Catching Up With Sandra Bernhard

6.1.2011

By Reggie Cameron

Recently, Sandra Bernhard, the inspiring artist, actress, comedienne, and outspoken activist, took the time to chat with Out.

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?

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