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Lady Bunny coming to Seattle at Neighbours
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Lady Bunny coming to Seattle at Neighbours

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Lady Bunny Neighbours October 9 Lady Bunny, actress, DJ, singer/songwriter and comedienne, has been performing for audiences around the world for over 20 years. Wearing her trademark larger-than-life wigs, outlandish costumes, and never without a song or a joke, she's become one of drag's most recognizable icons. Lady Bunny spoke with SGN about the origin of her name, the Pike Place Market, and why the Gay movement is in need of the younger generation.

Shaun Knittel: Thank you for talking with SGN. You've toured Seattle before, what did you think of our city?

Lady Bunny: I love it! I've spent many happy hours at Pike Place Market. As you can see, I love to eat and everything from fresh seafood to Asian delicacies to crumpets are heavenly to me. I'm also obsessed with unusual berries, so I am thrilled to see lingonberry and marionberry jam. I don't know that much about the club scene, but I know the food! Although I know that Joey Arias performs regularly in Seattle, your city isn't known for important drag queens. But then again, why should you import talent when you have a multi-talented performer, Mark Finley? She sings, lip-synchs, and tells jokes, hosts, and in between sets, I understand that she lies underneath a rim seat in the toilet. That would explain her breath at the end of the night. And then she stays on as the club's janitor! She's unbelievably versatile!

Knittel: Neighbours is one of Seattle's most popular Gay clubs. What kind of show will you be doing?

Lady Bunny: I'd describe my act as fast-paced, raunchy comedy. I do medleys of song parodies and tell filthy jokes, and I have a particularly rotten new Michael Jackson routine guaranteed to offend all! You never know how humor will translate in other areas - and it's been a while since I've played Seattle, but I went over really well at Portland's Gay pride this summer. If anyone would like a taste of my act, check out the trailer for my DVD Rated X (For Extra Retarded), which is on www.ladybunny.net. And I mean the trailer for the DVD, not the one I grew up in!

Knittel: You've been in the business for a number of years. How did you get your start?

Lady Bunny: You calling me old? Well, even before I did drag, other drag performers riveted me. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I grew up, there weren't any real women wearing huge wigs and sequin gowns. So, I was in heaven, and it wasn't long before I entered a Halloween contest and won - if only third place. I then moved to Atlanta, Georgia and became RuPaul's roommate. We also lived together after we moved to NYC and are still friends. In fact, we just released a duet called "Throw Ya Hands Up," which can be found on iTunes on Ru's latest album, Champion.

Knittel: What's the concept behind your name?

Lady Bunny: Lady is a prefix that many queens give themselves to seem grander - like Lady Chablis from the film Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil. I got my start in Atlanta when I was RuPaul's roommate - none of us had any money, and our outfits were mostly homemade. So the idea of calling myself a lady of any kind was a joke in itself. Our early looks were quite pitiful! Bunny was the name of a comic book about a blonde model who was "queen of the in-crowd." I worshipped that character and her insane, late 1960s wardrobe, so I'm sure that had a big effect. But, Bunny was also the name of Sergeant Carter's girlfriend from Gomer Pyle. I never consciously referenced either of these characters, but they made an impression. In order to distance myself from other popular Atlanta queens who were very sexy, my early Bunny look was quite ladylike, if on a tight budget.

Knittel: You are one of the creators of Wigstock. Tell me about that experience.

Lady Bunny: A 20-year run in NYC is nothing to sneeze at, and we had a blast. It was also a blur, because it really did take over my life and I'm glad we are currently on hiatus. However, the festival of love and hairpiece hasn't "curled up and dyed," and we may revive the festival next year for a one-off 25-year anniversary. I do miss it, but there are also a lot of things that I'd like to achieve personally. I guess I feel that I know that I can organize an outdoor festival, so I'm keen on taking on some new challenges. I've had a few acting roles in RuPaul's Starrbooty and last summer's Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild, in which I play a song I wrote and sang. I also, recently appeared on Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood and The Bravo A-List Awards as a DJ. I've been working quite a lot as a DJ and have been getting some really great gigs. I did the Marc Jacobs fashion week after-party, at which Lady Gaga performed and all kinds of celebs from Janet Jackson to Madonna showed up. The night before I hit Seattle, I'll be spinning for the Paco Rabanne fashion week party in Paris, France. I know that Paco Rabanne is now mainly known for his fragrances, but I'm old enough to remember those incredible chainmail looks from the late '60s. Paco also designed the heavenly costumes for Barbarella!

Knittel: Do you have anything you'd like to say to LGBT Seattle?

Lady Bunny: Yes. I'm constantly appalled at how little Gay people are involved in their own struggle for equality. Gays are resourceful when it comes to finding sexual partners online - not to mention the very, shall we say, "creative" language some use in their profiles - and we are super-passionate about meaningless Project Runway challenges. Surely, we can utilize these same talents to band together as a people and demand our rights. I just don't see much activism these days, particularly among the younger generation. When are we going to get our fight back? Do you think that the straights are gonna do it for us? Get real! As a movement, we need to get our heads out of the sand and realize that there is more to Gay life than sex hook-ups and bars. We're under attack, and we are really being sissies about it.

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