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Bard’s beloved Spiegeltent returns for SummerScape 2014

The opening of the 2014 Bard SummerScape festival in New York’s Annandale-on-Hudson on Friday, June 27 signals the return of the authentic Belgian Spiegeltent. This luxurious “tent of mirrors” has proved a sensation since 2006, when its introduction to Bard’s glorious Hudson Valley campus marked the first time one of these fabled old-world structures appeared in America, impressing the Village Voice with its “wooden floors, mirrored walls, stained-glass panels, and red velvet ceiling.” Conveniently situated near the striking Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center, the Spiegeltent affords a sumptuous and magical environment in which to enjoy cutting-edge cabaret and world-class live music, plus spectacular circus acts, dancing, and dining throughout the eight-week festival (June 27–August 17). This season, legendary cabaret artist, Tony-nominated performer, and returning Spiegeltent favorite Justin Vivian Bond takes over as host, emcee, and guest curator, welcoming patrons every weekend to a unique salon of spectacle featuring newcomers and audience favorites both.
Back for its ninth consecutive SummerScape season, Bard’s glittering “Mirror Tent” comes from Europe, where such tents and the special entertainment they host have been a beloved tradition for the past century. The Spiegeltent is a marvel of engineering, comprising 3,000 interlocking parts, with a spellbinding interior of carved wood surfaces, parquet floor, beveled mirrors, stained-glass windows, and splendid velvet canopies. Flanked by table and booth seating, the tent’s stage hosts a dazzling selection of entertainers on Thursday and Friday evenings and weekends all summer long. Before and after any SummerScape performance, the Spiegeltent provides the ideal setting in which to enjoy the best offerings from the Hudson Valley’s rich array of farms, orchards, dairies, wineries, and breweries, including an extensive selection of produce from Bard’s own farm.
Friday and Saturday nights (as well as the opening Thursday night) are adult-oriented, with Spiegeltent Cabaret offering sophisticated entertainment with an adventurous edge. Erstwhile teen star Molly Ringwald and “punk-cabaret pioneer” (Guardian, UK) Amanda Palmer are among those making their SummerScape debuts, while returning acts include the political and irreverent variety show Weimar New York, the ever-popular Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, and folk icon Martha Wainwright. The majority of Spiegeltent Cabaret shows have sold out in previous summers, which is sure to once again be the case with a lineup that also includes international cabaret stars such as Meow Meow and Joey Arias.
Friday and Saturday nights (plus the first Thursday night) continue with After Hours With Justin And Friends, which offers the chance to dance to the finest guest DJs (including JD Samson and Sammy Jo) and live music in the company of Justin and SummerScape artists, two special movie nights, and a late-night bar.
Two Thursday nights in the Spiegeltent are devoted to Late Night Local, providing the perfect start to summer weekends with great live music from local Hudson Valley stars.
Back by popular demand, on three Thursday evenings Midsummer Dancing presents exhilarating salsa, tango, and swing, complete with live music and pre-performance dance instruction from the professionals.
On the final weekend of July, Kinder Spiegel presents two daytime family-friendly performances from the perennially popular Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.
Before and after each performance, patrons can enjoy Dining at the Spiegeltent – indoors or outside in the beautiful gardens – with an improved menu of locally sourced seasonal fare served at lunchtime on Saturdays and Sundays and at dinnertime on Thursdays through Saturdays. A full bar offering now complements the dinner menu.
Program details for all Spiegeltent offerings follow below.
Spiegeltent Cabaret
• Thursday, July 3; Fridays and Saturdays, July 4–August 16
• All performances start at 8:30pm
• Dinner and drinks will be available during the performances.
• Tickets, except where noted: $25–$40
• Performances may contain nudity, and are for mature audiences only. No one under 18 admitted without a parent or guardian.
Justin Vivian Bond: Cool Babysitter
Thursday, July 3
Justin Vivian Bond – “the greatest cabaret artist of this generation” (New Yorker) – kicks off the season in style, with a whimsical solo evening created to inaugurate Mx. Bond’s summer as host of the Spiegeltent. A night of favorite songs and stories, Cool Babysitter welcomes patrons to a world of chic but gritty sophistication with original tunes, tales, and classic anthems by composers from Kurt Weill to Kate Bush. Bond has earned numerous accolades, including Obie, Bessie, and Ethyl awards, as well as a Tony nomination; as Time Out London marvels, “Justin Vivian Bond is a transatlantic cabaret messiah.”
Doveman: The Burgundy Stain Sessions’ Tribute to Lou Reed
Friday, July 4
Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman – “a rising star of great musical understanding and understatement” (Independent, UK) – is one of New York’s most in-demand musicians, whose frequent collaborators include The National, Bebel Gilberto, Antony and the Johnsons, David Byrne, and Yoko Ono. Doveman brings a special edition of the acclaimed Burgundy Stains Sessions concert series to the Spiegeltent, to honor late rock pioneer Lou Reed. This intimate evening will feature a cast of stellar talent in a setting “so relaxed it will seem like anyone could join in onstage” (Wall Street Journal).
An Evening with Molly Ringwald
Saturday, July 5
(Tickets: $30–$50)
As a teenager, Molly Ringwald stole the nation’s hearts in films such as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club, prompting VH1 to call her “the greatest teen star of all time.” Now, 30 years on, audiences around the world are discovering just how multitalented she is. Patrons are in for a rare treat when Ringwald makes her Spiegeltent debut with a selection of songs from her first album, Except Sometimes, sharing her sultry pipes in an evening of jazz standards; as Vice magazine marveled, “Mind blown.”
Martha Wainwright
Friday, July 11
Hudson Valley-born, two-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright returns to the Spiegeltent with a program of pared-down folk-rock showcasing a voice that blends honey and grit. The daughter of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and sister of Rufus Wainwright, she “roughs up life’s smooth spots, then digs her fingertips into the cracks that form” (NPR).
Bridget Everett: Rock Bottom
Saturday, July 12
(May contain nudity)
The roaring and raunchy Bridget Everett presents her hit musical tale of barreling through life and tip-toeing toward disaster, wine bottle by wine bottle and man by man. Created with Tony Award–winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Everett’s performance affirms her status as “the astonishing and totally fearless mama bear of alt cabaret” (Time Out NY).
Weimar New York
Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19
(May contain nudity)
Patrons are invited to pop a cork and throw on their pearls to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Weimar New York at the Spiegeltent! Justin Vivian Bond hosts a theatrical cabaret that takes Weimar-era Germany as the inspiration for a fabulous gathering of burlesque, cabaret, comedy, drag, and East Village-scene performance artists. “Keeping the Weimar-era spirit of cultural resistance alive” (Village Voice), this collection of downtown stars continues a cabaret tradition of the past, infused with a new political edge.

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26
The Hudson Valley’s favorite circus family swings back into the Spiegeltent for two nights of brand-new feats, frills, and thrills. For eight years, the Cirkus has sold out the tent with performances that weave together the rich heritage of European one-ring spectacles and the best of American vaudeville and sideshow acts. Patrons are invited to witness the circus feats, sideshow marvels, and world-class entertainers that the New York Times calls “old-fashioned variety entertainment of the sort Ed Sullivan so astutely scooped up, but with twists.”
Meow Meow
Friday, August 1
Purr-fect post-postmodern diva Meow Meow’s unique brand of kamikaze cabaret kitsch and performance art exotica has hypnotized, inspired, and terrified audiences worldwide. After hosting Weimar New York in 2012, the spectacular crowd-surfing queen of song returns for an explosive evening of music, politics, mayhem, and magnificence, dragging “cabaret kicking and screaming into the 21st century” (Time Out NY).
The Joey Arias Experience
Saturday, August 2
Singer, comedian, performance artist, and bona fide New York City icon Joey Arias takes patrons on a journey of scandalous wit and sleek style, reviving a rich musical history – including jazz, rock, and pop – with Arias as medium and muse, revealing why audiences around the world “are giving standing ovations for his spellbinding show” and urging: “Eat your heart out, Madonna!” (New York Times).
The Hot Sardines
Friday, August 8
“The most foot-stomping, raucous jazz band in the world” (Music Playground), the Hot Sardines trots back into the Spiegeltent after last summer’s sold-out debut. With a blustery brass lineup and a just-one-of-the-boys front-woman, the Hot Sardines create “high-energy traditional jazz with a Parisian accent” (Wall Street Journal) – a sound steeped in hot jazz, salty stride piano, and the kind of music Louis Armstrong used to make.
Cabaret Comedy Double Bill
Erin Markey: Safety Gates are for Babies
+ Jeffery Self & Cole Escola: Jeffrey & Cole Go To College
Saturday, August 9
This sidesplitting double bill brings together rising stars of New York City’s cabaret comedy scene. Known for her unpredictable, absurdist humor and “magnetic diva aggression” (New York Times), Erin Markey’s original music and pop covers are equal parts pathos, sarcasm, sincerity, darkness, and joy. “Clearly cut from the same chenille as their friend and mentor Justin Vivian Bond” (New York Times), TV comedy duo and internet sensations Jeffery Self and Cole Escola (Jeffery & Cole Casserole) reunite for a rare special appearance to attempt a reunion.
Amanda Palmer
Friday, August 15
Amanda Palmer – the singer-songwriter, blogger, entrepreneur, and true music industry maverick who first came to prominence as lead singer of The Dresden Dolls – returns to Bard fresh from a world tour with her new album, Theatre Is Evil, hailed as “one of the year’s best rock records” by Rolling Stone. This intimate cabaret concert brings patrons face-to-face with one of today’s most talked-about music makers, offering both die-hard fans and first-time admirers the chance to find out why in Palmer’s presence “we swoon” (The Guardian, UK).
Justin Vivian Bond: The Drift
Saturday, August 16
The Spiegeltent season closes in style with Justin Vivian Bond’s fresh new collage of spoken word and song, loosely inspired by Tennessee Williams’s The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Created with Tony Award-winner Scott Wittman, of Hairspray fame, The Drift channels a retired actress who drifts from one space to another – whether in her mind, in couture, or in bed – as Mx. Bond bids farewell to another spectacular summer.
After Hours With Justin And Friends
• Thursday, July 3; Fridays, July 4–August 1; and Saturdays, July 5–August 16
• All performances start at 10pm
• Tickets: $10 advance; $12 at door
• Performances may contain nudity, and are for mature audiences only. No one under 18 admitted without a parent or guardian.
DJ: Musty Chiffon
Thursday, July 3
Local legend Musty Chiffon (formerly of the cult New Wave band Human Sexual Response) breezes back to the Spiegeltent to kick off the season.
DJ: JD Samson
Friday, July 4
From Le Tigre to her new project MEN, indie icon JD Samson lays down music designed to charge up the dance floor for an Independence Day to remember.
DJ: Xanadude
Saturday, July 5
“A place where nobody dared to go. The love that we came to know” – they call it Xanadude! DJ Sean B and installation artist Jeffrey Owen Ralston bring their infamous, sweaty and scruffy Brooklyn loft party upriver.
Live Music: Heloise & the Savoir Faire
Friday, July 11
The electro-pop pioneer, singer, and performance artist Heloise & The Savoir Faire has built a career out of mapping new sonic topography. With her powerful pipes, energy, and panache, Heloise offers certified dance-floor energy.
DJ: Champagne Jerry
Saturday, July 12
Rapper, DJ, and idol, Champagne Jerry – the alter ego of celebrated performance artist Neal Medlyn – drops beats and rhymes to make patrons feel fine.
Movie Night: Shortbus
Friday, July 18
(Shortbus is an unrated motion picture, featuring explicit content)
Filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell and cast members Justin Vivian Bond, PJ DeBoy, and Paul Dawson host a special screening of Shortbus, a 2006 cult sensation about art, music, politics, and relationships in our modern age.
DJ: Mattachine
Saturday, July 19
Mattachine brings old-school party realness, with retro-sounds, feel-good vibes, and wild energy. This famed New York City dance party features John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus), PJ DeBoy and Paul Dawson (Shortbus), and performance artist Amber Martin (Amber Alert).
Live Music: Doll Parts
Friday, July 25
Brooklyn’s premier – and only – Dolly Parton cover band strums its way up the Hudson, slapping on the boots and rhinestones for hits from Jolene to I Will Always Love You.
DJ: Jonjon Battles
Saturday, July 26
Electro pop expert and “DJ to the stars” (Daily Motion) Jonjon Battles keeps the dance cards loaded.
Movie Night: Internet Cat Video Festival
Friday, August 1
It’s not about watching cat videos, it’s about watching cat videos together in this irresistible celebration of internet cat video culture.
DJ: AndrewAndrew
Saturday, August 2
DJs, designers, interior decorators, and social commentators, AndrewAndrew are “as twin-like as you can get without sharing DNA” (New York Times) – they dress alike, live together, and spin out-of-this-world sets on the dance floor.
Live Music: Heather Christian & The Arbornauts
Friday, August 8
The daughter of a blues musician and a go-go dancer, Heather Christian leads her “avant-American” ensemble through a dream hymnal songbook of heartache, time travel, space travel, and good old-fashioned feeling good.
Live Music and DJ: The Showgirls Dancy Pants Collective
Saturday, August 9
Featuring Justin Vivian Bond and friends, this variety evening of cabaret and dancing is set to shine brighter than a disco ball.
DJ: Sammy Jo
Saturday, August 16
A professional tune-slinger heard everywhere from basement clubs to sold-out arenas with the Scissor Sisters, DJ Sammy Jo spins a legendary end to the Spiegeltent season.
Late Night Local
• Two Thursday evenings at 9pm, July 30 and 17
• Tickets: $10 advance; $12 at door
Simi Stone Band
Thursday, July 10 
A formidable powerhouse fueled by a raw and edgy vocal style, virtuoso violin chops, and limitless charisma, Woodstock’s own “mountain motown” pop priestess Simi Stone – as seen with Natalie Merchant and Katie Couric on ABC TV – heats up the Spiegeltent with her band (Gail Ann Dorsey, Sara Lee, Zachary Alford, and David Baron), playing music that’s “raw – and straight from the heart” (Woodstock Times).
Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones
Thursday, July 17
Patrons are invited to spend an evening with Hudson Valley’s premier Rockabilly outfit, Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones: an all-star cocktail of musical talent, driven by Lara Hope’s powerful and sultry vocals. Named the “Number One Band to Follow in 2014” by Come To Woodstock magazine, this fun-loving bunch packs the dance floor with re-workings of rockabilly and rhythm & blues classics as well as their own original musical offerings.
Midsummer Dancing
• Three Thursday evenings, July 31, August 7, and August 14
• Doors open at 6pm; dance instruction at 6:15pm; live band from 7–10pm
• Tickets: $20 advance; $25 at door
Tango Night
Thursday, July 31
Woodstock Tango’s Ilene Marder once again turns the Spiegeltent into its own Buenos Aires milonga, or tango bar. For the past four years, tango night has been an enormous hit at the Spiegeltent, packing the house with dancers and tango aficionados of all levels.
Salsa Night
Thursday, August 7
Back by popular demand, prize-winning dancers Diane Lachtrupp and Johnny Martinez sashay back into the Spiegeltent for an evening of salsa dancing backed by fast, furious, and sensual Latin sounds.
Swing Night
Thursday, August 14
Professional swing dancers Linda and Chester Freeman of Got2Lindy Dance Studios return to the Spiegeltent for a night of soulful swing dancing to the music of Eight to the Bar, a band known for its colorful mix of ’40s jazz and swing, ’50s jump blues, and more.
Kinder Spiegel
• Saturday, July 26 at 11am; Sunday, July 27 at 3pm
• Tickets: children aged three and up: $10; adult: $15
The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus presents a weekend of fun for young audiences at Kinder Spiegel. As in previous years, the Spiegeltent’s resident circus family offers not only sophisticated adult entertainment but also family-friendly fun for the young and the young at heart. As New York Cool reports, “simply nothing, but nothing, will deter them in their quest to bring the circus arts to new levels of skill and ever-expanding audiences.”
Dining at the Spiegeltent
• Thursdays–Sundays, June 27–August 17
The Spiegeltent is the SummerScape festival’s hub, a place to enjoy local food and drink before and after performances. A revolving lineup of musicians serenades diners on Friday and Saturday evenings, while the lovely outdoor garden provides the perfect spot to relax in the company of friends and festival artists long after the curtain comes down. Dinner reservations are recommended and may be made by calling the box office at 845-758-7900 or at, giving the restaurant’s name as “Richard B. Fisher Center Spiegeltent.”
SummerScape 2014: other key performance dates by genre
Bard Music Festival, Weekend One: “The Making of a Romantic Legend” (Aug 8–10)
Bard Music Festival, Weekend Two: “A New Aesthetics of Music” (Aug 15–17)
* Round-trip transportation from Manhattan to Bard is available for certain performances on August 8, 10, 15, and 17. The round-trip fare is $20 and reservations are required; see further details below.
Carl Maria von Weber: Euryanthe
Sosnoff Theater
July 25* and Aug 1 at 7 pm
July 27, 30, and Aug 3 at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25
Franz Schubert: Die Verschworenen
Franz von Suppé: Franz Schubert (1864)
Sosnoff Theater
Aug 10 at 5:30 pm* (BMF Program 6)
Tickets start at $25
Franz Schubert: Fierrabras
Sosnoff Theater
Aug 17 at 4:30 pm* (BMF Program 12)
Tickets start at $25
Trisha Brown Dance Company: Proscenium Works: 1979–2011
June 27 & 28 at 7:30 pm
June 28 at 2 pm*
Sosnoff Theater
Tickets start at $25
John Banville: Love in the Wars – A version of Heinrich von Kleist’s Penthesilea
Theater Two
Previews July 10 and 11 at 7:30pm
Performances July 12*, 17, 18, and 19 at 7:30 pm and July 13*, 16, 19, and 20* at 2 pm
Tickets start at $25
“Schubert and the Long 19th Century”
Thursdays and Sundays July 3 to August 3 at 7pm
Ottaway Film Center
Tickets: $10
Live Music, Cabaret, Festival Dining, and After Hours salon
Dates, Times, and Prices vary
SummerScape opera, theater, and dance performances and most Bard Music Festival programs are held in the Sosnoff Theater or Theater Two in Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Frank Gehry and celebrated since its opening as a major architectural landmark in the region. Some chamber programs and other BMF events are in Olin Hall. The Spiegeltent has its own schedule of events, in addition to serving as a restaurant, café, and bar before and after performances. Film Series screenings are at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center in the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Center.
New York City Round-Trip Bus Transportation:
To make a reservation on the round-trip SummerScape coach provided exclusively to ticket holders for specific performances indicated by * in the listings above, call the box office at 845-758-7900 or select this option when purchasing tickets. The new, lower round-trip fare is $20 and reservations are required. The coach departs from behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue between 64th and 65th Street. Bus departure time will be included on the ticket order receipt, or visit
Bard SummerScape Ticket Information
For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit Fisher Center members receive priority access to the best seats in advance, and those who join the Center’s email list receive advance booking opportunities as well as regular news and updates.
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© 21C Media Group, May 2014





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