Brendan Kiley describes Justin Bond as a genius in this week's Suggests, and after my experience seeing him last night within the lush confines of the Triple Door (I had never heard of the fellow), I find it hard to disagree.
Introduced as a "goddess, shape-shifter witch," and backed by a full band, Bond emerged onstage disguised as an anachronistic, Camel Filters-smoking housewife from 1972 who sings in homage to the beloved women of AM radio. Informing the audience that a recent, Twitter-fueled nervous collapse inspired his performance, he invited us to join him in his early '70s, late-summer, California fantasy, where we could all sit poolside and "slather on the cocoa butter."
Bond opened with "Ticket to Ride" and sang "You're So Vain," "Midnight at the Oasis," and his self-described "lesbian-separatist anthem" "Afternoon Delight," to name a few. Each song brought us back to the glory days of the 70s, and shone in stark contrast to our current social climate. It was a welcome respite.
The magic of his stage show was not only in Bond's wayward croon—it was bolstered by revelations of his past. He drew the audience in with tales of a confused, headstrong childhood. He regaled us with tranny wisdom while letting us in on few things his own experience had taught him about life: "Everybody is crazy, nobody knows anything, and I don't need to be crazy's friend."
His mores are not lax—and even if they were, contrition is not the point of this show. The point is this: as complex and trying as his life and ideas are—jealous childhood lovers, experimentation with Quaaludes at 15 years old, the deterioration of the American school system, and the current temper of American politics with its impending Teabagger insurgency—Bond must speak honestly. In kind, another of Bond's maxims, "Don't say anything that means anything—you might make somebody think something," was delivered in his wispy yet matter-of-fact tone, and rang with the bitter hilarity of accepted societal truth.
In his star turn, Bond transformed his not-so-quotidian human pain into a humorous and touching evening, and real catharsis was palpable not only onstage, but within the audience.
Naturally, Suggests approved.