On Point With: Temple Grandé

This bearded belting beauty is bringing a chorus of delight to a cherished HK venue this weekend: the divine Temple Grandé!

Thotyssey: Hello Temple! I hope you’re hunkered down in air conditioning somewhere!

Temple Grandé: Hey hey! The AC is cranked all the way up, and I’m cool as a cucumber!

Glad to hear it! Drag in 90-plus degrees seems like something they might do in hell, so my heart goes out to all the girls performing in this.

Right? But the show has to go on… so get the portable fan, douse yourself in setting spray, drink lots of water, and get out there!

Werk! Anyway, how are things with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus?

The chorus is currently on their summer break, but we’ll be back together in September to get ready for our winter concert. However, just because the chorus is on break doesn’t mean our members are! We have so many talented folks, it’d be a shame not to do something on the “off-season.” That’s why right now, a few of us are putting together a benefit fundraiser for NYCGMC at 54 Below next week!

More on that in a bit… so tell us some of your origin story! Where’s your hometown?

I’m originally from California, born and raised in the Bay Area. I moved here to NYC in 2007 to study at NYU, and never left!

And how did you begin in music and performing?

Honestly? If it wasn’t for joining the chorus in Fall 2017, I’m not sure I ever would’ve had the confidence to pursue performing. I sort of took a leap of faith in joining the chorus, and I got in. Then when I learned there was a drag community in the chorus, I decided to try that. In 2019 I was crowned Chorus Queen, and that kind of was the creation of Temple Grandé. So I use my talents to fundraise for the chorus, and navigate through NYC nightlife.

There was another similarly named bearded queen here in NYC before she recently moved away: Haireola Grande! Did you ever meet her?

I did, actually! We never did a show together, but are familiar with each other. I think she’s fab.

You performed in Rockbar a few times… how did you become associated with that venue?

I met a few gals who did Miss Rockbar last fall–Harriet Tugsmen, Queen Brendaline, Ivory Snow and Taina, to name a few–and I just kept in touch and supported their shows. Then I got to know the staff, and when there was a space to have my own show for a night I took it! I’ve always enjoyed that bar as a patron, so it’s just like a cherry on top when I can perform there.

What are your live drag shows like? Are they live sung at all, or is there a lot of lip syncing?

It depends on how I feel, but I mainly lip sync. If there’s a song I’m dying to sing, I love to that. But in my performances, I like to incorporate drag and burlesque. And with that, I’ll sometimes strip and sing!

So the Chorus is such a large group of people, and as an entity is so respected and accomplished in the community. It must feel great to just be a part of that legacy!

It really does! NYCGMC has been a part of the NYC LGBTQ+ community since 1980; Even being in it for a couple years, you really appreciate the history behind it. It was a privilege to be a Chorus Royal, and even after my reign it’s still an important part of my life. It’s why next week’s benefit concert at 54 Below is so special. It’s a grassroots fundraiser organized by members of the chorus that’s kind of like a big “thank you.” Even more special about this show: it’s our first one back since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

That show, “Too Darn Hot,” will be next Friday, July 29th. Tell us more!

Yes I’d be happy to! “Too Darn Hot” is a show at 54 Below, produced by Mama Mela and hosted by Gigi St. Croix and myself. It’s the middle of summer, and we really just wanted a create a show that celebrates the heat and passion of the season. It’s a little sexy and a little silly, with a fantastic cast that will get you sweating! Not too much though… 54 Below is well air-conditioned. I think it just may be our best 54 Below show yet!

Is there anything else coming up for you and / or the Chorus that the children should know about?

Yes! I’ve got another gig next week, July 31st (7pm): a Sunday Tea Dance on the Hudson with Urban Bear. If you’re a bear or a bear-lover, you should join me! Use “TEMPLE5” for $5 off your ticket.

As for the chorus… auditions will be happening last week of August! If any of your readers have ever wanted to join NYCGMC, they should try out! Everyone is welcome to audition!

All very exciting! Last question: as we finale approach the finale, whose team are you on for Drag Race All-Stars 7?

Oh wow, this is the hardest question yet! I think it’s Jinkx for me… I’m still not over her Judy impression! So iconic.

Thank you Temple!

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Temple Grandé’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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