Recently, we in Los Angeles were blessed with a visit from one of New York City’s treasures: Tony award nominated, Obie and Bessie winning, performer extraordinaire, Mx Justin Vivian Bond. Bond is a renowned “writer, singer, painter, performance artist, and activist,” currently on tour and recently taking REDCAT by storm. V, as the artist is referred to, seemed to have a fantastic time here in Southern California. You’d be surprised how tempted the New Yorker is to make the move out here, something we will undoubtedly be fantasizing about for some time…
What brings you to Los Angeles?
I came to do some concerts and to shoot the cover for my new record, Silver Wells, which is coming out in June. I went into the dessert with A. L. Steiner to get some shots near the Pearblossom Highway. I wanted a cinematic, Joan Didion-esque feel, because Silver Wells is the town the character Mariah Wyeth, from the novel Play It as It Lays, grew up in. Silver Wells is a fictive place that no longer exists except in memory.
How long were you in town?
Off and on for a month. I was bouncing back and forth between SF, Silver Lake, and Palm Springs where I sang in a wedding.
What neighborhood did you stay in? What were your thoughts on that part of town?
I always stay with my friends Charles and Jason in Silver Lake. I’m lucky because Charles is on the Silver Lake council so he’s constantly pointing out all the wonderful changes occurring in the neighborhood: a school parking turning into a garden where kids can learn to grow their own food, an unused road becoming an outdoor plaza, safer bike lanes. It’s a very progressive and seemingly intentional area.
How many times have you visited Los Angeles? What do you think of the city?
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve visited LA. I’ve got family here and I’ve I’ve always loved visiting. I came here for the first time when I was still as a kid. Being from a small town in Maryland, I had notions of what “Hollywood” would be like. It was a town that inhabited a lot of my fantasies. At first I was disappointed because it didn’t seem at all glamorous to me, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of it. Mostly I like the weather, the natural beauty and the quality of the people who I meet here. It seems that many sensitive, creative intellectuals have found their place here. I can’t tell if I’ve only got a crush on LA, or if it’s blossoming into love.
What was the best part of your trip?
Aside from my concerts at REDCAT, which were a total joy, I was excited to go to the launch party for FRAMED, Greg Gorman’s new coffee table book of photographs he did for l.a. Eyeworks. Years ago, I posed for one of them. It was quite a thrill for me then, and it’s an honor to be included in the book now.
Could you see yourself living here?
The short answer is yes. I’ve often thought of moving to Los Angeles. I’m not sure I’d be able to sustain myself through live performance in LA as much as I’m able to in NY but it’s certainly one of my fantasies…
How exciting would it be to have Mx Justin Vivian Bond in Los Angeles? So exciting!!! We can only hope. For more on Bond, give V a follow on Twitter and a Like on Facebook. Be on the look out for V’s new album, Silver Wells, which comes out in June. You can also catch Dendrophile, V’s last album, on iTunes.