Phoebe Legere

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Phoebe Hemenway Legere
Born (1961-07-04) July 4, 1961 (age 61)[1]

Phoebe Hemenway Legere is a multi-disciplinary artist.[2][3] She is a Juilliard-educated composer,[4] soprano, pianist and accordionist, painter,[5] poet,[6] and a film maker. A graduate of Vassar College[7] with a four octave vocal range,[8][9][10][11] Legere has recorded for Mercury Records in England, and for Epic, Island, Rizzoli, Funtone, ESP Disk and Einstein Records in the United States. Legere plays seven musical instruments[12] and has released 15 CDs of original music.[13] She has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, PBS's City Arts, WNYC's Soundcheck, Charlie Rose and in films by Troma, Island Pictures, Rosa von Praunheim, Ela Troyano and Ivan Galietti, Abel Ferrara, Jonathan Demme, Ivan Reitman and many others.[14] Legere is of Acadian and Abenaki descent through her father. She is a standard bearer of the Acadian and Abenaki renaissance in America.[15]


Legere's parents were both artists. She began piano lessons at age 3, and learned the techniques of oil painting and draftsmanship when she was age 5, and by age 9 was a professional musician.[16] She has never taken a singing lesson.[17] She had her debut at Carnegie Hall at age 16.[18]

As the opening act for David Bowie on his 1990 Sound+Vision Tour US tour, Legere played her original songs for 20,000 people a night.[19] A huge forklift brought a white grand piano to the stage, where she performed with her seminal punk-rock band, the Four Nurses of the Apocalypse.[20][21]

In 2000, with composer[22] Morgan Powell, she co-wrote The Waterclown – a musical setting of her epic poem about water issues, "The Waterclown" – for the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Beginning in 2001,[23] Legere worked as Head Writer, on-air host, and interviewer for Roulette TV, a collection of video programs broadcast online and on New York City cable television,[24] that captures the creative process of live performance at "the extreme frontier edge of art and music" and is dedicated to experimental art and music.[25] Legere's musical invention the Sneakers of Samothrace were the subject of one episode of the program on 9 December 2007. She was interviewed afterward by David Behrman, an American composer and pioneer of computer music, revealing that her first job was resident composer for The Wooster Group and discussing in detail their influence on her art making.[26]

Legere is Founder and archivist for the New York Underground Museum (founded 2006).[27]

In 2013, she created The Shamancycle, a four-wheeled alternative vehicle designed in the form of a moving giant eagle sculpture constructed from repurposed metal and powered by alternative energy and having room for 15 people, the idea for which came to her in a dream.[28]

In 2015, Legere appeared on It's Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise, an HBO documentary produced by Lena Dunham about Hilary Knight who is best known as the illustrator of Kay Thompson's Eloise series of children's books.[29][30]

Legere was touring again in 2017,[31][32] bringing art and music to the children in low income communities on behalf of her nonprofit Foundation for New American Art, founded in 2016.[33]

Legere, who has Native American heritage,[34] has been an outspoken advocate for female, gay, Native American, and universal civil rights. She will represent North America at Cannes 2018.[needs update][35]

She wrote and starred in the play Speed Queen: The Joe Carstairs Story, performing as multiple characters in a musical about the life of Marion Barbara 'Joe' Carstairs (1900-1993), the wealthy British power boat racer known for her speed and eccentric lifestyle. The production combined storytelling, painting, sculpture, movie stars, costumes, and music.[36] Legere performed this transdisciplinary play seven times between March 7 and March 24, 2018, at Dixon Place, in the main performance space of the New York City theater organization dedicated to the development of artwork from a broad range of performers and artists.[37]

Personal life[edit]

Legere is gender-fluid.[38]


  • Trust Me, 1986, Epic Records
  • Marilyn Monroe, 1989, Island Records
  • Phoebe Legere, 1993, Ripe & Ready/Dead Dog Records
  • Six Flights Up,1995, Funtone Records
  • Four Nurses of the Apocalypse, 1995, Mysterious Ways
  • 1000 Kisses,1996, Funtone Records
  • Last Tango In Bubbleland, 1997, Random Records
  • Blue Curtain, 2000, Einstein Records[39]
  • Blind Pursuits, 2001 (with Jim Staley and Borah Bergman), Einstein Records[40][41]
  • Children of the Dawn, 2007 (with Ken Little Hawk), Mysterious Ways
  • The Common Root of All Organisms, 2007 (with Morgan Powell and the Tone Road Ramblers), Einstein Records[42]
  • The Prairie, 2007 (with Morgan Powell and the Tone Road Ramblers), Einstein Records
  • The Imaginary Opera, DVD 2008, Einstein Records (Compilation with Kathy Supové, Oliver Lake)
  • Ultra Romantic Parallel Universe, 2009 (with Leo Abrahams), Unrest Cure, Mercury Records
  • Dark Energy, 2009 (with Eric Mandat and the Tone Road Ramblers), Einstein Records
  • Ooh La La Coq Tail, 2010, Mysterious Ways
  • Earth Singing World, 2010, ESP Disk
  • East Village/East Berlin 2013, Mysterious Ways
  • Acadian Moon, 2015, Big Moose Records
  • Heart of Love, 2017[43]


  • In 2001, Legere received a NYSCA grant to write The Queen of New England, an experimental multimedia opera about the Massachusetts Native American Holocaust.
  • Her musical, Hello Mrs. President, about the first African American woman president of the United States played four times in New York City. In 1991, the first woman president was played by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame star LaVerne Baker.
  • Her musical, Shakespeare and Elizabeth, about the life of Elizabeth l, premiered at Theater for the New City on December 5, 2013.[44]
  • Speed Queen, performed in March 2018.


See also[edit]

List of people in Playboy 1980–1989


  1. ^ a b Williamson, Bruce (June 1988). "Mondo Phoebe". Playboy. p. 74. 'I was born on July 4, 1961, in Lexington, Massachusetts.'
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen (9 April 1991). "Review/Cabaret; Phoebe Legere Flaunts Contradictions". New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  3. ^ Boa, Vienna; Legere, Phoebe (4 March 2013). "Art, Music, Money – Phoebe Legere with Vienna Boa". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  4. ^ Dyroff, Denny (3 August 2017). "On Stage: Phoebe Legere really is unique". The Unionville Times. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  5. ^ Legere, Phoebe. "Artist, Phoebe Legere". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  6. ^ Ponce, Roberto (25 May 2012). "Phoebe Legere, cabaret transgresor que reverdece". Proceso (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Cabaret's New Star". Where New York. March 1991. p. 22. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  8. ^ Vassar Historian (24 April 1987). "A Documentary Chronicle of Vassar College". Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  9. ^ Holden, Stephen (19 August 1988). "A New Generation Of Performers Is Revitalizing Cabarets". New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  10. ^ Lippencott, Procter. "Singer Steals Show". New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  11. ^ Szabo, Julia (17 April 1987). "Performer Phoebe Legere Returns To Vassar". Miscellany News, Volume LXXVII, Number 18. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  12. ^ "A History of the Accordion in Americana Music". Accordion Americana. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  13. ^ Kenney, Jay (21 August 2015). "Phoebe Legere Bringing Cajun Music and More to Orleans, Mass". Limelight Magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  14. ^ Wildermann, Patrick (20 November 2012). "Deutsche schmecken gut". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  15. ^ Forson, Kofi (June 2008). "The Demystification of Phoebe Legere: Language and Light". Whitehot Magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Phoebe Legere's Old New York". BlackBook. 14 February 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  17. ^ Lawrence, Josh (2 October 1997). "The Real Phoebe Legere". The East Hampton Star. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Accordion Queen Phoebe Legere" (English language interview aired 24 October 2017). The Music Room on WVUD (University of Delaware). 8 August 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  19. ^ Legere, Phoebe (13 January 2016). "'I Started to Fall Backwards': My Faint Recollection of Opening For David Bowie". Bedford + Bowery (based on an interview as told to Frank Mastropolo).
  20. ^ von Bernewitz, Robert (4 March 2017). "Phoebe Legere - Singer/Songwriter" (Interview transcript). Musicguy247: A celebration of people involved in music. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  21. ^ Cooper, Michael (26 May 1996). "NEIGBORHOOD [sic] REPORT: LOWER EAST SIDE/EAST VILLAGE; Old Favorite Wheezes Back Into Bohemia". New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  22. ^ "Powell, Morgan (1938-)". The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  23. ^ "Hello Mrs. President presented by Phoebe Legere". August 2004. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  24. ^ "ROULETTE TV". Roulette TV. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  25. ^ Kelly, Louise (9 May 2015). "Phoebe Legere "Marijuana Lollipop" Show - Opening Night of Big Gay Bay Area Tour". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  26. ^ Roulette Intermedium (9 December 2007). "Phoebe Legere". Vimeo. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  27. ^ von Burden, Zora (2010). Women of the Underground: Music: Cultural Innovators Speak for Themselves. San Francisco, CA: Manic D Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1-933149-19-6. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  28. ^ "Shamancycle". Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  29. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (22 March 2015). "Review: 'It's Me, Hilary' Documentary Spotlights Eloise's Illustrator". New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  30. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (18 March 2015). "'Eloise' illustrator Hilary Knight talks new HBO documentary and his bond with Lena Dunham". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  31. ^ Leighton, Anne (26 April 2017). "Phoebe Legere is coming to town". Bridgeport Banner w Rob Sullivan. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  32. ^ Clyde, Beth Ann (27 June 2017). "Phoebe Legere Returns to Her Roots". Long Island Pulse. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  33. ^ Legere, Phoebe. "A Letter From Our Executive Director". Foundation for New American Art. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  34. ^ Hagan, Debbie (16 May 2017). "Returning to Her Roots". Merrimack Valley Magazine. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  35. ^ Afterglow Provincetown Live Performance Art Festival (28 June 2017). "Phoebe Legere". Provincetown, Massachusetts. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  36. ^ "Kickstarter: Joe Carstairs Trans Heiress Musucal". Curve Magazine. 11 September 2017. Archived from the original on 25 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  37. ^ Dixon Place (26 December 2017). "SPEED QUEEN: THE JOE CARSTAIRS STORY - Written and Performed by Phoebe Legere". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  38. ^ Twitter Retrieved 2022-10-01. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. ^ "Phoebe Legere, Blue Curtain: Magically 14th Street". Roulette Intermedium. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  40. ^ "Blind Pursuits". DRAM (part of Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc.). Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  41. ^ "Blind Pursuits: Jim Staley with Phoebe Legere and Borah Bergman". Roulette Intermedium. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  42. ^ "Morgan Powell, The Common Root: Tone Road Ramblers with text and vocals by Phoebe Legere". Roulette Intermedium. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  43. ^ Leighton, Anne (9 March 2017). "Phoebe Legere". Anne Leighton - Media * Music Services * Motivation. Retrieved 23 November 2017. Phoebe Legere's new Americana CD "Heart of Love" is out on Valentine's Day.
  44. ^ Litt, Larry (12 December 2013). "Shakespeare & Elizabeth I: The Reality Show". New York Theatre Wire. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  45. ^ Parr, Nicole (24 October 2017). "Accordion Queen Phoebe Legere". Radio station WVUD at the University of Delaware. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  46. ^ Magnotta, Ernie (25 May 2015). "Review: "The Toxic Avenger Part II' (1989), Blu-Ray Special Edition From Troma Entertainment". Cinema Retro. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  47. ^ Canby, Vincent (10 November 1989). "A Self-Doubting Monster Fights the Forces of Evil". New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  48. ^ "Marquis de Slime". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  49. ^ "The Bar Channel". Retrieved 3 January 2018.

External links[edit]