Hunter Ray Barker was 12-years-old when he first encountered the legendary cult performer Goddess Bunny, then just a figure on his parent’s home computer. “The images in the video I watched would be branded in my heart forever. She was tap dancing and twirling a parasol. I fell in love with her,” he says.
Goddess Bunny is a star (real name Sandie Crisp), a transgender woman who has modelled for Rick Owens, appeared as a puppet in Dr. Dre’s “Puppet Master” video, tap danced on stage at the MTV Awards alongside Marilyn Manson, and acted alongside Carrie Fisher in Hollywood Vice Squad – Barker describes her aptly as a “she-devil on six wheels”. He is one of her chosen ‘adopted sons’, and the director of short film, Bunny.
Bunny is wheelchair-bound, following a battle with polio – nevertheless, she has never considered herself a victim. “She embraced her deformities as starlike qualities,” explains Barker. The pair met seven years ago at the back of a Mexican family restaurant, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. “Since then I’ve worked as her campaign manager when she ran for Mayor of Inglewood, I've ridden on the back of her chair in each LA Pride Parade, and I’ve seen her stunt that very chair off the curb outside of the Motherlode to woo a group of muscle bound onlookers,” he says. “She told me that the only problem she has in her life is the lack of jet fuel needed to put in her wheelchair to blast us to the moon.”
Bunny, now 59-years-old, lives in an assisted living facility in Inglewood, California, where she is visited regularly by Barker and her other not-by-blood sons. It’s the location of the film, a widely-improvised mini-documentary created solely by the friends and fans of the cult performer. Among them is Gene Simmons (yes, the guy from KISS) who accidentally sets fire to Sandie’s nephew’s guitar. “To cheer him up, Goddess stood up from her chair for the first time in several months to tap dance,” co-director Tucker Tripp recounts.
“She embraced her deformities as starlike qualities” – Hunter Ray Barker
While many consider Goddess Bunny to be the queen of the underground, Barker insists this isn’t the case. “She rebukes the label,” he explains. “(She) identifies as an A-list Hollywood celebrity. Sandie adores the idea of stardom, but her legacy has placed her in a category of her own, one much more interesting than the television actors she claims to have slept with.”
He maintains that Bunny’s story – laid out in this stunning short film – isn’t a sad one: “Sandie puts every breathing second into being a star, believing that it is only the world that is not ready for her.”
Watch Bunny, premiering exclusively on Dazed, above.