Sky Casper is not a performer, but he understands how to put together a killer show. The owner and impresario behind Sky Casper Entertainment, based in West Hartford, Casper started his career in this field by creating safe spaces meant for mingling and meeting new friends. A trip to New York City and seeing a show by renowned drag performer Tina Burner, who recently appeared on "RuPaul's Drag Race," changed everything. He's now been working with Tina and other performers in the LGBTQ+ world for years. "I became inspired to bring new talent to the Connecticut scene and found myself so blown away by these new queens that I started finding more and more. Having, shall we say, 'frequented' all the LGBTQ+ bars in the region, I knew a lot of the scene, so I just started producing and promoting events, which then led to me also becoming a talent booking agent," he said. What Casper means by safe spaces are events where LGBTQ+ people can be themselves around like-minded people without having to worry about hiding who they are. His very first events were at Laetus Bar in downtown Hartford, and he called the series "Hartford's Gay Social Saturday." Each Saturday, Casper offered different themes such as "Minute To Win It," where they played games, and "Super Hero Night," where attendees could dress up and enjoy cocktail specials. Casper also had a Halloween party with a costume contest and he had his very first drag show. "Nowadays, I focus more on produced shows with entertainment, but one of these days I might start doing more social events again," he said. Casper's niche in Connecticut's entertainment industry started off small but has grown exponentially in recent years. "When I first started Sky Casper Entertainment, the number of LGBTQ+ shows was limited. Thanks to the popularity of 'RuPaul's Drag Race,' interest in drag has exploded," he said. "Today's LGBTQ+ entertainment scene in Connecticut is constantly trying to keep things interesting, and I give everyone props for stretching the boundaries. I am looking to keep my shows high quality, continue to bring amazing talent, and stretch in more new directions. The goal is to keep surprising people." Known for signature shows like "Pink Eggs & Glam," a live singing brunch, and "Gag Reflex," a gay standup comedy show, Casper aspires to support LGBTQ+ entertainment of all kinds while offering different experiences that one can't find elsewhere in the area. "I bring New York City flair to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts," he said. "I find talent that I enjoy and do what I can to help them find new audiences that cross over from the LGBTQ+ community to straight allies. My goal for 2021 is to change the game by producing new show concepts, featuring new forms of entertainment." Business was slow during the pandemic, but with more and more Connecticut residents getting vaccinated, Casper has been on a roll, organizing events and supplying entertainers for shows. "Things are busier than ever for me! I'm providing all the talent for Southington Pride [held on June 11] and West Hartford Pride [June 25-26], private event requests have grown more than ever, and my Gag Reflex, Pink Eggs & Glam, and Balls in the Air Bingo events have returned around the state of Connecticut, and they'll be expanding to more locations very soon!" Organizing events is no easy task. Asked what a typical day is like, Casper quips that each day is unique. One day he can be researching talent, planning a performer's tour, and searching for venues and on other days, he is lugging equipment, setting up a brunch, and putting on a show. Still, there are other days when he gives himself a facial and wastes half the day scrolling on Facebook, but he also jokingly refers to that as talent research. In the end, the shows are everything and what keeps him going, despite any stress. "There is no better feeling than looking at a bunch of people having a fantastic time and then having everyone tell me how much fun they had. It makes all of the stress worth it in the end." Andrea Valluzzo is a freelance writer.