Today we’d like to introduce you to Seth Kaiser and Stephen Bamonte.
Hi Seth and Stephen, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Stephen & I were having some drinks together one night and started discussing how we both love great DJs and a good dance party – but at the time with so many gay spaces shutting their doors and we weren’t able to find the vibe in our local queer community. So we challenged ourselves to give it a go, trying to throw our own event. Baltimore’s this quirky city where you don’t need a trust fund and all the connections to be here and be queer and creative and experiment with something new. The first Psst Lets Party started in typical Baltimore fashion.
We had no connections and no experience. In August 2018, we reached out to Wet City, this local restaurant and bar with lots of pink neon inside. Both of us had always loved the space and we asked if we could throw a “birthday party” for Stephen have a DJ and make a dance floor. We had no following, so we did it all old school, running around the Mt Vernon area with legit a stapler, putting up pink posters with a sexy smirk on them, and hoping for the best. It ended up being a great success and we realized that we weren’t the only ones who were looking for this kind of event.
And it wasn’t just gay men, but queer people and allies and basically a community of people who kind of looked like our diverse city. The wet city was super supportive, so we set up our social media, started collaborating on cool drink specials with the venue, and got to run the party monthly. The events were getting more and more packed, and people were asking us when the next one was.
Then miss corona hit and that was that for a while. Luckily for both of us, Psst Lets Party is a side project and not our main gig.
During the height of COVID times, a friend introduced us to Robert the owner of The Manor, who was super supportive of hosting an event with us at his bar. Both of us were ready for something new after being in lockdown all these months. It felt like the whole city was up for something new and a few others in the community were experimenting with new queer parties, too, giving the city all these rad new options. In May 2021, we decided to start our new monthly event, *69 – calling people back to the dance floor.
We started growing, charging a cover, and getting really great feedback. After a couple of these parties and meeting different DJs, we were finally able to start bringing in more of the talent and music we absolutely love. We got bigger sound, laser lights, Gogo boys, and just made a really fun night. And it keeps growing. We just had our biggest event yet last Saturday.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The party promotion business isn’t an easy one. Everyone has an opinion, and you will never please every person every time. But people kept coming, having a blast, and asking for more. After hosting a couple of *69 events, we both wanted the opportunity to do Halloween (which is basically gay Christmas) and throw a prime-time event. This was a much bigger undertaking and higher risk. We had saved up some money from the parties thus far, but we needed a bigger crowd since we were selling our first expensive ticket and it was really spooky.
In the end, it was a really awesome party. The theme was club kid attire, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many amazing costumes in my life. Baltimore turned it out and it was incredible. The only real hitch was at midnight when a drag queen’s boot went through the giant 1800s Victorian mirror on the main dance floor at which point I almost had a heart attack. No one wants to have the music stop and the lights turned on in the middle of a party. Luckily everyone got super organized.
Staff and Gogo boys jumped in to get the glass cleaned up, the lights went back down, and the music played on. Needless to say, the party ended up having some extra expenses and I was worried people would be upset. But the word on the street was that it was a very rock n roll moment that everyone was sharing videos of. All press is good press I suppose. And don’t worry, the mirror is all better now.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I think we are probably most proud of the Halloween event but we really take a lot of pride in our party and in our city. We can make an event and we can tell you what to wear but only Baltimore can bring the special sauce that makes it all come together in a really cool way.
We know Baltimore is the weirdo of the family of east coast cities. We love that weirdo and folks from our sister cities to the north and the south seems to like Baltimore weird, too, ‘cause they keep showing up to our parties.
Any big plans?
We are continuing to grow and reach new audiences with our current party and keep your eyes peeled for this year’s Halloween extravaganza at The Manor. Plus some new and bigger events are in the works for next summer.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/psst_lets_party
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PSSTLetsParty