Hansen hails from Jersey City, NJ and spent the first 15 years of his life
trying to get out. New York City was 30 cents and a 15 minutes
train ride away – so lo and behold, Greenwich Village was discovered. Thom came
out when he was 13 in the summer of 1967 and found Greenwich Avenue and
Christopher Street in 1969 – quite a coming out party that year!
For all of you who were there, Mama’s Chicken Rib (across the Street
from Paula’s) was his hang out.
boring part: academically and business wise, Thom went to Pace
University as an Business and Accounting Major. Thom’s
career began as a financial analyst, a business manager in
the textile industry and an actor (in and out of drag). He
founded and ran his own Real Estate Management Firm for 10
is now Vice President of the International Division of a major
direct marketing firm.
In 1971 at 17, Thom and some friends had plans to see Melba
Moore at the Waldorf Astoria, and the times being what they
were, they knew that they would be seated in the rear as
they were 3 men and 1 woman. So they had a few drinks (and
other things) and convinced Thom to “dress” so
that they could get a better seat – and they did! Front
Table! Kim O’Hara showed up in a short peach lace dress,
brown opaque stockings, sensible shoes and a page boy wig.
His life was never the same after that.
joined a group of performers in a group called “Mom’s
Greenery”, performing mostly at the Goldbug on West
3rd Street. Each “girl” had a flower’s
name and emulated popular personalities. Thom was “Daisy” and
his specialty was Marilyn Monroe, Liza Minnelli and Alice
Faye (Alice Faye!!!!! – go figure …). Thom retired
at the tender age of 21, met his partner Max Killingsworth
and discovered Fire Island. Cherry Grovers thought Daisy
was an odd name and someone said: “Daisy??? My God,
you are more like a pansy.” And the name was born.
However, if they were going to call him that awful name,
he was going
to join one of his idols. Liza, and spell it special – with
a “Z” and an “I” (She stole that
song from him).
In 1976, Panzi was elected by the Arts
Project of Cherry Grove as the First Homecoming Queen of Cherry Grove, and capitalized on the
title. He appeared every week end and blessed someone – anyone – and
promoted all of the Arts Project's activities throughout
the Community. This was also the year the Invasion of the
Pines began – 9 lonely cross-dressed Grovers trying to make
a statement, but really just trying to raise a little hell.
Hell was raised and today nearly 300 revelers in drag join
the Invasion every July 4th.
Since that time, Panzi has been a long-term resident of
the Grove, performing nearly every year at the local Community
House and the Ice Palace. He appeared on the Brini Maxwell
Show on local cable as Mary Ellen, the zany neighbor, and
also appeared in several Off-Broadway and Way-Off Broadway productions.
He joined the Imperial
Court of New York in 1993 and was
elected Empress in 1998-1988 – Her Imperial Majesty,
Empress XII Panzi, The Empress of Loyalty and Laughter.
She serves and Executive Secretary on the International
Court Council, which is the overseeing organization of over 70
Courts in the United States, Canada and Mexico and is currently
Board President of the Imperial Court of New York.