended run last summer in Los Angeles. The album version of the show was released on Rooftop Records last fall, and she has since been touring almost non-stop.

The upcoming run at Joe’s Pub is a rare opportunity to see this comedy legend as she continues to tell it like it is. Hashtag #fabulous.

Sandra Bernhard is #blessed
Joe’s Pub at The Public
425 Lafayette
December 26 – December 31

Cracking the Nut: 5 Can’t-Miss Holiday Theatrical Events

December 5th, 2013 Comments off

Broadway Blog editor Matthew Wexler gathers some theatrical chestnuts for the holiday season.

"Nutcracker Rouge" presented by Company XIV and The Saint At Large. (photo: Phillip Van Nostrand)

“Nutcracker Rouge” presented by Company XIV and The Saint At Large. (photo: Phillip Van Nostrand)

How many times can you drag you or your loved ones to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker or the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring dozens of leggy and bleach-toothed Rockettes? I admit… these are iconic New York experiences, and if you’ve never been to the Big Apple during the holidays, at least one of them should be on your to-do list, along with the tree at Rockefeller Center and the decorated windows along Fifth Avenue. But for those with a more adventurous (and occasionally twisted) take on the holiday season, consider one of these theatrical ventures that is sure to have you bellowing “Ho, Ho, Whoa?” in no time.

"Nutcracker Rouge" presented by Company XIV and the Saint At Large. (photo: Robert Zash)

“Nutcracker Rouge” presented by Company XIV and the Saint At Large. (photo: Robert Zash)

Nutcracker Rouge
For grown-ups only, this mischievous and somewhat loose interpretation of the beloved holiday classic gets cranked up a few notches thanks to the innovative choreography and circus antics from director/choreographer Austin McCormick. Merging dance, circus, cabaret and naughty theatrics, you’ll be have more than visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.

A stand-out performance by Laura Careless, who transforms from wide-eyed muse to a 21st century version of Gypsy Rose Lee is worth the ticket alone—along with a bevy of high-heeled boys in thongs.

Nutcracker Rouge
Minetta Lane Theatre
18 Minetta Lane
Through January 5
Presented by Company XIV and The Saint At Large

Want a sneak peek?

Major Scales and Jinx Monsoon.

Major Scales and Jinx Monsoon.

Jinkx Monsoon & Major Scales: Unwrapped
Our favorite drag superstar returns with an all-new holiday special, featuring original songs, covers, comedic flair and drag sass that has catapulted actor Jerick Hoffer’s alter ego into sparkly stardom. The pair’s recent hit, The Vaudevillians, just ended a sold-out run at The Laurie Beechman Theater, so now is your chance to catch them in all of their holiday glory.

Jinkx Monsoon & Major Scales: Unwrapped
Laurie Beechman Theater
407 West 42nd Street
December 7 – 10  

Artwork by Alex Robinson

Artwork by Alex Robinson

A Very Special
Star Wars Minute
Star Wars Holiday Special
Special: Live!
That’s not a typo, just the quirky humor of co-hosts Alex Robinson and Pete the Retailer, who have been hosting the cult-worthy Star Wars Minute podcast over the last year. The duo will tackle the Star Wars Holiday Special, a 1978 TV broadcast, in a live show. Creator George Lucas reportedly said, “If I had the time and a hammer, I would track down every copy of that program and smash it.”

Parkside Lounge
317 East Houston Street
Wednesday, December 11, 7 p.m.
21 and over
Free plus 2-drink minimum

Take the jump for two more picks and bonus recommendations!

Read more…