The Funniest Bunny of Them All
What do a convertible, a famous drag queen and the Hamptons have in common? Just about everything it turns out, on a single summer day in July.
Lady Bunny, renowned drag queen, activist and performance artist, was a far cry from fabulous or the Hamptons when she stepped off the curb in Manhattan’s West Village that Saturday morning. She looked more like her alter ego Jon, a name assigned by mom at birth, a middle-aged man with a beer gut protruding a torn white t-shirt and boy shorts. Her suitcase weighed more than she did, filled to the brim with a single wig of gargantuan proportions.
With the help of two study lesbians, they hoisted the beastly bag into the trunk of the Mini Cooper and off they sped, the blur of brown and grey city buildings turning to a more amicable green with trees as they crossed the border to Long Island.
From exit 32 to 73 on the LIE, Lady Bunny fed us stories that could fill a pile of books. She talked about her days living with Ru Paul in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district in the 80s and 90s when the police would accuse them of prostitution. She spoke of how the club scene has gone to wayside because of the internet and cell phone dating apps. She spoke of her coming of age in Tennessee, of her professor father who regularly encouraged good grammar and proper behavior, and the hatred and vitriol one encounters as a young boy with effeminate intonations and a penchant for the arts. Her southern drawl gained depth.
We arrived at the home of an esteemed architectural executive in Southampton, a beautiful manicured property with a proper Hampton’s vacation home and pool, and a chicken-coop turned guest house that was somehow even lovelier out back. Greeted with warmth and sparkling water, we were made to feel at home under the cornucopia of blossoming vines that traversed the awning over the yard, and two dogs that were both sweet and old.
We all sat down to a lovely lunch of chicken and salad and perfectly chilled white wine – a drag queen, two lesbians, two gay men – unlikely bedfellows who normally wouldn’t break bread, finding ease in one another’s company that warm afternoon in the East End.
Following lunch, Lady Bunny disappeared into her chamber to transform and the lesbians took a much-anticipated walk on the lovely neighboring beach.
Not two hours later, the caterpillar had morphed into a big, beautiful drag queen of a butterfly. Lady Bunny stepped out into the sunlight that poured into the all-white modern farm-style kitchen, reminiscent of a gay angel in heaven. With giant eyelashes.
She donned an airy, colorful dress with stripes of blue and gold and orange, giant white hoop earrings, and a wig that tried as it might to hit the heavens with its Hellenic height. The wily wig might have hid the Von Trapp family. It was so large, in fact, that we had to open the sun roof (thank goodness for sun roofs!) and push her hair through the opening to fit her into the car.
Off we drove, quite the spectacle, through town and to a giant field at Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill where Lady Bunny was greeted by a thousand plus gay fans and fans of the gays donned in their Hampton’s best. Miraculously, the wig didn’t get in the way of her rocking out in the DJ booth for four hours of uninhibited dance floor classics for the non-profit fundraiser.
It wasn’t until the sun had long set over the horizon and Lady Bunny had kicked off the heels in a return to schlubby status, that she admitted her head hurt from carrying the Taj Mahal of hair around all day. We passed her two ibuprofen and stopped in a strip mall in Nassau for a late night rubbery slice of pizza and a soda. For a moment, Lady Bunny had removed the world from her shoulders – or rather head as the case may have been – and enjoyed the dingy lighting and makeup remover that returned her to anonymous status. She never looked so relieved.