Yes, an oral history of the New York club that served as laboratory/ repertory theater and clubhouse for the likes of John Kelly, Larry Tee, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, RuPaul, Lady Bunny and many, MANY others. The Pyramid was the cornerstone of the East Village scene for those who came to watch the inspired performances. I moved to Avenue B in ’82 and stumbled into the club one Sunday afternoon when there was a rehearsal of their cracked version of The Family Feud. I wasn’t there watching 15 minutes before I got pulled onstage. I was hooked. At the time, I was working at Vogueand I would collect the makeup and jewelry at work and bring them to the dressing room. (Free makeup and jewelry is like catnip to drag queens, you know.) I also had access to unlimited Polaroid film so, I was always taking pictures. One Halloween, I borrowed a $5000 Bill Blass gold, sequined dress along with gold lizard pumps and Chanel earrings from the fashion closet at Vogueand took Polaroids all night wearing that look. (I wish I had easy access to those pictures now – an exhibit and book will happen someday.) I LOVED The Pyramid – cheered on my friend’s performances, danced on the bar, made life-long friends (too many of those lives were cut short.) I eventually produced and MC’d Straight To Hell on Sunday nights there. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. Here’s Larry, Paula, Brian and Miss Guy:
Larry Tee: That was the first trip we made to New York was with my group Now Explosion and we played at The Pyramid. Somebody said “Oh, the Pyramid Club is really cool,” so we sent a press package with a cassette of our stuff. Bad, bad, bad. So bad. How bad can it get baby? Totally unplayable, but, they really loved what we were doing.
Paula Swede: I remember the day that Now Explosion came off their bus from Georgia. Larry Tee, RuPaul and Lady Bunny. There was five or six. They literally spilled out of a bus, and they just stumbled in and they were amazing. RuPaul and I traded T-shirts. He used to do a little fanzine called New York Is a Big Black N***er. It was hilarious. He was wearing gaiter boots for fly fishing, little hot pants and a shirt, braids in his hair, so cute.
Brian Butterick: The first time I saw RuPaul he was in a band called Wee Wee Pole, it was so bad. He was doing an androgynous punk thing. He had a mohawk. Very little drag, but a little nod to drag in there. This was way before “Supermodel.” RuPaul was living in the basement of the Pyramid. And she was keeping her clothes in a bag in the coat check.
Larry Tee: We brought him to New York for the first time and he performed with us when he first came up. I remember the first time Ru did drag, that we were aware of. We made her be a bridesmaid for one of our wedding shows with Now Explosion. And when she showed up with her white hat and standing a head above all the other bridesmaids, you know, time stood still.
Paula Swede: The Now Explosion came with the person who would be calling themselves Lady Bunny. There was already a Bunny on the scene, Bunny Manhattan. Bunny Manhattan was totally pissed off that Lady Bunny was using the name Bunny.
Miss Guy: Lady Bunny was the queen of Pyramid, in my eyes anyway… I thought she was the perfect drag queen.
To read the full interview, go here.