Article Title:Obituary: Chanel Logo, AKA Bust-Op
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten, Edward Cowley & Francis Hooper
Published on:6th November 2006 - 12:00 pm
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Story ID:1471
Text:Chanel Logo (left) and his alter-ego Bust-Op (right) Chanel Logo (his real name!) came to New Zealand from Samoa as an eighteen-year-old. He soon came out, and then joined performers Buckwheat and Bertha as ‘Bust-Op', completing a legendary Auckland drag trio. Later, he became a well-respected fashion make-up artist in Sydney. Chanel's friends and family were invited to Sydney for his funeral on 31 October. Two well-known New Zealanders – Edward Cowley (AKA Buckwheat) and Francis Hooper (fashion designer for World brand) – were both long-time friends. They joined the 200-strong crowd at St. John's Church, Darlinghurst, for a colourful celebration of a life lived with joy, honesty and passion. Edward Cowley: I gave Bust-Op her first job, in 1992. We needed a trio – someone to join Bertha and myself. He was very keen to be a performer. At that stage he'd been entering competitions doing boy-dancing things. Our trio shows as Buckwheat, Bust-Op and Bertha were at the Staircase on Albert Street, then on K' Road. We worked together for about seven years as a trio. It was so nice. We ended up being good friends. He was family, really. There was a bond there that we shared as sisters. I guess because we were Samoan as well, we became very close. He knew my mother, and our lives were intertwined. In the end it was sad but happy, because he was in a lot of pain before he passed away. Cancer is an ugly thing, it takes its toll. But we were able to send him off and had a great time the way he wanted. The funeral was amazing. We'd had a chance to plan it together – most people don't get that opportunity. So we had thought about it a lot in recent times, and he made clear what he wanted, and we made it happen. It was very friendly and colourful – there was a ‘no black to be worn' policy. There were about 300 people there. It was just a really nice summary of his life, and early days in Samoa, and one of his partners spoke of the three main loves in his life. It was lovely – and we spoke of the drag element. There was a show reel of lots of the shows. And then there was the wake that went on until the morning. Francis Hooper: Chanel was a special guy, and an absolute tragic loss to the gay community, the straight community, the Samoan community and the fashion community. The good die young, I can tell you that. Denise and I met him through the drag community, as part of Bertha, Buckwheat and Bust-Op. There are the iconic grandmothers of drag. It'd be totally wrong to not put them on a pedestal – without those three drag queens, the drag community in New Zealand would be hideous! Talk to any drag queen in the community, they will all be in awe and absolutely respectful of the three of them. Bustop was perhaps the quiet one of the three, but was one of the penultimate and inspirational drag artists of New Zealand and Australia. He's a really energetic performer, and he was just gorgeous – the most beautiful thing. Secondly, Chanel was a brilliant and talented make-up artist. That was a side to him that wasn't that well known. We used him non-stop, as often as we could, for our shows at World. Chanel was the make-up director for our last show at New Zealand fashion week two years ago. It was the most sublime, beautiful show. He worked with us with the look, and the colours, and executed it in a way that was respected all over the world. So that's a great loss to the fashion community. His death was just so tragic – he was in his thirties. A young man at his prime, talented and ambitious. We were shocked when we heard of his disease. He fought right until the end – he did not want to die. He was a real determined young man. I was in Sydney when he performed for the last time. It was a show for his friend and mentor who was going away, and so he did ‘Last Dance'. Of course, we all knew Chanel was dying, so it was just such a special night. He was beautiful. The whole crowd was in tears. I was honoured to be there. For his funeral, the church in Darlinghurst, Sydney was packed out. We're talking the whole church was packed with his friends, family, fashion and drag community, and nightclub community. Carmen was there, Buckwheat and Bertha, and every drag queen you could lay your hands on in Sydney. It was fabulous.     Matt Akersten, Edward Cowley & Francis Hooper - 6th November 2006
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