Catching Up With Sandra Bernhard
By Reggie Cameron
Recently, Sandra Bernhard, the inspiring artist, actress, comedienne, and outspoken activist, took the time to chat with Out regarding I Love Being Me, Don't You?, her upcoming tour, and CD release. Our chat ran the gamut from gay marriage and sex education to the Rapture and -- what else? --Oprah Winfrey.
Out: It was just announced that you're headlining San Francisco Pride this year.
Sandra Bernhard: I'm always happy to be in San Francisco -- it's one of my favorite cities.
It's where you taped'I Love Being Me, Don't You?
Bernhard: That's right. We taped at the Castro Theatre a few months ago. San Francisco is so beautiful. The air is so clean. It's a great classic American city that I get'the privilege'of going out to once or twice a year, and whatever I get to do -- whomever I get to rub elbows with -- it's always a fun time for me.
How would you describe your show?
Bernhard: It's a mash-up of cabaret, burlesque, rock-n-roll, and musical theater with all the different styles of performance art that have influenced me since I was a kid. I just try to squeeze it all into one crazy hour-and-a-half extravaganza.
I heard from Jake Shears, who's in town working on'Tales of the City,'that you two have a project together?
Bernhard: Jake and I are very close. Jake actually wrote a song for a musical that I've written with Justin Bond that the two of us are going to star in here in New York called "Arts & Crafts."
What's the story?
Bernhard: We play cousins who haven't seen each other in a long time, and we end up coming together at a family friend's wedding in Maryland. I've gone off in one direction and his character has gone off in another. I end up showing up at his apartment in New York and moving in with him -- unbeknownst to him. It's kind of a romp and an emotional breakthrough. There's great music.
Now that Oprah's program has ended, what are your thoughts about her taking a break from the show?
Bernhard: Maybe people will get back to wanting to see a show where they aren't just given things all of the time [laughs]. I think she's created a country of takers. We need to stop expecting people to hand stuff to us just because we're watching TV. She's created kind of a monster out of the audience. Of course, she's wonderful and generous, but I think she's one of those people and I understand why she's making her exit from the spotlight.
In New York State, there's the Marriage Equality initiative that everyone is getting on board to support. Anna Wintour just filmed a PSA!
Bernhard: Good for her.
Are you and your girlfriend down with that?
Bernhard: What marriage? As soon as I get a tax break, my girlfriend and I will get on board with that [laughs]. It's strictly business.
What about the bill that just passed in Tennessee?
Bernhard: Where you shouldn't say the word gay or something?