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Lessons in Audience Development from a Shameless Drag Queen
Episode 80

Lessons in Audience Development from a Shameless Drag Queen

CI to Eye with Jackie Beat

This episode is hosted by Erik Gensler.

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Erik interviews his favorite drag queen because arts administrators can learn a lot from Jackie about pivoting from live to digital programming and connecting on social media. Plus, at this point in quarantine, we can all use some laughs!

Erik Gensler: I’m excited to talk to you because you’re not only a brilliant performer, but also a brilliant marketer, especially on social media.

Jackie Beat: I’m posting every day and making videos and just trying to be as creative as possible and as shameless as possible-

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: .. because I always say, “There’s no place for dignity in show business.”

Erik Gensler: Well, the results are really amazing and your engagement, too. People seem to really be into it. But let’s start with talking about, who is Jackie Beat?

Jackie Beat: Well that question always, you know … I immediately think anyone who doesn’t know who I am can, you know, go jump off a cliff.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: (laughs) No, but that’s the character, the egocentric character. Cause I am actually very well adjusted and nice! Um, Jackie Beat is, you know, a drag queen. You know, I often say … first of all, I always say, like, “If you’re going to dress like a woman, dress like a Jewish woman from the eighties.”

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: So, I think that kind of sums up most of my looks.

Erik Gensler: Oh, my god, it all makes sense.

Jackie Beat: Right? You know, I’m sort of a wig and glasses person. I’m very matchy-matchy. (Dogs bark) My dogs are barking. They agree. Yes, mama! That’s the beauty of working at home. I get to be with my loud-mouth daughters all day. Shut the (bleep) up! Can you bleep that? Can you bleep that? So, anyway, no. You know, I also get very bored very easily. So, you know, I think it’s … I think it’s great that there are drag queens like Lady Bunny who has such a signature look and, you know, there are … She’s always blonde. You know, my friend Sherry Vine … you know Varla Jean Merman is always a red-head. Like, you know, Coco Peru owns one wig!

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: Anyway, my point is, I just get really bored. So, I’ll do sort of a Golden Girls look and then, you know, punk rock and then heavy metal and then, you know, a housewife. And so, I’m all over the place—every hair color, every era.

Erik Gensler: (laughs) And you’re always so you and I think that’s one of the things I and people love about you is you don’t compromise. You just, you go for it. You seem to know who you are and you just go for it a hundred percent.

Jackie Beat: I have to say, it gets harder all the time because of the world we live in. You know, you want to say something but it’s so easy for people to take it the wrong way. It’s such an irony-free world now. I mean, I have to joke about things that are ugly. That’s the whole, that’s the way we have survived as the human race. It’s like, I don’t need to joke about sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. And people are like, “Oh, you can’t joke about that. And it’s like, this is exactly what we need to joke about.” And if you’re not familiar with me and the real me, it’s like, if you want to be offended, there’s nothing I can do about it. You know?

Erik Gensler: You probably should go to a different show. I’m tying this back to marketing and one of the things we talk about as a marketing firm is this idea of a minimum viable audience, which is saying no to 99% of the people, 99.9% of the people, because you know that 0.1% or 0.001% get it. And even the largest arts organization is only talking to less than 1% of the population and the most talented artists are able to just double down and that’s what I love about you, is you’re uncompromising to who you are and the people who get it, get it.

Jackie Beat: The way I approached drag is … and I can be a hack. Listen, people think I’m, you know, such an artist and have so much integrity but, I mean, I learned early that it’s layers. If you are not drunk and if you’re paying attention to every word, it is put together in an intelligent way and there are layers and there’s, like, literally a plot twist in almost every song. If you water it down too much and try to make everyone happy, you’ll make no one happy. So, I don’t dumb it down but I just, you know … I’m not going to go out there not looking like a clown because that’s what some people want from drag. I don’t know. I guess I should just sum it up by saying, I just do the kind of show I would want to see.

Erik Gensler: Yeah.

Jackie Beat: And I think that’s really the best way to approach anything.

Erik Gensler: I think so, too. Like, good art is not made by committee. You’ve talked about how through doing drag, you’ve bought a house and, right, you never had the benefit of being on Drag Race. And so, I want to talk about how you make money, both before this whole crisis, and what I really want to talk about is all the stuff you’re doing now. So, how do drag queens typically make money?

Jackie Beat: Well, first of all, I want to clarify that anytime I say I bought a house, that’s my, that’s usually my response if somebody says, “Ew, I can’t believe this clown is singing about, you know, poop,” and I’ll be like, “Bought me a house!” (laughs)

Erik Gensler: Right, right.

Jackie Beat: So, that’s sort of my stock answer. So, I don’t run around reminding everybody that I bought a house. But, um, I think, to get pretty specific, I mean, first of all, back in the day, there were seven of us (chuckles) and none of us did this because we thought we could make a lot of money. But at least there was only seven of us, you know, Coco Peru, Sherry Vine, Varla Jean Merman, you know, Lady Bunny, myself. You know, there was just a couple of us. So, now, there’s, like, everybody’s a drag queen. Now, everyone’s doing, you know … they’re livestreaming and, you know … but, you know, when you go to do a show, you have to bring along, you know, a suitcase full of merchandise because the moment the show’s over, people have a couple drinks coursing through their veins and they’re living for you and they’re loving you. So, you know, they want that t-shirt. They want that, you know, souvenir. It’s like when you go to a thrift store and you see all these, uh, (laughs) big, like, collector cups from Medieval Times and you’re like, “Oh, these people were suckered into buying that!” Anyway, so, but my items, you know, you actually-

Erik Gensler: I drink from my Jackie Beat mug, my coffee or tea, many mornings, so count me among the suckers (laughs).

Jackie Beat: Yes, I don’t think people really have regrets. I’m just saying, you really have to take advantage of the moment and, um … So, yeah, just, you know, traveling and, um …

Erik Gensler: So, selling merch, fees like, appearance fees, and tipping’s not really a thing but a lot of drag queens make money through tips.

Jackie Beat: Well, I will say this. Back in the day when I was performing in New York, the live singers never got tipped. Never. And I don’t know if it’s because people just assumed we were making more than a queen who was lip syncing or they didn’t want to break that fourth wall or, you know, they didn’t want to … I don’t know what it was, but I made it, I remember specifically thinking, “This is messed up,” and making it a huge part of my schtick to make it very clear that I would, in fact, accept tips. I used to say, um, “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to sing a song for you now about blah-blah-blah,” you know, set up the song, and I’d be like, “Hit it!” and instead of the song, you would hear a voicemail message, you know, from the nurse at the hospital saying that if they didn’t get the payment, they were going to take my grandma off life support.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: And I would be like, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am so embarrassed that you had to hear that and I hope that that in no way, you know, dictates how much you tip me tonight.” I’m so lucky that a big part of my persona and my character is just shamelessness and I can literally beg, you know, for tips or yell at people. So, I’m just, you know … I got all dressed up and now I need to make as much money as humanly possible while I am in full clown.

Erik Gensler: So, let’s talk about that. So, you haven’t been on stage since mid-March and I, you know, I watched, you quickly adapted to the quarantine and you even (laughs) showed us some of the equipment you bought on social media. But you’ve been so prolific doing parodies of old TV shows, like the Golden Girls and Three’s Company and Carrie—not a TV show—but same category.

Jackie Beat: (sarcastically) Carrie’s my favorite TV show!

Erik Gensler: (laughs) You’ve been doing Cameos, which I’ve purchased a number of. You’ve been doing Instagram Live shows like your series, Quarantine Cuisine. You’ve been a part of Digital Drag Fest. How did you, you know … So, we found that we all had to stay home. You made all your money by being in theaters. How did you think about that transition about earning a living?

Jackie Beat: I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble about how brilliant I am but nothing I do is very planned. Like I said about my look, I get bored and I don’t want to do the same look all the time and I just was sitting here around the house and I thought, like, “I’m going to go crazy unless I stay busy.” So, Sherry Vine and I, you know, decided to do the Golden Girls in quarantine and that was such a hit that we did, uh, Mommy Dearest in quarantine. And then we did, you know, Three’s Company. We did Carrie. And I just wrote I Love Lucy in quarantine. It’s just what I do. It’s just what we do. It’s not, it’s not even like some frantic, you know, like, “I’ve got to make money!” because, um, that’s not what fuels me.

Erik Gensler: Well, it starts with the art and, you know, we work with arts organizations across the country and the really great arts administrators and arts marketers know that. Everything is so core to the mission or to the … in homage to the art.

Jackie Beat: Right.

Erik Gensler: And it’s really interesting to hear that you saying that’s really what’s driving you. So, I’m curious about … and it actually sent me down, you know, I’m a bit of a marketing nerd, in that I’m just really into how and what attracts people to art and how it’s sold and how it’s marketed and how fans are made. And I noticed through your Instagram the Digital Drag Fest, and I thought it was so interesting that through this platform, Stage It, they limit the number of tickets that can be sold and as arts organizations are grappling with, “How do you go from selling a 500-seat theater or a 2,000-seat theater to putting content online?” it’s very, very tricky. And if you think about it, one of the reasons people love going to live shows is, obviously, all of the social interaction and the reward of the show itself but there is a sense of scarcity. The reason it’s valuable is because there’s only so many tickets.

Jackie Beat: Right.

Erik Gensler: And I think you in your marketing of these shows, you’d say, “Oh, there’s only X number of tickets left and we’re not going to sell any more.”

Jackie Beat: Yeah, well, I mean, that is a psychological thing, obviously. I mean, it’s also true because … and this is not my … that’s not something I did. Uh, that is just something that the platform does and the producers at PEG told me that we could only sell so many tickets. And I said, “Why?” I mean, the people can’t tell how many people are in the room. And he’s like, “In a way, you actually can because people are tipping and commenting and if there’s too many people, it’s literally racing by and a big part of it is that they see their comment and people are talking to each other …” You know, that’s the good thing. People can actually talk to each other now in the middle of my show and not get their teeth kicked down their throat.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: But yeah, it does … I watched a video online about makeup companies and, specifically, it was like Kat Von D and companies like that and there was a very specific thing that they do about scarcity and kind of, you know, making people feel an urgency to buy the product. And it’s not, you know, disingenuous or artificial, I don’t think, but it does make it seem rather exclusive and, you know, “Do it now!”. Even when we do a show at, you know, Casita del Campo, this Mexican restaurant here in Los Angeles with a black box theater in the basement that holds 65 people … Sixty-five people. That’s not that difficult to sell out but people always wait until the last minute. But, um, you have to train people. “This show is going to sell out. Buy your tickets now. It happens every time. Don’t come crying to me,” you know, these are all phrases that I use.

Erik Gensler: Well, I’ve never been to a Jackie beat show that isn’t full. I really haven’t. So, clearly it’s working.

Jackie Beat: Maybe that’s why. Yes, exactly, yeah. I mean, listen, I joke in my show, I’m like, “Hey, you guys, thanks for coming tonight. Now, you know how social media works, right? This was the best show you’ve ever seen and, you know, it was packed, and here are some hashtags for you: #JackieLooksSoYoung #JackieLooksSoThin #JackieEatASandwich”

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: It’s like, it’s all about embracing the fact that, you know … It’s almost like The Wizard of Oz, like, you know, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” but I’m always pulling back that curtain and showing people just how humiliating and like shameless and you know … Yeah, it’s just a big part of what I do.

Erik Gensler: But I have to tell you, as a marketer who works with arts organizations to sell tickets … and the reason … You know, I love you and I love your work but I also do think you’re a brilliant marketer and I think you’re doing things you don’t even realize how brilliant they are (laughs). The things about scarcity, the idea of, you know … my husband sent you a tip during when you did an Instagram Live and you sent him a personal thank-you note and that personal connection is just so critical and the best fundraisers—I just had an expert fundraising consultant on the last podcast—and what everyone talks about is that personal human connection and the power of that personal human connection and that is what’s going to get the person to the next show and that is what is going to get them to tip again and you’re doing that. And I can name, you know, so many things that you do like that.

Jackie Beat: Well, let me just say that, I mean, I am proud to say or, you know, I can honestly say that the initial, what is it? The initial instinct to thank someone for the tip is genuine and you know, real. It’s just if I was at a, you know, performing and somebody walked up and handed me $5, I could look them in the eye and kind of thank them with, you know, a twinkle in my eye. And they also have that moment of connection. But online, you don’t have that. So, I thought to myself, like, “You know what? You have all the time in the world, you need to stay in a place of gratitude and really, really, you know, value and appreciate every single person who helps you do what you do. So, I went on Venmo and I literally personally thanked every single person. And then, I, all of a sudden, it dawned on me, I’m like, “You know what? I should go through and send every single person who has tipped me not only a thank you—” and this was, like, later—I said, “but a link to the next show. ‘Thank you again and, you know, I hope you’ll join me,’” and because I just feel like, if I got a “thank you” from somebody and then got invited to the next show, I’d probably go.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, we call that “audience development” in the biz (laughs)

Jackie Beat: Yeah, yes. But I am not trying to … cause I really have no problem, you know, admitting that, you know, like, I’ll do just about anything to fill seats, whether they’re, you know, physical or digital. But it really did come from a very, um, organic place. The thank you’s came first and then, it dawned on me that I could invite everybody to the show and I just think, you know, I often say, especially in this business, “If you treat people like you’ll never see them again, you probably won’t.”

Erik Gensler: Totally, absolutely. What’s interesting is, I think, after this next moment we’re going to go into, where some of the quarantine lifts and we’re going to a moment where people are looking to get out of the house, solo performers are going to have it better than anybody else. Like, theaters are going to be empty and they’re not going to want dance troupes or people who interact with each other. So, this, you know, I think there’s a moment for … you’re an individual performer. You do it all alone, which is …

Jackie Beat: Yeah, they can just put me up on stage with, like, you know the salad bar sneeze guard in front of me.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: Please make sure that makes it into the final edit. Yeah, so, if anyone from Carnegie hall is listening, I’m available.

Erik Gensler: (laughs) They do listen. Because of your high-quality social media, you know, you’re just doing such a good job. I’ve never purchased a Cameo in my life—and for those of you that don’t know, a Cameo is an app where you can ask people that you follow or like, or famous or not-famous people, to create custom videos for your friends and you pay a fee and they do a video. And as people’s birthdays have come and gone through this crisis and, you know, we can’t see them personally, I’ve actually bought a number of cameos from you for people as has my husband and I thought about it. It’s like, I probably have spent just as much money with you during this time, if not more, because of your excellent social media and I just think it’s such a lesson and a parallel to our arts organizations that are really stuck right now, where they’re not doing performance, they’re not making money, they’re not running galas, and they’ve had to transition to a digital world. And I just think you provide such a, at least from my perspective, a really positive example of how to be really creative in this moment through social storytelling.

Jackie Beat: Oh, well thank you. I mean, I have to say that like, I just, I think it’s important to just jump in. You know, I grew up in the seventies and I was the biggest Kiss fan in the world. I mean, I literally would be sitting there and ask myself, like, all of a sudden, I would be like, “I wonder what Kiss is doing right now,” you know? And I’m very proud to say that I wear more makeup than all four members today, but, um, I actually have a point and that is, my least favorite member is Gene Simmons. Now, he is a marketing genius. He is so successful, so rich, but, personally, he’s not my favorite. My point is, I remember a long time ago, on Biography, they had a, a biography called, like, The Secrets of Success and it wasn’t about any one person. It was just a bunch of people talking about how they create and how they’re successful and how they work and Gene Simmons said two things that really stuck with me. First of all, he said, “If you’re waiting to wake up and feel inspired, throw that out the window. You need to, like, if you’re a writer, sit down in front of the typewriter—” this is how long ago that was—”you know, sit down and write! And, you know, maybe 95% of it is going to be crap, but maybe you’ll hit on something.” You need to … it’s work, it’s actual work. So, if you’re sitting around waiting to be inspired before you start working, you’re making a huge mistake. He’s like, “My secret to success is that I’m like whack-a-mole. I just keep beating at it. I just keep hitting and, eventually, I hit something.” So, I just kind of approach it that way. I try not to overthink things anymore because I have friends who are always overthinking things and over-preparing and, I mean, I’m a naturally lazy person but I’m also a naturally creative person and I know that everything is going to be fine. If you just get out of your own way, creativity just flows. And just don’t overthink it. Don’t over-prepare and just let it go. And I don’t know if that is like, you know, I’m personally blessed because maybe that’s an easy thing to say and people listening are like, “I’ve tried that,” but I just find that, like, if you try to be perfect, that is the downfall of everything. That is the death blow to creativity. So, that’s kind of why I’m fine with the music stand with my lyrics on it or, “Hi, I didn’t even have, I, this show had to start at 6:00 PM and I don’t have eyelashes on or I don’t have my fingernails on.” It’s like, that’s the way life works. It’s like, it’s can’t be all or nothing. You can’t be black and white. You can’t be a perfectionist. I’m not going to bring a show to a screeching halt because I don’t have fingernails on or … you know? It’s like, just, you have to understand what people really want out of the show and focus on that. The rest is just icing on the cake. So.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, I mean, I think there’s so much there and I think that’s probably what allows you to be so prolific, is letting that go. And, you know, it’s amazing how, even in quarantine, you’ve released all these, not only the other shows, but some really hilarious song parodies, like “Mask Maker” to the tune “Matchmaker” from Fiddler; “Please Don’t Drink Bleach” to “Papa Don’t Preach.” You’re like, you know, you’re the, you’re Randy Rainbow before Randy Rainbow.

Jackie Beat: Yeah, and, you know, he has to tone it down a little and I get to be as outrageous as I want but, I mean, I really love Randy Rainbow and, I mean, wow, he’s so creative. He is so self-contained. You know, he does all of that himself. So, I think he’s amazing but it’s kind of like Weird Al Yankovic. It’s like, you know, a little PG-13.

Erik Gensler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jackie Beat: You know, like, I’m usually rated X, yeah, exactly.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: Triple! I like … I love, whoever came up with triple-X. Now that’s what you need to talk about, as far as marketing is concerned.

Erik Gensler: Right (laughs).

Jackie Beat: This isn’t just an X-rated movie. This is triple-X!

Erik Gensler: And where is double X? They skipped double-X.

Jackie Beat: No, they skipped right over it, yeah.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: There’s one, there’s maybe one double-X movie.

Erik Gensler: (laughs) And I also think that goes to another reason why these formats are working for you and, like, why Instagram Live works for you because you’re not trying to make it perfect. You’re just going with it and that lends itself to spontaneity and creativity and the raw liveness of it.

Jackie Beat: Well, I mean, let’s be honest; it’s like trying to have sex and not mess up your hair, you know?

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: It’s just like, it’s like, you know, you’re either all in or you’re not. It’s like, let’s really focus on what’s important here.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. And, I mean, I think another … (laughs) I feel like I’m being such a fan-girl but your improv … Did you study improv or is that just something that comes natural to you?

Jackie Beat: Uh, it does come naturally, but I did study improv. I did study improv at Second City here in Santa Monica.

Erik Gensler: I’m trying to think of this joke that you told one of the first times my husband saw you and you were gone … I mean, you used to go into the audience and I just would get so terrified that you were gonna talk to me.

Jackie Beat: (laughs)

Erik Gensler: I mean, I don’t know if people have told you that but-

Jackie Beat: Oh, of course!

Erik Gensler: … I feel like you’ve gotten nicer.

Jackie Beat: I have.

Erik Gensler: It used to just be terrifying.

Jackie Beat: People actually complain, like, after-

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: No, after a show they’ll be like, “What happened? You’re too nice, now!” and I, you know, I don’t know what, I’m just not that angry anymore, I guess. But, um, yeah. The thing is, when I go out into the audience, there’s this type of person that’s giving me this look like, “Please talk to me! Please talk to me!” and then there’s the people that are, like, you know, arms crossed, arms crossed over their chest and, you know, looking down at the floor, and that’s the person I want to talk to, so …

Erik Gensler: So, you conscientiously, like, have toned it back of trying to like,

Jackie Beat: No, I, it’s not a conscious choice. It’s just, you know, first of all, it’s not fun to make people uncomfortable. It really isn’t. I’m not into that. Uh, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like, if somebody does something wrong at a show, I used to go ballistic and bring the whole show to a screeching halt.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, it was thrilling.

Jackie Beat: Yeah, but you learn quickly that, like, it’s just not fun. If you can make it … I’ve yelled at somebody in the audience and then immediately looked up with a huge smile on my face and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, you know, this is all scripted, right? You know, this person-”

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: “… we’ve been having auditions, we’ve been having auditions all week for Drunk Idiot Who Interrupts the Show-”

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: “… and I’ll never forget, last Thursday when this person walked in, I was like, “Wait, ah, call off the casting! We’ve got our person!”

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: So, you know, so I feel the need to bring it back because you can literally bring a sh- you can kill a show by being too bitter, too real.

Erik Gensler: Right, right.

Jackie Beat: So, you just have to, like, keep it in perspective and know that nothing is that important. But sometimes, you’re just so taken aback at the unmitigated gall of people. The moment I pick up on the fact that somebody is truly being humiliated, not everybody’s like me … And, you know, and here’s the ironic thing. Oh, my God, if I was in the audience of a show and somebody started in on me, I would want to die.

Erik Gensler: Hmm.

Jackie Beat: I don’t want to be part of (bleep) the show. Oh, bleep! (laughs)

Erik Gensler: (laughs) It’s fine. Right, interesting. So, the story that my husband tells that … you know, and I’ve seen versions of this, like, back in the day, you were at that moment where you would go out into the audience and there was someone in the audience who did not want to … you know, I think she was, she was somehow being a bad audience member and you found her and she did not want to talk to you and she was not participatory. And you asked her her name and she said her name was Terésa and you said, “Terésa, you mean Theresa?” She’s like, “No, Terésa,” and you did your banter and whatever.

Jackie Beat: (laughs)

Erik Gensler: Then, you talk to somebody else, moved on, you walked back onstage and you were looking and you’re like, um, “You know, look at this lamé curtain. You know what I like to say about lamé? It’s just ‘lame’ with an accent. Right, Terésa?” And I just think that was such brilliant improv. You probably don’t remember that, do you?

Jackie Beat: Well, I remember because, “Lamé is just lame with an accent,” is actually a line from an old play I was in and it’s just one of those things that you kind of file away in your head.

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: So, I don’t remember. I, yeah, it makes sense. I can kind of … Hearing the story, I can kind of imagine myself doing that and, um, it reminds me of, uh, when I did my Christmas show at the aforementioned, the aforementioned—I never know how to say that—um, Casita Del Campo, you know, it’s like a Mexican restaurant and you’re in the basement and, anyway, Liza Minnelli came to my Christmas show with, uh, Parker Posey, who’s a friend of mine. They were, had just been in a movie together called, The Oh in Ohio. And, anyway, Liza’s there. So, everybody’s just like, “Oh my God, is Jackie going to come for Liza? Is she going to talk about Liza? Is she gonna talk to Liza?” What’s, you know, I could just feel that energy and I completely ignored Liza for the entire show. But I did go out into the audience at one point and I was standing right next to her-

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: … and I knew that everybody was just waiting and instead, I just told a story. I said, you know, “You guys, my friends went to one of these drag shows recently? You know, the drag shows. These are the fellows who dress up like ladies. I know, I don’t get it either. But anyway, my friend told me that one of the drag queens was actually doing an impersonation of me! I know, can you believe it? Well, you know what they say: once the drag queen start doing you, you’ve made it!” and then I looked down at Liza and I said, “You don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about, do you?”

Erik Gensler: (laughs)

Jackie Beat: So, that was completely unplanned but it just went there and it was perfect.

Erik Gensler: That’s awesome, yeah, and the tension.

Jackie Beat: I’m perfect!

Erik Gensler: That’s the whole theme of this podcast. It was supposed to be called, “Jackie Beat: She’s Perfect.”

Jackie Beat: Well I, you know what? I really am perfect in my imperfection and I want that to be the message here because I wasn’t even, you know, that was, I didn’t even know that that’s was going to all come out. But I think that is the big, big part of what I do, is just letting go and not being perfect and that’s the only way to be perfect in italics.

Erik Gensler: Yeah, I think that’s a big theme. Yeah. I can get to your last question that we ask everybody and we call this your “CI to Eye moment” and it’s going to be, you know … You’re sort of a nontraditional guest, in that you’re not an arts marketer but you are, but you just don’t know it. This is your “CI to Eye moment,” and the question is, if you can broadcast to the executive directors, leadership team, staff, and board of a thousand arts organizations, what advice would you provide to them in this moment, from what we’ve talked about?

Jackie Beat: I’m not sure if I’m answering this properly, but I would just say, as far as talent is concerned and artists are concerned, just always remember that that’s the most important thing, is the art and the entertainment and the person who is delivering that. But as an artist, that’s the first place I go.

Erik Gensler: Absolutely. I’m a huge fan, as you know. I’m super appreciative of you taking the time.

Jackie Beat: Oh, thank you.

Erik Gensler: Where can people follow you? What’s your Instagram? What’s your website?

Jackie Beat: All of my social media, uh, platforms are just @JackieBeat and it’s J-A-C-K-I-E, B, like boy, E-A-T. Beat, like what I’m going to do if you get my name wrong. And, um, the best thing to do is just, if anybody wants to know what’s coming up, they can go to and click on my schedule.

Erik Gensler: Fantastic, thank you so much!

About Our Guests
Jackie Beat
Jackie Beat
Drag Superstar

Drag superstar Jackie Beat has been entertaining audiences across the U.S. and in Europe for over thirty years with her razor-sharp comedy and hysterical song parodies. Jackie has written special material for the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Margaret Cho, Sandra Bernhard, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Coolidge, Elvira and more.

Read more

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