Alex Bond is an actress, writer, singer, and comedianne who's lived it all and is worth seeing! As a stand-up comedianne, Alex has performed at Caroline's, Don't Tell Mama, Stand-Up NY, and the Playa Linda Resort in Aruba.
In the '70s, Alex tore up the Dallas, TX cabaret scene performing at The Sundance Kids, Baja's, The Frat House, and Aunt Tootsie's Cabaret and Show Bar. This time has been captured in Alex's yet-to-be-published book "Late Nights With The Boys...Confessions of a Leather Bar Chanteuse," which has had numerous readings around the country: the Drama Book Shop in NYC, the Players in Gramercy Park, NYC, and two nights at the Dallas/Fort Worth Fringe Festival at the Hub Theatre in Dallas, TX. The DFW Fringe awarded the reading piece a 'Producer's Pick' award for 2007. In September of 2007 Alex and David Carson had another reading in Provincetown at the Provincetown Theatre with proceeds going to the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod. In 2008, while Alex was in NY, "Late Nights With The Boys" was read for six evenings at the San Francisco Fringe Festival. The reading earned the BEST LITERARY STAGING award at the 2008 San francisco Fringe Festival. 2009 brought a reading of "Late Nights With The Boys" to the Fresh Fruit Festival at the Hudson Guild Theatre in NYC. Alex and David Carson each were honored with Fruits of Distinction Awards for their reading efforts. In 2010 "Late Nights With The Boys" was at the Frigid Fringe Festival in NYC and in June 2011, Planet Connections Festivity hosted a One-Night-Only reading of "Late Nights With The Boys." All proceeds went to PFLAG.
Her other writing ventures include writing ad copy for Carlson and Co. in Indianapolois, lyrics and sketches for the bi-centennial show "Heroes and Hardcases" which is toured by Repertory Theatre of America, and writing children's musicals for The Dallas Theatre Center. Alex's essay about surviving two skull fractures was published in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue of the Hastings Center Report. It was entitled "Where Nowhere Can Lead You."
Theatrically, Alex has been seen in "Flamingo Court" (playing the roles of "Marie," "Clara," and "Chi Chi"), "Betty" in "The Foreigner" (a role originated by her aunt Sudie Bond), "Amanda" in "Private Lives," Maieutic Theatre Works (MTWorks) production of "Barrier Island" by David Stallings (playing "Susie") and "A Home Across The Ocean" by Cody Daigle (playing "Grethe"). For both performances, Alex received much critical acclaim. In addition to performing, Alex's has written and starred in several of her own plays including "Sex & The Single Belle, her one-woman one-act play which she performed at the Ensemble Studio Theatre's Octoberfest, "re-BELLE-ious," her two-act one-woman show" which she performed in Harvard, MA under an Equity Guest Artist contract, and "The Bosom Duets," an hour-long presentation for breast cancer awareness. In 2002, Alex received a grant from the American Medical Women's Association and the Pharmacia Corporation. The grant helped her produce an Equity showcase production of her full-length play about breast cancer survivors, "LoPSIDED." Proceeds went to five NY/NJ health related organizations. Alex's one-act play "Morning, Noon and Night In Central Park" was one of four finalists in the 2004 EMACT competition. Subsequently this play was produced in 2005 by the Henderson County Performing Arts Center.
Alex's new play, "Derby Day," will have a reading at the Fresh Fruit Fall Festival on Saturday, November 5th at 2:30pm at the Jan Hus Theater (351 East 74th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue). This event is free and open to the public. For more on Alex be sure to visit http://www.alexbond.org/
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer and writer? I was born to a mother who wanted to be a professional actress (and would have been a respected one if she had had the opportunity) and a father whose sister was an Obie Award winning NYC actress. So, I guess I was genetically pre-disposed to "the arts." It’s odd, but, I simply assumed I would perform in some capacity from an early age.
I think inspiration changes through the years (and I have traversed over 60): when young, Mary Martin in "Peter Pan" inspired me; when older, I was inspired by contemporaries who were brave enough to move to NYC; in middle age, I was getting less work, and that inspired me to write my own pieces; and now, more attuned to the limited years left to me, I am inspired by what I see and hear and feel in the moment. I love the "observer role" of the writer! Just yesterday I heard a person on the bus say, "The only person who knows the whole truth is my shrink!" I’m using that somewhere.
My inspirations change depending on the project or life challenge at hand. This week my inspirations are: Sudie Bond, Doric Wilson, Marc Momberger, Steven Yuhasz, Michael McGarty, David Stallings, David Carson, Susan Baum, Janet Tassone, Leon Stieb, Jessie Bond, Susan Bob, Andreas Vollenweider, Stevie Nicks, The Roches, Annie Golden and Eckhart Tolle. Next week may be entirely different!
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? I want desperately to work with my friend Susan Bob. She portrayed "Lena" in David Stallings play "A Stranger to Kindness" in the Planet Connections Festivity. (In fact she won "Best Actress in a Short Play" for her work. That same evening I was honored as "Best Actress in a Reading" – so let’s hear it for the "old broads"). I have known Susan for years and seen her work often. She is just magnificent! But the opportunities for two "women of a certain age" to be leads in a new play are not so frequent. So, I have written a play for us: "DERBY DAY" -- about two childhood friends who re-unite in Louisville, KY on Derby weekend for a funeral -- they both have ulterior motives for being there. I am pleased to announce that we have a reading in The Fresh Harvest Fruit Festival on November 5th at 2:30pm @ the Jan Hus Theatre. (Yes, a shameless plug!)
3. Your yet to be published book "Late Nights with the Boys...Confessions of a Leather Bar Chanteuse" has had several readings. What has writing and recounting this experience done for you? What have the readings taught you? What made you start singing in the leather bars in the '70s? Writing the book was a labor of love. The novel is based on my two year period of singing in the gay leather bars of Dallas, TX in the late ‘70s. I had just finished grad school and a classmate (Mario) asked if I wanted to try singing in a bar for fun on the weekends. Little did I know that I would be singing for the gay leather crowd! Little did I know that I would be embraced by a talented, creative, loving group who would help me learn who I was! Little did I know that I would form a family of friends whom I wanted to commemorate in a book! AIDS took its toll on my Dallas family of friends.
The actual experience of writing the book was exhilarating and ferocious. I wrote quickly and devotedly, words coming often with an intensity that bespoke my love for the people I was writing about.
When the book was finished, I couldn’t seem to find the path to literary agents and publishers. Okay, so, I decided to create my own path by giving readings of LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS: CONFESSIONS OF A LEATHER BAR CHANTEUSE at the festivals that would accept me as a "spoken word" entry. We are after all a book reading, not a play. The joy and success of doing the readings with the dear and talented David Carson is a gift to me. And the readings proved to be a way for us to collect funds for AIDS groups and LGBT groups. I am all about "sharing" which is why the Planet Connections Festivity was such a good fit for our one-night-only reading. The proceeds went to PFLAG.
4. What made you write "The Bosom Duets" and "LoPSIDED"? What have you gotten from performing these pieces? A dear friend here in New Jersey asked me if I would write a short program for a fund-raiser for breast cancer awareness through Hackensack University Medical Center to be performed at Sak’s in the Riverside Square Mall in New Jersey. I had just seen a production of Eve Ensler’s "VAGINA MONOLOGUES," and thought "THE BOSOM DUETS" would be a fine title for the project. I wrote eight monologues, and my friend Karen Luschar sang eight corresponding songs for an hour’s program. Later, another friend suggested that I make the monologues into a play, and that is how "LoPSIDED" was born: a play about eight breast cancer survivors in a support group. The monologues turned into "great moments in breast history." It was my first full-length play.
I was not in the play, though, I was already busy as producer and playwright. The theme of "people who are different" (either by birth or circumstance) is a constant in my work. I am an advocate for the beauty and merit and courage of "the different." And as an added bonus, the showcase of "LoPSIDED" directed by the incomparable Steven Yuhasz at the ATA in NYC made money for five different area charities.
5. How did having two skull fractures change/strengthen you and what was it like to write about this experience and and perform it in "Where Nowhere Can Lead You"? Adam, I thank you for asking this question. I hope that if there was one area where I could be an inspiration to others it is here: don’t let anything stop you! And you never know, that which seems a bad thing can turn out to be a good thing. I much prefer being "quirky." What does Luisa say in "THE FANTASTIKS:" "Please God, don’t let me be normal!"
I would not be the same person without the head injuries I have lived through. I have physical reminders: occasional double vision, motion sickness, poor depth perception, difficulty with memorizing. I refuse to let them get in my way. I have emotional reminders: compassion, acceptance, tolerance, empathy which are all gifts to my heart from my head injuries.
Urged by a personal friend, I wrote the essay "Where Nowhere Can Lead You," to speak about the three days I was in a coma. When one is "out of it," one doesn’t know where one goes. I have always been curious about that – so I wrote the article about this weird no-person’s land. Once again a friend suggested it become a theatre piece and I wrote a one act play called "MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHT IN CENTRAL PARK." The third scene explores my theory that I had a coma "guide" who helped me back to consciousness. It recently had a reading through On The Square Productions at New World Stages.
I may have to try harder than most, but it makes the successes that much more yummy!
6. What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing and in the rehearsal/preview period in a show? My favorite time in writing is when I "hear" the characters speaking to me and I simply must write it down. Be it a conversation in a novel or dialogue in a play, it is "an other-worldly" experience that I have found happens to most writers. Aren’t we lucky!!?!!
In rehearsal, my favorite time is after most of the insecurities have vanished and I can really “play” – when walking and talking are finally integrated, and I can truly be a vehicle for the playwright’s words, and I can feed off of the audience’s acceptance of my offering. Sometimes this doesn’t occur until after the first preview!
7. Favorite place to write and rehearse/practice on your own? I write upstairs in a small room in my house which my husband and I dubbed the "Rainbow Room." When we first moved in, there was rainbow wall-paper on the walls. Now it is painted off-white with a cool pale green trim. The walls are covered with photos and artwork which inspire me. The writing unit, upon which sits the PC, houses everything from fairy dust from Salem, MA, to a rubber duckie and two leather cockrings from my friend Randy, to an anniversary photo of me and Leon. I can look around and see the people I love and be inspired. There is a photo of the real-life Mario.
I rehearse on my own downstairs at home; and I try to recreate the set in my living room or dining room. You see, I need my mouth to know where my feet are going and my feet to know what my mouth is saying from the very beginning!
8. Favorite skin care product? Water – inside and out. I was blessed to receive my mother’s pretty skin.
10. "Mary" or "Rhoda"? "Mary" with a bawdy, impish bent.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? There are two bits of advice: From my dear husband Leon, "If you don’t try, it’s already a NO." And from my mother’s cousin, Charlotte, "Courage!"
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Peter Pan, and he would tell me all about Never Never Land first hand. In fact, when I die this is what I believe will happen: Peter Pan will come to me and say, "Wendy, Michael, John, and Alex – let’s fly away!"