By: Paulanne Simmons
October 24, 2018: David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, South London, in 1947, and never legally changed his name. According to Raquel Cion, that may have saved his life. And as her show Me & Mr. Jones: My Intimate Relationship with David Bowie demonstrates, at many times it may have been Bowie who saved her life.
Me & Mr. Jones is not so much a tribute to Bowie as a celebration of Cion’s relationship with the larger-than-life star. Of course, this relationship was mostly imaginary, as Cion never actually met Bowie. But Bowie’s influence was always there, from her adolescence as a “juvenile delinquent wreck” in suburban Connecticut to her forays into theater at a local JCC, the various Bowie concerts she’s attended over the years and finally her battle with breast cancer.
If the famously androgynous Bowie needed a female manifestation of himself, Cion would certainly be that person. On Saturday, Oct. 20, she strode onto the stage at Pangea wearing a sparkling blue caftan emblazoned with a red bolt of lightning. Her red/blond hair was combed back into a sleek pompadour that would have made Bowie proud, her flaming red lips and blue encircled eyes aglitter. It turns out Cion wears several layer of clothing, which she removes one piece after another, until, a Bowie-like chameleon, she wears only a simple dress and sings her final number, the poignant “Life on Mars.”
(Costumes are by David Quinn, direction by Cynthia Cahill.)
Backed by a Karl Saint Lucy (music director/piano), Jeremy Bass (guitar), Daniel Shuman (bass), and Michael Ryan Morales (drums), Cion sings more than a dozen songs from Bowie’s repertoire, from his glam rock period through cult film fame, to pop opera, electric… you name it. Cion has the husky voice and emotional delivery that used to remind people of smoke-filled rooms and martini,s but now call to mind drug drenched orgies.
In fact, Cion has a master’s in library and information science. But she calls herself a “librarian with a sex drive.” And Bowie is the sound of her “emotional being.” If Me & Mr. Jones traces Bowie’s “artistic ascent and physical descent,” it certainly presents Cion at her peak… confident, passionate and fierce.
Me & Mr. Jones: My Intimate Relationship with David Bowie returns to Pangea,178 2nd Ave., Nov. 16 and 17 at 9:30 p.m. (212) 995-0900
Photography : Carrie Lou and Steven Menendez