Thorgy Thor. Photo courtesy Cocktail.
ST. PETERSBURG | Cocktail will ring in the new year with the return of their Cock + Sparkle Drop Dec. 31, featuring “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Thorgy Thor and welcoming 2024 as only the LGBTQ+ hotspot can.
The annual celebration is the venue’s hybrid of the New York City ball and Key West shoe drops. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and will feature entertainment and dancing throughout the evening at Cocktail and The Wet Spot, culminating with a complimentary champagne toast and unforgettable presentation from entertainment director Adriana Sparkle and Thorgy Thor.
“A new year represents another opportunity to grow with the community and offer them new ways to engage and connect with our brands by launching the final phase of the hotel,” says David Fischer, owner of Cocktail, The Wet Spot and the Mari Jean Hotel, launched earlier this year.
“It’s a chance for us to celebrate, reflect, and set our stage for another successful year ahead,” he continues. “We can never emphasize enough the love we have for our community in the Tampa Bay area and as we grow, we hope they grow with us. We simply wouldn’t have the success and feel the love if it weren’t for our customers and our incredible team that continues to triumph together.”
The event has no cover for general admission, though VIP experiences are available. Watermark caught up with Thorgy Thor ahead of NYE to discuss what fans can expect, her time on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and much more.
WATERMARK: You headlined Sarasota Pride earlier this year. What was that experience like?
Thorgy Thor: It was hot. (Laughs.) It’s kind of funny, though. I’m a New Yorker born and raised and I’ve lived on Long Island, now I live in Brooklyn, and I travel all the time. But this year, for some odd reason, I have been booked and traveling a lot to Los Angeles and to Florida, all over Florida. Florida was like my year this year — and just to speak politically a little bit, with everything at the beginning of the year with DeSantis and all the craziness, I couldn’t be more proud as a New Yorker, and as a liberal, to come down down there and perform my heart out a dozen times this year.
So I’m excited to be back. And you know what, even more so because this is for New Year’s Eve. I’m glad that we can like strike a bell at the stroke of midnight and start afresh, and hopefully enter into a much better year. Let’s let this serve as a catalyst towards a great New Year.
Looking back on the year, how would you describe 2023?
2023 was ups and downs, wasn’t it? It was full of a lot of political drama surrounding the trans community, the LGBTQ community, which I’m part of. We couldn’t seem to get away from drama this year and I think it kind of affected everyone in a way where now it’s a topic of conversation every day. Is that fair to say?
This year makes me visualize a witch’s stew that’s just hot and steaming and full of garbage. (Laughs.) It was one of opposition and conversations that I think, as a society we’ve been needing to have for a long time. I also think this a great year for Gen Z. I think it was a year for them to flex their muscles and to whine and complain out loud, and for us folks that are a little bit older, who kind of created this great culture for them to enjoy, I think they woke up and they really got to flex their voices as Gen Z, giving a face to changes that they see that need to be taking place.
What about you? How was your personal 2023?
I painted my nails every month and got a new haircut, but I’ve been talking about politics because I think Florida kind of wakes this up with me. I think it’s fair because you can’t get away from it whether you want to or not, you know?
This year I celebrated my 20th year in drag. Thorgy turned 20 and I know a lot of the queens like to throw some big party, but I’m like, “oh, girl, whatever.” It’s kind of a big deal. I’ve been doing this for 20 years in the business and I’m still going strong and I still love it. So that’s something to be said.
Congratulations! How would you say drag has changed since you started?
It’s funny, I used to count on one hand — there used to be four queens in Brooklyn and I was one of them when I started. Now every day, there are 1,000 queens in poopy diapers who want to get paid, and I’m like, “girl, go home, go get your master’s degree. Go to bed.” But you know, it’s phenomenal that we’ve created this kind of monster of an industry and now it’s taken over mainstream media.
We’re on “Dancing with the Stars” and we’re on reality game shows, we have our own television networks. It’s phenomenal to watch that. I lived and did this work in an interesting 20-year perspective, because before me, it was Lady Bunny and Varla Jean Merman and Joey Arias, Miss Understood, Linda Simpson, they laid the groundwork, but there were just a few of them. And then I was there, I was kind of this newer generation, and during my generation it fucking exploded and now it’s everywhere.
Every child wants to say their pronouns, discover who they are and really delve into personal exploration and tell the next generation about their experience. It’s fascinating to watch how things change. I’m talking like I’m some wise 80-year-old person on the way out. (Laughs.)
You’re still young.
I’m gonna be 40 this coming year, I’m still young. I’m a goofball and I’m a funny clown all the time, but my knees hurt. (Laughs.) It’s the little things where I’m like, “oh, I can’t crawl on the floor anymore like that for too long.”
Outside of drag you’re a professional musician. How long have you been playing?
Well, I’ve been playing since I was young, young, young, young, young. I’ve been performing since I was little, little little. But I started taking it seriously in fourth grade. Fourth grade was when students and my parents were like, “Oh, you’re really talented. Let’s start kicking it into high gear, getting private lessons and going on auditions and getting a really good private teacher.” I soared after that and then I learned viola, cello and went on to conservatory after high school.
But my “Thorgy and the Thorchestra” show was always in the back of my mind, being a crazy kind of queer artist sitting in a very conservative world of wearing black and white and not standing out. It’s very communistic, the whole outfit of sitting in a Symphony Orchestra. You don’t want to stand out and I couldn’t help it, so it was only inevitable that I was going to stand out and be leading these wonderful “Thorchestra” shows that I do.
What do you find more challenging, competing on “Drag Race” or performing your “Thorchestra?”
They both have their different challenges, but competing in the reality television show when the network doesn’t like you — they didn’t like me, they wanted me off the show — is difficult. They kept trying, but I was kind of good at everything and they saw it and said it out loud. And I was like, “Oh, you don’t want me here, you didn’t really want me to succeed.” But it was difficult standing in heels for 12 hours and having to judge your peers and stand there being judged on something that you pour your finances and all of your effort and your heart into.
It’s difficult, and then you’re eliminated and you’re like, “what? Why? What’s going on?” You know, I do my “Thorchestra” show and I prepare for months at a time, but they’re not going to eliminate me. (Laughs.) I’m not getting eliminated so it’s a lot less difficult to do a show. But I still get nervous as a performer.
You mentioned that you felt producers didn’t like you, but you’re an undeniable fan favorite. How do you reconcile that?
I’m good TV, and a lot of people that we meet me, the number one comment I get from everyone, literally in airports across the globe for the last however many years I’ve been traveling since season eight. People come up to me and they’re like, “you are exactly who you were on television. You’re not fake. You’re very friendly, you take the time to sit and talk with me.” I’m very honest and I’ve always been crazy. I was never faking it, I didn’t have to make it up.
I guess this goes back to what I was saying originally about the younger kids. These queens that get on the show that are 21 but they haven’t been working. Like Sugar and Spice, right? They have no life experience. They sat at home during 2020 and filmed themselves … But then when they were released into the public and a microphone was in their hands, they have no stories to tell. They don’t know how to control an audience and you can’t judge them — well, you can judge them. I could run circles around them. But the thing is these young kids are taking over the industry, but they have no skills for live performance.
But yes, I’ll meet people around the globe and they’ll say “you’re exactly who you are,” and the whole point of this rant is that I always knew who I was. I spent years and years cultivating a character named Thorgy, who was a slightly more exuberant, outrageous fashion of my own self, and I knew who I was. The judges would judge looks and I would kind of look at them and go, “okay, you don’t like that, fine.” But I knew who I was, and I think a lot of queens get on there, they don’t know who they are, they just try and create these characters. But then when people meet them, they’re like, “Wait, who is this person? Or what a bitch,” you know? They don’t know who they are and I just always knew who I was on the show, and when I was there, I was just very clear about who I was. I’m still the same monster I always was, so, whatever. (Laughs.)
So you would return to “Drag Race,” then?
I think I’d be stupid to say no. Although 2023 was kind of ups and downs, a lot of things going on personally in my life. I think if they asked me midway through the year to join “All Stars,” you have to as an artist, and as a working artist, especially something in the arts like drag that is so physically and mentally demanding, you have to be in the right headspace to say yes to go on a competition show. I don’t think if they asked me this past year, I would have been ready to do that. I don’t think so. But 2024 is right around the corner!
Speaking of, are you someone that makes New Year’s resolutions?
I don’t think anybody really sticks to them, but yeah, why not? It’s fun. I don’t want to look back and say I didn’t make a resolution.
What can fans expect from your New Year’s performance?
Well, tons of energy. I think we’re doing shows all night, lots of fun, different costumes, and I think we have a slew of performers. It’s New Year’s Eve, so we’ll do a champagne toast — and maybe I’ll bring my violin to ring in the new year. It wouldn’t have wouldn’t be New Year’s without a little live acoustic music.
What message do you have for Floridians heading into 2024?
I don’t think I’m the right queen to ask that question. (Laughs.) My message is to reach out to your own community in Florida and ask people from all walks of life that live in Florida, of all age groups, and all identifications and shapes and sizes to get together to decide how to move forward as Floridians. I can’t dictate what you should be doing, but I do think Florida is a little divided and politically, it’s just craziness.
For me, I love talking to people from all walks of life. No matter who it is, I can find somebody to talk to them about. That’s just who I am, and I think that’s what has dictated my amount of success in my 20-year career.
What do you want to tease about 2024?
My 2024 is absolutely sprinkled with some amazing work, mainly with my orchestral work, and I’m recording an album that is going to be string music, but fun string music, so pay attention to that. Just pay attention to my Instagram or my website where I post about “Thorchestra” shows coming to you. I know Florida is on the on the docket. I’m also really excited take the strings to the next level and may even have some collaborations with other “Drag Race” girls.
Thorgy Thor will perform at Cocktail’s Cock + Sparkle Drop Dec. 31. General admission is no charge but limited VIP experiences are available for purchase. Click here to learn more. Keep up to date with Thorgy Thor at Thorgy.com.