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That's Lady Bunny, Honey
by Bryan James Whitley
Legendary drag queen, film star and DJ Lady Bunny returns to Buffalo this weekend for Summer in the City 2007: A Benefit for Pride Center of WNY. From her early days in Atlanta performing with RuPaul, Mr. Charlie Brown, and a host of others, to her meteoric rise to fame in the “Big Apple,” Lady Bunny has kept audiences entertained for more than 20 years.
I recently caught up with Lady Bunny to chat about her life, career, and her upcoming trip back to Buffalo…
Artvoice: First things first, where did you get the name “Lady Bunny”?
Lady Bunny: It was a bad joke that stuck! Southern drag queens often called themselves “Lady”—like the Lady Chablis. And “Bunny,” well, that’s anybody’s guess. I do remember that Sergeant Carter’s girlfriend on the TV show Gomer Pyle was named Bunny, but I also loved a rare late ’60s comic book called Bunny: Queen of the In Crowd that featured a blonde model in psychedelic outfits, which I’ve borrowed from heavily.
AV: I see. So, tell me about your first drag show?
LB: Well, I’m dating myself…but hell, why not? No one else wants to date me! I lip-synched to “Young Hearts Run Free” by Candi Staton at a party in the dump that RuPaul and I lived in in Atlanta. It was a fairly pitiful and drunken affair.
AV: How did you end up becoming a DJ too?
LB: Well, as dance music became more and more techno in the late ’80s—you know, pots and pans music with no vocals—I would often get hired to spin lighter music in a lounge off of the main dance floor to provide variety. Actually, Michael Alig (the axe-murdering “Party Monster”) gave me my first paying gig at a party called “Panty Girdles.” I’ve never really promoted myself as a DJ but there seems to be a demand. I think half of my appeal as a DJ is that I dance around and carry on, so they get a DJ and a clown both for the price of one!
But the other half is that I’m not afraid to play songs that people know and love…I’m not necessarily trying to be cutting edge. I don’t know a crowd who doesn’t love Whitney’s [Houston] “I’m Every Woman” and that song is over 10 years old! Especially at a gay event, who wouldn’t want to twirl to that? Ultimately, I play a little bit of everything based on the feeling I get from the crowd. I say, “Give ’em what they want. I can play what I like at home for free!” Making people dance is a celebratory sensation so it’s a job that makes you feel good. Or is it just the liquor? Whatever.
AV: So, what do you think is the most interesting thing about you?
LB: Since I’m so incredibly fascinating, I don’t think this interview is going to be long enough to list all of them. Ha, just kidding!
Seriously, I guess that a lot of people don’t realize that in addition to comedy, I actually have a very serious politically and socially conscious side. Gay people are under attack and it’s time to start fighting back. I’ve been writing a lot on my blog about current issues and have received good feedback from it. My blog even won a “Cybersocket Award for Best Personal Home Page” last year. So, I’m not just a potty-mouthed tramp. Although if a tramp is what your looking for…
AV: What’s your favorite thing to do when visiting Buffalo?
LB: Eating chicken wings! I actually had come directly from Wigstock [an annual outdoor drag-a-palooza organized by Bunny] the night before my last visit and since it was a daytime gig, I didn’t get to go sightseeing and had to leave the next day. So, perhaps some stud would like to show me around this time? Call me.
AV: Lastly, where can readers get more info on all things Lady Bunny?
LB: You can visit my Web site, Ladybunny.net, and check out my DVD trailer or press kit information with details on many of exploits, from Pamela Anderson’s Roast to Wigstock and more. I’m also thrilled to say that I was recently cast in the sequel to Another Gay Movie. So, keep your eye out for “Lady Bunion” on the big screen. I wouldn’t fit on a small one!
And with that our interview came to a hilarious close. Want more Bunny? Then join Lady Bunny, DJ Bill and Pride Center of WNY for “Summer in the City 2007” on Sunday, August 26, 2-7pm, at Lasalle Park. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, include food and beverages until 5pm, and all proceeds go to benefit the programs and services available through the Pride Center to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities of Western New York.
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