Connecticut nightlife is unfortunately not often discussed on this site, but here is the person responsible for a big part of it. He’s known best for his drag brunches, though, which bring several of New York’s finest and funniest to the state. And now thanks to this quarantine, he’s become the face of New England Livestream Drag as well! [Cover photo: RahVisions]
Thotyssey: Hello Mr. Casper! Thanks for chatting with us today! How is Corona Monday treating you so far?
Hello darling, thank you for wanting to chat with me! I have been in quarantine for over 20 days now, and considering all of that I’m doing pretty well. Haven’t gone insane, yet.
That’s literally all one can ask for at this point! So, you’re not having conversations with furniture or pigeons on your windowsill yet?
I have been asking my cat for life advice… but I think that’s normal, right?
Yes, I would do that under normal circumstances; cats are wise! Well, I do see it’s been kind of business as usual for Sky Casper Events, though. Or maybe not “usual,” but business all the same. On Sunday you streamed an online edition of your long-running Pink Eggs & Glam drag brunch, this time starring Cacophony Daniels! It was a fun show… how weird and different is it to do it this way as opposed to the live, in-person way?
It has been an interesting transition from doing live shows to streaming shows online from two different places, especially because those places are our homes. I now call my room Sky Casper Headquarters. Luckily, I’ve been working with most of my performers for a while now; they’re professional, and they understand the type of show we put on. And since my audiences have been so engaging during the show, and we’ve had thousands of viewers, that makes it a lot easier. It’s been pretty amazing, and we have so much fun with it.
I do miss greeting all my guests, though, and we are still learning something every show because each of my queens have different equipment, internet connection, locations, etc. My favorite part about it digitally is that we can bring entertainment to people around the world, and I love to hear the amazing responses we get. I love to brighten people’s world!
Much needed! I see you’re very interactive with viewers on these live streams. During the in-person events you’ve produced, are you usually as much a part of the show?
This is a new role for me! Sometimes the queens talk to me during our shows and I’ll get on a mic to engage, but never at this level. I do love it, but I don’t have the experience that they do talking on a mic or to an audience, and I don’t find myself quick-witted. I’m happy to be getting more experience interacting in front of an audience. I’m bound to be a performer myself, one day. I already have a drag name: “Izzy Toporbottom!”
Perfection! Are you a Connecticut native?
I am from and currently live in Connecticut. I was living in the City for a few years, but it became a bit expensive. I was treating it as a vacation–and that can only last so long, unfortunately. One day I will surely try again, because NYC is one of my favorite places.
How did you enter the world of event production?
I started producing events because I wasn’t seeing the events that I’d like to see, and friends and community members would say there isn’t a variety of events [in Connecticut]. So I took it into my own hands and started events like a social event that changed themes every weekend, a party that changed locations every month, and my Pink Eggs & Glam drag brunch after being inspired by a drag brunch in NYC. Five years ago I started my brunch with drag legend Hedda Lettuce and we’ve been going strong ever since, expanding to new locations along the East Coast.
My newest endeavor is a gay standup comedy show called Gag Reflex, which has had an incredible response. It’s all very exciting. Now I just love to expose amazing talent to new audiences and bring happiness to friends, and anyone that’s coming out to be open minded, friendly, and have a good time.
What challenges do you face in making things happen in Connecticut nightlife?
The challenges that I most run into include finding a nice venue the size I need, good quality service, and also willingness to do the shows. I mainly focus on my brunches or staged shows these days, and a lot of the nice restaurants don’t have slow days where I’m able to do my brunch–and the nice theaters are booked far in advance. I’m very thankful to have a few incredibly supportive venues that are proud to host my brunch, and have it be a part of the community.
If someone were to just straight up ask you what a cute, queer CT hotspot is, what might you recommend?
That’s challenging because there are gay bars all around Connecticut. The locations are just 45 minute drives from each other, and each night the bars have different things going on. Hartford County, where I live, has one gay bar called The Chez, and they’ve been doing a great job at bringing entertainment, dancing, karaoke, etc. every night of the week. I’d suggest looking them up on Facebook to see what’s going on around that time.
Generally speaking–at least in New York–straight audiences are a thousand times more receptive to drag than those jaded gays. Is that the same for Connecticut audiences?
Yes, I would say that 70% of my drag brunch crowds are straight. This isn’t something that straight people see everyday, so I think that’s why they find it so exciting. In NY you can’t throw a rock without hitting a bar / restaurant with a drag show, so the gays no longer feel like it’s a big deal. In CT, I’m offering a NY experience that is rare in this area, and everyone really enjoys it… so I’m grateful.
Here’s a fun fact: you manage Pangina Heals of Drag Race Thailand! How did that come about?
Pangina and I first connected over social media, about three years ago now. I asked her if I could plan her first U.S. tour and she said yes. She was already traveling to the U.S. for DragCon, and I wanted to book her for my birthday party. So my party was the beginning of her tour and then she traveled the country. She’s absolutely amazing, and the most humble person, and having her on my roster helped me connect well with a lot of clubs around the country.
Might you be personally managing other talent in the future?
It’s a lot of work and stress, and I’d definitely need to take on an assistant if I were to take on more acts. But I have many dreams, and one is to have a talent agency.
So, lets talk about what Sky Casper Events will be debuting in livestream this Wednesday!
Well, my Pink Eggs & Glam Drag Brunch is a live singing and comedy drag brunch, where all my performers do an hour show full of live singing performances. Performers like Sutton Lee Seymour, JanSport, Pissi Myles, and Paige Turner have been doing my brunches for 3-5 years. I wanted to start another show because I know my drag community is hurting right now, and all my friends / performers could use the support. So I am starting a new show where comedy mixes are the main type of performance style, and just plain silliness and fun. We’re starting the series with the hilarious Kiki Ball-Change, and will be rotating guests like we do at my brunch. The new show name is “Hump Day Cabaret.”
Amazing! And Pink Eggs continues its weekly as a livestream as well: this Sunday at noon, with the lovely and hilarious Vanna Deux.
Yes! You can find both of my shows streaming on the Sky Casper Events page on Facebook and Instagram. I recommend watching it on Facebook for better quality. Vanna Deux is a fabulous singer and very witty–I love her, and I’m very excited to have her back, after having to cancel an in-person brunch on her because of this pandemic.
Anything else down the road?
I plan to bring a digital version of my Gag Reflex gay standup comedy show to everyone’s computer screen very soon, so I hope people will stay tuned for that. I’ve got such an amazing lineup; trust me, these comedians are the real deal.
That should be something to behold! Okay, at last the closer: what are you binge watching now?
I am not currently binging anything, but I do recommend everyone watch Schitt’s Creek. it’s my absolute favorite show, and it brings me so much joy. I recently binged Elite and Toy Boy–both are great dramas / thrillers, and they both have lots of eye candy… and gay main characters!
Sold! Thanks, Sky Casper!