Chatting With Sandra Bernhard on Her Upcoming Shows at BAM & Joe’s Pub

Tomorrow night, BAMcinematek will screen Sandra Bernhard’s 1990 film Without You I’m Nothing, an adaptation of her hit off Broadway show. Sandra is in town and she will do a Q&A moderated by Hilton Als of the New Yorker. This year, as is the tradition, Sandra will perform her annual holiday show at Joe’s Pub, from December 26th through New Year’s Eve. She will also guest star in ABC’s original drama series Switched at Birth in a recurring role.Sandra Bernhard is amazing. When I used to book things and open clubs, I would often turn to Sandra to set a tone. She is smart, chic, and sassy. She has a reputation. She has an attitude. People pay to catch all that and never leave unsatisfied. Her act is called Sandyland and according to the release, it sharply blends theatre, rock and roll, and stand-up with a little burlesque and cabaret. I have always loved Sandra. She is hilarious and intelligent. She gets it, and I can’t wait to see her this time around. I caught up with her and asked her all about it.

What’s going on now, why are we talking today?
Well for a couple reasons, I’m doing my holiday show at Joe’s Pub from December 26th through the 31st, SandyLand its called. Sort of my year end wrap up of events, personal and local. Oh and we’ll open with my fabulous band The Flawless Zircons walking music and tunes, it’s a six night party.

Joes Pub is one of the hippest places in New York—from the day it opened till today.
That’s right, yeah. Its maintained its hipness it’s celebrated its 15th anniversary and actually two shows a night expect Monday- there are 11 shows in 6 nights.

How do you get booked into a place like that? Do they ask you or…?
Well I think that they obviously wanted me—this has become sort of a standing yearly tradition where they go in there and I do the holiday show for them because I fill it out and they love it; everybody has a great time. Its just fun, you know? It’s a fun, fun personal intimate evening. People dig that, New Yorkers like to go out and be one on one with people they enjoy the form.

Yeah it’s a really intimate club situation. And what’s your band like?
It’s piano, drum, and guitar. My music always leans towards rock and roll and a touch of cabaret. You know, keep it rocking all night long.

Do you ever go out in NY anymore? When’s the last time you actually went to a club and hung out?
I can’t say I’ve done it anytime recently. I was in Chicago performing the pass two nights and went to a place called the Paris club which is a restaurant, but its also part of a club. When you see people who go out to clubs these days, were not talking about the 80s or 90s, it’s a whole other kind of you know, people going out to dance. Your not gonna bump into anybody groovy, that’s for sure.

You reach a certain point in your life where you wanna be in a more intimate surrounding and have conversations with people rather than just look across the room and say “I wanna sleep with you.”
Yeah, I mean everybody kind of grows. Now I love to dance but there’s just not a lot of great places to dance anymore. The kind of music that gets me up and moving, you know? Ill invite people to my party.

Well Brooklyn is pretty nowadays Sandra, there’s some sort of renaissance going on out there in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, you should check it out.
Yeah, I know that, I know. But I am a mom, so I spend a little more time in the home front for now.

In 2014 almost, we have a mellower, nicer—I mean I’ve always found you to be nice and cool and all that but tell me about the Sandra Bernhard in 2014.
Well I can tell you one thing I have a recurring roll on ABC family show called “Switched at Birth”- apparently I’m much mellower if ABC Family wants me.

What’s your New Year resolution?
You know something Steve, I don’t do new year resolutions. I get up every day and I reassess the situation in front of me and I adjust my thinking for that day. Because, you know everyday brings a new surprise and you’ve gotta be on your toes. One over arching idea doesn’t work for the whole year.

How did the revival, or the re-launch of the Jerry Lewis movie go?
It was kind of a narrow- in cast- event. It was at the Tribeca Film Festival. I did a lot of stuff leading up to it and I had to go on the road and do a show that night at the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh so I wasn’t at the actual event- I’m kind of glad I think Jerry was in a mood- it would have been hard to deal with. But of course, the film is perennial and people still love it for how far ahead itself was. It was a very precious moment. It talked a lot about fame and the price people pay to achieve it.

It’s a brilliant movie…
Yeah, it’s a great movie.

Goals…
Lots of fingers crossed, TV and film in the new year that’s my goal.

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