The legendary Lady Bunny is one of the first celebrities I saw when I moved to New York 20+ years ago—her Wigstock was can't-miss for me annually.
Decades later, the bitch refuses to die (it's not original). Instead, she's churning out a new, original dance song, "Take Me Up High," with a video to follow soon. The press release states:
"While best known for her outrageous comedy, her many TV and film appearances, her gravity-defying bouffant hairdos, 'she' can actually sing."
Those quotes around she are devastating! Also, I'm not sure what actually being able to sing has to do with releasing a single. Shrugs. But it's true...she sounds great on the song, especially her Dusty Springfield-nuanced "up to the ceiling." To my ear, the tune sounds like a '70s jam with some modern touches, and it's graced with Klubjumpers, Edson Pride, Timmy Loop, True2Life and Wayne Numan remixes.
Look—and listen—for "Take Me Up High" from Lybra Records on July 1.
I'd already posted some terrific photos by Les Simpson (better known as drag queen Linda Simpson) from the '80s, but now that I've stopped by to see it with my own eyes, I wanted to post how much fun the whole group show is.
No matter how you dress it up, Simpson's work speaks for itself.
The nostalgia-free nyc, c. 1985, featuring work by an impressive list of photographers including Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Gail Thacker, Catherine McGann—is too focused on the edges around beauty to be about "ohmigosh, remember that hair?"
Simpson's work is displayed via slideshow on a Mac, which reminds us that the work lives in 2013 just as it did back in the '80s.
I thought about how lucky we are to have any nightlife (in particular) photos at all from a period when people were so busy having fun and from a period when cameras were bulky as hell and totally uncool. Les wrinkled his nose when I conjured an image of Studio 54, except with everyone intently examining their smartphones or taking pictures of all the craziness instead of partaking.
Above, a sample snippet from Party Talk, a highlight of the '90s.
I eventually realized I'd already met Simpson...almost 20 years ago! I appeared on Linda Simpson's Party Talk cable show, filming the episode at Splash. I was talking about my book Encyclopedia Madonnica. I have to get the VHS transferred so we can do a then-and-now!
Les's only regret is that he didn't take more photos during the '80s. The iPhone was invented too late!
Anyway, check out some snaps from the show in the gallery above and check out the show before July 3 at ClampArt.
Friday in NYC was a misery—the rain was persistent and heavy. As the day wore on, it was with absolute dread that I realized I had promised my Facebook pal Dewey Chaffee that I would see his show with Douglas Edwards, The Screw You Revue, which looked to be an outrageous drag performance...boy, haven't we had enough of those?
Mother/daughter matching outfits!
But I had not been able to go the last time, so I forced myself. I arrived at The Duplex with waterlogged shoes and jeans, perching near the stage in anticipation of a litany of reasons why I should've stayed home.
Then Edwards emerged, fully done up as Miss Didi Panache, a sort of giant redwood version of a drag queen with a (rumor has it) shit-eating grin painted on her painted-on lips. She was so charming, working the crowd and simultaneously mining us for bits the demonic duo could use later in the show. Mood dispelled.
The show, which went on for close to 90 minutes, turned out to be an acidly funny bit of extended improv peppered with kitschy songs sung straight by Edwards and audience participation led by Chaffee, whose uncensored, accidentally aggressive Lady Winifred resembles Hermione Gingold after a stroke and before the rescue. And it was a riot.
Lady Winifred's headpiece was tutu much!
Turns out that you don't have to reinvent the wheel to cook up a show that works. In this case, the performers are as quick-witted as they are long-legged, and even when they're doling out horrendously offensive humor, they do it with a mischievous air that renders it harmless.
Indian man as piñata...though this white guy spent over 10 minutes squirmily guessing black names vs. pharmaceuticals.
Watching them cherry-pick people of color from the audience to torment was a bit terrifying; with no shame or fear, Lady Winifred razzed an Indian man named Nikhil about his name, accent and none-too-surprising profession. But a black patron named Richard got revenge for lines about black people smelling bad, not reading books and naming their children things that could be confused with prescription drugs, asking Lady Winifred a hilarious question you have to hear to believe:
Don't be offended! The show makes fun of everyone. Well, except for white people. But if you're watching it as intended, you'll understand that the very characters themselves are the white-people parodies, and the actors skillfully exploit our cultural discomfort with any talk about race.
The moment I finally accepted that I'm not actually 5'10".
I don't want to spoil the jokes, so if you're in NYC, reserve tickets now for the show's next go 'round, which happens Friday, July 5, at 9:30PM at The Duplex.
Keep reading for several musical highlights from the show...
Drag fabulosa Linda Simpson is too young to remember when her alter ego, Les Simpson, took these wonderful photos that are a part of NYC, c. 1985, a show going up at ClampArt Gallery (521-531 W. 25th St., between 10th/11th Aves.), so she's probably just as amazed as we are by the early AIDS activism and '80s fashions he captured.
(The final three images in the above gallery are from the after-party of 1982's Night of 100 Stars, and include shots of Elizabeth Taylor, Linda Evans and Liza Minnelli.)
The show also features: Amy Arbus, Catherine McGann, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, and other familiar names.
I'll be stopping by the show this Saturday to eyeball this work in the flesh. I expect it will be like stepping into a time machine. Thirty years really does fly by when you're having fun.