For Drag Comic Lady Bunny, the Personal is Political.
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One thing Lady Bunny has never been is politically correct. The drag superstar is about to debut "Trans Jester," her new one-queen show at Verdi Club on April 13 and 14, which has won raves with the New York City premiere edition. The evening will be hosted by San Francisco drag legend Peaches Christ.
Trans Jester might push the envelope a wee bit further than many people are used to.
"We are forcing everyone to walk on eggshells," the Lady tells Bay Area Reporter. "This is stifling discussion. After the election of Donald Trump we need to have the discussion."
Lady Bunny is the founder of Wigstock, the outdoor drag show and party that originated in the late 1980s at the East Village's Tompkins Square Park, and expanded to Bryant Square Park before being held in its latter years on the West Side Piers. Over the years, Bunny has hosted, DJed, and traveled the world as one of the big wigs of queer entertainment.
Bunny promises that, in addition to her trademark song parodies and hilarious zingers, Trans Jester will offer insightful social commentary which she hopes will jumpstart those discussions about our troubled times. The topics she'll touch upon will include the LGBT community's propensity for infighting and personal attacks against each other.
"Look at the alt-right," said Bunny. "Let's put the infighting on hold and fight the real enemy. Maybe we could huddle together and like each other a little more."
The Lady would like us to spend a little less time in chatrooms, where the nastiness can get out of control.
"People tweeted 'die cis scum' to RuPaul?" she asks. "That's not a winning strategy."
Slut-shaming and fat-shaming are among the trends that Bunny touches upon.
"Here's what's happening: if someone is slut-shaming you, then it means that you're getting laid and they're bitter," she explains.
Bunny has taught herself to chill out. At a time when gender lines are increasingly difficult to define, Bunny admits that she's been called "ma'am" when she's not in drag. "I'm in a grey area," she explains. "I don't feel the need to browbeat airline stewardesses when I'm out of drag."
These are definitely not politically correct things to say, yet Lady Bunny has no compunction about saying them. "I want my audiences to laugh," she assures us. "But I also want them to be challenged by someone with a different point of view. My should is not your should: everybody has different shoulds."
Though she promises a lot of laughs during her performances, there may be a few serious moments. Bunny notes that in one major city, the local LGBT Center changed the gender signs on their restrooms three times.
"I'd rather spend that money on AIDS," Bunny said, adding that she is fully supportive of transgender equal rights.
"I will fight for them but I'm not going to shut up," she promises. "I'm not going to stop using words that have always been a greeting because some fat cat at GLAAD decides it's a slur. My generation talked about AIDS. Now we talk about silly names."
When all is said and done, Lady Bunny hopes that her audience will laugh, think, and be more considerate of how we treat each other.
"It'll be a very eclectic mix of things," she promises. "I'll talk about gentrification and of queens gone by. I'll reminisce about when we weren't so PC."
She might even, she says, refer to show biz legend Dick Van Dyke as Penis Van Lesbian.
"I'm a comedian," Lady Bunny said. "In a comedy club, I'm going to say it. I'm disseminating information from my point of view on touchy subjects, but there's enough humor so that it never seems preachy."
Lady Bunny performs her new show 'Trans Jester' at The Verdi Club; presented by Peaches Christ and Fudgie Frottage. $25-$50. April 13 & 14, 8pm. 2425 Mariposa St. www.ladybunny.net www.peacheschrist.com www.verdiclub.net