Q. What's the story about the bikini you wear on the show?
A. When I danced, a costume maker had a grandmother who crochetted. She crochetted the
original one. A few years later, I needed to replace it. While walking down the streets
of NYC I came across a street vendor who was selling crochetted clothing for kids. I
noticed that she had a swim suit like my costume, only for children. I asked her
if she could make me the costume similar to the size I wore. The answer was "yes."
I loved it because it would actually
show everything and nothing at the same time.
So I had her make me more. And that's what you see me wearing on the show. Since I'm a wash'n'wear
girl, they're made of acrylic, not wool and have a silver thread running through it for
sparkle. I've had at least 60 made over the years.
Q. Where did you get the Robin Byrd Show neon sign?
A. It was a birthday present from "the head gopher" back in 1980 or 81.
I had always loved the heart logo used on the "I Love Lucy" TV show and how they incorporated the show title
with the heart. I still have the original sign even though we had to repair some of the
glass tubing over the years. It was such an important background to the show that it
has become part of our logo.
Q. Is the show seen anywhere outside of New York City?
A. Sometimes it seems so when I travel because a lot of fans tape the shows and send
it to friends all over the world. But, no we are only seen on Manhattan leased access
cable television - Channel 35. Most cable systems think that their viewers are not
adult enough to make their own decisions and that's why it's not shown outside NYC.
Q. When and why did you start using the white fingernails?
A. From the beginning of the show to about 1989 I used silk nail raps. But I wanted
to go all
natural and as an artist I knew that white would make the nails look larger.
So I had the tips cut off and asked my manicurist to use white and have used it ever since.
Q. I have seen you appear and perform at many functions to raise money and
awareness for AIDS. How did the epidemic change your show?
A. AIDS continues to change the show. Because we now re-edit a lot of the past shows
many look like memorials to dancers who are no longer with us. In 1980 I started
doing charity work for AIDS prevention and support services. I remember the first one was
"Strip for AIDS" at The World. Even back in 1976 I had a contest on the show
called "How many condoms in the bowl"? But as the AIDS epidemic grew over the years
every show included a warning to use condoms and dental dams. Last year I was the
host of several events during Gay Pride week. One was called "Sex in the City"
where legal, medical and gay activists talked about AIDS and it's continuing threat.
Q. During the call-in section of your live shows, did you ever get a phone
call from celebrity?
A. The first celebrity to call was Sandra Bernhard. But at first I didn't believe
it was her even though it sounded like her. She invited me to her show her and I
did go. We became great friends and she even made three appearances on my show in
1986, 87 and 88. I appeared in some of her movies and we co-hosted an MTV 100 top
videos of the year countdown TV show in 1987.