Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women In The Arts – Spotlight On Alex Bond

by Karen Tortora-Lee on March 14, 2011 · 0 comments

in Karen's Interviews, Theatre, Women's History Month

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Women's History Month

These women of the arts hail from different disciplines, but they all have an indomitable spirit and a luminescent spark that makes them amazing human beings who are out there every day, doing amazing work.

Today we continue our series with Alex Bond – a woman I’ve had the pleasure to experience in many ways – as an actress, a singer and most fortunately, as a friend. When I sent Alex a few questions for this Q&A Ms. Bond – being the storyteller that she is – sent back a history that only she could write.  ”Dear Karen,” she began, “as always, you bring up a hot topic which elicits brutal honesty.  Here we go…”   Here we go, indeed —

Alex Bond


The subject of “women” (and being one) is a tough one for me.  I have always been one, even though while growing up in the 1950’s my name was considered to be a man’s name.  My mother would sign me up for some activity and there would always be the question on enrollment day, “Alex Bond, is HE here?”  I would reluctantly raise my hand.

But let’s start at the beginning.  When I was 18 months old, my mother dropped me on my head (oh, THAT explains it) and I had my first Traumatic Brain Injury.  We won’t go into the physical or emotional ramifications (another treatise altogether), but suffice it to say that for six months after the skull fracture I would not allow my mother to hold me, change my diapers, or feed me.  Thus began my distrust of the female sector of the species  – of which I am a member.  Hmmmm.

I went to an all-girls’ school K- 12 where my mother taught.  I was the “Glee”- like non-athletic  (yes, field hockey was uber-important)  artsy-fartsy girl in my class with the geeky boy’s name.  K-12 girls can be real mean.  My distrust was re-enforced.  Senior year I had a second skull fracture — from a car accident this time — (that REALLY explains it all) and the insecurities from the first TBI returned.

I continued my education by going to an all-girls’ college for a year and a half.  Finally, I mustered the courage to tell my mother that I wanted to go to a co-ed school where I might have the opportunity to discover the other half of the species.   I had had my fill of females! Voila! I finally had friends, and they were male — the guys in the Radio/TV  department.  This began a long, abiding appreciation of “techies” — smart, quiet men, interested in solving puzzles.  (My dear husband Leon is a techie.)

In graduate school in theatre in Texas, I discovered gay men — the girlfriends I had never had!  In fact, I was told by “the boys” numerous times that I was really a gay man in a woman’s body.   My own mother even said to me on one occasion when we were discussing homosexuality,  “I am sure that if you had been born a boy you would have been gay.”  I took it as a compliment.  And in grad school I met gay women (Lesbians if you prefer), women who were no-bullshit, honest, and intelligent.   Both of these groups  were non-threatening (emotionally and sexually), and we were all “different”, so I began to enjoy friendships that have lasted now for years —  those remaining friends that AIDS did not steal.  And it is because of these men and women that I finally started taking baby steps toward making “straight” female friends – including making myself my friend.  It was “okay” for me to be a woman.  What a breakthrough!

I am 60 now and am delighted I am a female.  I have extraordinary friends – female and male,  straight and gay, old and young.  My friends have been carefully chosen.  (Please consider yourself one, Karen.) And I love them and support them as best as I can.  I can trust all my friends not to drop me on my head.

So, this exposé doesn’t really answer your questions.   But it does provide the background for what I will now confess.

I am an actress/writer/former dancer/former leather bar chanteuse.  I see life as a smorgasbord and I have been fortunate to have had many marvelous and varied dining experiences.  In my profession as an actress, I have on occasion experienced penis envy because there are, quite simply, more roles for men.   As a writer, I think I would be taken more seriously if I were a man.  As a former dancer, I wish I still could.  And as a former leather bar chanteuse, no one but THIS LADY could have been THAT WOMAN!

I have never experimented with the corporate world – I have no interest whatsoever.  I am content to have always been “in the Arts” and I am content to be a Woman in the Arts.  (I can say though that I would have made more money if I were a man – period, end of sentence.)  I am so fortunate to have a devoted male partner (my Leon) who shares the bounty of life with me and who loves me for the woman I have become because of my journey.

If reincarnation is what’s next, I make the request here and now to come back as a woman.  I also ask that I not be dropped on my head.  I’d like thicker hair, too.   (Ha, as though the hair thing will come through!)

What’s next in this life?  I have the privilege of doing a monologue from Doric Wilson’s  A Perfect Relationship for the 50th anniversary of his life as a playwright @ The West Bank Café on March 16th at 9:30pm.  It’s a fund raiser for TOSOS.

And I am reading (with the fabulous David Carson) selections from my book “LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS: confessions of a leather bar chanteuse” for a one-night-only book reading as part of the 2011 Planet Connections Festivity.   This is the first time we will have 80 minutes, so if you listened to us before, come back, we will have more “Anna stories” for you. Please check out www.alexbond.org for more details.


Thank you so much, Alex, for sharing your story with us for Women’s History Month!   As always, your wit, intelligence and sparkle shine right through your work.  I’m honored to be your friend.  (And you correctly surmised – I will not bonk you on the head).

A little more about Alex:

ALEX BOND has appeared in MTWorks’ productions of Barrier Island by David Stallings and A Home Across the Ocean by Cody Daigle.  Off-Broadway Ms. Bond appeared in Luigi Creatore’s Flamingo Court as Clara, Marie, and Chi-Chi.

Regional theatre work:  DFW Fringe Festival at the Hub Theatre, Provincetown Theatre, New Harmony Theatre, Depot Theatre, Buffalo Studio Arena, Virginia Stage Company, Theatre Virginia, South Jersey Regional Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Theatre Three. Numerous national commercials.

Whenever and wherever possible Ms. Bond performs readings from her novel “LATE NIGHTS WITH THE BOYS: confessions of a leather bar chanteuse” with David L. Carson; their work has received the ‘Producer’s Pick Award’ from the 2007 Dallas/Ft. Worth Fringe Festival and the ‘Best Literary Staging’ from the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival, and Fruit of Distinction Awards in 2009 from The Fresh Fruit Festival/All Out Arts.

She and Mr. Carson fight intolerance with humor and truth one reading at a time.  Ms. Bond is delighted and honored to be part of MTWork’s and TOSOS’s acting companies.


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