Dolly Parton Gifts Brigitte Bandit a Signed Guitar

The local drag performer calls herself the “Dolly of ATX”

Brigitte Bandit (Courtesy of artist)

The “Dolly of ATX” earned a seal of approval from the legend herself last week when Dolly Parton sent local drag performer Brigitte Bandit a signed guitar.

Bandit posted a photo of the acoustic, adorned with pink rhinestones in addition to the artist’s signature, on Instagram Dec. 29. “Never did I ever imagine I’d be sent a custom rhinestoned guitar signed by Dolly herself to me after seeing the work I’ve done this year,” she wrote. “I love you @dollyparton thank you so much for helping me find my strength in femininity and kindness.”

Bandit told the Chronicle Parton discovered her work as a performer and activist through her longtime archivist Rebecca Seaver, who also works in “draglesque.” Seaver showed the benevolent songwriter a photo of the drag queen at the Texas Capitol, which she visited several times last year to testify against Senate Bill 12, which aimed to ban drag performances from public spaces. Bandit visited the statehouse in full Parton-esque glam. “I have these big fake titties and I do outrageous stuff – just campy, goofy, big, colorful shit,” she told the Chronicle in a September 2023 feature.

She and other advocates joined the Texas ACLU in filing suit against the state of Texas to overturn SB 12. In September, shortly after her profile ran in the paper, a federal judge filed a permanent injunction against the law, declaring it an “unconstitutional restriction on speech.”

“This decision is a much needed reminder that queer Texans belong and we deserve to be heard,” Bandit said after the bill was blocked.

Queen Selma Baudy, who presented the guitar to Bandit on stage, described it as modeled after Parton’s favorite guitar of all time, which she calls “Bobby McGee.” “But for Brigitte they added special butterflies and her initials in rhinestones,” Baudy said.

“I was like, ‘I can’t believe it, Dolly knows who I am!’” Bandit told the Chronicle. “And she spelled my name right and everything!”

On Jan. 19, Bandit will perform alongside artists like Darci Carlson, Paige Plaisance, and Willy McGee at a Parton birthday tribute show at Sagebrush. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go toward the Austin chapter of the Parton-founded Imagination Library, which mails books to children across five countries.

Reporter Brant Bingamon contributed to this report.

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