Dancer, gogo boy, choreographer, aerialist, actor, promoter, producer. This guy wears a lot of hats… when he’s wearing anything at all! And this week he’s on the team of nightlife elites helming the premiere of one of the most hotly anticipated new parties of the summer. Let’s get the bare facts from Anthony Paparelli!
Thotyssey: Anthony, hello and thanks for finding the time to chat with us! Planning a new party at a new venue must be tricky… what stage are you at now with getting stuff together?
Anthony Paparelli: Hey Jim, thanks so much for having me. You are right, new parties can be tough and stressful, but it’s also fun creating something new and different. I also have an amazing team of people working with me, so that has made it so much better. Right now, we basically are in the final stages of promoting the party. We have all the details in place for the venue, the DJ, the hosts, the acts, etc. Now it’s just about getting the word out and getting people through the door.
We’re all looking forward to the new experience. We’ll talk about it more in a bit, but first let’s get to know you, cuz you do so much. First off, where are you from?
I was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania.
What were you into then, as far as creative or career pursuits?
Well, I grew up as a gymnast and competitive swimmer. I also started singing at a young age in church. I got into musical theatre at the age of 10, and then started actually taking dance class when I was 15. So, I kept myself and my parents busy with a lot of extracurriculars from a young age!
Wow you were busy! Did dance become your passion right away when you started?
No. Actually, my dance teacher (and now one of my best friends) discovered me at age 15 and said you’re going to dance, and I laughed and said “No, I don’t dance.” So, it was something that slowly grew on me the more I did it.
Interesting! Did you ultimately come to NYC to pursue it?
Yes. It was always my plan from a young age to move to NYC and pursue my career. I originally planned to move here directly after college, but life had different plans for me. So, last year after I finished an international contract, I decided to just pack up and do it. It was a now or never moment and here I am!
I saw a bit of your aerial work you on YouTube… terrifying!
The aerial sort of fell (no pun intended, ha) into my lap about three years ago. I was asked to dance for Royal Caribbean, but I wanted to do something different. So they offered me an aerial position, and I trained and performed as an aerialist for a couple years.
What were some of your first dancing/acting jobs here?
Speaking specifically of NYC, I have done a lot of one time gigs for random projects, some modeling, two international shows, and a movie in the last year. Before that, I was a dance in a modern/jazz company, and also a dancer in two contemporary ballet companies. Now, I’m just auditioning and working on some new and exciting projects.
When did you discover the nightlife world?
The nightlife world discovered me, actually! It was purely an accident. Last Easter I went to drag brunch with my roommate and his friends, and we went and saw a drag queen named Brita Filter. She and I kicked it off right away, and I ended up choreographing a new number for her and dancing in it. And then that turned into hosting, which turned into gogoing, which turned into producing, and the rest is history. Brita and I are still best friends to this day, and she has introduced me to basically my entire nightlife family.
However, nightlife isn’t new to me. My family has been in the bar and nightclub business for three generations. I literally grew up behind bars, and have been doing it my entire life, so it was honestly a perfect fit. I just got lucky enough to meet the right people and have some amazing friends who have opened a lot of doors for me, and now I work almost every night of the week in some facet of nightlife!
Isn’t it funny how that works out? Your gogoing is a big part of “School for Girls,” Sundays nights at the Ritz, hosted by Pattaya Hart and Alexis Michelle. Oh, did you see Alexis win the night on Drag Race Friday?
I did. I was so excited for her. She works so hard, and really is a wonderful person. I keep in touch with her while she’s on the road, and I’m always rooting for her! #teamsubwayfish
How do you approach movement as a gogo boy, being a trained dancer?
Well, I sort of have shaken things up in the “gogo” world. I’m not a “traditional” gogo boy, in the sense that I’m not just a pretty boy that gets in his underwear and just step touches to the beat all night long. When I get up there, I give you a show. I dance.
For example, with Alexis and Pattaya, I am not confined to a gogo box. I get on the floor and dance with everyone. If I know the video choreo, you better believe I bust it out. I also choreograph large production numbers for all my events as much as possible. I want to be worth watching, and want you to look at me and be like, oh damn, look at him; and then, of course, put a dollar in my pants [laughs]!
I think you’re on to something there!
[Laughs[ thank you! I hope I’m on to something too. Well, let’s just say I always have something new up my sleeve that I’m working on. I’m always looking for new talent, and trying to break the mold. The problem is, always getting people to let you do something that hasn’t been done and then getting them to pay you to do it! But yes, I hopefully have some exciting, new things coming up for NYC nightlife.
Glad to hear it! As far as hosting and planning events go, I know you’ve been making quite a name for yourself.
Why thank you. It’s been a lot of hard work but I’ve been trying.
How did that party “Eloquent” go that you produced at the West End in March?
“Eloquent” went very well. I was extremely happy with it, and we had a great turnout. It eventually will become a regular monthly party, and I’m already in talks for the next one. However, right now I’m just trying to find the right time for it. With my schedule and Fire Island coming up, it’s really a balancing act. But keep an eye out for it… she’s coming back!
What’s Fire Island gonna be like for you?
Busy! I will be there at least a few days a week. I will be working with a few different drag queens on a weekly basis, as well as gogoing, working the underwear parties, working some special pop up events, and shooting a web based series. Plus, whatever other trouble I can get into while I’m out there!
Werk! Okay, let’s talk about Lip Service, which debuts Thursday night at the Sky Room! That’s being hosted/produced by
Maddelynn Hatter, Scotty Em, Vinny Vega and yourself. First of all, when did you all come together to start planning this?
I was approached by Scotty a little over a month ago with the idea. It’s the first time we’ve teamed up for an event together, so I was all about collaborating. We started planning right away. We each took a different task as far as the planning and work that was involved. The four of us all have different things we bring to the table, so it’s going to be a very dynamic party.
And this space, the Sky Room Rooftop in HK, looks gorgeous.
It’s amazing. The views are spectacular. The place is so classy and beautiful. I think it’s going to be quite refreshing to literally be on top of a roof outdoors in such a wonderful venue instead of crammed into our normal day to day sanctuaries!
Totally. And who else will we have there on opening night? And do you think it’s gonna be “dance party,” or “shows,” or “chill,” or bits of all the above?
We have an all star line up for Thursday night. Obviously all the producers will be there, along with Shuga Cain, Chris Ryan, Trevor Silva, Joe Pino, Antonio Cedeno, and CT Hedden. We have DJ Vito Fun dropping the sickest beats. And Absolute Vodka is sponsoring the entire event, so the Absolute boys will be there giving away drinks, merch, and fun stuff.
As far as the direction, we are feeling that our ourselves. The first night will really help us see which direction we are being pointed in; however, we are trying to make this not a specific “scene”. We want everyone to be included: drag queens, club kids, people looking to dance, people look to just have a cocktail, etc.
Every week it will be different. Maddelynn and I are already working on some brand new production numbers we are going to perform. We are planning some really fun and exciting stuff in the upcoming weeks, and are already in planning mode for Pride if everything goes well!
I think we’re all craving something new and something with variety, so this might be exactly what we need! Can’t wait for opening night!
What else is coming up for you?
Well…..the best way to keep in touch with me and know exactly what is going on is my Instagram. Definitely come and check out Lip Service every Thursday with me, and Alexis Michelle and Pattaya Hart’s School for Gals every Sunday at the Ritz.
I bartend at the West End for C’mon Wednesdays with Brita Filter and Terra Hyman, followed by The Ultimate Drag Pageant with Marti Gould Cummings and Nedra Belle. I’m also there on Fridays with Shuga Cain for our Drag Race viewing.
Besides that, you can catch me randomly at GLOW Saturdays at Boots & Saddle with Kareem McJagger and Brita Filter, or at Monica Blewinsky’s monthly EDEN party.
And of course, I’ll be on Fire Island. And if none of that works for you, I’m sure you’ll see me out and about somewhere – just stop and say hello!
Okay, last question: what’s something we might not know about Anthony, but should?
Hmmmm… I still sleep with the stuffed dog my dad bought me when I was a baby [laughs]!
Awwww, that’s so damn cute! Thank you, Anthony!
Anthony Paparelli hosts the party “Lip Service” at the Sky Room Rooftop on Thursday nights beginning May 4th (10pm), and gogo dances at “School for Girls” at the Ritz on Sundays (9pm). Follow Anthony on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.