Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.
Drag pioneer Lady Bunny, born Jon Ingle, came from a small town in Tennesse to conqured New York's drag scene, a goal most would agree has been accomplished. From Wigstock to Drag U this performer has served as judge, advisor and organizer to some of the best acts in the world. Bunny dishes with ChicagoPride.com about dance floor divas and hair before her upcoming Market Days weekend performance at Spin Nightclub.
JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hey, Lady. Very excited to see you back in Chicago.
LB: (Lady Bunny) Me, too. It has been a couple of years I think.
JN: How has New York been?
LB: It has been a wonderful summer, hardly any humidity, which is great for wigs.
JN: How many wigs do you own?
LB: Too many. Some of them I just can't get rid of. Chris March, the heavyset guy from Project Runway, did a couple of my larger wigs. To me they are collector's items. They are kind of busted and hurt my head so much I can hardly wear them but I love them. There are a lot of wigs in my tiny New York apartment.
JN: Is there ever too much hair for you?
LB: Everything needs to be in proportion. I am a big girl so you don't want to see me in a little short flat hairdo. Some girls can pull that off but I am not one of them.
JN: Drag U on the Logo Channel just started again.
LB: It did and it is greatly improved this season. They have more budget and more episodes. It has been a lot more fun this year. For those people wanting a does of their favorite Drag Race queens this is where they can get it.
JN: I have interviewed a few of them since, such as Manila Luzon who is also coming to Spin. He said he enjoyed being on the show more than Drag Race because he could hang out with all of you this time.
LB: Well, they are not sequestered with no cell phones this time. They are being treated as talent. I love all the girls. I am in awe of some of their makeup skills. I don't have any idea how to do what Raven or Shannel does.
Even the ones that are considered to be bitches on camera generally would not be back doing Drag U if they were that uncontrollable.
JN: You have done some recent parodies that you are famous for.
LB: Yes, I will be treating the crowds to these renditions at Spin including "Like a Cheese Stick." It is an ode to uncut men. There is one that is too scandalous for YouTube.
It's a parody of Katy Perry's "Firework." It is very suggestive and you will see it when you come see me.
JN: It was banned off YouTube?
LB: I didn't even put it up there. I put it on my own website but it crashed from the bandwidth and no longer has sound. I am working on a new DVD. I am fine-tuning the parodies. It is nice to appear on Sex and the City or Pamela Anderson's Roast but I also like to be the star of my own show occasionally. When you are doing these videos then you are the main focus. I have to say that I my camera work may not be extraordinary but it is a very fun thing to learn. I am behind the technical curve as far as editing so I am not a one-stop shop yet. I have an editor that helps me. I am developing a little bit of a director's eye. So look out!
JN: What kind of music is inspiring you right now?
LB: I love dance music. I am very sad that gay people who have always been at the forefront of club music have said goodbye to the black female vocalist. Jennifer Hudson is barely hanging in there. What happened to Deborah Cox?
JN: Crystal Waters…
LB: Inaya Day, Kim English.
JN: I just hung out with all of them at our Pridefest in Chicago.
LB: They used to be around every single summer. Now there is so much dance tempo pop music by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, but it really is not soulful. I have been going to clubs since 1978. I have never seen gay clubs in a spell where black female vocalists are not at the forefront. Sometimes I wonder if we have assimilated a little bit too much. We may be adopting the same music that straight people have. Straight DJs always took their tips from the gay clubs ever since the disco years. We knew the slamming tunes. I think now we are a little bit too bogged down with pop. We used to have our own sound. I am sad to say that has been lost. I DJ and if people don't know something then they walk off the dance floor. It may mean I have bad taste or they have lost the ability to hear a song that they don't know and appreciate that it's a good song and get into it. Otherwise the DJ cannot dare to venture outside of these few artists like Rihanna or Katy Perry. I have to say that I think it's tired. Sorry to read you but it's different in Chicago. Chicago is the birthplace of house music and I cannot believe they are not spinning the latest Ultra Nate or Barbara Tucker.
JN: I understand what you are saying.
LB: I was playing Bad Romance sometimes and then "3" from Britney Spears came out. They wanted to hear it every night. They would even hold up three fingers from across the room, like I was supposed to know what that meant. They quit asking for those songs after a few months so I played them back to back and they left the floor. So they didn't even like their own crap? Maybe it wasn't that good in the first place. Maybe they were just caught up in a moment and not able to tell what was good and lasting.
JN: The shelf life might not be long on those songs.
LB: Besides dance music the album is dead. Music is now on iTunes so we don't have the concept of album. It is not like it used to be when there was a new release from Donna Summer or Fleetwood Mac to buy the whole album. It is very disposable to buy the hits. Adele has changed that because when you hear "Rolling in the Deep" this sounds real and from the heart. She has her own sound and that is why her album is flying off the shelves.
Well, they don't sell it on the shelves anymore. Showing my age again and again on this interview, thank you so much! (both laugh) Let me get my cane!!!
JN: Well, Grandma Bunny, we will see you soon in Chicago.
LB: Cool, I will see you there, sonny!
Lady lands at Spin Nightclub, 800 West Belmont Avenue, on August 12 at 11:00 pm and Midnight with a meet & greet to follow. For more information visit www.spin-nightclub.com. For more Bunny, hop over to ladybunny.net.