Sandra Bernhard

Fire Island Performance Bound

Exciting news! Celebrated comedian, actress, singer, television personality, writer, producer and director Sandra Bernhard has announced a rare Fire Island performance at The Pines on August 15. Always a blast, Bernhard will be filling Whyte Hall this summer with life, laughter, song and personality.

Privileged to have caught her holiday show at Joe’s Pub this winter, I can attest to the fact that you will be totally entertained and leave the venue both captivated and smiling. Bernhard is extremely interactive and intimate with her audience, and it’s evident that she enjoys her fans as well as her moments on stage.

So you are about to do Fire Island. I’m excited.
Yeah, me too. It will be fun to do a different venue than I did there before. I don’t really know this one, but it seems more like a theatre kind of setting, so that will be nice.

And it’s at the Pines.
I’ve only been out to Fire Island a few times. It just seems like it will be fresh and nice, and that will be fun.

There are a lot of people at the Pines.
Good, I like that.

It’s filled with a lot of hot men.
Oh, I like that even better.

So what will the show entail?
I might bring my piano player/guitar player and do some of the material that I do in my show “Hash Tag Blessed” that I’ve been touring with. Then when you’re in that situation it’s always fun that you kind of go off and improvise and make it a special, intimate kind of funny, crazy, event. And then I’ll sing.  So I’m not 100% sure in terms of material, because I like to leave it loose in those settings, because people like that. I can really like “be in the moment.” It’s fun in those tiny venues.

What does the venue hold?
Two hundred fifty. That to me is an intimate setting. It’s like Joe’s Pub. It’s not like 500 or 1,000 seats. Whatever it is, they’ll get a great show. It will definitely be fun.

I thought you were amazing at Joe’s Pub.
Thank you.

And you have a really, really big following.
They’ve been following me for a long time. I’ve been doing this for a very long time in terms of my one-woman shows. “Without You I’m Nothing” established me with a genre that not many people do. The hybrid of the comedy and the music and the cabaret and all the different elements of performance, styles…I think people really appreciate that, and I love doing it.

I know that everyone is excited about it, including new fans, the younger audiences as well.
That’s always important too. When people tap into an artist who has been on the scene for a long time and kind of discover them, they see how the next generation of performers evolved from what I do, how I’ve evolved from the people that came before me. It’s like a nice continuum of generations of great, interesting performers. You kind of take chances and take it all the way out there.

I promote for a gay club, and the kids are young. We announced last night about your upcoming show at Fire Island, and the kids were really excited about it.
I love to hear that. That makes me happy.

So what is the date that you will be appearing?
It’s actually August 15.

Besides Fire Island, you are kind of representing the women this year in Get Out!’s Pride Issue. So what are you doing for Pride this year?
I’ll be performing in New Orleans. I’ll be in New Orleans at the Joy Theatre on June 20. That’s also Daniel Nardicio. He is promoting the Fire Island gig, and he’s bringing me to New Orleans, where I haven’t been in a long time, so I’m very excited about going back there as well.

So how is your daughter?
She’s great. She’s finishing her junior year of high school today.

Wow, that’s great.
She’s had a big, big year working really hard, and she’s done very well. We’re very proud of her.

I heard from sources that you’re like the best mother ever.
Well, I’ve got a great partner, and together we really try to do right by her. That involves being a disciplinarian and sometimes being a little tough, and sometimes just letting her express herself, just taking a back seat and let her shine. It’s really hard to be a person in the public eye and have a kid and not get in the way. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of staying out of the way. I am proud of that about myself.

Are you currently working on any new projects that you can speak about?
I have a scripted project that is out to producers right now for television.  We’re just trying to get a production company attached to that. That’s in progress. I’m also working on doing a special of my show. I did a big night in LA a couple of weeks ago at the UnCabaret, so I’m waiting to hear back from people about that. I just did five episodes of “Two Broke Girls”; it just finished airing. You can go to CBS on demand and watch that. I will probably go back to “Brooklyn Nine Nine.” I play Chelsea Peretti’s mom. That was super fun. She is very talented and fun to work with. So I’ve been back into my television situation. My managers are getting out from lots of shows and also films. Things are definitely breaking loose. I’m excited about all of it.

Sounds like you’re about to be very busy.
This was a very busy year. I’m sure I’ll be back at Joe’s Pub doing my holiday show. It’s become a tradition. I’m just starting to work on the music for that and what I’m going to call it. They always like me to come up with great titles. That always takes me a couple of months to figure out.  Everything else is just constantly in motion.

When you do a show, you produce, write it – you do it all.
Yeah, I produce it in the creative sense, and my music director Mitch Kaplan, together we work on the music and choose the music. I write the material, and that’s always on going. I’m always writing and keeping notebooks, ideas. As the days unfold there is always plenty of material, whether it’s personal, anecdotal or more cultural or global – there’s just endless amounts of material. It’s how you fine-tune it and put your take on it, which makes you separate from the rest of the pack. That’s always something that’s very important to me, to have my unique view on all the material.

Anything else that you’d like to say or talk about that I haven’t covered?
I just feel like in terms of the whole landscape being LBGTQCIS, the world is definitely opening up. In the dark parts of the world we hope that the ideas and the messages of letting people be who they are spread, and here in America that we just keep taking it to the next level. It’s a very exciting time for everybody.

Eileen Shapiro

Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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