Catching up with NYC nightlife promoting and hosting wunderkind Vincent Cooper on what’s new in the city… including an all new and improved cycle of Miss Lady Liberty at the Ace Hotel!
Thotyssey: Vincent, hello! It hasn’t been too long since Thotyssey spoke to you last, but you’re always doing so damn much that a regular check-in is in order! How are you doing?
Vincent Cooper: I’m doing well! Hoping the warm(er) weather is here to stay! Things in New York really start buzzing then.
Sring is in the air! So not too long ago, you had a birthday at your favorite venue, the Ace Hotel. How is your, uh, memory of that night?
It was a wonderful time! I’m usually running around so much at my events, so it was lovely to be able to dance the night away with my friends.
You certainly do run around a lot, usually! I saw you for the Drag Race Season 9 premiere viewing party and the Jock’s Got Talent competition a few weeks ago at the Hudson Terrace, and you were flying around like a hummingbird. That was a great night though, right?
Oh, it was awesome! One of my favorite events I’ve produced! That venue is a great place to watch a show, and the performers that turned it out for the Jocks Got Talent competition were amazing. Cheer NY’s epic dance number led by Inita D was unreal.
So much fun! Also, Shuga Cain’s bloody FX!
Yup! It was a close call between those two performances.
Inita won, but everyone was great. So do you, like, get to actually enjoy the events that you’re hosting?
I really do! I wish I had more time to actually chat with each individual person, but I love orchestrating the whole experience.
I’ve always been impressed by your ability to find sponsors for your events; Hornet largely took care of that night at the Hudson Terrace. Is seeking sponsorship still a stressful process to you, or do you have it down to science?
I definitely do not have it down to a science. Finding sponsorship is one of the more difficult things in terms of producing. It’s become easier as I have a series of previous successful events to reference, but that’s still never a guarantee. I’ve been very lucky this year that some of my close friends have started working at the companies that now sponsor my events. Having a connection on the inside helps the most!
Speaking of which, you do have a strong connection, it seems, to the Liberty Hall room at the Ace Hotel, where besides your birthday you held several events this past year. What draws you to that space?
I really enjoy the location of the Ace Hotel. It’s right off the subway, and it’s easy to get to from both HK and Brooklyn. The Breslin (the restaurant attached to the Ace Hotel lobby) actually owns the Liberty Hall event space. They hold a lot of corporate and private events in the space, and we bring a touch of cultural programming to their roster. Their team is always so accommodating to work with, and really want these events in the space. Specifically in terms of my Drag Race viewing party: the screen there is great, and they have plenty of seats.
I know you had a few tech glitches during your first events there… things are working better now?
Yes! They made some great improvements to their AV equipment and, with the generous contributions from our sponsors, we are able to have a technician on hand at all times.
Werk! Okay, I wanna get into what’s been going down there, but before we talk about the Drag Race viewing party, we should talk about the show itself! First of all, two episodes in and the Secret Fourteenth Contestant has been revealed, surprising precisely no one! How do you think Cynthia will do this season?
I like Cynthia! I hope she does well! But I have a feeling the more art-based queens will thrive this season.
There are quite a few “art queens” this time around. Your own events are often performance art-based, too. Is nightlife going back to its 60s-70s-80s downtown artsy roots, you think?
I think people are yearning for engagement. When you spend the money, time, and energy to go out, you want a memorable experience. Bringing art into the nightlife space is perfect to achieve that.
I know Terra has applied before, but this will be Brita’s first season applying for the show! I think they may be ready for a Polynesian Princess. But there is so much amazing talent in the New York drag scene, it’s hard to say who will get onto the show each season from our city.
It’s an embarrassment of riches here in NYC Dragtown! So we were all bitching and moaning about the Friday time slot, although certainly the show has record ratings since the season premiere. What are your thoughts?
I was very confused by the new time slot. It felt like a slap in the face to gay venues, to be honest. They needed the extra business that Drag Race Mondays provided, not on a Friday when people are likely to go out anyway. I was also concerned that people wouldn’t turn up with it being so early in the night, but so far they have!
While I was waiting for them to announce the premiere date, I had one venue lined up for Mondays and one for Thursdays. They really threw a curve ball when they announced it would be on Friday nights. Luckily, the Ace was available for almost all of the Friday dates this season.
That’s a relief! And that brings us to your baby… the Miss Lady Liberty drag competition, which debuted at the Ace right after last week’s episode, which Brita and Terra again host! How did it go?
It was very entertaining! Most of our crowd stuck around to support the local girls competing, which was awesome. These girls had the least amount of time to prepare, but they turned it out!
Shirley U. Jest won Week One, right?
She did! We’ve changed up the structure slightly this year. The top two each week is determined by audience vote. Both of these girls move on to the semifinals, and both receive a $25 gift card to House of La Rue! Then, our panel of judges determine the winner after the top two lip synch for their legacy to a track we send them earlier in the week.
What are the stakes this year for the girls, as far as prizes and glory?
There are a LOT of prizes this season.
So, every competitor walks away with a 30% off coupon to Kryolan Professional Makeup.
The top two queens each week move on to the semifinals, and both walk away with a $25 gift card to House of La Rue- NYC’s premier style, glam, and drag boutique. The top two then lip sync for their legacy, and the winner takes home $200 cash.
After every three weeks of first round competition, we have a semifinal. One of these six queens move on the finale and earn a $300 shopping spree to Kryolan Professional Makeup at the NYC location in the West Village, and a $100 gift card to House of La Rue.
And then in June, our four finalists will face off for the grand prize package, which includes $1000 courtesy of Impulse Group NYC and Hornet, a full body paint session with Ish Peralta, a custom spacesuit from Yuhua Hamasaki, a photo session and three retouched images from JA Photography, two tickets to the Pines Party on Fire Island, and more!
Sounds great. And here’s an announcement… Thotyssey will be an in-house Lady Liberty judge for the rest of the cycle!
And we are so excited to have you!
In your opinion, what should a good judge be looking for in a contest where the stakes are so high and the talent is so amazing, as is usually the case with Miss Lady Liberty?
I think something that really sets a great queen apart from the rest is when you can see that they LOVE what they’re doing. If a queen is having fun, we are too.
Definitely. Can queens still sign up for the competition?
April slots are full! But we do have slots in May and June, especially for our duos week on June 9th. For more information or to sign up, message me, Brita Filter, or Terra Hyman on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Great! So what else is going on? I hear that you’ve additionally branched out to hosting/producing events outside of your original label, EDEN.
And you should Like Wet Paint NYC on Facebook to stay tuned for more updates! Some very exciting things are lining up for Pride and beyond!
Thanks for the updates, Vincent! See you Friday!
Vincent Cooper produces the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party and the Miss Lady Liberty drag competition, both Friday night starting at 8pm at the Ace Hotel. Check here for a list of more of his upcoming events. Vincent can be followed on Facebook and Instagram, and you can also follow the EDEN family of events on Facebook.
Previously: Vincent Cooper (8.29.2016)