Dunedin bar welcomes Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper and Josh Thomas. Photo: Dudley Benson via Twitter
Cyndi Lauper and Josh Thomas. Photo: Dudley Benson via Twitter
A Dunedin bar has been thrilled to welcome American superstar Cyndi Lauper to its premises, where they bonded over a mock gravestone for Donald Trump.

The singer is in the city to perform at Sir Rod Stewart's concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium tonight.

Woof! co-director Dudley Benson said co-director Josh Thomas had been a superfan of hers since his teenage years.

Mr Thomas had made journals, posters and even looked like her around the time she was famous for hit Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Mr Benson said.

On the off-chance Lauper would see it, the bar had put up a sign reading ‘‘nau mai haere mai Cyndi’’, in the front window of their premises in Moray Pl. 

Yesterday, Lauper and her management team were driving through the central city when they saw the sign.

She had told her team ‘‘surely they can’t mean me,’’ Mr Benson said.

Her management came to scope out the bar, which was playing Lauper’s music.

‘‘An hour later we got a call from the manager saying Cyndi is going to come in now to meet you,’’ Mr Benson said.

Josh Benson showed the singer his teen journal. Photo: Dudley Benson via Twitter
Josh Benson showed the singer his teen journal. Photo: Dudley Benson via Twitter
Normally, the bar did not open on a Tuesday, which was used for administration and preparation, and the five-person team had as many minutes to get it ready for the star.

‘‘We went from zero to 100,’’ Mr Benson said.

Just as they were putting the finishing touches on, Lauper arrived.

Mr Benson said he wound up doing much of the talking, as Mr Thomas went into a semi-paralysis and could not say much. 

For Mr Benson, Lauper was a significant figure as an icon of female joy and empowerment.

He said he showed her some of his fan artwork, and she had been bemused and polite.

‘‘I get the sense that she gets that all the time."

Lauper particularly enjoyed talking about particular elements of her musical catalogue, he said.

‘She’s such an artist."

The bar had a gravestone embossed with ‘‘Trump’’ on it and Ms Lauper wanted to see it  ‘‘and she loved it’’, Mr Benson said.

The former US President and Lauper appeared on reality TV show The Celebrity Apprentice in 2010.

Trump today pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records after an investigation into hush money paid to an adult movie star. 

Lauper has been an outspoken critic of Trump's policies towards women, the rainbow community and immigrants.

‘‘We’ve had a really  rough couple of weeks for the queer and trans community, in terms of hysteria around the Posie Parker visit and anti-trans rhetoric, particularly online. It's been tough," Mr Benson said.

"Having a queer icon come to Ōtepoti in New Zealand in the middle of this is like a balm to that. So we're so grateful to have her here."

The visit had been over in about 15 minutes and while Lauper was not a drinker, her team would be going to the bar after the show, Mr Benson said.

Woof! would also be opening early so people could visit beforehand.