Lady Bunny Bounces into San Francisco
This bunny has bite.
Famed drag queen Lady Bunny, who will blitz northern California next week to promote her new single, has never been shy about speaking her mind.
And in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter this week, the legendary New York City nightlife fixture was vocal about her opinions on gay conservatives, Big Apple lesbian mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, and the rightful place of transgender people in LGBT history.
"I wish there were more drag queens who did speak out because I think we often have a unique perspective," said Lady Bunny.
She is in the "anyone but Quinn party" in terms of this year's New York City mayoral race and recently appeared at a fundraiser for candidate Bill de Blasio, the city's elected public advocate. She also spoke favorably of disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner.
"I think she is Bloomberg's bitch and was instrumental in securing his third term," said Lady Bunny of Quinn, the current city council speaker, referring to current Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "She is in with big real estate developers so New York is not for New Yorkers anymore."
Seen last month in the HBO documentary "The Out List," which featured a number of prominent LGBT people, Lady Bunny joked that her segment's placement immediately after that of a gay Republican made her seem "like a beacon of sense and reason."
Her lambasting conservative gays who complain that media coverage of leather men and drag queens is unrepresentative of the LGBT community drew cheers at a Castro Theatre screening of the film.
"I say, guess what, the gay rights movement was not started by people who wore a pink T-shirt one day on gay Pride day and went back to a closeted office job. It was started by drag queens, transsexuals, and street people who were totally flamboyant and lived their lives flamboyantly and didn't have a conservative place to retreat to and got shit on all the time," said Lady Bunny. "Don't ever try to subtract drag queens from gay rights history; you will fail."
She also defended the lesbian protester who heckled first lady Michelle Obama at a recent fundraising event. Lady Bunny said she was dismayed to see many of her friends post critical comments about the outburst on Facebook.
"I said, why not? She is protesting being treated a second-class citizen," she said. "You should get up and get mad."
Uninterested in marriage herself, though she does see the benefits in gaining the right to marry, Lady Bunny nonetheless would like to see the LGBT movement tackle more pocket-book issues.
"I would love it if gays could broaden their scope and look at income equality," she said. "I would love to see gays outraged, not just lesbians, about the massive national Republican goal of shutting down abortion providers."
Born Jon Ingle and turning 51 next month, Lady Bunny grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and later moved to Atlanta where she was roommates with RuPaul. In the early 1980s they relocated to Manhattan.
Lady Bunny shot to fame with her scatological jokes during her drag acts and her launch of the outdoor drag festival Wigstock, which ended after a decade-long run in 2005. One of her early visits to San Francisco was to perform at the now-defunct Castro space Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint.
She was a guest performer at Trannyshack, a weekly drag show hosted by Heklina. The two recently reconnected after a falling out.
"I think the secret to Bunny's success is threefold: She has a great face for drag, she has great instincts about what works onstage, and she hasn't died yet," Heklina told the B.A.R.
The last time Lady Bunny could recall performing in the city by the bay - "it's all a blur" - was during the 2011 Folsom Street Fair.
"I never had such a good time in my life; I was dancing my ass off," said Lady Bunny.
This trip she will be performing at Castro bars Toad Hall (Monday, July 29) and QBar (Wednesday, July 31), as well as at SideTrax in Sacramento (Saturday, August 3) and at the White Horse Inn in Oakland (Sunday, July 28). It is to promote her first song in over a decade, a pop anthem titled "Take Me Up (High)," released by Lybra Records.
It "reflects more where I would like to go musically," said Lady Bunny. "I am thrilled that the response has been good so far because it took me a long time to record something."
Released July 1, the song landed at #1 on Billboard's dance break out list.
"I am optimistic about it," she said. "No one said it is horrible or don't ever record again."