by MK Scott -
SGN Contributing Writer
LADY BUNNY - THE TRANS-JESTER!
SIFF EGYPTIAN THEATRE
Thursday, May 11 @ 7pm
Lady Bunny is bringing her acclaimed show The Trans-Jester! to the SIFF Egyptian Cinema next Thursday, May 11. (For details read the press release article in this week's SGN.) I had the opportunity to chat with Lady Bunny, herself, via email this past week about her life, her friendships, her politics and her upcoming show and here is our conversation.
MK Scott: Hello, Lady Bunny! Finally, I have a chance to talk to you! So, I hear you are bringing your Trans-Jester! show to Seattle. Tell us about it?
Lady Bunny: I feel we've become so politically correct that they're about to make Dick Van Dyke change his name to Penis Van Lesbian. The show was 'triggered' by the newfound animosity between the drag and trans community highlighted by 'Drag Race' getting reamed for using the words tranny and shemail. Do you know where shemail came from? My website, 20 years ago, put my contact info as 'You can shemail Lady Bunny at&.' It was a silly play on words because if you are emailing a drag queen, you might use a feminine pun. It was in no way an attempt to demean trans people. If you're up in arms about a pun when there are people trying to bash you and tell you which bathrooms to use, this is baffling to me. RuPaul is no enemy of trans people - he's a drag queen, for chrissakes! We lived together in Atlanta and NYC in areas known from trans hookers and we adored getting to know them.
But Trans-Jester! isn't only about gender issues at large, it's about my own gender exploration and about how tired I am of political correctness gone wild. Unlike Donald Trump, I'm not using my fondness for political incorrectness to mask my hatred of Muslims, immigrants or women. Politically, I'm to the left of Bernie Sanders. I am that butt-hurt liberal who signs petitions about the bee population dying. At the same time, I like to laugh at sick and twisted humor and I miss Joan Rivers. And it is not trans-phobic if I make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner. I respect her right to transition, but I just wish the dumb bitch would transition out of the Republican Party which seeks to destroy the rights of the very community she's trying to join! Imagine a 65-year-old man getting a brand new pussy. It's like putting a Godiva chocolate in a pile of dog shit!
MK: I have seen you in town for Seattle Pride. What do you like most about Seattle?
LB: Pike Street Market. I'm on a diet. Well, not exactly. I'm on a diet only because Trump killed Meals On Wheels. But I drool just thinking about the fresh seafood, those crumpets and those enormous, mouthwatering berries of the Northeast. I have also loved DJing at The Cuff several times, and will be back to do Tacoma Pride with their sister club on July 8th.
MK: What has been the funniest thing to happen to you during one of your shows?
LB: Bianca Del Rio canceled and the show improved immeasurably! My relationship with Bianca reminds me of that TV show 'Feud.' Not because we fight, but because she looks like Mamacita! In truth, I performed at a club with a low ceiling. I'm tall and wear high hair. The crowd lost it when the sprinkler snagged my wig and I couldn't get it loose. They howled!
MK: You lost not one, but two pals this year. What do you remember most of Alexis (Arquette)? Lady Chablis?
LB: Alexis was more of an acquaintance than a pal, and I hadn't seen her during the last 15 years of her life. I was somewhat puzzled to read all of the glowing remembrances on Facebook about what a nice person she was. While I'm sad that she passed, one thing Alexis was not was a sweetheart when I knew her. Ask the people whose faces she threw drinks into.
I met Lady Chablis when I was 13, sneaking into a gay bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee and was a fan of her act long before she hit it big with Midnight in the Garden of Evil. She was one of a kind and had such magnetism and wit that there truly was no one like her. I toured with her and we became great friends. She called me 'Country Cunt' because I'm from down south. She also like to say that 'Bunny, you remind me of a...what is it..a Saltine?..no, a Ritz?, no, a Triscuit?, no&.oh that's it! A cracker!' We were close enough to joke about anything and no one had a mouth like her. I did attend her funeral in Savannah in full mourning drag complete with a veil to show my respect to one of drag's greats.
Interestingly enough, Chablis came from a time when she 'did drag' with wigs and lots of make-up, but Chablis was trans and had lived as a woman named Brenda on and off stage for decades. We came from a time when different segments of the community stuck together. Now, with Facebook offering 56 different gender variations you can pick from, I worry that we are putting each other into boxes and infighting rather than bonding to fight the very real enemies within the new administration. I do not dismiss anyone's individual concerns, since all of our concerns are different. But does an anti-LGBT administration seeking to roll back hard-won LGBT rights deserve more focus than whether you identify as gender queer, gender fluid or non-binary today? To me, it does.
MK: As a pal of RuPaul, and working nearly 40 years in the biz, are there any queens that have star quality or longevity?
LB: I think you know the ones from 'Drag Race' who have staying power. Dame Edna is a genius who may be retiring. Frank Marino has been ruling Las Vegas for decades. Christeene, the slutty, trashy rapper drag from Austin is so demented that she flips my wig. And Seattle's own Dina Martina is a riot who is totally unique who packs houses nationwide.
MK: Back to the show: There are lots of political parodies. What do you like most about doing them?
LB: I'm not a stand-up, so I like to perform numbers with some patter in between. And changing the words of a popular song is just fun. In Trans-Jester!, I perform parodies of everything from Adele, Bruno Mars, Prince, Katy Perry and even a few showtunes, which is a very new direction for me. I do sing a couple of songs straight, and there is also an original song or two in this show. But I tend to skip the politics in this show other than a few digs at Trump. The news is currently so bleak that I prefer that people come out and take a break from all of that and just laugh!
MK: What is your best advice for LGBTQ youth?
LB: As far as advice for youth, there is no blanket advice for youth because they all have different issues. RuPaul is my old pal, and she's the one who is the mentor with positive messages of self-acceptance, blah, blah, blah. I'm her twisted sister who never claims to be a role model, although I am modeling a few rolls out the top and bottom of my girdle! I like raunchy humor for those who like that sort of thing. But as someone who grew up in a smaller city in the Bible Belt where folks were not very accepting, my advice would be to get away from hateful people. It worked for me. Except for Bianca. Can't seem to shake her. You know, there really wasn't anyone on 'Drag Race: as mean and vicious as Bianca - in Season 8, Season 9, or even ISIS for that matter!
MK: Burning Question: Will there be anything like Wigstock again?
LB: We did do a Wigstock-themed cruise for the past two Augusts in NYC and have a few projects we're working on. So the festival of wigs, love and hairpiece didn't totally curl up and dye! Stay tuned!
Tickets for Lady Bunny - The Trans-Jester! are on sale now at www.Universe.com/TransJester. Prices range from $15 (Balcony), $25 (General Admission), $40 (VIP Meet & Greet). NOTE: SGN readers can get 20% off the regular ticket price using promo code: BUNNYSGN20. With the purchase of a VIP ticket, audience members are given priority seating (front rows center section), as well as attendance to the meet and greet with the living legend Lady Bunny herself, which takes place immediately following the show. These exclusive and limited VIP tickets are in short supply, so be sure to get them before they sell out.
All tickets are open seating within the assigned sections. Doors open at 6:15pm.
MK Scott is a Seattle-based arts blogger. Check out his blog at outviewonline.com.
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