Host for Jasper’s Tavern drag bingo night, Ms. Trai La Trash, performs ”Georgia on My Mind” by James Brown between bingo rounds. Every Sunday for over a month now, Jasper’s Tavern has been hosting Drag Bingo from 6 to 9 p.m. Aliya Hall/The Chronicle

SPRINGFIELD – The bingo balls pop and spin as hostess and drag queen Ms. Trai La Trash enters Jasper’s Tavern, as a jazzy rendition of Nirvana’s ”Smells Like Teen Spirit” booms from the speakers. It’s Drag Bingo night, and guests are there for a game and a show.
For a little over a month now, Jasper’s Tavern has hosted Drag Bingo every Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.
”Everyone loves it,” owner Greg Melitsoff said. ”She does an amazing job; she has an amazing personality and it’s really fun.”
Melitsoff said the idea came from Trai La, who is one of the bar’s regulars. He said that it turned out to be a great idea. Trai La said that she was trying to find a place to do something like this, and Melitsoff instantly said yes.
”I thought, ‘Let’s try something fun,’” Trai La said. ”It’s been successful. People really like it. It’s an amazing crowd.”
She added that although Springfield has a lot of businesses downtown, there could be more entertainment.
Janean Smith and Elizabeth Miras said it was their first night coming to drag bingo, and Miras said she thought it would be a happy experience – ”a way to be entertained and have fun.”
Smith said she ”likes to try new things and new adventures,” and looked forward to the night’s cash prize. In the past, prizes – which Trai La picks out beforehand – have included lottery tickets and Sour Patch Kids candy. Last week, she did Christmas-themed prizes, and she said she wants to give away something nice.
There are two full rounds of bingo, which starts off as regular bingo and work towards a blackout. It is a family-friendly event, which Trai La admitted can be challenging for her because she’s ”raunchy,” though she tones it down if anyone is underage, she said.
Melitsoff said that it’s a welcoming environment and Trai La was pleasantly surprised by the diversity.
”It starts from Republicans to Democrats to gays to lesbians to trans people – it goes on and on,” she explained.
”In a little town like this, in a sports bar, that’s pretty amazing to see. There is such diversity right downtown in a place you wouldn’t expect it, in a new establishment that we need to support,” she said. ”I live in this neighborhood, so I want to support this neighborhood and make it succeed. If we don’t support each other in life or where we live, we’re not going to succeed.”



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