Thursday, December 10, 2009

Justin Bond's Christmas Spells - Quick Review

Photograph by Michael Hart

Posted by riot:

Justin Bond's Christmas Spells
December 9 through 12, 8:00pm
Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, 212-598-0400
Buy Tickets

I must admit to my bias right off the bat.  I love Justin Bond.  I learned about him at the end of the Kiki & Herb run, so I'm making up for my tardiness with enthusiasm.  And it isn't difficult--he stole my heart with his cover of Radiohead's "Weird Fishes" at Le Poisson Rouge.  I'm a fan.

There's nothing quite as infuriating at this time of year as the same old Christmas carols we've all heard a thousand times, no matter what our religion or lack thereof.  Instead, Justin sings us his holiday question: "Could baby Jesus in his manger foresee the hate sprung from that night?"  This is not saccharine holiday card fare; this is how Christmas makes a lot of queers feel, interpreted in Justin's unashamed, unabashed, and unflinching honesty.

With the Pixie Harlots, Ms. Bond proceeds to twist and transform holiday traditions and symbols.  Sure, there are Christmas trees, nutcrackers, fake snow, and cherubic angels (how do they get those strips of cloth to stay so strategically placed?).  There's also voodoo, prostitution, full frontal nudity, and higher heels than you thought possible.  Machine Dazzle, whose costumes in Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge were stunning in their complexity and beauty, again delivers an explosion of outrageous set pieces and garments that show off the Harlots' buff dancers' bodies to marvelous effect.  The Kate Borenstein story on which the show is based is a transgendered and twisted story of the further adventures of Huck Finn, after making his way down the Mississippi to New Orleans and discovering his own hidden talents for entertainment.

The concept and the writing are sound, and the laughs don't stop.  If there's any critique to be made, it's just that the show was a bit loose.  There were a few missed lines and cues.  I chalk it up to opening night snags and a vengeful ghost who Justin encountered in San Francisco.  All in all, the few timing issues couldn't detract from the spectacle, and nothing can stop Ms. Bond with a microphone in her hands.

You've got three more nights to see this show--don't miss it!!!

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