One of nightlife’s biggest movers-and-shakers has us shook with all he’s up to these days: parties in Brooklyn, East Village and Chelsea; a live singing show; GLAM nominations; Drag Race Judys aplenty; and everything that is 3 Dollar Bill. And soon, the classic kiki that made him a nightlife name will be resurrected! Frankie Sharp catches up with Thotyssey since our first chat.
Thotyssey: Hey Frankie! Thanks for talking to us again today! It’s been a minute!
Frankie Sharp: Firstly can I just say, you are literally my favorite interviewer to talk to!
Even a year in, its always so nerve-racking! I think because it’s the most vulnerable thing I do. Literally putting myself on stage, and next to such great singers… I still feel like a wannabe next to them. But it was a beautiful night. It was very celebratory. I’m very proud of MARY.
As well you should be! It’s a super popular night for Club Cumming, and it’s a GLAM-nominated cabaret this year!
The GLAM awards are so fun! But they seem very localized with recognizing talent. It’s very uptown-focused, so I’m very honored to be recognized when I am for having mostly downtown and Brooklyn productions these days.
Yes, you actually have a bunch of GLAM noms this time around… what’s your track record with winning those?
I used to win every year Best Party and Best Promoter when Westgay was happening… but understandably so, Westgay was a very specific night that beautifully bridged downtown and uptown, Manhattan and all the surrounding boroughs–which I think is the ultimate goal usually with events. But Westgay actually achieved that.
You’re doing so much right now!
Yes I’m nuts right now. But I like it that way. A wasted minute is hell to me.
Do you have in your mind very specific ideas on what potential acts or DJs you could work in what space, or is it more about just getting those people and fitting them into any gig you can based on their schedule?
No, it’s very, very conscious and calculated. Just because one DJ or performer is successful in one space, that does not make them right for another. There’s many things that come into play… location, demographic, personal perspective.
It’s so much to be aware of! I picture, like, a dozen thotty assistants in a dungeon somewhere updating Frankie Sharp spreadsheets all day and night.
Can you believe for the first time I just hired a full time assistant? And even then I do most of it, because I’m also very hands on and maybe even a control freak. I’m constantly finessing the approach. Everything is about fine-tuning and being aware of every aspect of an event before, during and after. Its all stimuli though, again… no wasted minute.
I was just at Metropolitan Bar in Brooklyn last night–
Metro is just THE SPOT, you know? Its ol’ faithful. And they’re so incredibly supportive. and I adore the staff, and Steven the manager is one of the hardest working men in the biz.
Yes! And when I was there I saw a poster for an upcoming Metrosensual, which will have Cynthia Lee Fontaine! Metrosensual is the Saturday weekly you produce, and your longest running party now; very often it features Drag Race girls like Cynthia. So many RuGirls have come through for a Frankie Sharp event, are there any who have remained elusive to you?
Not really, honestly. Everyone is very supportive, and most girls I have personal relationships with and reach out to them before I reach out to their agents. I take great care of talent and they all get paid well and on time, so there’s no reason to pass up one of my events. Also, most managers of the girls know that I produce 100+ events a year, so they’re very responsive.
I’m bummed I missed viral sensation Florida Man’s Metrosensual! How was she?
An actual genius. And a lovely person. It’s so refreshing to get girls from the Bay Area in NYC; there’s almost NO ego attached to the person. It’s all heart and professionalism.
You’re also now the Man behind REBAR’s BOYS, the Friday night party that delivers on its name. Lots of cute dancing boys and top DJs. How are you enjoying the night so far?
Honestly, fab! The crowd keeps growing every week, and it’s quickly becoming the spot to get classically cruisey and bring home a piece of trade you’ve never seen before.The crowd is hot AF, and no one has their phones out unless they’re filming the gogo boys’ group number. Its very Magic Mike up in the club at BOYS. I clearly have a stripper fetish. I grew up around them. Also, I DJ at BOYS for the first set, so I’m having fun myself, too.
Do you get to DJ as often as you like these days?
Honestly the 3 Dollar Bill the Producer Hat has gotten tighter on me… so no. DJing is my favorite thing to do. It’s how I got to where I am now. But it comes in waves. I wish other promoters would book me to guest DJ; I don’t do that much anymore. Although, “busy” is an understatement for me right now.
3 Dollar Bill is such an interesting space. How did it come to be that you’re the event producer there?
Well, I came to see the space for my Halloween party… and while I was doing so I became very fond of Brenda the owner, and we quickly became the best of friends. She expressed some concern over the space–that it was so vast and beautiful, but nothing was happening–so I decided to step in and help.
The partnership thus far has been unreal. I knew I could do everything I always wanted to at 3 Dollar Bill. I’ve just now started to scratch the surface with my, ideas for 3DB.
There is a lot that can be done with the space! It’s a huge cavernous dungeon, but also there’s a giant stage with great tech, and additionally an outdoor space. What is, like, the craziest thing that comes to mind, i.e. something that you’ve always wanted to try and can maybe be done there?
We’re doing an immersive theatre show in January and February from Neon Coven. And MARY is going to start a new production in the giant Club Room as Mary Presents, an immersive club / bar experience where the cast is at the party but also a part of the scripted show. But being that we also have live music venue capabilities, I have BIG plans with some huge performers doing full concerts. I have massive plans for World Pride, but I have to keep those hush for now.
Lo and behold, 3DB will be the home of a Westgay revival on December 29th, starring Alyssa Edwards. Westgay was your Mona Lisa! 2018 has been all about revivals in pop culture, with nightlife being no different… Wigstock returned this summer, too! What made you want to bring back Westgay now?
The best part of my job is helping young producers with their ideas and help turn their events into larger scale forms. In doing so, it was hard to book a Tuesday night; no one was brave enough to do so. WestGay was a Tuesday night, and I posted a Facebook post that said “Can’t anyone up-and-coming do another WestGay?” and some commented “W3STGAY at 3 Dollar Bill?” A light bulb came on.
Ack! Are you excited for the return? A little nervous, maybe?
Very Excited. Like I said before, I get nervous before anything I do. Putting yourself out there is the name of the game, though. But more than the nerves, I’m excited because it feels like a true family reunion.
You were involved as an event producer with a club in BK called Lovegun a few years ago that lots of people remember fondly, but sadly didn’t last. Did you learn a lot from that experience as far as how to make 3DB work?
Yeah… not bring Manhattan to Brooklyn.
That’s true! No matter how much time passes, those scenes are still two distinctive worlds! And in my fledgling work as an event producer, I find it sooooo hard to get friends to break their cycles and travel to “new” neighborhoods.
That was one of the most major problems with 3DB when it first opened. It felt like a Manhattan club landed in Brooklyn, and demanded its revenue and support with no real attachment to the community. My entire career is about not only honoring Manhattan, but also Brooklyn and surrounding hoods… so just New York as a whole. My approach above all else is having this space be a gift to Queer Brooklyn. Its stage, its dancefloor… it’s Brooklyn’s, but everyone’s invited.
These days, we’re all a bit furious, scared and hypersensitive thanks in big part to this administration and its open hostility to the queer community and minorities. Has any of that effected how you go about things, or changed your role as an event producer in any way?
I think everyone feels anxiety because as a queer community we may lose our rights, our people are being threatened and some even hurt or murdered. Honestly, I blame Hollywood. Hollywood created a false and dangerous narrative that everything has a happy ending, and since we’re not experiencing that we can feel that pain in our gut right now due to all of this shaky, racist and chaotic rhetoric. Also, it was Hollywood that brought this reality shit show of a president to us, too. It’s affected my business because people are feeling more confrontational than ever. So in some ways, what I do in creating spaces is punk rock, which in turn feels celebratory of just being queer… but conversely within the community it has somewhat made it segregated.
The only other way I can think of how the administration and the world in general have changed my event production is that my social media presence has been more conscious. It feels a lil’ strange to witness wildfires in California or massive shootings across the country, and then beg people to come to my weekly Rager. It feels so disingenuous. So I try to express words out of love and good intention. I like to talk about my sobriety, help young people get a jump start on professionalism, and treat others with kindness and respect. The coolest thing you can do right now is be an incredible neighbor.
One thing that’s surprisingly inspired the Right to rage is young children’s exposure to drag–either in Drag Queen Story Hour, or the kids themselves doing drag. Desmond is Amazing is one of the higher profile kid drag stars, and your showcasing them on Saturday at 3DB!
Desmond is a showgirl. It’s gonna be a great show, and that’s what I love. And I honor the hard work they put in, and what hard work their mother puts in, too. The performance is happening a lot earlier than my usual 2AM showcase.
I’m more focused on getting Desmond’s rider right, with crackers, berries and Coca Cola. Everyone seems really obsessed with Desmond’s rider. Capri Sun and Sour patch kids.
That is a pretty great rider!
Its not much different than my rider, honestly. Most riders are just sugar.
is it weird to set up these big weekend nights at 3DB when you are basically competing with yourself, like with Metrosensual in the same general hood?
The way that I set up 3DB on Saturdays is when it’s MY production, like WestGay or Club Whoa, I make sure the target audience is specific for each space. Metro is a bar party and always always will be bangin’ and busy… and the reasonable cover is always $5-10. 3DB is a club experience with a higher cover, and frankly the demographic is very different. If you like the DRAMA, go to 3DB… but if you like less aggressive vibes but still wanna dance and get laid on a Saturday night, go to Metro. It’s no different than one club night having two rooms with two different DJs and sound systems… these rooms just happen to be a few miles from one other.
Understood! And finally: will [*pop star’s name redacted*] perform at 3 Dollar Bill in 2019?
Real T? I don’t really see her. Perhaps it’s something I should explore, but I just don’t get it. I’m just mystified about her appeal. I just need someone to explain it to me. Maybe it’s a Kardashian thing? I think people find comfort in simple ideas.
Thank you, Frankie!
Frankie Sharp produces MARY at Club Cumming (monthly Tuesdays, 9pm), BOYS at REBAR (Fridays, 10pm), Metrosensual at Metropolitan Bar (Saturdays, 10pm) and events at 3 Dollar Bill throughout the week. Check Thotyssey’s calendar for a full schedule of his events and appearances, and follow Frankie on Facebook and Instagram.
Previously: Frankie Sharp (3.17.2018)