Off-White Hollywood
Cher RIP

Tango...Another Transgendered Story

KikiOne of my favorite New York City experiences between 1995 and 1999 was going to see Kiki and Herb Christmas shows every year with my friend Coolia who was a big fan of theirs.

Kiki, a character developed by Justin Bond, was an amazing experience of drag cabaret comedy unlike anything I'd ever seen. Kiki was an alcoholic has-been lounge singer who did hilarious lounge-recreations of Christmas songs mixed with modern hits like "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Kiki was both achingly bitter and inspiringly hopeful as she recounted the sad back-stories of both Kiki and Herb, my favorite quote being, "it aint easy being a gay Jew 'tard." Well...you had to be there. The DVDs do NOT do the show justic e, the music, the humor or the pathos. Amazingly, Kiki would go through this imperceptible slide towards  public drunkenness during the duration of the show in a tour de force performance.

Recently, Justin has gone through the transgender process, reborn as Justin Vivian Bond. I received his memoirs for Christmas and read the 136-page book, Tango, in one sitting. The book is mostly a touching focus on his childhood experiences, structured around his relationship with the neighborhood cad "Tango." Bond

This is an interesting alternative take to adult-transgendering of Chaz' Transition. Interestingly, Cher makes three appearances in this book, too. In once scene, Justin gets in trouble for illicit behavior just after buying "Sonny & Cher's latest album."

My greatest role model on television was Cher. The Sonny & Cher Show always had a segment where Cher would one-up Sonny her putdowns. Any chance I got to show my finely honed skills at bitchiness was okay by me. I really didn't think of it as being mean. I thought of it as having fun.

Justin Vivian Bond is a master storyteller and I hope this is simply the first installment of a longer memoir series.

 

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