Yesterday I was Sandra Bernhard‘s guest for the hour on her new radio show Sandyland on RadioAndy (Andy Cohen, that is) on SiriusXM. (That’s mouthful, huh?) You know SiriusXM radio is a subscriber service with tons of channels and it all happens, like a lot of broadcast thing in New York, it a cramped office building in midtown Manhattan. Right off Sixth Avenue, down the street from where I had my last two full time jobs as Art Director of Us Weekly and Executive Creative Director of OK! magazine. But those days are behind me now as I left publishing 10 years ago, this summer, to become a full-time artist.
So, you ask, “Are you THAT famous that Sandra Bernhard want to interview you?” Hardly, kids. Sandy’s new show in her own words is not about fame…
“It’s stream-of-conscious. So far, it’s been very personal: I play a bit of music, and then a guest comes on and they’ve stayed a long time. I’ll take some phone calls, but I don’t want that to be the main event.
I really want to reflect what’s great about our culture and shine a light on working class heroes and people who get up every day and bust their asses—who are interesting and interested in the world.”
Of course, I was thrilled to be asked on. I never think I have that much going on but when I wrote it all down, it sounded like I’m busy. I guess I am. I write this blog everyday, I have a fashion collaboration with Print All Over Me and International Playground being sold for Spring ’16, a new print for online art site 20×200 and I’m in an exhibit on the LES called Secrets of the Great Pyramid: The Pyramid Cocktail Lounge as Cultural Laboratory at Howl! Happening Gallery, among other things…
So, I’m in the lobby waiting to go on and there’s a electronic board that says “SiriusXM Welcomes…” with a read-out of the big guests of the day. Needless to say, mine was not among them, but sitting there I did see Antonio Bandaras come by to get his picture taken after his interview, James Brolin saunter in with his “people” (Not Barbra) and then the king walked by. Howard Stern. A month from now, Stern’s contract is up for renewal and this has sparked a lot of angst among Sirius investors. Some argue that Sirius could continue to flourish without him, but this is still the House that Howard built and would suffer BIG subscriber losses if he was no longer there.
Anyway, this of no concern to me as I’m about to go on live radio and they will bring me in during the broadcast, not before. So, her producer, Lisa Mantineo, comes to get me and I do know the drill a little bit. I did The Judith Regan Show on Saturday (Halloween) Judith and I are working on a book right now and I mentioned I was going on Sandy’s show and she invited me on hers as a trial run. I was very helpful. I learned not to respond to comments as people were talking, like “yeah” or “Uh-huh” are jarring to the listener. Not sure that I’ve mastered it yet. Otherwise, I can blab on and on… no problem.
And that’s what we did. The show is called “Sandyland” and I made a joke that I wanted to go “on all the rides” but it’s not a bad metaphor, really. It’s both fun and scary… a bit of a rollercoaster. Most segments in TV or radio are so specific and on topic that stream-of-conscious doesn’t work, but that’s not this show. Like real conversation, no one is trying to direct it, and one just trys to get a word in edge-wise. Sandy has said…
“I want people to come in with energy —who can carry on a conversation. But I don’t want the same people on all the time. Again, they don’t have to be hot, hot, hot necessarily, but evergreen—and always interesting and always great.”
She had been to Ingrid Sischy‘s memorial the night before. Ingrid was the editor of Artforum and later Interview magazine and she really was the crossroads of art, fashion and culture in Manhattan foir decades. She and her wife Sandy Brandt (they married right before Ingrid’s death) lived in a brownstone around the corner from me, so I would see them in the neighborhood a bit. This tribute was A-list all the way; Elton John sang Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatters“, Baz Lurman read a note from Nicole Kidman, Graydon Carter, the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair (where I found out that Sandy’s girlfriend, Sara Switzer and I had both worked but not at the same time) It took place at MoMA and was very emotional and spurred us to talk about old Manhattan and how the city had changed, the Pyramid club and on and on…
I brought a framed collage of an “S” for her, which she said she loved and I believed here. We talked a bit about my work but that was only a few minutes. Most of the 45 minutes or so we just chatted going from topic to topic. The interview ended with Sandy asking me back on the show to talk about the book when it comes out (hopefully next fall) and I said “Great!” asking if I did OK? To which she replied…
“It’s not an audition…”
I said I thought I was kinda auditioning to be the sort of friend who when running into her on the street, could say,
“Hey, Sandy! How’s it going?”
In that case she said, I passed. OK, so we are not going out for dinner just yet…. ovver the first hurdle ,though. I know that she lives in Chelsea, so I’ll have to find out where so I can accidentally “bump into” her. During the interview I praised her incredible film debut in Martin Scorsese‘s King of Comedy. In it she, along with Robert DeNiro, stalk Jerry Lewis. She strips and they tie him up in one of THE craziest kidnap sequences ever. No, no. That’s not where I’m going with this. I think I’ll see her next month at a safe distance – and you can too!
She is doing her annual end-of-the-year run at Joe’s Pub from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31, two shows a night. I might ring in the New Year with her show which is called #blessed. Aren’t we all? You can get tickets here.
And listen to my interview with is archived. If you aren’t a subscriber, you can get a free trial here. Sandyland is live weekdays 12-1PM on SiriusXM on RadioAndy.