Thorgy Thor (aka Shane Thor Galligan) first gained national attention as a contestant on Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and then again when he appeared on Season 3 of Drag Race All Stars. But Thorgy was already a force to be reckoned with in the Brooklyn drag scene.
Thorgy brings her unique brand of music+performance art+fashion+drag to Dallas’ Rose Room on Saturday, Sept. 14 to headline the Night of Stars 2019, a fundraiser for the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund’s Team Metro for LifeWalk, and Dallas Voice chatted with her recently via email to find out more about this one-of-a-kind performer.
— Tammye Nash
Dallas Voice: How did your stage name, “Thorgy Thor,” come about? Thorgy Thor: My middle name is “Thor,” after my grandfather. He grew up in Norway, married a Thora, had four kids, then came over to Long Island. I’m proud of my Norwegian heritage, so I combined my middle name with my last initial, G — “ THORGY.”
You started out as a musician. What was the catalyst for becoming a drag queen, too? I always found myself leading the violin section of an orchestra, playing Tchaikovsky and imagining how much more fun it would be to incorporate a ridiculous entertainer in the front, with musical score. In the middle of a Brahms symphony, I would think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be divine to have three figures move across the stage in unison, in cloaks … paddling a canoe?” So, I started to experiment with makeup and costuming, and the rest is history. I dare you to find some early pictures of me in “drag!” They are hilarious. I was a pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook queen, so my scope of influence was minimal at best.
Can you describe the process you went through to combine your musical skill and talent with your talent for drag and performance art? Was it something you thought out and planned, or was it more spontaneous? I sat in front of my computer for years recording all four parts of a Mendelssohn string quartet and used that as the score to many of my earlier drag shows. I would add voice over and always tell a story. Most of time, I would incorporate what was going on in the news at the time. I should bring back my 12-minute number about Octomom. Remember her?
On top of the music, the drag and the performance art, you are into fashion, too. What sparked that interest, and what part does the fashion play into the rest of your stage persona? Who isn’t into fashion!?! I’ve been collecting and restoring vintage clothing since middle school, so I have quite a collection. Truth be told, part of my week is taking inventory of my closet to include in my insurance! I have everything from fabulous McQueen pieces to Chanel suits to medieval armor! You cannot deny when you put on a vintage stone-washed denim studded jacket from the ’80s that your inner fashion clown doesn’t shine!
I read on Wikipedia that you consider yourself “a Brooklyn drag queen,” and that “Brooklyn’s drag style has contributed to [your] aesthetic.” What does that mean? What sets Brooklyn drag queens apart and makes them special? Describe the “Brooklyn drag style” for me and explain what makes it different. When I first moved to Brooklyn, there were two gay bars, and I could count on one hand the drag entertainers that worked. Now there are hundreds! Every time I return from tour, there’s a new queen who says “Hi, my name is Poopy Diapers, and I’m available for bookings!” I support all of it.
Brooklyn is just tons of fun. All the entertainment and venues are within walking distances from each other, so it’s fun to just hit the streets in fashion and go door-to-door showing off. I was the first Brooklyn girl on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and I’ll never forget RuPaul saying to me “Thorgy Thor, you brought the BK to the RDR, and I aint gonna lie, I’m loving it!” My good friend and BK Drag Race Sister Sasha Velour stole the crown shortly thereafter, and I couldn’t be more proud that we both represent what Brooklyn is about: art, fashion, ridiculous ideas and supporting one another as a community.
Your bio on your website says that you “love to lip-sync just as much as create collaborative performance art that mashes together drag, music and comedy.” What is it about lip-sync that attracts you it? If you had to choose just one — lip-sync or music and comedy performance art — moving forward in your career, which one would you choose, and why? Well, they are all very different. I would never choose to exclude any of those expressions; they are all intertwined. In my show “Thorgy and the Thorchestra” at Gramercy Theater on Aug. 24, we played Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 6 and in the next piece I was chugging a beer on stage then moving into a modern dance. There are no limits as an entertainer. Do what you feel and always try new collaborations.
With that said, there is nothing more gratifying than nailing a lip sync to your favorite Whitney Houston track and watching a kid in the front row living his best life.
Music, comedy and theatrical performances are art forms. What makes drag an art form, too? Do you think there is a difference between “just drag” and drag as an art form? Drag is the ultimate art form. There are no limits. It combines fashion, performance, movement, expression and comedy. What a great life to live! Use your body as a medium to express yourself. Drag is about ideas.
Drag is in a state of constant evolution, and RuPaul’s Drag Race is obviously affecting that evolution by constantly showing the difference in and dynamic between the different styles of drag — fashion drag, performance art drag, dance drag, pageant drag, etc. What do you see as the next step in that evolution? Skydiving in unison with 100 queens from the sky to open up the Met Gala next year!
Tell me a little bit now about Thorgy Thor off-stage, or in another words, tell me about every-day, real-life you. What are your interests and hobbies? What do you do to relax? Do you have a partner or other family you want to mention?
You interested in dating me? Give me a call! My brain works fast, and most of my friends are constantly frustrated with me, so be prepared. I love to go out to extravagant lunches and order the most expensive things on the menu and sit there for hours on my days off. This week I’m going to the Met CAMP exhibit in NY and then going flea market street shopping … anyone want to join?
What’s next for Thorgy Thor? Where should we be watching for you? What do you want to do that you haven’t gotten to do yet, career-wise?
This past year I have soloed with the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and many others are lined up for 2020. I couldn’t be more proud to reach that stepping stone as an artist. I’m working on a comedic album, which I hope to drop out of nowhere in 2020. I’m hoping to be traveling with a smaller show called “Thorgy and The Thortet” this coming year in intimate theaters across the United States, so keep an eye out. I’m not supposed to say anything, but I have a very special six-episode TV show coming out that is currently in the works … so, shhhh!