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(Photo by Aaron Cobbett)
MW: When did you get started doing song parodies?
LADY BUNNY: It was when that group consisting of Amber, Ultra Naté and Jocelyn Enriquez – Stars on 54 -- did that cover for the Studio 54 movie of ''If You Could Read My Mind.'' I just was singing the song in Florida, and I was just goofing around – probably drunk. And changed one of the choruses to, ''If you could read my behind, love, what a tale this old tail would tell. Just like a stretched-out pussy, the kind your momma sells.'' It just kind of took off from there. I've done quite a few of them.
MW: Do you still perform that one?
LADY BUNNY: That one? I would perform for an older crowd. Because that was a hit in the '70s, and then it was a hit again in the '90s. So that one, I don't do as much anymore.
MW: Those were pre-YouTube days.
LADY BUNNY: Yeah. Now there's a lot more Ke$ha and Cee-Lo and Britney, and all that kind of stuff that people know.
MW: I assume the Internet, and especially YouTube, has been a boon to this kind of work of yours?
LADY BUNNY: Exactly. My parodies are normally quite dirty. No network is going to air them. And so it enables you to get past the gatekeepers who program network TV.
I will say that my parody of Katy Perry's ''Firework'' was banned from YouTube. So that's on my actual website, ladybunny.net.
MW: Why was it banned?
LADY BUNNY: I don't know! It wasn't a real dick! I was sucking a dildo! And that was lotion and not semen. But YouTube can be a little prudish.
I'm actually banned from Facebook at the moment. I guess I'm just too controversial for my own good. You'd think I'd mellow out in my old age. I'm still a twisted asshole. [Laughs.] Which is precisely why I connect with D.C. audiences so well. Because they're just as crazy! Just as sick and raunchy as I am.
MW: What happened on Facebook?
LADY BUNNY: I posted a picture of a rather well-endowed [Olympic] athlete. He had a bulge, but this was from the news! It's not porn! I mean, you could see the outline of his penis, but it was not porn. I don't get it, I don't get it. I spend too much time on Facebook anyway, so… I'm [just] glad that Twitter doesn't censor you as much.
MW: Is it a temporary ban?
LADY BUNNY: It's 30 days. They send you a notification saying here is the offending photograph. So I know that it was that photograph. The guy was well-endowed – maybe the Facebook screener felt a little insecure. I don't know. The guy was fully clothed. Most gay party invites show more skin and bulge than this.
MW: I understand you also DJ occasionally.
LADY BUNNY: I'm not really a main floor DJ. I'm more of – I'll be the DJ in the auxiliary room where you would play anything from less-circuit/pots and pans kind of music to older hits. I'm not really like a circuit party main floor DJ.
MW: You don't mix like that either.
LADY BUNNY: No, and I don't really like that kind of music. [Laughs.] They call it ''progressive.'' I think sometimes it's progressed beyond music.
MW: I want to back up a bit and talk about how you got into drag in the first place. I understand it started in your hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn.
LADY BUNNY: I snuck into gay bars very early. And I was just immediately drawn to the female impersonators. My mom, bless her heart, love her to death, but she's no glamourpuss. And so this was the first time I had ever seen sequined gowns and giant hair and false eyelashes, other than on TV or movies. And so I was immediately drawn to it. When I came of age – really from 16 to 18 – disco and new wave and punk were happening, so I was experimenting with androgynous looks, with makeup. But it didn't take me long till I was in full drag. Then I moved to Atlanta, Ga., and became RuPaul's roommate. And, of course, Atlanta was a drag capital of the South – one of them anyway… I never really knew exactly what I wanted to do. I didn't really have a plan mapped out. But I knew that I liked to get in drag, and I knew that I liked to drink. So being a drag queen seemed like a natural thing.