Photo Courtesy of Stu Osborne

Caulder Goodlay: Leading the Way for Horror Based Drag Shows

I originally saw Calder at Fusions Bar and Grill. I was amazed by their energy and passion, a well rounded blend of horror, laughs, and metal. It was like like the drag show was taking place on Dragula. When I found out more about them I knew I had to get him in for an interview. I was surprised to hear the reasons Calder was created and amazed to learn how he changed over the years from a dark beginning.


GayDenver: What are Calder Goodlay’s pronouns and sexuality?

Calder Goodlay:  Calder’s pronouns are They/He/It. His sexuality is…. He’d like you to think that he’d f%^# anything that moves but in reality he’s doing what he must to get another sacrifice. My pronouns are the same but I’m more Pan Romantic.

GayDenver: How would you describe Calder Goodlay?

Calder Goodlay: Calder is like the Uncle Fester of Denver. He’s goofy and fun but can be surprisingly terrifying drag king

GayDenver: Where did the inspiration for Caulder come from (including the name)?

Calder Goodlay: The name was supposed to be Lucas Jack King or something like that. When I started performing, I just didn’t like the sound of and reactions to that name. I’m Scottish and wanted to incorporate that somehow. I was looking through a list of popular Scottish names for the year I was born and I liked Calder. I was stuck on Goodmorn for the last name but it wasn’t quite witty enough for me so Goodlay it became!

GayDenver: How long have you been doing drag? What got you started?

Calder Goodlay: October 16th, 2022 was Calder’s 6th birthday. What got me into drag? Spite. I was really excited about Ru Paul’s drag race. I started to do research on what it would be like for a drag king. Through that research I  stumbled upon Spikey Van Dykey and Landed Cider. My abusive boyfriend at the time was completely against this. He was an ass that thought I should just be wearing makeup and dresses.

I wasn’t able to start performing immediately after I realized what I wanted to do. There this fire to prove something to myself and my ex and nothing to do with it. Eventually I joined my first drag troupe, Mile High Kingdom. I was able to audition my way into this very  boyband-esque group I started off playing a very player, f%^# boy cool guy persona. 

I was intrigued by this drag show competition that featured alternative drag: WIERDO. It was love at first sight. I knew this is how I wanted to express myself and my art in this way. Being a preppy boy band member just didn’t feel authentic. I was having fun with Mile High Kingdom, and learning so much from them. But once I saw WIERDO, the weird, gothic, macabre aspects just really resonated with me only on a more personal level. 

Photo Courtesy Of Stu Osborn

GayDenver: How would you describe Calder’s evolution through the years?

Calder Goodlay: My first night performing at WIERDO I got a perfect score. I was the second person at the time to do this. I didn’t win the competition but that was a confidence building moment. With that confidence, I got creepier and creepier. After I started to feel comfortable expressing darker motifs, I started to throw geekier elements into it, costumes from video games like Portal and Borderlands.

I started to feed off people’s reactions to my performances. I just love the gasps and laughter when I tear off a doll’s head  filled with red glitter and poured it all over my face. I’ve worked in haunted houses before, so I was comfortable making other people uncomfortable. 

Once I transitioned to alt drag, I never really went back. There are rare times that I’ll be feeling it, but that’s once in a blue moon. There are darker twinges present in those numbers so it doesn’t feel like regression.



GayDenver: What are your sources of inspiration?

Calder Goodlay: I’ve always been fascinated with really intricate make up. There are special effects like youtuber PINKSTYLIST. I do a lot of horror, animated horror faces. A lot of my more recent faces have been inspired from Dahli from Dragula.

The process to create a number is very sporadic. Typically I’ll be listening to music or watching a movie and think ‘what if?’. It’ll take on a life of its own. I was listening to Veggie Tales ‘I Love My Lips’ and wondered what if he wasn’t talking about the lips on a face?!? I made a large paper mache pair of labia and wore it to that song.

GayDenver: Where are you from?

Calder Goodlay: Born and raised in Colorado. Mostly Lakewood/Littleton area but in and out of the Denver Metro area.

GayDenver: What type of music do you like to perform?

Calder Goodlay: Metal covers of pop songs are a comfortable go to. That way the crowd recognizes the song but it’s more in my style. I did ‘Truth Hurts’ by Lizzo and that went over really well.

GayDenver: If Caulder could put anything on a billboard what would it say?

Calder Goodlay:  Be the word you want to see in the world.

GayDenver: Where do you like to perform? Where can we see you?

Calder Goodlay: I’m all over the Denver drag scene, I don’t necessarily have a home bar. I’m at Hamburger Mary’s fairly often, HQ, or Tracks.

GayDenver: I love the big energy you hit the stage with. What’s your secret to that confidence?

Calder Goodlay: While I was with Mile High Kingdom, I picked up a ritual that I’ve kept with me. If I’m feeling nervous or low energy, I step outside and just let loose a deep guttural roar. I don’t do it every time, but more often than not. It’s something that helps me feel grounded, present and powerful.

GayDenver: Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Calder Goodlay: If you want to try drag, do it. Do the work, put time into your act.


For more horror drag, read Belle Fegore’s interview for more horror drag show fun.

Jeff Wilson
Author: Jeff Wilson

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