Writer, actor, comedian, singer, drag queen and the last Editor-In-Chief of Next Magazine, this guy has done it all and had a fierce time doing it. Now he’s going back to his performing roots, performing a weekly cabaret/variety show dedicated to a favorite diva of his in each installment… starting with Bette Midler this weekend! it’s the lovely and talented Alexander Kacala.
Thotyssey: Alex, how are you today? It’s quite globally warmed outside right now! Are you out, like, tanning or something?
Alexander Kacala: [Laughs] Yes! I am on my roof deck overlooking Central Park, being fed grapes by two gogo boys who work at The Cock.
Lies! I am in a Starbucks working. At least there are big windows to let the sun in.
So, you’re a Starbucks blogger! They’re always too crowded for me, I prefer the Cafe Bene because nobody goes there.
Oh, good to know! Yes. I work remotely and get into a lots of fights with strangers when they are greedy with space, or tell me I am too loud.
And the Wall Socket Wars are the worst!
So, you are an extremely busy person. You are the associate editor of Unicorn Booty and a freelance writer beyond, and you’re also a performer/entertainer with gigs. Is it hard for you to find Lazy Time?
Oh, I try to find time to watch SVU in bed with a plate of wings! But also, when I am in bed I try to make sure I am there with a stranger I picked off one of the apps or on the corner.
But no, when I came to New York as the Editor-in-Chief of Next Magazine (RIP), I was immersed into gay nightlife and culture. I love writing about everyone and everything, but with so much performing happening everywhere in this city, it made me want to be back in performing myself. So I reached out to Daniel Nardicio, who liked my idea and recommended I do a show at Sid Gold’s.
But I love being busy! I am not a homebody, and there is so much to do and see in this city that I love when I am out the door at 7:00am and not back until 2:00am.
We’ll get back to Next and Sid Gold’s in a bit, but first let’s get the deets on you. Where’s your hometown?
Philadelphia! I lived there for ten years. It’s a fantastic city with an incredible LGBT community. I am very proud to call Philly my home. They are the ones who had to deal with my drinking problem for eight years, so I could never turn my back on them! I then moved to South Florida before moving here to New York City in April.
What was first for you, writing or performing?
Oh, I don’t know! I always loved writing as a child. I also would run around my living room as a ten year-old boy, dancing to my sister’s album of Rent. So I am not sure what came first.
I can say that they both bring out different sides of me. I love helping people tell their story. I feel like a true journalist’s role is to document. But I also want to be putting myself out there as well–my own experiences and opinions and ideas. I do that at times with my writing, and I hope to do that more with my performing.
She was very kind. I was very nervous going into it. The best part was: I had a question planned about who her favorite drag queen was, and her publicist said I couldn’t ask that because she gets compared to drag queens all the time. I then said, “Oh, I’m asking because I am one!”
Then when she came out of her dressing she said to me “WHAT SIZE HEEL DO YOU WEAR?!? AIN’T IT A BITCH TO BUY BIG SIZES?!?” [laughs]
Regardless I was still scared, and right before I said to her “This is my first time interviewing someone so famous on video.”
I think she thought to herself, “WTF?” At the end, she turned to me after the camera was off and said, ”I would have never known that was your first time. You’re a natural.”
Well played! So, you ultimately came to NYC specifically for the editor-in-chief role at Next?
It’s no secret the company had huge financial problems for a while before they closed. After a lot of people were let go, I was promoted to the role of EIC remotely at first, from South Florida. I knew I wanted to be in New York, so I relocated myself with no financial support from the company to do my job in New York City.
I know it is crazy, but the EIC should be located in the same city as the brand. It was risky, as I knew the company and brand was not on stable ground. However, it was the best thing I ever did, because coming here with that brand and title opened so many doors for me that would have never opened for my any other way.
Next Magazine is much missed. We can do such great things with our blogs, but they will never come with that beauty and excitement of a printed glossy with all those sexy, glamorous pictures. Odyssey has since quietly closed down as well, after having a go as an app. Get Out and GO are still on the racks, but do you think there is still a place for these types of publications?
I’m not sure. I do think there is something amazing about creating a product that people can pick up. It gives your brand a real legitimacy. It is much more exciting for the local gogo boy to be on the cover of a magazine then featured on a blog. However, we all know the future of media is digital, which quite a lot of LGBT brands have had trouble keeping up with.
Speaking of digital media, tell us about your involvement with Unicorn Booty, which has a pretty big readership in its own right. How would you describe it’s brand, and when did you get involved?
Unicorn Booty is powered by Hornet, a gay social network bringing gay guys together. Unicorn Booty has always been a fun take on everything LGBT. I think it’s voice is very fresh, a little weird, but always extremely smart. We are very sex positive, and try not to take ourselves so seriously, even though we have been covering a lot of hard news with everything happening in politics recently.
I got involved because they wanted to hire someone in New York City to help create content on the New York community, as we are looking to rapidly expand Hornet’s reach here in NYC. But I also write about lots of national items as well, trying to focus on sex, dating and relationships.
I read your recent piece about the recovered footage of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway’s attempt at standup comedy…. that was pretty painful, wasn’t it?
Yes! Horrible. I am still cleaning the blood out of my sheets. And no, it wasn’t from the go-go I invited over from the Monster last night. It was from my ears bleeding!
So, let’s talk about your life as a performer. What sort of stage gigs have you been involved with?
Years ago, I was performing in some professional theatres down in Philly. I then became involved with the drag scene. Since 2013, I have taken a step back from performing… but now that I live here, I have been loving getting back on stage.
You’re also associated with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre now, that’s pretty prestigious!
And by the way, who was your drag persona?
Tammy Faymous! She was a live-singing, hairy drag chanteuse of the night!
Like if Adore Delano and Amy Winehouse and an otter had a child.
Speaking of divas, let’s discuss Bette Midler! First of all, how excited are you for Hello Dolly?
Omg, so excited! It is already one of my favorite musicals and it it’s the perfect role for her. She is going to slay. My friend actually told me where they are rehearsing, so I may try and go stalk her.
Bette’s songbook will be the focus of the debut of your monthly cabaret at Sid Gold’s, “Divas I Love.” Tell us what this is, and how it came about… you already mentioned that Daniel Nardicio pointed you towards the venue with your concept.
Yes! Every month I will be bringing a show to Sid Gold’s Request Room that will be dedicated to a diva or two. I want to explore either historical friendships or rivalries each installment. February will be Madonna and Gaga! But for my first, I wanted to do just Bette.
The show will also feature lots of others characters from the gay community here in New York. Drag queen Pissi Myles will be singing a hilarious parody of one of her songs, and Henry Koperski will be on keys. He just met Michelle Obama!
Sounds like a fun project, and this sounds like it’s gonna be a great opening night for you. What are you most looking forward to singing?
I am going to be doing some of her very early stuff. I feel like with her, many people my generation don’t know the first songs that made her famous. So I will open the show with “Friends” and “Do You Want To Dance?” And then move on to some more popular tunes.
The monthly show is going to evolve into more of a variety show. But for this first, it’s mostly me singing her songs and telling stories and jokes.
What else is on the horizon?
I am also going to be starting a monthly show at Therapy in February. But I don’t have the details on that quite yet, So stay tuned!
Okay, last question: what is one fact about Alexander Kacala that people might not know, but should?
One fact: I had my first sexual experience at the Cock last night. Let’s just say it was very messy. “Cleanup on Aisle 4!”
Welcome to the club! Thanks Alex, and have fun at Sid Gold’s!
Alexander Kacala’s monthly cabaret “Divas I Love” at Sid Gold’s Request Room begins January 28th (7:30pm). Follow Alexander on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and read his articles on Unicorn Booty.