Logo TV founder Matt Farber is bringing his Outlandish series back to South Florida for the third season, opening Jan. 5 at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale with the drag icon Varla Jean Merman in “Under A Big Top.”
Step right up and prepare yourself to be amazed, dazzled and possibly disturbed! Drag superstar and erstwhile “carny” Varla Jean Merman is coming back to town with three rings stuffed with fun…and all she needs is a big top! This circus-themed show is filled with jaw dropping videos, awe-inspiring songs, and death-defying wigs, and celebrates Varla’s 20 years as “The Freakiest Show on Earth.”
It was a pleasure to sit down and talk with Varla’s Alter Ego Jeffery Roberson for this exclusive Hotspots interview:
Were you always a performer even as a child or when did the bug bite you?
I think I was secretly a ham and it would come out at times. But it wasn’t until I went to a boarding school in High school that I got the confidence to act like a goofball.
When was the first time you did drag?
It was actually in high school. A friend of mine had a senior auction, where a junior could buy a senior and make them do whatever they wanted. We paid these 2 girls to make us to drag in school the next day.
How did you come up with the character of Varla Jean Merman?
That came later. I went to LSU and met this guy named Timo who had a Video Camera, and he introduced me to John Waters movies. Needless to say, I fell in love with Divine. Timo and I started making these small movies doing crazy things. I sold them to the gay bars, and they got popular. When I moved to New York I walked into a gay bar and they were playing the same video tapes….and I told the bartender it was me. They were about to do a big benefit and he asked me if I would perform and that’s how Varla was born.
In your wildest dreams did you ever imagine she would have such longevity and be this popular?
I hoped she would be a little more popular.
You have traveled the world. Is there a favorite city or concert hall you performed in and why?
I love San Fran. I always have because I connect with them. I also love Palm Springs and Sydney Australia.
Is there something Varla has not done yet that’s on her bucket list?
I have always wanted to do an ice skating show, or a show in a swimming pool on a lifeboat.
Describe Varla in three words?
Ditzy, narcissistic and a fun drunk…ok that’s more than three, but who’s counting?
How great is your show “Under A Big Top,” and why should our readers come see it?
It’s the greatest show on earth, especially now since there is no circus. It really is great mindless entertainment. People rely on us entertainers for escapism and I like to deliver.
Tickets for Varla Jean Merman’s Under A Big Top start at $30 at OutlandishFL.com. Premium seating and VIP tickets (including an artist meet-and-greet) are also available.
Other performers in the 2019 Outlandish season include: Leslie Jordan (Jan. 19), Fran Drescher (Jan. 26), Pam Ann (Feb. 9), cirque troupe AirOTic (Feb. 14-16, 23-24), Miss Richfield 1981 (March 9), Coco Peru (March 23), and Lee Squared: An Evening with Liberace and Miss Peggy Lee (April 6).
A discounted 8-show subscription package is still available, and other options include the Four-show “Drag Superstar Pass” (Varla Jean Merman, Pam Ann, Miss Richfield 1981 and Coco Peru) and the four-show “Drag-Free Pass” (Leslie Jordan, Fran Drescher, AirOTic, Lee Squared).