Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Cyndi Lauper, circa 2013 (Photo courtesy Equipe Spectra)

Bugs' brand-new uber-queer interview with Cyndi originally ran in Daily Xtra. (A second, more mainstream interview ran in The Montreal Gazette.)

Queer audiences know Cyndi Lauper’s anthem, “True Colors,” is the theme song of the many star-studded True Colors tours she created to empower LGBT youth and benefit LGBT organizations and support groups across America.

But few people know that New York City’s True Colors Residence for homeless LGBT youth — which Lauper’s non-profit True Colors Fund built in partnership with New York’s West End Intergenerational Residence — was inspired by her close long-time friend Gregory, who was kicked out by his parents at the age of 12 when they discovered he was gay. “Gregory slept on park benches,” Lauper says today.

Shortly after Gregory died of AIDS in 1985, “True Colors” (written by songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly) was offered to Lauper.

“Songwriters pitch you songs in your style, and this song was originally written for Anne Murray. All I had was the melody and lyric. I sang it really softly,” a teary Lauper told me a year before the True Colors Residence opened in 2011. “And as time went on, I realized that with the True Colors Residence, Gregory [would] finally get his wish.”

Lauper recently told me that on opening day, “I put a little plant for Gregory in their garden.”


Photo from the “David Bowie Is” exhibit at the AGO in Toronto. Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane (1973), design by Brian Duffy and Celia Philo, make up by Pierre La Roche. (Photo courtesy AGO)

Who doesn’t love David Bowie? Except for maybe the voters at the Grammy Awards, who snubbed Bowie during his peak creative years and finally awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

The Grammys aside, Bowie is widely-revered as one of the great visionary talents of the late 20th century, and he finally gets his due in the massive “David Bowie Is” exhibition currently drawing capacity crowds at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

The man appeals to just about everybody, alternative and mainstream, gay and straight. Like Bowie once famously quipped, “It’s true – I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Fun, too.”

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


The Go-Go boys at Krave Las Vegas take 5 to pose for Three Dollar Bill 

(Photo by Bugs Burnett)

This travel column originally ran in the October 2013 issue of Fugues magazine
I pretty much didn’t draw a sober breath for five days when I visited Las Vegas this past summer with a motley crew of some of the world’s finest gay journalists. It was also my birthday, so I had a legit excuse.

Bugs enters Vegas limo with refreshments
But after listening to Old Vegas stories from my buddy, onetime chorus line dancer Michael Doughman, pretty much any excuse is reason enough to party in Vegas.

“Like any high-tourist town, local people tend to band together,” Michael told me. “They have their little groups and aren’t anxious to mingle with passers-though, invest time in people just for a few days and never see them again. Tourists are star struck when they come to Vegas, so there’s that starfucker mentality going on: ‘Oh yeah, I slept with one of the guys from this show or that show.’”

Friday, 18 October 2013


Amélie Nothomb’s new novel La Nostalgie Heureuse

Internationally-acclaimed Belgian author Amélie Nothomb’s new novel La Nostalgie Heureuse is racing up the bestseller charts. But back in 2009 when her memoir Tokyo Fiancée topped the charts, I asked Nothomb about her love affair with a – gasp! – man that she famously documented in her memoir.

“I loved a Japanese boy and it was a nice and strange experience,” Nothomb told me. “But then I escaped and I wanted to explain this poetic place. He wanted to marry and marriage is not for me.”

Why not? Are you a dyke?

“I am very open to that state of mind and most of the characters in my books are quite indefinite when it comes to their sexual identities,” Nothomb replied. “Indefinite like their author.”

That’s as close to publicly coming out as Amélie Nothomb has ever come.