“I don’t do anything for money. I do everything for art.”
The first time I stepped into The Spectrum (an underground queer nightclub in Brooklyn that has since closed) it was to see Bunny Michael perform live alongside Sadaf last summer. It was an experimental night, the room was pitch black and the smoke machine was on even though the room wasn’t all that full. Our friend Breakaway was in town from Minneapolis, and was performing that night as well. He had a car so we piled in. When we got there, I parked on the couch in a pair of knee-high socks. I didn't know what I was in for, to be honest. My jaw dropped as Bunny Michael stepped up, clad in a bodysuit or maybe a swimsuit and a silk robe, and greeted the audience like an old friend. She began with a cover of “Gasolina” and it was then that the middle schooler in me nearly exploded. Bunny's face swung between dazed pouty soft looks and a fiercely infectious smile, and I saw beneath her various characters the same sharp intelligence and social commentary I enjoy in artists like Nicki Minaj or Grimes. Bunny is a pop star for the underground.
Bunny Michael is an artist and performer, whose tracks sit at the cross-section of affects that don’t get enough love (in my opinion): hard femme attitude, mystical forces, and intimate moments in the queer club. Hailing from Texas, Bunny says the South is where she “learned what it felt to be an outsider.” She moved to New York one week before September 11, 2001, and currently lives in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Spinning her own kind of magic via experimental music videos, her exuberant shows in venues across the Brooklyn underground, and crafted personas, Bunny is actually one of a handful or so notable vocalists and live solo performers in the New York club scene right now. As I write that, it feels like it can’t be true, there must be more people do this, but in the midst of hundreds of DJs (she calls them all angels) in the circuit at the moment, it seems more and more real. There's no one like her.
Bunny Michael is the perfect distillation of our early-summer look at “depravity,” but not for the reasons you might expect (her art is often about fucking as ritual, embracing the slut and the spiritual, all that). Besides the explicit themes of sex and psyche in her work, there is also an underlying perversity to her approach to work itself. In a moment where everybody seems to be performing to make a living, Bunny makes it clear: she’s doing everything for art. What does she mean by that? To find the answer, I spoke to Bunny Michael about who she looks up to, where she likes to spend her time, and what she thinks the spaces we build together really need.
What was your entry point into making things?
I was a very imaginative child, and sensitive to energy from my earliest memory. Creativity was like a lil’ bubble of protection, however I didn’t consider myself an artist until I started experimenting with psychedelics around the age of 15. I remember drawing a picture on LSD of the Virgin Mary and something clicked in my brain. I knew I had a gift.