On Point With: Untitled Queen

Both a serious artist and a fun nightlife entertainer, Untitled Queen might not have a name per se–but she has a lot to say about her life and career, the Brooklyn scene, and the role of a queen in these challenging times. Read the Untitled Truth with Thotyssey!

Thotyssey: Hi Untitled! How was Brooklyn Pride for you? I see you performed at Littlefield for Be Cute. I bet that was probably one of the best places to be that night.

Untitled Queen: Be Cute Pride at Littlefield was amazing and beautiful. So many energetic and fabulous performances, and people in the audience smiling. At the end of the night, rapper Will Sheridan called everyone onstage and we laughed and danced.

Speaking of recent Brooklyn events, I watched some clips from Sasha Velour’s Nightgowns show, and I really wished I was there. It looked like a very gorgeous and surreal show, with lots of mulitmedia. Are shows like this more “nightlife” or “art?”

Sasha Velour, don’t even get me started, because I won’t stop talking about her. She is an incredibly thoughtful and daring performer who curates Nightgowns in this vein. I think it’s both art and nightlife. She melds the two together with her numbers, often involving multimedia and references to film, art, and politics. It’s a rare show with a lot of integrity.

Is it rare to see true art in nightlife, or do you see it often? 

I think drag is a medium, so I do see it often. Though in my experience, there are not as many visual artist performers as there are members of dance or theater. I think most drag queens I know are creative in that way.

Performance art and interpretive dance are kept alive by drag in this city. How long have you been part of this scene now, in Brooklyn? Is that where your drag was born, or did Untitled start elsewhere?

I started drag in Brooklyn about four years ago.

What were you like when you were younger? Were you always an artist? Were you social, or more of a private kid?

Oh I was always an artsy misfit. I wasn’t so social in middle school, because I didn’t really fit in. I was in a really white homogeneous Connecticut town. I was one of, like, three out gay kids in my school.

That sucks. 

It actually worked out for me. I think I became so invested in my work because my art was how I coped. I used my imagination to empower myself. If I didn’t have that upbringing, I don’t think I would’ve developed as well as a person or an artist.

How did you find your way to Brooklyn and Untitled?

I came to New York for grad school at Parsons for my MFA in fine arts in 2007. A friend of mine in school suggested I do drag after I was doing all these costume performance videos. And I resisted the notion at first. I wasn’t that big a fan of drag. But through her encouragement and a mutual friend, I did my first performance at Macy Rodman’s first Bathsalts. Then I met Merrie Cherry, and I did her Dragnet competition and won. And I just never stopped.

And we’re glad you didn’t. I’m guessing your name “Untitled” has to do with the labels some artists give their pieces. What does that mean to you, to be Untitled?

Untitled is definitely an art reference. It allows me to be more like an art object, and less about being a woman or a person. I like to think of myself as able to move across genres and styles and moods. The name provides this flexibility to walk out in many forms.

What’s your favorite number to perform? 

Sorta between “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac or Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.”

Is it hard to find a balance between creating art in your performance that people can appreciate, and throwing a fun party?

I used to have a difficult time in my own head, and I was often told not to do so many sad, slow songs. Really, no one ever asks for that. But when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do, and I followed it, I think people respected my connection to what I was doing. Often these ideas of what is or isn’t art are self-made. There isn’t actually some set of rules lying around somewhere.

Did you do a dramatic/sad number when you competed in Dragnet?

Actually I didn’t [laughs]. I did some mix from Little Shop of Horrors in an outfit with soft sculpture Venus flytraps. And for the finale, I did “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys. Not every single song I do is sad. But I definitely love doing it.

Now you co-host Dragnet with Merrie. How is Dragnet different from other drag pageants or contests, do you think?

Well, I think the format is pretty open. It’s not just queens, but also kings and bioqueens and live singers. The spectrum is pretty broad.

Have you had a lot of “this one’s gonna be big” A Star Is Born moments over they years when watching the contestants?

I felt that way about a lot of girls that I was starting with, not really just Dragnet: Macy Rodman, Horrorchata, Aja, Merrie, Lucy Balls. And some people who were already stars, like Crimson Kitty and K. James.

On the same night as the monthly Dragnet–right before, actually–is Alotta Stuff, which has kind of taken this legendary life of it’s own (this week’s edition is a benefit for the Orlando tragedy). Here is where Thorgy and Alotta McGriddles host a live drag auction, and you model a lot of the schwag. Are you a fierce runway model?

Uhhh, I try to be! I try to sell the garment, which is usually some batwing sequin church gown.

Sold! Have you ever seen anything being auctioned that you really want, though? Are you allowed to bid?

Yes, we have always been allowed to bid. And I’ve gotten some incredible pieces. I will say, before Thorgy was on Drag Race, I could afford the pieces. Now, they get gobbled up, and are way past my price range.

I figured that would happen! Have they auctioned off any of her Drag Race looks yet?

They have done pieces from the show, like her Snatch Game card, and her name tag on her station for rehearsal. Stuff like that.

RuPaul’s Drag Race has certainly elevated Thorgy’s celebrity nationally, and now she’s out of town a lot (but she’ll be in this week for Alotta Stuff). She has obviously been a major figure in Brooklyn nightlife; has the void of her absence been felt yet?

I feel like she comes back pretty often. I think more when she was on the show, it felt like she was gone longer, because there was no real social media or signs of her since she was filming and it had to be pretty minimal.

You also co-host Cakes with Elizabeth James at Metropolitan Bar on Wednesday nights. What’s that party like?

It’s my favorite party. It’s fun, carefree, wild. We do any type of numbers we want, interspersed with us gabbing and telling stories. And then we have a booty contest in the middle of the night. It’s just always a good time with smiling faces and dancing and shows. Horrorchata is our DJ.

That sounds like it’s just what we need right now. And I love Liz! Isn’t she, like, the most gorgeous and mysterious queen in the city right now?

She’s always been beautiful. But more than that, she’s silly, funny in a Goldie Hawn sorta way, and quick, and just talented. We get along really well.

What’s going on with Bushwig this year?

We are doing a “Bushwig Does Europe” fundraiser on July 16 at Secret Project Robot for a tour in Berlin and London.

Is Bushwig going to Europe this summer?

Yes. A set of seven girls are packing our wigs for the end of July into early August.

You too?

I am part of the group, yes.

Oh, that’s exciting! Have you ever been to either of those cities before?

I went to Berlin with Horrorchata last October, but not London ever.

Congratulations, and have fun! Do you know if you’ll be involved in the Brooklyn Bushwig main event this September? Not much has been said about that yet.

Yes. Brooklyn Bushwig should be September 10 and 11. I’m always involved in some form, either helping to emcee or performing.

Okay, last question. Everyone is devastated about Orlando, and it’s sometimes difficult or silly to discuss nightlife when we’re looking at this massive tragedy. But in a way, it feels like a form of protest and strength to celebrate our community’s nightlife. Right? 

Orlando. Those are our brothers and sisters. The night they were slaughtered, we were doing the same thing: gathering and celebrating and loving. So, I feel so close to their tragedy. And nightlife: the spaces, the performers and the patrons. That’s our space to finally be ourselves.

As a queen, I take it upon myself to be visible and strong for those kids that think this has been taken away from them. It hasn’t. I will be working tomorrow as I have the week before and the week before. My heart is crushed, but I know I can do this for my community. I can welcome them, and hug them, and entertain them. Out of resistance and sadness, we often find the most meaning.

Well said, and thank you for everything, Untitled!

Untitled Queen co-hosts Cakes at Metropolitan Bar on Wednesday nights (10pm). Also at Metropolitan Bar on third Thursdays (next on June 16th), Untitled is the runway model for the Alotta Stuff auction (9pm), and immediately after co-hosts the Dragnet pageant with Merrie Cherry (11pm). She will be perform at Secret Project Robot on July 16th for the Bushwig Does Europe fundraiser, and will join the actual Bushwig European tour of London and Berlin late July-early August. She’ll partake in the Brooklyn Bushwig festival in September (the 11th and 12th, tentatively). Untitled Queen can be followed on Facebook and  Instagram.

On Point Archives

See Also: 1 Thot Minute With Untitled Queen (7.4.2020)


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