Bunny hops

Drag queen DJ talks music and politics as she gets ready to head back to Dallas for Toast to Life

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Lady Bunny knows how to keep ’em dancing.

DAVID TAFFET   | Senior Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

“In Texas, I’ve become the DJ for socialites.” That’s how it seems to Lady Bunny, who was the DJ on Halloween at Hotel Zaza and at the Fresh Arts benefit, both in Houston.

In Dallas, she’s DJ’d an event at the Rachofsky home known for its art collection and for a Dallas Theater Center fundraiser, as well as at a wedding held on marriage equality night at the W Hotel.

Bunny admits that she’s “not the greatest mixer,” and that she doesn’t have a lot in common politically with many of the people who attended those Texas fundraisers. “But I know music and I know what they’ll like,” she declares.

And after all, that’s what counts, right?

Bunny says she knows how to please a crowd and has a wide variety of experience as a DJ. “When you DJ from Pride to Fashion Week in Paris to gay weddings to bar mitzvahs, you find out what a crowd likes,” she says.

Screen shot 2016-02-25 at 3.17.44 PMAnd knowing what the crowd likes shouldn’t be too difficult for Bunny when she’s next in Dallas, because she’ll be spinning for a crowd that’s much closer to her on the political spectrum: She’ll be the star attraction at Resource Center’s 18th annual Toast to Life fundraiser on March 5 at The Empire Room.

Surprisingly, Bunny has also made a name for herself in the fashion world since a fashion publication called Visionaire hired her as their in-house DJ.

“That started my DJ career outside New York,” she says.

Her first party in Paris, on the Eiffel Tower, attracted fashion model Iman and designer Karl Lagerfeld as guests. From there, she’s done Toyko, Milan, Bangkok, Beijing, Seoul and London.

“That gave me credibility as a DJ,” she says. “It became OK to hire this drag queen.”

Bunny says it was her years of working in clubs that helped her be successful as a DJ. “I remember what songs turned the party out,” she says. “In every decade.”

It also doesn’t hurt that she breaks the ice by getting into the music and cutting up. “You get a DJ and a clown for the price of one,” she says.

Currently, Bunny is on a DJ tour promoting the upcoming eighth season of Drag Race. Before coming to Dallas next week, she hits Phoenix and Kalamazoo. From here, she heads overseas to London, Manchester and Milan. But that doesn’t mean she’s carrying a lot of luggage around.

“I shock people how light I travel,” she says.

For this tour, Bunny needs seven dresses. So she just packs fewer men’s clothes. What about all of her wigs? They’re big, she says, not teased out. So they stack and she combs them out.

Bunny says even when she’s in men’s clothes with no make up, she gets called “ma’am,” especially when they hear her voice. It’s not rude, she adds; at least they’re calling her ma’am, not something derogatory.

But she’s had a number of funny experiences with that. “A men’s room attendant in Mexico told me I went into the wrong restroom,” she recalls. When she explained she was a man, he propositioned her.

As passionate as Bunny is with her music and entertaining, she’s equally as hot about her politics.

First, she rips fellow New Yorker Donald Trump.

“I was in L.A. and Walgreens had a life-sized cutout of Donald Trump,” she says of an experience that happened before Trump launched his presidential bid. “Do they know no one in New York even likes Donald Trump? He’s regarded as a joke.”

Bunny says she doesn’t think Trump is even seriously running. She’s still expecting him to drop out and turn his run into a reality show about how to prank the press. He is, she says, a “jerk spouting nonsense.”

But the anger Trump has tapped into is real, she adds: “People are angry. We’re told the recession is over but people are still working two jobs and are still on food stamps.”

After eight years of Bush and eight years of Obama, she says, most of the wealth is going to “the 1 percent.”

She criticizes Hillary Clinton for voting for the Iraq War, something Bunny believes was a disaster. “I’m a drag queen and she has access to secret dossiers,” Bunny said. “She has the foreign policy of a Republican.”

Bunny says she has a 75-year-old Republican aunt who lives in the south who’s voting for Bernie because “the Republicans are clowns and she doesn’t trust Hillary.” Bunny’s advice? Get involved.

Oh, and support Resource Center by coming to Toast to Life. Bunny promises it’ll be a blast.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 26, 2016.

—  Craig Tuggle

JHud gives surprise private mini-concert at the W’s same-sex wedding

IMG_3173I teased readers this week that they might want to attend an event, sponsored by the W Victory Dallas Hotel and the HRC, where a same-sex couple would wed. I said Lady Bunny would be the DJ, and she was. But I didn’t say who the surprise musical guest would be … because, ya know, it was a surprise. So, following the beautiful ceremony on the 33rd floor of the W, promoting the #TurnItUpForChange movement HRC and W promote, the curtain behind the grooms dropped to reveal a gorgeous, soulful Jennifer Hudson, singing to the newlyweds (with a pair of hot backup dancers). It was an awesome moment for everyone.

We should all have weddings like this. Maybe the haters were right: Gays are ruining straight marriages … or at least weddings. Cuz we know how to bring it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Class in session

Ru & crew, back for ‘Drag U,’ Season 2

RuPaulThere’s a difference between a TV show that is intentionally cheesy and one that induces cringes by mistake. Thankfully, RuPaul’s Drag U knows exactly what it’s doing, laying the puns on thicker than Jujubee’s makeup. They can still induce groans, but at least we’re all in on the joke.

After all, Drag U is all about the fun side of our favorite competitive drag queens. Leaving (most of) the drama over at the Drag Race, each week queen “professors” (including Season 1 winner Bebe Zahara Benet, pictured) are tasked with making over three ordinary women and unleashing their inner divas, complete with drag personas and styling. On the line are sorta-fabulous prizes like jewelry, a vacation and a cash prize of $3,166.17 (seriously).

But it’s what the women gain in self-esteem that’s the most valuable parting gift, and don’t think the producers don’t know it. In the first episode alone, one of the women is trying to overcome the pain of having her ex-husband end their marriage via email; she, of course, learns “to love herself again” with the inducement of wigs and outrageous makeup. That’s some powerful Oprah-level stuff, but Ru, “Dean of Drag” Lady Bunny, guest judges like Beverly Johnson and the rest of the girls give advice that’s equal parts sassy and sincere.

The result? Incredible transformations at the end of an hour of deliciously fluffy television — and every one of these straight gals owes it to the gays. For anyone in withdrawals since Drag Race ended, or in love with makeovers, or just interested in learning more about one contestant’s husband’s “diesel mangina,” the second season of Drag U is more than deserving of a season pass on your DVR.

— Steven Lindsey

Premieres Monday at 8 p.m. on Logo

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Bunny hop

Lady Bunny comes out! (as more than a drag queen DJ)

LADY BUNNY
Axiom Sushi Lounge,
4123 Cedar Springs Road.
June 3 at 8 p.m. 214-443-3840.

………………………

The Lady Bunny is most recognizable as that funny queen who created Wigstock, or as the DJ spinning at a circuit party in full drag. But the lady has a lot on her mind that’s not all fun and games. Though she’s never far from the sass.

“I really like to talk about issues because there is a lot of fluff on TV,” she says. “How great would it be if a gay channel would take on gay issues? I’d love that. Hear that, Logo?”

Bunny, who has practically made Dallas a second home lately, returns for a double gig this weekend: On Saturday, she shares the bill with Tony-nominee Kelli O’Hara as the DJ for the Dallas Theater Center’s Centerstage benefit. But Friday she returns to her performing roots for a birthday dinner and roast at Axiom Sushi Lounge at the ilume. And she knows the fish jokes should be easy that night.

“I am that tacky,” she laughs. “For me, I love sushi but drag and dinner only mix if there’s a girdle handy.”

Bunny is deeper than she usually gets credit for. Seeing Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart on Broadway forced her to recall activism then vs. now. Minus the makeup and music, Bunny is impassioned about that which affects LGBT people today.

“I think that gay people have to a large extent lost their fight,” she says. “I don’t really know how putting ‘Equality’ as your middle name on Facebook, or a piece of tape over your mouth, helps. I can’t see how these trendy campaigns substitute for hard work.”

She’s also inspired by her work as the Dean of Drag on the upcoming season of RuPaul’s Drag U. With an increased role this time out, Bunny still keeps the camp but adds heart for her makeovers. Real life women get makeovers, but also come with dramatic back-stories.

“These women, they give up everything for their kids and their man,” she says. “I cried a few times. It made me appreciate that nurturing vibe that mothers have. I don’t think gay men know that kind of sacrifice. This season has been a real eye opener.”

For now, she snarkily warns of her own eye opener Friday.

“Well, I have this delightful tribute to Burlesque,” she says. “Did you see the movie? Ugh.”

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 3, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Your dose of The Lady Bunny

The Lady Bunny was supposed to be at the XLV Party before it was canceled, and frankly, we were all set to see the drag diva spin again. Then nothing.

But we got our fix, anyway. Here’s a little parody song from Buynny skewering Sarah Palin that brought a smile to my face this morning. Even digital Bunny is better than none.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

XLV Party gets some gay in after all

We had mixed feelings about the cancellation of Thursday’s queer-skewing XLV Party. With a lineup that included Cazwell, Lady Bunny and The Village People, organizers reached out to the LGBT community. But the headliners weren’t a strong enough draw and the concert was pulled.

Organizers bounced back, though, and added a quick hint of mint to the remaining shows, with DJ Samantha Ronson joining Friday’s lineup. The lesbian DJ isn’t just Lindsay Lohan’s ex, she’s a pretty big deal all on her own. Thanks for keeping us in mind, guys!

— Rich Lopez

Visit XLVParty.com for information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

How many tix were really sold to canceled gay Super Bowl concert? Under 100, publicist says

Good thing this didn’t happen with the gays under there. (From WFAA)

Fewer than 100 tickets — but more than 13 — had been sold to the gay Super Bowl concert originally planned for tonight at the Cotton Bowl, according to a publicist for the event.

“There were less than 100 but glad we canceled because most of the artists’ flights were canceled due to weather,” publicist Ariana Hajibashi said in an e-mail late Wednesday, in response to a question about how many tickets had been sold for the first night of the XLV Party, which was to feature the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell.

Instant Tea had reported, based on a statement by Hajibashi, that only 13 tickets were sold. However, she later said that was inaccurate.

In other XLV Party news, it looks like the now-two-night event has been moved indoors, to the Fair Park Coliseum, after a tent at the Cotton Bowl collapsed was taken down more quickly than expected due to the weather.

—  John Wright

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Lady Bunny

“I have no idea why this was cancelled. But honestly, who thinks of an overweight drag queen when they think of sports? Water sports, maybe!”

— Lady Bunny, on the cancellation of a gay-themed Super Bowl concert at which she was scheduled to perform, in an e-mail to Instant Tea

—  John Wright

CORRECTION: Publicist says more than 13 tickets were sold to canceled gay Super Bowl concert

We received the below message marked “URGENT” late last night from Ariana Hajibashi, publicist for the this weekend’s XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl. Hajibashi was responding to our post Monday about the cancellation of the first night of the party, which was geared toward the LGBT community. In our post, we reported that Hajibashi said the Thursday night concert — featuring the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell — was canceled because only 13 (yes, 13) tickets had been sold. But she now says that’s inaccurate:

“I appreciate the story on XLV Party but I wanted to let you know that the 13 tickets number you quoted me saying is not correct,” she wrote. “When speaking with you, I was giving you an example, just threw a number out there. We definitely sold tickets but not enough to entice us to continue with the event as scheduled. If you could please make that correction, I’d appreciate it.”

Done, but how many tickets were actually sold then? We’ve responded to Hajibashi with this very question, and we’ll update if we get a response.

—  John Wright