Nightlife

INTERVIEW: The Lady Bunny

by Rick Dunn
EDGE Community Editor
Wednesday Dec 7, 2005
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What can one say about The Lady Bunny that hasn’t been said – or read off a bathroom wall – before? No one ever said she was polite. And thank God. The Wigstock founder is not just one of the most recognizable drag icons on the planet – you can see that meringue of blonde hair from the moon - but she’s is also one of the most outspoken. Now that she’s conquered film, TV and music, Bunny has launched www.ladybunny.net, the home of perhaps the funniest blog we’ve ever read on the net. On Saturday, December 10, she will appear at Score to celebrate the release of her new DVD "X-rated," a hilarious effort that effectively captures Bunny at her best: awake. She’ll also appear Sunday night to support the club’s Toys for Tots benefit. EDGE checked in with NY’s first lady of drag earlier this week, and with the help of a little smelling salts, she came to long enough to talk about her new site, Donatella, barebacking, crystal meth, Michael Jackson and how she really feels about reality TV.

How did you conceive the Lady Bunny site?
“I lucked out with the designer, who has never met me or seen me perform, isn’t gay or even from this country! But I gave him a few pointers and he whipped it up in a very stylish way. From a convenience angle, it’s fab to just email someone a link to watch my performance or download a press pic, instead of snail-mailing an actual video or photo. And at some point Bunny merchandise will be available like a CD, comedy DVD, used Depends, etc. Also, it’s great to spew on my blog. I started writing around the heated time of the last election and got a good response to my ramblings. So many things disgust me that I try to make sure that I write some positive/humorous entries so that it’s not all fire and brimstone. And as a result, Genre magazine has offered me a monthly column!”

How Internet savvy are you?
Well, I now know enough not to log on to German animal porn sites cuz they’ll pop you on their email lists and embarrass you with constant emails. I just forward them to mom.

Have you ever found romance on the Internet?
“Yes, Jimmy James showed me how since he has AOL. (Jimmy, that "whale of a talent,” also showed me how to get desserts on the Internet.) The guy was cute and didn’t lie about his "shoe size" but unfortunately his profile could not convey smells, and I assume that garlic is very, very popular in Ecuador. I gagged, and not in the good way, either!”

What is going on with “Wigstock?”
“We are now produced by the HOWL festival (howlfestival.com), whose mission is to celebrate the East Village as the cultural hotbed it has traditionally been, as opposed to the rep it has now: a place for NYU students to get drunk and vomit in doorways. So once a year in August we queens get together and show those clueless young whippersnappers the right way to vomit in doorways! Artfully, with purpose! And not just in any doorway! Sometimes leaving a little in several doorways! We are actually taking Wigstock one year at a time. (Updates from www.wigstock.nu) Last year it rained and yet we had a huge turnout. And the new two-hour format is much easier on Lady Bunion’s hooves. So I think we should continue it. Wigstock keeps a little "gritty" in the city, and NYC has become so expensive that the kind of fun freaks/artists who gave birth to Wigstock could now never afford to move here. NYC is overrun with “Sex and the City” wannabes with cell phones, Cosmos and fake Prada.”

What is the status of your recording career?
“I’ve got a song out now called “I Get High,” which is actually DJ Disciple featuring Lady Bunny. He’s a fantastic producer with whom I’ve collaborated on six tracks. I’m also shopping a song called “Let’s Get Jumpin’” (produced by Warren Rigg, who did Deborah Cox’s “Easy as Life” with Tony Moran). There is a free download on ladybunny.net and they have just licensed both “Let’s Get Jumpin’” and “I Get High” to “Big Gay 40” on VH-1, a round-up of gay events in the past year which airs in March. And I love to write for other people. Dee-lite’s Lady Miss Kier and Lonnie Gordon have recorded songs of mine. I’ve written and produced music for a while now (like the track behind my Laugh-In skits) but it’s something new I’ve been focusing on. It’s a rough time to try to break into the ailing music biz, but it’s what I love the most. Time to get dance music back on track and get back to some real songs! Let’s get rid of this pots and pans drugged-out music and keep the drugs!”

What would be the ideal Lady Bunny reality TV show?
“Honey, I am many things, but real ain’t one of ’em. I don’t know. A camera follows me as I fluff at a strip club in Puerto Rico, maybe?”

Do you watch “American Idol?”
“Not regularly, though I have seen some great singers like Ruben Studdard. I can’t understand why everything has to be a competition in reality TV? Like the “Gastineau Girls,” where mom competes with daughter for dick? That’s absurd! I’d share a hot piece with my momma anyday! That’s how I met my dad! Remember, I’m southern! But at least Idol gives some folks (like Ruben) whose looks/size might otherwise prevent a record company from giving them a chance. On the whole though, reality TV disgusts me. The government will not allow images of dead or wounded soldiers to be shown on the new because it unmasks the brutal nature of war. That’s reality TV, not Paris Hilton rolling in a pig sty. Instead of the truth about war casualties, we are shown heart-warming "news" stories about how a soldier makes it home just in time for the birth of his kid. Orwell’s 1984 has arrived, baby! Another example: for weeks we were shown images of the 200,000 deaths from the tsunamis because we are so "caring.” Well, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, not soldiers, have been killed. Do you recall seeing those images? Nope! We’re not supposed to care about dead Iraqis cuz they’ve got oil we wanna steal. It’s pure propaganda. Face it. Bush is a puppet of corporate greed and big corporations own guess what – The News! My other problem with reality TV is that we are settling for so much less because as a nation we are stupider. TV programmers are attracted to reality TV because they don’t have to pay script writers, set designers, actors, etc - not because it’s good! And we are buying it! I grew up watching genius TV like “All in the Family,” which could make you laugh, cry and address a relevant social issue in one episode. Which isn’t going to happen by turning a camera on Flava Flav, unless the social issue is the US’s poor educational system. How many insects have to be eaten before you people realize how empty this shite is? Obviously, reality TV bugs me.”

If you were one of the judges, what advice would you offer?
“For the other judges to commit suicide. On second thought, let me kill them.”

If you had to sex with one of the “Queer Eye” guys – for money of course – which one would it be and why?
“Hell, just blindfold me - and them - and send ’em all in. But if I had to pick one it would be Jai Rodriguez. He’s hispanic so he’s compatible with the Atkins diet - all meat and cheese!

If you were to present a “State of the Nation” address on the current status of drag in the USA, what would be your three biggest points?
“1. Lip-synch queens around the country generally have more polish than NYC style "alternative" queens (myself included), who sing live, do stand-up, act, DJ, etc. So we could take a few tips to polish our looks like the pageant girls, who look sensational and know every trick in the book. But they could also learn from us. Lip-synching to popular hits can be really dull unless you are a great dancer or give the number some sort of twist. And please! Don’t impersonate a celeb you look nothing like--no matter how much you like them!
2. It’s a shame that today’s divas can’t hold a candle to the ones I grew up listening to like Patti Labelle, Streisand, Dolly Parton, Gladys Knight, Jennifer Holiday, Tina Turner, Cher and Bette Midler. So many of todays top "divas" are lip-synching themselves: J-Ho, Janet, Britney, Madonna, Ashlee, so they aren’t the most bombastic stars to emulate onstage and their looks are so casual that they don’t have trademark looks like Joan River’s glasses or Cher’s Bob Mackies. I hate Celine (that spastic choreoraphy!) but at least she’s theatrical and has a diva voice.
3.Let’s take pride in ourselves, girls. It was the courage of drag and transgendered folk which sparked Stonewall and gave birth to the gay rights movement. Don’t ever listen to conservative elements in the gay community who poo poo drag as undesirable. They wouldn’t be as free as they are today if it weren’t for our efforts at Stonewall, so don’t you ever let them look down on us!”

What is the dirtiest joke you’ve ever told?
“You wouldn’t print it but here’s one that’s topical. What was the real reason Michael Jackson was dangling his baby off that ledge? He was shaking the cum off of him!”

The most offensive?
“Again, you might not print the MOST offensive one but this should offend most: Why don’t they have any Kmarts in Iraq? Cuz there’s a Target on every corner!”

What is the most scandalous thing you’ve ever seen backstage?
“Ryan Landry shaving his back--with a lawnmower!

Who is more difficult: Rupaul or Lypsinka?
“Lypstinka.”

You’ve appeared alongside Donatella Versace. Could you tell she had a coke problem?
"No problem at all. She had plenty!”

What do you think is a bigger problem in the gay community, crystal meth or barebacking?
“They go together. Crystal fucks you up so bad that you are up for days running on empty with no food or sleep. In that delirious state, you can’t possibly be concerned with safe sex. So I think crystal use leads to barebacking. Got any? The real problem facing gays can be found in Larry Kramer’s address called “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays.” It’s coming out as a book but you can google it and read the entire Transcript - it’s a must read from this ACT-UP pioneer.”

What is your biggest beauty secret?
“Photo-shop!”

For more on Lady Bunny go to www.ladybunny.net.

An EDGE Founding Editor, Rick Dunn’s writing has appeared in Bay Windows, The Windy City Times, Washington Blade, among many others. He also initiated The Boston Globe’s very first (and last) gay column, Out & About in 2001. He was the editor of In Newsweekly from 1996 to 2003.

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